Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reporting Computer, Internet-Related, or Intellectual Property Crime

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Reporting Computer, Internet-Related, or Intellectual Property Crime

Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate law enforcement investigative authorities at the local, state, federal, or international levels, depending on the scope of the crime. Citizens who are aware of federal crimes should report them to local offices of federal law enforcement.

Reporting Computer Hacking, Fraud and Other Internet-Related Crime

The primary federal law enforcement agencies that investigate domestic crime on the Internet include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) , the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) . Each of these agencies has offices conveniently located in every state to which crimes may be reported. Contact information regarding these local offices may be found in local telephone directories. In general, federal crime may be reported to the local office of an appropriate law enforcement agency by a telephone call and by requesting the "Duty Complaint Agent."

Each law enforcement agency also has a headquarters (HQ) in Washington, D.C., which has agents who specialize in particular areas. For example, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service both have headquarters-based specialists in computer intrusion (i.e., computer hacker) cases.

To determine some of the federal investigative law enforcement agencies that may be appropriate for reporting certain kinds of crime, please refer to the following table:

Type of Crime
Appropriate federal investigative law enforcement agencies
Computer intrusion (i.e. hacking)
Password trafficking
Counterfeiting of currency
Child Pornography or Exploitation
Child Exploitation and Internet Fraud matters that have a mail nexus
Internet fraud and SPAM
Internet harassment
Internet bomb threats
Trafficking in explosive or incendiary devices or firearms over the Internet

Other Cybercrime Reporting Resources

  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

    The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, and local level, IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes.

  • Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Coordinating Center: (202) 282-9201 (report incidents relating to national security and infrastructure issues)
  • U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S. CERT) (online reporting for technicians)
  • National Association of Attorney General's Computer Crime Point of Contact List (all state-related cyber questions)

Reporting Intellectual Property Crime

Type of Crime
Appropriate federal investigative law enforcement agencies
Copyright piracy (e.g., software, movie, sound recordings)
Trademark counterfeiting
Theft of trade secrets

JWF: Sex Offender Zoning Laws Don't Work At All

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"Sex Offender Zoning Laws Don't Work At All"

That's from Nancy Sabin, Executive Director of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (

I spoke with Nancy after last night's Extra aired. If you haven't seen our story about sex offender zoning laws, surf over to the "Extras" portion of, or paste this address in your browser:

As you may know, the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (JWF) is a Twin Cities based organization whose mission is to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction. Nancy had a number of thoughts about the laws we discussed in last night's Extra -- laws that restrict where convicted sex offenders can live.

"It is one of the poorest uses of our resources, vigilance and supervision," she said.

Here's why, according to JWF:

  1. Nationwide, there are no known cases of children being exploited in the "safety zones" created by these laws, i.e., within 2000 feet of a school, day care center or playground
  2. Most of the people convicted of sex crimes -- 92 percent -- are first-time offenders. In other words, they would not have been subject to the restrictions laid out in these zoning ordinances in the first place.
  3. Of the 400 cases presented to JWF in the last 5 years, fewer than five percent of the alleged molesters are convicted sex offenders
  4. Most sex crimes are happening "under our noses, in our own homes." In other words, as KARE reported last night, most attackers are related to their victims or know them well.

Nancy went on to say there "is not one piece of research that supports zoning laws," which have been passed in the Minnesota cities of Wyoming and Taylors Falls.

"We need to do a better job, as a community, of reporting these crimes," she said. The zoning laws provide a "false sense of safety."

ID - Inmate's mother sues prison company after suicide

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BOISE (AP) - The mother of an Idaho inmate who killed himself in a Texas prison earlier this year has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the private-prison company that runs the lockup where he died.

In her claim in U.S. District Court in western Texas, Shirley Noble says prison operator The GEO Group abused and neglected Scot Noble Payne before he slashed his throat on March 4th.

Scot Noble Payne, a convicted sex offender from Idaho, had been moved to Texas along with more than 400 Idaho inmates to relieve overcrowding at prisons in their home state.

Idaho officials who investigated at the Dickens County Correctional Facility in Spur, Texas, said the physical environment of his solitary cell could have contrubited to his suicide.

GA - AG asks Ga. Supreme Court for clarification on sex offender ruling

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ATLANTA -- Georgia's attorney general on Thursday asked the state's top court to clarify its ruling striking down a law limiting where sex offenders may live.

Thurbert Baker said there is confusion about whether the decision applies to all 11,000 sex offenders in the state or only to those that own property. The Georgia Supreme Court last week found the law unconstitutional because it violated the "takings clause," effectively forcing homeowners to abandon their property without compensating them.

"The decision of the Court impacts all law enforcement in some fashion and registered sex offenders and, if there is ambiguity, clarification would be helpful," Baker's said in a motion to the justices.

Passed in 1996, the law banned registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches and other areas where children congregate.

The court warned that sex offenders could be forced to leave their homes if a facility catering to children springs up nearby.

"It is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected," read the unanimous opinion, written by presiding Justice Carol Hunstein.

Civil rights groups have fought the law, saying it could leave Georgia sex offenders with few housing options and could backfire by driving them underground.

But state lawmakers say it is crucial to protecting children from dangerous predators. Its chief sponsor said he may push a similar proposal when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

The plaintiff in the case, Anthony Mann, bought a house in Clayton County in 2003. Later, a day care center opened nearby. He filed a lawsuit after being told by authorities that he had to shutter his barbecue business and leave his home.

Mann was convicted in 2002 of "taking indecent liberties with children."

Earlier this week, Baker's officer said the court's ruling appeared to apply to all Georgia sex offenders and he advised law enforcement officials to stop enforcing it.

Georgia law enforcement officials had asked for guidance from Baker's office.

Jane Hansen, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Supreme Court, said Thursday it was unclear when the justices would consider Baker's request.

CA - Sex crimes grandstanding

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Forcing a problem on other communities, and a population further underground

Sex offenders are an easy political target. Nobody wants to be portrayed as soft on child molesters; nobody wants to defend ex-cons who are required to register their whereabouts with the police. Jessica's Law, the state bill that bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park, passed overwhelmingly in 2006, and only a few brave politicians, including San Francisco sheriff Mike Hennessey and Assemblymember Mark Leno, were willing to oppose the measure on the grounds that it's counterproductive and unworkable.

Now Joe Alioto Veronese, a San Francisco police commissioner and candidate for State Senate, has launched an effort to force the local police to roust sex offender parolees who live in San Francisco. It's good politics for someone who wants a high-profile campaign issue, but it's bad law enforcement policy.

Proposition 83, which Veronese supported, imposes harsh penalties for anyone convicted of a sex crime.

It also prevents all convicted offenders from living in San Francisco, since there's not a single residential unit in the city that isn't within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. That, of course, simply forces the problem onto other communities — and tends to send offenders to rural areas, where they lack access to services and ties to the community. By most accounts, isolating ex-cons is a bad way to prevent future criminal conduct.

But there's a loophole, and the state Bureau of Prisons has made no effort to hide it. If an ex-offender registers as transient — that is, homeless — the state can't bust him or her for living too close to a school or a park. So some number of parolees — perhaps as many as 166 — released after committing sex crimes have returned to San Francisco and registered as transients. Some of them probably are, indeed, homeless. Some are no doubt trying to find a way to live in this city without violating Prop. 83 (and thus violating their parole, which means returning to prison).

Veronese wants the San Francisco Police Department to go out and find every one of these transients and, if they aren't in fact homeless, arrest them for parole violation. That's going to take a lot of police time — and is unlikely to be terribly effective.

For starters, it's not the job of the SFPD to monitor parolees. The state's Department of Corrections does that — and every transient parolee has to check in with his or her parole officer every single day anyway. Veronese told us he doesn't expect the SFPD to send ex-offenders back to prison — but if they're arrested, that's exactly what will happen.

And for the record, as Sheriff Hennessey points out, only a very small percentage of paroled sex offenders are rearrested for sex crimes. The vast majority of child molesters — the category of criminals Prop. 83 was aimed at — are relatives of the child in question, not strangers on the street. And every one of these parolees already has to wear a GPS bracelet.

The whole effect of Veronese's policy will be to drive further underground a population that shouldn't be hiding in the shadows. It would encourage parolees to hide, to remove their locator bracelets, and to avoid service providers. It would divert police resources at a time when the murder rate is soaring.

It's a bad idea that the rest of the commissioners should shoot down. And if Veronese wants to be a serious candidate for State Senate, he should start talking about real issues and leave the phony "tough-on-crime" stuff for the Republicans.

GA - Reversal of sex offender law frees shelter to serve

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After a 2006 state law banned sex offenders from living and working in areas where children congregate, Randy Gooding lost his home and his job at a local shelter and treatment center for the homeless.

Leaders at the Old Savannah City Mission now hope to let Gooding know he may be able to return.

The state's top court on Nov. 21 overturned a state law banning registered sex offenders like Gooding from living within 1,000 feet of places where children gather - including schools, churches, parks, gyms, swimming pools or one of the state's 150,000 school bus stops.

Adopted in 2006, the law was intended to protect children from sexual predators.

Critics, including the Southern Center for Human Rights, argued that many offenders would abscond, causing the state to lose track of them.

Mission director the Rev. Jim Lewis said the law also limited access to social services that offer help for recovering offenders. Programs tend to be located in urban areas.

The mission, 2414 Bull St., is located near two churches. Concerned over the new law, leaders forced out Gooding days after the law was adopted.

Days later, the 64-year-old man suffered a stroke, Lewis said. He recovered, only to spend the next year moving from one home to another. He was arrested in June for failing to register his address. Gooding remains in the Chatham County jail.

'A handful' affected

County law enforcement officials say Gooding's situation is rare.

A few sex offenders are indicted in any given week for failing to register a new address, said Lt. Nancy Wheless, an administrator at the Chatham County Sheriff's Department. But the law had no effect on that arrest rate, she said.

Among registered offenders, few have been told to move because they were violating the rule.

"That didn't happen but probably two or three times this past year," Wheless said. "And they always complied when they were told of the situation. They complied, and they moved."

Assistant District Attorney Greg McConnell said he could recall only "a handful of cases" in his office involving offenders violating the law. He credits that to cooperation among the probation office, Savannah-Chatham Police and the sheriff's department, which employs two full-time deputies to monitor the more than 400 registered offenders living in Chatham County.

"The probation office is usually the people discovering these violations," McConnell said. "They bend over backwards trying to help these people find a suitable place to move."

Revisions expected

In Effingham County, Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said sex offenders throughout the state should not start moving next to schools and other formerly restricted areas. State legislators will likely fix the problems when they reconvene in January, and the offenders will just have to move again.

"Don't look for it to sit dormant for very long," he said.

McDuffie thinks there needs to be such restrictions in place, but some improprieties need to be worked out first. One is the lumping all offenders under the sex offender label, he said. Instead, there should be different classifications according to the offenses committed.

McDuffie cited one case in which a young man was locked up for statutory rape after having sex with his girlfriend. Despite marrying the girl after being released a few years later, the man is still listed as a sex offender, McDuffie said.

Bus stops at issue

Provisions in the law banning offenders from living, working or loitering near school bus stops also were a concern last year for mission leaders.

At least one bus stop is near the mission.

"We had made the decision not to work with any sex offenders in that program because of the difficulty," Lewis said.

A judge ruled last year that the law's school bus stop provision could not be enforced unless school boards officially designated the stops. Few boards have done so.

However, provisions that ban sex offenders from loitering and working within 1,000 feet of children's gathering areas were not reversed.

Lewis said the mission's "gospel rescue" provides a valuable service as one of the only nonprofit agencies in town that offers sex offenders a stable address, rehabilitation and monitoring.

Run entirely by donations, the agency receives no government funds.

While the mission does not actively seek out sex offenders, the changes to the law at least allow the organization to return to its mission of helping all who ask.

Many offenders also struggle with substance addictions and mental health issues.

"This clears the way for us to work with them," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CA - Jessica's Law is Taking Longer to Implement than Expected

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When California voters approved Jessica's Law, they wanted to make life more difficult for sex offenders with longer prison sentences and G.P.S. ankle tracking devices.

But now, a year later, Proposition 83 has yet to be fully implemented.

Some top law officers say it may be too costly and complex.

Richard Word is Vacaville Police Chief and president of the California Police Chief's Association.

He says the cost of monitoring an offender is expensive. "Some jurisdictions can't afford to do that," said Richard Word.

When asked if he could be able to do it locally he replied, "I don't think we can. I'd like to but I don't think we could afford it at this point."

The police chief in Vacaville says it's tough to put a price tag on implementing Jessica's Law.

Estimates for the state run about $200-million a year, but that doesn't take into account costs for local police and sheriff's departments.

CA - Former Sheriff's deputy accused of sex with minor takes witness stand

SANTA MARIA - An emotional day in court as Jon Holm testified for several hours.

Here are the Facts First:

  • Jon Holm faces six sex related charges, including lewd and lascivious acts and oral copulation.
  • The District Attorney's office says the former deputy had a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old girl in late 2005.
  • Holm served as a deputy for four years before he was let go in 2006.

William Pardee, Holm's attorney, questioned him about his interactions with the victim.

"Have you ever had sexual intercourse with Jane Doe?" Pardee asked.

"Never," Holm responded.

"Have you ever engaged in oral copulation with Jane Doe?" Pardee asked.

"Never," Holm repeated.

Under oath, Holm says he did nothing wrong. The defendant met the alleged victim, referred to as Jane Doe, back in 2005, when he arrested her for theft.

He admitted to visiting Jane Doe several times between 2005 and 2006, giving her letters and gifts. But he maintains he was helping the troubled teen at the request of her family.

"Trying to talk about positive funny stuff with her because I knew she was in juvenile hall, and its not very good being in there, so I tried to lift her spirits," Holm testified.

Holm broke down, once saying the trial has been an ordeal for him, and a second time, when speaking about the death of his twin boys.

During cross examination, District Attorney Stephen Foley, showed e-mails to Holm written by Jane Doe.

He grilled the defendant on why he never told his superiors details of his relationship with the teen.

"Did you show [the email] to your coworkers?" Foley questioned.

"No I did not," Holm responded.

"And you didn't do that because you didn't want anybody questioning you about your relationship with Jane Doe?" Foley implied.

A relationship Holm called "professional" to mentor a troubled girl, but a relationship the prosecution called illegal.

As far as Holm's sperm DNA found in the victim's bedroom, Holm testified "some heartless individual dumped a condom and put it in Jane Doe's bedroom." It is a theory the prosecution does not buy.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

GA - Husband of Atlanta Officer Arrested on Child Porn Charges

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Here is another article, where apparently the woman cop burned the child porn images instead of doing her job and reporting them.


ATLANTA (FOX 5) – Federal agents say a man has been charged with several cases of child pornography and he is married to an Atlanta police officer.

Federal agents unsealed a complaint Thursday that alleges that 47-year-old Terrill Crane photographed himself with 11 girls between 1998 and 2002. Prosecutors said that Crane allegedly paid the girls $50 to pose in the pictures and have sex with him, and offered the girls money to recruit others.

Prosecutors said Crane met the girls in the Simpson Road area and either took them to Beecher Road home or his gray pick-up truck to take their pictures and have sex.

A search warrant was issued and investigators discovered the pictures and other undeveloped rolls of film.

Investigators said they have identified four of the girls, but they need help finding the other victims.

Crane's wife, Atlanta police sergeant Tanya C. Crane, hasn't been charged in the case, however prosecutors said that she may have destroyed evidence and may face further scrutiny.

Prosecutors say Crane's wife was tipped off by someone at the department in 2003 and that she admitted to knowing about the pictures and burning them.

In a statement, Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said, "These allegations are disturbing and the Atlanta Police Department is very concerned about this incident. The alleged actions - and any purported failure to take action - will not be tolerated within the Atlanta Police Department.

When the incident came to my attention in October, I immediately ordered a full inquiry and invited the FBI to assist with the investigation. People will be held accountable and responsible for their actions or inactions as the case may be. Sgt. Crane has been placed on administrative leave."

NY - JC Assistant Fire Chief Arraigned After Arriving At Work Naked

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Video at the end


A retired assistant fire chief who showed up to work naked, had to show up for court.

48-year-old Kenneth Roe of Johnson City is charged with a violation called "exposure of a person."

This document outlines why former fire fighter Kenneth Roe was charged.

Police Captain Ted Wido writes Roe "did appear naked only wearing a hat and tie thereby exposing his private parts of his body."

Roe was arraigned this morning in Johnson City Court, charged with exposure of a person.

The evidence is captured in this photo, showing Roe just outside the Floral Avenue station last month.

Police also have statements from Roe's fellow firefighters.

Firefighter Markus Smith said quote "...I was shocked and disgusted. I could not believe that he would come to work naked."

Fire Captain David Nugent says he was upset and ignored Roe.

He says "I am the Captain in charge of eight men and I don't need to worry about the Assistant Chief and his actions."

Police also talked with Patrick Vavra, Roe's stepfather who's also a part-time code enforcement officer for Johnson City.

Vavra met Roe at the fire station that morning.

He says, "I knew Ken was going to come to work naked, so I brought a camera with me."

Firefighter Ryan Willis also took pictures of Roe and says he sent them to others.

People around the village have mixed reaction.

"He needs to be punished for it, I think he does because it's not fair to anybody who brings their kids outside," says Arvella Randolph of Johnson City.

"When somebody does something very in lewd and indecent, they should be charged with it," says Monty Jones of Johnson City.

"The firefighter just was pulling a prank, nothing big," says Courtney Holcomb of Johnson City.

"I think he was just fooling around with his fellow firefighters having a good time and it got out of hand," says Marjorie McKay of Johnson City.

Roe was celebrating his 20-year anniversary with the department.

He filed for retirement last week.

Roe's retirement takes effect after 30 days.

As for the charge against him, the case will be moved to a court outside Johnson City.

That's because Rowe is a village employee.

Stop It Now! - Stories of Hope

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Bureau of Justice Assistance - Reentry Initiative

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Reentry Initiative

FY 2007 Prisoner Reentry Initiative Grant Awards

The Reentry Initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and its federal partners: the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor. This initiative is a comprehensive effort that addresses both juvenile and adult populations of serious, high-risk offenders. It provides funding to develop, implement, enhance, and evaluate reentry strategies that will ensure the safety of the community and the reduction of serious, violent crime. This is accomplished by preparing targeted offenders to successfully return to their communities after having served a significant period of secure confinement in a state training school, juvenile or adult correctional facility, or other secure institution.

The Reentry Initiative envisions the development of model reentry programs that begin in correctional institutions and continue throughout an offender's transition to and stabilization in the community. These programs provide for individual reentry plans that address issues confronting offenders as they return to the community. The initiative encompasses three phases and is implemented through appropriate programs:

Phase 1-Protect and Prepare: Institution-Based Programs. These programs are designed to prepare offenders to reenter society. Services provided in this phase include education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, mentoring, and full diagnostic and risk assessment.

Phase 2-Control and Restore: Community-Based Transition Programs. These programs work with offenders prior to and immediately following their release from correctional institutions. Services provided in this phase include, as appropriate, education, monitoring, mentoring, life-skills training, assessment, job-skills development, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Phase 3-Sustain and Support: Community-Based Long-Term Support Programs. These programs connect individuals who have left the supervision of the justice system with a network of social services agencies and community-based organizations to provide ongoing services and mentoring relationships.

Funding: FY 2008 funding has not yet been determined. FY 2007 funding was approximately $13.7 million.

How To Apply: The FY 2007 solicitation was released on October 25, 2006, and applications were due January 11, 2007. Applicants must apply through

Reentry projects include:

  • Justice Reinvestment
  • Gang Member Reentry
  • Attorney General's 10 City Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative
  • President's Prisoner Reentry Initiative
  • Housing Partnerships to Enhance Reentry
  • The Role of Parole in Reentry
  • Reentry of Offenders with Mental Illness
  • Issues in Reentry from Jail
  • Corrections/Faith- and Community-Based Collaboration

Training/Technical Assistance: The following agencies and organizations provide training and technical assistance that may be of use to those developing reentry programs:
Gang Member Reentry Assistance Project
American Probation and Parole Association
Center for Effective Public Policy
Community Capacity Development Office
Council of State Governments, Justice Center
OJJDP Intensive Aftercare Programs: Juvenile Reintegration and Aftercare Center
OJJDP National Training and Technical Assistance Center
Re-Entry Policy Council
Urban Institute

State Activities and Resources: An online map that provides information—by state—about OJP reentry grantees, state resources and contacts, and other OJP resources.

Reentry Resource Map: An online map that provides information on resources at the federal, state, and local levels.

Related Publications/Information:
Offender Reentry: A Police Perspective and other International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) resources

Building An Offender Reentry Program: A Guide for Law Enforcement

Prisoner Reentry Initiative Training and Technical Assistance Program (Competitive Grant Announcement)
Frequently Asked Questions

Report of the Re-Entry Policy Council

"Short-Term Strategies To Improve Reentry of Jail Populations: Expanding and Implementing the APIC Model" (PDF, from American Jails, January/February 2007)

A list of related publications is available online and updated periodically.

Prisoner Reentry Initiative (FY 2007 Competitive Grant Announcement

FY 2006 Prisoner Reentry Initiative Awards

Prisoner Reentry Initiative (FY 2006 Competitive Grant Announcement)

FY 2004 awards
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (FY 2004 Supplemental Funding Application)

FY 2002 Reentry Grantees

Related Links:
Reentry Initiative web site
Reentry Policy Council Information Center
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Multi-site Evaluation web site

Contact Information:
Thurston Bryant, Policy Advisor
Bureau of Justice Assistance
810 Seventh Street NW.
Washington, DC 20531
Fax: 202-307-0036

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NE - Boy to be tried as adult in sex assault case

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MADISON, Neb. (AP) - A 16-year-old teenager will be tried as an adult on charges that he sexually assaulted two preschool girls he was babysitting.

Attorneys for Adam Underwood had argued that his case should be moved to juvenile court.

But Madison County District Court Judge Robert Ensz ruled earlier this week that Underwood will face two counts of first-degree sexual assault as an adult in district court.

Underwood is accused of assaulting two girls - ages 3 and 4 - while baby-sitting them in March.

Underwood faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted, and would have to register as a sex offender. His arraignment is set for December 20.

NY - Neighbors Fight Sex Offender Boarding House

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Buffalo (WBEN) - A group of community leaders and Black Rock neighbors are gathering opposition to plans to place housing for sex offenders in some vacant warehouse space on Tonawanda Street in Buffalo.

At a public hearing on the issue Wednesday night, residents spoke out against the plans, by Saving Grace Ministries for a 30 person halfway house residence in the former Fedco Automotive plant at 31 Tonawanda.

While residents were passionate, Rev. Terry King of Saving Grace, urged understanding.

"I think tonight's meeting is giving rise to everyone involved to sit down and take a deep breath and focus on the overall issue (of sex offender locations) rather than just looking at one site," King said.

To hear more about the hearing, click the audio link above for a report from WBEN's Kevin Kuchta.

OH - Deters seeks 'sex offender' label

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WTF? This article is totally confusing.


A Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge is expected to decide today whether a man who killed a toddler two years ago but was not convicted of any sex offenses can be designated a sex offender.

If James Doan is labeled such, it would be the first time a sex offender is placed on the registry without actual sex charges.

He is scheduled to go before Judge Norbert Nadel at 9:30 a.m.

Doan, now 33, was convicted in 1994 on charges of murder and child endangering for fatally beating his girlfriend's 15-month-old daughter, Star Hollingsworth, records show.

Doan was sentenced to spend 20 years to life in prison and is up for parole.

For the first time, Hamilton County prosecutors are using a provision in Ohio law that allows them to seek a sex offender status for somebody whose crime was sexually motivated. No sex crime conviction is needed, according to the law.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is seeking to have Doan designated a sexual predator, meaning if he is released on parole, Doan will have to register his address with the sheriff's office in the county where he lives every 90 days for the rest of his life.

But more importantly, Deters has said, the designation might persuade the parole board to deny release.

Doan was baby-sitting Star on Sept. 29, 1993, in their Northside home when he grew angry that she would not stop crying, Deters has said.

Doan severely beat the toddler, scalded her with a hot rag, punched her in the stomach then went to bed as she lay quietly gasping for air, Deters has said.

Star died as Doan slept.

Among the many injuries were rips to Star's genitals, which Deters says is evidence that the crime was sexually motivated.

At the time, the Ohio law only allowed rape charges if prosecutors could prove a suspect inserted his penis inside the victim, which they couldn't do in Doan's case with certainty.

PA - McCarthy continues fight for sex-offender ordinance

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Although Georgia’s Supreme Court overturned a state law that banned sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, bus stops and other areas where children congregate, Wilkes-Barre Councilman Jim McCarthy has not given up his fight for an ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live in the city.

McCarthy will bring up his ordinance again at a council meeting tonight at 6. He is proposing that sex offenders not be permitted to live within 500 feet of areas where children congregate. Council tabled his ordinance at the last meeting and rejected it at several previous meetings.

McCarthy called Georgia’s law “draconian.” He said he patterned his ordinance after legislation in Iowa, which also has strict restrictions about where sex offenders can live.

“Iowa’s law has been upheld all the way up to the Supreme Court,” McCarthy said. “Georgia’s law is so far overboard. It is probably one of the most draconian laws you ever want to see. They have lifetime monitoring with electronic devices they have to wear for the rest of their lives. They have mandatory sentences which are over and above any other law. They didn’t do their homework.”

Since many surrounding communities in Luzerne County have passed ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live, McCarthy said he believes more sex offenders are now moving to Wilkes-Barre.

“When I first brought this up a year and a half ago, there were 39 sex offenders living in Wilkes-Barre, with three or four being in prison,” McCarthy said. “As of last night, there were 55. Two moved from Wyoming to Wilkes-Barre. After Wyoming passed their law, that chased them out of Wyoming into Wilkes-Barre.”

Other council members continually said they would not vote for McCarthy’s proposed ordinance because it does not protect all children since it would prohibit sex offenders from living in certain neighborhoods, but would allow them to live in other neighborhoods.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion, written by presiding Justice Carol Hunstein, said it is “apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected.”

Twenty-two states have restrictions varying from 500 feet to 2,000 feet, according to the Associated Press. Most impose the zones only around schools and several apply only to child molesters, not all sex offenders.

Kane to state committee

Councilwoman Kathy Kane was appointed to the Local Government Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to Gov. Ed Rendell about local government needs.

The committee consists of 14 members who serve two-year terms. Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll is the committee’s chair. Kane will attend her first meeting today at 1 p.m. in Harrisburg.

Kane told city council members about her appointment at a work session on Tuesday. She also expressed concerns to Mayor Tom Leighton at the work session about all the fires that have been occurring at vacant buildings throughout the city.

“We don’t believe there is someone actively running around doing this, but there’s an investigation ongoing,” Leighton said.

Fire officials have not determined the cause of the fire that gutted a vacant house at 44 Frederick St. and damaged an occupied home at 42 Frederick St. The fire was the fourth in the city within a month. Fires also damaged a vacant apartment building at 121-124 S. Welles St. on Oct. 30, an occupied home at 73 Moyallen St. on Nov. 2 and a vacant house at 46 Murray St. on Nov. 4.

NJ - N.J. to sex parolees: Keep off MySpace

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Board approves limit on networking sites

The state Parole Board yesterday banned the 4,400 registered sex offenders it supervises from using social networking Web sites, chat rooms and online dating services as a way to prevent them from possibly luring victims into real-world danger.

The move comes after a state investigation this summer found 268 New Jersey registered sex offenders using the site Only two of those offenders were punished because they had originally used computers to facilitate sex crimes and were therefore prohibited from visiting such sites as a condition of their parole.

"The protection of all of our citizens and particularly our young people makes the imposition of this new restriction critical," Parole Board chairman Peter Barnes said after the panel unanimously approved the ban.

Sex offenders will still be allowed to visit other Internet sites as well as use e-mail. But if a parole officer finds that the offender posted a profile on MySpace or other networking sites, it could mean a return to prison for a year to 18 months.

Parole officers are expected to begin notifying offenders today of the new prohibition, which goes into effect immediately.

Capt. Sean Asay said the Parole Board will enforce the new ban by continuing to work with social networking Web sites that are under an attorney general's subpoena to provide the names of New Jersey offenders found posting profiles on their systems.

"And we can continue to monitor their computer use via checking the computers in their residences, as well as laptops and other electronic systems, and see what the history of their Internet activity is," Asay said.

West Trenton defense attorney Jack Furlong, a frequent critic of the state's sex offender community-notification law, questioned the effectiveness of such a ban, which he said substitutes "feel-good directives for simple common sense." He said children would be better protected if parents monitored their youngsters' Internet activity and warned them not to meet online friends in real life.

"What are they doing to advance public safety? The answer is absolutely nothing," Furlong said. "Give the ex-offenders bona fide access to credible psychotherapy. Make it mandatory. It's much more important to know what a person is thinking than to ban social networking sites."

Social networking sites on the Internet attract hundreds of millions of people each year who post candid photos, intimate thoughts and personal details of their lives in hopes of making friends. They also attract pedophiles, who troll the sites for unsuspecting teens.

Recognizing this, law enforcement has been putting increasing pressure on MySpace and other sites to do a better job patrolling their pages to watch out for child predators. Many have, agreeing to compare the names, hometowns and birthdays of registered sex offenders with profiles on their sites. The sites then report any possible matches to authorities.

But without universal compliance, pedophiles can still operate online. Attorney General Anne Milgram has sought to stop them by announcing a program to make it easier for targets to report inappropriate activities.

So far, only the New Jersey firm has placed a button on every page as part of the program, known as Report Abuse!, that users can click to report questionable activities. A second company has agreed to follow suit but has yet to follow through.

WI - Sexual predator ordinance shelved - Constitutionality, enforcement cited

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Mequon - The Common Council's Public Safety Committee has decided not to pursue an ordinance that would limit where sexual predators could live in the city, Ald. Ken Zganjar said Wednesday.

Also, the committee recommended a new system for notifying residents about the issuance of weapons discharge permits and decided to further study a proposal to have Ozaukee County take over the city's emergency dispatch system.

Zganjar, the committee chairman, said the panel decided after a discussion Tuesday night not to pursue a sex predator ordinance like those enacted in communities such as Franklin and Germantown.

Experts said, according to Zganjar, that there are questions about the constitutionality of such ordinances and difficulties in enforcing them.

Zganjar said there was also concern that such an ordinance might give residents a false sense of security. Instead, the committee wants the city to offer more education about sex offenders, he said.

Zganjar said the panel also:

• Recommended that the council amend the city ordinance on weapons discharge permits.

The addresses of people who obtain the permits for deer hunting that is allowed in certain parts of the city would be put on a map that would be posted on the city's Web site.

The committee decided that another proposal, to notify residents by mail when such permits are issued, would be too cumbersome.

• Directed city staff to gather more information about the implications, including potential cost saving, of having Ozaukee County take over the city's dispatching for all emergency services, including police and fire.

VA - Boy, 15, enters plea to sex battery charges

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The teen pleaded no contest to accusations that he molested two toddlers at his house.

BEDFORD -- A quiet courtroom watched as the judge read out four charges of aggravated sexual battery and 15-year-old Joshua Lovell replied "No contest."

The boy signaled with his plea that he will not fight accusations that he sexually molested a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old girl who were being baby-sat at his house.

Judge James Updike did not make a decision Tuesday as to Lovell's guilt or innocence. He granted a request from Assistant County Prosecutor Wes Nance that the boy undergo a sex offender evaluation.

The teen's case falls into a region of law where opposing schools of thought overlap. When children are involved in crime, "we often think we really should if possible try to rehabilitate," said University of Virginia law school professor Anne Coughlin. But society also tends to believe that sex offenders are most likely to be repeat offenders.

"It's an excruciating question for the judge," Coughlin said.

Updike will consider what the outcome of Lovell's case will be at a sentencing hearing Feb. 19 in Bedford County Circuit Court.

"It's a difficult case," Nance said.

The charges carry a total maximum possible punishment of 80 years in prison -- but Nance noted that Updike could also place Lovell in programs in the juvenile justice system.

The boy had been charged with two counts of animate object sexual penetration, which were changed in the plea deal to aggravated sexual battery. A conviction on a sexual penetration charge would make adult punishment the only option.

It's not rare to see juveniles prosecuted as adults for charges related to sexual assaults, said Cyn Yamashiro, director of the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

States began lowering the age at which teenagers could be prosecuted as adults in the late 1980s in reaction to a perceived surge in teenage crime. But studies have since begun to question whether punishing teenagers as adults is an effective crime deterrent.

Yamashiro referred to two recent studies in Florida that compared the progress of children convicted of identical crimes in the juvenile and adult systems. "They found that prosecuting youth as adults in fact increases recidivism," he said.

The worry is that when teenagers are placed in jails, "you're educating them to be criminals," Coughlin said.

Lovell's attorney, David Steidle, has argued that trying Lovell in adult court assumes that the teen's thought processes are the same as a mature adult's.

In court, Nance said the boy sexually touched a 2-year-old girl in 2006 while changing her diaper and a 3-year-old girl in 2007 while playing hide-and-seek with her. He told investigators he chose them as victims because he did not think they would remember what happened, the prosecutor said.

Nance said the incidents came to light when Lovell, who is home schooled, told his parents about the acts. The prosecutor declined to elaborate after the hearing as to how police became involved.

Other Laws

The following is some more related laws, which I moved here instead of on the side of my blog.


  1. Browse by Subject
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  11. Sex Crimes

Other Related Laws:

MO - Georgia ruling on sex offenders prompts other states, including Missouri, to re-examine laws

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A Georgia Supreme Court ruling has refueled the debate on whether states should restrict where sex offenders live.

The Georgia court struck down its residency restrictions last week, giving opponents of such buffer zones hope that other state laws will be reviewed and possibly overturned.

“It certainly sends a message that creating laws that render people homeless is not in anybody’s best interest,” said Jill Levenson, a professor at Florida’s Lynn University who has done extensive studies on the effect of residency restrictions. “In theory, I believe this could pave the way for a U.S. Supreme Court case.”

At least 21 states — including Missouri — have laws that ban registered sex offenders from living within a specified distance of schools, day-care centers and in some cases parks, swimming pools and bus stops. After high-profile child abductions and sexual assaults, parents across the nation fought for the buffer zones, urging lawmakers to protect their children from sexual predators.

Some authorities think the laws, if properly enforced, are helpful.

“I do think there’s an increased danger if a sex offender is in close proximity to children that they’ll re-offend,” Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. “Many are pedophiles in the truest sense of the word.”

But for the past three years, opposition to residency restrictions has grown. Opponents say buffer zones create a false sense of security for parents because offenders are restricted only in where they live, not in where they go. Also, Levenson said, in the vast majority of cases children know their molesters.

“They’re not strangers lurking in schoolyards,” she said.

Opponents also say that residency restrictions lead many offenders to stop registering, which they are required by law to do; become homeless; or move to rural areas where they can’t be easily tracked.

In Iowa, where courts have upheld the buffer zones, authorities estimate that they have lost track of many offenders and say it will only get worse. That’s why Georgia’s ruling was “monumental,” said Corwin Ritchie of the Iowa County Attorneys Association.

“When these laws were first bantered about, they sold an awfully convincing bill of goods, that they are awfully good safety measures,” Ritchie said. “I think in Georgia they are seeing the full impact of the unintended consequences and saying this is not constitutional.”

In the unanimous decision last week, the Georgia court said that restricting offenders from living within 1,000 feet of where children play and learn violated offenders’ property rights. The Georgia law, however, went further than those of many states, including Missouri, by adding bus stops and making no exceptions for offenders who already lived at the location in question.

“Under the terms of that statute, it is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected,” the ruling read.

State laws and city ordinances across the nation vary. Buffer zones can range from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet. Some include only schools and day-care centers, and others include any area where children congregate. The laws regulate only where offenders sleep at night, not where they hang out.

A 2004 Missouri law created 1,000-foot buffer zones around schools and day-care centers. Under the law, sex offenders could not move that close to a school, but if they were already living there, they could stay.

In 2006, however, legislators changed the law to prevent sex offenders from living that close, not just moving there. A Cole County circuit judge ruled in May that enforcing the law retroactively violated the Missouri and U.S. constitutions. That ruling is under appeal.

Zahnd, the Platte County prosecutor, said he saw a need for residency restrictions. To make them effective, he said, law enforcement has to be more diligent.

“The key is that sheriff’s departments are going to have to work harder to keep track of these offenders,” Zahnd said. “I think laws designed to keep sex offenders away from children serve a good purpose as long as we’re able to strike a balance and not drive them underground where we can’t find them.”

Some states, like Kansas, shied away from implementing residency restrictions because of the experiences of other states.

Kansas lawmakers have listened to nightmare accounts from four states — mainly Iowa and Florida — and have refused to implement similar laws, said Sen. John Vratil, a Republican from Leawood who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

“I think Kansas acted in a very informed, responsible manner,” Vratil said. “It’s easier to stand up in the first instance and say, ‘Don’t do this, it’s bad policy.’ If you’re faced with repealing it, you have to admit you made a mistake.”

And that can be hard for politicians to do. At least that’s what Iowa is finding out, Ritchie said.

“Politicians are frightened to death to touch it,” he said. “It’s all politics now. They’re fearful of an opponent in an election saying, ‘(He) helped repeal the strongest sex offender legislation in the country, would you vote for such a creep?’

“They are afraid of the campaigning.”

MA - Perils of bans on ex-sex offenders

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Politicians should heed a state supreme court that has voided a ban on where sex offenders live.

Last week, Georgia's supreme court became the first high court in the US to overturn a state law that restricts areas where former sex offenders may live. More than half the states have such laws, and many amount to banishment. Perhaps this decision will nudge politicians to reconsider these laws.

The Georgia case wasn't argued on the emerging view that the residency bans are counterproductive. Rather, it turned on an unusual application of the Fifth Amendment, which says the government may not take private property without just compensation.

The case concerned Anthony Mann. In 2002, he pled no contest to "indecent liberties with a child," then served four months in jail, followed by probationary supervision. In 2003, he married and bought a home in Georgia. Mr. Mann made sure it did not lie within 1,000 feet of any area where minors gather as defined by the state.

But a day-care center moved to within 1,000 feet of the Manns. His probation officer said he must move or face arrest. Mann sued, arguing the law was unconstitutional because it amounted to an illegal "taking" of private property.

The state supreme court unanimously agreed, adding that Mann faced repeated uprooting. This time, a day-care center broke the 1,000-foot barrier, the court found. Next time it could be a playground, a school bus stop, a skating rink.

The ruling voided the residency part of Georgia's sex-offender law. The decision, though, may not have much legal impact outside the state. Most state residency bans aren't as severe, and the case rests uniquely on property rights.

But the ruling will do well if it persuades lawmakers that blanket residency bans are no response to public fears stemming from tragic, high-profile cases of convicted child predators repeating their crimes.

Such fears are understandable but misplaced. About 80 to 90 percent of child sexual abuse occurs with a family member or someone a child knows. And sex offenders have among the lowest recidivism rates of any class of criminals. Yet sweeping residency restrictions that focus on "stranger-danger" have multiplied in states and cities.

Several studies show no correlation between child sex offenses and where perpetrators live. Law enforcers now argue that bans make things worse. Zones overlap, ruling out living possibilities in urban areas. Offenders are forced into rural America, far from jobs, treatment, and family, which provide stability and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, many bans don't distinguish between a child rapist and an offender who had consensual sex as a teen. There are 14,500 people on Georgia's sex-offender registry; about 40 of them are labeled "predators." Yet the ban covered them all. States report that bans have forced thousands of ex-offenders into homelessness and caused them to no longer register.

Politicians can respond to public anxiety through greater education about warning signs of abuse by family and others whom kids trust. They can focus resources on serious offenders who may repeat.

Instead of passing blanket laws that include all ex-offenders, they should leave the job of determining where such people should live to the professionals who know these cases and who have made these determinations in the past – probation officers and treatment providers.