Internet predator law handed ‘victory’

The South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision Monday in the case of a Travelers Rest man convicted of soliciting minors over the Internet will strengthen the state’s law aimed at catching Internet predators, a spokesman for State Attorney General Henry McMaster said.

The ruling, the first to consider an appeal of South Carolina’s Internet soliciting law after 140 arrests, upheld the conviction of William H. Gaines Jr. of Travelers Rest, accused by police of using Web chat rooms to try to lure teenage girls to have sex, court records show.

“We see this as a tremendous victory for state law,” said Mark Plowden, a spokesman for McMaster. “That law has now been strengthened because it’s been upheld.”

Gaines was convicted of three counts of criminal solicitation of a minor and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, according to court records, suspended to four years in prison and five years’ probation on each count.

Gaines gave statements to police, according to the Supreme Court opinion, admitting that he had contacted girls on the Internet. But he said he was “just talking” with them, according to the opinion.

Neither he nor his appellate lawyers could be reached for comment Monday.

Justices denied that Gaines was entitled to an entrapment defense, ruling that the South Carolina officer’s beginning the chat by saying “Hey” did not constitute entrapment.

“The initial contact merely afforded Gaines the opportunity to solicit sex,” Justice John Waller wrote. “Gaines was in no way induced to commit the crime of criminal solicitation of a minor.”

According to Monday’s ruling, Gaines engaged in conversation in an Internet chat room in early 2004 with someone he believed to be a 12-year-old girl in Philadelphia.

He encouraged the person, according to the opinion, to travel to Greenville, where he planned to rent a hotel room. In fact, according to the opinion, the person was a Pennsylvania undercover detective, who referred the case to South Carolina authorities.

In October of that year, according to the opinion, South Carolina police established a screen name, pretending to be a 13-year-old girl whom Gaines contacted in a chat room later that year.

Gaines argued in his appeal that his earlier talk with the Pennsylvania police shouldn’t have been admitted as evidence because South Carolina didn’t pass its Internet solicitation law until June of 2004. The justices disagreed, saying that soliciting a minor prior to June was still a crime in Pennsylvania.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sterling Goddard – Repeat Sex Offender – GUILTY


A Paola man who has been a registered sex offender since 2002 was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren has announced.

In March 2008, Sterling Goddard, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography.

During sentencing, the government urged U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia to take into account Goddard’s conviction in 2002 on a charge of promoting obscenity to a minor.

In that case, Goddard was convicted of coercing two 6-year-old girls to watch pornographic films with him. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender.

The KBI’s sex offender registry is available online at http://www.accesskansas.org/kbi.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Sterling Goddard – Repeat Sex Offender – GUILTY


A Paola man who has been a registered sex offender since 2002 was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren has announced.

In March 2008, Sterling Goddard, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography.

During sentencing, the government urged U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia to take into account Goddard’s conviction in 2002 on a charge of promoting obscenity to a minor.

In that case, Goddard was convicted of coercing two 6-year-old girls to watch pornographic films with him. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender.

The KBI’s sex offender registry is available online at http://www.accesskansas.org/kbi.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Gilbert Leon Silvey Jr – Attempts to murder his victim so she can’t testify


On Thursday, September 25, 2008 the Morgan County Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Gilbert Leon Silvey Jr., age 44. The warrant was received by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and served on Mr. Silvey, who is being held on Child Molestation in the First Degree.

Mr. Silvey is charged additionally with Attempt of Murder First Degree with a bond of $50,000.00 cash only. These charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Morgan & Cooper County Sheriff’s Office of Mr. Silvey.

During the investigation Sheriff Jim Petty’s deputies found that Mr. Silvey was making arrangements for the hiring of person(s) to kill the juvenile victim and her family from his original criminal case of child molestation.

Mr. Silvey is in custody and being held on this and other charges awaiting court.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gilbert Leon Silvey Jr – Attempts to murder his victim so she can’t testify


On Thursday, September 25, 2008 the Morgan County Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Gilbert Leon Silvey Jr., age 44. The warrant was received by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and served on Mr. Silvey, who is being held on Child Molestation in the First Degree.

Mr. Silvey is charged additionally with Attempt of Murder First Degree with a bond of $50,000.00 cash only. These charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Morgan & Cooper County Sheriff’s Office of Mr. Silvey.

During the investigation Sheriff Jim Petty’s deputies found that Mr. Silvey was making arrangements for the hiring of person(s) to kill the juvenile victim and her family from his original criminal case of child molestation.

Mr. Silvey is in custody and being held on this and other charges awaiting court.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Donald Nitchman – 455 charges of child molestation


A Schuylerville man has been charged with 455 charges of child molestation.

Donald Nitchman, 48, was indicted earlier today on four counts of sexual act in the first degree; 77 counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree; 83 counts of criminal sexual act in the third degree; 144 counts of sexual misconduct — all felonies — sexual abuse in the third degree; three counts of unlawful imprisonment; and 144 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The alleged crimes occurred between August 2004 and June 2008.

It’s on a Saratoga County horse farm where investigators said breeder Donald Nitchman was sexually abusing teen boys.

“One of the young boys came forward. He had been sodomized by Mr. Nitchman,” said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

Murphy said with the first boy telling state police, that led investigators to finding two others Nitchman is accused of abusing. Murphy said the incidents started in 2004 when the teens were 13. The indictment is for more than 400 abuse-related charges.

“It is really unprecedented number of counts in the indictment,” said Murphy. “Remember, this is over a four-year period and three separate Nitchman is in Saratoga County Jail and could get life if convicted.

Murphy said each teen is in counseling and will be testifying when Nitchman goes to trial.

“It’s shattering. And no matter what we do with the criminal case, they will never be the same,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Nitchman was originally arrested in June and they are just now indicting him after trying to avoid having the boys testify in front of a grand jury.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Donald Nitchman – 455 charges of child molestation


A Schuylerville man has been charged with 455 charges of child molestation.

Donald Nitchman, 48, was indicted earlier today on four counts of sexual act in the first degree; 77 counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree; 83 counts of criminal sexual act in the third degree; 144 counts of sexual misconduct — all felonies — sexual abuse in the third degree; three counts of unlawful imprisonment; and 144 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The alleged crimes occurred between August 2004 and June 2008.

It’s on a Saratoga County horse farm where investigators said breeder Donald Nitchman was sexually abusing teen boys.

“One of the young boys came forward. He had been sodomized by Mr. Nitchman,” said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

Murphy said with the first boy telling state police, that led investigators to finding two others Nitchman is accused of abusing. Murphy said the incidents started in 2004 when the teens were 13. The indictment is for more than 400 abuse-related charges.

“It is really unprecedented number of counts in the indictment,” said Murphy. “Remember, this is over a four-year period and three separate Nitchman is in Saratoga County Jail and could get life if convicted.

Murphy said each teen is in counseling and will be testifying when Nitchman goes to trial.

“It’s shattering. And no matter what we do with the criminal case, they will never be the same,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Nitchman was originally arrested in June and they are just now indicting him after trying to avoid having the boys testify in front of a grand jury.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment