Sex offender magician Jeff Carson appears on New Jersey’s Megan’s Law registry, thanks to the fact that he “inappropriately touched victim” (that victim being a minor girl) “and had victim touch him inappropriately over a 6 year period.” But according to the great state of New Jersey, he’s not doing anything wrong by performing his magic act for children.
That’s right. Twenty years after Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, resulting in Megan’s Law, the state that birthed that law amidst public outrage says that magician Jeff Carson (aka Jeffrey Leach aka Ron Geoffries) — a man convicted of a sex crime against a child — can work directly with children. Maybe it’s time for that public outrage again — not just against the sex offender, but against New Jersey.
As we reported on Thursday, and has been discussed for months on magic gossip site MagicLeaks.com, Carson was arrested in 2007 and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a minor. As part of a later plea deal, he pleaded guilty in 2009 to aggravated sexual contact with a minor, a lesser offense.
When we originally reported on Leach’s crime, we didn’t know the specific allegations against him, and readers have been asking. On Friday morning, a copy of a 2008 indictment against Leach was provided to Philadelphia magazine.
According to the indictment, he was accused of molesting a girl more than a dozen times, starting when she was 10. In that indictment, Leach was accused of “placing or rubbing his penis against her,” “having the victim touch his penis for the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying himself or to humiliate or degrade” her, “showing videotaped pornographic images of adults engaging in sexual behavior” to her, and “masturbating in view” of her. Because Carson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, there was no trial and no judicial determination that those were the specific acts in which he had actually engaged.
New Jersey continues to list Carson as a sex offender in its Megan’s Law registry, and Carson continues to advertise his services for children on his website — or at least he did until his website went offline on Thursday within hours of our story.
Here are the photos of Carson from the Megan’s Law registry:
The officials that we spoke to in New Jersey on Wednesday seemed perplexed and promised to investigate after our calls. But Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor’s office, says that Carson is allowed to perform for kids, as he told Philly.com on Thursday.
According to Laughlin, Carson’s probation is set to expire shortly, and his parole period, which will follow, could place tighter restrictions on the sex offender magician.
“This guy is going on parole starting next month,” explains Laughlin. “Parole is a separate entity, and they set their own terms. But probation is responsible for the terms of the judgment of conviction, which did not say anything about children, other than the fact that he could not access the victim, and his community service order said he could not work with children in his community service. Because of this loophole, we have since made a habit of doing our best to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore.”
In other words, for the last five years, it was perfectly OK for sex offender magician Jeff Carson to perform for kids.
“This is outrageous,” says Paul Kramer, the former New Jersey assemblyman who wrote the Megan’s Law bill in 1994. “He is a registered sex offender, for God’s sake. This makes no sense at all. There’s no way he should be involved with children. You’re inviting disaster. John Wayne Gacy went to kids’ parties, too, dressed as a clown. This is crazy. It’s the most outrageous thing I have ever heard.”
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