Friday, November 30, 2007

Child porn possession leads to Aloha man’s prison sentence

A 42-year-old Aloha man was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison Tuesday for possessing thousands of child pornography images.

Frank Don Villa pled guilty July 30 to the charge of possession of child porn. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman handed down the sentence, saying it should send a message that possessing child pornography is a serious crime.

“It’s difficult to know what will deter someone in the future from surfing the net for pornography and then deviating into child pornography,” Mossman said. “I believe that it takes a serious sentence to send a message to the community, the kind of message that might work some conceivable benefit towards drying up the industry.”

Villa was arrested March 24, 2006, at Portland International Airport by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who found thousands of images of child pornography from the Internet on his computer. The pictures included a prepubescent minor or a minor under 12, as well as sadistic or masochistic material and other depictions of violence.

The investigation began after Villa’s girlfriend discovered images of child pornography on his computer and notified law enforcement authorities.

After he leaves prison, Villa faces three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin prosecuted the case.

Child sex abuser receives 138-year sentence

"This is the worst case of sexual child abuse that I've seen in almost 14 years on the bench," Circuit Judge Joseph Ochoa told Robinson. "I want to make sure, sir, that you are never able to injury anybody."




A Salem man will spend the rest of his life in jail for convictions of eight counts of sexual abuse, partly as the result of a relatively new law enacted in Oregon.

Michael David Robinson, 35, received the 138-year sentence this week from Marion County Circuit Judge Joseph Ochoa.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Courtland Geyer, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said he did not know whether the sentence was the longest since the new law, known as "Jessica's Law," went into effect in April 2006.

The law lengthens mandatory sentences for offenders convicted of first-degree rape, sodomy or unlawful sexual penetration if the victim is younger than 12.

Under the law, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years.

"This is the worst case of sexual child abuse that I've seen in almost 14 years on the bench," Ochoa said.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Theobald prosecuted the case, which involved two young children known to Robinson.

Robinson pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree sodomy.

Four of the counts were for crimes committed after April 2006. Robinson's first court appearance was Sept. 24, and he pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Robinson's defense attorney Robert Botta had recommended a 25-year sentence.

Robinson received 100 months for the first count, 110 months for the second count, 120 months for the third count and 300 months each for the remaining counts.

"I want to make sure, sir, that you are never able to injury anybody," Ochoa said to Robinson.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Strawbridge Sentenced For Child-Pornography

A member of a famed department store family has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison on a federal child pornography charge.

FBI agents say 63-year-old Steven Strawbridge Sr. was deleting images from his computer when they arrived at his house in Gladwyne in 2005. The agents still found more than 100 sexually explicit images.

Strawbridge was sentenced Wednesday to 57 months in prison. He is to report on Jan. 2.

More than 100 of Strawbridge's friends crammed into a Philadelphia courtroom Wednesday. Some asked the judge to show leniency because of the family's contributions to the city and its cultural institutions.

The judge says Strawbridge knew he was doing something wrong and should have sought professional help.

Man admits making child pornography

A Tamaqua man has pleaded guilty to a federal production of child pornography charge that carries at least 15 years in prison.

John Levernier, 30, agreed in September to plead guilty to the charge, and on Nov. 19 appeared before Judge A. Richard Caputo in Scranton, who accepted the plea and set sentencing for Feb. 21.

Caputo can sentence Levernier to as much as 30 years in prison, fine him up to $250,000 and place him on supervised release for life after serving his jail time.

Martin C. Carlson, acting United States attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said in a news release that Levernier admitted taking sexually explicit photographs of a girl, now 7, at least three times this year and last year.

State Trooper Eric Temarantz started the investigation this year after the victim's mother photographed items she planned to sell on the Internet auction site eBay, uploaded them to a computer and saw images of her daughter in lingerie, naked and using an adult sex toy, according to the affidavit.

The mother contacted the county Children and Youth Services department, and police eventually joined the investigation after the girl said Levernier repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Carbon County District Attorney Joseph Matika referred the part of the case that dealt with child pornography to federal prosecutors, and Levernier was indicted by a grand jury in July on charges of sexual exploitation of minors, receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Matika referred that part of the case because federal sentencing guidelines are tougher.

Levernier still faces sexual assault charges in Carbon County. He has reached an agreement to plead guilty to aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children. He was supposed to enter the plea Nov. 15, but his court appearance was postponed because he's being held in Lackawanna County Prison on the federal charge.

Suspected child predator to appear in court


The Army Sergeant from Solorado Springs facing charges of internet luring of child, is scheduled to appear in a Mesa County courtroom today.

33-year-old Gregory Sallee was one of nine men involved in a Jefferson County sting operation.

Authorities say Sallee was brought to Mesa County in August to face charges of internet luring of a child with intent to exploit, sexual exploitation of a child, and enticement of a child.

He allegedly planned to meet with what he thought was an underage girl in Mesa County.

Sallee posted bond at 25-thousand dollars earlier this month.

He is scheduled to appear in Judge Deister's courtroom for a review hearing at 8 a-m Monday morning.

Cops Posing As Girls Nab Web Predator


Macomb County police arrested a 39-year-old child predator from Battle Creek on Tuesday night after the man set up two "dates," one right after the other, with two separate undercover officers.

According to the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, the suspect set up a date with an undercover officer from Wayne County, and then another one with an undercover Macomb County Officer.

In both cases, the man thought he was setting up meetings with 13-year-old girls he had been talking to on the Internet.

Police said the suspect has served 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor count of possession of child pornography.Police were waiting for the man before he arrived at the intended rendezvous.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stone County Man Found Guilty of Molesting Child

A Stone County jury convicted a Reeds Spring man of statutory sodomy Wednesday.

Joshua Bunch, 24, was found guilty of having deviate sexual intercourse with a five-year-old girl in March and April of 2004 in Mount Vernon. The case was moved to Stone County on a change of venue.

In a press release, Lawrence County prosecutor Robert E. George said, “This defendant is a classic pedophile, who gained access to his victim by befriending the child’s mother. Bunch met the mother on the Internet, and soon moved in the household.” George said. “Once in the house, the victim did not have a chance to avoid the sex acts. She was a compelling witness who was able to discuss the terrible things she endured at this man’s will.”

Prosecutors said Bunch began molesting the child while her mother was at work. The victim testified Bunch watched pornographic moves before and during some of the acts. The child reported that there were at least twelve different times she was abused, however, due to her age she was unable to be specific as to when exactly each act occurred.

Bunch will be sentenced February 13.

Prosecutors say authorities arrested Bunch in a San Padre, Texas, motel room with pornographic items and chatting online with three teenagers.

Child molester headed to county jail

A Sharon man will serve less than 2 years in the county jail for what the judge said was the rape of a 4-year-old girl last year in his home.

Garon P. Hull, 35, of 361 Andrew St., pleaded guilty to corruption of minors for the sexual assault on Oct. 9 and had charges of raping a child and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse withdrawn.

Hull sexually assaulted the girl in his home in May or June, 2006. Common Pleas President Judge Frances J. Fornelli said Hull deserved the maximum 2 1/2 to 5 year sentence for the facts of the case. The sticking point was the danger state prison would hold for Hull, Fornelli said.

Because of Hull’s limited intelligence, Fornelli said, “and the fact that you’ll have a limited ability to protect yourself from the other inmates,” he gave him the county sentence where Fornelli said he could protect Hull.

“The fact of the matter is child molesters are the lowest
form of life in the penitentiary, as far as other inmates are concerned,” he said.


Fornelli said that some people might consider it just for a man who raped a child to in turn be raped.

“(It was an) awful thing you did. Awful. And if my job were vengeance your sentence would be very easy. But hopefully the court system is about more than that,” he said.

“The child is sleepless,” Fornelli said, describing the damage Hull did. “The child is scared, the child has nightmares and the mother has the same problems.”

Hull will also serve 5 years’ probation and Fornelli promised him the maximum sentence if he ever crosses the line again.

Two women also testified for Hull’s character, including his mother, Virginia, and his wife, Marcy. Hull’s mother said he was never any trouble and helped elderly people in the community with grocery shopping, shoveling driveways and mowing lawns. She said he helps out at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Sharon. “He would do anything for anyone,” said Hull’s wife.

In a twist, Hull’s mother and wife said that Hull had helped a family member who had been sexually abused by another man, including taking her to the hospital to be examined.
“He’s real good with his kids,” said his wife. Hull will be banned forever from private contact with any children except his two daughters and stepdaughter.

Man 'viewed child porn' in cafe

A 43-year-old man has been charged after he was caught accessing child pornography on the internet in an Alice Springs cafe.

Staff at the cafe contacted police shortly before 1pm (CST) yesterday to say that a customer appeared to viewing child pornography online.

When detectives arrived at the premises the man was still at the computer, police said.

He was arrested and later charged with possessing child pornography and has been bailed to appear in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court on December 18.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Chalker, from the Regional Investigations Division, today praised the staff for their quick thinking.

"Because of their timely report to police, we were able to arrest this man while he was still on the computer," he said in a statement.

The detective said the arrest should act as a reminder that child pornography can be easily accessed.

"Parents, in particular, should be aware of the internet sites that their children are accessing, and who they are talking with online," he said.

Fired LA sheriff's deputy charged after child predator sting

A fired sheriff's deputy faces felony charges after being arrested in an Internet child predator sting, prosecutors said.

Joseph Carlos, 31, was charged Tuesday with one count of meeting a minor for lewd purposes and one count of attempted lewd act upon a child under 14, the district attorney's office said in a statement.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to four years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Carlos, who was a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy for seven years, could not be reached for comment. Directory assistance had no telephone number under his name. The district attorney's office did not immediately know if he had an attorney.

Police said Carlos thought he was meeting a 13-year-old girl he contacted through an online chat room at the time of his March 31 arrest. The "girl" was an undercover policewoman.

Carlos was put on paid leave after his arrest. Information about the arrest was withheld until Nov. 8 when Sheriff Lee Baca moved to fire him. Carlos had worked at the Carson station.

Carlos was free on $100,000 bail pending the completion of a review of the evidence against him, prosecutors said. He was scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 17.

Accused sex predator still unfit


Paul D. Olsson, accused of sexually assaulting four young boys in the locker room of a tennis club, remains unfit to stand trial, according to a report from state mental health officials, which was presented Tuesday in Lake County Circuit Court.

Olsson, 20, may be able to regain fitness within a year, they added. Olsson, who was not present at the hearing, is at the state mental health facility in Elgin.

Judge Fred Foreman set the next status date for Olsson's fitness on Feb. 27.

Foreman also set a Dec. 11 date for issuing a ruling on a request from David Olsson, Paul's father, to have returned the $250,000 cash he had posted for his son's bail.

Foreman directed the Public Defender's Office to prepare a summary of costs incurred as part of representing Olsson.

Olsson is accused of assaulting the boys, then 6 to 10 years old, in July and August of 2005 at the Lincolnshire Club where he was a tennis coach.

Between January and June, Olsson received 20 continuances after contending that he contacted some 50 lawyers and none would take his case. Olsson had originally hired his own counsel, but fired him in January after the lawyer suggested a negotiated guilty plea and sentence to nine years in prison.

On Oct. 12, Olsson was found mentally unfit and sent to the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Olsson faces 13 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, A conviction on any of the Class X offenses carries a mandatory sentence of six to 30 years in prison.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two men arrested in connection with child porn found at shelter

Two men are in custody in connection with child pornography found at a homeless shelter in Muscatine.

Christopher Lee Collins and Scott Allen McKillip were charged in U.S. District Court with possession of child pornography. Court records show the Muscatine Center for Social Action contacted police in October with a report of child pornography found on a computer at the facility.

Collins admitted to viewing the images, saying they came from a disk from McKillip, records show. A search warrant at McKillip's home found pictures and video downloaded from the Internet, authorities said.

Donald Lynch


Legal experts say Donald Lynch could bond out of jail. Investigators say the Kingsport man sexually abused children and video taped the assaults. There are more than 50 child sex charges against Lynch.

After years on the run, Lynch is in custody in Sullivan County. Law enforcement lost Lynch back in 2004 when he posted bail and failed to show up at a court hearing.

Authorities caught Lynch in Mexico October 13th and retuned him to the United States. November 19th police transported Lynch from the Chattanooga Silverdale Corrections facility to Bluontville.

The 64 year old man dodged federal charges as a fugitive from justice. Now legal experts say he could post bail again.

Officials catch Internet sexual predator on first day of sting

An attempt by Saline County law enforcement officers to trap Internet sexual predators resulted in the arrest of a man in the program’s first day of operation.

Troy S. McDonald, 33, of Overton, was arrested at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday in Crete on suspicion of enticement by an electronic communications device, a Class IV felony, and sexual assault by use of a computer, a Class IIIA felony, after he attempted to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old female for sexual activity in Crete.

However, the person McDonald contacted in the chat room was actually a deputy with the Saline County Sheriff’s Office posing as a young girl as part of a sting operation aimed at protecting children from online predators.

Saline County Sheriff Alan Moore said the program is something he has wanted to start for sometime. While Internet predators are not a major issue in the county, Moore said his office has occasionally received complaints from parents concerned about unsolicited online messages their children had received.

“We have tried to be proactive about catching some of the people who use chat lines,” Moore said. “Wednesday was actually the first day we went about this.”

After working with an investigator with the Nebraska State Patrol who showed deputies how to capture such online criminals, the deputy began creating a fake profile as the 13-year-old girl Wednesday and was soon contacted by McDonald. Moore said because the deputy was able to convince McDonald that he was talking to a 13-year-old girl, McDonald soon posted his phone number in the chat room, which led officers to confirm his identity.

While Moore said the sheriff’s department cannot monitor for online predators all the time, he said his office will continue to use similar methods to catch online criminals in the future.

Moore said even though catching a predator that quickly is somewhat unusual, it is still gratifying to know the online chat led to an arrest and not an abduction.

“Because we are a relatively small law enforcement agency, we can’t always devote one person to this, but stopping crimes like this is something we are at least trying to explore,” Moore said.

No charges had been filed against McDonald as of Monday afternoon. However, if McDonald is convicted on the charges on which he was arrested, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. McDonald would also be required to register as a sex offender under Nebraska law.

Cyber predator lands in jail

A 35-year-old Cambridge man described by his lawyer as unsophisticated was sent to jail for two years less a day yesterday for luring a child over the Internet.

Derek J. Gibson lives with his parents and lacks social and personal skills, lawyer Brad Dempster said yesterday.

Kitchener's Ontario Court heard that between August 2006 and February 2007 Gibson communicated over the Internet with a 13-year-old girl named Miranda from Kansas.

He told the Kansas girl -- who was really an undercover police officer working for the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force -- that he wanted naked pictures of her.

As part of his sentence, Gibson is prohibited for life from using a computer to contact anyone under 14.

Using the name Gibby83, Gibson eventually made it clear he wanted to have sex with her. He told her he wanted to bring her to an orgy. He said he realized she was only 13, but promised to make sure she didn't get pregnant.

He and the undercover officer exchanged images. The pictures of naked young males and females that Gibson sent were described as erotica, not pornography.

Investigators in Kansas first began monitoring Gibson in August 2006 after they discovered someone using an MSN e-mail account to contact a 12-year-old Kansas girl.

They discovered Gibby83 was a Cambridge man who was portraying himself as a 17-year-old.

Police in Cambridge then took over. They visited Gibson, who agreed to let them check his computer. They found pictures of child erotica involving children aged six to 14. They arrested Gibson in February.

He admitted having sexual chats with the teenage girl. He told police he did it because he was bored at home under house arrest.

He was serving an 18-month conditional sentence for fraud.

Last fall, Gibson pleaded guilty to a fraud committed while under house arrest. He racked up almost $68,000 on an American Express credit card after applying for it in the name of another man and forging his signature. However, he listed himself as a supplementary user on the application and included his address.

Gibson purchased mostly high-end baseball bats between August 2005 and December 2006. He resold them to make a profit.

The sentence Justice Colin Westman imposed yesterday was also for the second fraud. It was proposed by the Crown and defence.

"He's a man who's got some challenges,'' Dempster told the judge. He said Gibson also needs counselling for gambling. "Clearly Mr. Gibson has a lot of work to do,'' the lawyer said as Gibson's parents listened in the court room.

Once released from jail, Gibson will be on three years probation. During that time, he cannot use a computer. He also cannot associate with anyone 16 or under unless he's with an adult supervisor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Man and girlfriend plead guilty to child rape

A retired police officer, who once toured grade schools with a talking motorcycle, and his girlfriend pleaded guilty Monday to child rape and other offenses involving young relatives.
Lee William Giles Jr., 62, and Maureen Elizabeth Wear, 47, face more than 19 years in prison under the pleas they entered before Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan E. Chushcoff.
Each pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape, second-degree child rape, first-degree child molestation and third-degree assault of a child. Giles is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 4 and Wear a week earlier.

Under their plea agreements, neither may be released from prison until a sentencing review board determines that he or she is no longer a threat to society, Deputy Prosecutor John M. Sheeran said.

Giles, who frequently visited schools and appeared on television and
radio during a 30-year police career that ended in 2000, was arrested in August 2006 after a young relative of Wear told authorities the officer had raped and molested him for years.

Detectives also wrote in court documents that they found videotapes showing Giles and Wear raping and molesting the boy, described as developmentally disabled, and molesting two girls related to Giles. The three ranged in age from 3 to 16 at the time of the abuse, according to the court filings.

Sheeran said he agreed to the deal partly to spare the victims from having to testify in court.
"There would have been a lot of graphic evidence introduced had the case gone to trial," Sheeran said. "The victims' families are supportive of this resolution."

As an officer, Giles appeared with Harvey, the talking motorcycle, in a grade school program designed to make police less scary and was involved in the TV program "Behind the Shield." After retiring he became host of "Crime Time" on KLAY-AM radio.

There was no record of accusations of sexual misconduct by Giles while he was on the police force, officials said. Defense lawyer Michael Schwartz said Giles accepted the plea offer to "not only put this behind him but put it behind the members of his family as well."

Wear, facing "what amounts to a life sentence" under the initial charges, agreed to the deal so she would have a chance at being released from prison, said her lawyer, Bret A. Purtzer.

Ex-Aspen High teacher pleads guilty in child-porn case

A former Aspen High School drama teacher has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and faces up to 18 months in jail.

Bradford Rice Moore was arrested a year ago after investigators said they found images of young girls on his home computer.

Moore had been charged with sexual exploitation of a child. He pleaded guilty last week to the pornography charge, and prosecutors agreed to drop the exploitation charge.

The plea agreement would require him to register as a sex offender and undergo psychological treatment. He will lose his teaching license.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4.

Michigan man pleads guilty to US charges of assaulting English girl in Paris

A Michigan man accused of using the Internet to meet, abduct and sexually assault a 12-year-old English girl has pleaded guilty to two federal charges in the case.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Toby Studabaker, a former U.S. Marine, entered his pleas on Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court. The charges are transporting a child across international borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation and possession of child pornography.

Authorities say they discovered numerous images of child pornography on Studabaker's personal computer.

According to his U.S. indictment, Studabaker flew to Manchester, England, in July 2003 to meet the girl, then took her to Paris, where he sexually assaulted her.

He was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, on his way to surrender at the U.S. consulate, hours after the girl caught a flight to England from the German city of Stuttgart.

Studabaker was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in 2004 after pleading guilty in England to child abduction and inciting a child to commit gross indecency. He was released from prison last June after serving a little more than three years behind bars and deported to the U-S to face the federal charges.

A sentencing hearing had not yet been scheduled, according to a written statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office. Studabaker faces five to 40 years in prison, a possible lifetime of supervised release and fines totalling a maximum of $500,000.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frazier Man Indicted for Child Porn Possession

United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced November 15 that a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Steven Stitt, 54, of Frazier Park, with receiving and possessing child pornography. The indictment alleges that on or about March 1, 2007, Stitt received and was in possession of images involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

[Read the initial article: "Frazier Man Charged With Selling Pot To Minor"]

The case was investigated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to court documents previously filed in this case, on March 1, 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a federal search warrant on Stitt's residence based on information that Stitt was in possession of child pornography during the course of a Kern County Sheriff's Department drug investigation. On-site forensic examination revealed numerous images of child pornography depicting the sexual exploitation of minors contained on Stitt's computer hard drive and CD's.

According to Deputy District Attorney David Wolf, of the Kern County District Attorney's Office, Stitt is in state custody, pending charges for three counts of criminal threats against law enforcement officers, in violation of California Penal Code 422.

On August 23, 2007, he was sentenced to four years in prison based on a conviction for possession of marijuana for sale, in violation of California Health and Safety Code Section 11358.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Sherrill A. Carvalho, who is prosecuting the federal case, if convicted of the charges as alleged in the federal indictment, Stitt faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment, for receipt of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors. Possession of child pornography is punishable for up to ten years in prison.

Both offenses provide for a possible lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

However, the actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables, and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.

The attacks, he said, would give him a “buzz”

He said he often got uncontrollable sexual urges and when these came over him, he could not stop himself from assaulting any woman who might be in the area. The attacks, he said, would give him a “buzz”.

A 46-year-old computer programmer, described by a judge as a “sexual predator”, who prowled the streets at night looking for women to attack, was sentenced to three years in prison with the last two years suspended, at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last Friday.

Gerard Walsh, Ower, Roscahill, Galway, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the Shantalla area of the city on a date unknown between December 1 and 31, 2002.

Walsh had been exposing himself to women for 20 years, before he ‘graduated’ to this assault, reports from therapists handed into court revealed.

The accused was 42 when he committed this offence and Gardaí received no complaints from other women since it occurred almost five years ago, the court was also told.

Garda Bernice McGowan gave evidence that in December 2002, the teenager was walking home alone at night along Shantalla Road when she noticed a man following her. She got a good look at him and managed to get home safely.

Then, two weeks later she was walking the same route home at 8.30pm when she was grabbed from behind by the same man. He sexually assaulted her but she screamed at him to leave her alone and he ran away in the direction of Cooke’s Corner. She again got a good look at him and realised it was the same man who had been following her two weeks previously.

Then on January 14, 2005, at 8.45pm the girl was walking alone in a laneway near her home when she again saw her attacker walking behind her. She screamed at the top of her voice and he ran off in the direction of Rahoon Road. The girl went to Salthill Garda Station and made a formal complaint.

She had always walked everywhere but after those incidents she saved up and bought herself a car and in February, 2006, was driving home when she noticed him walking in the same area.
Then, on March 16, 2006, at 10.50 pm she was driving down Shantalla Road when she saw her attacker again. She saw him get into a silver Ford Fiesta and she followed him in her own car to Fairlands Park, in Newcastle, where he parked his car.

The girl rang the Gardai and they arrived at the scene. Walsh admitted straight away that he had sexually assaulted the young girl. Garda McGowan stated the girl had been a strong, fearless, independent person prior to the attack but since it happened she was afraid to be on her own at night and was even afraid to be home alone.

Garda McGowan said Walsh, a native of Tralee, had told her he always came to the Shantalla/Highfield Park area of the city after finishing work to go for a walk because the area was quiet.

He said he often got uncontrollable sexual urges and when these came over him, he could not stop himself from assaulting any woman who might be in the area. The attacks, he said, would give him a “buzz”.

The court heard the accused had a previous conviction for indecently exposing himself in February, 1996, and he had been given the benefit of the Probation Act at Gort District Court in 1998.

Judge Raymond Groarke said that any person who attacks people walking home in the dark goes to prison to act as a deterrent for others contemplating attacking people in similar manner.

“This man is a sexual predator, ambushing and pursuing vulnerable young girls, and if I do not sentence him to a term of imprisonment, then the young ladies of the West of Ireland are going to say, ‘What protection are the courts affording us?’, and they would be right,” the judge said.

Reading the reports, Judge Groarke observed there was a very high risk of Walsh reoffending.
The judge said Walsh had planned this attack and that his “modus operandi” for 20 years beforehand was to expose himself to females in public places and to female hitchhikers in his car.
Imposing the sentence, Judge Groarke said the offence occurred almost five years ago and he had to take into account the fact that Walsh had not re-offended in the interim.

The final two years of the three-year sentence were suspended on condition that on Walsh’s release from prison he come under the strict supervision of the Probation Service and not re-offend for five years. The accused was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.


Sex offender frightens Whitcomb tenants


Children once ran through the halls of Whitcomb Terrace.

Tucked among the trees in Essex Junction, the building shelters 19 disabled and elderly adults, with subsidized rooms for low-income tenants. The tenants used to meet outside their rooms and play with their grandchildren in the lobby or the rec room.

JoAnn Thibault called the place home.

Then James Bushway moved in upstairs.

Bushway, 62, raped a pregnant University of Vermont employee at knifepoint in 1982, his second rape conviction in 16 years. When he completed his prison sentence in 1998, police obtained special permission from the state Corrections Department to alert the public. Bushway returned to society untreated, and is under no further legal obligation other than to report to the sex offender registry.

Bushway's arrival at Whitcomb Terrace more than a year ago prompted his neighbors to begin locking their doors. Children rarely visit. Thibault decided to move out by the end of November after a run-in with Bushway more than a month ago.

"There aren't many things that rock my socks, but he does," Thibault said. "He terrifies me."

At least four tenants say Bushway -- who is 5-feet-4 inches, 190 pounds, according to the sex offender registry -- has either grabbed them, threatened them and their pets, or driven toward them on his motorized scooter, which he uses to get around.

Bushway declined to comment for this story.

Thibault, 59, suffers from multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. The stress of living with Bushway, she says, worsens her condition and is forcing her out. Thibault said she's not sure where she'll go.

"I'm terrified of not knowing where I'll live," Thibault said, "but I'm not as terrified as I am living here."
The application process


Thibault's lifelong companion, Ed LaRock, a former Burlington police officer, died of cancer in 2001. Her friends call her "Shotgun." She does her own laundry, watches NASCAR, and her video collection includes action flicks like "Under Siege 2," starring Steven Seagal. She loathes depending on her motorized scooter -- equipped with all-terrain wheels -- and kicks it contemptuously each morning.

Thibault said she suspected Bushway's criminal history from his appearance and behavior, which led her to look him up on the sex offender registry. She said she complained to no avail about Bushway to her property manager, Linda Chiasson. Chiasson , who accepted Bushway into the building.

Chiasson declined to comment.[

Chiasson, who declined to comment, works for Cathedral Square Corp., which owns Whitcomb Terrace and 17 other housing properties in Vermont. The two-story building provides housing for elderly and disabled people. Whitcomb Terrace gives preference to disabled people younger than 62, which Bushway would have been upon his arrival.

Cathedral Square checks the sex offender registry for applicants and would consider housing a registered sex offender who is not subject to lifetime registration, said Nancy Eldridge, executive director. Eldridge would not speak specifically about Bushway's residency at Whitcomb Terrace.

"We try to be very fair to every resident," Eldridge said.

Prospective tenants fill out an application, which asks about criminal convictions, and Cathedral Square adds them to a wait list, and screens them for eligibility. Housing agencies perform additional screening for tenants applying for project-based Section 8 housing. Accepted tenants agree to a one-year lease.

If tenants feel threatened, "We encourage them to call the police," Eldridge said.

Tenants say they have called and met with Essex police regarding Bushway, beginning this summer.

"We can't discuss ongoing investigations," said Lt. Ken Beaulieu of the Essex Police Department, "but if we had a legitimate concern, we would alert the public."
Where, if not Whitcomb?

Barring another offense, Bushway's name will be taken off the sex offender registry next year, 10 years after his release from prison. Under Vermont law, sex offenders are registered for either 10 years or for life following their release.

Bushway has stayed out of serious trouble since 1998, having been convicted of two misdemeanors: DWI and marijuana possession. However, his reputation as a sex offender has preceded him at Whitcomb Terrace.

"Because it's difficult for anyone who's living on a low income and has difficulty with a disability to find housing, I would assume that if that person is a sex offender, it would be that much harder," said Ed Paquin, executive director of Vermont Protection and Advocacy.

The private, nonprofit organization supports disabled Vermonters, providing them services and legal representation.

"I have no ideas about the particulars of this case," Paquin said. "I think everyone recognizes an individual who has served his time, and is considered to be free to move back to the community, should be given that opportunity. If that individual can be situated in a living situation where the neighbors are not living in fear, obviously that's a better situation."

Whitcomb Terrace tenant Jo Ann Kenyon, 57, a former guard at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, said she knew Bushway in prison, and fears his history of violence against women will continue.

"He's the type that raises the hair on the back of your neck," Kenyon said. "I'm not afraid of him, and I'm not going to let him force me out. But he is dangerous. It's a fact; he's dangerous. And we've got people here who can't defend themselves."

In 1966, Bushway was committed to the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury for raping a Burlington woman. He was released in 1974, and was convicted of assaulting a Charlotte woman in 1977.

In 1983, Bushway pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting the UVM employee in exchange for the state's dropping a habitual offender charge, which carried a potential life sentence. He was sentenced to 18 to 20 years, and served 15 in prison.

Paquin agreed with Thibault that stress can worsen a disabled person's condition, and that Whitcomb Terrace tenants should live in safety.

"I don't question the legitimacy of society to protect itself from sex offenders," Paquin said. "If that plays into this, the other tenants deserve protection."
Contact Matt Ryan at 651-4849 or mryan@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

Habitual Sex Offender Arrested Twice This Week


Police in St. Mary's County on Wednesday arrested 62-year-old Vernon Jon Gifford, of Lexington Park, for a third-degree sex offense against a child that allegedly occurred in November 2005. Detectives from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) say they just recently learned of the incident.

Police say that in November 2005, Gifford worked as a carpenter and was helping the victim's father when he lured the victim into his van and committed a third-degree sex offense. The victim, a female, was 7-years-old at the time of the offense. Police say the offense occurred in California, St. Mary's County, Maryland.

Gifford was just arrested on Monday, November 19, and charged with child abuse and child abuse by sexual exploitation.

Monday's charges were the result of an investigation into an incident on Thursday, November 15, in which Gifford, allegedly exposed himself to a 6-year-old girl while at her residence in Lexington Park.

Gifford is a registered sex offender. He was on work release from the St. Mary's County Detention Center when the November 15 incident occurred. His work release status has been revoked.

Gifford was sentenced to two three-year jail terms in September 2006 after he pleaded guilty to a third-degree sex offense against a 7-year-old girl, that occurred on April 21, 2006, and a separate assault against another female. Both sentences were reduced to 18-months each along with five years of supervised probation and the condition that Gifford have no contact with the victims or their families. The 18-month terms were to be served consecutively.

Gifford is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer.

Police warn public about sex offender


City police issued a public warning today about a recently released sex offender who plans to live in the Edmonton area.

Kenneth MacWatt, 39, served seven years at the Bowden Institution for aggravated sexual assault.

Police consider MacWatt a sex offender who clearly poses a risk of significant harm to the community and vulnerable women. His criminal history includes convictions for aggravated sexual assault and assault causing bodily harm.

Police spokesman Dean Parthenis said the warning was issued not to encourage vigilante action against MacWatt, but so the public can take precautionary measures.

More clues to Botanic Gardens sex predator



DETECTIVES have stepped up the hunt for a city sex predator after a series of tips from the public.

Last night, Sexual Crime Investigation Branch officers manned an information booth near the Botanic Park, hoping for more leads.

Officers questioned people on Frome Rd between 4pm and 6.30pm yesterday, after linking four attacks in 18 months targeting young women who were walking in the area.

The man has approached each of his victims from behind and dragged them to the ground before assaulting them.

More than 40 calls to police have provided detectives with leads and information given to police at the booth will be analysed. Detective Sergeant Paul Lewandowski said the response from the public had been "pleasing".

"We are hopeful this will provide a number of positive lines of inquiry," he said.

"The public response has been appreciated and is very pleasing."

In the latest attack, last Thursday, a woman was assaulted as she walked near the Bicentennial Conservatory on Plane Tree Drive at about 5.45pm.

The first assault occurred on April 5 last year, at about 7.45pm as the victim walked along Frome Rd. That was followed by another attack on July 26 this year as another woman walked along Frome Rd, towards the Adelaide Zoo at about 7pm.

The third assault happened on July 31 as the victim walked along Plane Tree Drive at about 7pm.

The attacker is described as being being stocky, about 175cm tall, Caucasian with short black hair. He has also worn a full-face beard.

Anyone with information should call BankSA CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

Sex offender faces a test in civil court

Tomorrow morning, two lawyers and a judge will continue trying to figure out where Kenneth Lashway should go when he leaves a state prison in Dutchess County.
Lashway, a 48-year-old high school dean and town councilman from Dutchess County, met a 15-year-old girl from Chester online nine years ago. Then he met her in person.

He beat her with a belt.
He performed oral sex on her.
He took X-rated pictures of her.

Chester town police caught him by happenstance in February 1999, when they checked a car that was parked in a part of town know as a lovers' lane. They found Lashway with his pants around his ankles and the girl in the passenger seat. In the car, they also found a police-style baton and a plastic bag that contained a pair of silver choke collars, some chains and a pair of handcuffs.

Lashway pleaded guilty in Orange County Court to sodomy and other felonies. He went to state prison for four to 12 years. He was up for parole this summer.

Instead, he became one of the first people in New York to be detoured into court by a new law. It allows the state attorney general to file civil suits against sex offenders. The goal is to "manage" them, which could mean anything from mandating regular meetings with a parole officer to confinement in a mental hospital after they've served their prison sentences. The state went to court against Lashway in July, when he was up for parole. The next step is a conference tomorrow before acting state Supreme Court Justice Nicholas DeRosa.

The law was passed earlier this year by the state Legislature. It's still being challenged in federal court, but it's mostly untested in the state courts. As of Oct. 18, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had filed 84 petitions in court, seeking control over a sex offender. Most are still pending. Only one of those cases has gone the full distance to a jury trial, with a jury being asked to decide if a sex offender has a mental-health problem that needs to be treated behind the razor-wired walls of a state hospital.

That one time, the jury went against the attorney general. It found that there was no imminent danger or health concern to justify depriving the sex offender of his freedom. Seven people have agreed to strict supervision by the state Division of Parole before their case went to a jury. In one case, a DNA match from an old murder sent a sex offender back to prison.
So every case is still a test. The mother of the girl from Chester is hopeful that some good will come of the test that goes by the name of "Attorney General of the state of New York vs. Kenneth Lashway."

The mother, who still lives in Chester, breaks down in tears as she talks about what Lashway did to her daughter.

"He beat her," she sobs. "He beat her. I remember seeing the marks on her. I walked in on her, I said, 'Baby, where did you get these marks on you?' I was thinking of putting the dog down.
"He called my baby 'fresh meat.' The worst thing about all this is that he has a daughter who is six months younger than mine. Six months younger than my baby."

The girl's now a grown woman. She lives in New York City. She's a college graduate. "She's grown into a remarkable young woman," her mother says.

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT decided 10 years ago that states could confine people like Kenneth Lashway against their will. The court found that states could do that to protect the public against sex offenders – even after they'd served their time, even if they hadn't been charged with a new offense.

The court upheld a Kansas law, pointing out that it took civil action against sex offenders whose lack of control over their behavior, coupled with a mental "abnormality," made them a danger to the public.

For years, civil confinement laws died in the lawmaking logjam that is Albany politics. But a law finally passed the Legislature this year, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed it in March. The law took effect on April 13. It created a legal process for confining sex offenders, but it also allowed for "civil management," which means that a parole officer has control over anything from a sex offender's travel to who they date.

The law is being challenged in federal court by Mental Hygiene Legal Services. That's the state agency that represents sex offenders the state is trying to confine.

Steve Harkavy, the agency's chief lawyer in New York City, concedes that since the Supreme Court decision on the Kansas law, there's no longer a question that states can confine sex offenders. The question is how to do it, and Harkavy says that New York's law is an example of how not to pass a law that protects the public while also balancing the constitutional rights of sex offenders.

The challenge may have to be decided in a full-blown federal trial, but Harkavy won part of his argument last week. U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch temporarily banned the state from detaining someone who's awaiting a confinement trial, unless the state can show that person is currently dangerous. The judge also temporarily banned the state from enforcing part of the law that authorizes civil confinment for someone who's found incompetent to be tried criminally – even if there's "clear and convincing" evidence that the incompetent person committed a sexual crime. Lynch also dismissed some of the challenges to the law.

But here's the most profound question that Harkavay has about civil confinement: If someone like Lashway has a mental abnormality, what kind of treatment will he get if he's locked away in a hospital?

"What you've found in other states is that there's been a lot of litigation over the fact that people are not getting the treatment they're supposedly hospitalized to get," Harkavy said. "One school of thought is that these places end up being sort of roach motels – people go in, they never go out."


ANOTHER NOTORIOUS LOCAL sex offender is up for parole later this month: Josh Duggan, who raped two girls over several hours in 1991, in a chamber of horrors that he created in his bedroom in the Village of Goshen. Duggan's chances for parole appear to be slim, since he's blown off at least one scheduled interview with the state parole board.

For police Chief James Watt, Duggan is a poster child for civil confinement laws. In Ulster County, it was a man named Karl Ahlers, who molested several children in the early 1980s and went into a state hospital after he was paroled, at age 72, in 2005. Statewide, there about 22,000 sex offenders. One-third of them have a Level 3 designation, meaning that they're the most likely to repeat their crime.

Watt was on patrol the day that police were called to Duggan's house. It was the worst single crime in recent memory in the Orange County seat.

"I get asked about it quite often, and how the victims are," Watt says now. "For me, it's been a career-lasting resonance. It's still a concern. People still inquire about it and when he's going to be out on parole, and what the conditions are going to be."

If it were Watt's call to make, he says, "Keep him in state prison." But even if Duggan "maxes out," he'll be out of prison in 2012, when he's 50. Lashway's maximum sentence is up in 2011, and even the case that's pending against him now, in state Supreme Court, offers no guarantee that he'll be confined.

The mother of Lashway's victim is now a social worker. She went back to school, she says, partly as a way of coping with her family's trauma. She is not a vengeful person. But she is also a mother, whose teen-age girl was the victim of a predator. Lashway said he regarded the girl as a willing partner, even though she was two years younger than the legal age of consent in New York.

"It's wrong to let such an evil, wicked man loose," the mother says. "I pity him. But by the same token, it's like, 'How do we let a man like this loose on the street?'"

Civil confinement law explained

Earlier this year, a new law took effect that allows New York state to "manage" sex offenders after they're released from prison. Here's a summary of how it works:

Convicts – not necessarily all charged with sexual crimes – are identified by state criminal justice agencies as "sex offenders requiring civil management."

œThe state Office of Mental Health evaluates prisoners. If they meet the criteria of a sex offender who bears watching, the Office of Mental Health notifies the attorney general's office.
œThe state attorney general files a civil suit, making the case in state Supreme Court that the prisoner needs to be monitored by the state after being released from prison.

œIf a judge finds "probable cause" to believe that the person is a sex offender, the case proceeds to a civil trial, with the state trying to prove that the prisoner has a "mental abnormality" that makes it likely he'll commit sex offenses after being released.

œIf the jury decides the prisoner is a sex offender who's likely to commit more crimes, the judge can confine the prisoner to a state mental hospital, or order strict supervision outside an institution – a regimen described in criminal justice circles as "super-parole."


Deportation may not stop sex offender


A wanted U.S. sex offender with a 30-year history of violent and sexual crimes is facing deportation this week -- his fourth order in five years.

But British Columbians who have followed the case for years fear Denver Todd Carnes could end up in Canada again.

And Canadian immigration and U.S. justice officials admit it's possible Carnes could go free, despite warrants in two states for a sexual assault against a child and parole violations.

Carnes, 48, was arrested in May in Boston Bar, where he lived with his Canadian wife, Susan Cosulich, after RCMP received a tip from an old school friend of Cosulich's on Vancouver Island.

Carnes was charged with being illegally in Canada and has been in custody at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, awaiting his trial tomorrow.

It's likely he'll face deportation after the trial since the maximum sentence for the summary-conviction charge is six months, and he's already been in custody for seven.

But relatives and friends of Carnes' wife are concerned he has returned to Canada three times in the past, despite deportation orders and U.S. warrants for his arrest, and could do so again.

He's wanted for the attempted sexual abuse of a person under 14 in Salem, Ore., in 2001, and parole violations in California.

"All they do is cut him loose at the border," said Larry Cosulich, Susan's brother, adding that Carnes is a con man who is spending his sister's money.

"This guy could get out of the one country and if [his warrant] is not in the computer, he's not wanted anywhere," Cosulich said. "Something needs to be tightened in the system."

After Carnes's deportation in July 2002 to Washington, Susan Cosulich put up the $30,000 bail while he awaited an extradition hearing to Oregon to face the sex charge, which he skipped out on.

Carnes somehow crossed the border into Canada, possibly with Cosulich, and four months later, he was arrested in a bar in Grande Prairie, Alta., and ordered deported again.

Carnes also managed to get released on parole after serving a two-year sentence for failing to register as a sex offender in California, despite the warrant for the sex charge in Oregon.

Again, he ended up in Canada.

If Carnes is deported tomorrow, he will be driven to the border by Canadian Border Services Agency guards and handed over to U.S. authorities in Washington, where there are no warrants against him.

If the states holding warrants want to extradite him, he can't be denied bail until the hearing, according to Whatcom County prosecuting attorney Dave McEachran.

But bail can be set as high as $250,000 if a suspect poses a flight risk, McEachran said.

An extradition is a governor-to-governor matter, he said, so California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would have to contact Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire.

"If a request isn't made, we would release him," McEachran said.

It's up to prosecutors whether or not they would extradite and they may assess their ability to win a case before having a prisoner transferred to their state, he said.

But McEachran said he would be surprised if Oregon doesn't extradite someone accused of sexual assault.

U.S. justice authorities said suspects are sometimes set free after serving time in one state, despite warrants in others, because a hold isn't put on the prisoner.

"He should not be cut loose when he finishes serving his sentence, but there are always loopholes in the system," said Jake Greer, parole-officer supervisor in Salem. "It may very well happen again."

Greer said Gregory Zuck, a lawyer for Canada's Immigration Ministry, said he would contact him when Carnes was released.

Greer also said he expected California to extradite Carnes from Washington before Oregon did.

Lodrick Clark, an investigator in California familiar with Carnes' case, said Oregon would likely extradite Carnes before California did.

Spokesmen for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and for the Canadian Border Services Agency said they couldn't comment on Carnes' case while it is before the courts.

How to catch an online predator

N TRYING to catch creeps who prey on children, Detective Michele Deery has stalked through cyberspace as many different people.

She's been a 14-year-old girl and a 55-year-old man. Recently, she posed as the mother of two adolescent daughters who was willing to turn her fictitious children over for sex with a stranger. The man was arrested when he arrived for a rendezvous at a diner. "I like my work," Detective Deery says. "It's important work."

She is one of two undercover online investigators attached to the Internet Crimes Against Children unit in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Child pornography has exploded on the internet and the Delaware County taskforce has scored notable successes, making high-profile arrests of men who seek to commit terrible crimes.

Yet the ICAC, like similar units around the US, is challenged by evolving defence tactics and the ever-changing nature of the digital age.

Pornographic images that once would have been easily discovered on a computer's hard drive can now be hidden on zip drives shaped like pens or watches, or even folded inside a video game. And criminals are getting smarter about covering up their online fingerprints.

Detective Deery says that despite how it looks on TV, where predators seem to hypnotically follow their desire through the front door and into the glare of news camera lights, catching these people is not so simple. Men who troll the internet watch TV too and have no hesitation in asking: "Are you a cop?"

If you want a potential child abuser to believe you are a teenage girl, Detective Deery says, you have to know what teenage girls are interested in: the latest Harry Potter novel, the songs of Hilary Duff. The job is hard for another reason. It requires the detective to regularly view harrowing photos and films.

"The children seem to be getting younger, the videos are more violent," Detective Deery says. "Sometimes you just have to get up and leave."

Some men journey great distances to meet a girl or boy they have contacted online. Police call them "travellers". What they travel for is a sexual encounter.

There seems to be no shortage of men willing to put their family, reputation and freedom at risk, Detective Deery says. When she logs on to a sex-themed chat room, she's quickly contacted by five or six men. She can sign on at 7.30am and find the same people at the same site when she returns at 10.30pm.

Some will ask her for a photo - they get a picture of a young-looking police officer. Others want to talk on the phone.

Detective Deery must chat in a way that doesn't constitute entrapment - she must never make a suggestion of sexual contact. She's surprised at how often the men mention NBC's popular TV program, To Catch a Predator. And how readily they concede to wrongdoing.

"They talk about it with me," she says. "They acknowledge the fact that what they're doing is illegal. They'll even mention the show."

The Delaware County taskforce works with 32 affiliated agencies across the state of Pennsylvania passing on hundreds of "cybertips" that come from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Since 2000, the Delaware County unit has been involved in 3308 investigations, making hundreds of referrals to other jurisdictions and 385 arrests on its own. It has arrested 45 accused travellers.

In 2004, 47-year-old Walter Himmelreich arrived at a local restaurant expecting to meet a woman and her two daughters, aged seven and 11. He had spent months corresponding with the "mother", telling Detective Deery the specific sexual acts he wanted to perform on the girls.

He was charged with numerous offences, including attempted rape. Images and videos found on his home computer led to other charges. Last year, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

"We're always asked what these guys look like," says Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green. "In grade school, it was the guy in a dark trench coat handing candy to children. Today, we can't tell you. It's every walk of life, every personality."

In the mid-1980s, federal officials say, the trafficking of child pornography was nearly eradicated. Producing photos was difficult and costly and buying the images was risky. Today, the opposite is true. The internet allows pictures and movies to be copied and sent at the touch of a button. Likewise, a website can quickly appear, disappear and reappear under a new name. And investigators face challenges from a defence bar that has learned to attack procedural issues concerning how internet-related arrests are made.

"Law enforcement is challenged," says Lieutenant David Peifer, Delaware County's ICAC supervisor. The task is not just catching predators and sending them to prison, he says. It's keeping track of them when they come out. "History shows that they don't stop," he says. "They're just going to be more covert."

Offender out on $1M bail


Convicted sex offender Carl T. Fisher was sentenced to just over three years in prison for violating the terms of his probation.

Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti sentenced Fisher, of Ridgefield, on Monday to six years of prison, to be suspended after he serves 39 months, and 10 years of probation. Fisher was sent to a Bridgeport jail that day on $1 million appeal bail. By Tuesday, the bail had been posted and he had been discharged, according to court documents, while his appeal is pending.

Fisher's presence in Ridgefield since September angered residents, prompting First Selectman Rudy Marconi to start the process of writing an ordinance to expand the areas where convicted sex offenders are prohibited.

It is not clear whether Fisher has returned to his Ridgefield residence on Old Branchville Road.

An unidentified person answering the phone at the residence said they did not know Fisher. The state Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry spokesperson said Friday that Fisher had five days after being released from jail to respond in writing with his address. Calls to Fisher's attorney, Timothy Butler, were not returned Friday.

Fisher was sentenced Monday for a probation violation on May 30 when he was reported by a witness to have masturbated in public on his property in New York City.

His original conviction was in 1997 for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor following an incident at his family's home in Redding. The 1996 assault was on a preteen Colorado girl who was staying in Fisher's mother's Redding home following a wedding reception.

Sex offender photos posted on web

Images of missing sex offenders can now be published by Scottish police on an international "most-wanted" website.

The move will make photographs of high-risk offenders who fail to comply with the authorities available to police forces across the world.

Pictures and a full profile of the suspect can be viewed by the public on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre's website.

The website has been used by police in other parts of the UK since late 2006.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the site was a "powerful new tool."

He added: "We will not forget that, despite the progress, tragedies still happen. Cases which show why we must remain ever vigilant.

"To protect our communities, we are sending a clear message to every sex offender in the land - if they are given the right to be released they must take responsibility for their own actions.

"For the few who fail to comply we will crack down with the full force of the law. Those given rights have responsibilities."

The site can now be used following a formal agreement between the Crown Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the CEOP Centre and Crimestoppers.

The agreement makes it clear that, following legal consideration, the photographs of individuals who have failed to comply with the requirements of the sex offenders' register can be published.

Mr MacAskill said: "I made clear to parliament this summer that I believed it was appropriate to publish photographs of missing sex offenders on the internet and elsewhere.

"Quite simply if a sex offender goes missing, and fails to comply, then they can expect the response to be swift, tough and increasingly visible."

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC said decisions to release photographs would not be taken lightly and this would only be done when there was an overriding public safety need.

She added: "In appropriate circumstances I am sure that the internationally-recognised Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's most wanted website will be a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies and will help provide public reassurance."

Tayside Assistant Chief Constable Iain MacLeod said: "Scottish police forces will continue to liaise with the Crown Office prior to the release of such photographs in order to prevent the jeopardisation of any future court proceedings.

"The Scottish Police Service will utilise this facility with appropriate consideration for public safety."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Man pleads guilty to child porn charges after being caught in police sting

A Kelowna, B.C man has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and transmitting it on-line.

The plea by 42-year-old Christopher Martin Howard came after he was arrested for missing the start of his B.C. Supreme Court trial earlier this week.

The case relates to incidents in March and August of 2005, when a Toronto policeman posed as a pedophile in on-line dialogues with Howard in Kelowna.

The judge has ordered a pre-sentence report, while Howard stays in custody in Kamloops.

He's expected to be sentenced in February.

Canadian officials arrest Tenn. man for child pornography

Tennessee and Canadian officials said a former Tennessee library worker is being held in a Canadian jail on child pornography charges.

Verpo Hawks was charged with possession and smuggling child pornography after border agents found computer printouts in his van at a border crossing into New Brunswick.

Corporal Jackie Basque of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they are still determining the amount of pornography found.

Hawks was arrested earlier this month, waived his right to bail and is being held in St. Stephens, New Brunswick.

His trial is set for December 19 and he will be provided free legal representation, if needed.

Knoxville authorities are waiting on Canadian officials to send them a statement from Hawks so they can search his residence in Tennessee.

Morgan County Acting Library Board Chairman Ralph Erickson said Wednesday that Hawks was formerly a part-time employee of the Coalfield public library.

Sex offenders' addresses do get checked

A woman convicted of a sex crime against a child is wanted on a warrant in Harrison County. She's accused of giving a false address in her latest 90-day visit to a state driver's license office.

A sheriff's investigator obtained a warrant for 50-year-old Beatrice Garza Soliz after learning she doesn't live on Bohn Street in Biloxi, said Sheriff's Capt. Ron Pullen.

The owner of the home has never heard of her, according to a Sound Off. The caller blamed the Sheriff's Department for failing to ask for proof to confirm Soliz's address. But that's not the case, said Pullen.

"She was registered with us," Pullen said, "but once she changed her address through the state, they notified us of the change and we updated our records. We just found out that the state Department of Public Safety didn't ask for proof of address and doesn't require proof. We're trying to get them to change that."

DPS spokeswoman Delores Lewis said that's not her understanding of how the state keeps track of where sex offenders live.

"Generally speaking, we do address verification," Lewis said, "but I can't speak to that specific situation. I would have to look into it."

Mississippi requires convicted sex offenders to register with the sheriff's office in the county they move to after serving their time. A law change in 2005 requires them to verify their address in person every 90 days at a state driver's license office.

"We require them to show a power bill, a water bill, a rental agreement or something similar with their name on it when they register with us," said Pullen.

After an offender registers or moves elsewhere in Harrison County, the Sheriff's Department sends out a postcard to notify neighbors.

The state Sex Offender Registry shows Soliz, convicted in 1992 of indecency with a child/sexual contact, in Fresno County, Calif., last verified her address Oct. 24.

"If we send someone to their address and cannot make contact, we take it a step further and send an investigator," said Pullen. "If they don't live there, we don't hunt them down to ask them to register. We get a warrant."

Failing to register or providing a false address is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Anyone who knows of Soliz' whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at 865-7060 or the nearest police department. Records show Soliz has used similar names, including Beatriz and Gutierrez as first or last names.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chadstone child molester jailed

A MAN who committed indecent acts on a nine-year-old girl after luring her into a change room at Myer Chadstone has been sentenced to two years' jail.

Mohammad Sehnawaz Khan, 31, an Indian, was in Australia on a bogus student visa when he approached the girl and her sister, 8, in the department store's toy section on March 14, the County Court heard yesterday.

He asked the girl to try on clothes that he claimed he wanted to send to his niece in India. She initially refused, but finally agreed in order to get rid of him, insisting her sister come along, too. Khan went into a change room with the girl and indecently touched, hugged and kissed her, while instructing her sister to take a photo of them with his mobile phone.

The girl ran out of the change room and was crying when she found her parents, who were waiting outside the entrance to the store, the court heard. The girls provided a description of Khan to police, who arrested him after security footage was shown on CrimeStoppers.

Khan pleaded guilty to three charges of wilfully committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

In a victim impact statement, the girls' mother said her daughters suffered nightmares and wet their beds as a result of the attack, fearing Khan would come to their house to look for them. "We've had to reassure them constantly that not all men are like that," she said.

Judge Michael Higgins said a psychiatrist's report noted that Khan did not suffer from any mental illness and denied any feelings of pedophilia.

Khan's plea of guilty, which saved the girls from giving evidence, was the only mitigating factor he could consider with regard to sentencing, he said.

Judge Higgins did not set a minimum term for Khan, who will be deported when he is released from jail.

Angry judge revokes probation, sends former choirmaster to jail

Calling a former choirmaster at a Mays Chapel church "one of the most disgusting human beings I've ever had in my presence," an angry District Court judge revoked his probation and sent him to jail for possession of child pornography -- a move that is likely to be appealed to the Circuit Court.

"Sir, you are unworthy of a probation before judgment," District Court Judge Bruce Lamdin said prior to revoking the probation of David Riley.

Riley was ordered to serve a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine.

Those terms had been suspended by Lamdin as part of a probation before judgment sentence in July.

An obviously angry Lamdin said he called the violation of probation hearing because he was not receiving reports on Riley's required counseling sessions and because of a four-page letter Riley wrote to parishioners of his former church, St. Stephen's Traditional Episcopal Church in Mays Chapel.

It was a sentence that Lamdin said had haunted him.

"This is the only case in the last five years that I've second-guessed myself on," Lamdin said.

In addition to his own self-doubt, Lamdin said neighbors and friends also had questioned him about Riley's probation sentence.

"Sir, my intention at the beginning was to jail you," Lamdin said. "Based on what I have before me, I made a mistake."

Several times during the proceeding, Riley, who turned 60 the day before, attempted to interject himself into Lamdin's comments. At one point, Riley appeared to chuckle -- a sound that drew a rebuke from Lamdin. At other times, Riley merely tried to interrupt.

"I am not done," Lamdin said. "This is not your class."

In 2006, contractors hired to paint Riley's Bare Hills home called police after finding photos, some depicting acts that Mix described as "sadomasochistic" on boys ages 10 to 18. Police confiscated computer equipment and nearly 8,000 photos stored in "chest-high stacks throughout upstairs rooms," according to court records.

Riley was sentenced to probation before judgment July 31 after entering an Alford plea on a charge of possession of child pornography. An Alford plea recognizes that prosecutors have enough evidence to obtain a conviction, but is not an admission of guilt.

Under the terms of the probation, Riley was ordered to attend therapy sessions, and monthly reports were to be sent to Lamdin.

Lamdin said he had not received any reports and that it appeared that Riley did not attend counseling sessions in August. He described letters from the therapist, provided before the hearing, as "summaries" and not reports.

Lamdin also was angered by a four-page letter in which Riley downplayed the case against him and portrayed the judge as being part of an effort to make the case disappear through a light sentence.

Holding a copy of the letter marked up in yellow highlighter, Lamdin described the letter as "distortions of the truth and total lies."

From the outset it was clear that Lamdin intended to revoke Riley's probation. Still, Riley seemed shocked when Lamdin asked Thomas Tompsett, an assistant state's attorney, if he had "anything to say before I send this man to jail."

Riley, who was standing, then leaned forward, his palms flat on the table and his head down and could be heard saying, "Oh God."

Later, Riley referred to his actions as "arrogant" and call himself a "jerk." He tried to explain his actions, saying that it was not his intent to misrepresent his case or imply any impropriety on the part of Lamdin.

"I think of myself as an honest, honorable man," Riley said.

Lamdin would have none of it.

"You are just like every other pedophile that has come before me," Lamdin said.

Riley countered that he was not a pedophile. He said a comment he made in an earlier hearing about using the pictures for his own pleasure was misconstrued.

"My sexual experiences have not been in this area," he said.

Not long after that, a bailiff handcuffed Riley's hands behind his back and led him out of the courtroom.

A handful of parishioners from the church who attended the hearing seemed satisfied with the outcome.

"He's guilty, he's guilty," said Marina Milliken, who said Riley was like a second father to her son when he was in the choir. "I didn't see any remorse."

Other church members gathered around a bench outside the courtroom, one woman visibly upset, and waited to look at a 2-inch stack of photos Lamdin ordered Riley to turn over.

Moments later, Tompsett ushered the group into a small room furnished with desk and a few chairs, and the door was closed.

Outside the courthouse, G. Warren Mix, Riley's attorney, explained that an appeal is likely.

Riley has 30 days to file such an appeal. He also could ask Lamdin to reconsider the sentence, something Mix believed Lamdin was unlikely to be willing to do.

Sudbury man faces child porn charges

A 65-year-old Sudbury was charged with possession of child pornography following an investigation by the Greater Sudbury Police and Toronto Police Service.

Police executed a search warrant at a home Thursday and seized a computer and several data storage devices.

Richard Brignolio, 65 was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography available.

The investigation was conducted by the Greater Sudbury Police’s cyber crime unit and Toronto Police’s child exploitation unit.

City man arrested for child pornography

A Sheboygan man was arrested Wednesday for possession of child pornography after selling his computer to another man without deleting the images, according to the Sheboygan Police Department.

The buyer reported the matter to police, who arrested the 29-year-old man after a two-week investigation, said Detective Joel Clark.

Clark found child pornography images on the man's old computer as well as his current computer, which police seized after obtaining a search warrant, a police press release said.

The images were of children from 5 to 12 years old, Clark said.

The man spent Thursday in jail and will remain there awaiting charges, which due to the holiday will be filed Monday at the earliest, police said.

Army Captain jailed for downloading 1,200 images of child pornography 'because he was bored'

An army captain has been jailed after downloading 1,200 images of child pornography because he was "bored".

Iraq War veteran Gary Michael Smith, 30, admitted ten specimen charges of making an indecent photograph of a child before a court martial in Osnabr¸ck, Germany.

He was jailed for two years by the five-strong panel, ordered to be dismissed with disgrace and told he would be forbidden from ever working with children.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Dakers, prosecuting, told the court how Smith - based in Paderborn, Germany, with the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment --downloaded the material while temporarily attached to the regiment's TA battalion in Canterbury, Kent.

He described how the crime was discovered "completely by chance" in November 2005 when a fellow officer used Smith's password-protected computer to access the Internet.

Listed under favourites, he found the shocking images.

Some 171 were rated level four on the Copine scale, used to categorise the severity of pornographic pictures of children.

On the scale, level one is described as erotic posing and level five as being the most sexually explicit.

When interviewed, Smith, who has been awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal as well as the Iraq Medal and the Nato Medal during his 12 years' service, claimed he had been viewing adult porn sites.

But he admitted his guilt when confronted with the results of the forensic computer analysis, which had taken almost two years.

Defence counsel Chris Hill claimed Smith's actions had been the result of "morbid curiosity" and that, after being transferred to the TA unit in 2004, found himself "with no activity, very little to do".

He said: "He's not a paedophile, but did - as many people do when they are bored or in their darker moments - start cruising the Internet and sought out those sites.

"Smith finds it hard to understand how he could behave in such a way.

"He has effectively destroyed a very promising career as an Army officer and this causes him great pain. It is all through his own fault."

Judge Advocate Michael Elsom said: "The effect of these offences cannot be over-emphasised - those who suffer the most are the children who are abused."

Some of the children in the images were only babies

Some of the children in the images were only babies


Spanish police have detained 40 people on charges of corrupting minors and owning child pornography in 22 provinces, officials said Thursday in the northern city of Pamplona.

The arrests were made in four phases, the latest of which took place from November 13 to 16. Seven other people also face charges in the case.


The detainees were believed to have exchanged pornographic images over the internet and mobile phones.

Some were suspected of distributing photographs of their own children.


Some of the detainees were considered "dangerous," because they had talked about looking for children in their messages, police said.
Some of the children in the images were only babies.
The network extended as far as Argentina and Colombia.

Sex offender will finally know his fate

Raymond Stewart Stonechild committed his crime in 2001, was convicted in 2004, and will finally be sentenced in 2008.

His long-running case took a giant step towards a conclusion Thursday when the judge heard closing arguments on whether or not Stonechild should be designated a dangerous offender (DO).

While the Crown is arguing the 49-year-old should receive an indefinite prison term, Stonechild told the court he has the potential to be a contributing member of his community.

"I know it's possible for me to do good," he said, adding he's ready to seek help to deal with his problems. "I just have to humble myself and ask for it."

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Catherine Dawson said she'll need some time to review the considerable amount of evidence -- which spanned hearing dates over the course of several months this year through several adjournments -- before she delivers her verdict. The hearing met with several delays after Stonechild ran into trouble finding lawyers and witnesses.

The date for Dawson's decision will be fixed next month. If she sides with the Crown and designates Stonechild a DO, he would receive a indeterminate sentence, meaning he would be in prison or on parole for life. He could seek parole initially after seven years, and every two years thereafter. According to the federal government, as of last year, only 18 of the country's 351 DOs have received parole.

The defence is urging Dawson to consider instead a long-term offender designation, meaning Stonechild could be sentenced to a fixed prison term followed by community supervision for up to 10 years.

Stonechild has been held on the charge before the court since February 2004 when a jury convicted him of sexual assault for beating and groping a young pregnant woman. The offence occurred on June 27, 2001 in a Regina backyard.

It was his fourth conviction for a sex-related crime, adding to a record that includes several convictions for violent offences. That history sparked the Crown's application.

"Not to make light of the circumstances that got me here -- for that I'm ashamed of," Stonechild told the judge. "I'm ashamed of where I let myself go -- again."

In his closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Roger DeCorby said Stonechild has refused treatment in the past. Twice he served his full prison sentences rather than getting early release because he remained untreated.

"This is an individual who has really had everything offered to him . . . and the bottom line is it made no difference," said DeCorby.

Even after the 2001 sexual assault, Stonechild racked up two more convictions -- for assault and assault causing bodily harm.

"You have someone with a history, which says he's not going to change," DeCorby contended.

But defence lawyer Kim Stinson argued a DO designation should be reserved for the "worst of the worst." While Stonechild has rejected some programming in the past because it lacked a component of native spirituality, the programs have evolved and so has Stonechild. He said there is a reasonable prospect Stonechild, who often commits his crimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be treated.

"There's been a lot of warehousing of this man for a long time," he added.

DeCorby rejected that characterization, adding "this is not a forever sentence. It's an indefinite sentence," subject to periodic review.