Thursday, August 11, 2011

MO - Police: Hazelwood man (John Joseph Huffmaster) attacked sex offender with hammer, claimed he was doing 'God's work'

Original Article

Once again, the online registry proves to be nothing more than an online hit-list for insane folks, and vigilantes, to use to harass and harm those on the list, and even their families, and shows why it should be taken offline and used by police only! How many people must be harassed, harmed and/or killed before this occurs?

08/11/2011

By VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN

HAZELWOOD - A Hazelwood man accused of approaching his neighber, a registered sex offender, to borrow some sugar, then attacking the man with a hammer, told police afterwards that he was "doing God's work" in trying to get rid of sexual predators.

John Joseph Huffmaster, 29, of Riderwood Drive in Hazelwood, was charged this week in St. Louis County with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Hazelwood police Capt. Greg Hall said that at about 6 a.m. on June 16, Huffmaster went across the street to the home of a 74-year-old neighbor under the guise of asking to borrow some sugar.

When the man agreed to give him the sugar, Huffmaster walked inside the house with a hammer and started attacking him, police said.

Huffmaster then called police and told them that the man was molesting a child and that he had gone there to stop it, Hall said.

Police arrived but didn't find a child there. They did find the 74-year-old man inside his home, semi-conscious and bleeding. He had multiple skull and facial fractures, according to court documents.

Hall said Huffmaster has a history of "behavioral disorders" but would not provide details. They found him at his own home across the street.

The sex offender's listing on the Missouri Sex Offender registry says he has a conviction for sexually abusing a 11-year-old girl in 1991.

Hall said the man has had some surgeries and has been released from a hospital.


Facebook Crimes on the Rise, Experts Warn

Original Article

08/11/2011

By Samanth Murphy

Facebook crimes ranging from scams to online bullying are on the rise, and they are getting more sophisticated, experts warn.

It's no secret that scammers on the social media website rely on carefully crafted baits that often include scandalous and explicit video content or exclusive footage of the latest and hottest events, from celebrity death claims to never-before-seen footage of a natural disaster.

Just last week, a "clickjacking" scam that claimed Lady Gaga was found dead in a hotel room spread like wildfire on Facebook thanks to a link that took users to a fake BBC News website.

Ploys such as the Lady Gaga scam aim to increase clicks to a page or link because they are paid by advertisers for every click they help generate. Others steal personal information, from names to addresses that are extracted when users fill out a fake survey, and that data is later sold to other cybercriminals.

Meanwhile, rarer cybercrimes on Facebook involve the installation of malicious software, or "malware," on computers so credit card information can be easily stolen.

However, the rise of these Facebook crimes isn't limited to just scams and phishing activities. There’s also cyberbullying, sexual predation and even robberies that occur after users post GPS location about their whereabouts to inform others they are out of town.

A Facebook crime wave?

As Facebook becomes riskier to use, experts are weighing in on why these crimes are happening at such a rapid rate.

"These types of crimes are designed to use your own actions or weaknesses against you," said Lynette Owens, director of Internet Safety for Kids & Families, an online resource hosted by Trend Micro, a global digital security firm based in Tokyo.

"As humans, and for good reason, we put trust in others more often than not because most people at most times are worthy of that trust. The online world is no different than the offline world in that sense."

A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that Facebook users are more trusting than people who are not members of the social networking site.

In fact, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

According to Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont College, scammers prey on Facebook users not only because they are an easy target, but because they also don't know their victims.

"It's easier to hurt someone when you’re not seeing them in person," Zak told TechNewsDaily. "Neuroscience research shows that moral violations are less likely when interactions are personal because people empathize with those they meet in person. In the online world, people are just a number."

Many cybercriminals include pictures in scams since the brain is especially sensitive to images, Zak said.

For example, he noted that a reoccurring scam started popping up on Facebook that solicited donations to pay for the funeral of a young child allegedly from a neighboring town.

"However, we started to notice that every weekend there was another child’s funeral that needed donations, and that's when suspicions started to rise," Zak said.

The scams

The social scam industry is thriving overall because scam creators are taking legitimate Facebook functionalities and persuading people to click on links, said Ioana Jelea, communication specialist at BitDefender.

"Social engineering has reached unprecedented levels, with scam waves being customized according to the very latest events that make the headlines of tabloids," Jelea said. "With celebrity-themed baits, for example, click counts will spike within hours, and as hot topics become 'old news,' they will be dropped and rapidly replaced with fresh meat."

Cyberbullying, sexual predator behavior and other non-spam related social networking crimes have been in the spotlight over the last year, especially as some events have led to tragic consequences.

In fall 2010, a student from Rutgers committed suicide after his roommate posted a video of him engaging in a sexual act and posted a message about it on Twitter. In addition, news of sexual predators lurking behind Facebook personas and establish relationships with children has also created a media stir.

"Most sex offenders are under some type of electronic surveillance, which prevents them from being in the vicinity of children, but Facebook allows them to create dummy profiles to nurture relationships with minors," said Sedgrid Lewis, founder of Atlanta-based Spy Parent LLC. "After sexual predators gain the trust of the minor, then they invite them to a location to meet."
- Kids should NEVER meet ANYONE they meet online.

Lewis also attributes the rise of these types of Facebook crimes to the popularity of mobile phones that allow Facebook users to easily post to the site anytime and from anywhere. He noted that the lack of resources by local law enforcement is also at fault.

"Most crimes committed on Facebook have to be investigated by the federal government, which won't usually become involved unless the crime is serious in nature," Lewis said. "Local law agencies don't have the technology or the resources to go after cybercriminals. Instead, they pass laws to prevent crimes such as cyberbullying through social media, but it's been slow moving."

Trust bust

Jelea of BitDefender argues that it's not just users' trust in the platform that puts them at risk, it's their insufficient familiarity with the Facebook's security and privacy settings, as well as the threats inherent to online info sharing.

"Simple yet often disregarded precaution, such as carefully reading the permissions requested by an app, could spare users the effort of cleaning their accounts of automatic scammy posts," Jelea said.

Owens of Trend Micro agrees that Facebook users aren't taking extra precautions to prevent these crimes.

"You assume that your house won't be robbed each time you leave, but you probably still lock the door," Owens said. "When you are home and someone rings the door bell, you let those you know in and not those you don’t know. The same rules apply to social networks."

That said, Owens advises Facebook users to connect only with those they know can be trusted, use the strongest privacy settings possible, share only when necessary and keep up-to-date, reputable security software on every device used to access the Internet.

"I don't think it's solely the responsibility of social networks to solve these issues," Owens said. "Parents should become savvy users themselves so they can teach their kids early on how to be safe online."

"Schools should also integrate this into education, especially as technology becomes a greater part of the education system overall," he added.


Tobymac - City on Our Knees with Lyrics


MN - Counties to Pay More for Sex Offender Treatment

Original Article

08/10/2011

By Gordon Severson

The cost of keeping the most dangerous sex offenders locked up is now costing local counties more money.

It's part of new legislation passed in Minnesota that lawmakers say will save the state cash.
- It can't cost more money and save money at the same time!

Currently there are more than 600 sex criminals incarcerated in Minnesota's sex offender treatment program.

Each of these offenders costs an estimated $120,000 a year to hold.
- So that is a total of $72,000,000 per year.  Like we've said before, prison and the sex offender hysteria is a cash cow, and those profiting from it, don't want it to go away anytime soon.

Up until recently the state had been paying 90 percent of that with counties paying 10 percent.

Under the new formula that percentage will be bumped up to 25 percent.

It's a cost shift that legislators argue, will save the state more than $2 million a year.

"It's three hundred and some dollars a day is what they're saying it costs for this particular civil commitments. That's where they're trying to save the money," Lt. Craig Anderson of the Rochester Police Department said.

Lt. Anderson deals with sex offenders almost on a daily basis. Many of them are level two or three offenders, but those in this program are considered even more dangerous.

"They end up in the Civil Commitment Program after they're released from prison. They've done their criminal time but they're civilly committed at that point," Anderson explained.
- Punished twice for the same crime!  If they are so dangerous, they should've been sentenced to longer in prison!

Those extreme cases are handled by county attorneys like Mark Ostrem. He argues the bill was passed by the legislature as a way to decrease the number of people committed and also force counties to make careful decisions.

"We scrutinize these very carefully every time. It's a big deal to send someone away potentially for the rest of their life. It's not going to make us scrutinize it any more," Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said.
- So, at least you admit it may be for life, so why send them to prison, then when that is done, send them to another prison under the guise of "civil commitment?"

Currently in Olmsted County, 28 sex offenders are incarcerated in this program. Current cases won't be affected by this cost shift, but new cases will. It is estimated that the shift will cost the county an estimated $72,000 a year.

"Both chemical dependency services and sex offender treatment services are mandated. Every time we pay more for that out of the dollars we have, we have to reduce some place else," Director of Olmsted County Adult Services Jim Behrends said.

Services that could be affected include elderly, behavioral health, chemical dependency and many more.

Alone, the sex offender payment shift isn't a huge strain on the county's budget, but when teamed with various other shifts and cuts, officials say it will force them to make some tough decisions in the future.


TX - Thousands More Rape Kits Discovered at Crime Lab

Original Article

The evidence should all be examined when the accused is arrested, and before court. But, most people are scared to accept a plea deal, and when that happens, all evidence is basically shelved and innocent people go to prison. And this is only one state!

08/10/2011

By GREG GROOGAN

HOUSTON - With its billions of tax dollars, residents have built impressive stadiums, slick rail systems and hundreds of other laudable improvements.

And yet what eludes this city, after a decade of tragic error, is a properly functioning crime lab.

"There are years, even decades of evidence that hasn't been examined yet," City Councilman C.O. Bradford said.

== Shut It Down ==

Bradford's campaign to shutdown HPD'S crime lab has been bolstered by yet another troubling revelation: the fresh discovery of 3,000 or more un-analyzed "rape” kits from victims of sexual assault.

When combined with a previously acknowledged backlog, the new total is more than 7,000 cases for which the evidence has never been examined.

"We also, very possibly, have innocent people who are incarcerated or who have served time that they shouldn't have served because we failed to examine the evidence," Bradford said.

== Pleas Kicked to the Corner ==

Sonia Corrales of the Houston Area Women's Center speaks for many frustrated sexual assault survivors who've seen their plea for justice kicked to the corner and all but forgotten.

"Sometimes they begin to lose hope when they see that their rape kit or their case is not moving forward," Corrales said. "What then the message is, you know, if I report than nothing is going to get done.”

== Too Little, Too Late ==

The HPD crime lab is reportedly employing federal grant money to reduce the backlog of untested rape cases.

Bradford sees the effort as too little and far too late.

"It is shameful that we have victims that are being punished a second time," he said.

He advocates creation of a regional crime lab in partnership with Harris County.


NY - Bronx Judge Finds Constitutional Defect in Sex Offender Law

An article was already posted about this, but not this video. To see the complete story and video, click here.


WI - Plea deal reached in case of former deputy (Robert Whyte) accused of abusing power

Robert Whyte
Original Article

08/10/2011

By Keith Edwards

Sawyer County (WQOW) - A plea bargain is reached for a former sheriff's deputy accused of abusing his power.

Former Sawyer County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Whyte was accused of sexually assaulting two women he met while doing investigations. In both cases, they say he told them if they didn't have sex with him he would take official action against them that could have caused them to go to jail or lose custody of their children. In both cases, Whyte was allegedly wearing his full uniform, including his handgun.

Wednesday in court, Whyte pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in office, in return for dismissal of the sexual assault charges.

He could get up to 3.5 years in prison when he's sentenced in October.