Monday, May 23, 2011

CA - Former Sheriff's Deputy (Michael Bareno) Charged With Child Molestation Accepts Plea Deal

Original Article

05/23/2011

By Jennifer Wadsworth

San Ramon resident Michael Bareno pleaded guilty to three counts of child endangerment this morning, according to prosecutors.

A former Alameda County Sheriff's deputy accused of molesting three children between 2005 and 2009 pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of child endangerment.

Michael Bareno, a 43-year-old San Ramon resident, was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation. He gets credit for 199 days served, which means he could be released in about a month, prosecutor Paul Graves told Patch.
- How many regular citizens would get this kind of deal?

Bareno was a sheriff's deputy for 15 years before being placed on administrative leave after his November arrest. Prosecutors said he formally resigned a few weeks ago.

Bareno was first charged with 10 counts of child molestation. Prosecutors said he molested two boys and a girl in Contra Costa County, all of them under the age of 10.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Officer offered the plea bargain because of factual issues and the age of the victims.

Judge Brian Haynes asked the victims' mother if he should deny the plea bargain. The mother said to accept it so her children could move on.

As part of his sentence, Bareno has to pay for any counseling the victims may need. He is also not allowed to object to a restraining order if the mother files one against him.
- And will he be on the sex offender registry and made to life by the residency restrictions?


Facebook Founder Welcomes Kids Under 13 on Site

Original Article

They still have not changed the "Terms of Service" which states anyone under 13 cannot use the site. I wonder if he will also welcome ex-sex offenders who are trying to get on with their lives?

05/23/2011

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is willing to alter the site's regulations to permit children under 13 to join, he said recently.

Speaking before the NewSchools Summit in California, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act regulates what information websites can gather on children under age 13. He's determined to change this, reported International Business Times.

"That will be a fight we take on at some point," Zuckerberg reportedly said. "My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age." The site hasn't yet begun to figure out how kids would use the site at such an age, though he assured those present that the company would take a lot of precautions to make sure that younger kids are safe.

Zuckerberg's statements come on the heels of a pair of eye-opening studies that reveal a giant population of underage users already on Facebook. The number of U.S. parents who would allow children 10-12 years old to have a Facebook or MySpace account has doubled in a year, according to an online survey of about 1,000 adults by Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project.

Seventeen percent of U.S. parents questioned in the poll said they had no problem with a pre-teen child using a social media site, compared to just eight percent a year ago. And 11 percent of parents admitted to using social media sites on behalf of a young child or infant.

And as many as 7.5 million kids under the age of 13 are using the social-networking service, despite the company's official prohibition -- 5 million under the age of 10, according to a survey released last week by Consumer Reports.

For minors who lack the experience or judgment to use a social network, this raises the scary potential of sexual predators tracking down kids who reveal their age in an online chat, cyberbullying and more.

A million kids were bullied on Facebook in the last year," Jeff Fox, technology editor at Consumer Reports, told FoxNews.com upon the release of the study. "A 10-year-old is not well-equipped to deal with those things.”

Fox said Facebook recognizes that kids should not use the service and prohibits access to those under 13. But the age verification system is weak, he said: It’s too easy to lie about your age. Facebook could instead use existing age verification services such as Privo. Or a parent could first prove their age using credit card verification and then vouch for the child’s age, he suggested.

Facebook released an official statement about the Consumer Reports survey, acknowledging that it was relatively easy for children to work around the age restrictions.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don’t circumvent a system or lie about their age," the statement reads. "We appreciate the attention that these reports and other experts are giving this matter and believe this will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, safety advocates and Internet services to focus on this area, with the ultimate goal of keeping young people of all ages safe online.”


NY - Queens Lawmaker Proposes "Panic Button" for Hotel Housekeepers

Original Article

Just the usual knee-jerk reaction from politicians.

05/23/2011

A New York assemblyman says he wants the state to require hotels to provide their housekeepers with an emergency "panic button" that would help protect them from sexual assaults on the job.
- It's called pepper spray, or a legal firearm.  Are you going to issue a "panic button" to all citizens of the world as well?

Assemblyman Rory Lancman, a Democrat from Queens, said he will introduce the bill Monday. The move comes a week after former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid.

"We send hotel workers, housekeepers into rooms by themselves without any other staff, without any other security," Lancman said at a news conference Sunday outside the Sofitel Hotel, the site of Strauss-Kahn's alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid last week.
- And whose fault is that?  The hotel should not be sending a single person into a room. Also, why not just install something in the hotel, so if a person is assaulted, when that person calls the front desk, they can then press a button so nobody can leave or enter until the offender is caught?

Lancman said attacks on hotel housekeepers are common, and though the incidents "may not be as brutal or as sensational" as the allegations in the Strauss-Kahn case, housekeepers are often inappropriately groped or propositioned.
- Common?  Really?  And what evidence does he have of that?  Or is this just personal feelings?  If people are inappropriately groped, they should contact the police, and millions of people each day are propositioned, that is nothing new, and yes, that is my personal opinion.

Lancman referred to a New York Times article on Saturday highlighting the sexual affronts hotel housekeepers have long had to face.

The proposed legislation calls for hotels to provide a small device for housekeepers that would, at the touch of a button, trigger an audible alarm or alert hotel security.
- Like I said, why not do that, and also lock the doors so nobody can leave or enter?

He estimated a cost of $20 to $40 per device, though he said it would cost "significantly less" for hotels to buy in bulk.

The Associated Press said a review of court documents and news reports found at least 10 other hotel housekeepers who say they've been attacked in the U.S. in the last three years.

Labor groups said other cases are kept quiet because the victims are illegal immigrants or because hotels are wary of scaring off guests.


NY - Prison Guards Get Light Sentences For Sex Abuse

Original Article

05/23/2011

By Kelly Virella

New York State prison guards who break the law by having sex with an inmate often receive favorable treatment by juries and light sentences from judges.

The May/June issue of City Limits features the results of a four-month investigation into staff sexual abuse of female inmates in New York prisons. Click here to read what we found.

About three months after an inmate at Albion Correctional Facility alleged that Correctional Officer Donald L. violently raped her, the officer found himself on the wrong side of the law. Sitting at his own arraignment hearing in the Orleans County Courthouse in October 2007, he entered a guilty plea on charges of third-degree rape and official misconduct, exposing himself to the possibility of up to four years in prison for the first charge alone.

At Donald's January 2008 sentencing hearing, his attorney called for mercy—specifically, for the former officer to be sentenced to weekends in jail,. "I submit respectfully, and not only because of Donald, but because of his fiancé, their young child and the fact that they look to him for their support, I would respectfully ask the Court to consider that," Buffalo attorney Joseph M. LaTona said.

Judge James P. Munch quickly agreed, giving Donald 60 days of weekends in jail and 10 years of probation. The judge said the rape wasn't violent and the inmate wanted it. "There was no force used here," he said. "And Mr. LaTona is absolutely right: There is only so much empathy you can have for an inmate who wanted to have relations with you."

In a recent survey of correctional facilities across the nation, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that three New York State prisons ranked among the top 11 participating facilities in the rate of inmate reports of staff sexual abuse. The outcome of Donald's case illustrates what critics say is a major obstacle to reducing staff sexual abuse in New York State: the tepid response of the criminal justice system.
- Rape is a crime, and should be punished, more so for people in positions of authority, but as usual, they almost always get light sentences.  Is this person going to be on the states sex offender registry for life?  I doubt it.  Also, the study linked above, may or may not be the one they quote, it's just the latest one we found on the BJS web site.

The New York State Department of Correctional Services, or DOCS, which operates 67 state correctional facilities where some 56,000 inmates are currently incarcerated, doesn't refer all potential cases of sexual abuse to its own inspectors. But even when DOCS pursues criminal charges in connection with substantiated incidents of sexual contact, the punishment that could be meted out to prison staff may be mitigated or overruled by other parties. Critics say that prosecutors impose lenient charges and negotiate sweetheart plea deals; juries exonerate the suspects despite solid evidence; and judges show undue mercy.

"The DA did not prosecute this as a rape in the first degree, which it should have been. The State Police, every time they looked at the case, they went into a coma," says Terrence Kindlon, the attorney for Donald's victim. (Donald declined, through a relative, to comment for this story. [name withheld]'s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.)
- Of course they do, it's one of their own, whom they protect.

”Your oath is to do justice”

Officials from the New York State Department of Correctional Services declined to comment for this story. But a New York State Police investigator maintains that he and his agency—who are responsible for arresting prison employees everywhere except New York City—take sexual abuse seriously. Citing a recent arrest, he said another was imminent. "We are working various cases with current and past officers," says investigator Mike Notto. "We still arrest numerous officers."

Two New York State district attorneys with jurisdiction over women's prisons say they take the crimes seriously, too, and work hard to secure convictions and appropriate sentences. "I’m sure we have a 90 percent conviction rate," says Joe Cardone, Orleans County's district attorney.