Leader Blues

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TOP STORY >>Instructor is back at his school

By PEG KENYON
Leader staff writer

Mike Brown, also known as Milton Leon Brown, a convicted sex offender, still teaches at Mike Brown’s Taekwondo in Jacksonville, but he lists his place of residence on the sex-offender registry as Palestine in St. Francis County.

This information surfaced after The Leader published a story about a recent re-notification effort to update the addresses of convicted Level 3 and Level 4 sex offenders by the Jacksonville Police Department, but he wasn’t on the list.
Brown has a Level 3 ranking.

Level 3 and 4 sex offenders appear on the Arkansas Sex Offender Registry list at the Arkansas Crime Information Center website. Level 1 is considered a low risk; Level 2, a moderate risk; Level 3, a high risk; and Level 4, a sexually violent predator. On Thursday, Brown confirmed he comes to Jacksonville about twice a week to teach aerobics kick classes to women. As to his career and his home, Brown said, “It’s about 80 miles away, and I’m getting ready to retire.”

Brown also said he hoped that The Leader would not write a story about this matter because it would hurt the next owner of the establishment. The business, according to Brown, is being turned over to 18-year-old Chase Heineman, who has been involved in martial arts with him for approximately 10 years. “He’s a good kid,” Brown said.

Brown was arrested in 2001 involving allegations by a 13-year-old student of Brown’s. The incident reportedly took place after she allegedly fell sleep on a couch at his then residence—a McCain Park apartment in North Little Rock. Brown, who was 49 years old at the time, entered a plea of not guilty to rape.

It was previously reported by The Leader that the girl claimed that she awoke as Brown fondled her genital area, according to a prosecuting attorney’s affidavit. Soon after, she called her mother to come get her. Sgt. Jim Scott said Brown was “babysitting” the girl.

Brown was charged with rape because of the age of the alleged victim. According to state law, a person commits rape who engages in sexual intercourse or deviant sexually activity with a person less than 14 years old. He was convicted of first-degree sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years probation, according to Dina Tyler, spokesperson of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. He did not serve any state prison time, she told The Leader, but he did go to the county jail.

In 2002, Brown’s sentence also included a $500 fine as well as restrictions of having no contact with the victim and her family members and no instructions with minors, according to a Pulaski County/Circuit Clerk’s Office summary sheet. It also showed 120 days at Pulaski County Detention Center.

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department he served 89 days, plus the day he was arrested, for a total of 90 days.
Inquiries indicate that Brown still works in Jacksonville, but local authorities did not know of any addresses for Brown in Jacksonville. This week, Jacksonville Police Chief Robert Baker told The Leader that each time local police checked out Brown’s story, he was truthful with them. “We’ve always found he’s been honest with us,” Baker said.

Baker said Brown has told local authorities he teaches adult classes and local authorities could not debunk Brown’s claims of being in compliance with Arkansas state statutes addressing convicted sex offender.

Sgt. Tom Mayberry of the Jacksonville Police Department continues to investigate questions concerning Brown. Mayberry says that the JPD has no reports or proof that Brown instructs children at the martial arts academy.

“About once a year, we receive some degree of inquiry about Mike Brown’s residency,” Mayberry said. “Back about a month ago, we got a tip he was residing here, and we went to that house, checked utilities and even spoke with neighbors, but there was absolutely nothing to it.”

Mayberry said he went to Brown’s business, and Brown told him that an assistant teaches the children’s classes.
“They cannot have direct contact with children,” Mayberry said. Paragraph 8 of the sex offenders acknowledgment form reads, “Pursuant to Act 1779 prohibits a Level 3 or Level 4 offender to engage in an occupation or participate in a volunteer position that requires the sex offender to work or interact primarily and directly with children under 16 years of age.”

This acknowledgement allows a convicted sex offender to be around children under the age of 16 years old as long as there are others around. Mayberry explained that it is possible for a convicted sex offender to even live with children under the same roof unless conditions of parole states otherwise.

“To our knowledge, Brown is in compliance with the law, and if anyone would approach us with verifiable information to the contrary, then we would pursue it,” the police officer said. This year, state legislators began strengthening Act 1779 governing convicted sex offenders living in Arkansas.

According to Mayberry, Level 3 and Level 4 sex offenders will no longer be able to reside within 2,000 feet of public parks or youth centers beginning Aug. 1. Level 3 and 4 sex offenders are now only restricted to live 2,000 feet away from a daycare or public school. “It’s going to affect several sex offenders in the city,” Mayberry said.

Mayberry is notifying convicted sex offenders of the new law. He estimated that at least 10 convicted sex offenders will have to move, but those who own their homes will not have to relocate, Mayberry explained. Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, said two more bills passed the Legislature involving restrictions on certain convicted sex offenders this year.

Act 394 of 2007 will limit convicted sex offenders from living 2,000 feet near their victims as well as restricting them from contacting their victims. Another new law prohibits awarding custody of children to a convicted sex offender except under certain circumstances, Bond said. “We have tried to tighten up the law,” Bond said.

Bond pointed out there is still the issue of an individual’s constitutional rights not being violated. The Arkansas Supreme Court may step in to adjudicate if convicted sex offenders’ rights are being infringed upon, Bond said.

There are no Level 4 sex offenders in the Jacksonville area, but there are 19 Level 3 sex offenders. Most did not have a place of employment listed on the re-notification flyers distributed to their neighbors.