Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today Show: "Teens Prosecuted For Sexting"


MN - Art Cunningham discusses Hennepin County Sex offenders


NY - Upgraded sex charges for Baldwin PTA mom

View the article here

04/22/2009

By ANN GIVENS

A Baldwin PTA mom who police said was found half-naked in a car with a 13-year-old boy was hit with additional criminal charges Wednesday after Nassau prosecutors said DNA tests indicated she had oral sex with the boy.

_____, 44, was charged with second-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, after saliva discovered on the boy's body and clothes was found to be consistent with her DNA, prosecutors said.

If convicted on the felony charges, she faces a maximum of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

Her lawyer, Brian Griffin of Garden City, said the DNA evidence is not conclusive. He said he will hire his own DNA expert to re-examine the results.

"The alleged victim has denied from the beginning that there was sexual contact," he said.

Griffin said _____ posted the $5,000 bail set by District Court Judge Robert Bruno Wednesday afternoon.

During the arraignment, _____, looking solemn, did not look back at her husband, _____, who sat in the courtroom. The two have two children together, a son, 18, and a daughter, 13. _____ walked briskly from the courtroom without commenting.

At the time of the incident, _____ was a vice president of the Baldwin PTA. She was originally charged with endangering the welfare of a child on Dec. 12, 2008, after police caught her naked from the waist down in the backseat of her car with the boy in the parking lot of Meadow Elementary School in Baldwin.

Prosecutors have said in court documents that _____ admitted kissing the boy.


Podcast: An update on online predator danger


03/31/2009


There has been a dramatic growth in arrests of online predators who solicit undercover police officers, but--on a percentage basis--a significant decrease in arrests for soliciting actual kids, according to a study released Tuesday by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

During a period where Internet use among youth increased from 73 percent to 93 percent, there was only a modest (21 percent) nationwide increase in the number of individuals arrested for soliciting real children from 508 arrests in 2000 to 615 in 2006.

To put this study into perspective and to help parents and policymakers better protect kids, I spoke with the center's director, David Finkelhor.

Larry Magid has been a technology columnist and broadcaster for more than two decades as well as a leading Internet safety advocate.



Your Kids Are Alright – A Look at the Exaggerated Threats of Stranger Danger and Internet Predators

Courtesy of 411mania.com
See Also

04/22/2009

By Enrique

I'm not blessed with children myself, but several of my friends are, and I can't help but notice that parenthood changes people. No, I don't mean it turns a once happy married couple into two miserable piles of sexless, passive aggressive goo (although it does). I mean it gives people an exaggerated sense of their offspring's risk of sexual predation. It seems as if once you have children, you suddenly come to the realization that the world is filled with dangerous pedophiles who might kidnap your precious little snowflake out of the backyard at any moment for a vigorous round of inappropriate touching.

This mentality was on display in a brief item that appeared on the indispensable Fark.com last week. Police in East Ridge, Tennessee were called in to investigate a "suspect who approached a boy walking to school and tried to coerce" the boy into being his special friend. Once police tracked down the suspect, it turned out to be much ado about nothing. For our story this week, let's examine the actual threat of stranger danger and online predators, and ask the untoward question – What makes you think your child is so damn sexy?

The story so far…

According to the report from WRCB, an elementary school student told his principal that he had been approached by a stranger who had attempted to persuade the boy to "go with him," and followed him until he got to school. (The story doesn't say if the stranger drove a dilapidated ice cream truck.) The principal called the police, who located the stranger the very next day, and thus the children of East Ridge were safe once again. Except they weren't in any particular danger in the first place:

Police Investigators interviewed the child and the man. The child now says the man had not spoken to him and had not been any closer than 20 to 30 feet. The child did state however the man made him feel uncomfortable. Police now say no crime has been committed.

However East Ridge Police want to commend the child for his quick action in reporting this incident to authorities. Officials want to encourage children to always report suspicious activity to police.

The fine reporters of WRCB are too gracious to state the obvious – the child lied. Once the man was in custody, the boy changed his story and said the stranger never talked to him. This man apparently did nothing wrong, and yet he was hassled by police because he made a child feel uncomfortable. Meanwhile, the boy was congratulated by police for his "quick action" in lying to his principal and making some poor fool withstand police scrutiny on suspicion of being within 20 feet of an overly sensitive child. What a world. Would it be impolite to suggest this boy is a sissy?

In my non-parental experience, I've noticed children aren't necessarily the best judges of character. It seems misguided to tell them it's appropriate involve the police every time they feel uncomfortable. It's one thing to give your children common sense advice about dealing with strangers; it's another thing to instill them with the irrational fear that predators lurk around every corner. That's not to say children are never abducted by strangers – one example is the tragic case of Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 2005 by a repeat sex offender. But such grim occurrences are exceedingly rare. Writing in the Gainesville Sun earlier this week, reporter Tom McNiff reminds us that stranger danger is a wildly exaggerated phenomenon:

First, violent crimes against children have declined steadily over the past generation. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 81 out of every 1,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 were victims of violent crime in 1973, compared with 44 out of 1,000 in 2005.

And, second, the worst of those crimes - kidnappings, rapes and murders - are being committed not by strangers hunting innocents but by family members, neighbors or trusted adults the family knows.

McNiff also reports that stranger abductions only account for about 0.03% of all kidnappings. If a child is going to be abducted, it's overwhelmingly likely it will be taken by one of its own parents in a custody dispute, not a stranger. Stranger danger is so low risk it's almost not worth talking about at all.

Another source of unsubstantiated worry for parents is the supposed threat of online deviants luring their children into inadvisable sexual encounters. It's natural for parents to be concerned about online predators, but like stranger danger, the menace is greatly exaggerated. In December, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University issued a report following a nearly year-long study of the risks facing minors on the internet. The full report, which focused mainly on social networking sites, is available here. Despite worries that the internet poses increased risks of exploitation for minors, the study showed your children aren't in more jeopardy than usual:

The Literature Review shows that the risks minors face online are complex and multifaceted and are in most cases not significantly different than those they face offline, and that as they get older, minors themselves contribute to some of the problems. […]

Much of the research based on law-enforcement cases involving Internet-related child exploitation predated the rise of social networks. This research found that cases typically involved post-pubescent youth who were aware that they were meeting an adult male for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. The Task Force notes that more research specifically needs to be done concerning the activities of sex offenders in social network sites and other online environments, and encourages law enforcement to work with researchers to make more data available for this purpose. Youth report sexual solicitation of minors by minors more frequently, but these incidents, too, are understudied, underreported to law enforcement, and not part of most conversations about online safety.

As much as it may pain parents to admit it, minors often willingly seek out sexual encounters online, most often with others their own age. As for online harassment, most of it is of the teen-on-teen variety. Although more research needs to be done, there's currently no evidence your children are more at risk of exploitation online than they are in your backyard.

Having children remains a popular lifestyle choice in America, and it isn't completely risk-free. However, it seems like a waste of energy to fret over horrible but highly unlikely tragedies that will almost certainly not befall your family. Why not just let your kids enjoy their childhood instead? I hear they grow up fast, so make the most of it, be happy, and stop worrying already. They'll be fine.


DE - HB 136 takes aim at repeat sex offenders

View the article here

04/22/2009

STATEWIDE - Taking aim at repeat sex offenders, Rep. E. Bradford “Brad” Bennett (Email) (D-Dover) filed legislation Wednesday that would establish enhanced penalties for registered sex offenders who commit a sex offense against a child under 12 years of age.

Under House Bill 136, a person who has previously been convicted of a sex offense and is on the Delaware sex offender registry who then commits a sex offense against a child under 12 would face additional penalties. If the sex offender is charged with a misdemeanor sex offense, then the additional penalty would be a class C felony. If the offender is charged with a class C, D, E, F or G felony, then the enhanced penalty would be a class B felony.

According to Delaware code, a class B felony carries a prison sentence range of two to 25 years, with the first two years of imprisonment being mandatory. A class C felony carries a statutory prison sentence range of up to 15 years.

Convicted sexual predators who go out and commit another sex crime are showing by their actions that they are a danger to society,” Rep. Bennett said. “And while any sex offenses should not be tolerated, those against our youngest and most vulnerable citizens are especially disturbing. These additional penalties will ensure that our most serious and repeat sex offenders spend a considerable amount of time in prison for their crimes.

Karen K. DeRasmo, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Delaware, said the bill would send a strong message that committing sex offenses against young children is unacceptable.

Abuse committed against young children can have dramatic long term effects that can include a broad range of emotional, behavioral and physical health problems,” Ms. DeRasmo said. “Strict sentencing laws are important to increase children’s safety and also to send the message that Delaware takes the job of protecting its children seriously.

House Bill 136, which has bipartisan support with 20 House co-sponsors, has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.


NE - Bill would give sex crimes tougher penalties

View the article here

04/22/2009

By NANCY HICKS - Lincoln Journal Star

It used to be that parents felt safe when their children were in the house, away from the dangers of the outside world, said Sen. Annette Dubas (Email) of Fullerton.

But with sexual predators trolling the Internet, that’s no longer true.

Computers, while wonderful, “allow way too much into their lives that is dangerous and damaging to their psyche,” Dubas said as senators gave first-round approval Wednesday to a bill that helps protect children from predators and from their own naivet√©.
- Um, computers do not "allow" anything.  It's the parents who allow it, by not installing monitoring and filtering software to block sites you do not want your child visiting.  It's not the computers fault, but the parents fault, for not doing a better job at parenting.

The Internet extends the reach of people who prey on our children,” said Omaha Sen. Tom White (Email), whose bill was one of three measures combined in LB97.

The bill would bar registered sex offenders from using such social networking sites as MySpace or Facebook, and it would require them to provide Internet communication identities. It also would increase penalties for some child pornography offenses.

But it would create an exception for teens who knowingly send nude pictures of themselves to another minor and for those younger than 19 who get a picture from a person who is at least 15 and don’t send it on.

Teens sending nude or seminude pictures of themselves is known as “sexting,” and it is apparently widespread.

Girls are taking and sending pictures to their boyfriends via cell phones and e-mail. And they’re putting them on MySpace, an assistant attorney general told senators earlier this year.

Sending those images is technically against the law. The bill would allow an exemption from child pornography charges for minors in certain cases. Prosecutors can also charge teenagers as juveniles rather than adults.

The requirement that registered sex offenders provide their online identification information to the sex registry will help parents monitor children’s Internet activity, senators said.
- So tell me, how would someone forced to give up private information, help a parent "monitor" their child?

What sexual predators value the most is anonymity, said Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, who has worked with predators.
- Hell, who doesn't value anonymity?  It's called privacy, which is, or was, guaranteed by the constitution!

They value blending in. They value people not knowing who they are, especially children,” he said.

The bill takes away their ability to blend in. And it gives parents another tool, he said. It gives them the ability to compare those domain and user names to the sex offender registry.
- Sounds like more BS to me.  Do you know how easy it is to create a new email address?  It takes a matter of seconds.  Also, if a child is using a social network, how are they going to know the email address or true name of someone who is talking with them?  So what will they use to look up, on the registry?  Some MySpace alias?  This is just more fear-mongering, IMO, and won't work.  It's just a way for social networks to discriminate, by checking new comers to the registry, and if a match is found, then they are denied access to the social network, but, like I said, any true predator who wants to commit another crime, can create some new email address is a matter of seconds, and use that, which won't be on the registry.  This is nothing but another fear-mongering placebo.

Parents need all the tools they can get, he said.

The Internet has expanded the child pornography problem, senators said.

Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh said 10,000 computers in the state store and actively share child pornography.
- So what are you doing about that?  If you "know" their is 10,000 (nice magical number) computers on the Internet sharing porn, then why aren't you shutting them down?


WI - Council advances sex offender draft ordinance

View the article here

04/22/2009

By Randy Hanson - Hudson Star-Observer

A proposed ordinance that bans people convicted of sex crimes again children from certain places in Hudson is expected to be ready for consideration by the City Council at its next meeting.

The council, after a lengthy discussion Monday night, instructed City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick to make some minor changes to the draft ordinance and have it ready for a first reading on May 4.

Final approval of the ordinance will come at the council’s May 18 meeting, if things go according to plan.

The draft ordinance prohibits child sex offenders from residing within 250 feet of places where children are often present, such as schools, daycares, parks, recreational trails, athletic fields, youth centers and churches.

It also establishes 150-foot “control zones” around those places and prohibits child molesters from loitering within the zones.

The ordinance bans them from the actual premises except in special cases, and when they have written permission to be there.

Sex offenders could receive permission to attend church or a school program involving one of their children, for example.

The penalty for violating a control zone restriction would be a forfeiture of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 for subsequent violations.

Violating the residency restrictions could bring a $250 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine for subsequent offenses. Each day an offender was in violation of a residency restriction would be considered a separate offense.

Much of the discussion Monday night was over how to define “youth centers.

The council appeared to ultimately arrive at the consensus that certain places should be listed in the ordinance as youth centers – such as The Phipps Center for the Arts, martial arts schools and dance studios.

Jodi Voegeli, a sex offender registration specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, gave a presentation arguing against broad residency restrictions at the start of the discussion.

Voegeli said the Department of Corrections likes to stay out of political battles, but has taken a stand against sex offender residency laws after seeing the effect they have.

The rate of noncompliance with the state’s sexual offender registry law has tripled in some cities that have adopted strict residency ordinances, she said.

The city of Green Bay went from knowing where 90 percent of its sexual offenders live to not knowing where about half of them are, she said.

But Alderperson Lori Bernard said the less restrictive ordinance that Hudson is considering is close to the Department of Corrections’ own guidelines on where child sex offenders should be allowed to reside.

I think it comes down to, do we want to have an ordinance on the books?” Bernard said. She said she thought that the proposal that came out of the Public Safety Committee – and was altered some by Mayor Dean Knudson – was very good.

Public Safety Committee Chairman Lee Wyland drafted much of the original proposal. Bernard and Council President Randy Morrissette II are the other members of the committee.

Morrissette inquired whether there was support for expanding the areas in which convicted child sex offenders couldn’t reside. Hearing no interest from other council members on making the ordinance more restrictive, he said the current proposal was acceptable to him.

Morrissette was the first council member to push for adoption of a sex offender residency ordinance.


MN - Local organization: Stopping violence will help state save money

View the article here

04/22/2009

By Stephanie Trask

Winona resident Joe Morse says he knows how to erase a $6.4 billion state budget deficit. Stop sexual and domestic violence, and the state will save almost $8 billion a year it spends prosecuting abusers and caring for victims.

Winona County has developed a five-year plan to prevent sexual violence and exploitation, and the plan will be presented from 6:30 to 8 p.m. today at a community forum at the Winona Senior High School Auditorium.

Beyond Tough Guise, an organization that works with young men to stop violence, is a key group in the collaborative five-year plan, which takes a proactive approach to abuse.
- What about working with young women also?  They commit sexual violence as well, as seen in recent news headlines.

Many efforts to prevent these crimes have been interventive, which is trying to prevent them after they’ve happened,” said Morse, a Beyond Tough Guise spokesman. “Law enforcement efforts to hold perpetrators accountable so they don’t offend all take place after they’ve happened, and it’s clearly not working.

In 2005, 61,000 people were assaulted in Minnesota, and 81 percent of them were women, Morse said. The majority of those women were girls under 18. Ninety-two percent of the assaults were made by men.

Patty Wetterling, director of the sexual and domestic violence division of the Minnesota Department of Health, will speak at the forum about how her agency will support the plan. Wetterling’s son Jacob was abducted near their home in 1989 and remains missing.

Chuck Derry, co-founder of Minnesota Men’s Action Network, will detail how workshops with men in the community can reduce violence. Cordelia Anderson from Sensibilities Inc. will speak about the exploitation of sex in society and how it contributes to sexual violence.

The action plan includes six steps:
  1. Support Winona County coalitions and foster networks
  2. change organizational practices
  3. influence public policy and legislation
  4. promote community education
  5. educate providers and professionals
  6. and strengthen individual knowledge and skills

Virtually everyone in the community can become involved,” Morse said. “We need to change the norms here, the things we take for granted.


TX - Church to settle sexual lawsuit (Money Talks!)

View the article here

The rich can get a way with anything, while the poor suffer!

04/21/2009

By Chris Ramirez

Judge says family due money from Paramount Baptist

Paramount Baptist Church will pay two Amarillo parents an undisclosed amount of money to settle a sexual-misconduct lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, listed in Randall County court papers only as "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe," had alleged the church on Western Street was aware one of its volunteer teachers had a history of improper behavior with children and failed to protect their daughters from him.

Senior District Judge David Gleason wrote in his judgment the plaintiffs and their two daughters, now teenagers, were due money. Gleason ordered the terms of the settlement not be made public.

Attorneys for the couple and the church did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Court records show _____, 41, pleaded guilty in August 2006 to four counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. He received six years of deferred adjudication, fines and community service, and is now a registered sex offender.

The couple in July 2007 filed a lawsuit in Randall County District Court, alleging their two daughters were molested by _____, and that they likely would not have been if the church had removed him. _____ was a volunteer teacher for the church and was a paid child-care worker for three years until 2004.

He was not a defendant in the lawsuit.

Earlier this year, attorneys collected depositions and employment records from San Jacinto Christian Academy, where _____ once worked, as well as medical and school records of the plaintiffs' daughters.


NH - Tougher sex offender law gets AG's backing

View the article here

04/21/2009

By JOHN DISTASO

CONCORD – A top official from the Attorney General's Office yesterday recommended the House pass proposed changes in state law that would make it easier for the state and county prosecutors and the courts to ensure continued confinement of dangerous sexual offenders after their prison sentences expire.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 142 unanimously earlier this month. At a hearing by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee yesterday, Associate Attorney General Ann Rice detailed additions to the commitment process that would allow emergency petitions to be filed and acted on by the courts to prevent the release of offenders determined to need additional time in confinement.

The key portion of the bill is a response to the recent release of two child rapists who slipped through cracks in the justice system. After maxing out on their prison sentences, prosecutors tried to have court hearings that could have kept them in the Secure Psychiatric Unit of the state hospital for five more years.

But strict deadlines for involuntary confinements in current law were missed. A trial court failed to rule within 10 days whether enough evidence existed to label them sexually violent predators.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled current law is intended to have the filings made before the convicted person's incarceration ended and that their civil liberties would be violated by attempting to place them in confinement at that point.

As a result, they were freed.

Rice said the state Supreme Court decision focused on the case of _____, 40, but also involved _____ and _____ -- who were also in the process of having petitions for civil commitment filed against them.

_____ told police he plans to live in Mont Vernon. _____, 34, is in Manchester. _____, 45, is still in custody.

Rice said the bill pertains to "people who have committed sexually violent offenses and suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes them likely to engage in further acts of sexual violence if not confined to a secure facility for long-term treatment."

She said it addresses cases of murder during a sexual assault, aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping in which a victim is confined for purposes of a sexual assault and burglary for the purpose of a sexual assault.

"These are people for whom treatment in the mental health system is not appropriate," Rice explained.
- So if treatment is "not effective," which I disagree with, then why put them in civil commitment?  That is just prison outside of prison.  And who are you to judge if someone will commit another crime?  If they do, then sentence them to a longer prison sentence.

Currently, she said, when the person becomes eligible for parole, the corrections department is required to notify the prosecutor that the person is about to be released. The county attorney or the attorney general's office then must review the person's file and determine whether the person should be evaluated to determine if he is a sexually violent predator.

If the prosecutor determines that an attempt should be made for a civil commitment, a multidisciplinary team, comprising a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services and two psychologists or psychiatrists, reviews the case and determines whether they believe the person is a sexually violent predator.
- So why don't you have the people in prison, who treated them (if they were) to determine if they are considered a violent person?  Seems to me like they would know better than someone just now reviewing a case, instead of someone with direct relations with the person for years.  Unless they are not getting treatment in prison, which they probably are not.

If they do not reach that conclusion, the case ends and the person is released.

If they do find the person is a predator, Rice said, the county attorney must file a petition with the court to have that person committed. Within 10 days of the filing, Rice said, the court must determine whether there is probable cause to confine the person, and, if it does, a trial must be set within 60 days.

This process should begin nine months before the person is eligible for release, Rice said.

In the Fournier case, the county attorney had petitioned the court for a civil commitment. The court should have issued a probable cause determination within 10 days.

"That did not happen," Rice said. "The court issued its order 28 days later and because the defendant's incarceration had ended before the court order, the court lost jurisdiction over the defendant."

The bill allows a court to extend "any time limit" outlined in the law for good cause and says that failing to comply with a time limit before the person is released from incarceration is not grounds for dismissal of the petition for confinement.
- So, you are passing another law, to get around you not doing you job?

The bill also says that if the proceedings have not been completed by the time the defendant is released from incarceration, the court has two days to make a probable cause determination.

As a further safety net for the prosecutor, the bill says that if the court does not act in that time, prosecutors are allowed to file a petition for an emergency probable cause hearing. If the court finds probable cause, then the person can be recommitted to the Secure Psychiatric Unit.

No one spoke against the bill, but Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, told the committee there is another alternative, to more adequately fund the court system.

"We don't even know why what happened in the courts happened," she said. "But it has been the business of the Legislature to fund the courts, and the chief justice (John Broderick) has been poignant in his pleas to you that the courts are not funded and they are not going to be funded next year or the year after."
- Sure we know why, they are not doing their jobs!

"As a result," Ebel said, "more things like this are going to happen. It's inevitable."

Rice said other sections of the bill fill cracks in state law addressing Internet and child pornography and allows certain sex offenders who are required to be on the sex offender registry to petition the court to be removed. She said the removal request could not be granted if the person had been convicted of another offense requiring sexual offender registration.


UT - Police officer Ken Hammond sentenced to 90 days for sexual battery

View the article here

04/21/2009

By Tim Gurrister

OGDEN -- The once-honored former Ogden police officer Ken Hammond was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in Weber County Jail for a sexual offense with a 17-year-old girl.

Second District Judge Pamela Heffernan said it was particularly troubling that the offense occurred while Hammond was on patrol.

"That puts it into a different category," she said.

"The fact that he did it on duty adds to the aggravating factors in the case, despite an exemplary past."

The judge was referring to Hammond's brief tour as something of a national hero in 2007 when he intervened to help stop a gunman in Trolley Square.

Sulejman Talovic, 18, had killed five and wounded four at the Salt Lake City mall before the off-duty Hammond traded gunfire with him, keeping him at bay until a SWAT team arrived and killed Talovic.

Hammond had just finished a pre-Valentine's Day dinner with his wife, Sarita, when he went after Talovic and was credited with stopping his killing spree.

Sarita was with him Tuesday, the two entering the courtroom hand in hand.

Also there in support were his parents and several friends and relatives, including his first wife, Stephanie Daniels. She said Hammond has been asking his supporters not to speak to the media.

The 35-year-old Hammond, his attorney and his small entourage all entered and left the courtroom with no comment for the media throng on hand. Prosecutors also declined comment.

But Daniels, whom Hammond divorced in 2005, decided to speak up for him.

"He's been a great ex-husband. Usually exes don't get along, but he's been there for me every step of the way. We've raised a son together."

The victim in the case was not present for the sentencing, defense attorney Brenda Beaton noted in asking Heffernan to give Hammond only 30 days in jail.

Beaton noted that the victim, in a written statement she gave to the court, did not ask for a severe penalty for Hammond.

"It was an act committed without force and, absent the victim's age, is not a crime," Beaton said.

She also said the three-year-old case was a seduction, the victim exposing her breasts to Hammond to initiate the contact between the two.

"This case is not the fault of the victim," countered Deputy Weber County Attorney Sandra Corp.

"... there's a reason why it's against the law for a 32-year-old to engage a 17-year-old in sexual acts. The law protects her from her mistakes."

The victim has recently entered counseling, with billings soon to go out that Hammond should pay for, Corp said.

Heffernan set a 60-day review on the restitution question.

Hammond pleaded no contest to a class A misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, reduced from a felony count of unlawful sexual contact with a 17-year-old.

Hammond "solicited and received" oral sex from the 17-year-old girl in her apartment in July 2005, according to prosecutors. Hammond had responded to a noise complaint at the girl's apartment earlier that night and returned later for the sexual encounter.

A felony conviction would have likely ended any chance of Hammond continuing a career in law enforcement. Officials said sexual battery is not a charge entered on Utah's sex offender registry, another benefit of Hammond's plea bargain.
- And just what I expected, he will not be on the sex offender registry.  Yet if the average citizen did exactly what he did, they would be given a longer sentence.  Police should be held to higher standards, yet they are not!

Beaton noted Tuesday that Hammond had voluntarily surrendered his police certification and would not be working as a police officer in Utah.

She said he had been able to maintain employment since he resigned from the Ogden police department in December. Officials wouldn't comment on where Hammond works.
- Why not?  If it was the average Joe, you would!

Heffernan gave Hammond until April 29 to report to Weber County Jail and ordered the sentence to include work release.

After Beaton argued that jail time for any former police officer could be a death penalty, Heffernan said she would leave it up to jail officials to decide if Hammond needed special protection from inmates or if a possible transfer to another facility to serve his time would be warranted.

Hammond still faces a federal civil lawsuit alleging excessive use of force against an Ogden couple last year during a drunken driving traffic stop. That case, which also names Ogden city and police officials as defendants, is entering the deposition and motion phase.


TX - Former member of Bikers Against Child Abuse (David Wayne Garvey) arrested for child porn

David Wayne Garvey
View the article here

How ironic! Also see this item about a murder-for-hire scheme by a member of this group.

03/18/2009

ANAHUAC - A former Houston-area member of Bikers Against Child Abuse has been arrested for possessing child pornography. The arrest follows David Wayne Garvey's indictment by a Chambers County grand jury. Garvey, 50, faces third-degree felony charges, which each carry between two and 10-year prison sentences.

The Office of the Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit's investigation began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That information indicated that an AOL user attempted to e-mail child pornography to another AOL customer on Sept. 16, 2007. The Unit executed a search warrant at Garvey's residence in Beach City on May 29, 2008. A forensic examination of the computer equipment seized during the search yielded 83 images of child pornography on Garvey's computer, a CD and in e-mails.

While searching Garvey's residence, investigators found a Bikers Against Child Abuse vest, which indicated the defendant was a member of the child abuse prevention group. According to the organization's Web site, BACA works to create safe environments for abused children and prevent further abuse. The Cyber Crimes Unit notified BACA, which then revoked Garvey's membership.

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting child predators. Since 2003, the Cyber Crimes Unit and Fugitive Unit have arrested more than 1,000 predators. Prosecutors also have obtained convictions against more than 90 men on child pornography charges.

See Also:


TN - 18-Year-Old Charged In High School Sex Tape

View the article here

Is this another Genarlow Wilson in the making, to me!

04/21/2009

By April Thompson

Memphis - 18-year-old _____ is out of jail and trying to keep out of sight.

At the place he says he lives, a man told us he wasn't there.

Minutes later _____ and his mom showed up at Melrose High, but still they were not talking.

It was at Melrose where the story came to light.

According to the affidavit, _____ told police on last Thursday he, along with a 15-year-old-girl and 16-year-old-boy, engaged in a sex act.

_____ recorded it with his cell phone. He says the female wasn't aware of the taping.

_____ says he then took the phone to his second period class at Melrose High and showed it to another student.

_____ has been charged with soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor.
- So what about the other two kids who had sex?

It's an offense that could have a big fall out if he is convicted.

The 18-year-old could have to register on the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry. State law requires it if a person 18 or older uses electronic communications to intentionally persuade or cause a minor to engage in sexual activity.

When I asked _____ about it, the only comment he had for me was about my hair.

"I like your haircut, just take that down on your notepad." he said.

_____ isn't the only one who could land on the sexual offenders registry.

Assistant Principal _____ has also be been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, among other things.

Police say he took _____'s cell phone, downloaded the sex video to his school computer and erased it from phone. He then let others see the video and didn't alert authorities.

_____ and _____ will be back in court next month.


CT - Danbury area sex offender ordinances long on intentions, short on teeth

View the article here

04/22/2009

With nearly 100 registered sex offenders living in the Danbury area, Brookfield is well-intentioned with its proposed sex offender ordinance.

The proposal, which was initiated by First Selectman Robert Silvaggi last Friday, calls for the creation of "child safety zones" in Brookfield at parks, swimming pools, schools, playgrounds and other public places children frequent.

If ultimately approved -- selectmen will hold a public hearing on the ordinance May 4 -- Brookfield will join several local municipalities with sex offender ordinances, including Danbury, New Milford and Ridgefield.

As written, however, none of these sex offender ordinances is strong enough.

A $100 fine -- or even a $250 fine -- is basically a slap on the wrist for registered sex offenders. It's the equivalent of a speeding ticket.

If the state's sex offender registry isn't a deterrent, it's hard to imagine how a few hundred bucks will stop a determined sexual predator.
- Look idiot, we are talking about sex offenders, and not all sex offenders are predators!

Unfortunately, the Connecticut General Statutes don't help much. They cap municipal ordinance fines at $250.

New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy, for one, believes the fee should be higher, especially for sex offender laws.
- More proof of their intention, punishment!

"The state dictates the (fee) cap. What the reasoning is, I could hardly even venture to tell you," said Murphy, whose town imposes a $250 fee for violations of its sex offender ordinance.

"I really can't explain the state's motivation. But certainly, $250 doesn't seem high enough. I'm not sure of the rationale behind it," Murphy went on. "There are times when I am pretty severe about punishment. This would be one of them."
- And again with the intention, punishment!

The other problem with sex offender legislation is enforcement. How do you identify a sex offender at the neighborhood park, the playground, the local pool or an elementary school?

Evil doesn't always look disheveled or scary, of course. Sometimes, it's impeccably dressed, with a spit-shined smile.
- You assume all sex offenders are evil demons, when they are not.  You are helping to perpetuate the lies and disinformation, by demonizing people.  There are also KIDS labeled sex offenders, which I assume you think they are evil demons as well?

What's more, many sex offenders are known to their victims, particularly if the victim is a child. Although local ordinances focus on pedophiles, plenty of other sexual predators commit crimes against adults.

And yet, local sex offender ordinances in Danbury, Ridgefield, New Milford -- and perhaps, Brookfield -- are better than nothing.

They're an important first step in this process, a public display of strength, even if current ordinances are largely paper handcuffs.

"Our motivation is to try and keep (registered sex offenders) out of places where they don't belong," said Silvaggi, whose proposal calls for a $100 fine. "We are not trying to persecute anyone. They have a right to live their lives."
- Yeah, you are right...  SO LET THEM!

Murphy conceded that sex offenders don't operate with a scarlet letter on their chests.
- Not on their chest, but the registry is the same thing, it prevents you from getting jobs, homes, or anything else.

But that doesn't mean you hand over your kids.

"The thing with a deterrent is, you can never really tell how well it works," Murphy said. "But you do hope that it reminds people that we're not welcoming to that kind of behavior in New Milford."
- Does death deter people from killing?  No, so why would these laws prevent someone who is intent on committing another crime, from doing so?  Many are trying to get on with their lives, but these laws and you will not let them.  There will always be someone who commits another crime, regardless of the laws on the books, but you are punishing all offenders, because of a few.

In New Milford's case, the 2007 ordinance was provoked by a convicted sex offender who planned to move into a neighborhood where he could see seven different sets of playground equipment.

The man later decided to move elsewhere.

"These ordinances are not perfect," Murphy said. "But they do let people know that our community is aware of these activities. We are looking and we are watching."
- You can be aware and watch without the registry and unconstitutional laws.  These laws are just about punishment, pure and simple!

Even with a $250 ticket, innocence is not for sale in New Milford, Danbury, Ridgefield or anywhere else. Local sex offender ordinances are just one tool.

They'll never replace talking with your kids about safety.


NH - Radio talk host passing through Vegas arrested on child porn charges

View the article here

04/21/2009

By Mary Manning

New Hampshire fugitive Aaron Aldridge, 42, was arrested today on child pornography charges after a freeway chase on Interstate 15 about 20 miles into California.

Aldridge was wanted by Newport, N.H., authorities for the possession and production of child pornography. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals from Nevada and California.

Aldridge was reported missing last week when he failed to show up for work at his job as a radio host on WNTK AM in New London, N.H. He had been a police officer in Newport from 1999 until 2004, authorities said.

Newport police received reports that Aldridge had been spotted in Florida and other southern states, and developed information today that he was passing through Las Vegas, said U.S. Marshal Gary Orton of Nevada.

The U.S. Marshals Nevada Fugitive Investigative Strike Team (FIST), was contacted and within three hours members spotted Aldridge's vehicle in Nevada on I-15, about five miles north of the California state line, Orton said.

The vehicle was going south into California and FIST members requested and received assistance from the California Highway Patrol.

Aldridge, who initially refused to pull over, was arrested on I-15 about 20 miles into California. He is in custody pending his extradition to New Hampshire.

After Aldridge went missing, family members began searching through his belongings trying to figure out where he went, according to WPTZ.com. During that search, someone reportedly found child pornography.

The Web site's report said the community is in shock. Not only was Aldridge a radio host and former police officer, he also wrote a weekly family article for the local newspaper, "The Eagle Times." Police said they believe financial and marital problems motivated him to leave the area, but two charges of child pornography kept him on the run.

"I just didn't think that he was that kind of person," Newport resident Judy Ward told WPTZ on Tuesday. "I've known him since he was a cop."