Sunday, April 20, 2014
SEQUIM - Terror turned to outrage at a local park when parents realized a child kidnapping that played out before their eyes was actually faked -- just to make a video.
On any given day, parents and their kids are often found enjoying Carrie Blake Park in Sequim. However, last Saturday treated visitors to a very different scene, as families watched a man in a ski mask appear to kidnap a little boy.
"I saw this guy, he's wearing a mask, just two-handed grabs this kid and jumps into the van and takes off," said Rebekah Asin, a parent who was at the park Saturday.
The abduction looked so real, Tiffany Barnett jumped up and gave chase.
"I was trying to run after them, trying to get their license plate number," Barnett said.
Two cousins, Jason and Jesse Holden were the abductors in the video. They told ABC News that they regret nearly everything about the staged kidnapping.
"I'll be the first one to admit that the way we went about it wasn't the best way. We could have definitely done it another way," Jason Holden said.
Parents realized it was all a ruse when the masked man returned to the park a short time later to say everyone was safe. He also admitted the "crime" was staged to make an educational video on "kidnapping awareness."
The cousins are revaluating their tactics and responsibility after scathing reaction online.
"There's a line to draw where we can do some of our ideas that we do. There's a line that should be drawn and not go over that line," Jason said.
Multiple witnesses called 911. Sequim Police Chief Bill Dickinson said people had good reason to be upset.
"People are angry when they are taken advantage of," Dickinson said. "When they are the butt of the joke, it's never funny."
"The parents were furious and the kids were scared," Asin said.
The cousins have other segments posted on Youtube showing a variety of pranks, including a staged robbery. Many believe this kidnapping project could have easily gotten someone hurt or killed.
"They're lucky that there wasn't an off-duty police officer or somebody carrying a concealed weapon that could have shot them," Barnett said.
Despite all that, nobody has been arrested because apparently no obvious crime was committed. Still, frightened children stood calling their parents, fearful they'd be snatched-up next.
"My daughter is still terrified," Barnett said. "She'll tell you right now, 'What if they take me? what if they take me?'"
Investigators are still looking to see if criminal charges are appropriate, or if the participants violated zoning and licensing rules.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
FORT COLLINS - A former Longmont police officer who admitted to the attempted sexual assault of a woman in Loveland was sentenced Tuesday to eight years of sex offender intensive supervised probation.
Christopher Martinchick, 43, also must register as a sex offender and was ordered to serve six months in jail on work release.
Martinchick pleaded guilty in 8th Judicial District Court in November 2013 to attempted sexual assault, a class 5 felony, and invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, a misdemeanor.
Martinchick was arrested last July following a Larimer County Sheriff's Office investigation into a reported sexual assault that occurred in Loveland. The adult female victim told police that on two separate occasions, Martinchick engaged in sexual activity with her while she was sleeping and under the influence of a prescribed muscle relaxant.
Sexual images taken without the woman's consent while she was sleeping were found on computers and a cellphone that the sheriff's office searched as part of the investigation.
Conditions of the sex offender intensive supervised probation include that Martinchick must comply with any counseling or substance abuse treatment as recommended, have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 other than his own children, register as a sex offender and have no contact with the victim.
Martinchick must report for work release within 14 days. He will also serve two years supervised probation concurrent with the sex offender intensive supervised probation.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Mark Boxley
Louisville Metro Police Detective Carl Payne was charged with three counts of first-degree official misconduct Monday over allegations he propositioned three women for sex after arresting them in exchange for assisting them with their court cases, according to a Jefferson County criminal summons.
Carl Payne, 38, of Elizabethtown, was placed under investigation by the department’s Public Integrity Unit in February, the Courier-Journal previously reported.
The charges filed against him Monday allege that from March 20, 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014 Payne — a member of the department’s Violent Incident Prevention, Enforcement and Response (VIPER) Unit — contacted three women after arresting them and “propositioned each of them for sex and encouraged sexually explicit text messages and photographs from the victims in return for assisting them with court cases,” the summons said.
Payne has been on administrative reassignment since Feb. 7, LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said.
Lt. Kit Steimle, who led the VIPER Unit, is also under investigation and has been on administrative reassignment since Feb. 24, Mitchell said.
Police have not said if the two investigations are related.
This is not the first time Payne has been under investigation with the department, according to his personnel file. On June 20, 2013, an investigation was opened after he was arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence in Hardin County on June 19, according to a document in his personnel file.
He was suspended without pay for 20 days from the police department. His charges became effective Oct. 3 and he was restored to police powers on November 25, 2013.
He was also reprimanded for missing four court appearances in 2007.
According to the summons, Payne arrested the first victim on March 27, 2013, and soon after contacted the woman by phone, sending her “numerous sexually explicit text messages.” During one conversation, Payne asked the woman to meet him at his office late at night, saying “if she helped him out, he could help her out,” referring to her court case, it said.
The second incident started on Dec. 11, 2013, when Payne arrested a woman and her boyfriend, according to the summons. While the boyfriend was in the front seat of Payne’s police car, he was in the back with the woman typing her messages on his phone for her to read, it said. One told her she was attractive, asked why she was with her boyfriend. Another message asked for her phone number, according to the summons.
Payne is also accused of putting his phone number in the second woman’s purse and told her to call him “so that he could help her with her court case,” the summons said. When she was released from jail she contacted him thinking he could help her, but he started sending her “explicit text messages,” the summons said.
Payne appeared in court on the woman’s case and had it continued on Dec. 15, 2013, which is when she told her attorney about his communications, it said.
Payne arrested the third woman and her boyfriend on April 25, 2013, the summons said. He started contacting her on Dec. 18, 2013, allegedly sending her explicit text messages and photos of his genitalia, it said. He also asked her to meet with him in exchange for helping her and her boyfriend with their court cases and offered to have gun and drug charges against her dismissed, the summons said.
Additional information was not immediately available from LMPD on any departmental actions against Payne stemming from Monday’s charges.
By Noah Pransky
PINELLAS COUNTY - Following another major bust of suspects accused of seeking sex with underage children, 10 Investigates renewed its public records requests into how law enforcement operates its stings. But again, multiple agencies are refusing to turn over documents, casting doubt over whether they're playing by the rules.
In January, 10 Investigates revealed that officers and deputies may not have followed federal guidelines in trying to lure sexual predators during a sting. Numerous agencies refused to turn over public records.
But it's not just the lack of transparency casting doubt over the January sting, which resulted in 35 arrests. Attorneys tell 10 Investigates they believe the majority of the men have yet to even be charged, three months after their arrests.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Clearwater Police Department, and FDLE have all cited various public record exemptions in their refusals to turn over records from the January sting, while the Manatee Co. Sheriff's Office has refused to turn over records from similar stings.
10 Investigates will continue to fight for access to public records.
National City has become the latest California city to face a lawsuit from a registered San Luis Obispo County sex offender over its sex-offender regulations. Frank Lindsay, 61, of Grover Beach, contends such local ordinances are superseded by Jessica’s Law, the 2006 measure adopted by California voters.
Among the provisions of Jessica’s Law is a prohibition on registered sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of any school or park. It was named for Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender.
Many communities, including National City, have adopted even more restrictive laws of their own. With the assistance of attorney Janice Bellucci — who says society must accept that sex offenders still have civil liberties — Lindsay has been making headway in going after these laws. In January, a state appellate court struck down separate measures adopted by Irvine and Orange County that required sex offenders to gain formal government permission before entering city or county parks. “The state intended to fully occupy the field of regulating registered sex offenders,” the appeals court ruled.
But instead of fighting Lindsay’s lawsuit, National City and other local cities that face similar challenges need a moment of clarity: What do they hope to achieve with sex-offender regulations?
Is the goal making sex offenders’ lives as miserable as possible? Or is it to reduce the likelihood that they will commit new sex crimes?
If it is the former, then fighting for Megan’s Law and even stricter local ordinances makes sense. If the goal is the latter, then these laws make no sense at all.
Setting up residency restrictions that make it difficult and in some cases impossible for sex offenders to stay with their families and to find work “contradicts decades of criminological research identifying factors associated with successful offender reintegration” into society, according to University of Louisville professor Richard Tewksbury and other authorities on sex-offender rehabilitation.
The released sex offender with a job, stable housing and supportive people in his life is far less a threat to the community than a sex offender who is a jobless transient kept from his family.
We understand where National City Mayor Ron Morrison is coming from when he told a U-T reporter that he hoped his city’s ordinance stayed in place: “If you are a registered predatory sex offender on children, I am sorry, you don’t get all your rights.”
We suspect the vast majority of the public shares this sentiment, which is why Jessica’s Law passed in a landslide. We also understand why folks would bristle at Bellucci’s characterization of this issue as being about civil liberties.
But if the goal is to avoid more tragedies like Jessica Lunsford’s, Californians need to think clearly and get past the bluster and demagoguery sometimes seen on public-safety issues. If existing laws make sex crimes more likely, they should be changed.