Thursday, May 15, 2008
View the article here
Longtime Morgan Hill resident Vincent Buffington, 60, a convicted sex offender and part-owner of the new Legends Bar, was reportedly found dead in a hot tub at his home on La Mar Court Wednesday morning by his son, according to Morgan Hill police Special Operations Sgt. Jerry Neumayer.
Buffington's son returned home and found his father's body shortly after 11:30 a.m. and called police. Resuscitation was not attempted, Neumayer said, and Buffington was pronounced dead.
"We don't know if it was a natural death or not," he said. "At this point, we're treating it like a suspicious death and investigating ... There was nothing on his body that appeared to be suspicious. We're waiting on the results (of the autopsy) from the coroner's office."
The body did not have visible cuts and bruises, he said. No one was home during the morning hours, and Buffington had not been seen by family members since the night before.
Buffington was a partner in Legends Bar and Grill in downtown Morgan Hill. Operating manager Shauna St. Cloud said Thursday that she had no comment on how his death might affect the business.
View the article here
We believe everyone has children’s best interests in mind when looking for solutions to the vexing problem of how to protect them from predators.
But blanket residency restrictions do more to give people a false sense of security than adopting real programs to address sex offenders behaviors while in custody.
In addition, many towns could face lengthy and expensive legal challenges that are not slam-dunks even if the state attorney general’s office signs off on a vote as being constitutional.
A Department of Justice tracking study in 2003 found of the 9,700 sex offenders released from prison in 1994, 5.3 percent were arrested within three years for committing another sex crime. About 40 percent of those committed the offense within a year of being released.
- More studies to show recidivism is LOW and not high, here.
While that figure is still too high, it is hardly the blanket indictment of all sex offenders being recidivists. What it also shows it that for nearly 95 percent of those released, something worked to keep them from offending again, whether it was behavioral programs in prison or tight oversight from parole and probation.
The justice department study also found that an estimated 3.3 percent of the 4,300 released child molesters were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within three years.
But the study cited other research that showed 70 percent of all men in prison for a sex crime were men whose victim was a child. In almost half of the child-victim cases, the child was the prisoner’s own son or daughter or other relative.
Most residency restrictions have exceptions for offenders who own homes or someone who lives in a residence before the bylaw was enacted. If that home is the same where the victim resides or another child who may become a victim, how is this bylaw protecting them?
Also, these restrictions are only aimed at pedophiles, who make up roughly half the number of sex offenders. What protections are being offered to the victim of a rape when a convicted rapist of an adult female is forced to move into her apartment building because it is the only available space outside a restricted zone?
- You are wrong here. These restrictions are aimed at ALL SEX OFFENDERS, and not all sex offenders are predators, pedophiles or child molesters. They punish ALL sex offenders as if they are all the same as someone who has killed a child, and that is just wrong.
One of the main solutions is to ensure sex offenders serve out their full sentences. The study found that the average sentence for the released sex offenders was eight years and of that, only 3½ years on average were actually served prior to release.
Another solution would be to strengthen the civil commitment law and make the process less onerous on prosecutors. And once release is approved, ensure the sex offender has both the support mechanisms in place to thwart recidivism as well as lifetime parole or probation to monitor their whereabouts.
- Civil commitment is just a prison outside of prison. How many people do you know of who were put into this civil commitment, have been released? I cannot name one!!!
Everyone deserves credit for trying whatever avenues are available to protect children. But we are all better served when those protections acknowledge constitutional rights while at the same time safeguarding the rights of a community and its most vulnerable members.
View the article here
The status of Indiana's sex offender registry law is a little less clear today as the result of a very murky ruling coming down from the Indiana Court of Appeals that essentially confuses property rights with public safety protections.
Anthony W. Pollard had been living in his home for 10 years when, on April 4, 1997, he was convicted of committing a sex-related offense against a child.
Pollard had been living at the same address -- an address located within 1,000 feet of a school property, youth program center, or public park -- when the state passed its tough sex offender residency statute requiring convicted sex offenders to register their addresses with law enforcement and prohibiting them from residing within 1,000 feet of such properties.
On Jan. 26, 2007, the state charged Pollard with a Class D felony sex offender residency offense for being in violation of the 2006 sex offender residency law.
A trial court ruled in Pollard's favor and this week the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed. In essence, those courts embraced the defendant's assertion that the statute interferes with his home ownership rights and punishes him after the fact, or ex post facto, for a past offense.
But the state counters, reasonably, we think, that even if the statute does impair what might otherwise represent Pollard's home ownership rights, it does so in the cause of safeguarding "the welfare of children and society in general." And the state says the residency limitation does not represent an ex post facto law because Pollard is being charged with behavior after the implementation of the statute, not before. In other words, he is not charged with owning a home, but continuing to reside in a home in violation of defined space limitations after the law was passed.
If this ruling were to stand, it could shake the fundamental public safety underpinnings and moral certitude of the sex offender registry: A statute carefully crafted to reflect alarming rates of recidivism among sex offenders, a tradition of underreporting of these kinds of offenses and the special vulnerability of children as victims of those offenses. Estimates are that convicted sex offenders are four times more likely to be repeat offenders than criminal felons convicted of robbery, murder, assault or other serious crimes.
- What alarming rate of recidivism? This is false. Many studies show the recidivism rate of sexual offenders is LOW, despite what you are saying here.
The lower courts' judgment needs to proceed on appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court or the federal courts for added review and some legal clarity.
This is an area where the courts second-guess legislative intent at society's substantial peril.
View the article here
Prohibiting sex offenders from living near schools sounds like a good idea, but such residency restrictions may make it harder to supervise offenders — and without preventing new sex crimes.
The list of laws passed to punish and prevent sex offenses reads like a mournful roll call of dead and missing children: Megan's Law, the Jacob Wetterling Act, Jessica's Law. And although not named after Polly Klaas, California's three strikes law — the most severe legislation of its kind in the nation — was passed largely in response to the rape and murder of the 12-year-old kidnapped from her home.
Spurred by the visceral public reaction to violent crimes committed against children, lawmakers have introduced an array of strategies designed to control sex offenders and prevent them from committing new sex crimes, including longer prison sentences and parole terms, civil commitment of sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences but are judged to pose a continuing threat, and GPS monitoring of released sex offenders.
Increasingly common are residency restrictions on certain types of released sex offenders, barring them from living within a certain distance (typically 1,000 to 2,000 feet) of a school, playground or other area where children gather. According to a 2006 literature review, 22 states have enacted some type of residency restriction. Even tiny jurisdictions like Taylors Falls, Minn., (2003 population: 981) have adopted their own versions of such laws.
Given that a U.S. Department of Justice survey of 73,000 male sex offenders in state prisons found that 70 percent of their victims were under age 18, it would seem axiomatic that keeping sex offenders from living where they're likely to encounter children is sound policy.
But residency restrictions for sex offenders not only don't seem to be working as promised, there's some indication that by hindering smarter practices they help increase the danger of molestation. And despite their popularity with lawmakers and the public, they have not been universally embraced, even by those in the law enforcement community. A January 2007 resolution passed by the American Correctional Association declares, "There is no evidence to support the efficacy of broadly applied residential restrictions on sex offenders." A 2006 statement issued by the Iowa County Attorneys Association on that state's residency restriction requirements takes a similar view, asserting, "There is no demonstrated protective effect of the residency requirement that justifies the huge draining of scarce law enforcement resources in the effort to enforce the restriction."
Sex Offenses Outside the Safe Zone
A new study, "Does Residential Proximity Matter? A Geographic Analysis of Sex Offense Recidivism," which contains a detailed analysis of 224 sex offenders released from Minnesota prisons who were reincarcerated for another sex offense within four and a half years of their release, lends support to the positions taken by these organizations. The retrospective study applied four criteria to the crimes of re-offenders to determine whether residency restrictions (which had not been applied to any of the offenders upon their original release) might have prevented them from committing their new sex crimes.
The researchers noted that of the 224 cases studied, there were 79 "direct-contact cases," in which the offender actively established contact with the victim, whether on the street, in a public place or by breaking into the victim's residence. While residency restrictions are designed to prevent the nightmare scenario of an opportunistic sexual predator — most likely a stranger — victimizing children from a school or playground near his residence, the study found that these offenders' new offense did not generally fall into this pattern.
In some cases, for instance, the victim of the new offense was an adult. In about 40 percent of the direct-contact cases, offenders contacted their victims more than a mile away from their own homes — far outside even a 2,000-foot "safety zone." The researchers determined that of the 16 cases involving juveniles, "12 involved offenders who established direct contact within 1,000 feet, and two additional cases involved an offender who initiated contact within 2,500 feet. Not one of the 16 cases, however, was facilitated by close proximity to a school, day care or park. Instead, the offenders in these 16 cases victimized neighbors, or they made contact with victims near their own property."
There were three cases that did involve an offender who made contact with his victim at a location typically prohibited by residency restrictions (school or park) — but in two of the crimes, the offender lived more than 10 miles away from where he first established contact with the victim. The victim in the third crime was an adult. "Therefore," the study concludes, "none of the 224 incidents of sex offender recidivism fit the criteria of a known offender making contact with a child victim at a location within any of the distances typically covered by residential restriction laws."
A 2004 study of living arrangements and location of sex offenders conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Safety reported similar findings and recommendations. The researcher mapped the residences of released sex offenders who had committed at least one criminal offense during their first 15 months under law enforcement supervision, noting the proximity of the homes to schools and child care centers.
The data showed that "sex offenders who have committed a criminal offense (both sexual and nonsexual) while under criminal justice supervision appear to be randomly scattered throughout the study areas — there does not seem to be a greater number of these offenders living within proximity to schools and child care centers than other types of offenders."
The study concluded, "Placing restrictions on the location of correctionally supervised sex offender residences may not deter the sex offender from re-offending and should not be considered as a method to control sexual-offending recidivism."
Other research findings also underscore the shortcomings of residency restrictions.
In the study of released Minnesota sex offenders, when trying to estimate the distance between the offender's residence and the place he (the vast majority of sex offenders are male) first made contact with his victim, the researchers note, "for some cases, geographic distance was irrelevant in that several offenders first established contact over the telephone (one even while incarcerated for the prior sex offense) or the Internet (i.e., dating personals)."
In addition to questions about their effectiveness, residency restrictions can also have troubling consequences. The California Sex Offender Management Board, in a 2008 report on the state's management of adult sex offenders, notes that the number of sex offenders on parole reporting themselves as transient had quadrupled in the year since California's version of Jessica's Law — mandating, among other measures, a 2,000-foot "no predator zone" around schools and parks — had been passed overwhelmingly by voters.
Although generating any sympathy for sex offenders rendered homeless by residency restrictions is a difficult task, sympathy is also beside the point, as the Iowa prosecutors' group explained in its 2006 statement (which expressed concern about increased transience among sex offenders). "Efforts to rehabilitate offenders and to minimize the rate of re-offending are much more successful when offenders are employed, have family and community connections, and have a stable residence. These goals are severely impaired by the residency restriction, compromising the safety of children by obstructing the use of the best-known corrections practices."
Those practices can include cognitive behavioral treatment, which "critically examines deviant thoughts and behaviors" and helps the offender "monitor his own behavior through the development of internal controls." According to the California board's report, this type of treatment can decrease recidivism by up to 40 percent.
And while having several high-risk sex offenders living together under one roof sounds like a direct route to disaster, agencies in Colorado have pioneered a treatment and supervision method called a "shared living arrangement" (SLA), in which two or three sex offenders share and maintain a house that they either rent or own. Although such a shared residence would not usually be approved near a school or other area likely to attract children, more to the point, according to the 2004 Colorado report: "Offenders hold each other accountable for their actions and responsibilities and notify the appropriate authorities when a roommate commits certain behaviors, such as returning home late or having contact with children."
In analyzing re-offense rates among 130 sex offenders on probation, the Colorado report found, "When controlling for risk, sex offenders living in SLAs had the second-lowest number of criminal, technical and total violations (high-risk offenders in jail had the lowest number of violations)." A technical violation is one that contravenes the terms of either the offender's probation or his treatment and can include such behavior as possession of pornography or "having a sexual relationship with a vulnerable person (for example, dating a woman who has small children)."
View the article here
We are writing to correct a misstatement in the email we sent out yesterday. SB 1 goes into effect on July 1, 2008. It is not immediately effective as previously stated. We sincerely apologize for our error.
All the best,
Sara, Sarah, Lisa, James, Gerry and Mica
PS: For those of you who may have missed it, here is the information we sent out about SB 1 yesterday:
On Tuesday, Governor Sonny Perdue signed Senate Bill 1, a modified version of the sex offender residence restrictions. You can read the text of SB 1 at:
SB 1 is effective on July 1, 2008 and does the following things:
- Reinstates all of the same residence restrictions as were in effect under HB 1059, with the following exceptions for some homeowners.
- A homeowner who established ownership of his residence before July 1, 2006 will not be required to move.
- A homeowner will not be required to move if a day care center, church, park, etc. moves in within 1,000 feet of his residence.
- Reinstates all of the employment restrictions that were in effect under HB 1059, with the following exceptions for some Plaintiffs:
- A person who was employed at a location as of July 1, 2006 (and still works there) will not be required to leave his employment.
- A person who is employed will not be required to leave his employment if a child care center, church, park, etc. moves in within 1,000 feet of the place of employment.
- Adds “public libraries” to the list of “areas where minors congregate,” meaning that people on the registry cannot live within 1,000 feet of a public library.
- Forbids anyone on the registry from volunteering at or within 1,000 feet of a school, church, or child care center
- Prohibits people on the registry from intentionally photographing a minor without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.
In other words, with the exception of the homeowners described above, people on the sex offender registry will have to comply with all of the same residence restrictions as in HB 1059. This does not, however, include the school bus stop restriction, which is not being enforced at this time.
Many people on the registry will once again receive orders to move. Once again, we urge you to take these orders very seriously. A violation of the residence restrictions can carry 10-30 years in prison.
As we mentioned previously, we have now re-doubled our efforts to fight this legislation in the courts and have already filed an Amended Complaint to include SB 1’s provisions in the ongoing Whitaker litigation. We will keep you updated as this case progresses and as we learn additional information.
View the article here
Now this is what we should all do. Show up at meetings and talk to legislature.
Registered sex offender Robert Keith Tyner, 47, attempted to quell the fears of his Corona neighbors by addressing them at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
"I know what the rules of my probation are and I abide by them," Tyner said near the end of a tense two-hour meeting. "Hopefully by seeing me and hearing me, it will ease your mind a bit."
Law enforcement officials called the meeting at Corona Ranch Elementary School after residents in the neighborhood learned that Tyner, a convicted sex offender, had moved near Corona Ranch and Creste Verde and Village parks.
About 50 people attended the meeting during which residents fired questions at police, probation and district attorney's office representatives, asking how Tyner could legally reside in their neighborhood under Jessica's Law and what it would take to get him removed.
A provision of Jessica's Law, approved by voters in 2006, prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks. But an absence of penalties in the law's language and a series of legal challenges have tied the hands of police and prosecutors, officials said Wednesday night.
"There is no punishment provision. That's a flaw in the law," said Assistant District Attorney Charles Hughes.
- Again with the word punishment. I thought these laws were not punishment? At least that is what they say, so they get passed. I am going to start highlighting the word punishment anytime I find it, in bold red, from now on. Just to show how many times it's used.
According to court documents, Tyner was convicted in October 2003 for lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 and sentenced to six months in jail. He was placed on five years' probation in December 2003. The probation is set to expire in December of this year.
As part of his probation, he was ordered not to associate with female minors unless an adult or probation officer is present and not to take a job at a business where minors are present.
Police and probation officers have repeatedly checked on Tyner during his probation and he has always been in compliance, said Detective Jeff Edwards of the Corona Police Department.
"If I had one smidgeon of probable cause to arrest this man, do you think we'd be here tonight?" Edwards asked.
Corona Police Chief Richard Gonzales advised parents to become informed about the laws regarding sex offenders and to talk to their children about any concerns they might have.
"There are no guarantees" of safety, he said. "Your responsibility is to be a good parent."
Reach Michelle L. Klampe at 951-893-2114 or mklampe@PE.com
View the article here
Full Article Here
The “New York Times’” recently revealed the existence of a little-known executive order issued by President Bush in the summer of ’07 that permitted U.S. intelligence operatives to circumvent restrictions on the use of humiliating and degrading interrogation techniques.
Bush’s order permitted U.S. intelligence operatives to effectively side-step the legal and moral restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court and Congress (and formally approved by Bush) as well as Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
Brian Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney general, laid-out the rationale for the continued subversion of these restrictions:
The fact that an [humiliating interrogation] act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliating or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act.
The Bush administration’s argument is that an interrogator can utilize what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” if he/she believes such techniques will thwart a possible threat or terrorist act. For the administration, illegal (if not immoral) interrogation techniques are a corollary to preemptive military strikes that was its rationale for the invasion of Iraq.
Much attention has been paid to water-boarding as an immoral if not illegal technique utilized in the so-called War of Terror. Little attention has been paid to the equally physically harmful and likely more long-term consequential technique of sexual humiliation and terror.
Buried deep in Mark Mazzetti’s Times article is an intriguing paragraph:
That order specifies some conduct that it says would be prohibited in any interrogation, including forcing an individual to perform sexual acts, or threatening an individual with sexual humiliation. But it does not say which techniques could still be permitted. [New York Times, April 27, 2008]
Yes, what “techniques” of sexual humiliation can still be used?
It seems almost impossible to precisely determine these techniques. Reviews of the CIA, Justice and Defense department’s websites reveal little useful information. Email queries to the Justice Department, including Benczkowski and the media-relations office, have not been answered.
An exhaustive search of the internet has provided no further information about sexual humiliation then the oblique Times reference. (An effort for further clarification from Mazzetti has not succeeded.) This is very much in keeping with Bush administration policies to deny, falsify, obfuscate or simply lie about techniques sanctioned and employed in its fictitious War on Terror.
In the absence of the formal specification of CIA’s approved or utilized (and they are not necessarily the same) techniques of sexual humiliation, one must draw upon previously documented U.S. military and intelligence-agency practices and the techniques used by other militaries. These examples illustrate what the CIA and other U.S. agencies are capable of employing to break those they identify as “terrorists”.
Rape is one of the most barbaric forms of sexual humiliation and terror. Since the Civil War, rape has been increasingly integrated into what is known as total warfare. Women, girls and some boys have been increasingly singled out for systematic sexual abuse during civil conflicts and military campaigns. However, rape has only been limitedly employed against adult male captives detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo or CIA black sites around the world. [see “’The Hard Hand of War’: Rape as an Instrument of Total War,” CounterPunch, Apri1 4, 2008]
The U.S. has employed (and, most likely, continues to employ) a host of other techniques of sexual terrorization to break male inmates. An act of sexual humiliation serves two purposes: to physically harm and to emotionally scar those subjected to such abuse. Sexual terrorization seeks to inflict both pain and shame, to make the recipient suffer and loath himself. Sexual humiliation is intended to break the victim both physically and spiritually, to leave scars on (and inside) the body and in the psyche.
If (or when) top officials of the Bush administration face either an American or international war crimes tribunal over their conduct related to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sexual humiliation and terror should not be absent from the indictment.
According to an ABC News report, in response to September 11th the CIA adopted six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" in mid-March 2002. These techniques were to be used on a dozen or more alleged al Qaeda leaders detained in CIA black sites. These “approved” techniques consisted of:
- The Attention Grab: the interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.
- The Attention Slap: an open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
- The Belly Slap: a hard open-handed slap to the stomach; the aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury.
- Long Time Standing: prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours.
- The Cold Cell: the prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and is periodically doused with cold water.
- Water-Boarding: also known as “the water cure” or “simulated drowning,” the prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet; cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him.
Obviously missing from the CIA’s list of interrogation techniques is sexual humiliation, degradation and terrorization. [ABC News, November 18, 2005]
Reconstructing U.S. military and intelligence officials use of sexual interrogation techniques begins in 2004 with Abu Ghraib and Seymour Hersh’s invaluable “New Yorker” article and the CBS “60 Minutes II” broadcast of soldiers’ photos. Their combined impact not only exposed the horrendous treatment of Iraqi prisoners, but made “celebrities” out of three of the perpetrators, Army reservists Charles Graner, Sabrina Harmon and Lynndie England. [see New Yorker, April 30, 2004 and March 24, 2008]
The best single source for details on abuses at Abu Ghraib is the study conducted by Major General Antonio Taguba. In the report’s executive summary, the following "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” are identified as having been used at the prison:
- videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
- forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
- forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
- forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear;
- forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
- arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
- positioning a naked detainee on a MRE [meals ready to eat] Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
- placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;
- sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.
View the article here
Her lawyer says she'll cooperate in order to avoid trial
NEW YORK - A woman accused of booking clients for a high-priced call girl ring pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering and promoting prostitution in the federal probe that brought down former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Temeka Rachelle Lewis, who worked as a booking agent for the Emperor's Club VIP, is the first defendant to admit guilt in the case that led to Spitzer's resignation.
She made a brief court appearance in a plea bargain that obligates her to turn over records, testify before a grand jury if asked and answer any questions investigators may have about her role in arranging dates between Emperor's Club working girls and the agency's deep-pocketed clients.
Her agreement to cooperate was revealed in court papers filed by prosecutors, then reluctantly confirmed by her lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, after a federal magistrate turned down his request to have the records sealed. Members of the news media had objected to a seal.
Agnifilo said Lewis, 32, has yet to be asked to appear before the grand jury. He added that prosecutors have not disclosed whether the probe's next target is Spitzer, who has not been charged.
'She'll never be in trouble again'
Asked why his client pleaded guilty, Agnifilo said Lewis, who majored in English at the University of Virginia and has never been in trouble with the law before, just wants to put the case behind her.
"She's basically a very good person. Sitting at a defense table in a federal courthouse is the last place she imagined she'd be," he said. "I have no doubt she'll never be in trouble again."
Lewis, with her mother and sister looking on, appeared calm in court, then left without speaking to reporters. Under federal sentencing guidelines she could face around 16 months in prison, or less, depending on the level of her cooperation with prosecutors, Agnifilo said.
Her sentencing was tentatively scheduled for August.
The Emperor's Club investigation began last year when banks flagged suspicious cash transfers to companies set up to disguise payments by the ring's clients. Some of the transfers were traced to Spitzer.
The FBI disclosed in court papers that agents secretly recorded conversations between Lewis and Spitzer about a Feb. 13 tryst in Washington with a prostitute. The former governor, identified in court papers only as Client 9, allegedly paid $4,300.
Spitzer, who is married and has three teenage daughters, resigned March 12, just days after his role in the case became public. Spitzer has apologized without expressly acknowledging he had visited prostitutes.
Three other defendants
The other defendants are Mark Brener, 62, of Cliffside Park, N.J., who is accused of running the ring; Cecil Suwal, 23, who lives with Brener; and Tanya Hollander, 36, of Rhinebeck, N.Y., who authorities said also worked as a booking agent for prostitutes.
Investigators say the ring charged $1,000 to $5,500 per hour for dozens of prostitutes in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris.
As state attorney general, Spitzer built a reputation as a crusader against shady practices and overly generous compensation on Wall Street. The Democrat's cases included prosecution of prostitution rings and the sex tourism industry.
View the article here
James McGreevey said he has limited income and few assets
ELIZABETH - The nation's first openly gay governor tried to convince the judge in his divorce case Wednesday that he's too poor to pay alimony, saying he's been financially crippled by his resignation and marital troubles.
Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey said he has limited income and few assets, and is all but unemployable these days.
"I got my furnishings at a Huffman Koos going-out-of-business sale," McGreevey said when asked to describe his belongings.
He and his wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, have been separated since he left office in November 2004, three months after he said he had an affair with a male staffer and planned to resign. The staffer denies he had an affair with McGreevey and accused him of sexual harassment.
Financial fight over assets
The couple have agreed on custody of their only child, 6-year-old Jacqueline, but are fighting over alimony, child support, and how to divide their assets and liabilities.
Matos McGreevey is asking the court to award her alimony and additional money based on the contention that McGreevey committed marriage fraud. She says she was duped into marriage by a gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.
McGreevey counters that his wife, whom he married in 2000, should have known he was gay and that for most of their marriage, she made more money than him.
He spent hours on the stand Wednesday detailing his jobs and sources of income.
"Because of this case, I have been financially crippled," he said.
He was expected to return to the stand Thursday morning.
Now an Episcopal seminary student, McGreevey, 50, said he owes a prior divorce lawyer at least $116,000 and has not paid his first ex-wife any child support this year. He said he relies on his boyfriend to pay legal bills and lifestyle expenses.
McGreevey acknowledged that he is indifferent to money and passed up opportunities to increase his income during his marriage by instead running for public office.
Before he took the stand, McGreevey lawyer Stephen Haller told the judge the ex-governor should not have to pay alimony to his wife because the couple's "short-term marriage" does not qualify for her for it. Haller accused Matos McGreevey, 41, of having an "emotional vendetta" against his client.
Joint book deal never worked out
Haller also said Dina Matos McGreevey's earnings exceeded her husband's during about half of their marriage.
John Post, who represents Dina Matos McGreevey, said it was "absurd" that the two partners had equal earnings, and said McGreevey is underestimating his earning potential.
Post noted that that McGreevey earned $429,000 in 2006 and $185,000 last year.
During his testimony, McGreevey said he proposed writing a tell-all book with his estranged wife, but she turned him down and later wrote her own memoir.
McGreevey said he was initially offered $1 million to write his life story shortly after leaving office in disgrace, but later signed a book contract for far less. He said his goal was not to make money, but to help gay and lesbian teenagers who might find the courage to live openly after reading about his life as a closeted gay man.
"It was about my failures, my sins," McGreevey said of his book, "The Confession."
View the article here
Hell, not that is has been splashed all over the place, the jury will see this anyway and he will not get a fair trial. This is why all news should not be allowed until after a case, IMO. It prevents someone from getting a fair trial.
When a suspect asks for a lawyer, detectives should stop asking questions.
That's the lesson prosecutors and detectives should take away from an appeals court decision allowing the apparent confession by the defendant to be thrown out in the Sarah Michelle Lunde case.
Sheriff's detectives discovered the decomposing body of the 13-year-old girl on April 16, 2005, after a five-day search. The next day, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee announced the arrest of David Lee Onstott, a convicted sex offender and sometime boyfriend of Sarah's mother. Gee said Onstott admitted killing the Ruskin teenager.
The confession won't be used at trial, however, because Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta ruled that detectives violated the defendant's constitutional rights when they continued to question him after he had asked for a lawyer. Prosecutors argued Onstott had selectively invoked his right to a lawyer.
It's understandable that detectives would want to pry information from a defendant, especially one suspected of killing a child. But officers cannot make assumptions about why a suspect wants counsel and should not take the risk of ruining the family's chance for justice.
With the confession out, the case becomes trickier for the state. There is no physical evidence, no DNA to connect Onstott to the crime. So prosecutors will have to depend on testimony from a detective to whom Onstott volunteered information, a nurse who evaluated him, a jail deputy who guarded him on suicide watch and recordings of a conversation with his mother.
We'll soon know whether that's enough.
View the article here
Video is available at the link above. This is just wonderful and what society needs to help with the problems of sexual abuse.
SNOHOMISH COUNTY – The Mack House is one of three faith-based homes in Snohomish County where sex offenders are not only tolerated but welcome.
"The bulk of our housing right now is sex offenders," said John Mack, who runs the home with his wife Jane.
The two recently granted the Investigators a rare, behind-the-scenes look inside.
To live here you must follow the Mack rules. No drugs or alcohol are tolerated, and Bible study is mandatory.
"We do Bible study here in the evening, and everyone must attend," Jane Mack said.
Some of the current residents include men convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor, rape of a child, indecent liberties, 3rd degree rape, child molestation, 1st degree rape and more. It's a crowd most people want nothing to do with.
A man named Eric has lived at the Mack House for more than a year. Other landlords said "no way" to a registered sex offender.
"You can go in and have your first month's rent, you can have your last month's rent, you can have a deposit, and then as soon as they found out about registration, they're like 'sorry, we have someone who just rented the place,'" he said
That societal attitude is one of the reasons why many sex offenders are homeless. The Department of Corrections, which oversees those on parole, is forced to assign many on their caseloads to live under bridges and in parking lots.
Last week a parole officer showed KING 5 many of these places, including squalid campsites, tents, under trees and on brushy hillsides. That kind of living is the worst outcome for public safety.
"When a sex offender doesn't have a good stable house, that he is more likely to re-offend because he has nothing," said parole officer Mary Rehberg. "No stability."
John Mack is one of the few who will take them in. He says the Lord told him to do it.
"He told me that the sex offenders are like today's lepers," Mack said. "Nobody wants to touch them."
He went on to say: "And since I've been forgiven so much in my heart, I'm thankful, and I'll do whatever he wants me to do."
Mack will tell you himself he hasn't always been doing the Lord's work.
"I started using drugs when I was 11 years old," he said.
In addition to possession of drugs, theft and assault with a deadly weapon, Mack has a conviction for taking part in a gang rape in California and for unlawful sex with a teen when he was 35 years old.
Mack, running homes for convicted sex offenders, is a sex offender himself.
We asked him if he sees a problem with his past and what he’s doing now.
"Who else? Who else is going to run it?" he said. "Nobody wants to."
Once in the Mack house, residents haven't been perfect either. Convicted child molester Tim Anderson was living there when he assaulted his girlfriend with a knife on the home's front lawn three months ago.
Others have moved in, then failed to register as a sex offender, which is a felony. But we didn't find any residents with convictions for another sex crime while living at the Mack House.
A resident named Jimmy says the housemates help each other keep on track.
"If somebody is struggling with pornography or anything like that, that comes to light real quick in here," he said. "I think it's actually beneficial to have sex offenders housed together."
And the Department of Corrections, which must OK every resident who moves in, says research shows this kind of structure is a good set up.
"There is some understanding that grouped living is more successful for sex offenders than for other types of offenders," said Anna Aylward, program administrator for the Department of Corrections.
John Mack knows there are naysayers - people who would rather see a sex offender under a bridge than on their block.
To them he says he's a changed man and the men he takes in can change too.
"If they don't believe that's true all they have to do is look at me. I run a successful business, I help people. I don't harm anybody anymore," he said. "Like I said, I don't even cuss anymore. I don't know how many people who can say that."
Neighbors of the Mack home receive mandatory sex offender notification slips from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office about once a month when someone new moves in.
Some that KING 5 talked to don't feel safe, but all say they've never had a problem with their neighbors at the Mack House.
Read the rest of the eAdvocate article here
Wow, this shows several examples of how someone, with the way sex offenders names are freely available, along with their email addresses, can pose as a sex offender to make death threats and demand ransom, thus potentially getting a sex offender is a lot of trouble. Yet more reasons the registry should be offline!!
It's estimated that some 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year, and it's happening here.
But even if you take the most necessary precautions to protect yourself, WSBT found it may not be enough.
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness,” exclaimed Idella Hughley after WSBT showed her a copy of her high school son’s driver’s license, birth certificate and Social Security card.
We stopped at several government agencies and offices — local, state and federal — randomly taking one trash bag out of each dumpster over a two-day period.
It's called "dumpster diving" and it's a way people steal others' identity.
View the article here
People living in Nevada need to contact the ACLU now!!!
On July 1, 2008, thousands of valley neighbors will learn they have a sex offender living in their community. In most cases, it won't be the new kid on the block. Changes in existing laws will make information about all sex offenders available for the first time. But some caution the public safety effort may create a new threat.
Instead of ranking offenders by their risk to re-offend, the new system will classify them based on their crime. Here in southern Nevada, the number of tier 3 sex offenders -- rapists, pedophiles and other violent criminals -- will jump from 125 to more than 2,000 according to law enforcement.
- Oh man, I can feel the witch hunt a brewing, and TONS of law suits.
Although the new laws create tough, new requirements, they don't provide the manpower to enforce them.
Parole and Probation Officer Shana Goslin never expects a warm welcome. Once a month, she drops in unannounced on the sex offenders she supervises. Far from a social call, she considers the visits a necessary evil.
"With these guys on the outside, they could appear to be perfectly compliant, but there's always that fear. What are they planning? What could be happening? What don't I know?" she said.
Doug, not his real name, served 11 years in prison for sexual assault. It's a crime that, beginning July 1, will raise his sex offender classification from a tier 2 to tier 3 -- the highest ranking.
"No, I'm no risk. But I'll keep paying and it'll keep getting worse. These are laws that just appease the public. Pretty soon they're going to have us all homeless and wondering where the hell we're at, and then what? Lock us all back up?" he said.
Doug's neighbors may now be notified of his address. Rather than face an entire apartment complex, he plans to move to a smaller neighborhood.
"I'm afraid of the repercussions of being here. I'm worried about somebody doing something to my vehicle, or possibly to me," he said.
As a tier 3 offender, Doug will have to register with local law enforcement in person, every 90 days, "You have to register at both places now. I'll make sure it gets done."
Goslin not so gently reminds the offenders on her caseload of the changes. But the vast majority of rapists, pedophiles and predators -- more than 80-percent in the valley -- get no supervision.
Over the years, Nevada has struggled with its registration rates. Although currently it's at all time high of 70-percent, some fear the tougher requirements will prompt some offenders to stop registering up all together.
- And this is exactly what is going to happen. It has happened all across the country, but do they listen? No, because they don't read the facts or news to see what is occurring.
Metro has a sex offender apprehension detail that tracks offenders who fail to register, but they are only four detectives, outnumbered roughly 1,000 to 1.
Detectives Marv Courtney and Janice Blasko have spent more than a month knocking on doors verifying that every sex offender in Clark County is living where they say they are. The two want to ensure the information on Metro's website is accurate when it adds all offenders in July, "We're going to try to get a little bit ahead of the curve and be ready for when that happens."
Goslin too is moving ahead, urging her charges to prepare for public exposure. Come July 1, she won't be the only unwelcome guest in many valley neighborhoods, "They will have always had sex offenders on their street. They're just going to be told about it right now."
- See, they know what is going to occur, and they are still willing to pass the laws. The many news articles from the last couple years prove, this fear is real, and it will happen, watch and see.
View the article here
You see that statement in bold red below? This is why we must contact the ACLU now! They are not going to call us, and if nobody calls, then the laws will pass without even a whimper!!!
Everybody needs to quit sulking and waiting for someone else to do this, and CONTACT THE ACLU!!!! They are telling you why they are not trying to get the laws shot down, because nobody is apparently worried about them, or have their thumbs up their butts!!
SOMERSET — Level 2 and 3 sex offenders won’t be able to take out a library book, participate in any public events at a park or school, join other adults in a pickup softball game at any playground, or spend more than 15 minutes conducting business in the town offices under a proposal that will come before voters at Monday night’s Annual Town Meeting.
It’s also unlikely that offenders will be allowed to attend future town meetings after Monday night, even if they have lived in Somerset for years.
Under the proposal, listed as Article 39 on the agenda, they are allowed to enter a school or library to vote in an election, but a town meeting isn’t an election. The meetings are held at the high school, from which they are banned.
The idea for the bylaw comes from Selectman Lorne Lawless, who said similar measures have been ruled constitutional in other communities.
“This regulation has passed constitutional muster,” and it uses the best language from other communities where the rules have been upheld, Lawless said last night. “We feel it will pass [Monday night] and we feel it will protect the children. That’s it.”
He declined to discuss specific implications of the law.
“You have my statement,” he said.
But the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (Email) strongly opposes such laws. The organization says it can understand the desire to protect youngsters, but only 7 percent of sexual assaults against children are done by a stranger; relatives or acquaintances are responsible for 93 percent.
In addition, the data suggest “that these measures are not only ineffective, but may actually increase the likelihood of sex offenses,” according to the ACLU.
The Somerset proposal “is something we would consider challenging,” the legal director of the organization, John Reinstein, said yesterday. He estimated that about 20 such municipal bylaws have been passed in the commonwealth.
The ACLU is not challenging them right now, he said, because some bylaws haven’t been onerous enough or no sex offender has been willing to come forward and allow the ACLU to sue the city or town on his or her behalf.
“It’s not for a lack of interest [by the organization] in doing so,” Reinstein said
According to the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, Somerset has 16 Level 2 sex offenders, who have been categorized as having a moderate risk of re-offending and are considered dangerous enough that their whereabouts must be available to the public.
The state says the town has two Level 3 sex offenders, who are regarded as posing a substantial risk to public safety and are highly likely to engage in sex crimes again. (However, four individuals were identified as Level 3 offenders in notices posted in the town offices last night.)
If approved Monday night, the bylaw must still be OK’d by the attorney general. Town lawyer Clement Brown said the language proposed for Somerset is similar to what was approved by the attorney general within the past month.
- SO IN OTHER WORDS, CONTACT THE ACLU NOW.........
The proposal, one of the last on the agenda, is designed to keep children, seniors and the mentally impaired out of harm’s way by banning people convicted of sex crimes from most public facilities, unless they have written permission to be there.
It also prohibits them from spending more than 15 minutes within 500 feet of the property lines of schools, libraries, daycare centers, parks, beaches, playgrounds, athletic fields, or facilities for the mentally impaired or for the elderly, which includes people over 55.
For example, offenders who wanted to attend a meeting of the selectmen or various boards and commissions could only be there for 15 minutes because those groups meet at the town offices, located between the Council on Aging offices at the old Pottersville School and the town library.
Similarly, an elderly offender would be banned from the Council on Aging offices without special permission, no matter when their offense occurred.
And the proposal would require offenders to move if they take up residence within 500 feet of those areas.
The bylaw will not force offenders — who must already register with the police — to move from the homes or apartments they live in now.
If they move within 500 feet of school property, for example, they will have 30 days to move. Every extra day they spend there will result in a $300 fine.
The ACLU says there are lots of reasons to oppose what the bylaw characterizes as the “safety precautions.”
A Dedham, Mass., bylaw put 76 percent of the town off limits to sex offenders, although the no-living zone is larger than Somerset’s and the no-loitering zone, which included all school bus stops (unlike the Somerset proposal) is smaller. The remaining 24 percent of town where the former offenders can live includes cemeteries and conservation land.
The bylaw would require Somerset to draft maps showing the restricted zones. The maps would be on file at the Police Department and town clerk’s office.
“Because residence restrictions often force offenders to live away from supportive family members and employment and treatment resources,” the ACLU says, “this lack of community support structures tends to make rehabilitation more difficult and relapse more likely.”
The organization asserts that such bylaws are unconstitutional “in that they impose an additional punishment long after the time of the offense.”
“There are, of course, alternatives to what amounts to a policy of banishment,” the ACLU says in a position paper. “Massachusetts already has a comprehensive sex offender registration requirement,” it says, and the parole system is getting better at supervising offenders, and programs for treating them can be effective.
“Residence restrictions add little to these existing approaches and may actually interfere with them,” the ACLU says.
View the article here
A little-noticed provision in a 2006 federal sex-offender law is rankling American Indian tribes in six states because it would give state law enforcers unprecedented authority to monitor child molesters living on tribal land.
Tribal officials are raising objections because they see the provision as an erosion of their sovereignty, and they argue they weren’t consulted when Congress drafted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which overhauls how sex offenders across the country are registered and tracked.
“It’s kind of like us calling France and telling them what to do,” said Kristen Anderson, who has analyzed the Adam Walsh Act as deputy director for case analysis and support with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a quasi-governmental organization that seeks to prevent sexual abuse of children.
Meanwhile, state officials in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin worry how they are to enforce the law on vast tracts of self-governed tribal land within their borders.
The law, named after the murdered 6-year-old son of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh and due to take effect in full by next July, gives the six states new powers to supervise sex offenders who reside on tribal lands that are home to hundreds of federally recognized American Indian communities.
Unlike 28 other states with federally recognized American Indian populations, these states have had jurisdiction on most criminal matters on tribal lands for decades under long-standing federal policy. Monitoring of sex offenders who have rejoined society, however, is a civil regulatory procedure that previously had fallen to the tribes or the federal government.
The change would mean the states soon must ensure that sex offenders within tribal borders register more frequently with law enforcement authorities and often for longer periods of time. The states must add molesters to existing online sex-offender registries and collect and publish information about their appearance, whereabouts and even the cars they drive. In some cases, they must see that offenders who currently are not behind bars are identified and added to state registries retroactively.
In the other 28 states, tribes were given a choice under the act to track offenders independently or to designate that authority to their states. A total of 198 of 212 tribes rejected state control, though they still can reconsider. Experts predict that many of the tribes will retain authority and choose to form working partnerships with states to ensure the law is enforced.
At a meeting of state legislators this month in Washington, D.C., Laura L. Rogers, the U.S. Justice Department official responsible for communicating with states about Adam Walsh Act requirements, cautioned lawmakers that the act demands new and widespread cooperation among states, localities and tribes across the country.
“I encourage everyone — whether you represent a tribe, you represent a local entity or you represent your state — to recognize that we all need to work together in this effort,” said Rogers, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART).
There are more than 636,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, but there are no reliable estimates for how many live on American Indian land, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Indian Health Service, a federal agency that seeks to improve health in tribal territories, estimates that one in four girls and one in seven boys will fall victim to sex abuse on American Indian lands.
In the six states where authority over sex offenders is being transferred to the state, tribal officials are upset not only because of sovereignty concerns. Some say they can keep track sex offenders on tribal land more effectively than state or local law enforcement.
“The tribal law enforcement have their ear to the pavement a lot better than the county law enforcement. They know who’s coming and who’s going and who the new people are. We feel we do a better job in that regard,” said Joe Plumer, tribal attorney for the White Earth band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in northwestern Minnesota.
The 20,000-strong band was among 75 Native American communities in the six states that last year petitioned the U.S. Justice Department for the right to monitor sex offenders independently. But it would take an act of Congress to return that authority to the tribes.
Leslie A. Hagen, an assistant U.S. attorney with the SMART office, said the Adam Walsh Act “doesn’t mean those tribes need to dismantle (the registration systems) they have.” Instead, she said, having a registration system in place will make it easier for tribes to share information with the state.
While tribes have expressed anger about the Adam Walsh Act, state lawmakers also are raising objections about the law and the costs of implementing it before next year’s deadline. States that do not comply with the act face a 10-percent cut to their share of annual congressional grants used to fight crime.
Alaska state Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, a Republican, said the complexity of the native population in her state — which itself has 227 federally recognized American Indian, Eskimo and other communities — makes it difficult to ensure that the state can comply by next year.
“Each of them has different rules and regulations and ways that they govern themselves,” Dahlstrom said. “It’s been a constant struggle in trying to work with the different groups.”
View the article here
Is everybody just trying to see who can sentence someone to the most time? Why don't you just make it 1 million years or 100 million years, or better yet, eternity!
MURRIETA – A convicted sex offender could be sentenced to more than a millenium in prison for molesting two girls, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Horace Mann Williams, 44, is facing a penalty of up to 1,330 years in prison when he is sentenced Friday at the Murrieta Courthouse, said Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky.
Williams previously spent six years in prison for sexual molestation in the early 1990s.
He was convicted in February of 11 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14 and one count of digital penetration of a child under 14, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of multiple victims.
Outside court, jurors said they convicted Williams because he showed a pattern of behavior typical for child molesters.
“After a first offense and after a parole violation, he couldn't stay away from girls,” one juror said.
In his closing argument, Strunsky noted that over nearly 10 years, three girls made similar accusations against the defendant.
“Three separate girls who didn't know each other come in with remarkably similar stories,” Strunsky said.
Williams molested one girl on various occasions between 1999 and 2000.
He molested another girl on four to 10 occasions during the summer of 2005. The then 13-year-old girl came forward in November 2005.
According to a probation officer's sentencing memorandum filed with the court, Williams is not eligible for parole and should receive consecutive time for each count and enhanced sentences for having prior strike offenses, having multiple victims and committing multiple offenses against multiple victims
View the article here
And yet another uninformed idiot running for Attorney General and riding on the backs of sex offenders to get elected.
Tim Fox (Email), a Republican candidate for attorney general, said this month, he’d fix the state’s sexual offender registry within six months of taking office and make tracking and prosecuting sex offenders a top priority.
Currently, Fox said, about 60 percent of the sex offenders listed in the state registry have no accompanying photograph as required by state law.
In some counties, more than half of the sexual offenders on the registry have no photos, according an audit of the registry conducted by the Fox campaign.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that these folks present a huge risk to Montana communities,” Fox said. Photos “are the best piece of information that a parent can have to protect themselves from these types of people.”
- And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to disprove the BS you are saying here. There is tons of recidivism studies out there which state that sex offenders have a very LOW recidivism rate, check for yourself here and here.
Fox and Lee Bruner are the two Republican candidates running to be attorney general, the state’s top lawyer and head of the Justice Department. The winner of the June 3 GOP primary contest will square off against one of three Democrats campaigning to be their party’s nominee.
Earlier this month, Fox, a Helena lawyer, outlined a plan he would institute as attorney general to deal with sexual predators.
- I'd like to see that "outline!"
First, he would make sure every listing on the sexual offender registry has a photo. This shouldn’t be too hard, he said, as every person on the list has already been arrested and convicted.
“There are pictures out there available,” he said.
Second, he would make the registry itself easier to use and easier to find. Currently, the list is on the Department of Justice’s Web site. Fox said he would make the registry more visible on the agency’s own Web site and try to get as many state and local government sites to also include a link to the registry on their home pages.
Right now, people may search through the registry for specific names or people may request all the registrants in a given county, ZIP code or city.
Fox said he’d like people to be able to enter their address in and search for all registrants within a set distance, like half a mile. Fox also said offenders on the list should have to report their e-mail addresses and any screen names they use on networking Web sites like MySpace.
Fox said he would also try to post the photos in places other than the Internet. He said he’d like to see photos at courthouses, in newspapers and on television, especially if a sex offender was moving into an area.
Fox said he’d also make sure the Justice Department is doing what it can to help local prosecutors go after sex offenders.
He said those changes wouldn’t cost much money and would help parents, teachers and others keep children safe.
- Anybody can just say this, but where is the facts and some links to back up what you are saying? We all know it's an election year, and people like you will do and say anything to get elected.
Finally, he said that perpetrators and victims need to know that Montana takes such crimes very seriously. Montana rates second in the nation per capita for the number of sex offenders living here.
“That’s an alarming statistic that solidifies the gravity of the problem,” he said. “And it drives home the fact that (problems with the sex offender registry) are simply unacceptable.”