Tuesday, July 2, 2013

OR - Bill ensures swift penalties for having sex with a minor

Child sex trafficking
Original Article

07/02/2013

By Sanne Specht

New legislation is being heralded as a significant step in diminishing the demand for child sex trafficking.

Senate Bill 673 will make it a felony for first-time offenders who purchase sex from a minor in Oregon. The bill passed the House and Senate late last week, and will soon be signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber, said former Medford resident Liz Alston of Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization based in Washington state and dedicated to eradicating sex trafficking.

An emergency clause in the bill will ensure the penalties of purchasing sex from a minor goes into effect immediately, Alston said.

"This is just huge for us," Alston said. "A felony is a deterrent to these guys."

People can be charged with patronizing a trafficked child if they engage in — or offer or agree to engage in — a commercial sex act with a child under the age of 18 or a law enforcement officer who is posing as a minor.

The law will not require prosecutors to prove the defendant knew the child was under 18, and the defendant won't be able to claim ignorance regarding the child's age, Alston said.

The new law will make the trafficking charge a Class B felony. If convicted, a person faces 30 days in jail, a $10,000 fine and a requirement to attend sex offender treatment programs. The judge may also require that person to register as a sex offender, said Joel Shapiro, a former prosecutor and lobbyist for the Kids Are Nor For Sale in Oregon Coalition, a group of nonprofit organizations such as Shared Hope, police and prosecutors.

A second conviction will bring mandatory sex offender registration, Shapiro said.

Between 100,000 and 300,000 children are reported missing and/or exploited nationwide every year. Many are trapped in prostitution, pornography and sexual entertainment industries, becoming victims of sex trafficking through force, fraud or coercion, Alston said.


As laws against child sex trafficking continued to grow stronger in other states, law enforcement officials reported the market for sex with children began steadily climbing in Oregon, she said.

"Oregon is currently one of only nine states where it is not a felony to purchase sex from a minor," Alston said.

Oregon became a haven for pimps bringing prostituted children up the "Kiddie Track" from California to Washington, officials say. Police are now aggressively fighting child trafficking along the Interstate 5 corridor, particularly between Portland and Seattle. But pimping out children continues also to be a Southern Oregon problem, Alston said.

"On any given weekend, I can look at a well-known online site and see 35 girls that are for sale through sex trafficking in the Medford area," she said.

Rebecca Bender, 29, escaped the sex trafficking trade after being lured there as a teen by a man she believed loved her. Now an educator on the topic, the Grants Pass mother of three just weeks ago testified in Salem in support of the bill.

"This is such a huge step for Oregon," Bender said.

Both Oregon chambers started out with bills to make buying sex with children a felony, to protect child victims of sex trafficking, and to give law enforcement greater tools to investigate and prosecute such crimes. Subsequent amended versions made the trafficking charge a felony upon second conviction. But, at the 11th hour, the bill was taken back to a conference committee where the charge became a felony for first-time offenders, Shapiro said.

Shapiro and Alston credit "grass-roots" activism and media coverage with ensuring the bill passed with the teeth intended.

"There is a huge distinction between a misdemeanor versus a felony," Shapiro said.

The bill passed 30-to-0 in the Senate and 56-to-1 in the House, with Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, casting the sole dissenting vote, Shapiro said.

The Kids Are Nor For Sale in Oregon Coalition tried to ensure the Legislature passed a comprehensive bill that would have the resources and tools necessary to help victims and prosecution efforts, Shapiro said.

Bender said the bill also will require annual training for law enforcement officials and first responders. Because of the dynamics of the sex-trafficking relationship between pimps and child victims, police often think they are responding to a domestic violence call, she said.

"I think this bill will make Oregon a safer place for our children," Bender said.

There is still much work to be done to end the scourge of child sex trafficking, Alston said. But making life tougher on the "johns" by pinning a felony label on their actions will help deter demand, she said.

"A monetary penalty is not enough," Alston said. "People think of sex trafficking as a man in a van. But these guys (who are buying sex from minors) are lawmakers, businessmen, coaches or teachers. What they really don't want is a felony on their record. It's a lot harder for them to hide."


MI - Ex-Child Protective Services worker (William Shaffer) ordered $7,000 in child porn films

Child Porn Photo
Original Article

07/02/2013

By Tresa Baldas

A former Child Protective Services employee from Birmingham is due in federal court this afternoon on child pornography charges, accused of ordering hundreds of child erotica films from an overseas movie maker, including one that featured young naked boys having food fights.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, William Shaffer, 71, spent nearly $7,000 over five years on roughly 222 videos he ordered from an international movie-making company's website. An investigation into the movie production firm led authorities to Shaffer, who in 1987 was accused of sexually molesting a boy between the ages of 8 and 9 when he was a Child Protective Services employee, the complaint said.

Investigators found a 1987 Westland police report containing that allegation when they searched Shaffer's home last November. Authorities contacted the alleged victim in March, who said he was molested by Shaffer but did not want to be interviewed, the complaint said.

According to an affidavit filed Monday by a U.S. Postal Inspector, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and an unnamed foreign law enforcement agency started investigating a movie production company in 2010 that ran a website offering films of young boys marketed as "naturist films from around the world." The company, identified only as "International Company," was the subject of more than 20 complaints to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber TipLine regarding child pornography, the complaint said.

In October 2010, investigators accessed the company’s website and reviewed film previews, movie summaries and customer ordering information. Over the next six months, investigators purchased various videos, including one titled "Cutting Room Floor — Vlaviu," with young boys having naked food fights in an apartment living room.

The company, which had a shipping facility in North Tonawanda, NY, mailed the undercover officers' movies to a post office box in Nolensville, Tenn. They were sent priority mail.

Foreign authorities also executed a search warrant on the company’s business premises and seized hundreds of DVD movies, photos, customer shipping labels and customer order histories, court documents state.

Among the customers was Shaffer, the complaint said. He had the movies mailed to his Birmingham home.

Last November, authorities executed a search warrant at Shaffer's home. After being read his rights, he admitted to ordering videos that contained images of naked boys, but said the company that made them stated the films were not illegal, the complaint said.

Shaffer said he ordered them online, but couldn't remember the website's address, the complaint said. He also told agents no images of child pornography would be found on his computer.

Investigators asked Shaffer where they could find the DVDs containing child pornography, and he asked for a lawyer, the complaint said.

Investigators found dozens of child porn videos under a kitchen table in Shaffer's home, including 61 from the international company, the complaint said. Investigators also found printed child pornography images and sexual stories about children, including one about a seventh grade boy being molested and sodomized.

It is not clear whether the story was created by Shaffer, the complaint said. It is not yet known if Shaffer has a private lawyer or a court-appointed one.


UK - Lie detector tests set to be introduced to monitor sex offenders

Polygraph
Original Article

Polygraphs are junk science, see here.

07/01/2013

By Alan Travis

Politicians expected to approve law allowing compulsory polygraph tests of sex offenders released into community

MPs are expected to clear the way for the introduction of compulsory lie detector tests to monitor convicted sex offenders across England and Wales from next January.

The national rollout of US-style mandatory polygraph tests for serious sex offenders who have been released into the community after serving their prison sentence follows a successful pilot scheme. The trial was carried out from 2009-11 in two Midlands probation areas and found that offenders taking such tests were twice as likely to tell probation staff they had contacted a victim, entered an exclusion zone or otherwise breached terms of their release licence.
- We are not aware of any US state that requires those who have been released into the community, and who are also off probation / parole, to be forced to take any polygraph, but it would not surprise us if it did occur.

Continuing concerns about the reliability of the tests and misinterpretation of the results mean they still cannot be used in any court in England and Wales.

But it is expected that the compulsory polygraph tests will be used to monitor the behaviour of 750 of the most serious sex offenders, all of whom have been released into the community after serving a sentence of at least 12 months in jail.

The tests involve measuring reactions to specific questions by monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and levels of perspiration to assess whether the subject is being truthful. The results will be used to determine whether they have breached the terms of their release licence or represent a risk to public safety and should be recalled to prison.
- We've never understood this.  If the results cannot be used in court, how can they then be used to throw someone back into jail / prison?  Polygraphs are junk science!  A placebo if you will.

The power to introduce compulsory lie detector tests was put on the statute book six years ago in the Offender Management Act 2007. On Tuesday MPs will debate secondary legislation in the form of a statutory instrument to come into force from 6 January 2014. The House of Lords will be asked to approve it later this month.

The justice minister Jeremy Wright said: "Introducing lie detector tests, alongside the sex offenders register and close monitoring in the community, will give us one of the toughest approaches in the world to managing this group."

"We recently announced the creation of a National Probation Service tasked with protecting the public from the most high-risk offenders. They will be able to call on this technology to help stop sex offenders from reoffending and leaving more innocent victims in their wake."
- Just more of the usual "get tough on crime" non-sense and grandstanding.  Ex-sex offenders already have the lowest recidivism rate of any other criminal, yet we don't administer polygraphs to all the other ex-felons!

Hertfordshire police used the tests in a pilot scheme in 2011 to help decide whether to charge suspected sex offenders and gauge the risk they posed to the public. "Low level" sex offenders were involved in the original pilot. At least six revealed more serious offending and were found to pose a more serious risk to children than previously estimated. A further trial was ordered but at the time the Association of Chief Police Officers voiced caution about the adoption of such tests: "Polygraph techniques are complex and are by no means a single solution to solving crimes, potentially offering in certain circumstances an additional tool to structured interrogation," a spokesman said.

Polygraph testing is used in court in 19 states in America, subject to the discretion of the trial judge, but it is widely used by prosecutors, defence lawyers and law enforcement agencies across the US.


WV - Former police officer (George Puskas) pleads guilty to possessing child porn

George Puskas
Original Article

07/01/2013

By Ashley B. Craig

CHARLESTON - A former Ripley police officer tearfully admitted in federal court Monday he sent pornographic images to an underage girl who he also had been accused of harassing after their sexual relationship ended.

George Michael Puskas II, 31, pleaded guilty by way of information to possession of child pornography Monday afternoon before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver in Charleston. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a handful of other charges against him.

Puskas resigned from the Ripley Police Department in 2012 amid allegations he'd behaved inappropriately while on the job. He was on the force for nearly four years.

He wore a dark-colored suit as he stood in the courtroom Monday. His family sat directly behind him.

He said he'd had a sexual relationship with a girl from the time she was 16 to 18 and that there was video of one of their sexual encounters. He said he sent her at least a dozen photos of himself and that she'd done the same.

In September 2011, five months after she broke up with him, he sent her a photo of them having sex. She was living in Virginia at the time, having fled his advances, according to court documents.

"I sent her one picture of us together," he said.

"Engaged in sexual intercourse?" Copenhaver asked.

"Yes, your honor," Puskas answered.

Puskas began to cry when Copenhaver told him he could possibly face the maximum sentence for the charge -- 10 years in federal prison. A woman believed to be his wife began to sob when the judge said Puskas may have to register as a sex offender for life.

"Mr. Puskas swore an oath to protect and serve the community," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a statement. "He obviously failed to uphold that oath."

"Pedophiles like Mr. Puskas must be held accountable when they commit disgraceful crimes like this one."
- Has he been diagnosed as a pedophile, or is that your own personal opinion?  Just because someone sexually abuses a child, by definition, doesn't make them necessarily a pedophile.

Puskas was first indicted in January on charges of enticing a minor into sexually explicit conduct to produce child porn, possession of child porn and receiving child porn.

But those charges were dismissed in April when a superceding indictment was filed adding transmitting child porn and traveling across state lines with intent to kill, injure, harass and intimidate a person known to the grand jury.

He was then charged in June with possession of child porn. A guilty plea hearing was scheduled soon after.

As part of the plea agreement, Jackson County Prosecutor Kenny Skeen agreed not to prosecute Puskas on any state charges relating to the State Police investigation, according to court documents.

State Police began investigating him in September 2011 when the girl, then 18, came forward claiming Puskas had sexually exploited her for years.

The woman, whose name has not been released, told investigators they first met when she was 6 or 7 years old. He was her soccer coach at the time.

Although they didn't have sex until she was 16, the romantic relationship began two years earlier, she said.

She was 14 years old when he carried her off the field with an injury and into a storage room where he told her he loved her, kissed her and asked for her phone number, which she provided.

The first time they were intimate he came to her while on duty and in uniform.

She told police they had sex nearly every day from then until their relationship ended in April 2011, about the time she turned 18. She also claimed they met behind a Jackson County school on several occasions and had sex on the hood of his patrol car.

Puskas admitted in court to using his Ripley police-issued digital camera to make one video of them having sex. He used a cellphone to take pornographic pictures of the girl.

Puskas possessed between 10 and 150 pornographic images of the girl that were taken when she was underage, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. He admitted in court documents to saving the pictures to a flash drive and the video to a laptop.

State Police executed a federal search warrant last spring on Puskas' home and at the Ripley Police Department. Troopers recovered a flash drive and laptop computer from his desk. Puskas admitted to deleting the images and video from the computer before the search last spring.

The flash drive, computer and other electronic items were forfeited as part of the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Johnston argued to have Puskas detained until his sentencing later this year, but David Bungard, Puskas' attorney, argued that Puskas had been compliant while on home confinement for the last five months.

Bungard said Puskas had been living with his parents in Jackson County while on home confinement. He has been caring for his chronically ill mother and watching over his two-year-old daughter while his wife, who is expecting their second child, worked in sales.

Bungard said he didn't feel comfortable having Puskas in jail with other inmates who would find out eventually that he was a police officer. Johnston agreed that any time Puskas spent in jail between now and his sentencing would have to be in protective custody.

Copenhaver said Puskas had been compliant while on home confinement and decided not to change the arrangement.

In addition to prison time, Puskas also faces up to $250,000 in fines and five years to life on supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1.


UK - Disgraced PCSO (Daniel Trayling) avoids jail for child porn offences

PCSO Daniel Trayling
Daniel Trayling
Original Article

07/02/2013

By James Pepper

A disgraced former PCSO has avoided jail despite more than 100 images of child pornography being found on his computer and his mobile phone.

Daniel Stephen Trayling, of Elmwood Close, Wallington, was given a 12 month community order and will be under the supervision of a probation officer for 12 months after pleading guilty to possession of indecent images of children.

Police officers raided the 24-year-old's home in February last year, while he was still working for the Metropolitan Police.

124 illegal images were found on his home computer and mobile phone, with one rated level four, the second worst level of child pornography.

Trayling, who comes from a family of police officers, and who had designs of being one himself, was charged in September but protested his innocence for well over a year, until pleading guilty moments before his trial was due to begin on June 3.

At Croydon Crown Court on Monday, July 1, the shamed 24-year-old was ordered by the Recorder of Croydon Judge Warwick McKinnon to pay £1354 for prosecution costs as he had held out "until the court door" to admit his crimes.

Judge McKinnon said: "I will give you credit, because the law says I must. You are a man of previous good character, and these convictions have destroyed your prospective career of choice."

Trayling, who worked in schools in Bromley as part of his role, was suspended following the charges, but resigned before any further disciplinary action could be taken at a pending misconduct hearing.

As well as placing limitations on his internet access, Judge McKinnon, said: "You will have a specified activity requirement order which is designed to bring your thinking back to reality from errant ways you have demonstrated. If you breach your sentence you will face an immediate custodial sentence."

Very few details of the case were read out during the sentencing hearing on Monday.

Speaking outside court, Trayling's solicitor Henry Oghoetuoma, said: "Daniel Trayling would like to put this chapter behind him, learn from the past and move forward constructively."


IN - Supreme Court sets process for putting children on sex offender registry

Juvenile Sex Offenders
Original Article

07/01/2013

By Dan Carden

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday clarified the process juvenile court judges must follow before a child who commits a sex crime can be added to the state's sex offender registry.

In a 5-0 decision (PDF), the state's high court said prior to registry placement juvenile court judges must hold a formal fact-finding hearing and expressly determine there is clear and convincing evidence a juvenile sex offender is likely to re-offend.

At that hearing, the juvenile must have the opportunity to be represented by counsel, the ability to challenge the prosecutor's evidence and present his or her own, wrote Justice Loretta Rush, a former Lafayette juvenile court judge. Any continuation of the initial hearing must meet the same requirements.

Unlike adult sex offenders, who are automatically required to register following conviction — in part to permit community condemnation of the offender, the process must be different for juveniles because rehabilitation is the purpose of the juvenile system.
- We thought rehabilitation was the purpose of prisons as well?  Guess not!

"For children, the effect of registration is particularly harsh because while some juvenile court records are confidential, registration reveals their delinquent acts to the world and exposes them to the profound humiliation and community-wide ostracism that registration entails," Rush wrote.
- The same applies to adults as well.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals and ordered a Bedford-area child removed from the sex offender registry until a Lawrence County judge holds the now-required fact-finding hearing.

That case involved a 16-year-old boy using the game Truth or Dare to entice a 9-year-old boy to engage in fondling and other sex acts. Following treatment, the boy was rated as having a 4 to 6 percent risk of sexual recidivism, according to court records.


DE - Lawmakers vote to give judges discretion regarding registration of juvenile sex offenders

Juvenile Sex Offenders
Original Article

06/30/2013

DOVER - The state House has given final legislative approval to a bill giving Family Court judges the discretion to determine whether certain juvenile offenders should be declared sex offenders subject to inclusion on the state’s sex offender registry.

The bill applies to juvenile offenders who were under age 14 when the offense was committed or who were older than 14 but did not commit certain offenses, including offenses that require registration under the federal Adam Walsh Act.

The legislation also excludes crimes in which the victim is five years old or younger.

The bill, which now goes to Gov. Jack Markell, also allows for the review of certain offenders who already are on the state’s sex offender registry.