Archive for the ‘Jimmy Ryce Act’ Category

Arrested when he was 16-years-old, a child rapist has been released from a mental health facility in Sanford, Fl. after serving time for sexually assaullting little boys in his father’s church. Seminole County Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. told the court “I don’t think there’s grounds to hold him any longer.”

SANFORD A judge freed Kareem Merthie, 26, who had been locked up for nearly a decade for raping children, but the celebration for his family quickly turned tragic.

Before the judge released him, Merthie’s mother, Ruth Merthie, collapsed in the hallway after stepping out.

She was rushed to Central Florida Regional Hospital where she died.

Two medical experts said Merthie is not an active sexually violent predator.

Merthie preyed on as many as 20 children. He’s the son of a minister, and most of the rapes happened at his father’s church, New Life Word Center.

If he has been locked up, away from children, wouldn’t he be by default not be an active sexually violent predator? Not everyone agrees he no longer poses a threat. “Child rapist wants out of Sanford mental hospital“.

Tampa psychologist Michael Gamache, a state witness, filed a report in March, saying that Merthie had admitted victimizing 20 children, both boys and girls.

“Due to the sheer volume of Mr. Merthie’s prior sexual acts, I believe he remains a high risk or a danger to reoffend” but not more so than “the average sex offender,” Gamache wrote.

Related Post: Jimmy Ryce Act


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Great pains are taken by supporters of convicted sex offenders to distinguish between the severity of the offense. They are quick to point out crimes commited by juveniles against other juveniles are different from those of an adult against a child.

Why is it ok to lump a family member, friend, or neighbor into one category and strangers and stalkers into another when discussing sex offenders?

Many of us have heard someone say after a crime is commited that the family member, friend, or neighbor “couldn’t have perpertrated the crime” or “that’s not the ______ (fill in the blank with a name) I know”. Reading the traits below suggest a common lure is the ability to become close to the victim through the family.

A real life example is the case of Junny Rios-Martinez and convicted sex offender/murderer Mark Dean Schwab.

That case led to passage of the Junny Rios-Martinez Act of 1992, which prohibits sex offenders from early release from prison. Read the Mark Schwab appeal and it provides you some insight into how calculating Mark Schwab is. He preyed on multiple boys each time by coercing and threatening them in to compliance.

Sex Offender Facts and Characteristics

  • Sex offenders come from all walks of life and from all socio-economic groups. They can be male or female, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, religious or non-religious, educated or uneducated, and from any race.
  • Although some sex offenders are strangers and stalkers, many know the victim as a family member, friend, or neighbor. They win a child’s trust and then take advantage of that trust.
  • Potential victims are likely to be children that are poor, neglected, loners, or runaways.
  • Many pedophiles seek out mothers of single parent families for the purpose of victimizing children.
  • Sex offenders often like playgrounds and other places where children congregate.

Most sex offenders groom their victims prior to any crime.Offenders may position themselves to come into contact with children by:

  • Creating playground environments where victims have access to toys, games, and other things that will later be traded for sex.
  • Enticing with attention, affection, gifts, promises, and providing alcohol and pornography to lower inhibitions.
  • Participating in activities with teens, often excluding other adults, or trying to get teens into situations where no other adults are present.
  • Preying on either a parent/teen desire to excel in a sport. They provide extra assistance and offer special attention.
  • Being the “nice guy” in the neighborhood who is willing to entertain children and take them on outings.
  • Operating businesses that hire teens and looking for excuses requiring them to stay after hours, or visit the offenders home.
  • Seeking employment or volunteering where they will be in contact with children and teens.

Source:  Arizona Department of Public Safety 

Update 05-20-08   Palm Beach Post

Executions in Florida will begin July 1 after the U.S. Supreme Court today lifted a stay on the execution of convicted child rapist and murderer Mark Dean Schwab.

Gov. Charlie Crist said this afternoon he wants the execution rescheduled for July 1.

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Listening to the Congressional testimony concerning HGH, Roger Clements used a term seldom heard, misremembering.

Lot of misremembering going on, but Clemens is the one doing it

Will it become the new catch phrase of those accused of sex crimes when describing their victims? In a series of articles, the Pioneer Press has been running, Laura R. was 7 when a 50-year-old man, sexually molested her in the family’s Arden Hills home.

He was convicted and served not only his prison term but completed a 15 year probation too. You might conclude that was the end of the story but it actually is where a new saga begins.

So it came as quite a jolt when, on Dec. 22 – 22 years to the day since cops showed up at her Arden Hills home to investigate the allegations – Laura searched the Internet for the name of her convicted molester. Up came Gary George Vadnais, now 72, as December’s “volunteer of the month” for the Friends of the Mississippi River, a nonprofit conservation agency in St. Paul. The accompanying profile described a man who has “taught countless children the art of chess.”

It also raised many questions in the debate over sex offenders and how society should “accommodate” them for their transgressions.

What are the lifetime effects of child sex abuse?

Can offenders truly be rehabilitated and integrated successfully back into society, only to be haunted continuously by their pasts?

Are background checks beneficial or harmful?

Is there a perfect balance between ensuring public safety for our most vulnerable citizens – children – while also giving people with criminal records, including sex offenders, a real and fair shot at reintegration?

There will be those who support him and portray him as a possible victim. His predicament may also serve as a rallying cry for those who quote recidivism statistics and want us to believe it is unlikely he or others would re-offend. But, just as he may be on one end of the spectrum, there is the case of James Walter Scott in Jacksonville,Fl. who is on the other.

A 26-year-old sex offender has been arrested on lewdness charges in Nassau County just four days after he was released from state prison.

About 2:30 a.m. Friday a man entered a Fernandina Beach home through an unlocked door, went into a bedroom, disrobed and then got in bed with a girl younger than 16 years old, according to the Fernandina Beach Police Department. The girl awoke and resisted the man, who fled on foot, leaving some clothing behind, police said.

Is his victim also just misremembering?

Rubén Rosario, Pioneer Press tells Laura’s Story

Related Post: Residency Restrictions

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On Sept. 11, 1995, Jimmy Ryce was abducted after getting off his school bus in the Redlands, south of Miami. Multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies led a three-month search for the child before his backpack was found in Juan Carlos Chavez’s trailer. Chavez, at the time a local ranch hand, led authorities to his dismembered body. Sitting on Florida’s death row he appealed his conviction earlier this year but on March 8th, a judge denied Juan Carlos Chavez  a new trial or a new sentencing hearing.

After Jimmy’s death, a law was passed bearing Jimmy’s name. It keeps sexual predators in custody even after their sentences are completed if they are found to be still a danger to the community.

The Florida Legislature passed the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment And Care Act. (Jimmy Ryce Act) on May 1, 1998. The Act directs the Secretary of Children and Family Services to create a multidisciplinary team that will determine whether an inmate is a “sexually violent predator.”

The only statutory guideline for the team’s composition is that it must include “two licensed psychiatrists or psychologists, or one licensed psychiatrist and one licensed psychologist.” One hundred and eighty days prior to releasing an inmate convicted of a sexually violent crime, the agency controlling the inmate must notify both the multidisciplinary team and the relevant state attorney of the inmate’s impending release. The team then determines whether the inmate is a “sexually violent predator.”

A “sexually violent predator” is defined as “any person who:

    (a) Has been convicted of a sexually violent offense; and
    (b) Suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment.”


The above is from a FSU law review PDF

Eddie Lee Sadler apparently doesn’t meet the qualifications at least according to Collier County Senior Circuit Judge Charles Carlton.

A Naples man  convicted of fondling a child twice and battery for assaulting a woman who accused him of trying to rape her is not a sexual predator and does not need to be committed to a state facility for treatment, a Collier County judge ruled this morning…

…Testimony by the state’s expert witness showed Sadler repeatedly refused sex-offender treatment in prison, denying committing the offenses. He called a child who accused him of molesting her a sexually promiscuous “tramp” and contended the girl — now a woman — set him up. Psychologists agreed he was borderline mentally retarded

Sadler was convicted in 1997 of violating probation and sentenced to 22 years in state prison but apparently served less then half of the sentence. He will wear a GPS monitor as part of a recent conditional release.

Do the penalties fit the crimes or is it a case where the crimes need to fit the penalties. Should the definition of a violent sexual predator be re-examined?

You can visit the Jimmy Ryce Foundation here

Note 04-10-07:

As a jury was being selected Monday to determine if he should be held as a sexual predator, a Port St. Lucie man agreed to be committed under the state’s Jimmy Ryce Act. Elwood R. Wise, 60, was convicted in 1988 of breaking into a woman’s Port St. Lucie home and raping her.

Update 01-22-09:
‘Indomitable spirit’ and missing children advocate
Claudine Ryce, who helped pass an anti-predator law after her son’s abduction and killing, died unexpectedly at 66.

Update 02-05-09:  Jimmy Ryce killer appeals to Fla. high court today


According to his previous appeals, Juan Carlos Chavez, didn’t just murder Jimmy Ryce. While the justices debate whether he understood the differences between Cuban and U.S. rights, it is fairly common knowledge rape and murder of an innocent child does carry severe penalties. He chose to come to this country but Jimmy Ryce didn’t choose to die at his hands.

Tallahassee, Fla:

A Cuban immigrant sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and killing 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce 14 years ago is once again asking for a new trial.

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments today (Thursday) in the case of Juan Carlos Chavez.

Chavez was convicted of kidnapping Jimmy at gunpoint after getting off a school bus near his home in rural Miami-Dade County.

His lawyer claims Chavez did not understand his right to have an attorney. Andrea Norgard argues an expert witness was erroneously prevented from testifying at a prior appeal hearing about the differences between the U.S. and Cuban legal systems.

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