Thursday, May 26, 2011

NY - Two New York City Police Officers (Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata) Acquitted of Rape

Original Article

See Also: NYPD cops charged with rape after caught on surveillance video

05/26/2011

Two New York City police officers on Thursday were found not guilty of raping a drunken woman who had been helped into her apartment by the officers while on patrol.

The verdict brings to an end a criminal case that drew outrage across the city when the officers were indicted in 2009, and provides some measure of vindication for the officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.

The officers were convicted of three counts of official misconduct for entering the woman’s apartment, but the jury found them not guilty of all other charges, including burglary and falsifying business records.

The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said on Thursday that the officers would be fired immediately — up till now, they have been suspended with pay.

The guilty verdicts involved violations of the officers’ oaths of office and as a result warrant immediate termination,” Mr. Kelly said. “Both officers will be terminated today.”

During the trial, the officers both admitted to violating their duties on the night in question; Officer Moreno testified that he cuddled with the drunken woman in her bed while she wore nothing but a bra.

Both officers could face up to a year in jail on each count when they are sentenced on June 28 before Justice Gregory Carro of State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Appearing tense and tight faced in front of the courthouse, Officer Moreno said he was not angry.

I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “It’s a lesson and a win.”

When a reporter asked Officer Moreno what he meant by “a lesson,” his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, interjected to say, “Well, we’ll just leave it at that.”

The case presented a formidable challenge for prosecutors: there was no DNA evidence suggesting that either officer had committed a sexual act, and the victim was admittedly drunk and had only a foggy recollection of the night in question.

As the verdict was read, Officer Mata looked straight ahead, while Officer Moreno cast his eyes downward, placing his fingertips on his lips.

After the verdict was delivered, Officer Moreno’s mother, Aida Moreno-Ruiz, called a relative from her cellphone. “Hey, Freddy,” she said. “It’s over. It’s over. Not guilty.”

She said in an interview that she knew that her son was “not capable of doing something so ugly.”

Thank God it’s over and the truth came out,” she said.

Prosecutors had accused Officer Mata, 29, of standing guard while Officer Moreno had sex with the woman.

After initially helping the woman into her apartment, the officers were captured by surveillance cameras as they re-entered the woman’s East Village building three times.

Officer Moreno, 43, testified during the nearly two-month-long trial that he was a recovering alcoholic and had developed a rapport with the woman that night, when she confided in him that her friends were mad at her because she drank too much. They flirted, he sang Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to her and she actually came onto him, wearing nothing but a bra, he said. He testified that he kissed the woman on the forehead and snuggled with her in her bed, but insisted that they did not have sex.

But the woman, now 29 and living in California, told a much different story. She said she did not have a drinking problem and would never have said something like that to the officer.

The woman, who was drinking heavily at a Brooklyn bar while celebrating a job promotion, conceded that she had blacked out on many details of the evening. Still, she testified to vivid memories of hearing police radios crackling and Velcro tearing open, of feeling her tights being rolled down, and then of being penetrated as she lay dazed, face down on her bed.

After the verdict, Officer Moreno said the woman was “mistaken and confused.”

He added, “my intention was from the beginning just to help her.”

When the officers were indicted in 2009, Mr. Kelly, who typically does not speak about pending cases against his officers, broke protocol to make a statement.



MI - Former Ferndale police officer (Thomas Cupples) gets 71 months behind bars for sex charges

Thomas Cupples
Original Article
Earlier article

05/26/2011

By Ann Zaniewski

An assistant prosecutor called Thomas Cupplesa man of great evil” before the former police officer convicted of molesting a girl was sentenced this morning to a minimum of 71 months in prison, the highest possible sentence within guidelines.

Thomas Cupples of Oxford did not make a statement when given an opportunity to speak in court. Through his attorney, he has denied any wrongdoing.

Cupples was accused of sexually assaulting the girl on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old. He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and the jury decided to convict him earlier this month of two counts of the lesser offense of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant’s courtroom this morning, Assistant Prosecutor Jason Pernick had harsh words for Cupples. He asked the judge to depart upward from Cupples’ minimum sentencing guidelines, which ranged from 36 to 71 months behind bars.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said there were no substantial or compelling reasons to depart from the guidelines. During the trial, he argued that there were numerous inconsistencies in the girl’s testimony.

The victim’s mother told the judge that Cupples’ actions will impact her daughter for the rest of her life.

Grant sentenced Cupples to 71 months to 15 years behind bars.

According to reports, Cupples left the Ferndale Police Department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.


PA - High court: Allegheny sex-offender law invalid

Original Article

05/26/2011

By PETER JACKSON

HARRISBURG (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says an Allegheny County ordinance barring sex offenders from living in certain areas is invalid.

In a strongly worded opinion (PDF), Chief Justice Ronald Castille said the 2007 ordinance is pre-empted by the state's Megan's Law registration requirements and state policies that promote rehabilitation.

Castille said the ban on registered sex offenders living within 2,500 feet of schools, child-care facilities, community centers and public parks would force many to live in isolated areas that in effect become "localized penal colonies."

The court's unanimous opinion stems from a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of several sex offenders. The county appealed a federal judge's 2009 ruling striking down the ordinance and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sought the state court's input.


UK - Paedophile (and his elderly mother) driven out of home by vigilantes

Original Article

05/26/2011

By RORY REYNOLDS and KEVIN DUGUID

Police are investigating vigilantes who hounded a child sex offender and his elderly mother out of their home after learning of his convictions.

[name withheld] was forced to flee his home in Dalkeith after the windows of his flat were smashed and he was subjected to intimidation.

The 39-year-old has been moved to a secret location along with his mother after being collected from the quiet residential estate by protection officers.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this month he was convicted of taking close-up pictures of boys as young as five on the Royal Mile during last year's Edinburgh Festival.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver said it was "uninvited photography of children".

[name withheld] is currently awaiting sentence while background reports are carried out.

Local residents became aware of his offences when, after the verdict, it emerged he was already subject to a strict sexual offences prevention order which bans him from contacting children under 16 and using the internet.

[name withheld] had been living with his elderly mother in close proximity to two dozen youngsters at Shadepark Gardens for two years.

In the short time between the attack on May 5 and when he was whisked away the following week, neighbours collected hundreds of names on a petition demanding he be evicted, although there is no suggestion that they were involved in the attacks on his home.

Angie Clarke, 42, who lives in the street with granddaughter, Katelyn, six, organised the petition. She said: "He's a scumbag for doing the things he has done. It's disgusting."

"I think it's unfair we did not know. We would have watched out more for our kids. Now he's going to land on someone else's doorstep. I would like to see him put somewhere where there are no children."

A former neighbour of [name withheld], who asked not to be named, said he was shocked to discover he had allowed the man close access to his own children.

The neighbour said: "He began to speak to my young son and was giving him toy cars and Hearts football club stuff. He sometimes gave my youngest daughter things as well but always knocked the door and asked first."
- And you allowed it, apparently!

"After a while he would just speak to them on his own and give them things."
- And you knew about it and said or did nothing?

The father said his children would also see [name withheld] looking out at them from behind his curtains while they played.

Adele Gibson, 24, who lives in the street with her son Ryan, six, added: "I was furious when I found out. All the boys here play on a grass area, which he was looking straight on to from his home."

"He would sit out in his garden all day."

A Midlothian Council spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases but said public safety was of paramount importance, adding: "There are robust processes and procedures in place to manage sex offenders."

Dalkeith councillor Margot Russell confirmed [name withheld] had left the street. "He was moved on by the local authority," she said.


PA - Former officer (Thomas Kuechler) declared a sexually violent predator

Thomas Kuechler
Original Article

05/26/2011

By Laurie Mason Schroeder

MIDDLETOWN - During his years as a Middletown police officer, Thomas Kuechler likely had the uncomfortable job of knocking on residents' doors and informing them that a sexual predator had moved into the neighborhood.

Now that a Bucks County judge in Doylestown has designated Kuechler a sexually violent predator under Megan's Law, it will be his name and photo that cops will be handing out.

Kuechler, 66, is awaiting sentencing for sexually molesting two young girls. During a hearing in Bucks County Court in Doylestown on Wednesday, Judge Jeffrey Finley ruled that Kuechler met the legal criteria to be declared a sexually violent predator.

The designation, which is reserved for sex offenders deemed likely to strike again, means that Kuechler must undergo lifetime sex offender counseling and will be closely watched by police.

"Given the jury's verdict, the finding was anticipated," said Kuechler's lawyer, Louis Busico. "Mr. Kuechler's next fight will be in a different courtroom."

A jury in January found Kuechler, a Middletown native who moved to Florida after retiring from the township police force in 1994, guilty of sexually assaulting two girls, starting when one was just 6 years old.

He'll be sentenced later this summer and could serve more than 20 years behind bars.

During the weeklong trial, the girls testified that Kuechler touched them inappropriately and forced them to perform sex acts.

Most of the abuse occurred in local hotel rooms. Kuechler, who knew the victims through family members, traveled back to Bucks often as part of his new job training police officers in accident investigation. He invited the girls to swim in the pools at the hotels where he stayed.

The sexual assaults began in 2000 and lasted until 2008. The crimes came to light in 2009, when one victim's mother found a note the girl had written to a friend about the abuse and questioned her.

Kuechler took the stand during the trial and denied the allegations. He said he never touched the girls sexually and was "devastated" that they had accused him.

In reaching his finding, Finley relied on a psychologist's report that said Kuechler is a pedophile who used classic "grooming" techniques to gain access to his victims.

"If released into the community, he is likely to commit a similar offense," the judge said, reading from the report.

Deputy District Attorney Nathaniel Spang said the judge's ruling was consistent with what the victims testified to in court.

No victims were called to speak at the hearing. Spang said they'll get a chance to address the judge at Kuechler's sentencing.

Kuechler was found guilty of numerous counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent exposure and corruption of minors.

He remains behind bars while awaiting sentencing and is being held in solitary confinement for his own safety, because he's a former law enforcement officer.
- So what?  Non-Police do not get put into solitary when in jail/prison, they are usually put into general population, in prison, and in a special cell with other sex offenders in jail.  Nobody else gets that protection, and once he is charged and sent to prison, are you going to continue to protect him or treat him as any other person?