Friday, May 31, 2013

TX - Vigilante media crew chases alleged sex offender teacher through the streets

Original Article

05/31/2013

By WHITNEY RADLEY

In a story all too familiar in recent months, 29-year-old Alief ISD English teacher [name withheld] has been accused of carrying on a months-long sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student at Hastings High School.

Court documents released on Thursday includes all of the sordid details of the affair, which involved coffee meetings, passionate kisses, a visit to an adult store for sex toys and repeated sexual encounters that began in earnest over spring break this year.

[name withheld] was charged with indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child, and posted a $60,000 bond late Thursday with orders to stay away from the child. When a KHOU Ch. 11 crew tried to question the accused former teacher outside of the jail, [name withheld] bolted.

And reporter Drew Karedes — and the camera man — ran right after her too. The chase took place through downtown Houston streets. The KHOU crew eventually cornered the teacher blocks later.


Too Young for Sex, But Old Enough for the Sex Offender Registry, Part II

Original Article

05/29/2013

This post is the second in a three part series on the use of criminal law to police teen sex. The first part can be viewed here.

In recent years, thousands of judicial proceedings against children result in teens as young as thirteen being adjudicated as sexual predators and placed on sex offender registries. The problem in the United States is that statutory rape laws create per se rule violations with respect to all sexual intercourse involving children. My research reveals that children as young as 11 have been prosecuted as both the victim and sex offender. In some states, even sexual touching involving consenting minors breaks the law. In other words, sex with a person under the age of majority or age of consent (depending on the specific state legislation) is always crime. In a recently published Wisconsin Law Review article found here, I argue that such prosecutions can and often do lead to absurd results.

In Utah, which serves as a relative example, a child who commits “more than five ‘separate acts’ of sexual touching,” even without sexual penetration, could be convicted for “aggravated sexual abuse of a child.” In South Dakota, a minor can be adjudicated a delinquent and guilty of first-degree rape for one act of sexual penetration, regardless of consent if the consenting party is under thirteen.. Wisconsin’s statutory rape law reads similarly. These matters are particularly thorny in their application against children because legally a child cannot consent to sexual intercourse. In some states, including Utah, adolescent fondling constitutes sexual abuse of a child just as attempts to touch the buttocks, breasts, or “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire.” Even consenting children will always be deemed “victims” in states that take this approach.


Too Young for Sex, But Old Enough for the Sex Offender Registry, Part I

Original Article

05/11/2013

This post is the first in a three part series on the use of criminal law to police teen sex. The second part can be viewed here.

A recent study by Human Rights Watch suggests that statutory rape law is a poor tool for reducing teen sexuality. Their study and my forthcoming article, Law’s Limits: Regulating Statutory Rape Law, published by the Wisconsin Law Review concur on this point. Consider an unfortunate case that underscores the importance of revisiting statutory rape law prosecutions in the United States. In 2011, J.L. was adjudicated a delinquent, charged with first‑degree rape, and convicted under the South Dakota statutory rape statute. According to the South Dakota Supreme Court, J.L., a fourteen-year-old, “engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with his girlfriend, who was twelve” and only fifteen months his junior. Despite both adolescents consenting to sex in this case, in the state of South Dakota, J.L.’s conviction will result in legal and extralegal penalties far more severe than that of an adult rapist who commits a sexually violent act against a college peer, a random woman, or during the commission of another crime. This is because J.L.’s “victim” was under the age of thirteen.

In a provocative commentary, buried in a footnote, the South Dakota Supreme Court references the harsh penalties J.L. and other minors who engage in consensual sex with minors will encounter. The court explains, “[i]t appears that J.L. will be required to register as a sex offender for life.” In other words, J.L.’s “mark” as a sexual predator burdens him with the same potent and socially stigmatic punishment as that of a convicted, middle-aged pedophile who rapes a minor. This prosecution and others similar point to the absurd results in many statutory rape cases involving teens who have consensual sex with teens.


MD - Prince George’s police officer (Christopher Adams) charged with taking sexually explicit photos

Original Article

05/31/2013

By Aaron C. Davis

An off-duty Prince George’s County police officer was charged Wednesday with taking sexually explicit photographs of a woman without her consent, a sex crime under Maryland law.

If convicted, Cpl. Christopher Adams, a seven-year veteran of the county’s police force, could face jail time and be listed on the state’s sex-offender registry.

County police released few details of the incident, saying the woman contacted police and the department launched an immediate investigation. Police said the incident occurred March 17 at a hotel, and the victim was an acquaintance of Adams.

He has been suspended with pay from the department, police said.

Adams faces three counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent, and each carries a maximum possible penalty of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

According to Maryland criminal code, the charge typically involves taking pictures of “the private area of an individual by use of a camera without the consent of the individual under circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that the private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether the individual is in a public or private place.”

Adams also faces a second-degree assault charge in connection with the picture taking.


Sex Offender Registries: Good Idea Gone Bad?

Christopher Moraff
Original Article

05/31/2013

By Christopher Moraff

PA’s sex offender registry lists 100 names within a one-mile radius of my house. Should I be worried?

The ongoing plight of a Florida teen underscores the dysfunction of state laws that require sex offenders to register in a national database, even when they are teenagers and their “crime” consisted of nothing more than having a consensual relationship with someone a few years younger than them.

If you aren’t already familiar with the story, here are the details, courtesy of the Huffington Post:

“A Florida teenager faces criminal charges stemming from her relationship with another young female student. Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, faces two felony counts of ‘lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16′ after the parents of her 15-year-old girlfriend pressed charges earlier this year.”

According to media reports, the two teens—who were basketball teammates—met when Hunt was 17 and the “victim” was 14 and had been dating openly for several months. The younger girl’s parents, who opposed the relationship, filed a criminal complaint when Hunt became a legal adult. If convicted of the charges, Hunt faces more than a decade in jail and would be required to register as a sex offender. Last week she rejected a plea deal that carried a lesser penalty of two years of house arrest but still would have required her to register.

Many commentators have been focusing on the gay angle, claiming—at least semi-plausibly—that the youths were targeted because of their sexual orientation. Hundreds of thousands of supporters have signed a petition calling on prosecutors to drop the charges; and the case has drawn the attention of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, which is putting its own unique brand of pressure on officials in Indian River County, where the charges were filed.

But while the fact that the case involves two girls has certainly imbued it with an element of political dynamism, as many as 30 other cases just like it—almost all involving heterosexuals—fly under the radar each year in Florida. The real story is not so much that Hunt and her young lover were targeted, but that draconian sex laws have created a regime in which a high-schooler’s life can be ruined for engaging in a monogamous love affair with a classmate.

In 2013, there are nearly 750,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., including individuals convicted of non-violent crimes such as consensual sex between teenagers, prostitution and public nudity, as well as those who committed their only offenses decades ago. While national statistics generally do not separate youth sex offenders from others, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch, it’s not uncommon for children as young as 15—and in some cases 13—to end up on the registry.


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NY - Sex offender law not punitive: appeals court

Original Article

We are willing to bet that the people who continually say these laws are not punitive had criminal records, and years later more stipulations were added onto them to obey, then they'd find them unconstitutional, but as long as the laws don't affect them, then they are fine, but wait until one of their own children get hit with the same label.

05/30/2013

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The state's sex offender registration law is remedial, not punitive, and therefore does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ex post facto clause or double jeopardy when applied retroactively, a New York state appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The Appellate Division, First Department, said the 1996 Sex Offender Registration Act, or SORA, is not a punitive statute, even though several amendments have imposed stricter registration and notification requirements.

"It may be true that subjecting sex offenders to lifetime registration and notification requirements ... increases the difficulties and embarrassment a sex offender may endure," wrote Justice Richard Andrias for a unanimous four-judge panel. "However ... the fact that the restrictions are difficult and cumbersome is not enough to make them unconstitutional."

SORA requires defendants convicted of certain sex crimes to register as sex offenders with the state, with more stringent reporting for those designated as higher risk.

The underlying case involved [first name withheld] Parilla, a Bronx man who pleaded guilty in 1996 to attempted murder, admitting that in 1993 he raped a woman and stabbed her repeatedly, according to the decision. In 2003, after DNA evidence linked him to another rape, he pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy.

A Bronx Supreme Court judge designated him a level three sexually violent offender, and he appealed, claiming the statute had become punitive after a series of changes made the law stricter, such as lifetime registration and online posting of information.

Parilla argued that the law violated the Constitution's ex post facto clause, which prohibits laws that seek to increase the punishment for crimes committed before their enactment. He also said that it violated the state constitution's prohibition against double jeopardy, since it amounted to a second punishment for the same crime.

The First Department, however, found that the amendments to the law were not enough to transform it from a remedial statute to a punitive one.

Andrias cited a 1997 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Doe v. Pataki, that found SORA does not violate the ex post facto clause when applied retroactively because the law was intended to protect the public and enhance law enforcement's ability to investigate future sex crimes, not to punish convicted offenders.

Parilla had claimed the changes to the law since Doe v. Pataki made that decision obsolete, but Andrias disagreed.

"The post-Doe v. Pataki amendments on which defendant relies were aimed at improving the strength, efficiency and effectiveness of SORA as a civil statute, not at punishing sex offenders, and are not so punitive in effect as to negate the legislature's intent," Andrias wrote.

Andrias noted that numerous courts in New York and elsewhere have found statutes like SORA are not punitive, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals.

The court also rejected Parilla's double jeopardy argument, since it found that the statute is not punitive.

Both the Third and Fourth Departments have also ruled that SORA does not violate the double jeopardy prohibition.

Lorca Morello of the Legal Aid Society, who represented Parilla on appeal, was not immediately available for comment. The Bronx district attorney's office, which prosecuted Parilla, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The panel also included Justices Peter Tom, David Saxe and Judith Gische.

The case is People v. Parilla, New York State Supreme Court, First Department, No. 9708.

For Parilla: Lorca Morello of the Legal Aid Society.

For the prosecution: Ravi Kantha and Joseph Ferdenzi of the Bronx district attorney's office.


Gray State (Documentary)

Web site

Synopsis:
The world reels with the turmoil of war, geological disaster, and economic collapse, while Americans continue to submerge themselves in illusions of safety and immunity. While rights are sold for security, the federal government, swollen with power, begins a systematic takeover of liberty in order to bring about a New World Order.

Americans, quarantined to militarized districts, become a population ripe for tyrannical control.

Fearmongering, terrorism, police state, martial law, war, arrest, internment, hunger, oppression, violence, resistance – these are the new terms by which Americans define their existence. Neighbor is turned against neighbor as the value of the dollar plunges to zero, food supplies are depleted, and everyone is a terror suspect. There are arrests. Disappearances. Bio attacks. Public executions of those even suspected of dissent. Even rumors of concentration camps on American soil.

This is the backdrop to an unfolding story of resistance. American militias prepare for guerilla warfare. There are mass defections from the military as true Patriots attempt to rally around the Constitution and defend liberty, preparing a national insurgency against federal forces, knowing full well this will be the last time in history the oppressed will be capable of organized resistance.

It is a time of transition, of shifting alliance, of mass awakening and mass execution. It is an impending storm, an iron-gray morning that puts into effect decades of over-comfort and complacency, and Americans wake up to an occupied homeland. It is a time of lists – black list, white list, and those still caught in the middle, those who risk physical death for their free will and those who sell their souls to maintain their idle thoughts and easy comforts. It is in this Gray State that the perpetuation of human freedom will be contested, or crushed.

Is it the near future, or is it the present? The Gray State is coming - by consent or conquest. This is battlefield USA.


DE - Dover Council moves to settle sex offender lawsuit

Original Article

05/30/2013

By Jeff Brown

Dover - Dover's City Council has taken action its members hope will end a lawsuit brought against the city brought by a convicted sex offender who contends a 2012 ordinance limiting where he could live was unconstitutional.

The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of convicted sex offender [name withheld], 45, who had been convicted in 2006 of fourth-degree rape.

In April 2012, council decided to amend the Dover Code to restrict registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a commercial daycare facility.

The ACLU argued that provision was unconstitutional because it punished [name withheld] under a law that was not in effect at the time he committed the crime.

The Constitution, argued ACLU attorney Richard Morse, prohibits ex post facto, or retroactive punishment.

In addition to establishing the restriction, the law also required sex offenders already living within the 500-foot limit to move outside that boundary within one year. According to the lawsuit, even though the daycare center had been established long before [name withheld] moved to within its vicinity, the fact that he was living within the established boundary when the law was approved should have made it null and void.

After council approved the ordinance, [name withheld] received a letter from the Dover Police Department ordering him to vacate the apartment, which he shared with his mother, by April 9, 2013. Failure to do so was punishable by a $500 fine for every day he remained in the apartment. After the lawsuit was filed, however, Morse and city attorneys agreed to suspend the fines until the lawsuit was settled.

[name withheld] did not ask for monetary compensation in the suit other than reimbursement of attorney fees and costs.

Council members discussed the situation in a short executive session Tuesday night following their regular council meeting. Returning to public session, they agreed, by a 6-2 vote to change the ordinance, with councilmen Sean Lynn and Adam Perza objecting.

The revised language states that any sex offender who lived or worked with 500 feet of a daycare center as of the day the ordinance was adopted would have been permitted to keep that home or job.

If the offender subsequently moved or changed jobs however, he or she would be subject to the ordinance.

In an email to Morse, Deputy City Solicitor William W. Pepper Sr. said the revised ordinance would be introduced at the June 10 council meeting and, if approved, adopted at the June 24 session.

For all practical purposes, that would end the lawsuit, Morse said.

Morse added he has talked to [name withheld] since the council made its decision, but could not reveal any details of that discussion.


NY - Avella sex offender bill gets third shot

Original Article

05/30/2013

By Joseph Orovic

A bill speeding up the assessment process of convicted sex offenders, authored by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), passed the Senate for a third time last Thursday by a unanimous 60-0 tally.

The law speeds up the risk level determination timetable for convicted sex offenders, categorizing them under the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act prior to their sentencing or release.

The bill passed the Senate twice before, but was not taken up by the Assembly.

There is no reason that known sex offenders should be residing in our neighborhoods without the community knowing the danger they present,” Avella said.

The bill requires that notice of a risk level determination hearing for convicted sex offenders be given to the sex offender and district attorney within five days of the conviction for any sex offender who is expected to be released on probation or otherwise discharged.

The risk level determination hearing must then be held within 20 days of the notice and most importantly prior to sentencing.

The legislation was designed by Avella following extensive review of the current sex offender laws after the arrest of [name withheld], a Level I sex offender who was convicted of sex abuse in the second degree in 2010, and then arrested again in January 2011 following additional crimes he committed and probation violations arising from his volunteering in area Catholic schools, including St. Mel’s School in Whitestone.

Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) is carrying the bill in the Assembly, where the legislation would have to pass before being signed into law by the governor.

I look forward to working again with Assemblyman Miller to ensure that this common-sense measure is passed in the Assembly as soon as possible so that our youth are protected from dangerous predators.”


WI - Sturtevant looking at ordinance to keep sex offenders out of their village

Original Article

05/29/2013

By Shannon Sims

STURTEVANT - Gwen Bodi holds tight to her daughter, one of four children she watches closely.

To learn a violent sex offender could be living feet away from where her children play and learn doesn't sit well with this mother who says her number one job is making sure her children are safe.

"I don't think violent sex offenders belong in Sturtevant," Bodi said. “Or anywhere near kids for that matter."

Recently, the city of Racine made it tougher for the state to house sex offenders near schools, daycares and playgrounds. Now the village of Sturtevant wants to do the same.

Village trustee Chris Larsen has written an ordinance that would make it very hard for the state to place violent sex offenders in the village. His message is strong and clear.

"They are not welcome here and we are going to request that the state not place them here," Larsen said.

Bodi agree a new ordinance would protect the most vulnerable of the village: the children.