Brooke’s Law passed in Vermont

Vermont’s new sex crime law is getting positive reviews from some citizens who worked hard to make it a reality.

The new omnibus sex crime law dedicated to Brooke Bennett is a compromise that does not include everything everyone wanted, but even critics agree it improves protection for children and prosecution of predators.

“I’m proud to say this bill will make Vermont an even safer place,” said Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont.

The governor and many others agree the sex crime bill signed this week will make Vermont safer for children and tougher on child molesters like Michael Jacques.

Provisions include:

  • Expanded educational prevention programs in schools and communities
  • Expanded treatment of child and adult offenders
  • Expanded background checks for employees who work with children, the disabled and elderly
  • Improved supervision of convicted sex offenders
  • More than $1.5 million to create additional special sex crime investigation units around the state
  • An expanded DNA registry that will take samples from anyone charged with a felony

Vt. Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna says creating the new sex crime units are the most important part of the law.

“Which will investigate these cases which will provide expertise. The expansion and funding of those units is really important. I think Vermonters are going to see a tremendous difference there,” Hanna said.

Not included:

  • Civil confinement units to hold convicted sex offenders beyond their prison term if they are psychiatrically diagnosed as a public threat
  • Allowing juries to learn about prior sex convictions of sex offenders on trial for new charges

“That didn’t end up getting worked into the bill because of concerns from lawyers about that,” Hanna said.

Also not included is a Jessica’s law to create a 25-year mandatory minimum jail term for aggravated sexual assault on a child. But there was a compromise and the bill does include a 25-year mandatory minimum at prosecutor’s discretion.

“I would give this probably a B-plus,” said Paul Beaudry, a radio talk show host who led a petition drive demanding a mandatory Jessica’s law.

He says leaving the decision to prosecutors isn’t what he wanted, but it’s acceptable.

“The mandatory minimum part I can live with like any other bill, but for the most part, after this three-year fight, I’m so happy that it’s finally, we’re going to get something,” Beaudry said.

Also not included is a ban on pretrial depositions of child sex crime victims, which are banned in most states. In Vermont, judges will determine when children can be deposed.

Also not included is an outright ban on deferred sentences for sex crimes. They will be permitted at the discretion of prosecutors and judges. But the records of deferred sex crime convictions will no longer be automatically destroyed. Instead those records will be maintained with state authorities for limited use if the offender commits another sex crime.

Hanna says the bill does not guarantee prevention of future Brooke Bennett tragedies but it will help.

“It’s extremely hard to ultimately stop this kind of behavior,” Hanna said. “The trick is to stop it early and hold offenders accountable early because murder, the kind of murder we saw in the Brooke Bennett case, usually comes after many, many years of offending.”

One other item that is not in the bill is the expansion of the sex offender registry to make it more visible and user-friendly for the public. That is an area lawmakers hope to address in another bill later this session.

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

……..Sarah Tofte

Jessica’s Law – Pedo Pop gets 35 years

Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish said even if the defendant was 50 to 80 years old when he was released from prison, 50- to 80-year-old men molest children. He asked the jury to make sure he doesn’t do it again and asked him to sentence him to life.“He didn’t show that little boy any mercy. Y’all don’t show him any mercy,” Parrish said.

A 31-year-old Tyler man who repeatedly molested his young son for nearly a year will have to spend every day of a 35-year sentence in prison under a new law imposing stiffer sentences for sex offenders.

The defendant pleaded guilty to continuous sexual abuse of a child and was the first person in Smith County to be convicted under Jessica’s Law, which does not allow parole and includes a sentencing range of 25 years to life for the first offense of continual sexual abuse. A Smith County jury in 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.’s court sentenced him to 35 years in prison after an hour of deliberation.

The 11-year-old fifth-grader said he likes history, science, baseball, football and fishing.

His parents are divorced, and he stayed with his mother for two weeks and then his father for two weeks each month. While with his dad, they shared a bed at his aunt’s house.
One night, as he was dozing off to sleep, the boy said he felt his dad touching his private part.

“I remember feeling a very depressing feeling. … It kind of shocked me a little bit,” he said. “He was touching me in the wrong area.”

He said he was scared and confused and that it didn’t feel right. He said his father began touching him every night or every other night for a year and that he sometimes was made to touch his father. The boy said he also was made to watch pornographic movies.

The victim said his father also hit him with a fist or open hand on occasion and once wrapped him up in a blanket and punched him. He said he was scared and that his dad told him not to tell anyone. The boy said he was afraid he would get into trouble if he did one little thing wrong.

After about a year of the abuse, he told his teacher and his mother.

“I couldn’t hold it in no more,” he said.

The victim’s 29-year-old mother testified she and the defendant divorced when their son was 3 or 4. On Nov. 1, 2008, her son told her his father made him watch pornographic movies, was messing with him and had hit him, so she called police. She said it made her feel very bad because she didn’t see what she now thinks were signs of sexual abuse.

She said that when her son stayed with his dad, her ex-husband wouldn’t want her to talk to her son. She said her son would sit for hours beating the ground and killing ants with a stick or hammer. One day, she said, when he was hitting the grass like he was “attacking” it, she asked him what he was doing, and he said he was “fighting.” She said since he was taken away from his father, he no longer does that. He is a happier child and is more active. He likes to hunt with his BB gun, fish, read the Bible and tell stories, his mother said.

Tyler Police detectives Paul Robeson and Michelle Brock investigated the case. Jurors were shown an hour-long video of an interview they conducted with the defendant.

The man repeatedly denied the allegations and said his ex-wife and her family manipulated the boy. He said his son was a good, kind-hearted and trustworthy kid.

The defendant admitted to showing his son a pornographic movie once to show him men shouldn’t treat women that way and to wait until he was married. He said he might have tried to explain sex to him the wrong way, but that was all he did. He repeatedly said he never touched the boy and said he was molested as a child and “would never do that to another child.” He said a person who molests a child should go to prison and the have key thrown away.

Later in the interview, the man said maybe he accidentally have touched the boy or the boy touched him while they were asleep. He said he never hit his son, but had spanked him before.
The defendant repeatedly said what happened between he and his son was not a sexual event. He later said he rubbed the boy’s leg but that he never had the boy touch him.

After the detectives searched the defendant’s bedroom and found several items the victim said were there, Robeson talked to the defendant again.

The defendant then said his son had touched him five or six times and it got out of hand and that he told him to stop. “I was wrong for that,” he said.

“I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from doing that,” he said, adding that he would go to counseling. He said he loved his son and wanted the best for him.

Robeson told the jury they found three pornographic movies: “The Babysitter No. 12,” “The Babysitter No. 25” and “Don’t Tell Mommy No. 4.” They also found three drawings the victim did that show a man and woman engaged in sex. One shows a little boy watching.

He said the defendant told him “at least some of what he did” and “appeared to be bothered by what he had done.” Robeson said he felt the defendant had some remorse and that his confession should be considered. He said based on his investigation, the defendant is a “child molester” and that such people they should be kept away from their victim pool — children. He said the only way to do that is put him in prison for “as long as we can.”

Ms. Brock said that during the interview, the defendant downplayed what he did and that some of his answers were not credible.

Rebecca Cunio, forensic examiner, interviewed the victim and said the boy appeared ashamed when talking about the sexual abuse. The boy told her his dad began molesting him when he was 9 and that the last occurrence was the week before the interview.

“I’m scared of him,” he said on the videotaped interview shown to the jurors.

Ms. Cunio said if the abuse happened nearly every night he was with him during that time frame, then it happened more than 100 times.

The victim’s fifth-grade teacher said the boy — a friendly, excellent student — began telling her he didn’t want to stay with his dad anymore. One Monday, after she told her students to write what they had done over the weekend in a journal, the boy came up to her shaking and said he couldn’t do it. She pulled him into the hall, where he said “I can’t take this anymore” and told her his father had molested him. She said she reported it to authorities.

Since then, the boy is very happy, she said.

Dr. Gayle Burress, a licensed counselor, said the boy will be impacted by the abuse “for the rest of his life, every time he goes through a developmental stage.”

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

“Nobody knew for a long time that every night … he had to know he (the victim) was going home to that monster (the defendant) … his own dad, who’s supposed to take care of him,” Assistant District Attorney Guy Conine told the jurors.

He said the defendant dished out a life sentence to his son and that the jurors should remove him from the streets for as long as they could. The boy “needs to know his dad is out of his life forever.”

Defense attorney Zach Davis said his client should and would be punished for what he did but that the jury must consider his confession and guilty plea. He asked the jury to assess a fair and just sentence and said the defendant would have to serve every day of his prison term because there is no parole.

“He pleaded guilty knowing he’d be 57 years old, bare minimum, before he sniffed the free world again,” Davis said.

“He is sorry for what he did,” he said. He “will accept whatever you think is right.”

Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish said even if the defendant was 50 to 80 years old when he was released from prison, 50- to 80-year-old men molest children. He asked the jury to make sure he doesn’t do it again and asked him to sentence him to life.“He didn’t show that little boy any mercy. Y’all don’t show him any mercy,” Parrish said.

Jessica’s Law, which went into effect Sept. 1, 2007, is named for Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was abducted and killed in 2005. More than a dozen states have passed versions of Jessica’s Law, which created harsher punishment for sexual abuse crimes.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 2:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Harold Corbitt – Molested girl for 5 years and gets Jessica’s Law punishment


It’s first of its kind in Nueces County. As part of a plea deal today a 34 year old man became the first admitted child sexual predator to be punished under the Texas version of Jessica’s Law.

Jessica’s law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender back in 2005. The Texas law is about heightening penalties for repeat child sexual assault suspects.

34 year old Harold Corbitt was the first one in Nueces County to plead guilty and receive the high minimum of 25 year behind bars with out the possibility of parole.

That charge of continuous sexual assault is the new one on the books. Corbitt plead guilty that he sexually abused a young girl from the time she was 8 years old until she was 13.

Prosecutor Ana Jimenez says the new statute is good in punishing sex offenders and reducing their ability to re-offend.

“You can’t fix them. I can’t explain what it is that makes them do the things they do,” said Prosecutor Ana Jimenez when asked why she thinks adults, like Corbitt sexually abuse children.

“The statute is really good for us,” Jimenez explains. “Not only does it have a high minimum but it gives the kids an oppurtunity to actually go before a jury and be heard.”

She says young victims don’t have to necessarily pin point an exact date or specific time. Instead Jimenez says if prosecutors can prove 2 or more acts happened with in 30 days, the continuous sexual abuse charge can apply, and bring along with it

Corbitt, a former car salesman, reportedly told authorities he’d been sexually assaulted as a child. He admitted his guilt early on, but apparently never wanted to hear the specific allegations lodged against him.

He also plead guilty to the promotion of child pornography, and got 20 years for that, which he’ll serve concurrently…with that 25 year sentence.

During today’s plea deal the victim, a young teen, was allowed to make a victim impact statement in open court.

She told the judge, in a soft emotional voice, that she’s glad Corbitt took responsibility for his actions, and now he can pay for what he’s done to her.

Harold Corbitt – Molested girl for 5 years and gets Jessica’s Law punishment


It’s first of its kind in Nueces County. As part of a plea deal today a 34 year old man became the first admitted child sexual predator to be punished under the Texas version of Jessica’s Law.

Jessica’s law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender back in 2005. The Texas law is about heightening penalties for repeat child sexual assault suspects.

34 year old Harold Corbitt was the first one in Nueces County to plead guilty and receive the high minimum of 25 year behind bars with out the possibility of parole.

That charge of continuous sexual assault is the new one on the books. Corbitt plead guilty that he sexually abused a young girl from the time she was 8 years old until she was 13.

Prosecutor Ana Jimenez says the new statute is good in punishing sex offenders and reducing their ability to re-offend.

“You can’t fix them. I can’t explain what it is that makes them do the things they do,” said Prosecutor Ana Jimenez when asked why she thinks adults, like Corbitt sexually abuse children.

“The statute is really good for us,” Jimenez explains. “Not only does it have a high minimum but it gives the kids an oppurtunity to actually go before a jury and be heard.”

She says young victims don’t have to necessarily pin point an exact date or specific time. Instead Jimenez says if prosecutors can prove 2 or more acts happened with in 30 days, the continuous sexual abuse charge can apply, and bring along with it

Corbitt, a former car salesman, reportedly told authorities he’d been sexually assaulted as a child. He admitted his guilt early on, but apparently never wanted to hear the specific allegations lodged against him.

He also plead guilty to the promotion of child pornography, and got 20 years for that, which he’ll serve concurrently…with that 25 year sentence.

During today’s plea deal the victim, a young teen, was allowed to make a victim impact statement in open court.

She told the judge, in a soft emotional voice, that she’s glad Corbitt took responsibility for his actions, and now he can pay for what he’s done to her.

Donald Carl Brown – Gets 56 years under Jessica’s Law

Vasquez said the first time he mentioned Brown’s name to one of the girls, she threw up.

Brown pleaded no contest in September to 100 counts of first-degree rape, sodomy, sexual penetration and sexual abuse. Brown admitted in a handwritten letter last March that he abused the girls over a six- to eight-month period in 2007 and 2008.

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge sentenced a 57-year-old Southeast Portland man to nearly 56 years in prison Monday for repeatedly raping and molesting a girlfriend’s two young daughters.

Donald Carl Brown said he was sorry for what he did before Judge Stephen Bushong sentenced him under Jessica’s Law. The law, passed by Oregon lawmakers in 2006 after a 9-year-old Florida girl was kidnapped, raped and murdered, requires a 25-year minimum sentence for first-degree rape, sodomy or sexual penetration of children younger than 12.

“I don’t know why I did this to them,” Brown said, in what appeared to be a vague denial of what the prosecutor had laid out in his presentation. “If I would have done the things he said I did, I would ask for the death penalty myself.”

Brown pleaded no contest in September to 100 counts of first-degree rape, sodomy, sexual penetration and sexual abuse. Brown admitted in a handwritten letter last March that he abused the girls over a six- to eight-month period in 2007 and 2008.

One week before Portland police learned of the abuse, the girls’ mother discovered it. She and Brown told the girls not to tell anyone, but because the girls were showing extreme distress at school, school counselors interviewed the children and learned what was happening. Deputy District Attorney Nathan Vasquez said the girls were wetting their pants and falling asleep at school because nightmares kept them awake.

The district attorney’s office considered charging the mother for trying to keep the abuse quiet, but decided against it considering that she was the victim of Brown’s violence. Nearly six years of Brown’s sentence is for assaulting the mother.

Vasquez said the first time he mentioned Brown’s name to one of the girls, she threw up.

Brown’s defense attorneys had unsuccessfully asked for an eight-year sentence, saying Jessica’s Law is cruel and unusual punishment and would amount to a life sentence for Brown.

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 5:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Alfredo Soto Enriquez – First Texan to be sentenced under Jessica’s Law

A Hutto man who was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child this month will spend the next 60 years in prison.

Alfredo Soto Enriquez, 36, was accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl over several months last year. He was the first person in Texas to be charged under Jessica’s Law, which carries a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison with no chance of parole and a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

Enriquez also was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. A Williamson County jury recommended a sentence of 490 years for Enriquez on Oct. 11.

Today, District Judge Ken Anderson stacked the first charge of continuous sexual abuse and an indecency charge, which means Enriquez will not be eligible for parole until he is 96.

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 3:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Alfredo Soto Enriquez – First Texan to be sentenced under Jessica’s Law

A Hutto man who was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child this month will spend the next 60 years in prison.

Alfredo Soto Enriquez, 36, was accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl over several months last year. He was the first person in Texas to be charged under Jessica’s Law, which carries a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison with no chance of parole and a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

Enriquez also was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. A Williamson County jury recommended a sentence of 490 years for Enriquez on Oct. 11.

Today, District Judge Ken Anderson stacked the first charge of continuous sexual abuse and an indecency charge, which means Enriquez will not be eligible for parole until he is 96.

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 3:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Micah Boland – Molested 4 year old – Maine’s first Jessica’s Law Conviction

In the first application at trial of what is known as Maine’s Jessica’s Law, a Rockland man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl.

Micah Boland, 31, was sentenced Thursday in Waldo County Superior Court. Boland had been convicted in a jury-waived trial in February, and Justice Jeffrey Hjelm handed down his sentence after a review of Boland’s background and criminal history.

Boland had a felony forgery charge on his record, as well as minor crimes.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Walker said the sentencing was the first time Jessica’s Law was used in Maine after a trial. Like the federal version of Jessica’s Law, the state sentencing guidelines apply to instances of sexual assault of a person under 12.

There have been other sentences given in Maine under the law, but those were the results of plea agreements, Walker said. The law instructs judges to begin their deliberations with no less than a 20-year sentence, although they have the option of raising or lowering the sentence depending on the defendant’s background and other factors.

The assault took place in March 2007 in Liberty while Boland was staying with friends. The family left the 4-year-old in Boland’s care for a short time, and the girl revealed the assault to her mother and grandmother a few days later.

Boland confessed his behavior to police and recordings of those interviews were played in court during the trial. Although Boland did not take the stand in his own defense, the girl, who had reached her fifth birthday by the time of the trial, testified against him.

“It’s always difficult to go to trial with a 5-year-old but she was a very good witness,” Walker said. He added that he was “extremely satisfied” with the sentence.

Walker said that, because of the nature of the crime, he recommended a 25-year sentence. Camden defense attorney Jeremy Pratt argued for a six-year term, Walker said.

Upon his release, Boland will be placed on lifetime supervision, which means he will essentially be on probation for the rest of his life. Any criminal activity during that period would land him back in jail, Walker said.

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Curtis Lon Canada – Repeat Sex Offender – Committed to Coalinga

Canada has been convicted of violent sex crimes three times in 22 years. Each crime involved forcing or attempts to force male victims, one of them a teen, into sex acts


A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge has ordered a Tracy man committed into the state’s custody after a jury Monday found him to be a sexually violent predator.

Curtis Canada, 42, is being sent to the Coalinga State Hospital for an indeterminate term for the appropriate treatment and confinement, which is subject to annual review by the director of mental health, according to court documents.

He has been convicted of violent sexual crimes three times since 1986.

Deputy District Attorney Victoria Boyett, who prosecuted the case, said the jury did the right thing.

“It’s unfortunate, but due to his mental disorder, he’s very dangerous to the community,” Boyett said. “He needs to be in a secure facility to protect people.”

In separate evaluation summaries through a pair of clinical psychologists last year, Canada was deemed to meet the criteria as a sexually violent predator. In two separate documents, he was diagnosed as having paraphillia, a sexual attraction of an unusual or pathological nature, and sexual sadism.

Boyett said Canada will have the opportunity to participate in an “intense” sexual offender program to help him work though some of his issues with a goal of being granted a supervised release.

“We just don’t want any more re-offenses,” she said. “It’s not punishing someone twice for the same thing; its a matter due to his mental illness. We don’t need more victims.”

Canada has spent the past 22 years in and out of prison for committing three violent sex crimes.

In 1986, he pleaded guilty to forcing a Tracy teenager to perform oral sex on him and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to court documents.

Less than a year after his release, a jury convicted him of assault with intent to commit sodomy after beating a man. He was sent to prison for seven years, court documents show.

In 2000, Canada pleaded guilty to forcible oral copulation and was given a nine-year prison sentence, but was eligible for parole in 2007, according to court documents.

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

Curtis Lon Canada – Repeat Sex Offender – Committed to Coalinga

Canada has been convicted of violent sex crimes three times in 22 years. Each crime involved forcing or attempts to force male victims, one of them a teen, into sex acts


A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge has ordered a Tracy man committed into the state’s custody after a jury Monday found him to be a sexually violent predator.

Curtis Canada, 42, is being sent to the Coalinga State Hospital for an indeterminate term for the appropriate treatment and confinement, which is subject to annual review by the director of mental health, according to court documents.

He has been convicted of violent sexual crimes three times since 1986.

Deputy District Attorney Victoria Boyett, who prosecuted the case, said the jury did the right thing.

“It’s unfortunate, but due to his mental disorder, he’s very dangerous to the community,” Boyett said. “He needs to be in a secure facility to protect people.”

In separate evaluation summaries through a pair of clinical psychologists last year, Canada was deemed to meet the criteria as a sexually violent predator. In two separate documents, he was diagnosed as having paraphillia, a sexual attraction of an unusual or pathological nature, and sexual sadism.

Boyett said Canada will have the opportunity to participate in an “intense” sexual offender program to help him work though some of his issues with a goal of being granted a supervised release.

“We just don’t want any more re-offenses,” she said. “It’s not punishing someone twice for the same thing; its a matter due to his mental illness. We don’t need more victims.”

Canada has spent the past 22 years in and out of prison for committing three violent sex crimes.

In 1986, he pleaded guilty to forcing a Tracy teenager to perform oral sex on him and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to court documents.

Less than a year after his release, a jury convicted him of assault with intent to commit sodomy after beating a man. He was sent to prison for seven years, court documents show.

In 2000, Canada pleaded guilty to forcible oral copulation and was given a nine-year prison sentence, but was eligible for parole in 2007, according to court documents.

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