Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TX - Bill would force sex offenders to update social network pages

Original Article

11/19/2012

By Noelle Newton

Sex offenders may soon have to update their status on social networks. A state representative wants all registered sex offenders to post their criminal information on social networking sites.

When Viviana Regalado's four children approached school age, she went to the DPS sex offender registry to see who might be on their way to the bus stop.

"It's very helpful. We can't keep 100 percent, but it is a tool that we can use," Regalado said.

She found two registered sex offenders in her neighborhood.

"I know where we don't go trick-or-treating, things like that," Regalado said.

State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio wants the information on the DPS registry to also appear on each sex offender's social networking profile.
- So what about the names, photos, criminal history, address and other information for other criminals who target adults and children, like identity thieves, gang members, etc?

In House Bill 23 (PDF), Martinez Fischer proposes all visitors to the person's site shall be able to view an indication that the person is a sex offender, the type of offense for which the person is subject, their height, weight, eye color and hair color and the address at which the person resides. If the person does not reside at a physical address, they must list a detailed description of the geographical location.

A violation would carry a criminal penalty.

We interviewed Mary Sue Molnar of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice--a help group for sex offenders last month.

"I think the laws have become such a mess," Molnar said.

She calls this a "feel good law." It makes the public feel comfortable Molnar says, but does nothing to enhance our safety.

"Laws that are based upon fear and paranoia rather than rational thinking," she described.

She says the truly dangerous won't report and those intent on trolling the internet are not going to give their real names.

The moms we spoke to disagree.

"I think that's a great idea," said mom Lauren Mouritsen. "As a mother, I'm very protective so keep them safe from people who make bad choices like that."

"At least it's making them work harder to be deceitful," Regalado said.

Louisiana was the first state to pass a sex offender social media law. It went into effect on August first. If a sex offender fails to disclose their criminal status, they face two to 10 years in prison. A second conviction would warrant up to 20 years.


CA - Crime and Punishment and the Internet

Original Article

11/19/2012

By Margaret Rock

Courts can ban sex criminals from Facebook and Twitter, but in San Diego, social media is being considered a First Amendment right, a freedom available to everyone -- even child molesters.

In Brief boils down complex events to give you the heart of the matter -- today and what it means for tomorrow -- clearly and simply.

A teen convicted of molestation can't be kept off social media, according to a court ruling, in a case that raises questions about the Internet's role in crime and punishment. Some argue social media is a First Amendment right, and it should be treated like other forms of freedom of speech, which can't be taken away.

Others think sites like Facebook and Twitter aren't covered, and prohibiting or curtailing use, like limiting a certain distance sex offenders can live from schools, is not only appropriate, but effective. In this gray area, the San Diego ruling provides a hint of the direction courts and law are taking with the issue. Is access to the Internet and social media an inalienable right? And if so, is it a right for those guilty of sex crimes or even some of the worst criminal offenders imaginable?

What's Happening: A California Appellate Court says a teenage boy who molested a toddler and grabbed and detained a teenage girl has a First Amendment right to use social media and chat rooms, in part because his offenses didn't involve the Internet.

The teen's lawyers argued the terms of his supervised probation -- which include a ban on using a computer for any purpose other than school-related assignments, so he can't maintain a social profile or engage in instant messaging or chat rooms -- went too far. The ban requires him, identified as "Andre" for privacy reasons, to have all computer use "supervised by a responsible adult over the age of 21 who is aware that the minor is on probation and of his charges."

Earlier this month, California Judge Terry O'Rourke ruled (PDF) these probation requirements were invalid because they "are not tailored to Andre's convictions for violating another's personal liberty, willfully annoying and molesting another, unlawful use of force, and lewd and lascivious conduct, or the juvenile court's dual goals of rehabilitation and public safety."

The trial court was ordered to modify the terms of probation, especially on the use of social media and the blanket computer ban.

See Also:


CA - Public Nudity Ban Considered in San Francisco

Person who posted this video apparently has something against homosexuals, so ignore the title on the video.

Isn't this a sex crime? Especially if a child sees them while they are walking around nude?


TX - Former Central Texas Police Officer (Kirt Yarbrough, Sr.) Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault Of A 16-year-old Female

Kirt Yarbrough, Sr.
Original Article

11/19/2012

By Paul J. Gately

BELTON - A former Killeen police officer accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl was sentenced to five years in prison Monday evening after the jury found him guilty of sexual assault.

The jury came back with their decision after three hours of deliberation.

The punishment phase in the trial of Kirt Yarbrough, Sr., a 16-year-veteran of the Killeen department, began around 1 p.m. in 426th State District Court in Belton, prosecutor Shelly Strimple said.

Jury deliberation for sentencing began Monday morning after a weeklong trial that concluded with final arguments last Friday.

Yarbrough was arrested in January and charged with sexual assault in connection with what authorities described as an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old member of the Killeen Police Department's Explorer Scout Program.

Yarbrough was fired through an indefinite suspension after an internal investigation that found that he violated several department policies including having an improper relationship with the participant in the Explorer program and untruthfulness, police said Monday.

The firing came less than two weeks after the Bell County Grand Jury indicted Yarbrough for sexual assault.

Yarbrough, also is facing an aggravated sexual assault charge in Coryell County stemming from an incident involving the same girl in Copperas Cove.

The Boy Scouts of American created the Explorer program in 1949, consolidating several programs designed for senior scouts.

By the mid-60s, the focus of the program was more toward careers.

Exploring was replaced by Venturing in 1998.


VA - Amnesty for False Accusations of Sexual Abuse | Premier Defense ...

Original Article

Excerpt:
Yes, you've read the title of this article correctly, and soon you'll understand.

Contrary to what most prosecutors believe, people (including children) make false accusations of sexual abuse. Sometimes these accusations are deliberate; sometimes they arise due to the accuser's inability to accurately perceive and convey the actions of the alleged offender; and sometimes they arise due to biased interviews, suggestive questioning, and/or taint. Regardless of the reason, the point is that people are falsely convicted of sex crimes, and their lives are forever shattered. Occasionally, alleged victims will come forward and recant their false accusations due to guilt, sympathy, or because they now realize that they were simply mistaken. This is exactly what recently happened in Virginia. ...


MO - Ex-officer (Seth P. Wilkins) pleads guilty in case involving porn

Seth Wilkins
Original Article

11/19/2012

A former Carl Junction police officer has pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing child pornography.

Seth P. Wilkins, 29, changed his plea to guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court in a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office.

Under terms of the plea deal, the defendant would be assessed no more than five years in prison for the conviction. He had faced up to seven years if convicted on the charge.

Wilkins was charged in 2010 after an internal investigation of alleged improper online chats with an underage girl turned up evidence of child pornography on the officer’s personal computer. A probable-cause affidavit states that Carl Junction police Chief Delmar Haase asked the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force to look into the matter when several suspected video files of child pornography were found on Wilkins’ computer.

The defendant later admitted downloading such videos from the Internet since 2004 using file-sharing software, according to the affidavit.

Circuit Judge David Dally delayed formal action on the plea agreement pending completion of a sentencing-assessment report. The defendant’s sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 28.