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RANDOLPH -- Children's librarian Judith Flint was getting ready for the monthly book discussion group for 8- and 9-year-olds on "Love That Dog" when police showed up.
They weren't kidding around: Five state police detectives wanted to seize Kimball Public Library's public access computers as they frantically searched for a 12-year-old girl, acting on a tip that she sometimes used the terminals.
Flint demanded a search warrant, touching off a confrontation that pitted the privacy rights of library patrons against the rights of police on official business.
"It's one of the most difficult situations a library can face," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of intellectual freedom issues for the American Library Association.
Investigators did obtain a warrant about eight hours later, but the June 26 standoff in the 105-year-old, red brick library on Main Street frustrated police and had fellow librarians cheering Flint.
"What I observed when I came in were a bunch of very tall men encircling a very small woman," said the library's director, Amy Grasmick, who held fast to the need for a warrant after coming to the rescue of the 4-foot-10 Flint.
Library records and patron privacy have been hot topics since the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Library advocates have accused the government of using the anti-terrorism law to find out -- without proper judicial oversight or after-the-fact reviews -- what people research in libraries.
But the investigation of Brooke Bennett's disappearance wasn't a Patriot Act case.
"We had to balance out the fact that we had information that we thought was true that Brooke Bennett used those computers to communicate on her MySpace account," said Col. James Baker, director of the Vermont State Police. "We had to balance that out with protecting the civil liberties of everybody else, and this was not an easy decision to make."
Brooke, from Braintree, vanished the day before the June 26 confrontation in the children's section of the tiny library. Investigators went to the library chasing a lead that she had used the computers there to arrange a rendezvous.
Brooke was found dead July 2. An uncle, convicted sex offender Michael Jacques, has since been charged with kidnapping her. Authorities say Jacques had gotten into her MySpace account and altered postings to make investigators believe she had run off with someone she met online.
Flint was firm in her confrontation with the police.
"The lead detective said to me that they need to take the public computers and I said `OK, show me your warrant and that will be that,'" said Flint, 56. "He did say he didn't need any paper. I said `You do.' He said `I'm just trying to save a 12-year-old girl,' and I told him `Show me the paper.'"
Cybersecurity expert Fred H. Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, said the librarians acted appropriately.
"If you've told all your patrons `We won't hand over your records unless we're ordered to by a court,' and then you turn them over voluntarily, you're liable for anything that goes wrong," he said.
A new Vermont law that requires libraries to demand court orders in such situations took effect July 1, but it wasn't in place that June day. The library's policy was to require one.
The librarians did agree to shut down the computers so no one could tamper with them, which had been a concern to police.
Once in police hands, how broadly could police dig into the computer hard drives without violating the privacy of other library patrons?
Baker wouldn't discuss what information was gleaned from the computers or what state police did with information about other people, except to say the scope of the warrant was restricted to the missing girl investigation.
"The idea that they took all the computers, it's like data mining," said Caldwell-Stone. "Now, all of a sudden, since you used that computer, your information is exposed to law enforcement and can be used in ways that (it) wasn't intended.'"
Saturday, July 19, 2008
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WASHINGTON — It didn't get much publicity, but an anti-stalking bill passed by Congress recently makes it a federal crime to "annoy" someone over the Internet.
And that's really beginning to bug some people.
"It's a stupid law that has slipped in under the radar," says Clinton Fein, a San Francisco-based artist who runs annoy.com, a website that he says offers "unique and irreverent" commentary on politics and culture. "Who says what's officially annoying? Is that a business we really want our government to be in?"
The law makes it a crime to anonymously "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" another person over the Internet.
Rep. Jim McDermott (Contact) of Washington inserted the provision into legislation that reauthorized the federal Violence Against Women Act. It carries a prison sentence of up to two years and an unspecified fine for those convicted of violations. President Bush signed the bill into law Jan. 5.
McDermott said he was prompted to act by the case of Joelle Ligon, a Seattle woman who was sent menacing e-mails, falsely accused of résumé-padding in messages to co-workers and impersonated in sex-oriented Internet chat rooms from 1998 to 2003.
Some of the communications were traced to a former boyfriend in South Carolina. He was sentenced to five years of probation and 500 hours of community service after he was prosecuted under a federal telecommunications law that protects against harassment.
To eliminate questions over whether phone law applied to the Internet, McDermott pressed for the new legislation. The language "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" was taken directly from the telephone law.
Mike DeCesare, a spokesman for McDermott, says the new law is not intended to curb free speech.
"This is about bad people doing bad things. ... It relates to somebody who does something to somebody else," he says. "It's not about posting something on a message board. It's got to be direct, one-to-one communication."
No one has been prosecuted under the new law, DeCesare says.
Critics aren't satisfied. Fein says it is unclear whether the law refers to annoying "conduct" or simply an e-mail whose message irritates its recipient.
"No one knows what this means," Fein says. "That in itself has a chilling effect."
Barry Steinhardt, a lawyer who specializes in privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City, says the new law's chief problem is the "subjective nature" of the word annoy. "Words like threaten, harass and abuse can be defined by what a reasonable person understands them to mean," he says. "Anyone who's ever had their spam filter stop something they wanted, or let something through that they didn't, knows that deciding what is annoying is something else again."
He says the ACLU is considering whether to ask a federal court to declare the new law unconstitutional because it's too vague.
A scholar who specializes in cyber law says the law could be difficult to overturn. Susan Brenner, a University of Dayton law professor and a consultant to the Secret Service on cyber laws, says courts likely would read "annoy" together with the words that follow it — "abuse, threaten or harass" — and conclude that the law refers to specific behavior.
In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit used that reasoning to uphold the conviction of Erik Bowker, an Ohio man who had stalked a Youngstown television reporter via telephone.
But in 1999, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that a man could not be prosecuted for "annoying" conduct because he had telephoned the U.S. attorney seven times to complain about a case that had been brought against him. The calls, the court found, were political speech protected by the First Amendment.
David Hudson, a lawyer with the First Amendment Center, a speech-rights advocacy group in Nashville, says the different ways that courts have interpreted the word "annoy" make the new anti-stalking law "ripe for a challenge."
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With a new child sex crime bill based largely on the efforts of state Rep. Karyn E. Polito (Email), R-Shrewsbury, awaiting the governor’s signature, the legislator has reason to be pleased — but not too much.
Ms. Polito has over the last three years advocated for a stricter version of the measure known as “Jessica’s Law,” named after a 2005 law in Florida. A weaker version was approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
The legislation calls for mandatory minimum sentences of 10 and 15 years for aggravated rape of a child and for sexual assaults on children by offenders such as teachers or guidance counselors, and gives district attorneys more authority in prosecuting child sex abuse cases by not requiring approval of a judge to subpoena witnesses.
Ms. Polito, who has sent a letter to Gov. Deval L. Patrick (Contact) urging him to sign the bill into law, said that while she is disappointed that even stricter provisions such as mandatory 10-year sentences for any rape of a child were not included, she sees the bill as a major improvement.
“I would not underestimate how much this is an important bill to everyone,” said Ms. Polito, who has garnered national media attention for her advocacy of cracking down on child sex abusers.
“It’s a fair one, and though it doesn’t go as far as I’d like, it does represent progress when it comes to protecting children,” she said.
While critics of this bill and others that impose mandatory minimum sentences argue that judges should have discretion in sentencing because they have the most expertise, Ms. Polito maintained that judges in general have been too forgiving of child sex predators.
The legislator, a lawyer and mother of 3-year-old and 5-year-old children, noted that a provision that she and others in the Statehouse’s small Republican contingent managed to insert in the bill requires district attorneys to report each year the results of all child sexual assault cases.
That record-keeping will help gauge whether the law is working and determine whether lawmakers need to amend it in coming years to make it more effective, Ms. Polito said.
“The reason this bill is even before the governor now is because some members of the judiciary have been lenient in rape of a child cases,” she said. “Now the ball is in their court. The judiciary has received the message from the public and the Legislature that they need to toughen up.”
Ms. Polito said one key measurement of the effectiveness of the law, should the governor sign the bill as expected, will be if rates of imprisonment increase.
- What? How would that be a measure of effectiveness? Yeah, we know, she needs brownie points for the upcoming election, which she's probably running for.
Now, too often child abusers, even if sentenced, serve less time than they should, she said.
She said that law enforcement officials with whom she has worked on the bill, including Attorney General Martha Coakley (Contact), were in consensus about that point, even while diverging on other issues.
Ms. Coakley and the district attorneys opposed the proposal to include minimum mandatory sentences for rape of a child.
“We do agree that changes need to be made because of the numbers of sex offenders getting out,” Ms. Polito said.
In the Senate, while the chamber’s five Republicans eventually ended up supporting the measure, the one lawmaker who cast a “no” vote in the 35-1 decision, Cynthia S. Creem (Email), D-Newton.
Ms. Creem argued that mandatory sentences contribute to prison overcrowding and that targeting “mandatory reporters” such as teachers and guidance counselors was unfair.
Opponents of stricter mandatory sentences also have argued that they would inhibit plea bargains, leading to the possibility of acquittals.
The governor, who received the bill Thursday, has 10 days from then to sign it.
Cynthia Roy, a spokeswoman for Mr. Patrick, said he is reviewing it.
Contact Shaun Sutner by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kenneth Williams mentored and coached Scotts Valley High girl
WATSONVILLE - The trial of a San Jose police officer accused of soliciting nude photos from Scotts Valley High girl he mentored and coached began Friday, more than 2½ years after the allegations surfaced.
Kenneth Williams Sr., 50, exploited and victimized the girl, who was 15 and 16 at the time, prosecutor Jeff Rosell told jurors during his opening statements.
"He convinced her to take naked photographs and send them to him," Rosell said. "(He) was entrusted to take care of her and help her but instead he betrayed her and he had her betray her own dignity."
He is charged with four felony counts of soliciting lewd matter from a minor and two misdemeanors: possessing the lewd matter and destroying evidence.
Williams met the victim when he helped his wife, Yolanda, coach the Scotts Valley High girls' basketball team. The girl, who was on the team, was having trouble at home and her parents asked Williams to counsel. They admired him because of his strong Christian beliefs and because the girl's father is also in law enforcement, Rosell said.
Williams and the girl talked a lot, texted each other thousands of messages, went to lunch and sometimes spent time alone without her parents knowing, Rosell said.
Defense attorney Paul Meltzer said helping youth was what Williams, a police officer for 27 years, devoted his life to and his interactions with the girl were not unlike what he'd done for thousands of other children - talking to them, taking them on trips, making sure they had food and clothing. Williams had never been accused of inappropriate conduct until the girl's allegations came to light in December 2005, Meltzer said.
"We've all heard the statement 'Let no good deed go unpunished,'" he said. "Well I think that's really what this case is all about."
Williams and the girl had words about her sneaking out and drinking with members of the football team - an interaction that Rosell called inappropriate and that Meltzer said fell within the bounds of mentoring - the girl's parents began to suspect Williams' relationship with their daughter had crossed a line. In mid-December they contacted Scotts Valley High administrators, then Scotts Valley police, Rosell said.
That's when the girl told Scotts Valley police detective Mark Lopez that Williams had asked for inappropriate photos of her and, when shots taken on her cell phone camera were too fuzzy, he bought her a digital camera and several memory cards so she could pass the photos to him, Rosell told jurors.
The photos went from an "innocuous" shot of the girl's tan lines to semi-nude and nude photos - Williams allegedly told the girl he intended to use them as models for sketching - to explicit images of her private parts, according to Rosell. He said nude photos of the girl were mixed with nudes of Williams' wife, shots of the basketball team and commercial pornography in files on Williams' computers.
"Why do good people do bad things? Sex. Sex," Rosell said.
However, Meltzer pointed out that there was never an allegation that Williams had any sexual contact with the girl, despite the amount of time they spent together.
"This good man didn't do any bad thing," Meltzer told jurors. "If this was all done by Ken Williams for sex, there's no evidence it ever happened."
The defense attorney said Williams is "a very spiritual, deeply religious man," and listed off Williams' many awards and accomplishments, including a proclamation from the mayor of San Jose commending his work with kids. Meltzer said Williams, who has three children and has been married for 30 years, was active in his church, the president of the Black Peace Officers Association and established the Operation Jump Start, which gives at-risk kids tutoring, counseling and scholarships to help them get to college.
"He gets close to kids, that's what he does," Meltzer said.
The case largely hangs on the testimony of the victim, who is now 19. Meltzer told jurors that she is the only person who has seen the text message that reportedly requested nude photos.
Several computer forensic specialists also will testify about how the photos, many of which were deleted from Williams' PDA, iPod, iMac and Toshiba laptop, were recovered by police. Meltzer said that many people had access to Williams' electronics, including the girl and her basketball team, and that there's no evidence Williams uploaded or ever viewed the photos that were recovered.
But Rosell said Williams' efforts to delete the photos - he allegedly purchased file-destroying software for the iMac and physically broke the hard drive of the laptop - point to his guilt.
Both the victim and Williams are expected to testify during the trial, which will last two to three weeks. He could be sentenced to state prison and would have to register as a sex offender.
Contact Jennifer Squires at 429-2449 or email@example.com.
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07/19/2008 Attorney: City ordinance does not protect kids
SUNBURY — Jeff Thompson can’t walk down his street without running afoul of Sunbury law.
The 46-year-old city resident lives on North Seventh Street, too near a bus stop to take his dog around the block without facing jail time, too close to a day care to consider strolling to the grocery store without being locked up.
When Thompson was convicted of possession of child pornography almost 10 years ago, his picture was posted to the Megan’s Law Web site. And though the state does not deem Thompson a sexually violent predator or put any limit on where he cannot go, a city ordinance makes the majority of Sunbury off-limits to Thompson and anyone else listed under Megan’s Law, regardless of the seriousness of their crimes.
- Well, then the state does put limits on where he can and cannot go.
The ordinance, adopted in 2006, states that if Thompson “loiters” (the city’s definition of loitering includes “strolling in, near or upon”) within 1,000 feet of a school, bus stop, child-care facility, day-care center, recreation area, community center, park, playground, arcade, movie theater, athletic field, public library, skate park, public tennis court, pool, ice rink, YMCA, homeless shelter, motel or bed-and-breakfast, he will be thrown in prison for up to 60 days and slapped with a $500 fine.
- That is NOT loitering then. Loitering means being somewhere without a purpose. Big difference! D--n, that pretty much covers the whole state for where he cannot go then!
Sunbury’s law is unheard of and unconstitutional, according to an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I don’t know of another statute in Pennsylvania that tells convicted sex offenders they can’t stand outside the YMCA,” said Mary Catherine Roper, staff lawyer with the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
Also, Roper said, Sunbury deems anyone listed on the Megan’s Law Web site a sexual predator, completely disregarding the state’s distinction between sexual predators and sex offenders.
- Wow, that is totally not fair. And that makes the registry worthless!
Of the 22 people who live or work in Sunbury who are listed on the Megan’s Law page, not one is classified as a sexual predator.
“For Sunbury to decide it’s going to ignore the state law on that designation, and instead create its own law that has nothing to do with the kind of careful balancing efforts the state has done to identify who actually is a danger, makes no sense,” Roper said.
Thompson, too, wonders why the city fails to make that distinction. The state allowed him to adopt a child after he’d served his jail time, he reasons, so why won’t Sunbury allow him to take that child to the playground?
“Sunbury’s ordinance is way out of line,” Thompson said. “Federal and state guidelines dictate what I can and cannot do, and what the city is saying is that the wishes of City Council trump those guidelines.
“If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.”
Sunbury Mayor Jesse Woodring said the law is well-intentioned.
- Well-intentioned doesn't mean it's practical, fair and right?
“There’s an ordinance and it is the way it is,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on the legality or morality of it. We’re trying to protect our children.”
But Roper argued that Sunbury’s ordinance does not protect children. In fact, she said, most child welfare organizations oppose such laws.
“They oppose sex offender residency restrictions for a number of reasons,” Roper said. “One of them is that it makes it much more difficult for people who have served time and paid their debt to society to become truly rehabilitated. They’re forced to always live on the fringe, and that greatly increases the likelihood they’ll commit those crimes again.
“The other reason is it draws attention away from where children are actually in danger — the number of times a child gets snatched from a park is miniscule compared to the number of times children are molested by Uncle Joe. Children are far more at risk from their own immediate family.”
Strangers are the perpetrators of child sexual abuse in only about 10 percent of cases, according to government estimates. Thirty percent of those who sexually abuse children are relatives of the child, the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder reports. The other 60 percent are non-relative acquaintances.
Sunbury police have said they intend to cite Teri Jo Hunt, a Sunbury resident and registered sex offender, for violating the city sexual predator ordinance on July 10. She had taken her children to a community event located in a public park.
Hunt’s incident marks the second time city officials have enforced the ordinance.
“What (Hunt) is going through now is not right,” said Thompson, who said a local rehabilitation counselor once labeled him no more danger to area children than anyone else on the street. “The city should be ashamed of itself. Whoever passed this ordinance didn’t have a conscience.”
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I sent him an email, and advise you to do the same. This is just wrong!
RALEIGH (AP) - The General Assembly has agreed again to toughen laws against convicted sex offenders, this time on social networking sites.
The House and Senate unanimously agreed Friday to a compromise bill that would bar sex offenders registered with the state from places such as MySpace and Facebook.
- I wish they would quit assuming all sex offenders use these services to hunt for children, that is a total lie. Many used it to keep in touch with family. It would make more since, IMO, if they just logged what people do, and then if anything suspicious comes up, then they investigate, but that is only common sense and fair, which we have none of anymore! Here they are just assuming all sex offenders are hunting children and denying them the service.
The bill also would increase penalties for child exploitation and for someone who attempts to meet a child in person after contacting him or her on the Internet for sex. The bill now goes to Gov. Mike Easley's (Contact) desk.
On Thursday, the Legislature agreed to require minimum 25-year prison sentences for those who commit certain sex crimes against children under the age of 13.
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They are trying to bypass the Constitution here!!! What a load of BS! They are just eradicating everyone's rights so they can monitor everyone's emails, under the guise of security!
TUCKED AWAY in an uncontroversial bill lengthening sentences for sex offenders in Massachusetts is a provision that expands the right of law enforcement officials to poke around - at their own discretion - in citizens' telephone, e-mail, and Internet records. Governor Patrick (Contact) should tell legislators to drop or scale back this clause before he signs the overall bill.
Since 1966, prosecutors have been able to get telephone records without warrants. But getting access to e-mail and Internet records has required a grand jury subpoena. Attorney General Martha Coakley, who favors the expanded authority, sees it as simply a case of updating the tools prosecutors have to keep pace with new technology. She emphasizes, correctly, that the bill does not grant prosecutors access to any content. For that, a warrant is needed.
But all technologies are not created equal. It is not clear that records of email and Internet use are so similar to telephone records that prosecutors should have the same broad right to examine them - without first convincing a judge or grand jury that doing so is critical to a criminal case. Under the bill, prosecutors would need only to claim "reasonable grounds to believe" that the records are "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."
Coakley refers to the measure's potential usefulness in investigating cases of child pornography, online threats, and identity theft. But nothing in the bill limits this new power to such cases. Her office cites the 1966 law as a precedent. While lawmakers sought it originally as a tool in bookmaking investigations, the wording of the law did not restrict its use to such cases. But this doesn't mean that, 32 years later, in an age of heightened sensitivity about privacy, the public wants prosecutors to have the same latitude to look at email and Internet records in connection with any form of criminal investigation.
The power that Coakley is seeking is quite different from the authority that Congress has unwisely granted the Bush administration to eavesdrop on telephone conversations without a warrant. But the measures have two elements in common. Each grants blanket immunity to the telecommunications companies involved, removing any incentive for them to blow the whistle on abusive practices. And each, by freeing officials of the need to get a warrant, eliminates the checks and balances that the court system can supply when prosecutors go on a fishing expedition. The governor should reject this bill and have the Legislature design one that is more focused on specific Internet-related crimes.
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TREATMENT IN PRISON: Convicts challenged Murkowski program cuts.
By SHEILA TOOMEY (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Judges in criminal cases cannot order the Department of Corrections to provide treatment for sex offenders in prison, the state Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
In a case brought by the Alaska Civil Liberties Union and the Alaska Public Defender, the criminal appeals court acknowledged that prisoners have a right to rehabilitative treatment, guaranteed by the Alaska Constitution.
But a challenge to the department's refusal to provide such treatment is a broad policy question that should not be decided case by case in a criminal context, the court said.
The proper and efficient forum is a civil class-action suit, the decision issued Friday says.
The case, consolidating claims from three unrelated defendants, was filed after the Murkowski administration eliminated nearly all treatment programs in Alaska prisons, focusing instead on post-release monitoring.
In all three cases, each involving a man convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, a Superior Court judge added to his prison sentence an order that Corrections provide "meaningful sex offender treatment."
In the years since the appeals were filed, a new governor has taken office. Different people are setting policy for Alaska's prisons. With the change in administration has come a new attitude toward rehabilitation.
Current Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt said Friday that no one has to sue him to convince him sex offenders need treatment while they're locked up, and after.
"Doing nothing won't work," Schmidt said. "We know that to be a fact."
A post-release monitoring program is in effect, he said. It includes close supervision and lie detector testing. But there's no money for in-custody programs.
In her most recent budget, Gov. Sarah Palin (Contact) included money to restart in-prison treatment, but the money for a sex offender program was taken out by the Legislature, Schmidt said.
"We asked for it this year. We are likely to ask for it next year," he said.
Jason Brandeis, staff attorney for the AkCLU, said his agency is willing to wait and see what Schmidt can accomplish before embarking on a class-action suit on behalf of untreated prisoners.
The right to rehabilitation is unique and important, Brandeis said Friday. "When the previous administration cut out treatment, it raised a lot of red flags."
Brandeis said he is "curious to see how the Legislature responds to the commissioner's request."
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RENO – A teenage girl told a jury in often graphic terms Tuesday how a police officer instructed her to remove her clothes in the back of his cruiser while he masturbated in the front seat.
The girl, who was 17 when the officer pulled her and a friend over about 1 a.m. April 3, fought back tears during most of her 50 minutes of testimony in the morning.
But she sobbed as the jury was released for a lunch break in the Washoe County District Court case and broke down again when she was on the witness for nearly four hours Tuesday afternoon while the jury watched her videotaped interview with a Reno detective conducted about eight hours after the alleged incident.
Washoe District Court Judge Steven Elliott noted that because she was crying – red in the face and biting her fingers – that he gave special permission to a county witness advocate from the district attorney's office to sit next to her and comfort her so they wouldn't have to halt the proceeding.
Defense lawyers for Paul Pitsnogle, 40, an 11-year veteran of the Reno police force with no prior citizen complaints, maintain the teen tried to bribe Pitsnogle with offers of sexual favors to get out of a drunken driving arrest.
During cross-examination, defense attorney David Houston suggested the accuser's goal was to make money off a civil suit against the city of Reno.
The young woman, now 18, acknowledged she and her family had retained a lawyer for a civil suit but said it had not been filed and denied that was her goal.
“At this time, our goal right now is to just make sure this man can't do this to any other girls,” she said.
The teen testified that she was a high school honors student who graduated with a 3.57 grade point average and secured a scholarship to pay for most of her tuition at the University of Nevada, Reno. But she said she since has moved out of town and is working as a waitress to put herself through college elsewhere.
“I couldn't stand living in this city anymore because of all of the media attention,” she said. The Associated Press has not identified the girl because of the nature of the charges.
The girl and her friend were driving home from a UB40 concert when they were stopped by Pitsnogle. She said she drank two beers before the 7:30 p.m. concert, had “three sips” of rum and about three hits of marijuana. But she said her last drink was before 8:30 p.m. and she did not feel tipsy when she was pulled over.
After asking her to step out of the car to do sobriety tests, Pitsnogle “asked me how I could tempt him into not arresting me,” she said.
“He told me if I was arrested I'd lose my license until I was 21 and have a probation officer. I told him I'm a good student and I work with kids. I was scared of being labeled as a person with a DUI,” she said.
She said she told him if he let her go he wouldn't have to do any paperwork and that she would buy him food at Del Taco, but that he was “not impressed.”
Next, she said she asked, “How have other people answered this question and got it right? He said, 'I've accepted money and other things.'”
Then, “he thrusted his pelvis toward me,” she said, and she offered to perform an oral sex act.
“He said, 'That would be tempting, that would tempt me. It's a good idea.'”
“I just couldn't believe this cop was sitting here and making these movements toward me,” she testified.
Deputy District Attorney Dan Greco said the teen's blood-alcohol level turned out to be 0.007 – a fraction of the legal limit.
Had she known that, she said she never would have disrobed.
The teen said Pitsnogle led her to the back door of his patrol car and he got in the driver's seat.
She said he told her, “'I can't touch you and you can't touch me, so think of something else.'”
“I said, 'So I have to take my clothes off?' He said, 'that's a good idea.'
“I'm locked in the back of a patrol car with a cop. ... and the way he was looking at me, I was scared and panicking.”
Biting her lip, closing her eyes and fighting back tears, the teen testified that after she was naked, he told her to position herself on her back.
“I'm sorry I have to be graphic. ... but we have to tell the jury what happened,” Greco told her.
After a few minutes, she said the officer told her to turn over and then she posed on all fours.
“He said, 'Perfect, don't move.' And I heard him begin to masturbate,” she said.
Afterward, she got dressed and he let her out of the car, she said.
“He said, 'You were the one who bribed a police officer. You are the one who's going to be in trouble if you tell anyone.'”
She said she got in her car and drove with her friend to her friend's house. Her friend's father drove her to her parents' home, and the parents called lawyers before filing a complaint the next morning.
Under cross-examination, the teen acknowledged she never called 911, had lied to Pitsnogle when he first stopped her and never called for help from her friend in the car when she became fearful for her safety. She also agreed her drinking and smoking pot before the concert was inconsistent with her status as an honors student.
She said Pitsnogle never directly asked her for sex or asked her to take her clothes off.
In his questioning, Houston repeatedly suggested the teen was high on drugs at the time of the incident, which she denied. He said the pot could have been cured with other drugs such as LSD or Ecstacy, which she acknowledged was possible but did not think happened.
Suzanne Harmon, a Washoe County sheriff's forensic criminalist, testified she found no evidence of semen in Pitsnogle's cruiser or on his uniform, but said she was not given his underwear to test.
Pitsnogle could face up to four years in prison if convicted of misconduct of an officer, a felony, and up to a year on a gross misdemeanor charge of open or gross lewdness. The trial resumes Wednesday morning and is expected to last at least a week.
ORLANDO - Sheriff's deputies used cadaver-sniffing dogs to search Friday for a 2-year-old Florida girl who mysteriously vanished more than a month ago, trying to determine what happened to the toddler whose mother was arrested after she came to police this week to report the disappearance.
Authorities said they didn't rule out the possibility that Caylee Marie Anthony was still alive. The girl's 22-year-old mother, Casey Marie Anthony, was arrested Wednesday on charges of child neglect and criminal obstruction.
Sheriff's Sgt. John Allen said the woman told detectives she had dropped off her daughter at a babysitter last month but hadn't seen her since.
On Friday, authorities used the dogs to search in the back yard of a home belonging to the woman's parents. Casey Marie Anthony allegedly asked a neighbor to borrow a shovel around the time her daughter Caylee went missing, deputies said.
That was June 9, according to Anthony.
"Just because we're here with cadaver dogs doesn't mean we're giving up, that Caylee's not alive," said Allen, head of the missing persons and child abuse unit. "We're running the investigation in several different directions."
Deputies said they didn't know until this week the girl was gone. They said Anthony didn't contact police until late Tuesday or early Wednesday, prompted by her mother over growing concern for a grandchild she hadn't seen in weeks.
Authorities said they doubted statements the mother told of dropping the child off with a babysitter.
Anthony didn't call authorities immediately, she said, because she was conducting her own investigation, according to the charging affidavit. The apartment she allegedly dropped the girl off at hadn't been occupied in months and Anthony gave detectives a bogus employer, manager's name and work telephone number, according to the affidavit.
"At no time during any of the above interviews did the defendant show any obvious emotion as to the loss of her child," wrote Cpl. Yuri Melich, a child abuse sex crimes detective. "She did not cry or give any indication that she was legitimately worried about her child's safety. She remained stoic and monotone during a majority of our contacts."
Allen said Casey hadn't spoken with investigators since she was charged.
"She's had an opportunity to tell us anything that she'd know," he said.
Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Some of Anthony's friends contacted investigators after seeing media reports of Caylee's disappearance. They called her a "habitual liar," according to the affidavit, but none suspected anything had happened to the girl until they heard the news.
She had told different ones, at varying points, the girl was with a nanny at the beach, or with someone else at one of Orlando's theme parks, the affidavit said.
Even Anthony's parents were worried she was withholding information from police, documents showed. Allen said the grandparents have been cooperative.
"It's very clear they want their granddaughter back. They're very worried about her safety," he said. "Obviously they're concerned about their daughter, but they're very concerned about their granddaughter. They certainly have not given up any hope that we will find Caylee alive and bring her home."
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Johnson City park sex sting snares 40 men
JOHNSON CITY — Less than 24 hours after Johnson City police announced charges against dozens of men allegedly involved in sex acts at city parks, one of those accused is believed to have killed himself.
A resident of Newland, N.C., 55-year-old Jerry McCloud, reportedly was found dead inside his home around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Authorities told a source in Avery County, N.C., that McCloud died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body reportedly was found by a family member.
McCloud had been scheduled to appear in Washington County Sessions Court on Tuesday to answer to charges of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.
He was one of 40 men charged in a two-week undercover investigation conducted by Johnson City police last month at Winged Deer and Buffalo Mountain parks.
Authorities said Monday their investigation into the inappropriate sexual behavior is far from over.
As news of the sting hit newspapers and local television stations Tuesday, undercover investigators arrested yet another man allegedly looking for sex at a park.
According to reports, an officer was conducting surveillance at Buffalo Mountain Park around 1 p.m. Tuesday when Clifford Deloach, 44, 2819 Emory Lane, approached him and asked him to engage in sexual activity.
Deloach allegedly led the officer to an area frequently used for such activity, and the pair made plans to engage in sex.
At that time, Deloach was issued a citation charging him with disorderly conduct.
All of the men charged in the recent sting are no longer allowed to visit any city park, police said.