Thursday, November 27, 2008

Predator who tried to lure woman using free Ipod sentenced to 15 years with 7 1/2 to serve

A sexual offender who attempted to rape a woman using a Craiglist listing for a free Ipod was sentenced to 15 years with 7 ½ to serve in Idaho’s Fourth District Court in Boise November 19. Stephen Newman, 33, was convicted of the attempted rape of Gretchen Hellar, then 28 this July.

[Hellar] responded to the ad in July 2007 but became suspicious when Newman told her to go to a porta potty at McDevitt Park off Eagle Road after dark to claim the iPod. She alerted police when she noticed a vehicle in the park. Police came and questioned Newman. They found a stocking cap, knife, bb gun, gloves and other items to tie someone up. Prosecutors called her actions heroic.

During the trial, a computer forensic expert found simulated rape videos on Newman's laptop, and some videos including himself.

Prosecutor Shelley Armstrong stated that the rape videos foreshadowed the luring incident, and that Newman wanted to rape a real victim. Before sentencing, Newman apologized for letting his sexual fantasies get out of control.

“I would just like deeply apologize to everybody that I hurt. I know that I have problem with sexual addiction and fantasies and that lead to this issue, and I'm anxious to get help," he said in front of an audience including his parents. The presiding judge was Fourth District Court Judge Mike Wetherell.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dan Savage - 28 year old survivor pressured into rape roleplay by "boyfriend"

Dear Dan: I am a 28-year-old woman who has been with my boyfriend for two years. I would call it a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship. I consider myself GGG, and every time my boyfriend has brought up a kink or variation, I've been willing to try it. Some things became a permanent part in our play; others have gone into the "tried that, didn't like it" pile without any problems.

Recently, though, there has been a problem. Eight years ago, I was raped. I have had counseling, but I am still sometimes troubled by nightmares and flashbacks. My boyfriend knows this. Lately, though, he has expressed a desire to explore rape scenarios. His ideal setup would be to obtain my consent in advance, then, sometime when the mood struck him, he would "attack" and take me, and I couldn't say no or use a safe word. Once the "rape" started, he could do whatever he wanted, and I would not be able to stop it.

I don't think I can do this, not without sending me into flashbacks. I told him that, and as this is the only time I have flat-out refused to even try one of his ideas, I hoped that would be the end of it. It hasn't been.

He has been pressing it more and more, and there have been times when I've had to leave the apartment, I've felt so threatened. I've told him that if he keeps pressuring me like this, I will end the relationship. He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, and that I have no regard for his needs. But I just can't let him rape me, even in play. Am I really being out of line for not giving in to him on this issue and telling him that continued pressure for this would end our relationship?

Needs Her Boundaries

Dump the motherfucker already. Someone who has experienced a shattering sexual trauma—rape, abuse, a world-class betrayal—has to make a good-faith effort to put the pieces back together again before entering into a new sexual and/or romantic relationship. We all have a right to expect emotional support from our partners, but our partners have a right to expect that we will be able to meet their reasonable sexual needs.

You did all the right things after you were raped, NHB. You got counseling, you got yourself together, and you entered this new relationship ready to be sexual and more than capable of meeting your partner's reasonable sexual needs. You are, however, suffering from some common after-effects of sexual trauma—nightmares, flashbacks—that you do not have to apologize for and that he has to be considerate of.

And considering your history—and considering that your boyfriend knew about your history going into this relationship—ruling out rape play is perfectly reasonable on your part and should have been expected on his. Had this conflict ended with your refusal—even if it elicited a little sulking and douchebaggery on your boyfriend's part—I wouldn't be telling you to DTMFA. This rises to the level of DTMFA for two reasons.

First, no safe word? Unreasonable. No way for you to call a stop to it? What if he decides to rape you when you have the flu? Or when your parents are in the next room? What if your fucking appendix bursts in the middle of this "scene"?

While some rape victims—excuse me: survivors—develop rape fantasies, those fantasies are paradoxically about control; the "victim" in a fantasy rape scenario gets to pick her "rapist," decides the hour and circumstances, and can call a halt to it at any time. A rape role-play scenario you can't stop when you decide you're done isn't just a rape role-play scenario. It's potentially rape. Just say no.

Second, the pressure. Stitch together all the red flags in China and you won't have one as large the one your boyfriend has raised. He's pressuring you to consent to sex that he knows is highly likely to leave you feeling traumatized. His unwillingness to drop this, NHB, suggests a desire on his part to traumatize you for real, not for pretend. And if you're already leaving the house because you feel unsafe, I would suggest that he's already succeeded in traumatizing you.

You thought this was "a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship," NHB. You were mistaken. DTMFA.

Kansas City rapist gets 2 1/2 decades in prison

Robert Greer Jr. was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday for the rape and beating of a woman last year on April 26, 2007.

According to court documents, Greer accused the 44-year-old female victim of stealing his wallet earlier in the day [4-26-07]. The man and woman who accompanied Greer left the residence, but Greer allegedly refused to let the victim leave. The victim told police Greer struck her in the head with a metal pipe and forced her to have sex with him. After he left, she managed to call police.

Greer, who turns 59 on New Years' Day, was sentenced by Judge Robert Schieber. The sentence was as follows - 20 years concurrently for forcible rape and forcible sodomy, and 5 years for armed criminal action, the criminal action sentence to run consecutively to the sex convictions.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

West suburban Chicago man sentenced to 13 years for rape, police chase

A 29 year old west suburban Chicago man was sentenced to 13 years in prison with 85% to serve for raping his ex girlfriend, then fleeing police on a high speed chase leading from Woodridge to an elderly Hinsdale couple's house. DuPage Circuit Judge Kathryn Creswell formally sentenced Joshua Colwell for the August 17, 2007 attack and police chase which led to an August 25, 2008 plea for aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated fleeing of a police officer.

Colwell insisted that night's violence was unlike him, but the woman he targeted said the anguish he inflicted upon her during their relationship speaks volumes about his true character. She had an active order of protection against him when he attacked.

After previous bouts of emotional and physical abuse, Colwell forced his way into his ex-girlfriend's Woodridge apartment, demanded one last kiss, then raped her. The victim, through tears, recounted that Colwell intended for a murder-suicide to occur.

"He had plans to end his own life that night and I truly believe he would have taken me with him had I not begged and pleaded with him. I am afraid that when he is released, he will find me and kill me. I fear that this is not over, the stalking, the calls, the confrontations and the unhealthy obsession. It will not be over until he has taken everything away from me."

Prosecutor Demetri Demopoulos described Colwell as a classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. The prosecutor sought the maximum punishment. "He will be deceitful and manipulative so long as it suits him," Demopoulos said.

Colwell did not have a prior felony criminal record. His attorney, Justin Sather, gave the judge two dozen letters from family and friends who describe Colwell as trustworthy, remorseful and a changed man. His loving parents and siblings fought back emotion while asking for mercy on his behalf.

While Sather cited 150 hours of classes taken at the DuPage County Jail as signs of rehabilitation, Judge Creswell stated that "it's amazing that no one was killed in all of this."

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault, a Class X felony, carries lifetime sex offender registration and a mandatory 6 to 30 year prison sentence in Illinois.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Woman held in beatings, object rapes of 16 year old niece

Mara L. Escobar, 35, of Worcester, MA was held on $25,000 bond and ordered to stay away from the 16 year old niece that she allegedly held in a "Cinderella" type situation for 5 years, where the victim suffered beatings, deprivtions as compared with cousins who lived in the same home, and rapes during her last year in servitude.

Arraigned yesterday in Worcester District Court, Escobar was charged with assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery on a child with injury, five counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of rape of a child with force.

Ms. Escobar was arrested last week after police said she held the girl in a “Cinderella-type situation” for five years, during which Ms. Escobar beat and raped the girl. Police said the girl told a social worker in September that she had been sexually assaulted and physically abused. The social worker notified the Department of Children and Families, which in turn notified the district attorney’s office and Worcester police. Detective Laura J. LaLiberte was the lead investigator for the Special Crimes Division.

Police said that while the girl lived with the woman and her two biological daughters, her mistreatment went beyond physical assault. For example, her daughters’ bedrooms were well-appointed with televisions, DVD players, video games, toys and wall posters. The other girl’s room was Spartan, with bare walls, a bureau, a single bed with one fitted sheet and a single blanket. The girl did the housework, police said.

According to authorities, the rapes, which involved objects such as a rose with thorns, ocured between June 1 last year and September this year. Escobar's next court appearance will be December 12.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Groping doctor sentenced to 2 months home confinement

Dr. Mathew Burman, who lives in Southfield, MI, but works in Bloomfield Township, MI, was sentenced to 60 days on a tether and 5 years probation after groping a female patient from Waterford Township at his practice. The victim and perp are both 63, and the incident occured after an eye exam in August 2007, when he claimed that he needed to check his victim's heart rate. Three other women testified that Dr. Burman inappropriately touched them.

Husband sentenced to 10 years in Idaho for attemped strangulation, choking of wife

A Nampa, ID man was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 5 to serve for beating, choking, setting their marital bed on fire and dousing his then wife with lighter fluid. Michael Eugene Hart, 29, was sentenced by Judge Gordon Petrie Monday, November 10 for the charges of arson and attempted strangulation for the attack on Jessica Holmes, who was able to flee her attacker with her two kids.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

71 year old Yonkers man pleads guilty to stabbing wife 30 times

Yonkers man, 71, pleads guilty to murder for stabbing, bludgeoning wife, 46

By Rebecca Baker The Journal News • November 12, 2008

WHITE PLAINS - A 71-year-old Yonkers man pleaded guilty this morning to murdering his wife, who was stabbed 30 times and bludgeoned with a mallet. In exchange for a prison term of 15 years to life, Mario Girau admitted to killing Maria Montalvo-Girau inside their Tuckahoe Road home last year.

He will be sentenced Jan. 16 for second-degree murder, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. His son from a previous marriage, Mario Jr., spoke to his father in a courthouse holding cell moments before the elder Girau took the plea deal in Westchester County Court.

At his arraignment in January, Assistant District Attorney Lana Hochheiser had said Girau "brutally and horrifically" stabbed his 46-year-old wife in the chest, back and abdomen a total of 30 times, and beat her head with a mallet.

The victim's then 6-year-old son, Nathaniel, was home during the killing and saw his mother's bloody body on the floor. Hochheiser was going to put the boy on the stand, but the guilty plea will spare him from testifying.

The boy, now 7, is living with Girau's daughter in Westchester County, defense lawyer David Rich said.

Girau had told police he didn't remember if he killed his wife, but said he did remember arguing with her about how much time she spent on the computer the night before she was killed.
Montalvo-Girau was a mother of four children and a nurse who had worked with the blind.
Girau, a retired merchant seaman, has 11 children.

Illegal immigrant convicted of rape of Valparaiso, IN college students - sentenced to 36 years

(Original Post 8-21-08)

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford will sentence a 21 year old man for the rape of a Valiparaiso student and attempted rape of another in the fall. Arturo Garcia-Torres, an illegal Mexican immigrant, was found guilty Wednesday after a jury deliberation of about an hour of the Class B Indiana felonies of rape, attempted rape, and 2 counts of burglary. The rape occurred July 18, 2004 and the attempted rape occurred June 12, 2005. Each Class B felony carries a sentence range of 6 to 20 years, which can be halved with good behavior in prison.

Defense attorney Visvaldis Kupsis challenged the accuracy of the investigation by repeatedly questioning Horn as to what shared characteristics there were beyond that both attackers were Hispanic males.Kupsis pointed out there was an age difference between the two descriptions and attempted to distinguish the physical builds of the men as well.

But Horn said both women described the man as thin and one added he had a muscular build. Kupsis told the jury Tuesday the charges against Garcia-Torres are based on a hastily done investigation by a police department under pressure to find the person responsible for the high-profile attacks on the Valparaiso University students.

In addition to differences in the physical descriptions, he said a cell phone that helped lead police to Garcia-Torres was recovered several blocks away from the crime scene and in the opposite direction of where the attacker reportedly fled.

Valparaiso Detective Lt. Tom Horn acknowledged the differences in descriptions, but said enough evidence, including DNA evidence led police to Garcia Torres. Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek presented the evidence, a mouth swab collected from Garcia-Torres. The defense failed to throw out the evidence, but Horn stated that Torres shook his head instead of giving verbal consent because he speaks Spanish only.

Garcia-Torres’ sentencing will be scheduled to be be held on November 14.

(Update 11-16-08) Garcia Torres was sentenced to 36 years in prison Friday, and deportation after his prison term ends. Judge Roger Bradford said that Garcia-Torres' illegal immigrant stauts was an aggravating factor in the sentence.

Brian's Rant - what if sex crimes and DV against adults were taken as seriously as those against minors?

Brian's Rant

I’m thinking about what laws would have to do and accomplish if domestic violence and sex crimes against adults was treated like child sexual abuse.

It would mean that sex crimes as defined would be broadened and expanded to include grooming of not only kids, but also adults for sexual assault. It would mean that consent would be negated not just when it comes to minor status, but also under circumstances where two adults have different power (not just teachers, prison guards, and mental health professionals).

Sexual harassment could lead to criminal charges, not civil charges, and CSA victims may actually stay a protected class after 18 or 21 (due to statistics which state child molestation leads to a much higher risk of rape and other adult sexual victimization). Professional-client sex would be criminalized, as well as situations where repeat rapists have used “dating” to go after women (not just kids).

If DV was treated as seriously as CSA, parents would be able to file restraining orders on behalf of their grown kids under certain circumstances, regardless of the age of the grown child, and regardless of whether the abuser is a boyfriend, husband, or other person. A parent with a 32 year old child who has been married for 4 years and known her partner for 8 years has still known their child 4 times as long as the husband. Nothing can replace a bond between a parent and a child, but all other relationships can be abused.

These laws would recognize that “date” rape, maritial rape, and “boyfriend” rape occurs when sexual predators groom adult victims into a relationship when in reality, that “partner” is looking to abuse a woman in the same way pedophiles abuse 10 year olds. It would recognize the sexual relationship as a tool for the ASP (adult sexual predator) to dissolve the woman’s boundaries so he could rape her.

Also, DV could be prosecuted as a form of child abuse when the woman’s kids have to see their father beating their mother. I say child abuse because it’s a form of emotional abuse for kids to see violence. Studies show that kids who grow up with violence in their households are more likely to be involved with abuse as adults.

One thing that I do not get is why can’t courts order people who attack women (whether sexually or non-sexually) be barred from having contact with women as a group in the same way that RSO’s are often barred from contact with kids? In some cases, it would make sense for DV abusers and sex offenders who prey on adults not to have contact with that group of adults in the same way pedophiles can be barred from contact with minors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Husband who emotionally abused wife for 27 years gets 8 years for rape

An Illinois man was sentenced to prison for raping his then wife August of 2007 on November 7. Because of the lack of prior criminal history, his 8 year sentence was significantly lower than the victim's desire for a 15 year sentence.

On Sept. 17 in La Salle County Circuit Court, a jury found the 52-year-old Michael Karns guilty of one count of sexual assault, but not guilty of two other counts. Karns will get credit for time spent in the county jail since his conviction, but must otherwise serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, meaning a little more than three years.

The rape occurred Aug. 2, 2007, at the Karns' rural Sheridan house. Karns' wife filed for divorce a few days after, with the divorce finalized Sept. 25. Karns had been a heavy equipment operator for a company in Naperville and had a heart attack a few months after he was charged.
Prosecutor Matt Kidder wanted a sentence of eight years in prison. The minimum sentence permitted by law is four years in prison and the maximum is 15 years; probation was not an option.

In arguing for eight years, Kidder said Karns lied when he took the witness stand at trial as his testimony was at odds with an incriminating phone conversation Karns had with his wife that sheriff's office investigators had recorded with the wife's cooperation.

Kidder further said Karns' wife suffered physical and emotional pain from the assault, with Karns "betraying the sanctuary of their marriage and home," by violating the trust his wife had placed in him as her husband.

Kidder said that the wife wanted the maximum sentence, 15 years for the class 1 felony, but due to the lack of prior criminal history, acknowledged that the maximum sentence was not realistic. "We can more readily accept a stranger doing this than a husband."

Fred Morelli, Karns’ attorney, used the lack of criminal history and the work history he had before the rape to argue for the minimum 4 year sentence.

Morelli also brought up discrepancies between the phone conversation and Karns’ testimony suggesting that he tried to make up with his then wife, summing the assault as “an total aberration.”

Karns, when he testified, asked for forgiveness not just from his victim, but the two sons they had together. "I hope the healing process will be a quick one for, first my ex-wife and then my family."

Judge Raccuglia stated that during the 27 year marriage, that Karns controlled his victim without physical abuse. Raccuglia believed that the victim wanted the maximum sentence for the years of control as well as the rape, but that she could not do that. "I can't punish Mr. Karns for the years he kept his wife a prisoner."

It has a name – emotional/mental abuse. There does not have to be sexual or physical assault to have a victim and a perpetrator.

Raccuglia also took note Karns had no prior run-ins with the law, except for a few traffic tickets -- a rare occurrence for a person convicted of such a serious offense as is Karns. She added she doubted Karns would again commit a sex assault and he probably didn't believe he did anything wrong.

Believing that you did not do anything wrong is usually an aggravating factor since this is a sign of arrogance and entitlement.

Judge Raccuglia made this curious statement about the perp's "love" for his victim.

"He loved her to the point of detriment to himself and his family." Nope, that’s not love – that’s obsession, power and control disguised as love.

Australian teacher sentenced to 5 1/2 years for sexual misconduct - 19 year old "girlfriend" also considered victim

A former teacher from a small town in Western Australia's south will spend at least five-and-a-half years in jail for having consensual sex with two of his students. Brett Rodney Daley, 34, pleaded guilty [November 5] to having sex with a child aged between 13 and 16, and sex with a girl aged 16 years who were in his care.

District Court Judge Mary Ann Yates on Thursday said Daley had caused life-long trauma and stress to his victims. Daley was a teacher at the town's school, a soccer coach, a mentor and counsellor to many students and was looked up to by many in the community, the court heard.

The court heard Daley had sex with one of his female students in the gymnasium of the local high school in March 2006 and then at various locations around town, late at night, until July 31.
He then took up having sex with another girl on the soccer team, sometimes including his 19-year-old partner, Natasha Charmaine Krispyn, a co-offender in some of the acts.
Judge Yeats said the worst of Daley's actions was the breach of community trust.

It was not Daley but the teenage girls who called off the sexual relationships, she said.
"In the case of both of the complainants, it was not the offender that ceased the offending," she said. Until Krispyn became aware of his conduct, he had also committed the acts behind his partner's back.

But Judge Yeats gave Daley credit for pleading guilty to the eight charges, saying he had saved the two victims the trauma of coming to court. However, he had not entered his plea at the earliest possibly opportunity and this also had been taken into account.

A member of Daley's family began sobbing openly in court when Judge Yeats said she trusted that Daley would enter sex offender treatment both in prison and when on parole.
Judge Yeats also expressed concern that aged only 19 at the time, Krispyn herself could be considered one of his victims.

Krispyn, who now has a one-year-old child to Daley and remains his partner, pleaded guilty to sexual penetration of one of the girls, and received a two-year suspended sentence.
Judge Yeats sentenced Daley to seven-and-a-half years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.
© 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mental patient's sex charges reduced to unlawful restraint

Jason Haegler, 36, of Woodstock, Illinois, was released from Lake County Jail after serving 28 months while awaiting trial. The man plead guilty to unlawful restraint after a sexual encounter with a female mental health patient after they were both undergoing treatment. Prosecutors dropped sex charges because they felt that they could not prove their original case. Haegler's sentence was 364 days in jail, far less than time served.

Haegler was arrested in the summer of 2006 after a mental patient at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Lake Barrington said she had sex with him in a hospital bathroom. Haegler met the 21-year-old woman while he was undergoing mental evaluation. The two talked and agreed to have sex in a bathroom inside his hospital room, said prosecutor Reggie Mathews.
Haegler was charged with sexual assault because the woman was not of the mental mindset to give consent, Mathews said.

In Illinois, unlawful restraint is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. Presumably, Haegler won't have to register as a sex offender (non sexual crimes can require registration if sexual motives are found to play a role).

Husband sentenced to life without parole for killing wife, stepson over church attendance

A Brazilian immigrant to Massachusetts was sentenced to life without parole for killing his wife and stepson over her time spent with her church. Superior Court Judge John Lu sentenced Jeremias Bins to the consecutive life terms for 1st degree murder after he was convicted by a Massachusetts jury.

Prosecutors said a bloodied Bins took a cab to the Framingham police station in May 2006, walked in and said he had just bludgeoned his wife and stepson with a hammer. He handed the couple's 5-month-old son, Phillipe, to officers and said, "I'm sorry."

Carla Souza, 37, and her elder [11 year old] son Caique had been found an hour earlier by police who responded to her 911 call.

Souza was an active member of the Framingham ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About two hours before the killings, Bins called ward members and told them he did not want "you missionaries" at his home any more.

The couple met through the church when Bins, who was learning English as a 2nd language, met Souza, who taught some of the classes. Church members, who knew that Bins did not approve of his wife going to the Mormon Church, were still stunned after learning she was killed over it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From housemother to expectant mother - Ohio teacher pleads guilty to sex with 16 year old boy who fathered unborn baby

(Original post 9-17-08)

A 26 year old former suburban Cincinnati teacher and housemother at a home for troubled youths plead guilty to 3 counts of sexual battery on a 16 year old boy she was supposed to supervise. The court case was heard at the Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon, OH. The guilty pleas Carolynn Hatcher made to the sex offenses today require registration as an Ohio Tier 3 sex offender, which means she'll be on The List for life and will have to renew every 90 days. Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel dropped three other sexual battery charges against Hatcher.

The plea is open, meaning that the prosecution and the defense did not come to any agreement on any sentence length, which could range from probation to 5 years, but Judge James Flannery said that “It’s hard for me to fathom a scenario where I will not sentence you to prison."

The sexual relationship took place from April 8 to May 8 at the Mid-Western Children’s Home in Pleasant Plain. The boy was placed there because of abuse by his family of origin, and also because of juvenile convictions.

The allegations came to light from another child who lived in the home, said Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel. The private, nonprofit group home has been a fixture in Warren County for as long as Hutzel can remember, with a relatively problem-free history.

Midwestern officials responded properly to the allegations, and took quick steps to protect the child, [Executive Director Of Butler COunty Children Services Mike]Fox said, including alerting police and Children Services. The boy was not immediately removed from the home because Hatcher had left the home by the time the allegations surfaced, officials said. He was placed in a Fairfield foster home July 11 and a caseworker last checked on the boy there Friday, Fox said.

Midwestern fired Hatcher in June, and Hatcher has told investigators that she was 10 weeks pregnant – and that the teen is the baby’s father, Hutzel said. “This boy was put into care because he was in a troubled home,” Hutzel said. “This woman was supposed to be part of the solution. Instead, she became part of the problem.”Children Services interviewed all other Butler County children who were placed with Hatcher at Midwestern, and found no other serious concerns.

After Hatcher's indictment, the boy ran away, but officials could not enlist the public's help in finding him because of his sex abuse victim status and his foster child status.

Fox's comment about the case is below.

“We’ve had people out looking for him all day. It’s heartbreaking to have a child come into our care and custody, and have him be violated while he’s in our care and custody…Did we do everything reasonable in this case to try to make sure something like this didn’t happen? The answer is yes.”

A few days later, the boy was found safe and placed in the custody of another relative. Carolynn's husband Robert also worked in the group home. Separated at the time of the arrest and indictment, they are now divorced. Sentencing is set for November 5.

(Update 11-6-08)

Hatcher was sentenced to 3 years in prison yesterday by Judge James Flannery, after facing a 5 to 15 year prison term. Now six months pregnant, Flannery ordered her to turn herself in on February 10, so she could have her baby and arrange for her mother to retain custody of it. Hatcher was designated a Tier 3 sexual predator, who under Ohio law, must register her work, school, and home addresses every 90 days for life.

Judge Flannery's reasons for the sentence is below.

"The child is certainly innocent and has nothing to do with what is going on here...This has been taboo in virtually every society since the history of man. Older people are not allowed to have sexual relationships with children, particularly those under their care or supervision. There’s no wiggle. There's no debate."

Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel stated that the reason she sought the maximum sentence is "Ms. Hatcher was put in a position to protect a young man that had been abused, and rather than protect him, she took advantage of him."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

North Carolina man sentenced to life without parole for murder of baby's mama

Robert Lee Byrd pled guilty to 1st degree murder on October 27 in the death of his baby’s mama. The 42 year old man was sentenced to life without parole in a North Carolina courtroom. Chasdadi Michelle Stroud, 32, was stabbed multiple times, with knife wounds which penetrated as deep as 6 ½ inches and organs like her lungs. Byrd was arrested in Statesville, NC after he told his sister and other family members that he stabbed Stroud. Rotonda Stroud asked the landlord to check on her sister after the statements.

The couple had been on and off for the past 16 years, and the 3 year old son they had was at the scene of his mother’s murder. The motive for Stroud’s murder was Byrd’s jealousy that the victim had a new boyfriend.

"If I can't have her, nobody can," Byrd told investigators, according to Brown.

In June 2007, Davie County Child Support Enforcement filed a child-support claim on Stroud's behalf against Byrd. That October, Byrd was ordered to pay $103 a month in child support, but he didn't pay, according to court records filed in Davie County.

He failed to appear in court several times for child-support hearings, and in March of this year, he was found in contempt of court and ordered arrested. By that time, Byrd owed $721 in child support, according to court records.Brown said Stroud's family had indicated that Chasdadi Stroud had been abused by Byrd, but there is no evidence that she filed a restraining order against Byrd.

The victim’s parents have custody of their 3 year old grandson as well as another son they had.

Erie, PA teacher pleads guilty to sexually abusing 16 year old student

(Original Post 9-6-08)

Erica Baker, a 24 year old Corry, PA teacher, pled guilty to a count of corruption of a minor in a Erie, PA court on September 3, which capped the maximum sentence at 5 years and a $10,000 fine, led to the dropping of 2 additional counts of corruption of a minor, and led to the permanent surrenDer of the former student teacher’s teaching license.

The victim and Baker met last year when Baker was a student teacher at Strong Vincent High School. They became friends, and when the school year ended, sexual partners. Baker was hired as a substitute teacher at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School in August, but the girl and baker were still seeing each other.

They drove to a campground near Presque Isle State Park, where the sexual contact occurred (three times, according to police, during August and September). She was caught in November last year and admitted to the allegations against her on November 9, and was arrested November 13. Baker was suspended without pay from her substitute position 3 days before the formal arrest.

The next day, according to the Erie School District’s lawyer Richard Perhacs, they were informed of the charges.

"The principal reason why she is suspended is the district does not have any access to the information that has apparently caused her to be arrested. We don't have cause to terminate the substitute contract early, but it's the district's feeling that, with the arrest and the public charge against this person, it's inappropriate for her to work. We can't put her in a classroom with an accusation like this over her head."

Perhacs said intimate encounters between students and teachers are on the rise, even though many of the incidents do not rise to the level of criminal activity. However, many still result in faculty terminations.

"In recent years, these cases have come to light primarily because the culture has changed, and I think people, particularly young people, affected by these types of behaviors, have become a lot more likely to come forward and tell people about them and report them.”

Sentencing is scheduled for October 23.

(Update 11-5-08)

Baker was sentenced to between 3 and 12 months in prison with 4 years of probation to follow for the sexual encounters she had with her student on Thursday, October 30. Erie County Judge John Garhart dismissed a plea deal which would have lead to a probation only sentence, stating “If a teacher gets involved with a student, jail time will be served.” His reason for the jail sentence was because “what she did was with a protected class of person – a minor.”

Baker was found to be in a position of authority when she had sex with her victim in a campground near Presque Isle State Park, while Charbel Latour, Baker’s lawyer, tried to argue that Baker was not her teacher at the time of the encounters. “She is a genuine person. She made a mistake. She allowed her emotions to get the better of her with a person who was younger than 18.”

The prosecutor, the victim’s mother, and Judge Garhart stated that the grooming started while Baker taught the victim. The mother said “she was writing my daughter letters while she was teaching her class.” After Judge Garhart heard arguments from both sides, and the plea deal struck, which included teacher license forfeiture, he said that the

“The court responsibility is to speak to a larger audience than the victim. The commonwealth and the defense are entitled to reach any agreement they want. In the end, the decision is mine.”