Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Brother of Mine

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In an attempt to protect the public from sexual violence, the U.S. has enacted get-tough laws targeting released sex offenders. Many were inspired by high-profile cases in which children were raped and killed by strangers, a heinous albeit rare crime. Federal law now requires states to register all sex offenders online, including those committed of consensual teen sex and of public urination and indecent exposure. Dozens of states and municipalities have created buffer zones that prevent offenders from living near schools, playgrounds and parks. And about 20 states—including California, New York, Minnesota and Washington—indefinitely confine the worst offenders to mental hospitals.

Proponents contend that these laws make society safer. Opponents say they’re often ineffective and violate civil liberties.

Since 2006, award-winning producers Diane Richard and Todd Melby interviewed leading experts and victims’ advocates about the impact of these laws. They've also spent time getting to know four Minnesotans convicted of sex crimes, in prison and since their release. In many ways, these men represent the complexity of the issue. Their crimes span a spectrum of sexual violence. All are felons. Each completed a sex offender treatment program.

These men’s stories put a candid human face on the highly politicized issue of sex crimes, the damage they cause and some of their common roots. Together, the documentary provides a nuanced examination of issues surrounding online registration laws, residency restrictions, Romeo and Juliet laws and the growing use of civil commitment.

Produced with dual narrators, “No Brother of Mine” combines audio-rich storytelling that puts the listener in the scene with expert interviews to propel the narrative forward. The result is a probing look from many different perspectives at a nation grappling with how to handle the sensational yet banal reality of sexual violence and at the struggles released offenders face in a society that no longer wants them.

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Girl's Night Out Gone Bad? Two Lives Change in an Instant

Original Article

04/21/2010

By CHRIS CUOMO and MIGUEL SANCHO

Biurny Peguero Accused William McCaffrey of 2005 Rape

A random encounter between a New Jersey woman and New York City man turned the lives of two families upside down forever. In the summer of 2005, Biurny Peguero went out for a girl's night of dancing and drinking in New York City.

"I drank like five blue Hawaiians," Peguero, now 27, told "20/20," admitting she was past her limit of the rum-based cocktail.

At the end of the night, Peguero and her best friend Aurora Pujols waited in the car while other girls picked up food from a restaurant. A group of men started talking to them and one jumped in the back seat.

The man was William McCaffrey, a 32-year-old Bronx, N.Y., contractor, who'd also been out drinking with his buddies. He invited the girls to an after party.

"We want to go to the afterhours club," he said. "Hopefully, make the ratio a little better, guy-girl."

Pujols said she got out of the car expecting Peguero to follow, but instead, Peguero took the car and drove off. "I was drunk, so I took the car," Peguero said. "McCaffrey next to me, and I drove."

Peguero left the car at a nearby parking lot and got into a white van with McCaffrey and his friends. They spent an hour driving around searching in vain for an after party.

"I got scared on the way there because I thought something was going to happen," Peguero said. "I started crying and crying and crying."

The other girls frantically tried to contact Peguero on her cell phone. They finally reached her and met Peguero back at the parking lot. When they found her, she was a mess.

"Her hair was all crazy. Her mascara was all runny," Pujols said. "She looked like she had been in a struggle."

Tensions were high between the friends, who were angry they'd been ditched. Pujols and Peguero even got into a physical fight.

"I remember her grabbing my hair and me not wanting to hit her and holding her," Pujols said.

Pujols was both stunned and furious, but the mood changed in an instant when Peguero said she'd been raped.

"He pulled off my pants. He was hitting me. And he raped me," Peguero said.

The girls -- enraged moments before -- became sympathetic. "I'm like feeling like horrible. Like just in shock," Pujols said.

They drove Peguero to the hospital, where she relayed her tale of being brutally raped to the staff and they performed a rape kit.

The next day, detectives from the New York Police Department's Special Victims Squad began an investigation. With Peguero's statement, they tracked down the white van and McCaffrey.



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin