Wednesday, October 10, 2012
This is something all states should be doing instead of passing unconstitutional feel good laws that do nothing to prevent or deter sexual crimes.
By JB Clark
TUPELO - A law aimed at educating Mississippi's children on identifying and reporting sexual abuse will be introduced into the Mississippi House and Senate during the 2013 legislative session.
The law, Erin's Law, was inspired and spearheaded by Erin Merryn, who has used her own story to help bring up a conversation about sexual abuse in America.
Merryn spoke at Tupelo's Families and Communities Together Conference at First Baptist Church in Tupelo on Tuesday morning, encouraging the audience to push elected officials to pass the law and to talk to children about safe and unsafe touching.
Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, and Rep. Tom Miles, D-Forest, will introduce the bill in their respective chambers in the following session.
The model legislation passed in Illinois requires a task force to gather information concerning child sexual abuse in the state, take reports and testimony, create goals for policy that would prevent child sexual abuse and then submit a final report to the Legislature.
The program in schools would focus on increasing teacher, student and parent awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse, talk about actions a child who is a victim can take to get assistance and intervention and point out available counseling options for students affected by sexual abuse.
Merryn said the focus is on age-appropriate education and many organizations already receive federal grants to teach about sexual abuse in schools.
The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence says one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday and the Crimes Against Children Research Center Shows 93 percent of those cases are abuse from someone they know and trust. "Only seven percent of the time is it stranger danger," Merryn said.
Merryn spoke about being sexually abused as a child by an authority figure and a family member and not knowing how to tell anyone due to shame and fear of being in trouble. She has used her experiences and books about them as a platform for change.
"We learn tornado drills, bus drills, fire drills, stranger danger, Mr. McGruff, bully intervention, Internet safety - I have my D.A.R.E. graduation card - but what's missing?" Merryn asked Tuesday morning. "I never had to duck and cover or run out of a burning building but I didn't have the words to explain what happened to me. I didn't have a tell, tell, tell drill."
She tells her story in the books "Stolen Innocence" and "Living for Today."
Where are the signs for other criminals? Murderers, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, abusive husbands/wives/parents/baby sitters, etc? Not all ex-sex offenders are child molesters, and everybody has rights. If they eradicate one groups rights, then your rights should be eradicated as well.
Asking Whoopi Goldberg to retract her statement on The View (10/09/2012), that sex offenders should put up signs on Halloween saying "a real monster lives here." Join me in letting the media know that not only is this not an accurate characterization, it also endangers the welfare of the children and families of registrants and ask that she make a public retraction!
Read more from Shana here
Whoopi Talking About Roman Polanski:
TROY TOWNSHIP (STMW) – A Troy Township Democratic committeewoman has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a teenage boy.
Chief Mike Trafton said the arrest of Margarita Hernandez, 31, is related to “an ongoing federal investigation into the production of child pornography.”
After relatives of the then-15-year-old victim contacted Chicago police, the boy “came forward and admitted having sex with her in Joliet,” Cmdr. Brian Benton said.
The incident reportedly occurred July 10 after Hernandez met the victim through his friendship with some of her relatives. The two had oral sex and sexual intercourse at Hernandez’s home.
According to reports, the FBI and Chicago police then used a warrant to search that residence where Hernandez lives with her 76-year-old boyfriend, and seized evidence.
“We don’t know whether or not (the sexual encounter between Hernandez and the victim) was recorded,” Trafton said.
Detective Tizoc Landeros coordinated Joliet’s investigation, which took several weeks because of interviews that had to be arranged, including a victim-sensitive interview with the juvenile.
“It appears there was only a single encounter in this case, but this investigation is still open because there are indications of other potential victims,” Landeros said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Landeros at 815-724-3020 or anonymously call CrimeStoppers at 800-323-6734.
Hernandez was arrested on a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and booked into the county jail around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. She reportedly declined to speak with investigators and is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Troy Township Democratic Chairman Jeffrey Boetto said Friday he had been unaware of Hernandez’s arrest until contacted by The Herald-News and had no comment on the allegations.
By IVAN PEREIRA
After a recent string of sexual assaults across the city, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials are pushing the state to prevent predators from falling through the cracks.
- A string of sexual assaults? Really? We've not heard of them, and we monitor sex crime news on the Internet, daily. Any proof to this statement?
Although the city can't change the laws governing how sexual predators are charged and supervised after incarceration, it plans to send a resolution to Albany asking state pols to do just that.
- So they can't do it, but they are wanting them to do it anyway? Bah, who cares about rules and regulations?
Quinn said that too many suspects get lenient sentences or aren't prosecuted strongly enough due to legal loopholes.
"The reason you want larger penalties is, one, to get those criminals off the streets . . . and two to act as a deterrent to criminals," she said.
- This statement proves the laws are punitive, and thus they are unconstitutional. Nothing will prevent or deter someone who is intent on committing a crime, nothing!
The resolutions unveiled yesterday will be voted on by the City Council in the near future.
The package of five bills include resolutions that call for an increase in the number of times that a convincted sex offenders meet with the police from annually to biannually and expands the time period someone can be charged with as "repeat offender."
Quinn is also pushing the city not to cut its program that aids sex assault victims.
The mayor's office supported Quinn's proposals and noted that funding the city's Sexual Assault Response Team has increased by more than a million dollars since its 2004 inception.
City members of the state legislature said they supported the council's efforts and will work to change regulations in Albany.
"It is important that our laws do not provide loopholes for predators," state Assemb. Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said.
WI - Four Milwaukee police officers (Michael Vagnini, Jeffrey Dollhopf, Jacob Knight, Brian Kozelek) charged in strip search case
See the videos they have at the link above.
Four Milwaukee police officers were charged Tuesday with felonies related to illegal rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the past two years.
In one case, an officer held a gun to a man's head as two others held his arms and a third put him in a choke hold while jamming a hand into his anus, purportedly searching for evidence, according to the criminal complaint. Another man bled from his rectum for several days after his encounter with police, the complaint says.
The complaint (PDF) lays out in graphic detail how the primary suspect, officer Michael Vagnini, conducted searches of suspects' anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums. Vagnini acknowledged performing one of the searches. At least one suspect said Vagnini planted drugs on him.
State law and police procedures prohibit officers from ever conducting cavity searches. Only medical personnel are allowed to perform them, and police must first obtain a search warrant.
The charges are the latest blow to Chief Edward Flynn and his department, already under fire for the in-custody death of Derek Williams, detaining the mother of a murdered boy and reporting inaccurate crime statistics to the FBI and the public.
At a news conference Tuesday, Flynn differentiated among the allegations, calling the earlier incidents "error" and the illegal searches "willful misconduct."
"Crime cannot be fought with criminality," he said. "A hard-earned reputation has been tarnished."
Vagnini faces 25 counts and was the only officer charged with sexual assault. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Officer Jeffrey Dollhopf faces two counts of misconduct in public office and one count each of conducting an illegal cavity search and an illegal strip search, both as party to a crime. Officers Jacob Knight and Brian Kozelek each face one count of misconduct in public office. Knight faces one count of being a party to the crime of an illegal cavity search. Kozelek is charged with one count of being a party to the crime of an illegal strip-search.
The misconduct charges are felonies with a maximum possible penalty of 3½ years in prison. The cavity search and strip-search charges are misdemeanors that carry up to 90 days in jail.
The case is the biggest criminal prosecution against Milwaukee police officers since 2006, when eight officers were charged in federal court in connection with the beating of Frank Jude Jr. outside a Bay View party in 2004. Seven were convicted.
The charges in the strip search case were the result of complaints from "dozens and dozens" of citizens, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. The investigation was based in District Five on the city's north side, he said. All the officers charged are white. All the men subjected to the illegal searches are black.
In recent weeks, many in Milwaukee's African-American community, as well the Chicago-based Rainbow-Push coalition, have called for Flynn to resign or be fired.
The chief deflected questions about those demands Tuesday, saying misconduct occurs in every big-city police department.
Mayor Tom Barrett said he backs Flynn.
"I do not support removing the chief at this time," Barrett said. "I think these investigations need to move forward."
The four officers all pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon before Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner, who presided over the secret John Doe investigation into the searches. The officers, who are scheduled for preliminary hearings Nov. 2, and their attorneys declined to comment.
Several other officers who were taken off the streets during the strip-search investigation were not charged. They include Jeffrey Cline and Gregory Kuspa, who also were on the scene of the arrest of Williams, seen on a squad video gasping for air and begging for help as officers largely ignore him.
Also not charged were Jason Mucha, a sergeant who supervised some of the officers involved in the searches, and Michael Gasser, who said on Facebook he believed he would be cleared.
More than 50 people testified at the John Doe, 32 of them from the department, according to a news release. Many officers came forward to testify truthfully about behavior they witnessed, Chisholm said. Prosecutors took that into account when deciding whether to charge them, he said.
Jonathan Safran, a lawyer who represents two of the men who said they were assaulted, called the charges "another sad chapter" for the city and the department.
"This is, I am afraid, the tip of the iceberg," he said. "There is a culture in the Milwaukee Police Department that, unfortunately, has led to a number of civil rights violations."
Robin Shellow, a lawyer who represents one of the men prosecutors say was subjected to an illegal search, thanked Assistant District Attorney Miriam Falk for her thorough review of the case.
Shellow called Falk "a warrior in the fight for the civil rights of persons of color."
Like Safran, Shellow said she has spoken with other victims - including the mothers of underage boys - who were afraid to report the abuse because of their own criminal records.