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HOUMA -- The boys run the streets at all hours of the night, neighbors say.
And recently, they have paid particular attention to a red-and-beige trailer near a bend that leads to a dead-end on Ashland Drive, a narrow street off La. 57 south of the parish jail.
Terrebonne sheriff’s deputies arrested 47-year-old Maureen Mary Lirette shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday at that trailer, at 444 Ashland Drive. Listed as a homemaker in police reports, Lirette is charged with three counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile after she allegedly admitted having consensual sex with seven teenagers, including two 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old, after a May 21 card game at her house.
The boys’ names are being withheld because they are the alleged victims of a sex crime.
Lirette remains in the parish jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond.
The younger teens and four 18-year-olds were allegedly brought into Lirette’s bedroom one by one. Each had sex with Lirette while the others watched, according to a Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office report.
The teens bragged about having sex with Lirette, authorities said, and the 14-year-old’s mother alerted police, deputies said.
"She came down and jumped all over the woman when she found out about it," said 64-year-old Paul Billiot, who lives a few houses down from Lirette’s trailer.
Billiot said he was neighborly with Lirette but didn’t know her well.
"I never thought the woman was like that," he said. "Now she’s in a whole lot of trouble."
While other neighbors on the street were likewise shocked by the allegations, they recalled seeing a group of neighborhood teenagers frequent Lirette’s house.
"There’s a gang of little guys from down the street that congregate on this corner here," said Bertrand Brooks, a disabled former offshore worker who has owned the trailer next door to Lirette’s double-wide for 12 years. "They get into all kinds of mischief … (They) cut up at all hours of the night."
Brooks’ girlfriend, Debra Valentine, said the teenagers were at Lirette’s house last week for a barbecue.
"I see a bunch of kids come and go there all the time," she said. "I was wondering why the little guys go back and forth."
No one answered the door at Lirette’s house, and neighbors said the white Chrysler PT Cruiser parked in the carport belonged to the jailed woman.
Lirette lives in the house with a daughter, who a neighbor said is about 12, and a man who works as a boat captain, though neither Valentine nor Brooks were sure whether he was Lirette’s boyfriend or husband.
Several homeowners interviewed said the parents of the teenagers should share responsibility for the incident.
"The parents should be held responsible, too, because they should have known where their children were at," Brooks said.
Another neighbor told Billiot about the "lady across the street" getting arrested by deputies early Thursday morning, he said.
"I swear to God, I never thought anything like this would happen," he said. "Man, that sure fooled me this morning."
Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for each count. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age is not a defense, state law says.
Under the law, Lirette could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison, though there is no minimum term, meaning she could serve no jail time.
Staff Writer Robert Zullo can be reached at 985-850-1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, May 30, 2008
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Video is available at the site.
Residents on Bronson Street came home to find a flyer announcing that someone in their neighborhood had installed home security cameras on their home.
Cameras for security are not unheard of, but what happens when you don’t know what the owner is videotaping?
And what if the owner of the cameras is a sex offender?
That’s what residents of Bronson Street in the city of Watertown want to know when Joe Coffie, an admitted level two sex offender, and his fiance placed cameras on the exterior of their home.
Coffie says that he installed the cameras for safety and security only and not to spy on his neighbors.
He also claimed that there was drug activity on the street and he was within his legal rights to place the cameras on his home.
The Watertown Police say that he is within his rights and that their hands are tied.
However, there are families with children that live on Bronson Street and concerned residents want to know what Coffie is videotaping and if their children are at risk.
Michael Cooke, a concerned parent and resident, says something has to be done.
“If something doesn’t get done…something is going to happen to one of these kids. I’m might be my kids, it could be the ones across the street,” she said.
Joe Soluri said that he called the police before this incident to report Coffie’s activities, but was told nothing could be done.
“I told the police that he was videotaping kids in the yard and they said that was ok.”
Coffie says that he is not using the cameras to videotape children and he is registered as an offender for a mistake he made in 2003.
“A, I’m not taking down the cameras. B, if they are doing illegal stuff, the cops will know and C, I don’t give a damn what people think,” Coffie concluded.
Neighbors said they will continue to raise concerns about their children’s safety while Coffie said he will not remove the cameras as long as it is legal.
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Here is another uninformed idiotic representative from Georgia. Email him your thoughts.
Excerpt From His Blog:
This past year I was proud to co-author Georgia’s new sex offender residency restriction law with Majority Leader Jerry Keen and Chairman David Ralston, reinstating 1000 foot rule on all sex offenders as well as make it a felony for them to photograph children in public. As a parent, a husband, and a legislator I believe that was must take bold and aggressive steps to ensure that our families and children are safe. Some opponents say it is to harsh and that we must be more forgiving, however if you listen to some of the testimony from victims and their families you can understand. These victims suffer a lifetime of pain and mental trauma from no fault of their own and justice must be applied. Today there is op-ed in the Savannah Morning News by my friend and fellow sophmore Rep. Buddy Carter from Pooler Georgia that I wanted all of you read.
Imagine a 17-year-old girl stopping in a convenience store near her home and running into the man who had sexually assaulted her some five years earlier. Imagine the shock she must have felt realizing the man, who had been sentenced to a 15-year prison term in 2004 for what he had done to her, was now out and back in her neighborhood.
Hard to imagine? Unbelievably, this very thing happened a few months ago near Savannah. Fortunately, the sexual predator has since been captured and now is back in custody. Over the past few years, the state Legislature has been diligent in passing some of the toughest sex-offender laws in the nation. Initial laws that were passed in 2006, subsequently challenged in court and in some cases overturned, have been tweaked and passed again. Last week Gov. Sonny Perdue signed two pieces of legislation that clarify the 2006 statutes as well as add new restrictions to the laws.
On July 1, Senate Bill 1 will go into effect and, with some exceptions, will essentially reinstate all of the residence restrictions passed in 2006 and struck down by the courts. According to the new law, a registered offender who owns a home will not be required to move if they established ownership of their residence before July 1, 2006. If a day care center, church, public library or park moves in within 1,000 feet of a registered offender’s residence that was established before July 1, 2006, they will be entitled to stay and not required to move.
His Comments from his blog (With my comments in red):
# Steve Says:
May 26th, 2008 at 11:36 am
The op/ed is posted and is in italic.
I believe sex offenders should have a lifetime punishment of being on the registry and much more. The argument that others are not held to this standard is just dodging the issue. To allow a child molester or a rapist to live without any “rules or regulations” is ridiculous. Should they be able to work at our schools, day care centers, how about summer camps, Boy Scout or Girl Scout summer sleep over camps, YMCA’s, what about at the Battered Woman’s Shelter? Should we have stronger penalties for other criminals, yes, but this is not what we are talking about and this is just diversion.
- Much more? Like what? You are assuming all sex offenders are "child molesters" and "rapists" which is totally wrong! And it depends on their crime, some could work at the above mentioned places without any issue. If we are going to have the registry for sex offenders, then why stop there, why not just one registry with ALL CRIMINALS on it. I'd love to know if a corrupt politician, murderer, gang member, drug dealer, abusive parent, DUI offender, thief or any other criminal lives around me.
I whole heartedly support mandatory sentencing as well lifetime monitoring with strong resrictions and regulations. And as for as I am concerned these people should be thankful we allow them out of prison at all. You can play this card that politicians only do this because they are trying to be tough on crime line but again this discounts the fact they are working to make our communities safer. Every action has consequences and people must know that if they abuse a child or rape a woman that they will suffer a lifetime of consequences just like their victims!
- Mandatory sentencing just overflows the already overflowing prison system and if they are so dangerous you need to be monitoring them, why are they even out of prison? Not all sex offenders are dangerous. Why don't you just open up the concentration camps, er, camps Haliburton has created, fire up the overs and throw all sex offenders in the fire? Even then, more sex offenders would follow. Why do you think the registry grows day by day? It's the unknown offenders which pose a risk, not the law obiding offenders. These laws just make it almost impossible for anything of a normal life. How does anything about these laws make the community safer? They don't, you are kidding yourself, or have been brainwashed by the likes of John Walsh or Mark Lunsford. I agree, every action does have a consequence, but when an offender has been sentenced and signed a CONTRACT years ago before these laws came into being, then it violates their rights and are unconstitutional. I am all for punishing people, but punishing them over and over and over again, I am not for that. The state is basically voiding their contract with the offender when they took a plea deal or pled guilty to the crime, and now you are punishing them over and over again without due process of law. What ever happened to upholding the Constitution? If it means nothing, why have it?
“I don’t like the term registered sex offender or sex offender because it implies they are continuing to offend. The vast majority are not.
From state to state, you will find recidivism for first time offenders to be in the single digits.”
- I agree with the above statements. So why are we not paying attention to the 10% or less of those high risk offenders, predators, pedophiles who are a risk? Instead you are wasting time on ALL offenders. Even you mention here the recidivism rates are low, yet these laws were passed with the notion that sex offenders have HIGH recidivism rates.
And I personally don’t believe their is any such thing as a “first time offender”, I believe its just the first time the have been caught. And once they have been caught, then we should refer to them as Registered sex offenders!
- Well, you are wrong. I am a first time offender, who did not have sex with or rape a child back in 1988, yet I am labeled a "child molester" for accidentally exposing myself to a child. So you are wrong. And there is TONS of first time offenders out there. Like Genarlow Wilson, remember him? You sir, are a very ignorant person, IMO.
Have a great day.
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"Why Does Ed Fallon Think It's OK for Sex Offenders to Live Near Our Schools?" asked the latest campaign flier in my mailbox. I can't speak for Fallon, but I agree with his vote on sex-offender residency.
The 2,000-foot law was passed as a knee-jerk reaction to high-profile abuse cases. The result has been a drop in the number of sex offenders registering their address and the creation of rural communities comprising mainly sex offenders. What the law fails to take into account is the fact that only a small minority of sex offenders are playground pedophiles.
About 80 percent of abuse victims knew the offender and 43 percent are relatives. I ask both Fallon and U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, along with all other lawmakers, to take the time to develop sensible laws that promote rehabilitation and judge offenses on a case-by-case basis. Sexually active high schoolers shouldn't be categorized with rapists and punished just as harshly.
- Jade Howser Nagel, Urbandale
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You see, elections are coming up, and out come the sex offender issues to get votes.
If he’s elected to the state House of Representatives, one candidate says he’ll lead the charge to block registered sex offenders from using social networking Web sites.
- Yeah, who cares about the constitution and your rights or theirs! One reason NOT to vote for this idiot, IMO. They will do and say anything to get a vote.
During a press conference Wednesday, Lower Makefield supervisor and state Assembly hopeful Steve Santarsiero said that if elected he would introduce legislation similar to parts of a law recently passed in New York.
Santarsiero, a Democrat, and fellow Lower Makefield Supervisor Peter Stainthorpe, a Republican, are running for the 31st District seat, after incumbent David Steil chose not to run for re-election.
Wednesday night, Stainthorpe said he wasn’t familiar with the details of Santarsiero’s proposal, but said that he would support anything that protected kids.
“I think that, as [Santarsiero] would, I would support anything that protects our kids as long as it was legal, constitutional, workable and had real teeth,” Stainthorpe said.
- Nothing about these laws are legally constitutional, so you are a hypocrite, or you'd repeal the laws!!!
The New York law generally prohibits various offenders from using the Internet to contact anyone under 18 or visiting pornographic Web sites. That includes high-risk offenders whose crimes were against children and those who used the Internet to facilitate their crimes.
The New York law also requires offenders to disclose all their user names and e-mail accounts for the purposes of chat, instant messaging, or social networking, which is what Santarsiero’s proposal does. And like the New York law, if they create any new online profiles, Pennsylvania’s sex offenders would be required to notify the state or face new criminal charges. Currently, a sex offender violates state law if he or she fails to keep the state up to date on their address.
As a result of the New York law, the popular social networking sites MySpace and Facebook have agreed to use information from police to remove users. Santarsiero’s version would request all social networking sites — like MySpace and Facebook — to prescreen and block access by convicted sex offenders.
“These companies are looking for a law to protect them,” Lower Makefield police Chief Ken Coluzzi said during Wednesday’s press conference, when asked if the sites would comply.
As it stands now in Pennsylvania, sex offenders must register with the state police after they get out of jail. The offenders’ personal information, including photographs, addresses and ages are posted on the Megan’s Law Web site. Santarsiero’s proposal would add their online identities to the list.
The law would also prohibit sex offenders who have been deemed sexually violent predators and any sex offenders currently on probation or parole from contacting anyone under 18 over the Internet.
It’s unclear if any of the state’s registered sex offenders have been caught using the Internet to communicate with children.
Last year, Patrick M. Browne, R-16, proposed Senate Bill 490, which would require sex offenders to provide their email and other Internet identifiers to the state police. The state police would be able to monitor that information.
Senate Bill 490, which passed the Senate and is now sitting in the House judiciary committee, doesn’t require state police to report that information to popular social networking sites.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Matt Coughlin can be reached at 215-949-4172 or mcoughlin@phillyBurbs.com. Ben Finley can be reached at 215-949-4203 or bfinley@phillyBurbs.com.
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HAMPDEN - The director of a mission house for homeless men that has stirred controversy in town for years has vowed no longer to accept sex offenders.
For the past few years neighbors of the Bangor Rescue Mission farm, located at 396 Meadow Road, repeatedly have expressed concern about the number of sex offenders living there. In December 2006, several angry residents showed up at a Town Council meeting to discuss proper sex offender notifications when they learned three were living at the mission.
Peter D. Webb, executive director of the mission since August 2007, said Thursday that the last sex offender moved out of the house just before Christmas. None of the offenders living at the mission was kicked out, but once they moved out on their own accord, others were not allowed in, he said. While the decision was made several months ago, it is just now being made public.
Since October, the mission has turned away about 10 sex offenders who sought shelter there, Webb said.
"I believe it is just too controversial an issue," Webb said. "I felt very strongly I could be more effective in not having them here."
The Bangor Rescue Mission was founded in 1965 to provide temporary shelter and religious direction to homeless men, according to a July 2006 Bangor Daily News article. The mission has a thrift store located on Third Street in Bangor in addition to the farm in Hampden.
The mission now houses seven men, but can hold up to 13, Webb said. Most of the men residing at the mission are substance abusers, he said. The men are required to participate in Bible training and work either on the 172-acre farm or at the thrift store, he said.
Chief Joe Rogers of Hampden Public Safety said Webb informed him the mission would be turning away sex offenders, but emphasized the decision was made entirely by the organization.
"Does the town prefer [not having sex offenders there]?" Town Manager Susan Lessard asked. "Absolutely. But if they change their mind, can we do anything about it? No."
Numerous phone calls placed to neighbors, who have spoken out against the mission’s sex offender population, were not immediately returned Thursday.
By housing sex offenders, Webb said he was limiting the number of men he could help. Several men refused to live at the house once they learned sex offenders would be residing there as well.
"I feel like I have more of an obligation to the 95 percent than the 5 percent of the sex offenders," Webb said.
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Amnesty International today challenged world leaders to apologize for six decades of human rights failure and re-commit themselves to deliver concrete improvements.
“The human rights flashpoints in Darfur, Zimbabwe, Gaza, Iraq and Myanmar demand immediate action,” said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, launching AI Report 2008: State of the World’s Human Rights.
“Injustice, inequality and impunity are the hallmarks of our world today. Governments must act now to close the yawning gap between promise and performance.”
Amnesty International’s Report 2008, shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries.
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Prosecution witness uses mole to tie Kelly to sex tape in child pornography trial
A prosecution witness used images of a lower back mole on Thursday to link R. Kelly to a sex tape at the center of the R&B star's child pornography trial.
The potentially damaging testimony came a week after the singer's own attorneys brought up the mole in their opening statements. A defense attorney argued then that since the man in the graphic 27-minute tape did not have a mole, that man could not be Kelly.
But on Thursday video forensics expert Grant Fredericks froze several frames of the sex tape where a dark spot was visible on the man's back.
For comparison, Fredericks showed the jury a still photo taken of Kelly's back after his arrest in 2002, revealing a dark fingernail sized mole.
"There is a mark on the man's back in the exact same position," Fredericks said, referring to the tape.
Kelly and his attorneys looked grim and dejected during the expert's testimony, while prosecutors looked pleased, appearing to smile as they sat at their courtroom table.
Defense attorney Ed Genson grilled Fredericks in cross-examination, suggesting that the spot on the man's back in the video wasn't in the same place as the mole on Kelly's lower back.
At another point, Genson also said a spot in the video faded in and out of view and could have been a technical imperfection on the tape.
Kelly, 41, is charged with child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl who prosecutors say was as young as 13. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
In testimony earlier in the day, an FBI forensic expert testified that the male and female in a sex tape at the heart of the case weren't computer-generated or altered.
In more than an hour of highly technical analysis, George Skaluba told jurors that the video appears to depict "real people in a real environment."
The defense maintains Kelly is not the man in the video and has repeatedly suggested that his likeness could have been computer-generated onto the 27-minute tape. The alleged victim, now 23, also has denied she is on the video.
Skaluba also told jurors that even if someone wanted to create digital images, it would be costly and could take years.
"It would be very, very time consuming and very hard to do," Skaluba said.
Under cross-examination, Skaluba conceded he wasn't in a position to say if the male on the tape was actually Kelly or a lookalike.
The tape obtained by prosecutors is not the original, but a copy several times removed from the original, Skaluba said.
Also Thursday, prosecutors said they needed more time to interview a potential defense witness before he can testify. The man told Kelly's attorneys he had information that could impeach the testimony of a prosecution witness.
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A petition was dismissed to prolong the confinement of a mentally disordered sex offender who was due to be released from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester.
By LARRY OAKES, Star Tribune
A federal judge in Minnesota has ruled that Congress exceeded its authority when it allowed federal officials to commit mentally disordered sex offenders to treatment centers at the time of their release from prison.
In a decision filed this week, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed a petition by Rachel Paulose, former U.S. attorney for Minnesota, to prolong the confinement of Roger Dean Tom, who was due to be released from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester.
Paulose blocked Tom's release by petitioning the court in October 2006 to have him declared a sexually dangerous person under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, passed just three months earlier.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has approved states' use of civil commitments for sex offenders -- 19 states, including Minnesota, have such laws -- Magnuson ruled that the Constitution prohibits the type of broad cross-jurisdictional authority that the law gave federal prosecutors for such commitments.
According to case documents, the ruling was the fifth nationally by district judges on the law -- three ruled it valid, and two found it unconstitutional. An appeals court has yet to decide the issue.
Tom pleaded guilty in Utah in 1997 to a count of aggravated sexual abuse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five on supervised release. He was finishing prison at the Rochester facility when prosecutors sought his commitment.
David Anderson, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis, said prosecutors declined to speak about the case or say whether they would appeal. Tom remains an inmate at the Rochester facility, an official there said. Tom's attorney, Caroline Durham, could not be reached.
Magnuson rejected arguments that the law was justified by the Commerce Clause, which permits laws necessary for interstate commerce, and the Necessary and Proper Clause, which permits laws needed for government to operate on a national scale.
In contrast to federal drug trafficking laws and others related to national commerce, Magnuson wrote, the commitment law "is unrelated to economics but rather aims to regulate and prevent noneconomic criminal conduct that traditionally has been the province of the states."
While the Necessary and Proper Clause clearly allows Congress to devise laws to confine people until prosecuted, Magnuson wrote, that authority doesn't extend to holding them beyond their sentences.
"The government has identified no clause in the Constitution that authorizes Congress to prevent future criminal conduct," he wrote.
Magnuson said the government's strongest argument -- that courts have found the Necessary and Proper Clause justified forcing inmates to give DNA for a national registry -- wouldn't fly in this case. Retaining a released inmate's DNA sample "is fundamentally different than retaining custody of the inmate," he wrote.