Monday, December 17, 2018
Rachel DePompa and NBC12 Virginia is seriously doing their readers "hard" with their sweeps week scare story
Sex offenders find ways to ‘skirt’ Facebook’s ban
Social network launches investigation, responds to findings
By Rachel DePompa | December 12, 2018 at 4:00 PM EST - Updated December 14 at 7:57 AM
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One-and-a-half billion users are on Facebook every day. And among those profiles are people who are not allowed to be on the platform, according to Facebook.
Those are people like 56-year-old Robert Gale Wojda, of Richmond’s Northside. Wojda has been convicted of child exploitation offenses in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
“Part of his probation was that he was no supposed to be on social media of any kinds, whatsoever," said Richmond Police detective Mary Gary Ford. And yet there he was using Facebook to engage in sexually explicit conversations with minors. “Thankfully his probation officer just checked and she found a Facebook profile for him with his photo and you could tell he was actively like posts."
According to Ford, court filings and the Virginia Attorney General’s office, Wojda admitted to sending explicit photographs through Facebook. Ford actually spoke with Wojda and got his consent to search his phone. On it she found sexual conversations with a 14-year-old girl in Georgia.
“It was a very traumatic experience for her and she was isolated and alone and kind of containing all this inside herself for along time,” added Ford. She says Wodja is far from the only predator using social media.
“The frightening part is the number of people doing what they’re doing and that’s just what’s being reported,” said Ford.
Facebook has a specific policy that bans convicted sex offenders, but in less than two hours NBC12′s investigation easily tracked down 16 different registered sex offenders in Virginia with what appeared to be active Facebook profiles. NBC12 only searched halfway through the letter "c" in the alphabet on the sex offender registry.
NBC12 found offenders of all races and of varying ages all with profiles active within the last year. Some of their criminal records included labels like “sexually violent offender.”
The investigation found offenders convicted of “rape” in Henrico County. Others convicted of “carnal knowledge of children as young as 13” and even a person accused of “enticing a minor to perform in pornography.”
Facebook immediately launched an investigation and disabled the accounts after NBC12 reported the findings.
A spokesperson said, “Facebook’s Terms of Service explain that we prohibit convicted sex offenders from using Facebook and disable accounts that violate this policy as soon as we’re aware. We respond to reports from our community but also take action and disable these accounts when we identify them ourselves. We disabled the accounts you shared as soon as we confirmed they were in violation of our terms of service.”
“You never know who you’re talking to on the other side of the computer,” said Briana Valentino, a forensic interviewer with Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now). “Kids are very accessible to people who mean do them hard.”
She often interviews the children abused by predators. And more often than ever before, she finds the abuse started online.
“What we tend to see for kids who’s experienced trauma online, it’s a lot of internalized behavior. Feelings of guilt, feelings of shame. That they are the one’s that have done something wrong,” said Valentino.
Ford often works with SCAN and is investigating multiple active cases in Central Virginia. She has the unenviable job of talking to child predators like Wojda.
“He indicated that looking at adult pornography just doesn’t do it for him," Ford said.
Wodja ultimately pleaded no contest to electronic solicitation of a minor and is now serving 20 years in a Virginia prison. His capture is a victory for investigators like Detective Ford.
But she knows there are more predators out there. That’s why she needs parents to help and have age-appropriate, non-judgmental conversations with their children and teens.
“They this is something that could happen. If it does, just stop what you’re doing, come to me. Talk to me. we’ll work it out together. You’re not in trouble," said Ford.
Ford says there are steps you can take to be proactive.
First, don’t let children have their phones in their bedrooms at night. And consider this rule: tablets and computers should only be used in open areas of the house.
Also parents should research and know the apps that are out there and what’s currently popular with teens.
To report a sex offender on Facebook click on this link. The site says you’ll need to provide one of the following types of information with your report:
A link to a listing in a national or state sex offender registry.
A link to an online news article.
A link to a court document.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
It is a shame to see anyone give a second chance to someone but then buckle to social media backlash. Social media is a mental illness.
Cyrano's Theatre Co. will drop an actor who is a registered sex offender after social media backlash
By Rebecca Palsha | Posted: Tue 3:52 PM, Dec 11, 2018 | Updated: Tue 4:48 PM, Dec 11, 2018
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A registered sex offender who performs with Cyrano's Theatre Co. will no longer be acting with the company.
Jenson Seifert lists Cyrano's as his employer on the state's sex offender registry.
He is a former teacher at Birchwood Christian School who was charged, and later served time, for sexually abusing a minor.
At the time, police accused him of molesting a 14-year-old boy repeatedly, including while he was a chaperoning a youth outing.
Cyrano's says Seifert has been a performer with the company for about a year and that it was encouraged to work with him after he successfully performed at other places in Anchorage.
"He was doing all that was asked of him, which does not negate or condone his crime in any way, and we were very clear in our communications with him, and he also with us, but he has made all of the steps to work toward rehabilitation and second chances," Teresa Pond, the Producing Artistic Director at Cyrano's said. "And we felt that warranted an opportunity, again based on the fact that he had already had success working in theaters and being successful, with a second chance."
But on the theatre's Facebook page a debate ignited about how transparent Cyrano's was and if Seifert should be able to perform with the company.
Alaska Theater of Youth, which had a pop-up camp last week at Cyrano's, says it was unaware of his involvement. ATY says it was assured that Seifert had no contact with any of the children at the camp.
"That was my main concern. The children's safety, was my first priority," Hanna Bankston with ATY said.
Tuesday afternoon, Cyrano's updated its Facebook page and said registered sex offenders will be prevented from working at Cyrano's in any capacity.
"We know the community would prefer that we don't have someone who is on the sexual offender registry in our shows, and that is absolutely fine," Pond said. "We support all of those people those who have been victims, anybody who has found this to be difficult and upsetting, and that's far more important to us."
Seifert is in a production with Cryano's that will run two more weeks. Pond said he will continue in those plays but they will be his final performances.
If you want to post your disapproval of the Theater's decision, the link is here:
Thank you to the many community members who have reached out to engage with us in direct dialogue over the past few days. The voices we have heard from our community of artists makes it clear that a change going forward is warranted.
We remain committed to our mission, which includes ensuring that we provide a safe and trusting place for our community to create and experience art. We neglected to communicate clearly to some members of our Cyrano’s community and their families, that an individual, previously convicted of a sex offense, was serving as an actor in a Cyrano’s production. Of the voices we heard during this process, some had concerns for the safety of their families, and the ability of Cyrano’s to maintain that safe and trusting environment. We are deeply sorry.
After a thorough review, we have identified a need for change. For future productions, the Board has implemented a policy which will prevent anyone listed on Alaska’s sex offender registry from working at Cyrano’s in any capacity. This is not the end of our work on this matter, and we will continue to engage in dialogue on the best ways to forward our mission and serve the community we all love.
Cyrano’s Theatre Company
Monday, December 10, 2018
What is it with Floridiots talking long walks to pass bad legislation. You want to take a long walk? Take it on a short pier.
Man pushes for laws to keep sexual predators out of hospitals
Dec 7, 2018 | 31 comments
75-year-old Edward Bowman is pushing legislators to create a law, “Clara’s Law”, to be named after his late wife Clara Mae, that would ban sexual predators (not sure whether the term “predator” is used to distinguish the different classification or if it’s used by him synonymously with “offender”) from nursing homes, hospitals and medical facilities all over the country.
In 2006, Edward’s late wife was sexually assaulted by a male nurse and he has been on a crusade since to get a law passed in her memory. This year, he is going to walk 237 miles from Mount Dora to Tallahassee, to meet with Florida lawmakers.
While Mr. Bowman has a sad and compelling story, he’s missing the mark on some facts.
Firstly, the nurse who assaulted his wife was not on the registry. Therefore, “Clara’s Law”, had a version been in effect back then, would have done nothing to protect Clara.
Secondly, the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults are committed by first time offenders. If another patient is assaulted by a healthcare worker, there’s a 97% base chance that it would be by someone not on the registry, further reduced by the fact that it’s unlikely that a hospital worker with such a criminal history would be working in a capacity where they could assault a patient, making the odds negligible.
Third, the unintended negative consequences of a law that would ban registrants from hospitals, would be that they would be prevented from visiting with loved ones, including their own children (see: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/wi-registrant-father-wins-right-to-visit-sick-son-in-hospital/, https://floridaactioncommittee.org/registrant-denied-access-to-hospital-for-sons-surgery/, https://floridaactioncommittee.org/sex-offenders-banned-from-florida-hospital/).
Bowman has been pushing for a “Clara’s Law”, in one form or another, for over a decade. Prior versions would have required healthcare facilities to report incidents of sexual misconduct (not convictions, but reports) to the state Health Department and potentially a national clearinghouse, but those measures failed.
We can understand Mr. Bowman’s desire to memorialize his wife, but banning an entire class of former offenders from hospitals – the effect of which could be to prevent children facing scary medical procedures from the comfort of their parent – is not going to do Clara any justice.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
An appeals courts rules against your court ruling and remands the case for resentencing. What do you do? If you're Donna Jo McDaniel, you respond by making the same ruling in defiance. This worthless excuse of a judge needs to be removed from the bench.
Superior Court removes Allegheny County judge from sex offender's resentencing
PAULA REED WARD
NOV 28, 2018
The state Superior Court, in a rare move Wednesday, ordered Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel to be removed from a case, finding that there was “substantial evidence” that she “demonstrated bias and personal animus” against both the defendant and the public defender’s office representing him.
The three-judge panel of the appellate court wrote a blistering 13-page opinion that also ordered that Anthony McCauley be sentenced again by a new judge. It is one of a series of opinions by the Superior Court dating to January 2017 in which Judge McDaniel has been questioned for her sentencing of sex offenders.
“The trial court’s animus and hostility to appellant’s counsel and the [Allegheny County] Public Defender’s office appears to be deep, unwavering and demonstrates an unjustified bias against the Public Defender’s office,” wrote Superior Court Judge Alice Beck Dubow.
The Superior Court also criticized Judge McDaniel for using inappropriate sarcasm in her written opinion; for denying McCauley a fair and constitutional sentencing hearing; and for failing to follow previous Superior Court orders, therefore wasting judicial resources.
Ordered to redo an 'unreasonable' sentence, judge responds by imposing the exact same punishment. In a footnote, the appellate court also chastised her for including the full name of the child victim in McCauley’s case in her opinion.
“Not only do we disapprove of this practice, but it is also contrary to [Pennsylvania law], which makes it a criminal offense for an officer or employee of the court to reveal the name of a minor victim of sexual abuse in documents available to the public,” Judge Dubow wrote.
Although the prospect of referring Judge McDaniel to the Judicial Conduct Board was raised by the prosecution during oral argument on McCauley’s case in April, the Superior Court opinion does not mention the disciplinary organization.
Judge McDaniel could not be reached for comment.
Amie Downs, the county’s spokeswoman, declined comment on behalf of the public defender’s office.
The most recent case to bring scorn from the Superior Court was an appeal of a second sentencing proceeding for McCauley, 45. He was convicted in 2014 of rape and years-long abuse of a girl.
Initially, Judge McDaniel sentenced McCauley to 20 to 40 years in prison. On appeal, McCauley’s defense attorney questioned whether that penalty was mandatory or discretionary.
The Superior Court sent the case back to Judge McDaniel in October 2016 and told her to clarify that question.
At resentencing in December 2016, she did not address that issue, the court found, and instead changed the penalty only slightly — to 20 years less two days to 40 years less four days.
Judge McDaniel did not allow McCauley to speak, did not review a new pre-sentence report for him, and did not provide any of the due process that is required for a criminal sentencing, the Superior Court concluded.
That prompted new appeals from the public defender’s office, which represented McCauley, and a request that Judge McDaniel recuse herself.
In its opinion Wednesday, Superior Court wrote that it did not like Judge McDaniel’s behavior in the case.
“In particular, the trial court’s opinion is filled with gratuitous comments denigrating appellant’s counsel and the Public Defender’s office,” the panel wrote.
The three judges said they believe she made a “veiled threat” questioning the attorney’s and office’s credibility and implied that their continued appeal of her sentence could be “harmful to other criminal defendants who may actually have meritorious claims.”
The panel also criticized Judge McDaniel for sarcasm it said she used in her opinion.
“This sarcasm is disrespectful to appellant, counsel and the seriousness of the sentencing process,” they wrote.
Four times in the opinion, the panel said it was either “troubled” by Judge McDaniel’s actions or found them “troubling.”
The court cited her failure to follow its instructions on remand, including on two sex offender cases in which she was ordered to resentence the defendants and gave them the same penalties she’d previously imposed.
“This has resulted in an extensive deployment of judicial resources to review, analyze, and rectify the court’s deficient sentencing hearings,” the panel wrote.
In both of those cases, Judge McDaniel sentenced the defendants to twice what guidelines recommended.
At both hearings, Judge McDaniel said from the bench that she conducted a statistical analysis of her cases from 2012 to 2016, claiming that her sentences for sex offenders were comparable to those of other judges.
In its opinion Wednesday, the Superior Court noted that Judge McDaniel did not include any of her analyses in the certified record, making it impossible for the panel to consider her conclusions.
Still, it continued, “a statistical analysis would not compel a different result.”
President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning said late Wednesday that he had not seen the opinion and could not comment on it.
“Judge McDaniel is an extremely bright and dedicated judge who has for many years protected the rights of the accused and at the same time guarded the rights of the victims and witnesses in very serious, often vicious, sex offender cases which can spark significant disagreement between counsel and the court,” Judge Manning said.
“I will review the opinion and abide by the lawful orders of the appellate court.”