Wednesday, September 14, 2011
By Paul Linford
A regional daily newspaper has apologised to a man whose home was attacked after being wrongly identified as a child sex offender.
The 45-year-old man had his home sprayed with graffiti and his van set alight after the Eastern Daily Press reported that he had been convicted of a sexual offence against a 15-year-old girl.
In fact the man had been in court accused of other offences and the newspaper had confused his name with that of a defendant in a different case.
The EDP issued an ‘unreserved apology’ on page three of Thursday’s newspaper, two days after the original story headlined ‘Man groomed girl for sex’ was published on page 12.
However the individual concerned, who was acquitted of assault charges last week, has since given a television interview saying he had suffered damage to his property.
He told Anglia TV: “I couldn’t have been named for a worse crime. I have had people that know me targeting me because they think it was me.”
An Archant Norfolk spokesperson said: “The EDP regrets an error made in an article in the newspaper entitled ‘Man groomed girl for sex’ and has apologised unreservedly for any distress caused to the gentleman incorrectly named, or to his family, as a result of this mistake.”
- What about paying for all the damage to his home and maybe some money for emotional damage? And what about the police going after those who did the vandalism?
All Other Related Articles
NEW YORK - A TV meteorologist has admitted making up claims of being attacked twice in New York City, sparking an extensive police investigation.
Heidi Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to two misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting an incident. The judge says she will be sentenced to three years' probation and 350 hours of community service. That's the time prosecutors say police spent looking into her phony claims.
- But if someone would've been arrested and charged with the bogus charges, they would've been in prison for years!
Jones told police Dec. 1 a man had attacked her in Central Park last September and again outside her apartment in November.
Jones has been suspended from her job at New York's local ABC station.
She previously worked in cities including Albany, N.Y., and Houston.
She also has filled in on ABC's "Good Morning America."
By Kathleen Hopkins
Byron Halsey spent 22 years behind bars in New Jersey, convicted of heinous crimes he didn’t commit — the horrific murders of his live-in girlfriend’s two young children and a sexual assault on one of the children in their Plainfield rooming house.
After a repairman found the children — Tina Urquhart, 7, sexually assaulted and strangled and her brother, Tyrone, 8, with nails driven into his skull — in the basement of the rooming house on Nov. 15, 1985, police focused their investigation on Halsey.
With a sixth-grade education and severe learning disabilities, Halsey, then 24, confessed to the crimes after being interrogated for 30 hours, according to the New York–based Innocence Project.
When Halsey gave incorrect information about key facts of the crime during the unrecorded interrogation, police gave him more opportunities to guess the right answer, according to the Innocence Project, which since 1992 has used DNA evidence to secure more than 200 exonerations.
Halsey was sentenced to two life terms plus 20 years in prison after a Union County jury convicted him in 1988 of two counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated sexual assault.
In 2007, after the Innocence Project took his case, and DNA evidence exonerated him and implicated a neighbor in the rooming house, Halsey was released from prison. Clifton Hall, already incarcerated for three separate sex crimes, eventually was charged with the murders of the Urquhart children, but died in prison in 2009 before he could go to trial.
Halsey is one of eight wrongfully convicted people in New Jersey exonerated since 1995 — five of them because of DNA evidence — who is cited by a fledgling program out of Seton Hall University Law School in Newark as proof that innocent people do get convicted of serious crimes they didn’t commit.
The Last Resort Exoneration Project has been operating since February and offers free investigative and legal services. Unlike the Innocence Project, Last Resort takes only New Jersey cases, focusing on those with no DNA evidence.
NY - Former Onondaga County Sheriff's deputy (Alexander Nicholson) faces state prison for sex with teenage boy
By Jim O'Hara
Syracuse - A former Onondaga County Sheriff's deputy is facing two years in state prison after pleading guilty today to engaging in sex with an underage boy.
Alexander Nicholson, 35, of 134 Dewey St., Syracuse, pleaded guilty before County Judge Joseph Fahey to one felony count of second-degree criminal sexual act.
He admitted engaging in an act of anal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old boy sometime between July 12 and Aug. 31, 2007.
That was one of 36 counts in an indictment accusing Nicholson of abusing his authority as a law enforcement officer to engage in sexual encounters with two underage boys. Authorities said the sexual incidents occurred while Nicholson was off duty.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Doran told Fahey the family of one of the victims had consented to the disposition but the second victim had declined to talk to the prosecutor or his investigator.
But the lawyer representing the first victim is now also representing the second victim and he reported the second family also now consented to the disposition, Doran told the judge.
Nicholson could have faced up to seven years in state prison for the most serious Class D felonies lodged against him. But the plea deal calls for Fahey to sentence Nicholson to two years in prison.
Defense lawyer Emil Rossi asked that Fahey recommend Nicholson serve that time in a protected facility because of his background as a law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers convicted of crimes generally are directed to serve their time in the state prison facility in Dannemora which has a protective unit for vulnerable inmates.
- Why? The average citizen doesn't get protective custody, so why should he?
Fahey scheduled sentencing for Nov. 16.
Rossi had no comment as he left court with Nicholson and the defendant's family.
Doran said authorities had investigated a number of tips and generalized complaints about Nicholson after he initially was arrested. But officials found no evidence of any other victims besides the two boys covered by the indictment, the prosecutor said.
Doran also said he believed the two-year state prison sentence was an appropriate penalty. He noted first-time offenders like Nicholson often are sentenced to straight probation or probation with some local jail time.
- This is not true. Non-police officers usually get more than two years in prison for what he did, but he's a "Good Ole' Boy," and they protect their own, or go lightly on them.
The case also could have civil ramifications.
Lawyer Robert Lahm said he has filed a notice of claim with the county on behalf of the first victim and will be preparing one for the second victim as well. That preserves their rights to sue the county for money damages stemming from the deputy's sexual contact with the victims.
Of course he is, he knows a good plan when he sees one, exploiting ex-sex offenders, fear, and the usual "for the children politics" to get elected! Politicians do it all the time, he's just joining the bandwagon!
By Rob Ferguson
LEAMINGTON - Ontario’s police don’t like the idea but Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is sticking with his plan to make the province’s sex offender registry public if he wins the Oct. 6 provincial election.
Hudak sat with parents and grandparents in a children’s playroom at a community centre in this Lake Erie town near Windsor, where a convicted sex offender named Sarah Dahle was recently found living next to a school while on parole. She left for the London area last week after months of protest from Leamington parents.
“Our right to security for kids, should it come ahead of the right to privacy for child predators?” Hudak asked on his second day in the riding of Essex, which the Conservatives consider up for grabs after the sudden death of Liberal MPP Bruce Crozier a few months ago.
Hudak said he would make the registry public so that parents know where sex offenders are living in their communities and can take “responsible” action to protect themselves and their children.
“I’m not looking to harm them, I just want to know where they are,” said Paula Pimiskern, a mother of four who sat beside Hudak around a table as the issue was discussed before a phalanx of television cameras.
- What about all other criminals? Why aren't you also pushing to have them on an online registry so we all know where they live as well? You are just using the usual "vote getter" by exploiting ex-sex offenders and children to get elected, IMO.
“If we knew where, we would tell our kids not to linger.”
- And ever if you knew where, if a person is intent on harming a child, or anybody else, they probably will. This is just politics as usual!
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis has warned making the registry public could lead to vigilante action — even killings — by citizens against convicted sex offenders living in the community.
“I totally disagree with Mr. Hudak on this,” Lewis said recently in a television interview. “In the U.S. states where they do it, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to greater adherence to the legislation. We have almost 100 per cent compliance rate in this province with our sexual offender registry because they’re not online.”
There have been cases in U.S. states with public registries where “people have hunted people down because they saw their face on a registry and went out and killed them,” Lewis added.
In Ottawa, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty said it’s a little rich for Hudak to be carping on crime given his proposal to put work gangs of prisoners out in the community.
“He wants to take prisoners who are safe and secure away from the general population and release them into our communities…it puts our communities at risk,” McGuinty told reporters.
“Our police…tell us this particular approach is not going to lead to more public safety so I’m with them,” he added.
Hudak would also put GPS bracelets on sexual predators and other high risk offenders so police could monitor their movements, at a cost of about $50 million a year.
At a campaign rally in the nearby town of Kingsville on Tuesday night, Hudak lumped McGuinty and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath together in accusing them of “coddling” criminals as the Tories look to win the Essex riding which is held federally by Conservative MP Jeff Watson.
- Putting GPS trackers on sex offenders ineffective says provincial NDP candidate
- Hudak sex offender plan may spark vigilantism, society says
FL - Former police officer (Lavont Flanders) and porn star (Emerson Callum aka Jah-T), doped models then filmed them being sexually assaulted for porno movies
A former police officer drugged aspiring models and actresses then filmed them being sexually assaulted for his pornography business it was alleged.
Lavont Flanders Jr, 40, is accused of luring women to his Florida base then plying them with spiked drinks before filming them being assaulted by his business partner Emerson Callum, 45.
One woman was told she would get a role in a Paramount film. Another was told she would become the face of a new Bacardi drink, prosecutors claim.
The sex tapes were sold over the Internet through the Miami Vibes Enterprises, a Miramar company that produces pornography, it was alleged.
Flanders and Callum are charged with conspiracy, human trafficking and distribution of Xanax involving nine victims between May 2006 to February 2011.
Their indictments follow a lengthy investigation that began with Flanders’ arrest in July 2007 by Miramar police.
Callum was arrested two months later by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
According to the indictment, as early as May 2006, Flanders - an ex-Miami Beach police officer and bus driver - communicated with the women online posing as a talent scout on sites such as ModelMayhem.com and Blackplanet.com.
He is accused of giving the women drinks spiked with the date-rape drug Xanax while Callum is accused of having sex with them while in a doped state.
The men worked together at least nine times, with Flanders communicating with the women online and later meeting them in South Florida.
None of the women were paid for the filming of the sessions.
The men deny the charges.
By Cara Hogan
ATKINSON — Some residents are upset a convicted sex offender is living in their neighborhood and think the police should have warned them.
But police Chief Philip Consentino said the man has done his time, followed the law and has a right to live on [address withheld].
Fliers were posted around the street on Monday, warning the neighborhood about [name withheld].
- The sex offender registry says "Anyone who uses this information to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution.," and this would, by definition, be harassment, IMO.
[name withheld], 54, a registered sex offender, is living at [address withheld]. He was convicted of aggravated felonious assault on a victim under 13 years old in 2009, served two years in prison, was released July 5 and is now out on probation.
[name withheld] said yesterday he doesn't want any problems.
But his presence is a problem only for some residents.
Count Scott Watkins, among them.
The [address withheld] resident said he saw signs about [name withheld] all over his street when he left for work Monday morning.
"It said in red letters across the top, 'Let's protect our children,'" Watkins said. "It has his picture and name, his description and the rest of the information they have on the sex offender website. When I got home (Monday) afternoon, they had taken them all down."
No one knows who put up or took down the signs, but the neighborhood is in an uproar.
Another [address withheld] resident, John Egan, said he was shocked when he found out.
"We're concerned about it," he said. "When my grandchildren visit, we would never allow them near [address withheld]."
Watkins — and many other residents — called police to complain that a sex offender is living in their neighborhood. Consentino said yesterday, [name withheld] has been living in town for a few weeks and has a legal right to be there.
"The state law requires him to file all his paperwork with us, and he's done that," he said. "He has to check in with us twice a year to register."
In addition, Jeffrey Lyons, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, said [name withheld] must meet with a probation officer every two weeks.
"We have a risk assessment and, based on that, we determine the level of supervision," he said. "If he was considered a high risk of re-offending, that could result in daily meetings with his probation officer or with electronic monitoring. But ([name withheld]) won't be doing that."
Consentino said he was worried about how residents would react to the fliers.
"(The) main concern isn't that they're putting fliers up, but that a group of vigilantes will cause problems for this guy, damaging his house and property," he said. "These things we can't allow."
- And yes, vigilantism is a problem, see here and here.
Some residents criticized police, saying [name withheld]'s name and address should be posted on the town website. Consentino disagrees.
"If you want to find out, all that information is readily available to anyone with a computer at the sex offender registry," Consentino said. "This gentleman did his time, and the state has said he's OK to be released into society. I'm not going to try to make this man's life worse. If he violates any laws, we'll be down on him quick and hard. But, so far, he hasn't caused any problems."
Consentino said the police don't have to knock on everyone's door to warn them.
[name withheld] said he doesn't want any trouble from his neighbors.
Chris Dornin, chairman of the Concord-based nonprofit Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform, said he is against the current sex offender registry. And the reaction of some Atkinson residents fuels his argument, he said yesterday.
"The sex offender public registry scares the neighbors and instills a false sense of security that the only threats are on the registry," he said. "And the public backlash against the people on the registry makes many of them more dangerous. The registry is liable to cost the offender their job, their apartment and their relationships, and make them homeless."
Lyons said there are 674 sex offenders on probation or parole in New Hampshire and about 700 more in prison. There is one other sex offender living in Atkinson, according to the New Hampshire Department of Safety Sex Offender Registry website. [name withheld], 60, who lives at [address withheld], committed two counts of felonious sexual assault on a victim between ages 13 and 16.
Watkins, [name withheld]'s neighbor, said police told him to remain vigilant, but that doesn't make him feel much better.
"The bottom line is, there's somebody capable of doing some really bad things living within a few feet from my house," he said.
- Everyone is capable of bad things, even yourself!
PERRY - The Taylor County Jail tells Eyewitness News that Daniel McLeod, a former officer with the Madison Police Department, was arrested on September 9th by Perry police. The charges include two counts of lewd battery and one count of lewd molestation. The age of the alleged victim in this arrest is not known at this time.
The Madison Police Department’s Public Information Officer says that McLeod resigned back in 2009 after he was caught sexting with a minor. He was charged at the time with possession of child porn.
The Taylor County Jail confirms that McLeod did bond out and is not in jail right now.
Kudos to this man, it seems he thinks injustice was done to him, and he got the word out!
By Cathleen O'Toole
Registered As Homeless, Man Uses Resources On Publicity Stunt
WEST PALM BEACH - A U-Haul truck with the attention-grabbing writing that prompted an evacuation of several downtown buildings Monday morning was recently purchased by Edgar Bushey, West Palm Beach police said.
Bushey is a registered sexual predator who is listed as homeless with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
While Bushey can't give deputies a physical address, he can buy a truck, the banner and pay $500 in a monthly parking fee, police said.
- Apparently the news media doesn't understand that the very laws passed in this state, and all across the country, force people into homelessness. You don't have to be broke to be homeless, just for the state to pass laws that exile you and force you into homelessness.
Written on the side of the U-Haul truck was, "Google: Edgar Bushey. FRANK BAKER, PBSO LIED AND DID NO INVESTIGATION. I WOULD LIKE A REAL INVESTIGATION! SHEA CHARLES SAID NO. WHAT PART OF NO DON'T I UNDERSTAND?"
- Since he lives in Boynton Beach, this, or this, is apparently who he's talking about, but that is only an assumption.
The message implies that a jury was wrong in 1996 when Bushey was convicted of sexual battery on a girl under 12.
- You think? He apparently thinks injustice was done to him.
Bushey's message made it on all the local television newscasts.
"He got all the networks to cover it and do the story on a couple of news cycles," said Rebecca Seelig, who runs her own public relations firm, PBPR. She represents events, schools, country clubs and charities.
"I don't think he thought it was going to go to the extent that it did," said Seelig of Bushey’s truck.
She said what he did get was priceless television coverage.
"This type of guerrilla marketing sometimes does work," said Seelig. "Because people will take notice. Because people want to know what is going on and what his cause is and why does he think the police didn't do the proper action."
But, as far as the stunt, it’s one she would never advise for a client as it brought a costly investigation, inconvenience and fear.
"You want to bring awareness. But harmful disruption I don't think serves the purpose," Seelig said.
- Edgar Bushey Got Priceless PR
- Who Is Edgar Bushey?
- U-Haul Prompts Downtown West Palm Beach Evacuation
- September 12, 2011: U-Haul Truck Focus Of Downtown Evacuation