Wednesday, December 17, 2008

FL - Cops Frustrated Sex Sting Suspect Got Cleared

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Video is available at the site.

12/17/2008

DAYTONA BEACH - The Daytona Beach Police Department is reacting to a judge's decision to clear a former city councilman caught in a department store sex sting. The judge decided the law did not allow her to punish _____.

As police see it, the decision opens the door to all kinds of crime if it happens behind a closed bathroom door, whether it's at a fast food place or even the police station bathroom; according to the law, there's not much police can do to stop it.

Sears asked Daytona Beach police to come to their store a year ago to stop sexual activity in the bathrooms. If the call came again now, though, police said they don't know what they could do.

"I think what I need to do is go put a billboard out on I-95 that advertises for scumbags and creeps and degenerates and perverts to feel free to come to Daytona Beach because law enforcement can't do anything about it," said Chief Mike Chitwood, Daytona Beach Police Department.

Chitwood's reaction comes after Judge Dawn Fields threw out the case against _____, a former city councilman arrested in that sting. The judge ruled that, according to case law, _____ had a right to privacy behind that closed bathroom door and his attorney made the case that, because of that, it didn't matter what he was doing inside.

"For those that were inside a stall, forgetting what may or may not have gone on inside that stall, they were protected in that area," attorney Mike Lambert said.

Police believe it could stop them from preventing other crimes, drug crimes, sexual assaults. Criminals, police said, now know they have a safe place to go.

"I know Judge Fields is following the law on this, but maybe legislators need to change the law or build case law to fix this," Chitwood said.

The police chief pointed out that the Sears store was listed on the Internet as a place to gather for sexual activity, which is why he believes it's not out of the question for people to do it even more now.

Previous Stories:


GA - Children forced into cell-like school seclusion rooms

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MURRAYVILLE (CNN) -- A few weeks before 13-year-old Jonathan King killed himself, he told his parents that his teachers had put him in "time-out."

"We thought that meant go sit in the corner and be quiet for a few minutes," Tina King said, tears washing her face as she remembered the child she called "our baby ... a good kid."

But time-out in the boy's north Georgia special More..education school was spent in something akin to a prison cell -- a concrete room latched from the outside, its tiny window obscured by a piece of paper.

Called a seclusion room, it's where in November 2004, Jonathan hanged himself with a cord a teacher gave him to hold up his pants.

Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that along with the death of Jonathan, many mentally disabled and autistic children have been injured or traumatized.

Few states have laws on using seclusion rooms, though 24 states have written guidelines, according to a 2007 study conducted by a Clemson University researcher.

Texas, which was included in that study, has stopped using seclusion and restraint. Georgia has just begun to draft guidelines, four years after Jonathan's death.

Based on conversations with officials in 22 states with written guidelines, seclusion is intended as a last resort when other attempts to calm a child have failed or when a student is hurting himself or others.

Michigan requires that a child held in seclusion have constant supervision from an instructor trained specifically in special education, and that confinement not exceed 15 minutes.

Connecticut education spokesman Tom Murphy said "time-out rooms" were used sparingly and were "usually small rooms with padding on the walls."

Only Vermont tracks how many children are kept in seclusion from year to year, though two other states, Minnesota and New Mexico, say they have been using the rooms less frequently in recent years.

Dr. Veronica Garcia, New Mexico's education secretary, said her state had found more sophisticated and better ways to solve behavior problems. Garcia, whose brother is autistic, said, "The idea of confining a child in a room repeatedly and as punishment, that's an ethics violation I would never tolerate."

But researchers say that the rooms, in some cases, are being misused and that children are suffering.

Public schools in the United States are now educating more than half a million more students with disabilities than they did a decade ago, according to the National Education Association.

"Teachers aren't trained to handle that," said Dr. Roger Pierangelo, executive director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers.

"When you have an out-of-control student threatening your class -- it's not right and it can be very damaging -- but seclusion is used as a 'quick fix' in many cases."

Former Rhode Island special education superintendent Leslie Ryan told CNN that she thought she was helping a disabled fifth-grader by keeping him in a "chill room" in the basement of a public elementary school that was later deemed a fire hazard.

"All I know is I tried to help this boy, and I had very few options," Ryan said. After the public learned of the room, she resigned from her post with the department but remains with the school.

School records do not indicate why Jonathan King was repeatedly confined to the concrete room or what, if any, positive outcome was expected.

His parents say they don't recognize the boy described in records as one who liked to kick and punch his classmates. They have launched a wrongful death lawsuit against the school -- the Alpine Program in Gainesville -- which has denied any wrongdoing. A Georgia judge is expected to rule soon on whether the case can be brought before a jury.

Jonathan's parents say the boy had been diagnosed since kindergarten with severe depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But his father remembers him as a boy who was happy when he sang in the church choir.

"He was a hugger, liked to go fishing with me and run after me saying, 'Daddy, when are we going to the lake?' " Don King said.

King said that he wanted to know if there were similar situations in other schools and that critics of seclusion rooms fear there could be.

"Jonathan's case is the worst of the worst, but it should be a warning. It's reasonable to think that it could happen in all the other schools that use seclusion on disabled children -- largely because the use of seclusion goes so unchecked," said Jane Hudson, an attorney with the National Disability Rights Network.

"This is one of those most unregulated, unresearched areas I've come across," said Joseph Ryan, a Clemson University special education researcher who has worked in schools for disabled kids and co-authored a study on the use of seclusion.

"You have very little oversight in schools of these rooms -- first because the general public doesn't really even know they exist," he said.

There is no national database tracking seclusion incidents in schools, though many have been described in media reports, lawsuits, disability advocacy groups' investigations and on blogs catering to parents who say their child had been held in seclusion.

Disability Rights California, a federally funded watchdog group, found that teachers dragged children into seclusion rooms they could not leave. In one case, they found a retarded 8-year-old had been locked alone in a seclusion room in a northeast California elementary school for at least 31 days in a year.

"What we found outrageous was that we went to the schools and asked to see the rooms and were denied," said Leslie Morrison, a psychiatric nurse and attorney who led the 2007 investigation that substantiated at least six cases of abuse involving seclusion in public schools.

"It took a lot of fighting to eventually get in to see where these children were held."

CNN asked every school official interviewed if a reporter could visit a seclusion room and was denied every time.

In other instances of alleged abuse:

• A Tennessee mother alleged in a federal suit against the Learn Center in Clinton that her 51-pound 9-year-old autistic son was bruised when school instructors used their body weight on his legs and torso to hold him down before putting him in a "quiet room" for four hours. Principal Gary Houck of the Learn Center, which serves disabled children, said lawyers have advised him not to discuss the case.

• Eight-year-old Isabel Loeffler, who has autism, was held down by her teachers and confined in a storage closet where she pulled out her hair and wet her pants at her Dallas County, Iowa, elementary school. Last year, a judge found that the school had violated the girl's rights. "What we're talking about is trauma," said her father, Doug Loeffler. "She spent hours in wet clothes, crying to be let out." Waukee school district attorney Matt Novak told CNN that the school has denied any wrongdoing.

• A mentally retarded 14-year-old in Killeen, Texas, died from his teachers pressing on his chest in an effort to restrain him in 2001. Texas passed a law to limit both restraint and seclusion in schools because the two methods are often used together.

Federal law requires that schools develop behavioral plans for students with disabilities. These plans are supposed to explicitly explain behavior problems and methods the teacher is allowed to use to stop it, including using music to calm a child or allowing a student to take a break from schoolwork.

A behavioral plan for Jonathan King, provided to CNN by the Kings' attorney, shows that Jonathan was confined in the seclusion room on 15 separate days for infractions ranging from cursing and threatening other students to physically striking classmates.

Howard "Sandy" Addis, the director of the Pioneer education agency which oversees Alpine, said that the room where Jonathan died is no longer in use. Citing the ongoing litigation, he declined to answer questions about the King case but defended the use of seclusion for "an emergency safety situation."

The Alpine Program's attorney, Phil Hartley, said Jonathan's actions leading up to his suicide did not suggest the boy was "serious" about killing himself. Jonathan's actions were an "effort to get attention," Hartley said.

"This is a program designed for students with severe emotional disabilities and problems," he said. "It is a program which frequently deals with students who use various methods of getting attention, avoiding work."

A substitute employee placed in charge of watching the room on the day Jonathan died said in an affidavit that he had no training in the use of seclusion, and didn't know Jonathan had threatened suicide weeks earlier.


The Kings say they would have removed their son from the school if they knew he was being held in seclusion, or that he had expressed a desire to hurt himself.

"We would have home schooled him or taken him to another psychologist," said Don King. "If we would have known, our boy would have never been in that room. He would still be alive."


License to Break the Law - The Political Class of Americans


Winslet: 'Reader' affair not improper

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12/12/2008

NEW YORK (UPI) - British actress Kate Winslet says she is offended by anyone who would describe her character's relationship with a teen in "The Reader" as statutory rape.
- She also stared in "Little Children!"

In the film, her 30-something character Hanna has an affair with a 15-year-old boy in post-World War II Germany.

Asked by a reporter at a New York press day recently if she had any trepidation about approaching controversial material such as statutory rape, as depicted in "The Reader," Winslet replied: "I've got to tell you, I'm so offended by that. No, I really am. I genuinely am. To me, that is absolutely not this story at all.

"That boy knows exactly what he's doing. And, for a start, Hanna Schmitz thinks that he's 17, not 15, you know? She's not doing anything wrong. They enter that relationship on absolutely equal footing. Statutory rape? Really, please, don't use that phrase. ... This is a beautiful and very genuine love story and that is how I always saw it," Winslet explained. "She didn't force him into anything at all. There's nothing I believe to be remotely inappropriate or salacious about that relationship."

Winslet went on to say there is a 19-year-gap between her own grandparents' ages.

"And I was in a relationship for five years from the age of 15 to 20 with a man who was 13 years older than me, who remains one of the loves of my life, and he passed away when I was 20 years old," she added. "So, I think we really are coming at it from a different angle."

The Reader Trailer


Little Children Trailer


CA - Billy Ray Cyrus lets Miley's boyfriend move in

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So I guess when celebrities and the rich do it, it's ok?  Apparently so! She admits in the video, she is 15, almost 16, and has a kid... Sounds illegal to me! And from this article, the age of consent in California, is 18.

10/28/2008

By Bethany Sanders

Your 15-year-old daughter falls for 20-year-old underwear model. Do you:

a) Lose sleep at night.
b) Hope that you've raised her well, but keep a close eye on their activities.
c) Wonder why in the world the chastity belt went out of style.
d) Invite the young man to live with you.

If you were Billy Ray Cyrus, you'd choose D, or maybe even all of the above. A source alleges that daughter Miley Cyrus's new beau, Justin Gaston, is living with the family in their California home. "Billy wasn't born yesterday," says the source, "He figures the safest path to take is to keep Miley and Justin on a short leash -- and under the same roof."

Sigh. Sometimes, it amazes me how much I've changes since becoming a parent. Not that long ago, I would have said, "Sure. Whatever." But now all I can think is that if Billy Ray thinks this is the safest route, he doesn't remember being a teen.

But who knows, maybe the kid fell on hard times and needed a place to stay, which would make opening their guest room up to him temporarily perfectly appropriate. We're hardly getting the whole story, here. But if this move was simply "to keep an eye on them," I think Billy Ray needs to reconsider the message he's sending.

What do you think?





Teen Romance - How Old is Too Old?

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12/16/2008

By Bethany Sanders

Lucinda Law is a 16-year-old girl who was recently given legal permission to marry her 26-year-old boyfriend, who she's been seeing for two years. Her fiance is a family friend who has known Lucinda since she was nine years old. Perhaps more shocking than the wedding itself, Lucinda's dad set the two up when Lucinda was only 14.

When it comes to the age gap, just how old is too old for a teen?

Asked about her new movie The Reader, Kate Winslet said she was offended at the suggestion her 30-something character's affair with a 15-year-old boy was inappropriate.
- Wow, and Oprah Winfrey made this one of her "books of the month!"

"That boy knows exactly what he's doing. And, for a start, Hanna Schmitz (her character) thinks that he's 17, not 15, you know? She's not doing anything wrong....She didn't force him into anything at all."

Okay, parents of teens: Raise your hand if you agree with Winslet. Anyone? Anyone?

While Hanna's story may truly be a love story (and the movie itself is getting great reviews), I think that we can agree that teens who fall in love don't always go into it "knowing exactly what they are doing." Especially when that affair involves a person twice their age.

My own husband is six years older than me, but we met as adults. Had we met when we were 16, there's no way in the world I would have been allowed to see him. Yet cool dad Billy Ray Cyrus lets 15-year-old Miley Cyrus's 20-year-old boyfriend live with them, so clearly, we're all not reading from the same instruction manual.

It's one thing when your daughter brings home a college boy, but when the age gap starts to widen to 5, 10, or even 15 years, where do you draw the line?


VT - Vt. Closer to New Sex Offender Laws

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Here we go again. I wonder if they will name the law "Brooke's Law!" Would not surprise me if they did.

12/17/2008

"It's been a nightmare," said Cassandra Gagnon. The pain of losing her daughter is still overwhelming. Six months ago Brooke Bennett was murdered; her Uncle Michael Jacques is facing federal charges for kidnapping and killing the 12-year-old girl.

"I want to prevent this from happening to another family," said Gagnon, "I want to somehow be involved."

So Gagnon came to the statehouse to track work on a new sex offender bill. Following Brooke's death, lawmakers held five public hearings, to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Brooke's Uncle Michael Jacques is a registered sex offender and had avoided prosecution for earlier sex crimes.
- You can pass 10 million laws, and if a sick individual wants to harm another child, they will do so, period!

"The Jacques case is a textbook for what can go wrong and he was able to manipulate the system to get away with various offenses over the years," said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington County.
- So I guess anyone who gets a speeding ticket, or breaks any other law, is "manipulating the system?"  Give me a break.  He was apparently released because they thought he was not a risk anymore.  They are only human, and they will make mistakes.  Like I said above, 10 million laws will not prevent this from happening again!

The bill has 34 changes - including:

  • expanding the DNA database to include people arrested on felony charges (What about the unknown sex offenders, the general public, who have not been caught yet?)
  • new prevention programs for schools
  • banning deferred sentences for sex offenders
  • banning pre-trial depositions of child victims of alleged sex crimes.
  • and giving prosecutors the option of a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for sex crimes on kids under 16 years old

"I think long range the preventive measures that are in this bill will protect Vermont children for years to come," said Sen. Sears.

"I want to speak for my daughter Brooke," explained Gagnon, "and help (lawmakers) realize how big of a deal this is."

Senator Sears wants to move quickly on this bill. He hopes to have the Senate pass it by the second week of the legislature, in January, and then it will go to the full house, with the goal of having it to the Governor's desk for his signature by Town Meeting Day.
- Moving quickly on a bill, is how bad laws get passed.  You need to sit and think, and be smart!

For the first time, Michael Jacques wife wrote to lawmakers, saying that prevention is key, and there needs to be better communication across state agencies about offenders. Denise Jacques said lives have been "shredded to pieces" and she wanted to testify in person, but lawmakers say prosecutors asked her not to.


FL - News reporter doesn't do their homework, and helps spread lies and myths!!!

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Apparently reporters do not do homework anymore, they just assume they know what they are talking about.

12/17/2008

By Emma Orn

HOLLYWOOD - After nearly three decades, police have now closed the nation's most well known missing child case.

Police in Hollywood, Florida said they have enough evidence to prove convicted killer and pedophile Ottis Toole kidnapped and decapitated Adam Walsh.
- Hey Emma, get your facts straight.  Ottis Toole was a sick serial killer, cannibal and sexual assault victim, but he was NOT a pedophile...  It's disinformation like this, from a reporter who doesn't do any homework, but assumes things, which cause lies to propogate!  Plus, why don't they tell you what "evidence," if any they have?  I don't think they have any, they just want someone to blame, and he's their best option.

The six year-old disappeared from a Florida mall in 1981. His head was discovered in a canal but his body was never found.

His father John Walsh said, "The not knowing has been torture but that journey's over. I believe wherever he is, he's paying and being held accountable for his actions."

Adam's father John launched a national crusade for missing children and got their faces on the back of milk cartons.

That led to the show America's Most Wanted.

Toole died in prison a decade ago.


PA - Local prison suicide fueled by taunting

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12/17/2008

By JACK BRUBAKER, Staff Writer

Death of accused child molester probed. Jail procedures studied.

Lancaster County Prison inmates relentlessly taunted a suspected child molester, urging him to kill himself, right up until the moment he did so four weeks ago in Lancaster County Prison.

Sources within the prison have told the New Era that _____ hanged himself with a knotted bedsheet in cell block C, also known as "the hole," while prisoners in nearby cells egged him on.

County Commissioner Scott Martin, chairman of the Prison Board, verified that account this morning.

"There were some in there who were yelling for him to do it and 'let him hang,' " Martin said.

It was not clear why prison guards did not intervene in the hanging.

But Martin said prison guards "did everything they could" after the hanging. "They tried to give him CPR before he died."

Cell block C, a group of older cells in the basement of the prison, houses inmates who are being disciplined. They are permitted to leave their small individual cells for only one hour a day.

Martin said _____ had been transferred to cell block C following a disciplinary hearing and killed himself within 20 minutes of arriving there.

Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said that an autopsy he performed on _____'s body showed that the inmate had died of hanging on Nov. 19.

Asked if there were other marks on _____'s body, Diamantoni said, "None of the marks on his body would have contributed to his death." He did not elaborate.

Martin said _____ had recently suffered an injury to his mouth, not as a result of being hit, but possibly from hitting the floor.

Prison staff and Lancaster City Police are investigating the death.

Prison Warden Vincent Guarini did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Lancaster City Detective Chris DePatto said the investigation remains open.

In addition, Martin said, the county Prison Board has convened a group of community medical and mental health experts to examine the circumstances around _____'s death.

Martin is asking the group, "Is there something different that we could be doing that might have prevented this?"

_____, 28, was the son of _____, of Lancaster Township. No one answered the telephone or doorbell at her home Tuesday or this morning.

_____, who told police he was born in Bellefonte, was arrested for the first time in Lancaster 10 years ago.

He was incarcerated at the county prison seven times for alleged offenses ranging from theft and marijuana possession to disorderly conduct and corruption of minors.

His latest arrest — last June — was for raping a person less than 13 years old. The offense dated to 2001. The victim was "between 6 and 7" when the crime took place, according to court records.

_____'s bail was set at $750,000. He killed himself before he could be tried for the crime.

The prison is being sued by the families of two other men who committed suicide while incarcerated. _____ hanged himself in 2003. _____ hanged himself in 2006.


OH - Sex offender mugs on police Christmas tree in North Baltimore

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A video can be seen here, and below.

12/17/2008

NORTH BALTIMORE (AP) - A Christmas tree inside a northwest Ohio police department is decorated with more than just the usual trimmings. Mug shots of local sex offenders are pasted on some of the ornaments.

Paper cutouts of bells and stars feature the faces and names of all eight registered sex offenders in the village of North Baltimore.

Police Chief Alan Baer thought the ornaments would raise awareness and says a great deal of foot traffic moves in and out of the department.

Baer says the display on the artificial tree isn't to make light of the crimes or disparage Christmas traditions.

He says the police chaplain thought it was a good idea.


CT - Trooper In Trouble With the Law

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12/17/2008

By Kristie Borges

A Connecticut State Trooper is charged with sexually assaulting two minors for about a year. East Hartford Police arrested Jose Perez, 46, Monday night. He is charged with four counts each of Sexual Assault, 4th degree, and impairing the morals of a minor.

Perez had put in for his retirement on Monday before the arrest, said state police. His retirement date is in about a week.

His police powers were suspended at the onset of the investigation, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the state police. Perez has been assigned to administrative duties and has had no contact with the public.

The state police has opened its own internal affairs investigation into the matter, said Vance.

Jose Perez is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Manchester on January 5 and is out on bond.