Thursday, February 3, 2011

IN - Former officer (Shawn Kennedy) accused of using position for sex

Original Article


By Stephan Johnson

JEFFERSONVILLE (WDRB Fox 41) - A former Jeffersonville Police detective is accused of using his position to tip off a suspected drug dealer and get sexual favors from a 19-year-old woman.

Thursday, Fox 41 News reported exclusively the case was actually uncovered by the FBI. It happened while the feds were conducting a narcotics investigation. Agents intercepted a cell phone call between then Detective Shawn Kennedy and a suspected drug dealer.

According to Clark County Court documents, Kennedy was a busy man during his last several months on the job. Jeffersonville police won't comment on the case but the documents indicate Kennedy not only shared information with the suspected dealer but was familiar with the man. Here's part of a conversation intercepted by the feds and obtained by Fox 41 News.

Kennedy: "Yeah, what's up, man?"

Suspected drug dealer:"Nothing, everything cool?"

Kennedy:"Yeah, everything real cool, man. Everything went exactly as you wanted it to go. Nobody knows anything."

Suspected drug dealer:"Hey, a black Ford Fusion...real dark tinted windows."

Kennedy:"Yeah, ah, don't want to say anything on the phone, man. Yeah, I got info on that."

And the wire tap is only part of what would eventually lead to Kennedy's resignation. According to documents he was also helping a 19-year-old woman in exchange for sexual favors. The woman later took a lie detector test and was asked three specific questions.
  • Did Shawn Kennedy indicate that you owed him sexual favors?
  • Did (he) expose his (private parts) to have you watch him masturbate?
  • Did Shawn Kennedy use physical force to have (intercourse) with you?

The woman answered yes to all three questions and the person administering the test found her to be believable.

"It's the city's intent to abide by the settlement agreement which is that we will make no comment as it relates to the underlying allegations that are in those documents," says Larry Wilder, Jeffersonville City attorney.

Wilder says part of the settlement is that the city won't comment on the case, but Kennedy recently filed for unemployment benefits and alleges he was forced to sign a letter of resignation by his attorney and Wilder. We asked Wilder if that was true and he responded, "I have not seen Mr. Kennedy for months. And certainly during the time that this situation was going on I did not have the occasion or opportunity to every see Mr. Kennedy and have not discussed this matter or any of these issues with him."

Right now, Kennedy is not facing criminal charges. However, he is scheduled to be back in court next week for a hearing regarding his unemployment benefits.

CA - Without a home - Sex offenders press judge for relief from Jessica’s Law

Original Article


By Kelly Davis

In 1989, Mike pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault. It was a he said / she said case: His girlfriend at the time accused him of touching her breasts after she’d told him to stop. Though he disputed her version of events—and still does—he was told that the crime was so minor that the easiest thing would be to plead guilty. “And you’re out of here,” he was told.

One 15-minute occasion 23 years ago with my girlfriend,” he said, standing in the hallway of San Diego’s Central Courthouse.

Two decades later, Mike was homeless and living in a van. Though his 1987 offense didn’t involve a child and he hasn’t committed a sexual offense since then, when he was released to parole for a 2006 theft conviction, he found himself subject Prop. 83, or Jessica’s Law, the 2006 ballot initiative that, among other things, bars parolees with a sex offense on their record from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

Mike was fitted with a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet and told he couldn’t return to his apartment with his wife and kids because it was too close to a school. Unwilling to uproot his family and unable to pay two rents, he bought a Chevy Astro and installed carpet and a flat-screen TV. He was allowed to spend two hours in the morning and two hours at night in the apartment—long enough to charge his GPS device. He couldn’t park his van in the apartment complex—or on any residential property—but he could park it on a public street or, with permission, in a private commercial lot, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

I can live in a vehicle near a park or school, but not in my home,” he testified to a judge last week.

Mike is one of four parolees who are petitioning the San Diego Superior Court for relief from Jessica’s Law’s residence restrictions, arguing that the law has forced them into homelessness. Indeed, according to the state Attorney General’s office, the number of homeless registered sex offenders in California has skyrocketed since the law was enacted. Only 88 were homeless prior to the law. In August of last year, that number had grown to roughly 5,064—a 5,700-percent increase.

In hearings that began on Jan. 25 and were set to wrap up on Feb. 2, bleak individual stories emerged from petitioners’ testimony—one testified, for instance, that despite having full-blown AIDS and only $200 to his name, he was denied housing assistance by parole authorities; a woman barred from living with her sister got a bed at a homeless shelter but was then told it was too close to Petco Park. And there are commonalities— all four, for example, have struggled with drug addiction and found it more difficult to stay sober out on the street. Because of their criminal histories, they’re unemployed or underemployed, further limiting their housing options.

The petitioners are represented by county Deputy Public Defender Laura Arnold while two deputies from the state Attorney General’s office defended the law. It was Arnold’s case to prove. The state put on only one witness to her 14 and offered little in the way of cross examination. The thrust of the state’s case focused on whether petitioners, some of whom had a history of homelessness, would have been living on the streets regardless of Jessica’s Law.

The hearings come one year after the California Supreme Court declined to rule on whether the residence restrictions are unconstitutional. Instead, judges asked local courts to determine whether the law, as applied, is vague and overly broad. The Constitution requires that parole conditions be narrowly tailored to a person’s most recent crime. Under Jessica’s Law, petitioners claim, they’re being subjected to rules based on crimes for which they already did their time. And while the law’s intent was to protect children, residency restrictions apply to parolees whose sexual offense didn’t involve a child. Lined up behind the four are at least 130 more petitioners in similar circumstances.

As of Tuesday, the petitioners had called parole agents, a forensic psychologist and psychotherapists employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to counsel sex offenders.

Jack Chamberlain, a psychotherapist, testified that roughly 20 percent of the parolee sex offenders he counsels are homeless.

It ties my hands as a psychotherapist,” he said. “I cannot do the psychotherapy that I’d like to do with some of these men unless they have a stable place to live.”

Parole agent Reuben Hernandez, who used to supervise high-risk sex offenders, said he left the unit after Jessica’s Law passed because he predicted “it would eventually become transient, the whole caseload.”

Experts on sexual offending use the term “containment model” to describe a three-pronged approach to managing sex offenders. Hernandez testified that when he was supervising sex offenders, his containment model was simple: “I secured them a residence and employment. That was my model of containment.”

Three parole agents acknowledged in their testimony that only in rare cases—for a limited number of mentally ill sex-offender parolees, deemed “EOP,” or Enhanced Outpatient Program—is housing assistance provided. John, an EOP parolee diagnosed with bipolar disorder, testified that he was told he “wasn’t crazy enough” for housing assistance.

Agents said they were told not to assist parolee sex offenders with finding housing.

There was a time when we were told not to tell them where to live,” said Agent Maria Dominguez. “‘I can’t tell you where you can live,’” she said she’d tell them, “‘but if you bring me an address, I’ll tell you if it’s compliant.’

Dominguez said agents had a map showing compliant areas but weren’t allowed to provide it to parolees. And, even if agents knew of affordable, compliant housing, “We could not find locations for them,” she testified.

Psychotherapist Michael Feer testified that he tried to assist parolees in finding housing through Google Earth until it was blocked from his computer. He said he was told that its use wasn’t approved by CDCR and that it wasn’t his job to assist parolees in finding a home.

Parole agents are required by state mandate to provide… assistance,” he testified. Sex offenders “are not provided that level of assistance... by policy” "Without that assistance, their instability not only remains, but their instability grows.”

John, who was granted an emergency stay from the residence restrictions last fall, said that as soon as he was able to move in with a friend, “I felt like I was a normal person,” he testified. “I didn’t have to hide in the riverbed. I didn’t have to hang out with drug addicts. I have a better shot at having a normal life.”

Dominguez said that prior to Jessica’s Law, she could exercise discretion—based on criminal history and case factors—to determine where a person could live. High-risk sex offenders, she said, “were not allowed to live on the street; they were not allowed to be transient.”

Several witnesses testified that the law was vague as to what constitutes a school or park. Schools, they said, included public and private institutions, kindergarten through 12th grade, but not preschools or daycares. Beaches and amusement parks were considered parks by some agents, but not others. Julie Wartell, a crime analyst for the District Attorney’s office, testified about maps she’d drawn up with 2,000-foot buffers around schools and parks. Only 24.5 percent of all residential parcels in the county are compliant, she said, while 2.9 percent of multi-family parcels—apartments, mobile home parks—comply with the law.

Of course there’s compliant housing,” Arnold said, “But this is not housing that’s affordable to, or suitable for, the petitioners.”

Regardless of the outcome of the hearing, Jessica’s Law’s residence restrictions will eventually end up back in front of the state Supreme Court. “We’re creating the record the Supreme Court asked us to,” Judge Michael Wellington told the attorneys. Meanwhile, a similar case is being prepared in Los Angeles County, where more than 600 petitioners had sought relief— overwhelming the court—before Judge Peter Espinoza ordered a countywide stay in November.

Political pressure to amend the law is growing, too. Former state Sen. George Runner, Prop. 83’s author, has, in the past, been a staunch defender of his law. In December 2007, when grilled by members of the California Sex Offender Management Board—clinical experts and members of law enforcement—he shrugged off arguments that the law’s claim of high rates of recidivism among sex offenders wasn’t supported by any scientific studies. Studies, in fact, have shown the opposite.

According to the meeting minutes: “Senator Runner argues that this is irrelevant because we are supposed to implement what the public/voters asked for.”
- If the public wanted to kill all criminals, would you oblige?

In December, though, shortly before resigning his Senate seat to take a position with the state Board of Equalization, Runner introduced Senate Bill 54, which would change the way 2,000-foot buffers are determined. Currently measured “as the crow flies,” distance between a residence and a school or park would be determined by public path. The bill would also allow individual parolees to petition the court for relief from the law. Offenders who’ve committed a crime against a child under 14 wouldn’t be eligible for relief.

VA - 'Physical castration' removed from Virginia sex offender bill

Original Article

You see folks, we can make a difference, you just have to get up and speak out.


By Amanda Hess

Virginia state Sen. Emmett Hanger has revised the language of his now-infamous bill requesting that the state consider the possibility of physically castrating sex offenders as a form of post-incarceration treatment.

Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia, an advocacy group which sees the state's sex offender registry as a "useless list of names that the public can no longer use to decipher between those who pose a true threat to society and from those who have been arbitrarily swept up in this legislative predator hysteria," reports on the development:

On Tues., Feb. 1, RSOL of Virginia appeared in front of the Senate Education and Health Sub-Committee in order to oppose Hanger's bill, which would examine "the feasibility of the use of physical castration as a treatment option."

"The Senator stated that this year’s bill has received a lot of press, and he believes in the castration portion of the bill," RSOL reports. However, Sen. Hanger went on to say that "if removing it would keep his bill alive, he would do so." According to RSOL, three of four subcommittee members voted to remove the physical castration language from the bill.

With the possibility of castration out of the mix, Sen. Hanger's bill now calls for the state to consider "the use of residential housing facilities" in the treatment of sex offenders, "review the offenses that qualify as sexually violent offenses," and "determine whether changes may be made to reduce the cost of treatment and care of sexually violent predators while protecting the safety and welfare of citizens of the Commonwealth." As it stands, the RSOL has put its full support behind the bill, and has "thanked the Senator for removing the castration portion."

Sen. Hanger's office did not return a request for comment.

UT - Former police officer (Jeffrey Westerman) sentenced to jail for sex assault

Original Article


By Dan Metcalf Jr.

PROVO (ABC 4 News) - A former Provo Police officer was sentenced to 6 months in the Utah County Jail on Thursday over a sex assault on a woman involved in a traffic crash.

Jeffrey Westerman pleaded guilty in December to attempted forcible sex abuse and obstruction of justice.

The victim's father spoke with ABC 4 outside the courtroom on Thursday, and called Westerman a "predator with a badge."

Prosecutors say Westerman was arrested and booked into the Juab County Jail for forcible sex abuse in July.

Utah County Sheriff's Office investigators say a woman said she had been sexually molested following a minor traffic accident near 300 South and University Avenue on July 22.

A probable cause statement sad that Westerman handled the accident, that he used his position as a police officer to request sex in exchange to not file any criminal charges against the woman. Prosecutors say Westerman fondled the woman's breasts during the incident.

Westerman denied the allegations at first, but accepted a plea deal in December.

AR - Bill to require sex offenders to register computers, e-mails advances through committee

Original Article


LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A bill to require sex offenders register their e-mail addresses, user names and computers has passed out of an Arkansas legislative committee and goes to the state House for a vote.

The bill by Democratic Rep. Tiffany Rogers of Stuttgart cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. It would require sex offenders subject to lifetime registration to report all e-mail addresses, user names and screen names, in addition to computers and Internet-ready devices they have access to.

Those sex offenders would have to report changes to their technological information every six months.

Rogers says the bill adapts current law to reflect technological advances. The state attorney general backed Rogers' proposal as a means to strengthen the fight against cybercrimes.
- So in essence, they are saying cyber crimes are caused by sex offenders? What about all the identity thieves, hackers, spam/scammers, etc? Also, most sex offenders did not use the Internet to commit their crime.

NY - Neighborhood upset over sex offender

WA - Spokane County Sex Offender Task Force In Danger Of Losing Funding