Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FL - Fmr. Davie Police Officer (Steve Olenchak) Sentenced To 10 Years For Sexual Molestation

Steve Olenchak
Original Article

Wow, Florida is full of sex offender ex-cops.

05/15/2013

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) - A young woman sobbed on the witness stand, wrecked, after she was sexually molested by Steve Olenchak.

Olenchak is a former Davie police officer who was also the chaplain at the department and once studied to be a Catholic priest.

The victim is related to Olenchak’s wife. It happened when she was nineteen as Olenchak, his wife, his 4 year old son and the victim all watched television.

You made me feel disgusting and nasty,” she cried. “What you did to me, what you made me go through so many times instead of just going up here and saying what you did was wrong.”

Olenchak showed no emotion during the emotional testimony, when victim urged the court to sentence him to the maximum of 15 years in prison.

But he did break down during his mom’s testimony.

He feels that the stress and sadness of the past four years has hurt my health, I don’t,” testified his mom Elain.

She took the stand, pleading with the judge for mercy.

Steve too can fight back from all of this,” she said. “I’m convinced that God is not done with him yet.”

Before sentencing, Olenchak himself had the chance to address the court and plead for lenience.

I’ve been there to save people when they needed it,” he sobbed to the judge. “I just need you to save me your honor, i just need for you to give me a chance.”

The judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison, followed by 2 years house arrest and three years probation.


Number of abused U.S. children unchanged since 2008

Original Article

05/14/2013

By Andrew M. Seaman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The number of U.S. children who were exposed to violence, crime and abuse in 2011 was essentially unchanged from 2008, according to a new government survey.

Researchers who interviewed 4,503 children and teenagers in 2011 found that two in five children reported being physically assaulted in the previous year, and one in every 10 kids was injured by that abuse.

"The good news is that a lot of people expected things to get worse given the economy was doing so bad," said David Finkelhor, the study's lead author.

"That's the good news but the bad news is that... the level of exposure to violence, to crime and all that stuff is really enormous to kids," added Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes against Children Research Center in Durham.

For the new study, which was supported by federal grants from agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, interviewers called the homes of children between the ages of one month and 17 years old.

They interviewed an adult in the home and then a randomly selected child between 10 and 17 years old. If the child was younger than 10 years old, the caregiver who is most involved with the child was interviewed.

Finkelhor and his colleagues found that 40 percent of the children and teens reported being physically assaulted in the past year, and 10 percent said they suffered an injury from an assault.

Boys were more likely to be the victims of assault, and often brothers and sisters or other children were the perpetrators.

About 6 percent said they were the victims of sexual harassment, and about 2 percent said they were sexually assaulted.

Those at the highest risk for sexual assault were girls between the ages of 14 and 17 years old. About a quarter of girls in that age group experienced sexual harassment and about 8 percent reported a sexual assault.

The researchers also found that about 14 percent all the children and teens experienced maltreatment, which includes neglect, physical or emotional abuse, custodial interference or sexual abuse by a familiar adult.

About a quarter of the entire group also said their belongings were vandalized or stolen in the past year. About the same number of children reported seeing some sort of violence or crime in their homes or their community. That included domestic violence.

A previous study that surveyed children and their caregivers in 2008 found similar rates of violence and abuse, according to the researchers, who published the new findings in JAMA Pediatrics.

Finkelhor suggested that the rates may have remained steady, in part, because there are programs to help curb violence available to families.

"In spite of anxiety that people had about the recession or the Internet… I think something larger is at work," he said, adding that people still should not be afraid to get involved if they suspect abuse.

"I don't want anyone to get the impression that everything is hunky dory. We still have rates that are higher than in many other developed countries," Finkelhor said.


SD - Sex offender accused of illegally circulating petitions

Original Article

This is how you silence the opposition, pass more laws! He's banned from courthouse property? What if he has to go to court for something?

05/15/2013

By Andrea J. Cook

A state law prohibiting convicted sex offenders from circulating petitions is being used to prosecute a Rapid City man banned from county courthouse property more than a year ago.

It also could be the first time a law passed by the 2012 Legislature prohibiting registered sex offenders from circulating petitions has been applied.

During a court hearing Tuesday, attorney Dennis Groff said he is working with the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office to resolve the charges against his client, [name withheld].

Rapid City police arrested [name withheld]  75, after he was seen collecting signatures on a Bill Clayton recall petition on April 11 at the Rapid City Public Library.

A library security officer spotted [name withheld] collecting signatures outside the library. When officers arrived, they found him seated inside the library discussing the petition, according to police reports.

[name withheld]'s arrest came four days after he was asked to leave the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center where the Youth and Family Services Kids Fair was in progress. [name withheld] was circulating a petition outside the civic center, according to police reports.

[name withheld] has contracted to circulate petitions for several years, but his aggressive approach drew complaints at the Pennington County courthouse in 2011. County commissioners barred him from circulating petitions on county property in November 2011.

At the time, [name withheld] told commissioners circulating petitions was his only source of income.

During the 2012 legislative session, several Republican legislators from Pennington County carried a bill prohibiting registered sex offenders from circulating petitions in public places or on private property. The bill became law in July.
- Silence the opposition!

Many said the law specifically targeted [name withheld], who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

During legislative discussions on the bill, supporters stressed the importance of keeping personal information, such as addresses, out of the hands of potential predators.

According to the South Dakota Sexual Offender Registry, [name withheld] was convicted of having sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl in 1986 in Pennington County.

After his arrest in April, [name withheld] posted a $300 bond and was released from jail. He is currently charged with two Class 1 misdemeanors for illegally circulating petitions on April 7 and 11. Each charge carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.


MA - Rep. Dwyer supports sex offender reforms

Original Article

05/14/2013

READING - Last week, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing in which testimony was offered for legislation that has been filed to address inherent problems in the sexual offender classification system in Massachusetts.

State Representative James Dwyer has jointly field a legislative package with Rep. Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton known as Child Sexual Predator Prevention Act. The two legislators want to send a strong bi-partisan message that the Commonwealth has no tolerance for child sexual predators.


The legislative package providers for:
  • A minimum 25-year sentence for the first offense of raping a child (Current statute does not provide for a minimum sentence for a first time conviction)
  • A 40-year sentence for the second offense
  • A life sentence for the third conviction.
  • Requiring level 1 and 2 predators to have their information posted online (Current federal law requires that level 2 offenders be listed online, but the Commonwealth has failed to meet the federal requirement)
  • Requiring agencies that oversee children and developmentally disabled persons to communicate with the sex offender registry board

Rep. Dwyer and Rep. O’Connell are pursuing this aggressive legislation in response to the reported crimes of [name withheld] who allegedly assaulted babies and toddlers and now faces 100 sexual abuse charges. Joining the legislators in offering testimony were members of the law enforcement community.


MN - Senate passes sex offender legislation with bipartisan support

Original Article

If it were one of their own family members who was stuck in the system, we're sure something would be done about it. They are playing with people's lives here!

05/14/2013

By Paul Demko

House Republicans have opposed companion bill

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday making significant changes to the state’s troubled civil commitment program for sex offenders with bipartisan support. Minority Leader David Hann and eight other Republicans were among the 44 senators voting in favor of the proposal.

A pair of Senate DFLers — Matt Schmit of Red Wing and Susan Kent of Woodbury – voted against the legislation. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato.

The legislation faces an uncertain fate in the House. The House companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Tina Liebling, R-Rochester, passed out of the Judiciary Finance and Policy Committee on Friday evening, but without any Republican support. DFL leaders have indicated that they won’t move forward unless there is a commitment from Republicans to provide some votes for the politically volatile issue.

In a number of conversations, we have asked for and continue to look for bipartisan support for this issue,” said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy on Tuesday. “In committee the other night, that was clearly not evident.”

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has been noncommittal about rounding up GOP votes. “I’m not sure if it’s necessary that we take action this session,” Daudt said on Monday. “We’re still kind of looking at that.”

Murphy sees a greater sense of urgency to address the MSOP. “It is an issue that needs attention,” she said. “[Daudt]‘s not taking the opportunity to solve the problem in front of us.”


CO - Fixes to contentious Colorado sex offender treatment system pushed out

Original Article

05/12/2013

By Ryan Handy and Megan Schrader

Eleven days before he was shot to death, Colorado Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements wrote a letter to the state Senate, pledging to transform the prison's highly contentious sex offender treatment program after an independent report declared it to be poorly run.

But after Clements died March 19, his plans to change the Sex Offender Treatment and Management Program were set aside, and further attempts to address issues with the program were stymied by a packed legislative agenda that put guns, civil unions, and marijuana at the forefront.

Since Clements' death, the department has not yet unveiled plans to address issues highlighted in the report. In the meantime, the legislature and the governor ordered two more evaluations of the treatment program, due to be completed next year.

Gov. John Hickenlooper asked the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) to create a sex offender task force to spend the next few months looking at the act and its requirements for sex offenders.

The Legislature's joint budget committee set aside $100,000 for a study of the Sex Offender Management Board, which oversees treatment programs throughout the state, due to be completed next year, according to budget documents. It is the second study of sex offender treatment ordered by lawmakers in the past year.

Now that the 2013 General Assembly has ended, the sex offender task force will look at how treatment can be improved. The move was inspired by a Republican push to transform Colorado's sex offender laws, and model them after the Florida system, known as Jessica's Law. The task force will examine how to restructure Colorado's sex offender sentencing and treatment system, and will weigh suggestions against the provisions of Jessica's law.

Nevertheless, sex offender sentencing and treatment remains a hot-button issue that many legislators are reluctant to touch. Finding a champion for legislation to improve sex offender treatment is difficult even when the Legislature is not busy, said Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs.

'One of the things that is always difficult to deal with in these circumstances is nobody wants to appear that they are being soft on crime in anyway, ' Waller said Thursday. 'And it's unfortunate. '

Laurie Rose Kepros, director of sexual litigation at the Office of the Public Defender, hopes that the task force will relieve the political stalemate that has plagued sex offender issues.

'I think that's consistent with the function of CCJJ, and what everybody's been hoping they would tackle, ' she said.

The sex offender treatment program was created in 1998 as part of the Lifetime Supervision Act, a sentencing scheme for sex offenders engineered to treat them in prison or on probation, and release them into the community.

The aim of the act was to put sex offenders into therapy, and prevent them from reoffending once they got out of prison or off parole. But since then, a lack of funds and poor management of the program has ruined any chance the program had of working, experts say.

Experts quoted in a Gazette report in April suggested that the act was misconceived from the outset, with some lawmakers and lawyers fearing that the treatment guidelines were too broad and too expensive to be sustained.

The system, instead of treating and releasing offenders, has trapped many in prison long after they were due for release. Of nearly 2,000 sex offenders sentenced to prison under the act since 1998, only 168 have been paroled. Every year, sex offender treatment demands more money - last year the corrections department spent about $2.8 million on treatment. Correction officials say they don't have the money they need to run the program.

For sex offenders, their advocates and lawyers, this legislative session was expected to offer some relief. The much-anticipated independent report, ordered by the Senate's Joint Budget Committee in 2012 to examine the treatment program, was completed this February. It criticized the program's large treatment groups, which bunch offenders of varying crimes together, and the poorly trained therapists who run them. Fixing the program would require new staff as well as legislative changes to treatment protocol, according to the report.