Monday, May 14, 2012

WV - Federal Sex Offender Mandate too Costly

Original Article


CHARLESTON (AP) - West Virginia has opted to not comply with a federal sex offender registration law because of the cost.

The law calls for states to use a three-tier classification system. Offenders in the highest tier must appear at the appropriate agency at least four times a year to verify their information. Depending on their convictions, other offenders are required to appear once or twice a year.

In West Virginia, State Police troopers visit sex offenders unannounced at least once a year to verify their information.

Division of Justice and Community Services Director J. Norbert Federspiel tells The Dominion Post that the state's system is as effective as the federal requirements. He says there aren't enough troopers to conduct quarterly visits.

Thirty-four other states also aren't in compliance.

IN - Former FBI Agent (Donald John Sachtleben) Arrested On Child Porn Charges

Donald John Sachtleben
Original Article


Man Accused Of Possession, Distribution Of Child Porn

INDIANAPOLIS - A former Indianapolis FBI agent has been arrested on federal child pornography charges.

Donald John Sachtleben, 54, of Carmel, who retired from the FBI's Indianapolis office, was arrested Friday on preliminary charges of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.

In September 2010, authorities began investigating a person they believed was trading images of child pornography online, leading to an arrest earlier this year.

According to the criminal complaint, some of the images in that case were traced to Sachtleben's computer at his Carmel home.

Authorities searched Sachtleben's home earlier this month and found 30 image and video files of child pornography, investigators said.

Sachtleben appeared in federal court Monday morning.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on the distribution charge and 10 years on the possession charge.

Sachtleben worked as a bomb expert during his career with the FBI.

According to his LinkedIn page, he managed investigative teams at several major terrorist attack scenes, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the bombing of the USS Cole and the crash of United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2011.

Sachtleben was also the lead agent on the search of Ted Kaczynski's cabin in Montana, according to published reports.

"The mission of our Project Safe Childhood initiative is to investigate and prosecute anyone found to engaged in the sexual exploitation of children," U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said in a news release. "Today's announcement underscores this serious commitment and should make clear that, no matter who you are, you will be brought to justice if you are found guilty of such criminal behavior."

Let Them Live With the Other Large Reptiles: The Failure of Residency Restrictions

Original Article


By Chris Dornin

America has a lot of harsh laws against sex offenders that shame and banish this unpopular group. Miami sends them to live in the swamps with the poisonous snakes and boa constrictors. Georgia bars them from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop. Pretty much the whole state is off limits for employment or domicile. California bans them from living in just about any of the cities. Those laws are under serious legal challenge, and the Georgia bus stop code is on hold pending the outcome of a marathon lawsuit that started six years ago. But draconian less restrictive limits remain in force.

Those life-time punishments pale next to maybe the worst sex offender legislation of all time. Rep. Fran Wendelboe of New Hampshire sponsored HB 1647 two years ago to ban a registered sex offender in New Hampshire from living within 25 miles of their victim or from any relative or in-law of the victim. A violation would have been a class B felony earning another three and half to seven years in prison, if not more, counting the aggravating factor of being a recidivist.

The Raymond Guay bill

Her legislation aimed at a single convicted child murderer on federal parole named Raymond Guay, who had settled in Wendelboe’s district after being run out of half a dozen towns. Guay had escaped from prison and he had stabbed another inmate on the inside, so he was arguably the worst of the worst.

He was not listed on the public sex offender registry because he was never charged with a sex crime. Every time the neighbors found out they were living near this man, they caused an uproar in the media and pressured his landlord, and selectmen and federal authorities to send him packing.

To their credit, members of the House Criminal Justice Committee voted HB 1647 inexpedient to legislate by 17-0. The sponsor was undaunted. She took the bill off the consent calendar a week later and gave a fist thumping speech against all sex offenders, even threatening to campaign in the general election against any lawmaker heartless enough to vote no. She read a litany of places where Guay had stayed before ending up in Ashland: Hollis, Nashua, Washington, Concord, Manchester and Chichester.

This clearly was a sex crime,” she maintained. “The prosecutor would have asked for the death penalty if we had had one. How in the world did he get out of prison?

HB 1647 contained no grandfathering clause to exempt sex offenders already living in the wrong place. Many, if not most, sex offenders would have faced eviction, with little chance of finding somewhere else to live.

Rep. Shannon Chandley led the floor opposition to HB 1647, reading her own litany of close and distant relatives a sex offender would have to identify, locate and avoid: mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, great-grandchildren, step-parent, step-children, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece and former spouse, not to mention in-laws.

The residency restriction is unenforceable,” Chandley warned.

The scary part is not that Guay made parole. It turns out he had become a Christian in prison, maybe an authentic one. I attend a small men’s fellowship a couple times a month, and one day we got a surprise. One of our members brought Raymond Guay. I can’t tell you his conversion was real, because nobody knows another person’s heart. But he prayed like a Baptist elder, and he had major parts of scripture memorized from attending jailhouse Bible studies for a decade. The woman who brought him to the Lord also recruited me to be a prison volunteer. According to news reports at the time, the pastor who hosted Guay in Chichester was getting death threats. Guay has been crime free on the outside now for four years despite all the attention he draws.

Federal law wisely makes inmates like him spend at least 15 percent of their sentence under close supervision, with badly needed help toward re-entry. The scary part is that 105 lawmakers voted to drive out not just Guay, but a huge class of labeled, demonized and unwanted American citizens, just send them off to any other state as if they were Japanese Americans living on the West Coast in 1941 or literate members of the Cherokee Nation prior to the Trail of Tears.

Wendelboe had designs on higher office, state senator. She lost in the Republican primary, but was right about playing the sex offender card. A month before the general election, a convicted sex offender on parole got charged with inappropriately touching a woman. Under a new and progressive justice reinvestment law, the accused man could only return to prison for 90 days on a parole violation.

Demagoguery works

A barrage of Willie Horton-style attack ads, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth funded by Americans for Prosperity, said the Democratic incumbent governor had signed a the law that let dangerous felons out early. The 90 days expired after the election, and the defendant transferred straight to the county jail awaiting trial on his new charge. Tough-on-crime Republicans, Tea Party activists and Free Staters swept to power. One of their strategists later told me the attack ads had tremendous traction. The new people gutted the law, which had reduced the prison population by several hundred inmates in a single year. Those savings on prison costs balanced the budget instead funding community services for ex-offenders as planned. The prison population is climbing again. So is recidivism.

Florida popularized residency restrictions. Powerful Florida lobbyist Ron Book pushed this novel zoning code through the state legislature with little opposition after he learned his grade-school daughter had been raped repeatedly, threatened, and physically abused by her live-in nanny for several years. The resulting statute, based on one horrific case, had nothing to do with the law it triggered. The threat against the Book family had come from within. Book apparently missed the early signs something was wrong with his daughter because he was too trusting. Or he believed the mean stranger myth of sex offending that holds such power in the public consciousness.

The goal of these policies is to protect children from predatory strangers with many victims and high recidivism rates who stalk children near playgrounds to kidnap and rape them. People who fit that stereotype are rare, but they get all the publicity.

We know from the experiences of Iowa, Georgia, Florida, California, and other states that these policies make thousands of public registrants homeless, break up their families, stop them from registering and isolate them without public transportation far from jobs, treatment, medical care, and social supports. Iowa lost track of 42% of its sex offenders under a 2,000-foot residency restriction law. The homeless rate among paroled sex offenders in California soared 800% in the first year of residency restrictions. Georgia is driving its sex offenders literally into the woods. Florida is banishing them from large coastal sections of the state into the Everglades and squalid camps below highway bridges.

Prosecutors and victims’ advocates around the country have begun opposing these laws because they paradoxically endanger children. Research shows that paroled sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates of all criminals except murderers. And they pose the least threat of re-offense if they have jobs, loved ones and a stake in the community.

The research on residency restrictions is clear

Surveys of sex offenders confirm that these laws do vast harm to them and their families. The research also shows that children and teenagers, and not dirty old men in the bushes, commit up to half the crimes against children. In other words, half the so-called predators addressed by housing limits already attend the places the town ordinances would safeguard.

90% of sex crimes are committed by people who are not listed on any registry. Most crimes against kids are committed by peers, by family members or by teachers, coaches, priests, and other friends of the family. In fact, the arrest rate for new sex crimes by paroled sex offenders in state after state ranges between 1- and 5 percent in the first three years after prison.

A 2005 survey of 135 Florida sex offenders by researchers Jill Levenson and Leo Cotter found that residency restrictions had forced 22% of this group to move out of homes they already owned. 25% were unable to return to their homes after release from prison. Respondents agreed in varying degrees with these additional statements about the impact of residency restrictions on their lives:
  • I cannot live with supportive family members: 30%
  • I find it difficult to find affordable housing: 57%
  • I have suffered financially: 48%
  • I have suffered emotionally: 60%
  • I have had to move out of an apartment that I rented: 28%

A 2007 report by the Minnesota Department of Corrections tracked 224 sex offenders released from prison between 1999 and 2002 who committed new sex crimes prior to 2006. The first contact between victim and offender never happened near a school, daycare center or other place where children congregate.

The report concluded, “Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law.” The study warned that these laws isolate offenders in rural areas with little social and treatment support, with poor transportation access, and with few job opportunities. The resulting increase in homelessness makes them harder to track and supervise. “Rather than lowering sexual recidivism,” the report said, “housing restrictions may work against this goal by fostering conditions that exacerbate sex offenders’ reintegration into society.

Child advocates and prosecutors oppose these ordinances

The Iowa County Attorneys Association issued a position paper in 2006 opposing a 2,000-foot residency restriction against sex offenders from places where kids congregate. The prosecutors said, “Law enforcement has observed that the residency restriction is causing offenders to become homeless, to change residences without notifying authorities of their new locations, to register false addresses, or to simply disappear. If they do not register, law enforcement and the public do not know where they are living. The resulting damage to the reliability of the sex offender registry does not serve the interests of public safety.”

A position paper by the Iowa Association of Social Workers says that concentrations of Iowa sex offenders are living in motels, trailer parks, interstate highway rest stops, parking lots, and tents. The site notes many other unintended consequences:
  1. Families of offenders who attempt to remain together are effectively subjected to the same restrictions, meaning that they too are forced to move, and may have to leave jobs, de-link from community ties, and remove their children from schools and friends.
  2. Physically- or mentally-impaired offenders who depend on family for regular support are prevented from living with those on whom they rely for help.
  3. Threat of family disruption may leave victims of familial sexual abuse reluctant to report the abuse to authorities, thereby undermining the intention of the law.
  4. Threat of being subjected to the residency restriction has led to a significant decrease in the number of offenders who, as part of the trial process, disclose their sexual offenses; consequently, fewer offenders are being held accountable for their actions.
  5. Loss of residential stability, disconnection from family, and social isolation run contrary to the “best practice” approaches for treatment of sex offenders and thus put offenders at higher risk of re-offense.
  6. No distinction is made between those offenders who pose a real risk to children and those who pose no known threat. author, Chris Dornin, is a retired State House reporter and the founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform.

Child of Rage


Video Link | Wikipedia

WI - In the waning days of her life, a mom fights to restore son's

Original Article



[mother name withheld] will drive 300 miles round-trip from Menomonie, Wis., to Moose Lake Correctional Facility on Sunday, a drive she's made twice a month for more than five years.

[mother name withheld], 67, knows this could be her last Mother's Day with her son, [name withheld]. She has stage 4 lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

"I don't have too many pity parties," said [mother name withheld], who talks with [name withheld], 43, daily by phone. But she affirms that her son is innocent, and she's urgently trying to bring him home.

I often hear from readers who say they've been wronged. I extend sympathy, try to find them resources, move on. I've stayed with this one, growing more uneasy reviewing the facts of an admittedly complicated case.

[name withheld] was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2005 for first-degree sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl. His mother is among many who question his conviction.

William Seabloom, who developed the nation's first adult male sex offender program in the 1970s, interviewed [name withheld] extensively in prison. Seabloom, of St. Paul, found "no indication that Mr. [name withheld] has any sexual attraction to children [or] that he is guilty of any such behavior."

An assessment of the interview of the victim by a nurse, he said, found "a significant violation of standard procedures," including failure to seek other explanations for the child's responses. And, a convicted sex offender lived in the same Hastings trailer park as [name withheld] and the victim but was not interviewed.

Attorney Kyle White calls the case "extremely unusual." White appealed the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where justices upheld the verdict.

"With a lot of these guys who say they didn't do it, we say, 'Why don't you take a lie detector test?' and they don't," said White, of St. Paul. "But [name withheld] did take it and he passed."

On Oct. 1, 2005, [name withheld] said the child came to his door about 7:30 a.m. looking for her mother. He said he took her back to her house, which was empty. He said he found a coloring book for her and returned to his house.

The girl's mother arrived at his house 15 minutes later, "quite upset," he said, "but not with me. She glared at her daughter and sternly said, 'Come on, let's go.'"

'I'm an innocent man'

He said he confronted the mother about "abandoning" her child. He was arrested soon after. The Dakota County attorney offered [name withheld] a plea bargain of a year in jail. "I never contemplated the plea," [name withheld] said. "I'm an innocent man."

Jurors were shown a videotaped interview of the victim saying [name withheld] touched her. [name withheld]'s first attorney said his innocence was their strategy, so [name withheld] didn't testify, nor did friends or family. Lie-detector tests aren't admissible in Minnesota courts.

Even if they were, Minnesota law states that a child's testimony does not need to be corroborated.

"It's human nature. People want to find someone accountable in a crime," said [name withheld]'s estranged wife, also named [wife name withheld]. By coincidence, she works for St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, a national expert in child sex abuse cases.

"But pedophiles," she said, "don't wake up one day and say, 'Oh, I find prepubescent girls so attractive,' I do believe something happened to her," she said of the child. "I just don't believe [name withheld] did it. [name withheld] is in prison and there is a pedophile out there."

Many people emphasized to me the extreme challenges of interviewing children in sex abuse cases. Jennifer Anderson, associate director of Twin Cities-based CornerHouse, whose protocols have been adopted nationally, calls interviewing, "a really delicate balance that requires training."

"We want to ask kids questions in as indirect a way as possible." But really open-ended questions to children may be misunderstood, she said.

A spokesperson at Midwest Children's Resource Center, which conducted the interview in this case, said the center is "very comfortable" that the interviewer "followed protocol."

'Could not get off the bunk'

The Dakota County attorney's office deferred to the court file, in which the mother reported leaving her daughter alone briefly in mid-day, not morning, and found her at [name withheld]'s house with her shirt tucked in, which was unusual.

In a prison interview in February, [name withheld] said he felt "desperate" during his first two years in prison. "I could not get off the bunk." He was put on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, and ballooned to 310 pounds.

Then he began living, following the Hindu proverb, "Bloom where you are planted." Or, he said, "Don't let them take everything I've got."

He now runs five miles a day, five times a week. He's lost 80 pounds and takes no medications. [name withheld], who has a business degree, tutors prisoners with learning disabilities. And he writes letters to attorneys, about 100 now, asking for someone to help him. And his family.

Last August, his depressed 22-year-old son, [son name withheld], tried to kill himself at his St. Paul Park house, then turned his shotgun on police. A SWAT team sniper ended the standoff, hitting [son name withheld] in the stomach. [son name withheld] sits in Washington County jail.

"You can't imagine how heart-breaking it is to not be there for him," [name withheld] said, "not to mention how I feel my tragedy helped put him in this state of mind in the first place."

He hopes for early release to visit [son name withheld] and to help his mother, who raised him largely alone since he was 6. He's sick that she's blown through her 401(k) and surrendered her life insurance fighting for his innocence.

"My mom raised me to have the highest moral and ethical standards possible," [name withheld] said. "She dictated that if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll be rewarded."

He no longer believes that. He does believe that, without her, "I don't know if I could have survived this."

[mother name withheld] is bone tired, but hanging on. "I made him a promise that we'd get him out," she said. "Can you imagine giving up on your child?"