View the article here
PHILADELPHIA — Seven years ago, Russian courts convicted a wealthy American motel owner of molesting children, sent him to prison, then expelled him from the country.
The experience did little to keep Anthony "Mark" Bianchi stateside. Over the next few years, U.S. officials allege, he traveled to Moldova, Romania, Cambodia and Cuba to recruit destitute boys for sexual trysts.
Bianchi, 44, of North Wildwood, N.J., faces trial beginning Monday under a controversial federal law aimed at thwarting "sex tourism." He is accused in this country of committing crimes -- assaulting nearly a dozen minors -- on foreign soil.
More than 50 cases have been brought under what's known as the Protect Act, and more than 30 of the defendants have been convicted, the Justice Department says.
So far, however, only one federal appeals court -- the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- has reviewed the law, upholding it in a 2-1 ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal of that decision.
Critics, including dissenting 9th U.S. Circuit Judge Warren J. Ferguson, charge that Congress reached too far in giving international police power to U.S. prosecutors. Ferguson asked if U.S. agents should likewise round up Americans who buy marijuana in Amsterdam or Cuban cigars in Timbuktu.
"It is a very unusual theory to say that you can prosecute an American citizen in this country for actions taken completely in another country," said Rory Little, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department official who is now a University of California law professor. "This is not a crime against America, although it's a crime against universal morality."
The majority in the 9th Circuit case found the law to be an appropriate extension of the Constitution's foreign commerce clause, since money changed hands.
The 9th Circuit case involved Michael L. Clark, a 70-year-old Seattle man who in 2004 became the first person prosecuted under the law. He pleaded guilty to molesting boys in Cambodia, while reserving the right to challenge the law itself, and is serving a 97-month sentence.
Beyond the constitutional issues, attorneys say defending clients in these cases is a nightmare, in part because they can't match the overseas investigative resources, including diplomatic and political clout, of the U.S. government.
"To do this in a foreign country, you have to send an investigator over there, and that person has to make contacts in the community. That may not be possible, given the language differences and cultural differences," said Michael Filipovic, an assistant federal public defender in Seattle.
In the case due to start Monday, prosecutors charge that Bianchi assaulted nearly a dozen teenagers and plied them with money, liquor, gifts and trips.
"Americans go to these countries and create a pretty bad image," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy said. "A hundred dollars can buy a lot of food for a pretty long time for a lot of these families. ... This is the kind of case that shows why there's a need for this (law)."
Bianchi's lawyer, Mark Geragos, said the discovery process has shown what defense attorneys are up against in such cases. He said records make it difficult to even verify the age of the reported victims, and he planned to argue that several of the boys recanted their accusations.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
View the article here
View the article here
A federal rule change is pushing Maine legislators to make improvements to the state’s sex offender registry that they have so far been unable to do on their own. Differentiating between the most dangerous offenders and those less likely to commit another crime will make this information more useful to communities while not exposing those on the online registry to unnecessary risk.
Clearly describing the crime committed and the accompanying sentence would also improve the value of the Web site, the most popular in state government.
In 1994, Congress required states to register sex offenders and revised the law in 1996 to make the information available to the public. Since then, all but four states have created online registries. Maine is among the 31 states that include offenders’ photographs and addresses on the Web site.
Although the crimes offenders were convicted of are listed, they are described in technical terms that require linking to state statute to get information about the severity of the crime and the accompanying punishment.
Under a law passed by Congress last year, states must have a tiered system that separates the most dangerous from lower risk offenders. If states don’t comply, they can lose federal funds for law enforcement.
Differentiating between high- and low-risk offenders simply makes sense.
Putting the mug shots and addresses of all the state’s registered sex offenders on a Web site is a convenient way for the state to believe it is meeting a public reporting duty. However, this approach raises the larger question of whether the registry is meant to be part of an offender’s punishment.
If so, should that punishment be the same for all offenders no matter the severity of their crime and whether they have just one or repeat convictions? Now an 18-year-old who had consensual sex with a minor girlfriend is treated the same as someone who has repeatedly raped young children.
Maine lawmakers are looking at Massachusetts’ registry as a possible model. Massachusetts has a three-tiered registry, with only the information about the highest-risk offenders available to the public online. Information about the lowest-risk offenders is not available to the public and that for those in the middle category can only be obtained through a phone call.
- This is the way it should be, if we must keep the registry!
None of this stops local law enforcement from notifying residents when a sex offender moves to town.
But it answers the question of why anyone, anywhere should have access to information about all of Maine’s 2,700 sex offenders, some who were convicted of a single crime 25 years ago. A Nova Scotia man used the online information to track down and murder two men listed on the state’s Web site.
Differentiating between offenders doesn’t excuse in any way the crimes these people committed, but it says that if the state is going to take action against citizens, which it does when creating an Internet sex-offender list, it has a duty not to endanger them.
Changes that move Maine’s system closer to that balance would be welcomed.
View the article here | Audio About This
Tacoma, Washington: On the evening on July 4th, 2007, 12 year old Zina Linnik walked the alley behind her home to find her siblings and bring them home. Within moments her father heard a scream. He ran into the alley just in time to see a grey van speeding away and Zina gone. The little girl would never be seen alive again.
Several days later a tip to authorities led police to a shallow grave near a hiking path not far from the girls Tacoma,Washington home. The tip came from the prime suspect in the girl’s murder, one Terapon Adhahn. Adhahn is a 42 year old native of Thailand who is also a registered sex offender.
Adhahn was convicted in 1990 of violently raping his half sister. He served an unbelievable, mere 2 month sentence for this crime. Additionally, he was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment. While in therapy, many things were discovered about Adhahn which should have sent “red flags” waiving to those responsible for his care long before the death of Zina Linnick.
Adhahn was diagnosed as a pedophile while in therapy. His therapist was quoted as saying: Adhahn's personality profile is "extremely problematic," noting that he had difficulty taking responsibility for his behavior (which according to reports was the violent rape of his half sister), abused alcohol, felt sexually inadequate and was embarrassed about sexual matters. His counselor, Daniel DeWaelsche also commented in Adhahn’s file that “Adhahn is aware that he will need to use what he has learned through the treatment process on a daily basis in order to remain offense free," "As long as (he) chooses to use these skills and techniques on a daily basis, his potential to recidivate vastly diminishes." Apparently there was little or no follow up on this man. What is even more un-nerving is that given all of this information it is hard to believe that Adhahn was actually designated as a level I or low risk sex offender.
Just two years after his first conviction it was clear that Adhahn was in fact not using the skills he had acquired in therapy as he was convicted again, this time of a felony involving intimidation with a deadly weapon. This second offense mandated that he be deported back to Thailand. That never happened.
Authorities are now also looking into 5 other cold cases involving the disappearance and murder of children which may be linked to Adhahn, meaning this man could very well be a serial killer. He is currently being held on a failure to register charge but is expected to be charged with Zina’s murder soon.
After well over a decade of Megan’s Law and the variety of retroactively applied laws like it that have followed, one thing is clear – These laws aren’t working as they are purportedly intended to. They are a miserable and complete failure.
The reason why shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but should outrage us all. Time and again, expert after expert that deals with sex offenders on a daily basis (in the trenches so to speak) have tried in vain to get lawmakers to listen, but they consistently refuse. Systematically, they brush aside and even outright ignore information vital to effective legislation. Lawmakers have blatantly and repeatedly ignored mountains of data that could have saved children like Zina Linnik. Instead, they chose the path of abusing their powers as elected officials, creating laws based political grandstanding and myths instead of facts while lining their pockets with money gained from deals with corporations that could instead play off of a concerted and well orchestrated campaign of fear, hype, and hysteria. A practice in which everyone wins, except for our children.
Rather than focusing energy, money, and law enforcement resources on people like Terapon Adhahn, and the tiny percentage of registered sex offenders who do in fact pose a very serious threat to others and cannot be rehabilitated, they have continued to expand the definition of what constitutes a registered sex offender, endlessly and needlessly filling the system with people like Genarlow Wilson. Genarlow Wilson is the young man from Georgia who is currently serving a ten year sentence for receiving oral sex from a 15 year old girl when he was 17. The act was consensual.
Experts have a very consistent record of differentiating between dangerous and non-dangerous offenders. With great accuracy they can distinguish between those that will re-offend and those who won’t. Law enforcement agents that I have talked to who have been around awhile also are able to discern with great accuracy which ones will and will not re-offend. But no one listens and more often than not they are released back into society with many people knowing that they are literally “ticking time bombs.”
Yet in Capitol buildings across America, most lawmakers continue down the same ineffective and fruitless path of expanding upon these existing laws. Their goal is NOT public safety. Their goal instead, is to sweep up as many as they can into the “sex offender net,” which literally buries monsters like Adhahn in the system and ultimately enables them to continue their reign of terror on society.
I keep asking: “How many more children have to die before America wakes up to what is going on and demands change?” Why aren’t our lawmakers listening? The answer is what it has always been - money. The more individuals the state manages to add to the sex offender registry, the more federal funding the states receive - a price “per head” so to speak. The cost to taxpayers financially, socially, and morally is devastating to say the least. Instead of putting those with a high propensity for re-offending like Adman, under 24 hour intensive surveillance with the help they need or better yet, civilly committing them forever if necessary, law enforcement must busy themselves verifying addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, chat handles, etc., and doing paperwork on the 600,000 plus registered sex offenders, many just like Genarlow Wilson, kids caught playing doctor and the Romeo and Juliet’s' of the world - which is nothing short of insanity.
The answer to saving lives of innocent children seems so simple. Indeed it is. If lawmakers really did care about our children, mine and yours, they would choose to listen to the experts instead of the lobbyists and corporations that grease their palms and offer up shares of stock in exchange for passing laws based on fear instead of fact.
Lawmakers have just as much blood on their hands as the killers themselves. BOTH are monsters and are equally as evil. Both are driven by selfishness and power and both use our children as prey. The only difference is that one gains sexually and the other financially, always at the expense of an innocent child.
If you have any doubt that what I am saying is true, then I implore you to sit back and watch. Look just a little deeper. Watch how the media and lawmakers “spin” this horrible tragedy and ask your-self this question:
“When is the last time that our government actually did anything which was solely and completely in our best interest?” Can you honestly think of even one time?
Watch for more ineffective laws to be passed in the name of victims like Zima. Watch how they are applied retroactively to everyone on the sex offender registry who had nothing to do with the horrific headline grabbing tragedies and see who stands to gain from them. It won’t be Zima or her family, or other families who share their horrendous plight. It is the legislators, the ratings hungry media, corporations, the booming prison industry, GPS companies, security companies and so on, and at the end of the day not a single child is saved.
Truths are easy to see once you know where to look and one needn’t look very deep. The only question for us now is: Will we as a society finally call these lawmakers on the carpet for their disingenuous attempts at protecting our children and demand they do something that works, or will we wait for the next Zima Linnet tragedy?
I don't particularly like this man, but he did mention Genarlow Wilson.
View the article here
Settlement represents Church’s largest payout in sexual abuse scandal
LOS ANGELES - The nation’s largest Catholic archdiocese will settle its clergy sex abuse cases for at least $600 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal, The Associated Press learned Saturday.
Attorneys for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the plaintiffs will release a statement Sunday morning and hold a news conference Monday, said Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff’s attorney.
An anonymous source with knowledge of the deal placed its value at $660 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal. The amount exceeded earlier reports from sources that the settlement would be between $600 million and $650 million — $1.2 million and $1.3 million per plaintiff.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the settlement had not been officially announced.
Priests’ files would be released
Some Roman Catholic orders — the Servites, Clairites and Oblates — will be carved out of the agreement because they refused to participate, the source said. The settlement also calls for the release of confidential priest personnel files after review by a judge assigned to oversee the litigation, Boucher said.
The settlements push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the payout would be split among the insurers, the archdiocese and several Roman Catholic religious orders. A judge must sign off on the agreement.
The release of the priest documents was important to the agreement, Boucher said, because it could reveal whether archdiocesan leaders were involved in covering up for abusive priests.
“Transparency is a critical part of this and of all resolutions,” he said.
Relief, resentment among alleged victims
Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, did not immediately return a call seeking comment late Saturday. Previously, he said the church would be in court on Monday.
Plaintiff Steven Sanchez, who was expected to testify in the first trial, said he was simultaneously relieved and disappointed. He sued the archdiocese claiming abuse by the late Rev. Clinton Hagenbach, who died in 1987.
“I was really emotionally ready to take on the archdiocese in court in less than 48 hours, but I’m glad all victims are going to be compensated,” he said. “I hope all victims will find some type of healing in this process.”
The settlement is the largest ever by a Roman Catholic diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002. The largest payout so far has been by the Diocese of Orange, Calif., in 2004, for $100 million.
Facing a flood of abuse claims, five dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Davenport, Iowa, and San Diego — sought bankruptcy protection.
The Los Angeles archdiocese, its insurers and various Roman Catholic orders have paid more than $114 million to settle 86 claims so far. The largest of those came in December, when the archdiocese reached a $60 million settlement with 45 people whose claims dated from before the mid-1950s and after 1987 — periods when it had little or no sexual abuse insurance.
Several religious orders in California have also reached multimillion-dollar settlements in recent months, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits.
However, more than 500 other lawsuits against the archdiocese had remained unresolved despite years of legal wrangling. Most of the outstanding lawsuits were generated by a 2002 state law that revoked for one year the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.
Cardinal Roger Mahony recently told parishioners in an open letter that the archdiocese was selling its high-rise administrative building and considering the sale of about 50 other nonessential church properties to raise funds for a settlement.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the cases recently ruled that Mahony could be called to testify in the second trial on schedule, and attorneys for plaintiffs wanted to call him in many more.
The same judge also cleared the way for four people to seek punitive damages — something that could have opened the church to tens of millions of dollars in payouts if the ruling had been expanded to other cases.
Computer hard drives with 49 million photographs, video images seized
MADRID - Spain Spanish police investigating a child pornography ring have arrested 66 people and seized computer hard drives containing 48 million photographs and video images, officials said Sunday.
The nationwide sweep came after a 10-month investigation that was coordinated with Interpol and began with information supplied by the Germany police, the Interior Ministry said. The ministry statement did not say when the raids were carried out.
Investigators analyzed Web sites where the photographs and video images of children being abused were available and monitored more than 5,000 downloads. That led them to identify 85 suspects, out of which 66 have been arrested so far, the ministry statement said.
The operation required 300 specialist agents, involved 50 courthouses and stretched across 40 of Spain’s 57 provinces.
View the article here | Wikipedia article | Google Maps
Just goes to show you, if you are famous, you can get your record wiped out and all kinds of breaks, regardless of what you've done. This really ticks me off!!! At least he is on the registry, but still, it pisses me off.
Former collegiate star pursues his NBA dream after serving prison term
LAS VEGAS -- Three members of Seattle's Las Vegas Summer League team lay sprawled on the floor at various angles.
It was Friday night, midway through the first quarter of the Warriors' game against the SuperSonics, and Golden State guard Pierre Pierce had just charged headlong into what seemed to be most of the opposing roster, knocking over the trio of bigger defenders before popping back up.
In many ways, it was a typical NBA collision. But for Pierce, it came with an added measure of symbolism. As much as his game is about fearless drives and pinpoint shooting and relearning his dormant quarterbacking skills needed to play the point, it's also rooted just as strongly in his ability to rebound from adversity.
After all, few players have attempted the kind of professional rehabilitation Pierce is trying to complete -- going from being dropped by the University of Iowa program 21/2 years ago to possibly earning a spot with the Warriors in training camp 21/2 months from now.
A trip to Oahu would complete a journey that included an 11-month stay in the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, an Iowa state prison.
"He just always said, 'If I get a chance, I'm never going to blow it,'" said Maurice Pierce, Pierre's father. "He'll just let his play talk for itself."
If that's the case, Pierce's play has a lot of ground to cover. His career started on a bright path; he was second in balloting for Illinois' Mr. Basketball award as a senior, and set career marks for points, rebounds, assists and steals at Westmont High School in Westmont, Ill.
He went to Iowa and led the Hawkeyes in assists as a true freshman, but redshirted the next season, 2002-03, after an incident that led him to plead guilty to a charge of third-degree sexual abuse. After fulfilling 200 hours of community service and some other conditions of his plea bargain, the charge was expunged from Pierce's record.
- This is bullsh*t! Nobody else who is not famous gets this break!
Upon his return, Pierce smoothly slid into a combo guard role and averaged 16.1 points per game as a sophomore and 17.8 as a junior. That last season was cut short, however, when Pierce was arrested in January 2005 after an incident at the West Des Moines home of a former girlfriend.
Iowa coach Steve Alford immediately washed his hands of Pierce, who would plead guilty in August 2005 to third-degree burglary, a felony, and three misdemeanors including assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. Pierce was sentenced to up to two years in prison, although that time was reduced due to good behavior and completion of sex offender treatment. He was released on Sept. 24.
When it came time to stock summer-league rosters, it didn't take long for Chris Mullin, the Warriors' executive vice president, to put a call into Pierce's agent. The Warriors had wanted to give Pierce a look for a couple of years, but the legal problems prevented him from traveling to California.
Regarding Pierce's past, Mullin -- who previously acquired players with baggage in the form of Baron Davis, a perceived malingerer, and Stephen Jackson, who was still facing felony charges in Indianapolis -- did his due diligence before deeming it a non-factor.
"I sat down with him and his father, spent a lot of time with them and I was on the phone with people around him and felt OK giving him a chance," Mullin said. "That's what it really came down to. People did that for me. Am I open to it? I probably am, a little more than most, but definitely not recklessly. ... If I felt uncomfortable with it, he wouldn't be here."
Pierre Pierce couldn't be more appreciative. And he sounds earnest when talking about the changes in his life.
"This chance right here, it's for the rest of my career, the rest of my life," Pierce said. "I know I've made mistakes in the past, I've acknowledged that. There's no more room for error. ... I'm 24 years of age. This is it. I should know what needs to be done to be successful."
On the court, what Pierce needs to do most is get in better shape. He performed better than expected at the NBA Development League tryouts three weeks after his release from Mount Pleasant, but in Vegas, he still fatigues early in ballgames and practices.
"He's shown steady improvement from the day we signed him until now," said Warriors assistant Keith Smart, who is coaching the franchise's summer-league squad. "(Conditioning) is going to be the biggest thing. You can't get into the basketball things until he gets into he gets into maximum condition."
Pierce plans to work on that with noted Chicago-area trainer Tim Grover. Once that's solved, he can get back to relocating the point-guard skills that he hasn't used regularly since he was a freshman with the Hawkeyes.
Through his first four games in Las Vegas, Pierce, who started at the point for the Warriors, collected 14 assists against 12 turnovers.
"I can get to the basket. I've done that throughout college, throughout my career. Now I've fine-tuned a couple of things, I'm shooting the ball better, but I still need to improve," Pierce said. "I've been focusing on getting other people involved, creating opportunities, pushing the ball up and being a floor leader."
If Pierce does earn an invite to training camp and makes the team, his story will undoubtedly be told time and again in publications all across the country. And there's no timetable for when that might change.
"The past is going to always be brought up," Maurice Pierre said. "Somewhere, somebody is always going to bring that to the forefront. By just being here this summer, Golden State gave him an opportunity to look past the past and to the future.
"From here, we don't know. But he's been given an opportunity. And that's a start."
View the article here
Springfield has a sex offender problem, says the city councilor who's authored an ordinance that seeks to restrict where offenders may live in the city.
But critics of the proposal say it could cause more problems than it might solve, and it wouldn't solve very many.
City Councilor Timothy J. Rooke says the City of Homes is "oversaturated" with sex offenders.
Springfield has more Level 2 and Level 3 offenders, the kind the state considers more likely to re-offend, than any other city in the state, and he said he feels many of them are not native to Springfield.
The state Sex Offender Registry Board reviews cases offenders and assigns them to one of three categories based on likelihood of re-offending. Level 1 is low risk, Level 2 is moderate, and Level 3 is of high risk to re-offend.
"What is it that attracts them to Springfield? That is the million dollar question, and no one has an answer," Rooke said.
The ordinance under consideration by the council would ban Level 2 and Level 3 offenders from living within 500 feet of a school, or from hanging around parks and playgrounds, and face fines of up to $300 for violations.
The 500-foot provision would not apply to offenders who already own property or have existing leases.
The proposal has been approved in two readings before the council and needs one more to go on the books. The third and final vote is scheduled for tomorrow.
Rooke said the ordinance will improve public safety and let offenders thinking of settling in Springfield know that they are not welcome.
"If it prevents 15, 20, 25 offenders from moving here, Springfield becomes a safer place," he said.
Critics of the measure say the council needs to proceed cautiously with the ordinance, particularly with the 500-foot ban.
Police Commissioner Edward A. Flynn said he is concerned the restriction could cause offenders to no longer register with police, to in a sense, go underground.
- And it will! It's occurring in other states if you'd look around before passing laws.
"The last thing I need is sex offenders that I can't locate when I need to," Flynn said.
Laurie L. Guidry, a psychologist and a board member of the Massachusetts Association of the Treatment of Sex Abusers, said the ordinance has the same basic flaw as similar legislation enacted around the country.
Instead of focusing on those offenders who are the greatest concern, sexual predators who target children, the ordinance targets all types of sex offenders with the same brush, she said.
"All sex offenders are not created equal but we tend to make them all equal," she said.
The term "sex offender" encompasses so many different types of behavior, from flashers to serial rapists, that by itself it is practically meaningless, she said.
And since the roughly 5 percent of offenders who target random children "don't do it near where they live," she said, the 500-foot protective zone won't offer much protection.
For the last 10 years in Massachusetts, everyone convicted of a sexual offense has been declared a sex offender and is required to register with the police in communities where they live and work.
The identities on Level 1 offenders are known to police but not released to the public. Level 2 identities may be released if someone from the community requests it in person at the police station, while the names, addresses and mug shots of Level 3 offenders are routinely released to the press and posted on the Internet.
Several communities have approved proximity bans for offenders, similar to what Springfield is proposing. Chicopee and Greenfield have in the past few months explored similar legislation.
The Chicopee Board of Aldermen directed its Law Department in February to review the legal implications of such an action before it goes forward with any proposals.
Options discussed included bans of 500, 1,000 and 2,000 feet from schools and day care centers.
Chicopee has 89 Level 2 offenders and 22 Level 3 offenders.
In Greenfield, the municipal Ordinance Committee in January had been exploring a ban on offenders living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, library or park, but the proposal appears to have stalled.
Greenfield has 50 Level 2 offenders and 18 Level 3 offenders who reside there.
Northampton lawyer William C. Newman, head of the Western Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said such ordinances amount to feel-good measures that do little beyond diverting police resources from actual crime.
"It doesn't protect the public," he said.
The Sexual Offenders Registration Board takes no position on municipal ordinances related to offenders, and has no role in enforcing or overseeing them, board spokesman Charles McDonald said.
Rooke said the issue became a concern to him some months ago when he learned how many offenders were listed as residing in Springfield.
According to the state registry, Springfield, the third largest city, has more sex offenders than any of the 10 largest cities in the state, including Boston.
Flynn said the Police Department already takes steps to track sex offenders in the city. The department has two officers devoted to making sure offenders are living and working where they say they are and that their registrations are current.
Flynn said enforcing the 500-foot buffer would add to the police workload but it would not improve safety.
National studies have shown more than 90 percent of all reported sexual assaults on minors are not done by strangers jumping out of the bushes, but by a family member or someone trusted by the child, Flynn said.
"It ain't pretty but that's what it is," he said.
"There are plenty of people who shouldn't be allowed to live within 500 feet of their own home." That would do more to curb sexual abuse of minors more than a ban around schools, he said.
A review of 160 sexual offenses involving children under 18 in Springfield last year echoes the national surveys, he said. Ninety-two percent involved family or someone known by the victim.
The 13 total cases involving strangers included a 15-year-old boy being offered money to pose for naked pictures, another teenage boy reporting a strange man tried to engage him in a conversation about oral sex, and several complaints from girls who said a stranger groped them through their clothing, Flynn said.
None fit the category of what Flynn called "the parental worst-nightmare scenario" where a child is kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Rooke said the 90 percent figure is misleading because many child molesters will key on single mothers and spend months gaining their trust in order to gain access to their children.
By keeping them away from school zones, they will have a harder time spotting single mothers, he said.
"We're not talking about a college kid goosing someone at a party," he said. "A lot of Level 3 offenders are dangerous individuals."
Rooke said he is also not concerned with the ordinance causing offenders to fail to register. "That happens now."
It will be up to the police to find violators and arrest them, he said.
Guidry said Iowa, which was at the forefront of laws restricting movements of sex offenders, has in recent years moved away from proximity bans. Officials there found it caused more offenders to become homeless and "they found they lost track of everyone," she said.
To an extent, anyone publicly identified as a Level 3 offender finds housing options can be limited.
As many as 65 percent of Boston's offenders are homeless or living in shelters, according to a recent Boston Globe article.
And 15 of Springfield's 112 Level 3 offenders, or about 14 percent, are either homeless or live in shelters, according to the state registry.
Offenders who live in a shelter need to re-register with police every 45 days instead of once a year.
Nine of the 15 reside at 769 Worthington St., the shelter operated by the Friends of the Homeless.
William J. Miller, executive director for the Friends of the Homeless, said many offenders are homeless because they cannot find any place willing to take them in.
"It's difficult for people with that on their record to find a place to live, especially if they are low-income," he said.
In Holyoke, three of 22 offenders are homeless, roughly 13 percent, while none of Westfield's 13 offenders reside at the Samaritan Inn shelter on Free Street.
In Northampton, nine of its 19 level 3 offenders are homeless. Four of those offenders reside at the U.S. Veterans Administration shelter based at the medical center in the Leed section of the city, two live at the Grove Street Inn, and three others are listed as homeless.
Northampton Police Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz said with so many of the city's Level 3 population having no permanent address, the Police Department spends significant amounts of time and materials keeping track of them.
- Time that could be spend on other dangerous crimes, like drugs, murder, gangs, etc.
Police keep close contact with the homeless shelters and regularly perform audits to verify offenders are staying there, he said.
Because homeless Level 3 offenders move from place to place so frequently, police are seeing the same people going through the registration process again and again, he said.
In 2006, for example, the city had 25 level 3 offenders, and four of them registered a total of 22 times, Sienkiewicz said.
The registration process, which includes fingerprints, mug shots and updating local and state records, takes about 30 minutes, he said. Also with each registration, the police department has to mail out 92 separate notifications to the local press, schools and community agencies, he said.
For 2006 that added up to 7,728 separate pieces of mail, he said.
"It's a lot of work. I'm not saying its a bad thing, but it's a lot of work," he said.
The city receives no funding from the state to cover the costs of registrations, he said.
In Springfield, with the exception of the Worthington Street shelter, the largest concentration of Level 3 offenders in the city may be found at 41 Spring St., an unassuming multi-story brick apartment building a block away from police headquarters.
The apartment, a male-only boarding house known as The Majesty, had at last count five Level 3 offenders residing there.
Building manager Rosa Blair said many offenders have resided there over the years and it is no mystery why.
"We have a few people coming from the shelter who have no place to live," she said.
Many are referred there by parole officers, she said.
None of her tenants are any trouble, and although she keeps the number to police handy, she never has had to call it. "To me, they are good people. They have made mistakes (and) they have to live with them," she said.
Blair said she has been following the ordinance closely because the Majesty may be within 500 feet of Commerce High School, just around the corner on State Street.
If it is, many of her tenants could be forced to find somewhere else to live. "We won't rent to them anymore," she said.
View the article here
She never laid eyes on him before, and she never wants to again.
The bruised and broken brunette accusing City Councilman Dennis Gallagher of a demonic sex assault vowed in exclusive interviews with The Post to "prosecute him until he's behind bars."
"I'm beat up and bruised all over," the 52-year-old woman - a grandmother who works as a cook at a Queens Catholic church - said in the first of two interviews Friday and yesterday near her Queens home.
She said she has bruises all over her body, especially on her back, and showed a reporter nasty purple scabs and contusions on her knees and bruises on the outside of her calves.
"The bruises were worse five days ago," she said. "They are just starting to heal a little bit."
"I'm just hoping that other women come forward," said woman, who still cares for her 35-year-old mentally retarded son at home.
The woman, whose identity is being withheld by The Post, said the terrifying ordeal began innocently last Sunday night, when she met a female friend for dinner at Middle Village watering hole Danny Boy's.
The married, 43-year-old Republican councilman approached them at 5:30 p.m., she said.
Her pal, who is friendly with Gallagher, turned to her and asked, "Don't you know who your councilman is?"
"I said, 'No, and I don't particularly care,' " the accuser recalled.
Gallagher laughed at that and strolled away. The two women continued with their dinner.
The women and Gallagher did not cross paths again inside. The alleged victim however said she encountered the lawmaker - now visibly drunk - outside the bar about three hours later.
What happened next is something the woman refuses to disclose, saying that prosecutors have instructed her not to discuss details of that outside meeting or what it led to.
What she will say is that a brutal sexual attack occurred.
"I was beaten. I was threatened. I was terrorized," the woman said yesterday, adding that Gallagher warned her not to go to the police.
"He threatened me," she said.
Law-enforcement sources said the victim told authorities that after leaving the bar, she got into Gallagher's vehicle and they went to a small office above his district office at 78-25 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.
- What the hell was she getting into someones car she didn't know for? Unless he forced her?
After the alleged attack, the woman went home and called police, authorities said last week. She then went to a hospital and was examined.
She told The Post that police took photos of her battered body. The next afternoon, on Monday, police searched Gallagher's office for DNA evidence.
The 5-foot-6 woman has been active in recent days, walking her dog every few hours and pushing a child on nearby park swing set, despite the half-dollar-size wounds on her knees.
At one point, she wept as she talked to a Post photographer.
And she said she was determined to get justice.
"I just want to heal and forget about it, but I know I can't until he is behind bars," she said.
She called the 5-foot-7, 180-pound Gallagher "arrogant" and "threatening."
He's "a heavy drinker," she said. "Just because he's a politician doesn't make his threats different than anyone else's . . .
"I promise you: I'm going to prosecute him until he's behind bars."
She said she expects Gallagher - a former state Crime Victims Board investigator who describes himself as a "religious, civic-minded, patriotic Republican" on a City Council résumé - to be arrested this week.
"They're waiting for more DNA," she said.
The Queens District Attorney's Office, which is investigating her allegations, declined to comment.
Law-enforcement sources confirmed that DNA evidence is still being gathered and that an arrest is possible. Police were reportedly looking specifically for blood and women's articles when they searched his office.
"I don't ever want to see him again," the woman said.
"I'm a married woman with a handicapped child. I have to protect him."
Gallagher submitted to a DNA test last week. His lawyer, Stephen Mahler, said his client "denies any criminal wrongdoing," and likened his situation to that of the Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape.
- Well see when the court trial comes along. Unless they try to make her look like shes out to extort him for money or something. Who knows?
His accuser, a mother of two and grandmother of two, scoffed at the comparison.
"He's sick," she said. "He's a sick man."
The church cook vowed to "get more monsignors and more priests" to vouch for her character.
Gallagher, who has two boys with his wife, Donna, has a reputation among some former staffers and neighborhood leaders for drinking and behaving inappropriately with women.
Known as "Pinky" in some circles because he turns a light shade of red when he drinks, Gallagher "always hires good-looking girls," according to one ex-staffer.
"He seemed like a good guy to me," the ex-staffer said. "But he would always find himself alone with these young girls. You can't do that. It can only lead to trouble."
Several ex-staffers talked about a small back room in Gallagher's district office, where he would bring women. None of the former staff members heard stories of Gallagher hurting women or having sex in the room, but one said it was "suspicious, at least," that he would bring women there.
"A married elected official shouldn't be hanging out alone in a back room with a separate entrance," the ex-staffer said. "No good can come from that."
Gallagher allegedly extended his behavior outside the office as well.
One source said Gallagher once offered her money if she could persuade an attractive friend to sleep with him.
"How much would it cost for you to hook me up with your friend?" Gallagher asked, according to the source.
Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association and a longtime Gallagher rival, remembered visiting Councilman Tom Ognibene's office when Gallagher was chief-of-staff and finding an unpleasant surprise.
It was Gallagher's birthday, and his friends bought him a lap dance from an exotic dancer - which he enjoyed in the back room of the City Council office that would later become his own when he was elected to the council in 2001, Holden said.
"That's clearly inappropriate behavior in a city office," said Holden, who recalled Gallagher laughing as he received the lap dance from a heavyset woman wearing a G-string.
"These latest accusations don't surprise me at all," he said.
The Post reported Friday that the city's Department of Investigation has been looking into whether Gallagher misused his government office for political gain.
Several sources familiar with the investigation told The Post that Gallagher staffers were interviewed three months ago to determine if his aides and offices were used for political purposes.
Yet Gallagher has his defenders.
At Danny Boy's, one of Gallagher's regular haunts, several patrons called the allegedly lewd legislator "a great guy" and believe his accuser's claims are false.
Several council colleagues also said they support Gallagher, who in his sixth year in office is paid $112,500.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not commented because of the investigation.
View the article here | Another article
TOPEKA -- The fourth and final defendant in the death of a self-described lobbyist for the homeless was convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder.
Jurors deliberated about five hours Friday before convicting Charles Hollingsworth III in the death of David Owen. Hollingsworth
Owen disappeared in June 2006. His body was found the next month.
Prosecutors said the four defendants tied Owen to a tree, where he eventually suffocated, because he would not leave their homeless camp along the Kansas River. Owen was known for giving homeless people telephone calling cards and urging them to call home, and his detractors said he was often pushy with his efforts.
An attorney for Hollingsworth, 19, argued that he had gone repeatedly to check on Owen after carrying him out of the camp and tying him up.
"It doesn't look like any intent to kill to me," said the attorney, Kelly Connor-Wilson.
She also tried to discredit Owen's motive for being at the homeless camp, reminding jurors during closing arguments that Owen was a registered sex offender.
- So what the hell does that have to do with anything? That just proves why these vigilante murderers tied him to a tree. They wanted to punish and torture him and it resulted in his death, so they should all be in prison for life! Go for the throat I guess, like a pit bull! So does him being a sex offender justify what they did to him in your sick mind some how? Apparently it does. Modern day lynching, nothing else. So they should be charged with murder and die in prison!
Owen had been registered since 1999, when he was sentenced to four days in jail and 36 months of probation in Sedgwick County on one count of sexual exploitation of a child.
- So what does this have to do with the case? So what! They killed this man, period, end of story!
But Deputy District Attorney David Debenham told jurors that Hollingsworth showed no remorse and should be convicted.
Prosecutors also showed jurors videotapes of Hollingsworth's confession to police and his re-enactment of the killing.
Two other defendants, 61-year-old Carl Baker and 28-year-old Kimberly Sharp, were convicted in separate trials of first-degree murder and kidnapping. Both were sentenced to life in prison.
- Good, I hope they die in prison, which I know they won't, they'll be out in 20 years to kill again!
Johnny Cornell, 36, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to kidnapping and a reduced sentence of reckless involuntary manslaughter.
View the article here
A Kane County Board candidate arrested last week on sexual assault charges died Tuesday when his vehicle slammed head-on into a concrete bridge support, Aurora police said.
Brent K. Schepp, 36, a father of four from Aurora, was traveling at "a very high rate of speed" on Eola Road and did not try to brake or take any evasive action, said Dan Ferrelli, police spokesman.
"At this point in the investigation, we believe this to be self-inflicted," Ferrelli said, adding that the coroner and an inquest will determine the cause of death.
Schepp was seeking the board's District 3 seat, but his first bid for office quickly unraveled with the announcement Friday of charges that he sexually abused and assaulted two teenage girls in 2005. The Kane County Republican Central Committee withdrew its endorsement of his candidacy that afternoon.
Police said Schepp was speeding south in his 2006 Dodge Charger on Eola Road between Molitor and Diehl Roads about 10:35 Tuesday morning when the car hit the bridge support. The force of the crash tore the gray vehicle into pieces and threw Schepp 50 feet and under a heavy piece of wreckage. The car caught fire upon impact.
Two passers-by rushed to free Schepp, but he died at the scene, police said.
The violent death Tuesday layered shock upon shock in his quiet upscale community, where neighbors and political supporters were still coming to grips with the sexual assault allegations. "I feel sorry for him, his family and everybody concerned, obviously," said Dennis Wiggins, chairman of the Kane County Republican Organization.
Schepp had been under investigation for two months. He was charged with 14 counts of criminal sexual assault, 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse and two counts of unlawful delivery of alcohol to a minor.
Kane County State's Atty. John Barsanti said the abuse occurred last year between June and December and involved two girls, now 15 and 16, whom Schepp knew.
Schepp had turned himself in Friday and was free on $75,000 bail. He was facing a minimum sentence of 34 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities were trying to tell the teens of Schepp's death Tuesday and that the case was closed, Barsanti said.
"If the defendant is deceased, the case is dismissed," he said.
Schepp, a civil engineer, had been involved in behind-the-scenes Republican politics for many years but had never pursued political office. A lifelong Aurora resident, he was among a group of community activists who pushed to reduce building density in older neighborhoods. Schepp was a precinct committeeman and a member of the party's Central Committee from Aurora Township.
He was touted for his professional background, which the Kane County Republican Central Committee said could help in future developments and capital projects, according to a ballot of recommendations posted on the committee's Web site. After Schepp's arrest, the committee rescinded its recommendation, saying in a written statement that "our party cannot endorse a candidate in the upcoming elections who is currently under a cloud of suspicion for such alleged conduct." In interviews after the allegations became public, at least one local party official urged Schepp to step out of the race, but as of Tuesday, he had not withdrawn, officials said.
"It obviously had taken a toll," Wiggins said. " This is a terrible tragedy, and all we can do is pray for the guy and his family."
After expressing her regrets last week upon learning of Schepp's arrest, his Democratic opponent, Arlene Shoemaker of Aurora, said she was deeply saddened at the news of his death. She lives near the Schepp family and knows them, she said.
"It just makes you feel so sad ... when somebody who has so much talent and is so smart and has so much potential just does himself in," said Shoemaker, a former County Board member who came out of retirement to run for the seat being vacated by Ken Griffin.
Nobody answered the door at Schepp's two-story white home in the 400 block of Linden Avenue in south Aurora, where two vehicles were in the driveway Tuesday afternoon.
But neighbors expressed sadness and shock.
"He was a wonderful neighbor, very helpful," said Pat Carroll. "He often played with my grandkids in their front yard."
Neighbor Sue Klimacek knew the Schepps for the last decade, and recalled how Brent Schepp was quick to lend tools when needed.
"I feel terribly bad for his wife and boys," Klimacek said. "He was a family man."
View the article here | Court Case
GRANITE FALLS - A former mayor of Clarkfield has been sentenced on charges that he molested two boys from 1997 to 2003.
Thirty-six-year-old Jeffrey Kyle Randall of Clarkfield was sentenced yesterday to 275 days in jail and six years of probation. He'll also have to register as a sex offender, and undergo evaluation and treatment.
Randall entered an Alford plea last month to two counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, both gross misdemeanors.
A criminal complaint says Randall molested two boys -- ages ten and 12 -- during a six-year period.
He was mayor of Clarkfield from 1998 to the fall of 2004. In 2002, he ran as a Republican in an unsuccessful bid for state representative.
View the article here
The executive director of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association has been removed from office after his arrest in Flagler County following allegations he molested two young girls.
Patrick Lee McGuire, a former Flagler County commissioner, turned himself in to Flagler County Sheriff's deputies Wednesday evening, according to Debra Johnson, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.
McGuire, 44, has become a familiar face in the controversy surrounding State Attorney John Tanner regarding the Flagler jail. McGuire has frequently been quoted calling for an investigation of Tanner and sought to have Tanner removed from an investigation into alleged abuse of prisoners at the jail.
He also was recently involved in union negotiations with the city of St. Augustine on behalf of police officers.
"Mr. McGuire turned himself in to the Criminal Investigation Division at Palm Coast," Johnson said. He was accompanied by St. Augustine attorney Michael Hines. McGuire was released from the Flagler County Inmate Facility after posting a $50,000 bond.
He faces two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and lewd or lascivious conduct. The charges stem from allegations from two females that McGuire had previously engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with them over a period of years, Johnson said.
One victim, who is now 16, told detectives McGuire molested her when she was between the ages of 8 and 9. The second victim, now 24, said she was 12 and 13 years of age when McGuire began touching her inappropriately, Johnson said. The incidents occurred in Palm Coast, where McGuire lives.
Johnson declined to identify the two victims. She said the Flagler Sheriff's Office became involved after the Division of Children and Families contacted them Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, the police union in Port Orange announced McGuire had been removed as executive director because of the nature of the charges.
"As an association that represents law enforcement officers, we feel swift action in this case is absolutely necessary. Such conduct, if true, is reprehensible and cannot be condoned," union president Vincent Champion said in a press release.
Attorney Adam Alvarez was appointed interim executive director. The Coastal Florida PBA handles bargaining negotiations for a number of law enforcement agencies, including the St. Augustine Police Department.
St. Augustine Police Chief Loran Lueders said McGuire was involved in the most recent negotiation process. "We're in the middle of a three-year contract," he said Thursday.
McGuire is a former St. Augustine policeman. City officials said he had worked for the city for several years during the 1980s.
"Then he left to become a union employee. He's been there ever since," St. Augustine City Manager Bill Harris said.
McGuire, a Republican, ran for the Flagler County Commission in 2000 and was elected. He was defeated in his re-election bid in 2004, losing to fellow Republican Jim O'Connell.
During his term, McGuire was the focus of an investigation by Tanner into a Sunshine Law violation.
In 2002 he and another commissioners were fined $500 each for violating the law because they discussed a vote on a noise ordinance after a commission meeting had adjourned, according to the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida.
View the article here
Things have been looking up for accused child molester Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the 36-year-old Christian conservative activist and lawyer with close ties to Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh, head of the Orange County Republican Party. Police say Nielsen took a 14-year-old Westminster boy as his sex partner in 2003 and maintained a huge cache of man-boy pornography.
But prosecutors have allowed their case against Nielsen, once an intern in the district attorney’s office, to stall for 40 months.
Ironically, those delays have provoked new sex-crime allegations. Saying he fears a subversion of justice, a northern Virginia man claims that Nielsen repeatedly molested him when he was an adolescent.
“For two years, when I was 13 and 14 years old, Jeff sexually abused me while he worked in Washington for Rohrabacher as a legislative aide,” the 25-year-old married man told the Weekly in a recent interview. “There was never any penetration, but other than that? Everything. He wrapped it all up as normal, as love.”
Paul S. Meyer, Nielsen’s Costa Mesa-based defense attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Virginia man, who asked to remain anonymous, said Nielsen worked in his church’s youth ministry and that his parents rented Nielsen a basement room in their home sometime in 1994 or 1995.
“Jeff took an immediate liking to me,” he said. “When he moved into our house, [the sex] started right away. I know this might sound weird, but at the time he was a mentor and he assured me the messing around was normal. I believed him. I was in the seventh grade at the time. It was brainwashing.”
He says Nielsen orchestrated a “boyfriend-girlfriend type” relationship that included occasional public kissing, hand holding and sex.
“Jeff called it ‘our thing,’ and one time we were near Tyson’s Corner [Virginia], he stopped at a gas station so we could have sex in the bathroom,” the man said. “A guy walked in and caught me with my pants down and Jeff on his knees. We made some excuse about an injured knee or something. The guy said, ‘Oh!’ and quickly left.”
There was also jealousy when the boy expressed an interest in girls, according to the victim.
“[Nielsen] was very controlling and emotional,” he said. “After sex, he’d sometimes say, ‘You know you are gay, right?’ But I wasn’t. I’ve been married now for three years and have a great relationship with my wife. I am very much heterosexual.”
The abuse stopped, according to the man, when Nielsen moved back to California to attend USC law school after receiving a personal recommendation from Congressman Rohrabacher.
“When he was leaving, he asked me why I wasn’t crying,” the man said. “I was so relieved that he would finally be gone.”
In the unresolved 2003 Orange County case, police say Nielsen, then 33 years old, in the closet and a lawyer at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, started dating a high school freshman at Westminster High School. Based in part on confiscated correspondence, police allege that Nielsen romanced the boy. He took him to dinner and gave him flowers, cops say. They also claim Nielsen repeatedly used the minor for oral and anal sex at his Ladera Ranch townhome and at the boy’s Westminster residence while his mother was at work.
During years of preliminary hearings after his arrest, Nielsen has shown little outward anxiety about the case. He’s routinely smiled and giggled in court with his father, Ben Nielsen, the former Republican mayor of Fountain Valley. To friends, Nielsen blamed the boy for seducing him after they met in an online gay chat room. He’s also told friends that the charges would be reduced or dismissed if the Weekly, which has attended dozens of hearings, would follow the lead of The Orange County Register and ignore the case. (In fact, the Reg favorably mentioned Nielsen in September 2005 without telling readers that he’s an accused child molester.) In an April 2005 e-mail to his friends, Nielsen encouraged them not to cooperate with the Weekly’s investigation into the charges. Nielsen’s well-connected friends have strenuously lobbied this paper not to profile their pal.
This newest allegation won’t surprise law enforcement. After Nielsen’s arrest, two other East Coast men told authorities that as young teens they’d also witnessed Nielsen’s conduct with boys. Their observations led authorities to the Virginia man. Two years ago, a DA’s investigator called to ask if he’d been abused.
“I denied it,” he said. “I was scared. I didn’t want my parents to know. It happened right under their noses. They’d blame themselves for letting Jeff in our house, and I didn’t want that.”
So why is he stepping forward now?
“It’s hard to believe nothing has happened to Jeff after what he’s done,” he said. “He’s free and he still has his [law] license.”
A trial is now scheduled for Oct. 16, though the date could be meaningless. The case has been postponed dozens of times, a fact that must delight Nielsen and Meyer, one of the county’s savviest defense lawyers. A jury won’t see a 14-year-old victim testify; they’ll see someone who is older than 17.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas says he was unaware of the delays, and finds them frustrating.
“Frankly, 40 months [without a trial] is outrageous,” said Rackauckas, who said he has asked his staff for an explanation. “It’s valid for people on the outside to question what’s happened here. There’s no excuse for delaying this anymore.”
View the article here
Videos at the end.
Judge says felonies won’t boot him from Elyria Council
ELYRIA — Councilman Joseph Monteleone Jr. was found guilty Friday of asking underage girls to have sex and fondling them.
Monteleone, who owns Master Pizza, where the incidents took place, was convicted of two felony counts of importuning and three misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition. He was found not guilty on another misdemeanor count.
The charges involve three teenage girls who worked for him at the pizza shop. He could get up to two years in prison when he is sentenced.
County Common Pleas Judge James Burge, who found Monteleone guilty Friday, said the felony counts were “non-removable offenses,” which means Monteleone can remain on Council.
His term expires at year’s end, and he didn’t seek re-election. But several of Monteleone’s fellow Council members said they think that he should resign.
“My personal feeling is that he should step down because someone else can’t run for council if they have a felony on their record,” said Forrest Bullocks, D-2nd Ward.
“The correct thing I feel would be for him to step down and let the Republican Party appoint someone. So far as citizens looking at having a felon on Council, it might not look good in their eye.”
Councilman Thomas Callahan, D-at large, agreed.
“I would have to say that he should step down,” Callahan said.
Elyria Law Director Terry “Pete” Shilling said the city has an ordinance that would allow the Council to remove Monteleone as a result of the convictions. But Shilling said he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of it Friday since he cannot recall it ever having been used.
The three-day bench trial wrapped up Friday afternoon after Monteleone, R-1st Ward, took the stand to defend himself against charges previous witnesses made, accusing him of sexual harassment with a fondness for underage girls.
Monteleone admitted saying “Wanna (expletive)?” to an adult employee, but said he never said anything like it to any of the minors in his shop.
“I noticed she was down and I said, ‘Wanna (expletive),’ to try to get her to laugh as a joke,” Monteleone testified.
- Yeah right, and you really think people are stupid enough to believe this?
Assistant County Prosecutor Sherry Glass, however, challenged his assertion that what he said to one employee, he wouldn’t say to another.
“So you admit that you made the comment to one of the girls, the one you can’t get in trouble for, but you didn’t say anything like that to the underage girls, where you could get in trouble?” Glass asked during her cross-examination.
“Don’t question my character,” Monteleone shot back.
The councilman denied ever slapping any of his employees on the buttocks but admitted to accidentally hitting one of the girls with his shoe.
“As I walked by, I kicked up my foot and the side of my shoe brushed against her butt,” Monteleone said.
Burge said he found the witnesses and their testimony to be credible.
Monteleone testified that he had pinched a female employee on the buttocks with a pair of kitchen tongs after she pinched him first. The incident was part of a joke, he said.
Burge acquitted Monteleone of the charge stemming from the incident — saying there was no sign of sexual intent.
After the verdict was announced, neither Monteleone nor his lawyer, Mike Doyle, would comment.
View the article here
Toledo's unconventional effort to move sex offenders away from its schools is unconstitutional, a local attorney argued in a motion filed yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court.
The tactic, attorney Scott Schwab wrote, "attempts to create a criminal statute in order to address a civil problem."
Understanding it, though, takes a bit of a history lesson in Ohio's Sex Offender Registration and Notification law, which has been tweaked several times since it was passed in 1997.
A portion of the law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools.
In addition, it allows local governments to ask a judge for injunctive relief - in other words, to seek a court order against defiant offenders.
But the civil process is long and tedious, and worse, often ignored by offenders, authorities in Ohio's larger cities have complained.
Last year, Toledo decided to take a shortcut.
The way the city's law director saw it, sex offenders who move into the restricted, 1,000-feet school perimeter also were violating Toledo's nuisance abatement code.
The code prohibits a property owner to operate or own a property in violation of the law.
Ordinarily, that part of the nuisance abatement code gives city officials some control over establishments that violated liquor codes or that allowed prostitution, and scofflaws can face jail time and fines.
The threat worked for the most part.
Sixty-eight of 85 sex offenders moved after they were threatened with nuisance abatement action.
The remainder are in various stages of the court process, according to Sue Frederick, Toledo's code enforcement manager.
Mr. Schwab, representing registered sex offender Richard Rost, yesterday challenged the use of the nuisance code against sex offenders as unconstitutional.
Mr. Schwab argued that the nuisance abatement code is "criminalized" because of possible jail sentences and cannot be used in civil procedures.
He further points out that the nuisance abatement law used by the city against sex offenders was passed in 2006, while Mr. Rost, who was convicted of having sex with a teenager, was classified in 2002.
- Thus violating ex post facto laws.
He has met his requirements to register on time, but his house at 901 Clark St. is too close to Navarre Elementary School, according to the charges against him.
Neither Mr. Schwab nor Mr. Rost could be reached for comment yesterday.
View the article here
DELTONA -- Juan Matamoros would fight Deltona's sex offender ordinance all the way to the state Supreme Court if he had the time or the money.
He hates being lumped in with child rapists after his conviction 21 years ago for a sex offense he says amounted to no more than urinating outside when he got drunk celebrating his daughter's birth.
Because the old charge was technically a sex offense, Deltona's law treats him no differently than child molesters, and he, like them, is barred from living within 2,500 feet of any school, playground, day-care center, bus stop or other area where children congregate.
"I really didn't harm anyone; I wish I could speak English then as I do now to defend myself," said Matamoros, 49, who was charged with open and gross lewdness in 1986, according to a Massachusetts court docket. "I have two kids to feed so I'm not wasting the time and energy to prove I didn't do any horrendous thing."
Matamoros might not be fighting, but a case against another man recently charged with living in a no-residency zone has prompted scrutiny of Deltona's law. County Judge Peter Marshall ordered the city to defend the constitutionality of the law -- which bars any registered sex offender from living virtually anywhere in the city.
City Attorney Roland Blossom is expected to file the brief Monday.
Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the American Civil Liberties Union are closely watching the case for its possible impact on cities from Apopka to Winter Park.
Dozens of Florida cities, including 12 in Volusia and Flagler counties, enacted restrictions tougher than the state's 1,000-foot residency restriction after the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a registered sex offender in February 2005.
They were concerned that the state's law only restricted where offenders could live while on probation, if ordered by a judge, said Steve Brady, legal adviser for the FDLE's Orlando and Daytona Beach offices.
Deltona has taken 19 men to court since enacting its ordinance in May 2006.
One, Lionel Benjamin, 30, appeared in Marshall's courtroom on June 11 in the city's attempt to force him to move from his home that was within 2,500 feet of a school.
In 1996, Benjamin, then 19, was convicted in Connecticut of giving intoxicants without consent to a girl under 18 and having sex with her.
In his trial, Benjamin made an emotional plea to be left alone, saying he is trying to rebuild his life as an electrician, father and recent homeowner.
Reached by telephone recently, Benjamin explained, "I'm just living life as usual." He added he hasn't decided whether he would try to fight the city's law yet. After hearing Benjamin's story, Judge Marshall called the law "troublesome."
Two months earlier, Deltona forced Matamoros to move out of the city. He remains registered on the state's sex offender Web site, which has left him stigmatized, he said, as if he were one of the people he despises.
"After 22 years, have I done something similar? Have I been arrested on anything similar?" he asks. "Give me a break. If I were a sicko . . . those people don't take long to repeat."
The FDLE's Brady said he understands why people seek tougher restrictions.
"If I were a parent, I would not want sex offenders living near my kids," he said. "I'd probably resort to any law that would just make these people disappear. But then of course I also understand the consequences."
He said if more cities and counties pass no-residency ordinances stricter than the state's -- as the city of Hollywood did this month -- Florida authorities will lose the ability to keep track of them.
"They'll either move to another state or they'll have no choice but to not register," Brady said. "And whenever a child goes missing, it's a valuable tool to know where every sex offender is."
ACLU: LAWS 'KNEE-JERK'
An arrest for urinating in public in 1986 should not be treated the same as someone who brutally raped a child, said Brandon Hensler, a spokesman for the Florida ACLU. But politicians want to be re-elected, said local ACLU president George Griffin, who lives in Deltona, and so they pass "knee-jerk legislation."
"If they vote against this, they're accused of being easy on sex offenders and sexual predators," Griffin said.
- And it goes to show you, they care more about their jobs than protecting peoples constitutional rights. So they should NOT be elected in my opinion. They are after their own desires, nothing more.
To be classified as a sexual predator -- considered the most serious of sexual offenders -- someone must be convicted of multiple sex crimes or of a sex crime involving a child under 12. Deltona Mayor Dennis Mulder said he wanted the city's law to specifically target predators, but was told by the city's attorney he could not separate predators from offenders, he said.
- And why the hell not?
"The state needs to look at classification much better," Mulder said.
The city of DeLand bars sexual predators -- not offenders -- from living 2,500 feet from places where children gather.
- Sounds good, but they are not doing this, they are basically labeling ALL sex offenders as predators, so thus all are affected by these laws. People like John Couey should be made to obey these laws, yet even then, those types of people are not going to obey these laws anyway. If they are intent on harming another child, they will do so regardless of the laws or residency restrictions.
According to a June 17 story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Hollywood Police Department legal counsel Joel Cantor and a Broward County assistant attorney predict someone will challenge the constitutionality of the strict ordinances.
"I've been looking into the faces of city and county attorneys statewide and they are all looking at each other, pointing the finger and wondering whose 2,500-foot-restriction ordinance is going to be challenged first," Cantor said in the story.
- Thus wasting tons of money, time and resources on stupid BS instead of the true criminals.
But Hensler, spokesman for the state ACLU, said no one has successfully fought any of the laws based on the argument a 2,500-foot restriction violates an offender's constitutional rights.
- It's because nobody in politics cares about the constitution or bill of rights, until it affects them. They are all sick freaks who care nothing about anyone except lining their pockets with more cash.
The biggest question remaining, the ACLU's Griffin said, is whether the laws actually protect children and make communities safer.
- No they do not. I think the last couple years is proof of this.. How stupid do you have to be? How will ANYTHING about these laws protect anybody from a predator? Huh? They won't.
"All this law says is where somebody sleeps, not where he spends his day," Griffin said. "What is it really doing to protect the neighborhood?"
Here are sex offender restrictions in local cities:
- Orange City, Ormond Beach, Pierson, Holly Hill, DeBary, Flagler Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Lake Helen: Bars registered sex offenders and predators from living 2,500 feet from schools, day-care centers, bus stops, parks or places children congregate.
- Palm Coast: 2,000-foot restriction.
- Oak Hill: 1,500-foot restriction.
- DeLand: Bars sexual predators from living 2,500 feet from schools, day-care centers, bus stops, parks or places children congregate.
View the article here
Here we go again. Another idiot politicians jumping on the "sex offender" bandwagon to "look good" to you and get your vote. This is totally shameful. I'm sure the "sheeple" will fall for it as well.
Ed Kosiur says he’ll take his crusade against sex offenders to the state Assembly if he’s elected in a July 31 special election for the 105th district.
The Schenectady County legislator called it a good day when Alan Horowitz, an Ivy League educated former child psychiatrist convicted of child molestation, was off the streets again.
“The story of convicted sex predator Alan Horowitz fleeing the country and being on the run for several years is a disturbing one,” said Kosiur, a Schenectady Democrat who hopes to fill the recently vacated Paul Tonko seat. “It’s another example of why we as a elected officials need to do more to keep our families and children safe.”
- So why don't you tell us how you might do that? Nothing you do will protect children. You just want to fatten your wallet as the gullible sheeple buy into your BS!
Kosiur, the man behind the county’s new sex offender residency law, said he would introduce legislation in the Assembly to impose longer sentences for sex offenders and require closer monitoring of offenders on parole.
- These are already in effect. Just look up the laws yourself. Not much more he could do.
The new law, described by some Kosiur campaign ads as the toughest in the state, bans all levels of sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, daycare center, playground, swimming pool, park, or youth center.
- Every state around the country says that, because you buy into it. Just read the news, check this blog, you will see I'm not lying.
It doesn’t just prohibit sex offenders from moving into those locations, it’s in fact requires all the ones currently living in those places to move. It leaves only a small portion of the town of Duanesburg for sex offenders to live within county borders.