Christopher J. Seeley – Repeat Sex Offender – Civil Commitment


An Eau Claire man will remain in a secure mental health facility after he was found to be a sexually violent person.

An Eau Claire County jury made that finding Monday against Christopher J. Seeley following a six-day trial.

Judge William Gabler ordered Seeley to the custody of the state Department of Health and Family Services for an indefinite period of time.

The state Justice Department in 2007 filed a sexual predator petition against Seeley, claiming he is a sexually violent person and should be committed for treatment.

According to the state’s petition:

Seeley suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence.

Seeley is dangerous because his mental disorders make it likely he will engage in future sexual violence.

Seeley, 34, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2005 for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.

He pleaded no contest to a felony count of third-degree sexual assault.

According to court records, Seeley had sexual contact with the woman Sept. 28, 2003, without her consent while they were in a car in Carson Park.

Seeley was also convicted of third-degree sexual assault in Eau Claire County in 1999.

Christopher J. Seeley – Repeat Sex Offender – Civil Commitment


An Eau Claire man will remain in a secure mental health facility after he was found to be a sexually violent person.

An Eau Claire County jury made that finding Monday against Christopher J. Seeley following a six-day trial.

Judge William Gabler ordered Seeley to the custody of the state Department of Health and Family Services for an indefinite period of time.

The state Justice Department in 2007 filed a sexual predator petition against Seeley, claiming he is a sexually violent person and should be committed for treatment.

According to the state’s petition:

Seeley suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence.

Seeley is dangerous because his mental disorders make it likely he will engage in future sexual violence.

Seeley, 34, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2005 for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.

He pleaded no contest to a felony count of third-degree sexual assault.

According to court records, Seeley had sexual contact with the woman Sept. 28, 2003, without her consent while they were in a car in Carson Park.

Seeley was also convicted of third-degree sexual assault in Eau Claire County in 1999.

Robert Wirtz – Repeat Sex Offender


A 46-year-old Winter Haven man was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison for molesting a teenage girl he met while volunteering at his church.

Circuit Judge Keith Spoto also sentenced Robert Wirtz to 12 years’ probation.

The judge declared him to be a sexual predator.

Wirtz attended Trinity Congregational United Church of Christ in Winter Haven.

During his sentencing hearing, Wirtz said he was guilty of having a “compassionate heart.”

He denied molesting the girl, who was 16 at the time, and a 13-year-old boy in another incident.

At trial, Wirtz testified that he offered to take the girl to his home July 6, 2007, so she could have a break from watching her siblings.

However, the girl told jurors that Wirtz offered to take her to the store, but then drove her to his home.

The girl testified that she fell asleep watching television and awoke to find Wirtz fondling her.

A jury found Wirtz guilty Sept. 11 of sexual battery.

In a separate incident, the boy told investigators that Wirtz fondled him and talked about sex.

Prosecutors dropped the charges relating to the boy after Wirtz was found guilty of molesting the girl.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte
Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Robert Wirtz – Repeat Sex Offender


A 46-year-old Winter Haven man was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison for molesting a teenage girl he met while volunteering at his church.

Circuit Judge Keith Spoto also sentenced Robert Wirtz to 12 years’ probation.

The judge declared him to be a sexual predator.

Wirtz attended Trinity Congregational United Church of Christ in Winter Haven.

During his sentencing hearing, Wirtz said he was guilty of having a “compassionate heart.”

He denied molesting the girl, who was 16 at the time, and a 13-year-old boy in another incident.

At trial, Wirtz testified that he offered to take the girl to his home July 6, 2007, so she could have a break from watching her siblings.

However, the girl told jurors that Wirtz offered to take her to the store, but then drove her to his home.

The girl testified that she fell asleep watching television and awoke to find Wirtz fondling her.

A jury found Wirtz guilty Sept. 11 of sexual battery.

In a separate incident, the boy told investigators that Wirtz fondled him and talked about sex.

Prosecutors dropped the charges relating to the boy after Wirtz was found guilty of molesting the girl.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte
Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Internet Solicitation Laws Ruled CONSTITUTIONAL

Yet Carla Sigler with the Calcasieu DA’s office says the law is regulating conduct, not speech and that trying to solicit a child is not protected speech. “What is prohibited is somebody sexually soliciting a minor child via the Internet or someone they suspect to be a minor child. The act of typing in the email communication and soliciting that child is conduct rather than speech.”

A judge in Calcasieu finds the law used to prosecute online predators is constitutional — even if the original version was poorly written.

The online predator law is a big help to law enforcement trying to catch those who would use computers to solicit sex from children. The challenge was to the original state law which has since been amended in a way that some defense attorneys think fixes it.

King Alexander. with the public defenders office, had argued the law infringes on a person’s right to free speech. “Electronic textual communication has been held by the United States Supreme Court to be free speech and that’s precisely what this statute criminalizes.”

Yet Carla Sigler with the Calcasieu DA’s office says the law is regulating conduct, not speech and that trying to solicit a child is not protected speech. “What is prohibited is somebody sexually soliciting a minor child via the Internet or someone they suspect to be a minor child. The act of typing in the email communication and soliciting that child is conduct rather than speech.”

Alexander also argued the law made criminal communication that would be legal face to face between a 17 year old and 18 year old. “It criminalizes a solicitation over the computer that would be perfectly legal to do verbally in person. In fact it would be perfectly legal to go ahead and consummate the conduct that’s being proposed.”

But Sigler says those aren’t the kind of cases being prosecuted. “The majority of cases that we have in our office are when someone who is in their forties or fifties is trying to sexually solicit a minor child who is thirteen or fourteen years old.”

After hearing argument from both sides judge Todd Clemons agreed the original law may have been poorly written, even flawed, but is not unconstitutional.

As well, Judge Clemons says the law serves a compelling interest of the state, by protecting minors from being solicited by adults for sexual purposes.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark Carpenter – Baby Raping Principal

A former assistant principal at Lee Road Junior High School pleaded guilty Monday to raping a 6-year-old girl and possessing child pornography.

Mark Carpenter, 54, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping the girl in 1986, before he was hired by the St. Tammany Parish school system.

Carpenter, of the Covington area, was arrested at the Lee Road school on Oct. 8, 2007, and taken to the St. Tammany Parish jail after questioning. He resigned as assistant principal the next day.

He was accused of sexually abusing the girl for 10 years, from the time she was 6 years old until she was 16, authorities said. The victim is now 27.

Carpenter was originally charged with aggravated rape, which can carry a sentence of life in prison, but Ronnie Gracianette, chief of trials for the parish district attorney’s office, said Monday that the victim and her family were happy with the plea agreement.

State Judge Elaine Dimiceli sentenced Carpenter to 30 years for the forcible rape charge, without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. He received five years for the child pornography charge. The sentences will run at the same time.

The maximum sentence for forcible rape is 40 years. Possession of child pornography is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

The day after his arrest, school officials sent students home with a letter assuring parents that the allegations had nothing to do with the school.

Carpenter joined St. Tammany Parish schools as a teacher at Lyon Elementary School in Covington during the 1997-98 school year.

He worked at Lyon Elementary for nine years before becoming parishwide assistant principal in 2006. He was assigned to Lee Road Junior High School in 2007, temporarily replacing an assistant principal who was on leave.

The incidents that led to Carpenter’s arrest came to light through the victim’s conversations with her family in 2007.

The week before Carpenter’s arrest, Anthony Vincent “Vince” Ularich III, 60, a former Slidell Pathways School special education teacher, was arrested and booked with 275 counts of possessing child pornography involving children 8 to 10 years old.

Ularich resigned from his teaching position the day before his Oct. 5, 2007, arrest. He immediately admitted possessing the images, authorities said, and pleaded guilty to the charges May 7. He was sentenced June 2 to seven years in prison.

Then in March, a former Slidell school janitor was booked with sexual assault. Dino Jay Schwertz, 42, of Slidell was booked with rapes of two 10-year-old boys at W.L. Abney Elementary, and Slidell police later booked him with additional sex crimes after more children came forward.

Schwertz was charged with nine counts of aggravated rape, two counts of child molestation and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, in incidents police say occurred in the school bathroom over several weeks last fall.

He is in the St. Tammany jail in Covington awaiting trial.

Mark Carpenter – Baby Raping Principal

A former assistant principal at Lee Road Junior High School pleaded guilty Monday to raping a 6-year-old girl and possessing child pornography.

Mark Carpenter, 54, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping the girl in 1986, before he was hired by the St. Tammany Parish school system.

Carpenter, of the Covington area, was arrested at the Lee Road school on Oct. 8, 2007, and taken to the St. Tammany Parish jail after questioning. He resigned as assistant principal the next day.

He was accused of sexually abusing the girl for 10 years, from the time she was 6 years old until she was 16, authorities said. The victim is now 27.

Carpenter was originally charged with aggravated rape, which can carry a sentence of life in prison, but Ronnie Gracianette, chief of trials for the parish district attorney’s office, said Monday that the victim and her family were happy with the plea agreement.

State Judge Elaine Dimiceli sentenced Carpenter to 30 years for the forcible rape charge, without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. He received five years for the child pornography charge. The sentences will run at the same time.

The maximum sentence for forcible rape is 40 years. Possession of child pornography is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

The day after his arrest, school officials sent students home with a letter assuring parents that the allegations had nothing to do with the school.

Carpenter joined St. Tammany Parish schools as a teacher at Lyon Elementary School in Covington during the 1997-98 school year.

He worked at Lyon Elementary for nine years before becoming parishwide assistant principal in 2006. He was assigned to Lee Road Junior High School in 2007, temporarily replacing an assistant principal who was on leave.

The incidents that led to Carpenter’s arrest came to light through the victim’s conversations with her family in 2007.

The week before Carpenter’s arrest, Anthony Vincent “Vince” Ularich III, 60, a former Slidell Pathways School special education teacher, was arrested and booked with 275 counts of possessing child pornography involving children 8 to 10 years old.

Ularich resigned from his teaching position the day before his Oct. 5, 2007, arrest. He immediately admitted possessing the images, authorities said, and pleaded guilty to the charges May 7. He was sentenced June 2 to seven years in prison.

Then in March, a former Slidell school janitor was booked with sexual assault. Dino Jay Schwertz, 42, of Slidell was booked with rapes of two 10-year-old boys at W.L. Abney Elementary, and Slidell police later booked him with additional sex crimes after more children came forward.

Schwertz was charged with nine counts of aggravated rape, two counts of child molestation and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, in incidents police say occurred in the school bathroom over several weeks last fall.

He is in the St. Tammany jail in Covington awaiting trial.

Robert D. Bennefield – Repeat Sex Offender – He blew his second chance


A convicted sex offender spared prison a decade ago in favor of treatment pleaded guilty Monday to a new charge of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Robert D. Bennefield, 43, of Sifton could face up to 12 years in prison.

In 1998, Bennefield pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree rape of a child and one count of attempted second-degree assault involving two brothers.

The boys attended the small Lighthouse Christian Center in Rosemere, where Bennefield was a pastor.

In that case, Bennefield also admitted to molesting nine other boys he’d met through the church, according to court records. At his 1998 sentencing, Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Harris granted Bennefield’s request for a term under the state’s Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA).

Harris, who could have sent Bennefield to prison for a decade, instead ordered him to spend six months in jail and complete therapy for sexual deviancy.

Bennefield graduated from therapy.

Earlier this year, Bennefield, who was working as a hotel maintenance worker, met a teenage boy online and went to the boy’s house. The father of the 15-year-old walked in on Bennefield and his son, chased Bennefield out and then left a note on Bennefield’s door that was discovered by Bennefield’s wife, according to court documents.

Bennefield told his corrections officer about the incident on May 13 and was arrested that day.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to assault of a child in the third degree with sexual motivation.

For that crime, he faces at least two years in prison. Harris will have the option of also imposing the prison term he suspended in 1998.

Harris ordered a presentence report and set a tracking date of Jan. 6. If the report is finished, a sentencing date will be set at that time.

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

Robert D. Bennefield – Repeat Sex Offender – He blew his second chance


A convicted sex offender spared prison a decade ago in favor of treatment pleaded guilty Monday to a new charge of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Robert D. Bennefield, 43, of Sifton could face up to 12 years in prison.

In 1998, Bennefield pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree rape of a child and one count of attempted second-degree assault involving two brothers.

The boys attended the small Lighthouse Christian Center in Rosemere, where Bennefield was a pastor.

In that case, Bennefield also admitted to molesting nine other boys he’d met through the church, according to court records. At his 1998 sentencing, Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Harris granted Bennefield’s request for a term under the state’s Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA).

Harris, who could have sent Bennefield to prison for a decade, instead ordered him to spend six months in jail and complete therapy for sexual deviancy.

Bennefield graduated from therapy.

Earlier this year, Bennefield, who was working as a hotel maintenance worker, met a teenage boy online and went to the boy’s house. The father of the 15-year-old walked in on Bennefield and his son, chased Bennefield out and then left a note on Bennefield’s door that was discovered by Bennefield’s wife, according to court documents.

Bennefield told his corrections officer about the incident on May 13 and was arrested that day.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to assault of a child in the third degree with sexual motivation.

For that crime, he faces at least two years in prison. Harris will have the option of also imposing the prison term he suspended in 1998.

Harris ordered a presentence report and set a tracking date of Jan. 6. If the report is finished, a sentencing date will be set at that time.

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

Marvin Payne – Repeat Sex Offender BUSTED


Bond was set on Saturday for a man charged with stalking for allegedly trying to lure a teenage boy to play basketball with him under the pretense that he was a coach last month on the Southwest Side.

Marvin Payne, 34, was arrested Friday, Nov. 24, at a Whole Foods Market where he works in the 7200 block of West Lake Street in River Forest and charged with stalking, according to a police report.

Cook County Judge Ramon Ocasio set bond for Payne at $10,000 Saturday. A Dec. 1 preliminary hearing has been set for 9 a.m. at West Felony Court (Br. 44), 3150 W. Flournoy, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

The 16-year-old male victim identified Payne, a registered sex offender, in a photo lineup after Payne allegedly attempted to lure him into his vehicle to drive him to a different location to play basketball on Oct. 29 near 2135 S. Drake Ave., according to the report.

Payne allegedly falsely identified himself as a basketball coach from Farragut Career Academy, a high school at 2345 S. Christiana Ave., according to the report.

Payne is listed in the Illinois State Police database as a registered sex offender who sexually abused a victim who was 14 when he was 21.

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