PROTECT Our Children Act – Passed Congress

Legislation to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators makes a major step forward.

We first told you about senate bill 17-38 last month. It’s now known as the ‘PROTECT Our Children Act.’

The bill passed Congress, and now it’s up to President Bush whether to sign it into law.

Callers from around the country recently flooded congressional offices demanding support of the PROTECT our Children Act. Many heard about it on Oprah, others on myspace blogs.

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Knoxville native David Keith, actor and member of the National Association to Protect Children, says, “We are ecstatic we have had this victory in Congress.”

Highlights of the passed bill include at least one Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in each state and more than tripling their funding, better information-sharing between law enforcement agencies, and expanding computer forensics labs dedicated to crimes against children.

It also requires new criminal penalties for live child abuse feeds and for grafting images of real children onto sexual images to create child porn.

Police say the resources to find more physical evidence in computers would help investigators save more children from abuse.

Kentucky State Police trooper Jody Sims says, “It would just allow them to be trained in different areas to kind of go outside the scope of what they do now. Sometimes you have victims who don’t want to testify, and it would help to solidify those cases.”

Opponents of the bill say it would lead to too much bureaucracy and not enough prosecutors to handle new cases.
Officials say the deadline for the president to sign the bill is October 12th.

Increased funding for the FBI and other agencies was cut from the original bill.

To learn more about the PROTECT Our Children Act, go to http://www.thomas.gov and search for senate bill 1738. You can also find an analysis of the bill at http://protect.org.

Errors made in sex offender case

Errors were made in the case of a convicted sex offender who was allowed to care for his daughter and ended up abusing her, an inquiry has found.

The man, 67, from the Redcar and Cleveland area, was allowed to carry on living with the girl in 2005 despite her complaints of sexual abuse.

He has since been jailed and a South Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board inquiry was ordered into the case.

The report concluded that mistakes were made by social services and police.

Police investigated the abuse complaints, but the girl remained in the man’s care until February 2006.

The father of seven, referred to as Mr X, was later convicted of 12 sexual offences and received an indeterminate prison sentence, with a minimum term of four years.

Mr X, who was considered to be “very high risk”, was not on the Sex Offenders Register because his previous convictions dated from before its introduction in 1997, the report said.

Series of errors

But it said he had been known to police and social services since moving to the area from Islington in 1995.

He was not assessed as posing a significant risk to children, it found, and police failed to pass on intelligence in 1999 and 2003 that “could have contributed significantly to the overall assessment of risk”.

The report also questioned Mr X’s medical treatment.

It said: “Mr X was a known sex offender. He was prescribed Viagra at a time when he was a sole carer of children.”

It said 18 child protection referrals were made to Redcar and Cleveland children’s social care department between 1995 and 2006, but that a “series of errors” led to the children remaining in the care of Mr X.

The report said social workers did not adequately check the case history of the family.

In a statement, Cleveland Police said it “acknowledged” the findings of the report.

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

Arturo Adame

A Santa Maria man convicted of sexually abusing a female relative for more than a decade has been sentenced to 126 years in prison.

Arturo Adame turned to his victim, clapped and smiled after receiving the sentence Wednesday, prompting Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali to order bailiffs to immediately remove him from the courtroom.

Adame was convicted Sept. 3 of 13 felony counts, including forcible rape, sexual assault on a child under 14 and attempting to dissuade a witness from reporting a crime.

The victim, who is in her early 20s, testified during trial that she was sexually abused for 11 years.

************************************

The girl was nine years old when Arturo Adame asked her why she didn’t want him to tickle her, said the woman who was once that little girl.

“He took me to the kitchen and said he was going to check me like the doctor did,” recounted the alleged victim of Adame’s sexual abuse.

He then touched her genitals, the woman said.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what he was doing,” said the alleged victim, a relative of Adame.

The scenario repeated itself for 11 years, as Adame continued to sexually abuse the girl throughout her teens and into her 20s, she testified Thursday during Adame’s trial in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

The woman said Adame threatened her, including threats that he would abandon his wife and children, if she did not comply with his demands, as well as physically abusing her and maintaining strict control over her daily activities, including her classes at Hancock College.

The woman, now in her early 20s, was referred to in court as “Jane Doe” to protect her identity.

Adame, in his late 30s, of Santa Maria, has been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office with 13 felony counts consisting of forcible sex crimes, child molestation and attempting to dissuade a witness from reporting a crime.

The defendant’s trial began Thursday with opening statements from attorneys, and Doe was the first witness to take the stand for the prosecution and the only witness to testify Thursday.

Chief Trial Deputy Ann Bramsen is the prosecuting attorney on the case.

Doe is scheduled to return to the witness stand this morning as Adame’s attorney, Joseph Martinez, continues his cross-examination of her.

Martinez said during his opening statement that the evidence will show that no one saw anything untoward happen and there was no physical evidence of Adame sexually abusing Doe.

Martinez alleged that Doe and her mother were upset that Adame was having an affair with a woman he planned to marry.

Doe testified that Adame first had sexual intercourse with her when she was 11 or 12 years old. He took her to a hotel, she said, and raped her as she cried.

“He was really pushy and seemed to be getting angry,” she said.

She said she didn’t tell anyone about the incident in the hotel. Doe felt “horrible,” “really scared,” and “helpless,” she said.

Doe said that Adame continued to rape her through the years, at first in a hotel or Adame’s car, and later at a house.

Doe said she was fearful Adame would molest her younger sister, but he told her that he would not hurt the girl if Doe did what he said.

Adame was mean to her friends, so they stopped coming to the house, Doe said. However, her younger brother and sister had friends, she testified.

“He never got angry at them, the way he got angry at me,” Doe said, adding that he was angry because she refused to let him touch her.

The abuse continued until early 2007, Doe said.

Arturo Adame

A Santa Maria man convicted of sexually abusing a female relative for more than a decade has been sentenced to 126 years in prison.

Arturo Adame turned to his victim, clapped and smiled after receiving the sentence Wednesday, prompting Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali to order bailiffs to immediately remove him from the courtroom.

Adame was convicted Sept. 3 of 13 felony counts, including forcible rape, sexual assault on a child under 14 and attempting to dissuade a witness from reporting a crime.

The victim, who is in her early 20s, testified during trial that she was sexually abused for 11 years.

************************************

The girl was nine years old when Arturo Adame asked her why she didn’t want him to tickle her, said the woman who was once that little girl.

“He took me to the kitchen and said he was going to check me like the doctor did,” recounted the alleged victim of Adame’s sexual abuse.

He then touched her genitals, the woman said.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what he was doing,” said the alleged victim, a relative of Adame.

The scenario repeated itself for 11 years, as Adame continued to sexually abuse the girl throughout her teens and into her 20s, she testified Thursday during Adame’s trial in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

The woman said Adame threatened her, including threats that he would abandon his wife and children, if she did not comply with his demands, as well as physically abusing her and maintaining strict control over her daily activities, including her classes at Hancock College.

The woman, now in her early 20s, was referred to in court as “Jane Doe” to protect her identity.

Adame, in his late 30s, of Santa Maria, has been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office with 13 felony counts consisting of forcible sex crimes, child molestation and attempting to dissuade a witness from reporting a crime.

The defendant’s trial began Thursday with opening statements from attorneys, and Doe was the first witness to take the stand for the prosecution and the only witness to testify Thursday.

Chief Trial Deputy Ann Bramsen is the prosecuting attorney on the case.

Doe is scheduled to return to the witness stand this morning as Adame’s attorney, Joseph Martinez, continues his cross-examination of her.

Martinez said during his opening statement that the evidence will show that no one saw anything untoward happen and there was no physical evidence of Adame sexually abusing Doe.

Martinez alleged that Doe and her mother were upset that Adame was having an affair with a woman he planned to marry.

Doe testified that Adame first had sexual intercourse with her when she was 11 or 12 years old. He took her to a hotel, she said, and raped her as she cried.

“He was really pushy and seemed to be getting angry,” she said.

She said she didn’t tell anyone about the incident in the hotel. Doe felt “horrible,” “really scared,” and “helpless,” she said.

Doe said that Adame continued to rape her through the years, at first in a hotel or Adame’s car, and later at a house.

Doe said she was fearful Adame would molest her younger sister, but he told her that he would not hurt the girl if Doe did what he said.

Adame was mean to her friends, so they stopped coming to the house, Doe said. However, her younger brother and sister had friends, she testified.

“He never got angry at them, the way he got angry at me,” Doe said, adding that he was angry because she refused to let him touch her.

The abuse continued until early 2007, Doe said.

David T. Sprague – Repeat Sex Offender targets 4 year old


A convicted sex offender was arrested Monday by Ouachita Parish deputies for molesting a 4-year-old child.

David T. Sprague, 25, 3219 Caples Road Lot 2, West Monroe, was charged with aggravated incest.

According to an arrest report, deputies began investigating the case in early September when an adult called to say the child’s behavior indicated she may have been sexually abused.

From there, the child was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center to be questioned and reportedly told interviewers Sprague victimized her and listed at least three occasions on which abuse occurred.

On Oct. 1, the child was taken to a doctor for examination, but no evidence of abuse was found.

However, a case worker at the office said the child displayed sexual behavior and made sexually explicit comments.

On Tuesday, Sprague went to the sheriff’s office and gave a recorded statement denying the abuse.

In August 2004, Sprague was charged with sexual battery and aggravated rape. He was convicted of sexual battery in 2006 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Sprague was booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center. Bond was set at $100,000.

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

David T. Sprague – Repeat Sex Offender targets 4 year old


A convicted sex offender was arrested Monday by Ouachita Parish deputies for molesting a 4-year-old child.

David T. Sprague, 25, 3219 Caples Road Lot 2, West Monroe, was charged with aggravated incest.

According to an arrest report, deputies began investigating the case in early September when an adult called to say the child’s behavior indicated she may have been sexually abused.

From there, the child was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center to be questioned and reportedly told interviewers Sprague victimized her and listed at least three occasions on which abuse occurred.

On Oct. 1, the child was taken to a doctor for examination, but no evidence of abuse was found.

However, a case worker at the office said the child displayed sexual behavior and made sexually explicit comments.

On Tuesday, Sprague went to the sheriff’s office and gave a recorded statement denying the abuse.

In August 2004, Sprague was charged with sexual battery and aggravated rape. He was convicted of sexual battery in 2006 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Sprague was booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center. Bond was set at $100,000.

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

Danial Gratton – Repeat Sex Offender – Only lasted a few months

This week, police charged convicted pedophile Danial Todd Gratton with abducting and sexually assaulting two girls in separate incidents occurring in the last five days in Edmonton.

Court documents show Gratton has a long history of sexual assaults against children. He was declared a long-term offender in 2002.

He was sent to prison after being sentenced to six-year sentence for molesting six children. Court documents reveal one of his victims was sexually assaulted 70 times in a six-month period.

Even if notified of convicted pedophile Danial Gratton’s release from prison, the Edmonton Police Service would have not likely warned the public of his release, a former detective said Wednesday.

Wil Tonowski, a former employee in the High Risk Offender Unit, said Danial Gratton’s history would have not prompted the police to notify the public of his release.

“He would not meet the criteria required by law to do a media release or public disclosure,” he said.

As a rule, Tonowski says only high-risk offenders are red flagged for a public warning. Gratton was deemed to be a moderate to low risk to re-offend by his parole board. His records also show he completed the Phoenix Program at Alberta Hospital and his behaviour was positive.

“When a person appears to be on track and then he just goes off the rails, that can happen,” he said.

Tonowski’s comments come after a large public outcry emerged because no one was warned about Gratton’s release in July 2006.

This week, police charged convicted pedophile Danial Todd Gratton with abducting and sexually assaulting two girls in separate incidents occurring in the last five days in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, federal corrections officials said they have launched a probe into why Edmonton police were never notified Gratton was living in the city.

Jeff Campbell, from Corrections Canada, said officials are looking into why no notification was requested.

“It appears that full notification does not have, may not have been made with the Edmonton Police are required,” he said.

Court documents show Gratton has a long history of sexual assaults against children. He was declared a long-term offender in 2002.

He was sent to prison after being sentenced to six-year sentence for molesting six children. Court documents reveal one of his victims was sexually assaulted 70 times in a six-month period.

Gratton was later released early in 2005 after being granted full parole to a secure custody treatment facility where he received help for his sexual tendencies.

In July 2006, the parole board released him into the community when he showed positive progress — two years before his six-year sentence expired.

In March 2008, his 10 years of supervision began. Corrections Canada was in charge of his conditions which included no contact with children.

Despite the public outroar over the handling of the case, Tonowski said the criminal and legal systems didn’t fail the community.

“The bottom line is, the person to blame is the offender,” he said.