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Suffolk County Court Raises Sex Offense and Risk Level of Defendant


This case involved a woman who was convicted of several felony sex crimes after admitting that she had sexually abused a two year-old. After evaluating her Sex Offender and Risk Level, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders determined that she should be rated Level 1. Her score of 70 was the highest possible in the Level 1 category. The Board believed that she should be rated Level 3 as a high risk offender for her sex crimes. A hearing to determine whether her status should be raised was held on December 8, 2005 in the Suffolk County Court.

The Sex Offenders Registration Law that is in place to guard society from sex offenders who have been convicted of sex crimes uses a point system to determine which level the offender should be placed on. In exceptional cases, the Court will intervene to change the level, but this is not the norm. Any judge may change the level as he or she sees fit, depending on the facts of the case involving the sex crime offender. The Court is not bound by the recommendations of the score assigned to the offender. Other factors that may be considered are the offender’s admissions, evaluation of probation, parole, victims’ statements, or other information.

When determining the offender’s score, the Board did not assign 20 points to the defendant for her relationship with the victim. She was hired to care for the child and he was a stranger to her before this sex crime was committed. The parent trusted her to care for the child when she was hired. Adding 20 points in this category raises her score to 90 in the Level 2 category.

The sex offender’s mental health was taken into consideration by the Court. She had attempted suicide two times in the past and had been treated at eight different mental health facilities. She had been taking several medications to treat her mental illnesses, which had been diagnosed as to separate ones. These were manic depressive/bi-polar syndrome and major depression. However, about three weeks before the sex crime occurred, the defendant stopped taking her medication because it was causing weight gain. In addition, the defendant herself was the victim of sexual child abuse on two different occasions.

The Court’s concern over the woman’s history of mental health issues, depression and suicide attempts, and the fact that she discontinued her medications were taken into consideration. The most convincing factor that the Court took into account was the tape that filmed the crime in action. The Court determined that this sex crime was committed out of sexual deviation, not out of anger as the woman had said. Just as shocking was the fact that while committing the sex crime against the two year-old, the woman showed no emotion at all.

The defendant and the child were in bed and she was watching TV. The tape revealed uncommonly grotesque sexual abuse of the infant victim. The Court found that there was no “anger” apparent before or during the perverted acts, but only a lack of emotion or feeling from the defendant. Her behavior was very casual and showed no sympathy toward the child. When determining the offender’s points while calculating her level, the tape was not taken into consideration.

The Court decided that the offender was not a Level 3 who required maximum supervision. At the same time, the seriousness of her sex crime and lack of remorse and concern were not appropriate for a Level 1 offender. It was determined that the woman’s fair score was 90, and this put her at Level 2, a moderate risk to society. She was found to be a Sexually Violent Offender and was required to follow the law required as a Level 2 sex crime offender.

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