Recently, a former security employee at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center in southern Minnesota was indicted on federal child pornography charges for possessing and receiving child pornography. Charles David Boynton age 52 of St. Peter was a former security employee where sex offenders reside.
In February 2007, Boynton received via computer an image of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He was a security counselor providing direct patient care and security at the maximum-security hospital. The treatment center houses sex offenders and dangerous mentally ill patients.
At least someone was watching over the counselor who wasn’t practicing what he was counciling. Do you think a proper and complete background screening would have found out who Mr. Boynton really was?
The Supreme Court decided today not to consider reviving the Child Online Protection Act. In addition, the Supreme Court ruled that another law intended to protect children from explicit material online, the Communications Decency Act, was unconstitutional.
The Child Online Protection Act seemed doomed from the start. Lower federal courts also struck down the law as unconstitutional. When the law was passed in 1998 it never took effect.
This law would have barred websites from making harmful content available to minors over the Internet. One of the federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that the law would violate the First Amendment right. It concluded that filtering technologies and other parental control tools are less restrictive ways to protect children from inappropriate content on line.
What this means to us is that we the adults, need to more carefully supervise our children when they are on the Internet. We also must educate our children about pedophiles online to make sure our kids won’t become victims.
A Sun Focus article recently reported that a 20-year-old Minneapolis man pleaded guilty in federal court to counterfeiting charges. Nijm Mukhtar El-Amin Scott pleaded guilty to one count of manufacturing counterfeit currency.
He apparently made the counterfeit bills on his computer and other equipment. He manufactured $100 bills out of real $5 bills. Overall, he manufactured a total of $10,000 to $30,000 in counterfeit currency.
His counterfeit scheme was based on buying expensive electronic items with some of the counterfeit bills at area retail stores. Then he would return the items for “real” cash. Back in October 2008, he purchased a DVD player and GPS navigation system at the Wal-Mart in Fridley. He paid with six $100 counterfeit bills. He also purchased a $300 DVD recorder and other items at a different Wal-Mart using six $100 counterfeit bills.
When Scott was arrested the police recovered approximately $16,000 in counterfeit $100 bills from his apartment, along with the DVD player and GPS system purchased in Fridley on the previous day. Scott faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
A 52-year-old Colorado Springs, Colorado man was recently arrested . He was a substitute teacher at Spring Creek Youth Services Center. Kyle G. Speed was arrested on suspicion of trading child pornography and sexual exploitation of children – a class three felony.
What makes this arrest important is that Speed may have been part of a larger operation starting in New Zealand. “Operation Achilles” was reported in a March 2008 ABC news article. This operation started in Queensland, New Zealand by police task force Argos and is alleged that a core administrator of this highly secret website was a 29-year-old Queensland public servant.
The website catered to pedophiles who were sophisticated in the knowledge of computer encryption. As a result, they felt that they were untouchable and in a safe zone. These pedophiles made and traded images of young children involved in the most terrible sex acts. They thought that they were invincible. The network had more than 400,000 child abuse films and images on their computers.
However, the world’s police caught up to their computer techniques and was able to invade their network. So far, all of the major players in this group have been caught and the police were able to rescue 20 children from around the world from ongoing sexual abuse. In addition, they have caught at least 14 American alleged child abusers. Kyle Speed may be one of those child pornographers who is now off the network. Operation Achilles will continue until law enforcement is satisfied that all pedophiles are caught and sentenced as well as the children used in the videos can be found.
Minnesota December’s DWI enforcement statistics were just released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and it is not good. According to their press release, the statewide law enforcement effort resulted in 2,655 DWI arrests. The average alcohol concentration of the offenders was 0.14, which is nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08. This statistic reflects 331 agencies out of 400.
While the holidays are a time to celebrate, the cost of a DWI can cost an offender up to $20,000. This includes fees and increased car insurance rates. Sounds like a very costly holiday celebration.
In addition, law enforcement also cited 1,653 seat belt non-use violations. If you don’t wear your seat belt you are more likely to be either seriously injured or killed especially in an alcohol related crash. Statistic show that an impaired driver and passenger not wearing a seat belt in an alcohol related crash during 2005-2007 were more than 70 percent likely to be killed.
Law enforcement will continue DWI patrols throughout 2009. They will step up patrols in Minnesota’s 13 deadliest counties for alcohol related crashes. These counties are Anoka, Blue Earth, Crow Wing, Dakota, Hennepin, Itasca, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright.
According to and article by All Headline News 3.4 million stalking victims were reported yearly in the U.S. This is a dramatic increase from just a decade ago where 1.4 million people reported being stalked.
Many victims of stalking are women but men have also reported being stalked. The recent survey showed that 11 percent of the victims had stalkers for five years or more. This caused one in seven victims to move. One of the reasons for the increase may be attributed to more technological tools available. A decade ago, stalkers would spy on their victims. Today they are sending emails and text messages to them. This doesn’t increase the number of stalking but rather helps to facilitate their stalking methods.
The US State Department of Justice has named January as Stalking Awareness Month. This year’s theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” and challenges communities to combat stalking by learning more about the dynamics of stalking.
Among the most common forms of stalking are unwelcome phone calls, false rumors about the victim, and unsolicited letters or emails. The dangers of being stalking may lead to violent crimes against the victim.
In November 2008, pirates hijacked the Sirius Star from the Kenyan coast. This ship carried two million gallons of crude oil worth $100 million. The pirates originally demanded $25 million in ransom money but last week settled for $3 million from the ship’s owner, Saudi Aramco.
During this time, a Thornton, Colorado company called GeoEye found and tracked the supertanker in the Gulf of Aden. The company has three satellites that provide images from around the world. They mainly do projects for companies, like Google Earth, and the government. Their engineers started by finding out where the ship was last seen, and then programmed one of their satellites to take pictures off the coast of Somalia. After four days, they had a satellite image of the ship and was able to track the ship.
GeoEye has also used its satellite to help search for Steve Fossett, who disappeared when flying his plane over the Nevada desert in September. Their satellite images are also used to help fishermen find fish in the sea.
Today with this new technology, even pirates in the middle of the ocean can’t hide. They can be can be tracked and found.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently released its preliminary 2008 traffic death count. The good news is that last year there was a dramatic 16 percent decrease in deaths from 2007 and the lowest fatality rate since 1944.
Officials credit more proactive methods to ensure lower traffic deaths. For example, increased seat belt use by motorists is seen throughout Minnesota; enhanced impaired and aggressive driving patrols; road safety improvements and quicker emergency medical responses helped to lower the death count. Then of course higher gas prices during 2008 was a factor in the drop of traffic deaths. Many motorists traveled less and at safer speeds to conserve gasoline.
The preliminary report on DWI arrest is 34,072 and unfortunately, this statistic may continue to grow.
Other proactive methods used by law enforcement agencies were a speed campaign in April that generated 24,000 citations. Enhanced seat belt enforcement campaigns in May and October resulted in more than 12,500 belt citations, and officers participating in a statewide July DWI enforcement campaign arrested more than 3,200 motorists. The yearlong NightCAP (nighttime concentrated alcohol patrol) DWI enforcement efforts that target the deadliest counties for impaired driving netted more than 3,000 DWIs.
The state’s traffic safety efforts will continue throughout 2009. The goal is 400 or fewer fatalities by 2010.
On January 1, 2009, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska and Washington are now requiring devices to be installed in your car if you are convicted of first-time drunk driving. If you are a repeat offender in South Carolina, you will need to have this device installed in your car.
These “Lock Laws” as they are called, requires that you install breath-monitoring gadgets into your ignition where you breathe into the gadget before starting your car. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been advocating this law for many years. They claim that having these interlock gadgets would save thousands of lives. But critics say interlocks could lead to measures that restrict alcohol policies and offers a way out for offenders. For example, an offender could have a non-drinking companion breathe into the device to start the car.
The breath-monitoring gadgets aren’t cheap. Offenders must pay for the fist-sized devices around $80 to install on dashboards and $80 a month to rent. Some states may also charge a $30 monthly state fee. These devices also need periodic retesting while the car is running.
New Mexico, Arizona and Louisiana have similar laws to the “Lock Law” but give judges the option of enforcing the use of the devices.
To require the breath-monitoring gadgets for a first time offender seem rather excessive as well as expensive. However, repeat offenders not only need to have this device but also should seek counseling for their addiction. Even though several states using this law have seen a decrease in DUIs, more study needs to be done before requiring first time offenders use the breath monitors.
Earlier in December of 2008 the Texas businessman, Jeffery Scott Hawn, who planned the slaughter of 32 bison belonging to South Park rancher Monte Downare, plead guilty to one count of criminal mischief and one count of cruelty to animals in the Park County District Court, Colorado.
Between Feb. 26, 2008 and March 14, 2008 Hawn authorized the bison slaughter by members of the Aztlan Native Community of Gardner, Colorado. According to court documents, Hawn wrote in a letter to the group that they should get started as quickly as possible. He said that they could hunt them, remove them or remove them live and take them to the location of their choice.
That winter was cold and windy with large amounts of blowing and drifting snow. The Downare family was working in extremely harsh conditions, often in minus 50-degree temperatures, checking fences and trying to keep the bison on their land. However, the bison had simply walked over the fences covered by snowdrifts.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hawn will pay restitution of $483,362 to Downare, $70,000 to seven charities and $4,007 to the Park County Sheriff’s Department. He will probably have a deferred sentence and be placed on probation for two years. After two years if he stays out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed. Also under the terms of the agreement, the judge can impose up to 10 days in jail as a condition of probation. Hawn sentencing is January 28, 2009.