Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON -- The Army is launching a new war against an old foe: the lingering problem of sexual violence within the military.
Last month, 80 high-ranking generals gathered at a hotel in Alexandria, Va., for a mandatory, weeklong summit devoted to combating the crime. In a Sept. 22 essay in Army Times, Army Secretary Pete Geren and Gen. George Casey, the service's chief of staff, said it was "repugnant to everything a soldier stands for" and promised a "zero tolerance" policy for harassment or assault.
The approach comes in direct response to a batch of new Pentagon data indicating that 2.6 soldiers per 1,000 reported a sexual assault last year. In the Marine Corps and Navy, it was 1.1 per 1,000; in the Air Force, 1.6 per 1,000. The Army began tracking the numbers only in 2006, and officials say they don't have enough comparable data to determine whether the problem is getting worse over time.
Army leaders hope a major change in their strategy for combating these acts of violence can bring the numbers down. The service has long focused on dealing with the aftermath of an assault. Now it will try to prevent the crime from occurring in the first place.
The centerpiece of the new effort -- known as "I AM Strong," with the I AM standing for "intervene, act, motivate" -- is a call for soldiers to confront peers who are abusing alcohol or exhibiting other possible harbingers of an assault, such as making suggestive comments. The Army also wants soldiers to alert higher-ranking personnel if their colleagues' behavior doesn't improve.
"We're trying to change the culture," said Carolyn Collins, the program manager for the Army's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. "We want soldiers to look for red flags and take steps to address them before they turn into something serious."
The military has been wrestling with the problem for decades. But some female veterans say the Army's macho culture has enabled soldiers to behave in ways that would be unacceptable in the civilian world.
"We've heard all of this talk before, but nothing ever seems to change," said Wanda Story, the national commander of the United Female Veterans of America, an advocacy group. Ms. Story said she was raped twice by fellow soldiers, in 1985 and 1986. She said she continues to be contacted by young veterans who say they were assaulted at the hands of other military personnel.
The Army's first formal attempt to curb sexual violence was put in place in 2004 after a spate of high-profile cases. It focused on deploying "sexual assault response coordinators" to all military installations and expanding the range of counseling services.
It also allowed victims to choose whether they wanted the Army to open formal criminal probes into alleged assaults or to receive medical and psychological assistance confidentially. Army officials concede that the program fell short.
"We're four years down the road, and we're not where we want to be," Ms. Collins said.
An August 2008 Government Accountability Report found that the military's efforts to combat sexual violence had been hampered by a lack of support from some senior commanders and by a shortage of qualified mental-health professionals.
The survey found that 103 service members at 14 military installations said they had been assaulted within the preceding 12 months. But only 51 of the victims reported the crime to the authorities, with the remainder worrying that coming forward would hurt their careers, according to the report.
"Most people keep quiet because they don't want to believe it happened to them or because they're scared of what will happen if they speak up," said Susan Avila-Smith, an Army veteran who runs Women Organizing Women, an advocacy group.
Ellen Wainwright, a former medic, says a higher-ranking enlisted soldier forced her into his room on a large U.S. base near Baghdad in early 2006 and raped her. Afterward, he warned her not to tell anyone. Ms. Wainwright kept quiet for two months and says he raped and sodomized her repeatedly before she finally chose to speak out.
In April 2006, she gave a sworn affidavit to agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. She was sent back to the U.S. on emergency leave. A few days later, Army officials told her she was being involuntarily discharged for psychological reasons. Ms. Wainwright says it was retribution for speaking up.
Army investigators said that they had "probable cause to believe" the alleged assailant had made inappropriate comments to Ms. Wainwright and made an unwanted overture to another female soldier. The investigators said they could not "establish sufficient evidence to prove or disprove" the assault allegations.
Efforts to reach the man were unsuccessful. Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the service "carefully investigates" all sexual assault allegations but avoids "discussing matters naming individual victims or alleged victims" because of privacy concerns.
Ms. Wainwright was unemployed for nearly two years after leaving the Army and says that she and her husband continue to litigate the terms of their divorce, including custody of their young son. Ms. Wainwright's husband couldn't be reached for comment.
Ms. Wainwright said that she had reluctantly concluded that her alleged assailant was right when he told her to stay silent.
"It would have been better for me to have kept my mouth shut," she said.
Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at email@example.com
BINGHAMTON -- A 24-year-old Endicott woman faces possible life in prison after being found guilty Tuesday of fatally striking her 2-year-old son in the head and failing to get medical treatment for him.
A Broome County jury found Melissa McLain guilty of second-degree murder and first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of the little boy a year ago.
"We finally got justice for that little boy," Senior Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Bergman said after the verdict was announced.
McLain will be sentenced Dec. 9. She faces a minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison, and a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
Defense attorney James Sacco called the verdict "very, very disappointing," and said an appeal will be filed.
"Melissa from the beginning has displayed nothing but absolute emotional devastation over the loss of Shaedon (her son)," he said. "I find it unimaginable that it's an act."
Sacco thinks jurors had difficulty setting aside their emotions over a dead 2-year-old in deciding the case. Several jurors had tears in their eyes last week as they looked at pictures of the battered boy taken at the hospital before he died.
"The jury was looking for someone to blame, and right now there is only one person," Sacco said.
Doctors testified during the trial that the blow that killed Shaedon likely happened between 6:30 and 10 p.m. Oct 18, 2007. Shaedon was unresponsive when paramedics responded to McLain's Cleveland Avenue apartment on Oct. 19, they testified. The child's brain injuries were equivalent to having fallen from a two- or three-story building, a Syracuse doctor testified.
During the trial, Sacco pointed the finger at Tommy Manan, McLain's live-in boyfriend at the time of Shaedon's death. Manan, a convicted sex offender, was not the boy's father.
However, the age of Shaedon's bruises and McLain's constantly changing story pointed to her being guilty, Bergman said.
The Endicott police put a tremendous amount of effort into the case, Bergman said today.
"We're thrilled with the verdict," he said. "It was a difficult case."
By John Morris
While the public’s attention was focused on the drama unfolding around the economic bailout, it was actually a busy time for other bills to get pushed – sometimes under the cover of the bailout darkness. Just before recess, Congress considered parts of four “child safety” bills, acted on three, and sent two to the White House. While not all the provisions in these bills raise red flags, some language gives free expression advocates plenty to worry about.
One bill that is awaiting a Presidential signature confronts child pornography head on in a constructive way is S. 1738, the “PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008. Among the important and positive steps taken in this new law are (a) a dramatic increase in funding for fighting child pornography, (b) a mandate to the Department of Justice that it develop a real strategy to fight such material, and (c) the provision of new forensic and other resources to help state law enforcement protect kids. These provisions should – if the bailout leaves any money to actually spend on law enforcement – really help in the fight against child pornography.
Congress should have stopped there; it didn’t. Some in Congress insisted that the core parts of S. 519 – the “SAFE Act” – be added to S. 1738 before passage. Among the most problematic provisions in S.519 – which was never publicly debated by any committee–is the outsourcing of significant law enforcement investigative functions to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which as a non-governmental entity operates outside of the core constitutional and legal protections that govern (or should govern) our criminal justice system (such as the 4th Amendment, the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, etc.). Although NCMEC makes valuable contributions in the child safety arena, the growing trend in Congress to outsource law enforcement functions to a nominally private group—without any serious oversight or procedural protections— takes us down a dangerous path.
Another part of the SAFE Act that was crammed into S. 1738 federalizes a “blacklist” program that NCMEC had been running with ISPs to alert the service providers to child pornography. Although the program might have been desirable (and probably avoided constitutional concerns because NCMEC is private), now that Congress has authorized the program it runs smack into the clear constitutional prohibition against a governmental blacklist of content under a long line of “prior restraint” cases. Congress did make clear that NCMEC’s blacklist could only be used for a very narrow category of child pornography, but this narrowing of the program does not avoid its clear unconstitutionality.
This Congressional scrum surrounding S. 1738 and S. 519 included a healthy dose of election year politics; to see what I mean go online and check out the sponsors of these two bills.
The other bill Congress passed and that is now on the President’s desk is S. 431, the “Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008.” This bill creates a national registry of sex offenders’ e-mail addresses; it also allows social networking services to use the list to screen out sex offenders. While this superficially might seem to be a good idea, the bill (even with some good amendments from its original language) has problems and is unlikely to be effective. Among the problems in the bill is that the definition of “social network” sweeps very broadly, reaching a great many of the blogs on the Internet. Although this bill tries to avoid imposing obligations on blogs, there is a risk that the bill will burden blogs, and that the broad definition of “social network” will get used in other attempts to impose regulation on such sites. Moreover, the bill is unlikely to be effective because sex offenders who want to break their terms of release by contacting minors can easily do so by creating new e-mail addresses. A far more effective approach that Congress could have taken is found in H.R. 719, the House version of the KIDS Act. H.R. 719 would have allowed probation officers of those sex offenders who pose risks for children online to directly limit the ability of those offenders to access social networks. But, instead of enacting this focused and likely effective bill, Congress opted for a broader bill (S. 431) that is unlikely to thwart determined offenders or protect children. The implementation of this law will bear closer scrutiny.
Finally, this past Friday the House passed an amended version of S. 602, the “Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007.” This bill – which because of the amendment must now go back to the Senate in a “lame duck” session of Congress after the election – would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to undertake a formal study of blocking and filtering technology that could be used to control content on the Internet. This bill raises a host of concerns, first and foremost being that it would be the first time that Congress has ever suggested that the FCC should stick its nose into Internet content (which has flourished because it is unregulated). If this study were limited to assessing “user empowerment” software for parents – technology that CDT strongly supports – it might not be a risky endeavor, but the language of S. 602 appears to encourage the FCC to consider a possible “V-chip” for the Internet and other invasive technology mandates. The bill – thankfully – was amended to only permit a study of these issues, but even an FCC study can be a camel’s nose under the very risky tent of government censorship. We are hopeful that in a “lame duck” session the Senate will have better things to do than to invite the FCC to ponder ways it might censor the Internet.
It's funny how someone who happens to be rich and famous, like this man, and also John Walsh, can check themselves into treatment, and get "cured," but the average Joe cannot be "cured!"
Lawyer: David Duchovny has completed sex addiction rehab, will be starting movie soon
An attorney for David Duchovny says the actor has checked out of a rehabilitation facility for treatment of sex addiction.
Duchovny, who plays a sex-obsessed character on Showtime's "Californication," voluntarily entered the facility in late August.
Says lawyer Stanton Stein: "David has successfully completed his rehabilitation, he is out of rehab and will be starting a movie soon."
Duchovny starred as the conspiracy-minded Fox Mulder on "The X-Files" TV series and in two films.
The 48-year-old actor and his wife, actress Tea Leoni, have two children. The couple married in 1997.
Hawaiian Tropic ex-boss slams accusers
I wonder if this is just someone trying to get rich and playing the rape card to get money. $600 million??? Come on!
By BRUCE GOLDING and KATE SHEEHY
The Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Times Square may be advertised as "the hottest place on Earth," but it turned into a living hell for four female workers who claim that widespread sexual harassment there escalated into rape and forcible sodomy.
The women - a former senior manager, a bartender, a hostess and an office assistant - say their sex-fiend boss subjected them to months of lewd harassment and sickening assaults while management turned a blind eye to his stomach-churning shenanigans, according to a bombshell, $600 million-plus lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court today.
- I wish reporters would leave their personal feelings out of stories. Why call this man a "sex-fiend," when he has not even been to court yet and found innocent or guilty? Oh yeah, you need ratings, I almost forgot!
The alleged sicko top-manager - married, 40-year-old dad of two Anthony Rakis - "is a rapist and sexual predator who was given full reign by the Riese Organization to sexually assault, molest, batter and rape the female employees," the lawsuit charges.
- More personal feels. Calling him a "sicko" before he has even been to court! I think the reporters are the sickos for demonizing the man and convicting him before he has even been to court!
"In that sense, he was not unlike a pedophile at a daycare center."
- Give me a break! Do you even know what a pedophile is? Apparently not!
Two days after allegedly drugging and brutally raping ex-senior manager Guilietta Consalvo in a taxi in September 2006, the lawsuit says Rakis groveled:
"I am so sorry, my behavior was so disgusting. It wasn't me. That was the person I was a long time ago. I used to be a very bad person, but my wife turned me around. I went to my priest this weekend."
Several of the women eventually filed police reports.
Rakis was fired from his job months after the alleged attack.
Reached by phone yesterday in Alexandria, Va., where he has since relocated with his wife and two kids, Rakis denied the charges.
"These are false allegations. This is all kind of a shock to me, to be honest to you. I guess I'm going to have to call the Hawaiian Tropic guys and see what they're saying."
He refused to say what he is now doing for work.
- It's none of your business what he may be doing for work!
In the suit, the women also claimed that the restaurant - famous for its shapely waitresses who dress in barely-there bikinis and sexy sarongs - was turned into a disgusting meat market for drooling Riese executives.
- So why are they working there?
A job interview for one of the bartender plaintiffs consisted of her strutting across the stage of Caroline's comedy club in a bikini as Riese empire Chairman Danny Riese, Vice Chairman Jamie Galler and Rakis, "among other men, shot Polaroids and videotaped her," the suit says.
- It is the Hawaiian Tropic restaurant, what did you expect?
When one prospective employee went to an interview without her bikini, she was allegedly ordered to strip down to her bra and panties so she could be examined.
- I don't get it. They are applying for a job, which has women in bathing suits. So what do they expect? Yeah, they should not have asked her to strip down to bra and panties, but to get a bathing suit and come back, but, a bra and panties is not much more than a bathing suit. And did she strip? If so, why? This all sounds like a bunch of extortion to me!
The four plaintiffs charge that they were forced to quit after they made their complaints known.
After repeated requests for comment from Riese higher-ups, Galler responded by saying he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen the lawsuit.
Riese owns the Tropic Zone, as well as 113 eateries in the metro area, including those from chains such as Houlihan's, T.G.I. Friday's, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut and KFC.
- Yep, so this is why, to me, it seems like a plot to extort money from this person!
This sounds like a murder, but since this story doesn't have much details, I'll use the picture I'm using for now.
Homicide detectives investigating man's death in Lyndon
The man found shot to death Monday in a Lyndon self-storage facility has been identified.
The coroner has identified the man as 45 year old Francisco “Frank” Fernandez.
The cause of his death was multiple gun shot wounds to his head.
WHAS11 News discovered that he is a registered a sex offender.
He is on the sex offender registry for committing federal and/or military sex crimes.
WHAS11 News asked police about this matter and they won’t comment at this time.
Police say they found Fernandez in the Extra Space storage facility Monday.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
If you have any information call 574-LMPD.
Law Suit PDF
Another Related Story
ST. LOUIS (CN) - Registered sex offenders say Missouri is unconstitutionally restricting their activity during Halloween. The plaintiffs, who are parents, say the law is too vague, particularly as it applies to their own children and grandchildren.
The new law took effect June 30. It prohibits all Halloween-related contact with children; orders the offenders to stay inside their homes between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. unless there is an emergency; orders them to post a sign stating, "No candy or treats at this residence;" and orders them to turn their outside lights off after 5 p.m. on Halloween.
The plaintiffs say they don't know how to conform to these rules with respect to their own children and grandchildren and fear undue prosecution. They are represented by Anthony Rothert of the ACLU.
The defendants include Missouri Attorney General Jeremiah Nixon, Gov. Matt Blunt, and other law enforcement officials.
By GREG GROSS - For the Daily Record/Sunday News
After hearing the details of a draft ordinance that would restrict where convicted sex offenders may live in Wrightsville, borough council members opted to take no action, for or against the ordinance, during their meeting Monday night.
Councilman Neil Habecker said the borough would be on a "slippery slope" with an ordinance that could open the door for a court battle with an organization such as the American Civil Liberties Union .
- Yeah, because the laws are unconstitutional. The Constitution was made for a reason, for laws like this!
Habecker said he's not keen on the idea of having sex offenders living close to schools, parks and playgrounds, but he added the council didn't factor in possible ramifications.
- But rarely do sex offenders commit their crime around these places! 90% or more of sexual crimes, occur in the victims own home, family or by close friends of the family, not at schools, parks or play grounds! Stop the nonsense, and listen to the EXPERTS and FACTS!
"This concerns me greatly," he said.
Habecker said restrictions on where sex offenders may live should be left to the state government, and he encouraged the council to write a letter to state representatives expressing their concerns.
After the meeting, council President Sharon Young said the ordinance has been "tabled" although the board did not vote to do so. Young did say a letter will be drawn up and sent to the state.
Pennsylvania does not have statewide restrictions on where sex offenders may live, according to borough solicitor Walter Tilley said, but the state does require some to register with the state police.
Under the draft ordinance, sex offenders would not have been allowed to live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks or athletic facilities, Tilley said.
- So how many sexual crimes do you know occurred at places mentioned above? And how many have occurred in the victims own home, family or close friends? Read the facts for once!!!
However, Tilley said, John Klinedinst, the borough's engineer, determined that would leave hardly any places where offenders could legally live in the town.
The draft ordinance would also have allowed only one sex offender per dwelling, except for facilities that provide live-in counseling services.
PLEASANT GROVE (ABC 4 News) - Pleasant Grove housewives went door-to-door Monday evening gathering signatures on a petition against a proposed sex offender facility in their neighborhood.
That house at 560 South 300 East in Pleasant Grove was rezoned commercial and sold to Alliance Youth Services of American Fork. AYS plans to turn the house into residential treatment for teenagers convicted of sex offenses. Initially, boys between the ages of 12- 20 would live in the house.
How bad would these teens be? They would be classified as “level six”. Level six is described as “high-risk youth who engage in sexual misconduct with a broad range of sexual offense behaviors and who are often sexually preoccupied.” (Source: Utah Network on Juveniles Offending Sexually. www.nojos.org)
The homes on both sides of the AYS house have families with small children. Include the homes across the street, and neighbors say there are roughly 20 children living adjacent to the AYS house. Then they say there’s a pre-school behind the AYS house, and a daycare, elementary school and charter school just a few blocks away. Neighbors says a treatment center for young sex offenders would be appropriate for a area zoned commercial, but not for a neighborhood dominated by young families.
Neighbors thought they’d won their battle in the Pleasant Grove Planning Commission. The commission decided the treatment center was not in the best interests of the health and well being of the neighborhood. But that decision was overturned by the city’s Board of Adjustments, which now seems poised to grant AYS it’s permit to operate.
Even worse, they claim the Board of Adjustments will not hear their arguments or receive their evidence. They say the board will make its decision solely from the minutes of the Planning Commission.
Tuesday evening, neighbors hope to be heard when they take their petition directly to the Pleasant Grove City Council meeting. Though they are not on the agenda, they plan to make their case during the public comment period. That meeting begins 7:00 at the Pleasant Grove City Hall, 86 E. 100 South.
When is the ACLU going to get these laws into the US Supreme Court? This is where all these court cases should be, IMO.
By Jason Cato - TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Six convicted sex offenders on Monday sued Allegheny County, claiming a restrictive residency ordinance makes it nearly impossible for them to find a place to live.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Downtown, claims the county passed an ordinance in October 2007 intended to "augment the provisions of Pennsylvania's Megan's Law and better provide for the safety of the county's residents."
County Council unanimously approved the bill that bans sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, licensed child care facilities, community centers or county parks. Violators face up to 45 days in jail and $500 in fines.
Though the law took effect March 1, the lawsuit alleges the county has failed to draw a map showing where offenders cannot live.
"Pending publication of the map, professionals charged with overseeing parolees and probationers are interpreting the ordinance to preclude sex offenders from living anywhere in the county," the lawsuit states.
County spokesman Kevin Evanto declined to comment on a pending lawsuit.
The ordinance "was certainly reviewed by the solicitor's office," Evanto said.
The plaintiffs claim the ordinance prohibits them from moving in with family members or, in one case, from being released from prison to a community correction center.
"If every county enacted similar legislation, virtually no sex offender could reside in Pennsylvania, and certainly not in metropolitan areas where most jobs, counseling and treatment services are available," the lawsuit states.
The men want a federal judge to declare the law unconstitutional and bar the county from enforcing it.
Jason Cato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7840.
By PATRICK McARDLE - Herald Staff
BENNINGTON — A case that may have raised constitutional issues about the state's ability to keep sex offenders in custody is moving toward resolution without resolving that issue.
Richard A. Cavagnaro, 58, of Bennington, was scheduled to be released from Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on Sept. 21. Cavagnaro had agreed to plead guilty to three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as part of an agreement that said he would serve a year in prison.
However, as a convicted sex offender, Cavagnaro is required to seek the Vermont Department of Correction's approval of his living arrangements. When Cavagnaro was scheduled for release he had no home.
The state filed charges that Cavagnaro had violated the conditions of his probation, but Public Defender Frederick Bragdon argued that Cavagnaro was homeless because of a lack of resources.
The state argued that Cavagnaro had been given some phone privileges starting about six weeks before his release date, but had failed to take sufficient action to find a place to live.
On Monday, Bragdon told Judge John Wesley in Bennington District Court that Cavagnaro was scheduled to receive some money from a Department of Corrections fund that helps inmates reintegrate into society after their release from prison.
Bragdon asked for a brief hearing on Wednesday to report to Wesley on whether or not the money had arrived.
"The check's in the mail," Bragdon said.
Cavagnaro has made arrangements to stay at a motel on Main Street in Bennington as soon as he receives the money. The motel has been approved by the Department of Corrections as acceptable housing for a sex offender.
After the hearing, Bragdon said he didn't plan to raise the issue of whether the state can hold a sex offender past his or her release date if the offender doesn't have a home.
"I'm not going to fight that until I have to. I might lose," he said.
Bragdon said he may raise the issue if the state does not withdraw the probation violation charge once Cavagnaro has a place to live.
Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage said her office wasn't taking a position on the larger question.
Marthage said she believed Cavagnaro's inaction had led to having no place to live which led the state to take action.
During Cavagnaro's hearing in September, Bragdon said Cavagnaro could not return to the home where he lived before his prison sentence because a young child lived there.
Cavagnaro pleaded guilty in September 2007 to three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, all of which involved touching underage girls. Two other charges for the same offense were dismissed by the state.
Cavagnaro will continue to be held without bail until Wednesday's court appearance by agreement between prosecuting and defense attorneys.
Contact Patrick McArdle at email@example.com.
By ANDREW DOWDELL, COURT REPORTER
STATE welfare authorities "failed" an abused and damaged teenager who went on to viciously murder a convicted pedophile, the Supreme Court has heard.
Timothy Hemi Schaefer was today described as a "damaged little boy" whose pent-up anger erupted in a prolonged and barbaric attack on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Edwin Payne, 56.
Schaefer, 20, will spend at least 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to Payne's murder outside his Northfield home in April 2007.
The convicted sex offender had been throttled unconscious, stabbed in the leg and face and had his skull crushed in the late-night attack.
Schaefer took time to smoke a cigarette during the brutal assault and later described his victim as a "sack of shit" during a police interview.
Justice John Sulan said Schaefer and a number of other boys had regularly gone to Payne's home in the years leading up to the murder.
"For a number of years (Payne) was regularly visited by young boys and he provided them with cigarettes alcohol and marijuana in exchange for sexual favours," Justice Sulan said.
"He had convictions for offences of a sexual nature against teenage boys and had been imprisoned in the past for sex offences against young boys."
Payne was mentioned during sentencing submissions for convicted Snowtown serial killer James Vlassakis, who is serving a life jail term for four murders.
Justice Sulan said Schaefer was drunk and angry when he went to Payne's home on the night of the killing and found there were "sexual connotations behind the attack."
Justice Sulan said Schaefer had endured a chaotic and dysfunctional childhood with an alcoholic mother and an abusive father, who routinely beat his five children and fed them rotten meat.
The judge referred to a letter from Schaefer's aunt, who described him as "a bright and intelligent child who grew up in circumstances of chaos and dysfunction" and became a "damaged little boy."
"In my opinion the state failed him as a child," the letter said.
Justice Sulan said Schaefer's problems were compounded when he suffered serious head injuries when assaulted with a hammer as a 17-year old.
He said Schaefer needed intensive psychiatric help to overcome his many problems.
"Sadly, it appears that you will not receive the treatment that you require while you are in custody," he said.
Send these idiots some emails, give them the TRUE facts about recidivism and sex offenders. I've emailed them already! I send them this study, along with a link to these studies. I do not expect they will email me back, because they use the "high recidivism" rate, from some sound bite, which is a total lie, but it's good to help them get votes. Plus, many of these politicians have email spam filters, which block emails with words like "sex" or "porn" in them, so they never get the email, which I'm sure they are OK with. So you must change words like "sex" to "s*x" as an example.
By Karl Grossman
Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s (Email) bill to limit the number of registered sex offenders the county may place in emergency housing without extensive monitoring has been finalized after a review by the counsel to the legislature.
With the names of the East End’s two legislators listed as co-sponsors—Mr. Schneiderman of Montauk and Legislator Edward Romaine (Email) of Center Moriches—the bill is to be formally introduced when the legislature meets Tuesday in Hauppauge. The bill will be considered in committee after its introduction next week.
The proposal calls for a limit on the placing “more than four registered sex offenders in emergency housing at a single facility and/or location.” It provides an exception if the county “successfully implements a program whereby an employee or agent of Suffolk County escorts any sex offender leaving the grounds of the facility” or, as an “alternative, any sex offender leaving the grounds of the emergency housing facility agrees to wear a GPS tracking device until they return to the facility.”
Mr. Schneiderman began working on the bill after the county’s Department of Social Services installed a large trailer last month, with room for 20 sex offenders on the grounds of the county jail in Riverside, in the northwest corner of Southampton Town. Last spring, it placed a smaller trailer there able to accommodate eight people.
In the text of the bill, the sponsors declare that “the devastating impact of sex crimes, particularly against children, and the alarmingly high rate of recidivism among sex offenders” have caused Suffolk “to enact a series of laws designed to protect residents from the dangers posed by sex offenders.”
- More BS about high recidivism. These people have no clue. Recidivism is lower than any other criminal, below 5% is most studies. He is just using this to get votes. It is an election year!
They cites as a precedent for their measure a 2006 law limiting the placement of “more than one registered sex offender at the same residence in an area zoned for residential use.”
They cite the placement of the eight-person trailer on the grounds of the county jail last spring and the larger trailer more recently and add that “according to the State Sex Offender Registry, 15 sex offenders now list” the 20-person “trailer as their home address, 13 of whom are designated as Level 3” sex offenders, the category of offenders deemed to have the highest chance of repeating their crimes. “Nine were convicted of victimizing children,” they said.
Also, the sponsors write, “recent media reports indicate that the sex offender trailer is not as secure as the surrounding communities were led to believe by county officials.” It is a reference to stories about a large hole in the fence that encircles the parking lot where the trailer sits. Journalists and public officials, including Messrs. Schneiderman and Romaine, were given a tour last month of the site by a Riverhead town assessor, Mason Haas, who pointed out the gaping hole to them.
- Yeah, highten the fear factor! These people are NOT on probation and/or parole (Related article here), not all anyway, so they are free to come and go as they please, or should be. This is not a prison, like you seem to want it to be!
View the article here
Video and a couple polls are at the site above.
By Dave Olson
A streaker whose one-man show upstaged the homecoming band at a high school football game in Fergus Falls, Minn., will not face felony charges, a prosecutor said Monday.
The runner made his appearance about 8:20 p.m. Friday, sprinting the length of the Fergus Falls High School football field before disappearing into some woods north of the school, where he hid for 30 minutes before revealing himself to officers.
“He was cold,” Fergus Falls Police Capt. Steve Adams said, referring to the 15-year-old suspect who was wearing only a hat, a mask, and shoes and socks.
The youth was taken to a juvenile detention center in Moorhead, where he was held until being released on Monday, according to Adams, who said Friday’s incident “was the talk of the town.”
Otter Tail County Attorney David Hauser, who was at the game and saw what happened, said he couldn’t release many details because of the suspect’s age.
Without confirming what the youth may be charged with, Hauser said his office considered several possibilities, including disorderly conduct and gross misdemeanor indecent exposure.
The latter charge is applicable, he said, because young children were present.
A felony charge of indecent exposure, which could require sex offender registration, is not being considered, Hauser said.
Indecent exposure can be a felony if there is a prior conviction for criminal sexual conduct.
High School Principal Dean Monke expects the district to take disciplinary action against the student, but hasn’t decided on the exact punishment.
“This incident is still under investigation and pending,” he said, adding that when the district makes a decision, it will only discuss the punishment “in very general terms” to protect the student’s privacy.
Both Adams and Hauser said they could not remember dealing with other cases of streaking, which became something of a craze in the 1970s.
Monke said he felt the incident, the first of its kind in his 12 years with the district, marred a jubilant homecoming game.
“We’d rather not have this kind of distraction,” he said. “We’d rather let the music halftime show and the game speak for themselves.”
By Monday, someone had set up a special page on the social networking Web site Facebook commemorating Friday’s expose.
It contains comments from students and a photo of the incident, which stole the spotlight from the Fergus Falls football team. Fergus Falls extended its winning streak Friday to six games, leaving it undefeated.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555. Reporter Mila Koumpilova contributed to this report.
By Robert Guest
Texas has some stupid laws. Unfortunately Texas also has legislators who lack the courage or wisdom to repeal stupid laws. Instead, Texans must rely on federal courts, or even the Supreme Court to declare our stupid laws unconstitutional.
One such stupid law is
§ 43.23. OBSCENITY. (a) A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he wholesale promotes or possesses with intent to wholesale promote any obscene material or obscene device.
An obscene device is a dildo, vibrator etc. Of all the things to waste law enforcement resources on, dildo prohibition is probably the most useless (marijuana would be a close second).
This brings us to a recent decision by the 13th District Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi-
Villareal vs. State
Facts (from the court's opinion) -
On June 25, 2004, Corpus Christi Police Officer Adrian Dominguez was working undercover when he visited a business, called Friends 4 Ever, to determine if it was selling obscene materials or devices. Dominguez was aware that law enforcement agents had previously informed the business owner that the business needed to cease selling certain items that were considered obscene under state law. Appellant was at the business working as a cashier and sales clerk. During the visit, Dominguez purchased a vibrator from appellant; the vibrator was called "Lick it Lover" and resembled the male sexual organ. A few hours after Dominguez's purchase, police officers arrived at the business, where they executed a search warrant and placed appellant under arrest.
You would think that a city with twice the national average for property crime, and 21 murders annually could find a better use of their undercover police. But I digress. A jury found Villareal guilty, and the judge sentenced her to 6 months in county jail!
Wait a minute, wasn't that law declared unconstitutional?
That's right. The federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction in February declaring 43.23 unconstitutional. However, the Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi held that a federal court injunction is not binding on State courts. That is, until our state's highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, rules that 43.23 is unconstituional, the conviction still stands.
Now, it's clear that the judges in Corpus recognize how untenable their position is. In their own words.
This Court thus remains duty-bound, for better or worse, to follow the rulings of the court of criminal appeals, which has held--in contrast to the Fifth Circuit--that section 43.23 does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
So, for now, dildos are illegal in Texas, again.