Wednesday, March 4, 2009
By Victor O'Brien - Killeen Daily Herald
A Copperas Cove boy faces charges that could have him labeled a sex offender after several girls told police he sent text messages with explicit pictures of himself to them.
Police across the nation are seeing more incidents of children involved in sending graphic and sexual pictures of themselves, Copperas Cove Lt. Daniel Austin said.
According to police, a boy was detained and sent to the Copperas Cove Juvenile Probation Office Monday after several girls between ages 13 and 14 said the boy of similar age sent sexual pictures of himself to their cell phones.
The boy was charged with felony indecency with a child by exposure, which, if he is convicted, could lead to registration as a sex offender, Austin said.
The photos weren't sexual flirtations, but instead, the girls felt harassed by the photos, which led to the charge, Austin said.
"It's the type of photograph that's inappropriate. Just like if someone walked out and exposed themselves in that manner to arouse or gratify interests of another person," Austin said.
Instances similar to this have been rare, but a few were reported last year and appear to be on the rise, Austin said.
"We want to keep it to where we have none at all. Parents need to sit down with their children, and let them know not to take pictures of their body parts and send to others," Austin said.
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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Prosecutors have added a lesser sexual misconduct charge against a former St. Louis County lawmaker already indicted on a felony count of deviate sexual assault.
Scott Muschany (Email), a former Republican House member from Frontenac, has been charged in Cole County with a misdemeanor of exposing his genitals to a minor.
- A misdemeanor? There are others from the general public, who did the same, and were charged with a felony of child molestation, not a misdemeanor, but again, he is a politician, and they always get slapped on the wrist, instead of held to a higher standard!
That comes in addition to a charge filed last year accusing Muschany of having deviate sexual intercourse with the minor child of a former House employee.
Muschany has denied the charges. He resigned from the House in September and announced that he would not seek re-election three days after prosecutors say the crime occurred.
A trial is scheduled for later this month. The jury is to come from Clay County in the Kansas City area.
A woman who accused two former Creston police officers of sexual assault says she thought repeated requests for sex were just a joke, but then she got scared. The woman testified Wednesday at the second-degree abuse trial of former Police Chief James Christensen and former Assistant Chief John Sickels.
Sickels is accused of raping the woman behind the bar of the Crestmoor Golf Club last April while Christensen watched. The woman testified that after the bar had emptied, the men took seats at the bar, and Sickels asked for sex. Prosecutors say when she refused, the men locked the doors and Sickels raped her.
The woman says she didn't immediately seek medical attention because of fear if she was asked who had raped her.
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NEWARK - _____ won’t be returning to prison, but that’s only a minor victory in his battle to be rid of the “sex offender” label.
The state dismissed an indictment this morning that alleges _____, 49, failed to register and provide notice of a change of address — both requirements imposed on those named in the Ohio Sex Offender Registry and Notification.
Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Alice Bond said that her office had no plans to reindict _____, as had been done in December, and that some errors made by the state, including placing _____ in the incorrect middle-tier of sex offender, made the dismissal prudent.
_____ and his attorney Eric Brehm had a different take on the ouster.
“At the end of the day, you know why you’re walking,” Brehm said to his client after the paperwork was signed. “It’s because it’s unfair.”
_____ was convicted of one count of kidnapping and four counts of abduction for holding his estranged wife hostage, along with two kids and a woman briefly, during a 1994 standoff with police in Mount Vernon. There was no allegation of sexual motivation or even a mention of the word “sex” in the police report or subsequent investigative materials.
When he was released in 1999, _____ learned he had been classified as a child victim offender under Megan's Law, the predecessor of the Adam Walsh Act.
There is no separate registry for child victim offenders so they are rolled into the state SORN database and tasked with sex offender registration requirements — and their notoriety too.
_____ contacted The Advocate by letter from his cell at the Licking County Justice Center in September and in an interview at the jail later that month talked about the persecution he suffered because of his picture on the Web site.
His bond was modified to personal recognizance and he was released from jail Oct. 3, but the case was still active until today.
Brehm believes that local prosecution was a mistake that has now been corrected.
“Occasionally, the government gets it wrong,” Brehm wrote in a statement to The Advocate. “Mr. _____ has complied with what he believed was required of him. In all fairness, this matter should be and is over.”
- Occasionally? I think the government gets it wrong most of the time, IMO!
By KAY POWELL - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Cobb County man wanted on eight felony child molestation charges apparently committed suicide in a Georgia Capitol office building Wednesday.
The body of a 42-year-old state employee was found by a custodian at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The man was found hanging in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building next to the Capitol.
The Magistrate Court of Cobb County issued a criminal warrant for the man Tuesday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not identify victims of sexual crimes. The AJC is withholding the state employee’s name to avoid identifying the victim.
He was charged with one count each of rape, statutory rape and incest, two counts of child molestation aggravated sodomy and three counts of child molestation. The felony offenses occurred between January 2001 and March 2009, according to the warrant.
The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office tried to serve the warrant twice Tuesday night, said Nancy Bodiford of the sheriff’s department.
“They went to his residence, but he was not there,” said Sgt. Dana Pierce of the Cobb County Police Department. Police had executed a search warrant earlier Tuesday.
He had been employed by the House of Representatives since 1999.
Capitol police have requested that the GBI investigate the apparent suicide.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created this Surveillance Self-Defense site to educate the American public about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States, providing the information and tools necessary to evaluate the threat of surveillance and take appropriate steps to defend against it.
Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD) exists to answer two main questions: What can the government legally do to spy on your computer data and communications? And what can you legally do to protect yourself against such spying?
After an introductory discussion of how you should think about making security decisions — it's all about risk management — we'll be answering those two questions for three types of data:
First, we're going to talk about the threat to the data stored on your computer posed by searches and seizures by law enforcement, as well as subpoenas demanding your records.
Second, we're going to talk about the threat to your data on the wire — that is, your data as it's being transmitted — posed by wiretapping and other real-time surveillance of your telephone and Internet communications by law enforcement.
Third, we're going to describe the information about you that is stored by third parties like your phone company and your Internet service provider, and how law enforcement officials can get it.
In each of these three sections, we're going to give you practical advice about how to protect your private data against law enforcement agents.
In a fourth section, we'll also provide some basic information about the U.S. government's expanded legal authority when it comes to foreign intelligence and terrorism investigations.
Finally, we've collected several articles about specific defensive technologies that you can use to protect your privacy, which are linked to from the other sections or can be accessed individually. So, for example, if you're only looking for information about how to securely delete your files, or how to use encryption to protect the privacy of your emails or instant messages, you can just directly visit that article.
Legal disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. EFF's aim is to provide a general description of the legal and technical issues surrounding you or your organization's computer and communications security, and different factual situations and different legal jurisdictions will result in different answers to a number of questions. Therefore, please do not act on this legal information alone; if you have any specific legal problems, issues, or questions, seek a complete review of your situation with a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
VA - Teen released early by state - Stafford County teen whose victim recanted her rape allegations gets early release from custody
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When in the hell is the state going to hold people who make false accusations accountable? She should be put into jail for 17 months, to make up for the time this child lost, due to her lying! We need a "false accuser" registry, so we all know if someone we might be wanting to see, or are seeing, has accused someone of a false rape!
By PAMELA GOULD
A former Aquia Harbour teen whose alleged rape victim recanted has been released ahead of schedule by the state Department of Juvenile Justice.
The boy, who is now 17, was released one week ago from a facility in Hanover County after spending 17 months in custody. The Department of Juvenile Justice had classified him as a "major offender" and given him a sentence ranging from 18 to 36 months.
Yesterday, the mother of the girl who recanted her allegation, called the early release "a first step" in rectifying the situation.
- I think rectifying the situation demands this girl be put into jail for 17 months, so she can see first hand what it's like to lose this much time of your life, and put into jail, you know, the old scare tactic! I bet if that occurred, she'd think twice about accusing someone of something they did not do!
"I was relieved but I still feel bad because it's not the end of the road for him," said Michele Sousa.
The Free Lance-Star is not naming the teens because of the nature of the charges. Their parents have different surnames.
The boy's parents contacted Deirdre Enright, director of the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia Law School, late last year after appeals by two previous attorneys failed to get the case overturned.
On Jan. 22, Enright and Andrew K. Block Jr., legal director of JustChildren, a child advocacy program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, sent a letter to Juvenile Justice Director Barry Green laying out their investigation into the case and their grounds for a claim of wrongful conviction. They asked Green to exercise his authority to release the teen, which he did.
The attorneys are also seeking to get the teen's convictions erased and his name removed from the state's sex offender registry. Green's decision to release the teen does not impact those issues.
- They should not have to go through legal loopholes to get the conviction, which never occured, erased! If they let the person out, because of false accusations, then entire record should be trashed, period! Is the girl who accused this kid of this, going to pay for all legal expenses? She should be forced to do so, IMO!
In a separate matter, Stafford Juvenile Court Judge Julian W. Johnson issued a ruling late Friday giving prosecutor Eric Olsen permission to review records related to the boy's case and comment publicly on their contents. The ruling does not go into effect for 10 days from its release and does not open the records to public inspection.
Olsen made the request after a Feb. 5 report in The Free Lance-Star in which the boy's attorneys alleged he had been wrongfully convicted.
Olsen could not be reached for comment yesterday, but said in his motion he wanted to correct what he considered "inaccurate and incomplete information."
Block declined yesterday to comment on the ruling.
On Aug. 22, 2007, the boy pleaded guilty in Stafford juvenile court to charges of rape and breaking and entering in exchange for the prosecution's agreement to drop an abduction charge and a plan to pursue the case in adult court.
- Plea bargains should be outlawed, IMO. This is how MANY people are ruined! They scare the hell out of you, and ANYBODY would take a plea deal! Instead of PROVING someone did something, they get you to "admit" guilt and accept a plea deal. Basically saying you did something, you did not do!
The Stafford County prosecutor's office had notified the family two weeks after the alleged incident of its plan to seek to try the teen as an adult.
- A teen, under the age of consent, cannot consent to sex, but, can be tried as an adult? You cannot have it both ways. Either they can, or cannot consent, and either they are, or aren't an adult!
Edgar Dulaney, the boy's father told The Free Lance-Star he authorized the guilty plea despite complete confidence in his son's innocence in order to avoid the possibility the teen could end up in an adult prison.
Dulaney said he feared for his son's safety if he were sent to an adult facility and that his son's court-appointed attorney recommended they accept the plea bargain.
- Sending a child, in ANY case, to an adult prison or jail, is just INSANE! Will the state who did so, be held accountable for any abuse the child suffers? I doubt it, but they should be held accountable! If they were, then they'd think twice about charging KIDS as adults!
The boy's parents could not be reached for comment after his release.
Sousa said she returned to her Aquia Harbour home on June 4, 2007, to find the 15-year-old boy inside the home and her 14-year-old daughter getting dressed.
- Again, teenage consensual sex, experimentation, which all teens do. And now it's a crime, and the 17 year old has lost 17 months, if not more, of his life! Just wait until your son or daughter get caught having sex, then you will understand!
She immediately contacted the Stafford Sheriff's Office, believing her child had been sexually assaulted.
- Having consensual sex is not assault, period!
But on Thanksgiving weekend--more than two months after the boy had been sentenced to a juvenile facility--the girl told her mother she lied about the incident because she feared getting into trouble.
Sousa then contacted an attorney to begin working to rectify the situation.
- They should've "rectified" this at the time of sentencing, not after he has lost 17 months of his life, on an accusation alone, without any physical proof!
Attempts by court-appointed attorney Denise Rafferty to get the issue addressed in court failed as did attempts by a second attorney, Fredericksburg lawyer Joseph Brown.
"There's still a lot to be done," Sousa said.