• Report: #983673

Complaint Review: Havenwyck Hospital

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  • Submitted: Tue, December 18, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, December 18, 2012

  • Reported By: Wendy Lynn Beal — Central Lake Michigan United States of America
Havenwyck Hospital
1525 University Drive Auburn Hills, Michigan United States of America

Havenwyck Hospital Antrim County Probate Court, Judge Norman Hayes,Nicole Little,US District Court Judge Robert Jonker, North Country Community Mental Health State Sanctioned Sexual Torture, Havenwyck Hospital Auburn Hills, Michigan

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I filmed a segement for a documentary and I have put the link below.Since Judge Jonker threw out our case Antrim County has come after me for more than $12,000 they say I owe to the State Child Care Fund. I do not feel that I owe this money since it has been proven that my son's rights were violated.



Also, they were cooking the books, giving me credit for payments that I did not make and the balance they claim that I owe is all over the place. Please assist me in getting a forensic audit. Something really stinks in Bellaire. They have threatened me with incarceration if I don't pay up. Please help me.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsBB8cYyepE





A local paper told our story and a sex offender website also printed my email to them.



http://www.northernexpress.com/michigan/article-3809-branded-for-life.html



Branded for Life

Anne Stanton  3/23/09



This is the last in a series of articles on sex offenders. This week, the Express focuses on the sex offender registry, which publicly lists convicted sex offenders on the Internet.



--------------------------------------------------



Jim is not proud of the fact that five years ago he inappropriately touched his cousin on the outside of her underwear. He had just turned 10 and his cousin was 11. He then threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

His cousin was deeply upset by the experience and still refuses to talk to him. He doesnt blame her.

Yet Jim, 15, -- whose name has been changed for this article -- has decided to talk publicly about the crime because he was in the fourth grade when it happened. When he turns 18, his name will appear on the public sex offender registry for the rest of his life. The sex offender registry does not reflect when a sex crime was committed.  So anyone looking at this when Im an adult will think I was a pervert adult having sex with an 11-year-old, he said.

His case is extreme, but here is the reality for all juveniles: if a youth is convicted or pleads to criminal sexual assault in the first or second degree, he or she will end up on the public sex offender registry list for 25 years, or even for life long after the youth has completed probation or served his or her sentence.

If convicted of a lesser sex offense, the juvenile will be on a sex offender registry that is not public, but available to police and other authorities.

The judge has no choice. The sex offender registry is mandatory for all ages.



RAMIFICATIONS       

The consequences for Jim is grave. A convicted sex offender is not allowed to adopt children. He cannot be involved in his childrens school or extracurricular activities.

A juvenile convicted of a sex crime is not allowed to participate on a school sports team. He must notify college officials if hes on a sex registry, jeopardizing his chance of getting into the college. Sex offenders are often denied entrance into the military. A registered sex offender cannot become a police officer, teacher, coach, or work with children. Some employers would naturally feel uncomfortable hiring a registered sex offender. Neighbors definitely dont feel good about having a sex offender living on their street.

If a sex offender fails to register, he can be imprisoned for a felony.

Yet a sex offender might have been guilty of a Romeo and Juliet affair in which both partners consensually had sex, but were under the legal age of consent, which is 16. In one survey, nearly 40 percent of Michigan tenth graders said they had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 16. That statistic was included in a 2007 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey in which students voluntarily and anonymously answered survey questions.

So given that consensual albeit illegal,  sexual activity is fairly common, prosecution is actually rare. It depends on two things: the zeal of the county prosecutor and whether a parent wants to pursue prosecution.

The problem is were  lumping all the kids with the worst of the worst sex offenders, said Traverse City attorney Jim Aprea, who frequently defends juveniles. The public doesnt know what theyre looking at when they call up the states sex offender website. It describes the conviction, but certainly not the circumstances or the age of the offender when it was committed.

This kid (Jim) will show up on the registry for his entire lifetime for something he did when he was 10 years old. Thats just absurd. I havent seen a case like this involving a kid that young. I just havent seen it, and the whole thing troubles me. It might be a good test casea challenge all the way to the Supreme Court on the sex offender registration. To me, the facts are outrageous and this poor kid is a prime example of the inequities in the statute.



JIMS STORY

Jim transfered to a new school where he now gets good grades, studies cello, performs in plays, and has a lot of friends. He has a close relationship with his mom and holds a steady job at a restaurant. But life wasnt always this good. Although he was intelligent, learning how to read at the age of four, he was also lonely, angry and often violent.

Jim got a rough start in life. His mother Sandy (not her real name) said she was a serious alcoholic who fought bitterly and often with her sons father. One afternoon, she drove her station wagon into him, squishing his leg between her car and an old Malibu. Sandy went to jail and rehab over a period of seven months. Meanwhile, Jim, who was two-and-a-half years old, stayed with his dad. When Sandy finally collected him, he stood filthy in the driveway with a few clothes shoved into a garbage bag. Jim never saw his dad again.

Jim said his memory of that time is fuzzy, but he remembers being scared all the time.  He had a bunch of drinking buddies, and theyd get really drunk on the weekends and thought it would be a good idea to mess with all four of us (Jim and his three stepsisters) in another room.

Sandy became alarmed by his discussion of sex acts, so she took him to Child Protective Services. The CPS worker was afraid an exam would traumatize the three-year-old. He received counseling at the Northwest Child Guidance Center until the age of six, but then funding for therapy was cut off without explanation. When he was in kindergarten, he played doctor with the other kids. Later in grade school, nobody wanted him in the Boy Scout troop. He touched a boy on an overnight stay. Child Protective Services workers came into the school to talk to him, but Sandy said she didnt learn the specific complaints until much later.

The mother of the abused cousin, said that her sister, Sandy, never drank again after rehab in 1995: If she would have drank, she would have been as big a mess as before. But Sandys past has haunted her when it comes to how authorities treat her.

Indeed Sandy is a fireplug, and doesnt mince words. Her conversation is often hard to track because she goes off on tangents. Although shes never broken the law since her assault with a car, Sandy fears that people havent treated her son very well because of her own past.



THE PLEA

Jim was 10 1/2 when he touched his 11-year-old cousin. The girl didnt tell her mother until seven months later, when it was reported immediately to the police chief who had been mentoring Jim. Jim was questioned by police without an attorney (not uncommon in these cases). He eventually admitted what hed done. The case went to Antrim County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Fett, who charged Jim with a criminal sexual conduct, second degree (CSC 2). Its the second highest sex offense and was due to the victims age and the threat of violence.

Sandy met briefly with Fett, but  most of her conversations were with the court administrator William Hefferan. She claims that he never told her that a guilty plea would mean that Jim would go on the public sex offender registry. Hefferan said he cant remember whether he told her that or not.

I cant assure that every time someone pleads to a CSC, I tell them this is a 25-year registerable offense, Hefferan said.

The sex registry was not cited in the plea agreement but was included in the ajudication (Jims sentence). Sandy missed it.

Sandy quickly agreed to the plea to CSC two without a lawyer. She remembers being told that a plea would expedite the process, which was important to her. She couldnt have her younger child reinstated in her home until her son was removed. Secondly, she believed a plea was the only way to get her son state-funded counseling and residential treatment, which she could not afford. (She still owes $12,038 to the county).



VICTIMIZED

But the plea bargain was no bargain, Aprea said.

Most prosecutors want to achieve relative justice without a trial. But theres nothing worse than a charge of CSC one or two. In this case, the boy pled exactly to what he was charged with. Yes, he made a threat, but a threat coming from a 10-year-old is a lot different than a threat coming from a 15-year-old or an adult. That kid was victimized by the system.

Immediately after Sandy signed the adjudication papers in April of 2004,  Jim, 11, was taken to a lockdown wing at the Muskegon River Youth Home where he was given an orange uniform to wear.

A juvenile justice worker visited him and told him that if he didnt hurry up and finish treatment he would be sent to Wackenhut (a youth prison), where, he said, a group of boys dragged another boy into a room and sodomized him until his rectum fell out and he bled to death.

Jim was shaken, hearing about sodomy for the first time. He stayed in Muskegon until August, when a space opened up at Havenwyck Psychiatric Hospital in Auburn Hills for which the minimum age was 11.

He began a sexual aversion therapy, which involved sniffing three ammonia pills after listening to a story of a deviant sex act.



NO PLACE FOR A CHILD

Jim said he has mixed feelings about his treatment. He felt that without intervention he might have become a serial molester. Now a very articulate and pleasant young man, he feels like a success case. But he believes that Havenwyck is no place for a child. He attended group therapy sessions with men who were as old as 19. If you werent bad, youd know how to be bad now.

I worked hard to reach the top level in my treatment. I really wanted out of there, he said.

They smash you down to nothing and then you rebuild yourself. It gets rid of a lot of negative behavior, but it gets rid of everything. I was an empty shell.

After I got out, I had no social skills,  Jim said. For two years, I wasnt allowed to talk to girls. When I got out, my age group was largely different than me. I cried a lot.

When I got back to high school, I was treated like a sex offender even though Id just gone through one-and-a-half years of treatment.  I wasnt allowed to participate in gym or use the bathroom. They wanted me to use the teachers bathroom, and I didnt want to be embarrassed, so I just held it all day.

The same kids who picked on him before picked on him again, so he transferred to his current school. The group of kids at the new school is small; they know his history and respect him; so Jim, who recently broke up with his girlfriend, said he believes this article wont affect their opinion of him.



BAD NEWS

Jim was home for nine days in January of 2006, when the juvenile justice worker called to inform Sandy that she had only until the next day to get her son registered as a sex offender.

This was the first Id heard of such a thing. When I questioned her, she said that she could tell the judge, Oops, my bad! but it probably wouldnt do Jim any good.

Sandy thought she had to only register her son once. That is until May of 2007, when the Michigan State Police showed up at the house and said hed have to register quarterly. They took his prints on the trunk of a police cruiser while kids, across the street, were in a football practice.

We live across the street from the school and they were broadcasting Jims name and our address on the scanner. Were contacting Jim  for his failure to register as a sex offender. Everyone with a scanner knows now, Sandy said.

Since then, Sandy has confronted the reality of the sex offender registry. The law regarding juveniles is so vague, it was hard for the Express to get clear-cut answers to such questions from professionals: How long will Jim remain on the sex offender registry after becoming an adult (conflicting answers of 25 years and lifetime)? Even if Jim had the crime expunged, does he still have to register on the sex offender registry (yes, but its a start)? How often does he have to register as a juvenile (conflicting answers)?

When Sandy called assistant prosecutor Mark Fett with questions, she says he screamed at her -- Im telling you now. Register your kid! -- and slammed down the phone. Fett did not return a call for comment.





Is There a Better Way?

Michigan has the third largest sex offender registry in the nationat least it did in 2004 when there were 33,000 people. Today there are 43,964.

The registrys growth might falsely indicate to people outside of the state that Michigan is teeming with child molesters and rapists . , reads a 2004 legislative analysis of a bill written by Julie Koval.

Some other states take a more nuanced approach to sex offender registration, and do not require juveniles under a certain age to register, and others do not require that juveniles register at all.

When working with juvenile sex offenders, the focus should be on rehabilitation to help them stop their abusive behaviors. Adolescence is often a difficult time for many young people; publicly labeling them as dangerous criminals can have devastating effects as they try to develop their identities, she wrote.

Professionals specializing in the fieldcounselors Barb Cross and John Ulrich to Todd Heller, a computer cop who snags sex offenders, and Noelle Moeggenberg who prosecutes them, all agree:  A judge needs discretion on whether to put a juvenile on a public sex offender registry.

I never take any sexual offense lightly, however, 10-year-old children can and do engage in youthful experimentation, exploring their own bodies and the bodies of their playmates. Its not acceptable, but its far, far different than predatory behavior, said Kenneth Tacoma, chief probate and family division judge of the 28th circuit court in Wexford County.



A DIFFERENCE

Therapist Barb Cross said theres a lot of difference between a one-time offender versus a teenage boy who molests multiple times. These two should not be treated the same.

The way the system is set up, the prosecutornot the judgedetermines a childs fate, Tacoma said.

Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly said there might be room for discretion within narrow confines, but he believes the public sex offender registry makes sense.

Im a believer that once this kid has demonstrated hes capable of this, we place him in a different class as the rest of us. Harsh as it may be, I like the system. We as a society have already discovered that its very dangerous not to know when a sex offender is moving about us. Theres not much worse than talking to parents of a kid who was molested by a kid. Ive been in that position. The look of shock and horror and disbelief on the faces of parents when they find this out.  What? This kid who moved in next door, this kid who is a babysitter, and now my little junior must have years of therapy.

The thing Ive come to realize about sex offenders, particularly those who molest children is they are, by nature, liars. They carry on for years unknown. They masquerade as normal people and pull it off. Theyre good at fooling everybody. Thats a common characteristic. And thats how they gain opportunity with kids.

Professionals point out that if you sexually abuse someone as a child, chances are very high that you yourself were abused. But what society doesnt know is, if you were sexually abused as a child, what is the chance that you will go onto abuse someone? One study followed convicted juveniles for five years, and discovered a very low percentage of the kids were convicted of another crime. But critics say that five years wasnt long enough.

John Ulrich, a counselor who treats sex offenders, said that a new problem has cropped up with the sex offender registry; some parents have become reluctant to get counseling for their kids. Thats because a therapist is mandated to report any sexually illegal behavior to police; a conviction could mean a permanent place on a public or private sex offender registry.

In the past, Ive persuaded people to take CSC convictions to get their child into residential treatment. It was a standard in the field to do it.

Would you do it now?

Im grieved that its a problem that we have to make our children registered sex offenders in order to get help. Im much more aware of the lifelong impact on the child. But on the other hand, their risk of being convicted of another sex offense more than doubles if they dont get treatment.



HOPE FOR JIM?

Does Jim, the ten-year-old convicted of a CSC two have any way of getting off the public sex offender registry?

His mom, Sandy, has told her story to anyone who would listen: the ACLU, the state attorney general, the governor, attorneys, and media. She gets legal advice from an online free service called e-advocate. Sandy furiously objected to her sons confinement at Havenwyck Psychiatric Hospital, believing kids shouldnt mingle with older youth and adults. She believes her son needed therapy, but was, in fact, tortured with ammonia pills that burn nostrils and cause nosebleeds. She notes that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush deemed the use of ammonia capsules to be torture and signed a bill banning its use by juveniles. She alleged that North Country Community Mental Health, which oversaw his treatment, failed to ensure that the assigned treatment suited her sons condition.  Her allegation was substantiated, and the agency amended its procedures in July of 2008.

But what about the sex offender registry?

A juvenile can petition the court to shorten the registry period, but the defendant must have been between the ages of 13 and 17 when it happened, and there cannot be more than a three year age spread than the victim and offender, Traverse City attorney Jim Aprea said.

Since Jim was 10, he is not eligible.

Aprea recommended that Sandy go to a state appellate defender, who might take on the case. Jim could petition the court to vacate the conviction based on the fact he didnt know the full ramifications of his admission to guilt, he said.

There are a lot of steps, it would take a lot of work. The odds of achieving the desired results are fairly low. But theres a lot at stake, Aprea said.

The mother of the girl who was touched, said that what Jim did was wrong and unacceptable; her daughter still wants an apology. But she also believes that Jim should not be on the public sex offender registry for life.

He was 10 years old and he needed help. He wasnt given help; he was punished. I dont think juveniles should be placed in the same sex offender registry as adults. The whole thing needs to be revamped, said the mom.





OperationAwareness: Havenwyck Hospital program for youth sexual devianceIn this article posted to operationawareness.com a mother writes about her  ten year old son who was sent to Havenwyck Hospital in Michigan State to undergo  involuntary treatment for sexual abuse and sexual deviance. This information is  substantiated by the PSI website maintained for the hospital itself: http://www.psysolutions.com/facilities/havenwyck/impulse.htmlHavenwycks Impulse Disorder Program is a 26-bed licensed and secured   residential program specifically designed for children and adolescents ages   11-17, with emotional and/or behavioral sex offending symptoms, which require   them to be in a secure 24-hour supervised therapeutic sex offending   setting.Children and adolescents in the Impulse Disorder Program have been unable   to function successfully at home, in school and in their social relationships.   They are accepted into the program to develop a deeper understanding of   themselves, their families, their sex offending problems; and to develop more   healthy and adaptive behaviors. The youngsters attend Havenwycks state   approved on-ground school.The unique design of the residential program provides the most current   state-of-the-art sex offender treatment techniques including; cognitive   restructuring, relapse prevention, and covert desensitization therapies, as   well as other innovative approaches.Our objectives are to:Provide sex offender treatment resulting in freedom from sexual deviant     behaviorsExamine and modify patterns of deviant sexual arousalDevelop victim empathy and remorse for their actionsDevelop an understanding of sexual offending as a mood-altering     behaviorEstablish more positive anger management techniquesDevelop more social relationships skillsAssist the families in being vehicles for changeDischarge the individual to the least restrictive environment or home as     soon as possibleThe program facilitates a multi-disciplinary intensive sex offender   treatment program which includes individual, group, psychopharmacology, family   and activity therapies; as well as a variety of multi-disciplinary and   substance abuse groups.Eligibility RequirementsChildren & Adolescents 11-17 years of ageDisplaying sexually deviant behaviorsSex offending behavior is beyond the scope of outpatient treatmentAdjudicated or non-adjudicated requiring a secure locked  unithttp://www.operationawareness.com/about_1_child.htmlFROM VICTIM TO PERPETRATOR TO VICTIM



WHY PREVENTION AND REAL  TREATMENT SHOULD BE AMERICAS FIRST PRIORITY TO STOP THE CYCLE AND END  ABUSE.This is an e-mail we received from a Mother living in Michigan. Only their  names have been changed to protect their identities. Their story is a classic  example of why the system is failing us all.Im writing to you regarding a situation involving my now 14 year old son,  Ben. He was sexually abused at a young age and I had voluntarily placed him in  treatment at age four because he was emotionally impaired as a result.He also spent nine years in special education due to this impairment. This  went well until his treatment was sabotaged by the CPS. This is important  because the CPS built a case against my child over several years following this  treatment.Ben apparently was acting out sexually in the community and it was reported  to the CPS.Rather than notify me, Ben was repeatedly pulled from class and interrogated  by the CPS. Since Ben was the one accused of wrongdoing, shouldnt there have  been a parent or attorney present?In 2003 Ben touched his cousin through her underwear and threatened to kill  her if she told anyone. Ben was barely 10 and my niece was 11. We didnt find  out about it until January 2004 and immediately sought counseling for Ben.The juvenile justice/ CPS worker and the prosecutor told us that in order for  the court to pay for the treatment, Ben would have to plead guilty to Second  Degree CSC. They assured us that Bens record would be expunged when he turned  18 if he successfully completed treatment and stayed out of trouble. They also  told us that it wasnt necessary for Ben to have an attorney - we could have one - but it would only drag it out even longer.Bens fingerprints, mug shot and DNA were taken.As soon as Ben pled guilty, he was locked up in juvenile detention for four  months before being sent to Havenwyck Psychiatric Hospital in Auburn Hills for  17 more months.Havenwyck is a private hospital owned by Psychiatric Solutions Inc.Medicaid wouldnt pay for this treatment so Antrim County DHS, Probate Court  and Community mental health picked up the tab. They made me pay child support  and billed me weekly.Ben was threatened by the juvenile justice worker that if he didnt hurry up  and finish treatment he would be sent to juvenile detention. She then felt the  need to share with Ben that she used to be employed by Wackenhut and while  working there, a group of boys dragged another boy into a room and sodomized him  until his rectum fell out and he bled to death.Treatment at Havenwyck involves torture and experimental behavior  modification techniques.Covert Taping - Ben was made to write a healthy script and a deviant script.  These he read aloud into a tape recorder. When he became aroused, he had to  break open an ammonia capsule and inhale deeply. Staff members listened to these  tapes to make sure that he choked. That meant that he was doing it properly. Ben  suffered horrible nosebleeds for months after he came home.Plethysmographs - This is a test where the older boys were taken out of the  facility. A ring with sensors is placed over the boys penis and they are shown  sexually graphic material. Ben was too young to do this, but went out of the  facility with two other boys and a staff member to act as chaperone.This was necessary because a staff member named Mr. Ari was accused by a gay  black boy of engaging in oral and anal sex with him in the bathroom of the  facility where they do the plethysmographs.This happened before Ben got to Havenwyck, yet Ben met Mr. Ari. That was  because he was still working on the unit. He was transferred to another unit and  eventually let go, but as far as Ben knows this was never investigated by the  state.Most of the boys in Havenwyck are wards of the state. Since Medicaid wont  pay for this, who is paying who?Ben successfully completed treatment in January 2004. He was home for nine  days when the juvenile justice worker called to inform me that Ben had to  register as a sex offender by the next day or hed be in trouble.This was the first time we were informed that Ben would have to do this.  Otherwise we would have had an attorney and never would have agreed to their  deal.We complied and tried to get on with our lives. There was never any  documentation regarding the rules that Ben is supposed to follow.The day that Florida Governor Jeb Bush deemed ammonia capsules to be torture,  Ben was released from his strict probation without a hearing. The court order  said nothing about him having to register quarterly for the rest of his life. We have been trying to pick up the pieces and go on.However on May 17, 2007 the state police showed up at our home and apprehended Ben for failing to register quarterly since he came home more than  a year earlier. The state trooper was confused by all of this and believed me when I told him  that that was the first that Id heard that Ben had to register. I have no  documentation from Antrim County regarding the rules Ben is supposed to  follow.According to the paperwork the trooper showed me, Bens DNA isnt on file.  Antrim County took a cheek swab, so where is my childs DNA?There was also confusion as to why my son was sentenced so harshly.The only  thing the trooper could think of was the fact that my niece was under the age of  13. She was 11 and Ben was 10 at the time of the incident.The trooper then proceeded to take Bens palm prints on the trunk of his car  in front of everyone. We live by the school and there was much traffic that day.  He also went over the radio with Bens name, our address and failure to register  CSC. Great .Even though Ben is only 14, he seems to have forfeited his right to  privacy.The trooper said he was going to write and fax his report to Antrim County  that day because he wanted to clear up the confusion about the matter.I waited for several weeks for Antrim County to contact me. We only had until  July 15 to get him registered. When I didnt hear from them, I called the  trooper. He said that he specifically attached a memo for them to contact me as  soon as possible.He called Antrim County and they told him that prosecutor Mark Fett was going  to look into this and would call me. He did, and I tried to ask him questions as  to how and why this happened and how we were supposed to comply if we arent  told what to do. He also told me that Antrim County decided not to press  charges.I asked about appealing my sons conviction and he informed me that I would  have to hire my own attorney. Unfortunately I cant afford one.Because I questioned this matter, Mr. Fett got very angry with me and he  screamed at me, Im telling you now-Register your kid! He then slammed the  phone down in my ear.I wanted Ben to be charged because we then could have had an attorney look at  his case.From what I have been able to figure out, Ben is subject to the Adam Walsh  Act of 2007.Since he committed his offense in 2003 at age 10, I dont understand how this  can possibly pertain to him. My father is a convicted sex offender, yet he  doesnt have to register because his crime was committed before there was a sex  offender registry.I feel that the CPS was building a case against Ben for years since his past  behavior was a deciding factor in the decision to prosecute rather than help the  kid.My main questions are as follows :1. Havenwyck was the only facility that would even take Ben because he was so  young (barely 11) . Why was he sent there, especially since it is experimental?  Bens therapist made reference to Pavlovs dogs in open court and stated that  the program had been in existence for less than 10 years.2. Since the California Court of Appeals ruled last year that plethysmographs  are Orwellian in nature, why are they using them on children who are wards of  the state? 3. Why was Ben questioned repeatedly by the CPS without a parent or lawyer  present while an elementary school student, then charged with a crime at a later  date?4. Is it legal to use ammonia capsules on children?5. Why did the judge allow us to proceed without an attorney when there was  going to be lifelong repercussions? Its not fair that my childs life is ruined  because I made a bad decision.Time is running out for us. We only have three years to file suit in Michigan  and its already been more than 2 years. Are there any attorneys willing to take  cases if the state is involved?Ben never recieved the help he needed for being a victim of sexual abuse.  Instead he was treated like some kind of monster and had his life ruined by  people who should be helping kids.Special thanks to W for allowing us to share her story. Unfortunately,  their story is one that gets repeated over and over again in this country. When  parents try and do the right thing and get their children help they find out  that theirs and their childs life is forever turned upside down and the child  NEVER gets the help he or she needs. So, the cycle continues and many lives  needlessly get destroyed in the process.operationawareness.com 2008











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Branded for life

Anne Stanton



Branded for Life

Anne             Stanton 3/23/09



This is the last in a series of articles on             sex offenders. This week, the Express focuses on the sex offender             registry, which publicly lists convicted sex offenders on the             Internet.



--------------------------------------------------



Jim             is not proud of the fact that five years ago he inappropriately             touched his cousin on the outside of her underwear. He had just             turned 10 and his cousin was 11. He then threatened to kill her if             she told anyone.

His cousin was deeply upset by the experience             and still refuses to talk to him. He doesnt blame her.

Yet Jim,             15, -- whose name has been changed for this article -- has decided             to talk publicly about the crime because he was in the fourth grade             when it happened. When he turns 18, his name will appear on the             public sex offender registry for the rest of his life. The sex             offender registry does not reflect when a sex crime was committed.             So anyone looking at this when Im an adult will think I was a             pervert adult having sex with an 11-year-old, he said.

His case             is extreme, but here is the reality for all juveniles: if a youth is             convicted or pleads to criminal sexual assault in the first or             second degree, he or she will end up on the public sex offender             registry list for 25 years, or even for life long after the youth             has completed probation or served his or her sentence.

If             convicted of a lesser sex offense, the juvenile will be on a sex             offender registry that is not public, but available to police and             other authorities.

The judge has no choice. The sex offender             registry is mandatory for all ages.



RAMIFICATIONS

The             consequences for Jim is grave. A convicted sex offender is not             allowed to adopt children. He cannot be involved in his childrens             school or extracurricular activities.

A juvenile convicted of a             sex crime is not allowed to participate on a school sports team. He             must notify college officials if hes on a sex registry,             jeopardizing his chance of getting into the college. Sex offenders             are often denied entrance into the military. A registered sex             offender cannot become a police officer, teacher, coach, or work             with children. Some employers would naturally feel uncomfortable             hiring a registered sex offender. Neighbors definitely dont feel             good about having a sex offender living on their street.

If a sex             offender fails to register, he can be imprisoned for a felony.            

Yet a sex offender might have been guilty of a Romeo and             Juliet affair in which both partners consensually had sex, but were             under the legal age of consent, which is 16. In one survey, nearly             40 percent of Michigan tenth graders said they had sexual             intercourse for the first time before age 16. That statistic was             included in a 2007 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey in which             students voluntarily and anonymously answered survey questions.            

So given that consensual albeit illegal, sexual activity is             fairly common, prosecution is actually rare. It depends on two             things: the zeal of the county prosecutor and whether a parent wants             to pursue prosecution.

The problem is were lumping all the kids             with the worst of the worst sex offenders, said Traverse City             attorney Jim Aprea, who frequently defends juveniles. The public             doesnt know what theyre looking at when they call up the states             sex offender website. It describes the conviction, but certainly not             the circumstances or the age of the offender when it was committed.            

This kid (Jim) will show up on the registry for his entire             lifetime for something he did when he was 10 years old. Thats just             absurd. I havent seen a case like this involving a kid that young.             I just havent seen it, and the whole thing troubles me. It might be             a good test casea challenge all the way to the Supreme Court on the             sex offender registration. To me, the facts are outrageous and this             poor kid is a prime example of the inequities in the             statute.



JIMS STORY

Jim transfered to a new school where             he now gets good grades, studies cello, performs in plays, and has a             lot of friends. He has a close relationship with his mom and holds a             steady job at a restaurant. But life wasnt always this good.             Although he was intelligent, learning how to read at the age of             four, he was also lonely, angry and often violent.

Jim got a             rough start in life. His mother Sandy (not her real name) said she             was a serious alcoholic who fought bitterly and often with her sons             father. One afternoon, she drove her station wagon into him,             squishing his leg between her car and an old Malibu. Sandy went to             jail and rehab over a period of seven months. Meanwhile, Jim, who             was two-and-a-half years old, stayed with his dad. When Sandy             finally collected him, he stood filthy in the driveway with a few             clothes shoved into a garbage bag. Jim never saw his dad             again.

Jim said his memory of that time is fuzzy, but he             remembers being scared all the time. He had a bunch of drinking             buddies, and theyd get really drunk on the weekends and thought it             would be a good idea to mess with all four of us (Jim and his three             stepsisters) in another room.

Sandy became alarmed by his             discussion of sex acts, so she took him to Child Protective             Services. The CPS worker was afraid an exam would traumatize the             three-year-old. He received counseling at the Northwest Child             Guidance Center until the age of six, but then funding for therapy             was cut off without explanation. When he was in kindergarten, he             played doctor with the other kids. Later in grade school, nobody             wanted him in the Boy Scout troop. He touched a boy on an overnight             stay. Child Protective Services workers came into the school to talk             to him, but Sandy said she didnt learn the specific complaints             until much later.

The mother of the abused cousin, said that her             sister, Sandy, never drank again after rehab in 1995: If she would             have drank, she would have been as big a mess as before. But             Sandys past has haunted her when it comes to how authorities treat             her.

Indeed Sandy is a fireplug, and doesnt mince words. Her             conversation is often hard to track because she goes off on             tangents. Although shes never broken the law since her assault with             a car, Sandy fears that people havent treated her son very well             because of her own past.



THE PLEA

Jim was 10 1/2 when he             touched his 11-year-old cousin. The girl didnt tell her mother             until seven months later, when it was reported immediately to the             police chief who had been mentoring Jim. Jim was questioned by             police without an attorney (not uncommon in these cases). He             eventually admitted what hed done. The case went to Antrim County             Assistant Prosecutor Mark Fett, who charged Jim with a criminal             sexual conduct, second degree (CSC 2). Its the second highest sex             offense and was due to the victims age and the threat of violence.            

Sandy met briefly with Fett, but most of her conversations were             with the court administrator William Hefferan. She claims that he             never told her that a guilty plea would mean that Jim would go on             the public sex offender registry. Hefferan said he cant remember             whether he told her that or not.

I cant assure that every time             someone pleads to a CSC, I tell them this is a 25-year registerable             offense, Hefferan said.

The sex registry was not cited in the             plea agreement but was included in the ajudication (Jims sentence).             Sandy missed it.

Sandy quickly agreed to the plea to CSC two             without a lawyer. She remembers being told that a plea would             expedite the process, which was important to her. She couldnt have             her younger child reinstated in her home until her son was removed.             Secondly, she believed a plea was the only way to get her son             state-funded counseling and residential treatment, which she could             not afford. (She still owes $12,038 to the             county).



VICTIMIZED

But the plea bargain was no bargain,             Aprea said.

Most prosecutors want to achieve relative justice             without a trial. But theres nothing worse than a charge of CSC one             or two. In this case, the boy pled exactly to what he was charged             with. Yes, he made a threat, but a threat coming from a 10-year-old             is a lot different than a threat coming from a 15-year-old or an             adult. That kid was victimized by the system.

Immediately after             Sandy signed the adjudication papers in April of 2004, Jim, 11, was             taken to a lockdown wing at the Muskegon River Youth Home where he             was given an orange uniform to wear.

A juvenile justice worker             visited him and told him that if he didnt hurry up and finish             treatment he would be sent to Wackenhut (a youth prison), where, he             said, a group of boys dragged another boy into a room and sodomized             him until his rectum fell out and he bled to death.

Jim was             shaken, hearing about sodomy for the first time. He stayed in             Muskegon until August, when a space opened up at Havenwyck             Psychiatric Hospital in Auburn Hills for which the minimum age was             11.

He began a sexual aversion therapy, which involved sniffing             three ammonia pills after listening to a story of a deviant sex             act.



NO PLACE FOR A CHILD

Jim said he has mixed feelings             about his treatment. He felt that without intervention he might have             become a serial molester. Now a very articulate and pleasant young             man, he feels like a success case. But he believes that Havenwyck is             no place for a child. He attended group therapy sessions with men             who were as old as 19. If you werent bad, youd know how to be bad             now.

I worked hard to reach the top level in my treatment. I             really wanted out of there, he said.

They smash you down to             nothing and then you rebuild yourself. It gets rid of a lot of             negative behavior, but it gets rid of everything. I was an empty             shell.

After I got out, I had no social skills, Jim said. For             two years, I wasnt allowed to talk to girls. When I got out, my age             group was largely different than me. I cried a lot.

When I             got back to high school, I was treated like a sex offender even             though Id just gone through one-and-a-half years of treatment. I             wasnt allowed to participate in gym or use the bathroom. They             wanted me to use the teachers bathroom, and I didnt want to be             embarrassed, so I just held it all day.

The same kids who picked             on him before picked on him again, so he transferred to his current             school. The group of kids at the new school is small; they know his             history and respect him; so Jim, who recently broke up with his             girlfriend, said he believes this article wont affect their opinion             of him.



BAD NEWS

Jim was home for nine days in January of             2006, when the juvenile justice worker called to inform Sandy that             she had only until the next day to get her son registered as a sex             offender.

This was the first Id heard of such a thing. When I             questioned her, she said that she could tell the judge, Oops, my             bad! but it probably wouldnt do Jim any good.

Sandy thought             she had to only register her son once. That is until May of 2007,             when the Michigan State Police showed up at the house and said hed             have to register quarterly. They took his prints on the trunk of a             police cruiser while kids, across the street, were in a football             practice.

We live across the street from the school and they             were broadcasting Jims name and our address on the scanner. Were             contacting Jim for his failure to register as a sex offender.             Everyone with a scanner knows now, Sandy said.

Since then, Sandy             has confronted the reality of the sex offender registry. The law             regarding juveniles is so vague, it was hard for the Express to get             clear-cut answers to such questions from professionals: How long             will Jim remain on the sex offender registry after becoming an adult             (conflicting answers of 25 years and lifetime)? Even if Jim had the             crime expunged, does he still have to register on the sex offender             registry (yes, but its a start)? How often does he have to register             as a juvenile (conflicting answers)?

When Sandy called assistant             prosecutor Mark Fett with questions, she says he screamed at her --             Im telling you now. Register your kid! -- and slammed down the             phone. Fett did not return a call for comment.





Is There a             Better Way?

Michigan has the third largest sex offender registry             in the nationat least it did in 2004 when there were 33,000 people.             Today there are 43,964.

The registrys growth might falsely             indicate to people outside of the state that Michigan is teeming             with child molesters and rapists . , reads a 2004 legislative             analysis of a bill written by Julie Koval.

Some other states take             a more nuanced approach to sex offender registration, and do not             require juveniles under a certain age to register, and others do not             require that juveniles register at all.

When working with             juvenile sex offenders, the focus should be on rehabilitation to             help them stop their abusive behaviors. Adolescence is often a             difficult time for many young people; publicly labeling them as             dangerous criminals can have devastating effects as they try to             develop their identities, she wrote.

Professionals specializing             in the fieldcounselors Barb Cross and John Ulrich to Todd Heller, a             computer cop who snags sex offenders, and Noelle Moeggenberg who             prosecutes them, all agree: A judge needs discretion on whether to             put a juvenile on a public sex offender registry.

I never take             any sexual offense lightly, however, 10-year-old children can and do             engage in youthful experimentation, exploring their own bodies and             the bodies of their playmates. Its not acceptable, but its far,             far different than predatory behavior, said Kenneth Tacoma, chief             probate and family division judge of the 28th circuit court in             Wexford County.



A DIFFERENCE

Therapist Barb Cross said             theres a lot of difference between a one-time offender versus a             teenage boy who molests multiple times. These two should not be             treated the same.

The way the system is set up, the             prosecutornot the judgedetermines a childs fate, Tacoma             said.

Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly said there might             be room for discretion within narrow confines, but he believes the             public sex offender registry makes sense.

Im a believer that             once this kid has demonstrated hes capable of this, we place him in        

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/18/2012 08:01 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Havenwyck-Hospital/Auburn-Hills-Michigan-48326/Havenwyck-Hospital-Antrim-County-Probate-Court-Judge-Norman-HayesNicole-LittleUS-Distri-983673. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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