Saturday, May 11, 2013

OH - Former Alliance cop (Steven Fitzgerald Slimak) accused of sex crimes is bound over to grand jury

Steven Fitzgerald Slimak
Original Article

05/11/2013

By Gayle Agnew

A former Alliance Police Department officer accused of sex crimes appeared before Judge Jean Madden in Alliance Municipal Court on Friday.

Steven Fitzgerald Slimak, 42, of 2217 S. Arch Ave., was arrested on May 3 by members of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at his home. Slimak was charged with possession of sexually oriented material involving a minor and pandering obscenity involving a minor, both third-degree felonies.

He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and his case was bound over to the Stark County grand jury.

Slimak had resigned from the department amid sex crime allegations more than a decade ago.

According to Alliance Police Detective John Jenkins, on May 4, officers executed a search warrant at the home Slimak shares with his mother and confiscated several computers, external hard drives and thumb drives as part of a two-week investigation.

Juvenile Detective Matthew Shatzer and patrolman R.H. Rummel assisted with the investigation, which also included members of the Secret Service, according to Jenkins.

Slimak resigned from the Alliance Police Department in 2002 after colleagues confronted him regarding an investigation into alleged child pornography activities. He was later convicted of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, sexual imposition and pandering sexually oriented matter involving minors, according to law enforcement.

He was sentenced by Stark County Common Pleas Court Judge John Haas to serve more than two years in prison and another 10 months in Stark County Jail in conjunction with the charges, according to the online case docket.

According to the Stark County Sheriff's Office sex offender website, Slimak, who is registered as a sexually oriented offender, was released on Dec. 30, 2004.

Slimak remains in the Stark County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

If convicted of the latest charges, which were elevated because of the prior convictions, Slimak faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.


AZ - Former Tucson officer (Martin Ward) arrested in child porn case

Martin Ward
Original Article

05/11/2013

TUCSON (AP) - A former Tucson police officer has been arrested following a months-long investigation into the online sharing of child pornography.

Tucson police say agents with the U.S. Marshals Service helped track 29-year-old Martin Ward to a motel in Prescott, where he was arrested late Friday. He's being held on a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

It's not immediately clear if Ward as an attorney.

Ward was hired as a Tucson officer in April 2007. In December, he resigned rather than face termination following an unrelated internal investigation.

In March, detectives began investigating online sharing of child pornography in the Tucson area. They identified a person on the eastside of the city who was sharing multiple files.

A search warrant of the home turned up several child porn videos, and detectives identified Ward as the suspect.


MN - Sex offender bill draws GOP opposition

Original Article

So this is what congress has become? A bunch of cowards who are afraid to stick their necks out to do what is right in order to save their own careers and reputations? Boy, this country is indeed going to hell! Kind of reminds me of 2 Timothy 3 from the Bible.

05/10/2013

By Dan Linehan

ST. PAUL - A bill to begin reforms to the state’s sex offender program was passed by a House committee Friday evening on a party-line vote after about three hours of discussion.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tina Liebling, D-Rochester, was concerned about the on-the-record vote, which Republicans may use as political ammunition.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, had asked for a roll call, which would require each vote to be recorded, which isn’t the case for a voice vote.

The only reason to do that is to use that vote against members of this committee,” Liebling said.

The bill authorizes the creation of alternatives to the the high-security, prison-like hospitals in St. Peter and Moose Lake. With a judge’s approval, some sex offenders could be transferred into smaller facilities spread across the state. Every other year, patients’ treatment progress would be reviewed to determine if they are in the right setting.

Liebling’s bill doesn’t change how people are civilly committed or how they are freed from that commitment. Those two processes are at the core of a federal lawsuit that is behind these recent reform efforts. A judge in that case appointed a panel in 2012 to examine the issue, and that body’s first round of recommendations is the basis of Liebling’s bill.

Though the bill is only taking these modest first steps, she said lawmakers who vote for it could be “spun as being soft on crime and soft on sex offenders.”

They’re worried that constituents will complain about sex offenders being housed near them, even in a secure setting. And a sex offender who gets released and re-offends could be wielded as a potent political weapon against anyone who voted for a reform bill.

Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, said before the 5-3 vote that he doesn’t think the bill will make it to the House floor. He said the bill would get either one or no Republican votes, and predicted some Democrats would peel off.

Why would they stick their neck out?” he said.

Liebling agreed that her bill might not make it to the floor: “It cannot move forward without bipartisan support.”

But it did, at least on Friday. The committee voted at about 8:30 p.m.

Donna Dunn, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, testified in support of the bill.

She said the bill doesn’t answer all of her questions about what would happen to sex offenders, but called it “a moderate step to have a deeper and longer conversation.”

Cornish has a competing proposal that would give 60-year prison sentences to people in a new class he’s calling “predatory sex offenders,” a designation to punish the most heinous sex crimes. But he didn’t introduce it this year because it doesn’t have “a snowball’s chance in Hades” of being passed, he said.

Cornish’s idea wouldn’t affect the people already in treatment but it would make civil commitment unnecessary for new offenders, considering how old the person would be at the time of release.

Republicans suggested waiting until next year and coming back with what they believe will be a better bill.

I don’t know what the big hurry is. We can do this next year after the process has been thoughtful and we’ll have more important data to use,” said Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover.

Liebling objected to the characterization of the bill as being written without Republican input. She said they’ve known about the bill for a month but no Republicans have approached her with a concern.

I don’t know what that would mean, if I’m supposed to go and talk to every member of the minority?” she said.

If the bill doesn’t pass the House this year, a federal court could make sweeping changes to the program. It’s even possible that the sex offenders could be all released at once.

Eric Magnuson, former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, testified that the courts are ready to declare the program unconstitutional (because only one person has ever been released) but can’t say what the courts will do if the Legislature does nothing this year.

But he said “courts don’t sit on lawsuits waiting for states or parties in their own good time to resolve the issues ... if the Legislature doesn’t do it, the federal court will.”

In addition to the every-other-year reviews of inmates conducted by the Department of Human Services, the bill also calls for the use of smaller facilities spread across the state. As it stands, a judge deciding a civil commitment case has two options: Send the person to a prison-like facility in Moose Lake or St. Peter, from which they may never leave, or set them free.

It’s hard to say what these new treatment setting will look like because the department is still in the early stages of soliciting proposals, from both governments and private companies, to house sex offenders.

Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the proposals so far run the gamut: “Everything from a halfway house model to things that are more secure.”

Magnuson said having more options also helps the treatment process because it allows patients’ responsibilities to be gradually increased.

You need a transition, a flow. This gives the court a chance to put people in a better location,” he said.

Republicans said the fiscal costs of the bill haven’t been properly vetted, in part because the bill didn’t stop in the House finance committee.

Do you know how many of these new facilities we’re going to need?” asked Brian Johnson, R-Cambridge.

Jesson said she didn’t know, and declined to guess, because it will depend on where judges decide to send civilly committed people once more options are available.

Jesson said the department could pay for new treatment models with the money budgeted for the 55 or so sex offenders slated to come into the program every year. They cost the state $326 a day per person, and any new model is almost sure to cost less.

That explanation seemed to satisfy Senate Republicans in that body’s finance subcommittee on April 30, but wasn’t good enough for the House Republicans.

The bill’s Senate companion, sponsored by Mankato Rep. Kathy Sheran, is ready for a final vote and has moved through committees with little or no objection. Why has its Senate path been so smooth compared to the House?

Liebling blamed (or credited, depending on your perspective) a few representatives for the opposition, as well as a different culture than the state Senate.

The bill’s next stop in the House is the rules committee.


LA - Supreme Court: Waiting 7 years for a trial is speedy enough?


So if you are accused of any crime, you can be locked up for 7+ years, even if you are innocent!

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided that it is constitutional if a state locks up a suspect for 7+ years without giving him a trial, and that somehow does not violate the 6th Amendment guarantee of speedy public trials. All a state has to do is claim it doesn't have the money to give you a trial and they can apparently get away with this indefinitely. SCOTUS betrayed the constitution once again in Boyer v. Louisiana.

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WA - Arrested for a crime? Automatic alert would go to your employer

Original Article (Video Available)

So basically if someone accuses you of something, and you are arrested, an alert will be sent to your employer and you will probably be fired, even if you are not convicted. How is that justice? Welcome to 1984!

05/08/2013

By Hana Kim

SEATTLE - The Washington State Patrol performed 800,000 background checks just last year.

It’s a system in place to promote safety. But many say the state needs to do more.

A state audit is now recommending fingerprint background checks so that employers can get an automatic alert anytime an employee is arrested for a crime.
- So much for being innocent until proven guilty!

Linda Gleason’s job everyday is to keep other people’s kids safe as the owner of Agape Child Care in Ballard.

It’s important you know who works for you,” said Gleason.

The state requires a background check with a follow up every 3 years for child care employees but Gleason says that’s not enough.
- If you don't think that's enough, then why not do it more often?  You don't need another law to force you to do that.

We need to be proactive that’s the problem we are dragging our feet,” said Gleason.

The State Auditor’s Office agrees now backing what’s called a “rap back” service which would automatically in real time notify an employer if someone is arrested. Fingerprints would have to be stored in a database for that to happen.

That is how the system is supposed to work can I guarantee that it will work that way in every case, no, but again that is what we are trying to do here we are trying to close loopholes,” said Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

For example in 2012 parents at Garfield High School found out the janitor was a sex offender. He had been working at the school for nearly a decade unnoticed because he was convicted of voyeurism after his initial background check.
- So in that decade of him working there, did he commit another sex crime?  Doesn't sound like it.

The state also looked into the criminal history data of 800,000 applicants from 2005 to 2012.

They determined 500 people would have triggered a notification for offenses such as child molestation, assault and drug crimes after they would have been hired.

I think it will weed out the people you don’t want taking care of our children,” said Gleason.

Department of Social and Health Services pays for background checks on foster parents every 3 years.

We support any concrete steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults, including background checks that are as comprehensive and up to date as possible,” said spokesperson Thomas Shapley.

DSHS however said they had some lingering questions about how much the rap back service could cost. Meanwhile others worry about those stored fingerprints.

If they look at it as an invasion of privacy well they are not looking at the welfare of our children,” said Gleason.

Right now 29 other states already have automatic background checks in place.

Washington state lawmakers would have to change the rules first before all fingerprints can be stored in a national database.

The rap back service would cost about $300,000 to start up and $350,000 annually to keep it going.


TX - Texas House Passes Domestic Violence Registry Legislation

Original Article

Like we've said many times, why create many different registries instead of just one for all sinners? If it saves one person, isn't it worth it? We've said before that the (unconstitutional) sex offender registry was the test bed and more registries would come, well, as each day goes by, more and more registries are popping up. So, which registry will you eventually be on?

05/10/2013

AUSTIN (AP/CBSDFW.COM) - People with a history of domestic violence are now easier to track. The Texas House of Representatives debated and passed House Bill 21 (PDF), creating a domestic violence registry, similar to the current Texas Sex Offender Registration Program maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
- This bills title is "Relating to a central database containing information about offenders who have committed certain offenses against children or offenses involving family or dating violence."  Now, I thought the Adam Walsh Act was to create laws about abuse toward children, not just sex crimes against children, but all crimes, so why is another registry needed that wastes more tax payer money?

State Rep. Jason Villalba joint authored House Bill 21 with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer. Once enacted, people who are convicted three times or more of domestic violence will be required to register as a repeat offender. The domestic violence registry will be available free online and will include the names, birth dates and recent photographs of the offenders.
- Why three or more times?  Wouldn't twice be considered a repeat offender?

Domestic violence is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences,” said Rep. Villalba. “By establishing a registry, we are making information available to warn potential victims. By making these repeat abusers known to the general public, we are giving people the tools they need to make informed decisions and prevent potential abuse.”
- So when are you going to give everyone the "tools to protect themselves" against gang members, DUI offenders, thieves, drug dealers / users, identity thieves, murderers, etc?  Why not just put all criminal records online so we can all name and shame the offenders and "protect" ourselves from them?

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the total number of reported Texas family violence incidents in 2011 was 177,983. Of these, nearly 40 percent involved violence against a spouse, nearly 16 percent was a result of violence against a child, and 44 percent involved violence against another family member.
- And from the report on sexual abuse (PDF), only 18,088 incidents.  So once again, it shows that sex crimes are not as wide spread as the media and self serving politicians lead you to believe, and that the re-offense rates for ex-sex offenders is lower than any other crime, except murder.

In Texas statute, domestic violence is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another family member intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat placing the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, not including self-defense measures. It also includes abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household and dating violence.

For more information about family violence in Texas, see the 2011 Crime in Texas report available on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website.

There are several battered women’s shelter’s offering safety, support, prevention and social change for victims of domestic violence in North Texas: SafeHaven of Tarrant County, The Family Place, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Denton County Friends of The Family.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1.800.799.SAFE.