Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Anybody who kills another human being, not in self defense, should be in prison until the day they die.
UKIAH - A man who said he had been sexually abused by a family friend since he was a child was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday for shooting the victim with a Civil War-style pistol and watching him die.
Aaron Vargas, 32, showed little emotion as his punishment was announced in the vigilante killing.
His sister [name withheld] noticed his lips were trembling — a sure sign he was about to cry.
"It's not over. We're going to appeal," [name withheld] said after her brother shuffled away, hands and feet shackled. "It's clear that the justice system still doesn't have an understanding of childhood sexual abuse."
Initially charged with murder, Vargas, of Fort Bragg, Calif., pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 63-year-old [name withheld] and could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
Lawyers and supporters of Vargas asked for probation.
But Judge Ronald Brown said he imposed the harsh sentence because he believed Vargas had gone to [name withheld]'s house with the intent to kill him. He also said he could not condone the use of violence to solve problems.
"The circumstances support the conclusion the defendant intended to kill the victim, and the method was intended to make the victim suffer," Brown said.
Vargas testified that [name withheld] began molesting him when he was 11 and kept stalking him into adulthood. After the February 2009 killing, about a dozen men, including [name withheld]'s stepson, came forward to say [name withheld] had molested them.
Hundreds of Vargas supporters asked the judge for leniency, saying Vargas needed therapy and was not a threat. The Mendocino County courtroom was packed Tuesday, with many people wearing buttons saying, "Free Aaron Vargas."
Prosecutor Beth Norton, however, said Vargas lacked impulse control and had problems with drinking that led to three DUIs. She also stressed he had shot his alleged abuser to death rather than turning him over to law enforcement.
"There is an angry, violent aspect to Aaron Vargas," she said. "The risk here is too great."
Defense attorney Tom Hudson countered that his client was owed a second chance.
"Aaron Vargas has never had a chance to show he can be a regular human being without [name withheld] pestering him," Hudson said. "Humanity needs us to give him that chance."
The lawyer said the lives of other men who came forward alleging abuse by [name withheld] had been disrupted by alcohol and drugs. One killed himself. the lawyer said.
Co-workers testified that [name withheld] looked for Vargas at his workplace, and family members said [name withheld] tracked Vargas down when he moved, calling him at home up to a dozen times a day even after he and [name withheld], his longtime girlfriend, got engaged and had a child.
[name withheld] even insisted he wanted to baby-sit the child, [name withheld] testified.
Vargas "was defending himself and his daughter, because the system failed," [name withheld] said in court.
Vargas testified he had a drinking problem and needed help. During his 16 months in jail, he had been seeing a therapist and attending anti-alcohol abuse meetings, he said.
"I have all sorts of regrets for that day, previous days and previous years," he said.
Psychiatrist Donald Apostle said Vargas showed signs of sustained trauma.
"It was a secret shame," Apostle said. "It devoured him."
Vargas was unable to break [name withheld]'s control, and the alleged abuse continued into his adult years, Apostle said.
"It was almost like a learned helplessness," he said before recommending probation for Vargas. "He's been in prison his whole life. He needs help, not more punishment."
Court records state that three days before the shooting, Vargas met and talked with other men who allegedly had been abused by [name withheld]. Vargas spent the next few days trying to deal with his feelings.
On the night of the shooting, Vargas' blood-alcohol content was about .15 — nearly twice the legal limit, according to court records.
Vargas testified his memory of the night was faulty. He said he recalled [name withheld] denying the accusations before Vargas yelled back that [name withheld] wasn't going to hurt anyone anymore. Then the gun went off, Vargas said.
The victim's wife, [name withheld], was just a few feet away. She said Vargas kicked and cursed at the dying man while stopping her from seeking help.
Despite the violence, she later attended a fundraiser for Vargas' defense. In a letter to prosecutors, she said "something having to do with Aaron's childhood sexual abuse caused Aaron to snap, and do what he did."
Vargas' family will consider an appeal and work to get him treatment while establishing a nonprofit in his name to help victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Growing up, [name withheld] hadn't understood what made her outgoing, fun-loving brother withdraw and turn to drugs. Only after [name withheld]'s death did she understand how deeply Vargas had been affected by him.
"It was like I saw my 12-year-old brother again," she said. "That anger was gone from his eyes. He was just sad. Now he's more at peace. He's opened up. He's back."
We’re writing with a request. If you currently live in Bulloch, Columbia, or Chatham county and if the offense for which you are required to register occurred after July 1, 2006, can you please contact us at (404) 688-1202 x 210 or via email? This will help us to plan the next steps in our lawsuit. Thanks very much in advance.
Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 688-1202 (T)
(404) 688-9440 (F)
OH - ONLINE EXCLUSIVE - Sex offenders want restrictions lifted; sheriffs not reacting yet to court's ruling
Obey the constitution and the court ruling, period! The law is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court said so, and that is the law of the land.
By Randy Ludlow
Saying they are free at last, some sex offenders are calling sheriff's offices and demanding that their pictures and addresses be removed from online listings.
But sheriffs are being told not to alter anything while lawyers and prosecutors work to determine the fallout from a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision.
The justices ruled that six tiers of sex offenders sentenced before Jan. 1, 2008, improperly were reclassified into three federally mandated tiers that have tougher reporting and registration requirements.
The court's mandate to Ohio's attorney general to reclassify the affected sex offenders means some offenders no longer will need to register or report to sheriff's offices.
For example, under the state's Megan's Law classifications, the lowest-level offenders sexually oriented and child-victim oriented were required to register their addresses annually for 10 years.
The adoption of the federal Adam Walsh Act guidelines beginning in 2008 then required many of those same sex criminals to report their addresses for 15 years and to report in-person to a sheriff's office once a year.
Now, thousands of Ohio's 26,000 sex offenders will be shifted back to the 10-year registration, meaning an undetermined number no longer will have to register and are to be removed from offender listings.
Officials say the worst offenders, those classified as sexual predators and child-victim predators, will be unaffected.
Under both Megan's Law and the Adam Walsh Act, those offenders are under lifetime registration requirements and are required to report in-person to a sheriff's office every 90 days.
Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association, has been fielding calls from sheriffs who say that some sex offenders are citing the court ruling and insisting they be freed from reporting requirements.
Cornwell has advised the sheriffs to do nothing until they hear from their county prosecutors. The attorney general's office has no estimate of when its reclassification work will be complete and offenders notified.
"I'd rather have the offender mad at the sheriff than the public," Cornwell said.
And because he's a "celebrity," he won't be brought up on child porn charges. The age of consent in California is 18, she's 17.
By Michelle Lamar
Perez Hilton posted a picture of posted a picture on Twitter of Miley Cyrus wearing a short dress and no underwear. The 17-year-old pop star was climbing out of an open-topped convertible car and her private parts were exposed. The celeb blogger got the picture of teenager’s lady parts and passed it along for his two million Twitter followers to see!
Perez posted the Twitter pic with a disclaimer:
If you are easily offended, do NOT click here. Oh, Miley! Warning: truly not for the easily offended!
But CBS News reports that the controversial celeb blogger might be looking at legal trouble for his bad move:
But it’s the celebrity blogger that might need a warning. Cyrus is underage. Police might consider her naked image child pornography.
Note to Perez: Posting a picture of “private parts” for two million people to see, is wrong. Posting a picture of a teen girl’s private parts is beyond wrong and you should know better. I don’t care if the person is a public figure or not, Miley Cyrus wasn’t trying to show off, she was just getting out of a car.
Note to Miley Cryus and HER PARENTS: Don’t wear a skirt without underwear because people will post it on Twitter for the whole world to see.
The teen pop queen has received criticism for being too sexy as part of her latest concert tour but she doesn’t deserve what Perez did to her, in my opinion.
NY - Sen. Charles Schulmer still playing the fear card - He says, predators are among us, well, he is one of them, preying on fear!
Original Article (Listen)
By Tom Wrobleski
STATEN ISLAND - When parents drop their kids off at a karate school, piano lesson or birthday party, the last thing they're thinking is that their child could be molested by a sex offender.
- Well, statistics show that they are more likely to be molested by someone who is NOT a sex offender, but by their own family. Or to get run over by a drunk driver, but, those statistics don't help you get ahead in your corrupt fear-mongering career, now do they?
But a gaping loophole in federal law means that everyday, fun-filled events like birthday parties, taking music lessons, playing sports or visiting a carnival could put kids in the crosshairs of pedophiles.
- Not all sex offenders are pedophiles either, and again, that doesn't spook people so you can get elected or look good to the gullible sheeple out there.
That's because current laws don't restrict pedophiles from working with children in jobs that are not funded by the government.
- Hell, Mark Foley was working for the government, and he was hitting on teenage pages. That didn't stop him either.
- Why should it? It's only BS from fear-mongers like you, exploiting people and instilling fear in them. And notice the nice little PR stunt with him standing in a ball field? Yeah, they usually do that, kind of funny if you think about it.
Schumer is introducing legislation aimed at closing the loophole and further restricting sex offenders' access to children.
- Not all sex offenders have harmed children, yet he doesn't want you to know that, because he could not use your fear against you, to eradicate peoples rights, and eventually yours. No amount of laws will prevent a child from being harmed, if someone intends on harming a child.
- Again, not all sex offenders have harmed children. Stop using the terms sex offender, child molester and pedophile as if they are all one and the same, they are not, but this is done by fear-mongering politics. Remember, fear is a great way to scare people into supporting someone, if they are gullible and believe the BS, which unfortunately, most do.
"I think parents are not aware of this," Schumer said. "And they should be."
- Hopefully it's because they see through your BS?
The hazards of the loophole hit close to home in 2008, when it was discovered that Islander [name withheld] was officiating PSAL basketball games despite having been convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in 1992. [name withheld] had worked more than 80 girls varsity and JV basketball games over six years.
- So, did he molest anybody in all this time?
More recently, a man who had been convicted of molesting an 11-year-old girl was found to be running a karate school in Queens.
- And again, did he commit another crime?
"As we all know, there are predators among us," Schumer said. "We cannot let our guard down."
- Yeah, and predators are not just sexual either, some are politicians!
Schumer's legislation would amend current federal law to prevent convicted and registered sex offenders from accepting paid or volunteer employment positions which place them in direct and substantial contact with minors.
- If a person committed a crime against a child, then this is reasonable, but many do not, so punishing them like this and assuming all sex offenders are child molesters, is just pure BS!
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 leaves sex offender employment decisions up to the states. Schumer's legislation would require states to prevent sex offenders from accepting any of these child-serving positions.
- Employment should not be up to the state or federal government, period, and not all sex offenders, again, have harmed children. Stop the d--- fear mongering.
"The fact that these sex offenders are able to coach our children's teams, operate rides at fairs and teach them dance and music is beyond scary and we must take immediate action to stop it," Schumer said.
- Oh shut up, will you?
For now, Schumer said that parents can protect their children by checking the state's sex offender registry if they have suspicions about anyone their child comes into contact with.
- If at any time you are ever uneasy about someone, you should question them, that is a given. People need to start being parents again, and stop letting the corrupt government decide what to eat, and when to sleep.
"But if you go to an amusement park or someplace like that, it's awfully hard," Schumer said. "The law's really what's necessary."
- No, the law is not necessary. What is necessary is for people to become educated and see through political BS, educate their kids, and be parents, you know, like in the old days?
Appearing with Schumer, Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs for the Safe Horizon advocacy group, called child molestation "a heinous crime."
- Of course it's a heinous crime, but stomping on peoples rights and fear-mongering is not the way to solve it.
"We're fortunate to have allies like Senator Schumer," he said.
- Hell, if everyone in the government was like him, we'd all be in prison.
Michael Cusick and Janele Hyer-Spencer applauded Schumer's effort.
"These criminals have a high rate of recidivism, and it is of paramount importance to limit their contact with children in our communities," said Cusick (D-Mid-Island).
- No they don't! Care to site the study you found this in? I can point you to many which show this is all BS, here, here, and here.
"I'm grateful to Senator Schumer for his dedication on this issue throughout his career, and his support at this critical time," said Ms. Hyer-Spencer (D-East Shore/Brooklyn).
The legislation is set to be introduced at the end of the week.