Saturday, August 24, 2013

AL - Ex-Shelby Co. DHR employee (Brandon Howard Daniel) charged in connection to sex crime investigation

Brandon Howard Daniel
Brandon Howard Daniel
Original Article

08/22/2013

By Melynda Sides and Clare Huddleston

ALABASTER (WBRC) - A former Shelby County DHR employee and former Birmingham police officer has been charged in connection to an ongoing sex crimes investigation involving a DHR client, authorities said Thursday.

Brandon Howard Daniel, a 29-year-old man from Pelham, is charged with indecent exposure, soliciting for purpose of influencing official action, harassment and theft of property.

"The investigation is still ongoing and additional charges may be pending," Alabaster police chief Curtis Rigney said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Daniel worked for the Birmingham Police Department from 2009 until he resigned in March 2013, BPD Sgt. Johnny Williams confirmed this afternoon.

Shelby County DHR workers would not say what Daniel's job position was or how long he had been working for them, but confirmed he was a Shelby County DHR employee. A DRH spokesperson told FOX6 late Thursday afternoon that Daniel is no longer a DHR employee.

On Wednesday, an adult female client of Shelby County DHR filed a complaint stating "her DHR case worker had inappropriate sexual contact with her during a home visit," Rigney said.

Chief Rigney said it allegedly happened Wednesday morning at a home within Alabaster city limits.

Alabaster police officers questioned Daniel on Wednesday afternoon in connection to the crime and took him into custody. He was held overnight and is still in custody at the Shelby County jail.

Chief Rigney said during yesterday's questioning, police determined there may be evidence relating to the crime in the man's office at the Shelby County DHR.

Alabaster police officers were posted at the DHR office overnight. Employees were not allowed inside the building this morning while police and Shelby County Sheriff's deputies and evidence technicians searched for evidence. Chief Rigney said the case against Daniel is solid.

"Today we executed a search warrant at the offices of DHR in Columbiana. Evidence was collected and will be analyzed to determine its connection to this case," Chief Rigney stated in a release.

The Alabaster police chief also thanked the Columbiana Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Office and DHR for their help in the case.

DHR workers are rescheduling appointments for anyone who had an appointment for today.


NY - County Outsources The Job Of Monitoring Sex Offenders

Lawsuit scalesOriginal Article

08/24/2013

By CHARLES LANE

A suburban county on Long Island, N.Y., is taking a novel approach to monitoring sex offenders: It's giving the job to a victims' advocacy group.

The measure was approved unanimously (Video) earlier this year; lawmakers call it a cost-effective way to keep citizens safe. But a local lawyer calls it a "vigilante exercise," and convicted sex offenders are organizing to challenge the legislation.

'The Trackers'
[name withheld], 42, a convicted sex offender, is among those who object to the methods of Parents for Megan's Law, the advocacy group hired by Suffolk County.
- Like mentioned below, and linked below, these people are known to be hostile towards those they are now in charge of monitoring.  It's a conflict of interest and should be stopped!

[name withheld], who was convicted of sexual abuse two decades ago and is now married with two children, says one day last spring he met the people he calls "the trackers."

"I went and got coffee, and they pull up. It was a grey sedan, probably a Crown Victoria. They weren't law enforcement. But they had like a computer in the car," he says.

Two men in the car began questioning him. "I refused to give my name," [name withheld] says. "I just continued to walk because I know the law, that I don't have to give my name."

He crossed the street and waited — and so did the two men.

"And then they left. So then I made a couple calls and said, 'Yeah, I believe I was encountered by the trackers' ... just putting other people on alert," he says. The other people, like [name withheld], are registered sex offenders.

Legalizing Enforcement
The "trackers" are civilian employees of Parents for Megan's Law, a nonprofit organization getting close to $1 million a year to implement the law. Their role is to enforce what Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone calls the "toughest sex offender monitoring" law in the country.

"You can expect you will have an enhanced level of scrutiny unlike anything that exists anywhere else in our country," he says.

In February, the Suffolk County Legislature approved the bill (PDF) unanimously. Some, like, Democrat Kate Browning, even joked about the law's desired outcome for sex offenders: "And if they don't like it, then they know where they can go." Someone else answered, "Another county."

Lawmakers aimed the bill at what they called "predators," people who do bad things to vulnerable people. But [name withheld] says he, and many others, aren't bad people. In 1992, when he was 21, he was convicted of the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl. [name withheld] agreed to a plea deal in the case. But he claims the sex was consensual and that he thought the girl was 18.

Since then, residency laws have become more and more restrictive. After Suffolk County's latest law, he and other convicted offenders filed a lawsuit. [name withheld] says police essentially deputized Parents for Megan's Law to "harass" sex offenders in public.

"It might be a negative impact if you just walk away from these people, which you legally have the right to do," [name withheld] says. "But the fact that they attempt to ask you questions, just like your name, for whatever purpose, is an unlawful detention."

What makes Suffolk's monitoring unique is it's being outsourced to civilians. And not just any civilians, but to a victims' advocacy group. Larry Spirn, a local attorney who often defends sex offenders, says Parents for Megan's Law has a national reputation for being hostile to post-conviction sex offenders.

"There isn't the kind of venomous attitudes that exist between police officers and the people that they arrest. For them, it's a job," says Spirn. "That's why policing is a profession. ...It's not a vigilante exercise, and I think what we have here is an absolute vigilante exercise."

What's Left Unsaid
How Parents for Megan's Law actually goes about monitoring sex offenders is unknown. The group's executive director, Laura Ahearn, refuses to explain how they work for fear of revealing "tactical" information about monitoring.
- If they were doing it legally, then why wouldn't they say how they go about it?  Sounds fishy to us.

"Representatives will and have gone to registered sex offender addresses and simply ask the registered sex offender if they can provide proof that they reside in that particular home," she says.

The contract between Suffolk County and Parents for Megan's Law does provide some safeguards. The contractors cannot carry firearms and must be former law enforcement employees.

But the contract doesn't outline procedures for address verification or what constitutes "proof of residence." In other words, according to Spirn, the line between monitoring and harassing isn't drawn, neither for the sex offender nor the contractor. Ahearn declined further requests for an explanation of her group's procedures.

"These broad policies make it more difficult for offenders to live in the community," says Alissa Ackerman, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Washington, Tacoma, who specializes in sex offender management.

"When we are destabilizing offenders, when we're making it very difficult for them to find housing or very difficult to find work, we're causing more stress," she says, "and that may in the future lead to recidivism."

Ackerman says that while there are many jurisdictions like Suffolk County still creating broad, harsh restrictions against sex offenders, the national trend is the other way. More and more communities are creating nuanced laws that attempt to match restrictions with the likelihood an offender will commit another offense.

[name withheld]'s lawsuit is ongoing. He is currently recruiting more convicted sex offenders to join him.
- It would be nice if we knew how to contact him!  But if you live in Suffolk, you may want to look this man up to join the lawsuit, if you can.

See Also:


FL - Should Teen Sex Be Criminal?

Teenage sex
Original Article

08/23/2013

By Peter Schaller

TREASURE COAST - A local mother says she's been following Kate Hunt's underage sex case closely saying her son fought a similar battle against what she calls unfair laws targeting teens in love with other teens.

Lourdes Gonzales says if any family can relate to the battle Kate Hunt and her parents are fighting in Indian River County, it's hers. Kate is facing felony charges for the consensual sexual relationship she had with her then 14 year old girlfriend at Sebastian River High School. Kate was 18.

Last year Lourdes's son [name withheld] was 17 when he was arrested for the sexual relationship he had with his 13 year old girlfriend.

Lourdes said, "It's not right, either you're a child or a child molester you can't be both."

Now Lourdes is on a mission, demanding that state lawmakers modify laws that criminalize teenage romance.

She said, "From the bottom of my heart, not only for my son, not only for Kaitlyn, but for future [name withheld] and Kaitlyns, help me change the law."

[name withheld] faced felony charges even though Lourdes says his girlfriend and his girlfriend's family didn't want to pursue legal action. Lourdes says the prosecutors didn't care, and it dramatically changed [name withheld]'s future.

"He started college when he was 16, he's a smart kid, he's just a teenager who wants to have fun like all other teenagers," he said.

[name withheld] ended up with a plea deal. He doesn't get jail time or the official sex offender label if he follows curfews, follows probation orders, and attends meetings with sex offenders every week for 5 years.

She said, "These are 50 plus year old men having sex with 5 and 6 year old babies."

Lourdes says even with the plea deal, [name withheld]'s future is uncertain. Finding a job after the arrest and with a criminal record has been difficult.

She said, "I'm sure Kaitlyn Hunt didn't know, I'm sure my son didn't know."

Since the Kate Hunt case broke State Senator Thad Altman, who represents the Sebastian area, says he wants to propose adding age limits to Florida sex laws.


MO - Surprise visit for Ralls County sex offenders

Compliance check
Original Article

08/22/2013

By Rajah Maples

RALLS COUNTY - Some area sex offenders had a surprise visit from a local sheriff's office Thursday.

The Ralls County Sheriff's office along with three U.S. Marshals conducted a sex offender compliance check throughout the county.

Sheriff Gerry Dinwiddie said Ralls County has about 26 sex offenders.

"We're going through the county and trying to make contact with all the registered sex offenders and make sure they are up-to-date on all their records, addresses, visits and everything else," Dinwiddie said. "We're going to be looking for anything dealing with computers or child porn or pornography or anything along that line."

Authorities arrived at a Ralls County home about three miles south of Hannibal at about 1 p.m. Thursday.

"This is in cooperation with the U.S. Marshal's office," Dinwiddie said. "They contacted us, and they got a program that they come around and help the local sheriff's department do the compliance checks cause our funds are not as great as theirs."

Law enforcement thoroughly scanned through all of the computers found in this registered sex offender's home, looking for inappropriate content.

"It's important that we know where the registered sex offenders are and what they're doing," he said. "The people who live in the neighborhoods want to know that, too."

Sheriff Dinwiddie asks the public to let the sheriff's office know if they see anything in their neighborhood or know of a registered sex offender who's not complying with state laws.

He said authorities found at least one non-compliant sex offender and were further investigating one other as of 1:30 Thursday afternoon.


TX - Victim of Stabbing in Pecos by Robbyn Ochoa Was Registered Sex Offender

News paper and coffee
Original Article

08/23/2013

By Brian Wise

PECOS - A stabbing in Pecos turned into more in-depth story. On Friday, NewsWest 9 discovered that [name withheld], the victim of 17 stab wounds on Wednesday, was a registered sex offender.

His girlfriend, Robbyn Ochoa, told officers she stabbed him for attacking her. A six and eight year-old were at the home but were taken by grandparents. It was unclear why [name withheld] was allowed in the same house with other children if he was registered as a sex offender for molesting a 13-year-old girl.

[name withheld] is registered as a "moderate" threat. Pecos County Police Chief Clay McKinney says that even though he is registered, he can see other children except for his victim.

"I don't know the stipulation of his parole because I haven't seen it. The only thing that would change that is if one of those children were the victim from the offense," McKinney said.

The address that he was living at did not match the address Pecos Police have him registered.

According to neighbors, it seemed like the two knew each other and were living together for a long time. His friends in the neighborhood knew [name withheld] by another name.

"We called him something different. Juni, we called him Juni," Jimmy Yniguez said.

Another member of the neighborhood, Montgomery, who didn't give his full name, said things like this aren't uncommon in this area.

"This is the east side. A little bit of everything happens around here," Montgomery said.


IN - Police: Ex-correctional officer (Nicholas Houston) posed as cop to sexually exploit women, one victim was 16

To serve and protect... NOT!
Original Article (Video Available)

08/22/2013

By Ann Keil

A former correctional officer is behind bars for allegedly coercing young women to perform sex acts on him by impersonating a police officer and making threats. One of the victims is 16 years old.

Charges against Nicholas Houston include sexual battery, impersonating a public servant, criminal confinement, criminal deviate conduct and intimidation. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has asked that Houston’s face not be shown publicly so they can locate other potential victims in the case.

It’s a terrible tragedy,” said Lt. Chris Bailey with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

According to court documents, Houston picked up the youngest victim near 23rd Street and College Avenue on the northwest side twice where they discussed prices for sex. The first time, she claims he flashed a badge, causing her to jump out of his moving car. She told detectives she did not initially recognize him the second time.

According to court documents, Houston “pulled out a badge, grabbed her by hair, and told her if she tried to run, he would shoot her in the back because he was the police, and he had every reason to shoot her in her back.”

You may not know what our badge looks like or what a sheriff’s badge looks like, or Speedway, Cumberland or Lawrence,” said Bailey.

Houston was fired from his post as a correctional officer with the Plainfield Short Term Offender Program Facility on Aug. 11. He had been working for a private company called the Geo Group. A company spokesperson said it was a result of the pending case.

If you have an interaction with who you think is a police officer at an age of 16, her perceptions or fears of law enforcement is probably ruined forever, maybe, and that’s a shame,” said Bailey.

A second victim gave a similar account of an encounter with Houston; her description of the car and driver linked it to the first case. Both women said they were forced to perform sex acts on Houston.

Houston declined a Fox 59 interview.


CA - O.C. man (Robert Eugene Vasquez) gets life in prison for killing sex-offender neighbor

Robert Eugene Vasquez
Robert Eugene Vasquez
Original Article

08/23/2013

By Paloma Esquivel

An Orange County man who killed a neighbor in his mobile home park because the neighbor was a sex offender was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Robert Eugene Vasquez, 36, was convicted in June of stabbing neighbor [name withheld] to death. Prosecutors said Vasquez waited outside [name withheld]'s home in a San Juan Capistrano mobile home park on the morning of Dec. 1, 2011, intending to kill [name withheld] because he was a registered sex offender.

Vasquez's mother had told her son and others that [name withheld] was a child molester. In fact, [name withheld] had been convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, an offense that obligated him to register as a sex offender but did not involve a child, said Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh.

When [name withheld] walked outside his home, Vasquez attacked him, punching him in the back of the head and stabbing him until he was nearly decapitated.

Two days later, as sheriff’s deputies investigated the murder, Vasquez attacked a friend at the friend's home in San Juan Capistrano with a metal object. The friend survived but suffered major injuries.

Vasquez was convicted of one felony count of special circumstances murder and one felony count of aggravated assault.

During the sentencing, a statement from members of [name withheld]'s family was read to the court. The family and its neighbors were “hurting because of the action you chose that morning. We are getting better as time goes by, but we will not forget [name withheld]. We will always have loving thoughts of [name withheld] and the fun time we shared with him,” according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney’s office.

"We live in a free country," Baytieh said. "People have a right not to like someone. People have a right to not like what someone has done. But no one has a right to kill someone."

See Also:


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Sex Offender Issues