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Reduced Sentencing for Vet Charged with Possession of Child Porn

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Army veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder recently received a much lower sentence for sex crimes because of his condition.

The judge, who handed down the sentence, admitted that he was giving U.S. Army Veteran, Joseph Keller a huge break, by agreeing to a sentence of five years in prison. Keller had been charged with possessing child pornography and a home-made explosive device.

In April, Keller was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, after investigators found child pornography images on his computer. A search of his home also yielded an explosive device. Keller entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors under which he would agree to plead guilty to all the charges in exchange for a five-year sentence. This happens to be the mandatory minimum sentence for child porn charges.

The judge was not obligated to accept the plea deal. However, he has agreed to accept the deal, because he believes that the kind of charges that Keller faced were different from the charges typically facing people charged with child porn. In Keller's case, the accumulation of child pornography was not massive, in contrast to many defendants who face these charges after amassing large collections of sexually explicit images of children. Also, in Keller's case, the images were downloaded on his computer when he lived with his father for a brief period of time. The images were not found on his computer, after he moved to live with an aunt in Florida.

Keller joined the Army after high school, and says that he began to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after he completed two years of combat duty in Iraq. He also suffers from a serious alcohol problem, and this is believed to have clouded his judgment.

Daughters Bid to Get Father Released after False Accusations of Rape

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A 24-year-old woman, whose father was incarcerated because of false accusations of rape made by her, is now launching a bid to get her father released from prison.

Chaneya Kelly has been speaking to the media, to clear the air surrounding her father Darryl Kelly who still remains incarcerated on charges of rape. Back when she was nine years old, her mother who struggled with prostitution, instigated her to make accusations of rape against her father. Initially, Chaneya resisted, but ultimately she gave in to parental pressure, and claimed that her father had touched her inappropriately. The police were called in, and Chaneya was used - as children very often are in parental conflict situations- as a pawn to get revenge on the other parent.

Darryl Kelly insisted on his innocence, but his claims fell on deaf ears, and he was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. Soon after, Chaneya had a change of heart, and confided in her grandmother that she had lied about her father inappropriately touching her. Her mother also had a change of heart and signed an affidavit, stating that she had forced her daughter to make accusations of rape, under threat of beating her. She blamed her drug habit for her behavior in encouraging her daughter to make such devastating accusations.

However, the judge concluded that their statements seemed forced, and the conviction was not overturned. Darryl Kelly continues to remain incarcerated based on his daughter’s false accusations.

In cases that involve sex crimes against minors, very often, California sex crimes defense lawyers find that children are coerced or pressured into making false statements or accusations, or may sometimes be pressured into believing that they were inappropriately touched or handled, leading them to make false accusations.

Bill That Would Give Victims of Sex Crimes More Time to Sue Progresses

Sunday, August 25, 2013

There has been some progress in approval of a bill that would help victims of sex crimes to file civil lawsuits. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Jim Beall, Democrat-San Jose, advanced recently in a California Assembly Committee.

SB 131 would lift the statute of limitations for persons who have suffered sex crimes to file lawsuits, for one year. The specific aim of the bill is to give more time for victims to sue private nonprofit employers who failed to protect them from the sex abuse. One particular entity that would be affected by any law that would lift the statute of limitations for persons, who want to file lawsuits based on sexual abuse, is the Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, the Church has been strongly opposed to the bill.

The Church has insisted that lifting the statute of limitations will simply increase the number of people who file lawsuits against the Church based on sexual abuse by clergymen. The Church has insisted that such a lift of the statute of limitations would be economically crippling to the Church which has already paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in sexual abuse lawsuit settlements. Any lift of the statute of limitations would once again bring in a flood of lawsuits by victims.

Supporters of the bill say that they need more time to file lawsuits because, in many cases, victims may not be able to handle the abuse, and may not even remember the abuse or acknowledge that they had been molested for years. Other groups that oppose the bill include private schools and organizations such as the YMCA that have been targeted in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The bill is now headed towards the assembly floor.

Study Disputes Belief That Online Sex Offenders Require Special Targeting

Monday, August 19, 2013

There has been a lot of focus recently on sex crimes committed by persons who use the Internet to communicate with victims. However, a new study finds that so-called online predators, are not necessarily more dangerous, and that it is not necessary to focus especially hard on the dangers of online strangers.

The study was conducted by UNH Crimes against Children Research Center, specifically focused on persons who committed sex offenses, in which the victim was targeted primarily using Internet and cell phone medication, text messages and other technology,. The research found that in crimes that result from such communication between an offender and victim, the nature of the crimes were more or less the same as in those cases in which the offender met with the victim in an off-line environment.

In other words, there's no reason to believe that online sex crimes, require more targeting, compared to those crimes in which contact and communication is established off-line.

The researchers published the results of their findings in a study titled Are Online Predators Different from Crimes by Sex Offenders Who Know Youth in Person? The researchers compared 143 cases in which persons knew their victims online, with 139 cases where the person met the victims in an off-line capacity. In the latter case, offenders met with them not through the Internet, or social media, but in their local neighborhoods, families, homes, schools or churches.

There were some factors that are very common in both groups. In all of these cases, the victims used cell phones and other devices to communicate with victims. Most of the crimes in both the groups involved statutory rape, and most of the offenders also solicited sexually explicit images or photographs from the victims. However, some factors that are often stressed on during the prosecution of online sex crimes, like identity deception, were actually rare.

Teacher Charged with Sex Crimes for Sexual Relationship with Student

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A 28-year-old teacher from Redlands is finding that her career and entire future are likely destroyed with a ruined reputation for life, after she was arrested and charged with several sex crimes. She's been charged because she had sex with a teenage student, resulting in a baby. She was charged on Monday with at least 41 counts of sexual intercourse and oral copulation with the boys.

The 28-year-old teacher was arrested last week on suspicion of having sexual intercourse with a teenage student. Just last month, the teacher gave birth to a baby which was allegedly fathered by the teenage student. She was arrested after at least two other teenage male students came forward to admit that the teacher had had sexual intercourse with them as well.

According to Redlands Police, she had an ongoing sexual relationship with a teenage student who is the father of her baby, and the relationship continued until her arrest on July 1. The warrant was based on a conversation with the boy that police recorded. On July 1, the boy’s mother reported the relationship to his school officials, after he admitted that he had had a long-term relationship for more than a year with the teacher.

Officers then conducted a sting operation, which California sex crimes defense lawyers find is not at all uncommon in such cases. Detectives made the 17-year-old boy have a phone call conversation with the teacher. The boy made the teacher admit that he was the father of the baby. Detectives also claim that during questioning, she admitted that she had a sexual relationship with the boy.

About 30 of the charges that the woman now faces involve her relationship with the boy. She also charged with having a sexual relationship with two other boys, who were about 14 years old, back when she first joined the school as a teacher.

California Lawmaker Calls on GAO to Expand Child Sex Crime Investigations to Youth Athletic Clubs

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A number of recent high-profile-incidents involving sexual abuse of children by coaches and others in authority have spurred California lawmakers into action. Representative George Miller Democrat-California has called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate the manner in which youth athletic clubs handle investigations of sexual abuse of children when these come to light.

Representative Miller serves as the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee. He has asked the Government Accountability Office to include youth athletic clubs and extra curricular activities in its investigation into the weakness in the laws and policies that govern reporting of child sexual abuse at schools and universities. According to Miller, a recent string of sex crimes involving abuse of children at schools across the country have raised concerns about whether the current reporting policies and laws that are in place are sufficient to prevent and address such incidents of abuse. Representative Miller wants the Government Accountability Office to also focus on the reporting policies that are in in place at youth athletic clubs and other activity clubs.

In May, Representative Miller was responsible for releasing at least three pieces of legislation aimed at helping prevent sex crimes involving children. These pieces of legislation included the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, Keeping Students Safe Act, and the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act. In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, Representative Miller specifically asked the agency to address the prevalence of sexual abuse among student athletes and the manner in which these incidents are reported, investigated and resolved when they occur on school property.

Maryland Begins Deleting Sex Offender Names from Registry

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In a move that is expected to open the floodgates of sex offenders who will appeal to get their names deleted from the registry, the state of Maryland recently deleted a sex offender’s name from its registry. The name of Robert M. Haynes Jr. has been removed from the State’s registry, and a link that contains details about the guilty plea that he filed while pleading guilty to charges of abusing a 13-year-old child decades ago, has also been removed.

The registration has been eliminated because a Maryland State Court of Appeals recently declared that requiring people, who were convicted of sex offenses before the registry was established in 1995 to register themselves, was unconstitutional.

This means that there are several sex offenders in Maryland, who committed crimes before the establishment of the registry, and may now be eligible to have their names eliminated from this registry. In fact according to official estimates, as many as one in four registered sex offenders in Maryland might now file lawsuits to get their names cleared from the registry. Officials estimate that as many as 1,800 or out of the 8,000 registered sex offenders, would appeal to get delisted from the registry.

However, they are also likely to face a tough fight. Maryland officials have announced that they will strongly resist any appeals in this matter.

In 2009 and 2010, Maryland made sex offender registry requirements even tougher, and any new lawsuits that are filed to remove names from sex offender registries are likely to make those laws more relaxed. The state laws on sex offender registration have been a source of pride for the state administration, and Governor Martin O'Malley has hailed laws against sex crimes as one of his administration's major accomplishments.

Study Finds Young People Much More Likely to Be Victims of Sexual Assault

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A study conducted recently by Penn State criminologists has a number of interesting findings for California sex crime lawyers. The research finds that young people are much more likely to be victims of sexual assault, and also that sexual attractiveness plays a big factor in these crimes.

The recent study found that young males as well as females are much more likely to become targets of sexual assaults, including rapes. Fifteen year olds were the most frequent victims of assaults, regardless of whether they were male or female, and regardless of the age of the person committing the offense.

Seniors and women are much less likely to commit sexual assault, but when they are involved in such crimes, their most frequent victims are still 15 years of age. Females who were 15 years old were approximately 9 times more likely than 35-year-old women to be victims of sex crimes, like rape.

The researchers also believe that sexual attractiveness plays a big role in such crimes. In fact, they believe that sexual attractiveness is a major reason why younger people are at such a high risk for sexual assaults. Males are typically attracted to younger females, a fact that is borne out by the media and entertainment industry. When a person is committing a robbery, he's also much more likely to commit rape if the robbery victim is a young woman between the ages of 15 and 29.

If you believe that negative male attitudes towards women are the major reason for such targeting of younger female victims, you would be wrong. Statistics confirm that both gay as well as straight men are likely to target younger victims during these sex crimes.

Human Rights Watch Issues Damning Report on Sex Offender Registries

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nonprofit human rights group Human Rights Watch has released a report that focuses on the plight of thousands of persons who remain on sex offender registries for shockingly minor crimes that were committed when they were juveniles. Among those persons that are included in the sex offender registries are persons who were involved in so-called “Romeo- Juliet” relationships, where one person is a minor and the other is just above the legal age of 18.

The report is titled Raised on the Register: the Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the United States. Any Orange County criminal defense lawyer knows that that in the United States, prosecution of people for sex crimes against minors, has gone to extremes. Some of the worst affected have been those were arrested when they were juveniles or minors.

According to the Human Rights Watch report, you'll find people on sex offender registries who were arrested for streaking in public or public nudity as minors. Other people have been on permanent sex offender registries because of sex offenses committed when they were as young as 15 years of age. Being registered on a federal sex offender registry can have lifelong implications for these children.

The researchers at Human Rights Watch investigated 581 cases involving minors who have been placed in sex offender registries. According to Human Rights Watch, these laws that require registration of offenders began to be widely used in the 80s and early 90s, and minors who were charged with a variety of offenses from public nudity, public urination, touching another child's genitalia through clothing and other such relatively innocuous activities, found themselves on the registries with no hope of reprieve.

California School Water Polo Coach Charged with Sex Crimes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A water polo coach at Walnut Creek high school is facing charges of sex crimes against a minor which as any Orange County criminal defense lawyer knows, are some of the more serious crimes that a person can be charged with.

According to reports, the 27-year-old coach has been arrested, and is facing 9 felony charges against a minor. He was arrested at his home in Walnut Creek, and has now been released on a $390,000 bail. According to prosecutors, they have charged him with felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, sexual penetration of a minor, and oral copulation of a minor.

The man is believed to be no longer employed by the Mount Diablo Unified School District, which says that he was a “seasonal” coach. The School District is cooperating with the police investigation, and is also conducting its own investigation.

The man faces very serious charges during his arraignment which is scheduled for May 20th. Sex crimes against minors are some of the most serious of sex offenses that any person can expect to be faced. In fact, sex crimes belong to a very rare category of crimes, in which a person's guilt is almost presumed even before he is charged.
There is a very low level of public tolerance for such crimes in the community, and as such, investigators and prosecutors are often under very high pressure from the media and the public to prosecute these crimes very stringently. Unfortunately, very often, in such situations the rights of the defendant can be compromised.

If you're currently being investigated for sex crimes, or have been arrested for a sex crime, get in touch with a lawyer immediately.

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Serving Southern California: Irvine criminal defense attorney Kenneth L. Schreiber represents clients throughout California's Inland Empire, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Ventura, Los Angeles, Mission Viejo, Beverly Hills, Corona Del Mar, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Huntington Beach, Orange, Villa Park, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Tustin, Lake Forest, Westminster, Anaheim, Vista, Fallbrook, Temecula, Marietta, and other communities in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.