Saturday, October 8, 2011

WV - Former Ohio County sheriff's deputy (Sean Marenkovic) was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison Friday for the 2003 sexual assault of a then 14-year-old female

Sean Marenkovic
Original Article

10/08/2011

By TYLER REYNARD

Former Ohio County sheriff's deputy Sean Marenkovic was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison Friday for the 2003 sexual assault of a then 14-year-old female.

A jury deliberated for nine hours over two days in August before finding Marenkovic guilty of two counts of third-degree sexual assault stemming from the events that occurred at his former apartment.

According to the now 22-year-old victim, the two met in an Internet chatroom and conversed online for about a week, some of those conversations being sexual in content, before Marenkovic suggested they meet outside his residence. Once inside, they sat on the couch and spoke briefly before the first sexual assault occurred, she said. The second of the two sexual encounters, both of which she said were consensual, occurred about one week after the first. After that, she said, Marenkovic ceased communication.

Authorities did not learn of the accusations until after the woman revealed the incidents to Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone while she was a prospective juror in an October 2010 trial.

Between the crimes and the victim's disclosure, Marenkovic resigned from the sheriff's department, became engaged to a Wheeling Jesuit University student and moved to a Chicago suburb where he worked as a police officer. The 2002 West Virginia State Police Academy graduate then moved to Alexandria, Va., and was working as a metro police officer in nearby Washington, D.C. at the time of his May arrest.

Marenkovic maintained his innocence and cited his employment record with law enforcement while lobbying for alternative sentencing.

"I was never investigated or abused my power and I have received numerous commendations from civilians and supervisors," he said. "Your Honor, as you have to understand, this conviction is a living death sentence. There aren't many opportunities for a convicted sex offender and I will have to live with that label for the rest of my life. Everything has been taken from me."

Marenkovic's mother, [name withheld], pleaded with Ohio County Circuit Judge Arthur Recht on her son's behalf.

"My son, who has been the love of my life, all of my life, is sitting here before you," she said "... and all he ever wanted to do, from the time he was able to talk, was to be a police officer. He fulfilled that dream. Never once, prior to this, did anyone ever come forward, and since this, has anyone ever come forward, to accuse him of sexual assault. He has always tried to work within the letter of the law and I've been very proud of him and will continue to be proud of him. I'm asking for alternative sentencing. It would do more harm than good to put him in your already overcrowded prisons."

The victim, who said she has suffered from depression and anxiety in the eight years since the incidents, called for the maximum sentence.

"The crimes committed by Sean Marenkovic changed my life," she said. "Not knowing he had left the area, I have been scared for years I would see him again and that he would again abuse his powers as a deputy. He knew what he did was wrong. He was in the position where he should have stopped crimes like these and others from occurring, and instead he committed them himself, twice."

Ohio County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Turak said Marenkovic took advantage of his power as a law enforcement officer.

"Sean Marenkovic is not worthy of the badge," she said. "He is not above the law. He was entrusted with the power to protect and to serve, and he abused that."

In addition to his requirement to register as a sex offender, Recht ordered Marenkovic to be placed on supervised release for 20 years following the completion of his prison term.


FL - FDLE website overstates sex offenders at shelter

Original Article

10/08/2011

By ALI HELGOTH

PANAMA CITY — A cursory look at the Florida Division of Law Enforcement’s sexual offenders and predators website indicates three offenders who victimized children live at the Panama City Rescue Mission.

It’s a surprising number, given that it is within 2,500 feet of a school bus stop and none are legally allowed to live there. Perhaps more surprising is that none of those men actually reside there.

While the website seems to suggest nine sexual offenders live at the Rescue Mission, all but one reside elsewhere, said Detective Michael Brewer of the Panama City Police Department.

One, [name withheld], is dead; a warrant has been issued for the arrest of [name withheld], who is not there; [name withheld] is a truck driver who does not stay at the Rescue Mission; four are in jail, [name withheld], [name withheld], [name withheld] and [name withheld]; and [name withheld] is a transient who does not live at the Rescue Mission.

[name withheld] is the only one who is staying at the Rescue Mission, Brewer said. He is in the Mission’s drug treatment program and his stay was court-ordered, Brewer said.

That information, aside from the warrant issued for [name withheld], is available on the website, but it requires the person looking to select the “view flyer” link, which provides additional details about the offender.

The information is continually updated, said FDLE spokesman Keith Kameg.

Residency restrictions

Florida requires sexual offenders who were convicted out of state to register with the Sheriff’s Office within 48 hours and their ID must have their current address within 48 hours of establishing a new residence, according to a quick reference guide the Police Department gives its officers.

Those who committed offenses prior to Oct. 1, 2004, have no residency restrictions. Those who have offenses on or after Oct. 1, 2004, are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of schools, daycares, parks or playgrounds, the reference guide states.

A municipal ordinance prohibits sexual offenders whose victims were younger than 16 from living within 2,500 feet of any school, designated public school bus stop, day care center, park, playground or other place where children regularly congregate. Other municipal governments in Bay County have similar requirements.
- So this statement is misleading, coupled with the other two above.  So if a person commits a crime against a child, it would seem this affects them all, regardless of their crime, which may or may not be true.  But, which is it?

A sexual offender who is homeless can register as a transient, Sgt. Mark Smith said. He or she would be required to provide a schedule for law enforcement to keep tabs on them.

It’s to make sure the Police Department can check to make sure sexual offenders are where they say they are, said Sgt. Jeff Becker.

When police officers learn that a sexual offender might be staying some place that’s off-limits, Brewer said an officer investigates. That investigation either ends in an arrest or a report explaining that the offender was not in violation of the law, he said.