Thursday, December 30, 2010

KS - Former Lansing Police Officer (William Brian Duncan), School Board Member Charged With Sex Crime

Original Article

12/30/2010

KANSAS CITY - A former Lansing, Kan., police officer and school board member was charged in federal court on Thursday with attempting to entice a minor for illicit sex, United States Attorney Beth Phillips said.

William Brian Duncan, 40, of Leavenworth, Kan., was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court and remained in federal custody pending a hearing on Jan. 5.

Phillips said Duncan was an officer with the Lansing Police Department until November. He had been a DARE officer and coordinator of the Safe Kids program, and was named Officer of the Year in 2008. Duncan resigned from the Lansing School Board in November.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Duncan communicated online with a person he believed to be 14 years old. The affidavit said Duncan was communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer. Many of the conversations were sexual in nature, according to the affidavit.

During an online chat Tuesday, Duncan began arranging to meet in person and drove to a meeting location the next day. He was arrested by a Kansas City, Mo., police officer.


IL - Judge temporarily lifts order for woman to register as sex offender

Original Article

12/30/2010

By Edith Brady-Lunny

BLOOMINGTON -- A judge has temporarily rescinded his order that a woman convicted of battery register as a sex offender.

McLean County Judge Charles Reynard ruled Thursday that [name withheld]'s attempts to register with police in Peoria and Bloomington satisfied his Nov. 12 sentencing order, even though authorities in both communities refused to register her on the misdemeanor battery conviction.

Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong argued that battery is not included on the list of offenses requiring registration as a sex offender. Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Patton agreed with Wong's position, but asked that [name withheld] remain on sex offender probation, a program that requires defendants to follow state rules for sex offenders.

[name withheld]'s lawyer argued that routine probation would allow [name withheld] to be supervised without the additional requirements.

A jury acquitted [name withheld] of aggravated criminal sexual abuse but found her guilty of the battery of two minors. In his sentencing decision, Reynard found that the battery was "sexually motivated.'"

Reynard said he would take the registration issue under advisement and announce a final ruling Feb. 3. Also lifted temporarily was a restriction that kept [name withheld] from driving until she had completed the sex offender registration.

Reynard did not remove a probation rule that restricts [name withheld] from using social networks on the Internet until a sex offender treatment provider reports that the rule is no longer needed.

After the hearing, Wong claimed that limited access to the Internet hampers [name withheld]'s efforts to secure a job.

"It's still going to be difficult, particularly with her efforts to seek employment," she said.


OFF TOPIC - TX - Woman Charged With Murder in Death of 12-Year-Old Texas Boy

Original Article

12/30/2010

HOUSTON -- A woman has been charged with capital murder in the death of a 12-year-old Houston boy whose badly burned body was found in a ditch this week following his Christmas Eve disappearance.

[name withheld], 44, was arrested Wednesday. She remained in jail Thursday on no bond. Court records did not list an attorney.

Police say Jonathan Foster, who had been left home alone, was kidnapped from his home on Christmas Eve before being killed and burned.

"[name withheld] has made what investigators call a self-serving statement, which places her with Jonathan. However, she has not admitted to killing him," Houston police spokesman Kese Smith told the Houston Chronicle. "She is the only suspect."

Homicide investigator Mike Miller said investigators believe [name withheld] took the boy to her home, where she likely killed him and burned his body.

Miller said that while a search of [name withheld]'s home turned up an "incredible amount of evidence," investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

Jonathan's mother, Angela Davis, said she'd met [name withheld] only once, on the night of her son's disappearance.

[name withheld] was friends with Davis' roommate and the boy's frequent babysitter, Sharon Ennamorato, who described [name withheld] as a friend who used to work in maintenance at an apartment complex across the street from the home.

Davis had moved into the home with Ennamorato on Dec. 14, after she and Jonathan's stepfather split up. Both Davis and Ennamorato had to work on Friday morning, so Foster was to stay home alone till his mother was expected to return in the early afternoon.

While at work that morning, a colleague told Davis her son had called the office and was asking for Ennamorato's number.

Then a woman called back, saying it was an emergency. Davis said that by the time she made it to the phone, the line was dead.

Concerned, Davis called the house phone repeatedly as she drove there, she said. Someone picked up just minutes before she pulled up around 2 p.m.

She said when a woman answered, Davis asked to speak to her son. She heard a woman say: "Is your mama's name Angela?" she said.

And she heard Jonathan say: "Yes ma'am, my mama's name is Angela." Then the phone went dead.

When she opened the door moments later, cartoons were still on the TV, and a game was up on the computer screen. She called for her son, but got no answer.

"The only thing missing in this house is his tan T-shirt with a guitar on it, a pair of jeans, his white sneakers and his black stuffed cat that my grandmother made him," Davis said. "There was no struggle."

Davis said that [name withheld] stopped by the house that night, telling her that she had come to the house that morning looking for Ennamorato, and that Jonathan had answered the door wearing no shirt, and it seemed like someone was in the house with him.

Court records show that in 1984, [name withheld] was charged with aggravated robbery. She later pleaded guilty in exchange for 10 years' probation. Her probation was revoked in 1991 and she was sent to prison. The newspaper reports that it was unclear from court records how long she spent in prison.


The Homeless Ex-Offender, Part 1

Original Article

12/30/2010

By Pat Hartman

Registered sex offenders have a very rough time, since they’re forbidden to live near anything except a toxic waste dump. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. And some might say, why remind the audience of their least favorite variety of people experiencing homelessness? Unhoused people do come in many shapes, sizes, colors, occupations, and states of physical and mental health; and some of them, it’s true, have been convicted of sex crimes, and they have served time for it.

There are three things to remember. One, not every accused and convicted person is guilty. Two, the term “sex offender” covers not only the pedophile with a long history of molesting kids, but the youth convicted for having sex with his underage girlfriend, and the guy who has downloaded kiddie porn to his computer.

In terms of public menace, there’s a difference. Nobody here is condoning any kind of sex crimes. But if you’ve ever had a family member or a friend who ran afoul of the law in this way, you know what a slim chance they have of living a normal life again.

Now, here comes the really big theme: If the problem of homeless sex offenders can be solved, it will go a long way toward improving the general public opinion toward people experiencing homelessness, and possibly prevent some hate crimes. What stands in the way, in more than 30 states, are the restrictions on where an ex-offender may live.

Iowa was the first state to create tough residency restrictions. Consequently, the number of “whereabouts unknown” sex offenders doubled. When Kansas enacted its law, a constitutional challenge was slapped down, encouraging other states to “get tough” too. When residency requirement laws were enacted in various states, they not only forced some ex-offenders out of homes they rented or even owned, and cost them their jobs, but had made it nearly impossible for those newly released from prison to find anywhere to live at all. Some would even have families to return to, if not for rules about distance from places frequented by children.

The year 2006 saw the enactment of Jessica’s Law in California, named after the victim in an especially heinous case. In the following years, other horrendous crimes have taken place in the state regardless, and there were other unintended consequences. Within two years, the number of transient sex crime parolees rose by 800%. As of last month, the ban had led to what one reporter called “a dangerous 24-fold increase in the number of homeless sex offenders.” [The link is ours.] Isn’t that, like, a 2,400% increase? Sounds awful, when you put it that way.

With residency restrictions, ex-offenders tend to move to rural areas, where it’s easier to live far from a school or park, but this is difficult for the settled country residents. In the city, any landlord willing to rent to these unwanted people will probably be overwhelmed with applications. Washington Post reporter Karl Vick pointed out that in Long Beach, 19 ex-offenders ended up living in the same small apartment complex, and Carson had 30 pariahs in one hotel.

This kind of thing is alarming, so the neighbors become irate and active, and do whatever they can to eject the frightening newcomers… who are soon homeless once more, adding another spiral to the vicious circle. In Orange County, over a third of registered sex offenders are homeless, and a lot of them live in an encampment in the industrial part of Anaheim, the same town where Disneyland is located, which is kind of weird.

Understanding how unreasonable residency restrictions are, judges had been granting exemptions to parolees on an individual basis, but what a waste of court time and public money it is. Then, the state Superior Court recently found some parts of Jessica’s Law unconstitutional. A recent Los Angeles Times editorial said,

Before parents shudder at the thought of sex offenders now being allowed to live within 2,000 feet of schools and parks, they should remember the utter lack of evidence that the restriction ever kept a child from being molested.

Jessica’s Law could not change the ugly fact that most child victims (93%, according to the Justice Department) are molested by someone they know, family members or friends of the family, who live in the same house or have unquestioned access to their victims, and no prior convictions to provide a clue. Neighborhoods refuse to recognize that, preferring to obsess about strangers, and enjoying a false sense of security if the strangers can be kept at bay.

Of course, with limited funding and resources, it’s easy to think, “Wait a minute, why should we find housing for ex-convicts, when there are so many deserving young families out in the cold?” The prioritizing of who should be helped first is too big a question to go into right now.

The bottom line is, as many are beginning to discover, it’s better to be “smart on crime” than “tough on crime.” Even Georgia, not a notoriously liberal state, has loosened up, abandoning residency restrictions for those who have committed offenses before 2003. The state officials might even decide to exempt the elderly and disabled ex-offenders.


NY - Nassau Residents Urge Passage of Sex Offender Bill

Original Article

12/30/2010

By Geoffrey Walter

Proposed legislation would change how predator-free zones are measured.

While no community wishes to house sex offenders, it has increasingly become an issue on Long Island of if not here, then where?

Many communities have incurred the spotlight after passing predator-free zones with such wide radiuses where offenders may not live that they are forced within a tiny area, often in camps. Many more live homeless on the streets.

While Suffolk County has dealt with the issue by building trailer homes for the offenders–each of these trailer park facilities reportedly cost in the millions–Nassau does not have the space on which to build, thus causing more offenders to live where they can, unmonitored and unchecked.

Some of the offenders are housed in hotels via the Nassau County Department of Social Services, but this too can lead to drawbacks.

Jericho resident Mark Aaron and wife, Margaret, brought the matter of homeless sex offenders up at the Nassau County Legislature's Dec. 20 meeting. According to the Aarons, as of Oct. 27, there were nine registered sex offenders living in three Jericho hotels, "all within a fee hundred feet of each other."

Two of the hotels were within 500 feet of a local park, which is a violation of current Nassau County law.

"We were informed that according to their interpretation of the law, which is that measurements are based on navigable or walking distance and not on a direct radius or straight line, they were not violating the law and there was nothing they could do to help us," Aaron said of repeated calls made to the Nassau County Police Department.

County Executive Ed Mangano, R-Bethpage, hosted a public forum which resulted in a change in policy so that enforcement of the statute was measured by a straight line.

However, "it does not go far enough," Aaron said, requesting that legislation to monitor homeless sex offenders sponsored by Minority Leader Diane Yatauro, D-Glen Cove, be placed on the calendar for a vote.

"This is a matter of public safety and the safety of our children who live and play in our community," Aaron said.

Yatauro's legislation includes a mandate that the Nassau County Police Department is the only agency responsible for enforcement of the mandate and increases fines for hotels and motels if they fail to post sex offender notifications.

Aaron said that on Dec. 7, his wife checked the sex offender registry website to discover a notice that an offender might have been placed in one of the Jericho hotels. He then described "being passed" from one county agency to the next.

"No one was willing to verify whether in fact the sex offender had been placed in one of these hotels," he said.

When a sex offender is housed in a hotel, the hotel is required to place a sign stating that an offender is staying on the premesis.

"It's my understanding that it's not being enforced," Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt, R-Massapequa, said. "We're talking with the county attorney, we're talking with various entities, we do not want to do something that is going to bring some outside entity such as the ACLU down around our neck and undo everything that has been done thus far."

Schmitt added that he was trying to get the current law to become "an enforceable law" through amendments.

"We're going to get that criticism no matter what," Legis. David Denenberg, D-Merrick, said of the ACLU scenario. "Let's make it clear in the legislation that the measurement is straight line."

Legis. Judy Jacobs, D-Woodbury, believed that "the situation gets even deeper as we all know, (and) that we also don't want people out in the streets without any monitoring. You don't want sex offenders living under highway overpasses, living in places as homeless people that everyone loses track of."


TX - Vigilante Justice Ends with Murder of Alleged Sex Offender, Say Cops

Original Article

12/30/2010

By Carlin DeGuerin Miller

SAN ANTONIO (CBS/KENS) - An alleged pedophile is in the morgue and three people are in a Texas jail charged with his murder after police say they took the law into their own hands.

[name withheld]'s badly decomposed body was found in May in a field on the outskirts of San Antonio. Investigators say he was beaten and stabbed before being left to die, probably as early as April.

San Antonio Police investigators now believe [name withheld]'s death was the result of vigilante justice carried out because Shawn Phillips and three other suspects believed [name withheld] had molested Phillips' 7-year-old female relative, according to CBS affiliate KENS.

Phillips was arrested in November after investigators say they discovered that he had used [name withheld]'s credit card weeks after [name withheld]'s death. According to the arrest affidavit, Phillips confessed to beating [name withheld] to death with a club, the station reported.

Phillips also named three others who he said helped him "take care of it his way," as his wife later told police Phillips put it, including a woman who she says "lured" [name withheld] into the truck that drove him to his death, according to The San Antonio Express-News.

Richelle Vasquez was arrested Monday and charged with murder for her role in the killing. Kenneth Nelsen was arrested in Alabama shortly after Phillips.

Detectives say the three suspects in custody confessed to the crime. According to the warrant, Michael Sorrell, named by the others as having participated in the crime, has also been charged with the murder but is still at large, the paper reported.


Obama Second Chances for Ex Felons

Related Story


OH - Group to sue if city tightens sex offender rules

Original Article

12/29/2010

By Tom Beyerlein

GREENVILLE — Officials of a nonprofit law firm in Cincinnati on Wednesday said they will file suit in federal court if the Greenville City Council passes an ordinance extending residency restrictions to the point it makes Greenville virtually off limits for registered sex offenders.

The council on Tuesday is to hear the first of three readings on a proposal to prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any school, preschool, daycare center, library, park or playground, up from the statewide restriction of 1,000 feet.

We’ll take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” said David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center in Cincinnati. “These laws are ineffective, they don’t increase public safety and, in the worst of cases, they undermine public safety by giving the community a false sense of security.” He said such laws also cause offenders to stop registering their addresses, making it difficult for police to track them. “It’s just foolishness. It’s not smart law enforcement.”

Mayor Mike Bowers did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Greenville would join a growing number of Ohio communities enacting “buffer zones” for sex offenders that go well beyond those set by state law. They include Deerfield Twp. in Warren County, Anderson and Sycamore townships near Cincinnati and Upper Arlington near Columbus. Lebanon City Council has postponed until February a vote on similar legislation.

At the center of the controversy in Greenville is John Graham, whose Good Samaritan Home houses sex offenders trying to re-enter society from prison. Graham said the house has a recidivism rate of less than 1 percent. He said if all cities enact such laws, there will be nowhere for Ohio’s 30,000 registered sex offenders to live legally.
- Politicians do not care about that, they need sex offenders so they can "look tough" on crime and keep the prison business making money at tax payers expense.

Proponents say extra tough residency restrictions protect a community by forcing offenders to live elsewhere. But some studies have shown residency laws do nothing to prevent new sex crimes against children — partly because many offenders are related to their victims — and create undue strain on law enforcement agencies.
- Plus, residency laws are only where they sleep at night, when most people are asleep anyway.  In the daytime, they can pretty much come and go as they wish.  It's about banishment, that is all.