Monday, February 4, 2019

Amy Stillahn of Colorado wants all registered citizens to register for life no matter how petty the offense

Just what the world doesn't need, yet another skinny blonde professional victim who thinks she's a model advocating for more registry laws.

She says she wants it to "be over" and to have her "life" back yet she obsesses over this issue and wants to harm others in the process. That's not how moving on works.

Hundreds of sex offenders get their names taken off the sex offender registry every year in Colorado
Sex offender gets off registry, despite victim's plea
Posted: 3:13 PM, Feb 04, 2019  Updated: 5:20 PM, Feb 04, 2019

By: Jaclyn Allen

A Contact7 investigation found that in the state of Colorado, hundreds of sex offenders are getting off the sex offender registry every year. In one case, a felony sex offender's motion was granted even after his victim pleaded against it.

While Denver7 generally doesn't identify victims of sex crimes, Amy Stillahn wants her story told and wants people to know what she has been through.

"He stole something from me, absolutely," she said, speaking for the first time publicly about the then-21-year-old lacrosse coach at Arapahoe High School, Matthew Buck, who she first met in an AOL chat room in 2000 when she was only 14 years old.

"It was on the playground," she said. "That pea gravel, I remember it sticking to my skin on my bottom, and I was just like, 'I don't want to do this.' It's destroyed and shattered my life."

That year, Buck pleaded guilty to attempted sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust for the crime.

After the charges became public, Stillahn said she went from popular cheerleader at Arapahoe High School to social outcast — overnight.

"Kids put together the crying girl in the counseling office was the one on the news, and I was being called a slut," she said, the emotions still raw almost two decades later. "I had no friends; it was so hurtful."

In the fallout, she tried to end her life for the first time, and a lifelong battle with anorexia and depression began. She dropped out of the high school and was home schooled, never going to college.

"I think about dying every day," she said. "So often, I just want it to be over."

In stark contrast, Buck's story also takes a dramatic turn after the criminal charge.

After he went to prison in 2005 on a probation violation, the son of an attorney went to law school, passed the Colorado bar and now practices law in Denver, focusing on marijuana and criminal defense, according to his firm's web site.

"It is not common [for felons to practice law in Colorado], but it does occasionally happen," said Jessica Yates, Colorado's attorney regulation counsel, who said attorneys must meet character and fitness standards.

Records obtained by Denver7 from a recent court transcript show prosecutors said Buck downplayed his conviction to the bar, stating he "was involved in a romantic relationship with a high school student."

"I met him twice and he raped me. No. We did not have a romantic relationship," Stillahn said. Stillahn added that at 14, no sexual relationship with an adult in a position of trust could be considered consensual.

John Gleason was the attorney regulation counsel for Colorado in 2011 and said the bar admission system then was dramatically different. His office took over shortly afterwards, he said, implementing a more thorough investigative process.

"To say that Mr. Buck would not be admitted under the current character and fitness evaluation process is pure speculation," Gleason said. "What I would say is that based on my experience, his application would receive a much different evaluation, a much more thorough evaluation...I’m not aware of any other case that is as significant a crime as this."

Buck became an attorney, but he was still a registered sex offender, until he filed a motion to de-register last year.

"This was the last thing I was expecting, and didn't know it was possible," Stillahn said.

Under Colorado law, certain sex offenses must stay on the sex offender registry for life, but Buck pleaded down to attempted child sex assault by a person in a position of trust, which is eligible for de-registration after ten years.

"I just think it was probably a loophole that was inadvertently created by the legislature," said former Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. Morrissey said he believed attempted sex crimes should be included on the list of crimes not allowed to be de-registered. "I think somebody could take this up and should take this up because again, I think it’s a loophole that they did not intend to have. "

Denver7 found hundreds of sex offenders de-register every year in Colorado, and while Morrissey speculated that many are deferred sentences or misdemeanor sex crimes, he said some may be "attempted" crime felony offenders who should be monitored.

"Also, I don’t think people should use the registry as gospel on whether someone is a sex offender or not because an awful lot of of sex offenders get off the registry," he said.

Buck said he did not wish to comment, stating that he had two daughters, and court transcripts show he stated they were the reason he filed to de-register.

Christopher Decker, a criminal defense attorney in Denver, said many sex offenders have been targeted because of registries.

"They have been assaulted. Their houses have been burned down. Their children have been ostracized in schools," said Decker, who has worked with the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute Project offering free legal services around the state for those who qualify to de-register. "I think what's going here is society is beginning to look more carefully at how and why and when we should require someone to register and what are we really getting from this registration."

Decker said the constitutionality of registries is now being challenged in federal court, and many states are looking a modifying them.

"When you have a system that treats everybody the same, bad things happen and some good people get caught up and some bad people don’t get caught up enough," Decker said.

Under Colorado's Victim's Rights Act, a petition to discontinue registration is defined as a critical stage, so victims have a right to be informed of and present for the criminal justice process. Also, to find out if a sex offender has filed a motion, the criminal case number associated with the defendant's conviction is the same case number for the petition to de-register.

So, Stillahn faced Buck for the first time to fight his motion to de-register, speaking out in court and telling her story.

However, Judge Phillip Douglass eventually granted the request , citing Buck's law license as a factor in his decision. Denver7 tried to reach Douglass by phone several times, with no response. He was voted off the bench last year, but he granted the request last month before his term ended.

We checked, and in the 18th Judicial District, where this happened, the majority of de-registration motions were granted last year. In 2018, of the 23 motions to de-register that were filed, 14 were granted, seven were denied and two are still waiting for hearings.

Stillahn wants the law allowing felony sex offenders to de-register changed and wants to warn others about sex offenders no longer on the registry. Really, though, she just wants her life back.

"Everything that has happened all stems back to Matthew Buck," Stillahn said. "What if that had never happened?"

1 comment:

  1. A PAEDOPHILE hunter who appeared on a BBC documentary spoke of his fury yesterday after gun cops arrested him in a dawn raid.

    Officers swooped on Phill Hoban, 43, and other members of Predator Exposure over claims of false imprisonment, assault and public order offences.

    It is alleged they acted unlawfully when they detained two suspected paedos after separate online stings in August and January.

    Armed police dragged members of the Leeds-based group from their homes before quizzing them for six hours on Monday.

    Dad-of-five Phill, 43, who featured last month on BBC3 documentary ‘Paedophile Hunters: The Rise Of The Vigilantes’, slammed the arrests.

    He said the move was designed to shut the group down - despite it being responsible for bringing more than 70 child sex offenders to justice.

    Fuming Phill said: "I was immediately grabbed straight away and arrested and handcuffed behind my back in front of my family, they wouldn’t even let me put my bike away.

    "There were armed police and police with tasers to arrest me on historic assault and false imprisonment allegations. It was heavy handed."

    He said officers seized his mobile phone, his kids’ iPads, clothing, including his coat and trainers and took him to the cells at Wakefield Police Station.

    He and his team have since been released on bail.

    Predator Exposure record and live stream all their vigilante stings, in which they confront a suspected paedophile engaging in online sex chat with a decoy.

    The group make a citizens arrest and phone the police to arrest and take the suspects away.

    Phill claims the two incidents he was questioned about and followed the same method all their 70 plus stings have done.

    He added: "The police are not interested in justice. Our arrests are a tactic to try and make us stop exposing paedophiles.

    "I was handcuffed behind my back by armed police. I would have attended a police station voluntarily and they know that.

    "The have arrested us now because we are the biggest group in the country with the biggest following and they want to get the message out to other groups to stop.

    "But the police are not doing enough to catch the paedophiles themselves.

    "And yet they have enough resources to send eight police officers to five homes to arrest innocent members of the public."

    Phill and his colleagues have been bailed to Friday, when they may learn whether they will be charged.

    A defiant a Phill said: "If they take us to court, they take us to court, but there will be uproar because we have many supporters and we have taken 70 odd paedophiles off the streets and protected hundreds of kids."

    The police spokeswoman said: "The arrests were made in relation to alleged offences in the Wakefield area on August 11, 2018 and Leeds on January 13, 2019 in which members of the public were allegedly detained.

    "Three men and two women were arrested. They have since all been released on bail. Enquiries are ongoing."

    The paedophile hunting group have been responsible for bringing a number of offenders to justice through online stings in the past year.