Friday, January 11, 2008

OH - Law changes which sex offenders are tracked

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01/11/2008

Rules create more work for Hocking law enforcement

HOCKING COUNTY - The newly revamped sex offender law designed to keep the public safe has left Deputy Ted Hayes in the Hocking County Sheriff's Office feeling a little swamped with work.
- This should say "designed to keep the public feeling safe!"

Hayes handles the offender registration at the sheriff's office. "The work has quadrupled," he said.

The new law, which took effect at the beginning of January, was passed by the Ohio Legislature to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act. The new law updates the reporting requirements for all sex offenders, and reclassifies them into different categories.

"There were certain people we only saw once a year that we have to see four times a year now," Hayes explained. "Under the new law, the sheriff's office has to notify more people when a sex offender moves into the area. That makes more work for everyone." Despite the extra work, however, Hayes says that nothing else should change in the sheriff's office as far as the amount of deputies patrolling the area.

According to Hayes, if a sexual offender was previously listed as a sexual predator (the highest or most serious category) under the old system, they are automatically placed in Tier Three, the highest category under the new system. Hayes also added that there is a very slim chance for anyone to be moved to a less serious category under the new system. The only way to do so would be with an appeals process in which a judge determined the offender could be upgraded to a different category.

However, Teresa Kirkendall, who handles the offender registration at the Athens County Sheriff's Office, said that the classification bumped some people down on the list. "I've noticed that some of these guys who were way up there as habitual sexual offenders are now way down there in Tier 1," she said.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office re-classified the offenders in December and informed them of the changes via letter. Offenders have 60 days from the date they receive the letter to file a petition protesting their reclassification under the new law. Hocking County Clerk of Courts Narcie Stahr said that less than a handful of people have filed petitions so far.

Some of those appealing across the state have argued that the new law is a breach of contract, because many offenders made plea bargains and the new law forces the court to break its side of the bargain. Also, because the reclassification puts offenders formerly deemed low-level into a high-risk category, some offenders are being punished more severely than they were before.
- SUE, SUE, SUE, or these evil bastards will continue to do this. Eventually, if they get a way with this, more criminals will be facing the same ever changing rules. The Gestapo have arrived....

"I think it's a crying shame that people make deals based on a certain set of circumstances and then those circumstances change at the whim of some legislators, who probably don't have to deal with the real-world consequences," said David Winkelmann, an attorney in Athens who represents several offenders who have contested, or are planning to contest, the new requirements in their cases.
- Yep, very sad. If they can change these rules at any time, they can change ANYTHING anytime they feel like it. So what is the point of having rules if those rules are to be broken? So much for the rule of law Bush and others have preached about. Guess that was another lie, like usual!

Winkelmann said that legislators were able to pass this law because it was intended to protect the public, not punish the offender. Winkelmann argued that it's obvious that the requirements are punitive, however, and do punish the offender.
- How can it not be punishment? Anything done after the fact, is punishment and breaking a contract. We are now living in the USSA folks! Intended to protect the public how? It won't, it's all about punishment. Why can't you sheeple see this. Your rights will be wiped one day, then lets see what you have to say...

Some offenders who have moved from the lowest category to the highest category are now subject to community notification, which means that when they move into a neighborhood, the sheriff's office is required to notify every neighbor within 1,000 feet of where the offender lives.

Hayes added that he has many letters to write and send to neighbors of sexual offenders. He noted that some people in the community may be receiving letters notifying them that there is a sexual offender located nearby. While it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a new sexual offender who has moved into the area, it does mean that more people have been moved to the Tier 3 category (the most serious category) because of the reclassification. Only neighbors of offenders that are listed in the Tier 3 category will receive letters.

The sheriff's office is also required to collect more information from offenders. In addition to the already required information about the offenders work, home and school addresses, now they must notify the sheriff's office if they are leaving for vacation, where they are going and where they are staying, and also must the sheriff in the county they plan to visit. Offenders now must provide all Internet identifiers, such as e-mail addresses or MySpace accounts, along with any vehicle and license plate information for any vehicles they drive.
- Why don't you collect a stool sample while your at it?



Sex offender categories
Hocking County currently has 91 registered sex offenders. Under the previous system, there were 95 offenders.

The offenders under the previous system were classified as follows:

Sexual predator (highest or most serious): 13

Habitual sexual offender (middle): 3 <-- Habitual means more than one sex crime committed, or should...

Sexually oriented offender (lowest category): 79
- Total of 95 sex offenders

Under the new system, they are classified as follows:

Tier 3: (sexual predators) 34 <-- So before, we had 16, now we have 34, that doesn't make much sense to me..

Tier 2: (habitual sex offender) 50

Tier 1: (sexually oriented offender) 7 <-- And from 79 down to 7, what the hell!!!
- Total of 91 sex offenders, where did the other 4 go?

With the old system, offenders in the lowest and middle categories only had to report once each year to Hayes, while those in the highest category had to report quarterly.

Under the previous system, Hayes would have received 134 check-ins from offenders. With the new system in place, offenders in Tier Three, which is the highest category, still must report four times each year to Hayes. Yet, the combined total of the sex offenders who must now report to Hayes has jumped to 243 times each year, a spike of 109 visits from the old system.


VA - Future license plates may identify repeat DUI offenders

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01/11/2008

At Hoss's Deli in Newport News, license plates do more than identify a car.

"Some of them are funny. Some are a little crass," says bartender, Donna Lake.

They identify a person.

"One of the girls who works here, her license plate says 'All About Me.' And that's totally her," says lake.

A new plate in the works, with a yellow background and red letters, takes that one step further, but this one's not for fun.

"You're putting kids in danger, my life in danger," says Lake. "I think you should keep it down to a bare minimum or get a ride."

The plate would identify repeat DUI offenders of three times or more.

"We've got to identify that person. It's the same thing as a sexual predator. We've got to identify that person," says the sponsor of the bill that would require the plates, Delegate Lionell Spruill, (D) Chesapeake.
- Why don't you identify the corrupt politicians, drug dealers/users, gang members, murderers, thieves and all criminals? That is only fair.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving spokesman Mike Goodove says the law has the right intent.

"Everything that increases the public's awareness as to the adverse affects of drunk driving, we support," says Goodove.
- Do you ban these people from living near a alcohol store? Actually, maybe they need to live next door, so they are not driving. No? Why not? Drunk drivers kill more people than any crime that I am aware of. So does drugs, murder, etc. So why aren't these other criminals being shamed as sex offenders are? Because you might be one of them?

But he warns repeat offenders may not care about colored license plates.
- Just like repeat violent sex offenders are not going to care about the banishment laws. If a violent offender is intent on committing another crime, a 50 mile buffer zone would not stop them from doing so. Plus, 90% or more of sexual crimes are in the family, someone known to the victim, so how is pushing them out into the country going to solve the problem? It won't, it's just for politicians to use to make themselves look holier than thou... Just like alcoholics, drug users, etc, they are not cured, but given the tools, they can change, yet you do not give them the tools, and still expect them to change. Why aren't you looking into intervention and preventing the crimes before they occur? These laws solve nothing, and I think the last 10 or so years have proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt, if you'd look at the facts instead of ignore them.

"They don't care whether they have a license or not. They don't care whether they're recognized or not. They have a problem they obviously haven't dealt with and they'll drive regardless," says Goodove.
- Same thing with violent sex offenders, or any crime. Has the death penalty prevented people from being murdered? Has the drug laws prevented people from doing drugs? I rest my case...

Two years ago, alcohol played a part in nearly 400 traffic deaths in Virginia. License plates are another way to bring that to an end.
- So why don't you get them help instead of throwing them in jail or prison, then letting them out with rules, which they will not follow any way. You need to fix the problem, not just shove it aside and forget about it until they get out, then lock them up again. This is so typical in this society, and why we are not getting any where. If you want something different, then you have to do something different. How can you expect a different result by doing the same thing we've been doing for centuries? Ignorance, pure ignorance... Learn from the past!!

Spruill introduced a similar bill last year, but that bill died in committee.


DC - D.C. Police Officer Accused Of Groping

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New slogan, instead of "To protect and serve!" it should be "To grope, molest, rape and abuse!" Just look through here and see all the corrupt officials who are committing sexual crimes. From what I have seen, most sex crimes are being done by cops.

01/11/2008

WASHINGTON -- A Metro police officer was arrested on Friday after police said he inappropriately touched a 19-year-old woman while on duty.

Michael Edwards, 26, was charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse.

Police said the alleged incident happened on Nov. 16 when Edwards was on duty in the area of the 1300 block of Okie Street Northeast.

Police said Edwards is a two-year veteran of the department currently assigned to the Fifth District.

Officials said his police powers have been revoked and he has been placed on non-contact status with pay pending the outcome of the case.


IL - Study: Prostitutes in Chicago Forced to Service Police Officers for Free, Charge Whites and Hispanics More

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01/11/2008

CHICAGO — Researchers have concluded in a yet-to-be published study of the economics of prostitution in Chicago that the women were forced to service police officers, worked more on holidays and varied pricing based on race.

University of Chicago professor and "Freakonomics" author Steven D. Levitt and sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh of Columbia University are the authors of the two-year study of street-level prostitution in Chicago's Roseland, Washington Park and Pullman neighborhoods.

The study has been seen by Chicago aid workers, some of whom take issue with its findings.

"It's a classic example of an economist trying to tackle a very complicated problem just by looking at numbers," Samir Goswami, associate director of policy at the Chicago Homeless Coalition, told the Chicago Tribune. "It's flawed because the numbers do not explain the social situation these women are in. It's not just a business transaction."

A draft report of the study was presented last week at an economics conference in New Orleans.

Prostitutes taking part in the study — who were paid $150 a week — reported that about 3 percent of the sex acts they performed were "freebies" given to Chicago police officers to avoid arrest.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond did not respond to requests for comment on the study's finding.

The study found full-time prostitutes made on average less than $20,000 a year. If they had a pimp, the women made a little more, even after giving up a 25 percent cut of their earnings. The women reported being beaten about once a month on average.

According to the study, Fridays were the sex trade's busiest days, Mondays the slowest.

The study also found white and Hispanic men were charged more, while blacks and repeat customers paid less. Seasonal spikes in demand drove up prices, bringing more women into the market. Markets in Roseland and Pullman operated differently, the study found. In Pullman, prostitutes worked with one of four pimps, while in Roseland prostitutes worked the streets on their own.

Levitt, whose best-selling book "Freakonomics" made him a nationally known economist, and Venkatesh are refusing to comment on the study and asked its findings not be published because it was still preliminary and incomplete.

The full draft of the paper is on the University of Chicago's Web site, marked "extremely preliminary and incomplete." A university spokesman said a final version of the paper is expected to be released in April.


Decades Later, New Clues in a Cold Case

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Video available at the site.

08/13/2007

Could Jeffrey Dahmer Be to Blame for Adam Walsh's Murder?

The abduction and murder of 6 ½-year-old Adam Walsh, who disappeared in 1981 from a Florida mall, is one of the most famous missing children cases in America.

It was a crime that outraged a nation and propelled Adam's father, John Walsh, to devote his life to fighting crime on the television program "America's Most Wanted."

John Walsh remains convinced the killer of his son was drifter Ottis Toole, now deceased. Walsh's longtime friend and colleague Joe Matthews has been investigating the case for a year and says he has evidence of Toole's guilt -- although the crime remains officially unsolved.

But in those chaotic early days of the investigation, in a time before amber alerts and DNA, what clues may have been missed?

Now a fascinating new theory has surfaced: Could one of the most famous murders of our time have been the work of one of the most famous murderers of all time?

For the past 11 years, a true-crime author named Arthur Jay Harris has been investigating the case on his own, and he has uncovered a shattering revelation. Who was working only minutes from that mall that morning? Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer.

Using public records, the 7,000-page police case file and a lot of legwork, Harris discovered that the same day Adam disappeared, two witnesses independently contacted the police to describe a thin, disheveled blond man who had been acting strangely in the mall.

Witnesses to a Crime?

Willis Morgan, a printer working for the Miami Herald, said he was accosted by this man but didn't respond, and the man suddenly stalked off. Morgan said he followed the man to the mall's toy department -- the last place Adam Walsh was ever seen.

Bill Bowen, a television producer, said he was about to enter the mall when he heard a loud altercation taking place next to a blue van. He said he saw a disheveled man holding a boy by the arm up in the air.

Bowen said the boy yelled, "I'm not going. I don't want to go," and the man screamed, "Yes you are," and then threw the boy into the van, jumped in, and sped away. Police don't dispute that these witnesses came forward at the time, although no record of their statements exists.

Ten years later, in 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in Wisconsin for murdering 17 people. Six hundred miles apart, both witnesses saw Dahmer's photo in the newspaper and said to themselves: "That's him." Both contacted the Hollywood, Fla., police department to report that the man they had seen 10 years before in that mall was Jeffrey Dahmer.

According to former FBI agent Neil Purtell, the Wisconsin investigators had already made the Walsh/Dahmer connection the same day Dahmer was arrested. A timeline put together by police showed that Dahmer had indeed been in south Florida the day Adam Walsh was abducted. Dahmer moved to Florida in 1981, where he slept mostly on the beach and got a job working at the Sunshine Subs sandwich shop only minutes from the Hollywood Mall. Purtell said he immediately called Florida police. "I said, 'You've got to look at this, because this guy is, is someone who was living in your area, and&#-133;he had already killed prior to coming into your area.'" (Dahmer killed his first victim, Stephen Hicks, in 1978, according to police.)

Purtell said more witnesses contacted the FBI to say they had seen someone matching Dahmer's description at the Hollywood Mall, although he refused to identify them. Purtell would only say that he had passed their names over to the FBI field office in Miami at the time.

Did Dahmer Do It?

Although Dahmer was living in the area at the time of Adam's murder, many in law enforcement felt that the case didn't fit Dahmer's MO. Dahmer's 17 known victims ranged in age from 14 to 36, older than Adam. However, Dahmer had been arrested for exposing himself to two 12-year-olds, and for molesting a 13-year-old.

Dahmer maintained that between 1978 and 1987 he didn't kill anyone, and some detectives believe that he had made a complete confession. However, psychiatrist George Palermo, who examined Dahmer before trial, said he had always believed there were additional victims. And Billy Capshaw, Dahmer's roommate in the Army during the year before Adam's abduction, said that Dahmer would go out at night and come back in the morning, "his shirt soaked in blood."

Perhaps the best reason to dismiss Dahmer as a suspect was that someone else had already confessed to the crime. In 1983, drifter Ottis Toole said he did it, but then recanted on videotape.

Toole: That Adam Walsh case isn't, it ain't true.
Off-Camera Voice: What isn't true?
Toole: I didn't do that case.

By 1991, Toole had confessed and recanted yet again. Though several people came forward who claimed to have seen him in the mall the day of Adam's abduction, police couldn't prove Toole had even been in the general area that day.

In 1992, Florida police interviewed Dahmer in a prison in Wisconsin. At the behest of John Walsh, who had heard that Dahmer might be involved, the Broward County district attorney took the death penalty off the table, in order to increase the odds that Dahmer would confess if he were involved.

Dahmer's denial was recorded in a transcript of the interrogation:

Dahmer: I heard it on the news but I had nothing to do with it, no.
Detective: And if you did have something to do with it, you would, you would admit to it.
Dahmer: Uh…right. Yeah.

That denial didn't ring true to agent Purtell, who asked Dahmer about it later. Purtell said Dahmer told him, "Honest to God, Neil, I didn't do it."

But then Dahmer added the words that still haunt Purtell. "He said, 'You know, Neil, anyone who killed Adam Walsh could not live in any prison, ever,'" Purtell recalled.

Purtell believes this was code for what Dahmer couldn't say directly -- if he admitted to the crime, he'd be killed in prison as a pedophile. Purtell believes this was close to an admission of guilt.

The Blue Van

But if Dahmer did murder Adam, where did he get the blue van the witness saw in the parking lot? Harris found eight witnesses who had worked at Sunshine Subs and its sister restaurant, Mr. Pizza. All reported that the restaurants shared several delivery vans which were accessible to employees. One of those vans was blue.

Capt. Smith, of the Hollywood Police Department, now questions the importance of the blue van sightings, telling ABC News he believes a family later came forward to say it was them having the altercation in the parking lot. However, Smith couldn't recall who that family was, nor could he find them in the 7,000 page file. The original lead detective, Jack Hoffman, was unable to recall the existence of this family when ABC contacted him last week.

Nine months ago, Harris published his theory in a small newspaper in Florida, but John Walsh released a statement saying the police had told him the Dahmer connection was totally unsubstantiated. When "Primetime" contacted the Hollywood Police Department and the state attorney's office three months ago, they told us Harris' theory was without merit.

If that was the case, why were they quietly interviewing Harris' witnesses? "Primetime's" cameras caught an investigator from the state attorney's office interviewing Darlene Hill, one of the co-owners of the sub shop, shortly before we did. Hill said the investigator asked her for details about the blue van.

The Meter Room

Three months ago, Harris made a key discovery: a police report lost in plain sight for 26 years. In this document, filed only 20 days before the abduction of Adam Walsh, Dahmer reported finding a dead body behind the sub shop, just outside a deserted meter room. A cursory autopsy revealed that the man -- a derelict who had been sleeping in that meter room -- died of natural causes. Smith of the Hollywood Police Department had never seen this report until we showed it to him.

Harris believes that report offers a potential answer to an important question: where Dahmer could have taken Walsh.

"I'm tracking the path to Jeffrey Dahmer. And, figurative doors are opening. And then a literal door opens: the door to that meter room," Harris said. "Primetime" hired Jan Johnson, a Florida licensed crime scene investigator, and with the owner's permission, we went into that meter room. It seemed mostly untouched by time.

Using an alternate light source, Johnson found what she said looked like a pattern of blood spatter in a corner of the room -- more than 100 dried droplets rising up in a pattern from near the floor. She also found an axe and a sledgehammer. Several samples collected from the spatter on the wall tested positive for blood. However, sophisticated lab tests done later determined the samples were simply too corroded by time to be able to distinguish if the blood was human—or to get traceable DNA.

Johnson, who is also an expert on blood spatter, felt the room merits additional testing. "In my opinion the scene needs to be further examined to put closure to it."

America's Most Wanted

John Walsh, who declined our request for an interview, remains convinced that the killer of his son was Ottis Toole. Walsh's longtime friend and colleague, Joe Matthews, said that he (Matthews) now has proof that it was Toole, but declined to show it to us. He said he is waiting to reveal his evidence on an episode of "America's Most Wanted" this fall.
- So if Toole did it, then it wasn't a sex crime but a murder. Ottis Toole was insane, which is obvious from reading the book about him and his buddy Henry Lee Lucas. So if this is true, that Toole did it, why all the laws to punish sex offenders and not people who harm children in general? You keep saying a sex offender killed your son, yet you have no proof.

The one thing that's certain is that everyone involved, no matter what theory they believe, wants to see this case solved. "It was a crime not only against a child and a family, but it was against a community as well," said Harris.

"I think anytime doubt's raised, you have to, you just owe it to the investigation to resolve it," said Purtell. "Because that's…that's what you do. That's what the word 'investigator' means."
- Yeah, you solve the case and NOT pass draconian laws to punish a group of people you despise who had nothing to do with the childs murder.


OR - Take steps to protect identity

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01/11/2008

SUTHERLIN — Jan Margosian asked for a show of hands as she probed the crowd at the Sutherlin Community Center on Thursday evening.

The consumer information coordinator for the Oregon Department of Justice said she likes to get to know her audience a bit before she speaks to them.

Margosian asked which age groups people fit into; whether they drive SUVs or pickup trucks; whether they earn $50,000 a year or more; whether they have credit cards from Visa, Mastercard and American Express; whether they have a cell phone; whether they eat out twice a week or more; and whether they use a debit card more than once a day.

After she was finishing querying the audience of about 65 people, Margosian scolded them.

Why in the world would you tell me all that stuff? It’s none of my business. That’s a real problem that we’ve got,” she said.

Margosian was one of several speakers at a community forum on identity theft organized by Rep. Bruce Hanna, R-Winchester, and Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers. It followed a similar forum a year ago in Cottage Grove.

We’ve been telling people, giving them personal information about us for the last 20 to 30 years. They just ask it and we give it to them. And it’s coming back to haunt us. And it’s coming back and forth in identity theft,” she said.

Identity theft, Margosian said, is the fastest-growing crime in the world. The proliferation of the Internet and electronic commerce has given consumers more choices, but it has also broadened the opportunities for scam artists.

“You could be scammed by somebody in Nigeria just as easily as somebody in Scio,” she said.

Oregon ranks 13th among states for identity theft, with 76.1 victims per 100,000 residents, according to a 2006 study by the Federal Trade Commisison. Much of it is tied to methamphetamine use, Myers said.

Margosian said people have been conditioned to answer personal questions, whether they come through phone calls, surveys sent through the mail, the information cards included with new appliances that have nothing to do with the warranty, and in-store surveys. People sign up for sweepstakes in which they have no chance of winning, while the collector of the information compiles the data and sells it to marketing companies.

Those are the same techniques that could be used to target people to steal their identities, she said.

Margosian told audience members the first thing they should do after getting home was to call or go online and have a freeze placed on their credit files so that they do not receive any pre-approved credit card or insurance offers in the mail.

Identity thieves target mailings from those offers to open fraudulent accounts in which they can charge thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that can be sold to obtain money for drugs. Many of those mailings also include convenience checks that could be used by anyone.

“Don’t you all have enough insurance and credit cards? If you want it, you know where to get it, right?” Margosian asked.

To opt out from those offers, the major credit reporting agencies operate a centralized request center. Call (888) 567-8688 or go online to www.optoutprescreen.com.

Margosian also recommended against the use of single-cut shredders to destroy documents containing sensitive personal information. Documents shredded with those machines can easily be pieced back together.

Cross-cut shredders provide adequate security by slicing paper both horizontally and vertically. Single-cut models only shred vertically.

Identity theft is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. The 2007 Oregon Legislature created a new crime of aggravated identity theft for those involved in multiple cases. That crime is a Class B felony that starts with a sentence of 19 months, with additional time added for those with previous convictions.


NY - Change in Cicero sex offender law

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Why, because it violates ex post facto laws in the Constitution. All states should do this.

01/11/2008

CICERO -- On the heels of a lawsuit, the town of Cicero is changing its sex offender residency laws.

In 2006, the town board passed legislation that declares level two and three sex offenders cannot live within 1,500 feet of a daycare center or park or within a mile of a school.

The registered sex offender, who filed the lawsuit, moved into the home 15 years before the law was put into effect.

This morning the town voted three to one, to change the law.

Now if a registered sex offender lived in his or her home before November 2006, they can stay in their home.

Cicero's Deputy Supervisor Jim Corl drafted the law. He was not present for this mornings vote.


CA - Panel to hear concerns on sex offender regulations

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01/08/2008

Many parolees to register as transients due to 2,000-foot rule

SAN FRANCISCO — California's new anti-predator law has forced many paroled sex offenders into homelessness, made residential treatment facilities off limits and threatened to steer police assets away from the most dangerous sex criminals, according to testimony Monday before a state panel.

The hearing at City Hall in San Francisco was the first of three across the state this week where law enforcement, treatment providers and the public can lodge their concerns over Proposition 83.

The California Sex Offender Management Board, which held the hearing at City Hall in San Francisco, is expected to recommend changes this month in a report to the Legislature.

Proposition 83, known as Jessica's Law, passed in November 2006, toughening penalties for many sex crimes. Its most controversial provision bans newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children "regularly gather." It also requires lifetime GPS monitoring of freed sex felons.

Since the state began to enforce the 2,000-foot rule this fall, San Francisco has seen the most extreme fallout, with virtually no space for sex offender parolees to live. The result: Dozens of sex offenders there have opted to register as transients, bouncing from bed to bed or sleeping outside to avoid a parole violation.

A MediaNews story last week highlighted a Bay Area-wide increase in the number of released sex offenders who are registering as transients, sometimes at their parole agents' suggestion.

Most of them wear GPS anklets and they must check in daily with their parole agents. Critics say a lack of stability could make homeless sex offenders more prone to commit new crimes.

"We need to know what we can do to house this population, rather than them becoming desperadoes," said San Francisco Supervisor Jake McGoldrick. "They're telling people to hit the streets. You defeat the whole purpose."

The law left unclear just who will monitor sex offenders with GPS once they leave parole, as more than 600 sex offenders already have. Also, it sets no penalty for their failure to comply.

Changes could include how authorities measures 2,000 feet. Parole agents now mark off the distance — about four-tenths of a mile — "as the crow flies." But the law doesn't make it clear, and one sheriff's deputy noted that major freeways often stand between a home and a park or school.

The author of Jessica's Law, Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, has criticized the state's early enforcement of the law, and said policy makers should find more creative ways to make it work.

"I think the intentions were great, but the ramifications ... people couldn't see it," said sheriff's Sgt. Blayn Persiani of Santa Clara County's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement task force. He said the lifetime GPS provision threatens to sap resources from tracking down dangerous sex offenders who fail to register.

"If we're chasing down GPS alarms all day long, it's just like chasing ghosts," he said. "It's a false sense of security for the public."

The panel meets again today in Bakersfield and Wednesday in San Bernardino.


NY - The House Where They Live




There are 45 sex offenders living in one small Long Island town, 17 on the same block, 7 in a single suburban ranch. Inside a sex-offender cluster.

The house meeting begins promptly at 7 p.m. Mickey paces the living room with a clipboard in one hand, a cigarette in the other. His three newest housemates—Stephen, Hop, and Larry—sit before him. “When you all came to this house, you begged me to move you in,” he says. “Right or wrong?”

“Right,” the men mumble.

“I interviewed everybody, explained how we do things, the whole fucking works. The problem I got right now,” he continues, “I spent three hours cleaning the whole fucking house today. The kitchen was a fucking disaster. I don’t want to see that shit no more, because I will take the microwave, the dishes, the pots and pans, everything out of there, and I will lock it in the basement so we have nothing.”

The men slouch in their chairs and stare at the angelfish darting around a tank in the corner of the room. Mickey plunges ahead, railing against a litany of slovenly offenses. Only Hop offers a meek defense. “I’ve just been here a few days. I’ve always cleaned up after myself.”

At first glance, this could be a scene out of just about any place where strangers live together—a college dorm, a group home, an apartment full of roommates. But the ordinary feel of the meeting belies the strangeness of the situation; all of the men in the room are convicted sex offenders.

This house, in Coram, New York, sits at the center of the largest cluster of sex offenders on Long Island. As of mid-December, according to the state’s sex-offender registry, there were 45 high-risk sex offenders living in this hamlet, seventeen on a single block. And this house has the dubious distinction of holding the highest concentration of offenders in the neighborhood—seven of its nine residents have a sex offense on their rap sheet.

The men—all of whom asked to be referred to by their first names or nicknames for fear of harassment—don’t look particularly menacing, but their stories certainly are: Larry was convicted of raping a 4-year-old girl in 1983, Hop went to prison in 1982 for sodomizing a girl, and Stephen was convicted of rape in 1985. Mickey, 46, also did time for a sex offense. His rap sheet, which extends back to the early eighties, features mostly burglaries and DWIs, but in 2000, he was convicted of sexual assault for pushing a 16-year-old girl into the woods and trying to pull down her pants before she managed to escape.

These men live in this house because, for better or for worse, they have been cast out by society. The nature of their crimes guarantees that they will be identified as sex offenders—or, as they sometimes call themselves, “S.O.’s”—for the rest of their lives, their names, photos, and addresses, along with the particulars of what they’ve done, all available on the Internet. In Suffolk County, they are prohibited from living within a quarter-mile of a school or playground or day-care center. As long as they’re on parole, they can’t leave the county or move in with friends or family who have kids. And once they find a place to reside, the police start knocking on doors to inform neighbors that there is a sex offender in their midst, which often leads to their eviction.

Against this bleak landscape, Mickey’s house is something of a refuge—a place where sex offenders have banded together, trying to help themselves by helping each other. “We ain’t got nobody but ourselves,” says Mickey. “Nobody would help one bit. So we just did it on our own.”

This neighborhood of Coram has never had much to recommend it—just a dozen or so rooming houses that look like typical suburban ranches but for the smell of crack drifting from the windows. The area is better than it once was, but at night, especially when it’s warm, people still swarm the streets, hanging out, buying and selling drugs. “The first time I went out there, I thought I stepped into the movie Night of the Living Dead,” says a local law-enforcement officer. “I almost went for my weapon. People were coming out of the bushes with their arms extended, trying to make a drug deal.”

One thing the neighborhood did have was a landlady who would rent to almost anyone. Mary Dodson had moved to the area in the fifties, and over the years had accumulated so many houses—close to 35—in Coram and neighboring Gordon Heights that the area became known as Dodsonville. In a county with a shortage of low-income housing, her properties became magnets for welfare recipients, homeless people, anyone who needed a cheap place to stay. With these new residents, all sorts of social ills arrived, too—violence, mental illness, open-air drug dealing. Depending on whom you asked, Dodson was a good-hearted Christian taking in people who had nowhere else to go—or a slumlord who had run the neighborhood into the ground for her own financial gain.



By the time Mickey arrived in 2005, Dodson was near the end of her life (she died in 2007, at age 79), and her daughter Bernadette Parks, then 59, was running the family’s real-estate empire. When Mickey turned up at the house Parks shared with her mother, he was desperate for a place to sleep. Parks didn’t ask questions about his past; he looked okay to her. “I put him in his room—a shitty room,” Parks says. “Went back a couple days later. Mickey had it painted, cleaned, fixed nice.” Mickey stayed for a while, then moved to another of her houses. This one, too, they both agree, was a disaster. “A crack house,” Mickey says. “It was terrible. Robbing each other. Fighting. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that was going on.” When Mickey asked if he could take over the management of his house, Parks welcomed the help.

Mickey wanted to live in a house where nobody drank or used drugs. But how could he create a sober house in a drug-infested neighborhood? The answer, he decided, was to fill it with men on parole, who have to submit to regular urine tests. “I decided I’d make it a parole house and let them watch ’em.”

He didn’t set out to fill the house with sex offenders specifically. It just worked out that way because there were so many sex offenders who needed housing. “Parole didn’t know where to put them,” he says. (It’s so hard to find housing that county officials started putting homeless sex offenders in trailers; the plan was to move them from one undisclosed location to another, but since May, the main trailer has been relegated to a parking lot at the county jail.) Word about Mickey’s house spread quickly. It was the best of few options.

His sex-offender house is just down the street from where Parks lives, and though her grandchildren are frequent visitors, she seems undisturbed by its proximity. “Once a person does their time and makes amends, they deserve another chance,” she says. “We shouldn’t be afraid of the people we know who did this—we should be afraid of the people who didn’t get help yet, didn’t get caught yet.”

The fact is that Mickey has made Parks’s life much easier since filling the house with sex offenders. Nearly all of his tenants are on parole and closely monitored. It’s the drunks and drug addicts in her other homes who cause her grief. About her sex-offender house she says, “It’s the best house, because of Mickey. Because he puts down rules. I have some houses that are just the pits because nobody cares.”

Over the past two years, Mickey and Parks have become close friends, spending hours together in Parks’s backyard, sharing cigarettes and neighborhood gossip—which roommates aren’t getting along, who’s smoking crack again, who’s going back to prison. Other residents of her homes sometimes refer to him as “Bernadette’s son,” a line that often gets a double take, since Parks is African-American and Mickey is white. “I think she adopted me without my knowing,” he says.

Every man gets his own room in Mickey’s house—$330 a month if you pay with cash or check, $309 if welfare is paying the rent. The smallest room is not much larger than a prison cell, while the largest, Room 9, is known as the “king’s room.” Or at least that’s what Mickey calls it, and, of course, that’s where he sleeps.

Larry, Stephen, and Hop live at one end of the house. They’re all middle-aged, their sex crimes committed more than twenty years ago. Larry and Stephen are the only two African-American sex offenders in the house, and they’ve formed the beginnings of a friendship. Physically, neither one seems particularly threatening: Larry is a small man at five-foot-five and 110 pounds; Stephen’s most noticeable feature is the absence of his front teeth. “Me and the windshield and the steering wheel had a couple misunderstandings,” he explains. Larry, now 51, cannot read or write, and his illiteracy has made him sympathetic to some of his housemates—even though, as Stephen whispers to me, “he’s a child molester.” Stephen tries to keep tabs on Larry and make sure he meets his curfew, and when no one else is looking, Mickey reads Larry’s mail to him. The housemates know very little about his crime; Larry never talks about it.

Stephen, however, is more forthcoming about his past. His victim, he says, was an ex-girlfriend—he was angry with her because four years earlier she’d dumped him. “I was intoxicated,” he says. “I pushed myself on her, did what I wanted, and that was that. That was the only way, in my mind, y’know, to get even.” He hasn’t been convicted of a sex crime since, though the former heroin addict did make two more trips to prison—in the nineties for attempted robbery, and more recently for selling drugs.



Hop is the only one in the house who loudly insists he didn’t commit the crime for which he was convicted. “I’m an innocent man,” he says. “I no longer care if anyone believes me, to tell you the truth. My mother believed me. My family believes me.” He was arrested at age 17 for sodomizing a young girl and he spent most of his adult life locked up. He served seventeen years in state prison, did five years on parole, got sent back to prison after he stopped taking his psychiatric meds, and then wound up confined in the Manhattan Psychiatric Center for two years. More than most of the men here, he struggles with basic living skills, like remembering to take his pills; bottles of Lipitor sit atop the bureau in his bedroom, untouched. Some days he spends hours at a time alone in his room with the door closed.

This part of the house is rounded out by one other sex offender—a 40-year-old man who was arrested after an instant-message exchange with someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy but who turned out to be a cop—and two housemates who are not sex offenders: a security guard and a cook at Checkers. When asked what he thinks of his roommates, the Checkers cook has no complaints. “They don’t make no noise; they keep quiet,” he says.

Mickey shares his end of the house with John and Bill. John, 58, has been here since 2004, longer than any other sex offender. A former alcoholic and cocaine addict, he was convicted of sodomy in 1996 and spent eight years in prison. Now he’s the house success story, with a full-time job, a relationship with his kids, a shot at a normal life. He works as a forklift operator and sends $200 a week, or 40 percent of his take-home pay, to his daughter in college. A photo of her and his two high-school-age sons sits atop the microwave in his room. “If I didn’t have my kids, I’d be living in a garden apartment,” he says. “The only reason I’m here is because it economically works for me.”

The youngest person in the house is 39-year-old Bill. Before his arrest, he was married, earned $45,000 a year at a technology company, and belonged to an Evangelical church. Then, in 1999, his wife accused him of molesting their 2-year-old daughter. According to Bill’s therapist, Bill was angry at his wife, and the abuse was driven by a desire to get back at her. He spent six years in prison. The crime is a topic Bill doesn’t talk about much; when pressed, he discusses it in oblique terms. “You look back in your past, and there’s always 100 different things you could’ve done differently or better,” he says. “I was very passive-aggressive.”

With wire glasses, salt-and-pepper hair, and a slight paunch, Bill has the look of a computer nerd. And, indeed, there’s enough secondhand computer equipment in his room to power a small company: nineteen PCs, two Macs, and three printers. Though Bill’s crime did not involve the Internet, his parole officer forbade his having Internet access, something Bill finds frustrating. Even so, he spends hours in front of the computer, playing video games.

Though he left prison in early 2006, Bill has yet to find a full-time job. He interviewed for a manager position at Wal-Mart (dressing up in a suit for the occasion) and his prospects had seemed promising—until someone ran a background check. More recently, he secured a part-time gig at a store selling cell phones, but when he learned he’d have access to customers’ Social Security numbers, he had to quit.

“He got into a real slump over the job situation,” Mickey says. “When I’d come home, he’d just sit in his room and wouldn’t talk.” To pull Bill out of his depression, Mickey appointed him his deputy, giving him the title “house manager.” Without a full-time job, Bill has plenty of time on his hands, and he’s embraced his role. Evidence of his excess energy is all over the house. Every week or two, he rewrites the lists of rules that are posted everywhere. Each bedroom door features an elaborate color sign with the room number, tenant’s name, and, in most cases, a cartoon character. For Mickey’s door, he made a poster that reads DO NOT DISTURB MICKEY—HE’S DISTURBED ENOUGH ALREADY.

When the two men first met, Bill was at Parks’s house, waiting to see if he could get a room. “He was just sitting there, shaking like a leaf, because he’s never been in an area like this, and he didn’t know what was going on,” Mickey says. Bill didn’t look like a troublemaker, so Mickey told Parks, “I’ll take him.” Every night, Mickey cooks dinner for Bill and confides in him about his day; Bill, in turn, helps keep Mickey calm and sober. On the weekends, they run errands together—visiting the laundromat, shopping at the discount store with food stamps. Though they make an unlikely pair, Mickey refers to Bill as his best friend.



Two years ago, Bill and another roommate launched a countywide search for a therapist who would accept them as clients. They had little choice in the matter: Parole officers insist that all sex offenders participate in a treatment program—or else risk being sent back to prison. But when you’re a sex offender, it can be difficult to find a therapist willing to take you on. For weeks, the two men scoured the Yellow Pages and made calls. Eventually, they found a social worker named Bill O’Leary who agreed to treat them. His office is only a fifteen-minute drive from the house, but few of the men have cars. “It would take the guys three or four hours to get here for a one- or two-hour session,” O’Leary says. “As the winter came, I felt bad.”

Near the end of 2006, O’Leary started making house calls, running group-therapy sessions every Sunday morning in the living room. The turnout ranges from five to eight and usually includes Mickey, Bill, several sex offenders who live elsewhere, plus a former resident who comes back each week even though he’s no longer on parole. Mickey and Bill always put out a candy bowl and make a pot of coffee.

Some of the men in the house may have tried to forget their crimes, but part of O’Leary’s job is to ensure that those who come to group therapy aren’t able to rewrite their histories. When a new person joins the group, everyone has to tell the story of his crime—no making excuses or skipping over crucial parts. A central tenet of sex-offender-treatment programs is that sex offenders can’t make any progress if they don’t address their actions, motives, patterns of behavior. It’s not enough just to say that they’ll never do it again. “The problem is that you probably never thought you were capable of this in the first place,” John explains. “So if you say you’ll never be capable of doing it again, you’re wrong.”

“You probably never thought you were capable of this in the first place. So if you say you’ll never be capable of doing it again, you’re wrong.”

John doesn’t take part in group, but he participated in a six-month sex-offender-treatment program in prison, then worked as a peer counselor for another eighteen months. Of all the men in the house, he is the most candid about his crime. His victim was the wife of a co-worker. “I assaulted her, tied her up, and forced her to perform oral sex on me,” he says, repeating a sentence he’s said countless times before. The facts of his crime may be no more horrendous than those of his housemates, but discussing it so frankly with him—and realizing I was about the same age as his victim—made the conversation especially chilling. Yet the more we spoke, the more I realized that his willingness to discuss his crime so openly seemed to suggest a different sort of future.

Usually, the conversation in group is about the day-to-day problems of life as a registered sex offender. Some topics come up again and again: Mickey’s struggle to control his temper, Bill’s passive-aggressive tendencies, the frustrations of job-hunting, the challenge of finding a girlfriend, the difficulties of living by parole rules. Avoiding contact with minors, for instance, is not always as easy as it sounds. What happens when you go to McDonald’s and the person behind the register looks like she might be 16? What do you do if you’re exiting the bus and the woman in front of you asks for help with her stroller?

On a recent Sunday morning, O’Leary, 36, reclines in a chair in the living room, hands clasped in his lap, wearing jeans, sneakers, and a white thermal underneath a green T-shirt. Group is supposed to last just one hour, but often the men have so much they want to talk about that it stretches on for nearly three. On this morning, the conversation turns to a favorite subject: the lowly status of sex offenders.

“As far as I’m concerned, the worst criminal that should be watched is the drug dealers,” Mickey says. “They’re the ones who are turning the 16- and 17-year-olds into prostitutes.”

“Does a crime define a person?” O’Leary asks. “You know drug dealers that you met in prison that you felt good about—and there were others you felt were dirtbags.”

“I don’t like none of them,” Mickey insists.

Of course, they know that they are liked even less. “You ask the question to an average Joe: ‘How do they feel about sex offenders?’ And: ‘Oh, I hate ’em. Kill ’em, kill ’em,’ ” says another sex offender.

“I always said this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” Mickey says.

The topic of how sex offenders are perceived by the public provides fodder for debate all week, continuing long after the therapy session ends. The residents, especially John, monitor the news closely for any mention of sex offenders. “I can’t blame society for wanting to register sex offenders. C’mon,” he says. “But I think they should also register drug dealers, guys who do drive-by shootings, arsonists. Let’s be honest. There are a lot of things that are dangerous to children. But what scares people is that they feel vulnerable to us. They really feel like they can’t have their kids go out on the street because one of these guys might grab them. Because what do they see? They don’t meet me, Mickey, guys who are living fairly normal lives. All they see is the news: This guy tried to pull a kid into a car, this guy murdered a little girl. This is all they see.”



In fact, the “stranger danger” notion is mostly a myth (in about 90 percent of child-sexual-abuse cases, the perpetrator is someone the child already knows, like a family member or friend), as is the idea that those who commit sex crimes are typically repeat offenders (only one in seven violent sex offenders in state prison had a prior conviction for a violent sex crime). It’s also not true that all sex offenders are child molesters—or even that all child molesters are pedophiles. Experts have identified two types of child molesters: “situational” and “fixated.” Situational molesters are those who may have romantic relationships with adults but who, under certain circumstances, will commit a sex crime against a child. (Bill, for instance, would fall into this category.) In contrast, fixated molesters are those who meet the definition of an exclusive pedophile, a person who is sexually attracted only to children.

Even in this house full of sex offenders, there is a hierarchy of criminals, with pedophiles at the very bottom. Mickey doesn’t use the terminology of psychiatry, but he does grill prospective tenants about their sex crime and whether they were high or drunk when they committed it. “I want to know what was really in their heads when they did this. Whether somebody is drunk, high, or sober, it’s inexcusable what they did. But you look at the chances of somebody doing it again—the way I look at it is, the one that did it with a clear conscience is the one I got to watch out for the most, and a lot of them I won’t let in the house.”

Mickey started interviewing potential housemates about their crimes after he discovered that one of his tenants had three different criminal cases and at least seven victims, all under the age of 10. “I’m really hoping I don’t do it again,” he said. Mickey’s response: “I’m hoping you don’t do it either, but you’re taking your shit and getting out of my house right now.” Part of his dislike of pedophiles stems from the same sense of revulsion the rest of us feel. But there is another, more personal reason, too: “Those are the people who make the whole S.O. thing as crazy as it is.”

The ever-growing list of rules dictating where sex offenders cannot live has led, not surprisingly, to their clustering in those few places where they can find housing. Near St. Petersburg, Florida, 94 sex offenders live together in a mobile-home park, two and three to a trailer. In Miami, twenty sex offenders are living beneath a bridge, where a probation officer visits them nearly every morning. And as of mid-December, there were 82 sex offenders living in the 30th Street Men’s Shelter in Manhattan, according to the New York State registry.

Over the months I spent visiting this house in Coram, I found myself ricocheting between a sense of revulsion and concern. It was impossible to meet these men and hear their stories and not find myself awake at 3 or 4 a.m., wondering which of them had truly reformed themselves and which were merely trying to convince me of this. But it also seemed obvious that turning these men into modern-day untouchables and relegating them to the fringes of society is not the best idea, either for the men themselves or as a strategy for improving public safety.

A 2007 report by Human Rights Watch found no evidence that residency restrictions reduce crimes against children, and further noted that the sex offenders who are most likely to stay out of jail and not reoffend are those who are not segregated but have “positive, informed support systems—including stable housing and social networks.” This is one of John’s concerns about relegating sex offenders to one particular area. “Isolation is not a good thing,” he says. “One of the things that creates a lot of sex-offender behavior is isolation.”

Mickey has tried to foster a sense of community among the sex offenders in his home, but it’s not always easy. Mickey and Bill rely on each other’s support and friendship, but John, who leaves the house at 5:30 a.m. and goes to bed early, doesn’t have much time for conversation. As for the newer tenants—Larry, Stephen, and Hop—Mickey has tried to befriend them, but Bill keeps more distance, not knowing how long they’ll be around.

Close friendships or not, the men in the house are linked by a shared sense of vigilance. One of the fears about sex offenders living in such close proximity is that they’ll encourage each other’s worst tendencies. But nobody in this house has to be reminded that just one tenant’s committing another sex crime could bring so much negative publicity to their residence that they’d all be homeless once again. The recidivism rate for sex offenders is lower than one might imagine—less than the odds that a car thief or drug dealer or burglar will reoffend. (A 2003 Department of Justice study found that 5.3 percent of sex offenders were arrested for a new sex crime within three years of leaving prison.) And although plenty of tenants have been taken back to jail for violating parole rules, nobody can remember anyone here getting arrested for a new sex crime. Still, the roommates keep an eye on each other.



Several months ago, when a sex offender here stopped taking his psychiatric meds and started acting bizarrely, talking to himself and wandering outside in the middle of the night, Mickey convinced the man’s brother to take him to a nearby hospital so that he could be committed. And one afternoon, when a new housemate who goes by the nickname T jokingly suggested that he and I go out to dinner together, Mickey went ballistic. After I left, Mickey and Bill chastised him for an hour about the inappropriateness of his comment. That night, Mickey called me, then passed the phone to T. A sheepish voice came on the line: “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

At the moment, the tenant Mickey is watching most closely is Larry. Twice he’d caught him sneaking a prostitute into his room in the middle of the night. One night, after he heard the house’s alarm go off, Mickey ran outside with a flashlight and spied a pair of legs sticking out of Larry’s window. One more time, Mickey warned, and Larry would be evicted.

Mickey has a habit of feeding his tenants, especially the new ones. On a weekday evening this fall, he puts his shirt on—he doesn’t usually wear one around the house—and gets ready to pedal off to his drug program. Before he leaves, he leans into the bedroom of his deputy. “Take out the roast beef,” he tells Bill. “You’re going to have to mash the potatoes, drain the carrots.” And he should also look out for Hop: “Check if he ate. I think he’s been starving. If he didn’t, hook him up with a plate.”

Not long afterward, Hop is sitting in the narrow kitchen, hunched over a plate heaping with meat and mashed potatoes.

“It’s good,” he says, shoveling food into his mouth.

“You’re sure? Not too dry?” Bill asks.

“Not with gravy. And they’re real potatoes, too.”

Just then Stephen ventures in and surveys the scene: “I see you guys cooked a wonderful dinner.”

The hint does not go unnoticed. “You can eat some if you want,” Bill says.

Stephen joins Hop at the table and the two men talk about their days (Hop visited his brother, while Stephen went to get a state identification card), about people they knew in prison, about the house. “If you’re doing the right thing in this house,” Stephen says, “nobody will ever let you go hungry. This is paradise.”

But that’s not a bargain all of the roommates are prepared to keep. Larry wasn’t home that night for dinner because he hadn’t made it back from the parole office. On Wednesdays, most of the men in the house make the three-bus trip to Farmingdale to check in with their parole officers. Larry had flunked his drug test that week and been carted back to jail.

His roommates weren’t surprised. He’d been missing his 7 p.m. curfew and hanging out in the neighborhood. It was one of the housemates who’d tipped off the parole officer to give him a drug test.

Inside the house, opinion about Larry was mixed.

Bill: “Larry was bugged. He had something missing upstairs.”

Stephen: “He needed help. He had a good heart.”

Mickey: “He’s what you call a serious crackhead. That’s the only way to put it.”

That night, Mickey searched Larry’s room for drugs, but he didn’t find anything. Then he started sorting through his possessions—underwear, socks, flannel shirts, cassette tapes, CDs—getting them ready for Larry’s relatives to pick up. As he worked, he made a point of closing the door—partly to ensure that no one tried to snatch any of Larry’s belongings, partly so that nobody would see him cry. Nearly every time he cleans out another man’s room he gets emotional. He’d grown attached to Larry over all those hours spent helping him decipher his mail; he thought he’d be able to help him. But there wasn’t much time for tears or regrets. He had to get the room cleaned out. Another sex offender would be arriving soon.


FL - Man kills self after child sex charge

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01/11/2008

Authorities say alleged victim was not a student at Romeo Elementary, where man worked as teacher

A Marion County man was found dead Wednesday of an apparent suicide - the same day that Levy County authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of child molestation.

Randolph Coke Markham, who taught third grade at Romeo Elementary, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a shed behind a relative's house in Morriston, authorities said. Inside the shed, Levy deputies found notes that Markham wrote proclaiming his innocence.

Markham, 28, faced a charge of engaging in sexual activity with a child younger than 12, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Evan Sullivan said.

Sullivan and Marion County School Board spokesman Kevin Christian both said that the victim was not one of Markham's students and that the crimes occurred away from school.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received a complaint that Markham molested a child from 1999 to 2003.

The Marion School Board placed Markham on paid administrative leave in October, Christian said.

"Any time there are allegations of this nature, we take these actions," he said.

Sullivan said Markham knew about the warrant.

Markham had an attorney who had asked, if charges were filed, to be contacted. The lawyer would then arrange to have Markham turn himself in.

"That's not out of the ordinary," if the person is not an escape risk or a threat to the community, Sullivan said.

When Markham didn't show up when he was supposed to turn himself in, people began searching for him.

The body was found in a shed behind 7850 S.E. 175th Ave. in Morriston. Authorities say Markham hooked up pipes from a vehicle into the building, closed up and locked the structure, then pumped carbon monoxide inside.

Fumes were so thick that the person who discovered him also was overcome and fell to the ground, Sullivan said. A 911 call was made from the residence at 1:29 p.m. When rescuers arrived, they found Markham and the person who discovered him in the shed. Markham could not be revived.

Markham began teaching at Romeo Elementary in August 2006. He grew up near Romeo, where many of his family and friends live.

Romeo resident Nita Brass said she knew Markham all his life.

"He was always laughing, always having fun," Brass said of Markham. "He was as nice to talk to as anybody."

"I knew he had run into some bad problems," she said. "I guess he just couldn't take it."


UK - McCann fury at 'Maddie' for hire

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01/10/2008

THE boss of a lookalike agency who hopes to make a fortune out of a little Madeleine McCann double said last night: “It’s not sinister – it’s entertainment.”

Shona Adams reckons three-year-old Kelsey Lynn Kudla’s similarity to missing Maddie could earn her £9MILLION for starring in a proposed feature film about the vanished tot.

And Adams is ready to take a 20 per cent cut. The 41-year-old, who runs London’s Juliet Adams Model Agency, said: “If the film about Madeleine is ever made, then the world is Kelsey’s oyster.

“If someone like Steven Spielberg made it, she could make £9million easily – of which I’d take 20 per cent. She will become a name in her own right and make it as a child model or actress because she’s got her foot in the door.

“And from there, her earning potential is limitless. It’s not sinister. And if the McCanns are upset, there’s nothing they can do because it’s a democracy.

“I wouldn’t back away from it because, if a film is being made, then it’s entertainment.”

Parents Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leics, have denied reports that a movie is to be put into production about their daughter, who would now be four.

‘ This is a shameless money-making scheme... her actions are disgraceful, hurtful and offensive ’

But their spokesman Clarence Mitchell has refused to rule it out – and admits money is needed to continue their privately funded search for Maddie, who vanished on holiday in Portugal last May.

Adams became aware of Kelsey’s resemblance to Maddie after the innocent girl’s mum contacted her website from her US home.

Kris Pfister said she had heard of the movie plan – and that shoppers had stopped her daughter seven times in one day to point out her likeness to Maddie.

Incredibly Adams says a staggering 120 potential doubles have been sent to her from wannabe Maddie lookalikes worldwide.

She said outside her messy two-bed flat in a high-rise block in South London: “I thought Kelsey was a great lookalike, that’s why I took her on. We’d like her to do a Crimewatch reconstruction.

“She’d probably only get the minimum rate but it would get her exposure and have potential to launch her into bigger things.”

Divorced mum-of-one Adams also claimed Kelsey would HELP the McCanns – by showing how Maddie would develop with age.

Asked how she felt about profiting from a girl who may already be dead, Adams said: “Let’s hope she’s not. Let’s find Maddie.”

And asked how Kate McCann might feel about her plans, she admitted: “It’s sad.” But she added: “If a film is going out, it can go out with or without their blessing – that’s how it has to be.

Taste

“They know they’ve been in the limelight and have got publicity.

“I wouldn’t put Kelsey in a position of doing anything bad taste. If there was legislation against it, that’d be different. But there isn’t.”

Other kids on the agency’s website include Harry Potter lookalikes, mini David Beckhams and a schoolgirl Coleen McLoughlin.

There is also a mini England football team and kids who look like golf superstar Tiger Woods.

The website offers youngsters for “events”, TV commercials, films, music videos “and more”.

Mum Kris told last night of Kelsey’s “emotional bond” with Maddie. She said: “When we heard a film might be made, Kelsey said ‘Mommy, I could play Madeleine’.

“Every night she prays for Maddie. This is not about us using the situation, we really want to help. If a documentary or film could do anything, it’s well worth it.”

But Kris added: “I’ve contacted a number of agencies, but we don’t have a deal with any of them.”

McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell called Adams’ actions “disgraceful, hurtful and offensive”. He said: “This is a shameless money-making scheme.

“This woman and her agency have made no effort to seek permission from us. If she had, she would have been refused.”


OH - Glamour article reveals how stings affect families

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See the comments at the end for the vicious comments from PJ staff!

01/10/2008

Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley and Columbus Public Defender Bob Wadkins had their names appear in Glamour magazine for the first time.

And it'll probably be the last.

Both men played their part in a story in the January issue about the former wife of Todd William West -- one of 20 men snared in the July 2006 "To Catch a Predator" sting in Harris County. The article describes the tumultuous journey of Dianna Strawder, a mother of two girls, who was engaged to West when the "Dateline NBC" show caught him.

Strawder married West after his arrest, though she divorced him in October 2007, the article states. Jolley said in the article that she deceived herself -- the divorce doesn't surprise him.

"I figured that would happen," he said. "It's very difficult to have a relationship with someone in jail, especially a new relationship, and I don't think she knew him that well. Unfortunately, that guy's going to be a frog, not a prince."

West pleaded guilty to attempted child molestation and attempted statutory rape before Harris County Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters in February 2007. He was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by 15 years of probation. The magazine states West received two consecutive 10-year sentences in a state where penalties for such crimes are severe.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Mark Post and Wadkins pointed out the magazine's error.

"She probably should have put what was actually in there," Wadkins said of the mistake. "I thought it was a very nominal sentence, especially that he can be paroled after two to three years."

Wadkins' name is mentioned near the end of the article, when Strawder and her daughters met him at The Rankin restaurant to discuss West's restrictions under probation. The story states that tears blurred Strawder's vision when she learned West couldn't live with her daughters.

"It just deflated them totally," Wadkins said. "I had no idea she didn't already know that. When I said it, it just hit her like a ton of bricks."

Strawder divorced West because of her children, the article states. She told Glamour that she set her children aside at one point of her life, during an addiction to drugs, and that she wouldn't do that again.

Her choice to leave West wasn't because of what he did, the magazine states. Her daughters grew angry with her when she told them of her choice, and they remain upset about his sentence and how they said "Dateline" tore them apart.

Wadkins agrees with Strawder's take on "To Catch a Predator," saying the show wouldn't be as popular if viewers saw the lives it affected beyond the predators.

"It wouldn't sell any soap, and it wouldn't sell any cars," Wadkins said.

Peters agreed that others get hurt in a situation such as West's, but he lay blame at the perpetrator's feet. Many may fantasize about a relationship with someone underage, but actually driving to the Harris County house showed the intentions were real, Peters said.

"There's nothing glamorous about a sexual predator," he said.


The comments at Perverted-Justice in their forum?:

summerbreeze wrote:
Try the county jail where he was convicted...I'm finding more and more are in county rather than state.

Funny note - when I notified all of his MySpace friends, not knowing who his wife was, of course, she sent me a note back saying "No shit! I'm his wife!" That's all she had to say. LOL I did have a feisty young girl who wanted to defend him while bashing all of us here...I let her have a couple of messages with her say and then cut her off. Sometimes I'm just too nice for my own good

ETA: Sometimes these county jails will keep "low level" inmates throughout their term - it just depends on where it is, and is a pain to try to keep up with.

Xavier Von Erck wrote:
Sex predator (Glamour article)
http://www.glamour.com/news/articles...12/sexpredator

It's eight pages long, but really, it gives you a good insight into how dumb some of these women married to these predators are. Not to mention her, but her kids as well, who have obviously been given very little education by their ex-crystal meth mother.

The story is quoted in the next post.

Props to the follow-up individual who drilled their Myspace contacts. We find out via this article that none of their Myspace friends had known, they were purposely keeping their Myspace community in the dark. Follow-up opened those eyes, kudos to you.

Obviously this person doesn't like us now because she's suckling the stick of denial and the story is written from her perspective, so it has a few lines of bullshit about how we should feel sorry for her, but otherwise the writer didn't do THAT bad of a job writing the story... though they should have included a link to his chat and conviction writeup.

Which can be found here: http://www.perverted-justice.com/?ar...in_the_night_x

Anyways, interesting story that really delves into the mindset of just how deluded and dumb these females can be.

And there are MANY more. Calling his wife a "bitch", etc....


OH - 10-Year-Old Arrested, Accused Of Rape

View the article here

This is just insane. A kid this young does not know what he/she is doing. Why take him to court and through this mess?

01/10/2008

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP -- Deputies in Clark County said a 10-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday on a rape charge.

Investigators said the boy is accused of having sex with his 7-year-old stepsister. The boy is being held in Juvenile Detention.

Det. Jim Conley said, “This is very unusual. To my knowledge, this is the only case of this type that we have had in the last year or so.”

Deputies said the alleged rape happened sometime between Dec. 21 and Dec. 25 in the home where the two children lived with the girl’s mother.

The case remains under investigation.


FL - Home For Multiple Sex Offenders Sparks Concern In NW Jax

View the article here

01/10/2008

JACKSONVILLE -- Concern is building in a Northwest Jacksonville community where neighbors say a home for multiple sex offenders is too close for comfort.

Residents who live along Wandering Trail said they recently started receiving fliers in the mail from the sheriff's office letting them know a sex offender had moved into the area.

They said they later found out there were multiple offenders living under the same roof near a place where their children play.

"There's nothing wrong with rehabilitating, but you don't rehabilitate someone with that type of a problem near 15 children," said resident Diane Knowles.

"(I'm) very worried. Sit up at night wondering if someone's going to try and get in window or not," another resident told Channel 4.
- Why don't you purchase a gun, security system, etc?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site lists six sex offenders registered as living at the same address on Wandering Trail.

Channel 4 learned a religious organization called Philadelphia Christian Center owns the property where the sex offenders live.

A member of that organization told reporter Scoot Johnson by phone that there's "nothing to talk about" and that the home "meets all the legal requirements."

However, that did not mean much to Wandering Trial neighbor Larry Knowles.

"I told him that didn't matter to me," he said. " There's a lot of children around here, and that all that matters to me."

The community invited city officials to a meeting Thursday evening to determine if the sex offender's living situation is illegal.

"Only if they're unrelated. If there are six unrelated people living in single family dwelling, that could be a violation of the zoning code," said Charlie Wilson, of the city of Jacksonville.
- Oh give me a break. What difference is it if 6 family members live in the same home, or 6 strangers? This is more BS to find some way to make them leave.

The city's code compliance division said it had not determined how many people are actually living in the home. Neighbors said they know of six offenders who have lived in the home, but one of the sex offenders may have moved.
- What, you mean the registry is not useful enough to show if 6 people are living in the home? Why not?

Officials said there's no law of which they are aware that would limit sex offenders from living in the neighborhood near Wandering Trial.

The city's investigation of the living situation is ongoing.


VT - Vermont officials assist in catching Conn. Internet sex predator

View the article here

01/10/2008

The South Burlington Police Department and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in a multistate effort that led to the imprisonment of a 52-year-old sexual predator.

Joseph Cote of Enfield, Conn., pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and one count of possession of child pornography on Oct. 19. He was sentenced Monday to 10 years and three months in prison, which will be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Cote must file as a registered sex offender upon his release from prison.

South Burlington police detectives and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force helped begin the investigation when they identified Cote in January 2006, after he attempted to entice a female that he believed to be 14-years-old.


WA - House Democrats outline sex crime bills

View the article here

01/10/2008

OLYMPIA (AP) -- House Democrats pledged Thursday to pass seven sex-crime bills suggested by Gov. Chris Gregoire's (Email) task force, and promised to work with minority Republicans on ramping up sex-crime laws even further.

Jumping on a politically touchy issue that could resurface during the fall elections, Democratic leaders said they will continue to build on a foundation of strong sex-crime policies, including involuntary civil commitments and tough criminal sentences.

Lawmakers also pledged to put money behind their demands for increased police emphasis on sex offenders - something that hasn't always been done in the past.

"We need to make sure our laws are tough, but that they're tough laws that can actually be used by our police and prosecutors," said House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler (Email), D-Hoquiam.

The proposals stem from a sex offender policy task force led by Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge. The panel of experts was convened last year by Gregoire after the July kidnapping and killing of a 12-year-old Tacoma girl. A convicted sex offender has been charged in her death, but he has pleaded not guilty.

The largest piece of sex-offender spending discussed Thursday is Gregoire's request for a $5 million grant program to pay police to conduct in-person visits with sex offenders. Low-risk offenders would get annual checkups under the plan, with the highest-risk sex criminals being seen four times a year.

House Democrats also said they support the task force recommendation that all registered sex offenders submit DNA samples for a statewide database.

Hauge expects the DNA plan to draw legal challenges from offenders whose original sentences did not include any DNA sampling conditions, but he said it was worth fighting for because the information would be invaluable to investigators.

Lawmakers also emphasized support for victims' services, which Gregoire has tabbed at $830,000 in her budget. Having caseworkers and other support available for sex-crime victims helps ensure that victims will testify in criminal cases, a crucial component for ensuring convictions, officials said.

House Democrats said they also support:

  • Another $1.6 million requested by Gregoire for satellite-based offender tracking, additional community corrections officers, and a coordinated push to capture wanted sex offenders.
  • Adding information about the least-risky sex offenders to the state notification Web site if those offenders don't keep their addresses updated with police.
  • Better flow of conviction information between city and county courts.
  • A sex offender policy board, which would develop best practices, review cases and advise sentencing experts and the Legislature.
- What about intervention? When someone commits a crime the 1st time, get them treatment which they need. Where is this discussion? All I hear is lock em' up. You need to help them, then there might not be a second time.

House leaders said any additional sex-crime proposals need to be vetted by prosecutors and victims' advocates before joining the agenda.

House Public Safety Committee Chairman Al O'Brien (Email), D-Mountlake Terrace, said a Republican proposal to coordinate deportation of sex offenders who are in the country illegally was a promising idea.

Minority House Republicans said they welcomed the chance to work with Democrats on the issue, which has been a priority for the GOP caucus. "What it shows me is they're taking a careful look at our leadership and what we're doing, and coming more alongside our line of thinking," said Rep. Kirk Pearson (Email), R-Monroe.
- What about upholding the Constitution while your at it? Which you all took an oath to uphold. Guess that was yet another lie!

Senate Democrats said they would consider the House proposals, but didn't have their own sex-crimes agenda.

On the Net:

Legislature: http://www.leg.wa.gov
Gov.: http://www.governor.wa.gov