Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MA - Court overturns escort's sex offender label

Dude, WTF?
Original Article

Sexism anybody?


BOSTON - The state's highest court on Wednesday overturned the classification of a former escort service manager as a low-level sex offender, finding that the state's Sex Offender Registry Board should have considered research showing women are less likely than men to commit new sex offenses (Ruling).

The woman, who wasn't identified in the court's ruling, pleaded guilty in 2006 to federal charges stemming from her management of an escort service from 2000 to 2002, including one count of transporting a minor to engage in prostitution and one count of sex trafficking of children. She served 17 months in prison while awaiting trial before pleading guilty.

In 2008, the woman requested funds to hire an expert witness, arguing that the board's guidelines didn't encompass scientific research on female sex offenders. Her request was rejected by the board.

A hearing officer eventually found that she should be classified as a level one sex offender, the lowest level of offender, considered the least likely to reoffend and the least dangerous.

She appealed that decision, but a Superior Court judge upheld the board's ruling. The Supreme Judicial Court granted the woman's request for direct review.

In its ruling Wednesday, the SJC agreed with the woman that the hearing examiner abused his discretion by denying her request for funds for an expert witness who could testify on the subject of how infrequently female sex offenders commit new crimes when compared with men.

"We conclude that it was arbitrary and capricious for (the board) to classify Doe's risk of re-offense and degree of dangerousness without considering the substantial evidence presented at the hearing concerning the effect of gender on recidivism," Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court.

The court sent the case back to the board.

Catherine Hinton, the woman's lawyer, said the ruling means the board can now either grant the woman's request for expert witness funds and a new hearing or relieve her of the requirement to register as a sex offender.

"Our position is that she should not have to register as a sex offender at all," Hinton said.

"She was arrested nearly three years after she had voluntarily ceased the criminal conduct at issue. She had already addressed her substance abuse problems and had already left the prostitution business," she said.

In a statement, the board said it will comply with the court's order.

The court also said the board is required to ensure that its guidelines are based on "the available literature."

"We do not purport to suggest a frequency with which the guidelines must be updated, but caution that guidelines that fail to heed growing scientific consensus in an area may undercut the individualized nature of the hearing to which a sex offender is entitled, an important due process right," Lenk wrote.

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TX - Lubbock sheriff's employee (Mario Luna) arrested on felony charge of online solicitation of a minor

Mario Luna
Mario Luna
Original Article


A former Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office employee was arrested on a felony charge of online solicitation of a minor early Monday, Dec. 9 following a week-long investigation.

Mario Luna, 49, is charged with the second degree felony and remains in the Lubbock County Jail, where he was booked about 3:15 a.m, according to jail records.

Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe said Luna made contact about a week ago with an undercover officer posing as a 16-year-old girl on a website site the sheriff’s office uses to bait potential predators.

I think he was trolling through the sites until he found a possible (victim),” Rowe said during a Monday afternoon news conference in his office.

Officers began an investigation and ultimately, Rowe said, got Luna to set up a meeting midnight Monday near 50th Street and Slide Road.

Once he started interacting with us, we just pursued it to the point that he wanted to meet up and at that point we set up and took him into custody,” he said.

Luna was arrested without incident.

Luna worked as a jailer at the Lubbock County Detention Center for seven years, according to Rowe.

He operated in a detention officer capacity so he had any number of different job responsibilities out there pertaining primarily to inmate security and control of the building,” he said.

Luna was fired immediately following his arrest.

I terminated him personally last night after we delivered him to the detention center,” he said.

Nothing in Luna’s record indicated this type of behavior, Rowe said.

This was an absolute surprise to us once we initially identified him and did the background (check),” he said.

It was possible Luna was on duty at some point during the time he was online with undercover officers, Rowe said.

In terms of the actual criminal offense, it probably won’t have a significant impact,” he said. “His actions alone and his intent alone will determine what happens as this progresses through the criminal justice system.”

Sheriff’s investigators are still working the case but Rowe said no additional charges are pending. A search warrant of Luna’s home and vehicle were executed, Rowe said.

We all recognise the dishonor and discredit he not only brought onto this office by his actions and his intent but the community as well,” he said.

WI - Push for Sex Offender Residency Board Changes

Residency restrictions
Original Article

Come on, it's not that difficult. A residence is where you live, not where you visit.


_____ was twice told by the sex offender residency board that he couldn't move in with his parents, but he has been reported staying there anyway. He has been able to stay because of a loophole in the city's ordinance. It's a case that has drawn a lot of scorn from neighbors.

"Residency right now would require that person be actually living there meaning that they're receiving male that if you went into the residence you would see signs that they actually live there like they have clothing, they have personal items, like a bedroom set up for them to sleep in. Where we run into the problem, is say you have a boyfriend and girlfriend and they each have their own apartment or rent their own apartment but he or she spends a lot of time at the other one's apartment, does he have residency at that apartment or is he just visiting? Spending a few nights there? That kind of thing," explains Captain Bill Galvin of the Green Bay Police Department.

Defining "residence" is just one of the things the city wants to change at a special meeting in the near future.

Those who serve on the Sex Offender Residency Board want action taken sooner as opposed to later.

"I think residency in my opinion should be a couple of days, if you're going to stay in a residence more than a couple of days, in a particular location than your considered a resident of that location," says Board Chairman Dean Gerondale.

While there's no word yet on when this special meeting will take place, the Sex Offender Residency Board meets Wednesday and plans on discussing these issues then.

Report details lives ruined for children put on sex-offender registries

Juvenile sex offenders
Original Article

Click the "OffenderChild" link above for all related articles.


By Susan Ferriss

Nudity, streaking, petting, not just rape, have led to youths put on sex-offender registries

Put on a sex registry for the offense of public nudity as a minor. Harassed by neighbors out of a home and banned from a homeless shelter because of an offense committed at age 15.

The New York-based research group Human Rights Watch issued an extensive report today on the life-shattering consequences of putting minors on sex registries for offenses — sometimes shockingly mild offenses — for the rest of their lives.

Filled with devastating stories of teens and young adults unable to put offenses behind them, the rights group's report is called “Raised on the Register: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the U.S.

The report is the product of a 16-month investigation into 581 cases and interviews with 281 sex offenders — median age 15 — in 20 states. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, child sexuality experts and victims of “child on child” sexual assault were also interviewed. The investigation explores how a burgeoning national web of laws in various states requiring constant registration and public disclosure of offenders’ identities has affected the lives of young offenders long after time served or rehabilitation. Some on registries have killed themselves, even before reaching adulthood.

The report begins with Jacob C., who was 11 years old when convicted of one count of sexual misconduct in Michigan for touching, not penetrating, his sister’s genitals. He was not allowed to live in a home with other children, was eventually put into foster care and was placed on a sex registry that was made public when he turned 18. He struggled to graduate from high school, and was shunned because of his registration status. And when he enrolled in college, he said, campus police followed him everywhere. He dropped out.

Now 26, the report says, Jacob’s life continues to be defined and limited by a conviction at age 11.

Another case in the report: “In 2004, in Western Pennsylvania, a 15-year-old girl was charged with manufacturing and disseminating child pornography for having taken nude photos of herself and (posting) them on the internet. She was charged as an adult, and as of 2012 was facing registration for life.”

Sex offender laws, the report says, “that trigger registration requirements for children began proliferating in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s. They subject youth offenders to registration for crimes ranging from public nudity and touching another child’s genitalia over clothing to very serious violent crimes like rape.”

Registries can also include “people who have committed offenses like public urination, indecent exposure (such as streaking across a college campus), and other more relatively innocuous offenses.”

The Human Rights Watch report acknowledged that registration laws were designed to protect the public from offenders, and that they are based on assumptions that offenders are likely to violate again.

But including youth sex offenders on registries assumes that they are highly likely to reoffend, which is not the case,” the report says. “Numerous studies estimate the recidivism rate among children who commit sexual offenses to between 4 and 10 percent, compared with a 13 percent rate for adult sex offenders and a national rate of 45 percent for all crimes.”
- From the many studies we've seen on adult re-offenses for sexual crimes, the recidivism rate is about 5.3% or lower.

The report was prepared by Nicole Pittman, a national expert on the application of sex offender registration laws who was an attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. She specialized in child sexual assault cases and registries, and has provided testimony to Congress and state legislatures on the subject.

The report calls current registry laws “an overbroad policy of questionable effectiveness” that leaves the public often unable to discern who on a registry is actually dangerous.

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CANADA - Sex offender living in city ‘frightening’

Phil McColeman
Phil McColeman
Original Article

Politics as usual!


By Susan Gamble

Brantford’s Lisa McDonald is mounting a campaign to spread news that a convicted "pedophile" is living at a federal halfway house in the city.

I've contacted every major newspaper across Canada and the TV stations around here,” said McDonald, a mother and grandmother.

_____, 78, a former Hamilton man convicted in 1993 of sexual assault, buggery, assault causing bodily harm, rape, indecent assault and gross indecency, moved to the city on Thursday.

The Salvation Army runs a federal halfway house in Brantford and has been identified by Hamilton’s CH TV as _____’s new home.

When The Expositor reached the facility at 187 Dalhousie St. last Friday, a receptionist said they could neither confirm nor deny his presence there and that she had been “instructed not to talk.”

That frightens me,” McDonald of _____ living downtown.

This place is just a couple of blocks away from Harmony Square where children skate and play.”

News that _____ is living in Brantford led Brant MP Phil McColeman to call for support of tougher legislation for those who abuse children.

This repeat sex offender is being released into my community,” McColeman said Monday in the House of Commons.

Our government promised to crack down on those who victimize children. We will also be bringing forward legislation to ensure that life sentences actually mean life sentences, behind bars, for the worst of the worst criminals.”

_____ qualifies as the “worst of the worst,” said McColeman.

When I read the parole board's comment and conditions of release, they're saying he's not been rehabilitated during his period of incarceration and the likelihood of re-offending is high.”

That's shocking and outrageous. It's offensive.”

McColeman, who previously sat on the Public Safety Committee, said the Tories are pushing for sentencing that could be made on each count rather than global sentences or concurrent sentences.

He could have been serving 180 years,” said McColeman, noting that there are six victims in _____’s case.

But this was a statutory release. There was no power in the parole board hearing to keep him incarcerated.”

McDonald said the laws need to be changed so that high risk offenders are either rehabilitated in custody or kept there.

I thank Phil McColeman on behalf of all Canadians for his stance. He's getting a lot of support on his FaceBook page.”

Information from the Parole Board of Canada indicates that in “certain circumstances” the board can order that an offender remain in custody until the end of their sentence.

_____ was arrested in 1987 after abusing six children over a period of 16 years.

At one point he escaped to England but was extradited in 1992 and finally convicted in 1993. During the trial, 64 charges were dropped.

You used such items as a cattle prod, buggy whip, a cow halter, cat-o-nine tails, belts and sticks as weapons of physical abuse,” says the Parole Board of Canada decision obtained by The Expositor.

This month is not the first time _____ has been living in public.

According to the parole board, _____ was out of prison for four years, after being released to a halfway house in 2008. He eventually got an apartment but breached his parole conditions several times.

His release agreement was revoked in January 2012 because he hadn't reported several incidents of inappropriate behaviour – including a sexual allegation – to police as required.

_____'s installation in Brantford has caused a wail of indignation on social media sites.

A petition to have him removed from the city has quickly amassed almost 1,800 signatures. The petition also calls on police to release his address.

An official from the department of public safety said Brantford police were notified of _____'s imminent arrival on Nov. 27 but it is not common for police to issue warnings to the public about sex offenders.

Old photos of _____ are all that are available. At one time he was a heavy-set, dark-haired man with a moustache.

Media reports now characterize him as a paunchy, wheel-chair bound, grey-haired man with a white goatee and round glasses.

The parole board has him under a list of restrictions: he can have no contact with his victims or their families; he can’t be in the presence of girls under the age of 18 unless accompanied by an adult who knows his history; he must report all sexual relationships and all relationships with females to parole supervisor; he must report all relationships or friendships with women who have responsibility for children; he can not go into bars; he can not drink alcohol; and he must take medication and follow psychiatric treatment.

_____ has been denied any overnight leave privileges unless the board meets again to decide otherwise.

In its decision, the board was clearly concerned about _____'s current girlfriend – a woman employed by and living with a friend where she cares for young children.

And they noted that, despite hours and hours of psychological counselling, _____ returned to inappropriate behaviour as soon as he was back in the community on his previous release.

His risk for reoffending was judged as moderate in 2012 but it was noted that the risk might increase if _____ becomes lonely, rejected or returns to using power and control in his relationships.

A psychological assessment in 2012 said that, despite _____'s advanced age, he was “still focused on sexually related matters.”

He is to continue taking anti-androgen medication which can diminish male libido.

The parole board decided that _____ has to stay in a halfway house residence until 20 years of his 30-year sentence expires on Jan. 15, 2015.

CA - California cop (Sergio Alvarez) charged in sex assault of mentally disabled woman and six others

Sergio Alvarez
Sergio Alvarez
Original Article


By David Ferguson

A West Sacramento, CA police officer is accused of sexual assaults on seven women, including a 30-year-old woman who court documents describe as “mentally disabled.” The Sacramento Bee reported that Officer Sergio Alvarez allegedly subjected the 30-year-old woman to two separate attacks between May and September of 2012.

The woman filed a federal lawsuit on Monday with the help of attorney Samuel Katz and her mother, who is acting as her guardian in the trial after a hearing in May, 2013 found her incompetent. The suit names the city of West Sacramento, Officer Alvarez and now-retired Police Chief Dan Drummond as defendants.

Alvarez, the suit states, engaged in “sexually predatory conduct,” isolating women in the community out as victims “as a hyena hunts for vulnerable victims.” The officer worked the graveyard shift and was reportedly notorious among West Sacramento’s most vulnerable women citizens; the homeless, the destitute and the mentally ill or disabled.

The officer was indicted by a grand jury Oct. 4 on charges of kidnapping, rape, forced oral copulation and sodomy. In the case filed Monday, the plaintiff alleged that Alvarez arrested and handcuffed her on a minor offense, drove her in his police cruiser to a deserted parking lot and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

The suit said that the plaintiff “did not physically resist because she feared incarceration, a new arrest or potentially inflated criminal charges and further physical harm.”

Furthermore, “After the oral sex act was completed to Officer Alvarez’s satisfaction, she exited the vehicle and walked away. Officer Alvarez did not attempt to stop her.”

Alvarez repeated the assault days later, this time forcing himself on the victim from behind, sodomizing her. At no point, the suit said, did Alvarez use a condom or offer the woman any form of protection against STDs.

The plaintiff reportedly attempted to report Alvarez to fellow police officers on multiple occasions, but no action was taken until after his arrest in Feb. 2013.

The grand jury indictment did not list the victims’ names, but referred to them as “confidential victim(s).”

Alvarez’ attorney did not comment to the Bee. Police Chief Drummond told reporters on the day of the officer’s arrest that his termination paperwork had been filed.

Sergio Alvarez is currently in custody on a reported $26.3 million bail.