Saturday, November 15, 2008

CO - Some Crime Sites Completely Make Up Information

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See this article, from Snopes.com

It's all about taking advantage of people's fear, gullibility and stealing their money!

11/15/2008

By Molly Hughes

DENVER (CBS4) ― Many people like to know if a sex offender or a convicted felon lives in their neighborhood and use some Web sites that promise to deliver the information. But as CBS4's Molly Hughes discovered, there is a good chance the information you get online is false and completely made up.

"That is the clear message law enforcement asked me to pass along to our viewers," Hughes said. "Together we tested several Web sites and came to the conclusion that these Web sites almost always have a hidden agenda."

Lance Clem of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation spent some time with Hughes scouring Web sites that promise to inform the public about whether there are sex offenders or other criminals living in their neighborhood.

"We cross-referenced the information we found with legitimate law enforcement data bases," Hughes said. "And what we found was discouraging if not alarming."

"I've seen a creative use of fictitious information that is misleading people," Clem said.

The biggest offender they found is FelonSpy.com. Users put in their address and it claims to identify all the felons living in the vicinity. Not once did the information check out with law enforcement records. In one case the site identified a felon as living in a pond in City Park. Not only were the locations bogus, but the same search criteria gave different results every time.

Clem says he believes the people who generate these kinds of Web sites are not out to help; they're almost always selling something.

"They're trying to get you to go to this Web site and apply for a credit card," Clem said.

Clem says there is only one fool-proof place to go for valid crime information.

"The best way to get a lot of information about crime in your neighborhood is to go to law enforcement in your neighborhood and ask them what's going on," Clem said.

Almost all local police departments in Colorado offer online access to updated records.

Hughes tried to track down the operators of FelonSpy.com but emails were not returned, and even with all CBS4's research tools, the closest she got was a P.O. Box.

"Bottom line, if they're selling something, that's a red flag," Hughes said.


MO - Judge: Evidence of MySpace Suicide OK at Trial

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CT - One inmate responds to save 2nd Sex offender uses Heimlich method on choking man

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Guess they have to make it a point to mention the man was a sex offender, as if that changes things!

11/15/2008

BY JONATHAN SHUGARTS | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NEWTOWN — Talk about unlikely heroes.

The Republican-American received a letter this week from Marcos Gonzalez, a 44-year-old inmate at the Garner Correctional Institution who is serving time for a probation violation.

Gonzalez, who said he chokes easily, wrote that it was about 7:30 a.m. last Friday when he inhaled a large piece of food while eating breakfast.

"Well, as I choked only a little bit of air went through the airway," Gonzalez wrote. "I wheezed and began to see stars before my eyes."

As Gonzalez struggled to breathe, he heard a shout, then felt the hands of his savior performing the Heimlich maneuver. It was inmate No. 363003, Carl Gemino.

Gemino, 64, the former co-owner of Gem Manufacturing in Waterbury, was sentenced to four and half years in prison for having sex with a teenage boy. He was one of eight men arrested last year after the boy told police he had multiple sexual encounters with area men.

Brian Garnett, a Department of Correction spokesman, verified that a report was filed on Nov. 7 about the incident. A guard stated in that report that Gonzalez appeared to be choking, but his view was obstructed by other inmates during the incident.

Gemino provided a statement in that incident report saying he saw Gonzalez choking and performed the maneuver on him, dislodging a piece of banana lodged in his airway.

"I write this to thank Carl Gemino for his quick action in saving my life," Gonzalez wrote.

Gonzalez has been a prisoner at the facility since 2003 and is serving seven years. Gemino arrived at Garner since Oct. 1 and isn't set to be released until 2013, according to department records.


MI - Woman gets 6 months in jail on sex charge

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Another woman, another slap on the wrist, when compared to if a man did the same thing.

11/15/2008

By Chris Gautz - cgautz@citpat.com

A Columbia Township woman who admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation.
- So flip this around, a 31 year old male, and a 15 year old female?  He'd be in prison for a long time, and she gets 6 months in jail?

Jennifer Rae Merriman, 31, told a Lenawee County sheriff's deputy she had a sexual relationship that began in January 2007 at the boy's home in Lenawee County's Woodstock Township.

She recently pleaded no contest to attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Her attorney, James Daly, said if life had a rewind button, his client would use it. For the next 25 years, her name will appear on the state's sex offender list, he said.

"Her life is really destroyed forever,'' Daly said. "It's the new scarlet letter in our society.''

Merriman declined to address the court before being sentenced by Circuit Judge Timothy Pickard.

According to the arrest warrant, the sexual relationship began in January 2007. The boy told police he had sex about 50 times with Merriman before he turned 16 in May, mostly at his home. He said the sexual relationship continued after he reached 16, the age of legal consent.
- And it was at the boys home!  Where were the boys parents?

The boy's mother discovered the relationship when she found a love letter to Merriman written by the boy, now 17, according to a police report. Merriman was arrested in March.

She occasionally threatened him by telling him she would tell his parents he was using drugs if he did not have sex with her, according to the police report.


KS - Innocent man accused of abusing a baby for fixing a diaper!


FL - Suit Settlement Stops Pet Shop Picketing

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11/15/2008

By GEORGE WILKENS - gwilkens@tampatrib.com

PLANT CITY - A woman who picketed a Plant City pet shop alleging an employee injured her dog has agreed to refrain from future protests.

As part of a recent out-of-court settlement of her 2007 lawsuit, Linda Penny of Plant City agreed to cease protests against Dover resident Gary Hicks and stay at least 50 yards from him and his business, Pet City Center.

The Hillsborough County Court small-claims case was dismissed Sept. 29, records show.

Penny alleged her 2-year-old Shih Tzu named Diva was injured May 2, 2007, during grooming by Hicks at his store. In the suit, she claimed the dog bled after having its nails cut and that a veterinarian noted razor burns to Diva's face and genitals.

Penny was among a handful of individuals who, on weekends in September and October 2007, picketed Hicks' business. Penny's placard denounced Hicks as an animal abuser. Others carried placards denouncing Hicks as a sexual abuser. Hicks registered as a sexual predator in 2005.

Based on Penny's allegations about Diva's injuries, Hillsborough County Animal Services investigators charged Hicks with criminal animal cruelty on Sept. 20, 2007.

County Judge Nick Nazaretian dismissed the charge three months later upon learning Hicks was in Brandon at the time of the appointment for the dog, which was groomed by an employee at Hicks' Plant City store.

Reporter George Wilkens can be reached at (813) 865-4433.