Thursday, April 8, 2010

TX - Mission woman jailed in MySpace impersonation case

Original Article


A Mission woman is facing criminal charges after allegedly impersonated her brother's ex-girlfriend to post nude pictures of her on MySpace.

Cameron County Sheriff's Department deputies arrested 18-year-old _____ under an online harassment charge on Wednesday.

Court records released in the case show that the 19-year-old victim is from Wisconsin but often comes to Brownsville to visit her family.

The 19-year-old woman her ex-boyfriend and his family went to visit her in Wisconsin back in October 2009.

The woman told deputies that she lost her cell phone during the visit and that it contained the phone had two nude pictures she had taken of herself on it.

The woman bought a new phone but then her brother-in-law told her about a MySpace page with her name on it.

The woman told deputies the MySpace page had her name, information and cell phone pictures, including the nude ones.

Sheriff’s deputies were able to determine that the MySpace account was created from an IP address in Mission and with an email account belonging to _____.

The 19-year-old woman told deputies she thinks her ex-boyfriend stole her cell phone and that he and his sister created the bogus account.

Under state law, online harrasment is a third-degree felony punishable up from two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 dollar fine.

The Mission woman appeared before Cameron County Magistrate Judge Patricia Edelstein on Thursday morning.

Jail records show that _____ was released after posting bond.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

WI - US Marshals & DOC check 220 sex offenders for compliance

Original Article


By Cathy Orosz

MILWAUKEE - You can find out if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood by checking the state's registry, but what if they're not registered? The US Marshals and the Department of Corrections are teaming up to knock on doors to make sure registered sex offenders are following the rules.

Most of the visits to the home of sex offenders are compliance checks to make sure registered sex offenders are playing by the rules. Deputy US Marshal Gary Enos says, "First of all and mostly, we're checking to make sure they're living where they say they're living. It's their job to report to us. It's not our job to find them."

Parole agents usually rely on local police for back-up, but this week they're getting muscle from the US Marshals in "Operation Cold Shoulder". "They get a lot of wary answers, shut doors in their faces, basically the cold shoulder."
- I think it's so funny how they come up with stupid names for these Gestapo missions.

These checks are unannounced and that makes them unpredictable. Authorities don't know what they're walking into when they go in there, so they always have to be prepared. Enos said, "They don't know why we're knocking on the door, it could be for a warrant or it could be simply for a check. That's why we wear the safety gear as well as DOC, wearing bullet proof vests."
- If someone is coming to the door in riot gear and vests, it's kind of obvious it's for an arrest.  The probation department, if they were doing this, do not do this. The Gestapo have to come in numbers and show brute force to arrest one person, very funny.

The non-compliant are arrested, the goal is to make the community feel safer. "We haven't forgotten about these guys. They need to be checked. We're out here doing all these compliance checks in order to maintain that they are doing what they're supposed to be doing, and a reminder to the offenders that we haven't forgotten about them. They do need to register on time, every time."

Together the US Marshals and the DOC check 220 registered sex offenders over the past couple days. They wound up arresting nine people, so the majority of those offenders were in compliance.
- Wow, 9 out of 220.  By the hysteria and hype the news and politicians spout, you'd think 90% or more would be re-offending, but they apparently are not. Fear and hysteria makes good news stories and especially when they can do a video like the one below.

Video Link

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

IN - Former officer (Dennis Lewis) arrested for child solicitation

Original Article


SWITZERLAND COUNTY - State Police say they've arrested a former officer for soliciting sex from a "child" during an Internet sting.

Dennis Lewis, 52, is facing one count of child solicitation, a class C felony.

Police say Lewis solicited sex from who he thought was a 13-year-old girl while in an Internet chat room in December of 2009. The girl was actually an undercover officer from Ohio. The officer tracked the computer to Lewis' home and then notified Indiana State Police, a press release says.

Lewis is a former police officer with the Aurora Police Department, officers say.

The release says Lewis is in the Switzerland County Jail and will appear for his initial hearing Friday morning in Dearborn Superior Court at 9:00 a.m.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

IL - Court upholds finding that police framed man in rape-murder of daughter

Original Article


By Steve Schmadeke

But damages are reduced to $8 million from $12.2 million

An appeals court Wednesday agreed with a federal jury's 2007 finding that Will County police framed _____ for the rape and murder of his 3-year-old daughter Riley, but reduced the damages awarded to _____ and his wife from $12.2 million to $8 million.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chastised the investigators on the case, implying that their decision to quickly rule out Riley's 2004 death as the work of a sexual predator was "absurd."

The court, in a 52-page decision by Judge Terence Evans, also found that detectives lacked probable cause to arrest _____ using the "exceedingly weak evidence" they had assembled.

_____ was arrested four months after the death of his daughter, who was sexually assaulted, bound with duct tape and drowned in a Wilmington creek. _____ gave police a videotaped confession that he said was fabricated. The videotape was not shown during the civil trial.

Shortly after _____'s arrest, Edward Hayes, a detective supervisor, called the FBI and told them to stop testing DNA evidence, trial evidence showed. Testing by a private lab later ruled out _____ as a suspect, and he was released in 2005 after eight months behind bars.

On Wednesday, the appeals court upheld the 2007 jury verdict, but found that its awards for _____'s false-arrest claim and his wife Melissa's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress were excessive.

The jury's original award of $15.5 million in damages had already been reduced.

"We thought it was a stunning rebuke of the defendant's entire case," said Kathleen Zellner, the _____' attorney. "I don't think we could have got a better result."

Zellner said the couple still live in Will County with their teenage son and a daughter who recently turned 4.

In a statement, the Will County state's attorney's office said it was pleased that the damages were reduced but "firmly" believes the deputies had probable cause to arrest _____ and should not be liable for any damages.

No other arrests have been made in the case, which is being handled by Will County with help from the FBI.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

MA - DAs unite to use GPS on sex offenders

Original Article


By Laura Crimaldi

Allowing sex offenders to roam free without GPS monitoring has district attorneys joining forces to appeal to have judges granted the authority to slap the fiends with ankle bracelets.

The state Supreme Judicial Court yesterday heard both sides of the controversy in a case about a convicted Middlesex County child rapist who objected to wearing a GPS-monitoring device during his 10-year probation term.

These are people who by their very nature cannot control their sexual impulses and are likely to reoffend,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone (Contact), whose office prosecuted _____, the sex offender at the center of the legal battle. “It’s paramount we have some means of significant monitoring.”
- And this coming from a biased DA who has an agenda, more convicted and brownie points to get elected or further their own resume/career. Show me the proof sir. He is many studies that disprove your assumption, but I'm sure you don't care about the truth, that would hurt your career, right?

After he finished jail and civil sentences last summer, the Probation Department requested GPS monitoring for _____.

Superior Court Judge Kathe M. Tuttman, however, ruled she did not have the authority to impose the monitoring. In her ruling, Tuttman cited a 2009 SJC decision that decided a 2006 law mandating GPS devices on all sex offenders placed on probation cannot apply retroactively.
- Yeah, that would be an unconstitutional ex post facto law, which is against the constitution, which all these idiots took an oath to defend, and are not doing that.  Like you can trust a lawyer?

_____’s attorney, Beth L. Eisenberg, also said Tuttman’s ruling found imposing GPS tracking amounted to impermissable punishment because he was in compliance with all the terms of his probation.

She says, ‘I’ve looked at this case and in this case the circumstances are not warranted,’ ” Eisenberg said.

Since the summer, about 234 sex offenders have been allowed to remove their ankle bracelets as a result of the SJC ruling.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe (Email) said it makes sense to give judges the right to decide whether GPS monitoring is appropriate.
- Yeah, at the time of sentencing, but not after the fact.

I believe that judges should have the option to make that finding,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean it would be done in every case.”

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett agreed.

It’s just another probationary tool to help keep the public safe,” he said. “We have an obligation to speak up about this and ask the court to make a decision.”
- If the person has already been convicted, then any additional punishment is unconstitutional, period!

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

MI - Lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless sex offenders seeking shelter in Grand Rapids

Original Article


By John Agar

GRAND RAPIDS -- After _____ was found frozen to death in a salvage yard last year, advocates for the homeless criticized a state law that kept sex offenders out of emergency shelters near schools.

Trouble is, all of the city's emergency shelters are within school zones.

"There has to be an acceptable way, so those people who have a (sexual-assault conviction) are not branded for life, and relegated to sleeping below the bridge," the Rev. Charlotte Ellison, of Heartside Ministry said Wednesday.

Attorney Miriam Aukerman, representing four homeless people with criminal-sexual conduct convictions, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jennifer Granholm (Contact), Attorney General Mike Cox (Contact), state police Director Peter Munoz and Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth.

Aukerman requested an injunction to prevent her clients, listed under pseudonyms, from being prosecuted if they stay in a Grand Rapids homeless shelter. She said the law was intended to keep sex offenders from buying or renting homes in school zones, not to prevent the homeless from having a safe place to stay at night.

"We're trying to clarify, if an individual who is homeless and on the sex offender registry has access to emergency shelter," Aukerman said in an interview.

She said her clients did not commit serious sex offenses, with three of them convicted of high-court misdemeanors.

She recently was contacted by a man who left the hospital after stomach surgery, and had to decide whether to risk trouble at a center, or recover on a park bench.

"We're seeing people who are really down and out who have nowhere else to turn," Aukerman said.

Degage Ministries and Mel Trotter Ministries also are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. It was filed in Ingham County Circuit Court before the state asked to move it to U.S. District Court.

State police and the Attorney General's Office, which would represent Granholm, had no comment.

Aukerman, who works for Legal Aid of West Michigan, took action after she and others asked state police to clarify the statute.

Attorney William Farr, representing Degage, said homeless people, shelters and police need clarification of the law.

"It puts everybody in a bad situation. I think there are real questions that should be answered," Farr said.

Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Steve LaBrecque said he doubted lawmakers realized the city's homeless shelters were within school zones. His department is not part of the lawsuit. Chief Kevin Belk, who was out of the office Wednesday, wrote to the state police as part of the request for a ruling.

Belk took no position on how the law should be interpreted.

Aukerman said her clients are in danger on the streets. She described them as:

  • "Jane Poe," 23, learning disabled and emotionally and mentally impaired. Food stamps are her only income. She was convicted of attempted fourth-degree CSC. She stays at Degage, with friends or on the street. She has been beaten and raped and is "scared to be out on the street at night."
  • "John Doe," 50, periodically homeless, lives on unemployment benefits. He was convicted of third- and fourth-degree CSC nearly 20 years ago. He fears he could "freeze to death" on the street.
  • "Robert Rose," 52, a veteran, lives on disability, $270 a month. He was told he can't stay at a home for veterans because of a 2001 conviction for fourth-degree CSC. He also fears freezing on the street.
  • "Mark Moe," 46, lives on $200 a month in food stamps. Unable to keep a job because of mental-health problems. He was convicted of fourth-degree CSC. He sometimes sleeps on the street, and "has been so cold ... that he feared death."

Aukerman wrote that all feared prosecution if they stayed at a shelter. They are not considered residents of the shelters, and leave with their belongings in the morning.

Both Degage and Mel Trotter said in the lawsuit they were under the impression those on the sex offender registry cannot stay in the shelters because of the school zone, and are "generally denied admission." The agencies want to set their own policies on admissions to prevent turning away homeless people who "could then die or be injured on the street."

Video Link

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

CA - Town rallies around accused killer of molester

Original Article

A man murders another man in cold blood, instead of going to court, and he's a hero? Not in my book! He's a cold blooded murderer and should be in prison until the day he dies. This is just going to open the flood gates for all others who have been or claim to have been sexually abused, to go out and murder anyone, and claim they were abused, instead of letting the court get evidence to convict the person.


By Mike Celizic

Usually, when someone who’s been a mainstay of a community gets shot and killed in his own home, there’s a public outcry to bring his killer to justice. But not in the idyllic Pacific Coast town of Fort Bragg, Calif., where the citizenry has risen up in support of the man who pulled the trigger.

Aaron Vargas has been in jail ever since Feb. 8, 2009, when police say he shot and killed Darrell McNeill, the man he alleges sexually abused him when he was just 11 years old. After the shooting, 12 other men came forward to say that McNeill, a former Boy Scout leader and popular member of the community, had also abused them. Some had reported the abuse but law enforcement officials took no action.

When the truth came out, the town rallied behind the 32-year-old Vargas. Citizens held demonstrations demanding that he be freed from jail. T-shirts supporting his cause are being sold, with the proceeds going to his legal defense. Cars sport bumper stickers supporting him. Even McNeill’s widow is defending Vargas.

They understand the situation, and they know Aaron to be a very kind and gentle person and that he doesn’t deserve to be locked up,” Vargas’ sister, Mindy Galliani, told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Thursday in New York.

‘He’s a victim’
The Mendocino County prosecutor, who initially wanted to push for first-degree murder and 50 years in prison for Vargas, has changed her mind after the outpouring of support for him. This week, Vargas was offered and accepted a deal in which he was to plead no contest Thursday afternoon to voluntary manslaughter.

In exchange, he will receive a relatively short sentence — perhaps as little as the time he’s already served, and certainly no longer than six years. Sentencing will be in two months.

Galliani thinks her older brother should be released immediately.

It just doesn’t make sense to me to punish someone who has been put through hell for 20 years,” she said. “He’s a victim, and he’s not a danger to the community. He’s a very kind and caring person. Why torture him anymore? Why continue the abuse? Leaving him in jail is continuing the abuse.”

Years of abuse
Galliani said that Vargas was a happy child until McNeill took him on a fishing trip to Oregon when he was 11. McNeill began abusing Vargas on that trip and the boy became withdrawn and unhappy.

I saw drastic changes in Aaron. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew something was really wrong with him. He was in so much pain,” Galliani said. “He withdrew from his friends, from the family. He was sad and angry. You could just see it in his eyes. He was in pain.”

The abuse allegedly continued into adulthood. As an adult, unable to shake off McNeill’s control, Vargas continued a sexual relationship with him. Four years ago, he broke it off, but McNeill wouldn’t leave him alone, calling him incessantly and stopping at his house in an effort to reestablish the relationship.

Galliani has said that after Vargas got engaged and became a father, McNeill offered to baby-sit his daughter. Afraid that his daughter would become the predator’s next victim, Vargas confronted him.

I believe that McNeill had mental control over Aaron. It was like he was holding him mentally captive for 20 years. Aaron could not escape him. He was a scared little boy around McNeill,” Galliani told Vieira.

I think Aaron became a parent and it put into perspective what was done to him and how horrible it was. And I think he felt his child was in danger and his child was going to be next.”

Fateful confrontation
Vargas has not said whether he intended to kill the 63-year-old McNeill, or just scare him a year ago February when he went to McNeill’s trailer home to confront him. Vargas brought with him a .44 caliber replica of a Civil War cap-and-ball revolver. He had the gun out when McNeill answered the door. After a brief exchange of words, the gun went off, the bullet striking McNeill in the chest.

McNeill’s wife, Liz, was home at the time. According to police, as McNeill lay dying, Vargas told her not to call 911. He waited a half hour for McNeill to die.

After he shot Darrell, he told him something to the effect of, ‘You’re not going to hurt anyone again,’ and then he told me all about how Darrell abused him as a child,” McNeill told The San Francisco Chronicle. “I was shocked at all of this. He told me he wasn’t going to hurt me, but I was never scared. I knew he wouldn’t.”

Liz McNeill would also learn that among her husband’s victim was her own son — McNeill’s stepson.

I think he went there with the intention to scare him to leave him and his family alone,” Galliani said. “Whether or not the gun went off accidentally, that will be discussed at the next hearing.”

Vigilante justice?
People are calling it a case of vigilante justice, a man taking action when the authorities did nothing.

I still wouldn’t put that label on it,” Galliani said. “Aaron wasn’t seeking revenge. He’s not a vengeful person at all. It’s really not a case of vigilantism. The post-traumatic stress disorder that he has and the harassment and the stalking and the risk of his child being abused, that’s not vigilantism to me — that’s just a desperate man who’s trying to protect his daughter and himself.”

It’s not that complicated, she said. “I think he just wants people to know that he’s been through hell and he hit his breaking point. He feels for all the other victims. He feels for the McNeills. He just wants help. He’s crying out for help.”

What’s most sad is that none of it had to happen, she said.

He probably never would have been abused in the first place if something would have been done when it was first reported, and other victims would have been spared, also,” Galliani said.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

CA - The Story On Parole for Sexual Offenders

Playlist Link

WI - De Pere City Council nears sex offender residency restriction

Original Article


By Charles Davis

Council needs 2nd vote to approve 500-foot buffer

DE PERE — The De Pere City Council on Wednesday voted 5-2 in favor of an ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live, but it will take at least a few weeks before the ordinance can officially pass.

Since the vote wasn't unanimous, the ordinance will come back to the council at the April 21 meeting.

A majority vote will pass the ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from living within 500 feet of any school, day care, park or any other place where children congregate.

The city already has a loitering ordinance that restricts sex offenders from hanging within 200 feet of most places children gather.

Aldermen Dan Robinson and Paul Kegel opposed. Alderman James Boyd was absent.

Robinson said the council has to be sure the ordinance will improve public safety.

"I'm very confident in saying we don't know that," he said.

Alderman Robert Wilmet said the ordinance is "taking a proactive approach to a potential problem."

Eleven other municipalities in Brown County have some form of residency restrictions. Some council members hope the ordinance will force the state to pass a bill overriding local residency restrictions in favor of a statewide rule.

Residents asked the council how the city would measure if the ordinance were effective.

De Pere Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden said he opposes the ordinance.

"Child sex offenders don't typically offend where they live," he said.
- I think this is a false statement.  Most sex crimes, from what I've read over the years and heard from many experts, say that most sex crimes occur in the victims own home or close family.  This is saying that most child sexual crimes are the stranger danger type, which is flat out false.

However, he noted a trend of an increase of convicted sex offenders listing De Pere addresses since Green Bay passed its own residency restriction in 2007.

The council struggled with concerns that convicted sex offenders would fail to register and go underground. One critique of residency ordinances is that they possibly create a false sense of security.

"Even if they're only in our imaginations, they feel safe to me," Alderwoman Kathleen Van Vonderen said.
- So, do you not feel safe at 200 feet, so you have to make it 500 feet?  But then what if you don't feel safe then?  You are passing laws that "make you feel safe" and eradicating peoples rights, just because you "feel safe?"  Wow!

The ordinance would impose a fine up to $500 for each violation.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

SOSEN Newsletter - April 7th, 2010 - Vol. 5, Issue 2

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

VA - Jury - Naked in own home not indecent

Original Article


By Mattew Barakat

Prosecutors, two women say man intended to expose himself

FAIRFAX - A man charged with indecent exposure after two women said they saw him naked inside his own home was acquitted Wednesday by a Virginia jury.

_____, 29, has argued since his October arrest that he should not be punished for being naked in the privacy of his own home.

Police and prosecutors, as well as the two women who testified against him, said he intended to expose himself and made no attempt to conceal himself in a residential neighborhood filled with children.

"It's really a weight off my shoulders after these last six months," _____ said after his acquittal. "I think (the verdict) kind of sets the record straight. It was an innocent action."

In December, a judge in Fairfax County's General District Court convicted _____ of misdemeanor indecent exposure, but imposed neither jail time nor a fine. Still, _____ appealed his case to the county's circuit court, risking a maximum punishment of a year in jail to clear his name.

"When you know you've done nothing wrong, it's hard to take these kind of accusations and not stand up to it," said _____, an out-of-work commercial diver who racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees.

At the time of his arrest, _____ was sharing a home in Springfield with other commercial divers. He testified Wednesday that his roommates had gone to work and left him alone in the house for the first time in months. He was moving out, and decided to pack his belongings and make breakfast in the nude.

Two women testified that they saw him naked that morning. The first, a school librarian, said she heard a loud moan and drunken singing. Then, as she drove by _____'s house at about 6:40 a.m., she saw him in the buff and called 911.

A police officer came by the house, saw nothing unusual and left.

Drunken singing alleged
Then, two hours later, Yvette Dean testified that she was walking her 7-year-old son to school when she saw a naked _____ standing in an exterior doorway on the side of his home with the screen door wide open.

Dean testified that she made eye contact, angrily gave him the finger and hustled her son away. As she turned the corner, she looked back and saw _____ from a front window, again completely naked.

_____ did not dispute that the women may have seen him, but said he did not see them and did not make eye contact with Dean. He testified that if he had known he'd been seen, he would have put his pants on and gone outside and apologized.

Under Virginia law, indecent exposure occurs when a person intentionally makes an obscene display of his or her private parts. The law does not necessarily require the exposure to be in a public place — it allows for prosecution when the exposure occurs in a "place where others are present."

Prosecutor Marc Birnbaum said the circumstances of the case, from the librarian's testimony about loud moaning and drunken singing to Dean's testimony about eye contact, showed that _____ intended to expose himself.

"This isn't a case about being naked in your house. This is a case about intentional exposure," Birnbaum said.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin