Thứ Hai, 31 tháng 3, 2014

NH - Sex offender housing restrictions do more harm than good

Sex Offenders - A Flawed Law
Original Article


Of all the constituents that politicians want to help out, sex offenders probably rank at the very bottom of the list. But the New Hampshire Senate should summon the courage to do just that. By helping sex offenders, as strange as it sounds, the Senate will end up making life safer for everyone else.

At issue is legislation that would ban cities and towns from placing broad restrictions on where sex offenders may live. Several communities have attempted such restrictions, and lower-court judges have already struck down two as unconstitutional: one in Franklin and one in Dover. In both cities, local officials wanted to keep convicted sex offenders from living too close to places where children regularly gather: schools, day care centers and playgrounds. Several other communities still have such ordinances on the books, among them Tilton, Sanbornton, Northfield and Boscawen.

The impulse to keep sex offenders away from kids via zoning is completely understandable. But there is strong reason to resist. And there is strong reason to set such policy at the state level, rather than leaving it to individual communities.

A growing body of evidence – gathered not just by civil liberties lawyers, but from law enforcement officers, public officials and child advocacy groups – suggests that residency restrictions are placebo pills at best and counterproductive at worst. Such ordinances give communities a false sense of security while driving sex offenders underground or into rural areas where they can’t access the services that give them the best chance at rehabilitation.

An Iowa study, for instance, showed that sexual-abuse convictions had remained steady since statewide residency restrictions went into effect five years earlier but that the number of sex offenders failing to register their addresses with local police departments, as the law required, had more than doubled.

And a study in the journal Federal Probation draws a clear link between housing instability – an obvious consequence of residency ordinances – and criminal recidivism. Instead, it suggests a strategy of identifying and carefully monitoring the highest risk offenders and creating stable lives for the rest through treatment and access to housing, jobs and services.

In New Hampshire, where most towns are small and housing options that aren’t close to playgrounds and schools are sometimes scarce, such ordinances also have the effect of pushing sex offenders out of one community and into the next in a desperate search for decent housing – hardly fair to them or to those communities.

That’s why state-level legislation makes sense.

The legislation banning communities from enacting or enforcing such residency restrictions has passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro expressed skepticism in an Associated Press interview that it would get through the Senate. “The Senate is going to want to protect kids and other people sexual predators could attack,” Bradley said. “I think getting rid of any kind of residency restrictions – like in proximity of schools and day-care centers – will be a very hard sell for senators, even in the face of a couple of court rulings.”

But the court rulings, which so far do not include the state Supreme Court, are not the best argument to counter Bradley’s fear. More persuasive is that senators who truly want to protect kids and others from attacks from New Hampshire’s 2,500 registered sex offenders, are actually heading in the wrong direction with such restrictions.

When a sex offender has served his sentence, it is in everyone’s interest that he succeed on the outside. Passing this bill would help.

CA - Federal lawsuit challenges South Lake Tahoe ordinance

Original Article


A sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe is the subject of a lawsuit filed today in federal district court on behalf of a registered sex offender (“registered citizen”). This is the second in a series of lawsuits filed in federal court challenging city ordinances that include presence restrictions. The first lawsuit was filed on March 24 challenging a similar ordinance in the City of Pomona.

Both ordinances include restrictions regarding where more than 105,000 individuals can reside or be present. Specifically, the South Lake Tahoe ordinance prohibits registered citizens from residing or being present within 300 feet of a wide range of public and private locations including schools, parks, bus stops, arcades, and swimming pools. A registered citizen who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for a period of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of violation.

The sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe violates both the federal and state constitutions,” stated CA RSOL President and attorney Janice Bellucci. “The South Lake Tahoe ordinance is based upon two myths: (1) that registered citizens have a high rate of re-offense and (2) that strangers commit most sexual assaults.”

The true rates of re-offense, according to state and federal government reports, are 1.8 percent for registrants on parole and 5.3 percent for registrants overall. More than 90 percent of sexual assaults upon children are committed not by strangers but by family members and others known by the children such as teachers, coaches, and clergy.

The presence restrictions within the South Lake Tahoe ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeal which invalidated two ordinances – one in the City of Irvine and the other in Orange County – as being preempted by state law,” stated CA RSOL board member and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The court held that the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a registered sex offender’s daily life fully occupied the field.”

California RSOL sent a letter to South Lake Tahoe and more than 70 additional cities within California on January 20 notifying them of the recent Court of Appeal decisions and that the sex offender ordinances the cities had adopted were inconsistent with those decisions. California RSOL requested in those letters that the cities repeal their ordinances within 60 days or face a legal challenge.

Subsequent to issuance of the California RSOL letter, the cities of Costa Mesa and El Centro repealed their sex offender ordinances. Several additional cities, including Anaheim, Grand Terrace, and South Pasadena have agreed in writing not to enforce their sex offender ordinances pending a decision from the California Supreme Court whether to grant review of the California Court of Appeal decisions. Prior to issuance of the California RSOL letter, the County of El Dorado repealed its sex offender ordinance.

Future legal challenges by registered sex offenders can be expected of cities that have failed to either repeal their sex offender ordinances or agree in writing to stay enforcement of those ordinances,” stated Bellucci. “The lawsuit filed against South Lake Tahoe today is one in a series of such legal challenges.”

Chủ Nhật, 30 tháng 3, 2014

The neuroscience of restorative justice (Survey)

Video Description:
Daniel Reisel studies the brains of criminal psychopaths (and mice). And he asks a big question: Instead of warehousing these criminals, shouldn’t we be using what we know about the brain to help them rehabilitate? Put another way: If the brain can grow new neural pathways after an injury … could we help the brain re-grow morality?

Survey: Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status after Conviction

VA - Norfolk case highlights aging sex offenders debate

Aging sex offender
Original Article

Visit the link above to read the entire article and take the poll.


By Louis Hansen

_____ arrived at Norfolk Circuit Court on a cold December morning, guilty and worried.

On his mind was a pink slip buried in his mailbox for days - maybe weeks. The small piece of paper was a receipt for a registered letter from the state. His freedom depended on it.

_____, 68, is a convicted violent sex offender. The letter represented his remaining debt to Virginia. Every month, he is required to return it to the Virginia State Police with his fingerprints and signature.

For the past 14 years, his lawyer estimated, he met that responsibility 166 of 168 times. His failure to be perfect has earned him one thing - prison.

In 1966, _____ was convicted in Chesapeake of attempted rape and assault of a woman. The 21-year-old was sentenced to life, served more than three decades and won parole in 1999. Except for twice failing to register with the state, he has no criminal record since his release.

His case highlights what some say is a shortcoming in Virginia's approach to aging offenders. Critics say state law captures _____ and others in a life of dependency, costing public money and resources to follow men who usually pose little threat to the community.

The General Assembly continues to support the state's approach. The proposed two-year state budget calls for an increase of nearly $1 million to supervise a growing number of sex offenders.

Inside the Norfolk courtroom, _____ stood and listened as his lawyer offered a guilty plea. After the hearing, he talked again about the mailbox and the pink slip.

_____ can't remember his own phone number and often loses his glasses and keys. Nearly four decades in prison has worn hard his body and mind.

But he remembered finding the pink slip, and cursing himself.

NE - Norfolk man gets chance to be free of the label 'offender'

Norfolk man gets chance to be free of the label 'offender'
Original Article


By Joe Duggan

LINCOLN - _____ stands before two rare opportunities that could change the course of his life.

One could restore his reputation.

The other could revive a dream.

The 25-year-old Norfolk man recently participated in a free-agent tryout for a chance to punt in the National Football League. His odds of making it, though slim, would improve if not for three words that turn up on the background check: registered sex offender.

So when _____ isn't punting, he's working toward a pardon.

He took a step closer Thursday when the Nebraska Board of Pardons granted his request for a hearing. On May 20 he'll get to make a case for clemency, which also would scrub his name from the sex offender registry.

The Pardons Board rarely considers the applications of sex offenders. But board members said they are willing to listen to this one because _____ has lived an exemplary life except for one crime committed as a 14-year-old.

He didn't rape, fondle or even touch anyone. In 2003 he and two other teenage boys made a secret video of two or three female classmates using a shower at his mother's house in Pierce, Neb. The incident involved a game of truth-or-dare and the camera also caught one of the girls using the toilet, according to documents in his Pardons Board application.

Three years later the video was discovered and turned over to police by the girls. _____, who had turned 18, was charged as an adult and later convicted of two felony counts of child pornography.

His many supporters have argued that while _____ made a serious mistake, the charges didn't fit the crime. They pointed out that the video wasn't uploaded to the Internet, nor did _____ and the other boys use it for sexual gratification.

But the video still caused harm.

A 46-year-old Pierce man whose then-13-year-old daughter was on the tape said she underwent counseling and struggled with trust issues. He also said she endured pressure from those in Pierce who resented the charges against a star high school athlete.

The father said he has mixed feelings about the pardon application. On one hand, he thinks it's time for _____ to get on with his life. But it bothers him that _____ has never apologized to his daughter for what he did.

I'm not saying he's a horrible, horrible person,” the father said. “But I wish he would have manned up and said 'Yeah, I did it, and I apologize.' 

In an interview last week, _____ said he was friends with the girls before the crime and has long wanted to apologize. But his attorneys always advised him not to say anything.

I feel really bad for ... the girls,” he said. “That had to be horrible.”

His mother, said the ordeal divided Pierce, a community of 1,800 in northeast Nebraska. She eventually moved and now lives in Fort Collins, Colo.

A divorced mother working two jobs to support her family, she said she has always carried guilt over what happened because she wasn't home at the time.

I can't even tell you how bad I wanted to tell them 'Sorry,' ” she said.

The job of weighing remorse, justice and public safety falls to the members of the Pardons Board: Gov. Dave Heineman, Secretary of State John Gale and Attorney General Jon Bruning. It requires a majority vote to grant a pardon.

Not only does the board rarely pardon sex offenders, it usually requires felony applicants to live 10 years crime-free after their sentences. _____ has not yet hit that mark.

For those reasons, Gale said _____ has a high bar to clear. Heineman said he will reserve judgment until the May hearing, waiting to see if victims or others submit letters or testimony of opposition.

But it appears _____ has gained Bruning as an ally. The attorney general had one of his investigators look into the case in advance of Thursday's meeting. Bruning, who pointedly confronts applicants when he senses dishonesty, said _____'s story checked out.

However, there is some dispute about what happened to the tape after it was made. In his pardon application, _____ said he never watched the tape after that day, which Bruning adamantly supported based on his office's examination of the case. Gale said the way he understood it, _____ had shown the tape to friends.

If the tape had been discovered before _____'s 18th birthday, _____ would likely have been charged as a juvenile, Bruning said. As it was, the attorney general suggested that less-serious charges would have been a better option.

Pierce County Attorney Verlyn Luebbe prosecuted the case. He did not respond to multiple messages left last week with his receptionist.

Other factors in _____'s favor include pre-sentence psychological evaluations that found he is not a sexual predator and showed he was a minimal risk to reoffend. He completed all of his probation requirements, which included more than 20 sessions with Dr. Kevin Piske, a Norfolk psychologist who specialized in treating sex offenders.

As part of this process, he took full responsibility for his actions while coming to a thorough understanding of the effect of his actions on the young women involved,” Piske wrote to the board, noting _____ is the first former patient he has ever endorsed for a pardon.

The psychologist was one of 93 people who submitted letters in support of _____, which likely represents a record number, said Sonya Fauver, the board's administrator.

At the top of the list were letters from a state trooper with knowledge of the case and retired District Judge Patrick Rogers, who presided over _____'s trial.

I commend him for all of his accomplishments since 2007, even while carrying the burden of his offense,” Rogers wrote. “He could have easily given up, as I believe so many others do.”

_____'s status forced him to give up on his dream of playing football for a major college program. He had been invited to walk on at Kansas State University, but he was told the school couldn't take a chance on a sex offender. He also had to leave the dorms.

Although it was difficult, he found off-campus housing and finished his second semester at Kansas State. He transferred to Highland Community College in Highland, Kan., where he played football. Then he got a call from Dan McLaughlin, head football coach at Wayne State College.

McLaughlin had recruited _____ in high school and he still wanted him to play at the Division II college. McLaughlin knew about the circumstances of the conviction, but he also said he knew _____ personally. The coach worked it out with college administrators and offered _____ a scholarship.

Moving back to Wayne meant he would have to cross paths with others who knew about the tape. But in 2009, he accepted the offer, which required him to live off campus.

Some teammates were uncomfortable with his status as a sex offender, _____ said. When they learned that the incident did not involve violence, most players accepted him. McLaughlin said he was aware of no conflicts over the issue during _____'s years on the team.

McLaughlin called _____ the best punter he has seen in his 30 years as a coach. During _____'s junior and senior seasons he won numerous conference, regional and All American honors.

He graduated with a degree in business management in 2012.

McLaughlin appeared before the Pardons Board in December, when _____'s request initially came up for consideration.

I don't go and speak in front of the attorney general and the governor of Nebraska for a kid that doesn't deserve it,” he said.

The registry still haunts _____, especially when it comes to finding employment and housing. He said he has held some temporary jobs but hasn't been able to get an offer related to his major when employers learn he is a registered sex offender.

Melissa Stevens, a former criminal justice instructor who spent years working with abused children, got to know _____ when he was a student at Highland. She was skeptical for several months, but she grew to admire _____ for his kindness to other students.

How many people do you know in the world who would even have a chance to make it in the NFL?” she asked. “But he can't because of this. It just doesn't seem fair.”

Still, _____ said he finds it hard to complain. He has had so much support from family, friends, teachers and coaches, he rarely gets depressed. They and his faith in God are the reasons he has never quit, he said.

A pardon would afford him a degree of freedom he has never experienced as an adult.

If a pardon is denied?

We try again,” he said. “I'm ready for both.”

UT - POST Council sanctions 12 officers, 2 dispatchers

Brandon Haws
Brandon Haws (Right)
Original Article


By Geoff Liesik

SANTA CLARA - The council responsible for disciplining wayward Utah peace officers meted out sanctions in 14 cases Thursday, including the case of a former school resource officer who sent inappropriate photos to a teenage boy.

Lindsay Jarvis, attorney for former St. George police officer Brandon Haws, told the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council that her client's involvement with the 17-year-old began out of a desire to help the boy.

"Mr. Haws lost his father at 4 years old," Jarvis said. "This particular student had lost his father in a car accident. Mr. Haws, with his position, attempted to act as a mentor or big brother to this student."

The officer and the student began exchanging text messages, sharing photos and communicating through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"That interaction became inappropriate, quite frankly," Jarvis said.

But she also pointed out that an internal affairs investigation showed Haws was not trying to develop a sexual relationship with the teen. Instead, the officer made a mistake and "started acting like a teenager," the attorney argued.

Haws also addressed the council, asking that its members not strip him of his police certification — a sanction that would forever bar him from working in law enforcement in Utah.

"I have lived my entire life in order to be a police officer," Haws said. "I'm not here to have a pity party. I want to take accountability for what I did. I will say though that I don't think it meets the standard of revocation."

Haws admitted he sent the lewd photos when questioned Thursday by Utah Highway Patrol Col. Daniel Fuhr, a member of the POST Council. Shortly after that admission, the council voted unanimously to revoke Haws' certification for life.

The council also voted to revoke the certification of former Utah County sheriff's deputy William M. Barney for having a sexual relationship with a female probationer.

Council members approved lesser sanctions in 12 other cases.

Former St. George police officer Rick B. Goulding had his certification suspended for three years for engaging in sexual activity while on duty.

Christopher Schoenfeld, a former deputy with the Summit County Sheriff's Office, had his certification suspended for two years for willfully falsifying his application for certification.

Former Garfield County sheriff's deputy Cache Miller also had his certification revoked for two years for assaulting his wife in the presence of their children.

Wayne County sheriff's deputy Craig W. Brown and Unified Police Department dispatcher Chastity T. Corona each had their certifications suspended for 18 months for DUI.

The council suspended former Utah Department of Corrections officer Randall Scott Hall's certification for 15 months for theft and disorderly conduct.

One-year suspensions were handed down to former Springville police officer Nathan N. Brimhall for falsifying a police report, and to former UHP trooper Jon Gardner for a DUI arrest in Colorado that happened before he retired.

Sunset police officer Brian Kirby's certification was suspended for three months for a trespassing incident.

South Salt Lake police officers Anita Bench and Eric R. Jensen each received letters of caution for accessing the state Bureau of Criminal Identification database for unauthorized purposes. The council also issued a letter of caution to Makette Morgan, a dispatcher with the Utah Department of Public Safety, who slapped her former husband's face during a domestic dispute.

Lt. Al Acosta, who heads up POST's investigative unit, said Thursday that his staff received 176 reports of alleged misconduct by officers in 2013. From those reports, 108 cases were opened.

POST Director Scott Stephenson acknowledged that's "an upward trend" from what the agency has seen in past years.

"Just like with anything, there are peaks and valleys," Stephenson said. "These are tough situations. We're dealing with people and their lives. These are never easy things. This is the ugly side of my job."

Less than 1 percent of Utah's nearly 9,000 peace officers ever become the subject of a POST misconduct investigation, the director noted.

GA - Jailer (Bobby Byargeon), 57, charged with child molestation

Bobby Byargeon
Bobby Byargeon
Original Article


By Alexis Stevens

A Stephens County jailer was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated child molestation, the GBI said.

Bobby Byargeon, 57, of Toccoa, faces 10 charges related to the alleged molestation and was booked into the Rabun County jail, GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said in an emailed statement.

On Thursday, the Toccoa Police Department requested the GBI's assistance with an investigation after a victim came forward alleging "Byargeon had been molesting them for over a year", Lang said. Byargeon's residence was searched for evidence related to the allegations, she said.

The GBI then obtained arrest warrants for Byargeon, Lang said.

Byargeon has worked as a jailer at the Stephens County jail for seven months, according to the GBI.

Thứ Bảy, 29 tháng 3, 2014

IA - Sex Offenders No More? Iowa Reconsiders Tough Law on HIV Exposure

Leslie Flaggs
Leslie Flaggs
Original Article



In 2006, a few years after Leslie Flaggs learned she had contracted HIV, she made a new friend at her church in Sioux City, Iowa. As her relationship with the man turned from Bible study to intimacy, Flaggs said, she revealed to him that she had the disease.

But the man went to police in May 2007 and said she hadn’t disclosed her HIV status until after they’d slept together. Flaggs says that because she feared the man – who was convicted of domestic abuse-assault for hitting her two weeks before he filed his complaint, according to court documents – she didn’t challenge his story to police.

Flaggs agreed to a plea bargain rather than face the alternative: up to a quarter century in prison as mandated by a state law targeting criminal exposure to HIV. She received a 25-year suspended sentence, four years of probation and a decade on the sex offender registry. Prosecutors at the time said her accuser did not acquire HIV; the law applies whether or not victims are infected. NBC News could not reach him recently for comment.

For Flaggs, 53, living with the disease and being on the sex offender registry has been so hard that she has contemplated suicide. “This has taken my life," she said. "I feel like I’m in prison.”

But things may soon change for people living with HIV in Iowa: Lawmakers are debating whether to repeal the state law on criminal exposure and replace it with one that would impose more moderate sentences and would better reflect current medical understanding of how the disease is transmitted. If the legislation is approved, Iowa would be one of the first states to revise its decades-old statute that imposes criminal sentences for HIV exposure. HIV/AIDS advocates have long been fighting for such changes to the more than 30 state laws nationwide (PDF), but they’ve often met resistance.

We’ve got to get this done this year,” said Tami Haught, of an Iowa nonprofit, Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (Facebook). She last month watched another Iowan receive a sentence similar to Flaggs’, and yet another state resident recently challenged his conviction for not disclosing his status to a partner even though he used a condom. “We can’t open up any other Iowan to this kind of prosecution when it is so unjust.”

AUSTRALIA - Support programs challenge community hatred

It's madness
"It's Madness"
Original Article

This reporter posted the following question under the image on the article: "Is redemption possible for paedophiles?" Well of course it's possible! Not everybody who sexually abuses a child is a pedophile, by definition. Reporters need to stop misusing the terms "sex offender," and "pedophile" as if they mean the same thing, they do not.


By Daniella Miletic

Barbara pulls a thick stack of handwritten notes from a cloth bag, places them on the table and starts talking in a voice that never rises above the softly conversational. On a warm Melbourne morning in a city cafe, she smiles comfortably but glances discreetly around, not wanting to be overheard. There are few topics, she says, that are more volatile than the one she is here to talk about.

She grips a small clump of her hair, saying it was fear that drained the pigment from these strands the day her husband told her his secret. The day she decided to leave. ''It caused instant menopause. I decided I was going to go,'' she says, and then stops. ''I love him. It's bloody hard.''

Even when pressed, she offers little more detail of that day, of that time, of the crime her husband revealed to her. ''The fact is, I knew he was in a bad place and I suppose my head didn't want to let the suspicions through. But once I knew, I told him what we had to do, and that was to hand himself in.''

Barbara convinced her husband to confess and he went to jail. She chose to stand by him because of her love and her religious faith, she says. If anything else had been wrong with him, if he were schizophrenic, an alcoholic, she knows she would have tried to help him. ''People might hate these men, but God doesn't,'' she says. ''And one of the reasons Jesus got nailed on the cross was for mixing with the wrong kind of people. Back then it was prostitutes and lepers.''

Today, it is paedophiles.

But Barbara believes in redemption. When she was growing up, her father worked in prison reform, helping criminals, mainly men, restart their lives outside prison. Often, he would take them into the family home. ''They would live with us until they got work. They were my friends,'' says Barbara. ''We wouldn't talk about their crimes, most criminals don't want to talk about that, but we often talked about their lives when their lives were good. Their memories.''

Since her husband's release several years ago, Barbara has dedicated her own life to his rehabilitation, learning about paedophilia and its treatments and watching him to make sure he never does anything like it again. She read about a Canadian program that aims to prevent child abuse by creating a friendship group around sex offenders. She felt there were similarities to Alcoholics Anonymous and believed it might work for her husband. Besides, no other treatment program was on offer except a Salvation Army course for drug addiction, which he also took on, because his was an addiction of a kind.

She has been unofficially mimicking the program since he was released, with just her and a counsellor as his support group. For years she has also been campaigning, pleading - with police, politicians, church groups - for help to start a group to make the treatment available for all child sex offenders in Australia once they get out of jail.

Barbara says she had not prepared herself for the hatred, sometimes the violence, she would encounter. ''I am trying to make sense of the monster theory, the rock spider thing,'' she writes in a diary entry almost a decade old. ''I have discovered a wall of suspicion, and an overwhelming resistance to viewing sexual offending as anything but the worse kind of intentional evil …"

''The resistance is so great, that anyone who bears any other kind of message is viewed as naive at best, and plain evil at worst … The experts in this area stay very quiet for they also shrink from the hysterical reactions. Consequently most people do not doubt the monster model, and seem to prefer to believe that either these people are untreatable or that they don't deserve to be treated.''

This is why a treatment program like Circles of Support and Accountability, she says, one that carries the motto ''No More Victims'', can't seem to get off the ground here. ''It's madness,'' she says, shaking her head.

OH - Attorney Brad Koffel Gets Client’s Mandatory Sexual Registration Reversed

Off the list
Original Article


Columbus (PRWEB) - The Koffel Law Firm's Brad Koffel and Cleveland lawyer Russell Bensing successfully achieved a reversal of their client's mandatory sexual registration in a case heard by an Ohio appeals court (State v. Moore, 2014 Ohio 1123 - Ohio: Court of Appeals, 2nd Appellate Dist. 2014).

According to court documents, Koffel's client appealed his classification as a Tier II sex offender on the grounds that "the trial court erred in classifying him without a hearing, and without factual findings by a jury beyond those admitted by him."

In order for the Tier II sex offender classification to stand, factual findings outside the elements of Ohio's "Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor" statute were required unless the defendant admitted them or waived his right to a jury with respect to those findings.

The defendant-appellant pled "no contest" to the charge against him, which could have fulfilled the "findings necessary for a Tier II classification" requirement, but the appeals court found that because the defendant-appellant's plea of no contest was "other than knowing and intelligent," the trial court was wrong to accept it. Therefore, the appeals court reversed the judgment.

About the Attorney:
Attorney Bradley P. Koffel founded The Koffel Law Firm in Columbus, Ohio. He has been included in the list of Best Lawyers in America® since 2008, and voted to the list of Ohio Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars℠ since 2005. Aside from legal honors and recognition, what sets Mr. Koffel apart is the way he strives to get to know his clients on a personal level to achieve the best results. To learn more, visit

CA - LA Deputies Demanded Sex From Female Trainees: Lawsuit

To protect and serve?
Original Article


By Jason Kandel, Jonathan Lloyd and Gordon Tokumatsu

A group of tattooed male deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who called themselves the "Banditos" allegedly sexually harassed female trainees and demanded sexual favors as part of initiation, according to a report by NBC News.

_____, who was assigned to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station in Boyle Heights beginning in 2011, is seeking unspecified damages.

She alleges sexual harassment, hazing and retaliation that included being run off the road by another deputy, being slammed into a wall while she held a loaded shotgun, and having a dead rat placed under her car after she reported objectionable behavior, according to the lawsuit.

_____'s attorney Gregory Smith said the deputies involved were part of a gang.

"I see sheriff's deputies that are sworn to protect us acting like the people they're supposed to be putting in jail," Smith said, showing some of the "Banditos" T-shirts emblazoned with skeletons and one reading, "Wanted Dead or Alive."

_____ alleges she was shown photos of other female deputies performing sexual favors for male deputies. She said she was nearly driven off the road by a Banditos member. She also said she was bumped up against a station house wall.

She alleged someone dropped a dead rat near her car.

Ultimately, she said, she was given a less-desirable department job after she complained.

Interim Sheriff John Scott said the deputies involved were disciplined after an investigation was launched three years ago when the allegations first surfaced. He added, though, that a new investigation would be launched.

The legal challenge comes more than a month after a grand jury indicted two deputies on civil rights charges for allegedly striking a restrained inmate in jail.

The deputies allegedly covered up their actions by preparing false police reports, according to federal prosecutors.

The allegations are part of a larger investigation into the use of illegal force by LA County deputies in jails. The investigation resulted in civil rights and corruption charge again 18 current and former members of the department.

Sheriff Lee Baca has elected not to seek a fifth term.

GA - The "sex offender" money making scheme continues to grow!

Original Article


In 1994 the Jacob Wetterling Act established the first national sex offender registry law, and Indiana’s “Zachary’s Law” placed their state registry online.

In 1996 “Megan’s Law” was passed at the federal level, forcing states to maintain publicly accessible registries and allowing all levels of community notification.

In 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld civil commitment in Kansas v. Hendricks, and a year later, Delaware passed the first law requiring registrants to carry a special ID card
In 2005 strict mandatory minimum laws were created with the Jessica Lunsford Act followed by the Adam Walsh Act in 2006. (1)

These laws are the result of horrific acts of violence often resulting in murder and with actual or assumed sexual motivation against youth. They were driven in equal parts by grieving parents wanting justice, politicians who, for reasons both altruistic and self-serving, were willing to take up the cause, and a media fired by the sensationalism inherent in the issue.

The cases that drove the laws are rare anomalies; with instant telecommunications and every story being repeated beyond counting, the impression is easily given and received that these heinous incidents happen every day. They don’t. They represent the tiniest fraction of all sexual offenses, but the transition is easily made in the public’s mind: sex offender = violent, predatory pedophile and potential murderer.

And an industry was born—a multi-million if not billion dollar industry—containing but not limited to these branches; the only order attempted is alphabetical.

NH - Bill would ban limits on sex offender residency - Court rules them unconstitutional, but politicians don't want to look "soft" on crime!

Original Article



CONCORD (AP) - New Hampshire lawmakers are considering whether to bar municipalities from restricting where the state's more than 2,500 registered sex offenders can live in light of court rulings that found the restrictions are unconstitutional.

The House passed the proposed ban by a vote of 231-97 in February. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged sex offender residency restrictions first in Dover, then in Franklin.

In the most recent ruling in 2012, a Merrimack County Superior Court judge said Franklin officials failed to show that barring sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, day care or playground protects children. A judge in 2009 struck down Dover's ordinance on similar grounds.

"Many individuals in law enforcement have said the restrictions have the opposite effect," said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. "They discourage sex offenders from registering and make it more difficult for law enforcement to keep track of them. It drives them underground."

Tilton, Sanbornton, Northfield and Boscawen still have residency restrictions, Chaffee said.

"That's why this is really a state issue," Chaffee said. "When one town adopts these restrictions, it can push these individuals out of that city or town."

There were 2,566 registered sex offenders living in New Hampshire in December 2013, according to data compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. State law requires sex offenders to register with the police department of the town in which they reside but puts no restrictions on where they can live, leaving that to local governments.

_____, 32, of Nashua, was convicted in 2010 of felonious sexual assault for having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 25. He maintains the sex was consensual. Since his conviction, he has found it difficult to find housing.

"I had that one mistake," _____ said Friday. "It's not like I'm stalking little 3-year-olds. Trying to survive afterward has become harder than the original charge."

His sister offered to let him live in her home in Hudson, then discovered police had hand-delivered letters to her neighbors detailing _____' criminal conviction. His sister told him he could no longer live there because she feared her children would be bullied, he said.
- Even the public knows the online registry and notifications put lives in danger!

Hudson police say they have no residency restrictions but confirm their practice is to deliver notices to residents when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood.

"Each city has its own strict rules," _____ said. "It's like they set you up to fail."

Half the states have laws restricting where sex offenders can live. California's statute was recently found unconstitutional by an appeals court, and a higher court is likely to decide the question. In some places, tight regulations have made it nearly impossible for sex offenders to find a place to live. In 2007 in Miami, more than 100 sex offenders created a camp under a bridge because of strict limits on where they could live.

In the New Hampshire town of Franklin, Town Manager Elizabeth Dragon said its ordinance was amended to remove the residency restrictions after the court ruling. But she opposes a state law, saying other municipalities should have the opportunity to pursue a state Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the restrictions. Franklin withdrew its appeal of the lower court ruling.

"Something that works for one community may not work for another," she said.

Dragon also stressed that the court rulings could change if research links residency restrictions to public safety.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said his department is not actively enforcing the town's residency restrictions in light of the court rulings.

"The main focus here is really stringent registration and monitoring," Cormier said. "That's the biggest piece for us."

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, predicts the bill won't pass the Senate.
- Yeah, they don't want to look "soft" on criminals, especially "sex offenders!"

"The Senate is going to want to protect kids and other people sexual predators could attack," Bradley said. "I think getting rid of any kind of residency restrictions — like in proximity of schools and day care centers — will be a very hard sell for senators, even in the face of a couple of court rulings."

Rep. Carol McGuire, a Merrimack Republican, said she co-sponsored the bill because she doesn't think residency restrictions are effective.

"Since other towns were trying to do the same thing, it seemed the sensible thing to do, to head them off at the pass," McGuire said.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan hasn't decided whether to sign the bill if it passes the Senate. Most Republicans in the House voted against the ban.

"The governor will listen to the views of law enforcement, local communities, advocates, victims and all stakeholders as the measure is considered by the Senate," Hassan spokesman Marc Goldberg said.

WA - Judge admits releasing sex offender info could cause irreparable harm

Donna Zink
Donna Zink
Original Article


By Tyler Richardson

Benton County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner is expected to sign orders April 18 officially preventing Benton County from releasing any low-level sex offender information to Donna Zink.

This will cover every Level 1 sex offender,” said Ryan Lukson, deputy county prosecutor. “Ms. Zink has already appealed. Her appeal will be effective the (day after April 18).”

Spanner ruled in January that the personal information of more than 400 Level 1 sex offenders is confidential and Zink has no “legitimate interest” in it.

Zink requested the information last summer to create a digital database so people could know if sex offenders are living in their neighborhoods, she said.

The information -- which includes offenders’ names, addresses, pictures and other details -- could cause offenders irreparable harm if it’s released, Spanner wrote in his decision.
- At least he admits the truth which also affects level 2 & 3 offenders as well as their families and children!

At a hearing Friday, Spanner shot down arguments from Shelley Williams, assistant attorney general, who represents the Washington State Patrol.

Williams argued that sex offenders’ registration information is public record and that the criminal justice system needs to be as transparent as possible.

She wanted an injunction -- which prevents state police from releasing sex offender information from its statewide database to Zink -- dismissed.

But Spanner stuck by his earlier ruling, citing case law, particularly State v. Ward, which states the information is confidential.

Intellectually, I always go back to the same place and that is State v. Ward,” Spanner said at the hearing.

The case is expected to be decided in higher courts. Zink, who represents herself, has requested sex offender information from multiple agencies in at least three counties across the state.

Franklin County released low-level sex offender information to Zink after her initial request.

There are several injunctions in place in Benton, King and Yakima counties preventing multiple agencies and county officials from releasing sex offender information to Zink.

The Washington American Civil Liberties Union has fought to get injunctions in place in King County.

Zink has also requested more than 80,000 emails from Benton County officials that contain sex offender information. An injunction is place preventing the release of emails that contain sex offender information.

The county was releasing emails in installments to Zink that didn’t contain sex offender information. Zink has since put her request on hold because county officials told her it would take more than a decade to meet.

We asked her to consider amending the request,” Lukson said. “Given our current pace, we would not complete it until 2032.”

Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 3, 2014

Why Rape Is Sincerely Hilarious

TN - Former alderman (Richard L. Smith) on probation for solicitation charges against a minor

Richard L. Smith
Richard L. Smith
Original Article

This just goes to show you that the laws are only for specific people. If you are a politician, well known, or rich, then the laws don't apply to you!


By Bailey Darrow

PUTNAM COUNTY - Former Monterey alderman Richard L. Smith appeared in criminal court Thursday, entering a plea of guilty to one count of solicitation of a minor and must now serve two years on the sex offender registry.

In October, Smith was arrested on a three-count grand jury indictment charging him with one count of solicitation of a minor and two counts of extortion after he reportedly made contact with a young girl on social media and by sending text messages to a cell phone he purchased for her.

By entering a best interest plea of guilty to only the one count of solicitation, a Class E felony, Smith will have to serve two years on probation and must register on the sex offender registry.

He will be allowed to continue living at his home on Volunteer Way in Monterey, even though it is less than 1,000 feet from a school or park, despite that registration status. He will also be allowed to continue living with his girlfriend and her minor child, court documents state.

Upon successful completion of the sentence, Smith will be removed from the sex offender registry and the offense will be fully expunged, according to court documents.

The indictments issued against Smith alleged that between Dec. 1, 2012, and Jan. 9, 2013, Smith “did unlawfully by means of electronic communication intentionally request, persuade, invite or attempt to induce a person who (he) knows or should know is less than 18 years of age” to engage in conduct that, if completed, would constitute a violation of the state’s statutory rape law.

The extortion indictments alleged that Smith told the girl that “he would expose information concerning their personal relationship to various parties to embarrass her unless she fulfilled promises that he said she made concerning their romantic, sexual, and personal relationship.”

According to the indictments, he also told the girl “that he would expose information concerning their personal relationship to various parties to embarrass her unless she returned certain personal property,” to him.

The items Smith insisted the girl return include a ring, a necklace and a phone, according to the indictment.

Smith served on the Monterey board of mayor and aldermen for eight years. In 2010, he ran for mayor of Monterey, losing to then vice-mayor Jeff Hicks by only two votes. He also qualified in the race for mayor of the city in 2008, but ultimately withdrew his name from the ballot. In January 2012, he resigned from the city’s Planning Commission.

Most recently, Smith gained media attention as he campaigned for what he calls “Boomer’s Law” that would increase the possible punishment for aggravated assault in the state, following the death of his son in 2012.

ID - Former jailer (Julie McCormick) sentenced for sex with teen boy

Julie McCormick
Julie McCormick
Original Article



BOISE (AP) - The former safety and security supervisor at the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections facility in Nampa could spend only a year behind bars after admitting to sexually abusing a teenage inmate.

Julie McCormick, 31, of Nampa was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison, with a minimum of five years required before she would be eligible for parole.

But the judge retained jurisdiction in the case, meaning McCormick could be free as early as 2015 if she successfully completes a prison program. She was also ordered to register as a sex offender and pay $5,000 to the victim, a 15-year-old boy she began having sex with in 2012 while he was incarcerated at the facility.

McCormick told law enforcement that she had sex with the teen three times and that she had fallen in love with the boy. But the teenager's mother, who spoke at Friday's sentencing, said the jailer had robbed the victim of his dignity.

"You brainwashed him about his past and used that to gain his trust," the woman told McCormick.

Judge Bradly Ford also blasted the former supervisor for abusing her position.

"She held a position of authority and trust; not only to the victim but also a position of trust to the people of Idaho," the judge said. "The victim was not free to leave facility, and he was under her control."

McCormick pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with a minor under 16 in 2012, and she could have faced up to 25 years in prison. But she cut a plea deal with prosecutors, who asked the judge to sentence McCormick to no prison time at all — only probation.

"That was the agreement, so we stood up in good faith today and argued probation," Canyon County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erica Kallin said. "Judge Ford determined that a rider was appropriate."

Under that plea deal, McCormick agreed to testify in the murder trial of Nicole Lee Kirtley, 35. Kirtley is charged with shooting George Richardson Jr., 59, multiple times at his Nampa home, then dumping the dead man's Jeep in the Snake River.

Kirtley confided her role in the slaying to McCormick when they were housed in the Canyon County Jail at the same time, Kallin said.

McCormick agreed to testify against her fellow inmate, but Kallin says now she won't have to because Kirtley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in January.

"The trial against Nicole Kirtley was resolved in part as a result of the information from Julie McCormick, so she's not going to have to testify," Kallin said.

Kirtley's sentencing is set for next week, although Kallin expects to see it pushed back to a later date.

The teen abused by McCormick has filed a claim against the state, as has another former juvenile inmate who said he was beaten, sexually abused and threatened by female staffers at the facility.

A whistleblower lawsuit brought by a group of current and former Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections is also moving forward after a federal judge agreed last month to send it before a jury. The lawsuit alleges agency leaders knew staffers were sexually abusing youths, but they did nothing to stop it. The group also contends the department is rife with cronyism, wastes taxpayer money and that managers failed to take action when one youth was caught inappropriately touching another.

The employees say they were retaliated against with when they spoke out about the abuse and other issues at the facility.

Department director Sharon Harrigfeld has said she is confident the state's detention facilities are safe and that allegations of misconduct are dealt with appropriately.

But a lawyer for the group of employees says there is evidence that regular sexual abuse of juvenile inmates by employees at the center stretches back 15 years.

WI - State Rep. Bill Kramer charged with 2 counts of sexual assault

Rep. Bill Kramer
Rep. Bill Kramer
Original Article



The Waukesha County District Attorney's Office on Friday charged state Rep. Bill Kramer with two criminal counts for allegedly sexually assaulting a Senate aide three years ago after a Republican gathering, according to a criminal complaint.

Kramer, R-Waukesha, earlier this month was stripped of his post as majority leader of the state Assembly by fellow Republicans after he was accused of sexually harassing one woman and inappropriately touching another during a trip in late February to Washington, D.C. One woman is a lobbyist; the other is a legislative staffer.

The felony charges of second-degree sexual assault issued Friday by Deputy District Attorney Debra Blasius stem from an alleged incident that occurred in Muskego on April 8, 2011.

The alleged victim, who was an aide to an unnamed senator, reported the incident to Muskego Police on March 5, just days after the allegations surfaced that Kramer had sexually harassed two women during the out-of-town trip.

It was unclear from the criminal complaint which senator the woman worked for and whether it was a state or U.S. senator.

Kramer's attorney, Jim Gatzke of New Berlin, said his client expects to be cleared.

"The process will provide Mr. Kramer with an opportunity to defend himself from the allegations and he will do so in the appropriate forum," Gatzke wrote in an email. "Once all of the information has been brought forward, Mr. Kramer is confident that he will be exonerated."

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel is a Republican who is running for attorney general. He said he was not involved in the charging decision.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman, identified only by her initials, reported that an intoxicated Kramer approached her after a Republican gathering called "Pints and Politics" at the High Tide Pub and Grill in Muskego asking for a ride.

She told Muskego Police detective Stephen Westphal that while talking with Kramer, he pushed her against her vehicle hard enough to bruise her back while groping her breasts. Later, while sitting in the passenger seat of the woman's vehicle, Kramer groped her breasts and groin and forcibly kissed her, the alleged victim told Westphal.

"(She) states that she felt dirty, scared and was afraid that the defendant was going to rape her," the criminal complaint said. "After the defendant leaned into the back seat to pick something up she was able to send a quick text message asking friends to return to the parking lot."

Although the woman did not report the alleged incident to police, the criminal complaint said she and an attorney drafted a letter warning Kramer to stay away from her. The detective said the letter, sent to Kramer on May 18, 2011, warned him to have no contact with the woman because of the "physical and sexual assault you perpetrated on (the victim) at the recent Pints and Politics event in Muskego."

The woman's account was bolstered by another woman, who said she found the alleged victim crying and "in a panic" when she met her in the parking lot that evening, and by Keith Best, first vice chairman of the Waukesha County Republican Party, who also was at the political event that evening.

Best told Westphal that he doesn't recall details but that the woman told her Kramer "got physical with her and put his hands where they did not belong."

Westphal also said the GOP official told him that the alleged victim "was extremely upset and distraught following the incident and this is why the incident stuck with him."

The detective wrote that the woman said she didn't report the incident to police earlier for fear of embarrassing herself, her family and the Republican Party. She told Westphal that she had suffered "night terrors" and other negative effects stemming from the alleged incident.

Westphal reported contacting Kramer, 49, on March 19 and asked the state representative to come in for an interview but that Kramer said he would not be able to come in until April because he was in "therapy for these issues."

According to Westphal's report, in a phone call, Kramer initially said he didn't recall the incident but alleged that the victim had "stuck her tongue down my throat" at an event in 2008.

Later, Westphal wrote, Kramer told him that "I am sure I kissed her good night" and may have made a pass at her but gave various answers when asked if he had touched her breasts.

"I am sure she said something about it not going any further, that is why I went home," the detective quoted Kramer as saying. "I am sure that happened but I don't remember it. I have been turned down a lot."

Each of the two charges is a felony punishable by up to 40 years of prison and extended supervision and a $100,000 fine. Kramer is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in the case at 8:15 a.m. April 14 in Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha.

Kramer has filed papers with the state saying he will not run for re-election this year. Owner of a financial services company, Kramer has served in the Assembly since 2006.

DOJ Pushes to Expand Hacking Abilities Against Cyber-Criminals

DOJ Hacker
Original Article



The U.S. Department of Justice is pushing to make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack into the computers of criminal suspects across the country.

The move, which would alter federal court rules governing search warrants, comes amid increases in cases related to computer crimes.

Investigators say they need more flexibility to get warrants to allow hacking in such cases, especially when multiple computers are involved or the government doesn’t know where the suspect’s computer is physically located.

The Justice Department effort is raising questions among some technology advocates, who say the government should focus on fixing the holes in computer software that allow such hacking instead of exploiting them. Privacy advocates also warn government spyware could end up on innocent people’s computers if remote attacks are authorized against equipment whose ownership isn’t clear.

The Justice Department declined to provide further comment beyond the original documents.

The government’s push for rule changes sheds light on law enforcement’s use of remote hacking techniques, which are being deployed more frequently but have been protected behind a veil of secrecy for years.

In documents submitted by the government to the judicial system’s rule-making body this year, the government discussed using software to find suspected child pornographers who visited a U.S. site and concealed their identity using a strong anonymization tool called Tor.

The government’s hacking tools—such as sending an email embedded with code that installs spying software — resemble those used by criminal hackers. The government doesn’t describe these methods as hacking, preferring instead to use terms like “remote access” and “network investigative techniques.”

Right now, investigators who want to search property, including computers, generally need to get a warrant from a judge in the district where the property is located, according to federal court rules.

In a computer investigation, that might not be possible, because criminals can hide behind anonymizing technologies. In cases involving botnets—groups of hijacked computers—investigators might also want to search many machines at once without getting that many warrants.

Some judges have already granted warrants in cases when authorities don’t know where the machine is. But at least one judge has denied an application in part because of the current rules. The department also wants warrants to be allowed for multiple computers at the same time, as well as for searches of many related storage, email and social media accounts at once, as long as those accounts are accessed by the computer being searched.

Remote searches of computers are often essential to the successful investigation” of computer crimes, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman wrote in a letter to the judicial system’s rulemaking authority requesting the change in September. The government tries to obtain these “remote access warrants” mainly to “combat Internet anonymizing techniques,” the department said in a memo to the authority in March.

Some groups have raised questions about law enforcement’s use of hacking technologies, arguing that such tools mean the government is failing to help fix software problems exploited by criminals.

It is crucial that we have a robust public debate about how the Fourth Amendment and federal law should limit the government’s use of malware and spyware within the U.S.,” said Nathan Wessler, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on technology issues.

A Texas judge who denied a warrant application last year cited privacy concerns associated with sending malware when the location of the computer wasn’t known. He pointed out that a suspect opening an email infected with spyware could be doing so on a public computer, creating risk of information being collected from innocent people.

A former computer crimes prosecutor serving on an advisory committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference, which is reviewing the request, said he was concerned that allowing the search of multiple computers under a single warrant would violate the Fourth Amendment’s protections against overly broad searches.

The proposed rule is set to be debated by the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules in early April, after which it would be opened to public comment.

Thứ Năm, 27 tháng 3, 2014

MA - Limiting where sex offenders live in Mansfield

Ronald Sellon
Ronald Sellon
Original Article


By Susan Parkou Weinstein

Police Chief Ronald Sellon has submitted a Town Meeting article that would restrict where the more serious sex offenders could live in Mansfield.
- We are willing to bet he will be running for congress or similar office soon.

Sellon said the sex offender registration and residential safety zone would bar Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within a 1,000-foot buffer of places such as schools, daycare centers and playgrounds and better protect children, developmentally disabled adults and other vulnerable members of the local population.

"This is an effort to further safeguard people in the community," he told selectmen Wednesday night.

There are three Level 3 and 25 Level 2 sex offenders living or working in town who have registered with police as required by law. They must register every year and the information is public. But there are no restrictions barring them from living close to a school and similar locations unless there is a provision in their probation or parole, Sellon said.

Police have been checking the compliance status of the local registered Level 2 and 3 offenders and found one Level 2 not in compliance this week. That number may change in the coming weeks, Sellon said.

According to the state sex offender registry board, Level 1 sex offenders are the least likely to reoffend and do not pose enough danger to be named publicly.

Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are considered at moderate risk and high risk to reoffend, respectively.

A dozen cities and towns in the state have adopted the stricter laws.

Sellon said he was also looking into joining a regional team to locate sex offenders and take more aggressive steps to document their whereabouts.

Selectmen said they would support the article.

"This sounds like a great idea to me," Selectman Doug Annino said.

OH - Franklin County Deputy (Justin Iddings) Charged With Possessing Child Porn

Justin Iddings
Justin Iddings
Original Article


By Andy Long

WESTERVILLE - A Franklin County deputy is in jail, accused of possessing child pornography.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Justin D. Iddings, 30, of Westerville was being investigated based on information that he may have been sharing child pornography.

Court records indicate that Iddings was in possession of video files that depicted juveniles engaging in sexual conduct with each other.

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force members executed a search warrant at Iddings’ Allview Road home in Westerville and seized several computers, computer equipment and several firearms.

Iddings was arrested Thursday, charged with one F-2 count of pandering obscenity involving a minor and one F-4 count of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

The Sheriff’s office says that Iddings is a deputy that works in the Franklin County Jail. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

In one case, court records said that one of the children involved was between seven and ten years old.

Iddings is expected to appear in court Friday morning.

CT - Correction officer (Kelvin Grisales) accused of sexual assault in Hartford

Kelvin Grisales
Kelvin Grisales
Original Article


By Jill Konopka

HARTFORD (WFSB) - A Hartford correctional officer was arrested after police said he was involved in a violent rape Thursday morning behind a local high school.

Kelvin Grisales was placed on administrative leave Thursday after being charged with multiple crimes including aggravated rape and threatening, officials with Connecticut Department of Corrections confirmed.

Grisales, who is a father and former Marine, is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a back parking lot behind the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy on Huyshope Street overnight.

The victim, who is being called Jane Doe in court documents, told police the sexual assault occurred in a blue SUV, which was later pulled over by police.

"Grisales told Doe to get in the back seat, and he followed. Grisales then pulled out a gun, and told Doe to do as he says. Doe asked Grisales to let her go, and that she didn't want to die," according to court documents.

"The claim is that she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint and a badge was shown," said Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley. "As far as his employment status we're not commenting. Certainly you can contact the DOC."

Police said the victim later told them she went willingly at first and the two discussed sex for money. But when she alleges she was threatened and feared for her life.

According to arrest papers, Grisales paints a very different picture. He told officers, she threatened him "they had consensual sex."

Police wouldn't discuss details, but say their investigation isn't over and isn't confined just to Hartford.

The New Britain Police Department said they are investigating two similar sexual assaults.

"There is an additional incident of a similar nature being investigated by the Hartford Police Department," said New Britain Police Captain Thomas Steck in an email to Eyewitness News.

Grisales, who has worked for DOC since 2008, is believed to be the suspect in these additional sexual assaults as well.

"We're examining all similar incidents," Foley said. "We're in contact with the New Britain Police Department."

New Britain Police Department said its investigation is "ongoing" and no more information was released.

Grisales later told authorities his son's BB gun was in the car. Arrest papers show he said he grabbed it and put in his lap because he was fearful.

Grisales was arraigned at Hartford Superior Court on Thursday. Following his court appearance, he is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Family members at court on Thursday did not have a comment for Eyewitness News.

CA - Federal lawsuit calls for repeal of Pomona’s sex offender ordinance

Original Article


By Monica Rodriguez

POMONA - A Santa Maria lawyer filed a federal lawsuit against Pomona this week calling for the repeal of a 2008 ordinance regulating the presence of sex offenders in the city.

According to the lawsuit, the city’s ordinance goes beyond what is contained in the ordinances of other cities by prohibiting sex offenders from being on private property, such as arcades or movie theaters.

Pomona’s ordinance is “one of the worst ordinances in our state,” said Janice Bellucci, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of _____ of Grover Beach in San Luis Obispo County.

Bellucci said her client has not lived in Pomona but could be interested in visiting the city at some point.

Pomona’s ordinance is such that “we believe it violates the federal and state constitutions,” Bellucci said.

Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba said the City Council will be briefed on the lawsuit during the closed portion of a future meeting, and council members will give city staff direction on how to proceed.

The 2008 ordinance made it difficult for registered sex offenders to move into the city.

The ordinance was modeled after one adopted the same year in Long Beach and took advantage of wording in the voter-approved Proposition 83 (PDF), referred to as Jessica’s Law, which allowed cities to adopt ordinances containing residency restrictions that went beyond those set in state regulations.

Jessica’s Law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks where children gather. Pomona’s ordinance barred registered sex offenders from living within 2,640 feet from sensitive uses such as child-care centers, community centers, museums, sports centers, tutoring and learning centers, youth centers, along with rail stations or bus stops.

Also included in the list of sensitive uses are arcades, children’s retail stores, cyber cafes and movie theaters.

Most ordinances don’t include privately owned property,” said Bellucci, who is also president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws.

The organization’s website says sexual abuse is never acceptable and that sex offense laws and policies should be based on “sound research and common sense, not fear, panic or paranoia.”

Public sex offender registry and laws setting residency restrictions “do not protect children but instead ostracize and dehumanize individuals and their families,” the website said.

Pomona’s restrictions are such that every part of the city is within a residential exclusion zone, according to the lawsuit.

The sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of Pomona violates both the federal and state constitutions,” said Bellucci in a statement.

Pomona’s ordinance is based on what Bellucci said are two myths.

One is that registrants have high rates for committing offences again, yet state and federal government reports indicate 1.8 percent of those on parole and 5.3 percent of registered sex offenders overall re-offend, the statement said.

The other myth is that strangers commit sexual assaults. In reality more than 90 percent of sexual assaults involving children are committed by family members and other people who the victims are familiar with such as teachers, coaches and clergy members, the statement said.

More than 70 cities across the state have restrictive ordinances and in January California Reform Sex Offender Laws notified them of a recent California Court of Appeal decision invalidating two ordinances, one of those being Irvine’s.

Costa Mesa and El Centro repealed their ordinances and other cities including Anaheim, Grand Terrace and South Pasadena have agreed in writing not to enforce their ordinances while they wait for the state Supreme Court to decide if it will review the Court of Appeal decision, Bellucci said in the statement.

Pomona is the first city to be sued but plans call for filing a lawsuit against another city as early as Monday, she said.

Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jared said the city does not comment on litigation.

Jared said for a period of about a year the ordinance was successful in keeping new registered sex offenders from moving into the city but after that time it was not enforced.

The ordinance has not been actively enforced due to staffing issues,” Jared said.

The city registers those that are required to do so, he added.

When the ordinance was being enforced the city took several people who had violated the local law to court, Jared said.

A combination of factors including court rulings “caused us to evaluate the enforcement and at that time budget constraints that caused it to be de-prioritized,” he said.

Currently, conditions in the city and the state are different from what they were in the years prior to the ordinance’s approval including the state’s prison population realignment.

Realignment has resulted in different approaches in how the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation handles registered sex offenders, he said.

Changes in state policies have meant state authorities are “not stockpiling recently” paroled individuals the way they had been in Pomona at one time, Jared said. “That practice has subsided.”

Bellucci said her client is seeking “the repeal of the ordinance and attorney fees (but) no monetary damages.”

The restrictive ordinances have a direct impact on more than 105,000 people around the state and indirectly affect about 400,000 which includes the family members of registered sex offenders, Bellucci said.

NJ - Ex-NJ prison guard (James Kriegner) faces more child porn charges in Bensalem

James Kriegner
James Kriegner
Original Article


By Jo Ciavaglia

Last month a 43-year-old former New Jersey prison guard was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. Now he is charged with creating porn with a 15-year-old girl.

James Kriegner of Bensalem, a former Mercer County corrections officer, was arrested last month after police allegedly found more than 100 images of child porn on his computer following a three-month investigation into child pornography distribution.

Bensalem Detective Kevin Cornish reportedly found that Kriegner downloaded files of known child sex abuse from an IP address registered to Kriegner's Knights Road apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Kriegner, who has been unemployed since December, later turned over two laptop computers for forensic examination under a search warrant, and one had more than 100 images of child sex abuse, court documents allege. Fifteen files were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as containing known victims of child sex abuse, police said.

The forensic examination also found image files of Kriegner video chatting with an unidentified girl, and a folder containing sexual images that appeared to be of the same girl, police said.

Kreigner identified the girl as a 15-year-old, the affidavit shows.

Police said the girl told them she had been engaging in sexual activity with Kreigner since April.

Bensalem Detective Kevin Cornish, who handled the investigation, said he is not aware of Kreigner posting or sending photographs of the girl, but that the photos have to be sent to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children to be checked.

Kriegner was arraigned Thursday before Bensalem District Judge Leonard Brown on charges of statutory sexual assault, indecent sexual assault on a person under age 16, unlawful contact with a minor, and related child porn and sex crime offenses.

His bail was set at 10 percent of $750,000, but he remains in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $500,000 bail from his earlier child porn arrest.