Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Story (By Anonymous)

The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

By Anonymous:
I will start at the beginning because they tell me it lays the foundation for my story, and gives those listening, a road map to understand how I got to when I am and where I was.
I was 4 when my mother married my sister’s father [father name withheld] and at the time all seemed relatively “normal” or at least as much as anything is normal to a 4 year old. Shortly after they married we moved from Texas when I was born to Michigan, where my sister was born shortly after. This left us isolated because all of my family, except my mother, my sister and I were in Texas at this point; all his family of course were in Michigan. Shortly after moving to Michigan [father name withheld] changed, he began hanging out with his older brother and the two of them dove heavy in to drugs. That is when the beatings started; for the most part my mother took most of the hits when I was younger. As I grew older I took the brunt of it in order to save my mom. More nights than I care to remember were him coming home drunk or high and beating me or my mother. Night after night lying in bed listening to him beat and or rape her.

Many people would criticize her for not simply “leaving”, but they also don’t realize that she had no family near and his family often used the threat of lawyers or taking my sister, simply because they had the money and means to do so. All the beatings came to a head when I was 11, I had all that I could bare and I confronted him during one of his onslaughts. I stood up to him and he unleashed a sort of hell most movies can’t capture. My mother came to my aide and as a result nearly died. It was enough however to prompt the divorce, while this seems like the end to a horror story, it really wasn’t. My anger toward him and my inability at the time to fit in and be accepted by my peers drove me to a dark place. When I was 12 [father name withheld] finally had his share of drugs and died from an overdose, he got to escape the hell he made for me and my family and we had to continue lining in it.

I was babysitting the neighbor girl, we’ll call her Anne, she was 8 I believe maybe 9. I walked in on her watching a dirty movie and touching herself and that’s when it hit me, I could feel wanted, and accepted, and be rid of my anger. While I should have stopped the video and scolded her or at the very least told her parent when they got home, that’s not where this story goes. I won’t go in to graphic detail. I touched her inappropriately both over and under her clothes and asked her to perform oral sex. A moment I am not proud of and will live with for the rest of my life, in that moment I became the very man I had grown up hating. When her parents came home the following morning she had told them what had transpired. They were furious and rightfully so, they had a meeting with my mother and while they were willing to let it go, my mother was not. For her I had become [father name withheld] in that moment, she had fought for so long with “losing” my sister that she wasn’t going to take the chance of having some one slip up and say something and that Child Protective Services might come and take us both from her. So she opted to call the police, better to lose a son than to lose both children. I was arrested just after turning 13, and for the next year I spent it in a juvenile detention center. Shortly after my 14th birthday the court hearings had come to an end and I was tried as an adult in the state of Michigan. To serve 1 year in juvenile (sentence served) and 1 year probation and counseling as well as life time registration in the Sex Offender Database. I don’t mean to make this sound like I was a victim but it was tough and in some cases unjustly so. The middle school principle felt that the SO Database should be used to alert everyone and thus he printed hundreds of copies of my mug-shot and crime and lined the halls and classrooms with them, there was no one that didn’t know the monster I had been in that one moment, and no one that would allow me to put it behind me. I had about all I could handle as I neared my 15th birthday and I unsuccessfully attempted suicide. I had a mother that couldn’t look at me without seeing a copy of her own tormenter, and a town that loved to have a monster to lynch. After coming home many times beaten to with an inch of my life and then my suicide attempt I was sent to live with a family friend in Texas.

A fresh start was good, but my underlying demons were never cleansed, I was lucky in the way of registration as the cop I went to register with simply told me to lay low and stay out of trouble. While I had no desire to offend again and be [father name withheld] once more, I still harbored such anger which had led to fights, some I had instigated and others I was simply involved in. My grades also tanked from a lack of caring, at 17 I dropped out much against my sudo father’s wishes. I became a vagrant, crashing on couches until I was about 19 when someone convinced me more on a dare to go to Job Corp, while there I received my GED and a certificate of Business and Technology. At 20 I reconnected with my sudo father, the friend of the family that took me in. He was living in Colorado by that point and he convinced me to head out there to visit. A visit turned in to me loving it so much, I stayed. Colorado was great for a time, but registration laws were much different rather than state wide as I had been accustomed too, requirements were county to county. While I met the criteria in one county to not have to register that wasn’t the case in another. I had moved a round while living in Colorado and took a wrong turn (literally) on a one way road. What would have been a ticket for most, lead the officer to find I was unregistered in this new county and as such. I was arrested and went to court when I was sentenced with a misdemeanor “Failure to Register as a Sex Offender”. The sentence was a little vague as it had a limit of two years but on the condition that I “complete” offender rehabilitation which is a minimum 5 year process. Any offence in Colorado that requires probation or the like requires that an offender undergo rehabilitation or be actively enrolled in rehabilitation.

So began a 5 years of reprogramming. at the time it seemed unfair 5 years of my life for a simple mistake in county lines but in hind sight I learned so much about life, people, the psychology of an offender, psychology of humans in general and most importantly myself. I became so well versed in it in fact that I was often seated with new therapist to make sure they were fit to work in the business or if they were teaching the modules for rehabilitation correctly. I know the cycle of an offender (and any negative behavior) inside and out, I’ve volunteered too many victim panels and advocacy groups. I thought of changing my degree path to psychology and becoming a therapist myself albeit a board likely wouldn’t certify me because of my past.

I again became something of a wanderer though making sure to stay legally registered this time. I still had to occasionally traffic ticket which would escalate to a full search of my vehicle of it being impounded for "lights not working" (after being broke out with a police flash light), and being roughed up by police and or publicly humiliated when an officer would see my record.for a few years until last year. My sudo father had been researching laws back in Michigan (where he lives now) and found that I was eligible of an expungment and so we worked together to make that happen. I have been legally free from my past for nearly a year. While I am legally free remembering the impact I had on my family, on “Anne’s” family and I can only imagine how Anne grew up is something I can never and must never forget. If she ever received any form of victim advocacy or treatment or if she grew up tormented as I had, it’s something I can never rightly know.

People hear my story and they are either sympathetic for me or angered by me, neither of which to I ask for. I committed a crime, ruined, lives and served the time the courts set forth for me. I have been mocked beaten battered bruised, called name rejected, dejected and hunted (literally). I simply now want to live leaving the smallest footprint I can, keep to myself and finish out however many or few years are left in my existence. I am telling my story however because there are other kids, that either won’t be saved from their nightmares and will go on to create nightmares for others, or when they do they likely won’t receive proper rehabilitation like I hadn’t until some decade after my offence. I was blessed to have my record expunged now that I had lived with it for over half my life, most people are not that lucky.


IL - Bill Will Further Limit Registered Child Sex Offenders in Illinois

Original Article

06/08/2012

A bill that recently passed both legislative houses in Illinois will prohibit convicted child sex offenders from participating in holiday activities involving children, if signed by the Governor. While this bill is very specific, it adds further requirements for registered sex offenders in Illinois, and puts additional limits on how they must live following a criminal conviction.

Illinois Sex Offender Bill
The recent bill, SB3579 (PDF), was introduced in February of this year and sponsored by Senator Kirk Dillard. If signed, it will amend the Illinois Criminal Code by making it a Class 4 felony for child sex offenders to participate in holiday events that involve children under 18-years-old. Limitations on activities include giving out candy on Halloween, dressing up as Santa Claus on or around Christmas and wearing an Easter Bunny costume on or before Easter Sunday. Exemptions from the law would include some statutory rape convictions and sex offenders who are parents or guardians of minors, as long as no other children are present in the home.

In addition to having to register with their local law enforcement agency and being added to the state's Sex Offender Database for a period of 10 years, child sex offenders in Illinois are also subject to residence and work restrictions. It is generally a violation of law for those convicted of child sex offenses to live with other sex offenders, live within 500 feet of a school, park or daycare center or work with children or in youth-related programs. Child sex offenders are also banned from visiting parks, being present on school grounds and using social networking websites during certain periods following a conviction.

Debate Continues
As legislatures in Illinois and across the nation continue to pass bills to further restrict and monitor convicted child sex offenders, critics wonder whether these types of laws actually help to protect children. A majority of sex crimes where children are the victims are committed by a family member or someone they know, so residential and work limitations do not always prevent these types of offenses. In addition, opponents of laws that seek to isolate child sex offenders say this can actually cause more problems and crimes than they solve or prevent.

Legal Help
People convicted of child sex offenses are already subject to a host of legal restrictions, and the list continues to grow with each newly enacted child sex offender law. Once someone is convicted and required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, the public embarrassment and other consequences will lasts for a minimum of 10 years. In the meantime, the bill to limit child sex offenders from participating in holiday events may soon become law, and another bill that would extend the registration requirement to 15 years is currently pending. These possible upcoming changes make it important for people charged with or convicted of sexual crimes to consult with an experienced criminal law attorney about their case.


VA - Virginia Supreme Court hears appeal in case over police use of GPS tracking

Original Article

06/07/2012

RICHMOND — A lawyer for a sex offender asked the Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday to reverse his client’s conviction, arguing police failed to obtain a search warrant before using an electronic tracking device to monitor his whereabouts.

Amid a series of sexual assaults in northern Virginia, Fairfax County police put a tracking device on a van [name withheld] drove for work because they suspected him in the attacks. He was a suspect in part because of his past sexual assault conviction.

GPS data indicated the van was at the scene of a sexual assault in February 2008, so police deployed officers to follow him. Later that month, they saw [name withheld] knock a woman to the ground and try to unbutton her pants. The officers intervened and arrested [name withheld], who was convicted of abduction with intent to defile and sentenced to life in prison.

In arguing Thursday to overturn the conviction, [name withheld]’s attorney Christopher Leibig cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in January that police cannot install GPS technology to track suspects without a warrant.

Virginia Theisen, a lawyer with the state attorney general’s office, argued that there was a gap in time between the GPS monitoring and the attempted assault, which makes the officers’ testimony admissible.

Police gathered evidence by “old-fashioned” surveillance that helped them identify [name withheld] and ultimately stop his attempted assault, she said.

He was already a suspect,” she said. “This was why they used GPS.”

Leibig, however, argued police relied on the three hours of GPS surveillance to help build the case against [name withheld].

Theisen acknowledged the police acted illegally when using the tracking device, but argued that officers’ eyewitness evidence was admissible.

Judges asked whether it mattered that [name withheld]’s employer, and not [name withheld] himself, was the owner of the van being tracked.

Leibig said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said there’s no distinction based on vehicle ownership, because it’s the person inside the vehicle, not the vehicle itself, being tracked.

Courts in several states are addressing the GPS tracking issue in light of the high court’s ruling.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in March that police must get a warrant from a judge before using GPS technology to track a suspect over an extended period. The ruling overturned the drug convictions of [name withheld], who was charged after GPS tracking led to drugs and other evidence in a storage locker.

In Kentucky, a federal judge last month ruled that police illegally used a GPS device on a suspect and barred prosecutors from using the discovery of 150 pounds of marijuana as evidence.

While the Supreme Court ruled police need warrants to employ GPS tracking devices, it didn’t specify whether law enforcement agencies need warrants to track suspects by their cell phone signals, which also transmit geolocation information.

Federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would require law enforcement officials to obtain court warrants to collect cell phone data.