Thursday, October 14, 2010

NY - SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION (2009-2010)

WOW! This is a great assessment of how the laws are not working! See the critical comments here.


TN - Nashville police mishandled sexual battery complaint against officer (Jeffrey Poole), detective says

Original Article

10/14/2010

By Brian Haas

Sexual battery case littered with 'errors'

A Metro sex crimes detective found "several errors" in a top-to-bottom review of how police handled a sexual battery complaint against one of its own officers before he was charged in connection with the abuse of several women, according to new court documents.

Former Officer Jeffrey Poole, 40, is accused of fondling two women, raping a third and paying a fourth for sex, all while on duty. He is free on $200,000 bond, awaiting trial on four counts of rape, two counts of sexual battery, four counts of official misconduct, a count of patronizing a prostitute and a count of attempting to patronize a prostitute in a school zone.

Court documents filed in Poole's case include a report criticizing Metro police for overlooking a precinct sergeant's concerns about handling such a serious allegation, not conducting a thorough internal review and failing to open a criminal investigation until other women came forward with additional allegations. Sex Crimes Unit Detective Heather Baltz wrote the report criticizing the way the case was handled.

The problems began on April 20, 2009, when Poole arrested [name withheld], 30, on an outstanding warrant. During that arrest, she said Poole drove her to a secluded area and fondled her under the guise of conducting a pat-down, before taking her to jail. She complained that same day to a sergeant, who passed it along to Poole's supervisor, Sgt. James Smith.

Court records portray Smith as immediately uncomfortable with the investigation. He complained to his supervisors that he wasn't qualified to handle a potential sex crime case.

"He recognized this complaint as criminal in nature and 'above his head,' " Baltz wrote. "Smith again stated that he has no investigative experience or training and did not feel comfortable handling this complaint."

According to Baltz's report, Metro's Office of Professional Accountability and East Precinct Cmdr. Robert Nash told Smith to complete the investigation anyway. OPA denies that.

The resulting investigation led to Poole losing three vacation days for not properly documenting taking [name withheld] to jail. Smith dropped the investigation into the fondling complaint, saying he couldn't find the woman for follow-up interviews. [name withheld] had gone to Texas for two months and police said they couldn't reach her by phone.

Nash signed off on the final report, which characterized the fondling allegation as a "Matter of Record," not a criminal accusation.

Nothing happened until about a year later, when a prostitute in May complained that Poole had fondled her as well. Police found two other women, one of whom said he paid her for sex. The other said he raped her in a motel room.

Victim was tracked down

Baltz tracked [name withheld] down in the yard of the home she lived at when she first made her complaint. [name withheld] told Baltz that nobody from the department ever followed up and she wasn't even told the name of the officer who she said fondled her.

When sex crimes detectives stepped in, Poole changed his story multiple times in discussing some of the women's allegations, court records show. Baltz wrote that he also flunked a polygraph test administered by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that probed whether he had fondled the second woman to come forward. She wrote that he refused to take any more tests after that.

Poole was arrested Aug. 6 and is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 28.

Nash defended his office Wednesday, saying a "communication breakdown" with the victim led to the first investigation going nowhere. He said that if a crime was found to have occurred or the case proved too complex, it would have eventually been forwarded to detectives or internal investigators.

"I believe this particular case is unique in that we lost contact with the complainant while she was on an extended stay out of state," Nash said. "We were very aware of the potential seriousness of the complaint."

Still, he said the department will now demand more details from investigators as to the lengths they've gone to contact victims of crimes and people with complaints.

Kennetha Sawyers, head of the Office of Professional Accountability, said investigators there dispute that they were asked to handle the case. She said they were contacted only after the investigation had been completed and only to decide how Poole would be disciplined.

Poole's attorney, Mark Scruggs, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Poole has pleaded not guilty.


SCOTLAND - False rape claim girls (Rebecca Wood, Johanna Law) may face jail

Original Article

10/14/2010

A police investigation was launched after two teenagers claimed that a man attempted to rape them in Tentsmuir Forest.

Two teenage girls who sparked a police investigation after falsely claiming they had been raped have been warned that they could face jail.

Rebecca Wood and Johanna Law, both 17, called police from Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, saying that a man had attempted to rape them.

In an appearance at Cupar Sheriff Court, Woods admitted making false allegations to a police call handler.

The resulting investigation caused officers of Fife Constabulary to devote their time to investigating the claim, leaving members of the public potentially under suspicion of attempted rape.

Low pleaded guilty to the same charge by letter.

Sheriff Charles Macnair deferred sentence until next month for social background reports, and an assessment of the pair's ability to carry out community service as a direct alternative to a jail term.


CT - Montville ordinance to limit sex offenders' range

Original Article

10/14/2010

By Megan Bard

Montville - As town officials continue to fight the opening of a state-sponsored sex offender treatment facility here, they adopted an ordinance Wednesday night meant to keep sex offenders off town property frequented by children.

The Town Council unanimously approved the Child Safety Zone ordinance, which was written, in part, in reaction to the proposal to open a sex offender treatment facility on the grounds of the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in January.

Council members have said that if the 24-bed facility, to be overseen by the state Department of Correction, opens as planned, the ordinance could provide an extra layer of law enforcement if the facility's clients are permitted to leave the program during treatment.

The council voted in September to legally challenge the state's plans to build the $2 million facility, however paperwork has yet to be filed in Superior Court. Many council members and residents have taken to protesting the project at political rallies and debates.

Council Vice Chairwoman Ellen Hillman, who sponsored the ordinance, said that if the ordinance makes a child feel safe for just two hours out of the day, then it is worth supporting.

The ordinance prohibits offenders from entering certain public areas frequented by children or private properties during municipally run children's programs. Councilor Billy Caron asked that the ordinance be expanded to include areas such as the senior center.

Specifically, the ordinance prohibits sex offenders from entering areas such as parks, schools, playgrounds, recreation and swimming areas. Offenders would also be prohibited from going to athletic fields where children congregate or to private centers either owned or leased by a municipal or school authority.

The ordinance allows some exceptions. A child sex offender whose name has been removed from the state's sex offender registry cannot be denied access, nor can someone who enters the zone with the intent to vote in a referendum or election, as long as the person leaves the zone immediately following the vote.

Other exceptions are for offenders who are parents and who need to drop off or pick up their child at school or speak to an official working within a child safety zone, as long as the offender leaves the area immediately after completing the meeting.

If an offender is found to be unlawfully in such a zone, the police could issue a $99 fine and remove the individual.

Because many of the activities affected could be part of a town recreational program or be held at the town's recreational facility, the Parks and Recreation Commission asked the council to postpone voting on the ordinance until November.

This would give the commission time to discuss the proposal at its meeting next week.

Hillman said she distributed a copy of the ordinance to various departments and commissions two months ago, and that they had plenty of time to comment before Wednesday night's meeting.


Apple Patents 'Anti-Sexting' Technology

Original Article

10/13/2010

Is big brother studying the text messages on your iPhone? Not yet ... but he could.

Apple has been awarded a patent that could be used to block people from sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages, or "sexting," according to a report on technology blog ReadWriteWeb. The technology, not yet on the market, would allow the phone's administrator to block it from sending or receiving texts containing "objectionable material."

Originally filed in 2008, the patent is in line with Apple’s historically family friendly approach to its electronics. Apple is known, for example, for having banned all sexually explicit applications from its iTunes App Store. And Jobs himself has made his thoughts on the topic very clear.

"You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go -- so we’re not going to go there," the Apple chief told a press conference this past April.

While the patent doesn’t pinpoint sexual material specifically, it contends that there is currently “no way to monitor and control text communications to make them user appropriate.” The patent goes on to state that Apple's system "can evaluate whether or not the communication contains approved text based on, for example, objective ratings criteria or a user’s age or grade level, and, if authorized, prevents such text from being included in the text-based communication.”

Such level of administrative control would also make the iPhone more attractive for businesses, which currently almost exclusively employ RIM’s Blackberry handheld.

The popular blog Gawker asserts that such parental controls are ultimately useless. “Tweens are incredibly stupid and unmotivated, they’ll never figure out ways to get around content-blocking,” the media blog mocks sarcastically. The patent may have other uses, however.
- I agree, it's pointless, and just another company trying to rake in money over peoples fear of what might happen.  If someone sends a nude photo, how are you going to block that?

U.S. patent 7814163, which was approved on Tuesday, could also be used for educational purposes, according to the patent document. For instance, kids studying Spanish would need to hit a certain foreign language quota or risk having certain phone privileges automatically revoked.

The effectiveness of the technology will have to be proven. But this could give parents an extra reason to pickup an iPhone come this holiday season.


MS - Getting Off The Sex Offender Registry

Original Article

10/13/2010

By Heather Burke

There’s a part of the sex offender law in Mississippi many don’t know about.

You can petition the court to be removed from the sex offender registry after 25 years,“ said Madison Rankin District Attorney Michael Guest.

That law went into effect a few years ago.

Before then, a sex offender could petition the court to be removed from the registry after 10 years.

But the law only applies to offenders convicted of gratification of lust.

It is the most commonly associated with some type of molestation that does not involve sexual penetration,“ said Guest.

Still, Guest says once a sex offender—-always a sex offender.
- And once an idiot, always an idiot! They don't want you off the list, so they can continue to exploit the public's fear, instilled by the media, politicians, DA's, lawyers, police, etc. They want you in the system for life, so they can continue to make money off you.

I believe a sex offender should be on the sex offender registration for life,“ said Guest. “Once you’re a sex offender there is no cure. No treatment facility that someone can be sent to. They always will have those tendencies.“
- And that is a flat out lie.  There are many therapies out there that can and do treat offenders.  It's the same as drugs or alcohol, you have to want help before it will work.

Guest hopes lawmakers will consider getting rid of that part of the law.

When individuals have the right to petition the court to not be on that registration, it potentially puts children at risk of being the victim of sexual assault,“ said Guest.