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TYLER — A jury again needed just four minutes Thursday to convict an organizer of an East Texas swinger's club where prosecutors say young children were forced to perform sexual acts for an audience.
Shauntel Mayo, 29, faces life in prison after being found guilty on charges that she forced three siblings, ages 7 through 10, to have sex with each other or perform sexual acts for club members who paid to watch.
In March, Mayo's 36-year-old boyfriend, Jamie Pittman, was also found guilty in four minutes. He was sentenced to life in prison after jurors deliberated for just two minutes.
Some jurors cried during testimony in Mayo's three-day trial, the Tyler Morning-Telegraph reported.
Mayo was convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity and two counts of sexual performance of a child. The punishment phase was to begin later Thursday.
During the trial, the children testified how Mayo and other defendants began teaching them at age 5 how to dance and perform sex acts. They were also given drugs, which the adults called "silly pills," to help them perform.
Four other defendants in the case are awaiting trial.
Friday, May 9, 2008
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The Arts Factory, a private entertainment venue in Bayonne, has canceled an upcoming appearance by the former drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd after learning that the musician is a registered sex offender in Florida.
Thomas Delmer "Artimus" Pyle, 59, played with the southern rock group during the 1970s until a plane crash in 1977 killed band members Ronnie Van Zant, Cassie Gaines and Steve Gaines. Pyle survived and continued playing with bands and as a solo act but landed in trouble when he was arrested in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., in 1992 on charges of sexual battery against two girls, ages 4 and 8, according to published reports.
In a 1993 plea agreement, Pyle was sentenced to eight years probation and had to register as a sex offender, reports said.
Reports said that in November 2007 Pyle was arrested in St. John's County, Florida, on charges that he failed to register in person as a sexual offender. Efforts to reach the St. John's County Sheriff's Office to learn Pyle's current status were unsuccessful.
Pyle, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, was touring last year with the band Deep South.
The drummer was scheduled to play the Arts Factory on June 13, but after City Councilman Anthony Chiappone advised the management about Pyle's background, the booking was scratched.
Chiappone said that after he learned about Pyle's situation from two city residents - the mother of a child who attends the Bayonne YMCA day camp and city employee Ricky Pasquale - he immediately contacted Arts Factory co-owner Greg Bukshowany to urge him to cancel the show.
In a prepared statement, Bukshowany said: "We at the Arts Factory were appalled in learning about the background of Artimus Pyle and, as a result of receiving this information, we have immediately canceled his performance."
Bukshowany said that Pyle was recommended by a Skynyrd Tribute Band playing the Arts Factory.
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I have changed the title of this news article, which I think is very relevant. Why is FamilyWatchDog condoning this criminal activity?
A registered sex offender who drives around town with a puppy in his lap and hangs out at schools, parks and soccer games has one man so unnerved he made a public spectacle of himself Wednesday morning outside the Battlement Mesa Activity Center.
Travis Metcalf made such a display that he was issued a citation by police for disorderly conduct after allegedly threatening a registered sex offender. He has a court appearance set for June 25.
Other witnesses to the outburst told attendants inside the activity center, 398 Arroyo Drive, to call the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department because a fight between two men was imminent, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said.
Metcalf said he was telling everyone that Timothy Alan Larsen, 62, of Battlement Mesa, is a registered sex offender.
Larsen was convicted of sexual assault on a child in 1997, spent seven years behind bars and is now a free man, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Larsen has no restrictions on where he can live, where he can go or whom he can associate with, McGinnis said.
The only thing Larsen is required to do is register with local law enforcement and keep the Sheriff’s Department advised of his current residence, which he is doing, she said.
“He is absolutely in compliance,” McGinnis said.
Yet, according to Metcalf, he’s been acting suspicious.
- Then call the police idiot!!!
“He hangs out at the elementary school watching the little boys go to school, he goes to the soccer field and watches the little boys practice,” Metcalf said.
When he saw Larsen at the activity center, where a temporary preschool is being held, Metcalf admits he lost control of his emotions.
“I was screaming at the top of my lungs at him,” said the 34-year-old Metcalf, a husband and a father of three children, ages 14, 12 and 5. “I ended up getting a ticket for disorderly conduct out of the deal.”
McGinnis said deputies had little choice in the matter.
“(Larsen) is a sex offender, but he has rights,” McGinnis said. “We have the responsibility of keeping him safe as well.”
Metcalf said he understands that, but he was told authorities would not act unless Larsen broke the law.
- Yeah, so why didn't you alert the police, then leave him alone, you stalker!!
“That’s what they said: They’ve got to catch him with his hand in the cookie jar. And I said, ‘That is really nice, being that the cookie jar is going to be a 6-year-old boy,’ ” Metcalf said.
- That is your opinion. I agree, it looks suspicious, but he has rights.
After the confrontation, Larsen was banned from returning to the activity center, said Bob Jasper, district manager of the Consolidated Metropolitan District, which oversees the activity center.
- Banned how? Did he go to the court and a judge say this? If not, then what right do you have to ban the person from a public place?
Despite his June 25 court date, Metcalf said he is keeping the pressure on Larsen by distributing fliers with Larsen’s picture and identifying information, and Metcalf is attempting to organize a “parent watch” to raise public awareness.
- And this is harassment... The Colorado registry says, and I quote:
"Note: The following information is provided as an awareness tool so that you can adequately protect yourself and your children from these individuals. The use of the sex offender registry information to harass, endanger, intimidate, threaten or in any way seek retribution on an offender through illegal channels is prohibited. Any person who engages or participates in such acts may be charged criminally."
“I don’t want him arrested. I just don’t want him hanging out watching kids,” Metcalf said. “(For anyone convicted of a sexual offense on a child) there should be a distance stipulation on parks and schools, and if that inconveniences them for the rest of their life, they should have thought about that before they molested a child.”
- So why are you everywhere this man is? Are you stalking him, or do you have a fascination with kids?
Metcalf said he is getting his information about Larsen from a Web site, www.familywatchdog.us, that documents convicted sex offenders nationally.
- And this web site says the following:
"Harassment, stalking, or threatening anyone on this list likely violates your state law and is neither condoned nor encouraged by Family Watchdog, its directors or employees."
According to the Web site, there are five Grand Valley area schools with more than 10 registered sex offenders living within a half-mile of the school. Steve Roddel, president and CEO of Family Watchdog, said the 3-year-old site is updated throughout the day with the latest information available. He said he is unable to chastise people like Metcalf who use the site as a tool to protect their children and their community.
“It would be awfully hard for me to find fault with someone who is out trying to protect his community,” Roddel said.
- But harassing someone is a crime.. And you should be against any and all crime, period, so it sounds to me like you are basically condoning what this man is doing.
He added that if a convicted sex offender is displaying high-risk behaviors, like hanging out at parks and schools with a puppy, that person should be confronted and made aware that he is being watched.
- No, that person should be reported to the cops. Confronting someone could get you killed! So here, FamilyWatchDog is condoning criminal activity. They should be telling people to contact the police and let the police handle the situation, not taking the law into your own hands.
Tell them you know who they are, and, ‘You are not going to do it on my watch,’ ” Roddel said. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it overreacting.”
- I would!!! And again with Mr. Roddel condoning criminal activity...
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Video is available at the above site.
Online predators lurking on your child's computer, waiting to entice your child into a sexual encounter is a scene played over and over again in the media and movies. Several studies say the real danger lies closer to home.
Retired Diamond Missouri Police Officer Jim Murray isn't looking for a date when he logs in online. Instead he's prowling for predators. Murray says, "I like the cat and mouse game." As a grandfather, chatting isn't just crime fighting it is personal. Online he pretends to be "Cindy" a 13-year-old girl. Murray says, "When a man wanted Cindy to bring along a 6 to 8 year old girl that was tough. These guys are so filthy it's like taking a bath in sewer water."
His passion has sparked 22 online sex sting investigations and arrests. He logged on for KSPR and just moments latter he was chatting with a man who said he’s 28. Murray says, "What interest would they have in a 13-year-old girl."
Plenty of statistics give parents reason to worry their child could be chatting with older strangers online. In 2006 a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children survey of teenagers found one in five said they had had an unwanted sexual solicitation online. Shows like "To Catch a Predator " can also leave parents with the impression there are predators lurking in every chat room but a closer look at the stats proves stranger danger might not live up to its hype.
CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates Spokesperson Dan Prater says, "In reality most child abuse occurs at the hands of family." Prater should know. He works with children who've been abused in Greene County. Prater says, "Our problem is out of control and has been for sometime." He’s sees child sexual abuse happen at home more than online. Prater says, “The daughter that’s 12 was molested for three years by her brothers and it turns out it was the mom who started it that’s what we’re dealing with.” However, there's no episode of "To Catch a Parent, Preacher, or Friend" on T.V.
Greene County First Assistant Prosecutor Jill Patterson says, "All sexual abuse besides a very small percentage consists of stranger attacks. I've prosecuted maybe three in my thirteen year career." Patterson has spent her career putting abusers behind bars. She agrees with a new study that suggests online predator hype distorts public perceptions and prevention. Patterson says, "The media giving the impression that there are strangers attacking children is inconsistent with my experience.
Even the statistics are inconsistent. That survey that showed one in five teens had been sexually solicited included instances when teens were flirting with other teens. The most recent study found most online predators don’t lie about their age or their sexual interests." Prater says, “If they supply the trust and the parents don’t, of course they’ll trust them.”
New research says the online pedophile panic has caused parents to focus on telling kids what not to do like sharing personal information or visiting certain sites. Patterson says, "It's a good message but it shouldn't be the only message. We need to talk about what sexual relationships are appropriate.”
Detective Jim Murray says it doesn't matter if a predator gains and abuses a child’s trust online or in person. Murray says, “That’s sexual misconduct with a child.”
He says reading sexually explicit words meant for a 13-year-old's eyes just once is enough to make him track predators out of his closet for no pay. Murray says, “I know it’s the right thing to do morally and legally.”
Prosecutors and child advocates say even though the threat isn't as great as first reported, online predators are out there. They say parents should warn children about all dangers and not just strangers. They say it is important for parents to talk about sex, relationships and criminal behavior.
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A reporter who apparently did not do their homework, or just is throwing out some random number to boost the fear factor. There is no where near 150,000 sex offenders in Georgia. As of right now, there is 15,485. So I'd say this person is WAY OFF!!! You can download the Georgia SOR Excel file from the GBI web site. Seems like if you are a reporter, you would be reporting the facts..... But that would not get you ratings now would it? I have emailed this person the true number of sex offenders which I should not have to tell a reporter what they should've found out themselves in the first place.
Georgia's top court has overturned a controversial state law banning registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of any place where children congregate, including daycares, schools, churches and bus stops.
In a unanimous decision, the Georgia Supreme Court deemed the residency restriction unconstitutional because those who complied "face the possibility of being repeatedly uprooted and forced to abandon homes in order to comply with the law's restrictions."
"It is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected," presiding Justice Carol Hunstein wrote in the 16-page opinion.
Anthony Mann, a 44-year-old convicted child molester, sued the state Department of Corrections after his probation officer said he must move out of a house he and his wife bought in 2003 or face arrest.
"This was a severely myopic law that didn't pass the smell test," said Stephen Bailey Wallace, Mr. Mann's lawyer. "It turns people into nomads."
When the couple bought the house in Hampton, Ga., it was outside the 1,000-foot (305-metre) buffer zone, but two daycare centres were later built nearby. The state court ruled the law permitted the Manns' private property to be taken without compensation and they faced similar risks each time the they found a legal home.
"While this time it was a daycare centre, next time it could be a playground, a school bus stop, a skating rink or a church," Judge Hunstein wrote.
Mr. Mann said he was relieved by the decision. If convicted under the residency law, sex offenders face up to 10 years in prison.
"You live kind of every day wondering if the sheriff 's office is going to come out and tell you that you have three days to move," said the man, who pleaded no contest in 2002 to taking indecent liberties with a child in North Carolina. "It's happened to me twice."
According to another Georgia law, its 150,000 sex offenders must have addresses -- meaning not only was it difficult to find a residence that complied with the restrictions, it was also illegal to be homeless.
Critics of the laws have argued they were so far-reaching they effectively prevent sex offenders from living legally anywhere in the state.
The Georgia ruling could have a ripple effect in states with similar laws. Kentucky implemented a similar ban last year and more than 20 states ban registered offenders on probation or parole from coming within certain distances of where children congregate. In some communities, the restrictions can mean the difference between living in an apartment or on the streets.
State Representative Jerry Keen, the Republican who sponsored the legislation, vowed to redraft the law and reintroduce it early next year.
"In the meantime, convicted felony sex offenders will be allowed to live next door to daycare centres, school bus stops or anywhere else they choose," he said.