Monday, April 21, 2008

MI - Sex crime sends former Genesee County special police deputy to prison

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FLINT -- A former special police deputy was sent to prison Monday for having sex with two young teen girls.

Genesee Circuit Judge Richard B. Yuille told Alan E. Trimue Jr. that his selfishness and immaturity had "left a trail of destruction" and had besmirched the reputation of other special deputies with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department.

Trimue, 29, of Flint was sentenced to six years five months to 15 years in prison for third-degree criminal sexual conduct, two to five years for attempted kidnapping and two years for felony firearm.

Trimue pleaded no contest to the charges last month. The no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as that at sentencing.

His attorney, Frank J. Manley, said Trimue isn't a sexual predator but rather a man with diminished mental capacity who made bad judgments.

"It doesn't excuse what happened," said Manley, adding that Trimue is sorry.

David Mayes, an assistant Genesee County prosecutor, said Trimue's actions violated the public trust.

Trimue was arrested last June on charges that he took two girls, then 13 and 14, to area motels for sex during a seven-month period that began in December 2006.

Their mother had apparently asked Trimue to talk to the girls about their unruly behavior and thought he was a deputy because he had a badge, uniform and gun.

Trimue, however, had no real police authority and was instead was a two-year member of the county's special deputy program used for duties like crowd control. He has since been released from the program.

Yuille told Trimue that he had broken trust of the girls' mother and that the harm caused the girls may not been known for years to come.

Trimue, as well as a family member of the victims, declined to make a statement before the sentencing.

Under terms of the sentence, Trimue will also have to register as a sex offender.

OH - Ohio License Plates

This is a joke folks, not for real. Sorry if anybody thought it was real. I found the picture at Google images, here.

I think they left out a bunch, like:

  • Murderer
  • Drug Dealer
  • Drug User
  • Child Abuser
  • Deadbeat Dad
  • Hypocrite
  • Vigilante
  • Terrorist
  • Black
  • White
  • Mexican
  • KKK Member
  • Just to name a few...


View the article here

See the videos at the end... Scary stuff...

Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention.[1] Throughout history, eugenics has been regarded by its various advocates as a social responsibility, an altruistic stance of a society, meant to create healthier and more intelligent people, to save resources, and lessen human suffering.

Earlier proposed means of achieving these goals focused on selective breeding, while modern ones focus on prenatal testing and screening, genetic counseling, birth control, in vitro fertilization, and genetic engineering. Opponents argue that eugenics is immoral. Historically, a minority of eugenics advocates have used it as a justification for state-sponsored discrimination, forced sterilization of persons deemed genetically defective, and the killing of institutionalized populations. Eugenics was also used to rationalize certain aspects of the Holocaust. The modern field and term were first formulated by Sir Francis Galton in 1883,[2] drawing on the recent work of his cousin Charles Darwin. From its inception eugenics was supported by prominent people, including H.G. Wells, Emile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, William Keith Kellogg and Margaret Sanger.[3][4] G. K. Chesterton was an early critic of the philosophy of eugenics, expressing this opinion in his book, Eugenics and Other Evils. Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities. Funding was provided by prestigious sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the Harriman family.[5] Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenicists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenics' scientific reputation started to tumble in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rüdin began incorporating eugenic rhetoric into the racial policies of Nazi Germany.

Since the postwar period, both the public and the scientific communities have associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, such as enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of undesired population groups. However, developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century have raised many new questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is in the modern era.

War on the Weak by Liam Dunaway / Eugenics Legislation Video

From Alex Jones' EndGame

DNA tests offer deeper examination of accused

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This is just too spooky for me. Reminds me of Minority Report and Nazism by checking to make sure you match a specific trait of the "Master Race!" Check out this blog item about Eugenics!


Second-generation tests may shed light on biological, emotional states

Twenty years after DNA fingerprints were first admitted by American courts as a way to link suspects to crime scenes, a new and very different class of genetic test is approaching the bench.

Rather than simply proving, for example, that the blood on a suspect's clothes does or does not match that of a murder victim, these "second generation" DNA tests seek to shed light on the biological traits and psychological states of the accused. In effect, they allow genes to "testify" in ways never before possible, in some cases resolving long-standing legal tangles but in others raising new ones.

Already, chemical companies facing "toxic tort" claims have persuaded courts to order DNA tests on the people suing them, part of an attempt to show that the plaintiffs' own genes made them sick -- not the companies' products.

In other cases, defense attorneys are asking judges to admit test results suggesting that their clients have a genetic predisposition for violent or impulsive behavior, adding a potential "DNA defense" to a legal system that until now has held virtually everyone accountable for their actions except the insane or mentally retarded.

Some gene tests are even being touted for their capacity to help judges predict the likelihood that a convict, if released, will break the law again -- a measure of "future dangerousness" that raises questions about how far courts can go to abort crimes that have not yet been committed.
- What a crock of s--t! Pretty soon, as soon as someone is born, they will test your DNA and because you do not fit the "master race" scheme, you will be disposed of....

Most of these tests are still research tools hovering on the margins of admissibility; only a few have made the leap from the lab bench to the courtroom. But scientists' expanding ability to query people's genes, and lawyers' efforts to introduce those findings as evidence, are forcing scholars and judges to think in new ways about the Constitution's protections against self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure.

‘The outer reaches of genetic testing’
At its extreme, the prospect of getting an accurate handle on future dangerousness challenges the very notions of autonomy and free will that are at the core of any theory of criminal responsibility.

"So far, judges have been cautious," said Karen Rothenberg, dean of the University of Maryland School of Law. But given what Rothenberg calls the "love affair" that courts have had with DNA fingerprints, she and others fear that judges and juries will fall too quickly for the new tests.

"As the cost of gene testing comes down . . . we're likely to see clever defense counselors taking steps to use the outer reaches of genetic testing," said Judge Andre M. Davis of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, speaking at a recent Baltimore roundtable co-sponsored by the law school and the National Human Genome Research Institute. "The question is, can the judge manage the case so the jury is not taken down the primrose path of genetic test results?"

Shadows of eugenics (Wikipedia)
Genes have had a rocky relationship with justice, dating at least to the early years of the last century, when eugenics laws encouraged forced sterilizations to break the cycle of "inherited criminality."

"Shiftlessness, nomadism, pauperism all were assumed to have biological and genetic causes," said Jeffrey R. Botkin, a physician and ethicist at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Today, Botkin said, scientists know that genes are only part of what adds up to human health and behavior. But with environmental influences more difficult to pin down and a torrent of new, if preliminary, DNA findings to choose from, lawyers and judges are once again being tempted to lean heavily on genes to help them make difficult legal decisions, he said.

Civil courts were the first to start admitting and in some cases even compelling second-generation DNA tests. A survey led by Rothenberg and University of Maryland Associate Dean Diane Hoffmann found that in 127 court cases that involved health-related DNA information, more than half had to do with medical malpractice, and most of those were birth-injury claims in which a parent blamed a doctor for a child's neurological or developmental problems. Judges have increasingly granted doctors' requests that such children be tested for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation.

The tests can bring much-needed evidence to bear but can also be intimidating -- a potential boon for the doctors. In several instances, parents have either dropped or settled their cases rather than submit their children to a definitive diagnosis that could affect their eligibility for health insurance.

In one case, a mother sued a doctor and a hospital, claiming that negligence during her labor and delivery caused her daughter permanent brain injuries. A geneticist suspected that the girl had Angelman syndrome, a rare disease caused by a defective chromosome. The trial court ordered a DNA test, but the mother refused, resulting in her not only losing the case but also being held in civil contempt.

Similar tactics have been used in "toxic tort" cases, in which people sue alleged polluters for causing their medical problems. In these cases, judges can compel tests that look for the hallmarks of DNA damage caused by certain chemicals.

Plaintiffs have prevailed when the signature DNA injury was found. By contrast, in a case in which a company was sued by people who blamed their various ailments on the company's benzene pollution, the company was found not liable after tests on the plaintiffs did not find the telltale DNA changes caused by benzene.

Measuring a life span
Less well developed but potentially more contentious are genetic tests that can help predict how long a person will live.

Anticipated life span can be a big factor when deciding how much a wronged person deserves in money damages -- for example, how much a person might have earned over a lifetime if she had not been disabled by a drunken driver. Toward that end, courts have long admitted crudely predictive evidence such as whether the person already had a terminal disease, smoked cigarettes or engaged in "intemperate habits." Some have even compelled tests for the virus that causes AIDS.

Now life-span testing has expanded into the genetic arena, and not just to calculate damages. In one child custody case, a judge granted the father's request that the mother get tested for the gene that causes Huntington's disease, an inherited and incurable disorder that causes dementia in midlife. Half of individuals who have a parent with the disease carry the ticking time bomb, and most choose not to learn their status in advance. When the judge granted the motion, the mother fled the jurisdiction, giving the father a victory, but not on the merits of his custody arguments.

Many genes contribute to longevity; just last month, researchers announced the discovery of more than a dozen genes newly suspected of helping determine a person's life span. Even if all of them were known, they could at best provide a probabilistic estimate. But as those estimates become more accurate, said Hoffmann, the Maryland associate dean, they will force judges and jurors to think hard about a question that has long dogged legal scholars: Should damage awards be linked to projected life span at all?

"If it's for compensation, then yes, that means you'd want to fine-tune it to the details of the individual and their personal life expectancy," Hoffmann said. "But if damages are about deterrence, then that says you don't get off the hook just because you were lucky enough to hit someone who had a short life expectancy."

Born Criminals?
The stakes are much higher and the ethics more complex when second-generation genetic tests enter the criminal courtroom.

U.S. courts have long recognized that criminal responsibility requires a certain modicum of mental acumen. Beyond the well-known plea of insanity, some states recognize a "diminished capacity" defense. And a 2005 Supreme Court decision barred capital punishment for offenders younger than 18, citing scientific findings of an "underdeveloped sense of responsibility" in minors.

But what of the murderers, rapists and other violent criminals who fall outside those narrow bounds? Can some, at least, blame their behavior on their genes?
- No, this is a bunch of crap! This is like saying someone if born gay, or born a racist or nazi, it's just junk science, IMO.

Studies have shown that up to 62 percent of antisocial and criminal behavior is "heritable," a rough measure of a genetic contribution. And in a few cases, courts have allowed arguments seemingly akin to "My genes made me do it."

The Supreme Court of South Carolina reversed a murder conviction for a man who shot a shopkeeper in the head, concurring with the killer's attorney that his actions were an outgrowth of severe, genetically rooted depression -- essentially saying that what he did was the result of an inherited disease rather than an act of free will.

But in a 2001 first-degree murder case, a Tennessee court rejected the defendant's claim that an inherited predisposition to depression and mental illness made him incapable of a premeditated act.

All told, defendants hoping to convince juries of their innocence, or at least garner enough sympathy to avoid the death penalty, have had better luck invoking family histories of mental illness than specific gene tests to raise doubts about their culpability. But that is likely to change, experts say, as specific genes get more definitively linked to violence and impulsivity.

One case that may prove to be a harbinger took place in the 1990s, after Stephen A. Mobley was convicted of murdering a Domino's Pizza store manager in Georgia. Hoping to avoid the death penalty, his attorneys asked the court to pay for tests to find out whether Mobley, who came from a family with a history of violent behavior, harbored a mutant gene for a brain enzyme known as MAO-A.

Scientists had just pegged a Dutch family's multi-generational history of fistfights and run-ins with the law to that mutant gene. But the judge in Mobley's case found the association too new, and Mobley was executed in 2005.

Since then, however, a number of studies have strengthened the link between MAO-A and violent behavior, and other genes have been added to the mix. This month, scientists in Israel reported that a version of a gene called AVPR1a is associated with "ruthlessness." And although such tests can offer only the probability that a given behavior will arise, they can sway jurors, experts said, because they seem more scientific than a doctor's clinical assessment.

It is probably only a matter of a time before gene tests are admitted in a criminal trial, at least as evidence in the sentencing phase, said Deborah W. Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School.

"The word 'genetic' is such a loaded term. It's very touchy stuff," Denno said. But it is not as though the kind of testimony already being used in sentencing is particularly scientific, she added.

"The mere fact that your family loves you or that you go to church is allowed as mitigating evidence in a death penalty case," Denno said.

How juries will react
Whether evidence of an inborn penchant for violence can be relied upon to evoke a jury's sympathies is another question, and there is some reason to doubt it.

After Jeffrey Landrigan was sent to death row in Arizona for fatally strangling and stabbing a man -- this, after a previous conviction for murder and an incident in which he stabbed a fellow inmate -- he appealed his sentence to the Supreme Court, claiming that his attorney failed to present evidence of his genetic predisposition to violence.

He lost his plea, but the written opinion of one lower court judge suggested that, had he won, the evidence might have done Landrigan more harm than good.

"The potential for future dangerousness . . . inherent in Landrigan's alleged genetic pre-disposition for violence would have negated its mitigating capacity for evoking compassion," the judge wrote.

Similarly, in a rare case in which a court did accept evidence of a defendant's inborn "propensity to commit murder," that court, in Idaho, considered it an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one, and used it to help justify the death sentence.

What about free will?
Such decisions are worrisome, said Markus Heilig, a research psychiatrist and neurochemist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "To argue that behavior can be predicted, you are arguing this guy does not have free will," Heilig said. "So how can you hold someone accountable?"

Not everyone goes that far.

"Just because you can explain a behavior's cause doesn't mean it is excusable," said Nita Farahany, an expert in behavioral genetics and the law at Vanderbilt University.

Nonetheless, given the potential gravity of second-generation DNA test results, legal scholars have begun to consider the constitutional issues surrounding them.

Several courts have said that taking a blood sample or cheek swab for the purpose of getting DNA is simple enough as to generally not constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. But a different standard may be appropriate if the DNA is going to be used for more than simple identification.

"The standard right now is just 'How physically invasive is it?' " Farahany said. "But the kind of information being obtained should be a factor. It's a pretty serious invasion of privacy to get information that is that content-rich."

Similarly, when interpreting the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incriminating testimony, the Supreme Court has said that the word "testimony" should be taken to mean spoken words. But given scientists' increasing ability to understand the language of DNA, scholars say, that interpretation may need some refinement.

"The courts haven't really faced that issue yet," Farahany said. "But it's a lot like witnessing against yourself."

Blood Money

TX - UMTV Prisoners Meet Victims

TX - Texas Sheriff Thinks Pink

Goes right along with the Nazi concentration camp badges to mark individuals.

Click the image to view the Wikipedia article

Release & Beyond

Return to Honor - Nashville Corrections Speech

IN4LIFE - Join the Mission, Take the Journey

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones on Second Chance Act of 2007

Second Chance Act of 2007

Second chances for everyone except sex offender. How fair is that?

MN - Babysitter charged with endangerment after toddler was allegedly molested

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Baby sitter trying to pull a PeeJ sting herself, and gets charged with child endangerment....


The Anoka County Attorney's Office has charged a woman who was babysitting 2-year-old twin girls last month with felony endangerment after one of the twins was allegedly molested under her care.

Heather A. Peterson, 20, is accused of putting the children in harm's way on March 10 when she exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a man who was later charged with molesting one of the girls, according to a criminal complaint.

Andrew J. Cordie, 20, of Ramsey, was charged last month with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after prosecutors say he molested one of the 2-year-olds in Anoka.

Throughout the day of March 10, Cordie and Peterson, a Ramsey woman with whom he had a previous sexual relationship, had been exchanging text messages. In them, Cordie wrote he wanted to have sex with the baby sitter, the 2-year-old twins she baby-sat and the twins' mother, according to the complaint.

In dozens of the texts, Peterson allegedly gave Cordie permission to perform sexual acts on the toddlers, discussed the type of acts he should perform and said she would take pictures of the acts. She also told Cordie when he could visit and that she would let him into the home.

Peterson told investigators that she was trying to set Cordie up so police could arrest him. She also acknowledged that her actions endangered the twins.

A few hours before Cordie's arrival on March 10, Peterson called police. Anoka police spoke with her, but determined that they could not arrest Cordie because the messages alone were not a crime.

According to the complaint:

Around 7 p.m. Cordie showed up at the Anoka home where Peterson was watching the twins.

Upon entering the house, he grabbed her and one of the toddlers. Cordie dragged them upstairs to a bedroom, where he ripped the woman's clothing off. Peterson told police Cordie began sexually assaulting the child, as well.

Peterson fled the bedroom. Running downstairs, she was able to wake a 17-year-old boy sleeping in the home and then call 911.

The baby sitter and the 17-year-old went back upstairs to find Cordie and the child naked.

When police arrived, officers found Cordie with his pants on but his belt undone. The child was naked. Cordie also had a large knife.

Peterson told police she saw him molesting the child.

Brady Gervais can be reached at 651-228-2171.

NY - Sex offender MySpace ban passed

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A bill that would ban registered sex offenders from social networking Web sites was passed last week by the New York state Assembly.

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act, or e-STOP, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo (Email), D-Endwell, now awaits Senate approval.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (Contact) visited Binghamton in February to champion the bill, which would ban many sex offenders from sites like Facebook and MySpace, and would require them to list their e-mail addresses and Internet screen names with the state.

FL - UF documentary students win award, grant for "Jessie's Dad"

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Video at the end and more above.


By AMBER EHRKE, Alligator Contributing Writer

When a news story bearing a Homosassa dateline came up on his computer screen three years ago, UF Documentary Institute student Boaz Dvir stopped to read it. News from his small Florida hometown rarely showed up in the national media.

He read about Jessica Lunsford, a missing 9-year-old girl who went to the same elementary school his sister did.

"I immediately started following the story," he said. "I became emotionally involved." A year and a half later, Dvir and institute partner Rebecca Goldman started making an observational documentary about Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford.

After spending countless late nights and $10,000 on the movie, the students recently won a $1,000 production grant.

Their hour-long film, "Jessie's Dad," chronicles the crusade of Lunsford, a trucker-turned-activist whose daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a neighbor in 2005. Dvir and Goldman followed Lunsford as he advocated "Jessie's Law" around the country. The law typically establishes mandatory minimum sentences for convicted suspects and restricts where paroled offenders are allowed to live.

"Jessie's Dad" was the only documentary in the country to win a 2008 Carole Fielding Student Grant, which is awarded by the University Film and Video Association. Roberts said there are only a handful of production grants available in the nation. He noted that Goldman and Dvir's grant proposal stood out because of their print-journalism background. He also emphasized the power of Lunsford's story.

In addition to the grant, the students were also awarded a $1,000 Direct Cinema Limited Outstanding Documentary Award.

Dvir said he doesn't care as much for the award as he does for the grant money. The money shows that someone cares about the film and what the documentary-makers are doing, and the money will go toward finishing the film, he said. Winning the grant shows that the story hit a nerve with the judges, he said.

Dvir and Goldman will screen "Jessie's Dad" May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Reitz Union Auditorium. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception.

RSOTheMovie - A story that will touch you inappropriately

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There may be one thing worse than being a sex offender sent to prison: Being a sex offender released from prison. RSO tells the story of one offender's unlikely rehabilitation.

Director's Bio:
Writer/director Bob Byington was recently selected as the Sundance Institute's 2007 Annenberg Feature Film Fellow. Byington's most recent feature film, OLYMPIA, was the Opening Night film at SXSW in 1998. His next project, also a feature film, is titled HARMONY AND ME and stars Justin Rice and Kristen Tucker. It is slated to begin filming in Austin in April 2008.

Searching for Sarah

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I find the sentence below in red offensive, and the reason I posted this. I guess this reporter thinks there is a such thing as a "good rape?" That is what I got from it personally. No rape is a good rape, period! But it does show, IMO, their evilness to get the next "big story!"


By Robert Stacy McCain (Bio)

"Nothing catches an editor's eye like a good rape," gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson once observed, and this month's lurid tales of teenage girls ritually raped in the temple of a Texas polygamist cult caught editors' eyes around the world.

"Documents: Sect married girls at puberty," declared the headline on an April 8 Associated Press story, while the online version of the Everett, Washington, Daily Herald featured this April 10 headline: "Texas cult's girls required to have sex in temple."

British tabloids jumped aboard in the sensationalist Fleet Street tradition, with the Mirror offering a typical screamer: "Horror of the Texas child sex cult ranch." The London Daily Mail soon dubbed the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) the "underage sex cult."

Bizarre and illegal though the FLDS sect's practices may be, however, no one at the "Yearning For Zion Ranch" has yet been charged with rape, polygamy, or any other sex crime.

In fact, the only person arrested in connection with the April 4 raid on the 1,700-acre Texas compound is a Colorado woman whose hoax phone calls may be the source of those tales of ritual rape that unleashed a global epidemic of leering headlines.

OFFICIALS SAY Rozita E. Swinton is a "person of interest" in the cult case, and reports of her arrest strongly suggest that it was the 33-year-old Swinton who called a domestic-abuse hotline in Texas, identifying herself as "Sarah Jessop Barlow."

Claiming to be the 16-year-old mother of an 8-month-old infant and already pregnant again, "Sarah" said she had been forced into a "spiritual marriage" at the FLDS compound when she was only 15. Her parents had brought her to the site when she was 13, "Sarah" said in a series of late-March calls to the hotline, and now she was being held captive as the seventh wife of 50-year-old convicted sex offender Dale Barlow, who she said had once beaten her so badly she suffered broken ribs.

The horrifying details related by "Sarah" caused the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to file an affidavit seeking an emergency protection order that sent dozens of law enforcement and child-welfare officials swarming onto the Eldorado compound, where they took custody of 416 FLDS children.

Four days later, the San Angelo Standard-Times obtained the affidavit, which was then posted online at, and "Sarah" instantly became the world's most famous victim of polygamy.

Even as the brutalized teen's plight was sparking salacious tabloid stories and relentless cable TV coverage, Texas officials were discovering another problem with Sarah Jessop Barlow: She apparently doesn't exist.

MORE THAN TWO weeks after the Eldorado raid, authorities have been unable to identify any such person at the FLDS site -- although they reportedly were desperate to find her. "They are trying to pin it on anybody named Sarah," one of the women at the Yearning For Zion Ranch told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Several young women named Sarah lived at the ranch, the woman said, and the Texas officials interviewed them all in a vain effort to find one who matched the "Sarah" who called the hotline. "They find out and then let them go, then grab another one and try to find out and they let them go....There is just not a Sarah that fits what they said," the FLDS woman told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the man who supposedly raped and abused "Sarah" in Texas was actually living in Arizona. Before the raid, officials issued an arrest warrant for Dale Barlow, who served 45 days in jail last year after being charged with sexual misconduct in 2005 for marrying and impregnating his third wife when she was still 16.

But after interviewing Barlow in Arizona on April 12, Texas officials declined to arrest him. Barlow, who is still on probation, told reporters he hasn't set foot in the Lone Star State since 1977.

ROZITA SWINTON HAS never been a member of the FLDS, and the Colorado woman's known criminal record involves a history of hoax phone calls. When she was arrested last week in connection with the Texas case, Swinton was a fugitive wanted in a Denver suburb.

Authorities there say she called an adoption agency in June 2005, threatening to abandon her baby and commit suicide. But there was no baby. Swinton has no children, the Denver Post reported, and she later pleaded guilty to filing a false report.

The fugitive warrant for Swinton apparently was related to her failure to abide by terms of her sentence in that case. Authorities in Colorado Springs told the Post that a series of February phone calls by Swinton, claiming to be an abused child locked in a basement, caused a frantic, fruitless search for the non-existent victim.

Swinton came to the attention of Texas officials after anti-polygamy advocates with an Arizona-based organization said they also received similar calls from "Sarah," which police then traced to Swinton, who appears to have been obsessed with the FLDS sect.

Texas Rangers "confiscated tons of material on the FLDS" from Swinton's home, Child Protection Project founder Linda Walker told the Houston Chronicle.

THE ORIGINS OF Swinton's alleged interest in the FLDS sect are unclear, although the subject of polygamy have been the focus of intense media publicity in recent years, including Big Love, an HBO series about a fictional Utah clan now in its second season.

FLDS is an offshoot of Mormonism that has been repeatedly condemned by the mainstream LDS (Mormon) church, which disavowed polygamy in 1890. The fundamentalist splinter group took root along the Arizona-Utah border in the 1930s, which was the site of the infamous 1953 "Short Creek Raid" in which 263 FLDS children were seized by Arizona authorities.

The sect's current leader, Warren Jeffs, was once named one of the FBI's Most Wanted fugitives. The son of Rulon Jeffs -- the longtime FLDS "prophet" who died in 2002 -- Warren Jeffs was convicted last fall on charges of being an accomplice to rape, after authorities say he forced a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin.

The manhunt for Jeffs was part of a legal crackdown on polygamy that produced nationwide media attention, fueled in large measure by former FLDS members who have testified to widespread abuse within the sect. One ex-FLDS woman, Carolyn Jessop, last year published a bestselling memoir of her experiences and was featured on a November episode of Oprah.

"Jessop" and "Barlow" are common family names among FLDS members -- when Dale Barlow was indicted in 2005, two other Barlows and a Jessop were indicted along with him.

If Swinton's reported obsession with the sect led her to make hoax calls to the Texas hotline, the name "Sarah Jessop Barlow" might sound authentic enough to fool even experts on FLDS.

DURING TWO DAYS of hearings in Texas, however, the subject of the Colorado hoaxer was never raised. On Friday, District Court Judge Barbara Walther granted state officials custody of all 416 minor children seized from the Eldorado ranch, saying the children were in danger of abuse.

Even as state-appointed guardians were taking custody of the FLDS children, however, reports of Swinton's history of hoaxes caused Internet newshounds to begin researching the Colorado woman. Blogger "DRJ" at made the shocking discovery that Swinton is listed as a pledged delegate for Sen. Barack Obama at next month's state convention of the Colorado Democratic Party.

That surprise twist led to some mordant political humor -- Rusty Shackleford of The Jawa Report noted that if Swinton was "Sarah," the hoax wouldn't be the first "fake but accurate" tale spun by a Democrat -- but serious legal questions surround the FLDS custody case.

The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement questioning "whether the current proceedings adequately protect the fundamental rights of the mothers and children."

After police first swooped down on the Eldorado ranch, the raid was compared to the deadly 1993 raid on another Texas cult compound, David Koresh's Branch Davidian sect near Waco. If it turns out that the FLDS raid was the result of a bogus call from Swinton, however, other comparisons -- to the McMartin Preschool case or the Duke University rape hoax -- may be more appropriate.

Robert Stacy McCain is co-author (with Lynn Vincent) of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party. He blogs at The Other McCain.