- SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
-- A Baptist minister who was accused of molesting a teenage boy is returning
to work at Fresno's juvenile hall. Child sexual-abuse charges against a
former judge have been dropped. Two babysitters who pleaded guilty to performing
sex acts on children have been let out of jail.
- Charges are being dropped and convictions are being thrown
out against hundreds of Californians after the U.S. Supreme Court struck
down a 1994 state law that erased the statute of limitations in decades-old
- The high court's decision has angered victims and prosecutors,
and alarmed some communities. Unlike molesters who have faced justice and
served their time, those now being released do not have to register under
Megan's Law as sex offenders.
- "The pedophiles are laughing. They just got a 'Get
Out of Jail Free' card and it disgusts me," said Bill Pelzl of San
Francisco, whose alleged molester, a former priest, was freed.
- California's law was designed to ensnare molesters who
committed their cimes decades ago. Some states have extended their deadlines
for filing charges in sex crimes, but California was the only state to
retroactively eliminate the statute of limitations, allowing victims to
come forward years, even decades, after the alleged abuse. The old statute
of limitations was six years.
- But the Supreme Court said the constitution bars states
from revising already expired legal deadlines.
- Now, California prosecutors are scrambling to figure
out who needs to be freed and who can be tried for other crimes. An estimated
800 people - including priests, housewives and the winningest high school
basketball coach in state history - were charged under the 1994 law. It
is not yet clear how many were convicted or pleaded guilty, and how many
are still behind bars.
- Lake County prosecutor Susan Krones said she had no choice
but to dismiss her case against Ronald Bunn, accused of raping a girl during
the early 1980s when she was 14 and 15.
- "It is a grave injustice to the victims in this
case," Krones said.
- Charges have been dropped against former Orange County
Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline, accused of molesting a boy in 1979.
Kline remains under house arrest on unrelated charges of keeping child
pornography on his court computer.
- Rev. Calvin Eugene Moore had been a juvenile hall guard
and a pastor at King Solomon Baptist Church in Fresno before his arrest
last October for alleged abuse of a teenage boy 20 years ago. With the
charges now dismissed, he is expected to return to work as a juvenile corrections
- "The court dismissed the case, so there's no legal
reason why he can't come back to work," county probation chief Larry
Price said. "Calvin has a flawless personnel record and I think he
has good support among his peers, so I see no reason why he wouldn't."
- In Santa Clara County, Boyd Estelle Humphrey and Mary
Jane Humphrey were facing life in prison after pleading guilty to molesting
a child two decades ago. Authorities said the couple swapped spouses at
night and their sex acts began to include the children they babysat. After
being held in jail since October, they were released.
- Not every alleged molester prosecuted under the 1994
law is going free.
- Donald Kimball, a former Sonoma County priest, remains
at San Quentin State Prison because he was convicted of assulting a newspaper
photographer during his sex abuse trial in 2002. He has asked a judge to
dismiss his conviction for fondling a 13-year-old girl in 1981.
- David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network
of those Abused by Priests, said the court ruling will hurt children the
- "The Supreme Court is asking kids to do the impossible,"
he said. "Kids can't quickly come forward against adults who molest
them. No one can take action against a careless or malicious surgeon when
the patient is still in the recovery room because at that point you don't
even know you've been hurt."
- Many alleged victims are incensed that those getting
released will have unblemished records and will not be required to register
with the state or notify police when they move to town.
- "I can absolutely see someone so frustrated by this
that they take the law into their own hands," said Lee Bashforth of
Lake Forest, after the priest he accused of molesting him and his brother
from 1976 to 1985 was freed from jail just days after being arrested.
- Bashforth said his alleged abuser has moved into an Orange
County retirement community near where Bashforth lives with his pregnant
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reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
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of The Associated Press.
- From Kathy Holleran
- I am amazed at how so many stories strike close to home.
- Tonight, you have the "Child Molesters Freed in
California" story posted. Appalling cannot describe the reality if
this decision.. It shows where the true evil is in the world. Life experience
has brought me to where I am now and I do not forget the past.
- I may have e-mailed before that Don Kimball WAS our parish
priest. If he had touched my kids, he'd never have had a chance to go to
trial. The girl, now woman he impregnated was the sister of my late co-worker
- Dan found out his sister was Kimball's victim (1 of many)
on the news. Dan took his own life last year and I feel strongly that this
news contributed to his decision.
- I luckily stopped practicing in the early 80's, but oh
the guilt I carried for years......NO MORE
- I have not forgotten the Presidio Daycare case. Babies
with venereal disease. No trial, victims too young to testify. The predator/operator
of the center (on the base at the time) continued in the FIELD, having
relatives front for him (I recall this from the news) in other localities.
We used the daycare center twice while at Letterman for appointments. You
bet I paid close attention to that story. The public soon forgets and
now there is the desensitization factor as we are inundated with this subject.
- I remember Kevin Collins*, Amber Swartz, Michella Garrett,
Illene Michelloff and the other children who disappeared without a trace
in the Bay area in the late 70's - early 80's.
- I WILL not forget.
- It sadly begins to make real the evil present in our
society. It is my opinion that"The Supreme Court"of the United
States is just another vehicle for the predators.
- I am also of the opinion that THEY are becoming very
careless and many of us are just not that distracted and /or stupid.
- Sincere thanks as always,
- Santa Rosa
- *Kevin Collins disappeared near or in front of his school,
St. Agnes. The location is on Masonic Ave. near Haight St.. My high school
is at Turk and Masonic and I know the area well. This coincidence just
recently hit me. Perhaps this is to be expected from one who reads David
Icke and Jim Marrs and listens to Jeff Rense!