Course provides Colorado sex assault victims with information about their rights regarding the offender's supervision program, including notification and the right to be heard in court. Course also describes what happens when a defendant is placed on probation, including treatment, polygraphs, and the clarification process.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
See the video for this article at the link above, the one below is from YouTube.
By Sarah Blazonis
A former Onondaga County Family Court judge accused of inappropriately touching his niece when she was five-years-old is prohibited from ever holding judicial office again. That decision to remove Bryan Hedges was handed down by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct earlier this week. Now, Hedges' niece is speaking out. Sarah Blazonis reports.
SYRACUSE - First, victim after victim came forward to speak out against former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky. Then, closer to home, there were the allegations against former SU Assistant Basketball Coach Bernie Fine. The accusations of powerful men sexually abusing children, disturbing as they were, are what Ellen Cantwell Warner says finally set her free.
"Forty years of trauma have finally come to an end. I am at peace," Cantwell Warner said Thursday during a news conference at Vera House in Syracuse.
Cantwell Warner says she was five-years-old in 1972 when her uncle, then 25-year-old Bryan Hedges, sexually abused her in a relative's home. Diagnosed as profoundly deaf two years before, she was unable to tell anyone what had happened.
"An experience like this would be difficult for any child growing up, but it is especially difficult for a deaf child, whose communication is limited. He preyed on my deafness."
It was the SU and Penn State cases that finally inspired her to tell authorities. The statute of limitations to prosecute in this incident has passed, but Wednesday the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a decision to remove Hedges from his position as Onondaga County Family Court Judge. Hedges resigned abruptly in April, but the Commission says it felt the action was necessary given the severity of the charges.
"The commission's determination of removal ensures that Mr. Hedges will never be a judge again, because in New York State, removal from judicial office bars the individual from returning," said Robert Tembeckjian, administrator for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Officials involved in the case say the decision sends several messages, including one to would-be judges that says such behavior won't go unpunished, and, to the victims, a message of hope.
"There are remedies, there are mechanisms of government that will respond appropriately when notified," said Tembeckjian.
"Don't be afraid to tell the authorities, seek help, and get counseling. There can be justice for you," said Cantwell Warner.
Commission documents show Hedges admitted to the incident described by Cantwell Warner, but denied he engaged in a sexual act with his niece.
Hedges released a statement Wednesday, saying, "I am devastated by the Commission's actions. The allegations are untrue. The administrative process is deficient in terms of being a fair fact finding procedure. I hope the Court of Appeals will reverse."
Hedges also questioned the Commission's jurisdiction over the matter since it happened 13 years before he became a judge. Tembeckjian said past cases have established that judges can be disciplined for acts committed before they took the bench, though the conduct in question usually is more recent than in this case.
Campaigners demanding that sex offenders not be allowed out of jail with an electronic tag have stepped up their efforts after it was revealed that a paedophile in Germany had carried out a sex attack on a seven-year-old while wearing an electronic tag.
The convicted child sex offender is now back behind bars after he deliberately let the batteries run flat so he could molest the seven-year-old girl in Munich, Germany.
The 40-year-old man had convinced prison officials he had reformed after serving eight years for attacking his step daughter and also carrying out an assault on two children belonging to a neighbour.
He's now back behind bars but the failed experiment has meant that he now has another victim.
The opponents of the electronic tag system in Austria were furious when the High Court in Linz ruled that a man who raped a 15-year-old would be allowed out on an electronic tag.
The 51-year-old man from Salzburg had been jailed for two years for a total of five rapes on the teenage girl but was eventually allowed to roam free on condition he wear the electronic tag.
Rosa Loger who is a spokesman for an association that represents abused women and runs a number of homes offering them protection said that the electronic tag system was simply not acceptable for sex offenders.
She said that it was perfectly understandable that the teenage girl who was very unhappy about the decision to see her attacker freed was worried that she might meet him again.
A spokesman for the justice ministry, Dagmar Albegger, said that they had accepted the independent court ruling and would not be interfering or making any comment on the matter.
Oral arguments at the Ohio Supreme Court next week will include three cases examining various aspects of Ohio’s sex offender registration and notification statute, the latest in a line of cases that answer legal questions that have arisen since the law was revised as the Adam Walsh act in 2008.
The Supreme Court’s Office of Public Information today released oral argument previews summarizing the cases that will be argued August 21 and 22. There are four cases on the docket Tuesday and five cases Wednesday. Arguments begin at 9 a.m. in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center and can be viewed live online on the court’s home page and the OhioChannel.org. The arguments are also carried live on local public broadcasting stations. Check here for local listings.
First up on Tuesday is a case from the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Wayne County. The question at issue is if a trial court enters a judgment of conviction and a sentencing order in its journal without including a requirement that the defendant register as a sex offender, does that judgment entry terminate the court’s subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and bar it from later imposing a registration requirement on the defendant?
On Wednesday, the court again examines aspects of the sex offender registration and notification law. First, the court will hear a case out of Montgomery County where a pre-2008 sex offender was prosecuted for a violation of his post-release registration duties and the failure to register violation took place after the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (AWA) and its companion sentencing bill, S.B. 97, became effective on January 1, 2008. The justices will be asked if the offender should be sentenced for his registration violation under the pre-AWA (Megan’s Law) penalty scheme that was in place on the date his duty to register arose, or under the enhanced AWA/ S.B. 97 penalty scheme that was in place on the date his registration offense was committed.
Finally, the third case on the docket Wednesday involves a defendant prosecuted for a sexually related offense that was committed between July 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008. The question before the court is whether the trial court can impose the registration and community notification provisions enacted as part of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act, or must apply the registration and community notification provisions of the state’s previous sex offender statute (Megan’s Law)?
I am so sick and tired of politicians who will do and say anything, and exploit anything, just to get elected, and sex offenders are their sure fire way to get elected. Want to get elected? Just exploit children and sex offenders!
By Dan Carden
INDIANAPOLIS - Democrat Kay Fleming (Facebook) promised Wednesday to lead reform of the Department of Child Services and seek improvements to the state's sex offender registry if she is elected Indiana attorney general.
During the past two months, the Indianapolis attorney said she has met with Hoosiers statewide who told her DCS isn't working as well as it should.
Fleming said she would use her position to help coordinate the child protection work of state and local officials "to ensure that children can be kept safe and resources are not squandered."
Also needing better oversight is Indiana's sex offender registry, Fleming said. The list is currently managed by the Indiana Department of Correction with input from each of the state's 92 counties and the Indiana Sheriff's Association.
"Many of our county officials are stretched thin as it is," Fleming said. "The AG's office has the resources to maintain this list, ensure that it has the information that law enforcement needs and ensure that it complies with federal requirements."
Fleming is running for attorney general against Republican Greg Zoeller (Attorney General, Facebook), who is seeking a second four-year term.
PA - Run-on Sentence - An unforgiving and broken system is forcing sex offenders further to the fringes of society — and that’s dangerous for all of us.
By Samantha Melamed
[name withheld] had a problem. He was hurtling toward the end of a three-year sentence in state prison, and he had nowhere to go. He wanted to return to Philadelphia to be near his teenage son, but he was terrified at the prospect of navigating Philly’s homeless shelters without the promise of a bed, worried he would end up sleeping on the street. With a sex offense on his record, the former addict says, “I couldn’t take that chance.” He wrote to every shelter in Philadelphia, practically every one in the state.
Only one wrote back: a place called Just for Jesus, in the tidy, one-stoplight town of Brockway, about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Jefferson County.
So, this past July 24, [name withheld] left prison and found himself at a ragged complex of buildings and trailers marked by crooked, hand-painted signs reading “Welcome to the Streets of Nazareth.” Clinging to the edge of a hill about a mile outside the center of town, the farmstead happens to house what’s probably Pennsylvania’s highest concentration of unincarcerated sex offenders, hailing from all over the state.
Deep in Pennsylvania’s Bible Belt (and, nowadays, shale country), this place is the brainchild of an evangelical and some would say radical preacher, Bishop Jack Wisor of the nondenominational First Apostles’ Doctrine Church. A former homebuilder and recovered alcoholic, Wisor found Jesus — literally: he testifies to having picked him up while driving along a desolate roadway in his 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass — and about 10 years ago turned his woodshop into a church and his house into a homeless shelter.
Planning the shelter, says Wisor, “I started feeling like Noah building the ark.” There were, after all, few homeless people or homeless services in Jefferson County. But once he opened his doors, “Within two weeks, I had 30-something people in my home that needed help.” The place filled up so fast that Wisor himself had to move out.
A few weeks into his stay at Just for Jesus, [name withheld] — a former restaurant manager who pleaded no-contest to aggravated indecent assault in 2010 — still looks shell-shocked. This is, after all, an unlikely place for a guy brought up Jewish in Northeast Philly. (He initially thought he was applying for a berth at someplace called “Just for Jews.”) He’s now living alongside about two dozen other sex offenders.
And many in Brockway, a town of 2,000, don’t share Wisor’s welcoming spirit. A group called Concerned Citizens (Facebook) has organized around shutting down the shelter — holding meetings, printing up T-shirts, rallying on Facebook. Brockway residents regularly post photos of the offenders under car windshields and in store windows around town. And Wisor has made a nemesis of local state Sen. Joe Scarnati, a Brockway Republican who in 2011 introduced legislation preventing more than five offenders classified as sexually violent predators (SVPs) from living at the same address. The law, he told the Punxsutawney Spirit, partly targeted Just for Jesus, which housed six SVPs at the time. After protests broke out around the arrival of paroled murderer Ernie Simmons in 2010, home plans stopped being approved at Just for Jesus altogether. Wisor believes Scarnati put a moratorium on home plans there, though Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole spokesman Leo Dunn says the board doesn’t play politics. It does, however, take into account factors like complaints about a facility from offenders and feedback from the local police — with whom Wisor admittedly has a fraught relationship.
But into this standoff, the sex offenders continue arriving, to the increasing hostility of the neighbors.
How [name withheld] and so many others have washed up here, of all places, can be traced back to a simple underlying problem: Pennsylvania has given little thought to what to do with its thousands of sex offenders, how to house them or reintegrate them into society. Instead, a web of confusing and often contradictory laws and policies has kept hundreds of sex offenders in prison for years even after they earn parole, made life increasingly difficult on the outside and spawned strange, unpredictable results — like dozens of sex offenders winding up in a shelter on the outskirts of a small town like Brockway.
And that web is about to get way more tangled.
The state’s prisons are overflowing with sex offenders, and many are due (if not overdue, after years of tough parole policies) to be released. At the same time, new, tougher laws are eating away at the limited options available to them on the outside. Meanwhile, City Paper has learned that recently (and somewhat secretively) relaxed parole policies could mean hundreds more sex offenders hitting the streets in the very near future.
Pennsylvania has spent much of the past 16 years trying to figure out what to do with its sex offenders. Gov. Tom Ridge first enacted the state’s version of the federally mandated Megan’s Law back in 1996; it’s since been repealed, re-enacted and amended into its current iteration. Although most people think of Megan’s Law as applying to child predators, it’s now an increasingly broad umbrella: statutory rape, sexual assault of an adult, viewing of child pornography, invasion of privacy and exposing oneself in public (including to urinate) can all get your mug shot on the online registry.
In recent years, adding more tough-on-crime amendments to Megan’s Law has been a popular pursuit for legislators.
“In this session in Harrisburg, there were 53 bills related to sex offenders,” says Angus Love, executive director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project. “It’s almost like open season. Anybody who can dream up anything to make [offenders’] lives more miserable puts a bill in. It’s society seeking to purge their collective guilt by scapegoating sex offenders.”
The latest twist, a sweeping new law set to take effect this December, could make a bad situation perilously worse. The state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) — Pennsylvania’s answer to the demands of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which requires that states impose tougher laws or risk losing some federal funds — will, among other things, require more people to register for longer and check in more frequently with state police.
Nicole Pittman, who is researching the impact of SORNA laws around the country for Human Rights Watch, says that SORNA laws elsewhere have proven devastating for sex offenders trying to reintegrate with society — and Pennsylvania’s version looks to be among the harshest.
She points out that, for many, the cycle of punishment will begin anew: “People who were looking at a year or two of registration [remaining] are now going to be reclassified as 25 years or life.”
Despite all that, Pennsylvania is not, in fact, the most restrictive place in the country for sex offenders to live — at least not yet. That’s largely because the state Supreme Court last year struck down local residency restrictions for offenders in Allegheny County, calling hundreds of similar ordinances around the state into question. However, a bill creating statewide residency restrictions is currently in committee in the Pennsylvania Senate; it has 10 sponsors, including Philly’s own Larry Farnese and Anthony Williams. Such legislation could bring Pennsylvania in line with Florida, where restrictions preventing offenders from living near parks, schools, bus stops or day cares famously force many sex offenders into exile, living under bridges or in sugarcane fields.
In the meantime, state officials have found a way to restrict where many sex offenders live anyway.
Even though there are technically no residency restrictions in Pennsylvania, for hundreds of offenders coming out of state prisons, de facto restrictions are already in place — through the state Board of Probation and Parole.
The board typically rejects sex offenders’ home plans if they’re too close to a school, day care or playground. As a result, says Love, almost all sex offender home plans are denied.
“Most sex offenders are going to max out,” or serve out their maximum sentences, rather than be paroled, he says. The Pennsylvania Prison Society estimates that there are about 1,000 sex offenders who have earned parole but are still in state prison because they can’t get home plans approved.
That comes at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $33,000 per inmate or, altogether, $33 million a year.
Ann Schwartzman, policy director for the Pennsylvania Prison Society, says there’s also a greater cost. Inmates who are released on parole are monitored by a parole officer and may be required to undergo therapy. But those who “max out” and leave prison without parole or probation go completely unsupervised — a much more dangerous proposition.
Johannesburg - About 70 percent of sex workers have been abused by police, according to a study released in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“The human rights abuse of sex workers in South Africa is alarming and demands immediate attention,” reads the study issued by the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat).
“Sex workers experience violence during arrest by police officers who routinely beat them, pepper spray them and sexually assault them.”
The study was based on interviews with 308 sex workers, mostly in Cape Town, by the Women's Legal Centre. The sex workers were mostly women, but included men and transgender persons.
The report included first-person narratives from people who recounted being forced to perform oral sex or being gang-raped by police officers. They reported police officers assaulting them, often with pepper spray.
The study found police officers did not identify themselves or wear name tags when committing their offences.
“Police officers commit these crimes with impunity. They remove their name tags so that sex workers are unable to identify them and they instil such fear in the sex workers that they are afraid to report these crimes to the authorities,” reads the report.
Arbitrary arrest was still common, despite a 2009 order from the Western Cape High Court that police could not arrest sex workers unless they intended to prosecute them.
Of the sex workers interviewed, 138 said they had been arrested, but only 21 ever appeared in court.
“This is a clear violation of the right to defend oneself in court and not to be arbitrarily deprived of one's freedom.”
Western Cape police could not immediately be reached for comment.
Most of those arrested, 117, were fined.
Sex workers were also open to exploitation for money. In a case in Cape Town, police came to a sex worker's flat and asked for a bribe.
“I gave one of them R10 because I knew he was hungry,” the sex worker recounted.
|John W. "Jack" Shay|
By LISA DEMER
One of Ketchikan's most prominent political leaders, already accused of possessing child pornography, now finds himself charged with 80 additional counts including one involving a homemade video featuring himself unclothed with a young girl, according to police.
John W. "Jack" Shay, 80, now is accused of 90 counts of possessing child pornography. He turned himself in to the Ketchikan jail Thursday afternoon.
Shay served as both city and Ketchikan Gateway Borough mayor, as well as on the school board, the city council and the borough Assembly. He worked more than 13 years for the state Department of Labor, including 3 1/2 years in the mid-1980s as a division director. On Monday, after the initial round of charges, he resigned his current elected position, a seat on the Ketchikan City Council.
Almost all of the new charges involve photos printed off the Internet and stored in boxes in his home office, said deputy police chief Josh Dossett. Some of the images involve adults attempting sex acts with infants and toddlers, according to the charges. In at least one, a little girl is duct-taped. Some photos were of young boys.
Police began investigating Shay on Nov. 4 after he brought his laptop to a Ketchikan computer shop for repair. He had been having trouble printing. The shop discovered that the items lined up in his printing queue were of child pornography, police have said. Police seized his laptop and printer and got search warrants for his home and home computer. They found the boxed photos during the search, Dossett said.
They also seized hundreds of videos including home movies but have only gone through only a small portion so far, Dossett said. Many of the home movies were the Hi8 format; some were VHS.
One of those seized videos contained a pornographic scene featuring Shay, the charges say. The camera showed what appeared to be a child's room. There was a poster on the wall to measure a child's height. A closet contained children's clothing as well as that for an adult man.
The charges say Shay stepped into the frame talking to a girl about getting dressed for the day. He looked maybe 10 years younger than his current age, though police haven't yet dated the video. The girl was somewhere between age 6 and 10, police say.
Shay took off his clothes and sat in front of the camera, according to the charges. At first the child was playing on the bed, out of the frame. Shay got the girl onto his lap and touched sexually her as she tried to squirm away, the charges say. The same tape also contains another home movie scene in which a man's hand can be seen touching a female child's genitals, the charges say.
The same tape also contains another home movie scene. In this one, the camera was placed between the sheets toward the pelvic area of a sleeping young girl, the charges say. There's a light source. A man's hand can be seen touching the child's genitals, the charges say.
Dossett said police are trying to identify and locate the girl. She could be grown by now. They also want to determine where the video was made. City police haven't charged Shay with sexual abuse of a minor or child exploitation because they don't yet know if the video was made in Ketchikan, Dossett said.
It seems like almost everyone in Ketchikan knows Shay as a community leader. People are having a hard time wrapping their minds around what he is accused of doing, the deputy chief said.
Shay's political life there spans decades, beginning with an appointment to the school board in 1972 and including two terms for both city and borough mayor, largely ceremonial positions. He's also active in community theater. He has a long-time girlfriend.
"Everybody's in disbelief," said Ketchikan Mayor Lew Williams.
The case has people talking.
"It's definitely big news in Ketchikan," Williams said.
Two detectives, two police officers, a lieutenant and a department computer expert all are working on the case, Dossett said. They are conducting interviews and trying to track down people who may know who the girl is and who could identify the pictured room. They are wading through hundreds of videos as well as material on Shay's computers.
The girl in the video and the children in the photos are all victims, Dossett said. Some of the pictured children already have been identified by law enforcement from pornography cases elsewhere.
As of Thursday evening, Shay was still being held in the Ketchikan Correctional Center on $100,000 bail, plus a requirement he be watched by a third-party custodian. His next court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
More charges could be filed, Dossett said.
"We've got a lot of work ahead of us."