Chủ Nhật, 17 tháng 8, 2014

FL - Officers bend rules to boost sex sting arrest totals

Sheriff Grady Judd
Sheriff Grady Judd
Original Article (Video available)

08/09/2014

By Noah Pransky

This is the first of a two-part series examining how law enforcement is blurring the lines on due process.

POLK COUNTY - In the decade since Chris Hansen and "To Catch a Predator" popularized Internet sex stings, more than 1,200 men in Florida alone have been arrested, accused of preying on underage teens and children for sex.

But as the stings put more and more men behind bars, detectives are working harder and harder to keep up their arrest numbers. And the tactics they're using to put alleged sexual offenders in jail are sweeping up large numbers of law-abiding men, too.

A yearlong investigation by 10 Investigates reveals many of the men whose mugshots have been paraded out by local sheriffs in made-for-TV press conferences were not seeking to meet children online. Instead, they were minding their own business, looking for other adults, when detectives started to groom and convince them to break the law.

While detectives used to post ads suggesting an underage teen or child was available for sex, they now routinely post more innocuous personal ads of adults on traditional dating sites. When men – many of them under 25 with no criminal history - respond, officers switch the bait and typically indicate their age is really 14 or 15 years old. However, sometimes the storyline isn't switched until the men, who were looking for legal love, already start falling for the undercover agent.

According to arrest affidavits inspected by 10 Investigates, law enforcement is also now routinely making first contact with men who have done nothing wrong, responding to their ads on dating sites like PlentyOfFish.com. After men start conversing with what they think are adults, officers change the age they claim to be, but try to convince the men to continue the conversation anyway.

Other examples include undercover officers showing interest in a man, then later introducing the idea of having sex with the undercover's "child." If the men indicate they weren't interested, they were still often arrested for just talking to the adult.

Critics of the stings, including a number of prominent Tampa Bay law enforcement leaders, tell 10 News the operations make for better press conferences than they do crime fighting. Many of the men who are arrested for sexual predator crimes see little jail time.

But Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, when asked about over-aggressive detectives, instead went on the offensive: "The concern (I have) is that you inflate your investigative reporting to make it glitzy."

IA - The people's voice is angry: Outcry over sex offender's release fires up social media — but when does the fire get out of control?

Hateful idiot
Original Article

08/08/2014

By Sarah Tisinger

MUSCATINE - When a 23-year-old Muscatine man convicted of lascivious acts with a child was released from prison after serving four years of a 15-year sentence, the People of Muscatine exploded.

The outrage began after a July 30 post that appeared on the People of Muscatine Facebook page began taking on a life of its own. The post by the page's administrator was asking about the release of _____ from prison. Howard was sentenced to prison in 2010 after being found guilty of sexually abusing his girlfriend's baby son.

It didn't take long before responses to the post included death threats, graphic descriptions of bodily mutilation, and even jokes about _____'s arrest. The anger wasn't directed entirely at _____. One post said that the child's mother should be "stomped." Another person, who posted a defense of _____, was the target of outrage: "I guess Jessica needs to have her baby molested by this [man] to feel different."

The original post, and others after it, generated several hundred comments, nearly 50,000 views, and attracted the attention of KWQC-TV, who reported on _____'s release under the headline, "Child sex offender released early from prison."

What got lost in the public's outcry was the fact that _____'s release wasn't really early. He was released exactly when the law allowed.

Thứ Bảy, 9 tháng 8, 2014

AZ - Owner of websites loses case in federal district court

Original Article

Click the "Offendex" label above for all related articles.

Excerpt:
This newsflash from California RSOL Charles Rodrick, owner of a family of websites that publishes the names, photos and other personal information regarding registered citizens and sometimes members of their families, today lost a case filed against him.

Who's Lying, Who's Self-Justifying? Origins of the He Said/She Said Gap in Sexual Allegations

Video Description:
The Woody Allen sex scandal of 2013 triggered a national conversation on who to believe, with people lining up on each side as if they knew what really happened. Based on recent research on how people navigate the often tricky waters of sexual negotiation, Dr. Carol Tavris shows that it is entirely possible in some sexual assault cases neither side is lying, but instead both sides feel justified in their positions. This talk was considered one of the best ever given at The Amazing Meeting.

WI - Former sheriff's deputy (Jeffrey Hilgers) charged with sex assault, child porn

Jeffrey C. Hilgers
Jeffrey C. Hilgers
Original Article

08/07/2014

By Ed Treleven

A former Dane County sheriff’s deputy who allegedly began a sexual relationship with a woman while she was in a jail diversion program was charged Thursday with second-degree sexual assault.

Jeffrey C. Hilgers, 42, of Madison, who resigned in August 2013 from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, was also charged with seven counts of possessing child pornography, which was allegedly discovered on his computer as investigators searched it for evidence related to his alleged relationship with the former inmate.

According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday, Hilgers began a relationship in April 2013 with a 42-year-old woman who was in the Pathfinders Jail Diversion Program .

According to the complaint, at the time that Hilgers and the woman first met, she was an inmate in the Dane County Jail and he was assigned to the housing units where she was incarcerated. But the relationship didn’t begin until later, when the woman was at home on the diversion program.

State law forbids sexual contact between correctional officers and inmates because of the supervisory role the officers have over the inmates. In recent years, several guards have been convicted of having sexual relationships with inmates at state prisons.

Guards or correctional staff who have sex with inmates can be charged with second-degree sexual assault.

Hilgers appeared in court Thursday and was released on a signature bond. His lawyer, Brian Hough, declined to comment .

According to the complaint:

The woman told Pathfinders program manager Fran Augustine in May 2013 that she was in a relationship with a sheriff’s deputy who knew she was in Pathfinders.

The woman met with investigators and said that there was nothing going on between her and Hilgers while she was in the jail, where she said she hardly talked to him. But they ran into each other in April 2013 at Capitol Centre Foods and began talking, then exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. They met for coffee that day.

During the interview with investigators, the woman also said, “I just am so afraid that he’s going to get in trouble here and it’s really unwarranted.”

In the weeks that followed, their relationship included sex, she said, but she said she never felt as though he used his position as a sheriff’s deputy to pressure her into sex.

Hilgers told another sheriff’s deputy about the relationship on May 30, 2013, and said that nothing had happened while the woman was in the jail. Hilgers told Deputy Gerald King that the woman was supposed to get off the jail diversion program around April 30, 2013, but her release date was extended.

King told investigators that Hilgers didn’t seem to realize the gravity of the situation until King told him that the woman was still an inmate.

Hilgers told investigators that when he learned that the woman’s release date had been extended, he decided he couldn’t wait any longer and began to see her.

As part of the investigation, investigators got a search warrant and seized two computers from his house, looking for evidence of communication between Hilgers and the woman. A search of the computers turned up eight images considered to be child pornography.

Hilgers is alleged to have possessed the child pornography in July 2011, prior to an April 2012 change in state law that made child porn possession punishable by a mandatory minimum three years in prison.

For crimes before the change in law, there was a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence, but the old law allowed judges to impose a lesser sentence or place offenders on probation if they believe the sentence is “in the best interests of the community and the public will not be harmed.”

Thứ Tư, 6 tháng 8, 2014

FL - Port St. Lucie mom arrested after allowing her 7-year-old son to go to a nearby park alone

Doofy
Original Article

Parents, remember this the next time you let your child out of the house alone.

You could be treated like a criminal for it!

This is what we get when we continue to let the idiots in congress trample on others rights! We get a police state where Big Brother is the kids parents, not you!


07/31/2014

By Elizabeth Harrington

PORT ST. LUCIE - UPDATE: DCF says that the investigation is "very much open" and they are not planning on dropping the case as of right now.

A mother faces a charge of child neglect after she allowed her son to go to a local park alone. She says he's old enough but Port St. Lucie Police disagree. Now she's fighting back.

"I'm totally dumbfounded by this whole situation," said the mother, Nicole Gainey.

It began last Saturday afternoon when Gainey gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to Sportsman's Park .

"Honestly didn't think I was doing anything wrong," says Gainey, "I was letting him go play."

It's a half mile from their Port St. Lucie home. Dominic says it only takes him about 10 to 15 minutes to get there. During the walk, the 7-year-old passed a public pool. Someone there asked him where his mom was.

"They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and they called the cops," says Dominic Guerrisi.

Dominic was playing at the park when an officer pulled up.

"They said 'where does your mom live,' " says Dominic.

Police took him home. That's when his mom was arrested and charged with child neglect. Gainey says she was shocked.

"My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day," says Gainey who paid nearly $4,000 to bond out.

The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that "numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity."

"He just basically kept going over that there's pedophiles and this and that and basically the park wasn't safe and he shouldn't be there alone," says Gainey.

She believes Dominic is mature enough to go to the park alone during the day. Gainey adds her son always has a cell phone which she calls to check on him.

"That I'm here and safe," says Dominic.

Gainey plans to fight the felony charge. But after this she won't let Dominic go to the park alone. She's afraid she'll be arrested again.

The St. Lucie County State's Attorney's office says there is no law that specifies how old a child has to be before he or she can go somewhere unsupervised. It's done on a case-by-case basis.

See Also:

Thứ Bảy, 2 tháng 8, 2014

FL - Seminole deputy (David Rodriguez) accused soliciting sex from teen girl on Facebook

David Rodriguez
David Rodriguez
Original Article

07/25/2014

By Desiree Stennett

A Seminole County deputy was arrested Thursday after investigators accused him of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old girl through a series of Facebook messages.

David Rodriguez, a 28-year-old patrol deputy, recently received recognition from Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger for saving a man after a boating accident earlier this year.

Rodriguez now accused of using a computer to solicit sex from a child.

He and the girl both participated in martial arts tournaments. When they met, she was 6 and he was about 17. The two kept in touch over the years, his arrest report stated.

The girl told deputies that she and Rodriguez, who is married and has a newborn, started out with friendly text messages.

Eventually the two became Facebook friends and would send private messages back and forth.

After the girl's 17th birthday, the conversations became sexual, the report stated.

Rodriguez admitted to soliciting sex from the girl but said the two never actually met for sex.

"Rodriguez stated that he was going to keep trying to put off meeting with [the girl] for sex until she was 18 years old," the report stated. The detective "confronted Rodriguez that on several occasions that they arranged to meet for sex, it was [the girl] who had to cancel and Rodriguez did not respond."

The Facebook exchange was discovered because the girl's father saw the messages when she left her social-media profile open on a home computer.

The father did not confront his daughter because he was concerned she would not be cooperative.

When she was interviewed, the girl told officials she had a crush on Rodriguez for years and said when his child was born on July 9, she realized that Rodriguez was trying to take advantage of her.

She said she wanted the sexual conversations to stop but didn't know how to end the relationship.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office is in the process of firing Rodriguez. He had been a patrol deputy since February 2010.

Rodriguez received a Life Saving Award in May from Eslinger. According to the Sheriff's Office, Rodriguez helped save a man who capsized his kayak.

According to investigators, Rodriguez admitted to the crime and turned himself into the Seminole County jail.

He was released late Thursday on $50,000 bail.

Let the Burden Fit the Crime: Extending Proportionality Review to Sex Offenders

Ball & Chain
Original Article (PDF)

03/2014

By Erin Miller

Draconian restrictions on the activities and privacy of convicted sex offenders are a new, and troublesome, trend. In 1994 and 2006, following a national dialogue about crimes against children sparked by several high-profile incidents, Congress passed two laws requiring states to register and regulate sex offenders residing within their borders. States and municipalities soon caught on, and deepened restrictions. In the last five years alone, local governments have forbidden sex offenders to live within 2,000 feet of schools; “be” within 500 feet of parks or movie theaters; enter public libraries; drive buses or taxis; photograph or film minors; and use social networking websites like Facebook. Others have required sex offenders to advertise their status on driver’s licenses or social networking profiles; wear GPS bracelets at their own expense; notify local police when present in any county within the state for longer than ten days; provide notice to all new neighbors within a roughly quarter-mile radius when they move; and pay up to $100 annually to maintain sex offender registries. These burdens typically last for a decade or for life, depending on the jurisdiction and the type of crime committed.

FL - Palm Beach County Commissioners To Vote On Sex Offender Ordinance

Sex offender residency zones
Original Article

07/22/2014

By Thomas Forester

PALM BEACH COUNTY - There are close to one thousand sex offenders living in Palm Beach County alone.

A major vote Tuesday, could allow registered sex offenders to live closer to schools and parks. Later tonight, Palm Beach County Commissioners will debate the heated issue.

According to State law, sexual offenders and predators cannot live within one thousand feet from specified locations where children gather.

In Palm Beach County, the law is 2500 feet, but the county wants to change it to be the same as the state.

TX - We can do better on sex offender laws

Morning paper an coffee
Original Article

07/17/2014

By Steve Blow

Let’s face it, we’re more sympathetic to the plights of some than others.

Lost puppies and sad children rank right up there atop the sympathy scale. And at the bottom.

Well, can you think of a group lower than sex offenders?

It’s a tough sell, but a national conference is meeting this week in Dallas with the goal of making things a little easier for those convicted of sex-related crimes.

Hang on! Don’t stop reading. You may not be brimming with sympathy, but the truth is that the reformers have a point. And this doesn't just affect the sex offenders.

Our laws have become expensive and ineffective. In our zeal to protect against sexual predators, we might even be making things worse.

The national conference of RSOL — Reform Sex Offender Laws — began with a social hour Wednesday night. It gets down to business Thursday through Saturday, meeting at Skillman Church of Christ in East Dallas.

About 125 people are expected. Virtually all of them are like RSOL executive director Brenda Jones. They come because of a personal connection.

I have a family member still serving time,” she said. “One of the things I promised him is that I would make sure he could have a life when he got out.”

The group’s central message is that sex offender registries have become an enormous burden on the individuals required to register, and they yield no safety benefit for the public.

There’s no statistical evidence that it’s doing any good at all,” Jones said. “And there’s growing evidence that it could actually be doing harm.”

Those on sex offender registries often can’t find a job or a place to live. It drives many into hiding. The pressures can make those with sexual addictions more likely to offend, not less.

As with most things, this began with a good idea: Law enforcement should know where convicted child predators live. But in our zeal to protect kids, the movement went overboard.

The list was made public. Registry was required for more and more offenses. The result: Texas has almost 80,000 people on its sex offender registry.

It was sold as a parent having the right to know there’s a predator next door. But the vast majority of the people on that list never touched a child, never had an offense against a child and may not have even had a sexual offense,” Jones said.

Even public urination sometimes ends up as a sex crime requiring registration.

Mary Sue Molnar of San Antonio leads the reform effort in Texas. She is founder of Texas Voices, an affiliate of RSOL.

Several years ago, my son made some really bad choices. He was 22. The girl was 16,” Molnar said. “He would be placed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life. He would never be able to serve his time and move on with his life, like any other offender.”

California has almost 100,000 on its sex offender list. And its oversight board wants to make a change. In a recent policy report, the board said:

Research on sex offender risk and recidivism now has created a body of evidence which offers little justification for continuing the current registration system.”

The California report estimated that local governments spend $24 million a year maintaining the sex offender registry. Yet most people never consult it. And most who do take no action as a result.

Nobody is making excuses here for people who commit crimes of any sort. But if safety is what we’re after, we’re not getting our money’s worth.