Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GA - Genarlow Wilson coverage

Old story and video, but one I've not seen before. Also, once again, in this video, the man clearly states "the intention of the laws, were to punish adults!" So clearly, this additional punishment is ex post facto and therefore unconstitutional!


NM - Sect Leader Gets 10 Years for Molesting Girls

View the article here

12/30/2008

By BARRY MASSEY Associated Press Writer

NM sect leader sentenced to 10 years for molesting teen followers; he denies sexual touching

The leader of a small religious sect was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexual misconduct with two teenage female followers.

Wayne Bent, 67, who claimed the encounters were spiritual, not sexual, was convicted this month of criminal sexual contact with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Judge Gerald Baca imposed the maximum sentence of 18 years but suspended eight years. He will have to serve at least 8 1/2 years before becoming eligible for release.

Bent, who calls himself Michael Travesser, is the leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church. Its almost four dozen adult followers live in a compound called Strong City in a rural area of northeastern New Mexico.

A jury this month convicted Bent for lying in bed with naked 14- and 16-year-old sisters in separate incidents in 2006. But Bent maintained Tuesday that no crime was committed.

"Nobody has been molested," he said, adding that he had "never touched a girl sexually."

Bent and the sisters testified the incidents were spiritual exercises. The teens said Bent did not touch intimate areas, and Bent testified he had placed his hands on the chests, but not the breasts, of the girls.

The judge, in explaining his sentence, said Bent had "crossed the line" under state law in allowing the girls to lie naked with him.

"I am not punishing you for your religious beliefs," Baca told Bent.

However, Bent said prosecutors never tried to understand the group's religious beliefs and his actions before charging him with sex crimes.

"I have been accused and convicted over the rumors of my enemies who just hate our kind of living," Bent said.

Bent's lawyer, Sarah Montoya, said she would appeal his convictions and was surprised by the severity of his sentence. She had recommended that Bent be spared a prison term and instead be allowed to live on the sect's land while wearing an electronic monitor.

About a dozen of Bent's followers spoke to the court Tuesday, describing him as a kind and caring man who was unwavering in his religious beliefs.

His son, Jeff Bent, told the judge, "If he were a child molester, I would know it by now."

Jeff Bent said in an interview that his father would begin a fast. Wayne Bent refused to eat or drink while in jail after his arrest this year.

The elder Bent was a minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church but separated from it more than 20 years ago. He claims God spoke to him in 2000 and told him he was the Messiah.


GA - Ga. sex offenders must hand over online passwords

View the article here
View SB-474 Here
Encrypt your hard-drive and email

This law violates the U.S. Supreme court precedent which holds that every citizen has the right to anonymous free speech. Further, a federal court in Utah has already declared this unconstitutional. The same was held true in Indiana also by a federal court.

12/30/2008

By GREG BLUESTEIN

ATLANTA (AP) — Privacy advocates are questioning an aggressive Georgia law set to take effect Thursday that would require sex offenders to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and e-mail addresses.

Georgia joins a small band of states complying with guidelines in a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders, but it is among the first to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well.

A federal judge ruled in September that a similar law in Utah violated the privacy rights of an offender who challenged it, though the narrow ruling only applied to one offender who had a military conviction on sex offenses but was never in Utah's court or prison system.

No one in Georgia has challenged the law yet, but critics say it threatens the privacy of sex offenders and burdens cash-strapped law enforcement officials.

"There's certainly a privacy concern," said Sara Totonchi of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights. "This essentially will give law enforcement the ability to read e-mails between family members, between employers."
- And who knows what else?  They could also send an email in your name, send child porn from or to your account, and do pretty much anything they want to do.  Then, it's off to prison for you, because of some corrupt cop.

State Sen. Cecil Staton (Email), who wrote the bill, said the measure is designed to keep the Internet safe for children. Authorities could use the passwords and other information to make sure offenders aren't stalking children online or chatting with them about off-limits topics.
- The email address is sufficient for that, why do they need their passwords?  They could also do anything else to land you in prison for something they did, as well.

Staton said although the measure may violate the privacy of sex offenders, the need to protect children "outweighs a lot of the rights of these individuals."
- Yeah right, use the "children" to violate any and all rights of anyone you want.  You do not need the passwords to do this.  I question why they need passwords in the first place!

"We limit where they can live, we make their information available on the Internet. To some degree, we do invade their privacy," said Staton, a Republican from Macon. "But the feeling is, they have forfeited, to some degree, some privacy rights."

Most states already make the addresses of sex offenders available online. Georgia is one of at least 15 states that have adopted laws requiring sex offenders to detail their e-mail addresses, user names and other Internet handles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- But I do not know of a single state, who requests passwords.  That is going over the line.

But researcher Sarah Hammond said Georgia and Utah appear to be the only states that require sex offenders to also hand over their passwords.
- Utah declared it unconstitutional, so Georgia is the ONLY state doing this.

The new requirements are far from watertight. While offenders who don't report their user names and passwords could face probation violations — and possibly a return to prison — supporters admit it isn't hard to skirt the law's requirements.
- Not all offenders are on probation or parole.

"My hunch is, where there's a will, there's a way," Staton said. "If people are intent on violating this law, there are many different ways. What's important is we have given law enforcement a tool."
- Correct, you can go to any online email service, sign up in a matter of minutes.  Hell, why don't you give the Gestapo the right to bust into their homes at any time, search them at any time, do anything they wish?  Then declare the US a Communist country!  That is where we are heading, all in the name of the children!

For offenders like Kelly Piercy, convicted of child pornography charges in 1999, the password requirement is the latest example of "pre-emptive justice."

Piercy, who suffers from a degenerative disease that has left him blind, said he already struggles to keep track of the roughly dozen screen names he has created, and he doubts deputies would have much sympathy for him if he forgets to report one.

"I made a mistake and I need to pay for it. And I did. But now we're the target of pre-emptive justice — and that concerns me," he said. "How much further down the road can sex offenders be chased?"

Video is at this article




WA - Former officer admits raping 2 young girls

View the article here

12/30/2008

EVERETT — A former Soap Lake police officer admitted Monday he raped a young relative and the girl's mentally disabled friend.

Kenneth L. Lacey, 33, faces more than 13 years in prison for child rape.

He pleaded guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court to first-degree child rape involving an 11-year-old relative and third-degree child rape involving a 14-year-old girl.

Lacey first came to the attention of law enforcement in 2006 after he chatted online with an undercover federal agent, according to court papers. The agent reported Lacey admitted he was having sex with a young girl and sent photographs of a girl to the agent.

Everett police launched an investigation and spoke with the girl, who didn't disclose any sexual assaults.

No charges were filed.

Then in September 2008, a 14-year-old special-education student told a school counselor she'd been sexually assaulted by Lacey while she was at a sleep-over at Lacey's Everett apartment.

Lacey is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 24.


CA - Justices rule three-strikes sentence unconstitutional

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12/30/2008

By Carol J. Williams

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says a 28-years-to-life penalty for a sex offender who failed to register at the appropriate time is cruel and unusual punishment.

California's three-strikes sentencing law suffered a blow Tuesday when a federal appeals court struck down as unconstitutional a 28-years-to-life sentence for a sex offender who failed to register with local police at the correct time of year.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case of _____ back to federal district court in Los Angeles for resentencing after finding his 2001 penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the 8th Amendment.

_____'s harsh sentence was grossly disproportionate to his "entirely passive, harmless and technical violation of the registration law," the appeals court said.

The California Penal Code requires a sex offender to register whereabouts annually within five working days of an ex-convict's birthday. _____ had registered in Los Angeles County in May 2000 and confirmed his address a year later, meeting the yearly requirement but violating the deadline of his Feb. 24 birthday.

"This is not a case where my client failed to register. He failed to update his address information that was still good," said Gia Kim, the federal public defender who argued _____'s case to the appeals court.

Registration infractions carry a maximum three-year sentence in California, and _____'s oversight wouldn't even qualify as a crime in at least 11 states, wrote Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee, one of the court's more conservative judges.

Bybee also pointed out that _____, who has already been in prison for more than seven years for this third felony conviction, was facing substantially more severe punishment than that imposed in California for far more serious crimes, such as second-degree murder.

It was unclear how much significance Tuesday's ruling would have for others sentenced to long terms for minor third offenses.

"It does show that the courts are willing to reject really outrageously long sentences for very technical offenses," Kim said. "The opinion focused on the fact that this was a crime of omission and a crime of very little moral culpability."

The state attorney general's office declined to comment on the ruling or say whether it would be appealed, said Christine Gasparac, press secretary for Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

Efforts to ease the three-strikes rule have largely failed. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in two challenges in March 2003 that it was a state legislature's right to determine how best to deter criminal recidivism.

"It is enough that the state of California has a reasonable basis for believing that dramatically enhanced sentences for habitual felons advances the goals of its criminal justice system in any substantial way," former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the 5-4 majority in upholding 25-years-to-life sentences for the two men whose respective third-strike offenses involved shoplifting golf clubs and video tapes.

California voters approved a 2000 ballot initiative that provides drug treatment instead of life imprisonment for most third strikes involving drug possession. But voters spurned an initiative four years ago that would have required the third felony to be violent or serious to justify a harsh sentence.


'My Motives Were Pure and Innocent' - A member of John Kerry's "band of brothers" pleads guilty to possessing child porn

View the article here

12/23/2008

By JAMES TARANTO

Remember Wade Sanders? He was one of the "band of brothers"--Swift Boat veterans who supported John Kerry's presidential campaign and appeared onstage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention before Kerry's "reporting for duty" speech.

On the campaign trail, Sanders was one of Kerry's nastiest surrogates. In August 2004, he likened the president to a "trapped animal." In September, he compared Karl Rove and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth chief John O'Neill to Josef Goebbels. He repeatedly referred to the president and his men as "chicken hawks," an especially nasty term because it is slang for a child molester as well as a derisive term for a nonveteran who favors a strong defense.

Sanders, who also served as a deputy assistant Navy secretary during the Clinton administration, continued his anti-Bush campaign even after Kerry's defeat. In a December 2004 op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune, he lectured the president on "the heavy responsibility of command":

Let me, for a moment, address the commander in chief directly:

Sir, with all due respect, you would be well advised to acquaint yourself with the level of responsibility and accountability that accompany the title. If you really want to fill those shoes, if you want to parade about in uniform, if you want to use our men and women in uniform as your personal props, then please honor moral and ethical standards that go with the job.

In 2007, Kerry attempted to use his Senate position to settle a personal score, scuttling the confirmation of businessman Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium because Fox donated money to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. (President Bush gave Fox a recess appointment.) In a March 2007 Washington Times op-ed, Sanders railed righteously against Fox:

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but one of the lessons drilled into me by the military and preserved through the memory of friends who were lucky enough to come home from Vietnam alive, is that truth matters above all else. And as a military man, it doesn't matter much who is being attacked--John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry, or Jack Murtha--I just don't believe that assaults on the military records of veterans belong in our politics. Nor do I believe that those who finance smears of decorated Vietnam veterans deserve to represent America on the world stage. . . .

Those of us who are real swift boaters know something about judgment and responsibility for our decisions.

The following month, in a letter to the editor of the Boston Herald, Sanders harrumphed:

Yes, I am a member of Kerry's ready reserve of Swift Boat vets and unlike those who served with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and their ilk, I serve with honor, integrity and exercise sound judgment. Fox would do well to reacquaint himself with those qualities.

Sanders is back in the news. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he "pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal charge of possessing child pornography":

The investigation into Sanders began in October 2007, according to a statement filed in the case by San Diego FBI agent John Caruthers.

Another FBI agent working undercover signed on to a file-sharing computer network and entered a search term that is used for accessing child pornography images.

Among the responses to that search term was one for a specific computer address that the agents eventually traced to Sanders' home in South Park in San Diego. The agent then obtained a list of files that were being shared on the computer and downloaded 11 files, including at least two that contained images of child pornography.

On May 2, 2008, agents executed a search warrant at Sanders' home and seized his computer. During the search, Sanders admitted he had downloaded child pornography using the file-sharing program, but said he deleted the files once he noticed they were downloaded, according to the FBI statement.

Sanders acknowledged in court that he had "possessed computer files containing 600 images of minors, including a 21-minute video that depicted girls engaging in sex acts with an adult man." But don't worry--his motives were "pure and innocent":

In a telephone interview last night, Sanders said he had downloaded the files as part of his research for an article on the sexual exploitation of children in foreign countries. He said his work for the Clinton administration had included aiding victims of child sex abuse in the former Yugoslavia.

"I have no sexual attraction to children whatsoever," Sanders said. "There was no evil intent."

Sanders, a lawyer, said he didn't realize federal child pornography laws barred downloading or viewing the material even by researchers. He said that is why he decided to plead guilty.

"I thought since my motives were pure and innocent, that would make a difference," he said. "I'm technically guilty of the crime."

If this explanation sounds familiar, you probably are thinking of Bernie Ward, the liberal San Francisco talk-show host who in August was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to distribution of child pornography. As the San Jose Mercury News reported, he claimed he was working on a book:

[Ward's] lawyer urged [Judge Vaughn] Walker to impose the lowest possible sentence, saying Ward began downloading the images as part of journalism research that went awry, spiralling out of control when he began drinking heavily. Doron Weinberg, Ward's attorney, told Walker the child porn downloading "spanned a brief period in an exemplary life.''

Don'tcha just hate when journalism research goes awry? To ensure that things don't spiral out of control, we'll give Sanders the last word: "Those of us who are real swift boaters know something about judgment and responsibility for our decisions."


ID - Judge: sex offender's no-contact order goes to far

View the article here

12/30/2008

BOISE (AP) - The Idaho Court of Appeals has overturned a state court order banning a convicted sex offender from being within 100 feet of any minor, including his two young children.

The appellate court ruled last week the no-contact order imposed on _____ went too far, violating his parental rights. The no-contact order included letters, phones and e-mails.

_____ was arrested in 2006 and convicted of having a three-month sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 2 years in prison.

In his decision earlier this month, Idaho Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sergio Gutierrez says denying _____ his rights as a parent "oversteps the authority of the state."

_____ and his wife have two children, a boy and girl, who were both under the age of 6 at the time of his arrest.


TX - Texas Sex Offenders Push for More Lenient Laws

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12/16/2008

Convicted sex offenders in Texas have started an organization advocating more lenient penalties for nonviolent and low-level offenders.

Martin Ezell, a 42-year-old Austin, Texas, native, founded the group Texas Voices to represent low-level sex offenders who believe the conditions of their sentences are too harsh. Ezell, like many in the group, is listed on Texas’ sex offender registry, which alerts the community of his presence. The registry makes it difficult for sex offenders to find homes and jobs.

Ezell is required to register as a sex offender for life after being convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old girl when he was 32. The sex was consensual and that girl is now his wife, but on his registry profile, “there’s little to distinguish him from the repeat pedophiles and violent rapists who are among the 54,000-plus registered sex offenders in the state’s database,” writes the Houston Chronicle.

Ezell believes that he should be allowed to move on with his life without the stigma of his crime. He argues that his presence on the registry dilutes the effectiveness of the registry by placing nonviolent and low-level offenders alongside more serious offenders who pose a threat to the community.

The group has the support of several state legislators, including state Sen. John Whitmire. “If we’re not careful, we’re going to have a sex offender registry that is so large and so encompassing, it’s not much good,” said Whitmire.

“Current laws, as structured, are not keeping our children safe,” argues Texas Voices on its Web site. “They are, in fact, costing the taxpayer millions of dollars to prosecute, monitor, incarcerate, and severely punish many individuals who are of no danger to children, society, or the communities in which they live. We believe that laws which will truly benefit the safety of our children, and society in general, must differentiate between those who are dangerous offenders and those who are not.”

Background: Controversy over sex crime laws

Strict sex crime laws are typically widely supported by the public, which has little sympathy for sex offenders. However, there have been questions raised over the extent of some laws, especially those that apply to low-level and juvenile offenders.

There are many teenage sex offenders who are convicted for consensual sex with younger teens. The laws for consent vary from state to state, and many teenage sex criminals were unaware that they were committing a crime. Often they are placed on sex offender registries, where they remain as adults.

A notable case is that of Genarlow Wilson, who, at 17, was convicted of child molestation for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl at a party. He was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison, creating a national controversy. After nearly three years in prison, his sentence was reduced and the strict Georgia law that he was tried under was changed.

In Texas, state officials have objected to stipulations under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a federal law that created a national registry and increased penalties against sex offenders. The law makes no distinction among sex offenders who committed their crime over the age of 14, filling up the registry with low-risk juvenile offenders.

“There are an awful lot of sexual assault cases, and then there are kids who engage in sex at an early age,” one official told the Houston Chronicle. “The Adam Walsh Act wants to put them all together.”

There are even doubts that strict penalties against violent offenders are in the best interest of society. Some states’ residency and work restrictions, which forbid sex offenders from living within a certain distance of schools and parks, force sex offenders to the fringe of society and increase the risk of repeat offenses.

PBS’ NewsHour reported on California residency restriction laws and found that many sex offenders cannot find residences in approved areas, forcing them to become homeless or return to jail. That, according to California Coalition Against Sexual Assault executive director Suzanne Brown-McBride, creates a more dangerous situation.

“So you go from a place where you have an offender where you know where they live, you know where they’re sleeping, you can check up on them and monitor them, to they’re transient and you have only really a guess of where they’re at, that they may be down at some different part of the city, they may be down in an alley somewhere,” she told PBS. “So you go from a known quantity to, quite honestly, a fairly unknown one.”


CA - Sex-Offender Laws Lead to Rise in Homelessness

View the article here

12/30/2008

By Denis Cummings

Many states’ strict residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders have been criticized for increasing homelessness and raising the likelihood that they will re-offend.

In 2006, California passed Proposition 83, increasing penalties for sex offenders and instituting stricter residency restrictions and monitoring for parolees. Since the law passed, the number of sex crime parolees registering as transient has increased from 88 to 1,056 as of June 2008—a jump of more than 800 percent.

Prop 83 forbids sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park, leaving few areas for sex offenders to live. “In cities and suburbs, it’s almost impossible to find available homes that are not near parks or schools,” said PBS’ Jeffrey Kaye in a January 2008 NewsHour report. “What’s left are largely non-residential or industrial neighborhoods with few, if any, housing options.”

The restrictions have drawn criticism from police and parole officers, who now have a more difficult time tracking released sex offenders. The California Sex Offender Management Board, a board created by the state legislature in 2006, is also critical of the restrictions.

A December 2008 report concluded that, “The evidence shows an unmistakable correlation between the implementation of residency restrictions and the increase in homelessness among sex offenders.” It says that other evidence “shows that homelessness increases the risk that a sex offender may re-offend.”

Similar restrictions exist in at least 27 other states, many of which, like Prop 83, are modeled after Florida’s “Jessica’s Law” of 2005. In Georgia—where a 2006 law forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, churches, community swimming pools, school bus stops and other places—sex offenders were required to register with a home address. Homeless sex offenders were unable to register and faced mandatory life prison sentences for failure to register twice.

The state supreme court ruled in October that the law’s registration requirements were “unconstitutionally vague.” Gerry Weber of the Southern Center for Human Rights said, “This law was so poorly drafted it was contrary to public safety. It was putting homeless persons in a situation where, if they said, ‘Hey, I’m homeless,’ they’d go to jail. It encouraged them not to report their addresses, which means no one would know where they lived.”

Though there are many admitted flaws in Jessica’s Law and its offspring, sex offender laws have the widespread support of the public. “The public definitely was sold a bill of goods on this one,” LAPD Detective Diane Webb told the Washington Post about Prop 83. “Unfortunately, it bodes well for politicians to support it because the public does have this false sense of security that this is somehow protecting them when it’s not.”

Related Topic: Opposition to sex offender laws

Many of the strictest sex offender laws are intended to combat violent sex offenders and those who target children. However, nonviolent and low-level offenders are also placed under strict penalties even though they are widely considered to be of little threat to society.

In Texas, an organization of sex offenders is advocating for more lenient laws for low-level offenders, allowing for more vigilant monitoring of high-threat offenders. “We believe that laws which will truly benefit the safety of our children, and society in general, must differentiate between those who are dangerous offenders and those who are not,” the organization states.


TN - Tougher sex offender restrictions among new laws

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12/30/2008

By Lucas L. Johnson II, Associated Press

NASHVILLE - Sex offenders will face tougher restrictions and professionals will no longer be exempt from jury duty under two of the new Tennessee laws that take effect on New Year’s Day.

The omnibus sex offender law seeks to bring the state more in line with the “Adam Walsh Act,” the sweeping federal law named after the murdered 6-year-old son of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh.

Signed in 2006, the Walsh act requires states to adopt strict standards for registering sex offenders and provide public information about their crimes and whereabouts. States that fail to do so risk a 10 percent cut to their share of funds in a congressional grant program used to fight crime.

The new Tennessee law requires a sex offender to register within 48 hours with the appropriate law enforcement agency after being released from a nursing home, assisted living facility or mental health institution.

It also requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to verify an offender’s death by obtaining a copy of death certificate, checking the Social Security death index, or obtaining a copy of an accident report before removing the offender from the registry.

“Tennessee will nearly be in complete compliance with the national standards with these additions,” said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm. “The last portion remaining to be passed is in regards to the juvenile portion of the registry.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle said the law is necessary for the welfare of the state’s children.

“I’m pleased that we were able to put in place another layer of protection for Tennessee’s children,” said the Memphis Democrat.

Also on Thursday, some laws governing juries, jurors and judicial commissions will change.

Professionals such as doctors and lawyers, who were once automatically exempt from jury duty or required to perform only limited service, will no longer be exempt. However, the law does make exceptions for hardship cases.

“It puts us all in the same jury selection pool,” said David Haines, general counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Other new laws are aimed at stiffening the penalty for drunken driving and boosting confidence in the election process.

The DUI law increases the punishment for vehicular assault and vehicular homicide if a child is injured or killed as a result of drunken driving.

And the voting law — called the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act” — requires any voting machine bought or leased after Jan. 1 to be able to create a paper trail that could be used in recounts and random audits.

A report released last year by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations showed only two of Tennessee’s 95 counties keep a paper trail of voters’ ballots. The report recommended all counties adopt the practice.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday’s News Sentinel.

© 2008, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.


UK - Murdered man 'was sex offender'

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12/30/2008

A man who police believe was murdered - even though they have not found a body - was a registered sex offender, officers have confirmed.

Blood found at a house on 21 December on Stockbridge Road, Padiham, matched that of _____, 26, although his body has not yet been discovered.

Keiran Davison, 20, of Stockbridge Road, has been charged with his murder.

Police are searching for Alan Palmer, 43, and Peter Leonard, 51, who they say "could be anywhere in the country".

Lancashire police confirmed that Mr _____ was a registered sex offender, but were not releasing further details.

Det Supt Neil Hunter, of Lancashire police, said: "We need to speak to both Mr Leonard and Mr Palmer in relation to this incident as a matter of urgency.

"I would urge them both or anybody who knows of their whereabouts or has been contacted by them or been in their company recently to contact police immediately. I do believe that the two men may be together.

"I would like to make people aware that Mr Palmer is a long distance lorry driver and has strong connections in Padiham and Oswaldtwistle, but due to his employment I cannot rule out that he and Mr Leonard may well have travelled out of the county and could be anywhere in the country."

Police also want to trace Mr Palmer's car, a blue five-door Mitsubishi Colt saloon, registration PE58 OJY.

Mr Leonard is white, about 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair, cut very short.

Accused remanded

He has a two-inch scar on his nose and the words "LOVE" and "HEIDI" tattooed on his hands.

Mr Palmer is white, 5ft 11ins, of medium build, with receding dark brown hair. He has brown eyes and several tattoos on his left arm, including a snake head, a bull, an eagle and a swallow. On his right arm he has tattoos of a snake and a skull, as well as the words "MAM" and "LUCKY".

Mr _____ is described as being of medium build, about 5ft 11ins tall with blue eyes and light, straight brown hair, which was cut short. He had a local accent.

Police know he went from Burnley to Oswaldtwistle on 19 December and are appealing for anyone who saw him to contact them.

Mr Davison has been remanded in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on 18 March.


Two new studies from Dr. Jill Levenson on registered sex offenders

The first study information, can be found here.

Dr. Jill Levenson has released two NEW excellent studies about registered sex offenders, they are:

Levenson, J. S., & Tewksbury, R. (2009). Collateral damage: Family members of registered sex offenders (UNOFFICIAL FINAL COPY). American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Levenson, J. S., & Zandbergen, P. & Hart, T (2009): Residential proximity to schools and daycare centers: Influence on sex offense recidivism. An empirical analysis.


Two new studies from Dr. Jill Levenson on registered sex offenders

The first study information, can be found here.

Dr. Jill Levenson has released two NEW excellent studies about registered sex offenders, they are:

Levenson, J. S., & Tewksbury, R. (2009). Collateral damage: Family members of registered sex offenders (UNOFFICIAL FINAL COPY). American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Levenson, J. S., & Zandbergen, P. & Hart, T (2009): Residential proximity to schools and daycare centers: Influence on sex offense recidivism. An empirical analysis.


VA - Investigators believe Vinton house fire was deliberately set

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12/29/2008

New details about a weekend fire that destroyed a Vinton home.

The fire marshal's office ruled the fire an arson about 3:30 p.m. Monday. Investigators believe an accelerant may have been used to start it from inside the house.

"The process we're going through right now is we're layering the fire debris that was left over from the destruction of the fire and seeing what we can find in the way of what started the fire," said Brian Simmons, with the Roanoke County Fire Marshal's Office.

Roanoke County called in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help.

"They're just here, extra hands, a lot of work, a lot of fire debris to go through, so adding extra hands at this point," said Simmons.

Those extra hands paid off. By Monday afternoon, investigators ruled the fire arson saying someone set it from the inside.

But why? That question was raised on WDBJ7.com when it was revealed the home's owner was a sex offender. According to court records, _____ was convicted in Bedford County in 2002 for indecent liberties with a minor.

Investigators contacted News7 asking we disable the public commenting section on the story for _____'s safety and the integrity of the case. News7 had already removed the comment section because it discussed crimes against children.

An ATF agent says _____ is listed as a sex-offender because of an Internet child sex sting, and there was no actual contact with a minor.

Police say they've talked to _____, and he's helping in the investigation.

News7 allows public comment on most of our stories on WDBJ7.com. However, when stories deal with sex crimes and victims' names are used, public commenting is not allowed.

In this case, News7 allowed public commenting because the original story was about the house fire.