Sierra Madre senior accused of possessing child porn (Pasadena Star News link): Authorities arrested a 65-year-old man for allegedly possessing child pornography. In a statement, police said a search warrant was served in the 400 block of Sturtevant Drive early Wednesday morning.
Officers arrested Edward L. Sanchez of Sierra Madre and seized computers and other items as evidence.
The Sierra Madre Police Department and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force were involved in the investigation. Police released few details about the case.
Chief Larry Giannone said “this has been a lengthy investigation and is ongoing ...we are urging anyone who has minor children that may have had personal contact with Mr. Sanchez to contact the Police Department”.
“We have no further comments on this investigation at this time as it is still under investigation,” Giannone said.
Sanchez was booked on suspicion of possessing obscene matter involving a minor. Booking records show he is being held at an LAPD jail on $20,000 bail.
I have a question about the fourth paragraph. While it is important for the SMPD to reach out to parents in a situation like this, why did that have to happen only after a "lengthy investigation?" I understand the need to build a proper case so that justice can be properly served on this guy, but why put children at further risk by allowing this to go on for a "lengthy" period of time?
Sanchez either possessed child pornography or he didn't. Upon discovering that this was the case he should have been arrested immediately. Removing a potential danger such as this person from our community should have been the only priority. Allowing him to remain free after it was established that he had this stuff seems irresponsible to me. How much more did they need to know?
But perhaps this has more to do with the Chief's unfortunate struggles with proper syntax. It often seems fairly obvious that he is not a "word guy."
There is also the SMPD's obligatory refusal to say much more, though not being able to comment about the investigation because it is still under investigation is an entirely new twist on that theme. Perhaps because the investigation went on for too long it is being investigated?
Whatever the situation, not much is likely to happen. As it was in the Matheson case, we have probably now heard all we'll ever hear from Chief Giannone on this matter.
When Bob Matheson returned to Sierra Madre after a well-deserved stretch in a Canadian pokey for the possession of child pornography, many here wondered why the City did not have him immediately registered as a sex offender. Certainly someone like that requires special attention.
However, that is not how they saw it downtown. The Sierra Madre Patch reported the following:
Matheson voluntarily came to the to the police station and met with interim Police Chief Larry Giannone. Giannone said, "Mr. Matheson voluntarily came to the police station to advise us that he was back at his residence and simply stated, "There are two sides to every story." The Police Department has confirmed at this time Mr. Matheson is under no obligation to register as a sex offender based on California law.
That interpretation did not pass muster with everyone, however, And in an article titled "Sierra Madre police say child porn convict not required to register as sex offender," the Pasadena Star News correctly questioned the Chief's interpretation of the law. Here is what they had to say on this matter (link):
Sierra Madre Interim Police Chief Larry Giannone said the Los Angeles District Attorney's office told his department that California's sex-registration requirement doesn't apply to Matheson because his conviction occurred outside the United States.
But a former Orange County district attorney who specialized in sex crimes has questioned that interpretation of the law. Matheson was arrested in October after being questioned by authorities at a Canadian airport. According to prosecutors, Matheson gave vague answers to questions about his travel plans.
Matheson, a prominent Sierra Madre resident who was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and assisted with former Mayor Joe Mosca's 2010 campaign, could not be reached for comment.
Here is a little more on this from that Star News piece:
Michael Fell, a former Orange County deputy district attorney who specialized in sex crimes, said he didn't believe the California Penal Code makes an exception for convictions outside of the country.
He pointed to Senate Bill 622, which was signed into law in September and requires the State Department of Justice to review out-of-state offenders' criminal record to determine if they should be registered as a sex offender.
The bill expanded the list of those required to register as a sex offender to anyone convicted of such a crime "in any other court, including any state, federal or military court."
Fell said has he understands it, sex-crime convictions in another state or country would require sex-offender registration as long as the law in the other state or country is substantially similar to California law. "As long as it has the elements," Fell said, "maybe it's not a gray area."
Like I said, we never heard much more about the Matheson case from the City of Sierra Madre. The whole thing just disappeared into that "the investigation is ongoing and can't be commented upon" black hole, never to return.
Hopefully we'll see more energy from City Hall in the Edward Sanchez case. After all, there are no pictures floating around of him breaking bread with former Sierra Madre Mayors or prominent Realtors.
One other thing. I did a little research and found the following on the "Internet Crimes against Children Task Force." This from the U.S. Department of Justice (link):
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC program) helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This help encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.
The program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and heightened online activity by predators seeking unsupervised contact with potential underage victims. OJJDP created the ICAC Task Force Program under the authority of the fiscal year (FY) 1998 Justice Appropriations Act, Public Law 105–119, and continued funding the program with successive appropriations in FYs 1999, 2000, and 2001. The Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act ("the PROTECT Act") of 2008, (P.L. 110-401, codified at 42 USC 17601, et seq.), authorized the ICAC program through FY 2013.
Allowing the SMPD to break this news being a courtesy extended by the Feds to local law enforcement agencies in cases such as this one.