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Old I know, but I wanted to add it because she deserves my thanks. Keep up the GREAT work Sarah and everyone at SCHR!!!
Southern Center for Human Rights staff attorney Sarah Geraghty takes on high-profile cases for unpopular plaintiffs and defendants.
EVEN AT ATLANTA’S Southern Center for Human Rights—long known for its ardent defense of the damned—at first nobody wanted to touch a case in which Georgia’s registered sex offenders were the plaintiffs.
At the time, the Southern Center’s lawyers had no background in litigation involving the state sex offender registry, says director Lisa Kung. But, she adds, “It’s one of those moments when circumstances dictate you really have no choice.” Center staff attorney Sarah Geraghty, 31, Kung says, stepped up to take the case.
The passage last spring of one of the country’s most restrictive laws governing where sex offenders may live and work, the center was fielding calls from sex offenders distraught that they would have to uproot their families, sell their homes, find new employment or even stop going to church.
The new law expanded on barring sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or playground. The new law also barred them from living within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.
Articulate, brilliant and nimble in court, Geraghty paired with Stephen B. Bright, the center’s founder, on behalf of eight sex offenders to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s new law.
So far, they have succeeded in securing a temporary restraining order that delayed implementation of the new law. Once that TRO was lifted, they secured a second TRO barring the Columbia County sheriff from enforcing the state law at the specific direction of that county’s school board.
It is not Geraghty’s first high-profile case. With licenses to practice law in Illinois, New York, Alabama and Georgia, Geraghty—who also is the center’s first King & Spalding fellow —in 2004 worked with attorneys from that firm to successfully bar the Clinch County sheriff from giving jail inmates the choice between paying $18 a day for room and board, or serving more time in jail. Ultimately, they forced the sheriff to return some $30,000 he had collected.
Geraghty also partnered with King & Spalding attorneys to sue the state corrections department after an 18-year-old inmate was raped and strangled by other inmates. The litigation was designed to stop what had become a routine practice of rapes and assaults on teenagers in Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, Ga. Geraghty, working with King & Spalding attorneys, succeeded in shutting down the prison until the youngest inmates were transferred to other, safer locales.
Geraghty is fighting another case in Gulfport, Miss., where local judges created, in essence, a debtors’ prison. People guilty of misdemeanors who couldn’t pay their fines were being arrested and made to work off those fines in jail—a day for every $25 owed, Geraghty says. “If you didn’t have the money, you had to go to jail. It was that simple.”
Geraghty also has co-authored a report for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. called “Assembly Line Justice: Mississippi’s Indigent Defense Crisis.” Mississippi is one of four states nationally that provide no state funds for non-capital indigent defense, relying on its counties to provide legal services for its poorest defendants.
Geraghty comes from a family with a tradition of legal public service. Her father, Thomas F. Geraghty, is the director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law, where he also is an associate dean.
Her mother, Diane C. Geraghty, is a faculty member at Loyola University School of Law, where she is founding director of Loyola’s Civitas ChildLaw Center and last year served as the law school’s interim dean. Geraghty’s two younger sisters also are lawyers.
Geraghty simultaneously earned her J.D. at the University of Michigan School of Law and a master’s degree in social work at the university’s School for Social Work.
It was while she was in law school that she interned at the Southern Center. “I like being able to use the laws to help people,” she says. “It’s a real tool for social change.”
Geraghty says there is “nowhere I would rather be” than the Southern Center. “There’s so much left to do. I probably get 40 unsolicited letters from people in prison and jail every week,” she says. Many of the letter writers report serious problems ranging from being assaulted by corrections officers to lack of medical care for urgent medical needs and problems with indigent defense. “It never stops,” she adds.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
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Former Birdsboro Patrolman Robert L. Newth admitted today in Berks County Court that he downloaded child pornography on his computer in 2004 and peered into apartment windows in 2005.
Judge Peter W. Schmehl ordered Newth to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if he is a violent sexual predator.
If so, he will be required to undergo counseling and register his residence with state police for the remainder of his life.
Newth, 30, of Exeter Township pleaded guilty to having 120 child pornography images on his home computer in July 2004.
He also pleaded guilty to looking into the windows of a Pennside apartment complex June 25, 2005. Newth resigned from the force three days later.
Schmehl scheduled sentencing in September.
Newth has applied for the county’s intermediate punishment program, which allows offenders to serve probation and house arrest and participate in treatment programs.
Applications are reviewed by a panel of prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers and drug counselors.
Newth’s legal troubles began in July 2004 when police said they found a photo album with pornographic pictures of three teenage girls on his desk at work.
One of the girls was engaged in sexual relations with Jeffrey A. Madeira, Newth’s then-23-year-old stepbrother, investigators said.
Police also said they found the pornographic images of children on Newth’s home computer.
Madeira, formerly of the first block of Mynes Road, Ruscombmanor Township, was sentenced in April 2006 to nine to 23 months in the county prison and 11 years of probation after he was convicted of taking pornographic photographs of an underage girl.
Madeira since has been charged with failing to register his residence with state police after he was released from prison. The case is pending before Judge Stephen B. Lieberman.
During Madeira’s trial, an Exeter patrolman testified he found the photo album in Madeira’s car after Madeira was involved in an accident in May 2003. The patrolman said he gave the album to Newth.
Newth was not charged with possessing the album because it was used as evidence in Madeira’s case, investigators said.
Newth remains free on bail.
• Contact reporter Holly Herman at 610-478-6291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SANTA ROSA CO -- On May 27, 2008, a complaint was filed with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office involving a28-year-old Milton woman that was believed to be having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy. Text messages had been intercepted between the suspect, Angela Leavitt, and the 16-year-old victim.
Sexual Text Messages
The text messages were sexual in nature, revealing that Leavitt wanted to have a child with the 16 year old boy. Investigators were able to determine that Leavitt had engaged in sexual activity with the 16-year-old boy on three separate occasions.
One of the encounters occurred at Leavitt’s Milton home after Leavitt picked up the boy and drove him to her house. Based on the information that was obtained during interviews with Leavitt and the boy, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Leavitt.
Suspect and teen both missing
The 16-year-old boy in this case disappeared from his home the same date as Leavitt disappeared from the area. Leavitt and the juvenile both quit their jobs on the same date (June 3rd).
The boy was last seen by a friend, after the boy was dropped off at Leavitt’s house on the evening of June 3rd. Due to all of the circumstances, investigators believe that the boy may be in the company of Leavitt. The boy’s name is not being released due to the nature of the investigation and his juvenile status.
When investigators went to arrest Leavitt, they found that she had fled from her residence prior to their arrival, and also had taken her children with her. Leavitt is aware that she is being sought by law enforcement and investigators believe that she fled with her children to avoid arrest.
Contact Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office with info
Anyone having any knowledge as to where Leavitt is located is asked to contact the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office at 983-1242, or Crime Stoppers at 437-STOP. Anyone providing information to Crime Stoppers that results in an arrest is eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.
Angela Marie Leavitt, white female, 28-years-old
6800 block of Chuckwagon Lane, Milton, FL
Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor, 2nd degree felony, NO BOND
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TERRE HAUTE — A woman accused of bribery in connection with a sexual misconduct case has turned herself in.
Donna Mitchell, 35, of Terre Haute appeared in Vigo County court Monday in connection with alleged efforts to extort money from a 73-year-old man in exchange for not turning him in to authorities.
Bribery is a class-C felony, carrying between two and eight years in prison.
John Beatty of Martinsville, Ill., faces charges of sexual misconduct with a minor. Mitchell, who is a relative of the victim in the case, asked Beatty for $300,000 to keep quiet, according to police.
The police received a tip about Mitchell’s offer, according to Detective Rick Decker with the Terre Haute Police Department.
Mitchell was being detained in the Vigo County jail with bail set at $50,000. She is due back in court June 26 for a bail-reduction hearing.
Beatty remained in the Vigo County jail Monday with bail set at $75,000 for three class-B felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. His next court date is June 17.
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WASHINGTON — Sexual activity is on the rise among U.S. teens while their use of contraceptives is sliding in the other direction, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Click here to view the study (PDF)
Approximately 48 percent of 14,041 high school students said they have had sex, representing a 2 percent hike since 2005; however, teens still are having less sex today than their counterparts did in the 1990s.
The 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System study showed a 2 percent drop-off in the percentage of teens who said they used condoms while having sex.
The CDC questioned the students on a range of risky behaviors including sexual activity and drug and alcohol use. Ninth- through 12th-graders from 39 states participated in the study in spring 2007.
In 1991, 54 percent of the high school students said they had had sexual intercourse, compared with 48 percent in 2007. In 1991, 19 percent said they had at least four sexual partners, compared with 15 percent last year, the survey showed, Reuters reported.
For the students overall, just under half have had sex, 75 percent have tried alcohol and 20 percent said they smoke.
The study is given to high school students every two years. The new report noted that black and white students are reporting less sexual activity than in years past, but there was no decline among Hispanics.
Whites, however, reported the highest rates of smoking and heavy drinking, while blacks reported the highest rates of obesity and violence.
Hispanic students were more likely than either blacks or whites to use cocaine, heroin or ecstasy, attempt suicide or ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
The survey did not collect information on the parents' income or education levels. Some experts say those factors can be a strong indicator of a youth's health behavior and academic achievement.
Adolescents cannot always be counted on to tell the truth about their sexual exploits, drug use or other risky behaviors, but CDC officials said they take many steps to secure accurate responses: Participation is confidential, kids are spaced apart when answering the questions and teachers do not hover.
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Got to make the laws stronger, stronger and more strong. Eventually they will explode!!! Like our friend to the left!!
BOSTON — The Massachusetts House last night approved tough new penalties for child rapists and predators, but Republicans and some child welfare advocates said the Democratic-backed bill did not go far enough.
The bill, based on Florida's Jessica's Law, passed by the House 142-3, provides a series of mandatory sentences against child rapists, created three new types of crimes child predators can be prosecuted for, and added a host of aggravating factors — such as whether a weapon is used in the crime — to lengthen an assailant's time in prison.
Supporters said the bill protected children while providing more stringent sentences for child sex offenders.
"It's definitely tough enough," said Rep. Michael Costello (Email), D-Newburyport. "Every district attorney supports it and the attorney general helped draft it. Anyone who says it's not tough enough is playing a political game."
Republican Rep. Karyn Polito (Email), who has pushed the Legislature unsuccessfully to pass a version of Jessica's Law for three years, said the House measure did not guarantee a rapist or child predator would serve any time.
"When we say 'rape of a child' in Massachusetts," Polito said on the House floor, "it should mean guaranteed jail time."
The House bill, which must be approved by the Senate, would create three new criminal child rape crimes: aggravated, forcible child rape; aggravated statutory child rape; and aggravated assault and battery on a child.
The bill also increases to 15 years the current 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for raping a child while using a weapon.
It creates a mandatory minimum sentence for child rape, including 20 years for a subsequent offense for rape with force and 15 years for rape of a child with a weapon. It creates new aggravating factors for new crimes, such as forcing drugs or alcohol on the victim.
And it allows prosecutors to charge a subsequent offense for those who have previously been convicted of crimes such as indecent assault and battery on a child or attempted child rape.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said by adding different offenses, prosecutors have more ways to put child predators behind bars.
"It gives us more tools to prosecute predators," Blodgett said.
District attorneys also could issue subpoenas to more easily obtain the identities of people using computer accounts to lure children, something Blodgett also supports.
The bill is based on a Florida law named for Jessica Lunsford, a 10-year-old Florida girl abducted, raped and murdered by a repeat sex offender. Since 2005, 42 states have passed identical laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for first-time offenders.
Polito said she wanted to set a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for first-time child rapists, tougher than in the House bill.
"It (the House bill) still does not guarantee a convicted child rapist will do even one day in jail," Polito said.
Child advocates said a "modified" version of Jessica's Law wasn't good enough.
"This makes things a little better," said Laurie Myers, with the child advocacy group CommunityVoices. "But it's not Jessica's Law."
Rep. Bradford Hill (Email), R-Ipswich, also thought the House bill would have been better with the mandatory sentences.
"It could have been stronger," Hill said.
But Hill said he is a realist and accepts a bill that is strong, though not everything he wanted.
Democrats though said having too many offenses with mandatory minimum sentences strips prosecutors of the leverage they need to secure a plea bargain when a conviction is difficult to come by. Costello, a former prosecutor, said getting a predator to agree to jail time convicted means they'll be punished and, importantly, get placed on the state's sex offender register.
"You get something rather than nothing," Costello said.
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And they say these laws are not additional punishment? Yeah right!
Fifty-four percent of respondents thought community notification makes it easy for citizens to take the law into their own hands and harass, threaten, or abuse the released sex offender. Of those surveyed, 78 percent thought special care should be taken to prevent such harassment.
Eighty-four percent of respondents thought notification could make it difficult for sex offenders to establish a new life, find a job, and rent a house. Sixty-four percent of respondents thought such offenders should be given every opportunity for a new start as law-abiding citizens.
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SAN DIEGO -- A family has filed a complaint against an El Cajon police officer, accusing him of giving alcohol to and having sex with a minor, according to a newspaper report.
The El Cajon Police Department confirmed to NBC 7/39 that a family filed a complaint against police officer Mark Bevin in April.
A woman contacted police, saying Bevin supplied alcohol to and had sex with a minor, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Bevin is an eight-year veteran of the department and had recently been transferred to investigations from patrol.
Police said they are investigating the case aggressively, and if criminal activity is discovered, the case will be handed over to the district attorney's office.
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A Scotts Hill police officer accused of asking an underage girl for sex has been placed on administrative leave from the Police Department, according to the TBI.
A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman did not know Wednesday whether the leave for Officer Jonathan Henley is paid or unpaid.
Henley, 26, and Scotts Hill Police Chief Jessie Powers could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The TBI received a request from the district attorney general's office to investigate the case, according to John Mehr, special agent-in-charge with the TBI in Jackson. District Attorney General Jerry Woodall could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Henley is accused of sending text messages to a 15-year-old girl in May asking for sex, according to a complaint filed against him in Henderson County General Sessions Court on Monday.
Mehr said Wednesday that Henley used his personal cell phone to contact the teenager.
The TBI arrested him Friday on charges of soliciting a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
After being booked in Henderson County, Henley was transferred to Weakley County for protection because he is a local police officer, a Henderson County jail official has said.
He was released Sunday on $25,000 bond.
Henley is scheduled to appear June 10 in Henderson County General Sessions Court.
In a phone interview Tuesday, a woman who identified herself as his mother but refused to give her full name said Henley's family wants to fight the charges.
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A fired Munhall police officer who admitted he had a foot fetish will stand trial on multiple counts of indecent assault, corruption of minors, giving alcohol to minors and criminal solicitation.
At a preliminary hearing before District Judge Ross Cioppa yesterday, four teenagers testified that Michael J. Curtin gave them alcohol, and two said he touched them inappropriately.
Two girls testified that Mr. Curtin contacted them on MySpace.com and offered them $1,000 to allow him to suck and lick their toes. He also told one girl that he wanted to have sex with her.
Mr. Curtin was fired from the Munhall Police Department in February. He was arrested May 1.
These are some examples of tactics used by PJ/AZU and their crew. Notice the similarities of this and what you've experienced by them?
Similar to ignoratio elenchi, a red herring is an argument, given in reply, that does not address the original issue. Critically, a red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument. This is known formally in the English vocabulary as Digression which is a neutrally connotated "Red herring".
Mobbing - Antipredatory Behavior in Animals:
A longer-established technical use of mobbing is in the study of animal behaviour, especially in ornithology, where it refers to the antipredatory mobbing behavior harassing something that represents a threat to them.
From the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, RSPB, website:
Mobbing is a noisy, obvious form of behaviour that birds engage in to defend themselves or their offspring from predators. When a predator is discovered, the birds start to emit alarm calls and fly at the predator, diverting its attention and harassing it. Sometimes they make physical contact. Mobbing usually starts with just one or two birds, but may attract a large number of birds, often of many species. For example, a chorus of different alarm calls coming from the same tree is often a good sign of a roosting owl or a cat.
Mobbing behaviour has been recorded in a wide range of species, but it is particularly well developed in gulls and terns, while crows are amongst the most frequent mobbers. In addition to flying at the predator and emitting alarm calls, some birds, such as fieldfares and gulls, add to the effectiveness by defaecating or even vomiting on the predator with amazing accuracy...
From the book "Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, 2005, page 21":
"In the sixties, the eminent Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz used the English term mobbing to describe the behaviour that animals use to scare away a stronger, preying enemy. A number of weaker individuals crowd together and display attacking behavior, such as geese scaring away a fox."