Thursday, December 3, 2009

FL - Residency Rule Under Scrutiny - Homeless Sex Offenders

Original Article

12/03/2009

By Shoshana Walter

Critics say 2006 ordinance increases number of transient predators, offenders

In September, Edward finished his 10-year sentence on lewd and lascivious assault and walked out of Avon Park Correctional Institution a free man.

Almost.

When Edward gave the Department of Corrections his new address in Winter Haven, he was told it was out of the question. As a sexual predator, he'd have 48 hours to find a suitable location and to register his new address.

He abided by law and registered - as transient. Ninety days later, Edward is still looking.

That is the unintended consequence, counselors and offenders say, of a 2006 county ordinance that expanded residency restrictions for offenders and predators. The ordinance is under renewed scrutiny after the arrest last month of a group of homeless sex predators in Auburndale.

Supporters have said the ordinance is for the protection of the public, but critics say that it's had the opposite effect. It's increased the number of homeless sex predators and offenders, actually increasing the likelihood of further offenses.

"Desperate people do desperate things if they feel like there's no hope," Edward said in a recent interview. He is currently living on-and-off with family in Auburndale. "People can change. They have to want to. But if they're told everyday that they can't, why would they believe that they could?"

Polk County is among several Florida counties that have gone beyond state law to expand restrictions. Now many counties are facing similar challenges, and offenders and those who treat them say county commissioners should rethink the ordinance.

EDWARD'S STORY

By the time he reached 25 years old, Edward, who grew up in Winter Haven, had a wife, five children and a lucrative career running his own car- and motorcycle-detailing business. He also had a long-running addiction to drugs and alcohol.

He was about "as morally bankrupt as you can get" by the time of his first offense in 1996, when he was charged with possessing a photograph that included sexual conduct by a child.

The child was the 14-year-old daughter of a woman with whom he frequently partied and whom he hired for a promotional event. The girl and her mother both wore bikinis to the party and stood by motorcycles while Edward snapped photographs. Everyone was drinking, including the girl. When she began to strip, Edward continued taking pictures.

The second offense occurred in 1999 and involved another 14-year-old, also the daughter of an employee. He had just dropped off the girl's 21-year-old boyfriend when Edward and the girl began to mess around. One thing led to another, and before the situation escalated further, Edward said the girl "flipped out."

"Physically, this wasn't a pubescent child. But she wasn't emotionally or mentally ready to make that decision," he said. She reported the incident and he was charged with lewd and lascivious assault.

Edward spent the next 10 years watching his children grow up in photographs and receiving help for his drug and alcohol abuse. Today, Edward easily admits that his actions were wrong.

He has a support system of friends and family in Polk County who have provided him with food, bathrooms and beds. While he looks for a full-time job and a permanent residence, his sister, brother and nephew watch him closely to ensure he doesn't seek the comfort of alcohol and drugs.

The nearly 50 other homeless offenders in Polk County may not be so lucky.

Those without a support system, he says, are much more likely to fall into old patterns of behavior. And what of the stress of lacking a home, the depression that comes with loneliness and the anxiety of finding and maintaining a job?

Richard Brimer has led court-ordered sex offender treatment groups in Lakeland for more than 20 years.

"These kinds of things are going to make an offender more apt to act out. When an offender lives in a home, not only does he have more stability, he has an address." That also lessens the burden on law enforcement to track them, he says.

Brimer says that county commissioners did not think about the ramifications of the ordinance, and Polk County Sheriff (Contact) Grady Judd's zero-tolerance approach does not help the problem.

"I could understand his passion to want to rid the community of sex offenders and predators. But it's not realistic. They're going to be among us. They're going to be released from prison, they're going to come back here," he says.

"This isn't about me feeling sorry for predators. It's about me advocating for community safety."

AN EXAMPLE

A group of seven homeless sex predators in Auburndale moved three times in a week before they were arrested in an orange grove Nov. 24 on charges of trespassing, violating their probation and failure to register.

The original tent city off Reynolds Road in Auburndale included 18 offenders, mostly predators, but after the Sheriff's Office told them to move, the group split up.

About seven of them moved to Tropical Moon mobile home park off Old Dixie Highway in Auburndale, where park owner Lori Crump, a former Department of Corrections officer, allowed them to stay temporarily. Because the park is located across the street from a school bus stop, the group was told to move again.

No one in the park, which includes many tenants who are sex offenders, knew where the group could go.

"Predators and offenders live all over the county. I don't want to listen to their whining," Judd said at the time. "They're felons. They're either going to comply or they're going to find a place to live in the Polk County Jail."
- Typical a--hole cop, can't see past his own ignorance and hatred, and sees everyone as criminals.  These laws create problems, by making people homeless, and that will increase crime.  But, keeps the sheriff in a job, doesn't it!

On Nov. 22, the group moved to another privately owned citrus grove off Hickory Road in Auburndale. The next day, deputies arrested them for trespassing, among other charges.

Boyd Vonleue just barely missed the arrest. The 47-year-old was living in the tent city off Reynolds Road because he couldn't find a place to live. He finally found an apartment just outside of Lakeland through a friend, who convinced his landlord to allow Vonleue to move in.

"I got lucky," he said. "If it hadn't been for friends, I would probably still be living in a grove."

Vonleue, classified a sexual predator, was released from prison in October after serving more than 15 years for sexual battery on a victim younger than 12. He doesn't want to live elsewhere because he grew up in Polk County and has a support system here. He also works for his brother, who first began the fruitless search for Vonleue about a month before his release.

Vonleue says he intends to fight the ordinance in court.

The part of the ordinance that "hurts the most" is the rule that predators must live at least 1,000 feet away from school bus stops, he said. While the ordinance keeps predators from living nearby, it does little to prevent them from treading near restricted places, he said. That means it's ineffective in preventing wayward offenders from offending again.

"The ordinance doesn't work," he said. "The place I would have been in was a fenced-in area away from any schools and churches. When I lived in the grove, we drove by six bus stops every day on the way to work."

PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Many predators like Vonleue had the same experience upon their release from prison.

They provided authorities with an address, which they were told violated the Polk County ordinance or state law. Once they were out, they'd have 48 hours to find another home and register.

The process for finding a residence is mainly trial and error. Once an offender has found a potential residence, he or she contacts their probation officer or the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office plugs the address into a computerized mapping system that shows whether or not it is out of a restricted zone. If it's not, it's back to the drawing board, and the offender must try again.

Although the DOC is allowed to provide offenders and predators with some guidance, both it and the Sheriff's Office say they do not tell offenders where they can live. They're on their own for that.

The DOC admits the ordinance has made finding housing more challenging for offenders. Crump, the former probation officer for the DOC, said the ordinance has also placed an extra burden on law enforcement by making it more difficult to track offenders.

And treatment providers like Brimer say the ordinance ignores the reality of sex offenses - that most are not committed by strangers. In two years of child sexual abuse investigations by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, 94 percent of crimes were committed by suspects the victims knew, like Edward, including family members, friends and acquaintances.

So what are the solutions?

Offenders would like to see a tiered system in Florida that separates offenders into more specific categories, with restrictions based on the individual. Brimer said many counties have proposed other rules in place of certain residency restrictions.

Broward County commissioners appointed the Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Task Force - a group comprising local officials, experts, scholars and law enforcement - to study the effects of the county's 2,500-foot ordinance.

In an August report, the group suggested 300-foot loitering zones as an alternative to the ordinance. The rule would restrict offenders from loitering or congregating in places heavily populated by children.

Many say they'd also like to see areas designated specifically for sex offender housing, and a more efficient system for finding approved residences.

For offenders, the changes would allow them "to pick up the pieces of their lives and be productive members of society," Edward says. Brimer and Crump agree that more stability for offenders is safer for all.

"If the county could get together and talk about this issue with victim's advocates and law enforcement, we could sit down and come up with a viable option," Brimer said.

The ordinance was passed unanimously in 2006 following a single presentation by Judd. But since the arrests last month, many involved in the debate have contacted county commissioners to renew discussion.

District 4 Commissioner Jean Reed, who was not elected at the time of the commission's vote, said she would be open to that discussion.

"Many children walk half a mile to our schools so I feel the ordinance is reasonable, and probably necessary, for our children's health, safety, and welfare," she wrote in an e-mail to The Ledger.

"However, if there are some unintended consequences that need to be addressed, I certainly am willing to discuss them further."


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


CA - 'Accidental' Download Sending Man To Prison

Original Article

This kid needs to get another lawyer. No way in hell would I plead guilty to this, if what he says is true. He needs to fire this "public defender," and get a new lawyer, and QUICK!!!! See the second article below, which shows they knew this was occurring, and did nothing!

12/02/2009

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A local man is likely to go to prison for years after he says he accidentally downloaded child pornography onto his computer.

_____, 22, said he was surfing for pornography two years ago on Limewire -- a fire sharing application that allows users to trade music, movies, games and pictures -- when he discovered that some of the files he had downloaded were images of children.

_____ claims he quickly erased the files.

"It didn't appeal to me," he said. "I was looking for women my age, so I just wanted to download 'College Girls Gone Wild' and accidentally downloaded underage pornography."

About a year later, FBI agents showed up at his family's home. The family agreed to let agents examine the computer, and at first, they couldn't find anything.

Investigators later were able to recover the deleted images from deep within the hard drive.

"I asked them, 'Where did you get that? I don't remember that.' I asked them, 'Could I access that if I wanted to?'" _____ said. "They said no."

Facing 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography, _____ is pleading guilty on the advice of his public defender in hopes of getting a three and a half year sentence. He will also serve 10 years probation and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

_____'s father says other parents need to be warned about the consequences of stumbling across illicit material.

"One day, you're going to get a knock on the door and have your child taken away for many years," he said.

The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.

Internet searches reveal a large number of complaints from people who say they've accidentally downloaded child pornography through Limewire.

Video Link




Original Article

08/19/2008

By Kara Lawrence

CHILDREN and teens are being unwittingly exposed to pornography, including child porn, by using a hugely popular file-sharing program.

Searches using the LimeWire software of the term "Britney" returns child pornography as well as music by teen idol Britney Spears, it has been revealed.

And searches using the same software to find the children's singing group Hi-5 also returns child pornography.

Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, Commander of the Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad confirmed police were seriously concerned that file-sharing programs such as LimeWire could expose children to "inappropriate and exploitative material".

"Police have previously received reports and conducted investigations into the receipt of this kind of material," he said.

"We encourage parents whose children come across any forms of child exploitation images and videos, or other inappropriate material, to contact their nearest police station so it can be investigated."

The issue has been highlighted by Music Industry Piracy Investigations, representing Australian recording artists and companies that oppose LimeWire software due to the ability to make unauthorized downloads of music.

Limewire is not a web browser but a software that enables "peer to peer" file sharing via the web with anyone else in the world who also has the software on their computer.

It automatically searches all these computers for files that match the name of the search request.

The issue of child porn being accessed via LimeWire has been demonstrated by three recent Australian cases.

They include last week's case in which Surry Hills woman _____, 40, who was sentenced to four and a half years' imprisonment for downloading more than 2000 hardcore child porn images and 140 movies from LimeWire.

In April, ?? men were sentenced to jail in Queensland and the Northern Territory for also accessing child porn via LimeWire.

That case prompted Darwin's chief magistrate to suggest LimeWire should be investigated.

MIPI Investigations manager Dean Mitchell said adult content filters were being bypassed by people who "mislabeled" pornographic files in an effort to avoid detection.

He said he conducted LimeWire searches yesterday using the terms Britney, Wiggles, Christina Aquilera and Hi-5 and all returned pornographic images - with the Britney search and Hi-5 revealing child pornography as well.

Mr Mitchell said the issue was extremely concerning considering Australian Recording Industry Association-commissioned research that showed one in three school-aged children had peer-to-peer software on their computers.

"We are aware of cases where children have been unwittingly exposed to child pornography. This poses a serious risk and parents need to be vigilant about their children's usage of peer-to-peer networks," he said.

LimeWire could not be reached for comment yesterday. However its website, responding to claims children could download mislabeled pornography inadvertently, said its software users had the option of a "family filter".

"However, any such feature is imperfect at best. Parents should monitor children's activity," the website site said.


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


‘Sexting’ bullying cited in teen’s suicide

Original Article

12/02/2009

By Michael Inbar

13-year-old Hope Witsell hanged herself after topless photos circulated

Hope Witsell was just beginning the journey from child to teen. The middle-school student had a tight-knit group of friends, the requisite poster of “Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson and big plans to become a landscaper when she grew up.

But one impetuous move robbed Hope of her childhood, and eventually, her life. The 13-year-old Florida girl sent a topless photo of herself to a boy in hope of gaining his attention. Instead, she got the attention of her school, as well as the high school nearby.

The incessant bullying by classmates that followed when the photo spread put an emotional weight upon Hope that she ultimately could not bear.

Hope Witsell hanged herself in her bedroom 11 weeks ago.

Her death is only the second known case of a suicide linked to bullying after “sexting” — the practice of transmitting sexual messages or images electronically. In March, 18-year-old Jesse Logan killed herself in the face of a barrage of taunts when an ex-boyfriend forwarded explicit photos of her following their split.

Hope Witsell’s grieving mother, Donna Witsell, is now coming forward to offer a cautionary story in hope of sparing others the loss she endures. Appearing on TODAY Wednesday with attorney Parry Aftab, a leading Internet safety expert, Witsell told Meredith Vieira how her daughter’s life, once so promising, unraveled after one mistake.

The Witsells, from the small rural suburb of Sundance, Fla., are a churchgoing family. Donna admitted to Vieira she knew little to nothing about “sexting” before her daughter’s drama, but she and her husband, Charlie, tried to teach Hope and Donna’s three children from previous relationships right from wrong in the cyberworld.

As far as training them on the Internet and what to look at and what not to look at, yeah, we talked about it,” Witsell told Vieira.

But Hope got involved in a dangerous, all-too-typical teen game. In June, at the end of her seventh-grade year at Beth Shields Middle School, she sent a picture of her exposed breasts to a boy she liked. It’s an act that is becoming more and more commonplace among teens (a poll recently showed some 20 percent of teens admitting they’ve sent nude pictures of themselves over cell phones).

But a third party intercepted the photo while using the boy’s cell phone, and soon, not only had many of the school's students gawked at the picture, but students at the local high school and even neighboring schools were ogling it.

While Hope’s photo spread, her friends rallied around her in the midst of incessant taunting and vulgar remarks thrown Hope’s way. Friends told the St. Petersburg Times, which originally chronicled Hope’s story, that they literally surrounded Hope as she walked the hallways while other students shouted “whore” and “slut” at her.

The hallways were not fun at that time — she’d walk into class and somebody would say, ‘Oh, here comes the slut,’ ” Hope’s friend, Lane James, told the newspaper.

Clearly, the taunts were getting to Hope. In a journal entry discovered after her death, Hope wrote, “Tons of people talk about me behind my back and I hate it because they call me a whore! And I can’t be a whore. I’m too inexperienced. So secretly, TONS of people hate me.”

Shortly after the school year ended, school officials caught wind of the hubbub surrounding Hope’s cell phone photo. They contacted the Witsells and told them Hope would be suspended for the first week of the next school year.

Donna Witsell told Vieira that she and her husband practiced tough love on Hope, grounding her for the summer and suspending her cell phone and computer privileges.

Choking up with tears, Witsell told Vieira, “She received her punishment for a mistake she’d made. You set rules and boundaries in the household ... You punish them and then you let it go. You love them. You continue to talk with them, you continue to try to keep that line of communication open, but most of all you continue to love them. You don’t shame them.”

Still, Hope had a very trying summer. A student adviser for the local Future Farmers of America chapter, Hope was allowed by her parents to attend the FFA convention in Orlando. But in a display of just how prevalent teen pressure is when it comes to “sexting,” Hope gave in to incessant badgering from a group of boys staying across from Hope and her friend in a hotel room to provide them with a picture of her breasts.

Mounting pressure
The downward spiral of Hope’s life was unstoppable. When she returned to school this fall after serving her suspension, the school informed her she could no longer serve as a student adviser to the FFA. She finally admitted to her parents the abuse she was taking.

On Sept. 11, Hope met with school counselors, who noticed cuts on Hope’s leg they believed to be self-inflicted. They had her sign a “no-harm contract,” in which she promised to talk to an adult if she felt the urge to hurt herself. But, attorney Aftab told TODAY, the school didn’t inform Hope’s parents of the contract. “In this case, the school blew it,” Aftab said. “They never told the parents how at risk she was.”

The following day, Hope wrote in her journal: “I’m done for sure now. I can feel it in my stomach. I’m going to try and strangle myself. I hope it works.”

Donna Witsell went to Hope’s bedroom to give her a kiss goodnight. She was met with the most horrifying scene any parent could face.

It was as if she was standing right there in front of me,” Witsell told NBC News. “Her head was hanging down. I said, ‘Hope, what are you doing?’ And then I realized there was a scarf around her neck.”

Hope had knotted one end of a pink scarf around the canopy of her bed and the other around her neck. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Attorney Aftab is at the forefront of highlighting the very real dangers of “sexting” among the teen set. And even though Hope was incredibly young for sexual behavior, a Harris Poll shows up to 9 percent of 13-year-old girls admit they have sent nude pictures of themselves on cell phones.

Aftab, who held Donna Witsell’s hand throughout the trying TODAY interview, told Vieira it’s often upstanding children growing up in good homes who have the biggest propensity to feel guilt over their sexual actions, and most feel the stings of the bullying that comes afterward.

Good kids are the ones this is happening to; Jesse was a great kid, and now we have Hope,” she said. “Good kids; they’re the ones who are committing suicide when a picture like this gets out.”


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


Can we tell which juveniles will sexually reoffend?

Click the image to view the article




© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


AR - Conclusion: Assault never happened

Original Article

12/03/2009

By TYLER GASKILL

Investigators of a recent alleged sexual assault case at Southwestern College concluded that an assault never happened, according to a written statement from Winfield Police Chief Danny Parker.

The alleged sexual assault reportedly occurred on campus at Southwestern on Nov. 8.

It is unrelated to another rape alleged to have occurred on campus and reported to authorities on Sept. 12 or 13. That case still is under investigation, Parker said.

"The facts identified in the (Nov. 8) incident clearly exonerate the alleged suspects of any wrongdoing or criminal activity," Parker wrote in the statement.

"Unfortunately, reputations of the falsely accused individuals have been damaged."

"This should be a reminder that the accused is innocent until proven guilty."

The reporting party, whose name was not released, could face criminal charges in a case of false reporting. The charge was presented to the Cowley County attorney's office for possible prosecution, according to the statement.


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


IL - Inmate at federal lockup in southern Illinois dies in apparent homicide

Original Article

12/03/2009

MARION (AP) — The FBI is investigating the death of an inmate at the federal penitentiary in Marion that appears to be a homicide.

Prison spokesman Jeffrey Baney says staff found the body of 32-year-old _____ on Wednesday morning.

Baney says an autopsy will be conducted.

_____ was sentenced in South Dakota to 24 months in prison for failure to report as a sex offender. He was scheduled to be released in September 2010.

Marion is a medium-security federal prison in southern Illinois. It has about 990 inmates.


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


CA - Registered Sex Offender Found Dead

Original Article

12/03/2009

Nipomo -- A registered sex offender accused of child molestation has been found shot dead in his home in Nipomo Wednesday morning. Investigators believe 52-year-old _____ shot himself following his arrest at his business in Oceano Tuesday for alleged sex crimes against a 16-year-old.

_____ was booked in to County Jail, and posted bail later Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, he was found dead at his home in Nipomo.

Detectives are looking for other possible victims. If you have any info, call authorities at 781-4500.


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


WA - Modern-Day Lepers

Original Article

12/03/2009

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Churches try to balance grace and accountability toward sex offenders.

Convicted of indecent liberties with a teenage girl when he was 20 and attempted second-degree rape years later, _____ served his prison time—and then found himself back in police custody.

His offense: going to church.

Authorities said the 31-year-old _____ violated a new North Carolina law that bars sex offenders from coming within 300 feet of any place intended primarily for use, care, or supervision of minors.

_____ was arrested after worship at Moncure Baptist Church because the church has child-care facilities for families attending services. He is challenging the constitutionality of the law, claiming it violates his religious freedom.

Laws in 36 states establish where sex offenders can—and cannot—live or visit, an Associated Press survey found. Some states provide exemptions for churches, but many do not.

"One of the most vexing problems facing our society, and more particularly the church, is how to deal with sex offenders," said Pat Nolan, vice president of Prison Fellowship. "As one pastor expressed to me, 'Jesus taught us to be forgiving. However, he also has made me shepherd of my flock, and it is my responsibility to protect them from the wolves.'"

At the South Whidbey Assembly of God in Langley, Washington, church leaders try to balance grace and compassion with due diligence, said senior pastor Matt Chambers.

"We have always tried to act from the position of the damage that would be done if someone offended/reoffended and we had known about it and did nothing or told no one," said Chambers, whose rural congregation averages Sunday attendance between 250 and 300.

In the case of one woman convicted of sex crimes against boys and girls, the church laid out specific guidelines, he said: She'd arrive for the assembly, go directly to the sanctuary, and exit immediately when the service was over. If she needed to use the restroom, specific members were assigned to accompany her.

"She complied for a period of time," Chambers said, "but then began to bend/break our requirements, so we told her that she was no longer welcome and notified the church that she then tried to attend."

A major problem, in Nolan's view, is that many sex offender statutes are written so broadly that they "lump many people convicted of relatively minor offenses in with the hardcore sex offenders."

For example, teenagers who "moon" someone as a prank or a 17-year-old who has consensual sex with his girlfriend can be deemed sex offenders for the rest of their lives, he said.

Such "overly broad definitions" divert attention from pedophiles who truly pose a threat, Nolan said.

"I have heard it said that sex offenders are modern-day lepers," he said. "That is probably pretty accurate. And we know that Jesus didn't shun lepers. He loved them and healed them. He expects us to do the same."

But in some cases, Christians take their strong belief in redemption too far and fail to monitor offenders properly, said Deborah A. Ausburn, a Georgia attorney who defends day cares, camps, and churches against sex abuse claims.

"It's at the core of our spiritual identity, Most of us grew up on stories of sinners who accomplished great things for God, and very few of us have encountered true depravity in person," said Ausburn, who attends Church of Our Redeemer in Marietta, Georgia.

"So, the power of redemption is more real to us than the power of sin," she added. "So, we are apt to let our guard down more than we should."

Increasingly, however, liability insurance carriers demand that church leaders address the issue of registered sex offenders in their congregations, said Kim Estes, education and outreach director for peace of Mind, a Bellevue, Washington-based nonprofit.

For many churches, insurance mandates and lawsuits have sparked formal training on sex abuse prevention and even "contracts" that offenders must sign before attending, Estes said.

"Lack of background checks in the past, especially in situations where adults would be in contact with children, made churches magnets for sex offenders," Estes said. "Churches are now realizing that an organized plan in place … is a better, safer solution."

Winning Kids Inc., based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, produced Plan to Protect, a protection manual used in about 4,000 churches in the United States and Canada.

The manual advocates designating someone in the congregation to accompany a sex offender while at church. "Hopefully with an attitude of friendship rather than an obvious guard," said Diane Roblin-Lee, Winning Kids' director of communications, "thus protecting the children while encouraging the person who has already been punished by the justice system to strengthen his or her determination never to reoffend."

In the North Carolina case, attorney Glenn Gerding argues that the law is unconstitutional and takes away _____' "best hope for rehabilitation, healing, stability and redemption" — and that of more than 11,000 other registered sex offenders.

"Given our state's strict residency and employment restrictions, as well as societal discrimination against and vilification of sex offenders," Gerding said in a court filing, "churches are often the last hope for many sex offenders who need the stability and guidance a church pastor and church family can provide."


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


WV - Former officer faces up to year in prison after pleading guilty

Original Article

12/03/2009

By Ashley B. Craig

A former Dunbar police officer pleaded guilty to violating a Kanawha County woman's rights by telling her that he would forget about the marijuana he found on her if she had sex with him.

Raymond Conley, 39, a former sergeant with the Dunbar Police Department, entered a guilty plea to the federal misdemeanor charge Wednesday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston.

The official charge was depriving someone of rights under color of law.

A plea agreement between Conley and federal prosecutors also calls for him to surrender his state law enforcement officer's certification to the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections.

He faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison followed by a year of probation.

Dunbar Mayor Jack Yeager told the Daily Mail in October that Conley had resigned from the police department.

Conley was charged with a federal information on Oct. 14. In response to the judge's questions on Wednesday, he admitted to the acts he was charged with.

Court documents say Conley was working as a Dunbar police officer on July 17 when he encountered the woman, who has not been publicly identified. Her attorney, Bill Forbes, said Conley had stopped the woman for a traffic violation.

The document said Conley intentionally subjected the woman to an unreasonable and intrusive search of her person for his own sexual gratification. It says Conley fondled her breasts and pelvic area while searching her.

Conley found a small quantity of marijuana on the woman and placed her in handcuffs and into his cruiser.

After the search, Conley and the woman agreed that if she had sex with him he would not file a marijuana possession charge against her and she would be released, according to the document. It states that Conley then transported the woman in his police cruiser to a remote area near Dunbar where the two had sex. The woman then was released without being charged.

Forbes said the woman complied with Conley's wishes because she was afraid.

Federal prosecutors said in the document that because she was not charged and did not appear before a judge, she was deprived of her Constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable search, arrest and seizure, and due process.

Johnston said he would determine the sentence after a probation officer completes a pre-sentence report on Conley. That report is due by March 4.

The judge said he would accept or reject the plea agreement submitted at the sentencing hearing scheduled for March 18.

Conley was released on bond, which was set at $10,000 property only.


© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


AFRICA - Massive Rapes In Congo

Video Link



© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved