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Note from Public Defender About Sex Crimes and Kids

March 17, 2010 Comments off

freerangekids.wordpress.com: A Public Defender Discusses the Sex Offender Registry (& Why It’s Almost Worthless.

A NOTE FROM A PUBLIC DEFENDER ABOUT SEX CRIMES & KIDS

“Dear Free-Range Kids: I work as a public defender and will attest that the vast majority of sex offenders do not have a record (at least of sex offenses). Out of the 100+ serious sex offenses my office has handled during the last 5 years, only 3 have involved defendants already convicted of a sex offense in the past. Meaning that (a) sex offenders are not being re-convicted in large numbers, and (b) most sex offenses are committed by people who are not on any registry.

And this lack of recidivism has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of access due to registries. The average child molester is a master manipulator. He will be able to convince people that this was all a big mistake and get access to children without much trouble. And anyone who is going to abduct, rape and kill a child is going to be completely undeterred by a registry. It’s more likely a result of the fact that most on the registry are there for consensual sex with a slightly under-aged person (too underage and it becomes molestation regardless) and they are unlikely to re-offend. You also mix in people who commit sex crimes against adults who aren’t a threat to children – rape of an adult and rape of a child are VERY different and you almost never see a crossover. This leaves you with a very small number of registered sex offenders who are likely to re-offend, or likely to commit a crime against a child.

Sex registries have the dual effect of improperly stigmatizing people and lulling people into a false sense of security. Sure, dad can check out mom’s new boyfriend. But his being on a registry or not has absolutely no bearing whatsoever as to whether he poses a threat to a child. He could be a molester who has never been caught. He could be a public urination case that ended up on a registry. It seems as if the better choice would be to forget the registry all together and teach our children to protect themselves and keep the lines of communication open about sex so that they believe that they can come to us should something uncomfortable occur. — A Public Servant”

Sex Offender Counselor Had Sex with Juvenile Offender

February 17, 2010 Comments off

baltimoresun.com: Woman Pleads Guilty to Having Sex with Juvenile Offender.

A former counselor at a treatment facility for juvenile sex offenders pleaded guilty Wednesday to having sex with a 17-year-old boy who was a resident there.

Tyra M. Greenfield, 26, was sentenced to three years of incarceration, with all but one year suspended, a term she will serve in the Baltimore County Detention Center. Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox stipulated that when she is released, Greenfield is to be on probation for three years. Greenfield works for a private contractor as part of the New Directions program.

Our question: Will she be required to register as a sex offender?

It would be ironic wouldn’t it ? If one of those who make their living by feeding off the misfortunes of those fellow humans who have made a mistake in life ….then become one of those to be judged and restricted by others…

‘Obscene’ U.S. Manga Collector Jailed 6 Months

February 16, 2010 Comments off

wired.com: ‘Obscene’ U.S. Manga Collector Jailed 6 Months.

A U.S. comic book collector is being sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality. Christopher Handley was sentenced in Iowa on Thursday, (.pdf) almost a year after pleading guilty to charges of possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.” (These are illustrated cartoons, folks!)

The 40-year-old was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Handley was the nation’s first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography.
Without a plea deal with federal authorities, he faced a maximum 15-year sentence.

Comic fans were outraged, saying jailing someone over manga does not protect children from sexual abuse. “I’d say the anime community’s reaction to this, since day one, has been almost exclusively one of support for Handley and disgust with the U.S. courts and legal system,” Christopher MacDonald, editor of Anime News Network, said in an e-mail.

Congress passed the Protect Act after the Supreme Court struck down a broader law prohibiting any visual depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity, including computer-generated imagery and other fakes. The high court ruled that the ban was too broad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions. In response, the Protect Act narrows the prohibition to cover only depictions that the defendant’s community would consider “obscene.”

The case began in 2006, when customs officials intercepted and opened a package from Japan addressed to Handley.

And, yes, he was also ordered to comply with SORNA sex offender registration requirements. and will be listed as a registered sex offender.

OK: Panel Approves Death Sentence for Child Rapists

February 12, 2010 Comments off

kswo.com: Panel Approves Death Sentence for Child Rapists.

Oklahoma City (AP) – Repeat sex offenders convicted of raping a child 6 years old or younger would be eligible for the death penalty under a bill passed by a House committee.

The bill by Rep. Rex Duncan was overwhelmingly approved Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, despite a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such laws were unconstitutional.

The Sand Springs Republican says he feels the court erred in its decision and that he believes a new court could uphold the law.
(apparently, this idiot legislator does not understand that his role is within the legislative branch, not the judicial branch)

In a Louisiana case in which a man was sentenced to death for raping an 8-year-old girl, the nation’s highest court ruled that allowing the death penalty in such cases violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

FBI Posts Fake Links to Snare Porn Suspects

February 12, 2010 Comments off

news.cnet.com: FBI posts fake hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects.

AUDIO- Download mp3 (6.36MB)

The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them. Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who’s using an open wireless connection–and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI’s hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him. Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes “attempts” to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison.

The implications of the FBI’s hyperlink-enticement technique are sweeping. Using the same logic and legal arguments, federal agents could send unsolicited e-mail messages to millions of Americans advertising illegal narcotics or child pornography–and raid people who click on the links embedded in the spam messages. The bureau could register the “unlawfulimages.com” domain name and prosecute intentional visitors. And so on.

“The evidence was insufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Mr. Vosburgh specifically intended to download child pornography, a necessary element of any ‘attempt’ offense,” Vosburgh’s attorney, Anna Durbin of Ardmore, Penn., wrote in a court filing that is attempting to overturn the jury verdict before her client is sentenced.

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Durbin added: “I thought it was scary that they could do this. This whole idea that the FBI can put a honeypot out there to attract people is kind of sad. It seems to me that they’ve brought a lot of cases without having to stoop to this.”

Durbin did not want to be interviewed more extensively about the case because it is still pending; she’s waiting for U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage to rule on her motion. Unless he agrees with her and overturns the jury verdict, Vosburgh–who has no prior criminal record–will be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years and will be effectively barred from continuing his work as a college instructor after his prison sentence ends.

How the hyperlink sting operation worked

The government’s hyperlink sting operation worked like this: FBI Special Agent Wade Luders disseminated links to the supposedly illicit porn on an online discussion forum called Ranchi, which Luders believed was frequented by people who traded underage images. One server allegedly associated with the Ranchi forum was rangate.da.ru, which is now offline with a message attributing the closure to “non-ethical” activity.

In October 2006, Luders posted a number of links purporting to point to videos of child pornography, and then followed up with a second, supposedly correct link 40 minutes later. All the links pointed to, according to a bureau affidavit, a “covert FBI computer in San Jose, California, and the file located therein was encrypted and non-pornographic.”

(Excerpt from an FBI affidavit filed in the Nevada case showing how the hyperlink-sting was conducted.)

Some of the links, including the supposedly correct one, included the hostname uploader.sytes.net. Sytes.net is hosted by no-ip.com, which provides dynamic domain name service to customers for $15 a year.

When anyone visited the upload.sytes.net site, the FBI recorded the Internet Protocol address of the remote computer. There’s no evidence the referring site was recorded as well, meaning the FBI couldn’t tell if the visitor found the links through Ranchi or another source such as an e-mail message.

With the logs revealing those allegedly incriminating IP addresses in hand, the FBI sent administrative subpoenas to the relevant Internet service provider to learn the identity of the person whose name was on the account–and then obtained search warrants for dawn raids.

(Excerpt from FBI affidavit in Nevada case that shows visits to the hyperlink-sting site.)

The search warrants authorized FBI agents to seize and remove any “computer-related” equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any “addressed correspondence” sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements.

While it might seem that merely clicking on a link wouldn’t be enough to justify a search warrant, courts have ruled otherwise. On March 6, U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada agreed with a magistrate judge that the hyperlink-sting operation constituted sufficient probable cause to justify giving the FBI its search warrant.

The defendant in that case, Travis Carter, suggested that any of the neighbors could be using his wireless network. (The public defender’s office even sent out an investigator who confirmed that dozens of homes were within Wi-Fi range.)

But the magistrate judge ruled that even the possibilities of spoofing or other users of an open Wi-Fi connection “would not have negated a substantial basis for concluding that there was probable cause to believe that evidence of child pornography would be found on the premises to be searched.” Translated, that means the search warrant was valid.

Entrapment: Not a defense

So far, at least, attorneys defending the hyperlink-sting cases do not appear to have raised unlawful entrapment as a defense.

“Claims of entrapment have been made in similar cases, but usually do not get very far,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a professor at George Washington University’s law school. “The individuals who chose to log into the FBI sites appear to have had no pressure put upon them by the government…It is doubtful that the individuals could claim the government made them do something they weren’t predisposed to doing or that the government overreached.”

The outcome may be different, Saltzburg said, if the FBI had tried to encourage people to click on the link by including misleading statements suggesting the videos were legal or approved.

In the case of Vosburgh, the college instructor who lived in Media, Penn., his attorney has been left to argue that “no reasonable jury could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Vosburgh himself attempted to download child pornography.”

Vosburgh faced four charges: clicking on an illegal hyperlink; knowingly destroying a hard drive and a thumb drive by physically damaging them when the FBI agents were outside his home; obstructing an FBI investigation by destroying the devices; and possessing a hard drive with two grainy thumbnail images of naked female minors (the youths weren’t having sex, but their genitalia were visible).

The judge threw out the third count and the jury found him not guilty of the second. But Vosburgh was convicted of the first and last counts, which included clicking on the FBI’s illicit hyperlink.

In a legal brief filed on March 6, his attorney argued that the two thumbnails were in a hidden “thumbs.db” file automatically created by the Windows operating system. The brief said that there was no evidence that Vosburgh ever viewed the full-size images–which were not found on his hard drive–and the thumbnails could have been created by receiving an e-mail message, copying files, or innocently visiting a Web page.

From the FBI’s perspective, clicking on the illicit hyperlink and having a thumbs.db file with illicit images are both serious crimes. Federal prosecutors wrote: “The jury found that defendant knew exactly what he was trying to obtain when he downloaded the hyperlinks on Agent Luder’s Ranchi post. At trial, defendant suggested unrealistic, unlikely explanations as to how his computer was linked to the post. The jury saw through the smokes (sic) and mirrors, as should the court.”

And, as for the two thumbnail images, prosecutors argued (note that under federal child pornography law, the definition of “sexually explicit conduct” does not require that sex acts take place):

The first image depicted a pre-pubescent girl, fully naked, standing on one leg while the other leg was fully extended leaning on a desk, exposing her genitalia… The other image depicted four pre-pubescent fully naked girls sitting on a couch, with their legs spread apart, exposing their genitalia. Viewing this image, the jury could reasonably conclude that the four girls were posed in unnatural positions and the focal point of this picture was on their genitalia…. And, based on all this evidence, the jury found that the images were of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and certainly did not require a crystal clear resolution that defendant now claims was necessary, yet lacking.

Prosecutors also highlighted the fact that Vosburgh visited the “loli-chan” site, which has in the past featured a teenage Webcam girl holding up provocative signs (but without any nudity).

Civil libertarians warn that anyone who clicks on a hyperlink advertising something illegal–perhaps found while Web browsing or received through e-mail–could face the same fate.

When asked what would stop the FBI from expanding its hyperlink sting operation, Harvey Silverglate, a longtime criminal defense lawyer in Cambridge, Mass. and author of a forthcoming book on the Justice Department, replied: “Because the courts have been so narrow in their definition of ‘entrapment,’ and so expansive in their definition of ‘probable cause,’ there is nothing to stop the Feds from acting as you posit.”

Two Teens Charged With Child Pornography After Sexting

January 30, 2010 Comments off

kirotv.com: Two Teens Charged With Child Pornography After Sexting.

Two students, ages 13 and 14, are charged with child pornography after they allegedly sent a naked picture of another student from their cell phones. Police said a 14-year-old boy at Chinook Middle School in Lacey received a cell phone picture from his 14-year-old girlfriend showing her naked. When the boy and girl broke up, the boy allegedly started forwarding the image to other students Monday night. A 13-year-old girl is also charged for allegedly playing a role in spreading the naked photo to other students. Another girl could also be charged. If the teens are convicted, they could spend up to 30 days in detention and they would be forced to register as sex offenders.

WATCH IT: If Convicted, Teens Would Register As Sex Offenders

MN: Ex-Park Police Commander Accused of Abusing Boy

January 25, 2010 Comments off


startribune.com: 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.

MD Police Officer Charged in Child Porn Case

January 25, 2010 Comments off

baltimoresun.com: 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.

Border Agent Exempt from Child Sex Prosecution

January 8, 2010 Comments off

azstarnet.com: Border agent gets probation for showing boy porn- Abuse charges dropped as part of plea bargain.

Once again, those in positions of authority are not held to the same sex offender standards to which other Americans are. He was not prosecuted for the child sex crimes and was held exempt from the sex offender registration.

A 32-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent was sentenced to four years’ probation Thursday for furnishing obscene material to a minor, a felony. A Sahuarita resident told police last February that two of her children, ages 10 and 13, said Flavio Maldonado had shown them pornography on his home computer. The 13-year-old also said Maldonado had touched her inappropriately as she sat in front of a bathroom mirror and on another occasion. Maldonado was indicted on two counts of furnishing obscene or harmful items to minors, one count of sexual abuse of a minor under 15 and one count of molestation of a child.
(Astoundingly, he was not prosecuted for these sex abuse crimes)

Maldonado pleaded guilty in November to one count of furnishing obscene items to minors as part of a plea agreement that stated he could be placed on probation or receive up to 3.75 years in prison.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Carolyn Nedder told Judge John Leonardo ( Pima County Superior Court) that if he was inclined to place Maldonado on probation, he should be required to register as a sex offender and to be supervised by probation officers who work specifically with sex offenders.

Although one portion of a psychological-sexual evaluation, which is based on self-reporting, indicates Maldonado isn’t likely to re-offend, Nedder said the overall evaluation determined the likelihood of Maldonado’s re-offending is “moderate-to-high.” The person who conducted the test indicated Maldonado’s behavior is typical of child molesters who “groom” their victims, Nedder said.
Defense attorney Richard Kingston told Leonardo that Maldonado’s actions were innocuous; he thought the boy was asleep while he watched the pornography. Kingston also stressed the results of the test that showed Maldonado wasn’t likely to re-offend. Maldonado told Leonardo he’d never do anything to hurt the children and he regrets everything that has happened. “I’ll make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Maldonado said.

Leonardo placed Maldonado on probation because of his lack of criminal history, his employment history, the mother’s input and the low-risk test result. The judge declined to require Maldonado to register as a sex offender but will decide in March if he should be placed on a special sex-offender caseload. He also will decide whether Maldonado should be allowed unsupervised visits with the children. Maldonado, who was stationed in Nogales, was originally reassigned to administrative duties but is now on unpaid suspension.

Retiring Judge Critical of Sex Offender Laws

January 7, 2010 Comments off

michiganmessenger.com: Retiring judge says ‘root problem is that our registry includes so many more people than it needs to include’.

Retiring Van Buren County Circuit Judge William C. Buhl says, “When things bother me, I get tired of people talking and saying this is horrible and not doing anything about it,” he said near the beginning of an in-depth interview covering his frustrations with the state’s sex offender laws.

Buhl is mostly immune to the political considerations of taking on an unpopular cause. That immunity to the raw political consequences of his views has also convinced him that he has no choice but to speak his mind. When it comes to criticizing how Michigan handles sex crimes and especially the state’s burgeoning sex offender registry, most other elected judges legitimately worry about losing their jobs if they do likewise.

It’s that fear that has pushed lawmakers to include anyone convicted of any of the state’s criminal sexual conduct laws on the online registry, as well as many other enhancements since the registry was created in 1994. Today, the state’s registry stands as one of the country’s broadest and most inclusive.

He said he’d like to narrow the scope of offenses that currently land individuals on the registry for a minimum of 25 years — and he said he’s not alone.

“I think that I speak for a majority, the vast majority of the judiciary,” Buhl asserted.

The reason Buhl speaks for a mostly silent majority of elected judges in Michigan — if you believe his assertion — can be summed up in one word: politics. “It’s just scary stuff when it comes to people going to the polls and opponents will happily exploit any position you take on it that can be twisted to look like you kinda like pedophiles,” he said.

“I had a 17-year-old who was socially immature with a 15-year-old girlfriend that was just in love with him. And she pursued him. And the parents on both sides didn’t want them together. But despite their wishes — and this girl was far more mature than he was — they got together, and then, of course, had sex,” Buhl said. The boy was given probation for violating the state’s criminal sexual conduct law, but was still required to be placed on the housing- and employment-denying online sex offender registry for a quarter century. “I thought, what a travesty. This kid can’t even get a job at McDonalds.”

Since then, he’s seen many similar cases. “When we have people married to their victims, with children that are a product of their crime, and they have to worry about whether they can go watch their kids’ soccer games at school, it just struck me as just wrong,” he said. “And the more I saw it, the angrier I got about it.”

Fast forward to a current case on the judge’s docket — one that also makes him angry but for a different reason.
“I have a guy right now pending sentence on his seventh failure to register,” he said, noting that registered offenders must check-in quarterly with law enforcement or face further penalties. “I finally said, ‘I want to know what he did to get on the registry.’ Well, it turns out he was a 13-year-old sexually abused child that asked a six-year-old to touch his penis. And he went through the juvenile system, was treated and has never had a sex-related offense since.” He added that “there’s no indication that he’s a sexual predator or anybody to worry about but he is a blithering idiot that will fail to register again.” It’s cases like that one, Buhl said, that clutter his courtroom and many others across the state.

Like other advocates for reform, Buhl said part of his efforts are geared toward playing defense, stopping what they consider to be bad legislation. He pointed to two examples from 2009.

The first was a proposal to redefine “school safety zones” to include all bus stops. Registered sex offenders are currently barred from living or working within 1,000 feet of such a zone. “That would have been a nightmare first to figure out,” he said, “because they change every year.”

The second example was a proposal to include all day cares as off-limits school safety zones to offenders. “The way they defined day care would include almost every church that I’ve ever known,” he said. “If they include churches, they would basically render most communities, most municipalities off-limits for the registered sex offender.”

The current state-of-affairs gets worse, Buhl said, because “nobody goes back to the root problem here and the root problem is that our registry includes so many more people than it needs to include.”

As for the judge’s wish-list of reforms, he pointed to three main ideas.

The first would institute a new process for evaluating — and treating — underage sex offenders. “I think we ought to treat them like we do juvenile offenders,” he said. “Have them petition into a court that takes jurisdiction over them like we petition juveniles … and put them through an educational course as to the legal and the life affecting consequences of sex, of child rearing, of child support, of sexually transmitted diseases, and just force them to endure that. Then graduate them and that’s the end of it,” he said. “Because they’re gonna do it, they’re gonna be doing it.” The “it” Buel is referring to is, of course, underage sex.

For other accused sex offenders, Buhl suggests a new screening process and “have people put on the registry only if they’re people we need to worry about” such as violent rapists or child predators. In other words, Buhl says, “narrow the sex offender registry to people who truly are people we fear.”

Beyond a better process, Buhl said Michigan should junk the school safety zones altogether. “They’re silly little artificial rings that make it impossible to work with people,” he said. “We have all these people who can’t live here and they can’t work there.” He said the employment and housing restrictions that go along with the school safety zones often make near impossible to make offenders employable, paying taxes and restitution.

Lastly, Buhl thinks lawmakers should reconsider the uncomfortable but legally significant differences between criminal sexual conduct and “penetration” — an automatic felony.

“I would treat sexual penetration the same way we treat sexual contact, and that is we don’t make it a crime when two 15-year-olds fornicate, we don’t make it a crime two 15-year-olds are all over each other sexually except for penetration,” he said. “The minute there’s any kind of penetration whatsoever, finger, doesn’t matter, bang, you’re into a 15-year felony. Whether it’s contact or penetration, when they’re under 16 it ought not be criminalized.”

Entering the last year of his judicial career, this self-described “ornery cuss” is crystal clear about the problems he sees, and the reforms he’d like to see. But that doesn’t mean he’s unaware of the long-shot odds reformers like him face. In fact, he almost seems resigned to losing.

“We all know that it’s terrible and yet it won’t be changed,” he said with a sigh. “I figure, OK, I’m jousting with windmills. I know that the odds of getting anything done are so slim. But I can’t sit and do nothing,” he added. “I just can’t.”