Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kelly Ann Abdo, Monroe, Mi teacher, pleads no contest to indecent exposure

(Original post 2-13-09)

Kelly Ann Abdo pled no contest to a single count of indecent exposure February 11 for having sex with an 18 year old student in a parked car on a street in Monroe, MI last May. According to authorities, 2 other Monroe High (MI) students saw Abdo and the victim going at it.

The Monroe County Prosecutor's Office charged Ms. Abdo with indecent exposure because under Michigan law a teacher and a student can have sexual relations legally if the student is 18 or over.

Assistant Prosecutor Amara Hunter said the student in the car was not charged with indecent exposure because Ms. Abdo had relations with multiple students. Additionally she was older and should have shown more responsibility because she was the teacher."This is the best resolution to this case," Ms. Hunter said after the hearing. "It was poor judgment on her part."

The plea agreement, accepted by 1st District Court Judge Terrence Bronson yesterday February 11, calls for a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $1000 fine. The Monroe County (MI) Prosecutor's Office agreed not to file any more charges against Abdo, and Abdo agreed to have her teaching certificate revoked for at least 2 years.

The no contest plea works the same as a guilty plea in criminal proceedings, but affords protection to defendants facing civil lawsuits. The formal sentencing of Abdo will occur March 25.

(Update 3-26-09) Abdo was formally sentenced to two years probation yesterday. Other conditions of the plea agreement include 30 days of community service, $1175 in fines and fees, no unsupervised contact with minors, no teaching anywhere for the next two years, and not challenging her firing by the school district.

"It didn't happen," Mr. [Mark S.] Bilkovic [Abdo's lawyer] said. "I'm not happy she was charged or convicted of anything."He said his client did have phone conversations with students and sent them text messages, but that was all.

Asked why she would plead guilty to a criminal charge, Mr. Bilkovic said Ms. Abdo pleaded to the misdemeanor offense to avoid having her family endure a painful trial. Besides, he added, if she did not accept a plea to the indecent exposure charge, the prosecutor's office threatened to file a 15-year felony charge against her.

Abdo spoke about the charges for the first time after her formal sentencing.

"This past year has been a nightmare...This has affected my family even worse than it affected me. The rumors and media are not correct."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oklahoma sheriff charged, convicted of numerous counts of rape - sentenced to 79 years

(Original Post 4-19-08)

Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess of Oklahoma was indicted on 35 counts, including 14 counts of 2nd degree rape, 5 counts of bribery by a public official and 7 counts of forcible oral sex for allegedly coercing and bribing inmates to participate in sex games.

Burgess, the top officer in the county of 26,000 since 1994, appeared in court Wednesday was released after posting $50,000 bail.

"We are stunned," Undersheriff Kenneth Tidwell said Thursday.

Attorney Steve Huddleston said that he has not had a chance to review all the allegations against his client, but that "Mr. Burgess is anxious to go to court and clear his name."

Among other things, Burgess is accused of having sex with a female drug court participant who was in his custody. The crimes are to have occurred between October 2005 and April 2007.

A dozen former inmates filed a federal lawsuit last October alleging that they were offered cigarettes for flashing their breasts and employees and forced to engage in wet T-shirt contests.

One prisoner alleged she became a jail trusty with more freedom after agreeing to perform a sex act on Burgess, but lost that status when she later refused.

Burgess also faces two counts each of sexual battery, rape by instrumentation and subornation of perjury, and one count each of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, indecent exposure and kidnapping.

He could be sentenced to 467 years in prison if convicted on all counts, special prosecutor James Boring said, though a lesser sentence would be more likely.

No other officials have been charged or implicated at this time. [It seems like there are others besides the Sheriff who participated. He couldn't have done all of this by himself. Someone had to distribute the cigarettes].

(Update 8-16-08) Jennifer Tyler, a former deputy sheriff now an officer in Washington State, testified in the preliminary hearing Tuesday that Burgess put his hand down her pants, feeling her buttocks and waistline when she was fitting her uniform for the job on her first day.

"It's degrading to have someone who just hired you to stick his hands down your pants," Tyler said.

The defense atorney, Tim Henderson, asked why Tyler did not just punch him out or report him to officials and not just her husband, and she said "I needed a job."

On another occasion, she alleged that Burgess grabbed her butt outside a OKC restraunt while another deputy watched, and placed his left hand on her thigh under the table while inside it.

Henderson asked why Tyler did not protest, and she said, "I needed the insurance. I needed the job. I had a baby to feed."

Tyler also claimed she had an unwanted encounter with Burgess in a hallway outside District Judge Charles L. Goodwin's courtroom. On that occasion, she claimed Burgess grabbed her buttocks from behind and attempted to pull her against his body. A struggle ensued while Burgess "laughed."

"Finally," Tyler said, "I broke through the door where a group of attorneys had congregated."

Henderson then implied that Tyler should have punched Burgess out, and that Tyler was willing to compromise her morals for a job. (If Tyler had done so, she could be charged with battery on a police officer, or even shot, while the officer claimed self-defense. Losing her job would be the least of her worries).

"So you were willing to compromise your morals for a $24,000-a-year-job?" Henderson barked.
"I guess so,"
Tyler said sheepishly. "I did."

(Update 1-19-09) Burgess was convicted of 13 felony counts for using his position to coerce drug court defendants and inmates into sex. A Major County jury convicted Burgess on 13 counts, including 5 counts of 2nd degree rape. The jury recommended that Burgess serve a 94 year sentence. Formal sentencing will be March 24. The jury also acquitted Burgess of 23 other counts.

Burgess was [also] convicted of three counts of bribery by a public official; two counts of forcible sodomy; and one count each of kidnapping, sexual battery and engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses.

Under Oklahoma law, inmate/guard sex is deemed non consensual, and others who "control the conditions" of an inmates confinement also can't legally consent to sex with inmates. Because Burgess administered a drug court in Custer County, prosecutors alleged that he controlled the condiitons of confinement.

Victims testified that they feared that they would be sent to prison if they did not provide sexual favors to Burgess, with one victim having sex with him over a 14 month period.

Defense lawyer Steve Huddleston contended that drug court defendants were controlled by a judge, not Burgess, and said the women were hoping a verdict against Burgess in criminal court would translate to a payday for them in a civil case.

Prosecutor Jim Swartz in closing arguments, stated "If you're going to act like an animal, you're going to be caged like an animal." After the verdict, prosecutor Mike Boring stated that "I think this is an extremely important decision. This kind of action cannot be tolerated in our society."

Steve Huddleston, Burgess' defense attorney, said his client will appeal.

(Update 3-25-09) Burgess was sentenced to 79 years in prison and a $15,000 fine by Associate District Judge N. Vince Barefoot yesterday. Jurors recommended 94 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Victim Brenda Brown said, "I’m relieved he’s being put away for a long time. I know I feel safer. I also feel compassion for his family. But I also know I didn’t put them in this position. Mike Burgess did.”

Brown's mother, Sue McDougall, wrote letters to Judge Barefoot explaining that Burgess need to be made an example of.

"I basically said we needed to make him (Burgess) an example for those in law enforcement who want to use their positions and power against those who are vulnerable. Brenda was trying to start her life over again when he forced her to do all those things. He should be punished.”

Joy Lee Mason, another victim, held hands with Brown, stating "We were just clenching each other’s hands. I have a very hard time looking at him. It’s just too hard. There’s no telling how far he set me back in my recovery. Right now, I’m pretty much back to square one.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

US military rape reports rise 8% - Pentagon

Reports of sexual assault by US military personnel against both fellow troops and civilians rose by 8% last year to 2,923, the Pentagon says. The number of incidents reported in Iraq and Afghanistan rose by about a quarter on the previous year to 163.

Pentagon officials say the jump in reports suggests the department's policy of encouraging victims to come forward is bearing results. But they estimate that no more than 20% of attacks are actually reported.

"Given the fear and stigma associated with the crime, sexual assault remains one of our nation's most under-reported crimes in both the military and civilian community," said Dr Kaye Whitley, the director of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault and Prevention Office.

She said the rise in reported incidents did not necessarily mean sex crimes were increasing but that victims were less afraid to come forward.

"The department has been aggressively pursuing efforts to increase reporting and convince more victims to seek care and support services," she said.

Among the report's findings:

There were 2,923 reported sexual assaults in the 2008 fiscal year, up from 2,688 in 2007 .

There [were] 251 incidents in combat areas, including 141 in Iraq and 22 in Afghanistan.

Investigations took place in 2,763 cases. In 832 cases, action was taken, including 317 courts-martial, a rise of 38%.

Of the 6.8% of women and 1.8% of men who indicated they had experienced unwanted sexual contact, the majority - 79% of women and 78% of men - chose not to report it.

The Pentagon acknowledges that despite the increase in reported attacks and action taken, "the question will be asked why every single reported case did not go to courts-martial". One possible explanation, the report says, is the complexity of sexual assault investigations and prosecutions.

Unwanted sexual contact is defined as ranging from touching to rape. Of the reported attacks, 63% were rape or aggravated assault. The report covers rape and sexual assaults across the 1.4 million active members of the US military. Cases are defined as involving at least one member of the military as either alleged attacker or victim.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mt Clemens, MI teacher convicted for sex with student

(Original Post 5-31-08)
Janelle Batkins, 42, a former Michigan teacher, plead guilty to 2 counts of 2nd degree CSC today. The former teacher was charged because while normally, 17 year olds can consent to sex, in Michigan, teachers who have sex with 17 year olds are charged with either second or third degree CSC.
Initially there were 9 counts of 2nd degree CSC, but that was plead down to two counts of second degree CSC, with the sentences to be served consecutively. The five sexual encounters took place at her home during the 2006-7 school year.
Macomb Assistant Prosecutor Jean Femminineo said that while prosecutors were willing to try Batkins in a court of law, the victim's family wanted to get the ordeal of court appearances over with.

"We were ready to proceed and go to trial and put the defendant behind bars. [The victim's family] indicated they want to end this today. They are tired of it. They don't want to go to trial. They want this to be over."

Batkins could face up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced July 2 by Judge Mark Switalski. She will have to register as a sex offender.

Authorities say the two had a six-month relationship that began with friendship and escalated to include phone calls, text messages and e-mails. The teen testified during a preliminary exam in Clinton Township District Court that the relationship began to heat up after he turned 17 in October 2006. The pair was caught when one of Batkins' sons came home unexpectedly, the teen testified.

Batkins resigned from her 15-year job before she was charged. She was named 2002 Teacher of the Year. The teenage victim has since graduated from Roseville High School and is planning to go to college.

Defense attorney David Griem said that the boy blackmailed Batkins, thretening to expose the relationship and calling her names. He also cited the fact that the relationship would have been legal except for the fact that she was his teacher.

"If it wasn't for this statute, it would have been no harm, no foul," Griem said. "The risk was so huge, there was really no alternative here. Her biggest concern was to bring this case to an end."
(Update 7-3-08) Batkins pleaded guilty to two counts of 2nd degree CSC, a more serious charge than the 9 counts of 3rd degree CSC, because second degree criminal sexual conduct does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. Besides placement on the SO list and loss of her teaching position, Batkins has also lost her pension. She was formally sentenced to 3 years probation by Judge Judge Mark Switalski.
Her lawyer, David Griem, considers it a win because she'll serve no jail time and isn't required to wear a tether. That allows her to stay with her husband and two children, he said.
"I was very relieved," Griem said after the hearing.
Though her plea was to a more serious charge, it allowed Switalski more latitude in sentencing because both first-degree and third-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions carry with them mandatory imprisonment sentences. Second degree does not.
(Update 3-20-09) Batkins was caught violating her probation by watching her son's wrestling match held at the Palace Ot Auburn Hills. He was a finalist at the state wrestling championships, and Batkins' presence at the competition violated her probation conditions of not being around minors.
According to defense attorney David Griem, his client did not violate her probation by attending the meet based on two reasons. For one, at The Palace, she reportedly stayed in a suite with other adults.

“The probation officers in her report to the court (stated) in careful review of the Student Safety Zone Act, the defendant does not appear to have violated that act,” Griem said.

As a second defense, Griem said, the accuser took pictures of Batkins while at the wrestling finals.
“He was stalking her and taking photos of her,” said Griem, adding that describing the complainant in the case as a victim “is a complete denigration of that word.”
Batkins was fined $500.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guardian - South African lesbians at risk of "corrective" rape, murder

The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa's acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa's best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema.

Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbians in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call "corrective rape" committed by men behind the guise of trying to "cure" lesbians of their sexual orientation.

Now, a report by the international NGO ActionAid, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, condemns the culture of impunity around these crimes, which it says are going unrecognised by the state and unpunished by the legal system.

The report calls for South Africa's criminal justice system to recognise hate crimes, including corrective rape, as a separate crime category. It argues this will force police to take action over the rising violence and ensure the resources and support is provided to those trying to bring perpetrators to justice.

The ferocity and brutality of Simelane's murder sent shockwaves through Kwa Thema, where she was much known and loved for bringing sports fame to the sprawling township.

Her mother, Mally Simelane, said she always feared for her daughter's safety but never imagined her life would be taken in such a way.

"I'm scared of these people that they are going to come and kill me too because I don't know what happened," she said. "Why did they do this horrible thing? Because of who she was? She was a sweet lady, she never fought with anyone, but why would they kill her like this? She was stabbed, 25 holes in her. The whole body, even under the feet."

The Guardian talked to lesbians in townships in Johannesburg and Cape Town who said they were being deliberately targeted for rape and that the threat of violence had become an everyday ordeal.

"Every day I am told that they are going to kill me, that they are going to rape me and after they rape me I'll become a girl," said Zakhe Sowello from Soweto, Johannesburg.

"When you are raped you have a lot of evidence on your body. But when we try and report these crimes nothing happens, and then you see the boys who raped you walking free on the street."

Research released last year by Triangle, a leading South African gay rights organisation, revealed that a staggering 86% of black lesbians from the Western Cape said they lived in fear of sexual assault. The group says it is dealing with up to 10 new cases of "corrective rape" every week.

"What we're seeing is a spike in the numbers of women coming to us having been raped and who have been told throughout the attack that being a lesbian was to blame for what was happening to them," said Vanessa Ludwig, the chief executive at Triangle.

Support groups claim an increasingly aggressive and macho political environment is contributing to the inaction of the police over attacks on lesbians and is part of a growing cultural lethargy towards the high levels of gender-based violence in South Africa.

"When asking why lesbian women are being targeted you have to look at why all women are being raped and murdered in such high numbers in South Africa," said Carrie Shelver, of women's rights group Powa, a South African NGO.

"So you have to look at the increasingly macho culture, which seeks to oppress women and sees them as merely sexual beings. So when there is a lesbian woman she is an absolute affront to this kind of masculinity."

A statement released by South Africa's national prosecuting authority said: "While hate crimes – especially of a sexual nature – are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritised as a specific project."

The failure of police to follow up eyewitness statements and continue their investigation into another brutal double rape and murder of lesbian couple Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Massooa in July 2007 has led to the formation of the 07-07-07 campaign, a coalition of human rights and equality groups calling for justice for women targeted in these attacks.

Sigasa and Massooa were tortured, gang raped and shot near their homes in Meadowland, Soweto in July 2007, shortly after being verbally abused outside a bar.

Human rights and equality campaigners are hoping that the public outrage and disgust at Simelane's death and the July trial of the three men accused of her rape and murder will help put an end to the spiralling violence increasingly faced by lesbians across South Africa.

Despite more than 30 reported murders of lesbians in the last decade, Simelane's trial has produced the first conviction, when one man who pleaded guilty to her rape and murder was jailed last month.

On sentencing, the judge said that Simelane's sexual orientation had "no significance" in her killing. The trial of a further three men pleading not guilty to rape, burglary and murder will start in July.

In Soweto and Kwa Thema, women seem unconvinced that Simelane's case will change anything for the better.

Phumla talks of her experience of being taught a "classic lesson" by a group of men who abducted and raped her when she was returning from football training in 2003. She says that "practically every" lesbian in her community has suffered some form of violence in the past year and that it will take more than one trial to stop this happening.

"Every day you feel like its a time bomb waiting to go off," she said. "You don't have freedom of movement, you don't have space to do as you please. You are always scared and your life always feels restricted. As women and as lesbians we need to be very aware that it is a fact of life that we are always in danger."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fritzl daughter confronts incestuous "father"

ST. POELTEN, Austria (AP) – The woman who bore seven children through incest and was allegedly locked in a squalid dungeon for 24 years confronted her father Tuesday in a videotape shown in court — testimony that could send him to prison for life. Josef Fritzl, 73, has been charged with murder, enslavement, incest and rape in a case that has drawn media attention from around the world for its shocking allegations.

On Tuesday, jurors, Fritzl and the rest of the court viewed videotaped testimony from his daughter Elisabeth, the key witness against Fritzl. Now 42, she was 18 when he allegedly imprisoned her in the cramped, windowless cell he built beneath the family's home in Amstetten.

Fritzl watched his daughter's testimony "very carefully and very attentively and provided answers to questions" by the prosecutor, jury and judge, court spokesman Franz Cutka told reporters after the closed-door session.

Those in court also saw videotaped testimony from Harald, one of Elisabeth's brothers, Cutka said.

Fritzl has pleaded guilty to incest with Elisabeth and false imprisonment, but is contesting negligent homicide and enslavement charges against him and has acknowledged only partial guilt on rape and coercion charges.

Fritzl has been charged with homicide in the death of an infant — a male twin born to Elisabeth in April 1996 — who prosecutors say might have survived with proper medical care had he and his mother not been locked in the basement.

Police say DNA tests prove Fritzl is the biological father of all six of Elisabeth's surviving children, three of whom never saw daylight until the crime came to light 11 months ago.

Fritzl could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of homicide. He faces up to 20 years behind bars if found guilty of enslavement, up to 15 for a rape conviction, and one year for an incest conviction.

Fritzl again hid his face behind a blue binder and stayed silent Tuesday as he was led into the court in St. Poelten, west of Vienna, for the second day of his trial.

Reporters were not allowed into the courtroom Tuesday, but Cutka said they would be let in for part of Wednesday's session. He said the jury was expected to start its deliberations Thursday morning and a verdict could come as early as Thursday afternoon.

In her opening statement Monday, prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser said Fritzl refused to speak to his daughter during the first few years of her ordeal, coming downstairs only to rape her. Burkheiser said the rapes sometimes occurred in front of the children, and she described Elisabeth as a "broken" woman.

Three of the children grew up underground in Amstetten and the other three were brought upstairs to be raised by Fritzl and his wife, Rosemarie, who apparently believed they had been abandoned.

Elisabeth and her six surviving children, who range in age from six to 20, have spent months recovering from their ordeal in a psychiatric clinic and at a secret location.

Fritzl's lawyer, Rudolf Mayer, said he did expect any surprises at the trial.

"The facts are relatively clear ... there can't really be any surprises in a situation that has already been cleared up," Mayer said.

Cutka said a psychiatrist has been caring for Fritzl before and during the trial to ensure he does not attempt suicide.
Erich Huber-Guensthofer, deputy head of the St. Poelten prison, told reporters that Fritzl had a mysterious visitor to his jail cell earlier this month who apparently posed as a real estate agent. He said the visit was cut short after officials realized the man was trying to pursue "very personal" business with Fritzl.

He did not elaborate, and it was unclear whether Fritzl had been in any danger.

The Associated Press normally withholds the names of victims of sexual assault. In this case, the withholding of Elisabeth's name by the AP became impractical when her name and her father's were announced publicly by police and details about them became the subject of publicity both in their home country and around the world.

Austrian media ridiculed Fritzl on Tuesday for hiding his face in court when the trial began Monday.

"Now he's ashamed — 25 years too late," the Heute newspaper said in a front page headline over a photo of Fritzl trying to shield himself from news cameras.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Edmonton rapist sentenced to life for attack on woman

Edmonton rapist imprisoned for life
Ryan Cormier,
Published: Friday, March 13, 2009

EDMONTON - An angry and infatuated addict who raped and slashed his neighbour in a vicious attack that lasted more than two hours has been sentenced to life in prison.

Ryan Huppie, 24, appeared resigned to his fate and showed little reaction as the sentence was read in court Friday. His lawyer and Crown prosecutors had submitted the life sentence jointly, after early attempts to have Huppie labelled a dangerous offender were abandoned.

His victim, who cannot be named, read her victim impact statement to the court before sentence was passed.

"Where does one begin to describe the impact of a rape and attempted murder by a total stranger in your own home?" she asked the court. "It has been five years since the night I awoke to a stranger in my bedroom, but to me and my loved ones, the horror is constantly hiding in the shadows of our souls."

Huppie was previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault, attempted murder, unlawful confinement, break and enter with intent to commit sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon in connection with a drug-fuelled attack on Feb. 17, 2004.

Before he was sentenced, Huppie stood and read a letter to the court.

"I'm sorry, deeply sorry for my wrongdoing," he began. "I don't understand what made me snap out of character and out of mind. I hope people can see where my heart is and how sorry I am about this."

Huppie repeatedly asked for forgiveness and said he has changed a lot from the 21-year-old addict with a infatuation with his neighbour.

The night of the attack, he had been drinking heavily and ingested a plethora of drugs. Days earlier, he had slipped a Valentine's Day note under his victim's door.

He boasted to his buddy that he could break into the condominium next door and force himself on the woman. Huppie bet his friend $500 he would rape her. As a joke, the friend agreed.
As everyone slept, Huppie took a kitchen knife and a meat cleaver and jumped between the balconies.

He woke up his victim and told her: "I'm here to rape you and I'm here to kill you."

The woman suffered nine stab wounds to the back of her head, a gash from her eyebrow to her cheekbone and another from ear to chin. She was sliced across the throat with a meat cleaver, and across the shoulder, and had multiple cuts to both hands. Two of her fingers were severed and multiple operations have left with only 50 per cent use of her left hand.

Twice, Huppie left her for dead only to come back and continue his attack.

She insisted on giving a statement in the ambulance, unsure she would live long enough to provide it later.

"The physical scarring is deep and visible for the world to see, and each day when I look in the mirror to get ready to face the world, the face that looks back at me relives the experience," the woman told court.

She also spoke of the fear, grief, anger and humiliation she has felt since the attack. She said she is hyper-sensitive to any violence and fears being alone, even if it is to go for a short run. She and her parents spoke of the important loss of sports from her life.

"I woke up screaming in the middle of the night on a regular basis," she said.

Through the horrors she related in her statement, observers were impressed with her strength.

"You have shown an incredible courage both at the time of these events and the long time of these proceedings," Justice Terry Clackson told her. "This world is a much better place with you in it. For my part, I am glad you are still here."

Outside court, Crown Prosecutor Rob Beck said the public should not think Huppie got off easy because he was not labelled a dangerous offender. "Mr. Huppie, as the court noted, will be subject to supervision by the parole board until his death, for the rest of his life."

Beck said while Huppie is eligible to apply for parole in 10 years, he won't necessarily get it.
The unusual length of the trial also played a factor in not pursuing a long dangerous offender hearing, Beck said.

"The victim was consulted, we discussed our decision with her and she was completely on side with the decision," he said. "She asked us to pass on that both her and her family are pleased with the outcome."

After sentencing, the victim smiled and threw her arms around her mother.

Beck told court that there were many aggravating factors to Huppie's crime, but little to mitigate it, a claim that the defense did not argue. Beck said the length of the trial could be attributed to Huppie's mental health issues, and the fact he went through four lawyers in five years.

Both the victim's mother and father read victim impact statements. While they focussed on the trauma and changes in their daughter, they also expressed personal anguish of how close they came to losing her.

"Her death would have been the worst possible nightmare for us," her father said. "And it was so close. She is with us today only because her attacker was inept with his weapons, not from lack of trying to kill her on his part."

Huppie also received a lifetime weapons ban and must submit a sample of his DNA.

Spouse charged with domestic battery for trying to forcibly impregnate wife

A woman from Pittsfield, MA was charged with domestic assault after trying to use her brother's sperm and a turkey baster to impregnate her wife on Tuedsay. According to police reports, Stepanie Lightner, 26, tried to inseminate her wife Jennifer Lightner, 33 with a turkey baster while she was drunk. The victim had said that Stephanie was thinking about impregnating her for "some time."

According to a report by Pittsfield Police Officer Kipp D. Steinman: "Jennifer said that Stephanie had a 'turkey baster and her brother's semen in a sealed container.' Jennifer said she told Stephanie that she didn't want to get pregnant."

The device was actually a large syringe with a catheter tip, police said, and it was still in its original package when officers confiscated the item. That's allegedly when Stephanie threw Jennifer on the couch, grabbed at her clothes and threatened to impregnate her, police said.

Jennifer was able to break free by locking herself in the bathroom, but Stephanie managed to break down the door (and hurt her wrist). Jen attempted to escape in the couple's SUV while Steph tended to the hurt wrist, but managed to jump on the side of the vehicle and swing the door open.

Detective Thomas H. Harrington stated Jennifer declined to press charges for assault with intent to rape because the victim didn't believe "Stephanie was going to sexually assault her with the syringe." These charges can always be brought up at a later time, according to Massachusetts law. Stephanie was released on her own recognizance, and ordered to refrain from violence and show up at Central Berkshire District Court for a pretrial hearing April 29.

Former MN Gopher football player sentenced to year in jail for 4th degree CSC

(Originally Posted 5-31-08)

Dominic Jones, a former Minnesota Gophers football player, was sentenced to a year in the workhouse (which is work release for those who aren't from Minnesota), four more years in prison suspended, 7 years probation, and $1000 restitution. The sentence comes on the heels on his conviction for 4th degree criminal sexual conduct.

In March, a jury convicted him of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which involves performing a sex act on a victim without her consent. It acquitted him on a rape charge.

During the weeklong trial, jurors saw cell-phone video that appeared to show Jones masturbating over an 18-year-old woman in April 2007. Jones testified she consented to it.

The victim testified during the trial that she drank up to eight shots of vodka with another player before the act and didn't remember anything between when she was placed on a couch and the next morning.

On Thursday, the victim read a statement in court. She said, "I drank into myself helplessness ... but i did not ask to be raped." She added, "Yes, I have been sexually assaulted, and no, I will never get over it."

Jones was kicked off of the team when the charges were filed and eventually kicked out of the University Of Minnesota. Collateral consequences include registering as a predatory sex offender, getting sex offender treatment, and having no contact with the victim. His attorney, Earl Gray, says he will appeal both conviction and sentence. Three other players were investigated, but never charged in the assault. The sentencing judge was Hennepin County District Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum.

(Update 3-14-09) Jones was released from the workhouse after 8 months on March 2, but probation, which includes completion of sex offender treatment, has just begun. He was denied a chance to try out with the NFL in Ohio this weekend because he hasn't started sex offender treatment. The judge who made the ruling is the same judge who heard Jones' original sexual assault case.

Assistant County Attorney Marlene Senechal, who heads the violent crimes division, argued that Jones should not be allowed to go because he is an "untreated sex offender" and his chances of playing in the NFL are "unrealistic." She said, "It would be inappropriate for him to leave the state."

[Defense Attorney Earl] Gray took issue with Senechal's characterization of Jones' chances, saying he should at least be given an opportunity to try out for the NFL. "In order to be successful on probation, it would seem to me a man should be able to pursue his career," Gray said.

Rosenbloom agreed that Jones had met all requirements of his sentence, and suggested that after sex offender treatment commences, if another NFL tryout occured, she may change her mind.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Groping doctor ordered to pay $275,100 to 25 year old victim

Former Sussex oral surgeon ordered to pay more to patient in groping lawsuit
Joe Moszczynski/The Star-Ledger

Friday February 20, 2009, 5:52 PM

A former Sussex County oral surgeon was ordered today to pay an additional $100 to a patient who claimed she was groped while she was recovering from anesthesia after surgery.

Amy Metzler, of Sparta, will get the nominal amount in punitive damages from oral surgeon J. Phillip Kurtz, 64, of Livington, in addition to the $275,000 the jury awarded her in compensatory damages on Thursday following a six-week civil trial in Newton.

Metzler's attorney, Andrew Fraser, said he was satisfied with the jury's latest verdict.
"They (the jury) must have felt he was punished enough," with the $275,000 award, he said.

Following 3 1/2 hours of deliberations, a jury unanimously voted 6-0 on both of the questions they were asked to decide on in the punitive damage phase of the trial against Kurtz.

The first question was whether Kurtz "maliciously, wantonly and willfully" harmed Metzler and the second question asked the jury to select an amount for punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant and act as a deterrent.

The 25-year-old Metzler was not disappointed by today's ruling.

"I was just happy to get the answer 'yes,'" she said.

Prior to the verdict, Kurtz testified that he has already suffered severe economic damages as a result of the lawsuit.

Kurtz said he earned about $250,000 annually before he was accused in the lawsuit in January 2004 of groping Metzler and four women when he worked as partner with the Tri-State Oral & Maxillofacial Group in Andover Township. The other women reached out-of-court settlements just after the trial began last month.

"The practice was expanding and growing. The year 2003 was the best year we ever had," he said.
After the lawsuit was filed, business dropped dramatically, Kurtz testified.

Today, he is unemployed and he lost his job as a part-time oral surgeon at the New York State dental office where he worked since 2007 "because of this trial," he said. In New York, he earned $800 to $1,200 a week, depending on how many days he worked.

Kurtz also testified that he had to take a four-day ethics course and undergo a psychiatric evaluation to get his dental license reinstated in New Jersey.

While reading to the jury from an essay he was required to write as part of the ethics course, Kurtz said he learned during the class that "subtle forms of touch may be inappropriate."
But Kurtz still maintained that he did not inappropriately touch anyone.

After today's verdict, his attorney, Cynthia Walters, issued a statement on his behalf which read in part: "I still say these events never happened. Justice has not prevailed and this verdict will be appealed."