Posts Tagged ‘ Protect Our Children ’
Despite rejecting plea offers at the last-minute, two Titusville child molesters are on their way to prison. Raymond Robles (48), and Leon Booker III (49), received lengthy jail sentences by order of Judge John Griesbaum, April 14th and 15th.
Booker was first to be dispatched, pleading “Guilty” on Monday April 14 to Attempted Sexual Battery on a Child, and Lewd Molestation of a Child. He was on the dock for abusing an eight year-old girl in 2005. Exploiting an intimate relationship he enjoyed with the child’s mother, Booker would assault the girl at night when her mother was asleep.
Booker’s case was set for trial after he rejected the plea deal arranged by his Public Defender. His request for a new lawyer was refused by the court and Booker was faced with the prospect of going before a jury. A guilty verdict could have sent him away for two lifetimes.
The evidence against Booker included a videotaped admission during a police interrogation, as well as two telephone conversations between Booker and his victim. Prosecutors said he incriminated himself in the conversations which were secretly recorded by Titusville Police. The State Attorney agreed to reduce the charges in order to arrive at a sentence of twenty-five years in prison followed by probation for life.
On passing sentence, Judge Griesbaum asked Booker to describe the sexual assaults. Known for his refusal to approve a negotiated plea unless the defendant admits his guilt, Griesbaum threatened to call a jury for trial unless Booker clearly described his actions.
Booker said he has found religion since he fondled the child and rubbed his genitals against hers. He told the court that he was under the influence of ecstacy and cocaine during the assaults. He will be 74 years old when he is released from prison.
There was no need for Raymond Robles to say much. At his sentencing the next morning, two members of his victim’s family told the judge how the crimes had devastated their family. Sobbing, the girl’s father said Robles was a trusted friend, and that he was treated as a member of the family. They said the girl required extensive counseling.
Robles was arrested in December 2011 on twenty-five counts of sexual abuse on an eight year-old child. The activity came to light when a family member walked in on Robles and the child, lying on a bed, in an inappropriate position. Questioned by her parents, the girl disclosed a variety of offenses. She said Robles fondled her genitals and masturbated in her presence. He forced the child to view pornographic videos downloaded to his cell phone. Robles allegedly told the girl he wanted to marry her and move to their own home so they could have sex without interference.
According to the investigative report, a similar complaint was filed against Robles in Orange County in 2005. The Department of Children and Families investigated Robles for sexually abusing the seven year-old daughter of his former girlfriend. However, no charges were filed in the case.
Like Booker, Robles refused to approve the plea offer set for disposition the previous day. He balked at the length of the probation term to be served after his release from prison. The original charges against Robles included eight counts that carry life sentences for each conviction. Robles finally agreed to be sentenced on the three charges which remained. He will serve six years in prison followed by twenty years of probation.
Members of Protect Our Children’s Court Monitor Team attended both days of the hearings at the Titusville Historic Courthouse.
On a steamy, Saturday morning in early September, a group of people rendezvous in a parking lot on the edge of a small, residential neighborhood.
They shake hands and hug. Standing between two cars they pass white plastic bundles from one vehicle to another. Each bundle contains 100 copies of the Guardian newspaper, rolled and banded and ready to toss on lawns.
A white-haired man touches the hand of a woman in a pink tee shirt: “Are you nervous?”
“A little…” she answers, giving his hand a quick squeeze, and setting back to the work with the bundles.
Soon, two cars head into the little community, a cul-de-sac rectangle with a mix of mobile homes and wood frame houses. They turn down a street located near the middle of the enclave, and park in front of a neat, plainly-appointed unit.
“…This is it.” The lady gets out from behind the wheel and someone hands her a Guardian. “Just cock it back behind your ear like a catcher throwing to second. I’ll get the shot O.K.”
She rears back, launches the paper and it cartwheels through the wet air, coming to rest just short of the front steps.
“Cool, that’s it…let’s do the toss.”
The woman turns slowly, her body moving before her eyes break their gaze upon the front door. She looks at the others standing silently behind her. Tears inch their way down her cheeks.
“I feel like I’m finishing something…” she says.
Twenty-nine years ago she started something. She was twelve when she told police her stepfather had been sexually abusing her and her sister, for nearly five years. He admitted to the crimes and received a lengthy probation sentence. A few years later, he went to jail for abusing yet another young girl.
The woman in the pink shirt sighs as she slides behind the wheel of the aging S.U.V. Her husband is in the passenger’s seat, her teenaged son sits in back. One of the white packages is broken open beside him, and rolled papers are spilling out onto the seat.
Volunteers from Protect Our Children watch them move away. Black and white tubes fly from the rear window, landing on lawns cluttered with bicycles. The papers skid along driveways, over which battered basketball hoops preside. Two little girls stare wide-eyed, pressing their hands against the screen of an aluminum porch.
The three will work the streets to the south, volunteers will toss the homes to the north. In all, about 250 residents will be notified. They need to know, since their sex-offender neighbor is not on the state registry. Due to the age of his convictions, he is exempt from the requirement to report his address, and the police are not compelled to warn parents nearby. His home is located less than 300 yards from an elementary school.
Three days later, Protect Our Children received an anonymous letter in the mail. It was from the offender - the subject of our community alert. In angry tones, the hand-written note called down God Almighty on the little band of volunteers. He never mentions his victim who, by tossing a special newspaper on to his front lawn, began the finish of a mighty work.
See the note below:
“ Daddy puts crayons in my poo-poo…”
Pauline (not her real name) looked down at her three year-old son, shivering in his towel. “…and he puts crayons in baby’s poo-poo.”
The boy was speaking about his biological father and baby brother – age two.
Months later, Pauline saw another troubling thing at bath time. The two boys naked and giggling, touched the tips of their genitals together yelling “Connect…connect!”
Pauline asked where they had learned that game. Both boys answered “Daddy”
She made arrangements for the boys to visit a child psychologist. After interviewing them both, the therapist filed a report with the Department of Children and Families. He asserted that the children were being sexually abused by their father.
The children began to report occasional touching. Tickling sessions would include a touch to the child’s genitals, seemingly innocent father-son wrestling matches would find the children held in such a way that dad’s privates would rub against their buttocks.
More than two years after the first suspicions arose, police advised Pauline to remove the children from the house. They warned her that she could be arrested for failing to protect the kids.
The father volunteered to take a lie-detector test. The results showed that he was deceptive when he denied touching his children sexually. The examiner said the test showed “deep failure.”
“I couldn’t believe nothing was happening,” she explained, “I thought the cops would come and take him away!”
Police made a video interview with the older boy to use as evidence for a criminal case. But, the child, barely three, only cried.
Pauline scowls and shakes her head: “He just couldn’t say it the way he did with the therapist.”
The battle for custody had begun in court. The judge ordered a restricted form of visitation for the father. An adult supervisor had to be present whenever he visited his children. But the judge allowed the father to take the boys to church on Sundays without a chaperone.
The children reported being touched in the father’s vehicle while parked in the church lot prior to the mass. They also reported being touched in the crotch and buttocks during the church services.
The mother nods her head as she speaks:
“He distracts them with some activity like following along in the song book while singing a hymn. Then, using the book to cover his hand he makes his move. He makes the touch. Each child gets it during the service. He plans it meticulously.”
Pauline enrolled in a training program for families experiencing incest.
“We learned about grooming and the kind of touching my kids were reporting.”
“Pedophiles will touch children repeatedly in their private areas in order to desensitize them.”
says Donna Davis of Protect Our Children,
“They are trying to condition the child to accept this kind of contact…preparing them for the day when the full blown abuse begins.”
Pauline contacted the children’s charity shortly after her husband failed his polygraph test. She enrolled in a program called: “Parenting the Victimized Child.”
“It’s a kind of informal coaching,” Pauline explains, “They help me make decisions based upon sixteen years of experience with cases like this.”
She is now in her third year of participation with the group. The unsupervised church visits have stopped, but the supervised visits continue.
Six months ago, police were called by a teacher at the boys’ elementary school. He saw drawings in the child’s notebook which seemed to depict abuse. Police made a second, recorded interview. To date, no arrest has been made.
Police must make a case involving the most serious crime short of murder. Their job is to paint a clear picture of abuse rendered through the perceptions of children: the oldest of whom wants to be a fireman when he grows up, the youngest…a fire truck.
If law-enforcement can accomplish this, they will hand the picture to prosecutors. Attorneys for the state now have the task of hanging one of the largest paintings in the gallery on these two, tiny nails.
The boys are now five and seven years of age. Protect Our Children continues to support the mother in her quest to make them safe.
“She got the abduction lecture,” Says Davis, a long-time Director with the group:
“No one ever admits they plan to run with the kids. But, what protective parent would not consider such a thing? We tell them the perpetrator would likely wind up with full custody.”
In court, the legal storm rages. She is on her second attorney, he is on his third. Multiple judges have presided over the case. The father has filed for divorce and the issue of custody remains pending.
The man who is now Pauline’s ex-husband continues to deny the sexual touching. His attorneys have painted her as a vindictive and ruthless ex-spouse, prompting the children to make false allegations.
She has been characterized by case workers as “hypervigilant” and “overprotective”. At one point, she was asked to sign a “contract”, promising to relax her protective grip.
The children often balk at the prospect of spending time with their father, refusing to go along when he arrives to take them for his biweekly visits. Pauline makes video recordings of them, crying and whining at these moments.
This local mother has learned to document and record. She is determined to give her sons a voice even in the vernacular of children. Pauline reaches out to professionals, and keeps close, the friends and family who stand with her.
Protect Our Children has challenged the planned visit of a British sex offender scheduled to perform at a concert in May. Jimmy Pursey, a member of the Punk group “Sham 69″, is slated to appear May 25th, at a music festival called “Punk Rock Bowling 2012″, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 2002, Pursey received a “Caution” from police in Weybridge, U.K., for committing an Indecent Assault on a teenaged girl. The British “Caution”, which has no corollary in the U.S., allows offenders to avoid trial if they agree to admit guilt and register with the police. They are also listed on the United Kingdom’s “Registry of Sexual and Violent Offenders”.
Correspondence sent to John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), renewed the group’s objection to the practice of granting visas to foreign nationals who have been registered as Sex Offenders in their homelands. The March 14th letter calls the practice “a slap in the face” to victims of sexual abuse.
In a response dated March 26, Deputy Director Peter T. Edge, said the Department of Homeland Security takes the allegations seriously, and has forwarded the information to the D.H.S. field office.
In 2010, the Brevard County charity joined other child-advocacy organizations in protesting Pete Townshend’s performance at the SuperBowl in Miami. The group, which informs local citizens about convicted child molesters, mailed a sex offender advisory to residents living in the vicinity of the stadium in Miami Gardens.
Immigration officials were also notified that permitting foreign sex offenders to enter the U.S., is in conflict, with the “Moral Turpitude” clause, found in American immigration law. Townshend, a member of the British rock band: The WHO, received a Caution in 2003 after his arrest for paying to access child pornography.