Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NY - Former sportscaster Marvell Scott pleads guilty in child prostitute case

Marvell Scott
Original Article

08/16/2011

By LAURA ITALIANO

Disgraced WABC sportscaster Marvell Scott will serve only 20 days of community service after pleading guilty today in a sickening child prostitution rap.
- That is all?????

In the wrist-slap deal, Scott, 36, admitted only to misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. The girl had been offered to him as a prostitute in Times Square back in 2008, and was only 14 years old, prosecutors had charged in court papers.

"On or abut June 5 2008 inside my then-appartment... I acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the welfare of a child by inappropriately touching her...[afterward] I learned she was 14 years old."

Scott had left television last year to be a doctor full-time. He had originally insisted to cops that he didn't even know the girl; confronted with hallway surveillance video showing him accompanying her upstairs, he then insisted that he only let the girl up into his apartment because she was "crying profusely" in the street.

But court papers painted a vividly sick scenario in which the girl and her 16-year-old friend -- both runaways from Albany -- were being pimped by a second man, a stranger who took advantage of them because they'd run out of money in Times Square and were desperate.
- So was this pimp arrested and thrown in prison?

The hallway surveillance video shows Scott taking the younger girl up to his W. 47th Street apartment. When the terrified child refused to have sex with him, he returned her downstairs to the pimp and demanded his money back, prosecutors charged.

But the older teen talked the kid into it. Surveillance video next showed both girls going upstairs with Scott, prosecutors said.

"Defendant had sexual intercourse with the 14-year-old complainant on the bed in his bedroom while the older teen stood looking out the window in the same room," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel wrote in a June 20 decision that referred to the prosecution allegations.

"Just a little more; just a little more," the girl said Scott kept repeating as the kid cried, court papers say.

Today's plea was only to endangering; he did not plead guilty to the original top charges of statutory rape and patronizing a prostitute.

"Mr. Scott has maintained from the very start of this case that he did not commit the serious crime he was originally charged with," defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman said afterward.

"Today's misdemeanor plea and his agreement to perform community service resolves this matter completely and will now permit him to continue his careers in sports medicine and broadcast journalism," Brafman said.

Scott practices sports medicine at Performance Health on East 60th Street.


CA - Match.com reaches settlement with rape victim

Carol Markin
Original Article

08/23/2011

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The dating website Match.com reached a court settlement Tuesday with a plaintiff who had been raped by a site user.

Carole Markin sued Match.com after being raped by a man she had two dates with through the website. The man, Alan Wurtzel, is a convicted sex offender.
- I checked his name, when this originally came out, and he was not on any registry I checked.  So maybe he is a sex offender now, because of this case, but wasn't when she dated him, so this new invasion of privacy would not have prevented this rape.  Hell, she has several books out on the subject, so why didn't she take her own advice?  Anybody knows, or should know, not to invite someone you do not know into your home for God's sake.

Markin sued the Match.com alleging the site should have had background screening in place before allowing people to use the site.

As part of the settlement Carole Markin dismissed the lawsuit, which she did "with prejudice," and she gave up all rights to sue the company again for the incident.
- It's sad she was raped by someone, but it's also her responsibility to check people out before dating them.  So, are we going to now have all dating sites, social networks, and possibly all web sites required to do background checks?  Everybody wants someone else to blame, instead of themselves!

Both parties will bear their own court costs and attorney fees. The settlement stipulates that it does not constitute admission of liability by Match.com.

As part of the settlement, Match.com attorney Robert Platt read a statement aloud to the court Tuesday:

"As Match.com previously announced it would do, it is checking subscribers against state and national sex offender registries. The screening process continues to be refined."
- So, are you going to also check other criminal records for murderers, thieves, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, etc?

"Although Match.com has no legal obligation to do this, for several years it has periodically evaluated the practicality of conducting such checks. Match.com now believes that a combination of improved technology and improved databases enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to implement this measure."

"Match.com continues to stress that while these checks may help in certain instances, it is important that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members. With millions of members, and thousands of first dates a week, Match.com like any other large community, cannot guarantee and is not responsible for the actions of its members."

"Match.com is a fantastic service, having changed the lives of millions of people through the relationships and marriages it has given rise to, but people have to exercise common sense and prudence with people they have just met, whether through an online dating service or any other means."

"When you go on a site like that, you do think of it as safe. You know people lie about their weight or their age, but you don't think they're going to lie about whether or not they're a sex offender," said Markin at a news conference after court Tuesday.
- People lie about their past all the time, and I'm sure she has once in her lifetime.  Maybe you should read your own books some time!

"We believe there's going to be a domino effect to other online dating services, and that Match.com, being the largest, is now agreeing to set a new standard and raise the bar higher," said Mark Webb, Markin's attorney.
- Yep, they are sliding down the slippery slope.  Pretty soon all sites will require your real name, and a background check as well.  Even if you've never done anything wrong, that should worry you, unless you are someone who thinks the government should be your baby sitter!

Markin said she was pleased with the settlement, and that she sued the company for the greater good, and was not seeking money.

Markin said she wanted the incident to be an example for other online dating sites, and that the crime against her was preventable.
- Yes it was, if she would've not let the person into her home, and if she would've done her own checking before actually dating the man.  But she's trying to pass the responsibility off to someone else, instead of herself.


The "Missing White Woman Syndrome"

Original Article

08/22/2011

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States at any given time. If you went solely by what you read in the media, you’d probably assume that most of these cases involve pretty white women.
- Notice that goldilock number 100,000? We see that all the time, especially when it's about missing people?

After all, disappearances like those involving Natalee Holloway, Lauren Spierer and Holly Bobo get splashed across the headlines and are the focus of morning talk and true crime shows. But do the statistics support this perception?

The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) breaks down the 2010 missing person statistics by age, sex and race.

Age

The NCIC database indicates that of the 692,944 people reported missing in 2010, 531,928 were under age 18. Most people would agree that it’s reasonable and appropriate for cases of missing children to get a lot of press. Children are vulnerable and innocent. And such cases are every parent’s worst nightmare.

In addition, the Amber Alert system is specifically designed to use the media and other resources to get word out quickly when a child has gone missing in order to increase the odds of their safe return.

But all missing children cases aren’t treated the same. As they do in cases involving missing women, the media seems to pay more attention to missing white girls. Caylee Anthony is a good example.

And this pattern isn’t limited to the U.S., either. Case in point: the world-wide coverage of the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in Portugal.

Sex

According to the NCIC statistics, 355,243 women were reported missing in 2010, compared to 337,660 men. But the slight edge that women have in the numbers doesn’t seem to justify the barrage of coverage their cases get at the expense of all those missing men.

Think about it: when was the last time you saw extensive media coverage of the disappearance of a man?

Some have explained the media’s focus on missing women by pointing to society’s apparent obsession with “damsels in distress.”

People are riveted by cases in which a young beautiful—often blonde—girl has apparently been abducted by an evil-doer and is in need of rescue.

Race

Besides sex, race is the biggest factor in determining how much interest journalists seem to show in a missing persons case.

It’s difficult to tell from the NCIC statistics exactly how many white women were reported missing in 2010, because the database lumps white and Hispanic missing persons together (418,859) and doesn’t break down the race information by gender.

But journalists certainly act as if cases of missing white people, especially women, merit extensive coverage. There’s even a name for the phenomenon: the missing white woman syndrome.

As Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post eloquently explained, “The specifics of the story line vary from damsel to damsel. In some cases, the saga begins with the discovery of a corpse. In other cases, the damsel simply vanishes into thin air."

Often, there is a suspect from the beginning—an intruder, a husband, a father, a congressman, a stranger glimpsed lurking nearby. Sometimes the tale ends well, or well enough…[b]ut more often, it ends badly. But of course the damsels have much in common besides being female…A damsel must be white.”

For example, the disappearance of pregnant Laci Peterson was a huge news story. In contrast, a pregnant black woman named LaToyia Figueroa who disappeared was barely a blip in the national media, despite efforts by her family to enlist journalists’ help in finding her. (Like Peterson, Figueroa was later found murdered.)

Why the Disparity in Coverage?

Several reasons have been posited for the disparate attention of the media—both mainstream and tabloid—on missing white women. The most basic and obvious reason is because it pays.

Kevin Drum reported, “According to a cable news employee who was willing to state the obvious on an anonymous basis, ‘We showcase missing, young, white, attractive women because our research shows we get more viewers. It’s about beating the competition and ad dollars.’

Kristal Brent Zook, a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, has said that many consider women more sympathetic potential victims than men—and white women even more so. “Who’s appealing? Who’s sexy?,” observed Zook. “ The virginal, pure, blond princess is missing…It has a lot to do with class and sexuality and ageism, not just race.”
- And at the above link, we see the usual "1 in 5" goldilock number, which also appears in many so called studies.

According to another theory, there’s an unconscious bias in newsrooms that leads journalists to assume that men or members of a minority group go missing all the time and usually because of their involvement in some sort of criminal activity.

Thus, journalists may not see missing men or African-American women as victims in the same way they see missing white women.

This bias could be corrected if newsrooms were more diverse, some argue. “The more diverse our work forces are and newsrooms are, the greater the chances our stories will truly reflect our communities,” says Dan Shelley, former chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association.

A 2005 article in the Los Angeles Times on the coverage of the Natalee Holloway disappearance claimed that news directors have become more conscious of slanted reporting as criticism of the disparity of missing persons coverage has grown.

But six years later, such coverage doesn’t seem to have changed at all.

Robin L. Barton, a legal journalist based in Brooklyn, NY, is a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a regular blogger for The Crime Report. She welcomes readers’ comments.

Photo Courtesy of the "Ride for their lives" web site - Showing this is true! Notice all the white folks?


MO - Tim Russo, Political Candidate-Felon - From the 2011 RSOL Conference in Missouri


MO - Mark Lund - From the 2011 RSOL Conference in Missouri


OH - Sex offender target of vigilante

Original Article

08/23/2011

DAYTON - Police believe that a local sex offender could have been the subject of vigilante justice.

Officers believe someone intentionally started a fire and fired a shot through the door of a house on Oakridge. The only problem...besides the gunshots and the fire...the sex offender does not live there.

People in the neighborhood believe the man who was targeted may have committed another sex crime. But police say no such crime has been reported.


NJ - Why Sex Offender Laws Do More Harm Than Good

Original Article

By Deborah Jacobs

There are few crimes more heinous than child molestation. Whether violently attacked by a stranger or preyed upon by a trusted adult in the home, school or place of worship, children who survive such assaults are often left to walk a lifelong path of sorrow and pain.

Unfortunately, our government has failed to take steps that will make a meaningful difference in preventing sex offenses. Megan's Law, civil commitment, and the newest trend in anti-sex offender legislation, banishment zones, which restrict sex offenders from living within certain geographic areas, all play to the fears of the public. But when it comes to stopping sex assaults, these measures do more harm than good.
- They don't stop sex assaults, and they do not protect anybody from someone who is intent on breaking the law, period!

To understand why, one must look at the realities of sex crimes in America today. The vast majority of sex offenses are committed by trusted adults-family members, friends, clergy-and go unreported because of manipulation of the victims, unconscionable decisions by other adults, or both. We saw this most vividly when lawsuits uncovered that the Catholic Church hierarchy had hidden and ignored countless cases of child sexual abuse for decades, choosing to protect its reputation over the children under its care. Unfortunately, this happens in family hierarchies even more frequently.

Because the most common type of sex crime so often goes unreported, most sex offenders never become part of the criminal justice system and therefore are not affected by Megan's Law or banishment zone laws. As a result, these laws give the public a false sense of security, letting us believe that sex offenders have been exiled from their neighborhood, or that if a sex offender does live nearby, we will receive notification of his presence. If we believe that, we are fooling ourselves and, worse, doing our children a disservice. Sex offenders live in every American community, and children need supervision no matter what.

Laws like banishment zone ordinances actually make us less safe, as they impede offender rehabilitation and thereby increase the likelihood of reoffense. People who transition from prison into society face countless challenges, and most have very limited resources, financial or otherwise. People who want to lead law-abiding lives after serving a prison sentence need to establish stability in their homes, jobs and families. Those are difficult things to achieve, but add to this the consequences of Megan's Law and limits to where offenders can live, and few have hope of succeeding. Indeed, the fear of the stigma of Megan's Law can force offenders underground, out of the watchful eye of police and parole officers.

Banishment zone laws may very likely force sexual offenders to move from environments in which they have support networks into other communities in which they have no support, putting residents in their new communities at risk. Further, people who are labeled as sex offenders lose jobs, get evicted, are threatened with death, and harassed by neighbors. Some have had their homes burned down or been beaten in acts of vigilantism. Coping with this kind of stress is almost impossible, and without exceptionally strong support systems, most are doomed to fail.

If you doubt whether we should care about the stress and suffering of someone who committed a sex crime, consider the consequences for society when the ex-offender fails. When nothing works out - job, home, family-individuals are more likely to give up and reoffend.

Rather than banishing sex offenders and asking them to succeed in a hostile environment, we should focus resources on programs and policies that will actually reduce the likelihood of sex offenses occurring in the first place. We need to develop and fund public education programs that teach about the effects of sex abuse and the importance of reporting abuse so that it can be stopped.
- We need to also stop ignoring the facts.  Stop demonizing people!  Stop naming laws after dead children, thus humanizing the laws.  We need to stop turning the justice system into public entertainment!

We need to improve our systems for handling reports of abuse, looking to models like Wynona's House in Essex County, which brings different agencies together to ease the burden on victims reporting abuse. And we need to provide mental health treatment for victims and offenders, in prison and out.

There is no simple fix to the devastating problem of sex abuse. Instead of politically popular measures that make no difference or in fact make us less safe, we need to turn our attention and resources to ways of addressing the epidemic of sex abuse that, while perhaps not as politically popular, will actually work so that more potential victims can be spared.
- I really don't believe it's an epidemic, but it's just the news reporting it more often.  Sex crimes have been around since the day we were all created, and will always be around.

The issue is not whether our children should be protected from sex offenders, but how to accomplish that in an effective and meaningful way. Our children deserve nothing less.

Deborah Jacobs is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.


PA - Pennsylvania misses key federal sex offender deadline

Original Article

08/22/2011

By Brian Bowling

Pennsylvania missed a federal deadline for revamping its sex offender registration laws and risks becoming a "safe haven" for dangerous criminals, a state lawmaker warns.

The Adam Walsh Act, enacted in 2006, mandated a more comprehensive, nationwide system to track sex offenders. It gave states five years to adjust their laws to conform with new guidelines. Fourteen states made the July deadline.

Soon after Gov. Tom Corbett took office in January, he directed his staff to work on the changes needed to bring state law in line with the Adam Walsh Act, said spokesman Kevin Harley.

"It's the Corbett administration's intention to bring Pennsylvania into compliance," he said.
- I think you mean it's his intention on ignoring his oath of office, and spending millions of dollars in order to get a couple hundred thousand, wasting money as most politicians do. And people wonder why we are broke?

The Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy kidnapped and killed in 1981, is stricter than the state's Megan's Law in that it requires sex offenders to register in person and get their pictures taken more frequently so police know where they're living and what they look like, said state Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless. She sponsored several bills to bring the state into compliance over the past five years.

If other states pass the laws and Pennsylvania does not, violent sexual offenders would move here to avoid the tougher laws, Orie said.

"These predators look at you as a safe haven," she said.
- Hey Ms. Orie, not all sex offenders are predators, which you seem to think. That is like calling all blacks gang members, because some are, or all whites are racist, because some are.

Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va., said anecdotal evidence from federal marshals responsible for tracking down sex offenders who fail to maintain their registration supports Orie's argument.

"The most serious offenders were taking advantage of these differences (in state laws) and moving to where they were least likely to be identified," he said. Allen declined to name which states were attracting the sex offenders.
- Can you prove that, or are you just making crap up?& You expect people to just take your word for it? I take no ones word for it, except people who have proven they can be trusted, and of course he did not name the states, because he's probably making it up!

The center estimates about 100,000 of the 780,000 convicted sex offenders in the nation have either failed to register or moved without updating their information.
- Again with the goldilock number of 100,000 missing, which has been shown to be a made up number.

Although the state missed a July 27 deadline, the Corbett administration expects that when the Legislature returns to Harrisburg in September, it will pass the necessary changes, Harley said. Meanwhile, the state is asking the U.S. Justice Department to waive the penalty for failing to comply -- a 10 percent reduction in the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant.
- So if you missed the deadline, then you should lose the money, period.  So you are now asking them to ignore the date, and what they said, and give you the money instead.  Yep, corruption runs deep!

The grant is the primary federal funding that state and local governments receive for criminal justice programs, including police, courts and district attorney's offices. The state received $9.2 million from the program this year, according to the Justice Department. Local governments in the state received ad additional $4 million.

The Corbett administration does not have an estimate of how much it would cost to bring the state into compliance, Harley said.
- Of course they don't, they don't want you to know the truth, that they are spending more money to implement the draconian, unconstitutional laws, than if they just ignored it.  And you wonder why we are broke?  This is like spending a couple thousand dollars on lottery tickets, and then you only win $100.  So you actually lost $1,800.  Anybody with common sense can tell you that that is why this country is going broke!

To comply with the federal law, Pennsylvania would have to adopt a three-tiered system of classifying sex offenders by how long they would need to register with authorities. The state has two categories: those who have to stay registered for 10 years and those who must stay registered for life. Someone who registers must re-register only when changing addresses.

Other changes include adding juvenile offenders to the registry, expanding the list of crimes considered to be sex offenses and increasing the amount of information offenders have to provide to police.

Several states balked at implementing provisions of the Adam Walsh Act because of its cost. In Texas, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, after a yearlong study, recommended against compliance because it would cost more than the state would lose in grant money.

Ohio was the first state to comply with the Adam Walsh Act requirements. Amy Borror, spokeswoman for the Ohio Public Defenders Office, testified in a 2009 congressional hearing that complying with the law spawned more than 6,000 lawsuits and increased the workload on sheriff's offices by about 60 percent.

Borror said the number of lawsuits had increased to more than 7,000, and her office estimates that Ohio has spent at least $10 million just on legal costs. The actual costs of administering the act are harder to calculate because they are spread among the sheriff's and district attorney's offices of the state's 88 counties.
- Everybody across this country, if they are faced with these draconian, unconstitutional laws, should file a law suit against their state.  Even if you cannot afford a lawyer, the state has to appoint one for you, and if you inundate the system, eventually it will crumble!  FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS, OR ACCEPT THE LABEL!

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in two decisions that a key part of the Adam Walsh Act -- reclassifying the state's 26,000 convicted sex offenders into three groups -- is unconstitutional. The court determined that the burdens the new law imposes on offenders are so harsh that they amount to additional punishment rather than an administrative requirement comparable to obtaining a driver's license.

"For the Ohio Supreme Court to say that this had crossed the line into punishment was significant," Borror said.

Lisa Hackley, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office, said that although complying with the act cost the state more than it would have lost in federal grant money, the overall benefit goes beyond the dollar figures.
- What?  What benefit?  This is just borderline insanity!

"For the most part, police prefer for sex offenders to be registered under the Adam Walsh Act," she said.
- So, do corrupt police officers have to registry on an online registry as well? Even those who commit sex crimes, which is growing daily? Also, why not just put all criminals on an online hit-list for vigilantes to take advantage of, or identity thieves?


LA - Revision of Louisiana's crime-against-nature laws, and why they don't do anything for those already convicted

Original Article
Earlier Article

08/23/2011

By Alex Woodward

Louisiana retooled its "scarlet letter" statute to remove the solicitation of oral and anal intercourse as a "sex offender" offense. But there are still hundreds of people on the registry for a crime opponents say shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Last week, the state rolled out its latest batch of laws — more than 200 of them — from changing the state's gemstone to allowing the sale of cars with dashboard TV screens (but not for the driver). However, one law, which prohibits sex offenders from joining social networking websites, has sparked furious disapproval from civil rights groups.

The Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union said it would try to block the law, claiming it's too broad and could be interpreted to include any website with some degree of "social networking," like comment boards and blogs.

That same week, civil rights attorneys and advocacy groups were fighting another law that targeted sex offenders — legislation that has been on the books for decades. That law specifically targets people convicted of solicitation for Crimes Against Nature, a more than 200-year-old Louisiana statute that has remained relatively unchanged for years. The Crimes Against Nature law separates the solicitation of oral and anal sex (which it refers to as "unnatural carnal copulation") from prostitution. Civil rights advocates and attorneys argue it singles out gay and transgender people, and if they are charged with the offense, they face stiffer fines and longer jail sentences than are handed down in prostitution cases — including having to register as a sex offender.
- They should get rid of the crime against nature part, and just change it so if you commit a sex crime, any sex crime, even prostitution, then you will get the scarlet letter "SEX OFFENDER" on your license and forehead for life.  Of course I am being sarcastic, and do not wish anybody to be on the online shaming hit-list.

Until this month, people convicted of solicitation of Crimes Against Nature (or "SCAN") were required to register as sex offenders and be included in a searchable registry on the Louisiana State Police's sex offender and child predator registry alongside convicted child molesters, rapists and pedophiles.

"Being registered means your name, your photo, your address, appear on the website," explains Alexis Agathocleous, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). "You're carrying around a drivers' license and ID that says 'sex offender' in bright letters, you've got to send notifications to neighbors — that includes schools, parks, rec centers, businesses — saying who you are and where you live, that you're convicted of a Crime Against Nature, and also that you're being labeled as a sex offender."
- This is just pure insanity!  So they don't agree with prostitutes being labeled with the "SEX OFFENDER" on their drivers license, and being shamed for life on the online hit-list, but for all others, it's okay?  No, if it's wrong for one group, it's wrong for all, period, end of story.  The sex offender registry is for sex crimes, is it not?  And prostitution is a sex crime, is it not?  Also, do they still label consensual sex among kids a sex crime and put them on the registry?

In June. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed HB 141 (PDF), sponsored by Rep. Charmaine Marchand Stiaes, D-New Orleans, to remove sex offender registration from the SCAN statute. The law equalizes the penalties for both SCAN and prostitution, so those convicted of either (or both) face the same penalties, including not having to register as a sex offender.