Category Archives: Sex Abuse/Sex Offenders

U.S. Court Reverses Conviction in Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse Case

Monsignor William Lynn walks to the courthouse as the jury deliberates on his sexual abuse trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in this June 20, 2012 file photo.

A Roman Catholic Church official who has been jailed for 18 months for failing to protect children from a known sexual predator within the Philadelphia Archdiocese had his conviction reversed Thursday by a Superior Court and was ordered to be released.

A three-judge Superior Court panel dismissed prosecutors’ arguments that Monsignor William Lynn was responsible for the welfare of any particular child.

“He’s been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn’t commit and couldn’t commit under the law,” said Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, according to AP. “It’s incredible what happened to this man.”

Prosecutors had argued that Lynn, 62, reassigned known sexual predators to new parishes in Philadelphia while serving as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

The Monsignor’s original conviction came from the case of priest Edward Avery, who was found to have abused a child in 1998 after Lynn transferred him to a new parish.

Lynn is serving a three- to six-year prison sentence following his June 2012 child endangerment conviction. His attorneys are attempting to confirm his release from the Pennsylvania state prison in Waymart as soon as possible.

Lynn’s defense has long maintained that the state’s child endangerment law at the time of his trial only applied to parents and caregivers – not someone in Lynn’s supervisory position. Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina rejected that argument and allowed the case to proceed until the appellate-level Superior Court’s panel reversed her ruling.

Prosecutors may ask the full Superior Court to rehear the case, though Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams indicated to AP that an appeal is likely.

Supporters of Lynn, the first high-ranking US church official convicted for failing to protect children from possible sex abuse by clergy, contend that he was used as a scapegoat for the broader nationwide sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church – including two cardinals who were never charged.

Bishops in archdioceses across the US have received sexual abuse complaints from well over 6,000 priests – or 5.6 percent of priests in the US – between the years of 1950 and 2011, according to BishopAccountability.org, a comprehensive online archive of Catholic Church abuse established by lay Catholics.

 

Clifton Man Can’t be Held as Sex Predator

Anthony Geltz

Anthony Geltz escaped a juvenile detention facility in Davenport at age 14 and sexually abused a child at a nearby Chuck E. Cheese restaurant cannot be held as a sexually violent predator, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled.

By Kurt Allemeier

DES MOINES — A man who escaped a Davenport juvenile detention facility at age 14 and sexually abused a child at a nearby restaurant cannot be held as a sexually violent predator, the Iowa Supreme Court said Friday.

In their ruling, the justices said they were concerned that 20-year-old Anthony Geltz, who has a history of sex offenses, would attack again if released but they were constrained by laws the Iowa Legislature crafted.

“Ours not to reason why, ours but to read, and apply. It is our duty to accept the law as the legislative body enacts it,” the court said in its ruling, quoting a Supreme Court case opinion from 1962.

In 2011, Geltz was ordered by a Clinton County judge to be confined as a sexually violent predator at the state’s facility for sex offenders at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.

Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf said public safety agencies are discussing Geltz’s potential release, but he declined to say what is being considered. The state Attorney General’s office is responsible for prosecuting committals like Geltz’s.

“I don’t want to be irresponsible and frighten people,” he said. “We are considering options for public safety. I think the public has to know we are addressing the issue.”

Court records say Geltz abused children in his neighborhood at a young age. By 12, he was sent to live at the Annie Wittenmyer Home in Davenport. Two years later, he escaped and went to the Chuck E. Cheese pizzeria and sexually abused a child in an enclosed video game machine.

He was prosecuted as a juvenile, found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse and sent to the State Training School for Boys in Eldora, where he was disciplined a dozen times for sexual misconduct, court documents said.

When he turned 18, Geltz was evaluated by the state, and a judge determined he should not be released and instead should be held under the state law that allows Iowa to hold sexually violent predators indefinitely.

His attorney appealed the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, which for the first time decided that juveniles found guilty of sex-abuse crimes cannot be considered convicted under the sexually violent predator law.

The justices said that although it makes sense to allow juveniles who are likely to reoffend to be committed as sexually violent predators, current law does not allow it and they “cannot judicially revise the Iowa Code.”

“The state predicts that upon his release from his current detention, Geltz will promptly reoffend,” the court said. “We share that concern, but are constrained by the language of the statutes.”

A spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office said proposed legislation will be drafted and submitted to state lawmakers for consideration.

“We asked the court to treat a juvenile’s sexual abuse adjudication the same as a conviction for purposes of defining him as a sexually violent predator. The court very clearly noted that the Legislature has chosen not to equate the two, and the court’s decision is based on the careful wording of our state laws,” said the spokesman, Geoff Greenwood.

“We are concerned about the wording of our statutes relating to juvenile sex offenders who in our view are sexually violent predators. As this is a matter of public safety, we urge the Legislature to address the issue and will soon submit proposed legislation.”

Wolf trusts the issue will be addressed by the Legislature.

“The Supreme Court is pointing out an area the state Legislature clearly needs to address, and I know our legislators have been responsive to addressing issues that are raised at times like this,” he said.

The court’s decision is likely to result in Geltz’s release from state custody. It will not be immediate, however. The Supreme Court opinion will be followed by an order directing the district court judge to dismiss Geltz’s commitment as a sexually violent predator within 21 days. A hearing will be set, after which he would be released.

However, Geltz currently is in the Cherokee County jail awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a health care worker at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.

His attorney, public defender Michael Adams, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Sex Assault Victim Booted From Air Force

The discharge of Airman 1st Class Trent Smith was upheld by a medical board on Dec. 4.

The discharge of Airman 1st Class Trent Smith was upheld by a medical board on Dec. 4.

A medical board has upheld the discharge of a security forces airman who claims he was improperly diagnosed with a personality disorder after he reported being sexually assaulted by a superior.

Airman 1st Class Trent Smith, who was featured in an Oct. 14 Air Force Times cover story, had sought counseling to help deal with the trauma of the alleged assault. The psychologist who treated Smith diagnosed him with a rare personality disorder and recommended separation from the service.

Smith enlisted the help of advocacy organization Protect Our Defenders to help fight the discharge in his appeal to the medical board.

An independent psychiatric assessment ordered by his private attorney found no evidence Smith suffers from a personality disorder. An Air Force review also took issue with the diagnosis but said Smith was still unfit— a conclusion upheld in a Dec. 4 hearing before the Air Force Formal Physical Evaluation Board in San Antonio.

“His pattern of behavior suggests some level of problematic coping,” the Air Force reviewer wrote. “In my opinion … [it is] sufficient to support the diagnosis of personality disorder not otherwise specified.”

Elizabeth Kristen, an attorney from the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center who represented Smith, said the group plans to make a final appeal to the Air Force secretary.

Veterans groups have said the military unfairly uses personality disorders to discharge service members, including service members who are victims of sexual assault. Personality and adjustment disorders are considered to have existed before troops join the military, which leaves them unable to obtain disability compensation and mental health treatment. The diagnosis can also make it difficult to find future employment.

Smith said he was sexually assaulted two months after he arrived at his first duty station at Vogelweh Air Base, Germany, in spring 2012. He made a restricted report to the base’s sexual assault response coordinator, which allowed him to get counseling without alerting the chain of command. Three months later, he made an unrestricted report, which launched an investigation.

A memo from the 86th Airlift Wing shows the Air Force concluded the incident between Smith and the staff sergeant was consensual and declined to prosecute the alleged assailant. The staff sergeant instead received administrative punishment for engaging in an unprofessional relationship, according to the memo.

Meanwhile, Smith was barred from deploying or carrying a weapon, which left him unable to do his job. In November 2012, he was granted a humanitarian transfer to Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

The weapon and deployment bans were initially lifted at Travis. But Smith said they were reinstated weeks later when he sought out a mental health provider to continue treatment for the trauma.

Smith, who is bisexual, said fellow security forces members harassed him because he couldn’t carry a weapon and because of his sexual orientation. He was moved twice, settling in a non-security forces job at the base chapel where he still works.

Smith told his psychologist he no longer wanted to serve in security forces but wished to remain in the Air Force in another career field. But Smith was ineligible to retrain because he did not have the required 35 months in service.

At a therapy session in April, Smith said his provider gave him the results of her psychological testing.

She described Smith as “extremely guarded and difficult to work with interpersonally” and at times uncooperative in group therapy, refusing to contribute to discussions. The provider also wrote Smith had pointed a gun to his head and threatened suicide while at Vogelweh — an incident Air Force documents show there is no evidence of.

“Recommend immediate processing of separation from the military,” the psychologist concluded in May after five months of treatment.

Smith received an independent psychiatric evaluation at the University of California, San Francisco, in anticipation for the medical review board, Kristen said.

The Air Force correctly diagnosed Smith with post-traumatic stress disorder, the attorney said. But the review found no evidence of a personality disorder.

“We went in front of the physical evaluation board that rules whether you are unfit or fit for duty. We presented them with evidence we believe met the standard of being fit. The board seemed only interested in evidence from the past. It didn’t seem interested in his current health status,” Kristen said.

Further, Kristen said, the initial diagnosis could follow Smith throughout his life.

Protect Our Defenders president Nancy Parrish said in a statement that Smith’s case “is sadly a typical example of the reckless disregard with which military leadership and health officials too often respond to reports of rape and sexual assault within the ranks. The barriers and retaliation that Airman Smith has faced are indicative of the suffering of so many unknown victims.”

Smith said in a telephone interview after the board’s decision that he was disappointed and confused by the ruling. “What kind of message are you sending when a person is assaulted, reports the assault, has emotional trauma and you kick them out?” he said.

“I’ve never been in trouble. I’m participating in a wide array of activities. I’m going to school, working on my pilot’s license,” Smith said. “Obviously, I’m willing to return to security forces. I’m willing to do anything to stay in the military. I just want to return to duty.”

Sex Assault Victim Booted From Air Force

Los Gatos man gets probation for sex crimes against 4 girls; parents outraged

David Raymond Bates of Los Gatos pleaded no contest to having sexual relations with girls as young as 13 years old.

By Judy Peterson

A Los Gatos man who pleaded no contest to 13 charges of having unlawful sexual relations with four girls ages 13 to 15 has been sentenced to three years’ probation, prompting outrage from a parent angered by the sentence.

David Raymond Bates was 19 years old when the crimes occurred between June and August of 2012. Bates is a Los Gatos High School graduate who is listed on the school’s 2010 football roster.

The four girls Bates committed “lewd and lascivious acts upon,” including unlawful sexual intercourse, are identified in the district attorney’s charging document as a 13-year-old, a 14-year-old and two 15-year-olds.

As Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Philip Pennypacker sentenced Bates, one girl’s father yelled, “If he stolen a car, he’d be going to prison. You’re a joke.”

The father was escorted from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.

Other parents pleaded with the judge to impose a prison sentence. “The only way to ensure our girls do not have to fear facing this predator on the street is by putting him in prison,” one mother said.

The mother said her daughter’s life is now ruined. “My daughter went off the rails,” she said. “She wouldn’t talk about it for four weeks and she dropped out of school.”

The mother went on to say, “He was working on two other girls when he was arrested. He was watching them at cheerleading practice. The school got a restraining order because parents were complaining about him.”

Another mother said her daughter has become an outcast. “My daughter has become increasingly withdrawn. Once word got out at the high school, she was bullied,” the mother said. “Her grades went from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. She was diagnosed with PTSD.”

Then, crying and hands visibly shaking, the mother said, “Keep him in jail until his victims have finished high school.”

Bates has been in jail since his arrest, but Pennypacker gave him credit for time served, making him eligible for immediate release.

Judge Pennypacker outlined his reasons for not keeping Bates in jail longer, citing his lack of a prior criminal record, and overcrowded state prisons and local jails.

He also cited a doctor’s ruling that Bates does not exhibit the tendencies of a pedophile. “This is the type of person who is not predisposed to commit offenses against children,” Pennypacker said. “I agree there was some minor stalking and coercion.”

But the acts against the 13-year-old are considered child molestation and therefore make Bates a three-striker. He is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and cannot get within 300 yards of Los Gatos High School or his victims’ homes.

Pennypacker noted that at the time of his arrest Bates had no job and few skills. Even so, he will be required to pay restitution to the families for the mental health and other costs incurred on behalf of their daughters. Bates is not allowed any social media interaction during his probation.

Pennypacker said he will put Bates in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.

Deputy district attorney Clarissa Hamilton said, “He will be watched very, very closely. He is considered a high risk.” She told the parents that if Bates “goes and does something stupid” he will be prosecuted again.

 

Website Exposes Alleged Child Sex Predators

This man has been asking to have sex with a 14 year old girl online
Name: Charles Stewart Age: 26 Location: Palmerston North

New Zealand–Graphic sex chat by 39 Kiwi men, many with an intention of meeting a 13- or 14- year old Kiwi girl for sex, is the latest incident fueling widespread concerns about the sexual exploitation of underage girls in this country. Details of the website aired on 3News tonight.

All 39 men who feature on the website www.sexpredators.co.nz are identifiable through photographs, their Christian name and surname, town or suburb, and age. For some, their place of work, a cell-phone number, email address, driver’s licence or car plate number is also provided. Explicit sex chats appear on each.

Stop Demand Foundation, which tackles issues of sexual violence, exploitation and denigration of women and girls, describes much of the chat as “utterly vile”.

“What is particularly concerning”, says founder Denise Ritchie, “is that within many of those chats was a clearly stated intention for a meeting to take place. One man, ‘Warren’, a 49- year-old from Hamilton asks a girl he believes to be a 14-year-old virgin, how many condoms he should bring to his first meeting. In addition to incest fantasies, he talks of ‘holding your little girl body down’ while he engages in various sex acts.”

“’Charlie’, 26, from Palmerston North, asks a girl he believes to be 14 and a virgin, if she would be willing to be tied up and gagged while he perpetuated various sex acts. He asked if she would participate in ‘consensual rape’, be his sex slave which involved ‘pretty much just me f***ing you whenever and however I want’ but adds ‘well u know that if I do start doing the rape thing I probs wont stop (sic)’.”

This latest revelation follows on the heels of the “Roast Busters” storm, both of which, says Ritchie, “exposes the depressing, callous, cesspool mentality of these men, that underage girls are mere sexual toys for their illegal pleasure”.

While the attitude of the males concerned is one issue, Stop Demand says the response by the Police is another. “This website links to a Facebook page set up seven months ago, which ‘likes’ Auckland Police, Waitemata Police and Counties-Manukau Police,” notes Ritchie. “The Police have been spoon-fed details, including contact details, about these 39 men. The obvious question is: what steps have the Police taken to investigate these men?”

 

Freed Rapist Allegedly Attacks Same Victim Again

A CONTROVERSIAL judge is in the firing line again after an accused rapist was set free and allegedly raped and stabbed the same woman.

 Judge Sarah Bradley has ignited further controversy with a rape case.

Judge Sarah Bradley has ignited further controversy with a rape case.

A CONTROVERSIAL judge is in the firing line again after an accused rapist was set free and allegedly raped and stabbed the same woman.

Judge Sarah Bradley refused to adjourn the man’s trial for a night after his alleged victim left court in the middle of giving evidence and said she couldn’t go on.

It was the third time a trial had collapsed because the woman could not complete her testimony.

The woman, an indigenous special witness, was allegedly stabbed then raped and sodomised at knifepoint.

Prosecutors asked for an overnight adjournment or to call other witnesses while they sought to bring the woman back to court to continue testifying, but Judge Bradley refused.

The charges were withdrawn and the accused rapist was freed from custody.

Two days later police claim he allegedly tortured and raped the woman in an attack in which she was again stabbed multiple times.

It comes just days after an apparent crackdown on dangerous sex offenders, with the announcement Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie will be granted unprecedented powers to keep the “worst of the worst” in jail indefinitely.

Judge Bradley was previously at the centre of an international outcry when nine males escaped imprisonment despite admitting to the rape of a 10-year-old girl in Aurukun.

Judge Bradley did not impose jail time because the prosecution did not ask for sentences for any of the men.

The case was successfully appealed and five of the nine men were jailed or put in juvenile detention and three were given probation.

In the latest case, the judge decided there was no prospect of the woman returning to give evidence the next morning.

“Don’t stay around Mount Isa because you’re more likely to get into trouble here,” Judge Bradley told the man.

“But that’s the end of all matters before the courts in Queensland, so you’re free to go now but stay away from (the woman) and don’t break the law again.”

It was the third trial over the rape and assault after two previous trials had been aborted this year.

In the first trial the woman had trouble giving evidence after being asked to testify without a screen to shield her from the accused.

In that instance the jury told the presiding judge that they had seen the accused making facial gestures from the dock at the woman.

It is believed the second trial was abandoned after the woman again had trouble testifying.

The Courier-Mail obtained a transcript of the third trial, held in the District Court in Mount Isa.

'Rapist freed, attacks same woman again'

‘Rapist freed, attacks same woman again’

The transcript shows that after detailing some of the alleged attack to the court the woman left the court and said she could not go on.

She had been given repeated breaks by Judge Bradley, had a barrier in court to prevent the accused from seeing her and had a support person outside.

However Crown prosecutor Skye Jerome told the court the woman did not want to come back but maintained she had told the truth and was not retracting her evidence.

The woman claimed that she received a threatening phone call from the accused’s brother earlier in the year, Ms Jerome told the court.

The court heard the woman also claimed that as part of her culture she would be held responsible if the accused was hurt in prison, and she feared she would be dumped in a hole in the ground she had seen that would be filled with boiling water.

After consulting with a senior officer, Ms Jerome asked for the woman’s evidence to be stood down temporarily to allow her to call other witnesses.

“The reason why I still question whether she truly does not want to proceed is because she came to the courthouse and conferred with me on Monday. She’s turned up today to give evidence,” Ms Jerome said.

Judge Bradley replied that it seemed “you’re really delaying the inevitable”.

“It’s my assessment that she does understand the consequences of not coming back and not answering questions,” Judge Bradley said.

Defence barrister Claire McKinnon “strongly opposed” the application to interpose witnesses.

“Her evidence, if allowed to continue, will now be given in a piecemeal way,” Ms McKinnon said.

“By virtue of the fact that she’s left, it’s clear that she wants nothing to do with this proceeding.”

Judge Bradley ruled it would be unfair to interpose witnesses, prompting Ms Jerome to ask for an overnight adjournment, which was also declined.

“There’s really nothing that gives me any glimmer of hope that the complainant is going to be more amenable to giving evidence tomorrow morning than she is right now,” Judge Bradley said.

James Cook University adjunct professor and indigenous activist Gracelyn Smallwood called for an examination of the handling of the case.

“There’s got to be a review. The system failed,” she said.

Townsville Sexual Assault Service co-ordinator Cathy Crawford said the case highlighted how hard it was for women to give evidence in court about attacks, and the lack of support in Queensland.

“What we do lack is a system in Queensland that ensures a woman is supported from the day she walkes in and says `I was sexually assaulted’ to the end,” Ms Crawford said.

“There are limited sexual assault services especially in remote regions. There is not a stand-alone sexual assault service in Mount Isa that I’m aware of.”

The man – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – is back in custody on new charges of torture and rape over the latest attack and has been recharged with the previous rape and assault offences.

He will appear in the Mount Isa Magistrates Court at a later date.