Monday, April 13, 2009

CA - Prosecutor: Rape may be added to allegations in Sandra Cantu case

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Once again, not stranger danger, not a registered offender, the Adam Walsh Act is totally ineffective.  But again, she's not been to court and found guilty yet, so these are just speculations, at this point.


By Marcus Wohlsen - Associated Press

Prosecutors said Monday they may include rape and molestation allegations in their murder charge against the woman suspected of killing an 8-year-old Tracy girl and putting her body in a suitcase.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was arrested Friday on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Sandra Cantu.

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himmelblau told The Associated Press on Monday that a homicide charge against Huckaby could also include the special circumstances of rape with a foreign object, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and murder in the course of a kidnapping.

A conviction on any of the special circumstances would make Huckaby eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without parole, Himmelblau said. The district attorney has not determined whether his office will seek the death penalty in the case, he said.

Sandra disappeared March 27. She was last seen on surveillance video skipping near her home at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy. A 10-day search ended April 6, when farmworkers draining a nearby irrigation pond found a suitcase that contained her remains.

Himmelblau wouldn't provide additional details on any evidence leading prosecutors to consider the sexual assault allegations. Police have not released any details on how, where or why Sandra was killed.

"I was hoping that wasn't the case," said Sandra's aunt, Angie Chavez, regarding the possibility of rape and molestation allegations. "I'm in shock," she said through tears. "The whole thing is unimaginable."
- None of this has been proven in a court of law yet.

Formal charges have not yet been filed against Huckaby. A final decision on which special circumstances to include has not been made, Himmelblau said. Huckaby is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Stockton.

Himmelblau was not aware if Huckaby had an attorney.

Himmelblau said prosecutors were considering filing other charges against Huckaby but declined to specify what the additional charges may be.

She remained in custody without bail in San Joaquin County jail Monday where jail staff have been monitoring her mental health. She's not been allowed visitors.
- Why not?  I thought everyone in jail/prison were entitled to visitors!  What about a lawyer?

Tracy police did not immediately return messages seeking comment. San Joaquin County Sheriff's Deputy Les Garcia said autopsy results were still pending.

CA - Child-porn case lands ex-Calimesa official back in jail

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By JOHN ASBURY - The Press-Enterprise

A Calimesa ex-councilman is scheduled to surrender himself Friday to go to prison for violating his probation in a 2007 child pornography conviction.

Jonathan Winningham, 53, was ordered to appear in Riverside Superior Court this Friday to begin serving a two-year sentence. A judge ruled last Friday that Winningham violated his probation when he arranged online to meet an undercover police decoy at a motel.

Winningham served 12 years on the Calimesa City Council. He stepped down at the end of his term in 2006 amid public pressure following his arrest in October 2005.

He pleaded guilty in January 2007 to 13 counts, including 10 felonies, for possession of more than 1,100 images of child pornography he shared from his home and city-owned computers.

After his initial conviction, Winningham was sentenced to a year in county jail and five years' probation as a registered sex offender.
- The average citizen, for the same crime, would have received a lot more jail time.

As part of his probation, he was ordered not to use a computer except for work purposes and not to communicate with anyone over the Internet.

Winningham declined to comment when reached by phone at his home Monday, referring any questions to his attorney.

The most recent violation had nothing to do with child pornography, said his attorney, Brent Romney.

Winningham's probation officer notified the Riverside County district attorney's office last year that he suspected Winningham had been chatting online, Romney said.

An adult decoy from the sheriff's and district attorney's Sexual Assault and Felony Enforcement Team contacted Winningham online and asked him to meet him at the Banning hotel room where Winningham was arrested Sept. 22.

In court last week, Winningham was credited with 351 days in custody from his previous conviction. He was also given this week to prepare for his prison sentence and make accommodations for his ailing health, Romney said.
- What is this crap?  So does someone from the general public, who have been in jail for a year, or in prison, get to use their "previous" time in jail or prison?  No!  So why is he?  Oh yeah, he worked for the government, and they protect their own!

"The judge was very fair. Mr. Winningham acknowledged he had violated a term and condition of his probation," Romney said. "Since he was sentenced to a year in jail previously, the judge had little option than to sentence him to prison."

Romney argued in court that state prison could be life-threatening due to a medical condition that he did not specify, but the judge denied his request for house arrest.
- Yeah, it's life threatening for many other folks in prison as well!

Winningham did not speak during his hearing. The court ordered he be housed in a medical unit of the jail until he is transferred to prison.

"He's very computer savvy. He enjoys computers," Romney said. "The temptation to use computers got the best of him."

CA - Woman will have to register as sex offender

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By Kurt Hildebrand

A California woman will have to register as a sex offender after she admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Heather Ann Grizoffi, 19, received 10 days in jail and a $1,000 fine after she pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of statutory sexual seduction, a gross misdemeanor. She was given credit for 10 days she served when she was arrested on a Douglas County warrant and was awaiting extradition to Nevada. She was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service in the next six months.

Her attorney, Richard Molezzo, said his client was pleading guilty against his advice.

Under Nevada law, Grizoffi could have her record sealed after seven years.

A psychologist found that Grizoffi was not likely to repeat her behavior and was not a threat to the community.
- If this were a man, you would not be saying this!

Because California won’t supervise a misdemeanor case, Dougals County District Judge Michael Gibbons ruled out probation.

“The punishment in this case comes down to jail time, a fine or community service,” he said before sentencing her to all three.

Molezzo argued that the real punishment for her behavior will be the requirement she register as a sex offender.
- Once again, another person admits being on the public sex offender registry IS PUNISHMENT!

Grizoffi was required to provide a DNA sample to the state and will have to pay $196 to reimburse the county for extraditing her here.

Gibbons asked Grizoffi to seek counseling and to write an apology to the victim’s family.

A warrant was issued for her arrest in September 2008 after the boy’s family reported the relationship to authorities.

According to Prosecutor Erik Levin, the parents told Grizoffi to stop seeing their son before bringing charges.

OH - Ohio to address 'sexting' laws

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By Dick Russ

LEBANON - A county prosecutor and two state legislators have proposed a state law dealing with "sexting," when teens send naked pictures of themselves to each other through a text message.

More and more teens are doing it -- an estimated one in five -- but state and local laws generally have no current provisions to deal specifically with "sexting."
- Again with the magical "out of thin air" statistic! It's always "1 in 5" or "50,000 online predators" or "100,000 missing!"  But where is the FACTS to back up these magical numbers?

That's why Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said it was time to bring Ohio's laws into the 21st century.

"What we have hit against is the collision of juvenile lack of judgment and the power of technology," Hutzel said at a news conference on Monday.

She was joined by two state lawmakers and the parents of Jessie Logan, a Cincinnati 18-year-old who died by suicide after the naked picture of herself which she "sexted," that is sent on her cell phone, was forwarded to nearly everyone in her high school.
- So I guess to memorialize this child, and law, it will be called "Logan's law?"

"She snapped. It was just too much for an 18-year-old girl to go through," Jessie's mother Cynthia said at the time.

Today Cynthia Logan said she was there to speak for her daughter and try to educate teenagers on the dangers of sexting.

She backs the law that would reduce "sexting" from a felony to a first degree misdemeanor, and eliminate the possibility of a teenage offender being labeled a sex offender for years.

"There are going to be serious consequences," Logan said, "so I would hope that they would be smart enough to not to do, like, take a picture of themselves."

Senate Bill 103 is also meant to educate teens about the dangers of sending and receiving lewd and sexually oriented pictures with their cell phones, said state representative Ronald Maag (Email).

"Kids at 17 years old, they don't understand the ramifications of this," says Maag. "It sounds cute. It sounds harmless. The college admissions officer can see it. The future employers can see it. Their children could see it."
- Kids may not know the laws, or that they can get into trouble for it, but how many adults know all the laws on the books that could land them in jail or prison?  Kids are smarter than people give them credit for! Just ask a kid how to fix or operate a computer, and I'm sure they'll tell you anything you need to know.

Cynthia Logan agrees. "It can follow them forever. It can ruin their lives as far as careers, college entries. If they decide to get married, how will they explain this to their children?"
- And the sex offender label on adults is ruining people in the same ways!  So I do not see how people can say these laws are not punishment, when common sense would tell you they are.

Other states are also just beginning to address the phenomenon of "sexting." While Ohio is trying to codify its response, the state legislature in Vermont is considering making it legal for children between the ages of 13 and 18 to send such pictures to each other.
- So what about someone 12, 11 or 10 years old sending a nude photo of themselves to a 17,18 or 19 year old?  Why set an age range for 13 - 18?  Why not 18 and under?

Utah has made "sexting" a misdemeanor, but other states such as New Jersey and Florida still have provisions in which the consequences of sending naked pictures by cell phone can include jail time, felony charges, and having to register as a sex offender for as long as 25 years.

TX - Ex-stepdad of slain Vt. girl pleads to porn charge

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By MICHELLE ROBERTS - Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO - The former stepfather of a 12-year-old girl who was kidnapped and slain in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography.
- So if he had child porn, was any of it of his own daughter?  And did they question him about any involvement in his daughters death?  I'm sure they probably did, but it makes you wonder.

The plea by Raymond Gagnon was accepted by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio on Monday. Gagnon faces from five to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in July.

Authorities had searched Gagnon's home in Texas after his former stepdaughter, Brooke Bennett, disappeared in Vermont last summer. She was found dead a week later. Authorities say she had been drugged and raped.

Her uncle, Michael Jacques, a convicted sex offender, has been charged in the killing. Police said Jacques had called Gagnon several times when the girl was first reported missing.

Gagnon was initially charged with obstruction of justice in Brooke's disappearance and death but federal authorities later dropped the count.

He has lived in San Antonio since 2007, but police in Vermont said he traveled there frequently.

In the plea agreement, Gagnon admitted to having hundreds of images and video files of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including sexual acts with adults. Gagnon collected many of the images when he was living in Alabama, before moving to Texas, according to the document.

He faces additional charges of possession of child pornography in Alabama, where he lived before moving to Texas. Monday's plea agreement does not affect those charges.

Gagnon had married Brooke's mother, _____, in 2000, after they moved from Vermont to Alabama. The couple separated in 2004, and Brooke, her sister and mother returned to Vermont. Raymond and _____ Gagnon divorced in 2006.

AK - Bill would clean files of false accusations

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Down at the courthouse, available for the world to see, a folder filed under the name Cole Rothacher sits filled with allegations of a heinous, brutal rape that never happened.

Under current law, it will never disappear.

But some legislators, stirred by the case, are hoping to change that, at least for the next person falsely accused of a crime.

A House bill recently introduced would allow court and law enforcement records, including a state-run public safety database, to be expunged in cases such as Rothacher's.

Under the terms of the bill, records would be destroyed in cases with defendants who "beyond a reasonable doubt" are wrongly accused, either by mistaken identity or false accusations.

"Conceptually, it's the kind of thing we want to not do to people," Rep. Carl Gatto, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who sponsored the bill, said of false criminal allegations. "Think about how you can destroy a person's life."

Among the ranks in favor of the legislation, which is unlikely to see action before the current legislation session ends April 19 but will remain on the table when the Legislature reconvenes in January, is the father of Rothacher, the Fort Richardson soldier whose case inspired it.

"Anybody can walk in the door and accuse you of something and get away with giving you a criminal record for life? It's just wrong," said Don Rothacher, reached in Oregon last week. "He's concerned about two things: If you seal his record, they'll always wonder what's in it. If it's expunged, then it's gone. There's nothing there to see."

But not everyone thinks wiping the slate clean is a good idea. The Anchorage Police Department says the bill would create more problems than it would solve.

If such information were purged from the state database, for example, police would have no way to pull complete information about the people they encounter, police Lt. Dave Parker said. Previous charges, even without convictions, can affect everything from sentencing to how police gauge a suspect's patterns, he said.

"We have to be cautious of a knee-jerk reaction to one incident," Parker said. "In fact, there was a charge made, and a person was arrested. That's historical record. There's no way that you can change that."

Rothacher's case made headlines back in January after his ex-fiancee, Elisa LaCroix, 20, called Anchorage police and reported she had been brutally raped. LaCroix, who was nearly nine months pregnant, gave police details of a heinous crime, saying Rothacher, 24, had held a knife to her while he raped her and punched her in the stomach, threatening to kill the child.
- So, if she made false accusations, then why don't we pass a law, that when this occurs, the person who accused someone of something they did not do, gets sent to jail and/or prison?  Then people would be less likely to accuse someone of something they did not do.

Rothacher, a military policeman who aspires to a career in law enforcement, was hit with sexual assault charges and spent nearly two weeks in jail before police concluded LaCroix's story was a fraud backed up by planted evidence. He was freed and LaCroix was charged with tampering with evidence and filing a false report.

After his release, Rothacher, who has since deployed to Afghanistan, said he feared being forever listed as a suspect in a rape case may have destroyed any chance of landing a job in law enforcement.

Under current law, a falsely accused person can have a law enforcement record sealed but not expunged. The information remains on file, concealed from the public, although it can still be accessed for certain reasons, including law enforcement agencies looking at potential employees.

Don Rothacher said he suspects an applicant to a law enforcement job who says on an application he had been arrested on rape charges would be passed over.

Alaska law already allows people whose records are sealed to deny the existence of the records, and the bill now under consideration in the state House Judiciary Committee would extend that to expungements, Gatto said.

"If you don't have it expunged, you have to say yes" on an application, he said. "And as soon as you do -- as soon as you do, there's nine other people that are just as qualified as you are, and they're just not going to take you."

Police, however, say that isn't the case. An application in Rothacher's case, for example, would note he had been charged with the crime but also say he was fully exonerated, and that fact would not count against him, Parker said.
- Yeah right.  When it involves a sex crime, people will always suspect you are guilty, but got off with some technicality.  Come on, we know that is and will be the case!

"We have a record, and to change that record by expunging it will do no one any good in terms of hiring and that kind of thing, but also it hides stuff from investigators that we may need later on," Parker said. "In that bill it says 'destroy.' I don't think we should destroy anything."
- If someone is proven innocent of some crime, IMO, all records should be destroyed, period.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said the department was reviewing the bill and didn't have an immediate comment.

Bill Oberly, executive director of the Alaska Innocence Project, said mistakes in the justice system need to be corrected and the bill is a good step to that end. That criminal records are historical documents is exactly why they should be rectified, he said.

"I think it's important to the integrity of the criminal justice system that errors be allowed to be corrected and not perpetuated," Oberly said. "It was a falsehood that the police correctly acted on -- they had to respond if somebody makes a complaint -- but once they found out that the person who was making the complaint was making a false complaint, then it's their obligation, I think, to take that record off and correct that mistake."

As written now, the bill would only apply to cases that take place after it is passed -- Rothacher wouldn't benefit from it, said Sandra Wilson, legislative aide to Gatto. But Gatto and Democratic Rep. Les Gara, who signed on last week as a co-sponsor, said they think the bill could be changed to allow it to be retroactive.
- We need to STOP passing ex post facto laws!  The D--N Constitution FORBIDS this!  So you see, when they can get a way with passing one ex post facto (unconstitutional) law, then they will continue to use it and justify punishing other people.  This is a slippery slope we need not go down!

Gara said there are still a number of issues to deal with, but that the law should maintain its basic intent: to prevent innocent people from being permanently tainted.

"One of the problems here is that there's no perfect solution," Gara said. "You can't make the arrest disappear, which is what you'd like to do. It exists, and somebody has to say it exists. It might be that we can meld law enforcement's concerns into the solution by opting for a corrective statement instead of an expungement."
- This is a cop out, IMO.  If someone is wrongly accused, and is found innocent of some crime they did not commit, then it's very easy to tear up and destroy all records.  You just don't want to do it, so it can be used against them in the future.

Gatto said his staff plans to continue ironing out details.

"We're going to be spending the interim and probably next session working on (it). There's got to be some kinks in this bill that we really want to be careful of," Gatto said. "We will hit the ground running in January."

TX - Many sex assault cases involve minors

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By Heather Menzies - Bay City Tribune

The Bay City Police Department's sexual assault detective offered some advice for parents to consider in observance of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Det. Vaughn Dierlam said the majority of the sexual assault cases that cross his desk do not involve "a stranger jumping out of the bushes and attacking."

According to Dierlam, the most prevalent form of sexual assault in Bay City is minors having unconsensual sex with an adult partner.

"If you are under the age of 17, you are not of age to give consent by law," said Dierlam.

"We have a lot of minors having (what the law sees as unconsensual) sex with older boyfriends and girlfriends and that is a felony."

Multiple partner sexual activity has become more and more prevalent in pre-teenage children and very young teens.

"I get young girls in here all the time that their parents just caught them with their boyfriend but when I start interviewing her she tells me that he wasn't the first," said Dierlam.

"I have girls tell me that they've been (sexually) active since 10,11 and 12 years old."

According to Dierlam, the problem starts with the excessive amount of exposure children have to adult content.

"Kids are exposed to 100 times more sexually explicit material than I ever was," he said.

"They hear it in their music, video games and even cartoons portray sensuality these days."

While sexual education classes teach the medical ramifications of unprotected sex, they don't tell the whole story aof the consequences of the action.

"There are more and more 18-year-old kids who are going to be registered and labeled a sex offender for the rest of their life because they slept with their 15-year-old girlfriend," said Dierlam.

Another aspect for parents to consider is that it is their responsibility to report such actions.

"Parents are required to report," said Dierlam.
- And just more issues with the government prying their way into your lives.

"Even if they tell you they were not forced, it's still a felony and we will file charges on you for endangering a child if you don't report it."
- See comment above.

The key issue for parents to consider is that their children will believe what they learn from their peers if the parents don't purposefully educate their kids on the ramifications of sexual activity, said Dierlam.

"If they are not educated by and educated person then they'll listen to their friends," said Dierlam.

"Parents need to sit down and talk to their kids. They need to monitor what their kids are exposed to."

OK - Campaign urges parents to talk to kids about sex

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Why not teach parents how to be parents? Many parents have forgotten what it means to really be a parent these days, especially since all the fear mongering. You cannot spank your kid anymore without potentially being thrown in jail for child abuse. When I was young, I had to go outside, find a hickory tree limb, and return it to my parents to get my butt whipped. All it took was one time, and I stopped doing whatever I did. Parents cannot be parents anymore, thanks to the government, who continues to work their way into every inch of our lives.



Group encourages adults to share marriage values with their children

NORMAN — Marcus Guinn’s mother was only 14 years old when he was born. He was raised by his grandmother, who’d also had her children as a teen.

Teen pregnancy was a cycle in Guinn’s family and a culture that he decided would end with him. As a young man, he vowed to stay abstinent until marriage. He and his wife kissed for the first time on their wedding day.
- I don't buy that for a minute!

Guinn said it was important for him to wait.

"I’m not saying everyone should wait to kiss until they’re married,” but it’s a real-life example that waiting is possible, he said.

An Oklahoma City native, Guinn now travels across the country with Parents Speak Up (Video available at the site), a national campaign that teaches parents to talk to their children about sex and encourages them to share their values.

Jason spokesman for Parents Speak Up, said the goal of the campaign is to reduce pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease among America’s youths.

"Parents have this perception that kids don’t listen to them,” Flynn said, "but parents are the biggest influences in their children’s lives.”
- When you don't teach them, from an early age, right and wrong, then yeah, they won't listen to anything you say.  Kids are spoiled brats these days, in most cases.  And parents sit them in front of the xBox, Play Station, or Internet to be their baby sitter, instead of kids getting out and playing.  They do not play like they did before, because of all the PREDATOR hysteria.  I remember when I was a kid, kids would be all over the place.  Now it's like a barren waste land in many neighborhoods.

The program isn’t an abstinence campaign, said Flynn. It’s a parental involvement campaign.

"Parents need to talk to their kids early and often about sex,” Guinn said. "This campaign encourages, empowers and motivates parents to get involved in their children’s lives at an early age.”

Guinn will join fellow Oklahoman Chance Rush, another Parents Speak Up presenter, for a conference Wednesday and Thursday in Norman. The event will include training for community leaders and parents.

The men work through the campaign’s Native American Outreach Center, which focuses on reaching American Indians and Alaska natives. Guinn is an Osage, Pottawatomie and Delaware Indian; Rush is a member of the Hidatsa and Arapaho tribes.

The campaign also has outreach centers that focus on black and Hispanic populations.

Although the conference is open to anyone, it will focus on ways American Indians can use their traditions to reach their children, organizers said.

Rush, of El Reno, said parents are afraid to talk to their children about sex.
- Yeah, I have one case on this blog somewhere, where a woman was teaching her child about sex, and they arrested her, for going a little overboard, which, if I remember right, she did.  Sex has always been a taboo subject, and I've never understood why, personally.

"It’s the elephant in the room,” he said.

The time to talk to children differs depending on their maturity, he said.

The conversations are more than an anatomy lesson. They are an opportunity to talk to children about your personal values and to strengthen your relationship, he said.

Parenting is a wonderful gift, and parents should want to discuss these issues for the benefit of their children, Rush said.

"I’m a parent, and if I have the opportunity to share anything that will help them in their future, I want to be a part of it,” Rush said.

Parents Speak Up is a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

VA - Vermont Considers Legalizing Teen "Sexting"

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So I guess it's OK if teens produce and distribute child porn?  Sounds to me like that is what they are saying.  I don't think it should be legalized, but teens should not be forced to register and have a criminal record either.  They should get a little jail time, maybe boot camp or something, then once all that is done, the record deleted completely, IMO.


MONTPELIER - The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would legalize so-called "sexting" between teenagers.

Sexting refers to the exchange of explicit photos and videos via mobile phone. Under current laws, participants can be charged with child pornography, but lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing along such images to others would remain a crime.
- OK, so what if a 10, 11 or 12 year old send a naked photo of themselves to a 11 - 18 year old?  Same problem!  Do you people even THINK anymore?

Supporters told The Burlington Free Press they don't want to condone the behavior but they don't think teenagers should be prosecuted as sex offenders for consensual conduct.
- Neither should teens who are in the same ranges, who are having sex with one another.  That is what kids do.  So are you going to address that issue?

The bill passed the state Senate earlier this month. The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on it this week.

OH - Woman enters guilty pleas in teen sex case

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I am so sick and tired of the double standard BS!  If someone commits a crime, regardless of them being male or female, they should get similar punishment, period.  The court systems are helping this double standard, by not doing something about it!


By Lauren Pack

HAMILTON - A 39-year-old mother accused of having sex with two teenage boys in the past two years pleaded guilty Tuesday, April 7, to reduced charges.

Tracy Conley, entered the plea to two counts of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fifth-degree felony, before Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater. Her trial was scheduled to begin April 16.

Conley was indicted in January on two counts of unlawful conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony. The charges alleged Conley engaged in a sex act with boys, ages 13 and 14, on Dec. 31, 2007, and between May 15 and May 31, 2008. Trenton police investigated the allegations against Conley and she was arrested Dec. 17.

According to the police report, the sexual contact occurred at Conley’s residence outside of Trenton and at B-Safe Driving Education on North Main Street in Trenton. The driving school is owned by Conley’s parents.

Pater ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled Conley’s sentencing for May 26. She faces up to a year in jail and will be classified a Tier II sex offender, which requires registration with the sheriff’s office every 180 days for 25 years.
- A year in jail!  If a man did this, you can bet they would have received a longer sentence.

Assistant Prosecutor Greg Stephens said the pleas were negotiated with Conley’s attorney, Paris Ellis, after consulting with the victims.
- Have you noticed, anytime a female is the offender, the victims usually want a lesser sentence, yet when it's a man, they want life in prison.

“Cases like this are often more difficult with male victims,” he said. “Male victims tend to be more embarrassed in these situations.”
- More difficult?  What is that suppose to mean?  Males are seen as evil demons, and women as loving angels!  Where is the justice in that?

Stephens said there was no indication of force, otherwise Conley would have been charged with a more serious crime.
- I doubt that!

OK - Tier drop: State should revisit sex offender rosters

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When the Legislature passed a law two years ago creating a three-tiered system for rating sex offenders, a veteran Tulsa police officer warned it would be bad news. He was right.

In advance of the law taking effect in November 2007, Sgt. Gary Stansill, a sex crimes officer, said the language was too broad because it would wind up placing too many offenders in the tier reserved for the worst offenders. Sure enough, two years later the state has 6,084 registered sex offenders and 5,026 of them are on the list for life.

The Oklahoman’s Jay Marks reported recently that since the new law went on the books, the number of offenders in the worst tier — the lifetime registration list — has doubled. That means these people must forever register as sex offenders when they move into a new city. Of course they must disclose their criminal histories on job applications. "Sex offender” ensures a lifetime of menial work, if they’re lucky.

That sort of burden should of course be borne by pedophiles and the worst sex offenders. It should not be borne by people who commit much less serious offenses that are deemed sex crimes.

In 2007, an official with the Oklahoma Sex Offender Management Team said he felt the public would likely favor lawmakers changing the laws "to make more sense and to protect children, because the laws as they are written are not protecting children.” No doubt that’s still the case. The Legislature should give this issue another look.

AUSTRALIA - Former Scots teacher takes own life

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THE body of a former teacher of The Scots PGC College in Warwick who was facing child sex abuse charges was found in a suburban park south of Brisbane on Thursday after his suicide, police confirmed yesterday.

_____, 77, was due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 13 for a committal hearing to determine if he would face trial on at least 12 charges of sexual mistreatment of former students of the elite school.

A Warwick Police spokesman said shocked passers-by discovered his body about 4.30am on Thursday at a park on Underwood Road in the Logan City suburb of Rochedale South, where he is understood to have lived.

His vehicle was found a short distance away in the car park.

_____ was one of two former Scots teachers from the early 1970s to be charged with sex abuse after former students came forward last year with complaints to the police.

The other teacher, who cannot be named at this time, is due to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court for further mention on April 27.

Complainants in the _____ matter, who include both male and female former students, were devastated yesterday at his suicide, describing it as a “gutless and selfish act” to avoid justice.

John Paterson, the first complainant to come forward in relation to both of the ex-teachers, told the Daily News he and the others were “all very angry and all disappointed beyond explanation”.

“It's been a long road to get to the stage we did and I doubt there will ever be closure for any of us,” Mr Paterson said.

“In my case closure would have come firstly from a conviction and secondly his imprisonment.

“I am very angry and the frustrating thing is that there isn't a damn thing I can do about it."
- Vengeance is mine, says the Lord God Almighty, not yours!

“All that's been achieved is further hurt and pain for the victims.”

It is understood _____ was dismissed from the college for inappropriate behavior towards a young female student, however the school has previously declined to confirm the precise circumstances of his departure.

Current college authorities have also denied their predecessors at the time failed to inform the police of complaints made about Austin by students alleging sexual abuse.

The college yesterday declined to comment on _____'s death.

Sexual Assault Investigations: Dynamics and Challenges

By me posting this here, doesn't mean I agree or disagree with the statistics in the video, I am just posting it for information purposes only!

Sexual Assault Investigations: Dynamics and Challenges from ACASA on Vimeo.

WV - Focus on Sex Offenders

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WEIRTON - City leaders want convicted sex offenders to register with the police department 30 days earlier than they currently do, so City Council may pass an ordinance establishing that requirement.

Council will meet to discuss this proposed ordinance and other matters at 7 p.m. Monday in City Council Chambers on the second floor of the City Building, 200 Municipal Plaza.

"We want the same information that is currently required, but we want it earlier," City Attorney Vince Gurrera said of the ordinance that would take effect immediately upon passage if council adopts it Monday.

Gurrera said current law requires sex offenders to register with the city within 15 days after moving there, but the Weirton ordinance would compel those convicted for sex offenses to register 15 days prior to entering the city.
- Why?  So you can deny them entrance into your state?

"This is not designed to be harder on anyone. We just feel that if a sex offender enters our city, they should have to register when they are coming instead of after they are already here," he said.

The ordinance states: "This Council further finds and declares that persons required to register as a 'sex offender' and/or 'sexually violent predator' ... have a reduced expectation of privacy because of the state of West Virginia and city of Weirton's interest in public safety."
- If a person is off probation and/or parole, then their rights to privacy are the same as yours.  The Constitution doesn't say you have certain rights, unless you are a sex offender.  It says ALL people have the same rights, and ALL are suppose to be treated equally.

The law would require sex offenders to give Weirton their names, addresses of where they will live, work or attend school, their Social Security numbers, full-face photos, a description of the crimes for which they have been convicted, fingerprints, information about any vehicles they own, information relating to their Internet accounts and any phone numbers they plan to use on a regular basis.
- So if they must register before coming to the state, how do you expect to get this information?  Are you going to pay them a visit in the state they reside before coming to your state?  Or so now, they have to waste more money to come to the state, register, go back home, then, if approved, pack their stuff and move.  And it's not made to be harder on someone?  Depends on who you are talking about!  How does one get a phone, email account, and all this stuff, before they move into a home and settle down?

Potential penalties for violating these terms include fines from $250 to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail.
- Yep, just more BS to set them up to fail, so the Gestapo can arrest them!

Gurrera does not believe the ordinance will in any way violate the U.S. Constitution or its West Virginia counterpart.

"There is case law that I believe means this will be constitutional," he said.

In another matter to be addressed Monday, Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni wants the city to raise water rates to fund $4.7 million in treatment plant upgrades. The plant updates are needed to comply with a consent order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that requires Weirton to reduce the amount of cancer-causing material in the city's drinking water. So council will consider a pair of ordinances to increase water rates that were tabled at the February and March meetings to increase the rates.

Under the first ordinance, the current water rate of $3.99 per 1,000 gallons would be increased to $4.23 per 1,000 gallons. Each customer would also see his or her monthly meter charge increased from $3 per month to $6 per month. City Manager Gary DuFour said these two changes would generate about $485,000 in additional cash flow per year that would be devoted to the plant upgrades.

Another ordinance would increase the monthly charge for sewer service to $6 from its current $3. DuFour said this change would lead to about $338,000 in additional revenue per year.

Weirton's general fund spending will be about $768,000 less in fiscal 2010 than in the current fiscal year - a cost-saving measure resulting in layoffs for five city employees - but Mastrantoni said the water rate increases are necessary because the population has been declining. He also said declining production at ArcelorMittal contributes to the required rate increase because the city does not sell very much water to the steel company anymore.

Also on the meeting agenda is an ordinance that would eliminate the city's Traffic Commission, but DuFour said this ordinance is unlikely to pass because council has appointed new members for the commission.

FL - Raising hell about someone labeled a sex offender, selling childrens books

The female reporter says "well it's a book you'd not want to buy!" So how the hell does she know that? Has she read the book? This is much ado about nothing, IMO.  I've not read this, nor care to, but why judge a book before reading it, or simply because who wrote it? Typical media vigilantism! They follow him and harass them, just for that next story! And here is the "Justice for Children" web site.

Bear Claw - Summary
A teenager and his mother's boyfriend are on what his mom had hoped would be a relationship building backpacking trek through the formidable mountains and vast forests of Montana's Bo ( Marshall Wilderness, when suddenly their outing turns into a deadly battle to save their very lives. Cut off by a fast-moving forest fire, they must use their wits, as they struggle through their rugged, wilderness-survival ordeal. Pursued by raging fire behind and trapped by backfires set by firefighters ahead, the two consider the only escape route possible - running the savage whitewater of the BearClaw River on a primitive raft. But the BearClaw holds as many dangers as the fire itself, particularly through Hellgate Gorge and its most feared hydraulic, the Grinder. Then they discover they are being pursued by a revenge-seeking mother bear. Author ? adventurer, Ron Schaaf, writes about the wilds with authority and, often times, chilling realism that only his personal experience can provide.

WA - Some Wash. sex offenders under increased scrutiny

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TACOMA - Because of more than $485,000 in state grant money doled out in July 2008 to law enforcement agencies in Pierce County, registered sex offenders in the county are getting better scrutiny than before.
- Better scrutiny?  So how does further punishing low risk offenders equate to better?

Tacoma police and Pierce County sheriff's detectives have been knocking on doors and verifying that all 2,585 sex offenders are living where they say they are.
- So why do they need almost half a million dollars to drive around checking on people, doing their job?

Officers have checked all the sex offenders once and are going through the list again. The News Tribune reports Tacoma police and the sheriff's department have made 3,306 checks so far.
- Are they checking on all level 1, 2 and 3 sex offenders?  If so, this amounts to harassment, IMO!

Officers throughout the county will continue the checks until the grant runs out in June.
- So every year, the tax payers are going to have to pay almost a half million dollars so the police can do their jobs?

Budget talks are currently under way in the Legislature in Olympia to see if the money will again be available.

For nearly two decades, low-risk Level 1 registered sex offenders living in Pierce County hardly got a look from authorities.
- And that is how it should be.  I can understand checking once a year, to verify their address, or when they move, but to constantly check all sex offenders, even those who are low risk, is harassment!

But in the first nine months of the grant, police and detectives have turned up dozens of people nearly all Level 1s not living at the addresses they'd listed when they registered as sex offenders. Those offenders now face criminal charges that carry jail or even prison time.

Since last July, prosecutors have charged 279 people with failure to register as a sex offender. The grant has enabled local agencies to update 20 years worth of files on low-level sex offenders.
- So you see, these technicalities is what drives the recidivism rates up.  When you include any violation as recidivism, of course it's going to go up.  But how many committed another sex crime?  That is what should be used to judge recidivism, and if that is done, then you will see, like many studies have, that the recidivism rates are low.  But, they make the laws almost impossible to obey, so they can get you on a violation, and make it look like offenders are constantly committing new sex crimes, which is a lie!

Overall, the program has been "wildly successful," said Tacoma assistant police chief Jim Howatson.
- So what amounts to "success" to you?  Another arrest?  It seems to me like the less amount of people you are arresting, and the less people are committing other crimes, that is what success is about.  To you, it's all about punishment and making that next arrest, instead of prevention.

"One of the premier recommendations was that we not just pretend to hold sex offenders accountable but that we actually do it," Don Pierce, executive director for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, said of the task force.
- So you admit you were not doing your jobs?

NY - Confining Sex Crimes

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By Brooklyn Eagle

JAY STREET - Civil confinement of sex offenders often presents a difficult dilemma for the courts. For instance, last week, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei dismissed an Article 10 petition filed under the Mental Hygiene Law seeking to civilly confine a convicted rapist who had served his sentence.

Justice Tomei ruled in part that because psychiatric experts disagreed as to the mental condition of the defendant, the court was unable to determine whether the defendant’s affinity to non-consensual sexual situations constituted a “mental abnormality” under the Mental Hygiene Law, thereby permitting post-release civil confinement.

In an area of law where experts define the intangible, courts are sometimes having difficulty dealing with how to confine former defendants who have served their prison terms.

Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted the Obama administration’s request to the Supreme Court to block the release of certain sex offenders who have completed their federal prison terms.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., had earlier invalidated a law allowing the indefinite commitment of “sexually dangerous” prison inmates.

Roberts, in an order Friday, says as many as 77 inmates can continue to be held at a prison in North Carolina at least until the high court decides whether to hear the administration’s appeal of a ruling by the federal appeals court.

The Justice Department said the sex offenders could have been released as early as next week without the court’s intervention.

“That would pose a significant risk to the public and constitute a significant harm to the interests of the United States,” Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote in court papers filed Friday.

It is possible, however, that state laws allowing civil commitments of sex offenders could be used to re-imprison the men.

The administration is appealing a ruling of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Congress overstepped its authority when it enacted a law allowing for indefinite commitment of sex offenders. The challenge to the law was brought by four men who served prison terms ranging from three to eight years for possession of child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor. Their confinement was supposed to end more than two years ago, but the government determined that they would be at risk of sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.

A fifth man who also was part of the legal challenge was charged with child sex abuse, but was declared incompetent to stand trial.

Civil commitment was authorized by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which President George W. Bush signed in July 2006.

The act, named after the son of “America’s Most Wanted” television host John Walsh, also establishes a national sex offender registry, increases punishments for some federal crimes against children and strengthens child pornography protections. Those provisions were not affected by the ruling.

The administration is arguing that the law does not violate the Constitution and was well within Congress’ power.