Wednesday, February 10, 2010
By RANDI ROSSMANN
A Petaluma woman was arrested after police concluded she had falsely reported that a store clerk sexually assaulted her last week, Petaluma police said Tuesday.
Lillian Palmer, 23, of Petaluma was arrested Monday on suspicion of falsely reporting a crime. She posted bail early Tuesday and was released from Sonoma County Jail.
Palmer contacted police late Feb. 3, saying she had been sexually assaulted while shopping at the 7-Eleven on Lakeville Highway, Sgt. Andrew Urton reported.
She said was attacked by a store clerk and gave details of the assault. She said there was no one else in the store at the time, Urton said.
She accompanied officers to the store where she identified the man and placed him under citizen's arrest on suspicion of sexual assault.
Officers took the man to the Petaluma police station for questioning, where he denied any wrongdoing. He was released after a few hours, Sgt. Jim Stephenson said.
The store manager subsequently provided surveillance tapes from the store, which showed no sign of an attack, Urton said. Officers determined there had been no attack. The employee, who wasn't identified by police, was released and no charges were filed.
Officers on Monday asked Palmer to come to the station for further investigation. When confronted with the lack of evidence about the attack Palmer admitted she fabricated the account, Urton said.
Police said they did not know what prompted her allegation. The two apparently didn't know each other, Lt. Mike Cook said.
- So, is she going to be charged with false accusations and put into prison for awhile? She could have ruined this persons life, so she should be punished as well. We must stop allowing woman ruin men over bogus charges like this, and yes, it's usually woman. And where is her photo, so we can all see her, and stay away from her?
Like I've said before, when the constitution is not worth the paper and ink it's written with, and the politicians in office are not upholding their oath of office, which they swore on the bible to defend, anything is possible, and no wonder America is crumbling.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Repeat sex offenders convicted of raping a child 6 years old or younger would be eligible for the death penalty under a bill passed by a House committee.
The bill by Rep. Rex Duncan (Email) was overwhelmingly approved Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, despite a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such laws were unconstitutional.
- So, you can bet law suits will follow, and it will wind it's way back to the Supreme Court, and be found unconstitutional once again!
The Sand Springs Republican says he feels the court erred in its decision and that he believes a new court could uphold the law.
In a Louisiana case in which a man was sentenced to death for raping an 8-year-old girl, the nation's highest court ruled that allowing the death penalty in such cases violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
- And surely they will do the same here.
By David Alire Garcia
Nearly eight percent of Michigan’s sex offender population is made up of juveniles, according to statistics compiled by the Michigan State Police in response to a public records request from the Michigan Messenger.
The statistics further reveal that the state’s youngest registered sex offenders are 9 years old. The state counts a total of 3,563 juvenile sex offenders on the registry, all of whom were adjudicated through the state’s juvenile court system.
All sex offenders in Michigan -– juveniles and adults alike -– face a minimum of 25 years on the state registry, along with requirements to check-in regularly with law enforcement and other restrictions. The maximum registration requirement is life.
While there are relatively few 9-12 year olds on the registry (145 cases adjudicated) there are many more registered teenage sex offenders age 13-17 (2,361 cases).
“It’s shocking,” said Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (Contact), referring to the juvenile sex offender statistics. “I’m pretty surprised at the numbers. They’re bigger than I thought they would be.”
As of November, 45,164 Michigan residents were registered sex offenders, giving the state the distinction of having the second highest ratio of sex offenders of any state in the country. According to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Act, all violations of the state’s Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) laws -– not just rape or child molestation -– require the perpetrator to be on the sex offender list.
Most of the juvenile sex offenders are likely only listed on the private or “law enforcement-only” registry -– not the public online registry -– but they are still subject to the quarterly registration requirements. Further penalties loom if the registrant fails to check-in on time with law enforcement.
Under the provisions of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that Michigan must comply with later this year, the state may have to do away with the private registry all together -– which could force most juvenile sex offenders onto the online registry for the duration of their registration requirements.
“Under Adam Walsh, all those kids over 14 would be on the public registry,” said Weisberg. “Every single one of them.”
The federal sex offender definition excludes juveniles less than 14 years old.
Moreover, critics of the state registry often point to the employment- and housing-denying stigma that accompanies extended punishment on the public registry long after consensual but underage sex, or other non-violent sex crimes, has triggered an offense.
One critic, a member of the Coalition for a Useful Registry and the mother of a juvenile sex offender, argues that juvenile offenders are treated more harshly than offenders age 17-21. She spoke only on the condition that her name would not be published due to fear that any publicity could harm her son.
She noted that in the state’s adult court system, 17 to 21-year-olds are able to petition a judge to avoid the sex offender registry and even have their convictions expunged under the provisions of the state Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) if they successfully complete the terms of their probation. Juvenile offenders adjudicated in juvenile court, however, aren’t eligible to be granted so-called “youthful trainee” status.
“Some of our youngest juveniles are getting some of the worst sentences in all of this,” she said, adding that “for the most part, these cases come down to youthful curiosity.”
“And yet they’re made to look like the worst of the worst,” she said. “I just think we’re writing off some young lives long before we ever should be.”
She added that it would be “a real eye-opener” to many state lawmakers that so many pre-teen and teenage juvenile offenders are on the state’s sex offender registry.
Another mother of a juvenile sex offender who also spoke on the condition her name wouldn’t be published, noted that the petitioning process via HYTA was originally designed to emulate juvenile adjudication and allow some young offenders to avoid the harsh, long-term consequences of being listed on the public registry. But since 1988 and unlike many other states, juvenile records in Michigan are public.
“The kids don’t have the ability to get HYTA unless their lawyer is savvy enough to say, ‘Hey, let’s have this case heard in adult court,’ and the prosecutor says, ‘Ok, that would be better,’” she said. “The juveniles are getting left behind.”
This second mother, also involved with efforts to reform the state’s sex offender laws, says she sees a paradox in how a juvenile system meant to protect children can often have the reverse effect.
“I’ve always found it ironic that we talk the talk in terms of creating sex offender legislation that we’ve got to protect our children, but then when we come along and pass these laws and we forget that the kind of people we need to protect from these laws are juveniles,” she said. “We forget that.”
What? Anybody know of ANY federal law that says all counties across this country must have their own registry? What a ton of wasted money, if this is true. Why isn't a single state registry, or one federal registry sufficient enough? I think someone doesn't know how to read laws, but, I could be mistaken. If anybody is aware of this so-called federal law, please let me know.
By Alan Mauldin
MOULTRIE — A local sex offender registry of the more than 100 county residents meeting the criteria is set to go online later this year.
The registry, which gives the name, age, description, address, and other information, already is available on state and federal Web sites, but legal requirements have been put in place requiring counties to maintain their own sites.
Georgia law also requires sheriff’s offices to maintain a list of sexual offenders, and to have them available at county administrative buildings, municipal administrative buildings, clerk of superior court offices in addition to online.
In Colquitt County there are about 107 people who are required to register as sexual offenders, said Deputy Jennifer Gay, who works in complying with state law and verifying the addresses of offenders.
Of those, three -- one of whom is incarcerated -- are considered sexual predators, Gay said. The two who are not in jail are required to wear global positioning satellite ankle monitors, and because they are on probation are monitored by the parole office.
Sexual predators are those who have been designated by the state as a sexually violent predator or who have been determined to be a risk of committing future dangerous sexual offenses.
“They are classified as those most likely to re-offend,” Gay said.
She said that the number of people who fall under registry requirements has been remaining fairly constant.
The county’s sex offender registry page is under construction.
When it is in operation residents can check the site at Colquitt County Commission site.
“I’m hoping to have it completed in the next couple of months,” Gay said. “It’s federal law (that) every sheriff’s office shall have their own Web site and maintain it. We can no longer piggy back off the GBI Web site.”
- Really, a federal law? Show me the federal law!
By Jason Wheeler
Portland - Portland could be the next on the list of towns and cities with an ordinance that would ban sex offenders from living too close to schools or parks.
At a meeting of Portland's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, Portland Police, Department of Corrections and local advocacy groups sat down to discuss a new set of rules. The ordinance was proposed by Councilor Dory Waxman after police leafleted Portland's Parkside neighborhood back in December. At the time, 17 convicted sex offenders were living in a building on Cumberland Avenue, directly across the street from Portland High School and near the Boys and Girls Club.
The ordinance would ban convicted sex offenders from living anywhere within 750 to 250 feet from a school or public park.
"We don't want people living in fear, we don't want convicted sex offenders being targeted," says Councilor Waxman. "We want the city to be safe for everyone. Thats why I brought this ordinance forward, to start a conversation that some people haven't been willing to have until now."
- Well, I think you do want people to live in fear and sex offenders targeted. This buffer zone will do absolutely nothing to protect or prevent anybody from committing a crime, but it will help you to "look good" to the people. Are you running for office I wonder?
But the Maine Civil Liberties Union (Email) says the ban is the wrong move Portland. It would essentially outlaw sex offenders from living anywhere on the peninsula and likely not make Portland any safer.
"They are not effective at reducing the risks to children or sex crimes against children," says Alysia Melnick of the MCLU. "In fact, they might actually increase risks because residency restrictions drive offenders underground, off registries, and on to the streets."
The Public Safety Committee will meet again in March to discuss the issue further. After that, it's up to the City Council to set the best course of action. If the ordinance passes, registered sex offenders already living in banned zones would not be forced to move.
By Veronica Gonzalez
Joseph Guarascio went from being a New York City cop, to owner of a private police force in Wilmington to becoming a convicted sex offender.
On Tuesday, his life took another turn when he became a federal prisoner.
U.S. District Judge James Dever III sentenced the 45-year-old Wilmington man to 15 years after Guarascio pleaded guilty last year to making child porn -- a sex tape with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
Guarascio must serve most of his sentence, and when he's released, he'll be on probation for the rest of his life. He'll also have to register as a sex offender.
But Guarascio could have faced even more time in prison. The maximum sentence was 30 years and he received the minimum.
- While John Q. Public usually gets the maximum!
What helped Guarascio was a federal prosecutor's motion that recognized his efforts to save a Brunswick County jailer from another inmate's assault, said federal prosecutor Ethan Ontjes of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
- Who cares what he did to save someone? He committed a crime, and should be treated as any other citizen of the public!
“He helped save a guard or intervene when a guard was jumped by another inmate in Brunswick County,” Ontjes said Tuesday. Guarascio had been held at the Brunswick County jail while his case was pending.
Marcia Shein, the Atlanta attorney who represented Guarascio at his sentencing, said that her client was somber about the punishment imposed on him in Raleigh.
“He's very disappointed in himself that his life has taken this direction,” she said. “He's done so well throughout his life. He's been a hero and was a person who participated in rescue efforts in 9/11. He's been devastated by what happened."
“I think he just lost his way with a relationship he had with someone,” Shein said. “The federal government frowns upon that in certain circumstances, and unfortunately that's where he ended up.”
- Since when has this been an excuse for anyone else?
Though the age of consent in North Carolina is 16, it is illegal to film sexual activity with anyone under 18 years old.
The child pornography case came to light after Guarascio was arrested in October 2008 after a 14-year-old girl reported to police that Guarascio had sexually assaulted her by performing sex acts on her in front of her friend. But charges against him involving the younger girl were dropped as part of a federal plea agreement he signed when he pleaded guilty to the child porn charge. In return, additional charges involving his 17-year-old girlfriend also were dropped. The child pornography charge was the most serious offense and carried the harshest penalty, prosecutors have said.
Guarascio, who owned Inter-Pol Special Police Services, was charged with making child pornography after investigators seized his cell phone and computer when they searched his house. Investigators found more than 3,000 images of child porn on his computer and sexually explicit photos of the 17-year-old on his cell phone, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office news release. Guarascio was never charged with having the images on his computer, according to attorneys involved with the case.
This article is about sex offenders in general, so why does the news media feel it's needed to insert "molester" into the title of the article instead of sex offenders? Why do they do this? This would be like me, on a news story about drug dealers, inserting the word "serial killer" into the title, when the article is about drug dealers, not serial killers. Maybe not a good analogy, but you get the picture, I hope! See the video at the site.
Rep. Ken Luttrell Says Sexual Predators Attuned To Social Networking
OKLAHOMA CITY - State leaders are discussing a tough new law to protect children from sex offenders.
Oklahoma lawmakers want to go after sex offenders on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.com. Investigators say sex offenders are certainly attuned to social networking.
- Are you kidding me? You are assuming all sex offenders are using social networks, or even know how to use a computer. Just because a sex offender may be using the site, doesn't mean they are out hunting for kids to molest. That would be like me saying all politicians are corrupt, when in fact it's not true. You are labeling all sex offenders molesters and saying they use social networks to hunt for kids, that is just absurd! Anything to get elected or to "look tough" on crime though, right?
"Say they go to a social networking site and they see you're interested in a particular song or have a particular hobby," said Richard Lay, supervisor of the cyber squad at the FBI.
Lay said the predator will set up his profile to make it look like he is interested in the same thing.
- Yes, a true predator will probably do this, but not all sex offenders are child molesting predators either.
"So when they approach the child online, they have an instant commonality," he said.
- So, why aren't the parents teaching their kids what to look out for, and the "don't talk to strangers" talk? Parents are no longer parents, they want to have kids, but let the government take care of them instead of them accepting responsibility and doing it.
The representative who is proposing legislation, HB2934, to stop predators on social networking sites said he knows the plan is not perfect. However, Rep. Ken Luttrell (Email), D-Ponca City, said authorities would be able to catch some child sex offenders online if E-STOP, the Electronic Security Targeting Online Predators Act, is made into law.
- So, the bill is to stop predators, but just because a sex offender is using the site, doesn't mean they are a predator, now does it. This is so you can kick off ALL sex offenders from social networking sites, not just predators.
Luttrell explained that when a sex offender registers with authorities, they have to register their computer information. So, even though they might try to use a fake name online, Facebook would recognize their computer identity and kick them off.
- Yeah right. We all know that is BS! A person intent on committing a crime, can create a new email address in a matter of seconds, and use it to do whatever they want to do, and you'd know nothing about it, and you see, they admit the goal in the last statement, "Facebook would recognize them and kick them off!" That is the intent, to kick all sex offenders off, regardless on whether they are a predator or not.
Lawmakers said the program is already in place in New York. Investigators there said they have been able to remove more than 3,500 sex offenders from social networking sites.
- Just because New York is corrupt, doesn't mean you need to follow suit. Hell, if they jumped off a cliff, would you follow them? Well, don't answer that, we already know you would.