Monday, July 20, 2009

What Happens When You Allow Sex Offenders In Your Home

Inviting Sex Offenders Home: When Mom's Relationship Puts Children at Risk
Two Midwest Children Disappeared, Third Killed After Moms Associated With Sex Offenders
June 24, 2009

Losing a child to a sex offender is a mother's nightmare. But what if that mother is the one who brought the sex offender into her home?

In the cases of at least three Midwestern children reported missing this year, police have discovered that their mothers had relationships with known sex offenders.

One little boy was found safe in a motel. One little girl was found buried in a riverside grave. And the third -- 3-year-old Haylee Donathan --was found Tuesday thousands of miles away from her home.

Federal authorities hunting Haylee's abductors knew who they are looking for -- her mother Candace Watson, 24, and Robbi Potter, 27, a convicted sex offender she is accused of helping escape from a post-prison halfway house in Mansfield, Ohio, May 28.

Police say the two disappeared with Haylee from Watson's Crestline, Ohio, home May 31, days after Watson, her brother, Haylee's biological father and his girlfriend allegedly helped Potter leave the halfway house he'd been staying at since being released from prison three days earlier.

Cyle Watson, along with James Donathan and his girlfriend Nicole Kirkpatrick have all been arrested and charged with complicity to escape, the same charge Watson is facing.

But authorities were most concerned with apprehending Potter and getting Haylee home safe to her grandmother who had been awarded emergency custody in the little girl's absence.


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Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Andrew Deserto told that all three were picked up just outside San Diego after someone recognized them from a billboard the U.S. Marshals had placed in several states.

Both Watson and Potter have been arrested and are being held in California. Haylee appeared to authorities to be unharmed saved for a case of what looked to be chicken pox. She is currently in state custody, also in California.

They had apparently been staying at a Christian ranch for about a week, Deserto said, adding that Watson could face federal charges for aiding a fugitive.

Potter had two warrants out for his arrest, one for a federal probation violation stemming from a bank robbery conviction and the other a state probation violation related to his sex offender status.

Ken Lanning, a consultant and former FBI agent who spent two decades studying the sexual victimization of children, said that, in general, the first hurdle for pedophiles on the prowl is access to children. One of the most common ways to get that, outside of abusing a family member, is to latch on to a woman with children, often in a romantic relationship.

And while mothers of the abused children run the gamut from being knowingly involved with the abuse to being completely fooled, Lanning said, most fall into the category that is hardest for police to deal with -- "mom should have known."

Lanning said that while some would consider a mother's attention to a sex offender crime enough, some women don't just turn a blind eye to abuse. They participate.

Lanning added he's heard of some women who actually consent to the predator having sex with their children, with the stipulation that the predator has sex with them first.

Those are the cases that are easy to prosecute, he said. Most of the others fall into a grey area with authorities unable to prove how much about the sex offender the mother knew and whether or not she knowingly put her children at risk.

Lanning said he couldn't comment specifically on Haylee Donathan's disappearance, but he said women who choose to stick by sexual predators, even at the risk of their own children, have succumbed to the offenders' ability to prey on their vulnerabilities.

"Adult human beings tend to believe what they want or need to believe," he said. "Someone to tell her she's pretty, someone to support her.

"The more desperate she is and the greater the need, the more vulnerable she becomes to this," Lanning said.

'Nothing's Been Proven Yet'

Haylee's grandmother, Mary Watson, said she isn't sure whether her daughter went on the run with Potter willingly at this point.

"It was like her voice was shaky the last time," Watson said of the last time she spoke to her daughter the day she disappeared. "And her voice was short."

The last known sighting of Haylee before she was found was at an Ohio Wal-Mart they day she was reported missing. Deserto said Watson was caught on the store's surveillance system returning a tent and allegedly stealing some clothes while Donathan and a child believed to be Haylee waited in the parking lot.

Watson was seen again getting into the passenger side of the truck at a Colorado gas station June 2, Deserto said. While police believe that Donathan was in the driver's seat, Haylee couldn't be seen.


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Potter's criminal history includes prison time for two counts of sexual battery and Deserto said he has a history of child sexual abuse.

But Mary Watson said her daughter had no idea of the severity of Potter's crimes until after she picked him up.

As for the charges against her daughter and son and the others, Mary Watson said she's not sure what to believe.

"I don't know nothing about them helping" Potter escape, she said. "Nothing's been proven yet."
But in an interview with the Mansfield News Journal, Cyle Watson, who served his own prison sentence on a rape conviction, admitted to helping Potter leave the halfway house, but said he only did so in hopes Potter would get in trouble with the law -- retribution, Cyle Watson told the paper, for not paying a debt.

"Things are really, really serious. It went from a trick to now," he told the Journal from inside jail. "He messed with another girl. He might be messing with my niece."

'He Would Have Done It a Little Sooner'

Lanning said mothers who knowingly admit sex offenders into their lives aren't knowingly stupid. Women with high self-esteem, good educations and successful careers are less likely to fall into this trap, he said, but aren't immune.

"The more needy you are, the more you need to believe," he said.

In last month's murder of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, her mother had relationships with two sexual offenders who have since been jailed because their parole conditions prohibited associations with women who have children.

Though no arrests have been made since Nevaeh's body was found in a cement-covered grave along the River Raisin in Michigan June 4, Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield has called George Kennedy, 39, and Roy Lee Smith, 48, persons of interest.

Some locals have begun turning against Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan, for giving sex offenders access to her only child.

Buchanan told the Detroit Free Press in an interview earlier this month that she was "completely innocent" in Nevaeh's disappearance and murder.

Buchanan had been released from prison earlier this year after being convicted of a 2006 home invasion. She was living in a Monroe, Mich., apartment with her daughter and mother when Nevaeh disappeared.

"I didn't think it was a crime to have my child around someone," she told the Detroit Free Press, later adding that "If George wanted to do that, he would have done it a little sooner. That's the way I feel. But I could be wrong."

She told the newspaper that she had known Kennedy for a couple of years and met Smith through him a couple months before her daughter disappeared. And while she was aware of Kennedy's sex offender status, she only guessed the same of Smith because of the men's association.

3-Year-Old Found Safe, Mother and Sex Offender Arrested
In the kidnapping of a little Wisconsin boy earlier this year, the 3-year-old's mother was arrested and charged with child neglect after her babysitter, Joseph Rivera, took off with her son.

Rivera, who had been convicted of second-degree sexual assault in 2003, was found in a motel room with the unharmed boy and marijuana and THC.

The boy's mother told police that Rivera had sent her text messages threatening to take her son. But Rivera told police he only took the boy because he was upset with the child's mother for leaving him home alone for several hours, according to the police report.

As for Haylee Donathan, her grandmother just wanted to know she was alive. Mary Watson said she's already prepared for the attention and counseling her granddaughter will likely need when she comes home.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Carl Courtright sentenced to life!

Granite City sex offender sentenced to life

Associated Press
9:48 PM CDT, July 17, 2009

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge has sentenced a Granite City man to life plus 10 years in prison for the production of child pornography and other offenses.

U.S. Attorney Courtney Cox announced the sentence against registered sex offender Carl Courtright III on Friday.

After a five-day trial in March, a U.S. District Court jury convicted Courtright on one count of production of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of bank fraud.

The 37-year-old Courtright is believed to be the first sex offender in the country to be charged with new offenses stemming from subscriber information disclosed by the social networking Web site MySpace.

Teen Commits Suicide After Sexting

Her teen committed suicide over ‘sexting’
Cynthia Logan’s daughter was taunted about photo she sent to boyfriend

‘Sexting’ leads teen to suicide

March 6: 18-year-old Jesse Logan took her own life after a nude picture of her was passed around by e-mail. TODAY’s Matt Lauer talks to her mom, Cynthia Logan, and Internet safety expert Parry Aftab about the dangers of “sexting.”

The image was blurred and the voice distorted, but the words spoken by a young Ohio woman are haunting. She had sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls. The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.

And now Jesse Logan was going on a Cincinnati television station to tell her story. Her purpose was simple: “I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this again.”
The interview was in May 2008. Two months later, Jessica Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.

Conveying the message

“She was vivacious. She was fun. She was artistic. She was compassionate. She was a good kid,” the young woman’s mother, Cynthia Logan, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Friday in New York. Still grieving over the loss of her daughter, she said she is taking her story public to warn kids about the dangers of sending sexually charged pictures and messages to boyfriends and girlfriends.

“It’s very, very difficult. She’s my only child,” Logan told Lauer. “I’m trying my best to get the message out there.”

It is a growing problem that has resulted in child pornography charges being filed against some teens across the nation. But for Cynthia Logan, “sexting” is about more than possibly criminal activity: It’s about life and death.

Last fall, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed teens and young adults about sexting — sending sexually charged material via cell phone text messages — or posting such materials online. The results revealed that 39 percent of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages, and 48 percent reported receiving such messages.

‘She was being tortured’

Jesse Logan’s mother said she never knew the full extent of her daughter’s anguish until it was too late. Cynthia Logan only learned there was a problem at all when she started getting daily letters from her daughter’s school reporting that the young woman was skipping school.

“I only had snapshots, bits and pieces, until the very last semester of school,” Logan told Lauer.

After her picture was disseminated electonically, formerly upbeat Jesse Logan began skipping classes.

She took away her daughter’s car and drove her to school herself, but Jesse still skipped classes. She told her mother there were pictures involved and that a group of younger girls who had received them were harassing her, calling her vicious names, even throwing objects at her. But she didn’t realize the full extent of her daughter’s despair.

“She was being attacked and tortured,” Logan said.

“When she would come to school, she would always hear, ‘Oh, that’s the girl who sent the picture. She’s just a whore,’ ” Jesse’s friend, Lauren Taylor, told NBC News.

Logan said that officials at Sycamore High School were aware of the harassment but did not take sufficient action to stop it. She said that a school official offered only to go to one of the girls who had the pictures and tell her to delete them from her phone and never speak to Jesse again. That girl was 16.

Logan suggested talking to the parents of the girls who were bullying Jesse, but her daughter said that would only open her to even more ridicule.

“She said, ‘No, I need to do something else. I’m going to go on the news,’ and that’s what she did,” Logan said.

Finding Jesse

When Cynthia Logan decided to go public with her story, she told Lauer that a school official told a local television station that he had given Jesse the option of prosecuting her tormentors. “That was not so. It’s absolutely not true,” she told Lauer. “And if he did, why didn’t I get a notice in the mail that he gave her that option?”

Cynthia Logan is still contending with her grief over her daughter Jesse’s suicide.

After her daughter’s death, Logan quit her job and was hospitalized for a time with what she described as a mental breakdown. When she spoke about finding her daughter in her bedroom last July, tears coursed down her cheeks.

Jesse had been talking about going to the University of Cincinnati to study graphic design. Her mother thought she was over the worst of the bullying. Then one of Jesse’s acquaintances committed suicide. Jesse went to the funeral. When she came home, she hanged herself.

“I just had a scan of the room, her closet doors were open,” Logan told NBC News. “And I walked over into her room and saw her hanging. The cell phone was in the middle of the floor.”

Quest for justice

Logan said she’s been through six lawyers in what has so far been an unsuccessful battle to hold school officials responsible for the bullying of her daughter.

She was joined on TODAY by Parry Aftab, an Internet security expert and activist in the battle to protect teens from the dangers that lurk in cyberspace. Aftab said that there are laws that apply.

“There absolutely is a law,” Aftab told Lauer. “It depends on the age of the child. If somebody’s under the age of 18, it’s child pornography, and even the girl that posted the pictures can be charged. They could be registered sex offenders at the end of all of this. Even at the age of 18, because it was sent to somebody under age, it’s disseminating pornography to a minor. There are criminal charges that could be made here.”

Aftab said that it is normal kids just like Jesse who fall victim to the perils of the Internet and the easy exchange of information on cell phones.

“We talked about her being a good kid, a normal kid. Those are most of the ones that are sending out those images,” she said. “Forty-four percent of the boys say that they’ve seen sexual images of girls in their school, and about 15 percent of them are disseminating those images when they break up with the girls.”

Aftab asked Logan to join her in her fight against the electronic exploitation of kids. “I’m going to get her involved in a huge campaign to allow kids to understand the consequences of this and allow schools to understand what they need to do to keep our kids alive,” she said.

Aftab turned to Logan to see if she would help.

“Absolutely,” she said.

Logan Ohio Bus Driver Guilty Of Sexual Abuse Of Children

Ex-Bus Driver Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse
Saturday, July 18, 2009 7:21 AM

LOGAN, Ohio — A former bus driver pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he sexually abused two young girls.

Morgan Monroe pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual imposition.

"Had he went to trial on all the charges he would have faced significantly more," said Hocking County prosecutor Laina Fetherolf.

Monroe spent nearly 20 years working in the Logan-Hocking School District. He was a bus driver and custodian until his arrest in April, 10TV's Brittany Westbrook reported.

"I was really shocked," said parent Tracy Rose.

Rose's son is going to be in fifth grade, and she said at one time she applied to be a bus driver.
"Morgan trained me and he just didn't seem like... it was shocking," Rose said.

The district performed a background check on Monroe, but since he was never charged, nothing turned up, Westbrook reported.

Monroe will not be able to work at another school because of his current status as a sex offender.

In order to keep students safe, the school district said all of the buildings will have renovated security measures and the buses have cameras in the front and back, Westbrook reported.
Even so, Fetherolf said there is a reality that remains.

"There really isn't any way to know until they've been caught at least once," Fetherolf said.
Justice might only come from a brave victim's voice.

"I am hoping that if there are other victims of this particular defendant or other perpetrators that they will come forward so we can do whatever we can to help them," Fetherolf said.

Monroe did not come into contact with his victims through the district and Fetherolf said so far there is no indication that he abused any children in the district.

He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Stay with 10TV News and for more information


Warren Ohio Predator Released To Another Predator

Sexual predator coming home
Prosecutor questions Warren man’s parole

By CHRISTOPHER BOBBY Tribune Chronicle
POSTED: July 18, 2009

WARREN - The Trumbull County prosecutor is questioning why the Ohio Parole Board would OK a prison release for a convicted sexual predator from Warren that allows him to live here with his brother - another sexual predator.

''He should only be released to an institution or halfway house where treatment is provided and required. One would never release a sex offender to another sex offender's care,'' prosecutor Dennis Watkins told parole officials in a letter earlier this week.

Watkins said in the letter he will challenge the July 27 release planned for Juan Wade, 46, who has served 23 years of a 7-to-25-year sentence.

The prosecutor's office was informed this week that Wade's approved plan for release involves him living in Warren with his brother Willie Wade of Bingham Avenue N.W. Watkins points out in his letter that Willie Wade recently was released from a prison in Georgia and is on parole after serving time on a rape conviction.

''I would request a hearing before his release to make sure that you have all the relevant information about his release in the community. According to forensic experts, Wade is a high risk to engage in a sexually oriented offense in the future,'' Watkins wrote.

Wade was sentenced July 30, 1986, by former Common Pleas Judge Mitchell Shaker after pleading guilty to three counts of rape that involved two girls and a boy. Wade was originally indicted on seven counts of rape and one count of child endangering involving five victims between the ages of 3 and 7.

Wade told a counselor and a clinical psychologist who examined him in 1999 that he was unable to cite specific reasons for the assaults, but he has taken sex offender programs in prison.

Currently in Lorain Correctional Institution, Wade ''does not take much responsibility for his deviant sexual behavior,'' according to the psychological report. The mental health experts labeled Wade a predator - a high risk to offend in the future - and say he should be required to continue in an outpatient sex offender treatment program.

Watkins said he believes that Wade was rejected for three other release plans, all of which include treatment programs.

''It's totally unacceptable for this defendant, a convicted sexual predator, to be released and placed to live with another convicted sexual predator in Trumbull County,'' Watkins said.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michigan releases sex offenders by the HUNDREDS

Early release of sex offenders from state prisons concerns victims, county law officials
By SUSAN YOUNGER staff reporter

LAPEER -- As the State of Michigan closes prisons and slashes prison populations to save money, those charged with the safety of the community are concerned with the early release of sex offenders into Lapeer County.

"The Michigan Department of Corrections is releasing criminal sexual conduct offenders by the hundreds from prison," said Lapeer County Prosecuting Attorney Byron Konschuh Tuesday. "It is my understanding they dropped 10 off on the courthouse steps today. Genesee County is getting over 130 and this is happening throughout the state. They're being released in Lapeer County, even if they didn't necessarily reside here prior to the crime or committed the crime in Lapeer County."

Michigan officials are still trying to balance the state budget, which has a projected $2-billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

More sex offenders are expected in the county, and the early releases are a recipe for disaster, Konschuh added.

"No one in the community knows this is happening," Konschuh said. "We don't know where they will be living. They're supposed to receive help to find jobs. With unemployment the way it is I'm concerned."

Adding to the problem, Konschuh and Director of Victim's Services Catherine Strong has no idea which offenders are receiving the early out dates and how many more will be in the county.

"It's my job to make sure they're not a victim again," Strong said. "I would hope to contact the victims, but I don't know which offenders are due for release. I was getting LEIN (law enforcement information network) sheets, but they're no longer forwarding them to us. Now I have to rely on the state doing their job of notifying the victim."

Strong and Konschuh recently helped two women file appeals in an attempt to keep the offenders behind bars. They had no idea the two were going to be released early; they were contacted by the victims.

A former Metamora woman, now 18, who was sexually abused when she was a juvenile by her stepfather, has left home. She is so frightened he will find her that she is hiding, said her mother Crystal Galloway.

"He was sentenced in 2002 to two counts of criminal sexual conduct to a person under 13," said Galloway, who has remarried. "He was sentenced to between seven and 30 years in prison. I got a letter Thursday saying he will be on the streets in September. He told people he was grooming my daughter to be his next wife. How can they let this happen to her?"

Another woman, who was raised in Lapeer County, left the state and has since remarried after her daughter was abused. Though she changed their names and left without a trace, her former husband found her while still in prison.

"He abused my daughter for almost eight years beginning when she was just over two years old," said the woman, who doesn't want her name used. "I am devastated. When you're a sex offender there is no cure."

Though he was supposed to be incarcerated for up to seven more years, the man could be on the streets in September.

"I haven't told my daughter yet," she said. "We don't want contact with him, and I don't want him around my children. I would not want to take the chance."

Konschuh and Strong will file applications for leave of appeal on behalf of any CSC victims to deter early release of sex offenders. Phone (810) 667-0326 if notified of a release.

Susan Younger may be reached at (810) 664-0811, Ext. 8122, or
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