Category Archives: Criminal Sexual Conduct

Teen Lovers Will No Longer Be Listed As Sex-Offenders

From theoaklandpress.com

A Royal Oak woman whose son was imprisoned as a teenager for having consensual sex with his young girlfriend is pleased the state has just altered the law.

The Michigan Legislature last week  approved changes to the law — often referred to as the Romeo-Juliet law — so that teens who had consensual sex with minors would no longer be listed on Michigan’s sex offender registry.

“I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it,” said Francie Baldino, who started a support group, Michigan Citizens for Justice, for families in the same situation.

Her son Ken, who has a different last name, has spent nearly six years incarcerated.

Now that both the state House and Senate have approved the changes, the bill is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Offenders would not be listed for having consensual sex with partners who were between the ages of 13 and 16, provided the offender was not more than four years older than the victim. The legislation calls for a petition process to allow those young offenders currently on the registry to be taken off if a court determined the sex was consensual. The Michigan bills are aimed at complying with a federal statute.

Baldino said Ken met his girlfriend when he was almost 16 and she was almost 13.

The girl met Ken through mutual friends. Now a mother and in a relationship with another man, she does not wish to comment on the story, Baldino said.

“They just were crazy about each other,” said Baldino.

“They dated about a year and a half and, after he got his driver’s license, spent every minute together.”

Ken lived with his father in Hazel Park at the time. The girl lived with her stepfather.

“Her mother wasn’t in the picture,” said Baldino.

Baldino, who had divorced Ken’s father, said Ken had lived with her for awhile.

“But I was having trouble disciplining him,” she said.

Baldino said her son had the maturity level of a 15-year-old. She also said Ken didn’t tell Baldino the girl’s real age in the beginning.

She believes the two had similar lives, with parents divorced.

Baldino said the girl’s father returned to her life and that he appeared to consent to the two young people being together.

“But once her father figured out they were having issues, arguments and having sex, he decided he did not want my son in the picture anymore.”

When Ken and the girl’s father argued and Ken broke the door to the family’s apartment, the father pressed charges for criminal sexual conduct and destruction of property in 2003.

“My son admitted he and (the girl) were sexually active and was charged with three counts of 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct because they charge separately for each act that occurred in one instance,” said Baldino.

Ken spent 10 months in jail. Baldino said during that time, the girl wrote him continuously and kept in contact even though he was not to have any contact with her.

Once he was released, he was “distraught, depressed and ordered to stay away from (the girl),” Baldino said.

“He found life unbearable,” Baldino said, and he started seeing her again.

The girl’s father caught the couple together and in 2005, Ken was back in court.

This time the girl testified in court, Baldino said, and she “begged, pleaded and cried for Ken’s freedom and said sex was always consensual and she was in love with my son.

“It was very sad.”

The girl’s father never came to court, said Baldino.

Ken was sentenced to five years in prison for violation of probation and had another criminal sexual conduct charge on his record because he and the girl had sex again.

“I was devastated,” said Baldino.

“He got more time for having sex with his girlfriend than most people get for burglary and other violent crimes.”

Baldino said her son has asked his mother, “Why didn’t I walk away,” she said.

“I told him, ‘You weren’t thinking.’ ”

Baldino said she tried to get the Sex Offender Registry changed for Romeo-Juliet situations.

“I’ve written letters and met with (various representatives),” she said.

“Unfortunately I learned a lot of politicians didn’t want to touch it because it looks like they’re soft on crime.”

Support Group formed

Because Baldino believed the current sex offender laws are not working, last fall she created a support group — Michigan Citizens for Justice — for people affected by the laws.

“This law does not protect all of us as it was supposedly intended to do,” she said.

“It destroys futures and makes it questionable as to who is a threat to society and who isn’t.”

Baldino and the 140 members of her group believe people who are on the list are “automatically labeled as monsters, pooled all together regardless of what their charge was.”

She said people on the list must register anywhere from 10 years, 25 years or life.

Ken, now 25, is awaiting his release date this year, said Baldino.

The main hope Baldino has for Ken is that he would not have to be listed on the Sex Offender Registry.

“My son isn’t saying, ‘This isn’t my fault,’ ” she said.

“He just says, ‘Why do I have to be on the list the rest of my life?’ ”

Once Ken is released, Baldino said the two will meet with an attorney to see what can be done about the registry.

Baldino plans to keep the support group — which meets every two months — together.

“This is a huge, nationwide problem, ruining way too many lives,” she said.

“We’re going to stick together.”

FYI

To learn more about Michigan Citizens for Justice, a support group working to reform the current sex offender law and registry. The group also offers support to others whose lives have been affected by this law, working to advance its mission with ideas, information, professional input and education on the law. Visit micitizensforjustice.vpweb.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

A change in the law like this was needed.  While young teens having sex might not be a safe or smart idea, its unfair to put them on the same list as real sex offenders.  Do you agree with the new law?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Criminal Sexual Conduct, Holly Valente

Detroit 300 Back In The News: Searching For Detroit Serial Rapist

From freep.com

Scores of Detroiters gathered Thursday night to take back the streets of northeast Detroit.

“Nobody in the streets can beat us when we come together as one and say, ‘No more in Detroit,’ ” Raphael B. Johnson said into a bullhorn, surrounded by residents preparing to blanket the area around Gratiot and 7 Mile with sketches of the man police suspect of raping seven young women this year.

Johnson and other members of the group Detroit 300 urged women to avoid being on the streets after 9 p.m. The group, which coordinated Thursday night’s effort with Detroit police, has been credited with helping solve the August rape of a 90-year-old woman on the west side.

Maurice Black, 43, said he came out because he hopes someone who knows the rapist will come forward.

“This is somebody’s brother. This is somebody’s cousin,” Black said. “All we ask is that you turn him in so we can get him some help.”

Cassandra Crutchen said her 19-year-old daughter was attacked.

She told the volunteers: “We’re going to catch him.”

Police have said women were attacked near Gratiot and 7 Mile, Hazelridge and Hayes and near Cadieux and I-94. A possible eighth victim was attacked in Highland Park near the Detroit border on Jan. 6, said Highland Park Detective Sgt. Brenda Perkins.

Detroit police have described the suspect as being in his 30s, 5 feet 9 with a thin build, dark complexion, mustache and goatee.

Police say most of the victims have been 19 to 22 years old, and were attacked in late evening or early morning while walking alone or waiting at bus stops. In one case, a woman was attacked after the man bumped her vehicle and she got out.

Police said the man takes the women at gunpoint to a secluded location, where he robs and sexually assaults them. Perkins said the Highland Park victim did not say she had been robbed.

Another young woman was raped Thursday evening near Kercheval and Lakewood on Detroit’s east side, but police said they don’t believe the suspected serial rapist is responsible.

Read more: City crime fighters join hunt for rapist | freep.com | Detroit Free Presshttp://www.freep.com/article/20110114/NEWS01/101140396/City-crime-fighters-join-hunt-for-rapist#ixzz1B1iOF33P

Read our previous post on the Detroit 300 here

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Filed under Criminal Sexual Conduct, Holly Valente, Self Defense, Violent Crimes

Operation Verify

Thinking about sex offenders in your city, or neighborhood, or even next door to you is a very scary thought. Especially if you don’t know they are there. Once you are convicted of a sex related crime, you are required to register in the city the you reside in, however, many people every year choose not to follow this rule which is a graduated penalty which could result from 93 days to 4 years in jail. That is why between October 18 and October 29th, Michigan State Police will target these offenders to try and get their compliance. Since Operation Verify started in 2005, 2,200 sex offenders have been arrested.

For Misdemeanor offenses, offenders must verify their address once a year with local police, and for felony’s they must register quarterly. Also, they must report a change of address within ten days of moving, and failure to do so results in a four-year felony. The new crack down will happen after the next verification period in October to allow officials to have a proper list of those who are not complying.

Along with helping to properly punish sex offenders that are not properly registered, these sweeps also help to maintain a list of the Most Wanted Sex Offenders which is available at www.michigan.gov/absconders. By doing these sweeps 25 individuals have been located and arrested since August 2006.

Hopefully sweeps like this will help us to know where and when sex offenders are so that we can have the knowledge to keep us and our families safe and to punish those who try and put that freedom in jeopardy.

Visit http://www.familywatchdog.us/ to find out where sex offenders in your neighborhood  are.

How do you feel about this law?

If you have questions about a sex related crime please contact Dan Ambrose at Dan@ambroselawgroup.com or call (248) 624-5500

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The Joshua Stough Case

In 2006 Dan Ambrose represented Joshua Stough in a heart wrenching Criminal Sexual Assault Case in Traverse City, Mi.

Joshua Stough Victory

Here is an excerpt from Josh’s story.  Click her to visit his website

“On or around February 13, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. I (Joshua Stough) received a phone call from a man saying he was a Michigan State Police Officer.  He identified himself as Trooper Arcienega. The way that the man spoke to me he did not sound like a police officer at all, in fact he sounded specifically like he was about fifteen years old. I was told by him that it was reported that I was involved in a hit and run and I needed to come down to the police post. I knew for a fact that I had not been in an accident and that no one would have reported it. (I had a VERY unique truck at the time.) At this point I told him that I did not believe that he was a police officer and that I was not going to talk to

him until he told me the truth. When I said this the Trooper became very upset with me. We ended up exchanging some words that were not very appropriate for me to say, and especially not for a  police officer to say.

After this exchange he informed me that he wanted to talk to me about when I lived with Karen Hoogerhyde. The moment he said Karen, I had an idea of what this was about. (When I rented a room from Karen, her daughter (Christina) also lived at the house, the reason why I had moved out was that I had found written in Christina’s diary an entry that said “I had sex with Josh.” When I found the diary I immediately took it to Karen. Christina was questioned by her mother about it and by counselors about it. A few days later I moved.) At this point the conversation was over. The Officer said that he would call me in a day or two to set up a meeting; we hung up at this point. After I got off the phone with the Trooper I drove to the police post to see if in fact he was a real officer.

When I arrived at the post it was closed, I saw two officers outside in the back talking. I asked them if Trooper Arcienega was inside. They said “no”. The moment they said no, a short Mexican looking officer came running out of the post. This was Arcienega. He asked who I was. I replied and told him my name. He started yelling at me and said “you better get to stepping before I beat your ass”.

I tried apologizing to him and he continued to threaten me and telling me to leave. Two days later I met with Arcienega at the police post in Traverse City , Mi. This was for my “voluntary interview”.

Together the officer and I went into a room and after a few questions about me, he proceeded to tell me that Christina Hoogerhyde had told him that I had molested her. Over the next hour he interrogated me and tried time after time to get me to confess to the crime in which I was accused. He kept telling me that I was nothing but a liar. He would not listen to anything I had to say. He became VERY angry with me and left to let me think about clearing my mind. About a half hour later a different officer came in. I do not remember his name just that he tried to play like he was my friend.

At this point I was very sick of dealing with these people and informed them that I had nothing more to say. The officer said “that is ok we’re done anyways”. At this point we set up a polygraph examination for February 22nd I believe. When I walked out to the lobby Trooper Arcienega told me that if I go anywhere near Christina that he has “3,000 people on his squad and that they would hunt me down”. I told him not to worry I wouldn’t.”

Josh was acquitted on all 7 counts of CSC.  However, the charges still impact his life today. Visit his website to learn his full story.

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Filed under Client Victories, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Daniel D. Ambrose, Joshua Stough, Police Brutality