Friday, January 23, 2009

GA - Laws now provide more protection from Internet predators, identity theft

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Mr. Baker, once again, using fear and violating privacy rights to make himself look good. I can assure you, there WILL BE law suits, this wasting more tax payer dollars.  Like usual, he failed to read this study, by people the AG's hired.

01/23/2009

By Winston Skinner - The Times-Herald

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker says Georgia laws have been strengthened to protect young people using the Internet and victims of identity theft.

Baker, who came to Newnan on Friday to address the Newnan Rotary Club, said he worked with seven other attorneys general to strengthen laws prosecuting adults who seek to sexually exploit minors through the Internet. "Our kids know a lot about MySpace and Facebook," he said.

MySpace and Facebook are social networking sites "where the kids of America are now spending a great deal of their time," Baker said. Not everyone purporting to be a teen on MySpace, however, is.
- And not everyone making and passing laws about technology, know nothing about technology.  Plus, requiring PASSWORDS is a total invasion of privacy, and you can bet it will be fought in court.

"In the past, we had to fight crime in the streets of America," Baker said. The challenge of Internet crime is that it occurs electronically.

Baker compared taking one's children to a park -- and watching them closely -- to letting them log onto the Internet. When young people access the Internet, "they are open now to a much, much broader world than the park you just left," Baker said.

Baker said sexual predators daily use their computers in an effort to entice young people. "Many of them are successful," he said.

During Baker's tenure as attorney general -- which began in 1997 -- laws have been passed which strengthened the penalties for those who seek to sexually exploit children through the Internet. When the law first was addressed, the crime was a misdemeanor, but it is now a felony. "I thought it was the right thing to do, and we did it," he said.

Part of the process was contacting the social networking companies. Though they were initially resistant to working with the state -- "I think the companies saw us as interfering with their business" -- they eventually agreed to help, Baker said.

The companies now seek to match sexual predator lists, which include real names and aliases for many repeat offenders, with users and remove those people from the system. The companies have also been asked "to do a better job of age verification," he said.
- Again, a misuse of words.  "match sexual predator lists," should be "match sex offender lists!"  Because not all sex offenders are friggin' predators!

Baker said he is not anti-business, pointing to his work in economic development while he was in the state legislature. "We went from Alabama to Tokyo, trying to find the next big deal," he said.

"That's not what this is about. This is about protecting the next generation," Baker said at the noon luncheon meeting at Newnan Country Club. "We've got to make sure we're doing all we can."
- No, it's not about protecting people, because it will not.  Anyone can create a new email address and password in a matter of minutes.  This is about punishment, and using sex offenders are your scapegoat to look good to the sheeple, and to look tough on crime, all the while, violating the "oath of office" you took to uphold the constitution.  So you lied when taking that oath, and again you are lying here, IMO.

Baker said the identity theft issue came to his attention about nine years ago. Statistics at that time showed identity theft was "the fastest growing white collar crime" in Georgia, he said.
- And what have you done to prevent identity theft?  Not a darn thing.  Because criminals will ALWAYS find a way to commit a crime, and the same goes for those people who want to harm a child!

The fact that Georgia had no laws at that time specifically addressing identify theft "concerned me as attorney general," he related.

There were instances in which identify thieves followed mail carriers, retrieved mail from boxes and -- "within the matter of an hour" -- had used information from that mail to get bogus credit cards that were being used in Los Angeles, Baker said.
- And it will, and still occurs to this day, so you have done nothing to prevent identity theft, just grandstanding to make it look like you have.

Laws were passed, and enforcement is helping to curb identity crimes. "It has made the state a better place. It has made the state a safer place," he said. "It's making a difference in Georgia."
- No it doesn't, it's another one of those placebo's to make you feel better!

In response to a question, Baker said proposals to allow gaming in Underground Atlanta and other locations present "a lot of problems."

Allowing such gambling "can't be done under the current framework we have" and would require a amendment to the Georgia Constitution, he said. Baker said he did not think an amendment to allow gaming would pass.
- And again, Gambling will always occur, and is occuring, no matter how many laws you pass.  Again, more placebo's to make you feel better about your job, and pacify the sheeple!

Baker reminisced briefly about his years in the Georgia House of Representatives, recalling his work to get approval for the HOPE Scholarship program while he was floor leader for then-Gov. Zell Miller. "I remember shepherding that legislation through the House," he said. "We understand the importance of providing scholarship money."


NY - State judge throws out Rockland's housing law for sex offenders

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Is this the beginning or the end?  I sure hope so!

01/23/2009

By Steve Lieberman - The Journal News

A state Supreme Court judge sitting in Rockland today invalidated Rockland's law restricting where sex offenders can live.

Justice William Kelly, in an eight-page decision, found that state has specifically taken the responsibility for sex offenders.

Kelly also wrote the state law specifically empowers local probation officers to decide where sex offenders can live without any borders. He also cited a similar decision banning residency boundaries in New Jersey by a judge in the Garden State.

Kelly nullified Rockland's 2007 law. As the first decision on the pre-emption issue, Kelly's ruling becomes precedent and could nullify 80 similar laws across the state that establish some boundaries in which sex offenders cannot live.

In Rockland, for example, sex offenders were prohibited from living, working, and loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers, libraries or any facilities.

Kelly's decision would dismiss misdemeanor charges against up to 13 sex offenders living in prohibited areas.

Kelly ruled in a case involving Monsey residents _____ and _____, both of whom were charged in August 2007 with violating their probation and the county law.

_____'s lawyer, David Goldstein, raised the legal arguments. He said the 1,000 feet or any boundary is arbitrary and meaningless as far as protecting the public.

"The state law of letting probation officers use their discretion is more effective," Goldstein said. "The county law was an over-reaction with a nebulous 1,000-foot magical line."

He said Kelly's decision on the pre-emption issue has implications statewide and could overrule other residency laws.

County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said he would await County Attorney Patricia Zugibe's recommendation on whether to appeal. Vanderhoef said the county law is not workable and the state needs to take control of the issue and set standards.

The county has 30 days to file an appeal.

Zugibe said today she had not formulated a position yet and was reviewing Kelly's decision. She said that while Kelly's decision seems solid on the law, she said other judges could decide differently on similar cases before them.

"This is one court's decision," she said. "I can't be so presumptuous to know what other judges will be doing."

Rockland Legislature Ed Day, R-New City, who sponsored the county law, said today that he's disappointed in the decision but stands by the law.


IL - Blago Boycotts Impeachment Trial; Lawyer Boycotts Him

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Karma suck, doesn't it Mr. Blagojevich? You have made and passed many sex offender laws, which are unconstitutional, and violate the rights of others, yet when you are faced with it, the hypocrisy comes out! Go home already, you are toast!

01/23/2009

By MATT JAFFE and SARAH NETTER

Instead of Attending Impeachment Trial, lll. Gov. Will Appear Exclusively on ABC's 'GMA' and 'The View'

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he will boycott his upcoming impeachment trial, not as an act of defiance but rather to protest what he believes is an unfair process.

At a news conference this afternoon in Chicago, an animated Blagojevich said he would not attend the trial, set to start Monday in Springfield, because under state Senate rules he would not be able to call certain witnesses or sufficiently challenge the charges, making the proceedings a "trampling of the Constitution."

"It's a scary thing if they get away with doing this," Blagojevich said of state legislators. "Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?" he asked.
- That vanished when jerks like you took office and did not uphold your "oath of office," hypocrite!

Instead, the governor will appear in exclusive ABC appearances on Monday morning, first live on "Good Morning America" and then again live on "The View" where he'll be joined by his wife.

Watch "Good Morning America" at 7 a.m. ET and "The View" at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.

The governor said the real reason his impeachment trial is being pushed is because state leaders are tired of fighting his efforts to thwart tax increases. Today he accused the state's lawmakers of "just waiting to get me out of the way to raise the income tax."
- Yeah, yeah, not to mention all the corruption charges!

Meanwhile, Blagojevich's attorney Ed Genson announced late today that he would resign from the governor's defense team.

"I have practiced law for 44 years. I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require clients to listen to what I say," Ed Genson told reporters. "I intend to withdraw as counsel in this case."

This comes after Blagojevich backpedaled during today's press conference saying a lawsuit to delay the start of the impeachment trial was still an option, a day after Genson told the Chicago Tribune that a such a lawsuit off the table.

Genson told the AP on Thursday afternoon that he was not being included in decisions regarding the impeachment and he did not know whether Blagojevich would file a lawsuit to block the trial.

"His action, what he's doing, isn't controlled by me," Genson said. "I'm not privy to it. I should be, but I'm not."

As he has done since his Dec. 9 arrest on corruption charges, including allegedly attempting to sell President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, Blagojevich today again maintained his innocence.

"Notwithstanding mistakes and errors in judgment from time to time," Blagojevich said, "most of the decisions I've done as governor have been the right thing."

Continuing to ignore repeated calls for his resignation, he cautioned that removing a governor from office without allowing witnesses to testify on his behalf sets a dangerous precedent.

"If you can throw a governor out with mere allegations … then no governor will be able to take on the General Assembly," he said.
- I'm sure the evidence will come out!

Noting that he was a fan of old Western Cowboy movies, Blagojevich said, "under these rules, I'm not even getting a fair trial -- they're just hanging me."
- You helped this along, now you must face what you helped create!

At the Senate trial, neither the governor nor the prosecution would be allowed to call witnesses that federal prosecutors say could jeopardize the criminal corruption trial against the governor.

'Theater of the Absurd'

Blagojevich named White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as potential witnesses that he would like to call to testify on his behalf.

"They're perfectly fair rules," responded state Sen. Matt Murphy, calling Blagojevich's contentions "a cynical effort on the part of this governor that is perfectly consistent with his actions of the last six years."

Denouncing Blagojevich's behavior as "the theater of the absurd," Murphy said that, barring the governor's resignation, the trial would go ahead as planned, starting at noon CT on Monday.

Murphy wasn't the only Illinois politician frustrated by Blagojevich's latest round of comments. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, when asked what he though about the governor's charge that his impeachment was about his opposition to tax increases, imitated a cuckoo clock.

The governor called on the press to help him, imploring Chicago newspapers, including the Tribune and its editorial board, to come to his aid. Federal prosecutors have alleged that Blagojevich attempted to use financial incentives to get the Tribune's owner, Sam Zell, to fire editorial staff that he found objectionable.

Not only will Blagojevich not be at Monday's trial, but neither will his attorneys, Ed Genson and Sam Adam, who have also said they don't want to participate in an "unfair" trial. A deadline passed earlier this week for the governor to request documents, witnesses or other materials in his defense.

Genson, according to media reports, has said he expects the senate to impeach the governor. He did not return messages left today by ABCNews.com.

Blagojevich also gave an interview this morning on WLS 890 AM, in which he lobbed similar charges against Senate leaders.

He likened his impending impeachment trial to a to the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" movie plot, saying he's the good guy who's fighting for the people.

"This is a 21st century Frank Capra movie," Blagojevich said. "How the good guy was up against the establishment and yet they tried to make him look like he had violated rules."

Blagojevich told WLS that he couldn't say if he'd still be governor in two weeks, but that his mental state was "solid" and he's grateful for the support he's received from his family and ordinary citizens.

"Out of bad things," he said, "good things come."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


CA - Sex offender recidivism rates below expectations: more than 80% of sex offenders who underwent treatment did not reoffend


12/2002

NEWPORT BEACH - More than 80% of sex offenders who have undergone treatment do not reoffend within 15 years, according to preliminary results of a 15-year prospective study of 626 individuals reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

The study did not examine the efficacy of various forms of treatment, but it did find that sexual offenders who were compliant with their treatment were less likely to reoffend than those who were noncompliant.

The results of the study were reported by Dr. Fred Berlin, who is director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention, and Treatment of Sexual Trauma, Baltimore, and by Gerard J. McGlone. Ph.D., a clinical fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

The results are "a far cry from what people often think is occurring, particularly with a group of patients who are this serious, people with multiple prior offenses, people with pedophilia," Dr. Berlin said. "The notion that most of these people would quickly be back into trouble was simply not true."

The preliminary 15-year data update the group's 5-year study of the same individuals (Am. J. Forensic Psychiatry 12[3]:5-28, 1991). That study found an overall 9.7% recidivism rate.

The estimated rate of additional recidivism for the following 10 years was 9.3%, for a total of 19% over 15 years.

Both studies followed 626 individuals treated at the Johns Hopkins sexual disorders clinic between 1978 and 1990. Of those, 406 were pedophiles, 111 were exhibitionists, and 109 were characterized as "sexually aggressive," with most diagnosed as "paraphilic disorder not otherwise specified" or antisocial personality disorder.

The patients underwent a variety of treatments at the clinic, including individual, group, and family therapy. Approximately 40% of the patients received an-tiandrogenic drugs in an effort to lessen their sex drive.

Investigators examined three local and national databases for evidence of recidivism in the 5-year study.

Anyone who was charged with a sexual crime was included; conviction was not necessary.

For the 15-year follow-up, investigators have so far examined only Maryland state databases and have not yet examined national databases.

The 5-year study showed that 7.4% of pedophiles, 4.6% of sexual aggressives, and 23.4% of exhibitionists reoffended sexually. The 15-year study added an additional 8.6% of pedophiles (total 16%), 10% of sexual aggressives (total 14.6%), and 10.8% of exhibitionists, (total 34.2%), the investigators said.
For the 15-year study, investigators have not yet reported recidivism rates for compliant vs. noncompliant patients. These data were reported at the 5-year follow-up.

For pedophiles, 2.9% of the treatment compliant and 11.1% of the noncompliant reoffended sexually For sexual aggressives, 2.8% of the compliant and 8.1% of the noncompliant reoffended sexually

And for exhibitionists, 12.5% of the compliant and 32.6% of the noncompliant reoffended sexually

On the issue of exhibitionists, Dr. Berlin observed, "Even with treatment, this is a very driven, compulsive disorder. The good news, though, is that in almost every instance where there was recidivism, it was a non-hands-on offense.

"These people were not recidivating by doing other things. With very few exceptions they were exposing. ... The more dangerous patients, the ones who had been sexually aggressive or who were pedophiles, had the lowest recidivism rates.

Nonsexual recidivism rates were considerably higher in all groups. At the 5-year follow-up, 9.2% of compliant pe dophiles and 26.2% of noncompliant pedophiles were charged with a nonsexual offense such as burglary. Among sexual aggressives, the rates were 14% of compliant patients and 29.7% of non-compliant patients. And among exhibitionists the rates were 10.4% of compliant patients and 4 1.9% of non compliant patients.

The study's results have important public policy implications, Dr. Berlin said.

Over the years, for example, legislatures in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed numerous laws involving the civil commitment, registration, and community notification of sexual offenders.

In addition, a federal law that took effect recently requires the states to notify the public about sexual offenders who are enrolled or working at college campuses.

The idea behind these registries and public notifications is the notion that sexual offenders are difficult to rehabilitate and have a particularly high rate of recidivism. (See related story page 5.)

But the data show that sexual offenders actually have a lower rate of recidivism that those who commit other kinds of crimes.

And some experts speculate that these new laws just might have the unintended consequence of actually increasing the risk of recidivism.

"We think that many of the people who seem to be doing well in our treatment program have done well because they could get jobs," Dr. Berlin said. "They could fit into their community.

"We now have these registries. Are [sexual offenders who have been punished and released going to be able to get housing? Are they going to be able to get work? Are we inadvertently actually going to make it more difficult for some of these people?"


CT - Conn. AG to MySpace: Turn over sex offender data

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Reports about Online Sexual Abuse being Overblown Hype!

See the "Steve Rambam" links below.

01/23/2009

By Elinor Mills

The Connecticut attorney general's office on Friday served MySpace a subpoena demanding that MySpace hand over the identities of registered sex offenders it claims the social-networking site discovered and subsequently removed from its roster of members.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also told CNET News that his office is reviewing independent research about registered sex offenders said to still populate the site. Blumenthal declined to comment on whether he plans to take further action.

Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief security officer, said in a statement provided via e-mail that MySpace was using "state of the art technology to aggressively identify and remove registered sex offenders from our site." He added that MySpace was cooperating with Blumenthal and other state attorneys general requesting information.

Law enforcement officials and parents are concerned that sex offenders can easily find victims on social networks. From deleted profile information, officials can see whether sex offenders have violated parole by joining a social network and whether they have been communicating with minors on the site.

Friction between MySpace and the states around this issue is not new. Some attorneys general have criticized the company for failing to do more to keep sexual predators off its site. A couple of years ago, MySpace initially rebuffed efforts to share sex offender data, but the service finally agreed to provide officials with the requested information. It then reportedly removed 29,000 sex offenders from the membership rolls. A year ago, when MySpace reached an agreement with the attorneys general, it said it would cooperate with law enforcement officials and develop technology for age and identity verification.

As social networks have grown in popularity (MySpace had 125 million unique visitors in December), law enforcement agencies have warned about the potential danger to minors posed by sex offenders trolling through cyberspace. Politicians, who have picked up that battle cry, have urged social networks to put in place tougher measures to protect minors.

Politics aside, the threat is not just theoretical. Steve Rambam (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, YouTube), who is the director of private investigative firm Pallorium, said he found 100 registered sex offenders with MySpace profiles. One man used his mug shot as his main photo, while another, who was convicted of using the Internet to solicit a minor for sex, lists a 15-year-old girl as a friend on his MySpace page.

In carrying out his research, Rambam said he ran a list of 40,000 registered sex offenders against more than 2 million MySpace member pages. He came up with nearly 12,500 likely matches. After comparing the MySpace member photos with mug shots on a registered offender database, Rambam found 100 confirmed matches and said he would have found more if he had continued the research.

Among those matches, CNET News confirmed that at least half a dozen included registered sex offenders. One member's MySpace profile headline read, "Daddy, Oh My Goodness," while another featured a photo caption that reads, "Never accept a ride from a stranger, unless they give you candy first." A third member, who was convicted of sexual assault, uses violent, misogynistic language on his profile page.

"Based on the number of hits we're getting as a percentage of genuine MySpace users we believe that there are anywhere from 3,000 to 39,000 sex offenders on MySpace," Rambam said on Friday.

MySpace is using technology from a company called Sentinel Tech to help find and remove registered sex offenders from the site. According to MySpace, the company takes information members provide when they sign up and information they put on their profile and runs it against Sentinel servers that contain information about registered sex offenders, and follows up with manual checks of suspicious members.

John Cardillo, chief executive of Sentinel, questioned Rambam's methodology.

"We audit our database against all the sites out there, against the states' registries and the federal government registries... It could just be an issue of an individual maybe entering false information and we'll catch them down the road. Without seeing (the research), I can't really comment on it," Cardillo said. "MySpace deploys the most robust and impressive scrubbing apparatus in the business."

Rambam said he stands by his research. "We have a high degree of confidence that the first 100 matches we've compiled match on first and last name, city and state, exact age, and the photos clearly show the same person," he said. "Because of certain information and certain technology we have available to us, we were able to de-anonymize a lot of data and then do a second scrubbing run."

The matches all came directly from state sex offender registries and from the Megan's Law sex offender database, all publicly accessible data, Rambam said.

Rambam did the MySpace research on behalf of California lawyer Gary Kurtz, who is representing a company called Blue China Group in defending itself against a spam lawsuit filed by MySpace. "As part of that defense we are investigating a number of aspects about MySpace, and this pedophile issue popped up as something astounding," Kurtz said.

"These sex offenders and the efforts to find them are a small portion of a year-long investigation we conducted into MySpace," Rambam said.

"MySpace filed a complaint against Blue China Group in federal court in Los Angeles alleging that BCG repeatedly phished and spammed millions of MySpace users," MySpace Chief Security Officer Nigam said in his statement. "Unfortunately, while that lawsuit continues, BCG has apparently decided to raise this unrelated issue without providing any data to support its assertions."

Rambam said two state attorneys general offices have been in contact with him regarding his research. He found hundreds of potential matches from one of the states on MySpace and is preparing a report to give to that agency next week, he said, declining to name the states.

"This ongoing evidence completely refutes claims that child predators are an overblown threat," said Blumenthal, who is on a panel of 11 state attorneys general who have been investigating MySpace and other social-networking sites. "This is the tip of the iceberg."

A report issued last week by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force concludes that minors are less vulnerable to sexual predation than previously believed.


MO - Former Collins mayor sentenced to four years for sex crime

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01/23/2009

By Dirk VanderHart

The former mayor of the small St. Clair County town of Collins could spend four years in prison for enticing what he thought was a 13-year-old girl over the Internet.

That’s the sentence imposed on Allen D. Kauffman by a Newton County judge today.

But, just as the girl Kauffman parlayed with online turned out to be a detective, the judge’s sentence might not be what it appears.

According to Kauffman’s attorney, Dee Wampler, the man will complete a four-month sex offender treatment course in prison. He’ll start next month.

When the course is finished, Newton County Circuit Judge Tim Perigo could release Kauffman, with certain stipulations, Wampler said.

“That is our hope,” Wampler said. “The statute says it's up to the judge.”

Kauffman, the former mayor of Collins who also was the pastor of Temple Lot Church there, pleaded guilty to the felony count in December.

He was originally charged with multiple counts of enticement of a child.

In online messages, Kauffman asked the “girl” for sex and for nude pictures and encouraged her to have sex with a girlfriend in front of a webcam so Kauffman could watch.

The man resigned from his mayoral office after he was charged in Newton County — where he believed the girl lived — in January.

In May, another sexual misconduct charge was filed against Kauffman, this one in Cole County.

He pleaded guilty in July, and received five years probation.

Even though his client had a prior conviction for a sex crime, Wampler said the deal the man received Friday is fair.

He said Kauffman has shown remorse for his crimes, and wept in court Friday in front of friends and family there to support him.

No matter when Kauffman gets out of prison, he’ll be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


OH - Judge scolds ex-cop for contact with teen girl

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01/23/2009

By Nancy Bowman

TROY — A Miami County judge sentenced a former West Milton police officer to the maximum six months in jail for contributing to the delinquency or unruliness of a minor, saying James B. Johnston Jr. remains in denial about the extent of his criminal behavior.

"Instead of having remorse, you paint yourself as the victim," Juvenile Court Judge Lynnita "Kay" Wagner told James B. Johnston Jr., 30, at sentencing Friday, Jan. 23.

Johnston was accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old West Milton girl in 2007 while he was working as a village police officer.

He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge Dec. 8. He began serving what the judge said was inevitable jail time that day because he had moved to Florida and did not have a local place to stay until sentencing.

Defense lawyer Patrick Mulligan said Johnston could live with his father in Florida and have a job if he was released after serving 63 days in jail so far. "This is an episode of his life he would like to put behind him," Mulligan said.

Johnston said he had no comment.

Asked by Wagner what he would say to the girl, if she was in court, Johnston said, "I want to apologize for the way the situation was handled and I should use better judgment."

The girl was represented by victim advocate Michelle Cornatzer. She said Johnston was warned by the girl's father to leave her alone, but he continued contact with a girl she said was "blinded" by his actions.

"Mr. Johnston used his power and his authority as an officer of the law to lure this young lady," Cornazter said.

Ed Witte, a local sex offender counselor who evaluated Johnston said he needs treatment and may not yet understand "the degree of his boundary violations."

Wagner said evidence showed Johnston told the girl to delete text messages and referred to her as "jail bait." The judge added Johnston admitted he had "problems in the past setting appropriate boundaries" with females in West Milton.

"The court believes, because of your previous occupation, that you knew what was legal and what wasn't, and you still crossed over the boundaries, knowing you could go to jail," Wagner said.

She sentenced Johnston to six months, with credit for the 63 days served, and ordered him to pay a $250 fine, court costs and the cost of the sex offender evaluation.
- What about being on the sex offender registry?

Johnston was ordered to have no contact for a year with the girl, her family and any other child unless a parent is present.


IN - Jeffersonville sex offender ban headed to Court of Appeals

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01/23/2009

By MATT THACKER

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union, or ICLU, will continue to fight the Jeffersonville ordinance that bans convicted sex offenders from city parks.

A brief on appeal was filed with the Indiana Court of Appeals last week, according to ICLU Legal Director Ken Falk.

We’re arguing that the ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and as applied in those situations,” Falk said.

The challenge was brought forth after Clark County courts ruled that _____, 34, could not watch his son play baseball at a Jeffersonville park because he is a convicted sex offender and had several other pending charges.

In November, Superior Court No. 1 Judge Vicki Carmichael ruled that the ban does not violate U.S. Constitution.

“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re appealing,” said Larry Wilder, attorney for the Jeffersonville City Council, which approved the ordinance. “Mr. Falk is a great lawyer, and he’s a great believer in his causes.”

The city has 30 days to respond from the time they received a copy of the brief. Wilder said his office received a copy Tuesday.

He anticipates that the ICLU will request oral arguments be made before the court. No dates have been set.

Wilder has said the ordinance was written to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

“It seems our position will continue to be that the Indiana code and Indiana statute provides for the city and now the park authority to administer and make rules for the operation of the parks,” he said.

TIMELINE
  • January 2007 — Jeffersonville City Council passes ordinance prohibiting convicted sex offenders from entering Jeffersonville’s municipally-owned parks.
  • April — Jeffersonville City Court Judge Ken Pierce denied a request by Eric Dowdell, 34, for an exemption to sex-offender ordinance.
  • August — Clark County Circuit Court Judge denies Dowdell’s appeal requesting exemption from ordinance. Indiana Civil Liberties Union, or ICLU, challenges constitutionality of ordinance.
  • November — Superior Court No. 1 Judge Vicki Carmichael rules that ban does not violate U.S. Constitution.
  • January — ICLU files brief requesting Indiana Court of Appeals overturn Carmichael’s decision.


WY - Legislature tackles school bus, sex offender bills

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01/23/2009

By Rachel Koon

Just eight days in to a 40-day session, the Wyoming Legislature has already begun to move bills on a number of issues, from carbon capture regulations to increasing penalties for sex offenders who assault minors.

On Wednesday, the Legislature welcomed former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who paid a visit to both houses and spoke briefly to the Senate. According to a report from the Associated Press, Cheney spoke about his experiences in the Wyoming Legislature but made no mention of his time as vice president.

A Senate resolution passed Wednesday welcomed the Cheneys home to Wyoming. The couple plans to split their time between Jackson and Maryland.

Also on Wednesday, the House recommended approval of a bill proposed by Goshen County Rep. Ed Buchanan that would increase the minimum penalty for those convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a minor. According to the Associated Press, the current penalty allows sentences from zero to 50 years. If passed, the bill would impose a minimum sentence of 15-50 years.

Buchanan said before the session began that “sex offenders who perpetrate crimes against little children should be required to spend a significant, mandatory amount of time in prison, even for a first offense.”

Rep. Matt Teeters’ bill that would allow school bus drivers to report to law enforcement drivers who pass a school bus loading or unloading children was passed on second reading in the House, according to the Legislature Web site. Drivers found to have passed a school bus would be guilty of a misdemeanor. If passed, the law would go into effect in July.

A separate bill that would require seat belts on school busses purchased after July 1, 2009, passed the Senate on Thursday. The bill will now move to the House for its consideration.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Curt Meier that would allow Wyoming voters to decide whether to amend the state’s Constitution to specify that the state would not recognize same-sex marriages has been sent to the Senate Education Committee but has not yet been voted on.

Wyoming does not permit same-sex marriages to be conducted in the state, but the state currently recognizes marriages performed in other states, including same-sex unions.

Meier’s bill has attracted the attention of the Colorado Springs, Colo.,-based group Focus on the Family Action, which has been making calls around the state encouraging voters to urge their legislators to support the measure. According to the Associated Press, Focus on the Family’s calls have been targeting to areas represented by members of the Education Committee.

To get a place on the ballot, the bill would have to receive a two-thirds vote in both houses and be signed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

The Legislature has considered several other bills this week. On Tuesday, the House approved for the second time two bills on carbon capture and sequestration. The bills would expand state regulations on capture and sequestration. On Wednesday, the House passed on third reading the carbon capture bill that would specify how to value underground space for long-term carbon storage. The House also approved on second reading a bill making prescription drug forgery a felony, introduced legislation that would bar youth ages 15 and under from using ultraviolet tanning beds, passed on third reading a bill increasing tax on some moist snuff products (this bill will now go to the Senate), and introduced legislation prohibiting the hunting of game animals via the Internet.

On Thursday, a bill on illegal immigration was introduced in the House and referred to the House Agricultural, Public Lands and Water Resources Committee, according to the Associated Press. The bill would make it a felony to harbor or transport illegal immigrants in Wyoming.

This week the Senate approved on second reading a bill that, if passed, would require judges in the state to warn defendants who plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence charges that they could lose their federal firearms rights. The Senate also granted preliminary approval to a bill prohibiting the intentional feeding of elk.


OH - Woman sentenced for misconduct with teen

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01/23/2009

COSHOCTON - A Newark woman was sentenced Thursday to 10 days in the Coshocton Justice Center with work release after being found guilty of a fourth-degree felony count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

_____, 24, must register as a Tier II sex offender for the next 25 years after the sentence was handed down in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court.

According to the indictment against her, _____ had sexual relations with a 14-year-old boy when she was 23.

Judge Richard Evans also placed her on two years of community control sanctions.


GA - Former officer Graham pleads guilty

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On his Myspace page, he says he makes $250,000 and over. From where? A cop does not make that kind of money, legally.

01/23/2009

By Elizabeth Richardson - The Times-Herald

Former police officer Gregory Allen Graham (Myspace Page) pleaded guilty at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Coweta Superior Court to charges that include incest, child molestation, possession narcotics and criminal attempt to suborn perjury. He admittedly had an ongoing sexual relationship with a female relative that began in November 2007 when the victim was 14 years old.

Judge Jack Kirby accepted the state’s recommendation and sentenced Graham to 30 years with 18 years to serve in prison confinement. The balance of that sentence will be spent on probation. Upon release, Graham must register as a sex offender.

The victim’s mother told the court, “Our lives will never be the same,” but, “we will survive.”

The victim shared her emotional testimony and discussed her difficult journey ahead. “I’ve lost everything I once had,” she said. “I’m going through the exact same thing [as Graham].” She concluded by saying that she ultimately seeks to forgive Graham, not hate him.

Graham declined to make a comment when given the opportunity to address the court.

Graham was arrested on April 4, 2008, at his Sharpsburg residence after investigators with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and found items that included more than 500 steroids, sex toys and used prophylactics. The abuse was reported by the victim’s mother and later confirmed to police by the victim.

Leading up to the Friday morning court proceedings, Graham has been being held at the Coweta County Jail without bond after he absconded to Florida before a bond revocation hearing on Nov. 26, 2008. Graham was extradited back to Coweta on Dec. 2.


MA - Marzilli argues that charges are unconstitutional

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01/20/2009

By Andy Metzger

Arlington - Jim Marzilli is challenging the constitutionality of several of the charges leveled against him after a June 2008 arrest in Lowell.

A former state senator and a longtime state representative before that, Marzilli allegedly made sexual comments to women in Lowell, and then tried to grab one of them, before leading police on a foot chase.

Marzilli, 50, of Arlington, was charged with four counts of annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, along with three other charges.
- So what might these three other charges be?

According to Marzilli’s attorney, Terrence Kennedy, those four counts should be thrown out because they violate equal protection for people of different genders, which is supported by the Massachusetts Constitution.

If he were a woman doing the exact same thing, he could not be prosecuted,” Kennedy said.

However, in a legal brief filed with the court, assistant district attorneys Elizabeth Dunigan and Bethany Stevens argued that the law does not discriminate against one particular sex, it is aimed at people of either sex who target those of the opposite sex.

Also, that language about the victim being “a person of the opposite sex,” could be dropped from the law, and Marzilli would still be guilty of annoying and accosting someone, the prosecutors argued.

“The defendant is not being prosecuted because he is a male; he is being prosecuted because he accosted victims of the opposite sex,” the prosecutors wrote.

An old colonial law, dating back to 1699, the law used to include language about “rogues and vagabonds.”

The law can be used to prosecute those who solicit sex for a fee, it carries a possible penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $200.

It has been amended since its inception more than 300 years ago, but the law still makes the distinction that the offense is committed against “a person of the opposite sex.”

Kennedy said that with same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts, the law is clearly out-dated and discriminatory, and charges would not hold up on appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court.

Judge Frances McIntyre, who heard the motion on Jan. 15, has not yet made a ruling on the motion to dismiss.

In addition to the four counts of annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, Marzilli was also charged with attempt to commit a crime (indecent assault and battery); disorderly conduct; and resisting arrest.


NJ - ACLJ Pleased N.J. Supreme Court Takes Major Case Protecting Children from Convicted Sex Offenders

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Archived Court Case Files

The sex offender laws are unconstitutional, period, yet you will notice below they said "focusing on constitutional law!"  Yeah right!

01/23/2009

Author: American Center for Law and Justice

WASHINGTON - (Business Wire) The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, said today it is pleased that the New Jersey Supreme Court has decided to take a case involving an ordinance by the Township of Galloway, N.J. which is designed to keep convicted sex offenders away from children. The ACLJ represents the Township of Galloway and asked the state’s high court to take this case to uphold the ordinance, which was struck down by lower state courts.

The fact is that the ordinance in question is a legal and proper method of protecting children from convicted sex offenders,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “Galloway’s ordinance is in agreement with New Jersey law and the lower court decisions are flawed on many levels. The town has the right and duty to act on behalf of its children if it believes that the state action is insufficient as long as the municipality’s ordinance does not conflict with state law. We’re hopeful that the state’s highest court will uphold the Galloway ordinance and take the necessary action to protect the children of New Jersey.

In 2005, the Township of Galloway enacted the ordinance which created a buffer zone of 2,500 feet between the residences of convicted sex offenders and places where children normally congregate, specifically, schools, playgrounds, parks and day care centers. The ordinance was intended to compliment “Megan’s Law” which requires anyone convicted of committing a sex crime against a minor to register in the community in which he or she resides. “Megan’s Law” was upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1995. The trial court overturned Galloway’s buffer zones, holding that they constitute additional punishment to the sexual predator who already has paid his or her debt to society.

The case was appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division and that court upheld the findings of the lower court. The convicted sex offender in the case – referred to as “G.H.” – is represented by the ACLU of New Jersey which argued that “Megan’s Law” comprehensively regulated the post-prison behavior of sex offenders so that Galloway has no authority to legislate in this area.

In arguments before the appeals court last March, the ACLJ argued that Galloway’s buffer zones complimented “Megan’s Law.” The ACLJ noted that while sexual predators would be limited in where they could live within the town, they were prohibited from living only in those areas which are frequented by children such as near schools, playgrounds, day care centers and parks. The ACLJ contends that unlike those who commit other crimes, there is substantial evidence that sex offenders repeat their crimes.
- Show me this evidence?  I have many here, which prove otherwise!  Also, even if this were true, which it's not, but if it was, and since you say they will "repeat their crime", then how is a residency restriction going to prevent them from "repeating their crime?"  It won't, it's about punishment, period!

The case before the New Jersey Supreme Court is G.H. v. Township of Galloway (Summary).

More than 100 municipalities across New Jersey have enacted similar laws like the one in Galloway and are awaiting the outcome of this case.


FL - Cops: Registered sex offender murdered in St.Petersburg

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Another Article

01/23/2009

By Carly Timmons

ST.PETERSBURG - Police are investigating the murder of a registered sex offender.

Officers responded to a call of "shots heard" in the 2400 block of Highland Street South on Thursday night shortly before 8:00. When they arrived, officers discovered a white Ford E150 van had crashed into the rear of a parked, unattended silver Suzuki sedan.

Officers found Carmen Tungate slumped over in the driver's seat of the van. He had a gunshot wound to the upper body.
- And he is now deceased, but all the Florida police did, was change his status on the registry to deceased, but left him on the registry, why?  Maybe to bloat the registry and make it look like there are more sex offenders roaming the street, than there actually is?  They know he is deceased, so why leave him on the registry?  In case he comes back from the dead or something?

It appears that he lost control of his van after he was shot, and hit the sedan.

Tungate was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he was pronounced dead about five hours later.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, Tungate was a registered sexual offender.

Investigators say they have no other details at this time.



Why is he still on the registry, if he is deceased? Bloat maybe?


You will also notice, they post vehicle info, so vigilantes can know your tag # and car/van/truck you drive, so they can target you easier, like I believe this may have been done in this case.


OH - Attorney in sex sting surrenders law license

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01/23/2009

By James Nash - THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A New Albany lawyer who was arrested in a high-profile sex sting at the Statehouse has not only lost his marriage and a month of his freedom, but he also has lost his right to practice law.

Barry Mentser, 49, surrendered his law license yesterday in the middle of disciplinary proceedings against him.

Mentser, who had been a lawyer for nearly 25 years, is permanently barred from practicing law in Ohio.

With news cameras rolling, Mentser was arrested in October 2007 at the Statehouse by a Warren County detective who had posed online as a 14-year-old girl. The detective was part of sex-crimes task force and had come to Columbus to testify at a legislative hearing on Internet predators.

Mentser had sent nude photos of himself from a laptop computer in his S. Front Street office and had planned to meet the "girl" for sex, prosecutors said.

Mentser pleaded guilty to importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He also registered as a sex offender.

Mentser's law license was automatically suspended because of the felony convictions, and the Columbus Bar Association moved to permanently disbar him.

His decision to surrender his license puts a stop to the disciplinary case, a court spokesman said.

Mentser could not be reached for comment yesterday.


CA - Many Sex Offenders Forced From Home

Several registered sex offenders are on the move after being kicked out of their Antelope group home.


FL - Daughter Swap

A disturbing case out of Port Saint Lucie, where a father is accused of trying to swap his own two-year-old daughter for sex. Investigators say the man thought he was switching the children with another father online, but it was really a detective.


TX - Former sergeant pleads guilty to charge


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01/23/2009

By John Tompkins - The Facts

ANGLETON — A former Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office sergeant will have to surrender his peace officer’s license and register as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to indecency with a child.

Charles Bankston Jr., 39, is accused of touching a 15-year-old female family member’s breast and the inside of her thigh while the child was asleep in the family’s home Aug. 8, according to a court affidavit.

Bankston pleaded guilty Wednesday to the charge. Under the plea agreement, he received six years deferred adjudication, must register as a sex offender for life, surrender his peace officer’s license and must not have any contact with his victim, court documents state.

If convicted, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said the victim and her family were consulted before prosecutors agreed to the plea, she said.

“He faces the full penalty range if he’s revoked,” Yenne said.

Bankston’s attorney, Brooks Bass, declined comment except to say the plea deal brings the case to a close.

“The matter’s been finalized,” he said.

Bankston worked for the sheriff’s office for about three years after leaving the Angleton Police Department. He had worked for the sheriff’s office as a jailer before.

Brazoria County Sheriff Charles Wagner also declined comment about the case other than to say, “I’m just glad it’s over.”

Bankston Jr. cannot be around or work in an environment with children younger than 17 unless there are two adults older than 21 also present, court documents state.

The former sheriff’s sergeant reportedly entered the girl’s bedroom in the family’s Pearland home about 7 a.m. Aug. 8 and “saw her breast was exposed from the nipple down and he was kind of curious, so he touched her breast with his hand,” the affidavit states.

He also is accused of putting “his hands under the covers” and touching her “on the inner thigh,” the affidavit states. The girl reportedly “woke up and caught him,” according to the document.

The girl’s mother reported the incident, and Bankston originally told police he accidentally touched the girl while trying to cover her up. He later told them he did touch her, and when he turned himself in, he quit his position with the sheriff’s office, police have said.