Saturday, April 14, 2012

TN - Tipton County sheriff's deputy (Jason Cochran) accused of sexual relationship with teen

Jason Cochran
Original Article

04/13/2012

By Scott Carroll

A Tipton County sheriff's deputy has been suspended without pay after being accused of having a sexual relationship with teenage girl.

The Tipton County Sheriff's Office began an internal investigation on Monday into an alleged sexual relationship between deputy Jason Cochran, 29, and a 17-year-old girl. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has also begun a criminal investigation into the alleged relationship, according to TCSO.

Cochran was hired by the county in April 2007 as a correctional officer. He was transferred to its patrol division as a deputy sheriff in April 2011.

Further details on the alleged relationship were not released by TCSO.

Update:


FL - Former officer (Bobby Tameris) sentenced for having sex with a 16-year-old lifeguard

Bobby Tameris
Original Article

Yet another officer busted for a sex crime in Florida. The list keeps growing and growing!

04/12/2012

By Saul Saenz

DAYTONA BEACH - Former Beach Patrol Officer Bobby Tameris was sentenced in Daytona Beach to 18 months in jail after being convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old lifeguard.

That sentence was announced Thursday by Volusia Circuit Court Judge Joseph Will.

Tameris will also serve four years of sex offender probation and carry the label of sex offender where ever he goes.

Rich Gardner
Meanwhile, one of the men who investigated Tameris, Beach Patrol Captain Rich Gardner was in Deland fighting to be re-instated.

Gardner was suspended last year for having extramarital, yet consensual, affairs with two co-workers.

The county informed Gardner of his termination.

Gardner and his lawyers faced Volusia County attorneys during a packed personnel board hearing asking members to overturn the termination.

Gardner's lawyers claim the county never produced a policy discouraging relationships between Beach Patrol coworkers.

The county maintains Gardner's relationship with two women, one of them [name withheld], who testified Thursday, was inappropriate and should've been brought to the attention of Gardner's superiors.

Attorney for Gardner, Abe McKinnon, argued the county's motivation for firing Gardner was based in part, on the Tameris case.

Lawyers representing the 16-year-old that Tameris had sex with claimed that illegal affair was the result of “a culture of sexual abuse and depravity” on the beach.

McKinnon said the county was embarrassed by these claims and wanted to save face by firing Gardner.

The county said Gardner knew about that negative publicity and still continued with the affair, but allegedly lied when asked about his affair with [name withheld].

Furthermore, the county contends that since Gardner was [name withheld]'s supervisor, there was an appearance of favoritism towards [name withheld] over other coworkers.

McKinnon asked 15 year Beach Patrol veteran, Captain Tammy Marris, if she had ever heard of anyone during her career with Beach Patrol of being fired for carrying on a relationship with a coworker.

Marris responded this was the first time she had ever heard of a termination based on such a relationship.

Ask if she believed relationships with coworkers was common occurrence in the department, Marris responded, "Is it common? Yeah. It's happened a lot [laughter]."

The personnel board is expected to hear more testimony Friday in Deland.

That board cannot reinstate Gardner but can make recommendations to Volusia County Council.


FL - 19 arrested in online sex sting, including one officer (Jack Mealey) - They show photos of everyone, except the officer!

Original Article

You will notice in the photo, that they show the photos of everyone arrested, except the police officer (Jack Mealey). I thought we were all suppose to be treated equally? We blurred the photos of all the others.

04/03/2012

By Andrew Greenstein

ORANGE PARK - The Clay County Sheriff's Office leads the biggest sting operation to catch child sexual predators in the county's history.

"There were 19 people who were actually arrested that traveled to a location in Clay County for the express purpose of meeting a child for sexual activity," says Sheriff Rick Beseler.

Among the 19 men arrested is a man (Jack Mealey) who says he's a former sheriff's deputy out of Georgia.

"The purpose of doing it is not only to arrest the offenders, but it's to deter other people to do this type of activity."
- If you were actually "deterring" anybody, then you'd not still be arresting people.

Sheriff Beseler says what's especially shocking is that dozens of would-be predators responded to the undercover postings within minutes.

"It was shocking. . .to see when you post something online, within minutes, dozens of people are responding to you," says Sheriff Beseler.


GA - Sex offenses on the rise locally

Original Article

I've been monitoring the Georgia registry for a couple years now, based on the info from the GBI web site, and I don't think a lot of what is said below is actually correct. It sounds more like fear-mongering to me, but I could be wrong.

04/14/2012

By Amber Pittman

Are more sexual offenses occurring or are victims reporting more often?

[name withheld] pleaded guilty to molesting his two stepsisters, one was consensual, and the other was by force. [name withheld] was found guilty of the ongoing molestation of a 3-year-old child. And a former college professor pleaded guilty to obscene Internet contact.

In Newton County, and throughout the state, the number of sexual offenses continues to increase. People, predominately men, are increasingly accused and found guilty (or accept plea deals) of sexual offenses, more often than not against children.
- Many have committed crimes not against children, or some may be labeled "child molestation," when the persons crime did not involve touching, or having sex in any form, to a child at all.

It is not unusual to see a charge levied against someone at least once every two weeks in Newton County, which begs the question: Are sexual offenses happening more often or are people simply more willing to report cases?

From 2007 to January 2012, the number of sex offenders in Newton County increased from 125 to 188, while the number of people incarcerated in the state for sex crimes increased from 7,261 to 7,789 during the same period. And the total number of sex offenders in the state (both incarcerated and on the streets) has jumped from 4,694 in 2007 to 21,192 in 2011.
- See the link I provide at the top of this article.  I don't think your information is correct.  Also, when nobody is ever removed from the list, it's common sense it's only going to grow and grow.

"There has been an increase of sex offenders moving into Newton County, and the contributing factor is due to changes in Georgia's sex offender registration law," said Lt. Gwen Freeman-Hightower with the Newton County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender Registration Unit. "Two years ago [the new law] went into effect; this law determines where a sex offender can reside and work. The deciding factor is the sex offender's date of offense rather than conviction. Sex offenders with offense dates prior to June 4, 2003 have no proximity restrictions; so they can live and work wherever they want and the years after have a little more restrictions."
- The new law, HB-1051, actually went into effect in 2006, and has been modified several times due to the many law suits.  And the registry existed way before 2006, it all started in 1996, I believe.

According to a study by the Georgia Department of Corrections, between 1992 and 2007 sexual offenses comprised 11 percent of charges per year.
- Sure would be nice if someone who quotes a "study" would provide a link to said study.  I do not just take someone at their word, I like to see the facts for myself.

"The growth can be partially explained by a national crack down on sexual offenders in the late 1970s. ‘It is OK to tell' was the slogan used to encourage parents to talk to their children about inappropriate touches and to encourage them to report sexual abuses," according to the Georgia Department of Corrections report.

"Instrumental law reforms were also made to foster reporting. The rules of evidentiary admissibility in rape cases, for example, were changed in many states. Now, references to the victim's past could only be made if they were related to the incident in question. Sexual offenses law reforms also included tougher punishments to keep sexual offenders off the streets."
- Once again, another person states the laws are about punishment.  The laws do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody, and as for keeping them off the streets, it does the exact opposite, it's forcing many people into homelessness, roaming the streets, who would not be homeless if it were not for these draconian laws.

Freeman-Hightower said she believed the number of increased cases may have to do with the increase in reporting the abuse.

"I believe people are reporting more because people have been educated that it's OK to tell and that they, the victims, are not responsible," she said. "To some degree there is [still a stigma attached] because there is a mark of shame and guilt that some victims feel that other's associate (with) the abuse."

And while a stigma may not be attached now to victims of abuse, state statistics show that people abused in the past have a higher rate of sexually aggressive behavior and that roughly 30 percent of adult sex offenders report being sexually abused themselves. Those that abuse boys have higher rates of childhood abuse.

Freeman-Hightower confirmed that out of the 188 registered sex offenders in the county, some had disclosed being a victim of abuse in the past.
- I am not saying this is or isn't true, but was it proven, or are you just accepting someone's word?

Perhaps another reason for the increase is that there are so many more things that are considered sexual offenses now that weren't 20 years ago. Issues with Internet predators were not an issue, and the influx of dating and social media sites and more adults, teens and tweens on those sites opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for predators.

Just like many other crimes, those convicted of sexual offenses do have a relatively high rate of recidivism.
- This is another lie.  There are a ton of studies out there that prove the recidivism rate for children and adults is very low.  And once again, they say something but do not back it up with links to the study they found the "statistics" in.  You can find many studies we have, here.

In Newton County there are just three - 1.5 percent - of the 188 known offenders that have re-offended, according to Freeman-Hightower. The DOC said that as of 2007 the rate of recidivism was 28 percent within three years of release. Nationwide, about 15 to 20 treated sex offenders are likely to re-offend, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Left untreated, that number jumped to 80 percent.
- Again, another lie.  See this study from the Bureau of Justice that shows the recidivism rate at around 5%.

So what can be done? Many prisons have tried different methods to "cure" offenders.
- In many cases, from what I've heard, offenders do not get treatment while in prison, they are forced to seek treatment outside of prison, using their own money instead of the prison's money.

Research done by the University of London shows that psychological therapy may reduce the rate at which sex offenders re-offend, though it does not cure them. In Georgia, treatment is decided after conviction and in the sentencing of an offender. Treatments range from therapy to chemical castration for serious offenders.

Chemical castration uses hormones to drastically reduce the amount of testosterone levels, which essentially makes the offender impotent. Georgia was one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize this form of treatment. Combined with intense therapy, it has dropped the repeat offender rate in Texas down to 2.2 percent (statistics were not available for Georgia).
- If you ask most ex-offenders and even experts, they will tell you, most of the time a person commits a sexual crime not for sexual purposes, but control.  So chemically castrating them may or may not help.

[name withheld] will serve 25 years behind bars before being eligible for parole. For his victims, the pain doesn't go away. One of the girls he admitted to assaulting has since died; the other is left to pick up the pieces. And [name withheld] is scheduled to be deported back to his homeland of Jamaica after he serves 20 years, but a 3-year-old child may suffer for the rest of her life because of the ongoing molestation she was subjected to at his hands.
- If you always see yourself as a victim, you will be!  I was also molested as a child, and I am not a victim, I am a survivor, and in my case, the crime did not ruin my life and define me, but that is just me.


NM - Registered sex offender describes impact on his life

Original Article

04/14/2012

By Brian Fraga

LAS CRUCES — Neighbors used to smile, chat and invite him over for barbecues.

Now, they wave and look away.

"It definitely changes your life," said "John," who is a registered sex offender living near Mesquite.

John is not his real identity. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said life is difficult enough with his name being on the state sex offender registry.

A local men's softball league recently kicked him off his team after running a criminal background check. John said a teammate and friend also told him to leave after learning about his status.

"It's gut-wrenching," said John, a local dairy farm manager who is planning to tell his 11-year-old son that he is a registered sex offender.

"That's gonna be hard for me," he said.

Court records show that John, 42, was convicted in January 2000 for indecency with a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child in El Paso.

John claims he never touched the child, but said he pleaded guilty to those charges rather than taking his chances at trial.

"When you go to court on something like this, and you're hearing how you could do 99 years (in jail), you start thinking 10 years of probation doesn't sound so bad," he said.
- Never accept a plea deal!  Even if you did or didn't do it.  They say this kind of stuff to scare you knowing that you will probably accept their offer, and knowing if you actually went to trial, you may be found innocent and let go.  Take it to a jury trial!  That is my opinion of course.

However, though his attorney promised him he would be "done" after 10 years of probation, John's plea deal carried with a lifetime sex offender registration. For the rest of his life, John will have to check in with the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department every 90 days to update his address and work information.

Stopping by a sheriff deputy's office is the easy part. "They're very fair and respectful," John said.

Dealing with people's suspicious glances is another matter.

"I don't go out a lot. I didn't go to my high school reunion because I didn't want to deal with that, and try to guess who knows about it and who doesn't. That would hurt," said John, who is married and said his wife supports him.

"I try to live a happy life," he said. "I try to be a good neighbor."


FL - Miami creates pop-up park to stanch flow of sex offenders to Shorecrest sidewalk

Original Article

04/13/2012

By CHARLES RABIN

With sex offenders on a Shorecrest sidewalk, Miami opened a new park just a few hundred feet away to stop more from showing up.

Only a few hundred feet from the latest encampment of sexual offenders, who were banished to a sidewalk in Miami’s Shorecrest neighborhood, is a little piece of mostly barren city-owned land, about 100-by-40 feet, filled with a couple of old rusted toys and a metal carport frame.

Little River Pocket Park
Welcome to Miami’s new “Little River Pocket Park,’’ a sod-challenged pop-up park never envisioned in any master plan, but created by City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff in a clever bid to keep more offenders from moving to the area.

I can’t dislodge those who are there,’’ Sarnoff, who represents the district, told The Miami Herald. “But this is to prevent any further sexual offenders from being put there by the state.”

Sarnoff learned of the vacant land from nearby homeowners concerned about at least 13 sexual offenders who have set up camp nearby. County and state law prohibit sex offenders from living near parks where children gather, though the state allows offenders already living somewhere to stay if the park is created after they’ve moved in, the city said.

The new park, at the southern end of Northeast 10th Avenue on the Little River, is about 300 feet from the relatively new encampment of sex offenders, who gather at 10 every night on a small piece of sidewalk just north of the park near 79th Street, and who generally leave before dawn.

The restrictive county law doesn’t allow offenders within 2,500 feet of schools or any place children might gather, leaving the men few places in Miami-Dade County where they can spend evenings.

Several of the men told The Miami Herald that their probation officers handed them pieces of paper suggesting they go to Shorecrest after they were released from prison. State correction officials deny that, saying they can only tell released inmates where they are not allowed to live.

Either way, the group has been at the spot for several months now, prompting Sarnoff to take action.

In March, commissioners voted to take legal action demanding that corrections stop the men from congregating in Shorecrest, a neighborhood in the city’s northeast corner. Nothing has been filed yet.
- So, the city of Miami passes draconian laws which is forcing people to be homeless and cluster in certain areas, and now, because of the media fires, they threaten to sue other people because of what they did, and open fake popup parks to further exile people.

The city seems to have met the minimum requirements to create a park. Deputy City Attorney Maria Chiaro said the city has to declare the spot a park, then maintain it. At Sarnoff’s request, City Manager Johnny Martinez wrote Maria DiBernardo, the state corrections circuit administrator, two weeks ago to inform her of the new park.

This new park should necessarily preclude the placement of any sex offenders in the area of 79th Street and 10th Avenue,’’ the letter said.

Corrections officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Sarnoff tried a similar tactic almost three years ago to remove about 100 sexual offenders who made national headlines when they created an encampment under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Picnic Island
Back then, he had the city manager write Gov. Charlie Crist demanding the offenders be moved because a spoil island named Picnic Island #4 was only 1,200 feet from the encampment, which was inside the county’s 2,500-foot boundary.

But the attempt backfired when state officials argued that the island was neglected, children didn’t congregate there, and was well outside the less-restrictive, 1,000-foot limit required by state statute.

Like Picnic Island #4, Little River Pocket Park could use some work.

Its front entrance, where 10th Avenue turns to the east, is protected by a two-foot-high steel rail that prohibits entry. Just over the rail is a sewer grate surrounded by mounds of mud. The park could benefit from plenty of new sod. There’s a giant, old ficus tree that has seen better days, the carport frame and two kids’ riding toys — a plastic horse and dinosaur on large coils.

The neglected property was brought to Sarnoff’s attention by Shorecrest homeowners who said they were upset the commissioner had ignored their pleas to open up several water-access points that had either fallen into disrepair over the years, or had been taken over by adjacent property owners.

Whatever the reason for creating the new park, Shorecrest resident Richard Laird, who has an 8-year-old son named Jack, is glad the property is now open to the public. Even better, he said, “It stems the growth of the sex offenders.’’

See Also: