Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 2, 2014

GA - Rep. Sam Moore back tracks on his controversial bill

CANADA - Proposed sex-offender registry will not deter crime, criminal lawyer warns

Michael Spratt
Michael Spratt
Original Article (Videos Available)

They say it's for child sex offenders but we can guarantee you it will not just be those offenders, it will be all ex-offenders. And vigilantism WILL be an issue!


The Conservative government’s plan to create a publicly-accessible database of child sex offenders will do little if anything to deter sex crimes and could actually lead to an increase in offences, an Ottawa-based defence lawyer warns.

Michael Spratt, who has testified at numerous parliamentary committees on criminal legislation, says the sex registry is being sold as a way to protect children and assist parents, but it is nothing more than “false advertising.”

The Conservative government’s legislation, introduced Wednesday, would create a publicly-accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders. It would also require registered sex offenders to provide more information when they travel abroad and permit more sharing of information between federal agencies.

Online registries, they’re seductive, they sound like a good idea and they’re easy to sell to the public and they’re an easy position to advertise,” Spratt told CTV’s Canada AM on Friday.

But if you look at the criminological evidence that has dealt with public registries … that evidence has found that there isn’t a reduce in offence because of the registry, there isn’t a detection in crime because of the registry.”

Spratt says that some studies have actually found that public registries make reintegration of an offender back into society, increasing the chances of a person reoffending.

Spratt, who runs a legal blog, turns to several studies that show what he calls are flaws with registries.

One study that looked at New York’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law concluded the registry had little to no impact on reducing sex crimes because most offences are committed by those who have not previously been convicted of one.

Because of these “false assumptions” regarding sex offenders and sexual offences, the study said, “attention and resources are diverted from those most common types of sex offences -- those committed by first-time sex offenders and those who have a pre-established relationship with the victim.”

Spratt cites several other studies that come to a similar conclusion.

He says the sex registry being proposed by the Conservatives is simply another example of the government ignoring established evidence when drafting legislation.

These things don’t make the public safer, they don’t deter crimes, they don’t top people from committing crimes, and they certainly don’t assist in rehabilitation,” Spratt said.

Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney said Wednesday that "Parents have the right to know if there is a dangerous pedophile in their neighbourhood."
- Sex offender does not equal pedophile, but clearly this person thinks they are the same thing?

The legislation will also increase sentences for certain child sex offences as well as penalties for violating conditions of supervision orders.

See Also:

NY - Two firms bid on Nassau sex offender monitoring contract

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article

Why are they even considering to allow biased "non-profit" organizations to monitor ex-offenders in the first place? This is a job for the police not someone else. Its well known that Laura Ahern of Parents for Megan's law has stooped to vigilante action before.


By Robert Brodsky

Two Long Island nonprofit groups have bid on a proposed contract to intensify Nassau County’s monitoring of registered sex offenders.

Parents for Megan’s Law, a Stony Brook firm which conducts a similar monitoring program for Suffolk County, and Safe Center Long Island of Bethpage each placed bids on a request for proposals issued by the county before Wednesday’s deadline.

The Safe Center and its sister organizations have several existing contracts with Nassau to assist victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

Nassau spokesman Brian Nevin declined to identify the two bidders, although both firms have independently confirmed that they placed bids on the RFP.

Nassau wants to hire a private consultant to monitor its more than 550 registered sex offenders, including tracking their posts on social media and creating a smartphone app the public can use to report potential violations.

The vendor would also step up enforcement of requirements that convicted sex offenders accurately register their current address with the state.

While the cost of Nassau's proposed three-year contract is unclear, Suffolk -- which monitors more than 1,000 convicted sex offenders -- has a three-year, $2.7 million contract with Parents for Megan's Law.

The county is expected to select a winner in early March.

The Slippery Slope

The following was sent to us via the "Tell Us Your Story" form and posted with the users permission.

By Frank:
I am sure my story is not unique! I was a hard working mid-30s family man with a career, wife and 2 beautiful children. I started living a double life--the "outward" life of a successful father, husband, employee and the inward life of a bored, tired, anxious, stressed guy who felt entitled to retreating into my man cave for some free-24/7-access to eye candy. Little did I know that a convergence of genetics, upbringing, current circumstances and good old-fashioned free will, would coalesce to burn my small empire to the ground!

I started looking ("innocently") at adult images on the web around 2003. It quickly escalated to short videos (as my connection speed increased). The "hit" was intensified by the audio (sound) in the videos. I found more and more "hard core" stuff which at first was a bit overwhelming but by repeated exposure became the "new normal".

Somewhere around 2005 I started to masturbate to the videos. Then the "kick" took on a new level with the discovery of the "adult" chat room. Being able to type reasonably fast I discovered that I could "creatively" share my desires with other like-minded individuals for a more interactive experience. I feel inside me the feelings of ("is this going to far? Is this cheating on my wife?") At the time I rationalized how this was "ok", though deep inside I knew it was not ok.

The "creme de la creme" for me was discovering the webcam. My chat room experiences were getting a bit "old" and one day someone tipped me off that I could communicate using a webcam. Ironically my parents had just purchased me one so they could see their grandchildren over the internet.

The webcam opened the door to even more "thrill" with cyber sex (both voyeurism and exhibitionism). Whether one believes it was compulsive or addictive, the bottom line is that the thrill and the "return" investment of time and energy were very compelling for me. I started spending 6 hrs or more at a time with a buildup of pics/videos/chats and webcam. On a fateful day in early 2009, I stepped across a line. I'm not sure why to this day. Was it stupidity? Naivete? A guy trying to be a kid again?

I communicated with a woman who I initially assumed was an adult. She revealed her age to be in her mid-teens. I ignored my sensibilities and simply "went with the flow". I had gotten to a point where I didn't care who watched me in the sexual act. If they accepted a webcam request, then they had made the choice and I wasn't responsible... except I was. I was looking for appreciation for someone to build my self esteem by telling me how "hot" I was, etc.

I never meant to "hurt" anyone, certainly not a child!! Thankfully, I was not actually damaging a "real" child, but playing right into the hands of a "sting" operation. The person posing as the underage female was a skilled FBI agent.

Let me say that I am completely wrong in doing what I did. Whether it was stupidity, naivete, wishful thinking that I was in "fantasy land", I was doing something real and hurtful. I was also destroying the foundation of integrity that I had created in my life as a father, husband, son and employee through all my behaviors on the internet. In a certain sense I am glad that I was "rescued" out of my bubble of escaping from my problems. I have been clean of porn/chatting and webcams since being arrested in early 2009.

I was rescued by my "higher power" first through a 12 Step support group, then, through private therapy, then through state "correctional" mandatory therapy, polygraphs and the like. I ultimately became a Christian through a slow process of asking questions, reading and studying the Word of God (Bible).

I also have been blessed by loving and supportive people who especially my Christian mentor and friend who identifies with my past struggles. I have been blessed by having been led to a new and loving wife; the courage to step out in faith and find work despite the rejections of employers, not dwelling on the past but living in the present.

Though society wishes to label us the way they do, they are sinners just as we are. They deserve our forgiveness as we theirs. The survivors of sexual abuse have to ultimately forgive us and themselves for their own healing. It is between them and their Creator. No SOR, public burning at the stake, witch-hunts or the like will ever give anyone the true sense of redemption and true peace that they are looking for. It may give temporary peace (like drugs or alcohol), but only God can truly transform the human heart.

Thứ Năm, 27 tháng 2, 2014

TN - Bill would place 'sex offender' on convicted offender's license

Sex offender scarlet letter
Original Article


NASHVILLE - Should sex offenders have the status marked on their driver's license in Tennessee?

The idea received a good bit of debate Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

A new bill (HB-1747) would require the words "sex offender" to be stamped on a convicted offender's driver's license in red three times.

It would increase state expenditures one time by $150,000.

The sponsor of the House bill, Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, told a sub-committee he got the idea from a constituent at a daycare where people have to show identification to be on a list to pick up children.

Critics pointed out the stamp would open offenders up to another level of ridicule.

The bill, first filed in late January, was put on hold to give lawmakers time to think.

See Also:

OK - Bill prohibits sex offender name changes

Original Article


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Registered sex offenders in Oklahoma would be prohibited from legally changing their names under a bill that has cleared the state Senate.

The Senate voted 44-0 on Wednesday for the bill by Oklahoma City Republican state Sen. Kyle Loveless. The measure now heads to the House for consideration.

Loveless says he's learned of cases where sex offenders have changed their names so they could pass a background check and go to work for public schools.

He said his bill would take away "ways they've played the system."

MO - Clinton Montalbetti arresting on child porn charges

Clinton Montalbetti
Clinton Montalbetti
Original Article


LINN COUNTY - On Tuesday, members with the Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office arrested Clinton Montalbetti, 23, at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. Montalbetti was wanted on an outstanding warrant for possession of child pornography.

The warrant was issued from Putnam County, Mo. after images of suspected child pornography were located on a flash drive used by Montalbetti while he had been employed as a police officer with the Unionville Police Department in late 2013.

Also on Tuesday, detectives with the Kirksville Police Department and KRCCU, members of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Missouri Highway Patrol executed a search warrant at Montalbetti’s residence outside of Brookfield, Mo. Items were collected during that search.

Montalbetti is currently being held on a $10,000 cash only bond. The investigation continues with the possibility of additional charges.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact their local law enforcement or the KRCCU directly at (660) 785-6945.

CA - Correctional officer 'code of silence' exists in prisons

Folsom Prison
Folsom Prison
Original Article

Of course it does, it also exists outside of prison walls. And you are just now figuring that out and reporting on it? And if you believe they will monitor this, you are a nice little sheeple! You will NEVER see what it's really like on the inside unless you are on the inside!


By Thom Jensen

Two years ago this week, Folsom State Prison inmates Michael Vera and Cameron Welch allegedly cut the throat of another prisoner at the command of prison gang leader Samuel Cox.

Four months later, according to court records, guards at Corcoran State Prison pepper-sprayed a mentally ill inmate while other guards watched and made video recordings.

In both cases, guards were accused of failing to report the violations.

In a California Office of the Inspector General report released in June, investigators talk about a practice of guards failing to report the violations and crimes they witness. It's referred to as a "code of silence" among guards.

In one case, the report stated two correctional officers allegedly stopped speaking to a sergeant who previously reported misconduct of team members. It says the guards called the sergeant a "rat."

Former correctional officer and union representative Jeff Doyle said, "That is what it really comes down to is not being a tattle-tale, not a rat."

Doyle, who now operates a prison employee blog titled Paco Villa, said 99 percent of guards are honest.

"The code of silence thing was really at its height when I first started doing the blog, and it's one reason the blog took off and became a success," Doyle said.

In the case of the murdered inmate at Folsom Prison, former guard Nader Hamameh allegedly did not report inmate Richard Leonard was about to be attacked even after another prisoner warned him.

Records show Hamameh was also reprimanded for bringing in a box cutter and eight razors in 2009.

Hamameh and his attorney declined to comment for this story.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would not comment on Hamameh because he is currently suing the agency for firing him.

But speaking about the "code of silence" in general, the department released this statement:

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has a zero tolerance policy for any form of dishonesty, retaliation, or "Code of Silence" act. CDCR employees consistently receive "Code of Ethics" training regarding their responsibilities to recognize and report any "Code of Silence" act which may have occurred. All reports of dishonesty or behavior in relation to any forms of "Code of Silence" are investigated thoroughly.

A former corrections administrator who served as the chief deputy warden at Salinas Valley Prison for 32 years and who is now a prison consultant said training alone is not enough.

"Correctional officers can be manipulated by inmates," Edward Caden said. "Once you've compromised that officer's integrity, you own them. That type of compromising can lead to requesting them to introduce drugs and the blackmail that if you don't do it, I will turn you in for these other offenses that I know you've committed."

Doyle said guards are like cops. They have to watch out for one another.

"It's us and them in there," he said, adding, "It's a matter of self-preservation for a lot of these guys."

The Office of the Inspector General said in its report it will continue to monitor the "code of silence" problem and other issues inside the prison system.

See Also:

CANADA - Public child sex offender database planned

McKenzie Brothers - Don't be a hoser!
Don't be a hoser!
Original Article


By Jim Bronskill

OTTAWA - The federal government plans to create a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders as part of a bill that takes aim at those who prey on young people.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would also require registered sex offenders to provide more information when they travel abroad and permit more sharing of information between federal agencies.

In addition, the bill proposes making those convicted of child sex crimes against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively.

Make no mistake about it,” said Justice Minister Peter MacKay. “If you sexually assault children in this country, you’re going to jail.”
- Going to jail / prison for committing a crime is understandable, but public humiliation is not the solution and is a different issue.  It will only open people up to vigilantism, homelessness and joblessness.

The government promised in the October throne speech to get tougher on pedophiles, the latest in a series of Conservative justice measures to boost penalties or create new offences.

The legislation would increase sentences for certain child sex offences as well as penalties for violating conditions of supervision orders.

Spouses could be compelled to testify in child pornography cases.

The most contentious element of the package could be the plan for a public database, which some warn can lead to vigilante-style attacks against sex offenders released from prison.
- Oh it will, there are already vigilantes in Canada doing just that.  Click the link above for more info.  It is nothing more than an online hit-list disguised as a public service.

Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney said the government would make no apologies for the approach.

Parents have the right to know if there is a dangerous pedophile in their neighbourhood,” he said.
- What about their right to know about all the other criminals in their neighborhood?

The bill would allow the RCMP to begin discussions with provincial and municipal authorities to establish the national database using existing information on high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a notice to the public.

What this national database will do is to make sure that this information is available throughout the country in a standardized manner,” Blaney said.

Under the bill, registered sex offenders will have to report every address or location at which they expect to stay, as well as specific travel dates for any trip of seven days or longer outside Canada, he said.

Better information sharing will allow the Canada Border Service Agency to flag high-risk offenders in their lookout system and help police ensure compliance with travel identification requirements, Blaney added.

MacKay said the sentencing provisions better reflect the serious nature of the crimes and the harm and hurt they cause.

Each day, sadly in Canada, there are far too many children who become victims of sexual assault. These crimes cause unimaginable devastation in the lives of children, in the lives of their loved ones.”

In 2012-13, more than 3,900 sexual offences occurred in Canada against children, an increase over the previous year, MacKay said.

These are the reported statistics and many, we know, go unreported.”

See Also:

FL - Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders Flouts the Rule of Law

What's next?  Concentration camps?Original Article

So what's next? Concentration camps? Oh wait, these are concentration camps! They are just naming them differently!


By Jacob Sullum

Although _____ completed his prison sentence in 2006, the state of Missouri kept him behind bars, repeatedly trying to commit him as a “sexually violent predator.” After three juries deadlocked on the question of whether _____ suffers from a “mental abnormality” that makes him “more likely than not” to commit new sex crimes after he is released, a fourth jury on Friday unanimously agreed he does not. In effect, the state retroactively extended _____'s sentence from 10 years to 17.

The military prison at Guantanamo Bay is notorious as a place where people can be held indefinitely without charge because the usual rules of criminal justice do not apply. Twenty states have their own versions of Guantanamo Bay for sex offenders, a fact that attracts little attention and generates little outrage because the detainees are even less sympathetic than suspected terrorists.

At the age of 18, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, _____ “got caught sticking his hand in the pants of a 5-year-old girl playing in a yard.” He pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, got probation and underwent treatment. Fourteen years later, after he was arrested for molesting the 7-year-old daughter of close friends, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

You may well think a 10-year sentence is too short for a child molester. The prosecution thought 25 years would have been appropriate. But that is not the sentence _____ got, and lengthening a prison term after it has been completed is a practice usually associated with arbitrary dictatorships, not liberal democracies that supposedly respect the rule of law.

When it upheld a law similar to Missouri's in the 1997 case Kansas v. Hendricks, the Supreme Court said preventive detention of sex offenders is constitutional as long as the aim is not “punitive” and the procedures for committing people meet the requirements of due process. In a concurring opinion, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy warned that if the official rationale for commitment is treatment, “but the treatment provisions were adopted as a sham or mere pretext,” that fact would indicate “the forbidden purpose to punish.”

Missouri's Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services (SORTS), the target of a federal lawsuit that argues it locks people in a prison disguised as a hospital, seems to illustrate Kennedy's point. “Since the program started in 1999,” the Post-Dispatch reports, “nobody has completed treatment.” In a 2009 memo, the director of Missouri's Department of Mental Health worried that such a record would prove SORTS is nothing but a “sham.”

Minnesota, with more civilly committed sex offenders per capita than any other state, has a similarly dismal record, even though it spends $120,000 a year to detain each of those “patients,” three times the cost of keeping someone in prison. Last week, in a ruling that allowed a lawsuit challenging the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) to proceed, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank noted that “no civilly committed sex offender has ever been discharged.” Assuming the facts alleged by the plaintiffs are true, he said, “it appears that MSOP may very well be serving the constitutionally impermissible purposes of retribution and deterrence.”

Some states have better records. But overall, as you might expect given the incentives involved, civilly committed sex offenders are almost never deemed to be “cured,” and so they are almost never released.

In Kansas v. Hendricks, the Supreme Court emphasized that a sex offender could be committed only if he suffered from a “mental abnormality” or “personality disorder” that undermined self-control, justifying “a prediction of future dangerousness.” But according to Justice Department data, most prisoners have “mental health problems,” and many of them surely have behaved in ways that would make a “prediction of future dangerousness” plausible.

Is that all it takes to lose your freedom forever? If so, the idea that people should be imprisoned only for crimes they have committed, as opposed to crimes they might commit in the future, may one day seem positively quaint.

Thứ Tư, 26 tháng 2, 2014

SC - Women awarded $350,000 in jail sexual assault (Belvin Lee Sherrill) lawsuit

Belvin Lee Sherrill
Belvin Lee Sherrill
Original Article


By Scott Harper

A pool of potential jurors were at the Georgetown County Courthouse Monday for a lawsuit filed against Sheriff Lane Cribb by two women who were sexually assaulted by a guard at the County Detention Center while they were incarcerated in 2009.

But, before the jury pool was narrowed to the ones who would hear the case, a settlement was reached.

One of the women was awarded $100,000 in the agreement while the other will receive $50,000.

There was a third woman who was 19-years-old at the time and was in the cell. She was also assaulted by the guard, Belvin Lee Sherrill. She filed a separate lawsuit in Federal Court and was awarded $200,000. The women are not being named by the Georgetown Times because they are victims of sexual assault.

Sherrill was arrested and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He is now out of prison and is living in North Carolina.

Sherrill did not show up for what was scheduled to be a trial this week, said defense attorney Robin Jackson.

After the settlement was reached, Cribb said he was glad for the women and for his office that the matter can be put to rest.

This was a horrible thing that happened to these women,” Cribb said after the settlement was announced.

According to court documents, while Sherrill was in full uniform he entered the cell, exposed himself and ordered the women to “perform fellatio on him.” The suit says Sherrill later returned to the cell and ordered one of the women to perform the act a second time.

While the acts were taking place, the suit states, the three women in the cell were “repeatedly pushing the panic button” but it “apparently was not working.” The women say at no time did any other employee “intervene or take any actions to protect” the women from harm.

The following day, Sherrill slid a letter under the cell door apologizing for the incident, the suit states.

Bell said Monday during the investigation letters were found that Sherrill had written to other female inmates.

Cribb said he takes the safety and protection of the inmates very seriously.

That is why we have such a vigorous application process in place. Applicants for detention officers at that time were required to have a criminal background check, a financial check, a polygraph and a psychological exam. In addition they were interviewed by several members of command staff,” Cribb said. “Sherrill gave no indications of any problems during the application process, or during his employment, until he committed this act. As soon as it was discovered, Sherrill was terminated, prosecuted and is now a registered sex offender. I did not put up with such acts from my staff then, and I will not put up with it now.”

As for the buzzer that did not work in the women’s cell, Jackson said it was a computer problem that was fixed and continues to work.

Bell, when putting the settlement information on the court record, said there was no truth to statements made by Sherrill in his answer to the lawsuit. As reported previously. Sherrill claimed one of the women “did flash her breasts” at him as he was walking by the cell.

He also claims both women tried to coerce him into bringing them cigarettes and when he refused to do so they made the allegations against him.

The Sheriff had nothing to do with (Sherrill’s) answer,” Jackson added. “The sheriff was upset when he heard someone took advantage of inmates.”

Circuit Court Judge Edward Cottingham agreed, calling Sherrill’s claims “ridiculous.”

NJ - Jessica Lunsford Bill Clears Assembly Judiciary Committee

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article


SPARTA - Assemblywoman Alison McHose announces the Jessica Lunsford Act, which she has co-sponsored with Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, has cleared the Assembly Judiciary committee.

Named for 9 year-old Florida resident who was abducted, raped and murdered by a registered sex offender nine years ago.

The prime sponsor of the bill is Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, following the death of her husband Eric Munoz, the bill's original sponsor.

New Jersey is one of the few remaining states in the nation that has not yet enacted Jessica’s Law,” said McHose, R-Sussex,Warren and Morris. “We must take a stand against sexual crimes against children and against those criminals who specifically target children. Children are among the most vulnerable members of society. The physical and emotional harm done them, as well as the trauma suffered by their families and communities, deserves the strongest possible response by the justice system."

According to McHose's office, "The measure, A-892 (PDF), imposes a mandatory prison term of 25 years to life without possibility of parole for at least 25 years for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13. Parole ineligibility may be extended beyond the minimum 25 years if the convicted sex offender has been convicted of other crimes. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.”

The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee last month unanimously approved S-215, which is identical to the Assembly version.

Thứ Ba, 25 tháng 2, 2014

Juvy sex offender crying out

Video Description:
No where to turn, at wits end with life, crying out for help before it may be too late.

Video Description:
I was charged at 15. I am now 30. my whole life ive been punished for a mistake I made when I was 15. it will never end till I die. so I am ready to die. besides, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the least I hope.

PA - Overloaded, underfunded

Original Article


In 1994, _____ strangled, sexually assaulted and repeatedly slammed a Montgomery County woman's head into a wall. He served 30 months in jail for his violent crime and was classified as a high-risk sex offender. As such, _____ was required, once released from prison, to regularly report his whereabouts to the state's sex offender registry, a requirement of Megan's Law.

It's good to know that between 96 and 97 percent of Megan's Law offenders comply with its requirements, as reported in our Sunday story. The flip side is that about 3.5 percent don't. That means of the current 15,802 offenders who are entered in the registry, 556 have fallen off the radar screen. In other words, nobody knows where they are. At least nobody in law enforcement.

This list includes _____.

What's worrisome is that more than a year lapsed before state officials asked local police in Tinicum, where _____ last reported residing, to verify that the violent ex-offender still lived there.

This gap between disappearance and detection speaks to flaws in a system that nonetheless is pretty effective. A 97 percent success rate is an A-plus by most anybody's measurement. Still, the system will have failed — utterly and tragically — anybody who might become a victim of one of those fugitive 556.

If you take time to dissect our comprehensive report, one thing is clear: The system is overloaded and undermanned. Indeed, a recent federal study suggests the expansion of offenses requiring registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) has grown the list of offenders beyond current capacity to track all who require tracking.

We're not legal experts, but we question why people convicted of "interfering with custody of a child" or "invasion of privacy" or several other offenses falling under the Tier 1 category of the law would require tracking as sex offenders. It's why Montgomery County state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, who introduced the Megan's Law legislation in the Senate, voted against the SORNA expansion.

"Part of the problem is continuing to add people to the list. As a result," Greenleaf said, "we have created a bureaucracy that is not sustainable, and we're not supplying enough money."

Bucks County state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-6, who introduced Megan's Law legislation in the state House when he was a member there, is less sure about causality but is certain lawmakers need to figure out how to fix the flaws, whatever they are. And he said he plans to start by requesting a report from state police on how the registry is working and how to improve it.

"These people need to be monitored all the time," he said. No argument there. Doubtless, getting the system to function at a 100 percent success rate is a very tough challenge. Failing to do so, however, merely invites tragedy.
- A vast majority of those on the registry DO NOT need 24/7 monitoring as you suggest!

RI - Study: 1 out 5 local middle school students are sexting

Original Article

We are so sick and tired of hearing this made up "1 in 5" number on almost everything. Anytime a study comes out, it seems, this magical number is used.


By Melissa Randall

Tatiana Lopez, 13, and her friend Janae Smith, 12, open up about sexting. With their parents permission we had an honest conversation about what's happening in the hallways of their Providence middle school, yes, middle school.

"It's not what we would hear on TV or what ever– it's real. That's actually happening to people our age," said Lopez.

The alarming trend of sending a sexually implicit message or image of oneself to another person is now trickling down from teens to tweens. Lopez and Smith have never sent or received a sext message themselves, but say some of their friends have.

"People always think we are too young for everything," said Lopez.

"It was shocking– that someone our age would send a picture that inappropriate," said Smith.

Dr. Christopher Houck, a clinical psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital, has been studying the behaviors of *at risk 7th graders in Rhode Island. The data shows that one out of five students who participated have sexted.

"The relationship was that those who had sexted were five times more likely to report having engaged in some kind of sexual activity," said Dr. Houck.

But it doesn't end there. With the click of a button those private photos can be shared. Tatiana and Janae witnessed the reputation of a young friend be ruined by sexting.

"They told her she wasn't worth living any more– she was disgusting for sending the pictures," said Smith.

They say the girl talked about suicide but with time was able to overcome it.

Sexting is illegal in Rhode Island for anyone under the age of 18. Those found guilty face penalties ranging from counseling to having to register as a sex offender.

"If you receive a sex message and you forward it on to someone else whether you are an adult or a minor you could be charged under child pornography laws," said Peter Kilmartin, Rhode Island's Attorney General.

Rhode Island has seen several sexting cases involving teens go through the courts. There were two in 2012 and five in 2013.

In Bristol County Mass. nearly forty high school and middle school students have been investigated for sexting since 2010.

So what is the answer? How do parents protect their kids in a world of smart phones and instant communication? For the Lopez family of Pawtucket it all starts at the kitchen table.
- Um, don't give your child a cell phone with all the bells and whistles!

"I hope that the gateway is there for me to actually have that conversation– because we are talking all the time," said Tatia Lopez. "And so far, thank god, it's working!"

The younger Lopez and Smith say there is pressure from their peers to sext, but the girls have decided sending a picture is not worth the risk.

"I'd be like scared for my life," said Lopez. "It's really serious."

Experts say it is important for parents to start discussing the topic with their children and to let them know the importance of family values.

*The findings of the sexting study were based on youth with behavioral and/or emotional problems. They may not apply to all middle school kids.

CT - Trumbull Cop (William Ruscoe) Accused of Sex Assault of Police Explorers Member

William Ruscoe
William Ruscoe
Original Article


State police have arrested a 20-year veteran of the Trumbull police department who is accused of sexual assaulting one member of the police department's explorer program and sharing inappropriate texts with another.

Trumbull police said William Ruscoe, 44, has been suspended from duty and there is an internal investigation to determine if he violated any department policies or regulations.

Ruscoe served as an advisor to the explorer program, which works with youth interested in possible law enforcement careers, for several years, according to a statement from Trumbull Police Chief Thomas Kiely.

The application for the arrest warrant says one victim is now 17 and he is accused of sharing inappropriate texts with her.

The other victim is now 18-year-old.

The investigation into Ruscoe started on Oct. 14, 2013, when a suspicious incident was reported at a high school in Tolland County.

The 17-year-old girl told police that she joined the police explorers program in 2011, when she was 14. Months later, her drill instructor, identified as Ruscoe, started sending inappropriate and flirty messages, the girl told police.

Then it escalated to Ruscoe asking the teen to send him photos of herself.

In all, the teen said she sent Ruscoe about 50 photos of herself, exposed and Ruscoe sent her inappropriate photos of himself.

During a cadet camp at the University of Hartford last year, the teen said she noticed Ruscoe paying attention to two Trumbull girls and told him that people were talking about him flirting with one of the teens in an effort to get him to stop flirting, police documents state.

After meeting with the teen, police searched her phone for the messages.

In January, police obtained a search warrant for Ruscoe's phone and met with him at the police station to retreive it.

Ruscoe handed over his phone but said he did not want to provide the password or provide a written statement, according to the warrant application.

Ruscoe's attorney also told police that his client did not want to be interviewed.

On Sunday, troopers met with the second victim, who told police that she was "very intimidated" because of Ruscoe's position and she did not want him to get in trouble.

She told investigators she joined the explorers program in December 2012 and Ruscoe started sending her inappropriate messages in 2013. when she was 17.

She told police that she did communicate with Ruscoe but only after he was very persistent.

In the texts, Ruscoe wrote that he loved the girl and the texts progressively became more graphic and sexual in nature, according to police paperwork.

She told police that Ruscoe begged the her to send him photos of her and she eventually did, according to police. She also provided police with information about three inappropriate incidents that occured in June.

Ruscoe took the teen to a beach in Stratford and gave her a silver bracelet with a heart-shaped charm that said "Made With Love," according to police.

On another night in June, Ruscoe picked her up early in the morning after a "band gig."

He was drunk, she told police, became aggressive in a sexual manner and kissed her, but she tried to push him away.

At the end of the month, Ruscoe took the teen to a Trumbull home he had moved out of.

Once they were inside, he placed a gun on the counter and and was looking at her "in a threatening way that made her very uncomfortable," the warrant says.

The girl told police that things became sexual and she kept telling him to stop. He also restrained her hands behind her back with handcuffs while in bed, police said.

The girl told police she recalled one conversation in which Ruscoe said that if he ever got caught, he would go to jail and that he would kill himself if he went to jail.

She said this was intimidating and she did not want anything to happen to him because of anything he did.

The girl told police that Ruscoe had asked the teen to change his name in her phone to "Jack" because she liked the movie Titanic and told her he could get in trouble because of her age.

Toward the end of January, Ruscoe reached out to the 18-year-old and told her that police had come to take his phone because "an older friend that was a girl he used to help out was going through a rough time and she dropped his name," court documents said.

Ruscoe told her he was nervous that police would contact her because her number was in his phone and advised her not to say anything because she is 18 and is not required, the teen told police.

Ruscoe was charged with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and tampering with a witness.

Police released a statement about Ruscoe's arrest.

"I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented. We will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the department and its officers is preserved as this case is investigated, and that the case is handles in a fair and timely manner," a statement from Kiely says.

Ruscoe was arrested on Thursday and bond was set at $50,000.

He posted bond and is due back in court on March 5.

AK - Former head of Fairbanks troopers (Warren Tanner) charged with sex abuse of minor

To serve and protect?
Original Article


By Weston Morrow

FAIRBANKS - The former commander of the Alaska State Trooper detachment based in Fairbanks was arrested Friday on charges of sexually abusing a minor over a period of several years.

Former Capt. Warren Tanner, 75, was arrested Friday afternoon in North Pole by troopers and U.S. Marshals. He was arraigned on six counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor on Saturday and is being held without bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

The charges indicate the alleged abuse started as far back as 2003 and occurred as recently as 2011.

Tanner served as commander of the D Detachment for two years until his retirement in 1999. D Detachment is based in Fairbanks and covers the unorganized area from Healy to Tok to Barrow. Tanner also served as the provost marshal at Fort Wainwright before joining the troopers and as trooper statewide search and rescue coordinator.

The Child Crimes unit of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation received reports Thursday afternoon that an adult male had been sexually abusing a 14-year-old North Pole girl over several years. Troopers and members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Tanner the next day.

Trooper spokesperson Tim Despain said the use of U.S. Marshal's Service isn't standard procedure but that they were asked to assist in serving the warrant because they were already in town on other business.

A preliminary hearing for the case has been scheduled for the first week of March.

WA - Problems plague GPS tracking of offenders

GPS Tracking
Original Article



A Pierce County man had no trouble disabling the GPS tracking device that was bound to his ankle, even though it is supposed to send off an alert to law enforcement if it’s tampered with.

I got sick of this little bugger on my leg, it was beating my ankle into a bloody pulp,” said the 25 year old who asked to be called “Red.”

I’m not a tagged animal," he added.

Instead of jail time, Red was placed on electronic home monitoring, and a GPS bracelet fixed to his ankle, by the City of Fife police department. He said no one seemed to recognize his home detention “jail break,” even as he met with KING 5 in a city park more than a week after he removed the device.

Something just clicked in my head that I realized like, 'Why am I playing this game?'” Red said when he realized that the GPS device wasn’t working – or that jailers in Fife simply weren’t paying attention.

Red is not a hardcore criminal. He said his history includes drug- and alcohol-related crimes and theft charges.

However, the state of Washington also uses GPS tracking devices to keep a short leash on of some of the Department of Corrections' most dangerous ex-cons. Most of them are level three sex offenders, who are required to wear a GPS bracelet for at least 30 days after they leave prison.

A KING 5 investigation found that the DOC’s GPS system sends a stream of false alerts to community corrections officers and is prone to blind spots. It’s also manufactured by the same GPS company that was dumped last year by the State of California, reportedly for faulty and unreliable service.

It’s an additional tool that we’re able to use,” said Mac Pevey, who runs the program for the DOC.

He said GPS helps community corrections officers do the difficult job of keeping ex-cons in line when they’re getting their first taste of freedom after a prison term.

I think the system works really well,” said Pevey. “We’ve seen a lot of adherence to the program. We’ve gained a lot of compliance from offenders. It’s increased accountability for offenders.”

GPS software is supposed to allow a community corrections officer, more commonly known as a parole officer, to see where an offender is and whether the GPS signal is strong. It also sends email reports if there’s a problem.

But a high-profile case from last December shows some flaws in the system.

Sex offender _____ cut off four GPS bracelets in the months before he stole the Victoria Clipper from the Seattle waterfront, according to DOC records examined by KING 5. _____’s saga played almost like a comedy when it was reported that he’d removed his GPS bracelet and stole the ferry boat because he wanted to sail to Canada.

But there aren't many laughs in _____’s backstory. His mother said _____ was using methamphetamine and carrying a big knife while on GPS monitoring.

He sleeps here on the floor and he had a machete under his pillow, so I was getting concerned,” _____ said in her West Seattle apartment.

DOC records show _____ cut off at least four GPS bracelets. Other times he simply allowed his GPS battery die. Often, a few days would elapse before the DOC realized that _____ was un-tethered.

Somehow, we need to ensure we know about the lost or removed GPS units,” DOC Northwest Region Administration James Harms complained in a December 23 email after the Clipper theft.

We’re following up on that. I’m not sure where that’s at. I know that’s a continuing investigation,” said Pevey about _____’s successes at defeating his GPS device.

_____ was arrested for a disturbing incident after allowing his GPS battery to die. Three months before the Clipper theft, he was stopped by Seattle police officers near Boren and Union streets on Capitol Hill. _____ fit the description of a man who accosted a woman at a crosswalk. The man grabbed her arm and said he’d just gotten out of prison. He said he’d been “following her” and “stated that he hadn't had sex in a while,” according to DOC and police reports. The woman broke free and called police.

Seattle police say _____ was never criminally charged in that incident, but the DOC did send him to jail for 20 days for failing to keep his GPS charged.

DOC records show that community corrections officers receive thousands of alerts each month from GPS devices reporting that offenders are in inappropriate areas, are not at home when they are supposed to be or that there is not a strong signal coming from their device. Records show that homeless level 3 sex offender _____ had 293 alerts in August of 2013. The number jumped to 372 alerts the following month.

KING 5 asked DOC how its parole officers could possibly investigate so many alerts.

A lot of (_____) alerts were because he was charging his device at Barnes and Noble, a place he was prohibited from being, but he had to charge his device too," said Pevey. “So part of that is having the follow-up conversation and saying ‘where were you and what were you doing?’

_____, who served a lengthy prison sentence for molesting eight children, is no longer on DOC supervision and no longer wearing a GPS bracelet, but he is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Last year the Los Angeles Times reported on a confidential report by the California Department of Corrections that detailed flaws in the GPS tracking of thousands of California ex-cons. The report that said the public was in “imminent danger” because of faulty GPS devices that criminals could easily tamper with. California cut its ties with manufacturer 3M and switched to another company.

The same 3M device is used by the Washington State Department of Corrections through a program run by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

3M and the product that we've been using, we found, has had great results,” said DOC’s Pevey.

It’s unclear what type of device the Fife city jail placed on Red’s ankle. After his interview with KING 5, he turned himself in to jailers. The Fife Municipal court, which runs the GPS program for several cities, says it did receive alerts about some problems with Red’s device.

Judge Kevin Ringus said calls were made to Red’s residence to check up on him, but they were never able to get him on the phone -- even though he was supposed to be on home detention.

Ringus said it appears that Red’s device was working most of the time until he was released from monitoring on February 5. (He was interviewed on camera by KING 5 on Feb. 6, and KING 5 saw Red's GPS monitor removed from his ankle a week earlier.)

[H]e had completed his monitoring without incident as we could still track his movements,” Ringus said in an email to KING 5.

Red said he never charged the device and could take it off his ankle at will.

TX - A teacher, sexting and the right to free speech

Original Article



He was 30 and she was 13 — a teacher and his student — but their relationship went far beyond the classroom, authorities say.

In six days in October 2012, they sent 688 text messages to each other, and the conversation became sexual, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The messages — known as “sexting” — included descriptions of sexual preferences and fantasies and discussions of dreams about each other, the affidavit says.

_____, now 31, who was a junior high school teacher in the Everman district, was eventually arrested on a charge of online solicitation of a minor, which was later changed to improper relationship between an educator and student.

But this month, based on a recent appeals court ruling dealing with a similar case in Harris County, Tarrant County prosecutors dismissed his case.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in October that a 2005 statute, which made sexually explicit online communication between an adult and minor illegal, violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The court examined the case of _____, who was arrested in 2010 after being accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a student he met while working as a choir director in a school district outside Houston.

It’s OK for adults to talk dirty to children,” said Mark Bennett, the Houston attorney who defended _____.

Bennett had argued that the statute is too broad because “simple profanity or vulgarity — not rising to the level of obscenity — is constitutionally protected speech.”

Lawyers for the state contended that without the law “perverts will be free to bombard our children with salacious emails and text messages.”

The court’s opinion said sexual expression that is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment, and includes sexually explicit literature such as 50 Shades of Grey and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as well as Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

Jurisprudence experts say the ruling, depending on the appellate process, could throw other cases into a legal black hole and could force state legislators to rewrite the law.

Bennett said that in the meantime, prosecutors should contact those convicted under the 2005 statute and tell them they have an avenue for redress, Bennett said.

I believe they have a duty to go back and set things right,” Bennett said.

Tarrant County prosecutors dismissed their case against _____ on Feb. 10.

The recent opinion by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has certainly caused us to re-examine a handful of cases and, where appropriate, seek to re-indict them under … online solicitation of a minor,” said Melody McDonald, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. “In this particular case, however, the facts didn’t fit that statute and that wasn’t an option.”

Attempts to contact _____ were unsuccessful. His attorney, Jim Shaw, said the statute is clearly unconstitutional.

It’s like having a 16-year-old talking to a 20-year-old and although 16-year-olds aren’t naive I guess state lawmakers figured they need protection,” Shaw said.

Used ‘bad judgment’

The student, identified in court documents by the pseudonym Mary Swan, had two classes with _____ at Baxter Junior High, which is located in Fort Worth and is governed by the Everman school district.

After school officials found that _____ had been sending the text messages to the student, they called the enforcement authorities and contacted her mother.

The mother contacted Fort Worth police, who interviewed the student. The student told police that she had exchanged phone numbers and began texting with _____ on Oct. 2, 2012. The messages became sexual, she said, and she told detectives that he had asked her not to tell anyone about their conversations, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The text messages included “talking about if either of them walked around naked in their homes, keeping the relationship secret until the victim graduates, dreams that each of them had about each other, virginity and showing restraint while they are in the classroom,” the affidavit says.

Photographs were exchanged, including one of the student wearing a bra with no shirt.

In November 2012, police interviewed _____, who said that he had used “bad judgment” in sending the messages and that he knew she was a minor. He said he had not touched the student or met with her alone, according to the affidavit.

He was arrested Jan. 18, 2013, on a charge of online solicitation of a minor and was booked into jail on the improper relationship charge May 20. He was released on bail after three days, according to court records.

Still has teaching certificate

_____, who began working in the Everman district in August 2007, left the district Nov. 30, 2012. District officials declined to discuss the reasons for _____’ departure or the district’s response to the criminal investigation of his behavior.

_____’ teacher certification remains valid until July 2017 for teaching secondary history and social studies classes. But _____’ certification is under review by the State Board of Education’s Professional Discipline Unit, according to Texas Education Agency records.

There are instances when a teacher is under a criminal investigation and we suspend our investigation until the criminal investigation plays out,” a TEA spokeswoman said. “There also have been instances where a person might be exonerated in a criminal investigation but his certificate becomes invalid because of something that comes out during a school district investigation.”

A legislative matter?

Though the case against _____ has been dismissed, a motion for rehearing _____’s case is pending at the appeals court level.

Because the appellate jurists voted 9-0 to overturn the statute, Bennett, who defended _____, said he doubts that the petition for a rehearing will be successful.

If the Court of Criminal Appeals denies the petition, the state could petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alan Curry, chief of the appellate division for the Harris County district attorney’s office, said his staff is awaiting a decision on the petition before deciding on the next step.

He said the best option may be for state lawmakers to rewrite the law so that it satisfies the courts, “but that’s way down the road,” Curry said.

State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, said the 2005 statute was originally proposed to keep children from being groomed by sexual predators. If the courts continue to block the law, lawmakers may have to sit down with the attorney general and come up with acceptable language, Zedler said.

The purpose of the First Amendment was to allow political dissent, not to allow adults to be vulgar with minors,” Zedler said.

‘Vague or ambiguous’

Shaw, _____’ attorney, said it would not matter whether an adult sent 2,000 sexually explicit text messages to a minor or just one, unless the adult is trying to get the minor to do something illegal, such as a meeting for sex, or is texting something obscene or pornographic; nonetheless, the state cannot get a conviction using the 2005 statute.

This is not the first time lawmakers in Austin have written a law that did not pass constitutional muster.

A lot of times these statues are vague or ambiguous,” Shaw said. “A lot of times they fail to say what’s illegal.”

Chad Ruback, an appellate attorney who worked at the Fort Worth office of the Court of Criminal Appeals, said the court’s message is directed to state lawmakers, saying they need to rewrite the law so that it achieves its stated purpose of protecting minors against sexting.

Our courts have ruled that limits on free speech are permissible but those limits need to be reasonable,” Ruback said. “I know lawmakers are disappointed in this opinion but they would be better off drafting new legislation that is more narrowly tailored and more likely to pass constitutional scrutiny.”

FL - Pasco County eighth grader faces child porn charge

Juvenile sex offenders
Original Article (Video available)


By Chris Trenkmann

14-year-old posted nude photos on Facebook

NEW PORT RICHEY - A Pasco County eighth grader faces a felony child pornography charge after deputies say he posted nude pictures of a 13-year-old girl on Facebook.

Deputies said the 14-year old boy had been exchanging pictures on the app Kik but became angry when the girl stopped sending explicit photos.

"I can't imagine how horrified that mother was to look on Facebook and see a picture of her daughter masturbating," said Det. William Lindsey.

The girl, meanwhile, told investigators she never expected to see those photos made public.

"She's devastated," Lindsey said. "This was a guy she thought she was in a relationship with and that she had no idea that this was going to take place."

Detectives said the boy posted the photos to Facebook after she refused to send him more nude photos.

ABC Action News spoke with the suspect's mother, who said this was a case of two kids arguing and that it shouldn't have escalated into adult felony charges. She also said the girl is partly to blame for sending the nude photos in the first place.

Pasco County Sheriff's Chris Nocco said this is an example of why parents need to be careful when allowing their kids to have portable devices like tablets and cellphones. In this case, Kik doesn't require a phone line for members to text each other photos and videos. And because Kik is a foreign-owned website, it can be difficult to track or investigate criminal activity like child porn.

Deputies said parents need to pay close attention to these apps and monitor what their kids are sending and receiving because predators often use them as a place to contact minors.

"They find them. They send them sexually explicit photos. They solicit children for photographs," Lindsey said. "It becomes a problem because parents don't even realize what they're children are seeing."

Chủ Nhật, 23 tháng 2, 2014

MN - Talking Points: Legality Of MN’s Sex Offender Program

Civil commitmentOriginal Article


By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A ruling late last week says the legislature needs to act to fix a draconian system that Minnesota uses to lock up more than 700 sexually dangerous offenders.

The ruling stopped just short of calling the program unconstitutional, but it appears to pave the way for some of these offenders to be released.

It’s the kind of charged issued that no elected official wants to deal with — especially in an election year.

More than 700 sexually dangerous offenders who have completed their prison sentences are locked up at state facilities in Moose Lake and St Peter.

Now, a federal judge, Donavan Frank, has ruled that program is broken and the legislature needs to change it — or else the courts will act.

The message is pretty clear. If the legislature doesn’t take action leading to some of the individuals being released, the court may take action on its own.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s efforts to pave the way for one or two releases last year was met with cries of protest and the release of the offenders was put on hold.

Dan Gustafson, who represents the 700-plus offenders in a class action lawsuit, appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

There is no question that people who have been committed under this program in the state of Minnesota have committed some horrific acts in the past. That really can’t be disputed. The files are what they are, but this is not a situation in this country under our constitution in which we allow preventative detention,” Gustafson said. “If the treatment they have been promised is just a guise for ‘we are going to lock you up and never let you go,’ that is not allowed under our constitution.”

With Dayton and the entire Minnesota House up for reelection, the issue on what to do with the sexual offender program will certainly be a subject of fierce debate during the upcoming legislative session as well as a likely key election issue this fall.

IN - Taking a Stand: Women Against Registry responds to our 14 News investigation

Taking a stand
Original Article


By Nick Ulmer

EVANSVILLE (WFIE) - In this week's Taking a Stand, Vicki Henry with Women Against Registry has a response to our 14 News investigation of sex offenders and school bus stops.

The Women Against Registry is based out of Washington, D.C., but she e-mailed her response to us; Vicki wrote the following:

If we think about registered sex offenders at all, most of us fear them as monsters who have committed terrible sexual crimes against innocent children and are people who need to be carefully watched when released to make sure our children aren't hurt again.

Nobody wants to protect children more than the members of Women Against Registry. Women Against Registry, or WAR, is the voice of millions of innocent women and children who are wrongly and unfairly punished because we have a family member who has completed their debt to society but now must face a life of unemployment, homelessness, and despair. As registered sex offenders they are targeted for harassment and abuse, can't get a job, and many cases, can't even rejoin their own homes. Too many of our husbands, fathers and sons are getting caught up in this registration hysteria even if the offense they committed was minor and years ago.

As the president of WAR, Vicki Henry, says, "In the vast majority of registration cases we're talking about dumb childish mistakes-offenses like public urination, teen age consensual sex, sexting, lewd behavior, taking pictures of your own children in the bath tub, and clicking on the wrong link on a website. Less than two percent of violent sexual offenses are committed by perfect strangers. It is time to stop acting hysterically in the name of protecting children; it's time stop public registration of sex offenders and to start treating this serious problem rationally."

Experts: Sex offenders likely to be re-arrested but not for sex crimes

Sex offender statistics
Original Article


By Jo Ciavaglia

Most registered sex offenders in the U.S. follow Megan’s Law requirements. After all, they want to avoid felony charges and additional prison time associated with noncompliance, according to legal and criminal experts.

But a high compliance rate does not automatically mean they are following the rules, said one sex offender behavior expert. Research suggests sex offenders, who often face difficulty re-entering the community, are at a high risk for re-arrest, though rarely for another sex offense.

Administrative backlogs with the state Megan’s Law registries, which track most sex offenders, are “very common,” experts said. Mostly the backlog is related to policies lawmakers put in place without providing adequate resources or input from law enforcement, they said.

Adding to the challenge of monitoring sex offenders is often the offenders are part of a mobile population.

The transient nature of sex offenders has been linked to increased absconding and recidivism, and thus decreased community safety, according to Andrew Harris, an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and a leading authority on sex offender policy.

Transience also can compromise the ability of law enforcement agents to closely supervise sex offenders without a permanent address.

Pennsylvania is among the states with a high compliance rate among registered sex offenders who appear on its Megan’s Law registry. Compliance rates in the state are typically 96 to 97 percent meaning about only 3 to 4 percent of the more than 15,000 offenders aren’t following monitoring rules. In New Jersey 2.5 percent of the 3,970 registered sex offenders are fugitives, according to police and state statistics.

But among the more than 500 non-compliant sex offenders on Pennsylvania’s registry, fewer than one quarter have active arrest warrants for Megan’s Law violations.

How states determine Megan’s Law compliance varies, but the only accurate measurement is through spot checks and audits, Harris said. A high compliance rate for a state’s sex offender registry doesn’t mean the information is accurate since it’s not unheard of for offenders to provide false addresses, Harris said.

It’s not uncommon for people to flip out of compliance,” he said. “Just because you show up at a police station and verify your address, doesn't mean you aren't up to something.”

Most non-compliant sex offenders are not willfully avoiding registration, said Harris and Cynthia Calkins, an associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. More often it is problems within the system that oversees offenders and a lack of knowledge about the rules.

(Offenders) simply don’t know. Their lives are unstable. They have to find jobs, housing, they may or may not be able to live with family,” Calkins said. “They don’t always have a stable address and frequent moves may be part and parcel of living in the community.”

Local municipalities had tried to restrict where convicted sex offenders could live, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2011 struck down as unconstitutional such local laws.

Available research on sex offenders who fail to follow registration requirements suggests they are no greater risk for committing another sex crime than the offenders who are compliant, Calkins said. Harris added that studies show only a “very small” number of noncompliant offenders are attempting to evade detection to commit sex crimes.

But among a “relatively large group” of noncompliant sex offenders are the so-called chronic rule breakers whom Harris said research shows have a relatively high risk of recidivism involving other crimes.

Available research on sex offender recidivism rates is mixed but does show it’s typically low for additional sex crimes.

National data suggests that between 12 and 24 percent — or between one and three of every 10 sex offenders — are known to have repeated crimes, according to The Center for Sex Offender Management, a national project supporting state and local jurisdictions in the effective management of sex offenders. But the center points out the rates are commonly underestimated because the crimes often go unreported.

A report released last year by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows a little more than half of paroled sex offenders end up re-arrested or back in prison, but rarely for a sex crime.

According to the report, nearly half of state inmates released in 2008 who were convicted of forcible rape were either re-arrested or sent back to prison within three years, compared to nearly 60 percent of all inmates. Among state inmates convicted of statutory rape and “other” sexual offenses, the recidivism rate was 50 percent and 60 percent, respectively, for the same three years.

Those recidivism rates are lower than most other inmates convicted originally of robbery (63 percent), murder or manslaughter (52 percent), drug offenses (57 percent) and burglary (72 percent), according to the 2013 report.

NY - New York State Exposed Follow Up: Sex offenders in group homes

Mob mentality
Original Article

Just another example of the media stirring the pot just to get a news story? We call it Media Vigilantism!


By Amanda Ciavarri

It's a story that's gotten so much attention since News10NBC first brought it to you last week. Convicted sex offenders are quietly being moved into group homes and residential areas.

Now, one area community is fighting back.

Hundreds of people were out in force Saturday, trying to get their message across.

That message is to keep those sex offenders out of the group homes and away from neighborhoods where they could pose a threat to families that live nearby.

News10NBC was at that rally in West Seneca Saturday.

Dozens of people in West Seneca came out to protest. They brought signs to the front of a group home where the state recently re-located seven convicted sex offenders. Now the community wants to know, why they weren't told and why the state is putting them in danger.

"Everyone was blindsided by this. I think that is what everyone is the most upset about. No one knew anything and now it is a matter of, okay, we have calmed down from the lack of notification, now we want action. We want these guys out of here, we want them moved out. We aren't going to be held prisoners in our own home,” said Tony Fischione, protest organizer.
- The only person that is holding you prisoner in your own home is yourself!

About 300 people met at Sunshine Park Saturday afternoon. It is a popular playground for neighborhood children, but now it is just a few yards away from where seven sex offenders are living.

I don't feel safe, and my kids can't come here and play in this park anymore, because the houses back right up to this park. There are running trails in those woods, and I can't run those. I don't feel safe letting my kids around town anymore,” said Teri Bebak, resident and mother.

This group then started their peaceful march down the street and to the two homes where the sex offenders are living.

The seven sex offenders, all men, previously lived in the Monroe Developmental Center in Brighton. The state closed the facility in December, and that's when those men were moved in here.

Their convictions range from attempted rape to child sex abuse.

I think Governor Cuomo made this decision as a political move, to save money. He did it very secretly, he did it very quietly, and he did it at the expense of our children, and that's not okay,” said Bebak.

Earlier this week News10NBC asked Governor Cuomo about the relocation and told him about the concerns of this community.

How was it that one day they were in need of that type of security, and the next day they are able to live in these types of group homes?” asked News10NBC’s Brett Davidsen.

If a person requires a secure facility, they require a secure facility. But the problem we’re having by in large is not a person who is in a secure facility. The problem we’re having are former sex offenders while released and return to the community, and people are saying ‘I don’t want to live next to a former sex offender.’ That’s the predominance of the problem,” said Gov. Cuomo.
- The problem is the online registry, community notification and residency laws!

But this group isn't so convinced that's true, and they hope Governor Cuomo, and Albany hear their message loud and clear.

I intend to let them know, we aren't done here. We are watching them. We aren't leaving, they are leaving,” said Fischione.

Many people plan on protesting every weekend until the state moves the sex offenders out of this community. If that doesn't happen soon, they will also take the protest to Albany in April.