Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CO - Former Loveland police officer (Rod Bretches) appears in court over child porn

Rod Bretches
Original Article


By Jessica Maher

FORT COLLINS - Former Loveland Police Officer Rodney Bretches made a brief appearance in Larimer County Court on Monday and was issued a six-week continuance in his case alleging child pornography possession.

Bretches, 48, appeared before 8th Judicial District Judge Stephen Howard for the status conference. He was with his attorney, Derek Samuelson, and was granted a six-week continuance based on incomplete discovery.

He is due back in court for a disposition hearing on Sept. 6.

Bretches was arrested in late May after his colleagues at the Loveland Police Department searched his home and allegedly found videos and photographs depicting child pornography. Police began investigating the 19-year force veteran after a woman reported that he had secretly recorded her showering at his home and then shared it online.

Bretches faces a felony charge of sexual exploitation of a child, an allegation for which he could receive up to six years in prison if convicted, as well as two misdemeanor peeping charges that carry up to 24 months in prison upon conviction. At his last court appearance, Samuelson asked the judge to set the case over for a possible plea agreement.

Samuelson did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Until his mid-June resignation, Bretches had been on paid administrative leave from the Loveland Police Department.

TX - Local Mayor (Charlie Stewart, Sr.) Charged With Child Sexual Abuse Resigns School Job

Charlie Stewart, Sr.
Original Article


NOLANVILLE - Nolanville Mayor Charlie Stewart, Sr., who remains jailed on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge stemming from incidents involving an elementary school girl, resigned Monday from his job as a technologist at Killeen’s Manor Middle School.

The resignation was effective Monday, Killeen Independent School District spokeswoman Leslie Gilmore said

He had worked for the district since October 2001.

The district issued a statement after Stewart’s arreset that said, “A background check was conducted in 2001 upon Mr. Stewart’s hiring. The district also runs yearly background checks on employees. Mr. Stewart passed each background check that was conducted,” the statement said.

Stewart was arrested on July 20 following an investigation that started on June 28 after Scott & White Hospital contacted Nolanville police about a child sexual assault victim, authorities said.

An affidavit released last week says the girl, who was 12 at the time the alleged sexual assaults began in 2011 at Stewart’s home, told both her mother and a forensic interviewer from the Children’s Advocacy Center that Stewart “inserted his penis into her vagina several times beginning in the summer of 2011.”

Stewart was sworn in as mayor of Nolanville in May 2010.

OH - Former High School Resource Officer (Todd Smith) Accused Of Having Sexual Contact With Teenager

Police officer Todd Smith
Todd Smith
Original Article


COLUMBUS - New allegations arose against a former Centennial High School resource officer on Monday.

Todd L. Smith, who served as a school resource officer at Centennial High School during the 2011-12 school year, was accused of “sexting” a teenage girl. On Monday, new allegations surfaced that Smith had sexual contact with another teenage girl on school grounds.

Smith, 49, was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday and federally charged. He was being held in the custody of U.S. Marshals.

Smith faces a charge of coercion and enticement because of the texting allegations, which involved a 15-year-old girl.

The officer was accused of sending text messages to the girl stating that he had a “sexual addiction” and that he wanted to meet “at a special place” where he and the girl would engage in sexual contact.

On Monday, Smith sat silently as an FBI agent explained how the alleged victim contacted authorities to report that Smith threatened her if she told anyone about the conversations.

The judge called Smith, a husband and father of four, a danger to the community. Family members testified that he was not a flight risk and could be trusted.

A Columbus Division of Police spokesman said that Smith was relieved of his duties with the Columbus Division of Police upon his arrest.


NEW ZEALAND - Fears over housing of sex offender

Original Article



Residents in a northwestern Auckland suburb are horrified that a child sex offender was living in their midst without them knowing.

Residents became aware of a property in Massey where offenders placed by the Corrections Department were living this month after police were called to deal with someone behaving suspiciously.

The department considers whether to notify communities of an offender on a case-by-case basis and in this situation decided against it because the person was living at the property on a short-term basis.

But Colwill School principal Robert Taylor is upset he wasn't contacted.

''I'm not impressed. We have a lot of children living in the area and several schools will be impacted by the placement.''

A grandmother living near the house says she "felt sick" when she heard the news and is upset residents were not consulted.

"We wouldn't have known if the police didn't come that day. People don't know whether they should lock up their kids. I know these people all have to go somewhere but we should have been told."

Corrections Department staff visited the resident after being contacted by Fairfax Media.

"I told them I was disgusted that our backyard, the only place where my grandkids should be guaranteed safety, wasn't safe any more."

Corrections Department acting regional manager Alastair Riach said a significant amount of preparation goes into approving a suitable address for a child sex offender.

"This includes checking the property as well as conducting a visual check of the neighbourhood for signs of children residing nearby, proximity of the house to parks, schools, kindergartens, swimming pools, libraries, thoroughfares and other places frequented by children."

''An address would not be approved where it was considered that there was an undue risk to the safety of the community."

Riach said community notification is considered in line with the Privacy Act.

"In this instance a decision was made not to notify neighbours initially, as the accommodation arrangement was considered to be of a short-term nature.''

Taylor said that was a poor excuse.

Riach says neighbours have now been consulted because of concerns raised.

''We are unable to comment on the offender's specific circumstances as the matter is currently before the courts. However, we can say that we are working closely with police to manage the situation."

FL - Orlando explores tougher laws for sex offenders

Original Article


By Mark Schlueb

Landlords in Rock Lake and other west Orlando neighborhoods are renting so many homes to sex offenders — sometimes a half-dozen or more in a single house — that Orlando has earned a reputation as the state's "dumping ground for sex offenders," one landlord said Monday.

Residents say more restrictive laws in other cities and counties have caused sex offenders to move to Orlando. More than 50 registered sex offenders live in the Rock Lake neighborhood, and nearly 200 within a one-mile radius.

Some 38 sex offenders list their address as the nearby Parkwood Inn, an extended-stay motel on Colonial Drive just west of John Young Parkway.

"I agree that even convicted sex offenders need a place to live, and I always knew there were some in our area," said Loreto Murray, who lives in Spring Lake Manor in the Rock Lake area. "But I don't think it's the best thing for so many of them to live together in the same area, in the same home."

On Monday, Murray and her neighbors asked the City Council to crack down by adopting similar laws that would expand the buffer around schools and other areas where sex offenders aren't allowed to live.

Mayor Buddy Dyer and city commissioners directed administrators to determine whether more restrictive laws in other areas are causing sex offenders to see Orlando as a "safe haven." City attorneys, police, code-enforcement officers and planners will bring back a proposal to the council.

"If in fact our ordinances are less restrictive than other communities, causing sex offenders to see Orlando as a safe haven or a place to move to, we certainly want to correct that," Dyer said.

Orlando relies on state law, which prohibits registered offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day-care centers, parks and playgrounds. That leaves out a lot of housing, particularly in urban areas such as Orlando. But Rock Lake and other nearby areas of west Orlando are largely outside the 1,000-foot buffer.

Some cities and counties adopted tougher standards after the 2005 kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by John Couey, a repeat sex offender who lived in her neighborhood in Homosassa.

In Palm Beach and Broward counties, for instance, sex offenders cannot live within 2,500 feet of schools, day-care centers, parks, playgrounds or even bus stops.

"South Florida has been shut down," said landlord Randy Young. "They're all coming to Orlando, and Orlando is quickly becoming the dumping ground for sex offenders."

Young and some other landlords in Orlando have seen those restrictions as a money-making opportunity. A registered sex offender himself, Young has been renting property to sex offenders for about seven years. He said he owns about 25 homes around the state, including about 10 in Orlando that house 45 sex offenders.

He rents entire houses to offenders if they can afford it, and single rooms to those who can't. Last week, the city issued him code-enforcement citations for two houses in Rock Lake, saying each one was home to six sex offenders. They weren't violating the state buffer zone, but city code prohibits more than five non-family members from sharing a residence.

Young said the city targeted him because he's the most open about his practice of renting to sex offenders. He solicits renters on his website, and readily grants media interviews to advocate on the need for housing.

Young said that he has strict rules for his renters, including no smoking or drinking, and that he won't rent to the worst offenders. He argues that the houses in Rock Lake were "crack houses" that caused more problems before he bought them.

But recently, other property owners have begun doing the same thing. He pointed to another property owner he says began buying foreclosed properties just a few months ago and now rents to 51 offenders. The state registry lists nine offenders at one of those properties.

"I screen them and monitor them. He takes the ones I turn down," Young said.

Young attended the City Council meeting Monday and told commissioners that he agrees that Orlando should have more restrictive buffers. He suggested that offenders should only be allowed to live in the area if they can demonstrate ties to the community.
- What?  Hey Randy, maybe they should increase the buffer to force you to have to move as well?  And here we supported you, not any more!  You are clearly in this for the money alone, which we suspected all along, but you just solidified that.

That's the only way to keep Orlando from attracting offenders from across the state, Young said.

Resident Mimi Saunders demanded action from the city.

"We are being inundated with sexual offenders in our neighborhood," she said. "Our property values continue to go down when our neighbors move out and sex offenders move in."