Archive for January 25, 2010

Simpsons Porn Lands Man on Sex Offender List

January 25, 2010 Comments off The Simpsons porn lands man on sex offender list.

This news report best demonstrates how ultimately ridiculous these sex offender registry laws have become.

An Ipswich man has only narrowly avoided jail for downloading graphic cartoon porn images featuring child characters from The Simpsons and The Powerpuff Girls television shows. The 28-year-old was handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence and is now a registered sex offender after pleading guilty in Ipswich District Court to having the bizarre images on his computer.

Police went to Kurt James Milner’s Leichhardt home on January 24, 2008 after receiving an anonymous tip-off about the disturbing material. The images depicted figures from The Simpsons, The Powerpuff Girls and The Incredibles in sexually explicit positions.

MN: Ex-Park Police Commander Accused of Abusing Boy

January 25, 2010 Comments off Child porn charge against ex-Park Police commander accused of abusing boy.

Yet another member of law enforcement charged in sex offenses against minors.
The hypocrisy is astounding. See related story below: MD Police Officer Charged in Child Porn Case

A longtime college educator and former head of the Minneapolis Park Police force, already accused of sexually abusing a boy over the past several years, was also charged Monday with possession of child pornography.

William Allan Jacobs, 66, of Deephaven, is newly charged with possessing nearly 40,000 pornographic images, according to the criminal complaint. The new charge is based on evidence collected in a search of his home on Thursday. Seized were four computers, hard drives, thumb drives, 141 CDs and DVDs and the images, the complaint said.

No plea was entered. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 17. Friday, Jacobs was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges say that the abuse started in 2007, when the boy was 12, and continued until this month.

Jacobs led the Park Police force as a captain from 1987 to 2001. An attorney, he also is on the criminal justice studies faculty at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in St. Paul, where he has taught since 1990. He also taught chemistry at the Breck School from 1973 to 1976, said Mary Healy, a school human resources official. Healy said she was not allowed to say more about Jacobs’ time at the school. He joined the Park Police force as an officer in 1975. In addition, he has had a long-running affiliation with the YMCA’s Camp Warren in Eveleth, Minn.

Missing Kids Center Enjoys Fed Rules Exemptions

January 25, 2010 Comments off Quasi-governmental missing kids center enjoys key exemptions from federal rules.

In many ways, the National­ Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a quasi-government agency. Mandated by Congress, the center has access to the FBI’s missing, wanted and unidentified persons files. It operates tip lines for the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It gets more than half of its money from U.S. taxpayers.

Yet the Virginia-based center, with regional offices in Florida and three other states, is a private nonprofit organization exempt from federal salary caps. And that has enabled the center’s president, Ernie Allen, to command a salary among the highest in the nonprofit world.

In 2008, the latest year for which records are available, Allen made $511,069 as head of the center and its international affiliate. He also received $787,126 in deferred compensation and underfunded retirement benefits, as well as $46,382 in nontaxable benefits — a total of $1,344,567.

Allen’s base salary was higher than that of the top executives of two other nonprofits — the American Red Cross and the Smithsonian Institution — that also get substantial funding from the U.S. government. Both have budgets many times greater than that of the missing children’s center.

Allen’s compensation “does appear quite high,” says Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Of the more than 500 nonprofits the institute rates, Allen’s total compensation ranked third-highest — exceeded only by that at the Boy Scouts of America ($3.97 million) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering ($3.67 million), one of the world’s top cancer centers.

“I think it doesn’t pass the smell test with donors,” Sandra Miniutti, Charity Navigator’s vice president, says of Allen’s compensation. “It’s very hard for people to wrap their arms around huge salaries, especially right now when we’re in a recession.”

The center’s 350 employees include 11 who are paid more than $125,000. And in 2006 and 2007, the center paid medical claims totaling $76,572 for co-founder John Walsh, whose son Adam was murdered in South Florida in 1981. Although Walsh is no longer an employee, his wife is an unpaid board member and their family is covered by the center’s health plan. Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, still acts as a spokesman for the center .

“I was blown away by the national center,” said DCF Secretary George Sheldon, who has visited the Arlington, Va. headquarters. “They have housed at the center (agents) from homeland security, the FBI, several of those kinds of entities.” Unlike the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, the center is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. But it should be subject to it because of its quasi-governmental status, contends a medical researcher who was labeled an “abductor” on the center’s Web site in 2005, after he left the United States with his daughter. The center is “intimately entwined with agencies of the executive branch of government,” a lawsuit says.

Allen did not directly address the issue of whether the center should be subject to Freedom of Information queries, but said the organization “receives extensive oversight from various charity regulatory bodies.”

“If the center is going to continue playing the role it does today, there’s not a question in my mind that it should be subject to accountability and transparency through the FOIA process,” says Berin Szoka of the Progress and Freedom Foundation in Washington.

Another Problem With Sex Offender Lists

January 25, 2010 Comments off Another Problem With Sex Offender Lists.

Color Lines has an article that highlights yet another problem with those infamous sex offender lists in some states: their use against prostitutes (and those who frequent them). The example they use is New Orleans:

New Orleans city police and the district attorney’s office are using a state law written for child molesters to charge hundreds of sex workers like Tabitha as sex offenders. The law, which dates back to 1805, makes it a crime against nature to engage in “unnatural copulation”–a term New Orleans cops and the district attorney’s office have interpreted to mean anal or oral sex. Sex workers convicted of breaking this law are charged with felonies, issued longer jail sentences and forced to register as sex offenders. They must also carry a driver’s license with the label “sex offender” printed on it.

This, of course, means a hugely disproportionate impact on women, especially minority women:

Of the 861 sex offenders currently registered in New Orleans, 483 were convicted of a crime against nature, according to Doug Cain, a spokesperson with the Louisiana State Police. And of those convicted of a crime against nature, 78 percent are Black and almost all are women.

The law impacts sex workers in both small and large ways. Tabitha has to register an address in the sex offender database, and because she doesn’t have a permanent home, she has registered the address of a nonprofit organization that is helping her. She also has to purchase and mail postcards with her picture to everyone in the neighborhood informing them of her conviction. If she needs to evacuate to a shelter during a hurricane, she must evacuate to a special shelter for sex offenders, and this shelter has no separate safe spaces for women. She is even prohibited from very ordinary activities in New Orleans like wearing a costume at Mardi Gras.

“This law completely disconnects our community members from what remains of a social safety net,” said Deon Haywood, director of Women With A Vision, an organization that promotes wellness and disease prevention for women who live in poverty. Haywood’s group has formed a new coalition of New Orleans activists and health workers who are organizing to fight the way police are abusing the 1805 law.

“What this is really about is over-incarcerating poor and of-color communities,” said Rosana Cruz of VOTE-NOLA, a prison reform organization that is also a part of the new coalition.

Not every state includes prostitution as a sex offense that requires putting someone on the list. But for those that do, the result is simply undue cruelty. As if the life of a woman so desperate that she has to resort to street prostitution isn’t bad enough, we need to make them suffer even more? That’s barbaric.

Women and minorities better start paying attention to these sex offender banishment laws. They are coming after you !

MD Police Officer Charged in Child Porn Case

January 25, 2010 Comments off Arundel officer charged in child porn case.

An Anne Arundel County police lieutenant is in federal custody on charges he received child pornography in the form of sexually explicit text messages and digital pictures sent to his cell phone by a teenage girl more than 30 years his junior.

Lt. James B. Cifala, 47, could be sentenced to between five and 20 years in prison if convicted. A detention hearing is scheduled today.

“This case is particularly disturbing because it involves an individual who had a professional duty of protecting our children,” Richard McFeely, the special agent in charge of the Baltimore office of the FBI, said in a statement.

According to a redacted FBI affidavit filed, a mother and stepfather contacted the agency’s Baltimore division in September, concerned that their daughter, who was born in 1993, was involved in a sexual relationship with an adult male. Text messages between the girl and a man named “Johnny,” identified by agents as Cifala, are explicit. “You were great today,” reads an Aug. 15 message sent from Johnny. “Sex with you is fun,” the girl replied.

Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 6, 2009, there were more than 1,300 exchanges, mostly texts, between their cell phones. The girl told agents she also sent nude photos to Cifala, who is also accused of sending images of himself. Cifala made his initial appearance in Baltimore U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Anne Arundel County police spokesman Justin Mulcahey said Cifala, a 27-year member of the force, is still employed with the department. He declined to address whether he had been suspended, as was suggested in court. Department regulations allow an officer to be suspended without pay if charged with a felony. “The Police Department holds its officers to the highest ethical standards,” Col. James Teare, Sr., chief of police, said.

MO Vigilante Wants Public Vote on Sex Offender Law

January 25, 2010 Comments off Voters may ‘regulate’ sex offenders.

Matt Bartle doesn’t care to critique the Missouri Supreme Court’s recent ruling that two sex offender laws couldn’t apply to those convicted before the laws went into effect. Instead, the lawyer and state senator from Jackson County intends to let Missouri’s voters decide the issue — possibly as soon as November.

This month, the Supreme Court ruled that a 2008 law prohibiting registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween and the 2004 law preventing convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or child-care facility couldn’t apply to those convicted prior to the laws’ passage. Missouri’s Constitution contains a provision that prohibits retrospective punishment. The court interpreted that the laws added additional punishment, not regulation as prosecutors argued, on sex offenders.
So all of the sex offenders convicted prior to 2004 now can live wherever they choose in the state, at least for a few months.

Mr. Bartle, chairman of the Missouri Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believes the next step for proponents of those two laws is a constitutional amendment that would allow both laws to apply to all offenders. “Let’s just say we are not caught flat-footed here,” the Republican said. “(This) doesn’t leave us in a spot where we don’t know what to do. It’s very obvious what the next step is.”

Mr. Bartle sponsored the bill that required sex offenders to register in 2003 and saw the Halloween and 1,000-feet bills come through committee, as well. He predicts the state Legislature will pass a joint resolution during its current session, and believes the amendment could go before voters by November.

Sue Rinne, director of Buchanan County’s public defender office, said she would oppose a state amendment, though she wouldn’t side with or against either law. Instead, Ms. Rinne expressed her concern that the sex offender registry, the starting point for these restrictions, doesn’t differentiate between crimes. “There is a scale in terms of sex offense,” she said. “They are not all the same, and these statutes do nothing to address that. … All sex offenders are lumped into this big category.”

Mr. Bartle does worry about putting the same label on all offenders — from child rapists to a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with a 16-year-old. He acknowledged that legislatures can go “way too far” with sex offender registries, and believes Missouri should be careful in the coming months to create a prudent list that doesn’t lose its meaning.

“The public is worried about the pedophile,” he said. “All we do is hurt the public if we make the list so large, it’s not really meaningful anymore. This is an area where we need to be very careful.”

Mr. Bartle said the Senate was “getting the categories right as we speak. We’ll be fine with retroactive (laws) as long as we have categories.” (Mr. Bartle, “retroactive” laws are unconstitutional ; read the Constitution!”)

You can reach this pathetic Senator here:
State Capitol Building , Room 434 , Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
Capitol Phone: (573) 751-1464