Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MT - AG And US Attorney Unveil Internet Safety DVD

Original Article

I have not purchased this DVD, but if it uses facts and not fear-mongering statistics, then this is an excellent idea, and something that any parent should be able to send off for for little or nothing. See the last link below.

12/14/2010

By Christian Hauser

MISSOULA - This is a release by the U.S. Attorney's Office:

The United States Attorney for the District of Montana Michael W. Cotter and Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock announced Tuesday, the unveiling of two DVDs aimed at providing training on internet safety designed for use by Montana Law Enforcement and other trained professionals in Montana communities.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, the Montana Attorney General's Office, and the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children's (ICAC) Task Force contracted with the University of Montana Safe Schools Center to produce DVDs on internet safety. A second DVD directed at training law enforcement officers in the field of online exploitation of children was also created. The DVDs were completed following the award of a U.S. Department of Justice grant. The DVDs, for the first time, provide the ability to offer consistent training to all levels of law enforcement operating within Montana using Montana specific statistics and case examples. The Montana Internet Safety DVD is intended to be a tool for law enforcement and other individuals who will be trained to utilize the DVD in their communities to educate parents, teachers, children, law enforcement, prosecutors and all community members on internet safety. The topics discussed on the DVD include, for example, risky behaviors, predators, stalkers, illegal file sharing, cyberbullying and sexting. The DVD is intended to raise awareness in the law enforcement and general community about the identification, investigation, prosecution and prevention of online exploitation crimes.

A key element of the DVD, and the law enforcement partnership, is a one day "train-the-trainer" course on the content of the DVD along with what laws govern the use of the internet and what law enforcement may expect as a result of presenting this DVD to their communities. Law enforcement attendees to the training will be instructed on the most popular social networking sites that students and suspects spend their time on and a live demonstration on some of the undercover techniques used by Montana ICAC Task Force members.

In discussing the new training initiative, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Michael W. Cotter said, "Montana has been hit with the same wave of internet-related crime against children as the rest of the country. The training program and DVDs, developed through collaboration with the State of Montana and in conjunction with the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative, are more tools law enforcement and communities generally can use to combat the daily risks Montana's children face when they use the internet and other social media outlets. It will only be through the continued vigilance of parents, educators and the larger community that we can protect our children from the predators lying in wait on the internet."

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock also emphasized the importance of the training and DVDs. "The digital world offers educators and families so many opportunities, but it presents just as many challenges. Rather than a handwritten note passed around a few desks, kids can send and share information through so many avenues- IM exchanges, Facebook postings, text messaging, photo-shopped images - so they need to be aware of the risks," Attorney General Bullock said. "As parents, educators and law enforcement officers, it's up to us to keep up with our kids. Kids might know more about technology, but they still need our guidance to stay safe and ground rules so they don't do something they will seriously regret, perhaps for the rest of their lives."

To request a presentation, inquire about future training opportunities, or learn more about this project, please visit any of the participating agencies' websites, http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt, http://www.doj.mt.gov, or http://www.mticac.org.

For more information regarding the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative please visit Project Safe Child. For more information on internet safety, please visit the Montana Attorney General's , Safe in Your Space website.


CANADA - Explicit oral-sex flyer handed out to Grade 8s

Original Article

12/13/2010

By Sebastien Menard

MONTREAL – For the second time this fall, sexually explicit school material has raised the ire of parents in the Montreal suburb of St-Hubert.

Last month a graphic sex quiz led to the suspension of a Grade 8 teacher and now a class at another school has received how-to flyers about fellatio and cunnilingus. One child’s father recently complained to QMI Agency about the material that a science teacher handed to his daughter and her Grade 8 classmates.

The flyer provided highly detailed explanations about how to perform “safe” oral sex.

Most men prefer that their partner concentrate on the tip … since it’s the most sensitive part,” the handout reads. “But watch the teeth … it could spoil the fun.”

The flyer also included a list of vulgar phrases commonly used to describe oral sex and male and female genitalia.

The local school board defended the teacher’s decision to distribute the flyer, saying it was part of an HIV prevention campaign created by the Toronto-based Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE).

But CATIE official Veronique Destrube told QMI Agency the flyer was designed for 18-year-olds.

This document should not have been distributed to 13-year-olds,” she said. “I am astonished. It’s not something we would have done. ”

The director of the school board fired back at CATIE, saying the agency sent its fliers directly to his schools. Andrew Byette added that the material was flagged as being appropriate for teens.

If these weren’t to be distributed in classes, why did they make them available?” asked Byette.

He added that he has not received any complaints from parents, but the father who contacted QMI Agency about the flyers says he intends to file a formal complaint about the latest handout.

Last month a teacher at another school in the same board was suspended after she gave her Grade 8 students a multiple-choice test that included questions about anal sex, lesbian encounters and penis sizes.


ME - Bangor rejects sex offender residency restrictions

Original Article

12/13/2010

By Jackie Ward

BANGOR - The Bangor City Council has turned down the possibility of amending the city code to include sex offender residency restrictions.

The council voted 8-1 against the amendment that would have limited sex offenders from living with 750 of any school, playground, or parks primarily used by children, making roughly one-third of the city off limits to sex offenders. Susan Hawes, Chair of the City Council, said this alone wouldn't make children in Bangor safe.

"The basic was reason was that people felt that it didn't bring a safer city to the children," Hawes said. "And it was such a small population we'd be dealing with."

The Bangor City Council did not take up the issue of the Bangor arena. Instead, a workshop will be held on Thursday with design teams to present a lower price tag.

After Thursday, the council will hold a special meeting a week from tonight to discuss plans for the arena, and potentially, a referendum. Hawes says a vote isn't likely to happen in 2010, but if they did vote, it would strictly be on the design phase.


WI - Judge convicts defendant of a felony for being homeless

Original Article

12/11/2010

By Michael D. Cicchini

In last week’s post we saw how easy it is to fall into the gravitational pull of the sex offender registry. This week we’ll see how tough it can be to comply with its requirements. In the case of State v. Dinkins, the 56-year-old defendant was looking forward to being released after serving ten years in prison. Unfortunately for him, however, he had been ordered to register as a sex offender and was required, prior to his release, to give his residential address. But, as might be expected of someone who has been sitting in the slammer for ten years, he didn’t have anywhere to live upon his release from prison. Therefore, three days before his ten year prison term would have been completely served, an opportunistic prosecutor charged him with another crime—a felony—for failing to register as a sex offender.

The defendant waived his jury trial and instead put his fate in the hands of the judge, who served as both judge and jury. The fact was that the judge, the prison social worker, and even the prosecutor all agreed that the defendant tried to find post-prison housing, and tried to comply with the sex offender registry. But the prosecutor (presumably with a straight face) argued that, before the defendant was set to be released from prison, he should have provided the address of the “park bench,” or “heating grate, bush, or highway underpass” where he planned to sleep. The defendant argued that these things aren’t residences, and he first has to find a residence before he can report the address of that residence.

The judge sided with the prosecutor, and convicted the defendant of a felony for failing, while still in prison, to provide the address of the hypothetical park bench. The good news is that the judge’s guilty verdict was eventually reversed by the appellate court, in part for these reasons:

  • The sex offender registry requires the defendant to provide the address of his residence, and, as the defense lawyer told the judge, park benches, heating grates, bushes, and highway underpasses are not residences.
  • Even if those things were residences, the defendant can’t predict the park bench or heating grate on which he’ll be sleeping because it could be occupied or otherwise unavailable by the time he’s released from prison and arrives there.
  • Even if the imprisoned defendant could somehow remember a park bench or heating grate suitable for sleeping, he simply wouldn’t have access to its address because (you guessed it) he’s in prison.
  • The law allows other sex offender registrants, who aren’t in the process of leaving prison, a full ten days after moving into a new residence to report their address. Therefore, in this case, “the public” simply isn’t harmed by not knowing the address of the extremely temporary, and purely hypothetical, park bench, heating grate, bush or highway underpass.


That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is two-fold. First, the wheels of justice turn slowly. It took two years for this disaster to get reversed, during which time the then-56-year-old defendant turned into the now-58-year-old defendant. And, he had to spend much of those two additional years incarcerated (in addition to his ten year prison sentence) without so much as an apology.

And second, the taxpayers bear the cost of this hyper-aggressive, unfair, and stupid government behavior. Rather than just one government bureaucrat making a few phone calls to locate a boarding house or homeless shelter for this defendant, a prosecutor decided to spend taxpayer money on a new felony case, complete with a trial. Here are just some of the people who had to work on this case, all at taxpayer expense: the prosecutor who filed the case, the trial judge who found the defendant guilty, the court clerk, the court reporter, the public defender trial lawyer, the public defender appellate lawyer who got the conviction reversed, the state attorney general, and the three appellate court judges. And on top of all of this, there’s the cost of incarcerating and then supervising the defendant for his “crime” of being unable to find a home while in prison.

No expense was spared in this fiasco. In the end it was an incredibly long and expensive way of teaching the prosecutor and the trial judge what every other human being already knows: park benches, heating grates, bushes and highway underpasses aren’t residences, and it shouldn’t be a felony to be homeless.


LA - Former Police Officer (Daniel Murray) Pleads Guilty

Original Article

12/14/2010

It could be ten years behind bars for a former Minden police officer accused of having sex with a teenage girl.

Daniel Murray has pleaded guilty to cruelty to a juvenile.

Murray was arrested last summer after authorities say he had sex with a 15-year-old inside his apartment. He is also accused of using his police K-9 to intimidate her and keep her from defending herself.

Murray will be sentenced in January.


MI - Former officer (Richard Lee Zych) gets year in jail

Original Article

12/14/2010

By ALEX PIAZZA

BEULAH — A former Benzie County corrections officer will spend a year behind bars in Traverse City after he pleaded guilty to an assault charge.

Judge John D. Foresman on Monday sentenced Richard Lee Zych, 53, to a year in jail. Benzie Sheriff Rory Heckman assigned Zych to serve his jail sentence in Grand Traverse County because of his status as a former corrections officer in Benzie.

"They got space, and he's not that well known up there," Heckman said. "It'd be tougher for me to house him here. His safety is one thing to think about. I don't have as big a jail to isolate him."
- It's ironic that when you are not an ex-cop or someone who is well liked, they do not care about your safety!

Heckman worried inmates who recognized Zych from his role as a deputy could pose a threat. Heckman also said some Benzie corrections officers worked with Zych, so he assigned his former employee to Grand Traverse County to avoid any sort of favoritism.

"The corrections officers probably don't know him there," Heckman said. "I don't want to put them in a tough position."

Zych pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault. Prosecutors charged Zych in April with three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, but those charges were dismissed as part of his plea deal. Zych won't have to register with the state as a sex offender.
- Of course, he's a cop!

He worked for the department since 1997, but Heckman fired Zych in June after police said he "engaged in non-consensual sexual contact" with a woman he knew "by using force and coercion" on three occasions.

The Police Officers Association of Michigan represents Zych and wants the department to reinstate him to full-time employment status and compensate him for lost wages. An arbitration hearing is set for February.