Sunday, April 8, 2012

NY - Sex offender recommitted, and judge blames system

Richard C. Kloch Sr.
Original Article

04/08/2012

By Thomas J. Prohaska

Blasting the entire system of civil confinement of sex offenders, a judge last week committed [name withheld] of Buffalo to a mental institution while denouncing the “callousness” with which state parole officers and counselors treated him.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., who in 2010 freed [name withheld] from institutionalization, acknowledged that [name withheld] is a pedophile.

[name withheld] was convicted in 1997 of felonies in both Erie and Niagara counties for sexually abusing two sisters. He served almost 11 years in prison and 21 months in a mental institution before Kloch ordered him released.

Last November, after [name withheld] had lived on his own for a year and a half without incident, Kloch placed him on Strict and Intensive Supervision and Treatment, or SIST.

That’s a parole regimen for which Kloch specified 82 rules. Violating any of them could have resulted in [name withheld] being punished with commitment.

Kloch said parole officers at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and counselors at Mid-Erie Counseling and Treatment undermined his order that [name withheld] be allowed to live in the community under supervision.

The court believes Parole and Mid-Erie will never allow this to happen,” Kloch wrote. “Instead, Parole and Mid-Erie would prefer the state taxpayers pay $250,000 a year to have Mr. [name withheld] committed. That is a better alternative to them than doing their job and trying to fulfill the court order for SIST. There is a word for that: callousness.”

In his month on the supervisory program, [name withheld], 46, lost his job, lost a relationship with his fiancee, was evicted from his apartment in the Riverside section of Buffalo and became a homeless resident of the City Mission.

It is clear that the parole officer and therapists were put off by Mr. [name withheld]. The animus projected toward Mr. [name withheld] throughout this proceeding literally was pooling on the courtroom floor,” Kloch wrote.

But he conceded that “in the absence of a job, residence or stability, [name withheld] will be unable to control his behavior.”

[name withheld] was arrested for missing an appointment with a Mid-Erie counselor at the parole office at Main and Court streets at 2 p.m. Dec. 6. He had kept a 12:30 p.m. substance abuse screening appointment at Mid-Erie’s office at 1131 Broadway, which he left at 1:45.

Mr. [name withheld] had no automobile, and it was impossible for him to walk to Court and Main in 15 minutes. Anyone remotely familiar with Buffalo — such as someone who works downtown — would know this,” Kloch wrote.

Witnesses at a March 29 court hearing said they thought [name withheld] could take the bus.

According to the Metro Bus website, Bus 4B stops at Broadway and Sweet Street, the closest intersection to 1131 Broadway, at 1:46. A person who caught that bus would be at Main and Court in 12 minutes. But if he missed that bus, the next one wasn’t until 2:06.

Sometime around 3 p.m., Mr. [name withheld] appeared at the office. This ‘missed’ appointment served as the primary basis for the state filing a violation petition,” Kloch wrote.

Officials at Parole, Mid-Erie and the state attorney general’s office could not be reached to comment Saturday.



My Redeemer Lives

Happy Easter Everybody!


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Is all social media bad for kids?

Children who are underage, should be on an age appropriate social network, not Facebook or MySpace, then none of the "sex offender issues" would be an issue. Facebook's Terms of Service clearly states anyone 13 and under should not be on there, yet they are, which is the parents fault! Anybody who sees a child on Facebook or elsewhere, should report them and get their accounts deleted. There are other social networks, like the one below, for kids.

Visit YourSphere.com



CO - Ex-cop (Eric Janusz) accused of sex assault involving young girl that took place over nearly 11 years

Eric Janusz
Original Article

I personally am so sick and tired of the fact that when a cop is busted for some crime, they try to paint the person as an overall good person, which may be true, but when it's Joe Public, they go out of their way to show what a horrible person he/she is, goes into their background and everything else. Why don't they do this for cops as well? We are suppose to be treated equally, right? Or so they say!

04/06/2012

By Paul Shockley

A former Grand Junction police officer and firefighter was arrested Friday on allegations he repeatedly sexually assaulted a young girl.

Eric Janusz, 42, surrendered Friday on a warrant alleging four counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, plus one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as a pattern of abuse.

Janusz’s alleged crimes happened while he was a patrol officer between January 1996 and October 2006, Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said.

She did not disclose the dates of the alleged incidents or discuss other details in the sexual assault investigation Friday because an arrest affidavit for Janusz is under court seal.

A news release said the sex assault investigation, led by Grand Junction police, was opened after a woman filed a complaint in the fall. The female victim is now an adult.

Janusz left the Grand Junction Police Department in October 2006 and joined the Grand Junction Fire Department. He left the Fire Department in February due to a workers’ compensation separation, which was unrelated to the sex assault investigation, the news release said.

Fire Chief Ken Watkins said Janusz injured himself on the job and was let go after using all of his allotted compensation time without returning to his position as a firefighter.

City spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said federal health regulations prohibited the city from discussing other aspects of Janusz’s separation.

A man who answered Janusz’s cellphone on Friday declined to identify himself and hung up when contacted by The Daily Sentinel.

Colleen Scissors, Janusz’s attorney, said the allegations outlined Friday were a surprise. Police executed a search warrant at Janusz’s home several months ago, she said.

He thought it had something to do with workers’ comp,” Scissors said.

Janusz earned numerous honors during his career with the police and fire departments. His name is scrawled on a placard in the lobby of the Grand Junction Police Department as a winner of the first ever “Chief’s Challenge Coin,” a recognition program for outstanding law enforcement professionals that was started in 2006 by former Police Chief Bill Gardner.

According to Rainguet, performance reviews consistently ranked Janusz’s employment at “meets or exceeds expectations,” with the exception of 2008 and 2009, when he ranked “below expectations” for customer service.

Investigated in 2010

Court records examined by The Daily Sentinel show Janusz, while employed by the Fire Department in 2010, was prosecuted on suspicion of harassing an ex-wife and her boyfriend, a fellow firefighter. The case ultimately was dropped by the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

Janusz was arrested in February 2010 after a Fruita Police Department investigation focused on allegations Janusz left a series of profane voice mails or text messages with his ex-wife, in addition to alleged threats he made against his ex-wife’s boyfriend at the time. The boyfriend was a co-worker of Janusz’s at the Fire Department.

If you ever try to keep my kids from me again, I’ll have your ass,” Janusz allegedly told the boyfriend while on the job, according to an arrest affidavit. “Don’t ever (expletive) talk to me at work about private matters.”

The affidavit said Janusz filed a formal complaint to his supervisor about his colleague.

The District Attorney’s Office in January 2011 moved to dismiss all charges after Janusz agreed to see an anger-management therapist, according to court records.

Watkins referred comment about that case to Rainguet, who eventually explained she couldn’t answer any questions about the city’s internal handling of Janusz’s arrest in 2010 on suspicion of harassment because it was a personnel matter.



NY - Want to friend a sex offender?

Original Article

04/07/2012

By Tracy Clark-Flory

A push is under way to restrict registrants from social networking, virtual gaming and online dating

UPDATE:

Imagine a little boy playing Xbox Live with a registered sex offender, a girl striking up a Facebook friendship with a child molester, a Match.com member going on a date with a convicted rapist. These are just a few of the both real world and imagined scenarios that have inspired attempts in recent weeks to restrict registered sex offenders from social networking, virtual gaming and online dating.
- Next it will be "Imagine your child going to the grocery store and a sex offender is present," or "Imagine riding on the city bus, and a sex offender is there."  When does it stop?

The aim of these approaches is understandable, but their effectiveness is questionable, and some experts see potential for it to backfire. What’s more, the breadth of these restrictions, and the inexactness of who is targeted, raise an issue unlikely to garner much sympathy: fairness to sex offenders.

On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that through an initiative dubbed “Operation: Game Over,” several major gaming companies had removed the profiles of more than 3,500 registered sex offenders in the state. The day before, a Louisiana bill forbidding registered sex offenders from using social networking sites was approved by a state House committee. (A similar bill was signed into law in Illinois in 2009 and put on hold in California in 2011.) Late last month, Match.com, eHarmony and the Spark Networks signed a “joint statement of business principles to attempt to screen out registered sex offenders.
- So what about screening out all other criminals as well?

First, to the legal concerns: The ACLU filed a lawsuit in response to an earlier version of the Louisiana law, which seemed to apply not only to social networking sites but to most of the Internet, claiming that it was “overbroad” and would infringe upon “free speech rights under the First Amendment.” It was already signed into law but was struck down in February on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

OK, so banning sex offenders from accessing most sites on the Web is unconstitutional, but what about banning them in more limited ways? Constitutionally speaking, where can the line be drawn? There are already strict restrictions placed on where sex offenders can live in the real-world — how far can we go in limiting their existence in the virtual realm?

Those questions are being sorted out on a law-by-law basis, says Ruthann Robson, a professor at CUNY School of Law. The revised version of the Louisiana bill more narrowly focuses on sites just like Facebook, but it could still include professional networking sites like LinkedIn, she says, and it’s still “infringing upon a group of people’s First Amendment rights.” She also underscores that it’s “creating a new crime [i.e. using Facebook] based upon their previous conviction.”

Courts have imperfect guidelines for evaluating these cases, she says. “If you’re convicted of a crime and you serve your time, there are very few things that extend beyond that — like some states have felony disenfranchisements and that sort of stuff,” Robson explains. “But when the United States Supreme Court upheld civil commitment and sex offender registries and all of that, they talked about it as civil and as not criminal.” Now, in evaluating whether bills like the one in Louisiana infringe on First Amendment rights, courts “don’t have an analogy, so sometimes they go toward criminal law, as though these people are in prison and as if this is part of punishment.

Of course, many people believe that there are compelling reasons for that. As anyone who has ever watched TV news knows, some offenders use the Internet — whether it’s through chat rooms or a social networking site — to victimize children, but the threat is overblown, according to research from the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. Bullying poses a greater threat online than sexual solicitation, and children’s greatest threat of sexual abuse comes from someone they know — a relative or family friend — not from a stranger on the other end of his or her Xbox. Still, protecting kids from predators with unprecedented access to them is important; there is no debate there. The question is how much good will be done by banning sex offenders from online venues populated with kids.
- What about stop stomping on the Constitution and people's Constitutional rights for bogus safety?  Why not work on educating kids on the dangers instead?

It’s too early to say for sure, as there isn’t any solid research. “We will have to wait years before we know whether re-offense rates change from the 10 to 15 percent that most long-term outcome studies show,” says James Cantor, a clinical and research psychologist and editor-in-chief of the scientific journal “Sexual Abuse.”
- There are tons of studies out there now that show sex offender recidivism is lower than any other crime, if you look for them.

It’s important to acknowledge that these attempts are easily circumvented by those willing to break the rules: For example, to make it onto a gaming platform, a New York state sex offender only has to create a new username that officials don’t have on file. Sure, it’s now a crime to do so — but so too is abusing children. Similarly, the online dating sites are only screening out sex offenders who provide identifying information that matches what is on the registry.

A major concern, in terms of both effectiveness and fairness, is how some of these approaches inelegantly lump together all kinds of sex offenders. The Louisiana bill applies only to those whose victim(s) were underage, but the video gaming initiative does not, even though the aim is to protect children. The online dating sites, which are presumably aiming to help protect members from being assaulted on dates, target all manner of sex offenders (while still allowing in suitors with, for example, a domestic violence rap sheet).

Not all sex offenders are the same, and it is usually a mistake to treat them as if they are,” says Cantor. The legal category can includes a wide range of offenses — from public urination to child molestation. That’s an extreme example — one signaling the need for registry reform above all else — but it’s also true that there are important individual distinctions in terms of the risks of re-offense.

Until we have more definitive evidence on these differences — which would require hard-to-come-by research funding — Cantor says, “These people would best be treated on a case-by-case basis: An offender who used networking sites as part of his offense would be banned, but offenders using them for pro-social purposes, such as participating in support groups, would be encouraged.” After all, these days so much normal social interaction happens online.

It isn’t just that Cantor disbelieves in such broad and ineffective restrictions but also that it might backfire. “One of the best ingredients in rehabilitating sex offenders appears to be helping them reintegrate into their community, not isolating them,” he says. “It’s when offenders feel that there is nothing left to lose — no job, no family, no place to live, no social contacts — that they can be most willing to flout the law and do something stupid.” In general, he says, the “‘one size fits all’ approach is often counter-productive as well as expensive to enforce.”

There are echoes here to the debate over the online classified site Backpage, in which there is general agreement over the goal of eradicating child trafficking but disagreement over how that can be achieved. In the case of restricting sex offenders from certain online venues, the question isn’t whether the aim of protecting children and adults alike from sexual abuse is necessary, but rather whether these are effective, beneficial and fair ways of going about it.