Friday, September 6, 2013

NJ - Ex-cop (Robert Waterman) sentenced in child porn case

Police badge
Original Article

09/06/2013

CAMDEN (AP) - A former southern New Jersey police officer has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to obstructing the FBI's investigation of his alleged possession of child pornography.

Robert Waterman, a 32-year-old Wrightstown resident who served with the Pennsville police force, was sentenced Friday in Camden to a 15-month prison term.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the FBI began a criminal investigation of Waterman in March 2010.

After he was interviewed by federal agents, Waterman removed a computer hard drive from his garage and later destroyed it while in his patrol car at police headquarters.

He admitted doing that in a bid to impede the FBI's investigation.


FL - Looks To Reform Sexual Offender Statutes But, Some Caution Against A Solely Punitive Approach

Politicians react in typical knee-jerk fashion
Original Article

09/06/2013

By RYAN BENK



A little less than ten weeks ago, 8-year old Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction and death at the hands of registered sexual predator [name withheld] made national headlines. It also prompted the Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper to run an investigative series looking at the number of released offenders who reoffend.

That series led Fernandina Beach State Representative Janet Adkins to call a town hall meeting in Jacksonville earlier this week. She said as a parent and a public servant she wants to see more done to strengthen current statutes.

As a state we have a duty to ensure that our laws and policies are strong enough to protect our children and to ensure greater supervision of those who are in our community,” Adkins told a town hall crowd Wednesday.
- You folks need to come back from Wonderland!  No matter how many insane laws you pass, it won't prevent crime!

Concerned citizens told Adkins they want to see stiffer penalties, including longer sentences, higher fines, and more comprehensive surveillance. Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi said he wishes it was as easy as locking predators up and throwing away the key. But he says not all sexual offender cases are a slam dunk.

This is not a black and white issue where a person who commits X crime he will get Y punishment, because all of the evidence surrounding the cases is different,” Mizrahi explained.

Still, not everyone is focused on punishment as a means of solving the problem. Some groups, including the Florida Action Committee, whose members advocate a more holistic approach to sex offender issues, said the Sun Sentinel’s series promotes hysteria and knee-jerk reactions from well-meaning lawmakers. The group’s President, Gail Colletta, pointed to a recent five-year study shows most offenders don’t reoffend, especially if they’re treated properly.

One offense is too many you know, for re-offense. But, there were 31-thousand people that were released. 31-thousand in that time frame, of which, 594 reoffended,” Colletta said.

That’s just less than two percent percent of the total population of released sex offenders in Florida. And Colletta also explained that those recidivists belong to a very particular group of offenders, not all of whom pose a high safety risk.

The registry in and of itself does not do a good job of separating out one: the level of risk someone poses to the community and two: what their actual offense is,” Colletta argued.

And therein lies a particular distinction: not every sexual offender is a sexual predator. Tallahassee Police Department Spokesman Dave Northway, who used to be in charge monitoring offenders in the capital, says people shouldn’t use the terms interchangeably.

For law enforcement purposes a sexual predator is someone who has been deemed by the court to be – have had a crime that involved a nature where they said they needed more supervision than the sexual offenders,” Northway clarified.

Since 1998 a sex offender’s rehabilitation has included an initial risk assessment, incarceration and commitment to a civil treatment facility. Upon release from that facility, law enforcement officers check on offenders twice a year and monitor predators quarterly. But there isn’t much in the way of continued treatment. That’s where both sides of the debate agree. During the same town hall meeting with Representative Adkins, Suzonne Kline, the former Director of Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program, said the key to preventing sex crime reoccurrences is better long-term management.

Once a court discharges you, that’s it. So, there’s no transitional program to follow-up with them in the community and these types of people are going to need, as other people have said, very intensive case management, monitoring, supervision and treatment. And with those things the risk then substantially is reduced,” Kline affirmed.

Representative Adkins is expected to file legislation on the issue next session.

See Also:


CA - Sex Offender Myth busters RSOL Conference 2013

Video Description:
Derek W. Logue of Once Fallen gives his presentation on Sex Offender myths at the 2013 RSOL Conference held in Los Angeles, CA. Features a special appearance by "Bill Blathers, Investigative Reporter." I hope Bill took plenty of notes-- that man is incredibly uneducated. (More Info)

See Also:


MO - Falsely accused Missouri man freed after 30 years in prison

Wrongly Accused
Original Article

06/17/2013

By Lisa Benson

KSHB - A Missouri man who spent three decades in prison for rape he didn’t commit is now a free man. 49 year old [name withheld] convicted in 1984 of rape, sodomy and robbery. He was identified by the rape victim as one of the men involved in the crime. But after the Midwest Innocence Project got involved, [name withheld]’s DNA was tested and showed that he was not the perpetrator.

Mistaken eyewitness identification is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the US,” said Laura O’Sullivan, Legal Director of the Midwest Innocence Project. Now, two other men have been linked to the attack, this time by DNA evidence.

Today I am also announcing charges against [name withheld]. Mr. [name withheld] is being charged today. For that same home invasion, gang rape, which occurred on December 16th, 1983,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

[name withheld] is in custody in Iowa. The prosecutor has not released the name of the second suspect, but she’s confident that her office has the evidence it needs to finally bring the right people to justice.


FL - Sex offender laws target wrong people

Shana Rowan
Shana Rowan
Original Article

09/06/2013

By Shana Rowan (USA Fair, Blog)

Historically, society has welcomed tough sex offender laws without any proof that they actually work. The Sun Sentinel observed, "…as too often happens after a high-profile tragedy, we make a big show, pass a new law and rarely check back to see if the fix solved the problem."

There are people on the sex-offender registry for horrific, inconceivable acts toward children (and adults.) Some will do it again given the chance. Others will escalate to something even worse. These individuals need to be kept away from society, in prison or treatment centers.

Lack of funding and accurate risk assessment are two reasons the depraved individuals highlighted by your paper were able to commit new crimes. But another major factor is the insurmountable resources usurped by the restriction and monitoring of tens of thousands of other former offenders whose crimes include consensual sex with underage partners, public indecency and other nonviolent crimes.

Florida's sex offender laws are already some of the toughest in the nation. Without reviewing the effectiveness of these laws, as emphasized by your paper, or the two decades worth of research compiled since the Jimmy Ryce Act, how can lawmakers expect to change anything for the better, regardless of their intent?

Sex offender recidivism is surprisingly very low. Claims of high recidivism can be attributed to the type of offenders our laws are supposed to target: serial pedophiles with pre-pubescent victims, who unlike other types of sex offenders, re-offend at higher rates.

While well-intentioned, a focus on previous sex offenses ignores the fact that virtually every perpetrator convicted of a high-profile murder against a child shared something else: a lengthy criminal rap sheet of mostly non-sexual convictions.

No sex offender law — not a mandatory sentence, public registration, or banishment from schools and parks — will prevent sex crimes if they target the wrong people. Treating every offender as a future child rapist and killer is counter-productive.

People who have been offense-free for years, and have families and children of their own, are being forced out of their homes, into fields and under bridges, while those who pose the greatest risk are, as the Sun Sentinel put it, "set free to rape and molest again."

If we as community members cannot find the maturity or courage to have an intelligent conversation about sexual violence, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when your paper runs the same story next year.

Shana Rowan is the executive director of USA FAIR, Inc. in Washington, DC.


Invisible to You - Trudee's Story - A story of childhood sexual abuse


GA - NACDL - 2013 Fall Meeting & Seminar - Defending the Unthinkable: Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases

Blue eye tears
Original Article

Savannah, GA / October 16-19, 2013

Our hotel room block is filling up quickly. Reserve your room today! Discount rate ends September 25th!

Now, more than ever, the defense needs to be on top of the newest techniques, strategies, science, and psychology available to boldly and successfully counter the prosecution's case. In order to effectively serve your clients charged with sex offenses, you have to be prepared to aggressively confront the prosecution and their witnesses.

This unique seminar will equip you with the knowledge base, strategies, and methods to win even the most difficult of cases. We will address modern charges of sexual misconduct in cases involving child pornography, female sex offenders, cell phone data, false confessions, and much more, while also analyzing child development, adolescent sexuality and communication, and providing you with strategies for confronting "other acts" evidence.

Join your NACDL colleagues in historic and beautiful Savannah-a southern gem bursting with charm-where dramatic old-world architecture mingles with trendy restaurants and art galleries, and prepare yourself for being the best possible advocate for your client at trial.



FL - Miami Beach sex attack suspect from Mexico pleads guilty after Catch-22

Catch 22
Original Article

09/04/2013

By DAVID OVALLE

For raping a woman at a posh Miami Beach hotel, Mexican tourist [name withheld] was set to plead guilty — with no jail time and 10 years of probation as a sex offender.

Then a problem arose: [name withheld] lives in Mexico City and Florida law does not allow for people living overseas to be on the state’s strict sex-offender probation program.

And with [name withheld]'s tourist visa expiring at the end of the year, he would have to enter the country illegally to report his whereabouts to Florida corrections officials, a frustrated judge said in court Wednesday.

I think there has to be a solution to this problem. It cannot be the case that a tourist now has to come back here without permission, sneak in and register” as a sex offender, Circuit Judge Maria Elena Verde said, adding: “It would require him to stay in a country where he has no legal status. That’s a problem.”

In the end, the judge allowed [name withheld] to plead guilty to burglary and sexual battery in exchange for credit for the 100 days of jail time he had already served after his arrest in March 2012. She ordered him to never return to the United States.

Probation for sex offenders was made more strict under a 2005 law named for Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old who was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender. Had [name withheld] been a Florida or U.S. resident, his probation would have included GPS-monitoring, a strict curfew and sex-offender treatment.

Miami Beach police arrested [name withheld] last year after detectives said he confessed to entering the room on the 15th floor of the Fontainebleau hotel through a “slightly ajar” door and raping a sleeping woman after returning to the hotel by taxi around 3 a.m.

Police said the woman, who was in Miami Beach to attend the Winter Music Conference and staying in a room next door to her sister, woke up during the attack and tried to fight [name withheld] off.

[name withheld], who had been drinking heavily, did not know the woman, although she admitted she had left the door open waiting for someone to enter the room.

[name withheld], 27, had been in the United States for only one day when he was arrested. He will register Wednesday as sex offender in Florida, even though he can never return to the U.S.

We reached a very amicable resolution to a very interesting case,” said his attorney, Bruce Fleisher. “He comes from a good family in Mexico City. Once he registers as a sex offender, he will go back to his native country because he cannot stay here.”


MI - Child molester in Macomb County stopped from leaving country

Passport
Original Article

09/03/2013

By JAMESON COOK

A convicted Macomb County child molester was stopped last week at an airport in his attempt to fly to Europe in celebration of his 25th wedding anniversary because he failed to notify operators of the sex offender registry.

[name withheld], 61, of Southfield, was arrested Aug. 28 by Michigan State Police minutes before he and his wife were to board a Delta flight at Detroit Metropolitan Airport headed for Amsterdam, and ultimately to Prague. He was to return Sept. 9.

He said they were going on a 25th wedding anniversary cruise that he paid $16,000 for,” said MSP Trooper Craig Tuer, state coordinator for the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. “He wasn’t happy. He was in disbelief.”

I don’t think those school children (he was accused of molesting) would’ve been happy” if he was allowed to break the rules and go on the trip.

[name withheld] was formally charged Friday in 46th District Court in Southfield with failure to provide the registry of his plan to leave the country at least 21 days prior to departure and failure to provide a copy of his passport. The felonies are punishable by up to four years in prison.

[name withheld]’s attorney, Kenneth Karam, said his client did not intend to skirt the law.

If there was any violation, it certainly wasn’t willful,” Karam said. “This was a long-planned vacation. It wasn’t something he was trying to hide. Everything was in his own name.”

The Registry Law is complicated. I think he complied, but we’ll see.”

He said the incident “was disconcerting, to say the least,” to [name withheld] and his wife, who are both retired.

Tuer said when an offender reports his intent to leave the United States, the MSP informs that country, which can choose to reject the person. He said some countries typically ignore the warning while others will turn away a convicted sex offender.

[name withheld], a former teacher in Warren Consolidated Schools, was accused of groping fifth-grade girls age 9 to 11 in 2003 and 2004 when he taught at Wilde Elementary School in Warren. He previously worked as a principal in the district and worked in Southfield schools, where his wife also worked.

[name withheld] pleaded no contest in 2005 to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in a plea agreement with Macomb County prosecutors. He was sentenced by Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski to five years probation, with the first year in the county jail. Fifteen additional charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and another five counts of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of the deal. The offenses carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Warren Consolidated Schools and officials were sued by 10 girls in 2006 and one additional girl later in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Each settled the case for an undisclosed sum that they will begin receiving at age 18.

William Seikaly, who represented the victims, said “the general consensus” among the girls and their parents was that [name withheld] “got off easy in the criminal case.”

Like the victims in cases of this type, they have been deeply affected and haunted by what occurred,” Seikaly said. “Many of them resented the fact that he never suffered any serious consequences for his behavior.”

The settlement was to pay for compensation and psychological treatment for the victims, Seikaly said at the 2007 settlement hearing, court documents say.


UK - Computers in Parliament used to log on to porn websites 300,000 times in a year

Parliament
Parliament
Original Article

09/03/2013

By TAMARA COHEN

Members of Parliament, peers and their staff accessed pornographic websites 300,000 times over the past year, official records reveal.

The total – which represents more than 820 sites a day – was released by Palace of Westminster IT bosses yesterday in response to a freedom of information request.

The figure covers ‘attempts to access websites categorised as pornography’. However parliamentary staff said it included pop-ups and was therefore not a reflection of deliberate efforts to find sexual content.

All the devices monitored were linked to the parliamentary network, which is used by MPs, peers and their staff, between the summers of 2012 and 2013.

There were wide variations in the monthly figures – with a staggering 114,844 attempts to look at porn made in November, but just 15 in February.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This highlights the fact that many people working in Parliament are spending far too much time on websites that have nothing to do with their job.’

The internet can be a useful tool for MPs and their staff when it comes to scrutinising government legislation. However taxpayers expect their MP and those working in their offices to get on with their important jobs rather than spending time surfing questionable websites.’

A House of Commons spokesman insisted the records did not prove users ‘intended’ to access pornography, and said the House of Commons would not put in rules that could restrict attempts to ‘carry out research’.

She added: ‘We do not consider the data to provide an accurate representation of the number of purposeful requests made by network users due to the ways in which websites can be designed to act, react and interact and due to the potential operation of third-party software.’

Earlier this year it was revealed MPs and their staff waste thousands of hours a year tinkering with their Facebook pages, playing computer games and placing online bets. Official records show computers on the parliamentary estate log on to Facebook up to 3 million times a month – 300 times as often as they access the BBC News website.

The figures also revealed a high number of visits to supermarket shopping websites, computer gaming sites and music download sites such as Grooveshark, which is being sued for alleged copyright offences.

Parliament browsing porn sites?
In March last year, for example, there were more than 83,000 visits to Betfair’s online horseracing form guide, along with 5,461 to a betting site for other sports that is operated by the same online bookmaker.

There were 4,665 visits to bookmaker Paddy Power, 3,803 to rival Ladbrokes and 4,126 to horseracing news site attheraces.com.

Several MPs also appeared to make thousands of visits to their own websites each month.

And up to 50,000 visits were made to the controversial adultery website Out of Town Affairs, which matches up people looking for ‘no-strings-attached fun, hot steamy action and erotic encounters’.

The site has since been blocked on computers using the parliamentary system.