Friday, December 27, 2013

HI - Ex-Maui officer (Kristopher Galon) settles sex assault suit for $20K

To protect and serve?Original Article

12/27/2013

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

A former Maui police officer who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2008 has agreed to pay her $20,000 to settle a civil lawsuit.

Kristopher Galon told a magistrate judge in federal court today that he will mail a certified or cashier's check to Cades Schutte LLP, the Honolulu law firm representing the woman.

According to a plea agreement in Galon's criminal case, he picked the woman up in his police car after she was released from a Lahaina police cell and sexually assaulted her. He was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for extorting sex from her and stealing $1,500 from a driver during a traffic stop.

The woman filed a civil suit against Maui County, the police department, Galon and others. She recently won a $200,000 settlement from the county.

Another former officer was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for stealing $500 from her that night.

The Associated Press does not typically name victims of sexual assault.

Galon, who is representing himself, and the woman's attorney, Jeffrey Portnoy, participated in the settlement hearing by telephone.

Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren said he will dismiss the case once the payment is made. He gave Galon 60 days to pay. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26 -- or sooner if Galon pays before the deadline -- to confirm the case has been resolved.
- So I guess this means he will not be on the sex offender registry?  We just checked and he's not on the registry.

"No amount of money will ever compensate her for what happened that night," Portnoy said in an email after the brief hearing.

See Also:


TN - Memphis Police Officer (Matthew Ashmore) Charged With Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

Matthew Ashmore
Matthew Ashmore
Original Article

12/27/2013

By George Brown

Memphis - A Memphis police officer has been charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

Memphis police received a complaint from a person who found a cell phone at a business Thursday.

Police say the person saw several images of children, “involved in sexual acts with unknown adult males.”

Memphis Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children investigators obtained a search warrant for the cellular phone and observed the graphic images.

Matthew Ashmore, 26, who is a Memphis police officer, was arrested.

Ashmore, who has been a police officer since 2009 and is assigned to the South Main Station, is relieved of duty with pay while an investigation is underway.

It really sickens me to find that someone who has been sworn to protect the citizens and uphold the law would prey on our innocent children”, said Director Toney Armstrong in a news release.


OH - State unveils OVI registry

OVI registry
Original Article

Why don't we just put all ex-felons on an online hit-list for all to see? Fair is fair, right?

12/27/2013

COLUMBUS (WKBN) - The state on Friday unveiled a new registry for habitual OVI offenders.

The database will contain people that have five or more OVI convictions. It's searchable and available for the public to view.

The registry comes from a partnership of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety.

It basically automates what used to be a paper driven process.

Several recent media reports had identified gaps in the registry, which was created in 2008. The upgrades dramatically improve the system and the results.

Instead of relying on local court jurisdictions to submit forms to add a habitual offender to the registry, the new system compiles the information automatically from already existing electronic records.

A state law created the registry and defined who should be included:
  • Anyone with five or more convictions during the past 20 years (at least one of the convictions must be since the law took effect on Sept. 30, 2008).
  • The registry does not include convictions more than 20 years old.
  • The registry does not include deceased people.
  • The registry does not include out-of-state convictions.
  • Juvenile offenses are included.
  • If a single incident results in multiple impaired driving-related convictions, it is counted as one conviction for purposes of this registry.

This change comes just in time for the holiday season, which can be one of the most dangerous times of the year on the road because of an increase in impaired driving. The Patrol will be out in full force this holiday season, removing dangerous and impaired drivers in an effort to reduce fatal and injury crashes.
- Once again, just because someone is on an online shaming list, won't prevent them from killing a whole family!  Pretty soon we'll all be on an online registry of some kind, it's only a matter of time.

Last year in Ohio, seven people died in OVI-related crashes between Christmas and New Year's.

The public is encouraged to continue using #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity.


FL - Mistaken ID as 'sex offender' brings lawsuit

Andrew Flaherty
Andrew Flaherty
Original Article

12/27/2013

By Andrew Pantazi

Andrew Flaherty was divorced, alone, legally blind. By the end of 2011, he left his Louisiana home and let his brother drive him to Jacksonville.

He hoped he could spend time with his brother’s family. Meet a few people and go fishing. Have a chance at living among people he could trust.

Nearly 11 months later, on Halloween 2012, he went to a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office on Blanding Boulevard and asked for a state ID card.

The clerk faced a screen of yes-no options:

Organ Donor. Insulin Dependent. Florida Resident. Sexual Predator. Career Offender. Sexual Offender.

Yes, Flaherty is insulin dependent; it was the diabetes that blurred his eyesight, forcing him to forfeit a driver’s license. Yes, he’s now a Florida resident. And then, by some twisted, warped luck, the clerk said that yes, Andrew Stokes Flaherty was a sexual offender. Except that he wasn’t.

When it comes down to it, Andrew Flaherty is suing the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office because of seven numbers and what those numbers represent.

943.0435, the numbers printed on the bottom right of his state ID card. It took five months before Flaherty learned those numbers refer to a state statute by the title of “Sexual offenders required to register with the department.”

The law requiring sex offenders identify themselves as such on all driver’s licenses and identification cards or risk felony charges passed in 2007. A Naples News article quoted Lt. Tom Smith of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s special crimes bureau as saying: “Notifying the community of the whereabouts of sex offenders and predators is the best safety measure to protect children.”

In Duval County, the Tax Collector’s Office is the licensing agent for the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The printed numbers on an ID were intended to scare the public, Flaherty’s attorney John Phillips said. Those numbers warn people: Bad guy approaching. Avoid at all costs. Which can be good, Phillips said, if it’s referring to a genuine sexual offender. But Flaherty’s name doesn’t come up in the Louisiana or Florida sex offender registries.

They've committed the worst defamation about a person,” Phillips said.

I don’t want this to define my life,” Flaherty said, “but it really has been a major ruling factor.”



On March 9 this year, Flaherty and his brother, a longtime Navy serviceman, got into his brother’s BMW and drove to Jacksonville Naval Air Station to work on his brother’s Corvette.

They handed their IDs to the guards at the gate.

I’m going to need you to pull over,” the guard said. After a half-hour, two of the Navy security officers explained Flaherty wasn’t allowed on base. They told his brother that according to Flaherty’s government-issued identification, he was a sex offender, even though they couldn't find him in any computer registry.

For more than 20 years, Flaherty’s brother had served in the Navy, and though he’d seen Flaherty regularly, he didn’t know what he was up to all the time. He didn’t know what could’ve happened while he was deployed in Japan.

It wasn’t until Flaherty’s sister drove him to get another ID, one that didn’t designate Flaherty as a sex offender, that his family could accept that it wasn’t true.

Still, his brother said, “It’s going to be in the back of somebody’s mind even if they proved it’s not true. My kids have kids. Do you ask him to baby-sit?

Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan apologized to Flaherty, writing in a letter, “I know that our clerk’s error likely caused you hardship during the five months in which you had possession of the incorrect ID, and for that I again offer my sincerest apology.” He said there was no reason for the error. It was unintentional, he said. It was isolated, he said.

He assured Flaherty in the April 26 letter that he was “working with the state to determine if there are additional safeguards that can be built into their system.”

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also sent Flaherty two checks totaling $31.25 to pay him back for the mistaken ID.
- What about all the embarassment, harassment, hardship, etc?

That was the last time Flaherty heard from any officials. In November, Flaherty filed a lawsuit against the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office, alleging two counts of defamation and claiming at least $15,000 in damages.

How many people at the grocery store saw when I showed my ID with a credit card?” Flaherty said. “How many people at the pharmacy?

They gave me the same designation as Donald Smith,” he said, referring to the man charged with abducting, raping and killing an 8-year-old girl this past summer. “They put me in that category. How would that affect you? Y’know? What do you do? I own a house here now; I can’t just sell it and move away. What do I do?

Sherry Hall, chief administrative officer at the Tax Collector’s Office, said she couldn't comment on a pending lawsuit, but she said the state issued the system used by the clerk that didn’t have safeguards to double-check if he was a sex offender. The clerks have received additional training to make sure they understand how devastating a mistake can be, she said.

Our trainers use that story as an example,” she said, “so they can understand how important it is to be accurate.”

John Lucas, spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said the computer system was already scheduled to be replaced and the department has asked for $10.9 million in the 2014 budget so it can update its licensing computer system. Without that money, he said he doesn't know if any safeguards have been planned.
- We believe this is total BS!  Why in the world would it cost so much money to fix a problem like this?

The system today, he said, is the same as it was when Flaherty was labeled a sex offender.

The error,” he said, “was not by our organization.” This was the first case he said he’s heard of where someone was accidentally called a sex offender.

Phillips and Flaherty said something needs to change.

You are never going to get back the first impression,” Flaherty said, “and that’s a really hard first impression.”

How do you define justice?” Phillips said. “Justice isn't defined as a check. Mr. Flaherty doesn't want this to happen to another person. He wants to stop this from happening and help people who have had this happen to them and don’t know.”

I’m blind,” Flaherty said. “I’m going all over town saying here, let me slander myself. It’s so funny but it’s so freaking horrible. It’s, oh my god, how do you deal with that? … A simple little letter of apology to me is not telling everybody at, say, Walmart or all the banks and so forth — all the doctor’s offices — that wanted a copy of my ID. It’s telling me that they’re sorry but it’s not telling everybody else.”

Phillips said it’s hard for Flaherty to try to tell those he showed his ID to that it wasn’t accurate.

Who second-guesses the DMV?” Phillips said. “It’s how you prove who you are on federal bases. If you've got a gray beard like I do but your ID says you’re 20, they might not sell you beer.”

Older story:


NH - Court says man's sex charge arrest was illegal

Photography
Original Article

12/26/2013

By LYNNE TUOHY

CONCORD (AP) - The New Hampshire Supreme Court has reversed a man’s conviction for attempted possession of child sex abuse images, saying police were wrong to arrest him for taking pictures of children at an amusement park water attraction.

Police charged _____, of Salem, with disorderly conduct in 2011 after a patron of Canobie Lake Park told a security officer _____ was taking pictures of children with his cellphone. They used the arrest to get warrants to search _____’s home computer and cellphone.

Based on data in his computer, police charged him with felonies.

The court ruled that photographing children at a public waterpark did not constitute threatening conduct as defined by the disorderly conduct law.

‘‘Photographing properly-attired children in an open and public portion of Canobie Lake Park — regardless of whether the photographs were of the children’s backsides, were taken surreptitiously or would be uploaded to a computer — would not have warranted a reasonable belief that the photographer posed a threat of imminent harm to any patrons, including the children,’’ the court ruled.

The court Tuesday unanimously ruled that the evidence gathered after _____’s illegal arrest should have been barred.

_____’s lawyer said the convictions cost him his job at a Massachusetts printing company and visitation rights with his daughter. _____ also had to register as a sex offender.

‘‘It cost him everything,’’ Attorney John Macoul said. ‘‘It’s been a tragedy — an unwarranted tragedy.’’

_____ was sentenced earlier this year to two to 15 years in prison, but was allowed to remain free on an appeal bond.

‘‘There’s no statute in New Hampshire that makes it a crime to take pictures of people who are in a public place,’’ Macoul said Tuesday. ‘‘The fact that someone feels uncomfortable is not a basis to arrest someone.’’


GA - Georgia Vigilantes Beat Up Potential Sex Predator At Their House

Vigilantism
Original Article
View the video here

12/26/2013

By Jonathan Wolfe

A group of young Georgia men are attracting some attention after posting a video of themselves beating up a potential sexual predator. The video, titled “To Catch a Predator with VillainPros” was posted yesterday and has been viewed over 13,000 times as of this writing.

The video starts with a message from the self-described VillainPros.
- Visit their website, Facebook, YouTube channel. The white male is apparently Michael Lanard (Facebook) and the black male is Xavier Handy (Facebook, YouTube)?

The other night our homie hit us up and said that his 13 year old sister came to him and said that this grown a** man that had already been talking to her friend hit her up on [Facebook] and wanted to bring over some beer and ‘hang out.’ He was under the impression that she was home alone and made it very clear in his messages what he tryna do...the Villains had other plans for him.”

On the video, the 28-year-old man who had been messaging a young girl walks through the door of the house. Immediately, a man comes from the corner of the room and lands a punch to his head. He is knocked to the ground and several of the other ‘Villains’ kick and punch him as he lays on the ground.

The video ends with a message from the poster saying they cut the camera off before having a “real talk” with him.

While it’s easy to get riled up and applaud the young men for stopping a potential sexual predator, there is a problem with this video. The entire attack is not only filmed, but also illegal. Regardless of the 28-year-old man’s intentions, he can now press charges against his assailants with hard evidence to back up his claims.

If these men were smart, they would have detained the man and called police. He would have been investigated and likely landed himself a lifelong spot on the sex offenders registry if he were really up to what he seemed to be. But instead, these vigilantes may now find themselves in jail in his place.

PHOTOS

Michael Lanard