Sex offenders paid to baby-sit

Cornelius Osborne may not seem like baby-sitting material.

He was convicted of raping two women. A succession of felonies, from robbery to failing to register as a sex offender, repeatedly sent him to prison, state records show.

But over more than two years, the state paid Osborne nearly $5,000 to baby-sit two children, before his latest conviction — for dealing drugs — put him back behind bars.

Osborne, of Chicago, wasn’t the only sex offender paid by taxpayers to baby-sit, according to a Tribune investigation that found cases of convicted rapists, molesters and other violent felons given access to children over the past decade. The money comes from a $750 million-a-year program that subsidizes child care for more than 150,000 impoverished Illinois families.

The state Department of Human Services poorly vetted baby sitters for years — and when a 2009 law forced better checks, it took nearly 18 months to start them, the newspaper’s investigation of the Child Care Assistance Program found.

Also, despite the reforms, the Tribune found that even now the state lacks safeguards to weed out baby sitters who watch children while living in the homes of sex offenders and other felons deemed too dangerous. Based on those findings, the state is vowing further reforms.

It’s nearly impossible to determine just how many of the illegal baby-sitting arrangements the state has allowed. The newspaper found no cases where children were harmed, although privacy laws shield data needed to do an in-depth study.

Still, the Tribune’s findings are frustrating to Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, who pushed for the reforms mandating better checks to weed out illegal arrangements.

“You’re talking about not only the state sanctioning, but the state creating, an economic incentive for someone with a criminal record to be in a room with a kid,” Murphy said. “That’s frankly not a situation that I find acceptable.”

Read more here.

Adult children’s ‘bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed

Chicago • Raised in a $1.5 million Barrington Hills, Ill., home by their attorney father, two grown children have spent the last two years pursuing a unique lawsuit against their mom for “bad mothering” that alleges damages caused when she failed to buy toys for one and sent another a birthday card he didn’t like.

The alleged offenses include failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then 7-year-old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, “haggling” over the amount to spend on party dresses and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from celebrating homecoming.

Last week, at which point the court record stood about a foot tall, an Illinois appeals court dismissed the case, finding that none of the mother’s conduct was “extreme or outrageous.” To rule in favor of her children, the court found, “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family childrearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”

In 2009, the children, represented by three attorneys including their father, Steven A. Miner, sued their mother, Kimberly Garrity. Steven II, now 23, and his sister Kathryn, now 20, sought more than $50,000 for “emotional distress.”

Miner and Garrity were married for a decade before she filed for divorce in 1995, records show.

Among the exhibits filed in the case is a birthday card Garrity sent her son, who in his lawsuit sought damages because the card was “inappropriate” and failed to include cash or a check. He also alleged she failed to send a card for years or, while he was in college, care packages.

On the front of the American Greetings card is a picture of tomatoes spread across a table that are indistinguishable except for one in the middle with craft-store googly eyes attached.

“Son I got you this Birthday card because it’s just like you … different from all the rest!” the card reads. On the inside Garrity wrote “Have a great day! Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo.”

Read more here.

Obama arrested for drunk driving

MetroWest Daily News of Framingham, MA ran a story, byline Norman Miller, titled “Cops: Illegal Immigrant Drove Drunk in Framingham.”

The alleged operator, Onyango Obama, 67, blew a 0.14 on the breathalyzer. The Massachusetts limit is 0.08. Mr. Obama is also accused of driving to endanger, having almost collided with the police car.

The MetroWest Daily News story states:

Obama has a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant for his arrest. ICE has previously ordered him to be deported back to Kenya.

Kerry Picket of the Washington Times theorizes that this Onyango Obama (born 3 June 1944 according to the police log) is also the half-uncle of President Obama, Omar Onyango Obama, born on 3 June 1944 in Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya per Picket’s theory.

President Obama’s aunt also lives in the Boston area. Howie Carr, the Boston Herald columnist, refers to her as “Auntie Zeituni.” Howie features her in a column now and again (the latest was 5 August), usually pointing out her status as a welfare recipient living in public housing.