Friday, February 4, 2011
By Cassidy Moody
ST. CHARLES (AP) - The former top police officer in Fredericktown has been sentenced to multiple life terms for molesting two young brothers over several years.
Judge Ted House on Friday told Kenneth D. Tomlinson II "you're every parent's nightmare."
Tomlinson pleaded guilty in November to 22 counts related to sexual abuse.
The boys were ages 11 and 13 when the abuse began. Tomlinson was the Scout master of a Boy Scout troop the boys joined.
Attorney General Chris Koster personally led the state's case at the sentencing hearing. In a statement, Tomlinson apologized to the boys' family, sought their forgiveness and said he will seek rehabilitation in prison.
Tomlinson's attorney had asked for a 20-year sentence.
This reinforces what I have said for years, most people thrown in prison do not get any therapy to fix why they are in there in the first places, it's just a warehouse. This article states there is 8 facilities in the country that do provide treatment. It would seem, if they really wanted to help reduce crime and recidivism, they'd have treatment in ALL facilities.
By Matthew K. Jensen
Close to one-third of Utah's current prison population is made up of people convicted of sex offenses - a majority of which are crimes against children.
And while many states have a warehousing approach to incarceration, the Utah Department of Corrections offers therapeutic treatment to dozens of sex offenders each year.
The Utah State Prison is one of eight correctional facilities in the country that offers programming for convicted sex offenders.
- I personally don't like the "programming" term, but therapy. Programming sounds too much like brainwashing.
Though it's not guaranteed, people sentenced to prison for a sex offense may be eligible to participate in the state's Sex Offender Treatment Program, or SOTP.
Steve Gehrke, a spokesman for the state's corrections system, says the prison provides cognitive/behavioral therapy two times per week that focuses on accepting responsibility, victim empathy and relapse prevention. Therapy consists of group psychotherapy, psycho-educational classes, homework and therapeutic activities with other offenders in treatment, according to the department's website.
"All offenders participating in sex offender treatment are expected to achieve satisfactory progress at both an intellectual and emotional level," said Gehrke. "Their progress is measured by observable changes - not simply by completion of assignments or time in therapy."
On average, therapy lasts 18 months, but Gehrke says some inmates progress more quickly and some take longer.
"Progress is based on how hard the offenders work, how motivated they are, and how willing they are to incorporate the changes in effort to show commitment toward rehabilitating their lives without being defensive," he said.
Michael Robinson, a program director at the prison who treats sex offenders, says the most effective treatment fosters a permanent change in thinking and behavior.
"I believe the best philosophy is to treat people with respect and hold them accountable for their choices," he said, "so that their change is lasting instead of trying to just look good, which is often what they did when they were offending."
Looking good, he explained, refers to a trait commonly found in sex offenders who carry out one life in public and a separate one in private.
"They appear normal on the outside," he said. "When they're home, inside is where they show this monstrous behavior."
- This is just more generic words to attempt to put all sex offenders into the "monsters" category, and most are not this type of person.
Robinson says a majority of child sex offenders are not exclusively interested in children. In many cases, he said, perpetrators have a consensual adult sexual partner but simultaneously desire children. Pedophilia, he says, is a diagnosis for people who seek sexual encounters exclusively with children.
When asked how an adult can derive gratification from an underage person, Robinson says the reasons vary.
"Each individual has their own motivation for why they're offending," he said. "Which makes some more amenable to treatment than others."
Robinson says perpetrators may also target a child victim due to an inability to have appropriate adult relationships.
"Sometimes it includes a social ineptness in which they are afraid of rejection in pursuing a sexual relationship in a healthy, socially acceptable manner," he said. "It's still no excuse. It isn't an addiction, it isn't a sickness, it is a criminal choice."
He adds that most child sex crimes come from an individual's desire for control.
"Sexual abuse is a control crime; sex is the tool," he said. "It's not just physiologically sexual, it's also a gratification to have that type of power over another."
The first step in treatment requires participants to give a full disclosure of their offenses in front of their peers. Robinson says he's looking for participants to discuss how they selected their victims and to acknowledge how the crimes affected the victims.
"We're looking for their level of responsibility at the outset of treatment," he explained. "We're looking for emotional connection. Is there remorse as they're sharing this or are they just telling a story and not accepting responsibility?"
That first step, he says, can last up to three months for some inmates.
"Treatment isn't going to be easy for someone who is entrenched in deviant thinking," he added. "It will take a lot of courage to face their horrific choices and be able to recognize the effects of their choices on those that they hurt."
Next, offenders work to develop empathy for victims and focus on relapse prevention.
"Sexual abuse doesn't just happen," said Robinson. "It's planned."
- That is not true for all sex offenders. People need to stop trying to put all sex offenders into one group and applying cookie cutter treatment! Each person is different and each person requires a different treatment! Not all sex offenders are the same!
Perpetrators work to develop a fundamental change in thinking and Robinson says he and other trained therapists can tell if inmates are being truthful.
After treatment, inmates are encouraged to prepare for life outside of prison and have realistic expectations of what's to come after their release. It's not uncommon for offenders to become reclusive after release, but treatment helps offenders realize a more social life can help prevent new offenses.
"Some people feel so terrible about themselves they think they need to be locked up for the rest of their lives," Robinson said. "If they don't crawl out of that, they sabotage themselves."
Pro Tech lost the bid to BI Incorporated, who was recently bought out by The Geo Group, who also runs the Florida civil commitment process.
By Peter Linton-Smith
PASCO COUNTY - There are nearly 3,000 sex offenders walking the streets of Florida and their every move is tracked by Pro Tech, a company based in Pasco County.
Pro Tech designs and builds sophisticated tracking devices. It attaches those devices to the ankles of sex offenders.
“We see in one minute intervals everywhere the offender is going,” explained Pro Tech’s President Steve Chapin.
“We can determine the offender’s behavior,” he said.
- No you can't determine their behavior.
Pro Tech has been tracking sex offenders for 14 years, but it recently lost a bid to renew that contract. A Colorado based company under cut Pro Tech’s bid and won the contract. Now some lawmakers say the effort to save money may be dangerous.
- GPS is fraught with errors, false alarms, wasted police time tracking down these errors, etc.
“Public safety should never ever come in second and in this case it has,” Senator Mike Fasano said.
Pro Tech said it has a 99.99999% reliability record. Its Pasco County facility is backed up by another facility in Jacksonville. Conversely, Fasano claims the Colorado firm has a history of technical failures.
- Any GPS system is going to have problems, and the company he is referring to had one outage, which was due to the number of records they could hold in the database. See here.
“The company in Colorado has a record of going completely down so you have no idea where these felons are,” he said.
Fasano raised his concerns with the Florida Department of Corrections. The secretary responded “The Department’s number one priority is public safety. We believe that the process for the electronic monitoring contract adequately took this priority into account.”
Chapin acknowledges his company’s bid was slightly higher than his out-of-state competitor. However he maintains any cost savings will be immediately wiped out because of the cost associated with transferring the job.
“One of the things no one is considering is the price of re-training all the probation officers bringing in all the offenders to put on a different piece of equipment,” said Chapin.
Pro Tech is appealing the loss of the contract. In the meantime no one from the company in Colorado returned Fox 13’s phone calls.
By Brooke Beare
A former Riverside County probation officer has pleaded guilty to one felony count of having unlawful sex with a minor. The victim was an underage inmate of the juvenile hall in Indio where Elizabeth Zarate Nolan was working at the time. Court records show on Jan. 28th, Nolan withdrew her original plea of "not guilty" to one of 17 counts filed against her. She pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful intercourse with a minor, a felony. Zarate was originally charged with multiple counts of oral copulation with someone under the age of 18, rape by force or fear, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Prosecutors said Nolan sexually assaulted the juvenile hall inmate over a period of several months in 2009.
The case was prosecuted by the California Attorney General because Nolan was married to a prosecutor in the Riverside County District Attorney's office.
Nolan had previously been freed on $500,000 bail. It's unclear if she's been taken back into custody. A spokesman from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the California Attorney General's Office was not immediately available for comment.
Nolan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21st at 1:30 p.m.