September 22, 2014

Pastor arrested on child porn complaint after allegedly writing a story (No Pics)

9-22-2014 Oklahoma:

MCALESTER, Okla. — New details on a McAlester pastor arrested over the weekend on child pornography charges. Larry Jones, 65, the pastor at Missionary Baptist Church, is now out of jail. FOX23 learned it was a story he wrote and not pictures or videos that put him in jail.

A McAlester police detective told FOX23 they believe Jones wrote a one-page story that was detailed and graphic and named girls from his church specifically.

The detective said it was the worst thing he’s ever read. “It is shocking,” said Sgt. Chris Morris. Morris had a difficult time repeating some of the details in the story.

“What it was, was a very graphic, detailed story about three young girls that went to his church,” said Morris.

Last week, Jones’ wife was trying to print something on the printer at their home when instead the story printed. She read it and immediately turned it over to police.

McAlester police say Jones admitted to writing the story and he was arrested for possession of child pornography.

“He said he had no intention of acting on it. It’s just something he’s been battling in his head,” said Morris.

FOX23 went to Jones’ home on Monday but no one answered the door. McAlester police said anything, including writing, painting and sculpture, can be considered child pornography.


Police talked to the parents of the girls mentioned in the story. “She was extremely shocked. She was very surprised. She immediately went into tears,” said Morris.

Police do not believe Jones had any inappropriate physical contact with the girls. With the help of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, McAlester police will now look through Jones’ computer for additional evidence.

“We don’t know what his plans were if we didn’t catch this or if his wife hadn’t found that letter,” said Morris.

FOX23 spoke with several of Jones’ neighbors. None of them wanted to go on camera but all were shocked at the allegations. Police say Jones has no criminal history. ..Source.. by Angela Hong

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Mexican man arrested for child pornography after videos pop up during camp presentation to parents

9-22-2014 Mexico:

MEXICO CITY — Prosecutors in western Mexico said Monday they have arrested a man who was promoting children's camping trips in front of a group of parents, but accidentally called up images of child pornography on his computer.

Federal prosecutors in Jalisco state said the man was using his computer to pitch his company's guided children's camping trips to a group of parents at a private school in the upscale suburb of Zapopan, on the outskirts of Guadalajara.

But instead of the presentation, videos of naked children popped up, apparently because the man opened the wrong file.

Teachers and parents immediately stopped the Sept. 8 presentation and reported him to police, who arrested the man outside the school.

His computer, a tablet, a thumb drive and a cellphone were seized as evidence.

The man has been formally charged with human trafficking, a charge that covers child pornography in Mexico, and is being held at a local prison.

The federal officials did not release his name. A statement posted on the school's web site identified the man's company as ACAMPA, and said the school had never contracted the company's services.

Phone numbers listed for the company rang unanswered on Monday. ..Source.. by The Republic

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The family violence registry is pointless if not kept up to date

9-22-2014 Guam:

The attorney general's office needs to get the island's family violence registry, which hasn't added any new names since it launched in April, updated.

In 2011, lawmakers passed the family violence registry law in an effort to improve the safety of all residents by giving the public access to a central database of repeat family violence offenders. After sitting in limbo for three years, the law was finally implemented in April, when the registry went online with 13 names.

However, no new names have been added since. There are more than 1,000 cases of family violence reported on Guam each year and about 500 cases of family violence are pursued by the attorney general annually.

The attorney general's office, which is responsible for maintaining the registry, says it's taking longer to put up a full list of names due to the need to scrupulously verify the accuracy of all information and it lacks people to dedicate themselves fully to the registry. The registry is estimated to cost taxpayers about $80,000 a year, which pays for a paralegal and clerk to assist with data input and management.

The law requires the attorney general to maintain a list of family violence offenders who have been convicted of at least two family violence cases.

In cases in which one of those convictions is expunged, the offender can be removed from the registry. In some cases, such as those involving the use of a deadly weapon, an offender can be placed on the registry for a first offense.

The AG's office should seek the expertise of the Guam Judiciary, which manages the island's sex-offender registry. The court in recent years addressed gaps and deficiencies with the sex-offender registry and that experience could help with the AG's efforts.

Lawmakers also should consider whether the family violence registry would be better managed by the Judiciary instead of the AG's office.

If the registry can't be kept up to date, lawmakers need to re-examine the value of the law. The registry is useless and doesn't serve the community's interests if its information isn't kept up to date. ..Source.. by Guampdf.com

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NAACP says Florida city ordinance on 'saggy pants' targets black men

9-22-2014 Florida:

Civil rights activists in Central Florida are challenging one city's new ordinance banning saggy pants, CNN affiliate WKMG reports. The NAACP is threatening a possible lawsuit over the matter.

The mayor of Ocala who initially supported the ordinance, is now asking the city council to reconsider it.

The law bans people on city property from wearing pants that fall 2-inches below the waist in a way that shows their underwear or buttocks.

People who break the law may be fined up to $500 dollars and could face jail time.

Members of the NAACP's Tallahassee branch say the ordinance unfairly targets black men.

"I'm sorry. It's going to be black males that are going to be the subject of this," Dale Landry, President of NAACP Tallahassee said.

Some supporters of the law say it promotes respect and good morals.

City Council members will have the option of voting to amend or repeal the ordinance at an upcoming meeting. ..Source.. by CBS12.com

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September 18, 2014

State audit: Police lax on sex-offender monitoring

What we see here is, a thousand registrants get haircuts, or let it grow, gain weight, or lose it, get married or divorced, get sick and go to hospital, visit grandma or grandpa, end up homeless, dress like a hippie, or any other thing affecting visual appearance and the whole darm system falls apart. Clearly this shows what a waste of taxpayer money this is, which ultimately shows no more than where folks sleep for a few hours of the day/night. Society has gone nuts electing fools to design these systems.
9-18-2014 New York:

Some local police agencies failed to take immediate action to obtain updated photographs and enforce address verification requirements for sex offenders, an audit released Thursday found.

ALBANY – Some local police agencies failed to take immediate action to obtain updated photographs and enforce address verification requirements for sex offenders, an audit released Thursday found.

The audit, conducted by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, evaluated compliance with the Sex Offender Registry Act for more than 3,600 moderate and high-risk sex offenders over a four-year period in 15 local police departments.

The departments reviewed included the cities of Rochester, Buffalo and Mount Vernon, Westchester County, as well as Broome and Ontario counties.

No Tompkins County law enforcement agencies were audited for the comptroller’s report.

In Tompkins County, 152 offenders are listed on the state registry. Those include 67 at level one, considered at low risk of repeat offense, 48 at moderate level, and 37 at a high level. ... ...

The audit contended that the departments did not immediately respond to the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ notifications to update records.

In 53 percent of the 322 cases reviews, 10 departments, including in Broome, Buffalo and Rochester, didn’t arrest offenders who failed to update their photos for the registry, DiNapoli said.

“The sex offender registry is designed to warn residents and local officials of possible threats in their community, but it only works if it is kept current,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “The failure to monitor even one sex offender could lead to serious consequences.”

In responses to the audit, conducted between January 2008 and January 2014, the departments said they’ve taken steps to improve their reporting methods and policies.

The audit said that the Rochester Police Department had one failure to respond to an annual address verification form for a level-2 sex offender for two years. It also had 42 outdated sexual offender photographs, the audit said.

“The Rochester Police Department accepts the audit findings,” Lt. Frank Umbrin, commanding officer of the department’s Major Crimes Unit, said in a letter to the comptroller’s office in response to the findings. ​

But he added that, “Without knowing specifics on the one failure to respond to annual address verification form and the 42 outdated sexual offender photographs, no explanations can be provided.”

Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said in a statement Thursday: “We have received the report. Once we review it, we will comment on it.”

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero responded to the comptroller that the department had two retirements in 2013 and the list wasn’t updated regularly.

“When these retirements took place this list was overlooked in the assigning of responsibilities. This issue has been corrected,” Povero wrote.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder said the department has improved its reporting policy.

“Due to constant changes in technology and trends, our written policy has not been made current to coincide with the manner in which we were managing our sex offender registry,” he wrote. “Those changes have since been made, and we can now continue to successfully manage our sex offender program.”

Auditors said Mount Vernon did not investigate why a level 3-sex offender, the highest-risk level, failed to verify his address for three consecutive years. Mount Vernon police did not respond to the audit, DiNapoli’s office said.

Departments had varying policies on reporting sex offenders whereabouts, and some didn’t met all the standards of the law, DiNapoli said.

Each year, the state mails non-forwarding address verification forms to each sex offender’s last reported address. The offender must sign and return the form within 10 days.

If the offender fails to report his address, the state Department of Correctional Services must notify local police.

Also, level 2 (moderate-risk) offenders must report to their local police department every three years to have a new photo taken. For level 3 (high-risk) offenders, it’s every year.

Because police agencies didn’t always follow up with those who flouted the law, the state’s registry is not accurate and up-to-date, DiNapoli sad.

The other sheriff’s offices audited included: Cayuga, Oneida, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Suffolk and Warren, and city police departments in Ogdensburg, Syracuse and Utica. ..Source.. by Denise Nickerson

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September 17, 2014

Missouri Constitutional Amendments on the November 4, 2014 Ballot

9-17-2014 Missouri:

Constitutional Amendment No. 2
Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (First Regular Session) HJR 16
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age? If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the fiscal impact is expected to be limited.
Yes
No


Click to Read HJR 16
From MO Secretary of State- Fair Ballot Language:
  • A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to allow evidence of prior criminal acts, whether charged or uncharged, to be considered by courts in prosecutions of sexual crimes that involve a victim under eighteen years of age. The amendment limits the use of such prior acts to support the victim’s testimony or show that the person charged is more likely to commit the crime. Further, the judge may exclude such prior acts if the value of considering them is substantially outweighed by the possibility of unfair prejudice to the person charged with committing the crime.
  • A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the use of evidence of prior criminal acts to prosecute sexual crimes.
  • If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.
..Source.. by Callaway County Clerk

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Sexual abuse measure could lead to wrongful convictions, attorneys say

See also: Missouri Evidence in Sexual Crimes Against Minors, Amendment 2 (2014)
9-17-2014 Missouri:

A Missouri ballot measure that would allow allegations of past actions to be used against people facing child sexual abuse charges could lead to more wrongful convictions of the falsely accused, a prominent defense attorney said Wednesday.

The proposed constitutional amendment is backed by prosecutors, sheriffs and police chiefs’ groups.

It would allow past criminal acts — even alleged crimes that didn’t result in convictions — to be used to corroborate victim testimony or demonstrate a defendant’s propensity to commit such crimes when people face sex-related charges involving victims younger than 18. However, the evidence’s admissibility is at the judge’s discretion, meaning if the judge doesn’t think it is relevant to the matter being tried then it can not be used.

Currently the previous acts of defendants cannot be presented as evidence to a jury unless they waive their Fifth Amendment rights and testify. The past allegations can also be taken into consideration by judges during sentencing hearings after the defendant has been found guilty.

If approved by Missouri voters in November, Constitutional Amendment 2 could make it more difficult for defendants to persuade juries and judges of their innocence, said Kim Benjamin, a Belton attorney who is the past president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

“You’re now defending your entire life, your entire reputation, rather than this one act,” she said. “It causes a tremendous risk for more people to be wrongly convicted.”

One of Benjamin’s most prominent clients was Burrell Mohler Sr., the patriarch of a western Missouri family who was accused along with his four sons of sexually abusing young relatives over many years. The charges ultimately were dropped in March 2012, after Mohler had spent more than two years in jail while awaiting trial.

The proposal, which was referred to the ballot by the Legislature in 2013, is a backlash against a December 2007 Missouri Supreme Court decision of State v. Ellison that struck down a state law allowing evidence of past sexual crimes to be used against people facing new sex-related charges involving victims younger than 14. Before Ellison, the Legislature had twice tried to establish legislation that would make the state’s statues regarding these issues mimic federal law, but both attempts were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. ..Continued.. by News Tribune staff and AP wire reports

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Defense attorney raises concerns about Missouri proposal on evidence in child sex abuse cases

9-17-2014 Missouri:

A Missouri ballot measure that would allow allegations of past actions to be used against people facing child sexual abuse charges could lead to more wrongful convictions of the falsely accused, a prominent defense attorney said Wednesday.

The proposed constitutional amendment is backed by prosecutors, sheriffs and police chiefs' groups.

It would allow past criminal acts — even alleged crimes that didn't result in convictions — to be used to corroborate victim testimony or demonstrate a defendant's propensity to commit such crimes when people face sex-related charges involving victims younger than 18.

If approved by Missouri voters in November, Constitutional Amendment 2 could make it more difficult for defendants to persuade juries and judges of their innocence, said Kim Benjamin, a Belton attorney who is the past president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

"You're now defending your entire life, your entire reputation, rather than this one act," she said. "It causes a tremendous risk for more people to be wrongly convicted."

One of Benjamin's most prominent clients was Burrell Mohler Sr., the patriarch of a western Missouri family who was accused along with his four sons of sexually abusing young relatives over many years. The charges ultimately were dropped in March 2012, after Mohler had spent more than two years in jail while awaiting trial.

The Missouri ballot measure would essentially undo a December 2007 decision by the Missouri Supreme Court, which struck down a state law allowing evidence of past sexual crimes to be used against people facing new sex-related charges involving victims younger than 14.

The court said in that ruling that "evidence of prior criminal acts is never admissible for the purpose of demonstrating the defendant's propensity to commit the crime with which he is presently charged."

The Legislature voted last year to refer the proposed constitutional amendment to the 2014 ballot.

Prosecutors say it would bring Missouri's evidence standards closer to federal ones. Under a 1994 federal law, courts may allow evidence of other sexual assaults or molestations of children younger than 14 to be used against defendants facing those charges. Those federal evidentiary rules have been upheld in several appellate court decisions.

Prior allegations are allowed to be used as evidence in child sex abuse cases by 11 states, according to a 2012 report by the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services.

Supporters of the Missouri ballot proposal have formed a campaign committee with the hopes or running advertisements for it, though the group had barely $1,300 in its account as of the end of June.

Benjamin said defense attorneys have not organized a campaign against the amendment, because she said they lack the money to do so. ..Source.. by DAVID A. LIEB

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September 16, 2014

Sex offender house surprises Norwich

9-16-2014 Connecticut:

Four men living in Broad Street home in program backed by state

Norwich - The recent discovery of a two-family home on Broad Street housing serious sex offenders released from prison has rekindled a controversy that first emerged last summer, with residents and city officials complaining that the city is being unfairly targeted by state programs.

The house at 152 Broad St., purchased by West Hartford business Homemax LLC in April, houses four sex offenders with convictions ranging from first-degree to third-degree sexual assault. The house is run by REACH - Reentry Assisted Community Housing - a state subsidized housing program managed by Middetown-based Connection Inc., which also runs the controversial sex offender treatment center at the Corrigan Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville.

Two of the convicts are on parole, while two are on probation, state Sen. Cathy Osten told the City Council Monday as part of a report updating aldermen on state statistics involving housing of sex offenders in Norwich. She said none of them were released from the January Center, the sex offender treatment program, which was the source of a controversy last summer regarding a similar contracted apartment house in Greeneville.

Under the REACH program, the current tenants might live there up to six months, but other tenants in the REACH program could replace them.

"There are four violent sex offenders living within eight feet of my house," Brian Curtin, the Norwich treasurer and former alderman, told the City Council on Monday, "living in a family neighborhood."

Curtin said there is a school bus stop with 15 children in front of his house. He pleaded with the council not to let the state "sugarcoat" the arrangement.

"This is a public disgrace that this is allowed," Curtin said, "for as far as I'm concerned the predator is the state." ..Continued.. by Claire Bessette

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