Friday, January 9, 2009
This place is totally corrupt. There is MANY news articles about the corruption at this place. It should be shutdown, IMO.
By Mike Ward/Cox News Service
Texas Youth Commission investigators are trying to determine why several incarcerated teenage boys who were sexually assaulted at a Waco-area lockup had been put the same cells with youths accused of sex crimes, officials confirmed Friday.
Placing a sex offender in a cell with an unsuspecting victim should have been prohibited.
“It’s being looked at — how that happened — and how policies and practices were being followed,” said agency spokesman Jim Hurley. “We have a full investigation underway.”
Other officials familiar with the criminal investigation said it has widened in recent days to determine how the mistakes occurred in November and December at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart — despite strict policies enacted after a sex-abuse scandal brought reforms at the agency just two years ago.
Authorities also want to determine which Youth Commission officials signed off on the double-bunking, whether the agency’s new classification system failed in red-flagging the assignments and why the mistaken assignments were not discovered until after the youths reported being assaulted.
Investigators are also looking at whether agency officials did enough to prevent the assaults. Citing the ongoing investigation, Hurley said he couldn’t discuss further details on instructions of top agency officials. No charges have been filed, he said.
Legislative leaders who have worked for two years on reforms at the troubled agency are hopping mad about the cases.
“It sounds like nothing has changed out there … that mistakes are still occurring that absolutely should not be,” said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, who said he is demanding answers from the Youth Commission’s executive commissioner, Cheri Townsend. “This is unacceptable.”
According to an update provided to legislative leaders earlier this week by Townsend, five youth-on-youth sex assaults were reported. While two victims have since recanted, the others remain under investigation.
According to officials familiar with the cases, the youths involved are between 15 and 17 years old.
“Of the youth (alleged victims and perpetrators) involved in the five cases, one youth (an alleged perpetrator) had no previous record of sexual assaults,” Townsend’s memo states.
Townsend listed several operational changes that have been made to ensure such mistakes don’t happen again, including a review of room assignments at all Youth Commission lockups, sexual-assault prevention training for staff and more frequent checks by staff on cells that are double-bunked.
The memo hints that a backlog of required psychiatric exams of incarcerated teenagers may have been a factor in the cases.
It also states that “intake staff have been directed to review the entire criminal and social histories of youth before making dorm and room assignments to ensure proper placement of youth who have committed sexual offenses.”
The document also notes that the agency’s Safe Housing Policy is still awaiting approval, despite earlier public assurances by Youth Commission officials that it was in place.
By Sarah Ovaska - Staff writer
RALEIGH -- Five sex offenders being held indefinitely in a federal prison are a step closer to being released after a federal appeals court ruled that authorities cannot keep people locked up beyond their scheduled release dates.
The 19-page opinion issued Thursday by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Raleigh federal judge's opinion that a law passed by Congress was unconstitutional. The law went too far in trying to give the federal government the power to keep prisoners deemed "sexually dangerous" in custody indefinitely through a practice known as civil commitment, the justices found in their published opinion.
"The fact of previously lawful federal custody simply does not, in itself, provide Congress with any authority to regulate future conduct that occurs outside of the prison wall," Judge Diana G. Motz wrote.
Supporters say civil commitment is a way to ensure that extremely dangerous sexual predators won't be able to attack again. Critics, however, question the government's right to keep a person imprisoned indefinitely on the suspicion that he might commit a crime.
Most violent sex offenses are handled at the state level, and 20 states run programs in which sexual predators are held indefinitely or until they're no longer considered dangerous. The federal government's attempt at civil commitment has been going on since 2006.
The opinion this week stemmed from a 2007 ruling that Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt issued on behalf of five men -- Graydon Comstock, Shane Catron, Thomas Matherly, Marvin Vigil and Markis Revland. The five were housed at the federal corrections complex in Butner, the planned home of the civil commitment program.
As of Friday evening, all five were still being held at the Butner facility, according to a spokeswoman with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. One of them, Comstock, should have been released in 2006 after finishing his sentence for receiving child pornography but has been locked up for the past two years while the courts weighed the issue.
It's unclear when the five men might be permitted to leave the prison complex. Attempts to reach the lawyers with the Federal Public Defender and U.S. Attorney's Offices in Raleigh were unsuccessful Friday.
The appelate court's opinion addresses provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which was named in honor of the murdered son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh.
In the 2007 ruling affirmed by the Fourth Circuit, Britt found that Congress did not have the constitutional powers to order inmates held for violent crimes that, if committed, would fall under the jurisdiction of state courts.
From 2006 to 2007, the federal Bureau of Prisons certified 57 people as sexually dangerous, but most contested that designation and the attempts to keep them in custody.
The ruling is not expected to have any immediate effect on the states that, as of 2007, housed an estimated 2,700 people who have been civilly committed after their prison sentences on sex crimes ended. North Carolina is not among those states.
By: CHRISTOPHER RUVO - The Intelligencer
A teen who lives at a facility for juvenile sex offenders left the center and tried to kill himself by jumping off a Route 611 bridge over the Neshaminy Creek.
A 16-year-old from Quakertown attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge on Route 611 in Doylestown Township on Thursday afternoon, sparking a rescue effort that closed the highway for about an hour, police said.
Police said the teen, who lives at a facility for juvenile sex offenders, plummeted 25 to 30 feet onto boulders on a wooded embankment beside the Neshaminy Creek about a quarter mile south of the intersection of Route 611 and Edison-Furlong Road.
The boy was flown by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown following the incident around 12:15 p.m.
The extent of his injuries was not clear, but a statement released by the nonprofit facility where he was living, Mathom House, said the teen was conscious and stable. The boy appeared to have avoided "significant injuries," it said.
According to the statement, the teen left a nonsecure placement area at Mathom House without permission. The facility is in Doylestown Township on the 1700 block of Route 611, near the bridge and Neshaminy Creek.
Staff members followed the teen, attempting to get him to come back, but he refused, the statement said. When they reached the bridge, he apparently decided to jump.
"The juvenile then appeared to go limp and stepped off the bridge overpass on Route 611," according to the statement. "He was quickly attended to by+staff who immediately summoned medical assistance and the police."
Doylestown Fire Co. used a ladder truck to lower a stretcher known as a Stokes basket to the boy and brought him up. The rescue mission took about a half-hour, said Fire Chief Dennis Loux Jr.
Robert Stanzione, chief of Bucks County's juvenile probation division, said he could not discuss the teen's case because he is a juvenile and his offenses "do not rise to the level of public availability."
According to the Mathom House Web site, a typical adolescent at the center is between the ages of 13 to 18 and has gotten in legal trouble for voyeurism, exhibitionism or child molestation.
Mathom House also cares for others who commit sexual assault or "bizarre sexual offenses with strangers, or whose deviant sexual acts involve physical force or threat," the Web site says.
Edison Court Inc., the company that has operated Mathom House since 2004, said this is the first such incident while they've operated it.
It's not the first time Mathom House has been in the news though.
In 2003, a Bristol Township man was sentenced to five to 10 years in a state prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old resident of Mathom House.
Luis Oquendo and his victim were both residents at the facility when the assault occurred. Oquendo was an adult at the time, but was finishing a sentence he received as a juvenile at Mathom House.
Edison Court Inc. operates under license from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
As for the Thursday incident, Edison Court officials said the teen's mother was notified immediately, as was his juvenile probation officer and other county officials.
Route 611 was closed between Edison-Furlong Road and Almshouse Road from about 12:15 to 1:25 p.m. as firefighters worked to rescue the teen. Southbound traffic was backed up on the bypass to near the Route 202/Norristown exit.
I don't usually report this kind of article, but felt I needed to in this case. He raped his own daughter, yet he gets off easy by pleading to something he did not even do, and gets only ONE YEAR on the sex offender registry. Wow, must be nice! And once again, it does prove, that most sexual crimes, occur by family or close friends.
By TERRI FERGUSON SMITH
GREENVILLE - A former firefighter accused of raping his teenage daughter entered a plea to a lesser misdemeanor charge Thursday.
The plea came after the third day of the trial.
_____ entered a guilty plea to distributing sexually oriented material to a minor, according to Frank Carlton, who assisted lead counsel Stan Perkins.
Morris was charged in 2006 with one count of statutory rape after being accused of having sex with his then 14-year-old daughter.
“We tried the case for three days,” said Carlton. “At the conclusion yesterday, there was a proposal that allowed him to plead to a misdemeanor that did not involve him having sex with his daughter. He did not admit guilt, he pled in his own best interest.”
Essentially, Carlton said _____ was saying that he didn't do it but he understood that he could get convicted and face a penalty of 30 years without parole.
“I never lost faith in our case or my client,” Carlton said. “But with this offer on the table, I and Stan Perkins felt the dangers were just too much. This way, he doesn't admit guilt, he doesn't get convicted on the felony charge. He serves no time, pays no fine.”
_____ will have to register as a sex offender, but only for a year, Carlton said.
A trial last May ended in a mistrial when a police officer testified that _____ did not make a statement when he was arrested. Carlton said at that time that the Supreme Court has ruled that a defendant's decision not to make a statement cannot be introduced into evidence because it implies guilt.
_____' daughter told police her father had sexual relations with her between December 2005 and February 2006.
_____ and his daughter both lived in Greenville, but at different addresses.
The state had not finished presenting its case yesterday when the deal was made, Carlton said.
IA - More proof that 2,000-foot rule fails - Iowa lawmakers too afraid to fix the broken sex-offender residence law
None of the buffer zones work, they are simple a placebo to make the sheeple "feel safe" and quite them down.
Need empirical data to show that sex-offender residency laws, such as that in Iowa, doesn't work? Here it is. And it mirrors what police, sheriffs and prosecutors have been saying for years: Iowa's law doesn't work.
Three university researchers studied sex offenders in Florida and compared the rates of repeat offenses among those who reside near schools and day-care centers and those who do not. The study found that offenders living closer to schools and day-care centers did not reoffend any more often than those who lived farther away. The rates were statistically the same.
Those results look a lot like an extensive study last year by the Minnesota Department of Corrections of 224 cases in which a predator reoffended. Among those 224 cases, how many would have been deterred had there been a residency requirement (such as that in Iowa)? Zero. That's right: Not a single one.
It would be one thing if the law were only ineffective. But Iowa's bad law complicates the work of law enforcement officials, makes it more difficult for them to protect children and creates for the public a false sense of security.
Police and sheriffs deputies must spend their limited time and energy addressing housing issues and searching for offenders who have "fallen off the radar" because they are in violation of the residency restriction.
The residency requirement drastically limits where offenders can live. That leads to a greater number of transient or homeless predators. Homelessness in particular is a concern to law enforcement. A sex offender without a stable home environment is more likely to reoffend. And few lifestyles are more unstable than that of a homeless or transient person.
So, why isn't the law repealed or amended? Political cowardice. Elected officials would rather keep a bad law on the books than face election opponents' negative campaign messages that they are going "easy on sex offenders."
Include Gov. Chet Culver in that. He said "most Iowans" support the current law, and he welcomed law-enforcement officials and county attorneys to "make a compelling argument that any change to the current law would actually make it tougher on sex offenders," Culver recently told The Des Moines Register. Police and prosecutors have been doing just that, and they will try again. But just because most people not involved in the law share an opinion does not mean they are right.
Lawmakers need no more information to review the state's sex-offender laws. No one expects this law to be repealed all by itself. Lawmakers must revise this piece of the law while strengthening other areas of it. They should be more concerned about where offenders are than where they sleep. Creating safety zones where sex offenders are not allowed to enter without written permission is one solution. Couple that with serious penalties for failure to register, and the state could be much closer to having a law that actually does something.
For now, however, politicians are more concerned about re-election than genuinely protecting our children.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.
Posted by CLS
Government rarely, if ever, solves problems. Politicians and bureaucrats see social problems as opportunities for the expansion of their powers and privileges. The greater the problem, or just the perception of the problem, the greater the opportunity they have.
When something horrific like 9/11 takes place they rush in claiming all sorts of new powers for themselves. After all, they have to protect the public. These new laws have often been sitting, already written, waiting for the excuse that will justify a major assault on privacy or individual liberty.
Often the panic that justifies government intrusion is exaggerated well beyond reason. And sometimes, although rarely, these law are a response to a legitimate issue but one which falls well below the shock of something like the attack on the Twin Towers. One such panic is the “sex offender” issue.
This blog has repeatedly stressed, using real life examples, that the concept “sex offender” has been twisted into some grotesque assault on sexuality. It has gone far beyond any legitimate functions of government to protect people from criminals and is now being used as a general excuse for the puritans and the politicians to grab control of the genitals of others. In addition, these laws are being used in completely inappropriate ways. The government knows that if they say “sex offender” that hysterical mothers across the nation will pull out their pitchforks, organize a lynch mob, and hang the next poor sucker they come across. And the actual facts won’t matter a bit to them. Reason goes out the window when passion and fear come in the door.
This means that sex offender laws are one through which third-rate politicians can make a name for themselves. Consider the case of Greg Soucia. Greg is clearly a bad boy. The 21-year-old was a thief. But his theft also made him a “sex offender” once the local prosecutor got hold of him.
Unfortunately the main press report on Soucia’s case is no longer available but bits and pieces still exist on other sites. A law blog at Harvard University mentions the case. And they report the basic facts.
Mr. Soucia was a thief: more precisely he stole a credit card. And, as a result, he was prosecuted “under the ‘Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act’.” How’s that!!
What gave the low-life prosecutor, aptly named James Conboy, the excuse was that the young man used the stolen credit to hire some strippers. In the logical world of Mr. Conboy: “If you commit a burglary and your goal is because of your own sexual gratification, it’s a sexually motivated felony.”
I sincerely doubt that Soucia broke into a house to rob it just to get his jollies. I doubt that the reason he robbed the house was so he could hire a stripper. And, even if he wanted to hire a stripper, to call this sort of theft a “sex offense” is absolutely ridiculous. Either Mr. Conboy is incredibly moronic or incredibly power-hungry. Either way he is a threat to the decent people in his county.
Conboy admitted that by pretending that common theft was now a sex crime he could get a longer sentence for the offense. In addition the young thief will have to register as a dangerous sex offender. And how will the offender’s registry, or what vigilantes call “the hit list”, describe Mr. Soucia? When he is released from prison his picture, along with his home address, will be published on a sex offender’s web site. He will be listed as having been convicted of a “sexually motivated felony”. That sounds really bad. No doubt the morons who troll the lists will see this as proof that Soucia was out raping children at the local church nursery. Instead, he broke in a house and stole a credit card. And when he got the card he used it to hire a couple of strippers.
Carl Strock, a local newspaper columnist, wrote about the case (unfortunately the original link is also now defunct). He wrote:
What interests me most is that when he gets out he will be registered as a sex offender, thereby becoming subject to all those local laws that will prohibit him from living within 1,000 feet or 2,000 feet of a park, day care center, playground etc., even though the sexual aspect of his crime was perfectly legal. Yes. It’s perfectly legal to hire young women to put on a strip show as long as no physical sex is paid for. It happens all the time. The Schenectady company that provided the service in this case openly accepted a credit card, after all. But if you put the two things together, the illegal burglary and the legal paying for strippers, all of a sudden you have a sex crime under this new law, and you have generated another sex offender for people to go into convulsions over. Isn’t that cute? We don’t know yet if young Mr. Soucia will be a Level 1, 2 or 3 offender. He will be classified when he finally gets released, but he will be on the state registry and will be marked as a “predator,” in the terminology preferred by politicians.
To the making of “sex offenders” there is apparently no end.
Consider the ramifications of this theory. If you are the mother of a randy teenage boy beware. If Junior slips a few bucks out of your wallet, when you aren’t looking, and spends the money to buy a Playboy or some condoms he apparently is now a sex offender. If he borrows, without permission, the car so he can have a back seat romp with his date, he is now a sex offender -- even if both of them are legally considered adults in sexual matters. The kid who shoplifts a dirty magazine from the corner store can be labelled a “sex offender” instead of a shoplifter.
When these sex offender lists were started they were justified on the basis that the police needed to have access to a centralized data base of sex offenders for investigation purposes. Then the sex panic brigade got involved and cried out that the public ought to have access to the lists so they could be aware of individuals who were violent threats to the community. So the lists went on line.
But once they went on-line the bureaucrats and politicians started expanding the categories of people who had to be listed. Now a very larger percentage of “offenders” are not violent and not a threat to anyone. But the ignorant public doesn’t know that. The mob’s logic is: “If they weren’t a threat they wouldn’t be on the list.” Some only wake up to the reality when they, or their kids, or some relative ends up on the list.
I listened to the lament of one man who is grappling with the way his brother has been treated. The brother had an affair with a teenager, a teen who was considered able to consent in most of the states in the US, but not in this particular state. The relationship was entire consensual. There was no force, no violence. But the brother was arrested almost ten years ago and is still in prison.
The family of this “offender” lives in the heart of the Bible Belt. They seem your typical conservative, Bible-belt family. This man couldn’t understand what the state had done to his brother. “I don’t approve of his life-style,” he would tell me, “but he didn’t deserve this.” The “offender’s” nephew couldn’t understand what they had done to his uncle. The mother and grandmother were emotionally wrecked by the case. And it is clear that prison has had emotionally destroyed the man convicted of this offense. He will never adjust to a normal life and the consensus is that he will either be murdered in jail or kill himself -- he has tried once already.
These were not people who gave these “sex offender” laws any thought prior to the arrest of their loved one. Across the country there are families who are learning, with horror, that instead of protecting families from crime, these sex offender laws are destroying families. When a credit card theft becomes a “sex offense” you know things have gone completely out of control. These laws need reform. Most of the laws passed in the last decade or two need to be repealed. The laws against rape and similar offenses were adequate but each new piece of legislation created more victims of the sex hysteria. It has to stop.
So does this mean that more than one sex offender cannot be in a prison at the same time? It's the same idiotic logic!
SACRAMENTO COUNTY -- A halfway house in Antelope that houses sex offenders will be shut down.
Last month, an audit found that more than 30 registered sex offenders were living at Second Chances in Antelope.
The house works with the Department of Corrections and helps sex offenders just released from prison.
State law said only one registered sex offender is allowed to live at the same house unless they are related.
The district attorney's office in Sacramento said it had to be shut down.
- December 30, 2008: Several Parolees Told To Leave Home
KINGSTON – Passions ran high over a proposed local law that would set restrictions on where high-risk sex offenders could live. The law would “… prohibit sex offenders from residing, having employment or otherwise enter or remain within one thousand feet of areas and facilities that would provide them easy access to potential victims.” That would include schools, daycares, playgrounds and public pools, among other places.
Ulster County Legislature Criminal Justice and Safety Committee Chairman Frank Dart cautioned against acting in haste.
“Would you rather have a sex offender that you know is living next door to you, or, have a sex offender and drive him under ground, and you don’t know if he is living behind a plaza, in the woods, and you don’t know where he is?”
Dart said this should go back to committee so they can bring in the appropriate ‘experts’ to explain the ramifications.
- Why did you do that in the first place? It would've not wasted everyone's time and money.
“This could endanger the public, if we act too fast," ”warned Democrat Brian Shapiro.
Republican Minority Leader Glenn Noonan wasn’t having any of that.
“All we want to do is schedule a public hearing, listen to the public’s viewpoint on this, and move forward. Since September 4th, we’ve had other counties dumping their stuff in Ulster County.”
In the end, the Democrats prevailed. The proposed local law goes back to committee.
By Kris Wernowsky
A woman who fled to Houston with her 16-year-old lover will spend the next year in state prison.
_____, 28, dabbed tears from her cheeks Thursday as Circuit Judge Ron Swanson handed down his sentence.
Swanson gave _____ a 3½-year suspended sentence, which requires her to spend at least one year in state prison. Should she violate the terms of her 96-month probation, she'll return to prison to finish the rest of the sentence.
_____ also is required to register as a sex offender and attend counseling.
_____ was arrested June 10 at Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport, a week after she and her 8- and 9-year-old children disappeared with the 16-year-old.
The missing teen returned to Pensacola from Texas by Greyhound bus a day earlier than _____.
The pair worked together at a Pace Whataburger. She was his supervisor.
_____ previously pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful sexual activity. She faced a possible 15-year prison term.
_____'s attorney, Kenneth Ridlehoover, said it was his client, not the young boy, who was the victim.
He said the boy approached _____ several times before she gave in and the pair started their relationship.
"It's crystal clear who the predator was in this case, and it wasn't my client," he said.
Ridlehoover said _____ was emotionally stunted from a combination of childhood abuse from her parents and an abusive marriage.
"You are dealing with a person who is chronologically one age, but is emotionally another age," he said.
Assistant State Attorney Christi Hankins said _____, as an adult, had the responsibility not to get involved with a young boy.
"The defendant is still a predator ... still taking advantage of someone who doesn't have the maturity to know better," she said.
_____ and her husband currently are divorcing. Their children are in their father's custody.
View the article here
By Monty Tayloe - The Winchester Star
Winchester — Gerald George Crosson Jr., a city resident and former Berryville police sergeant, has been charged with soliciting a minor in Shenandoah County for sex, using text messages.
The charges against Crosson came after an investigation by state officers with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
According to state police spokesman F.L. Tyler, the incident is being handled by the state police because it was the agency the incident was reported to.
Using an electronic device to solicit minors for sex acts is a class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
According to state police, Crosson allegedly sent the messages Oct. 27, when he was still a Berryville police officer. No additional details were available.
Crosson reportedly left the Berryville police force 11 days later, after 10 years with the department. It is not clear if the incident was related to his leaving the force.
Berryville Police Chief Neal White did not return calls for comment Thursday.
Crosson was arrested Dec. 3, the same day he was indicted by a Shenandoah County Circuit Court grand jury. He is free on a $5,000 bond.
Crosson is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Shenandoah Circuit Court in Woodstock Jan. 14
Crosson’s arrest isn’t the only recent sexual incident involving an area officer.
In July, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tim Owens was convicted of one count of indecent exposure, stemming from an incident last spring when he intentionally exposed himself to a Berryville neighbor.
Owens resigned from the department shortly before being convicted.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation and community service.
- What about being on the sex offender registry? I checked, and he is not on it.