Saturday, December 14, 2013

OH - Wife found child porn that led to former officer (Stewart A. Miller) getting caught

Stewart A. Miller
Stewart A. Miller
Original Article

12/14/2013

By Kathy Lynn Gray

A former Columbus police officer who has agreed to plead guilty to possessing child pornography was caught after his wife found a hidden camera in their Delaware County home.

Stewart A. Miller, 48, apparently had used the camera to secretly videotape a relative and a friend having sex, according to a federal search warrant.

Miller has reached an agreement with U.S. attorneys to plead guilty to one count of child-porn possession, punishable by a minimum of five years in prison. The agreement, filed on Wednesday, says Miller had more than 600 images, including some of prepubescent minors and some depicting violent, sadistic or masochistic conduct.
- He's very lucky, in many states it's one count per image.

The agreement also says Miller will register as a sex offender and pay “full restitution to the victims of the offense” he is pleading guilty to. No restitution amount is listed.

The search warrant, filed on Oct. 31, says that Miller’s wife, _____, found dozens of pornographic images of children on a thumb drive in her husband’s room in July.

She confronted him and he told her “it was just a curiosity” and he would not view images like that again.

_____ had seen similar images on the couple’s laptop computer two years earlier, and her husband told her they must have been downloaded by another family member.

After confronting him in July, _____ searched their home and found a small camera hidden beneath an entertainment center in the family’s upstairs living room, as well as a videotape of a relative and a friend having sex in that room, according to the search warrant.

She also found, in a crawl space in the ceiling above her husband’s bathroom, two external-hard drives and a flash drive containing child-pornography videos and images.

_____ turned the equipment over to the FBI. Agents searched the couple’s home on Oct. 31 and confiscated computer equipment, videotapes, two letters and other items. The same day, agents searched a storage unit that Miller rented and confiscated three videotapes and 19 CDs and DVDs, the search warrant shows.

Miller had been a Columbus police officer for 23 years. He resigned last week.

He and his wife have been married since 2002, according to public records.


NV - State reluctantly implements 'harsh' sex offender law, adding people, all the way back to 1956, to the registry

Money down the toilet
Original Article

12/14/2013

By ADAM KEALOHA CAUSEY

Full implementation of a 6-year-old Nevada law may soon cause a dramatic increase in the number of registered sex offenders — raising questions about whether the intended punishment fits the crime.

One state lawmaker suggested dumping part of the “terrible, overly harsh law” as it applies to juvenile offenders.

Congress approved the Adam Walsh Act in 2006 as a guideline for state laws on sex crimes. The statute was intended to toughen punishment for sex offenders, including making their photos, names and addresses available to the general public.

Nevada legislators adopted most provisions of the federal law in 2007, reacting in part to concern the state could lose federal grants for law enforcement.
- Yeah, it's always about money!

Now, thanks to a Nevada Supreme Court decision in October, the state will likely expand the sex offender roll from the current 3,000 names by requiring anyone convicted of a felony sex crime or crimes involving children since 1956 to register.

No one knows how many more offenders will be added to the list, but the expansion has raised concerns that people who were convicted long ago but who have never re-offended will be publicly humiliated, lumped in with serial rapists.

Of particular concern are people whose youthful indiscretions will suddenly become a scarlet letter haunting their adult lives.

NO PUBLIC DANGER

Experts in and out of Nevada say the law here, and in the 16 other states that adopted similar versions of the Walsh Act, unfairly labels children who messed up as sexual deviants.
- It does the same for adults whose crime was as a child or many years ago.

For decades Nevada’s approach to dealing with juvenile sex offenders was to treat them more like patients than prisoners, an approach backed by research that shows many children and teens who sexually abuse someone can be treated, and are unlikely to re-offend.

Keeping with that approach, most sex offenders younger than 21 were not required to register as a sex offender. Judges were allowed to determine, after sentencing and monitoring, whether a juvenile offender posed any public danger. A judge could order the offender to register on reaching adulthood.

Clark County Family Court Judge Bill Voy said few juvenile offenders who have appeared before him over the years needed to register.

But the Walsh Act leaves no room for judicial discretion. Sex offenders who are 14 or older at the time of the offense (PDF) must register under blanket classifications for the crime committed, with no regard for changes in behavior.
- For more info see the SORNA final guidelines.

Clark County already is seeing effects of the Supreme Court decision. Since October, Voy has ordered four now-adults to register for offenses they committed as juveniles, and for offenses he had previously determined they would not repeat.

Voy said he has to follow the law, even though it doesn't seem right.

Now they’re in college; they’re married,” Voy said. “Now they have to register as a sex offender.”

FEW PREDATORY JUVENILES

Most who study and work with young sex offenders see them differently than adults who have preyed on children or committed violent sexual assaults. Most agree the adults should be punished, and that it’s appropriate for the public to know their whereabouts.
- If we must keep the online registry, it should be for the high risk offenders, but even then, in our opinion, it should be offline and used by police only to prevent harassment, vigilantism or murders of registrants and/or their families.  Everybody who commits a sexual crime should be punished, but to be punished for it for life?

But studies show children usually commit an act against someone they know and seldom are repeat offenders, particularly if they get help.
- The same applies to adults (Recidivism studies).

Reasons why children and teens sexually assault vary: Often they have been victims themselves. Many are going through puberty, a confusing time for just about anyone, and act out what they have seen in pornography. Very few cases include predatory juveniles.

Human Rights Watch, a Philadelphia-based advocacy group, reported in May that national recidivism rates for juvenile sex offenders range between 4 percent and 10 percent. In some categories it is as low as 1 percent.

By comparison, the recidivism rate for all crimes regardless of age is about 40 percent.

The report examined more than 500 cases in Nevada and 19 other states.

Many of the children didn’t really understand what they were doing was a sexual offense; they didn’t understand boundaries,” report author and analyst Nicole Pittman said by phone Friday.

Good public policies should protect the community but also be equitable.

Under the new law, the court system will continue to offer rehabilitation services for juvenile sex offenders, but experts say registries can create pre­carious situations for registrants and their families, as well as spread unnecessary fear among the public.

REGISTERING CREATES STIGMA

The Human Rights Watch report cites the case of an adult man who was required to register as a sex offender for touching a 12-year-old girl’s chest when he also was 12. The registry in his unidentified state didn’t include a conviction date, and many people assumed his offense was recent, and that he was a child predator. A neighbor once beat the man’s brother because they looked alike.
- This kind of stuff happens all the time, it's part of growing up and experimenting with sex, or was, now it's a crime that will ruin your life!

Registering also creates a stigma that can cause registrants to become a danger to themselves, said Susan Roske, with the juvenile division of the Clark County public defender’s office, which sought to have the juvenile portion of the Walsh Act in Nevada overturned.

I imagine we will be seeing some suicides,” Roske said.
- Will be?  They are already occurring as well as vigilantism, murders, etc!

She is on a committee of lawmakers, advocates and experts that advise the Nevada Legislature about sex offender registration issues. She wants the panel to recommend a bill to eliminate juvenile registration during the 2015 legislative session.

Even the state Supreme Court, in its 4-3 ruling against a lawsuit brought by Roske, said Nevada’s law is constitutional but questioned whether it was best for juveniles.

It does not appear from the legislative history that the Nevada Legislature ever considered the impact of this bill on juveniles or public safety,” the court majority wrote. “The body’s motivation for passing the bill appears to be compliance with the Walsh Act and avoidance of the reduction in grant monies that would come with noncompliance.”
- Hell, do politicians ever consider the ramifications of the laws they are passing, or what's in them?

That got the attention of state Sen. Tick Segerblom, chairman of the committee Roske is on. Segerblom was in the Assembly when both chambers un­animously passed the Walsh Act provisions in 2007. Because state budget cycles last two years, he said, loss of funding forced a too-quick decision.

The state hasn't lost any federal money because it delayed fully implementing the act for six years, he said.

It really is a terrible, overly harsh law,” said Segerblom, D-Las Vegas. “We just have to, as legislators, focus on the bigger picture and what’s best for everybody.”

During a meeting Friday, Segerblom and other committee members discussed asking lawmakers to change state law back to the way it was, letting judges decide if a juvenile should register. But with a year until the next legislative session, Segerblom asked committee chairman Keith Munro what could be done to put off implementation of the Walsh Act.

That’s not really a question I can address,” Munro, who is Nevada’s assistant attorney general, said via a satellite feed in Reno.

In the meantime, it’s unclear when this round of new names might show up on the searchable public website.

Voy is working with John Paglini, a Las Vegas psychologist who often testifies in sex crime cases, on a study aimed at showing how Clark County’s juvenile sex offenders respond to court-ordered treatment. Those numbers haven’t been tracked before now. They will review 1,000 cases dating to 1979 and evaluate what worked, and how often juveniles re-offended.

It’s a very bold project,” Paglini said. “If we can understand these dynamics and reduce the recidivism rate toward the community, then I think in the end this works out beautifully.”

The results of the study should be complete by the time lawmakers meet in 2015.

ADDED COSTS

In addition to overlooking the impact on juvenile offenders, the Legislature didn’t seem to consider the added cost of getting more offenders registered and compliant with the law.

They’ve never formally tried to figure out the actual cost,” said Maggie McLetchie, a lawyer who worked for the American Civil Liberties Union when it sued the state over the Walsh Act.
- Do they ever?  It's not their money so why bother with the costs?

McLetchie’s calculations showed implementation would cost millions. By comparison, losing the federal grant would have been less than $200,000.

The responsibility for getting offenders registered falls to multiple agencies, including local law enforcement and the state Division of Parole and Probation.

Sgt. Brian Zana, of Parole and Probation, said juvenile offenders may not add as much work as some think. Many already register with law enforcement because schools, churches or other organizations where there are other children must know about young offenders nearby. But that registration is not made public on the state website.

Another provision of the Walsh Act taking effect in Nevada bars sex offenders from knowingly being within 1,000 feet of a place designed primarily for children.

That portion of the law won’t be retroactively applied to the new class of offenders who already live near sites such as schools, but it will come into play if the offender moves.
- A retroactive law is unconstitutional and is called Ex Post Facto, but that all goes out the window when it involves further punishing of ex-sex offenders.

Depending on the crime, offenders must check in with police or probation officers more often and must register for 15 years, 25 years or for life.

In trying to strike a balance between public safety and fairness, Nevadans aren’t alone in questioning some aspects of the Walsh Act.

There’s no national consensus on how state lawmakers should deal with juvenile registration, said Katie Gotch, spokeswoman for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. But most agree the Walsh Act goes too far, she said.

A lot of times laws are based on fear and are a knee-jerk reaction to a high-profile case,” Gotch said.


MD - Former Howard County correctional officer (Gregory Charles Kirk) charged with having sexual contact with inmate

Gregory Charles Kirk
Gregory Charles Kirk
Original Article

12/13/2013

A former correctional officer could return to jail, this time as an inmate, if found guilty of the charge he had sex with a female inmate while he was employed at the Howard County Detention Center.

Gregory Charles Kirk, 40, of Bridgeport Court in Owings Mills was arrested at his home Friday morning and charged with sexual conduct between a correctional employee and an inmate, a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a $3,000 fine, according to the Howard County Police Department.

Kirk’s employment had previously been terminated due to unrelated administrative issues, police said.

The investigation started in November when detention center director Jack Kavanagh reported an allegation that Kirk may have had sex with a female inmate while employed at the jail, according to police.

Investigators believe Kirk had sex with the female inmate inside a cell, police said.

Kirk was released from police custody on his own recognizance before noon Friday, online court records show.


FL - Study: One quarter of female drug offenders report experiencing police sexual misconduct

Police sexual favors
Original Article

What do you know, another article about Florida police corruption!

12/13/2013

By Jill Pease

A new University of Florida survey suggests that police misconduct against female drug offenders may be more pervasive than previously thought.

The survey of more than 300 St. Louis-area women who had been charged with substance-abuse violations found that 25 percent of the respondents reported experiencing police sexual misconduct in the form of trading sex for favors.

It is believed to be the first systematic study to assess sex trading between police officers and female offenders from the women's perspective. The findings appear online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

"It's important that the police force acknowledges that sexual misconduct may exist among the force, so that it can be stopped and eventually prevented," said lead investigator Linda B. Cottler, a professor and chair of the department of epidemiology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine.

In 2009, 1.3 million American women were incarcerated or under correctional supervision, up from 600,000 in 1990, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Previous research has shown that female offenders have higher rates than the general female population of physical or sexual abuse as a minor, childhood household dysfunction and adolescent pregnancy.

Data for the UF study on police sexual misconduct were gathered as part of the Sisters Teaching Options for Prevention, or STOP, project, led by Cottler while she was on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. Funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, STOP was an HIV prevention study conducted from 2005 to 2008 to reduce high-risk substance abuse and sexual behaviors among women in drug courts. Prior to beginning the study, researchers conducted focus groups with women in a medium-security institution.

"During our conversations the women revealed that their sex partners included police officers and it wasn't a long time ago, it was happening quite recently," said Cottler, the associate dean for research and planning at the College of Public Health and Health Professions. "These focus groups formed the basis for the addition of a dozen or so questions that we inserted into our study questionnaire."

The study involved 318 participants, age 18 or older, who were under the supervision of a probation or parole officer for a non-violent offense. Study recruiters were stationed in two St. Louis-area drug courts during dockets that included women charged with substance-related violations. The women completed surveys led by trained interviewers with information collected on demographics, drug-use history, psychiatric disorders, stressful life events and experiences with police sexual misconduct.

One quarter of study participants reported a lifetime history of police sexual misconduct. Of those women, 96 percent said they had sex with an officer on duty, and 24 percent reported having sex with an officer while the officer's partner or another officer was present. Only half said they always used a condom with an officer. Fifty-four percent of the women said the officer offered favors in exchange for sex, such as to avoid arrest or being charged with a crime, and 87 percent said officers kept their promises. About one-third of the women who had experienced police sexual misconduct characterized the encounter as rape.

Women who were unemployed, had multiple arrests, adult antisocial personality and lifetime use of cocaine and opiates were at highest risk of trading sex with an officer.

The researchers stress that police sexual misconduct is likely perpetrated by a small number of officers and not by a large proportion of officers (We disagree). They noted that because of the unequal distribution of power between an officer and a female offender, sex trading should never be considered consensual.

"This study is a call to action for law enforcement, and we need the law enforcement community to understand the vulnerability of women trying to change their high-risk behavior," Cottler said. "We must have an open dialogue to address this issue through policies and trainings."

Further research should look at the extent of police sexual misconduct among other populations, the researchers said.


AL - DA’s Office Tries To Salvage Hundreds of Sex Offender Cases After Investigator’s (Shawn McClure) Arrest

Shawn McClureOriginal Article

12/13/2013

By Matt Kroschel

HUNTSVILLE (WHNT) - About 20 cases involving sex offenders were thrown out this month and potentially hundreds more have been compromised due to the recent arrest of an investigator with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

The Madison County District Attorney’s office confirmed with WHNT News 19 and our news partners at The Huntsville Times/al.com Friday that the indictment of Shawn McClure, whose job was to check on all registered sex offenders in Madison County, leaves up in the air hundreds of cases involving registration violations.

McClure, a former deputy, was indicted on charges of second-degree receiving stolen property and second-degree theft.

It is our responsibility to address criminal activity wherever it occurs,” Sheriff Blake Dorning told WHNT News 19. “It doesn’t matter where it occurs. Nobody is above the law.”

On November 5th, Investigator McClure ended his 12-year career at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. He handed in his resignation as an internal investigation probed into whether he had participated in any wrongdoing.

Assistant District Attorney Tim Gann says about 20 cases involving Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) violations were no-billed by the grand jury due to McClure’s indictment and arrest on second-degree theft charges.

Gann said McClure’s arrest throws into doubt potentially hundreds of cases that are still pending, where McClure is the key witness.

It relates directly to the indictment of Shawn McClure. He was the SORNA investigator for the Madison County Sheriff’s office,” Gann said. “All those cases he investigated, obviously we cannot call him as a witness, they are to be no-billed.”

We have made arrangements with the sheriff’s department and their current investigator is going to reopen all those cases and take a hard look and see if we can salvage them,” Gann said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to.”

Gann said the theft charges against McClure could compromise the SORNA cases because of the nature of the alleged offenses.

Theft charges go to credibility,” Gann said. “It goes to somebody’s truthfulness, their credibility as a witness. What will we do is go case by case. If he is an essential witness, if we can’t make the case without him, it will have to be dismissed.”

If we can make the case without him, it’s basically a salvage operation, we will,” Gann said.

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