Wednesday, March 12, 2014

UT - Woman (Sarah Rutz) pleads guilty to false rape report

Sarah Rutz
Sarah Rutz
Original Article

03/12/2014

By Kevin Jenkins

ST. GEORGE - A woman accused of filing a false police report that she was raped on a jogging trail under Sunset Boulevard last year pleaded guilty to the charge Wednesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Sarah Rutz, 27, pleaded guilty to a felony count of making a fraudulent claim to the crime victim reparations fund and a misdemeanor count of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

Two other counts of false information to an officer were dismissed under the agreement.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 7, but Judge James Shumate allowed the attorneys to dictate the terms that the court will commit to because a new judge will preside over the final hearing after Shumate’s retirement at the end of this month.

Under the terms of the plea and sentencing agreement, Rutz will serve 30 days in the Washington County jail on a weekends-only schedule and must complete restitution payments to the victim fund.

After completing her jail term, she will serve a period of court-ordered probation. Once the probation is finished successfully, Rutz can file a motion to have the felony count reduced to a misdemeanor, but Shumate warned Rutz that if she violates her probation she could end up doing additional jail time.

Judge (G. Michael) Westfall will be bound to those terms … if you successfully complete your probation,” Shumate said.

In May 2012, Rutz reported she was attacked by a stranger on the path that crosses below street level near Sunset Boulevard and Dixie Drive, touching off a temporary closure of the trail amid a police investigation and search for the suspect in the community.

Male DNA samples not belonging to Rutz’s husband were collected during a sexual assault response at the hospital, and Rutz twice reported seeing her alleged attacker in the community while she received more than $25,000 in financial assistance from the crime victim fund for recovery-related services.

But in September 2012, police reported Rutz’s story had unraveled after her husband found evidence she had contacted a man she met through the personals section of Craigslist. Police contacted the man, who said he and Rutz had a relationship, and the DNA collected during the investigation was found to match a sample he provided.


FL - Sheriff Happy To See Legislature Pass Sex-Offender Crackdown Bills

Sheriff John Rutherford
Sheriff John Rutherford
Original Article

03/12/2014

By JESSICA PALOMBO



Bills aimed at keeping sexual predators away from children are headed toward Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s desk after unanimously passing the House today. Law enforcement officers helped craft the laws they say should keep prior offenders from falling through the cracks to prey on kids again.
- You need to get off Fantasy Island!

Last summer, the city of Jacksonville was in mourning after the abduction, assault and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. Florida Public Radio’s Karen Feagans was at the girl’s memorial service and described the scene:

As the prayer service moved outside, three of Cherish’s Sunday-school friends led those gathered in song as the young girl’s family: her mother, stepfather and two sisters sat nearby wearing shirts with a giant photograph of Cherish on the front,” Feagans said.

Donald Smith, the man convicted of killing Perrywinkle, was a registered sex offender. Coincidentally, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford says, on the same day Smith took the girl from a Wal-Mart, police officers had checked his house to verify he lived at his registered address.

But because he was not under any kind of community supervision, we couldn't go into his house. We couldn't go in the house, we couldn't look in his computer to see if he was doing something wrong, we couldn't look in his house to see if he was contemplating doing something wrong,” Rutherford says. “And had we had the chance, maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference. But I sure would have loved to have the opportunity.”
- So by going into his home without a warrant, how would that have prevented this tragedy?  It wouldn't!

That’s why he says one of his favorite changes this year’s bills make is requiring community monitoring of sex predators to be carried out after they are released from mental health facilities. Currently their community-monitoring clock starts ticking as soon as they leave prison and go to such a facility—meaning by the time they are released into society they can be free from unwarranted searches.

Another change Rutherford applauds is allowing offenders convicted of lesser crimes to be recommended for mental health treatment. He says Smith had served time for a misdemeanor even though he’d attempted to abduct another little girl.

If you look at what he was convicted of, that’s one thing. But if you look at what he was originally charged with and the behavior that he was exhibiting in the attempted abduction, then you see that he rises to a much more serious level of concern,” he says.
- They can do this now, can't they?

If Gov. Scott signs the bills, state attorneys and law enforcement will be able to recommend offenders for mental health commitment based on the circumstances surrounding their crimes.
- Lawyers and police should not have this power, therapists whose job it is to treat ex-offenders should have that job.  Also, don't you have a Sex Offender Review Board for this purpose?

Rutherford says he also likes a new requirement ordering offenders to report which county they’re moving to when they leave prison. That county’s sheriff will immediately receive a notification. If the offender fails to check in within 48 hours, the sheriff can issue a warrant for his arrest.

Rutherford says it’s a great improvement over the current system: “When they tell DOC, ‘I’m going to go report to Duval County’ and then they don’t, well, we don’t even know they’re coming.”
- But if he doesn't report to a sheriff within XX days, you can issue a warrant for his/her arrest, so you don't need another useless law for that.  Even with this law, what is to stop them from making up some country they say they will be going to and vanishing if they chose?  Nothing!

Also included in the bills are 50-year prison sentences for raping the elderly, the disabled or children under age 12, as well as more reporting requirements about offenders’ whereabouts. And sex predators won’t be allowed to own or view pornographic material.
- If they are off probation / parole, then how will you tell if they have porn unless you search their home illegally?

But some still criticize the bills for emphasizing punishment but not doing enough to prevent sex crimes in the first place.

Well I ask you this question: Has it worked so far?” says Gail Colletta, who runs the Florida Action Network, a group advocating for what she calls evidence-based sex offender policies.

We have more people in our prisons than ever before and our sentences are harsher than ever before,” Colletta says.

She says, as soon as they’re convicted, offenders should be evaluated for future risk to see who can be rehabilitated and who can’t.
- We disagree.  If they are convicted, you do an analysis, then 30 years later they come out, are you going to base what happens next on your assumption 30 years prior?  They should be convicted for the crime(s), sent to jail/prison, get treatment, and before they are released experts come in to evaluate the person to see if they think they are still a threat, as long as it's truthful and not just someone who loves to civilly commit ex-offenders to look "tough!"

We are individuals. We need to be treated as such. We need to be managed as such. We need to be dealt with as individuals,” she says.

One of the bill’s sponsors, House Criminal Justice Committee Chair Matt Gaetz, addressed that criticism Wednesday during floor debate.
- He should be on an online DUI offenders list for life and made to report his address / employment /etc.

People could argue about recidivism data until they were blue in the face, but we know one certain fact: no one has ever raped a child while sitting in a state prison,” Gaetz said.
- And nobody has driving drunk in prison as well Mr. Gaetz!

If Scott signs the bills, it won’t be the first time since he’s taken office the state tightened controls on sex offenders: He also signed off on increased penalties for possessing child pornography and for not reporting child abuse.


TX - ‘Failure to register’ nets sex offender 60 years

Cruel and unusual punishment
Original Article

This punishment is extreme and doesn't fit the crime! He did not sexually assault anybody, and this is more punishment than if he did! He could have murdered several people and got less than this, and this for not registering an address?

03/12/2014

A Willis man was convicted to 60 years in prison Tuesday for failure to register as a sex offender.

A Montgomery County jury in the 435th District Court found _____, 59, guilty of failure to register as a sex offender Monday, and District Court Judge Michael T. Seiler sentenced Smith to 60 years in prison on Tuesday.

We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict and the judge’s sentence,” said assistant prosecutor Shanna Redwine. “Both the jury and the judge obviously appreciate the danger of having a convicted sex offender just roaming about in Montgomery County unsupervised.”

Redwine prosecuted the case along with assistant county prosecutor Tyler Dunman.

In June 2012, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office was assisting the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in conducting a random sex offender compliance check throughout Montgomery County, when it was discovered _____ had relocated away from the location where he had previously registered as a sex offender. _____ failed to notify the Montgomery County Sex Offender Compliance Unit prior to his move.

During a follow up investigation, MCSO detectives discovered that several months prior _____ had moved from his then registered address in Conroe to separate addresses in Willis and in Spring.

_____ was previously convicted of felony aggravated sexual assault in 1989 for the brutal rape of a Harris County woman.

Following parole from prison for his 1989 criminal conviction, _____ was required to register as a sex offender for life and ordered to follow certain regulations and laws applicable to sex offenders in the state of Texas.

Those regulations included providing law enforcement with information about where he lived and, if he decided to move, he was also required to notify and meet with law enforcement prior to any move. _____ failed to comply with either requirement.

Sex Offenders are the most dangerous types of offenders and it is paramount that they follow the rules placed upon them for if or when they are released from prison,” said Redwine.
- Not based on facts!

Monday was not _____’s first ‘failure to register as a sex offender’ conviction. In 2006, _____ was convicted and sentenced for failure to meet with and provide information to law enforcement as required by the sex offender law.

In addition, _____ has prior convictions including aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated, and other offenses.

_____ had been to prison three other occasions prior to committing his most recent felony offense.


ID - Man (Bradley Houser) Sentenced for Felony Battery on Registered Sex Offender

Bradley Houser
Bradley Houser
Original Article

03/12/2014

By Alison Gene Smith

TWIN FALLS - A man convicted of felony aggravated battery for beating a 69-year-old man was sentenced Monday in Twin Falls County District Court.

Bradley Houser, 35, was sentenced to the state's retained jurisdiction program. He will attend the Correctional Alternative Placement Program through the Idaho Department of Correction.

After the program, a judge can either put Houser on probation or send him to prison for an underlying sentence of three to 15 years.

Houser was also ordered to reimburse the county public defender's office for $500 and was ordered to pay victim's restitution of $1,257.44.

Police said Houser beat the man because he is a registered sex offender.

A police report by Twin Falls police officer Samir Smriko gives this account:

Just before 10:30 p.m. Aug. 23, police went to the Super 7 Motel at 320 Main Ave. E. following a battery call.

As police entered the hotel room they saw _____, 69, washing blood off his head and arms. _____ had a 2-inch gash on his forehead and multiple cuts in other places.

_____ told police that at about 10 p.m., two men came to his door and threatened him. _____ recognized one from a previous encounter. The men said they were going to beat him up because of a past child sex abuse case.

In 2008, _____ was convicted on six counts of lewd conduct with a minor younger than 16. He was sentenced to three years in prison and made parole in November 2011.

_____ told police two men who smelled of alcohol initially left his room because other people were around but soon returned, closed the door behind them and started beating him.

The beating lasted for about 10 minutes. As he spoke to officers, _____ grabbed his side in pain several times.

Paramedics arrived, and _____ declined to be taken to a hospital but was informed he would need stitches on his head.

Police later found Houser in the 200 block of Alexander Street but couldn't locate the other man.

Houser was extremely intoxicated and had to use a fence to hold himself up, police said. He told them he and another man whom he didn't know went to the hotel and _____ swung at them.