Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MI - Michigan sex offender tiers confusing

Original Article

05/08/2012

By Ken Kolker

Even law-writer had trouble using new system

GRAND RAPIDS (WOOD) - Sitting in a corner at the Kava House, Rachel Moran clicked on convicted sex offender [name withheld].

"What did he actually do?" she asked, reading from a list of his convictions on the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry.

"Oh, yuck. Sexually abusive material and possession. So he was in possession of child pornography?"

[name withheld], 59, is a Tier 1 offender on the registry, convicted of 4 counts of possessing child porn in 2004 in Washtenaw County.

"So would that be the worst thing you could be on this list for?" Moran asked.

Not hardly.

In fact, [name withheld] would be considered among the lowest-level offenders.

A Target 8 investigation last year exposed a sex registry that lumped together all the state's 47,000 offenders -- from serial rapists to teens who had consensual sex.

It helped lead to a new law, signed last April by Gov. Snyder, that was supposed to make it easier to find predators in your neighborhood.

The law, which follows federal guidelines, split sex offenders into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 (Lowest level offenders. On list for 15 years) -- Includes possession of child porn, inappropriate touching of adult victims.
  • Tier 2 (Mid-level offenders. On list for 25 years) -- Generally involves victims age 13 to 17, including inappropriate touching and gross indecency; does not include sexual penetration. Also includes producing child porn and soliciting prostitutes under 18 years old.
  • Tier 3 (Highest-level offenders. On list for life) -- Generally involves inappropriate touching of victims under age 13, as well as any sexual penetration or attempts (first- and third-degree sexual assault) with victims of any age.

But Target 8 recently put the new list to the test -- with help from some computer-savvy customers at the Kava House in Grand Rapids -- and found only confusion.

The big question: On which of the three tiers can you find so-called predators?

Anya Nyson and Dana Boyer have used the list before -- Nyson to protect her kids; Boyer as a social worker.

They clicked on the first face that popped up in 49503, a zip code covering downtown Grand Rapids. [name withheld], 27, a Tier 3 offender, was convicted of attempted criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree with a person under 13. That's inappropriate touching.

So, Nyson figured, Tier 3 must not be the worst.

"It says 'attempted,' so maybe that's the lower?" she guessed.

And, Target 8 tested a local crime prevention organizer, who also failed to pick out the predators.

"It seems to be vague," said Claire Fisher, of the East Hills Neighborhood Association in Grand Rapids, who was trained on the registry before last year's changes.

As it turns out, the worst of the worst are supposed to be on Tier 3.

"Tier 3 will be the dangerous predators," state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said when he helped re-write the sex offender law.

Tier 3 includes men like [name withheld], 62, who raped at least three young women in 1987 -- two of them in separate attacks in the attic of the home where he was living, each of those attacks involving an accomplice and a knife.

That was four years after being paroled for killing a door-to-door salesman in a robbery in Grand Rapids. He and an accomplice got away with $400.

He served 9 years in prison for the murder, and got 15 to 30 years for the rapes.

Target 8 recently found [name withheld] outside his southwest Grand Rapids home, raking his yard. "I don't want to be on your camera," he said. "I ain't got nothing to say to you at all."

One of [name withheld]' rape victims says he's dangerous and belongs on the list as a predator, though she'd rather see his name in an obituary.

But there is nothing on the registry that actually says Tier 3 is the most dangerous. That's something you have to figure out for yourself.

"I shouldn't have to search for who is a predator," said Kava House customer Rachel Moran. "I should be able to just look and know."

"The problem with this system is it's a state Web site, so it's efficient for them; it's not efficient for us."

She'd prefer a way to sort offenders by tiers, and an easy-to-find definition of the tiers.

Picking out predators is a lot easier in states like Florida, Illinois and Indiana, all with top-rated lists. They label predators or the "sexually dangerous."

"It would be nice if there was a description on this site, and maybe there is, I don't know, but a description of Tier 1 equals this, Tier 2 equals this, you know," Anya Nyson said.

Turns out there is, but good luck finding it.
- I found it in a matter of seconds.  Just click the FAQ and search for TIER and bam, there it is!

Even Sen. Rick Jones, who helped re-write the sex offender law, had trouble finding the definitions.

"Hmmm. I don't see anything here, right off the top," he said while searching the site in his Lansing office at Target 8's request. "I don't see anything there, clearly. There may be something."

The trooper who oversees sex offender enforcement admits the list could use some tweaks.

He points out the "Frequently Asked Questions" page on the sex offender list, but admits "the word 'tier' isn't in any of the questions."
- Remember, you are dealing with brain dead sheeple who need to be force fed information. They need Big Brother to hold their hand and tell them what to do and when to do it. Maybe you need a "Using the Michigan Sex Offender Registry For Dummies Book" or something?

"I believe it's answer No. 16 that will explain the tier levels."

The list, he said, might not be user-friendly enough.

"If they (users) have suggestions, we're willing to take those suggestions and make changes so it is useful for the public."


UK - Former Officer (Charles Littleboy) jailed for filming man having sex with a pony, and child porn

Charles Littleboy
Original Article

05/08/2012

An ex-policeman and former director of the Great Yorkshire Show was jailed for two-and-a-half years today after he admitted filming a man having sex with a pony.

Charles Littleboy, 55, made the video in his stables while the man was supposedly taking part in an animal breeding practical course, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Police discovered the video along with a stash of images of horrific sexual abuse of young boys on two computers at Littleboy’s home in Howe, Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

He pleaded guilty last month to 11 counts of making indecent images of children, four counts of distributing indecent images of children, five counts of possessing extreme pornographic images and one count of possessing 3,904 indecent photographs of children.

Some of the extreme pornography related to bestiality - including the material he filmed consensually at his property, the court heard. Other images concerned sexual mutilation of men.

The film with the male pony was made a number of years ago while the man stayed at his home, Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said.

Another film police found involved the same man having sex with a dog, the police said.

Simon Reevell, defending, said Littleboy did not coerce the man to have sex with the pony.

'Although it is a difficult and unpleasant thought, there was a willingness on the part of both of them,” he said.

Over six years until 2010, Littleboy downloaded images of child abuse from the internet and engaged in depraved discussions with fellow paedophiles, the court heard.

In one conversation read out by the prosecution, Littleboy discussed sexually abusing a baby with a writer known as Pervy Dwain.

Littleboy had asked: 'Tell me what you would do to a young one and how sick you would like it to be.'

The indecent images found on his computer included an image of a baby around three months old being abused.

Other pictures involved boys aged as young as four, and clearly showed distress. One male child was gagged and bound, the court heard.

Mr Reevell said his client was a shy and private man who now faced 'utter humiliation'.

He passed a number of references up to Judge Peter Fox, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, saying: “They speak of a man wholly removed from these offences.'

Mr Reevell said Littleboy cared for his parents, who are aged 84 and 79.

Judge Fox accepted Littleboy’s reputation was ruined, but he added: 'What you fail at present to appreciate is the utter humiliation and degradation of the victims of your crimes, both human and animal.'

He jailed Littleboy for two-and-a-half years, put him on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and banned him from unsupervised contact with children.

Littleboy is a former director of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which organises the Great Yorkshire Show, and an ex-member of the British Potato Council.

He was also a police officer with North Yorkshire Police in the 1980s.


MN - Sheriff's deputy Phil Meemkin to be registered as sex offender

Phil Meemken
Original Article

Never accept a plea deal.  Everyone involved will try to scare you into accepting a plea deal knowing they probably cannot prove the case, and I believe, in this case, if this man had not accepted the plea, he would've went to court and been charged with providing alcohol to minors and probably nothing more.  Now his life is over, and there really isn't no proof he did or didn't do the crime they say he did. It sounds like everyone there was so drunk, whose to say what actually happened? We know people lie to cover up their own bad decisions, happens all the time, and we are not saying they are or aren't doing just that, but I wonder.

05/07/2012

By David Unze

Stearns sheriff says sergeant will lose job

ANOKAPhil Meemken will lose his job as a Stearns County sheriff’s sergeant and will have to live the rest of his life as a registered predatory sex offender.

Three young people who accused Meemken of sexual assault will have to live with the knowledge that he will avoid prison and the equivalent of a life sentence he could have gotten if convicted of the charges against him.

And prosecutors involved in the negotiations that led to Meemken’s guilty plea Monday will have to live with a difficult decision to take a plea that sees 21 of the felony counts against Meemken dismissed.

Nobody is pleased with the result, Anoka County prosecutor Wade Kish said.

The longtime Stearns sergeant pleaded guilty Monday to one count of felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two gross misdemeanors for providing alcohol to minors. The felony conviction will mean the loss of his peace officer’s license and his career in law enforcement.

Plea made

The plea came as jury selection was about to begin in a trial that was scheduled to last at least two weeks. It also came with a lengthy explanation in court about why prosecutors in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office decided to settle the case.

The victims and Meemken were so drunk during the incidents that it would have been difficult to convince a jury of what really happened, Kish told Stearns County District Court Judge Vicki Landwehr. The incidents weren’t reported right away, and then there were significant delays in getting the case to trial.

It led to a plea that clearly didn’t sit well with the victims who were in court Monday. And Paul Young, head of the violent crimes division in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, understands. He was involved in the decision to settle the case short of trial.

We hope over time (the victims) can sit back and say that we did the best we could in a very challenging case with a lot of evidentiary issues,” Young said outside of court. “No result is perfect. But the certainty here, based on the evidence, is the best of a bad situation.”

That bad situation likely will get worse for Meemken. Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said late Monday that he was aware through media reports that Meemken had pleaded guilty.

Once we receive official documentation from the court that he has pleaded guilty to those crimes, it is my intention to fire him immediately,” Sanner said.

That will end nearly 2½ years of Meemken being on paid administrative leave, during which he received more than $200,000 in salary and benefits, including raises. Sanner said he tried right after Meemken was charged to get Meemken placed on unpaid leave, but legal advice to the county from outside counsel rejected that idea.

Sanner held firm Monday that he would not have paid Meemken while the criminal charges were pending and that Meemken violated the trust inherent in the profession.

His selfish actions have not only hurt his victims but damaged an entire profession that is based on trust,” Sanner said, “and that’s a trust that he knowingly and willingly violated.”

Meemken, 42, was facing 25 criminal charges — 22 felony criminal sexual conduct, two gross misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors and one count of child endangerment, also a gross misdemeanor.

State sentencing guidelines for someone with no criminal history, like Meemken, call for a stayed prison sentence and time in the local jail. Meemken admitted providing alcohol to two minors on several occasions. He pleaded guilty to the criminal sexual conduct charge without admitting that he did anything wrong and while acknowledging that there was a likelihood that he could be convicted by a jury.

He has to register as a predatory sex offender and could be subject to 10 years of conditional release if he violates certain terms of his probation.

Drinking cited

Meemken said he remembers drinking with the victims and playing cards but said that he was so intoxicated that he doesn’t remember anything else about the alleged incidents. He acknowledged that the victims would have testified that he grabbed the breasts of a girl during one incident.

He testified that he had no reason to dispute those details if the victims testified to it. And he said he wasn’t making any claims that he was innocent of the charges against him.

His plea included details of only one of the counts against him. The other charges carried allegations of far more egregious conduct with three young people, two of whom Meemken knew through the sheriff’s office Explorer Program, of which Meemken was in charge.

This is a member of law enforcement. There are all kinds of reasons that we took this case seriously and put the amount of effort into it that we did,” Young said. “We have very serious conduct. It’s affected a lot of people, and we will ask for a sentence that is commensurate with the conduct and the pleas of guilty.”

Landwehr denied a request by Meemken to modify his conditions of release so that Meemken could attend his daughter’s high school graduation.

Meemken is scheduled to be sentenced June 21.


WI - Green Bay debates new sex offender strategy

Original Article

05/08/2012

By Scott Cooper Williams

Green Bay aldermen balked Monday at scrapping the city's sex offender ordinance in favor of a new strategy that would allow offenders to live here but ban them near schools and parks.

City attorneys crafted the new proposal based on concerns that the existing ordinance is excessive and ineffective, pushing offenders to ignore the rules and live wherever they want.

The new approach would allow offenders to live in Green Bay, but it would prohibit them from coming with 150 feet of any school, park or other place where children typically congregate.

Any violation of the rule would bring a $500 fine.

Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker told members of the city Protection & Welfare Committee that the new ordinance would be more enforceable and would protect children better. "There are many more places an offender can live, but there are specific places that they can never be," Decker said. "It's practical, easier to understand and easier for offenders to comply with."
- But it's also discriminatory.  Not all sex offenders have harmed children, not committed their crime in a park or around a school, so it's eradicating their rights based simply on a label.

The proposal follows months of debate about whether Green Bay's existing ordinance — banning sex offenders from living almost anywhere in the city — is backfiring and causing offenders to move here undetected.

Aldermen, however, voiced reluctance about embracing the new strategy, because of uncertainty about how it would work and whether the existing ordinance can still be salvaged.
- Yeah right, they are reluctant because it could make them look "soft" on ex-sex offenders and potentially damage their careers, that is the issue, IMO.

"I really think what we have here can work," Alderman Jesse Brunette said.

Brunette and other members of the Protection & Welfare Committee voted to recommend the City Council send the issue back to city staff for more study.

The existing ordinance, enacted in 2007, prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, park or other place where children gather. That covers virtually the entire city and requires offenders to seek approval from a city board before moving into a restricted area.

Police Chief Jim Arts and others have called for reconsidering the process, partly because it has prompted offenders to go "underground," moving here without seeking city approval.

Other concerns have been raised because state probation agents have allowed clients to violate the law out of frustration that the residency approval process is cumbersome and time-consuming.
- And by doing so, when someone finds out the offender is living somewhere they are not suppose to, is the probation officer going to be in trouble, or the offender?  I think the latter!

Decker said the new proposal would address those concerns by shifting the emphasis away from where offenders can live — and focusing on where in the community they can go.

The current ordinance allows offenders — regardless of where they live — to loiter around playgrounds, schools, swimming pools and other places where children gather, he said.

"There is a better way to address this issue," he said.

Residents at Monday's meeting voiced mixed feelings about scrapping the existing ordinance.

James Morrison of Green Bay said he supports the new approach, partly because studies show that most sex crime victims are attacked by people they know rather than by strangers.

Morrison said the new strategy would allow the community to devote more resources to protecting children where many are at risk — in their own homes.

"I think we all want the same thing," he said. "It is about protecting the children."

But others said they oppose dropping the current residency restrictions and allowing sex offenders to move into the city.

Noting that a granddaughter visits her frequently, Christine Delahaut of Green Bay said she worries that offenders would move into the neighborhood.

"I'd like to feel safe," Delahaut said. "How is that going to protect me? How is that going to protect my granddaughter?"
- There is a big difference between feeling safe and actually being safe!


AZ - Local 12 Reporter's Identity Stolen Due To Police Typing Error

Original Article

We've changed the title of this article. The original title is "Local 12 Reporter's Identity Stolen By Registered Sex Offender," which is incorrect! The first man mentioned in this article, is the man who had his name stolen by an ex-sex offender using his name as his alias. The reporter's issue was due to a police typing error. Big difference! But nothing like adding sex offender for shock value!

05/07/2012

Each year more than 9 million people become victims of identity theft. But what's at risk isn't just money it can be your freedom.

Local 12 News Reporter Rich Jaffe has this 'all too personal' experience.

In 2010, a Seattle, Washington man, Dan Wheeler made headlines when a police officer stopped him for making an illegal left turn.

"Next thing I know he's listening to his radio, puts his hand on his gun and says turn around put your hands on the car. You're under arrest. I said for what? He says there's a warrant for your arrest."

That warrant was really for convicted sex offender [name withheld]. He'd been using Wheelers name as an alias for years...but Wheeler ended up in jail until the he convinced authorities they'd made a mistake.

It's something Wheeler may have to fight for the rest of his life.

"If you think Wheeler's an isolated case, wait until you hear what happened to me."

While filing some documents at the Clermont County Sheriff's Office a few years ago, I also discovered a problem. Law enforcement checked my social security number and found that it comes back to an Arizona man named [name withheld].

"Someone enters that wrong social security number when they're booking someone in or the criminal gives a fake I.D. And it just so happens to be your I.D. Your social security number so it is a huge problem for people."

[name withheld] currently resides behind the walls of the Arizona State Prison in Eyman.

[name withheld]'s been arrested on forgery charges, theft, a variety of drug charges, and oh...did I mention, he's also a registered sex offender. Convicted of having sex with a child under the age of 15.

He's not the kind of guy you'd want to be connected to...but I am.

Initially I contacted the sheriff's office in Pinal County, Arizona where [name withheld] lives. They investigated but nothing changed.

Last year, Georgetown Police Chief Buddy Coburn ran the license plates on my truck and it happened again.

"When that popped up I got kind of a sick feeling in my stomach, my initial thought was what the heck? I wanted to think this can't be right."

It appears that at on March 21st of 2003, when [name withheld] was arrested by police in Casa Grande, Arizona, his social security number was incorrectly entered on the arrest documents and [name withheld] became me-by the numbers. A simple mistake with potentially catastrophic results.

Credit checks, security checks, parking tickets; Any place people don't know Rich Jaffe I could be in big trouble just like Dan Wheeler.

"As a law enforcement officer we rely extremely heavily on the information we get from the computer."

"That sex offender or that violent offender could end up with an active warrant and you're gonna be looking at yourself handcuffed in the back of a cruiser trying to explain it."

Attorney General Mike Dewine says my problem's not unique.

"The real problem is you don't know it until something happens."

In Ohio, the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation gets about a dozen calls every month from people in similar situations.

Earlier this year with Clermont County Sheriff's Officials I tried again to clear the records in Arizona, and again we failed. So a few weeks ago I contacted Arizona law enforcement one more time, but now I also enlisted the aid of our Attorney General.

"What we're doing in your case for example is contacting the three agencies in Arizona that put in information about this clown out in Arizona."

It's not over yet, but fortunately [name withheld]'s in prison until 2022. While he may not even know he's had my social security number for the last few years, he serves as a serious reminder that we're all just one digit away from disaster.

The Arizona Department of Public Services told us there's nothing they can do to fix Rich's problem. The FBI is looking into it.

If it's happened to you, contact the state Attorney General's office. We'd like to hear from you too.