Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Man Behind 'America's Most Wanted'

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11/13/2009

By RYAN OWENS and CLAIRE PEDERSEN

John Walsh Hunts Most Dangerous in Name of Justice: 'I'll Always be the Parent of a Murdered Child'

For more than two decades, John Walsh has been hunting the country's most dangerous criminals. At the helm of the show "America's Most Wanted ," Walsh has helped put more than 1,000 fugitives -- serial killers, rapists and child abductors -- behind bars.

"I have caught some of the worst of the worst," he said. "We have caught 17 guys off the FBI's 10 Most Wanted [List]."
- You have caught or the police have caught?

"Nightline" accompanied Walsh behind the scenes of his show, shooting on location near San Francisco, where he's on the trail of an alleged gangland killer.

The murder of Charles "CJ" Davis has had little media coverage, but Walsh turns cases such as this one into national stories. From Elizabeth Smart to Jaycee Dugard, whose case he first highlighted in 1991 -- just four days after she was abducted.

"I really think it's a miracle that Jaycee Dugard was found after 18 years," Walsh said. "I've been involved in some long-running cases...but for Jaycee Dugard to be found alive and healthy with two children fathered by her abductor, kidnapper, rapist -- a guy with a rap sheet that long that shouldn't have been found on the street, it's a miracle. It's a wonderful, wonderful ending to a really sad story."
- From what I've seen on the registries, he had only one case of rape, not a long history.  If he has a long history, then where is his "history?" I am not saying he doesn't, I just have not seen it.

Behind Walsh's anti-crime activism is his own tragic story -- one without the "wonderful" ending.

In July 1981, his 6-year-old son Adam was abducted from a shopping mall in Florida. John and his wife Reve desperately searched for Adam, but their worst fears were realized when Adam's severed head was found in a canal two weeks later. The rest of his body was never recovered.

"I'll always be the parent of a murdered child," Walsh told "Nightline." "Adam will always be in my mind. Your heart is broken. It doesn't matter if it was six months ago or 27 years ago. Your heart is broken. People deal with it differently. Some descend into hell in different ways and you live in that hell."

Adam's murder became one of the most infamous crimes against a child in America. And Walsh used his son's death to raise awareness for missing children across the country, creating the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. He became a public face of the missing children movement. FOX asked Walsh to host "America's Most Wanted" in 1988, a program that prominently features cases in which children are harmed or missing.

To critics who label him a "fear mongerer," Walsh said that he considers his job "an obligation."

"I believe that knowledge is power. I truly believe that people watch too much TV and think there is going to be that superhero who is going to come in and stop this and that it can't happen to you," Walsh said. "If you spent one day with me, and saw how average crimes affect people in the United States. ...I don't believe in paranoia, I don't believe in fear mongering, I believe we have an obligation to tell our kids that someone might hurt them someday."
- Yes, knowledge is power, the TRUE facts and not disinformation, lies and myths! And you also have an obligation to teach parents and kids on what to look out for, how to protect themselves, etc.

America's Most Wanted Spotlighted Jaycee Dugard Case

"America's Most Wanted" featured Dugard's case three times -- even though many people had given up hope of her ever being found.

When Dugard, now 29, was found living in the backyard of her alleged abductor, Phillip Garrido, Walsh couldn't believe that the 58-year-old had been able to evade authorities time and time again.
- And he was on GPS, the registry, living by the residency restrictions and the parole/probation came around often to check on him, yet he was still able to break the law, thus proving the sex offender laws are not full proof, and are just a false sense of security.

Garrido was convicted of kidnapping and repeatedly raping Katie Hall in a Nevada storage unit in 1977 and served more than 10 years of a 50-year sentence before he was paroled. He is also considered a suspect in two other missing child cases, the 1988 abduction of 9-year-old Michaela Garecht and the 1989 disappearance of 11-year-old Ilene Misheloff.
- And this is the only case he has been charged with, and yet they claim he has a "history!"

"[Garrido's] a guy that should've never been out there, that's the guy we need to track. That's the level-three violent sex offender that everybody needs to know is next door," Walsh said. "It's not about civil liberties. I grew up in the '60s. I believe in civil liberties, and I believe in America. But I believe that once somebody demonstrated that they're an animal, that they've crossed that line, that they've hurt a woman or a child, then you need to track them."
- Well, by his own "history," and from what experts have said, he was NOT considered a high risk to re-offend.  Only about 5% of those on the registries are truly dangerous, and no matter what is done, you can never predict what someone may do. Also, this man was on the registry and people living around him, should have known who he was.  So once again, the registry and laws did NOTHING to prevent a crime.

Walsh's Outreach to Victims' Families

On the set of his show, Walsh often invites victims' family members to the taping. When he meets parents who have lost their child, he said the pain of losing Adam hits him again.

"I look at this woman and see the pain and the tears in her eyes and say, 'I know where she is at.' She says, 'How could this happen to me? How could I be in this place?' And you really don't have the answer, I still don't have the answer," Walsh said. "I am still heartbroken…and you're wounded, but you will survive. You will go on; you go on and do the best you can to deal with it."

Walsh bonds with the families -- but none more so than the Smart family from Salt Lake City. When their 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was abducted from her bedroom in 2002, Walsh did six shows on her case.

Nine months after Elizabeth Smart was abducted, an elderly couple, who had heard about the smart case on "America's Most Wanted," spotted a man traveling with two companions -- and one of them was a disguised Elizabeth Smart.

"I think the highlight of the 23 years is when the Smart family asked me to fly to Salt Lake City the day that Elizabeth was recovered because we never gave up and Ed and Lois never gave up," Walsh told "Nightline."

"And when I saw Elizabeth walk down the stairs that night, I said, 'This is good, this is a home run.'"

Walsh Fought for Justice for Elizabeth Smart

Just last month, Elizabeth Smart, who is now 21, came face to face with her alleged abductor, Brian David Mitchell, in court.

Speaking for the first time, Smart testified that she was raped "on a daily basis up to three or four times," while in captivity for nine months. She testified as part of the proceedings to determine Mitchell's mental competency, in the hope that he can stand trial and that justice will finally be served.

Justice is what had also eluded the Walsh family for decades. But last year, Chad Wagner, a new chief of police in Hollywood, Fla., closed Adam's case, officially declaring that Ottis Toole, a convicted pedophile and serial killer, murdered Adam in 1981. It was an emotional moment for Walsh and his family.
- Ottis Toole was a serial killer and arsonist (See here).  He is NOT on any sex offender registry, nor have I seen anything on him being a "convicted pedophile," yet they continue to say he was.  Have you read the book about Henry Lee Lucas (Amazon) and Ottis Toole?  That will open your eyes.  These were sick serial killers.

"For 27 years, we have been asking who could take a 6-year-old boy and murder him and decapitate him. Who? We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know," Walsh said at a news conference.
- A serial killer maybe?  And it has NEVER been proven that Adam was sexually abuse or even that Ottis Toole did it.  It is my opinion that they just needed someone to blame, and Ottis Toole was that person.

Walsh told "Nightline" that by declaring Toole the murderer, "justice was served."
- How?  What evidence is there that he actually did this?  He, along with Henry Lee Lucas, were serial liers and killers.

"I believe that I knew that Ottis Toole killed Adam before he died. He died eight years before they closed the case. But for Reve and I, and our family, it was the end of that chapter: it was finality," Walsh said. "Not closure, that's a bad word, you never get closure. It's that finality, it's that person that did that horrible thing to you is where they should be. Justice was served. I think that is all that average, good people ask for."

Walsh said that Reve and their three living children -- born after Adam's murder -- have "absolutely" suffered because of his devotion to Adam's case.

"I have spent most of the time of our daughters Megan and Callahan and Hayden, a big portion of their lives on the road. But they have come with me all over the world. They come on location, they have seen what their mother and I are trying to do, to change laws," he said. "I only go after these guys after they have destroyed somebody's lives. I believe in the proactive. If you change the laws, everybody benefits, if you change society's perception about the violence in this country and you make effective social change and be proactive, educate people."
- I sure hope you are not letting fame go to your hear, and neglect being with your kids.  They need a father, not some celebrity who is always on the go.

The Adam Walsh Act

Proactive for Walsh meant lobbying for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was signed by President Bush in 2006. The law was intended to create a national registry for the most dangerous sex offenders, like Philip Garrido.

But thus far, states haven't cooperated. Critics say the law is unfair to minors, who are often labeled as sex offenders on the registry for the rest of their lives.
- The law is unconstitutional on many grounds.  And yes, it ensnares kids as well, and we have many documented here.

"The Act says that only if you physically or violently offended someone and you're a repeat offender, you should be on the registry forever. I don't believe that every teen offender should be on the registry…I don't believe that a kid who makes one mistake when he's 13 years old and might have exposed himself to somebody, that is not the intention of the Adam Walsh Act," Walsh said. "The Justice Department says there are 100,000 level-three sex offenders who are in violation of their parole or probation...they have disappeared somewhere in America or somewhere in the world. I think that is a serious problem."
- And yet many who have not physically or violently offended someone, are on the registries.  Hell, Mark Lunsfords own son molested a child, and because of who he is, got 10 days in jail and is NOT on the registry.  Why not?  And where is PROOF that 100,000 offenders are missing?  I believe that is a goldilock number someone made up.  Show me the actual proof!

With more than 1,000 criminals behind bars since "America's Most Wanted" began, in the end, it always comes back to one case -- that of the son he lost over 28 years ago.

"Walk in my shoes back to July 27th, 1981. Think about it. You waited your whole life for this little boy. You kiss him goodbye one morning and you never see him again. And then you find out two weeks later that someone decapitated him. Just walk in my shoes one day," Walsh said.
- Nobody is saying this was not a tragic crime, it was, but using your anger to punish many other people who had nothing to do with your sons death, is morally and ethically wrong, IMO.

Walsh said he hopes his son would be proud of his work today.
- He probably is, but he may also want you to spend more time with your other kids, before it's too late.

"I think wherever he is, he is [proud]. He would be a 35-year-old man," Walsh said. "I don't know, I hope so. I loved that little boy."




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


CA - Crusading Calif. D.A. Retires, Leaves Painful Wake

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Day care sex abuse hysteria
Sean Penn - Witch Hunt (Web Site)

11/14/2009

By GARANCE BURKE

Crusading Calif. D.A. retires, leaving painful wake of overturned cases, costly settlements

The molesters drank blood, the children said, and hung them from hooks after forcing them to have sex with their parents. They murdered babies, prosecutors told jurors, and snapped photographs as the horror unfolded.

Ed Jagels, renowned as one of California's toughest district attorneys, built his career on the Kern County child molestation cases of the 1980s, putting more than two dozen men and women behind bars to serve decades-long sentences for abusing children.

Appellate judges now say most of those crimes never happened.

Still, generations of voters have embraced the crusading prosecutor's tough-on-crime agenda in this blue-collar basin just a mountain range north of Los Angeles.

Now, as Jagels prepares to retire, the get-tough laws he championed are being criticized in a state crippled by soaring prison costs. And some of those he put away are going public with stories of wrongful conviction in a documentary film narrated by Sean Penn, one of his most ardent critics.

The Bakersfield trials — and half a dozen similar cases that rippled across America during the hysteria of that period — are widely acknowledged to have punished the innocent. Most convictions relied solely on children's testimony, and the state attorney general ultimately found county investigators coerced their young witnesses into lying on the stand and that the probe "floundered in a sea of unproven allegations."

But the silver-haired prosecutor maintains that justice was done in the cases that made him a darling of California's conservative movement.

"Innocent people may have been accused at one point or another, but what I really fear is that perfectly legitimate convictions have been overturned," Jagels said, sitting in his wood-panelled office among portraits of himself with Ronald Reagan and other Republican leaders. "How the people of Kern County feel about what I've done is much more important than what anyone else might think."

Such stunning setbacks might have derailed other elected officials, but Jagels, 60, has thrived amid the oil fields and orchards surrounding Bakersfield. He holds fast that he was right to form a special task force to investigate alleged molestation rings, right to assign his young attorneys to the cases and he has fought the release of those convicted.

He has been re-elected six times, is leaving office on his own terms and hopes to leave the reins next year to a handpicked successor.

That brings little comfort to Brandon Smith, who grew up without his parents after they were sentenced to prison for gruesome sex crimes he and his younger brother described on the witness stand. Smith said he only repeated what he heard during weeks of group therapy, and had no inkling his false statements would mean he would be separated from his family and assigned to live in foster homes for nearly a decade.

"They basically coached me through my whole testimony, and told me that I had to say that my parents had sexually abused me," said Smith, whose parents Scott and Brenda Kniffen served 12 years on molestation convictions before they were reversed by an appeals court. "We've all put it behind us, but the one thing I would love is a verbal apology from Ed Jagels for tearing my family apart."

Since the late 1980s, all but one of 26 convictions Jagels secured have been reversed. Kern County has paid $9.56 million to settle state and federal suits brought by former defendants and their children.

Penn, who met Smith through the film, says the Bakersfield cases struck a chord because he did a short stay in a Los Angeles County jail cell next to a man accused in a major Southern California child abuse case.

Raymond Buckey and his mother, who ran the McMartin Pre-School in Manhattan Beach, ultimately were acquitted of 52 child molestation charges in 1990.

"There is no question that we have to take these kinds of questions very seriously, but in these cases a pretty good system was used really corruptly," said Penn, who also executive produced the film "Witch Hunt," which has been airing nationally on MSNBC. "Jagels orchestrated the rape of these children emotionally, not to mention the illegitimate prosecution of the adults."

Jackie Cummings fled Bakersfield with her husband and two sons in October 1984, when plainclothes police started casing their house looking for members of molestation rings. The family moved from campsite to campsite for a year, terrified that sheriff's deputies would arrest them because they knew a couple on trial for alleged child abuse.

When investigators tracked down the Cummings at a motel, they seized the children, arguing the couple were devil-worshipping molesters. After a year in foster care, their sons were pressured to testify against them in custody hearings.

"He's destroyed hundreds of people's lives," said Cummings, who was never charged with a crime, and whose custody case ultimately was thrown out. "We came back to Bakersfield and the jails were just filling up with people. We knew all those people were innocent, because we were innocent, too."

Since the 1980s, Jagels and county law enforcement officials have made major reforms to their investigative procedures, and now assure all interviews with child witnesses are videotaped and do not include suggestive questioning.

Jagels also has cut a wide swath through California politics in the last 30 years, leading a voter-driven campaign that unseated three liberal justices from the state Supreme Court, and fighting for California's stringent three-strikes law. He was once contemplated a run for state attorney general, but now says he plans to spend his retirement hunting elk. Conservatives praise Jagels' persuasive advocacy for victims' rights and tough sentencing laws, and his record of putting more people behind bars per capita than almost all other California counties.

"Anybody who has spent any time as a prosecutor knows Ed Jagels because he's had such a massive impact on the criminal justice system in California," said Steve Baric, secretary of the California Republican Party.

Now, however as California and other cash-strapped states face dire budget crises and prisons bursting at the seams, officials are rethinking whether it makes fiscal sense to keep locking up so many people for so long.

"As the economy has tightened, policymakers from both parties are asking much tougher questions about whether this tough-on-crime agenda is producing enough of a return for public safety," said Adam Gelb, a public safety policy expert at the Pew Center on the States in Washington.

Scott Thorpe, who leads the California District Attorneys Association in Sacramento, called Jagels a "prosecutor's prosecutor" who helped to popularize support for the death penalty.

Jagels remains adamant that putting more criminals in prison has kept a tight lid on crime in his rural pocket of the Central Valley, and says he'll retire assured that he used his power to keep his constituents safe.

"One thing we know for sure is criminals can't commit felonies when they're locked up," Jagels said. "If California prisons are overcrowded it's not because we have too many people in prison. It's because we don't have enough prisons."



"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


UK - Paedophile's Wife Praised For Trapping Him

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It's good the man was caught, but this lady, instead of becoming a vigilante, should have contacted police and let them do their job!

11/13/2009

By Jo Couzens

A woman who trapped her paedophile husband by posing as a teenage girl on the internet has been praised by a children's charity.

_____, 69, asked a girl he believed to be aged 14 to have sex with him, not realising he was having an online conversation with his wife _____.

Mrs _____ was so shocked she called in the police and NSPCC, who discovered indecent images of children on his computer.

Her husband admitted to police he would have been prepared to have sex with the 14-year-old from the internet chatroom if she had agreed to meet up with him.

_____, of Bridgend, south Wales, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday and ordered to attend a programme for sex offenders as part of a three-year community order.

He must also register as a sex offender for five years and is banned indefinitely from having contact in person or online with children under the age of 18.

Claude Knights, director of children's charity Kidscape, said: "The offences that he has committed are very serious indeed and his wife must be commended for the active part that she played in bringing him to justice."

Mrs _____ reportedly decided to pose as the teenager after becoming suspicious when she read a message on her husband's computer in 2008.

She set up profiles on the website BearShare and, posing as a young girl, began having online conversations with her husband.

In the sexual talk which followed, he asked the "girl" to have sex with him, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

The couple had been married for 18 years, but are now divorced.

Psychiatrists' reports read out in court said _____, of Bridgend, south Wales, might have a brain disorder which causes him to be an exhibitionist.

Mrs Knights, of Kidscape, said: "This is yet another case that points to the risks posed to young people by online sexual predators."

"There is a strong message to parents to ensure that their children know they must never email, chat, or text message with strangers."

"Most importantly it is never safe to arrange offline meetings with people that they have 'met' online."

"The public must be protected from _____ and it is hoped that the measures taken will be sufficient."

"It is imperative that he is monitored very closely to ensure that he is abiding by the terms of his non-custodial sentence."

_____ had pleaded guilty on September 21 to attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

He also admitted four counts of making indecent photographs of a child and two counts of possessing such pictures.




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


PA - 6ABC Interviews Risa Vetri Ferman on Missing Sex Offenders

Maybe if the police, probation and parole did not have to monitor 100% of the offenders, but only those who are truly dangerous, then things would work out. They have too much work to do. 95% of those on the registries are not dangerous, only about 5% should really be monitored closely.




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


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"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


NY - Out of prison, out of a job, out of luck

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Many employers do not understand that they can be given tax breaks and other incentives for hiring ex-offenders (see here)

11/11/2009

By Aaron Smith

Ex-convicts are 'at the back of the line' in their struggle to find work during the recession. It's a burden Gregory Headley feels all too well.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you think it's tough getting a job during a recession, imagine what it's like for an ex-convict.

Gregory Headley, 29, knows exactly what it's like. The Harlem resident was released from prison in July after serving two years and eight months for the criminal sale of a firearm. Now that he's out, he said, the conviction is dogging his attempts to land a full-time job.

"There's no nice way of saying, 'I sold a gun,' " Headley said recently as he headed to his part-time job cleaning sidewalks.

Headley was placed in the temporary, minimum-wage job by the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that helps ex-convicts transition into law-abiding lifestyles.

"I'm not going to lie: $40 a day hurts," said Headley, feeling the squeeze of the $28,000 in child support debt that he accumulated in prison. "But what I need to do is stay on the path I'm on, try to get used to the struggle instead of trying to beat the odds."

Terrence Mason, assistant director of participant services at the employment center, described Headley as a "good guy" and a "go-getter." But he acknowledged that many employers will look no further than his rap sheet.

"His conviction is a tough sell to employers," said Mason.

At the back of the line

For everyone right now, the job market is tough. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 10.2% in October, its highest level in more than 26 years, according to the Labor Department. Nationwide, 15.7 million people are out of work.

That is really bad news for the hundreds of thousands of ex-convicts who are released from prison every year.

"They're always at the back of the line, and the line just got a lot longer," said Glenn Martin, vice president of the Fortune Society in Queens, a nonprofit that trains ex-convicts in job hunting skills. "On top of that, our folks are losing jobs just like anyone else, but it's more difficult to replace those jobs, because of the stigma of criminal conviction. Our folks can't get through the door these days."

In the most recent available figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, 713,473 prisoners were released from incarceration in 2006. There are no nationwide numbers reflecting unemployment rates among ex-convicts.

But up to 60% of the formerly incarcerated in New York state are unemployed after one year of their release, according to a study from the Independent Committee on Reentry and Employment, of which Martin is a member. The number is even higher for parole violators, at 89%.

The temptations of the street can be overwhelming during a recession, said Martin, who was released from prison in 2000 after a six-year sentence for armed robbery. He said that his first post-prison job paid $16,000 a year, which paled compared to his ill-gotten gains.

"I used to make $16,000 a day when I was on the street," Martin said. "I used to rob jewelry stores for a living. Obviously, it would have been a lot easier for me to go back to the street to do what I was doing. But the idea is to move away from instant gratification."

Michael B. Jackson, an ex-convict and author of "How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for Successful Reentry," said the risks of recidivism during a recession cannot be overstated.

"Formerly incarcerated people and drug addicts, we don't need a lot of excuse to go back to what we were doing before," he said. "In these hard times, when ex-offenders can't get jobs ... they're going to be robbing people."

The conviction question

During a two-week job-hunting class at the Fortune Society in Queens, employment specialist Mitchell McClinton grilled 19 ex-convicts in a series of mock interviews. After coaching his students on how to present themselves, market their job skills and answer the dreaded "conviction question," he posed as an employer and put them in the hot seat.

"I noticed that you checked 'yes' on the conviction," he said to one of the ex-convicts. "Explain."

"Basically, I learned from the mistakes of my past, [that they] jeopardize my present and my future," replied the interviewee.

McClinton moved on to the next ex-convict, but she mumbled through the interview and wouldn't speak up until he threatened to skip over her. When she finally opened her mouth to speak, McClinton saw something he didn't like.

"Is that a tongue ring in your mouth?" he said. "You can't wear a tongue ring to an interview."

Many of the ex-convicts are seeking cleaning jobs, based on the skills they outlined in the interviews, and some of them are working towards their high school equivalency degrees.

Headley, during his citywide clean-up rounds, said his heart is set on college and eventually an office job at the Center for Employment Opportunities, where he could help other ex-convicts transition into the job market.

But for the short term, he said he's gratified to be a sidewalk sweeper.

"I'll take making minimum wage any day over prison or death," said Headley. "Now I can walk the streets more freely, without having to watch my back. Now, I consider myself a productive member of society. I'm not contributing to the city's downfall."




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


CT - Details emerge in cop's alleged sex assault

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11/14/2009

By STEVE KOBAK

A ruling to unseal court files Thursday pertaining to the Oct. 2 arrest of a Norwalk police officer shed light on the sex crime allegations he is facing at Stamford Superior Court.

Anthony Santo, 42, is charged with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree sexual assault. The affidavit in his case had been sealed since his arrest. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Santo, an 18-year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department, was placed on administrative leave after he turned himself in Oct. 2 to Greenwich Police on a warrant for the sex crime.

According to court documents, Greenwich Police began investigating Santo in July after receiving a phone call from an official at the state Department of Children and Families. The DCF official had learned that Santo may have molested a young girl, the court documents said.

Through multiple interviews with the victim's friends and family members, police learned that Santo had molested the teenage victim on at least one occasion, the documents said.

Police interviewed the victim, who said Santo had stuck his hand down her pants when she was 14-years-old in 2006, according to the documents.

During the investigation, police also interviewed a female who was formerly close to Santo and more allegations against Santo surfaced, the documents said.

The woman told police that Santo had sex with her 20 years ago, when she was age 14, and Santo was 22-years old, the documents said.

Santo was trusted by her family and would take her on car rides, the woman told police. During the car rides, Santo sometimes offered to give the victim "sex lessons," the woman told police.

Gary Mastronardi, Santo's attorney, said he will be in a better position to comment once the discovery portion of the trial is complete.

He has filed a discovery motion and is waiting for the state to hand over information pertaining to the case.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


NJ - Ex-Woodbridge cop sentenced to 12 years for sex assault, taking lurid photos

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11/13/2009

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — A former Woodbridge police officer was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage boy a decade ago and taking lurid photos of a 15-year-old girl.

In sentencing Douglas Karlson, 50, the court was revisiting familiar territory.

Karlson had already been given a similar sentence once before for the crimes, but a state appeals court threw out his first convictions, but he was retried in the sexual-assault case and convicted again.

Karlson looked lean and wore an unkempt beard, as he did during his last sentencing — he wore no facial hair during his last trial. He said nothing during the hearing other than to tell Superior Court Judge Frederick DeVesa that he understood the proceedings and that he did not wish to speak before being sentenced.

Karlson had worked as a police officer in Woodbridge for 18 years.

"My client's life is a life of service,'' his attorney, Thomas Buck of Milltown, told DeVesa.

But that was before his arrest in May 2005 on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct in connection with the photographs of the girl.

Christie Bevacqua, assistant Middlesex County prosecutor, said there was another troubling side to Karlson.

"On the outside he appeared to be well-respected by people, but behind closed doors he was living a very different and dark life,'' she said. "In fact, a criminal life.''

Buck told DeVesa that Karlson apologized to the family of the girl, but maintains his innocence regarding the sexual assaults against he teenage boy, now 29.

The victim told DeVesa that nothing could be done to erase the damage he suffered.

"There is nothing anybody can say, nothing anybody can do … this is going to be with me my entire life,'' the man said, adding that he is undergoing continual therapy. "I'm just here to see an end to this, to get by day-to-day.''

Karlson engaged in anal and oral sex with the boy between 1994 and 1997 in Old Bridge when the victim was between 14 and 17. The Home News Tribune as a rule does not publish the names of sex-crime victims.

After the hearing, the man said he was satisfied with the sentence.

"I'm happy,'' he said. "I wish it was longer, but I understand the law.''

Karlson was sentenced to 12 years on one sexual assault charge and five years on another. But that latter sentence as well as a six-year term in connection with the photographs will run at the same time as the 12-year term.

The sentence includes a six-year period of parole ineligibility. According to Buck, Karlson has credit for time served amounting to two and a half years, meaning he could be freed in three and a half years.

In an emotional moment, DeVesa, a former Newark police officer, took the unusual step of calling the victim in front of him before the hearing ended.

"For a long time you didn't report these crimes because you didn't think law enforcement authorities would believe you,'' DeVesa told the victim. "But authorities did believe you and two juries believed you and I hope that gives you some degree of satisfaction.''

But Buck held out the possibility that the case is not yet over.

He said he would once again appeal Karlson's conviction in the sexual-assault case.

"There was other conduct that should not gone before the jury'' during Karlson's last trial in the sexual-assault case, prejudicing him before the jury, Buck said.

The case has a lengthy history.

In July 2006, Karlson was tried not only on the attacks against the boy but also on allegations that he took lurid photos of a 15-year-old girl. That first jury could not decide on the sexual assaults, but convicted Karlson of official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child for the photos.

Karlson was tried again on the sexual assault case in December 2006 and was found guilty after just three hours of deliberations. He was sentenced for the crimes against both victims to 17 years in prison in February 2007. But a state appeals court threw out both convictions, saying the the case involving the photos and the other alleging the sexual assaults should have been severed.
- This shows you how times have changed.  Before, they did not convict him, now, it only took three hours to convict him.

He was convicted again of the sexual assaults in June and pleaded guilty to the endangering and misconduct charges a month later in exchange for a prison sentence that would run at the same time as the sentence for the sexual assaults. That brought the upper end of the sentence to 12 years.

Buck said that Karlson, having faced three jury trials already on the sexual assault case, would not face a fourth if he prevails on the appeal.
- Darn, how many times does one have to be tried on the same crime?  I thought you could only be tried once for the same crime?

Karlson's crimes had tragic ripple effects.

In 2006, a 5-year-old Sayreville boy, Erik Sturgis, died in a house fire after being left alone by his single father who struggled to find day care while holding down a job. Part of Kevin Sturgis' day-care problem stemmed from Karlson's crimes. The state Division of Youth and Family Services deemed Karlson, Erik's stepgrandfather, an "inappropriate caregiver'' after his arrest on the endangering and official misconduct charges.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


IN - Sex offender to come off registry


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11/13/2009

By Megan Stembol

Supreme court ruling paved way

FORT WAYNE (WANE) - One convicted sex offender is jumping at his chance to be taken off the local sex offender registry.

A landmark decision at the Indiana Supreme Court could allow more than a third of Allen County's sex offenders to get off the list . In the case against a man named _____ (PDF) , the high court ruled it was unconstitutional to apply a new law to an old crime. Since then, the Indiana Department of Corrections has advised offenders to seek legal counse, if they think the Wallace case applies to their own.

_____, a convicted sex offender on Allen County's Sex Offender Registry pleaded guilty to one count of Child Molesting for an incident that took place in early 1994.

_____ says he did so out of fear of losing his case. He completed his jail time, but says having to register as a sex offender has continued his punishment. Furthermore, _____ says it has punished his family. That's why it's so important know for him to be taken off the registry.

"For my wife, and for my children, I want them to be able to walk around without anybody saying anything about me derogatory towards them," said _____.

_____ filed a motion with Allen County Judge John Surbeck. Surbeck forwards motions like _____'s on to the county prosecutor. If the prosecutor agrees with the motion, an order will be sent to the Indiana Department of Corrections. That's the administrative body that runs the sex offender registry state wide. Only officials there can remove an offender from the registry. The process can take anywhere from 90 days to 6 months and it's possible that in the end the offender won't be taken off the registry.

"We don't necessarily have a quick answer to every situation, anymore than we have a quick answer to every situation that arises in a courtroom," said Surbeck.

For _____'s family, the slow gears of justice are frustrating. However, they say it's very much worth the wait for a chance to start again with a clean slate.

"I hope any of the gentlemen out there that benefit from this do not ever hurt anyone again," said _____.

The _____'s first looked for legal representation to file a motion, finding it costs anywhere from $700 $2500. Then they found they could file it themselves, and have done so for the cost of parking downtown and a couple of copies.



"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


CO - Prisoner suffocates himself in Bent County

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I do not buy this one bit. How does one suffocate themselves?

11/13/2009

LAS ANIMAS (AP) - The death of a convicted sex offender who died earlier this month in a Bent County prison has been ruled a suicide.

County Coroner Dave Roberts said Friday that _____ suffocated himself by putting a plastic bag over his head.

_____ was serving a 16-year sentence from a sex assault in Adams County. He appealed his conviction in 2007, but his sentence was upheld.

_____ was found dead at the medium-security Bent County Correctional Facility on Nov. 1. He was 58.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


WI - Inmate freed after serving 6 years for sex assault he didn't commit

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11/13/2009

MADISON (WKOW) -- A ruling by a Dane County judge will free a man who served more than six years after being wrongly convicted on sexual assault charges.

Judge Patrick Fiedler ordered 45-year-old _____ of Middleton released from prison Friday.

The judge made the decision after reviewing new DNA evidence and new research on faulty eyewitness identification. He overturned his own judgment of conviction in the 2002 case.
- So, in 2002, we had DNA analysis.  So why wasn't that done and admitted as evidence instead of sentencing a man to 6 years in prison for something he did not do?  You see, allegations alone is all it takes to ruin your life!

_____ had been convicted of second-degree sexual assault and sentenced to 12 years.

The victim was a University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman who was grabbed from behind and forced into a dark alleyway. The attacker groped her through her pantyhose.

Even touching clothes can leave DNA. New testing showed that four samples of male DNA were found on the pantyhose, but none matched _____.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Are more sex offenders in Florida because of our clothing?

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11/13/2009

By Nicole Papageorge

COLLIER COUNTY - How many sex offenders live here in Florida? Why do they come here? One former sheriff says it could be because of our clothing, or lack thereof.
- Hmm, I wonder if this is why he is a former sheriff?  Does he really believe this? If that were the case, many would be moving to the Bahamas, and elsewhere.

Sunny skies, beautiful beaches its easy to see why so many people, including sex offenders, flock to Florida.

"Sexual predators are attracted to people who are sexually appealing and they're angled towards folks who are more scantily clad," says former Sheriff, Don Hunter.
- So, since everyone seems to think most sex offenders abuse children, which is not true, is this cop saying children are sexually appealing?

Hunter, who now works for the local office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says this is just one theory why Florida has more sex offenders than 32 other states. Another theory? Reporting.
- A theory or a person opinion? Why did he give up his job as a police officer to work for the NCMEC?

Florida has 281 registered sex offenders per 100 thousand people. Michigan has the highest amount with 472. Pennsylvania has the least with 83.

"The informal impressions at the center is this is probably the results of variations of reporting," says Hunter.

He says Florida has better reporting laws than most ..

"We try to keep pace with sex offenders, know where they live, make sure they're registered," says Hunter. "If they don't they become and absconder we report that immediately."

One of the center's missions is uniform reporting across the country. But, should Floridians cut out bikinis and shorts? Hunter says absolutely not.

"It's the predator's fault," says Hunter. "They're the ones with the conduct issues, with behavioral control issues and can't control the temptation of their desire."
- What a load of BS!  Not all sex offenders are predators, and most CAN control themselves!




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


Putting a Stop to Congressional Overreach - It's time for the Supreme Court to enforce the Necessary and Proper Clause

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11/13/2009

By Damon W. Root

In early September, Fox News host Andrew Napolitano asked Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, precisely what part of the Constitution authorized Congress to enact health care legislation. "There's nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do," Clyburn replied. "How about [you] show me where in the Constitution it prohibits the federal government from doing this?"

It was a rare flash of honesty from an elected official, revealing not only Clyburn’s ignorance of the Constitution but his overt hostility to the document’s system of checks and balances. And Clyburn is hardly alone. In legislation dealing with everything from crime to education, Congress routinely oversteps its constitutional bounds. As Napolitano later remarked, Clyburn seems “to have conveniently forgotten that the federal government has only specific enumerated powers.”

Later this term, the U.S. Supreme Court will have a great opportunity to remind Clyburn and his colleagues of those limits when it hears oral arguments in the case of U.S. v. Comstock. At issue is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which empowers federal officials to order the indefinite civil commitment of "sexually dangerous" persons who have finished serving a federal sentence, or who are currently in the custody of the attorney general because they were found mentally incompetent to stand trial. In other words, the government isn’t willing to let these people back on the streets.

In its brief to the Supreme Court, the government argues that Congress possesses this authority under the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause, which grants Congress the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States."

Yet as the text itself clearly specifies, any law passed under the Necessary and Proper Clause must also be tied to a specifically enumerated constitutional power, either one of the "foregoing powers" listed in Article I, Sec. 8, or one of the "other powers vested by this Constitution." As James Madison told the Virginia ratifying convention, the Necessary and Proper Clause "only extended to the enumerated powers. Should Congress attempt to extend it to any power not enumerated, it would not be warranted by the clause."

So where among the "foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution" did Congress happen to find an explicitly enumerated power to indefinitely detain "sexually dangerous" prisoners?

The answer is: Nowhere. The Constitution provides no such authority. Indeed, as a superb friend of the court brief filed in the case by Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett makes clear, "However well intentioned Congress may have been, it had no power to legislate for the purpose of protecting the public from dangerous persons....The Necessary and Proper Clause is not an independent source of Congressional power."

Nor may Congress rely on the Commerce Clause—another favored source for sweeping federal power. Under that clause, which the government has briefly raised as a justification in the case, Congress possesses the authority "to regulate commerce...among the several states," a power the Supreme Court has controversially extended to cover intrastate commerce as well as commerce "among the states." Most recently, in Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Court permitted the federal government to regulate the local cultivation of medical marijuana in California on the extremely dubious grounds that such cultivation also affected the nationwide market.

Yet the law at issue in Comstock fails to meet even the Court’s notoriously generous Raich interpretation—something the Barnett brief is careful to explain. As Justice Antonin Scalia held in his Raich concurrence, "Congress may regulate noneconomic intrastate activities only where the failure to do so 'could...undercut' its regulation of interstate commerce." Since overturning the law in Comstock would in no way undercut any legitimate federal regulation of commercial activity, neither Raich nor the Commerce Clause apply.

Which brings us back to Rep. Clyburn and his colleagues. With so many members of Congress either unwilling or unable to abide by the clear limitations imposed by the plain text of the Constitution, the time has come for the Supreme Court to rein them in. Enforcing the Necessary and Proper Clause is a great way to start.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


KY - Experts: Sex offender laws flawed

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10/24/2009

By Jim Hannah

COVINGTON - The arrest of two sex offenders in Kenton County this year shows the complications of enforcing Kentucky's strict residence restrictions.

A 43-year-old Michigan native was arrested for violating the terms of his bond for allegedly trying to pick up his prescription medication from an Erlanger house he was ordered to move from because it was within 1,000 feet of Railroad Park.
- So, from what I've read, they law says SO's cannot LIVE within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, etc.  So how is going to a home, to pick up prescription drugs a crime?  Is he living there?

Another sex offender was arrested for not registering after being released from prison, but he claims he is homeless and had no permanent address to give authorities.

"There is not a lot of thought that goes into the residency restrictions," said Robert Lanning, chairman of the Kentucky Sex Offenders Management Task Force, a group of corrections officials, attorneys, prosecutors and treatment experts. "It's a knee-jerk reaction sometimes. Because of that, there are unintended consequences."

While Kentucky's original residency restrictions said registered sex offenders on probation or parole could not live within 1,000 feet of a school or day cares, it was strengthened in July 2006 to include all registrants regardless of probation or parole status. In addition, it added playgrounds to the list of prohibited areas, and measured the distance from the property line as opposed to the wall of the building.

Then, on Oct. 1, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the strengthened restrictions couldn't be applied to registrants retroactively.

Critics say the residency restrictions law is still flawed because it is imposed equally upon all offenders without regard to whether their crime was committed against a child or adult.

Richard Tewksbury, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisville, has studied sex offenders and said one of the unintended consequences of residency restrictions is that they can force offenders from their homes, creating stress that can trigger new offenses. Those offenses range from going underground and not reporting where they live to committing additional sex crimes, he said.

"Sex offender laws have a whole host of negative implications for individuals and the community," Tewksbury said. "The two arrests in Kenton County are not at all an uncommon scenario."

John Delaney, the head of the public defenders office for Kenton and Campbell counties, said sex offenders are an easy target for authorities trying to look tough on crime.

"They are an easy target because no one likes sex offenders," he said. "Everyone hates sex offenders. No one is going to have any sympathy for a sex offender, even when in reality their sex offenses were not that horrible."

Delaney said the laws give people a false sense of security.

"While registered sex offenders can't live within 1,000 feet of a school, one could go sit outside of the school on a bench for the entire school day," he said.

While the Kentucky Supreme Court had struck down the strengthened restrictions, it didn't prevent Erlanger police from arresting the Michigan native, _____.

He was placed on the sex offender registry for 25 years after being convicted of being a peeping tom 14 years ago in Michigan. The equivalent charge in Kentucky doesn't even require someone to register as a sex offender.

_____'s wife, _____, said her husband moved to Erlanger in February for work. He registered with local authorities but was told in August that his home was within 1,000 of the park and subsequently arrested.

The husband was released on bond but caught in the house once against on Sept. 13. The wife said her husband had just briefly returned to pick up his prescription medication. While police officers didn't arrest the husband on the spot, Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus signed a warrant for his arrest on Sept. 30. It states that _____ was in violation of his bond by going back to the house.

He was picked up on Oct. 6 on that warrant and locked up for seven days before he could hire a lawyer and get all the charges against him dismissed.

His lawyer, Ryan Reed, said by the time his client was locked up, the state Supreme Court had already ruled unconstitutional the law he was accused of breaking.

"For Mr. _____, it is pretty much a black-and-white issue," Reed said. "His crime occurred prior to July 2006. The registry restrictions don't apply to him."

Tewksbury said he doesn't know how many sex offenders are wrongly being arrested after the supreme court ruling knocked down a portion of the residency restrictions.

Even though _____ wouldn't speak publicly about his case, Tewksbury said the sex offender risks being further ostracized in the community because his family went to the press.

"In some way, he may well be inviting more difficulties in his life as people see sex offenders of all varieties as the most heinous and dangerous members of our community when in fact so many of our sex offenders really are not any serious threat to us," Tewksbury said.

Delaney said he is currently representing a sex offender who was given $20 and a bus ticket back to Kenton County after being released from the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook. With no money, job or family living outside of 1,000 feet of a school, Delaney said the sex offender had no permanent address.

"He was essentially homeless," Delaney said, "until authorities arrested him for not registering. Now he is living at the Kenton County jail."

While Delaney didn't release his client's name, said the sex offender has chosen to not post his $250 bond and stay in jail because he has no place to go. The sex offender could ultimately be convicted and sent back to prison, Delaney said.

"So now we have taxpayers literally paying the price for a misguided law that has very little positive impact on the community," Tewksbury said.

The Kentucky Sex Offenders Management Task Force used to have money from a federal grant to help find homes for registered sex offenders who have no place to live. That money has long ago dried up, Lanning said.

"There are not resources out there for registered sex offenders," he said. "They are not the ones people want to help. There is a long line in front of them, for good reason."


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved