Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MA - Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders Urge Massachusetts Not to Adopt Federal Adam Walsh Act

Original Article

12/11/2012

By Shana Rowan

USA FAIR, Inc., a national advocacy organization formed by the family members of people required to register with the sex offender registry, today urged the Massachusetts State Legislature not to act on Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to bring the state into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA).

Many enlightened states, including New York and California, have looked at AWA and rejected it on the basis of sound principles of sex offender management and Massachusetts should continue to do likewise,” said Shana Rowan, Executive Director of USA FAIR.

USA FAIR is very concerned that in the wake of the heinous criminal charges recently brought against [name withheld] that Massachusetts will allow emotion to trump reason and cause the state to adopt legislation that is not supported by volumes of research on sex offender recidivism. The unfortunate history of sex offender legislation in the United States has been to react to rare high profile crimes, while ignoring the fact that sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the entire criminal justice system,” said Rowan.

Rowan continued, “If Mr. [name withheld] is found guilty of these horrific crimes then the full force of the law should be brought down upon him. However, the thousands of law-abiding former offenders who live in Massachusetts and are just focusing on rebuilding their lives as good citizens and providers for their families should not be punished for his acts by having new sanctions imposed upon them. Punish the offender, not the entire offender group.”

Rowan continued, “USA FAIR opposes states adopting the Adam Walsh Act for numerous reasons including its discarding of assigning risk levels based on scientific risk assessments in favor of a conviction based tier system. It makes no sense assigning risks based on the conviction, because research has shown that the people who commit the same crime do not pose the same risk of reoffending. The crime is only one of many offender and victim characteristics that need to be evaluated. This is one of the major reasons why the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), the nation’s largest association representing sex offender treatment professionals, also opposes AWA.” (http://www.atsa.com/pdfs/ppReasonedApproach.pdf)

Rowan cited a recently published November 2012 study conducted in four states (Florida, New Jersey, Minnesota and North Carolina) that found an overall sex crime recidivism rate of 10% after 10 years. The study found that among those who committed a new sex crime, “Actuarial measures and existing state tiering systems both showed better predictive validity than AWA tiers.” Referencing the [name withheld] case, Rowan added, “The state tiering system is working better than AWA. You don’t scrap a system that works because a Level 1 offender committed heinous crimes. Low risk was never meant to mean no risk.” (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/240099.pdf)

USA FAIR also strongly opposes Governor Patrick’s call to place more registrants on the public website. “Listing on the public website can be a life-destroying event. Experience has shown in other states that have expanded its public registry that many law abiding offenders who have lived offense-free in the community for years and even decades have lost jobs and even been forced to move following public disclosure. Such actions not only impact former offenders, but their family members as well who suffer the collateral consequences of the registry. Listing on the website should be reserved only for those who have been deemed truly dangerous.”

Rowan concluded, “We fully understand the emotional appeal of the “if it just saves one child” argument, but basing public policy on the rare heinous crime committed by one registered sex offender, while ignoring the extensive research of the entire former sex offender population, does not result in a fair and reasoned criminal justice system. The Massachusetts Legislature should consider the Governor’s proposal in a deliberative manner and avoid rushing to judgement in a climate of sex offender panic.”


WI - Green Bay City Council Set to Vote on Closing Sex Offender Loophole

Original Article

12/11/2012

By Kristyn Allen

Green Bay - The Green Bay City Council is expected to meet tonight to vote on closing a loophole in the city's sex offender ordinance.

The ordinance is designed to keep sex offenders convicted of crimes against children to get approval from a special board before they can live within 2,000 feet of places where children gather, such as schools or parks.

Tonight's expected vote would expand the ordinance to cover more conviction classifications.

The Protection and Welfare Committee voted on the change last month, sending it tonight's full council meeting.

The loophole was discovered when it was found out [name withheld], a former Catholic priest who molested a young boy, was living in an apartment building on the city's east side.

The city's ordinance didn't apply to [name withheld] because of the classification of his conviction.

Mayor Jim Schmitt said that allowed [name withheld] to move in without going to the special board for permission.

Mayor Schmitt has told Action 2 News he's confident tonight's vote will approve closing the loophole, and make the ordinance more comprehensive.


NM - Officials may seek sex offender registry change

Original Article

12/11/2012

By BARRY MASSEY

SANTA FE - Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic Attorney General Gary King, who are likely political adversaries in the 2014 gubernatorial election, may find common ground in trying to change New Mexico's sex offender registration law in response to a recent ruling (PDF) by the state's highest court.

At issue is whether out-of-state sex offenders must register in New Mexico for the crimes they committed in other states.

The state Supreme Court ruled last week that a Las Cruces man can withdraw his guilty plea to a felony for not registering as a sex offender after moving to New Mexico in 2006. Under state law, offenders must register with law enforcement if they've been convicted of certain sex crimes in New Mexico or the equivalents of those crimes in other states.

The court sent the case back to the district court in Dona Ana County, saying there wasn't enough evidence to determine if [name withheld]'s sex offense in California was the same as a New Mexico sex crime requiring registration. [name withheld] had been required to register as a sex offender in California for a misdemeanor conviction of "annoying or molesting" a child.

The governor and attorney general are considering asking the Legislature next year to clarify registration requirements for out-of-state sex offenders who move to New Mexico. Spokesman for Martinez and King said their offices haven't yet developed specific proposals.



MA - One man commits a serious crime and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo wants to punish everybody?

Robert A. DeLeo
Original Article

One man commits a crime and Mr. Deleo wants to punish everybody for it?

12/10/2012

By Chris Cassidy

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo says he will re-evaluate a stalled Beacon Hill bill that would make the names of even low-level sex offenders public, signing the Bay State on to a national online sex-offender database, after horrifying child sex abuse charges against a Wakefield man last week.

In the coming days, Speaker DeLeo will meet with law enforcement from the affected communities and give serious consideration to the bill in question as well as other options to address these types of sickening crimes,” DeLeo spokesman Seth Gitell told the Herald.

DeLeo was “shocked and saddened” by prosecutors’ claims that [name withheld] videotaped himself raping more than a dozen infants and toddlers, Gitell said.

A bill filed by Gov. Deval Patrick last year would sign Massachusetts on to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named for the 6-year-old son of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh who was abducted and murdered in 1981. The bill languished in the Legislature last year.
- And it was never proven that Adam was sexually abused by a known or unknown sex offender, but the Adam Walsh Act, which was suppose to protect all children, only punishes offenders whose crime involve sex, not child abuse, neglect, etc.  And the person they claim who killed Adam, Ottis Toole, was a serial killer and chronic liar (Video).

The proposed law would allow the public to access information about Level 1 sex offenders from their local police departments. [name withheld] was a Level 1 sex offender whose information was kept private, though he was previously jailed in 1989 for indecent assault and battery on a child.

[name withheld]’s wife, [wife name withheld], operated the Waterfall Education Center, where [name withheld] looked after kids. [wife name withheld] faces charges of recklessly endangering children and running an illegal day care.

In the [name withheld] case, prosecutors say the 13 alleged victims ranged in age from 8 days to 3 1⁄2 years.

The Herald reported last week that [name withheld] might have been bumped up to a higher classification if prosecutors had alerted the Sex Offender Registry Board to previous sex-abuse allegations in 2005 and 2009, but Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone never notified the board. Leone has since said the case illustrates the need to review information sharing and public notifications about sex-offender classification.


CA - Ex-LA official (Albert Abrams) gets prison for child porn

Original Article

12/11/2012

By LINDA DEUTSCH

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A former Los Angeles official who once blamed a spinal tumor for his obsession with child pornography was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Monday to be followed by a lifetime of supervision.

Sixty-four-year-old Albert Abrams, white haired and balding, addressed a judge at a hearing attended by his family and friends.

"I'm truly sorry for these crimes that I committed," said Abrams. "I never intended to harm anyone and I apologize to those that I harmed."

He admitted he collected child pornography and distributed sexually explicit images. His lawyer said materials seized from his home covered almost 20 years during which he hid his activities from family members including his wife of 38 years.

"There's no question that he knew what he was doing was wrong," said defense attorney Marilyn Bednarski.

"Now he has lost everything," she said. "He's lost his reputation, his business. He's close to losing his home and now he is going to lose his freedom."

She urged a term of five years, the minimum under a plea agreement reached with the government. Prosecutors sought the maximum which would have been eight years but U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner settled on seven years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens said, "This is a defendant who disseminated thousands of pictures."

She said there was no mitigation for the lies Abrams told including the claim of a tumor and split personality.

In addition to prison, Klausner ordered that Abrams remain on supervised probation for the rest of his life. He also imposed a $5,000 fine.

Under federal guidelines, he is likely to serve 80 percent of the sentence.

Abrams, who ultimately dropped the tumor defense and blamed a back problem, pleaded guilty in September to one count of distributing child pornography.

In court documents, prosecutors said Abrams told a television station that a tumor made his alternate personality download child pornography. He later claimed the growth was a cyst and now says an unidentified back problem was responsible.

"These are not the actions of someone who has taken responsibility for his criminal conduct, but instead, demonstrates that the defendant continues to deny that he and he alone is responsible for the pain he caused his victims," Morton-Owens wrote in court documents.

Bednarski said doctors did remove a growth from her client's spinal column and he was recovering from a serious back surgery when FBI agents searched his home in July 2011.

Abrams "has repeatedly expressed his remorse and apologized for his offense," said Bednarski.

"This is a man who has struggled with this problem for years. He tried to hide it. He didn't recognize the depth of his problem but now he does," she told the judge.

She expressed concern about her client's safety in prison given the nature of his crimes. Morton-Owens said she believed he would be housed with men serving time for similar offenses.

Abrams resigned last year as president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, a seven-member panel that oversees dozens of neighborhood councils. On the board's website, Abrams had said he worked on the broadcast media campaigns of President Jimmy Carter and Sens. Robert Kennedy and Al Gore. He also had a public relations business.

During the search of Abrams' home, authorities said they found thousands of pictures and videos of suspected child pornography on his computer and hard drives that he collected for more than a decade. Among them were images depicting bondage and sadomasochism.

Abrams also chatted explicitly with others about his child pornography collection and his desire to sexually assault children, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said Abrams downloaded a 170-page document entitled "Hunter's Guide to Finding Child Lovers."

While Abrams wasn't charged with sexually assaulting children, prosecutors said he failed a polygraph examination conducted by the federal government when asked if he had sexual contact with minors. Court documents show that Abrams passed a polygraph test conducted by defense attorneys.

Bednarski said Abrams was "victimized" by a group of older boys when he was 4 years old and there is mention of sexual abuse when he was a child in court documents.

Prosecutors said they have nearly two dozen statements from victims in this case who were either in the pictures or videos collected by Abrams.

"Every day people are trading and sharing videos of me as a little girl being raped in the most sadistic ways," one victim wrote. "They don't know me, but they have seen every part of me. They are being entertained by my shame and pain."


WA - Tears and forgiveness as Longview dad, daughter speak on false rape allegations

Original Article

12/11/2012

By Alyssa Kleven

A Longview father, wrongly accused of raping his own child tearfully spoke out on national television with his daughter at his side.

[accuser name withheld] was 11 years old in 2001 when she accused her father of rape. Now, as a 23-year-old, she apologized to her now-free dad on "Katie."

"Thank you for being a good dad and I'm sorry for my wrong perspective as a child about you," she told her dad, [father name withheld], on the show. "I'm glad you're here for me now."

Last January, [accuser name withheld] told police she made up the rape allegations when she was a child.

"I was just angry and upset because I felt like he wasn't around enough and you know, broken promises and stuff like that," [accuser name withheld] said. Host Katie Couric asked her if she had just wanted more of her dad, "I did. I wanted more of my dad."

[father name withheld] denied the rape allegations at the time but was convicted and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. After serving nearly a decade, he was released and all charges against him were dismissed.

When he was released, "I felt joy, I felt security. Knowing that my prayer had finally been answered. I had hope and faith all along," [father name withheld] said.

As an innocent man in prison, [father name withheld] said it was scary and horrible: not knowing from one second to the next what was going to come at him.

When he was released, and [accuser name withheld], now an adult, was reunited with her dad, she feared his response.

"I didn't really know for sure what he was thinking or what he was going to say or anything like that. Then I saw he took his hand out from behind his back and had a bouquet of flowers for me. So I melted right there. It was awesome."

In April when [accuser name withheld] recanted her story, prosecutors said they were unsure whether she lied in 2001 or is lying now. Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur said there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict [father name withheld] at the time.

"It's impossible for anyone to know what the truth is, isn't it?" Baur had said. "There is basically no way that a jury now would be able to convict [...] when she's recanting now. But, technically that doesn't mean that anybody has made a finding that she lied back then."

Baur said her office would not seek to have the case tried again, and that the statute of limitations prevents her office from charging the daughter with false reporting.

See Also:


WV - Former Princeton police officer (Christopher Winkler) sentenced to five years probation on solicitation of bribery charge, charged in 2011 with attempted sexual abuse of a minor

Christopher Winkler
Original Article

12/10/2012

PRINCETON - Former Princeton Police Officer Christopher Winkler, 27, of Princeton, was sentenced this morning to five years probation with an additional six months of home confinement on a solicitation of bribery charge.

Winkler previously entered a plea agreement that drops a charge of attempted sexual abuse by a custodian or guardian charges against him. He was sentenced on the bribery charge by Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Omar Abhoulhosn.

Winkler was charged in March 2011 with attempted sexual abuse of a minor by a custodian or guardian and solicitation of bribery.

The charges were filed after an incident that occurred March 1, 2011 in a parking lot near the intersection of Route 20 and Route 104 in the Princeton city limits. In a criminal complaint filed by the West Virginia State Police, Winkler allegedly “attempted to negotiate sexual favors” from a 17-year-old male subject.
- If the age of consent in West Virginia is 16, then how is 17 being a minor?

For more details on the sentencing hearing see Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph.


NY - Sex offenders lurking in the shadows on Staten Island

Original Article

Notice the scary title?

12/10/2012

By JACK RYAN

STATEN ISLAND - There are 296 registered sex offenders living on Staten Island. Some are supervised by parole officers. Some are supervised by probation officers. But most are not supervised by anyone.

"The public just assumes that somebody is watching them," said Carole Weaver, a spokesperson for the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. "That's not necessarily so."

The Parole Department supervises 30 of the registered sex offenders on Staten Island, while the Probation Department currently supervises 63 of them.

The remaining 203 sex offenders are not supervised by any agency.

This year, as in the past, parole officers on Staten Island visit the homes of each of the 30 sex offenders they supervise. They will search their homes -- they don't need a search warrant -- for magazines, DVDs, computer records, drugs or anything that can constitute a violation of parole.

In Suffolk County and some other jurisdictions, Parole requires sex offenders to meet on Halloween at a central location where they watch training videos designed for such offenders. They don't leave until trick-or-treating time is over.

This year, as in the past, the agency was particularly vigilant on Halloween. Ryan Dodge, a spokesman for the Probation Department, said that on "On Oct. 31, a probation officer (visited) the residences of those who were convicted of abusing children and remind them that they are subject to a curfew and restricted from participating in any Halloween activities and from opening the door for any trick-or-treaters."
- Even though there has never been a case where a child was sexually abused by a known sex offender on Halloween.  It's a waste of time and money!

But what about the sex offenders who are not being supervised?

IT'S UP TO PARENTS

There are no restrictions on those sex offenders not under supervision, even the pedophiles.


TX - Record interrogations: Reduce false confessions

Original Article

12/10/2012

CBS News' 60 Minutes last night had a disturbing story on the subject of false confessions, honing in on police interrogation of juveniles in Chicago, which the story called the nation's false confession capital. In a bizarre twist, a Chicago prosecutor insisted she believed in the guilt of exonerated defendants even after DNA had cleared them and implicated a convicted rapist. She suggested the rapist who's DNA was discovered (who is now deceased) coincidentally wandered by an open field after the fact and had sex with the corpse of a 14 year old, AFTER the boys who'd confessed had committed the deed. The courts disagreed, though, based on a close analysis of the recorded confessions, and released them with an accompanying finding of actual innocence.

The story reminded me Grits failed to link to a recent story from the Texas Tribune about proposed legislation by state Sen. Rodney Ellis to require police to record custodial interrogations, which was one of the recommendations of the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions that the Texas Lege failed to act on last session. Critics of the bill rely on several highly questionable claims, but once you get past red herrings about cost and logistics, it comes down to these two: Criminals might "get off" if unrecorded confessions are suppressed and jurors would not understand often-aggressive interrogation techniques that may lead to an eventual confession.