Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CT - Windsor Locks Could Ban Sex Offenders From Parks, Libraries

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Well, like usual, they released this news article the DAY OF the meeting, not giving enough notice for people to attend.  They do this all the time, which is deceitful, IMO.

08/05/2008

Residents To Vote On Proposal Tuesday

WINDSOR LOCKS -- Windsor Locks residents will decide Tuesday night if sex offenders living in community will be banned from several public places, including libraries and parks.

Residents will meet Tuesday to discuss the proposal that would establish some safe zones around town and vote.

The board of selectmen and the police commission have approved the proposal. Now it is up to the residents to decide. It is modeled after a similar ban in Danbury.

Sex offenders would not be allowed access to schools, parks, public library, the senior center or the town hall gymnasium if the proposal is approved.

The Windsor Locks first selectman said the ordinance is designed to deter repeat offenses.

A registered sex offender would be issued a warning for a first offense, followed by a $99 fine for each additional offense.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.


WI - Suamico restricts sex-offender placements

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08/05/2008

SUAMICO — The village on Monday became the latest of a number of suburban communities to pass an ordinance preventing some types of sex offenders from being placed in certain areas of the village.

The Village Board voted unanimously to limit certain kinds of sex offenders to parts of the village. A number of surrounding communities passed similar laws in recent months.
- How are they going to limit some offenders from these places and not others?  They aren't, it's going to affect every single sex offender.  Watch and see.  Limiting it to some, but not all, is too much trouble, which we know they will not do.

After the city of Green Bay passed its residency restriction more than a year ago, many suburban communities, including Suamico, joined together for a more regional approach.

Since then, however, many of those communities have passed restrictions on where court-supervised sex offenders can live, including the neighboring village of Howard.

Suamico's ordinance will mirror the one Howard recently passed, prohibiting court-supervised sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, licensed day-care center, park, trail, playground, place of worship or other place where children congregate. It has a sunset clause of 2010.

The ordinance also will establish an appeals board — similar to the one in the city of Green Bay — to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. The village's already established health and safety committee will take on this role.

In the year since Green Bay passed its residency restriction law, some suburban zip codes have shown an increase in the placement of newly released sex offenders.

The village of Ashwaubenon adopted two ordinances dealing with sex offenders: one prohibiting certain types of court-supervised offenders from living within 1,500 feet of school, day-care center, park or other place children might gather, and another preventing them from loitering around 200 feet of those areas.

The villages of Hobart and Bellevue both have ordinances preventing sex offenders from loitering around areas where children gather.
- And loitering doesn't mean, you can't be there, it means being somewhere without a purpose, and if you are taking your child there for a movie, to play in the playground, or church, then you are not there without a purpose.  Yet everyone assumes loitering means you cannot be there, and that is wrong.


TX - Case dismissed against former police officer accused of sexual assault of child

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What a crock of s--t! How many normal citizens do you know have been locked up due to some female lying about their age? And here, this jerk gets off because the same occurred. Yet more proof there is two sets of laws, one for the some and another for others. HE IS A SEX OFFENDER, IN MY BOOK!


08/04/2008



EL PASO -- The case against a former El Paso Police officer accused of sexual assault of a child was dismissed July 17.



Philip Frank Amato (photo not available) was set to go to trial later this month in the 384th District Court for having sex with an underage girl in 2005, but the case was dropped after it was determined he was lied to about her age.

- So how many people do we have in prison right now, who are not "good ole' boys," for the same thing?  If they must go to prison, so should these men.



Amato, who was an officer with the Northeast Regional Command Center, was arrested in 2005 shortly after Luis Nava III (photo), also a police officer, was arrested for having sex with the same girl.



Amato allegedly had sex with the girl in Nava's presence.



"We tried the co-defendant (Nava), and through that investigation and through the trial process and after discussing it with the complainant at length, it's clear to me there was insufficient evidence to continue prosecution against Amato," District Attorney Jaime Esparza said.



He said the girl deceived Amato about her age at the urging of Nava.

- So, this has never prevented an average citizen from going to prison for the same.  Just goes to show you the system is corrupt!



Nava and Amato were fired days after their 2005 arrests. Both had been with the Police Department for six years.

- So if Amato was not found guilty, why did he lose his job?  Because he is apparently guilty!



"His position as a police officer is important, but knowing completely the facts and the circumstances in this instance, I think the appropriate decision is not to prosecute because I think he was clearly deceived through the process," Esparza said.

- Bulls--t!  You are just protecting a "good ole' boy!"



Nava was found guilty in the 384th District Court in May on one count each of sexual assault of a child, sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, with another two years to run concurrently. He also received two years of probation.

- So he is in prison, while another cop, is walking free.  They also do not mention any sex offender treatment, or being on the registry for life!  Why not?



Investigators said Nava began the sexual relationship with a friend of his daughter when the girl was about 14, and it continued for about three years.



He and Amato both graduated in the same academy class and worked at the Northeast substation.



Joe Rosales, Amato's lawyer, could not be reached for comment.



Police spokesman Officer Chris Mears said it was not immediately known whether Amato appealed his termination in 2005, but if he had, the appeal process would not have begun until the case was adjudicated. Mears said Amato is not currently working with the department.



Erica Molina Johnson may be reached at emolina@elpasotimes.com; 546-6132.


NJ - Officials push for limits on residency

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08/05/2008



Cherry Hill officials have appealed to the state Supreme Court in an attempt to preserve their ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live, a move that could impact more than 100 towns with similar laws.



Cherry Hill Mayor Bernie Platt (Email) on Monday said the recent court decision that struck down a township ordinance prohibiting offenders from living near schools, playgrounds and other areas where children gather was unjust and undermines the concept of home rule.



"I believe letting an offender live near children is like giving a bottle of vodka to an alcoholic," Platt said. "I am asking the Supreme Court to think about the innocent children in our society instead of the sex offenders rights."

- Do you know of any laws which prevent alcoholics from living near places that sell alcohol?  No, so why are you passing laws that prevent sex offenders from living where they want or where housing is available? (Some comments borrowed from eAdvocate)



A three-judge panel ruled last month that the state's Megan's Law already governs how sex offenders should be treated. It requires sex offenders to register with authorities and have their housing approved by parole officers, among other conditions.



In their decision, the appellate judges said the Legislature intended for the state law to be a "comprehensive framework" for controlling and supervising the lives of offenders.



But Platt said it is "fatally flawed" since it does not address residency restrictions.



"I believe allowing sex offenders to live near a place where our children play, learn and worship is unacceptable," he said.

- You are assuming that all sex offenders have or will harm children, which shows your ignorance and inability to learn the real facts.



The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, which has represented sex offenders in similar cases, has said the residency restrictions run the risk of destabilizing offenders and increasing the risk of recidivism.



"We think the appellate decision showed that the law in this area is clear," said Tom Rosenthal, a spokesman for the office. "We're hopeful the Supreme Court will agree with the Appellate Court and deny the petition."



It's up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case - one that, if heard, would be watched closely by municipal officials across the state.



In neighboring Gloucester County, ordinances in two towns, Monroe and Franklin townships, have been challenged by sex offenders who claimed they were being punished twice for their crimes.



Monroe had held off on enforcing the local law pending the Appellate Court decision.



Solicitor Charles Fiore said the township council has not yet determined how to move forward.



Locally, however, an official in one Salem County township said he would still enforce his local ordinance if an offender moved into the community.



"We really hadn't had an opportunity to enforce it, but we will if it takes place," said Pete Voros, mayor of Pittsgrove, where no sex offenders currently live, according to the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.



The case in Cherry Hill was combined with a challenge in Galloway Township, where officials are reportedly appealing the decision as well.



In Cherry Hill, two sex offenders living in a motel with the approval of their parole officers challenged their violation of the local law.



In Galloway Township, a student at Richard Stockton College challenged the ordinance after moving on campus.



The laws in both towns prohibited sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, day cares, playgrounds and other areas where children gather.


Unmasking Trolls to End Online Harassment - Lawsuit to Name Real Identity of Posters

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08/05/2008



Have you ever participated in an online forum where an anonymous someone turns really ugly on you and starts saying every disgusting thing under the sun for no apparent reason?



You never forget the feeling.



It's creepy. It's violent. It violates you even though it's 'just words.' It makes you feel powerless because there's virtually nothing you can do to stop it. Even worse, if the forum isn't moderated, the words and posts will remain there forever to haunt you...and smear you in the eyes of potential employers, clients, even boyfriends who google your name.



Women who've been in this situation haven't had much recourse. But now a lawsuit initiated by two female Yale Law School students is threatening to chip away at the anonymity of these online 'trolls,' adding to the ongoing debate over what constitutes free speech online.



The incidents in question took place in forums at AutoAdmit.com, which calls itself "the most prestigious college discussion board in the world." A July 30, 2008 article at Wired.com entitled "Yale Students' Lawsuit Unmasks Anonymous Trolls, Opens Pandora's Box," details the start of the anonymous attacks:



The AutoAdmit controversy began even before one of the women, identified in court documents as "Jane Doe I," started classes in the fall of 2005, the lawsuit alleges. Doe I was alerted in the summer to an AutoAdmit comment thread entitled "Stupid Bitch to Attend Law School." The thread included messages such as, "I think I will sodomize her. Repeatedly" and a reply claiming "she has herpes." The second woman, Jane Doe II, was similarly attacked beginning in January 2007.





Both women tried in vain to persuade the administrators of the AutoAdmit.com site to remove the threads, according to the lawsuit....The Jane Doe plaintiffs contend that the postings about them became etched into the first page of search engine results on their names, costing them prestigious jobs, infecting their relationships with friends and family, and even forcing one to stop going to the gym for fear of stalkers.


According to Ann Bartow, an associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, "We have never had such a way to lie and distort facts about people -- to spread lies and distortions in a way that is attached to them. And you can game it to come up on the front page of Google."



What makes this particular case so compelling is that attorneys for the the two women have figured out the real identities of several online trolls and are pursuing information to ascertain others. As the Wired article reports, "[they] all now face the likely publication of their names in court records -- potentially marking a death sentence for the comment trolls' budding legal careers even before the case has gone to trial."


TX - Ex-convict cleared by DNA test, freed

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08/05/2008



DALLAS — Steven Charles Phillips walked into a Dallas courtroom Tuesday morning as a registered sex offender and 25-year veteran of the Texas prison system. He walked out with a grin and a chance at a new life after being completely cleared of a series of sex crimes in the 1980s.



“What a great day. Today is the day the Lord has made and I am grateful to him,” Phillips said.



Phillips, 50, was initially cleared of two charges of sexual assault and burglary of a building last fall after DNA evidence identified another man, who died in a Texas prison 10 years ago. Clearing his name of nine other charges took months because Phillips had pleaded guilty to them in an attempt to avoid a life sentence.



He is one of 18 men exonerated by DNA evidence in Dallas County since 2001.



Dallas County assistant district attorney Mike Ware, who heads the conviction integrity unit, said though DNA evidence was not available in every rape Phillips had been accused of, “I don’t have any doubt that he didn’t do these.”



Phillips fought his convictions for years but made little headway until the Innocence Project championed his cause. Attorney Barry Scheck said the Phillips case was “one of the worst cases of tunnel vision we’ve ever seen. Police seized on Steven Phillips as a suspect and refused to see mounting evidence that someone else actually committed these crimes.”



Phillips was identified by 10 different victims, many of whom had described the attackers striking blue eyes. Phillips’ eyes are green and his wife and two other relatives testified that he was with them when the crime occurred.



Ware was unwilling to characterize the original investigation as sloppy or intentionally misdirected, but said he hoped his office could “reach some sort of reasonable opinion as to what went wrong, and then, you know, begin to talk about what can be done to fix this (procedurally).”



The real perpetrator of the crimes has been identified as Sidney Alvin Goodyear, who died while serving a 45-year-sentence for a burglary of habitation with intent to commit sexual assault. Goodyear’s DNA was identified in the first two crimes. He also admitted to, and was convicted of, a series of offenses similar to those in Dallas before and after Phillips was arrested.



The crime sprees were distinctive – in addition to women who were raped after their homes were broken into, the perpetrator held groups of women at area health spas at gunpoint, forcing them to disrobe and commit sexual acts.


NJ - Cherry Hill takes sex offender case to top court

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08/04/2008



CHERRY HILL - The township, trying to uphold a restriction on where sex offenders can live here, has taken its case to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Mayor Bernie Platt announced this morning.



A state appeals court on July 15 struck down the Cherry Hill ordinance, which kept registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, playground or house of religious worship. More than 100 other New Jersey municipalities have similar local rules on the books.



But the measure, in place about three years in Cherry Hill, was invalid because it conflicted with the less-restrictive state Megan's Law, according to the appeals court decision last month.



Platt fired back this morning at a press conference outside Cherry Hill Town Hall. He said Megan's Law in New Jersey has a fatal flaw: no residency restrictions.



"And that is the reason we strengthened Cherry Hill's law," Platt said. "I believe this law adds value to our community and provides protection to our children."



The state appeals court last month also struck down a similar residency restriction in Galloway Township, Atlantic County. A call to the township lawyer there was not immediately returned this afternoon.



Reach Adam Smeltz at (856) 486-2919 or asmeltz@gannett.com.


GA - WTF? THEY CLAIM TO HAVE OVER 6 MILLION SEX OFFENDER RECORDS FOR GEORGIA ALONE!

They claim to have 6,854,655 million sex offender records in their GEORGIA database.


What a load of BS!! There is only a little over 15,000 sex offenders in the whole state.


Click the photo to visit the site



MA - Sex offenders banned from children's gathering places in Methuen

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08/05/2008



METHUEN — The City Council voted unanimously last night to ban Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from stepping foot on any city-owned property where children congregate.

- Where do children NOT congregate?



The ordinance takes effect in 30 days. Any registered sex offenders caught violating the ordinance will be issued fines up to $300. That's the toughest penalty the city can impose within the confines of existing laws.

- You said above, this was for level 2 and 3 only, so by saying the above, it appears you are saying this affects ALL sex offenders, even level 1 sex offenders.  So which is it?



"This is something we can do on an interim basis, as much as possible, to protect our children," said City Councilor Kenneth Willette, who drafted the law with City Solicitor Peter McQuillan.



Willette said he wants the state lawmakers to come up with a law that would allow police to arrest sexual predators found at public schools, libraries and parks.



"There has to be a stronger vehicle for cities and towns to protect children," he said.



Methuen has five Level 3 sex offenders, who are deemed by the state's Sex Offender Registry Board as having a "high" risk of reoffending. The city has 40 Level 2 offenders, who are deemed to have a "moderate" risk of reoffending.

- And now, by doing this, you have increased that risk of reoffending.



The new law also bans sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of any school, public library, day-care center, park, recreational facility, elderly housing or facility for the mentally retarded.



Any offenders caught moving within the 1,000-foot zone will be issued a $150 fine and given 30 days to move. Police will fine the offender $300 if they violate the law again, and they'll notify the offender's parole and/or probation officer and the Sex Offender Registry Board.



Any offenders who already live within 1,000 feet of those places will be grandfathered, so they will not be kicked out of their home.



"I'm not happy with that, but that's the way it's been constitutionally tested through the court system," Willette said.

- So here, they are telling you, this is the way to make it constitutional!  So why are other states able to retroactively punish people who were sentenced before the new laws?  Someone is lying!



If an offender is living within 1,000 feet of one of those places and they're charged with another sex crime, they will be forced to move, the ordinance says.

- What?  One would guess that if a sex offender commits another crime, they'd not need to move, because they'd be in jail awaiting another trial.



The ordinance says that not only are sex offenders banned from going into schools, day-care centers, elderly housing and facilities for the mentally retarded, they cannot loiter within 500 feet of those places as well as parks and recreation areas. It defines "loiter" as hanging around for more than 15 minutes.

- Redefining loitering I see.  Loitering doesn't mean this, it means hanging around without a purpose, not hanging out more that XX minutes.  See for yourself.



Police first have to notify the person that they're loitering, and if the offender continues to loiter, they can fine them $150 for the first offense, and $300 for any subsequent offense.



An offender can go to a school, day-care center, elderly housing or facility for the mentally retarded if the person in charge of the place has provided written permission.



Officials will create a list of the areas from which sex offenders are banned, as well as a map showing the location of the residency restrictions and safety zones. The public will be able to get the map, list and law on the city's Web site, at the police station and in the city clerk's office.



Willette previously said he wanted to erect signs declaring the area around schools, parks and the library "predator free zones." He has scrapped that idea in hopes that state lawmakers will come up with a law for all cities and towns to follow.



McQuillan said the ordinance will only pertain to city-owned property. He said the law attempts to strike a balance between individual liberties and protecting the public.



McQuillan can't guarantee the law won't be banned based on constitutionality, but he thinks it will prevail if that happens, he said.



The law calls for posting the sex offender fliers distributed by the Sex Offender Registry Board — showing the photograph, age, address and convictions of Level 3 offenders — in City Hall, the Quinn Building, Nevins Memorial Library, on the city's Web site and in the offices of every public school and day-care center.

- Just imaging how much money all this costs?



The law creates a task force charged with reviewing the state's sex offender laws and recommending changes to give police more teeth to crack down on offenders. The task force has to submit recommendations to Methuen's state legislative delegation no later than Dec. 1.



The task force will consist of police Chief Katherine Lavigne, another member of the Police Department chosen by the chief, two city councilors and a member of the Public Safety Commission.



Nobody spoke against the law last night. The American Civil Liberties Union spoke against it in a previous article in The Eagle-Tribune, as did the son and daughter in-law of Level 3 sex offender Howard Bobb, 64.


VT - Aldermen approve sex offender zoning

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08/05/2008



The city aldermen approved a new ordinance Monday that will make most of the city off-limits for convicted child sex offenders to live in.

- These laws affect all sex offenders, not just those who harmed a child.  I wish reporters would get this through their thick skulls.



The unanimous vote was held after a trio of sexual assault victims spoke against the measure and two other people spoke in favor of the ordinance that will impose 1,000-foot buffer zones around every school, park and day-care center in the city.



But it was perhaps the city residents not in the room who convinced the aldermen that supporting the residency restrictions was the right thing to do.



"Why are there no probation and parole officers or police or counselors or anyone else in here saying we're opening a hornet's nest here?" Alderman Henry Heck said after listening to comments both for and against from the five residents who spoke. "We may not have had a lot of meetings or done a lot of research, but my phone hasn't been ringing off the hook from people calling to say you're getting into a hornet's nest."

- This is EXACTLY why sex offenders and families of sex offenders MUST speak up.  If you do not say anything, then more and more punishment will be dealt!  SPEAK UP!!!!!!!



Heck's comments were partly a response to critical remarks from the three victims who characterized the board's and Mayor Christopher Louras' (Email) embrace of the ordinance as uninformed fear-mongering undertaken for the purpose of political gain.



Heck wasn't the only alderman who denied those accusations.



While the ordinance passed quickly and with little research into the effectiveness of residency ordinances in other communities, several aldermen said they had no political stake in the ordinance's passage and were only trying to make a small step toward addressing a large problem that will ultimately require action at the state level.

- So how can they rightly justify this, when they did not do any research into the effectiveness of the restrictions?  They are just following the bandwagon!



Whether the silent majority Heck referred to actually supports the ordinance will now be put to the test. The new ordinance goes into effect in 20 days, but there is a 45-day window in which those opposed to the new law can gather the required 5 percent of registered voter signatures needed to put the ordinance in front of the voters.



Adopted almost verbatim from an ordinance that passed recently in Barre, the so-called "Child Safety Ordinance" was proposed by Louras as a starting point for a similar law in Rutland, but was approved almost unchanged by the aldermen.



There were no naysayers at the board meeting where the mayor introduced the ordinance or at the committee meeting where the aldermen discussed it.



But at the meeting on Monday, Richard and Cris Brown, who said their children were the victims of sexual predators 35 years ago, told the aldermen they needed to do more homework on the ordinance they said would increase the likelihood of sexual offenses, not lower them.



"Expert after expert has offered information, advice and editorials regarding how sexual offenders work, why this ordinance is not a good idea, why it could back to cause the city a great deal of money and in effect create a larger problem and put more children at risk," Cris Brown said.

- You see, they do not listen to anybody, they assume what they are doing works, when studies and facts prove otherwise.  If this is how the government works, we are all screwed.  These people are not in touch with reality!



The Browns said rather than pass a residency ordinance, the board should develop ways to educate parents and children about how sex offenders operate to prevent sexual abuse and uncover predators before they offend.



Ruthellen Weston began her remarks by saying she wanted to prevent children from enduring the type of abuse she did at an early age.



"If I can prevent even one child from having to experience what I did, I have to speak up," she said.

- I am also sick and tired of these one line "sound-bites" that you hear over and over and over.  Save one child, punish and torture millions more who do not deserve to be tortured.  Yeah, Hitler thought like that as well, and you see how many people he had killed?



While she said it was "wonderful" that the city was trying to do something to protect children, she referred to national studies that have shown residency laws destabilize sex offenders, drive them underground and increase the likelihood of future offenses.



"Please, please I beg you to vote against this law and channel your energies into something that will really protect children. This is not the answer," Weston concluded.



But Anissa Delauri, a child-care provider in Rutland, and 14-year-old Emily Anderson, who is an intern at Delauri's day-care center, said the ordinance would be better than what exists in Rutland now and had the chance to protect children.

- Why are we passing laws based on what a 14 year old says?  Are you saying a child is smarter than someone who is 40 or more years old?  Sounds like it to me.



"This is a first step," Delauri said. "But it shouldn't be the last. We need parent education and child education … there's a lot of education that needs to be done."

- Yeah, you need to read all the studies out there that prove this stuff is "feel good" legislation which doesn't work.  So when are you going to educate yourself?  Sounds like you are set on your ways, and think you are all high and mighty and know the facts, when you do not.



Anderson, who doesn't live in the city, but said she has friends with children in Rutland, asked the board to do whatever they could to protect them.

- So if we want to protect the children, then you need to arrest everyone who lives with them, since statistics show that they are more likely to be sexually abused by a family member than anybody else.  If you really wanted to protect the children, then this is what you would do.



"I don't want something to happen to them," she said. "If this protects a few kids or even one, then it's worth it."

- Oh shut up!  I am sick of hearing that.  Hitler said this kind of stuff as well.  Nobody wants a child to suffer, but by passing these laws, you are doing exactly that.  You are hurting the families and children of the sex offenders.  So do they not count?  Apparently in your warped state of mind, you don't think they do.



Contact Brent Curtis at brent.curtis@rutlandherald.com.


CA - City to vote on sex offender ordinance

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08/04/2008



City to vote on sex offender ordinance



EL MONTE - The City Council will vote on a proposed sex offender ordinance that will extend local regulations to Jessica's Law during the meeting at 6:30 p.m. today in the council chambers.



If passed, the ordinance would prohibit registered sex offenders from residing in a `Residential Exclusion Zone,' defined as any property within 2,000 feet of a child care center, school or city park.



The ordinance also restricts how many registered sex offenders can reside in the same motel/hotel, single- or multiple-family dwellings.



The ordinance would not apply to existing sex offenders that reside within the exclusion zone, but would apply to any future sex offenders wanting to reside within the city.



The council meeting room is at City Hall, 11333 Valley Blvd., El Monte.


NC - Former Officer Arrested On Child Porn Charges

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08/04/2008



BOONE -- A former Boone police officer has been charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.



State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Noelle Talley said Marvin Eric Tart, 34, of Boone, was arrested on July 31. She said the charges against Tart involved child pornography.



No other details surrounding the investigation were released.



Boone police said Tart resigned on July 31. He had been an officer with the department since 1999.