Sunday, March 1, 2009

LA - City of Covington agrees to pay former inmate

View the article here

02/27/2009

By Charlie Chapple, The Times-Picayune

A Covington man who spent 19 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit is poised to receive $1.4 million in the settlement of a federal lawsuit he filed against the city.

During an emergency meeting Friday morning, the Covington City Council approved a $300,000 promissory note to _____, whose 1985 conviction for aggravated rape was overturned in 2004 after DNA evidence conclusively excluded him as a suspect in the crime.

The council approved the note by a 5-0 vote after meeting in executive session with City Attorney Deborah Foshee and Mayor Candace Watkins.

The $300,000, which will be paid to _____ in 10 annual installments of $30,000, plus $1.1 million from the city's insurers, will be used to settle the suit _____ filed in October 2005, City Council members said.

City officials declined to comment further, saying the matter is still in litigation. Watkins said the city will make a statement once the settlement becomes official. The agreement should be signed next week, Foshee said.

_____ sued the city and former city police officers, alleging civil rights violations, after his release from Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and the dismissal of the charges against him by the district attorney's office.

One of _____'s attorneys, William E. Rittenberg of New Orleans, declined to discuss details of the pending settlement "until it's a done deal." But "anything he gets will not be too much for spending 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, " Rittenberg said.

_____, who's now 41 and living in western St. Tammany Parish, was incarcerated from age 17 until his release at age 36. "That was the prime of his life, " Rittenberg said.

Covington police arrested _____ in September 1984 after a woman reported being raped at knifepoint in her home on Polk Street. Based on her description, police sketched an image of a suspect with a bandanna covering all but his eyes.

She later picked _____ out of a lineup. During the September 1985 trial, the victim testified that she had no doubt _____ raped her.
- So a lineup is all that ruined this mans life!  And people say we have justice, yeah right!

_____ denied the attack, testifying that police had threatened him with a knife to gain a confession. He told the jury that police investigators were lying and that the first time he set eyes on the victim was in court. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

His case caught the attention of the Innocence Project of New Orleans, a group of lawyers who have used a Louisiana statute passed in 2001 to test evidence from old crimes. They secured a court order to test blood, semen and clothing found at the scene of the rape. Two tests of the evidence excluded _____ as the rapist.

In his suit, _____ contends investigators coerced a confession through physical force and intimidation and fabricated a detailed report of his confession while conveniently losing an audio tape that would have shown he had been threatened.

_____ also named a former technician with the State Police Crime Lab as a defendant in the suit, contending that he failed to run additional blood tests on the evidence that could have excluded _____ as the rapist. The city's settlement does not involve _____'s claims against the state, Foshee said.

Foshee, in court documents filed in Covington's defense, contended city police did nothing wrong and most of the points raised by _____ in the suit were brought up and dismissed during motions for his criminal trial.

In dismissing motions to suppress the confession, the identification by the victim and other evidence, state courts ruled that _____'s constitutional rights had not been violated, Foshee said in a court brief.

Covington officials declined to explain why they are settling the suit if there was no wrongdoing on the city's part.
Rittenberg said he and other attorneys representing _____ took on the case for free. Until early this month, _____'s legal team included Eric H. Holder, who withdrew from the case after he was named U.S. attorney general by President Barack Obama.



Identity theft soaring with P2P file sharing, even the blueprints to the presidents helicopter! And the sheeple still believe the government can protect them!

This is not related to sex offender issues, but it's an important video. Basically, when you use a P2P (peer to peer) program, like Napster, BitTorrent, Morpheus, etc, you are sharing your files and hard-drive with the world basically, and that is asking for trouble.



And the sheeple continue to think the government can protect them. They cannot even protect themselves. Here, in this video, they found blueprints to Obama's presidential helicopter on P2P in Iran!



AK - Man argues he has a right to DNA test

View the article here

03/01/2009

ANCHORAGE - _____ says he’s a victim of mistaken identity and a DNA test would prove it. Alaska prosecutors say his rape and attempted murder convictions are as solid as can be, and would be pointless to revisit.
- If DNA can prove he did not do it, then it should be done, like was said, it would prove once and for all, if he did it or not!  More proof the corrupt government doesn't care if you are innocent!  DNA should be checked regardless of the crime, IMO.

_____’s attorneys will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that DNA testing is not something states can choose to allow when they have doubts about a conviction, but a constitutional right.

They note that 232 prisoners around the country have been exonerated by such tests, and that Alaska is the only state that hasn’t even tried to use the ever-evolving technology to see if it might have gotten a conviction wrong.

Most prosecutors, judges and states recognize that while DNA testing in these crimes may not always protect a conviction, it protects our system of justice by revealing the truth,” said Peter Neufeld, co-director of The Innocence Project. “Alaska is the exception.”

Neufeld’s group, which works to exonerate those who are wrongfully convicted, argues that the U.S. Constitution guarantees _____ access to the DNA test when it says no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

The state of Alaska argues that _____ got a fair, error-free trial, and that he is trying to use nothing more than a claim of innocence to reopen a case in which there is ample evidence of his guilt.
- Come on, what a load of crap!  The state just wants a conviction!  Give him the damn DNA test!

_____, 36, was convicted of raping and trying to murder a woman in 1993.

She identified him as one of her two attackers, he was incriminated by the other man and _____ confessed in a detailed written statement in 2004.
- So witness identification has been proven to be fraught with problems!

Ken Rosenstein, the state’s lead lawyer for the case, said _____ chose not to use options available to him if he had wanted to argue his innocence, including asking the governor for clemency.



Sex Offender Issues - Video made by someone on YouTube!



Well, this says it pretty well!



NJ - Megan's Law has been a failure by any measure

View the article here

Of course it doesn't work, and it never will!  But politicians who need it, to further their careers, will never listen, even when the facts are there in front of their faces!

03/01/2009

By MICHAEL BUNCHER

For the past 15 years, New Jersey residents have been left with a false sense of security. A federally funded study has determined that Megan's Law does not work.
- It's not just New Jersey residence, it's the whole country!

Conducted by independent psychologists along with staff from the state Department of Corrections' Office of Policy and Planning, this comprehensive study looked at 21 years of sex offense rates. It confirms in New Jersey what other studies have found elsewhere: Megan's Law "has no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses."

Megan's Law struck out on every important area related to protecting the community from sexual offenders. Not only is there no evidence it reduces sexual re-offenses, the study found, it "fails to positively impact sex offender re-arrest rates," "fails to change the type of re-offenses or first time offenses that occur" and "fails to reduce the number of victims involved in sexual offenses."

As the state agency charged with representing those required to register under Megan's Law, the Public Defender agrees completely with the study's findings and with its ultimate conclusion that "given the lack of demonstrable effect of Megan's Law on sexual offenses, the growing costs may not be justifiable."

What is equally remarkable is that other research cited by the New Jersey study, as well as our own experience, shows that Megan's Law can be counterproductive to public safety. Notification laws have been found to isolate offenders from normal relationships, undercut their opportunities for housing and employment, and subject offenders to threats and assaults.

In some instances, the willingness and ability to obtain treatment can be negatively affected by Megan's Law. As a result of these factors, the study's researchers determined the unintended consequences of Megan's Law may be to increase the risks of recidivism rather than to protect the community.



MS - Bill on the books to preserve and request DNA from criminals and sex offenders

View the article here

03/01/2009

Some bills that the Legislature considers are so important that no excuse should prevent their approval. Senate Bill 2709 is such a bill.
- That depends on who you ask!

It would require state agencies, such as prosecutor's offices, the state crime lab or public hospitals, to preserve the DNA found at a crime scene for as long as the crime is unsolved and for as long as someone convicted remains in custody.

The bill would also permit state government or public agencies to collect and preserve DNA from inmates, former criminals who are on probation, or parole and sex offenders.
- So that would include everyone then!

DNA is found in such items as blood, saliva, semen, tissue scrapings, etc. Every individual has unique DNA. The use of DNA evidence has revolutionized how crimes are investigated in the United States.

The bill was passed by the Senate and now awaits a House vote.

"We've had people who were wrongfully convicted and DNA proved them to be innocent," said Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Hinds County, who co-authored the bill. "If we're locking up the wrong people, we need to find the (right) people."

Voting yes for this bill should be a matter of conscience for all legislators in the state of Mississippi.

Make no mistake, the credibility of Mississippi's criminal justice system is under attack, and rightfully so.

Only last year two inmates - including one who had been on Death Row - were found to have been wrongfully convicted in the slayings of two Noxubee County children. DNA evidence identified the man who had killed both children.

Those exonerations, which came after careful research by the Mississippi Innocence Project (which works through DNA evidence to free prisoners wrongly convicted), pointed to the shoddy methods and assembly-line autopsies performed by Dr. Steven Hayne, who was the pathologist of choice by Mississippi prosecutors. The work of Dr. Michael West, a Hattiesburg dentist who had made a name for himself as a bite-mark expert, also came under fire.

Last year, Hayne was removed from the list of designated pathologists that coroners can use.
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Because the state would not fund a full-time medical examiner, for years prosecutors depended on Hayne, whose work in a number of cases is now being scrutinized.

Lawmakers provided $500,000 in one-time money toward the medical examiner this fiscal year. The state needs to make this permanent.

Just as worrisome, the state has not committed itself to gathering and preserving DNA evidence. That must change.

Prosecutors may not like it. Forrest-Perry County District Attorney Jon Mark Weathers is worried that it would allow convicted persons to have cases reopened if they request for DNA testing.

"I think there's some measures in it that are going to put a lot of requirements on law enforcement and prosecutors who are already overwhelmed," he said.

Although there may be some legitimate concern about additional burdens, that should not keep the Legislature from doing the right thing. If the release last year of two men who spent years of their life in prison for crimes they did not commit was not enough to prick the consciences of our prosecutors and legislators, we don't know what will.

This measure would go a long way toward insuring the integrity of Mississippi's criminal justice system. It must be passed.



Sex Sells, and it also gets you votes!











WI - Republicans blast proposed changes to sex offender monitoring

View the article here

02/28/2009

By MARK PITSCH

Weeks before the 2006 election in which he sought a second term, Gov. Jim Doyle touted his willingness to punish sex offenders, including signing a law requiring real-time electronic monitoring of some of the worst sex offenders for life.
- Yeah, once again, election time, bust out the sex offender issues, so I can look like I am tough and doing something for a change.  Notice none of them offer solutions, except punishment, nor do they mention prevetion.  It's all about exploiting someone for their own political gain!  Even if they did have real-time monitoring, which costs tons of money, it would not prevent someone from harming a child, if they wanted to.

"This expanded GPS will help law enforcement know exactly where these people are every minute of every day," Doyle said in statement at the time. "And if they go someplace where they put kids in danger and violate their probation, we’ll know immediately and we’ll put them back behind bars."

Now, the Democratic governor wants to give the Department of Corrections the ability to lift the minute-by-minute, post-prison monitoring of some sex offenders in the program, known as "active" tracking, and electronically watch them less intensely, called "passive" tracking.
- If someone is so dangerous, why are they wasting tons of YOUR money on something that WON'T prevent a crime?  Would you put GPS on a wild animal who is out roaming the woods killing people, just so you know where they are at?  They can still kill a human being, so it does nothing to prevent crime.

The proposal, which Doyle included in his 2009-11 budget plan, has prompted outrage from Republicans, who said it would make the public less safe.
- Yeah, Republicans are always the ones screaming the loudest, and they are usually the ones committing sex crimes!  Don't believe me?  See here.

"What the governor is doing is gutting the toughest sex predator program in the country," said Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, who authored the tracking law. "These are the worst of the worst of child sex predators, and he is basically letting them go on the streets of Wisconsin to save a few bucks."
- Scream a little louder why don't you?  What about that oath of office to uphold the constitution, you took?  Did you lie?  Of course you did!  Show me the proof that GPS works?  That last statement is a load of crap, and from someone who ASSUMES he knows what someone wants.  Well, read the statement below!

Rick Raemisch, Corrections secretary, said the move would make the program more efficient by focusing tracking resources on the worst offenders.

"If a person behaves themselves, is a model citizen, has changed, has accepted treatment, has followed treatment, treatment’s successful and … he’s in the 18th year of supervision, it just makes sense to be more efficient" by using passive monitoring, he said.
- Why monitor them at all?  It wastes money, and if they are "so dangerous" they need to be monitored, then why doesn't the judge sentence them to prison longer?  Because they are not a danger, that is why they are out in the first place.

Corrections officials say it’s unclear how many of the 748 sex offenders projected to be under lifetime GPS monitoring by the end of the 2009-11 biennium would be passively tracked if the proposal is adopted. No estimates were developed when the proposal was prepared, said Ismael Ozanne, executive assistant at Corrections.
- So with them being on lifetime monitoring, even if they need it or not, imaging all the companies who will remain in business and make a ton of money!  It's all about money, punishment and having a scapegoat so they can use it for their election process to get them elected, re-elected, etc.

It’s also not clear how much money the Department of Corrections might save.

But John Dipko, a prison system spokesman, said it costs state taxpayers about $8 per offender per day to monitor each sex offender in real time versus $4 per offender under passive monitoring.
- So that is over $2 million per year of wasted time, resources and money, for something that does nothing to prevent crimes.  A true predator, who cannot control themselves, is not going to be deterred by some GPS device.  They'll do like many do, cut it off, commit a crime, then vanish!  Also, how did they come up with this amount?  I don't think it's right.  They have to pay for the devices, the people to monitor it, the people to check up on the MANY false alarms, the law suits, etc!

Doyle’s budget calls for spending $8.3 million on the tracking program in 2009-11; Corrections requested $10.3 million.

Active vs. passive

The sex-offender tracking law required the state to electronically monitor the worst sex offenders in real time starting in January 2008.

Among those tracked after they are released from prison are people who raped a child under age 12, those convicted of multiple sex offenses and mentally impaired sex offenders who are no longer in state custody.

Currently, 157 offenders are on electronic monitoring, all but 11 actively, Ozanne said.

Those on "active" monitoring are required to carry a portable tracking device, and their locations are transmitted to computers at the state monitoring center, Dipko said.

Each offender must avoid certain locations, such as schools, day care centers or the neighborhoods of victims of sex crimes. If they violate those restrictions, the center is immediately alerted and workers notify local and national law enforcement, Dipko said.

Offenders on passive monitoring must also carry a portable tracking device. But the record of their movements is downloaded to state computers only when offenders recharge their tracking devices, which occurs at least once within 24 hours, Ozanne said.

If an offender on passive monitoring enters an area that is off limits, the state is only alerted when the record is downloaded, not when the transgression occurs, he said. Monitors then notify authorities, Ozanne said. Authorities are also contacted if an offender fails to recharge a battery according to a pre-arranged schedule, he said.

If there has been no transgression by an offender on "passive" monitoring, tracking officials still review the record the day it comes in, he said.

Offenders won’t run ‘wild’

Republicans say passive monitoring makes it more likely that sex offenders will commit other crimes.
- And what FACTS are they using to base that load of BS on?  Out of all the offenders not on GPS, how many are out running rampant and molesting every kid in town?  None!

"The most important part of GPS tracking is these child predators know they’re being watched every minute of every day," said Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. "That is what keeps recidivism rates down."
- Yeah right.  If a true predator, who cannot control themselves, wants to harm someone, they will.  This is like saying the death penalty deters murder, well, it doesn't!  If it did, we'd not have people on death row right now, now would we?  Therapy, homes, jobs and not treating people like lepers is what reduces recidivism, not monitoring them like animals!

Raemisch called the way GOP lawmakers have characterized Doyle and his proposal "insulting." Doyle, he said, has a long track record of cracking down on sex offenders, including forcing delinquent offenders to comply with the state’s sex offender registry.

The state plans to continue real-time monitoring of the most serious sex offenders, Raemisch said. Doyle’s plan allows corrections experts in sex offenses discretion to determine who is a threat to a community.

"This isn’t going to be something where suddenly there’s going to be sex offenders running wild because the Department of Corrections isn’t going to monitor them," he said. "That’s as far from the truth as anything. It’s the opposite. We believe we can handle our GPS units more efficiently if the law will allow it."

Ozanne also said new technology is being developed so that passive tracking could allow for immediate alerts to the monitoring center if an offender enters a forbidden location.

Legislature’s reaction?

It’s unclear what kind of reception Doyle’s proposal will get from the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, hasn’t reviewed it, a spokeswoman said last week. A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, had no immediate comment Friday.

Suder said he will try to persuade his Democratic colleagues not to adopt Doyle’s proposal. "I think the public is going to be outraged, and with public support we’re going to change this," Suder said.



OH - Letter to attorneys, submitted via email

If anyone else has something to submit to me, then contact me here, and I will post it on my blog, like I did this one.  I will remove all personal info, or any info that may help someone attempt to locate you, like states, counties, etc.  We need more like this, so the general public can see what these laws are doing to registered sex offenders, and their families and children.

Hi,

I used this letter to try to contact attorneys for several months, to no avail. Most just ignored me, a few told me I had a strong case but they just didn't want to be caught on the unpopular side of the issue. I believe their exact words were "we would not want to expose our practice in such a way" You know when lawyers stay clear, you have problems.

Here's the letter.



To whom it may concern,

My name is _____ and I would like to relate a situation I have found myself in to you. All I ask is that you read this entire story as it is complex but well documented. Attached to this is a copy of an article from the _____ edition of the _____ on me and my situation (Removed for privacy).

Briefly, in _____ county (Cleveland) in 1995 I was convicted of 2 counts of attempted corruption of a minor (felony 4). The judge (_____) sentenced me to 2 years in prison. Prior to my release on February 22, 1997, I was served with a letter (on 2/11/97) informing me of my requirement to register as a sexually oriented offender in the state of Ohio for a period of ten years. This letter stated that I was required to show up at the _____ county sheriffs office on a day with in 10 days of _____ 1st. I showed up and had a rather humiliating experience registering. For 3 years, I faithfully registered. In late 1999 I moved out of state for reasons regarding this registration as they found great satisfaction in informing my neighbors, etc. of my past. Note that prior to this conviction I had no criminal record.

In hind sight I picked the wrong state to move in, _____’ registration requirements have turned out to be far more stringent, resembling something between Nazism, McArtheism and Stalinism all rolled into a witch hunt mentality. This next bit doesn’t directly concern my reason for contacting you but adds some context to my story.

Upon moving to _____ I registered, as required by law (which, coincidentally, changed within a few weeks of me moving here adding further restrictions). After 1 year I had had enough of the registration, the company I worked for had folded and I decided to leave moving to the south. Before leaving I contacted the state police (the enoforcement arm in _____ as opposed to the sheriff in _____) to inform them of my intent. On the phone I was asked all the questions like name, SSN, where am I moving to etc. Note this was in the fall of 2000.

Fast forward to 2005, passing through _____ on _____, get pulled over and find that, for sometime, I have been a wanted man in _____ for ‘Failure to Register as a sex Offender’. The irony is that it was actually a failure to un-register but since nothing like that exists in the law books I was charged with felony failure to register and was facing 5 years in prison for it. Fortunately my lawyer got a 1 year probation deal but some how I just don’t feel all that lucky considering.

This _____ case spurred me to reexamine things and I found that I was not required to register in _____, ever. I cautiously toyed with the thought for several weeks and finally a sleepless night prompted me to spend several hours reading all 119 pages of the SORN law abstract to make sure I didn’t miss any caveat buried in the law. It clearly states a July 1st 1997 effective date, for which you had to be either convicted, in prison, or under supervision (parole, probation, etc) on or after that date. As stated before, I was released 2/22/97 clean, with no post release controls of any sort. A call to the _____ Attorney Generals office and finally a call to the _____ county sheriffs sex offender unit confirmed beyond doubt that what I had learned is correct, for 3 years they made me register under the threat of imprisonment when I was legally not obliged to. The call to the Sheriffs office was the most interesting event, when I called he was confident (the actual person who registered me, oddly enough), even cocky, that I must be in error. His return call stopped just short of an apology and turned defensive and very evasive. I sensed a sudden onset, in his voice, of fear of liability. Him and I were never buddies, or even amicable to one another.

The reason I write you is not some kind of confession or anything like that, the fact is I am beyond angry. This registration requirement has been the ultimate monkey on my back, it made me leave my son because of an exs threats, it lost me job opportunities, and most recently it made me lose someone I care very deeply about not to mention the profound humiliation aspects. I would go so far as to say they have had the single largest impact on mine and my families life of any event. They have taken my potential and summarily flushed it down the toilet.

Your question now is probably ‘what does he want’, I want my life and anything else I can get at this point. I am not a vengeful or spiteful man and I would honestly settle for a several letters of apology but knowing that those in power are infallible in their minds I won’t hold my breath. I am not afraid to ‘put my ass on the line’ as long as the attorney I work with is willing to truly go to bat for me. I have done great deal of leg work on this, I badgered the PD into researching my issue and ultimately earned the respect and friendship of the Metro editor and a staff writer (_____ and _____, respectively) I am not sure if I have a case, not sure what ‘remedies’ exist for this, and having been immersed in this for more years than I care to remember I know this is a very unpopular proposition, but, to my favor, I am an intelligent, educated man who is willing to do what it takes. My only legal issues have risen, exclusively, from the original charge in 1995. I haven’t so much as a speeding ticket in 4 years. I am, I believe, a good candidate to pose a challenge as I am self employed. I can work flexibly and make court dates with minimal interruption in my life. Further more I am very communicative and, finally, I present my self well.

If you are not interested in this, I ask that you please call me anyways if you can think of anyone who would be interested in this or if you simply need clarification on anything I’ve said. I can be reached at _____ at home or on my cell (phone) at _____ if you don't get me at one number, try the other before leaving any messages. Finally, I can be reached through email at _____. Note that I can substantially back up all statements made here, I am an obsessive record keeper. No part of this is ‘spun’ to my favor, this is all based on fact.

At this point in my life I am by no means a wealthy man, but I am not poor as well. I can afford a little but, simply put, this _____ case has tapped me out and I am slowly getting back on my feet. If you are interested or know of some one whom might be, please contact me directly



That's the end. I recently was contacted by the "victim" in this case and we picked up our friendship right where we left off. She's a real nice person and has been trying to find me for years (oh, the irony). She made me promise her if I ever find a way for her to help me get off this registry to tell her and she would do it. Interesting that the "victim" feels I was totally railroaded. She filled in a lot blanks and I feel really good about talking to her.

Anyways, any questions, drop me a line. Oh, check out the attachement.



RI - Former council member sentenced

View the article here

03/01/2009

By Journal Staff

PROVIDENCE — A former Central Falls councilman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Luis Gil, 46, pleaded guilty on Thursday to two counts of third-degree sexual assault as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

He will be placed on probation for 5½ years after his release from the Adult Correctional Institutions, in Cranston, and must register as a sex offender. In addition, Superior Court Presiding Justice Joseph F. Rodgers Jr. imposed a no-contact order, prohibiting Gil from having any contact with his victim.

Gil was arrested on one charge of third-degree sexual assault Nov. 12, 2007, after Providence police found him partially dressed in his car with the 15-year-old boy under the Henderson Bridge in Providence. The boy was in the back seat buttoning his jeans and trying to put on his shirt, according to the police.

Gil, a well-known personality on Spanish-language radio, resigned from his position on the City Council the following Nov. 23 after repeated requests for him to step down from Mayor Charles Moreau and the other members of the council.

Acting on information from Providence police, the Rhode Island State Police continued investigating and subsequently charged Gil with two more counts of third-degree sexual assault, based on alleged crimes that occurred in Lincoln Woods State Park and Central Falls on Aug. 9, 2007.

The attorney general’s office dismissed one of the counts in exchange for Gil’s guilty plea.

Third-degree sexual assault involves a defendant older than 18 who engages in sexual penetration with someone over the age of 14 and under 16. It carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Gil was taken to the ACI immediately after sentencing. He had been free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bail since his arraignment in Superior Court on Jan. 22, 2008.



FL - Sexual predator mother in Pasco accused of child abuse

View the article here

You see, here we have a female sexual predator, and why isn't the neighbors raising hell over her being there, and the mob coming out with pitch forks? So I guess it's OK for women to be predators, but not men! At least that is what society is saying!  Also, you will notice, the news article did not post her picture.  Why, because it's a female?

03/01/2009

HOLIDAY — When Paula Lewis and her three children moved into the lemon-colored house on the corner last year, she told her neighbors about her past.

She knew they would find out anyway, and she wanted to tell them first, face to face.

"I'm a registered sexual predator," next-door neighbors Sandy and Jeff Fitzgerald recalled Lewis saying.

It had something to do with a bad decision involving a teenage boy years ago, Lewis told Sandy Fitzgerald. But, Lewis added, she'd paid for her mistake and was living on the right side of the law.

"I appreciated her honesty," Jeff Fitzgerald said.
- So why are you not freaking out?  If this was a man who told you this, you'd be freaking out now!

For several months, the home on Hess Drive, the one with a large dreamcatcher on the front door to snare bad dreams and let only the good ones inside, seemed very quiet.

All of that changed on Friday afternoon.

The Fitzgeralds saw Lewis walk down the street to her house. Seconds later, they saw her teenage son running full speed from the home, holding his pants so they didn't fall. The boy kept running until he was out of sight.

Then the cops showed up.

Lewis looped a dog leash around her 6-year-old daughter's neck and pulled her backward, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The girl, a sheriff's deputy wrote, had "ligature marks around her neck." Lewis told authorities that her daughter somehow got the mark on her neck while trying to walk the dog and that she was trying to run away from home.

Lewis was arrested on a child abuse charge.

Lewis, the Fitzgeralds said, lives with a teenage son, another son who is about 8 years old and her daughter. They often saw Lewis, who is listed in jail records as disabled and unemployed, waiting outside for her kids to get off the school bus.

Lewis, 39, was held without bail Saturday in the Pasco County Jail in Land O'Lakes. She also is charged with failing to register as a sexual predator and violating probation. Lewis was arrested in 2001 by Tampa police on three counts of sexual battery on a child, according to state records. She was sentenced to four years of probation and never served prison time, according to state Department of Corrections records.
- So they said she was living on Hess drive, and not registered, but if you look at the Florida registry, she is registered (01/13/2009) and at this address.  So I think something is screwy here.  And like usual, she is a female, so she gets a slap on the wrist, while a man, who did the same as her, goes to prison for many years!

No one was home at Lewis' house Saturday afternoon.

A child's green sand bucket was in the yard. Two blue training wheels sat on a windowsill.

"It's sad," Jeff Fitzgerald said of the accusation against his neighbor.
- If this were a man, you'd not be saying that!