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More proof the public cannot handle the registry without resulting in vigilante action, and the reason it should be taken offline, like it was when it was working, and used by police only. The registry is apparently nothing but a hit-list for people to find their next victim. The media and politicians are partly responsible for this, making the public think everybody on the registry is a child killer and molester, which they are not. More blood on their hands!
A man who allegedly stabbed a neighbor whose name was found on the sex offender database may have mistakenly thought the victim was a child molester.
LAKEPORT -- -- Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.
Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that Dodele's slaying stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.
Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30. In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.
- So he became a murderer to justify his actions. Hope he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."
- So you admit, you are NOT 'normal?', I think that is obvious, IMO. Killing someone is taking a step in the right direction? You are clearly a sick person who needs help, and I hope you get it behind prison walls, but we all know, help in prison is almost NIL.
Although Oliver never said he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."
- You apparently have no idea what morals are. And yes, I think most people would've taken it differently. Oh, and you left out one word on the end, "murderers!" Statistics show that most sexual abuse is at the hands of family, so did you also murder the person who molested your child? Or was that person you?
In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children.
Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."
- So the state or sheriff, by placing the wrong "under 14" on this mans registry listing, is also responsible for his death!
"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."
Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.
A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele, 67, listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.
"He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."
The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.
Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.
- What kind of motive do you need? It's kind of obvious to me.
Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.
- What would society be if everyone decided to kill the neighbor they did not want to live next to?
According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.
His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach. Those were the charges that were listed on the Megan's Law website.
"I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet," said Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele on behalf of the defense in two 2007 trials about whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero.
- And what about "victims of the sheriff or state who put up false info on this man?"
Both ended in hung juries. Dodele was freed Oct. 16 and was hoping to start over in the crowded little mobile home park, where neighbors described him as open and friendly.
"The family is just sick," Steen said. "They finally got him back. They all thought he had made such great progress, and then this happened. It's pretty bad."
At 10:14 a.m. Nov. 20, an anonymous woman called 911 to report that a man was bleeding from his hands and directed medical personnel to Dodele's space at the mobile home park, according to a written statement from the Sheriff's Department.
When deputies arrived, they found Dodele's body. The dead man's "immediate neighbors and other residents" sent the deputies to Oliver's home, the statement said, because "he had been seen recently leaving Dodele's residence with what appeared to be blood on his hands and clothing."
There was blood on a car in front of Oliver's house and at the front door of the concrete-block duplex. Inside, deputies found Oliver with blood on his hands and clothing and "injuries to his hands, consistent with having been in a physical altercation."
Authorities will not divulge exactly what Oliver said when he was arrested.
Steen wrote a letter to a local paper decrying Dodele's death "simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry." Shortly after the letter was published, Steen said, a woman describing herself as Oliver's wife called to complain.
"She said, 'We have a child who was molested, and my husband is very upset to have a child molester living nearby'," Steen recounted, noting the irony that Dodele's crimes all involved adult women.
- Still doesn't make it right to become a killer and murder someone. Who molested the child? I wonder!
Steen said she had not talked to police about the phone call. Oliver said that the woman with whom he lived in the trailer park was his girlfriend, and the two were not married. Attempts to reach the woman failed. One neighbor said she moved away after the slaying.
Oliver is being held without bail, a police statement said, because he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego and was on parole when Dodele was killed.
- Was he convicted or charged? I think this reporter needs to get the facts straight. If he's not been to court yet, then he has not been convicted, and it should be murder, not assault with a deadly weapon, which has less punishment. It was cold blooded, pre-meditated murder!
Speaking from behind a thick glass divider in the visiting area of the Lake County Correctional Facility, Oliver said his son had been molested, but he declined to give the details of his son's assault or to give the child's name.
- Why not? Even if his son was molested, it doesn't justify killing someone. Also, we all know statistics show that most sexual abuse is at the hands of fathers, mothers, uncles, close family. So I wonder about this.
Although he spoke of "the action I took," he would not describe what happened in the aging mobile home the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.
Oliver would not comment on whether Dodele had ever approached his son. But Oliver said he saw the older man looking at the boy.
"It was more than watching," Oliver said. "You could see his eyes. He was fantasizing, plotting. Later on down the line, who knows how many other children he could have hurt."
- So I guess you can predict the future?
Research indicates that, in general, the older rapists get, the lower their risk of re-offending, said L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, chairwoman of the California Coalition on Sex Offenders, a group of treatment providers, probation and parole officers.
In addition, she said, sex offenders who target grown women over the course of many years are unlikely to victimize children.
But when told that Dodele's victims were women and not children, Oliver seemed unfazed. "There is no curing the people that do it," he said.
- You see, he has been brainwashed by the media and politicians. No, but therapy works, and he received a lot of it, so you just became a murderer for no reason. Nobody can predict the future, nobody!
Oliver's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7.
- You see, this reporter said he was convicted, which is wrong. He's not been to court yet. So even this man is innocent until proven guilty.
Asked about what he thinks will happen to him, he said, "It's hard to tell at this point. There's no doubt I'm looking at a numerous amount of years. I'm not a lawyer. We haven't gone over the evidence."
- I think the evidence is clear, from your own statements. You should have shut up until you hired a lawyer. You have basically incriminated yourself already, as well as this very news report.
But he also said that he "would never change who I am or what I do because of what society thinks is right or not right. I have always been who I am and always will be."
- So you will always be a killer?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
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Solicitor Frank Cori says ban could lead to legal battles.
Rush Township's solicitor has suggested holding off on a proposed ordinance limiting where convicted sex offenders can live because it could lead to legal challenges.
''I'm putting the Megan's Law ordinance on hold,'' solicitor Frank Cori told township supervisors Thursday.
The ordinance was proposed seven months ago amid a flurry of similar laws being adopted by nearby municipalities, but it has not been debated since the township hired Cori in October.
The ordinance would have prohibited convicted sexual offenders from living near schools, day-care centers or other places that children frequent, such as playgrounds.
Cori compared the ordinance to a Hazleton law regulating where illegal immigrants can live that was overturned by a federal judge earlier this year. He said he believes the township doesn't have the right to regulate where convicted sexual offenders may live.
Cori suggested keeping an eye on surrounding municipalities that enacted such ordinances to see what happens.
In May, township Police Chief Robert Romanick suggested the ordinance, saying several convicted sex offenders lived in the area.
Supervisors told former solicitor Mark Semanchik to draft an ordinance.
Nearby Nesquehoning adopted an ordinance restricting sexual offenders from living 1,000 feet from school and recreational facilities. The ordinance is not retroactive, meaning those who were convicted before the enactment are not affected.
Also Thursday, Romanick said there have been three daytime burglaries in the past week in the township. He said the thefts occurred 30 to 45 minutes after people left for work and that the homes may have been staked out. He said entry was forced at the front and back doors.
Romanick urged residents to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity.
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I fail to see how a "tracking" van is going to help? This just sounds fishy to me. Why would you need a van to compliance checks on sex offenders?
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the purchase of a $109,000 surveillance van for Riverside County law enforcement agencies to use during compliance checks of registered sex offenders.
The district attorney's office requested the high-tech vehicle for future operations by the county's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team, which includes investigators from the D.A.'s office, sheriff's department and several municipal police agencies.
The van will be outfitted with remote-controlled cameras connected to a 900 Megahertz "integrated radio and control system" that will allow an investigator to operate cameras on the vehicle while seated at a desk, potentially miles away, according to the district attorney's office.
Camarillo-based Crime Point Inc. was selected to customize the van and install all the appropriate electronic surveillance gear.
The county will cover the cost of the vehicle through funds left over from a $731,950 grant issued by the governor's Office of Emergency Services in May. The grant was intended specifically for SAFE team operations.
Under California law, convicted rapists and child molesters must register with local police and alert authorities whenever they relocate.
More than 3,500 registered sex offenders live in Riverside County, according to the sheriff's department. The rate of noncompliance -- or failure to meet registration requirements -- was estimated to be just under 20 percent.
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Affair with former employee in D.A.'s office results in federal complaint
Attorney General Paul Morrison faces a sexual harassment claim tied to an extramarital affair he had with a subordinate in the Johnson County district attorney’s office that continued after he became the state’s top prosecutor this year.
Linda Carter, longtime director of administration in the district attorney’s office, revealed extensive details of the relationship with Morrison before quitting her job Nov. 30 in Olathe. Prior to the resignation, Carter’s civil rights claim was filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Topeka Capital-Journal learned Carter had a two-year affair with Morrison that began in September 2005 with a sex act inside an office at the Johnson County Courthouse and continued until this September with a series of covert liaisons in Topeka, Wichita, Salina, Overland Park and cities in at least three other states.
Carter said in a signed statement that Morrison pressured her to make use of her position in the D.A.’s office to influence pending litigation involving Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline.
Morrison confirmed Saturday that he engaged in a romantic relationship with Carter. However, the attorney general said he neither discriminated nor harassed her.
“Many of the claims made by Linda Carter are false,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately, it is true, however, that I once had a consensual relationship with Mrs. Carter. And I profoundly regret that I did.”
“I sincerely apologize for this failing in my personal life and I pledge to continue to fight for the safety and security of Kansans to the best of my ability,” he also said.
The conduct of Morrison and Carter is the subject of an unfolding inquiry involving officials at the county, state and federal levels.
Morrison, who was district attorney for Johnson County from 1989 until taking office as attorney general in January, faces a sexual harassment complaint forwarded Nov. 8 to the EEOC’s office in Kansas City, Kan.
There is a history of such allegations involving Morrison. He was accused of engaging in inappropriate conduct years ago with a different female employee of the Johnson County’s D.A.’s office, but during last year’s campaign for attorney general Morrison forcefully rejected the validity of that accusation.
Morrison swept to victory over Kline, the Republican incumbent attorney general, in November 2006. Kline was appointed one month later to complete Morrison’s term as Johnson County district attorney. Under Kline, Carter retained her job as the D.A. office’s top nonlegal staff member.
In the midst of her relationship with Morrison, the attorney general repeatedly tried to coerce Carter to write letters on behalf of eight former Morrison colleagues who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Kline, according to Carter’s statement.
Seven assistant district attorneys and the D.A. office’s chief investigator, known as the “Olathe 8,” were dismissed by Kline on the day he was sworn into office. The case is pending in federal court.
Morrison also attempted to glean from her sensitive information about Kline’s activities as district attorney, Carter’s statement said. That includes Kline’s ongoing criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, an abortion clinic in Johnson County.
Morrison has been critical of charges brought by Kline against Planned Parenthood, and he has intervened in his capacity as attorney general into a legal dispute about abortion records relied upon by Kline to build that case.
In response to Carter’s statement, Morrison said he didn’t manipulate his association with Carter to influence the Olathe 8 or Planned Parenthood cases.
“Any allegation that I used the relationship to influence litigation is absolutely false,” Morrison said. “The only people attempting to use this painful and personal information for their own benefit are Mrs. Carter and her boss, Phill Kline.”
Brian Burgess, spokesman for Kline, said the district attorney wouldn’t comment for this story.
Actions of Morrison and Carter, who were both married at the outset of the affair, has captured the attention of the Johnson County Commission. The seven commissioners could be called upon to weigh the county’s financial liability in light of Carter’s complaint that Morrison created a hostile work environment.
“I really can’t make any comment surrounding any allegation,” said Ed Eilert, a member of the county commission. “He (Morrison) did a terrific job as far as performing the functions of the office.”
Morrison had been putting criminals behind bars in Johnson County for more than 15 years when Carter moved in 1996 with her family to the Kansas City area from Nebraska. She accepted a part-time position as a statistical support specialist in the victim-witness assistance unit at the D.A.’s office. By this time, Morrison had served an apprenticeship and followed in the footsteps of D.A. Dennis Moore, who now represents Kansas in the U.S. House.
Carter was promoted several years later to coordinator of the victim-witness unit. In that role, she began working closely with Morrison on major criminal cases. Departure of the office’s director of administration led Morrison to appoint Carter to the top job in 2001.
Morrison made his feelings about Carter known to her for the first time while both were attending a June 2005 meeting in New York City of the Vera Institute of Justice, a think-tank organization conducting a study of racial profiling. While sitting in the lobby of a hotel, Carter’s statement said, Morrison told Carter he was interested in a romantic relationship with her. He said his feelings had origins in a party six months earlier hosted by an Overland Park police detective.
Carter was shocked by Morrison’s revelation. She told her boss that she was flattered but wasn’t interested in a relationship with the district attorney. Morrison asked her to his room. He said they could just lie on the bed in their clothes and talk. He tried to kiss her. She rebuffed him, her statement said.
On the flight home to Kansas City International, Morrison asked Carter questions about dating and her marriage to John Carter, the city administrator of Roeland Park.
Several days after returning from New York City, Morrison came to Carter’s office at the Johnson County Courthouse to tell her, “I can’t do this.” Carter told him that no harm had been done.
In July 2005, according to Carter’s statement, Morrison resumed his quest to form a relationship with her. Morrison raised the topic while the two walked together to a meeting of the Johnson County Commission in Olathe.
“I want to explore it,” he told her.
Carter and Morrison flirted with each other during the next two months. That changed in September when Morrison told Carter by telephone to go to the courthouse office of Assistant District Attorney Ted Baird. In the empty office, they began their sexual relationship, according to the statement.
Sexual encounters followed in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and New York, Carter’s statement said. The roster includes the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park in October 2005; the Muhlbach Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2006; the Holiday Inn in Salina, Days Inn Metropolitan in New York City and the Hyatt Hotel in Wichita in June 2006; and the Capital Plaza Hotel in Topeka in December 2006.
Morrison rarely spent the night and never paid for the room. Carter signed for the rooms and paid cash.
In July 2006, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed Carter to the new Interagency Council on Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. Carter said in the statement that she had sex with Morrison at a Topeka motel while attending meetings of the council.
Carter and Morrison regularly had sex in Carter’s private office and in Morrison’s office at the courthouse during normal business hours, her statement said. During one such encounter, the statement says that Morrison gazed out the office window and wondered aloud if Kline had someone watching through a telescope. The two also had sex in a witness room assigned to District Court Judge Stephen Tatum.
In spring 2006, Morrison began telling Carter that he loved her. She reciprocated the sentiment in August 2006 while at a motel in Emporia. As Morrison’s campaign for attorney general appeared more promising in October and November, the two spoke of their life after a victory over Kline.
Morrison raised the idea of both obtaining a divorce and getting married. To emphasize the point, Carter’s statement said, Morrison bought an engagement ring in December 2006 at an Overland Park jewelry store. He gave the ring, appraised at more than $16,000, to Carter during a trip to the Carter family’s residence in Western Grove, Ark.
The election of Morrison and appointment of Kline created an awkward transition in the A.G.’s office in Topeka and the D.A.’s office in Olathe. It also had an influence on the relationship between Carter and Morrison.
Morrison took umbrage that Carter spent time working with the Kline transition team, she said in the statement. There was tension between Morrison and members of Kline’s staff, who began to conduct preliminary operations in the D.A.’s office. It was clear Morrison didn’t want to turn over the keys of his office to Kline.
Morrison, prior to leaving office as D.A., wrote a letter to the Johnson County Commission suggesting that Kline be paid $114,000, nearly $30,000 less than Morrison earned in the same position.
“As district attorney for 18 years, I take great pride in the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of that office,” Morrison said. “I am deeply concerned that you are planning on paying my successor an amount that is not in accord with his experience or skill.”
According to Carter’s statement, the last time Morrison and Carter had sex in the Johnson County Courthouse was Sunday, Jan. 7 — the day before he was sworn in as attorney general in Topeka.
Carter told Morrison she planned to leave her husband, and she retrieved furniture from the family’s Arkansas home for an apartment in Lawrence.
In February, Morrison pledged to tell his wife, Joyce, that he was leaving her as well. But he got cold feet. He telephoned Carter to tell her “I can’t do it.” Carter was surprised. She had moved from her home. She had an engagement ring. And she had set a wedding date of April 5. However, Carter’s statement said, Morrison changed his mind several days after determining he would be miserable if he remained with his wife.
Carter was receptive to the idea of rekindling the relationship. The couple stayed together several nights at Carter’s apartment in Lawrence. Morrison moved some of his personal belongings into the apartment in March.
The zoo, history
Morrison and Carter had an argument in March about Morrison’s investigation of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. Kline had attempted to charge Tiller with violating the state’s abortion statutes, but he was never was able to bring Tiller to trial.
When Morrison became attorney general, he promised to conduct a complete, independent review of the Tiller case. Carter said in her statement that she urged Morrison to charge Tiller.
She also said Morrison alleged Kline’s approach to the abortion investigation was “unethical.” The argument ended with Morrison storming out of Carter’s apartment.
Morrison eventually filed 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller. He rejected all 30 charges Kline had tried to bring against the late-term abortion physician.
“It was clear, after looking at the case, Kline’s investigation of Dr. Tiller was not about enforcing the law,” Morrison said at that time. “It was about pushing a political agenda.”
The month of March also brought a telephone call from Joyce Morrison to Carter, according to Carter’s statement. In that conversation, Joyce Morrison urged Carter to end all contact with Morrison.
During July, the statement says, Kline told Carter that Joyce Morrison had telephoned Kline at work to apologize for saying in a television interview during the A.G. campaign that Kline had “lost his moral compass” by raising allegations that Morrison engaged in sexual harassment 15 years prior with a female employee in the D.A.’s office.
Joyce Morrison leveled the criticism of Kline following a campaign appearance by Kline at the Topeka Zoo. She criticized Kline for a “malicious attack on the integrity of our marriage.”
Kline had been trying to make a campaign issue of a situation in which Morrison paid no damages in two federal lawsuits filed by Kelly Summerlin, a one-time victim-witness coordinator for Morrison’s D.A. office. It was the same job later held by Carter.
During a bar celebration of the 1990 conviction of serial killer Richard Grissom, Summerlin alleged Morrison turned to her and said that he loved his wife and kids, but was attracted to her. Summerlin said she rejected the proposition by Morrison, who later apologized at work to her for his remark. Morrison fired Summerlin about four months later. She pressed lawsuits in 1991 and 1992, but eventually dropped both legal actions.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one,” Summerlin said last year. “I felt like a skirt.”
Morrison signed a sworn statement in 1992 acknowledging having told Summerlin that she was attractive, but insisted he never made “sexually demeaning, suggestive or derogatory statements to Kelly Summerlin or any other member of my office.”
“He’s portraying himself as a squeaky clean guy,” Ron Freeman, who was executive director of the Republican Party, said during the 2006 campaign. “The bottom line is, he’s not.”
In late March, Carter said in the statement that her relationship with Morrison was in trouble. Carter tried to sell the engagement ring given to her by Morrison. A staff member at a jewelry store on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., told Carter the ring had two major flaws. She decided to keep the ring and hid it in her Lawrence apartment.
Her husband, John, periodically stayed in the apartment so Carter could spend time at home with their children. It was during one of these stays that John Carter found the engagement ring and an appraisal document with Morrison’s name on it. He sold the ring for $4,750 in Mission and deposited the cash in a joint account with his wife, according to Carter’s statement.
Morrison later told Carter that he was still interested in her and possibly wanted to have a child together.
Carter stayed at Morrison’s apartment in Topeka several times in April and May. By the end of June, Morrison was to have moved completely out of the residence in Lenexa that he shared with his wife. He didn’t, so Carter gave up her Lawrence apartment and moved back to her Roeland Park residence.
In July, however, Morrison told Carter they should get married.
According to Carter, Morrison regularly questioned her about progress by Kline’s staff in prosecuting the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Kline filed 107 misdemeanor and felony charges against the Johnson County clinic.
In late July or early August, Carter’s statement says, Morrison questioned Carter about the funding Kline’s staff had spent to hire expert witnesses in the clinic case.
Morrison had previously announced he had found no violation of Kansas law by the Overland Park abortion clinic.
Carter and Morrison also discussed the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the eight former Morrison staff members who were dismissed by Kline.
The 'Olathe 8’
One of the dismissed attorneys, juvenile division prosecutor John Fritz, said all of those fired had solid track records.
“Their careers have been marked by integrity and fairness,” Fritz said.
While returning from a drive to Marysville in August, Morrison asked Carter to write letters to staff members who responded to their firing by joining the wrongful termination lawsuit against Kline. Carter said in the statement that Morrison said the letters should offer an apology by Carter about her role in the staffing decisions.
Carter didn’t write the letters, which compounded the tension in their relationship.
On Aug. 27, a federal judge dismissed all but one count in the employment lawsuit against Kline.
Kline’s attorneys asked to file a motion under seal with the federal court to shield a witness from being tampered with by someone outside the “Olathe 8” lawsuit. The request was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara, who suggested the motion could be filed as a public document. The D.A.’s legal team said a confidential motion was appropriate because contents of the motion could cause someone “grave harm.”
However, the judge concluded the motion’s contents might have political consequences to both Kline and the person he was accusing of witness tampering. In the end, Kline never filed the motion in open court.
In September, Carter’s statement says, Morrison again called Carter to profess his love for her.
To prove it, he went with Carter to a shop in Kansas City, Mo., to get a tattoo in the shape of a heart with the initials “L.C.”
The two had more arguments. On one occasion, Carter said in the statement, Morrison called her a monster, sociopath and bad manager. He told Carter that he could sidetrack her effort to find a new job.
Carter’s sex harassment complaint against Morrison went to the EEOC on Nov. 8.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said filing of the EEOC sex harassment complaint against Morrison was a serious matter.
“Regardless of what your politics are, I’d hope we don’t have that behavior,” he said. “People of Kansas, I’m sure, vote to put good people in office who have high standards. It’s really disappointing that we have people in leadership that get involved in this kind of thing.”
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said it was difficult to know how to react without details of the situation. There could be fallout for the Democratic Party, he said, but the situation reflects the actions of a single individual rather than the thousands of people making up the party.
“There will be people who will be disappointed to hear the news,” Hensley said.
Christian Morgan, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, said Morrison’s affair with Carter raised profound ethical issues that went beyond partisan politics.
“The deception and apparent abuse of power and what is now a pattern of conduct is unsuited for the chief law enforcement official of Kansas,” Morgan said.
Larry Gates, Kansas Democratic Party chairman, said it was unfortunate a personal tragedy had made its way into the political arena.
“There is personal sadness on both sides, and we need to respect the privacy of all involved,” Gates said. “I respect Paul for taking responsibility for his actions, and I will respect his privacy as he works through this issue. I remain confident in his ability to do his job.”
Morrison said he would continue to work on rebuilding his personal life.
“My actions caused pain and sadness to many people I love,” he said. “I have been working for the past year to repair the damage this relationship (with Carter) caused to others. I ask you to respect my privacy as I work through these painful issues privately.”
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Despite initial concerns about media coverage possibly complicating jury selection, Riverside County prosecutors said Thursday they will not ask for a gag order in the case of a former Desert Hot Springs police officer accused of molesting an underage relative and her friend.
The 37-year-old former police officer, whom The Desert Sun is not identifying in order to protect the underage relative, was arrested Sept. 28, 2006, in Marina del Rey.
He is charged with 37 offenses including multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child, rape and lewd acts with a child.
The alleged victims were in the police department's Explorers Program, which allows teenagers to ride along with police officers and perform tasks at the station.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Victoria Cameron told Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp last week during pretrial motions that she was concerned media coverage would "damage jury selection."
She said a gag order might be necessary to keep attorneys from talking to reporters.
But a resolution was reached.
"Clearly all parties involved need to use discretion when discussing the case to maintain the integrity of potential jurors, however, a gag order would be counter-productive in our efforts to maintain a transparent criminal justice system," said Michael Jeandron, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
Prosecutors allege that the former police officer molested the relative, who is now 18, between 1996 and 2006, and the other girl over a one-year period while she was a member of the Explorers Program.
The prosecution's case relies heavily on the testimony of the alleged victims.
The accused, who faces multiple life sentences if convicted, has pleaded not guilty.
He is jailed at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $2 million bail and is expected to go to trial next month.
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"Lord of the Dance" star Michael Flatley has been awarded an $11 million settlement against Tyna Robertson, the Joliet woman who accused Flatley of rape in 2002, according to published reports.
The settlement was reached Friday after the California Supreme Court ruled that accusations of rape made by Robertson, who has a son with Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher, were not credible, and part of an extortion scheme, the BBC and London's Daily Mail reported Saturday.
Robertson filed a civil lawsuit against Flatley in 2003, alleging that the Irish-American dance star had raped her in a Las Vegas hotel the year before. Flatley said the sex was consensual.
After Robertson's lawsuit was tossed out, Flatley countered with a $100 million countersuit against Robertson and her attorney, D. Dean Mauro of Waukegan, for civil extortion and defamation. In it, Flatley accused Mauro of threatening to ruin him by making the rape allegations public, unless Flatley paid Robertson $1 million.
Robertson, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, has denied involvement in any such scheme. Mauro also was unavailable for comment Saturday.
But in 2004, Mauro's attorney told the Sun-Times Mauro was trying to settle the rape case without going to trial, not blackmail Flatley.
Flatley, meanwhile, is quoted by the BBC as "very pleased" by the settlement. "The court sent a message that it will not tolerate these types of schemes," Flatley said.
An ex-stripper turned real estate agent, Robertson has a history of legal battles with famous men. Most recently, she tangled with Urlacher in a messy custody battle over their son, Kennedy.
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Mrs. K has never committed a crime. But, she says, she feels like she is "wearing a red letter" because she is married to a registered sex offender.
She and a friend from Lancaster County in similar circumstances are trying to start a support group called "SOFT of Lebanon" for the families of registered sex offenders ("SOFT" stands for Sexual Offender and Family Treatment.)
The two women, who spoke with The Patriot-News on the condition their names not be used, say most people don't realize how hard the Megan's Law Web site is on families.
"We're not crying. My offender takes full responsibility," she says. "I completely agree with the registry, but it has no business being open to the general public."
Mrs. K says her son has been harassed at school and had to quit sports when other parents found out about her husband's past. Her husband is not allowed to live with her because she has a minor child, even though his crime did not involve children.
"I knew about his charges and I know this person," she says of her husband. "I love him deeply. We were married two years ago and it's the happiest I've ever been."
Her friend, Mrs. C, is also involved with a registered offender, also one whose crime did not involve children. He is in prison on a parole violation because he is an alcoholic, but when he gets out he also will not be living with her until he is off parole in 2012.
If he stays with her, she cannot keep a computer in her house in case he were to use it to view pornography. A painting by her father hanging on her wall that shows a woman in a flimsy dress was deemed possible pornography by a parole officer.
"My goal is for families to start the program when the sex offender is in prison, before they come home," Mrs. K says. "That can help prepare them emotionally and financially. ... We feel isolated. This way we can share stories, give out information. It's like calling your best friend."
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On the Net: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/softoflebanon/ or www.soclear.org.
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Megan's Law, designed to notify the public about sex offenders living in their midst, has proved to be immensely popular.
In surveys, most people say they want to know if a convicted sex offender is living near them. Many law enforcement officials believe the law is keeping communities safer.
But few studies have been done on the topic. Some say the law only serves to ostracize and isolate ex-convicts, leading them back into trouble and making communities less safe.
One Lancaster County man says the law which trumpets his name over the Internet is partly to blame for his return to jail, because it isolated him, even after he had paid his debt to society. He is back in jail not for another sex crime but because he broke parole by drinking.
In 1995, the man was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in East Pennsboro Twp. at gunpoint, according to court documents.
The man pleaded no contest to unlawful restraint and attempted aggravated indecent assault and served seven years in prison. Since then, he said in written comments, he has been in therapy and has not offended again. He communicated with The Patriot-News on the condition that his name not be used, saying he wants to protect his family.
He argues that Megan's Law makes communities less safe, not more. Public access "drives the offender back into the very shadows that are a part of the offending behavior ... causing them to "deteriorate mentally, emotionally and spiritually," he wrote.
Law enforcement officials and advocates for crime victims express little sympathy. Capt. Janet McNeal, former Megan's Law coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Police, says the law "prevents a lot of victimization." Jennifer Storm, director of the Victims Advocate office for Dauphin County, calls it "an excellent law" and says she believes "the more informed the public is, the safer we are."
Nils Fredericksen, spokesman for state Attorney General Tom Corbett, says the system is "doing what lawmakers intended" and should be "upgraded and expanded."
But a 2007 study in New Jersey showed sex attacks on children were declining even before the law took effect. According to the study's consultant, Philip Witt, "We don't know whether Megan's Laws really work ... I believe they have very little effect."
Many states and municipalities restrict where former sexual offenders can live, but a 2004 Colorado study seems to show those restrictions have no effect. The Georgia Supreme Court recently overturned the state's law, which was one of the most stringent.
Studies by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy are inconclusive, director Roxanne Lieb says. A 2005 study seemed to show a slight reduction in the rates of re-offending since community notification started, but the change was not statistically significant.
People on the list "might feel more alienated, but they are also more scrutinized," she says. "How do those balance?"
According to the Lancaster man's girlfriend, he lost his job after someone saw his name on the Web site.
When he gets out of prison, he can't live with her because her child is a minor. He says he was refused treatment for alcoholism by 12 government-funded programs because of his record. Some offenders are refused enrollment at colleges or denied membership in churches, he says.
"In treatment, prior offenders are taught to establish critical foundations, including solid employment, stable homes, positive family relationships and strong support networks," he wrote. People who are ostracized and isolated will become increasingly anti-social and "will strike out at society."
A 2005 Florida study showed that 27 percent of released offenders lost their jobs, 20 percent were forced from their homes and 38 percent were threatened by neighbors. Florida also showed a rapid rise in offenders who were refusing to register.
A 2007 report by the Human Rights Watch said many sexual offender laws violate the rights of people who pose little risk.
"These are laws that weren't based on reason -- they were based on a few horrific cases," director Jamie Fellner says.
While sexual offenders' photographs, addresses and vehicular and other personal information appear on the Megan's Law Web site, there is no similar list for murderers or drug dealers. It is partly because sexual offenders have a reputation for being incorrigible.
"Sex offenders as a whole say the impulse is beyond their control," Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold said. "If that's the case, people should know if they're living nearby to protect their children. Sex offenders tend to repeat."
Storm said sexual offenders "have a compulsion, which is why you have such a high rate of recidivism."
Statistics, however, don't bear this out. Taken as a whole, people charged with any kind of sexual crime have less than a 5 percent chance of another conviction within three years, according to a 2003 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. Convicted child molesters who have served time in prison have a 13 percent reconviction rate within five years and convicted rapists have a 19 percent rate.
In contrast, of more than 100,000 people imprisoned for nonsex crimes, 63 percent were arrested again within three years, and 41 percent were sent back to prison.
A Tennessee study following sex offenders released from prison in 2001 for three years showed that 28 percent were recommitted to the prison system within three years, compared to 52 percent of other felons.
The Iowa Department of Human Rights looked at 60 studies and found that sex offenders were half as likely as other felons to end up back in prison.
Critics of the studies say it might be because sexual crimes are underreported.
Certain offenders with personality disorders are more likely to repeat. According to studies, it seems that men who prey on boys are particularly apt to do so again. So are people with long rap sheets, whether the offenses were sexual in nature or not, particularly if some of the crimes were violent.
People in committed relationships and in therapy are the least likely to end up back in prison.
In Pennsylvania, the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board is charged with evaluating everyone accused of a sex crime to determine the risk to society. Those determined to have personality defects that make them most likely to repeat are called sexually violent predators. Of the 9,433 offenders on Pennsylvania's Megan's Law Web site, 204 are sexually violent predators.
Michael Fernsler of Annville, a former police officer who sometimes performed as Chuckles the Clown, is the type of sexually violent predator Storm calls "scary and creepy."
While out on bail awaiting sentencing for sexually abusing two 4-year-old girls, he was charged Nov. 13 with threatening a 14-year-old North Londonderry Twp. girl at knife-point, leading her into the woods, binding her mouth and hands, and attempting to rape her.
Only about 2 percent of those listed on the Web site are designated sexually violent predators. Others have been convicted of offenses ranging from rape to indecent assault, and most offenses do not involve children.
Lauren Taylor, director of the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, says about 90 percent of sex crimes are committed by people not listed on the site, and most are committed by people known to the victim. The Web site could give people a false sense of security, she says. She says she would like to see "good policy, not just a knee-jerk reaction to the words 'sexual offender.'"
Of the 93 Internet predators charged by the state attorney general's office in the past two years, none was on the Megan's Law Web site.
A recent audit of Pennsylvania's law suggests putting offenders on a three-tier system based on their risk to society. Washington state already does that, and all states will have to do so under the national Adam Walsh act.
A Washington state study showed only about 3 percent of those on the lower tier were convicted again within three years.
"While certain categories have very high rates, it's a small subgroup," said William DiMascio, director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society.
Sheila Moore, deputy press secretary for the state Department of Corrections, said treatment programs for sex offenders "have come a long way in the past two or three years" and can lessen the risk of re-offending.
Convicted sex offenders must complete a treatment program based on cognitive behavioral therapy to be eligible for parole, continue in support groups after their release and submit to annual polygraph tests.
The Lancaster County man says he has "witnessed the positive impact that treatment does have in eliminating the potential for re-offending."
"No prior sex offender should ever be permitted to re-enter society untreated," he says, and if they refuse, they should be committed to mental institutions on their release.
T.W. Ponessi &Associates in Harrisburg provides therapy to more than 400 sexual offenders in prison. Gerald Menaquale, director of Ponessi's sexual offender program, says stress and hopelessness can lead to "a lot of self-destructive behavior."
He said he believes the Megan's Law Web site "is there for a good reason," however.
"My stance with the guys is that they put themselves in this position," he says. "Part of their restitution is they have to spend significant time learning to cope with these stressors."
A Lebanon County man raped a woman 20 years ago during a robbery in Lehigh County while he was high on drugs. He says from prison that he wishes he could go back and "change the things I've done."
Since then, he says, he has come clean and worked hard through counseling to turn his life around. He married two years ago, and his wife calls him "the love of my life." She says he is a good father to her children, but public access to the registry "is like kicking a dog every day."
"No matter what I did, it was not good enough," the Lebanon County man says. "I went through treatment for years, set goals, had dreams, but I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. To isolate and shun people won't help them. I feel scared that the Web site is putting my life and my family's lives in jeopardy without making a difference."
THE IMPACT OF MEGAN'S LAW
The public wants to know when sex offenders live nearby, but IS IT WORKING?