Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CA - How A Man Can Lose Everything — On An Accusation

Original Article

06/28/2011

By Amy Alkon

Christopher Goffard writes for the LA Times of the case against [name withheld] for kidnapping, torture, and sexual assault of his ex-girlfriend. Part Two is here. An excerpt:

Del Marto wondered: Did [name withheld] commit the attack after he left the school, and before he was seen at a nearby bank? Or perhaps after he left the bank, and before he was seen buying a bagel?

Six minutes.
Was that enough time for the attack she had described?

The detective concluded that each scenario would have given
[name withheld] a narrow window of opportunity at West's house:

Six minutes.

Was that enough time for the attack she had described?

Enough time for
[name withheld] to find her in her garage, knock her out, drag her up the stairs, put gloves on his hands and mittens on hers, and slip on protective overalls so that his suit would remain immaculate?

Enough time to strip her, tie her up, burn her with matches, sexually assault her with a coat hanger and attempt to suffocate her with a plastic bag?

Enough time to dispose of all this evidence, along with a duffel bag she said he had carried?

Why did no one, before or after, notice that
[name withheld] was nervous or out of breath?

The disarray at the house on Penngrove Street seemed to reflect the struggle West described: clumps of her hair, scissors discarded on the carpet, a spindle yanked out of the banister.

But Del Marto could find nothing to place
[name withheld] there. No fingerprints, no DNA, no hair, no clothes fibers.

He remembered how West looked that day, bruised and traumatized. But the medical records seemed at odds with the sexual assault she described: They showed no internal tears or bleeding.

For the record, I believe those who can be proved to have made false accusations of rape against another person should be made to do the time the person they falsely accused would have done.
- Amen!  I agree totally!

The problem, of course, is that false accusations can't always be proved to be false.

People need to be very, very careful of who they pair up with. You can't take it on faith that anybody's a good and ethical person. You can pay attention, serious attention, over time, and find out what kind of person they are. And before you know that, tread with caution and expect surprises.


MI - Changes coming to Michigan's sex offender registry

Original Article

06/24/2011

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – In Michigan, the way sex offenders register with the state is changing.

In April, lawmakers passed the sex offender registration act. That means the thousands of sex offenders in Michigan must register again, and they have just three weeks to get it done.

The Michigan Sex Offender Registry has proved a valuable tool for parents and employers, but to bring it in line with federal law, the registry will now have a lot more detail in it, something local law enforcement agencies have mixed feelings about.

The new and improved sex offender registry is going to require a lot of work by law enforcement agencies. They're getting ready for long lines and a lot of questions in the coming weeks, but Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas says that once the work is finished, the changes will pay off.

Now, when you look and make that same inquiry, the information you're going to get will be a lot more meaningful,” said Matyas.
- So how does knowing a persons work address, school address and vehicle descriptions make stuff more "meaningful?"  It seems like adding more details about the actual crime itself would be more meaningful to me, which would help people determine if someone truly is a danger or not.

Under the changes passed by the legislature, most sex offenders will have to re-register before July 15th. Offenders will now be required to provide much more information.

We need to know your employer's name, your employer's address,” said Matyas, “we also need to know any vehicles you have, whether you own them or not.”

Offenders will also have to register all email addresses and screen names they use. It's expected that each offender will take about a half-hour to process.

The City of Kalamazoo currently has 686 offenders registered, Grand Rapids has 1,006, the second most in the state.

Police in Grand Rapids plan to devote more staff and machines to the process of re-registering offenders and may expand business hours.

Another change to the registry means some people will now be coming off the list, like teenagers who engaged in consensual sex.
- That is good!

What it also does, this law, that helps out, is it takes a lot of these cases we all know should have never been on the registry to begin with, boots them off,” said Matyas.

There are also tougher penalties as part of the new registry. An offender who changes jobs, or vehicles, or anything else on the list without notifying police could face a four year felony.


CT - Norwalk woman (Brittany Reith) charged with making false rape report that resulted in arrest of two men

Original Article

06/28/2011

By STEVEKOBAK

Norwalk Police arrested a 20-year-old woman on a warrant Monday for falsely accusing two city men of violently raping her.

Brittany Reith, of 7 Commerce St., was charged with falsely reporting an incident concerning serious injury or death and making a false statement. She was held on $5,000 bond and given a court date of July 8.

Reith made a sworn, written statement to police after showing up more than 12 hours late to the apartment that she shares with her boyfriend and telling him that she'd been kidnapped by three men, held against her will and repeatedly raped, according to court documents.

As a result of Reith's statement, patrol officers arrested two men -- [name withheld] and [name withheld] -- on April 7 for felony sexual assault and battery charges. [name withheld], a former standout Norwalk High School basketball player, had no criminal record. [name withheld] had prior drug dealing convictions, but police never arrested him for a violent crime.

Both men were initially held on extremely high bonds because of the violent nature of the accusations. However, [name withheld]'s bond was drastically reduced after his arraignment at Norwalk Superior Court, and police eventually released [name withheld] when he did not make bond after his court appearance.

Norwalk detectives and investigators from the State's Attorney's Office in Stamford conducted further investigation on the matter and found several pieces of evidence that contradicted Reith's story, according to statements made by State's Attorney James Bernardi in May.

Investigators discovered that [name withheld] was working during the time when the majority of the events were alleged to have taken place, Bernardi said.

Surveillance footage from a Wendy's restaurant captured [name withheld] and the woman eating lunch at 4 p.m. on April 6. Bernardi said there was "no indication" that the woman was being held against her will.

A bouncer at Bishop's Corner, a Bridgeport strip club, confirmed that [name withheld] and the accuser were denied entry to the club on the night of April 6, because they did not have proper identification, according to Bernardi.

After spending a night on the town, [name withheld] and the accuser caught a ride to [name withheld]'s home and slept on his couch, [name withheld]'s family previously told The Hour.

[name withheld] and [name withheld] were acquitted of all charges on May 19, and prosecutors said at the time that they were working on a warrant for Reith's arrest.


MN - Is sex offender program illegal?

Original Article

06/28/2011

By Brandon Stahl

Critics say mistreatment and an overriding, unspoken directive to keep clients locked away make the state program unconstitutional

To many former employees at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake, the unspoken reason that no client has ever been released is that’s the way state leaders and program administrators want it.
- They are not "clients" or "patients" they are PRISONERS!

They felt (the clients) couldn’t be cured,” said Nicci Trierweiler, a former security counselor at the facility and one of a dozen former employees who made similar comments to the News Tribune. “Most of the men that are in there will tell you, if you ask them, that they don’t think they’re going to get out of there. They will tell you that it’s a life sentence and they’ll be going out feet-first.”

It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said another former security counselor, Jeremy Jatkola. “I don’t think the patients there are getting the treatment they should be doing.”

The overriding directive is not to progress patients,” he added.

MSOP senior administrators deny those claims. But if the allegations are true, it’s a problem.

While supporters of MSOP argue that public safety is served by locking up sex offenders deemed to be sexually psychopathic, sexually dangerous or both, the stated purpose of MSOP isn’t to incarcerate but to rehabilitate.
- Well if it is to "rehabilitate," they sure aren't doing that, or people would be released.

Nearly all the resident offenders have served their prison or juvenile sentences and are committed for treatment at the facility for potential reintegration into the community. The sex offenders aren’t called inmates but patients or clients.
- That is just another term for prisoner!

State and federal courts have held that the program is legal only if adequate treatment is provided. If not, the program could be found unconstitutional, which is what happened in the state of Washington in 2000. A federal court judge ordered the state to revise its program after finding it provided a punitive treatment environment and inadequate treatment, staffing and staff training.

A review by both the legislative auditor and the Duluth News Tribune has found many similar problems at MSOP: The treatment environment is violent and punitive toward offenders. Treatment averages six hours a week, and the program has had trouble hiring and keeping qualified staff. Some clinicians and therapists don’t have the educational backgrounds necessary to treat sex offenders.

And, among both current and former employees, there is a history of infighting and troubling behavior.

Those problems, along with the fact that no one ever has been permanently released from the program since it began in 1994, raises questions about whether MSOP is constitutional, said Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

When the program was created by the state Legislature and approved by the courts, Janus said, it was done with the understanding that offenders would eventually be treated and released.

A legitimate program, among other things, releases people when they no longer need civil commitment, when they’re no longer dangerous enough to justify being locked up in a secure facility,” Janus said. “We know the program has not provided for that kind of a system."

You have a picture, in my view, of an unconstitutional program,” he said.

For the full version of this story, see Tuesday's Duluth News Tribune print edition.


DC - Authorities Don't Know Where 100,000 Convicted Sex Offenders Are

Original Article

Just a reporter spouting the same sound-bites as everyone else. This 100,000 number has been thrown around and around, and it's a total mythical number, pulled from thin air, like most "statistics" are.

06/27/2011

By Andrea McCarren

WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Former DC high school teacher [name withheld] is the first person to be indicted and convicted in the District of Columbia for failing to update his sex offender registration.

The law requires that sex offenders give authorities current information on where they live and work. This case is indicative of a much wider problem.

There are 728,000 registered sex offenders nationwide and an estimated 100,000 that aren't complying with the law.
- No research has been done to actually back this "statistic" up. See the link for more info.

Former H.D. Woodson High School teacher [name withheld] was living a new life in Ohio. Convicted in 1999 for having sexual relations with a 15-year-old student, he moved from DC to Ohio, without notifying authorities in either jurisdiction. Until the US Marshals tracked him down. The day before his wedding.

"This obviously was a unique case in the sense that he was going to be wed the next day and his fiancé really did have no idea of her future husband's past at all," said Rich Kelly, Chief Inspector at the U.S. Marshal's Service.
- Unique how?

In fact, his wedding may have led to his discovery. Among other tools, investigators used social media and even an online bridal registry to find their fugitive.

Added Kelly, "In this particular case, the investigator, Deputy Whitwell, used some great, outside of the box thinking.There are a lot of different ways a person pops up on the virtual grid and he just hit a home run with this."

[name withheld]' case is not unusual.

"The vast majority of America's sex offenders are not in jails or prisons. They're on our streets," said Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Sex offenders failing to register or update their information when they move or change jobs has become a nationwide problem.
- That is a crock!  Just watch the news, when they do the sweeps to check compliance, almost all are in compliance.  This is not backed up by facts, but bogus sound-bites.

"All over the place, they're providing bad addresses, changing the way they look. They are doing whatever is necessary," said Allen. "Our concern is what they're looking for is anonymity. They don't want people to know that they're there or what they've done."
- If the registry was offline and used by police only, then I'm sure this would not be a problem.  Most hide, IMO, because the registry brings nothing more than shame, harassment, and vigilante mobs.

[name withheld] is due to be sentenced in federal court on September 22nd for his failure to comply. He could face up to 10 years in prison.


AK - Bristol Palin talks about her virginity being stolen and dismisses rape

Bristol Palin
Original Article

She was underage, drunk and unconscious, and he was underage as well. Neither can give consent, legally. Yes, it was rape, and for those who are not rich and famous, a sex crime! You were both underage, so I wonder, why is Levi not in prison and/or on the sex offender registry? Consensual sex is one thing, Romeo and Juliet, but this was basically rape!

06/27/2011

By Daniel Bates

Bristol Palin has claimed that Levi Johnston ‘stole my virginity’ after taking advantage of her whilst she was drunk - and all but accused him of date rape.

The daughter of Sarah Palin, who was 15 at the time, said that she passed out after drinking too much wine before waking up next to her boyfriend in a state of shock.

She realised ‘all my moral standards had disappeared’ but in a misguided attempt to tame her boyfriend she continued sleeping with him.

Palin later realised she was pregnant but when she told Johnston he is said to have replied that the baby ‘better be a f****** boy’.

Suddenly, I wondered why it was called ‘losing your virginity, because it felt more like it had been stolen,’ she writes in her memoir: ‘Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far’.
- It was stolen, while you were passed out. That is rape, period!

I could tell by the evidence in the tent that all of my plans, my promises, and my moral standards had disappeared in one awful night in a series of bad decisions’.
- Sounds like she is blaming herself. She was drunk, a bad decision, but what happened after that is not her fault, but Levi's, and also a crime!

In the memoir Palin attacks Johnston as a ‘gnat’ and a deadbeat dad who cheated on her numerous times and turned her against her family.

She says she bitterly regrets falling pregnant the way she did and is now abstaining from sex until she gets married again.
- It was rape!

In an interview with USA Today Palin said: ‘I'm not accusing Levi of date rape by any means.'
- Why not? That is what it was!

I'm just honestly looking back on it with the eyes of an adult. That was five years ago, and I'm realizing that it was a dumb decision.’
- Looking back on it with adult eyes? I don't think so.

Palin, now 20, met Johnston, now 21, whilst in high school. They had been dating for a few years before she lied to her mother so the pair could go on a camping trip with some friends.
- You see, she's now 20, him 21, and when it happened, she was 15 and that made him 16.

In the memoir she writes how she succumbed for the first time to the ‘woozy charms’ of wine and ended up having sex.
- Did you really have sex, or was it rape? If you were passed out, then it wasn't sex.

She woke up the following morning to Johnston’s empty sleeping bag and the realization of what had happened - even if she could not remember it.

Palin realized she was pregnant in August 2008 after taking eight pregnancy tests - she claims she was using birth control at the time and could not believe she was expecting.

Tripp was born in December that year but Palin found out by text message that Johnston had been cheating on her.

They broke up but shocked their families 18 months later when they got back together and got engaged.

The couple posed on the front cover of US Weekly to announce the news rather than inform their families, a decision that Palin now deeply regrets.

The magazine was released on a Wednesday and that Wednesday when it went nationwide Levi comes home and tells me that a girl might have his baby,’ she told ABC News.

That was definitely a punch to the stomach because I just betrayed my family for you....and I never should have done that.'

I could not say anything because I had an exclusivity clause for two weeks so going into work the next morning there were big bouquets of flowers, congratulations on your engagement and and all this stuff.'

I had to just sit there and grin and bear it when in all reality I was sad inside and I was alone because I betrayed everyone who was important to me.'

Going back home (to talk to her mother) was the longest drive of my life, driving down that driveway. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,’ she told ABC News.

Johnston and Palin broke up soon after and she took custody of their son.

Johnston has visiting rights but Palin said that when the boy is older she doesn’t know 'if Levi will be in his life at all'.

Asked what she hopes readers will take away from the book, she said: ‘I hope that a young girl reading the book she sees the foolish decisions I’ve made.’
- And apparently still making them, IMO.


TX - Teens arrested after meeting girl on Facebook

Original Article

06/27/2011

By Christopher Heath

WINDCREST - Friday night Windcrest Police arrested three 19 year old men after discovering the teens in a park with a girl under the age of 17.

Police say the girl made contact with the teens on Facebook, where she lied about her age, telling them she was at least 18. Police say the girl also provided the teens with her address and went voluntarily with the teens to Takas Park.

A Windcrest patrol officer driving by the park noticed the teens and the girl engaged in some sort of possible sexual activity. When the officer stopped to investigate, it was discovered that they girl was under 17; the legal age of consent in Texas. Police arrested the three teenage boys on charges of Online Solicitation of a Minor and Sexual Assault of a Child.

It is still unclear if the teenage boys knew the girl was under 17 at the time of the incident, however, police say under Texas law it is still a crime even if the girl intentionally deceived the teens about her age.

The Windcrest Police Department says it will continue to investigate the case and turn its findings over to the Bexar County District Attorney; it will then be up to the DA's office to decide if the case should move forward.

If the 19 year old men are convicted of sexual assault of a child, each will have to register as a sex offender.