Thứ Bảy, 19 tháng 7, 2014

VT - Sex offender registry under fire again

Original Article


By Jennifer Reading

MONTPELIER - It's another black mark for the Vermont Sex Offender Registry.

"There are errors. And they should not have been there," said Doug Hoffer, D-Vt. Auditor.

Hoffer says the system needs work. A performance audit by his office found critical errors in 253 offender records. That's 11 percent of the total registry.

"The Legislature has said very clearly that they wanted information to be available to the general public, as is the case in other states," Hoffer said. "And we all have a right for the information to be accurate. Not only for the people in the community, but for the offenders."

The registry is a tool for law enforcement and the public to keep track of sexual predators living in the community. That's something Chelsea Merrill, 21, couldn't do for a while. Her abuser, _____, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct. He targeted her for five years while she was a child. Yet his photo wasn't on the public registry until recently. And she worried he'd find more victims.

"That he will offend again," she said. "That he will get close to another child and feel comfortable with them. And this will happen again."
- So are you saying that if his/her photo is online then they won't re-offend?  The problem is, most do not re-offend in the first place!

An audit conducted in 2010 found the system was rife with errors. Hoffer says four years later, the Legislature tasked his office with a follow-up examination.

His team uncovered:
  • 11 registration errors where offenders were either incorrectly added, omitted or still online after their deaths.
  • 179 errors related to how long an offender should stay on the registry.
  • 71 mistakes regarding which offenders' information should be posted online.

Hoffer says these mistakes undermine the credibility of the registry. It's managed by two people within the Department of Public Safety's Vermont Crime Information Center or VCIC. But the auditor says state courts and corrections also play a role.

"They have not worked together as well as they could," Hoffer said.

"The program is still a work in progress," said Jeffrey Wallin who heads the VCIC.

Wallin says since the audit's conclusion in mid-May, almost all the mistakes have been fixed.

Many of them were a result of human error from manual data entry, a problem the center has been working to streamline. Last February, VCIC unveiled new software called OffenderWatch to help automate data entry. Despite a few technology glitches, Wallin says it's improved the accuracy of the registry.
- It doesn't matter how expensive or nice the program is, as long as you have humans entering data, then there is always potential for human errors.

"Right now the public can be fairly confident in the registry," Wallin said. "We are always looking to improve. Provide better information, better service and better response to the community, but also to the individuals listed."

Moving forward Hoffer has recommended the courts, corrections and VCIC reconvene a working group to hash out their communication breakdown. It's a suggestion the auditor's office also made after the 2010 audit.

"And they did. And then they kind of let it go," Hoffer said. "So they certainly need more coordination between them."

And victims like Merrill say fixing these mistakes should remain a top priority.

"If it was one of their kids, would they want to know if their neighbor was a sex offender or had done such a crime with a child? Would they want their kid walking to school past their neighbor's house every day knowing that they live there?" Merrill said.
- So why don't you walk to the bus stop with your child?  You know, be a parent!

In 2009, Vermont lawmakers approved a measure to post sex offenders' addresses to the online registry. The move was contingent on a favorable audit. Problems discovered in 2010 prevented that from happening. This audit was a second chance. But more errors likely mean the addresses of sexual predators will remain under wraps.

Audit Reports:

CA - Tehachapi removes local sex offender ordinance from the books

Repeal the law
Original Article



Tehachapi's city council on Monday finalized a repeal of a local sex offender ordinance in order to stave off potential lawsuits.

City Attorney Tom Schroeter had recommended the council repeal an ordinance adopted in 2010 that was a stricter version of a California state law that prohibited any registered sex offender from loitering within 300 feet of a public or private school, park, school bus stop or similar facilities.

Two court opinions, including one case against the city of Irvine and Orange County, ruled that such local ordinances could not be enforced, and that it fell to the state to mandate such laws.

The presiding case was People v. Nguyen, which was ruled on in January in the 4th District Court of Appeal. The California Supreme Court denied an appeal of the case by the Orange County district attorney's office in April.

Tehachapi modeled its ordinance after one that Shafter had on its books at the time. Shafter suspended its law this spring, waiting to see what happens with litigation in other cities. Then it'll decide whether to amend, repeal or keep the law.

Following the court's rulings, a group called California Reform Sex Offender Laws issued letters to several cities, including Tehachapi, saying it would sue if the municipalities did not rescind the ordinances.

"They sent letters to cities in Kern County and around the state and have sued several other cities," Schroeter said.

Schroeter recommended the council revoke the ordinance, as the city would likely lose a lawsuit. It would also be responsible for any of the suing organizations' legal fees, in addition to its own.

"When they win, their legal fees have to be paid, and your fees also have to be paid," Schroeter said.

The city attorney also noted that retired Police Chief Jeff Kermode had stated no one had ever been cited under the Tehachapi ordinance.

"Our particular law is already covered under state law," Schroeter said. "Sex offenders are still well controlled by state law and the ordinance here is not going to change that."

The state law, Jessica's Law (Proposition 83), bars convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or any place where children gather. The law was passed by voters in 2006.

The council voted 5-0 to remove the ordinance from the city municipal code.

"In essence, we thought we were doing the right thing when we passed this ordinance to make things more restrictive," said Mayor Phil Smith. "It's been tried in court that says you can't do that so we'll just back off from our restrictions and go with what the state has on its books, which is fully enforceable."
- So is he admitting the laws are about punishment by making them more restrictive?

MA - Templeton approves sex offender residency restrictions

Morning coffee and paper
Original Article


By George Barnes

TEMPLETON - Voters at a special town meeting Thursday night approved a bylaw establishing sex offender residency restrictions.

The restrictions, proposed by resident Rachael Messina, were overwhelmingly approved after Police Chief Michael Bennett and Selectman Kenn Robinson both spoke in favor of the bylaw.

Chief Bennett said there are many communities across the state that have adopted residency restrictions for sex offenders. Among the communities in Worcester County with restrictions are Leominster, Bolton, Charlton, Dudley, Spencer, Webster and West Boylston.

Templeton has three Level 3 and 13 Level 2 sex offenders in town. The regulations would not affect them unless they change their residence.

The bylaw prohibits a Level 2 or 3 sex offender from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within 1,000 feet of property of public or private schools, parks, elderly housing, an over-55 community, senior citizens center or licensed day care center.

To enforce the bylaw, police may file criminal or noncriminal complaints, but in both cases the fine is $300 for each offense.

Ms. Messina said she filed for the bylaw out of concern that sex offenders posed a risk to residents of the town. It is the second time the town has approved a sex offender residency bylaw. A similar law was approved by the town in May 2013 but disallowed by the state Attorney General's office in October. The reasons given for rejecting the bylaw were it was too vague, did not sufficiently specify prohibited conduct and did not include some terms in the definitions section of the bylaw.

Ms Messina said that in the hope of winning approval this time, she drew up a new bylaw based on similar documents in other communities.

WI - Milwaukee May Restrict Where Sex Offenders Can Live

Morning coffee and paper
Original Article



The city may limit where ex-offenders can live, because many surrounding communities have done so, resulting in a high rate of placement in the city.

When sex offenders leave prison, state law demands that they return to the county where they had lived prior to incarceration. Nearly 90 percent of the sex offenders who came from Milwaukee County, now live in the City of Milwaukee, because of restrictions suburbs enacted.

Ald. Michael Murphy says the city asked the state to intervene, but because it has not, leaders here may also limit the neighborhoods where ex-offenders can live.

You will have 117 locations to consider for your future placement, and in reality it will be more like 15 or less and what that impact will be to your operations,” Murphy says.

Under legislation a Common Council committee advanced Thursday, sex offenders could not live within 2,000 feet of a daycare, school, playground and other places where children congregate.

Murphy says if the full council agrees, there will only be one square mile within city limits where sex offenders could live.

Ald. Bob Bauman says while he has opposed residency limits in the past, they will now get his full support, for one reason.

It increases the perception of Milwaukee as a crime infested second rate place to live and the suburbs are great and look, we can keep out all the undesirable people. And I’m just sick and tired of that paradigm being in place. And the state seems unconcerned because these are Republican suburbs by in large, and heaven forbid those representatives are going to take on these uniform residency rules. So enough is enough the city is going to join the party and it’s your problem now,” Bauman says.

The state Department of Corrections had a representative on hand at Thursday’s hearing, Melissa Roberts. She says if the map for placements changes, authorities could lose track of sex offenders. Right now, many do reside in the city, and police know where.

The intent of the sex offender registry is to know where sex offenders live and to be able to provide that information to the general public and to law enforcement. Where there are registry restrictions in place and sex offenders don’t have a place to live we obviously have increased homelessness. So we do not know where they live and cannot follow them,” Roberts says.

Roberts says sex offenders are more of a danger to the public when they’re off the grid versus being monitored. When it comes to complaints about the high concentration of sex offenders placed in Milwaukee, Roberts says the majority are from the city.

The issue will come before the full board on July 22.

Thứ Sáu, 11 tháng 7, 2014

NE - Is registering as a sex offender inconvenient?

Question mark
Original Article (Video available)


By Dave Roberts

OMAHA - Local law officials said sex offenders are ducking the system because they want Douglas County to make registering more convenient, but the county said it's not going to cater to convicts.

Authorities said there are not many wealthy registered sex offenders in Douglas County. In fact, the exact opposite can be said for most. Most convicted criminals are living on fixed incomes and some are without a home; most are unable to buy a car.

When it takes a 13-mile cab ride to register as a sex offender, some choose to break the law and disappear, putting everyone else at risk.

There are nearly 755 sex offenders in Douglas County living nowhere near the place to register.

It's way too far out there. The buses don't go out there. I don't even know whose idea it was. It’s just a stupid place to put the registry to begin with,” said _____, a registered sex offender.

_____ admitted he made a bad mistake when he was 19.

I told a 14-year-old girl that if she did not come with me, I was going to rape her,” he said.

Now, for the rest of his life, _____ must register every three months as a sex offender. In order to do that, he must take a cab from downtown out west to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office on 156th Street and West Maple Road.

It cost me $40 round-trip,” said _____.

_____ said he didn’t show up to register one time because he had no money or way to get there.

County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson is pushing for a downtown registration location.

It made sense that we would have a location that was accessible that our sex offenders would be able to go and register,” said Borgeson, who represents District 6.

State law requires the Douglas County sheriff to monitor the whereabouts of sex offenders. Right now, the only place sex offenders can register is at the Sheriff's Office, even though more than 75 percent of them live near downtown Omaha.

"We'd like to staff the second location downtown for the sex offender registration program, but we are not funded to do so,” said Chief Deputy Tom Wheeler.

Wheeler said it is certainly possible people are not registering because they can't make it to 156th Street and West Maple Road.

We have a handful each year that don't complete their verification process,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said the department is working on a pilot program where one day a week sex offenders could register downtown, likely at the courthouse. It will either happen in person with a deputy or using a video conference system.

We are in the beginning planning phases of those two, and we are working through them now,” he said.

_____ said one day a week at the courthouse or the jail would be helpful.

It would help out a lot for the offenders that don't have the money to go out there. It's a major inconvenience for offenders that can't do it financially,” said _____.

For Borgeson, and nearly everyone else, it's not about catering to sex offenders.

This isn't about making it easy for them. This isn't about accommodating sex offenders. It’s about having a safe community and knowing where sex offenders are located,” she said.

Wheeler said he hopes the downtown registration pilot program can start this fall. If more sex offenders chose to register downtown, the Sheriff's Office said it will consider some permanent changes.

Any sex offender in Nebraska who fails to register will be charged with a felony.

NEW ZEALAND - Fresh calls for a public registry of sex offenders

Derryn Hinch
Derryn Hinch
Original Article (Video available)


An advocate for a public registry of sex offenders is in New Zealand to campaign for changing the country's name suppression laws.

New Zealand-born Australian broadcaster Derryn Hinch (2011 Video) will speak to the Sensible Sentencing Trust this weekend with the aim of getting a public registry of convicted sex offenders in New Zealand.

Speaking to TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning, Mr Hinch says he believes it's "common sense" to have a registry for sex offenders and that the public has a right to know who and where sex offenders are.

"You should know that someone's out there in the community," he told the programme. "You have a right to know as a parent."
- So where is the online shaming hit-list for all other ex-criminals?

Mr Hinch is an outspoken advocate for a sex offender registry in Australia and New Zealand and has been convicted and imprisoned multiple times for contempt of court for breaching suppression orders by revealing details of offenders.

He believes naming sex offenders won't necessarily identify the victims of abuse and says in some cases the victims want to be named so their attackers can be convicted.

"I'd do anything to protect a victim's identity. They've been through hell so they should be protected," he says.

The media personality says the current system of suppressing sex offenders names is not working and is letting the public down.

Mr Hinch says nearly 150,000 people have signed a petition calling for changes.

AZ - Ex-FBI agent (Ryan Seese) doesn't have to register as sex offender for peeping Tom incidents in Hershey, elsewhere, court says

FBI Logo
Original Article

Of course not, they are above the law! See here for many videos of people working for the government, busted for child porn, and it was swept under the rug.


By Matt Miller

A former FBI agent who admitted sneaking into bathrooms to watch girls and women use toilets doesn't have to register as a sex offender, the state Superior Court has ruled.

The decision, issued this week in response to a plea by Ryan Seese, comes nearly four years after the Derry Township man was sentenced to 1 to 23 months in Dauphin County Prison, plus 3 years of probation, for committing the crimes at the Hershey Middle School and a private gym.

In its ruling, the Superior Court concluded that Seese isn't subject to sex offender registration because of amendments the state Legislature made to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which took effect two years after his sentencing.

Seese pleaded guilty and no contest in 2010 to three charges of invasion of privacy and pleaded guilty to additional counts of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. Police said two adult women were the victims in the incident in the women's locker room at the private gym and that Seese spied on two teens in a girl's bathroom during a concert at the middle school.

Seese left the FBI in 2007 after being convicted of another peeping Tom incident in a women's restroom at the University of Arizona.

When sentenced in the local cases in December 2010, Seese told Dauphin County Judge Bernard L. Coates Jr. the "addictive behavior" that drove him to be a peeping Tom went out of control following the death of his young son and his subsequent divorce.

UT - Utah police officer who killed family and himself had ‘secrets’

Joshua Boren & Family
Joshua Boren & Family
Original Article

Remember, those who scream the loudest, or those who hate another person or group, usually have something to hide and/or see themselves in those they hate.


By Jessica Miller

Lindon police Officer Joshua Boren had secrets.

In a green notebook police found in his bedroom in his Spanish Fork home in the days after he shot and killed his family and then himself, he numbered them:

"Secret 1. I live the typical normal person’s life."

"Secret 2. I have a sex addiction."

The list goes on.

"Secret 6. I’ve always hated sex offenders and their behaviors. I’ve publicly humiliated them."

"Secret 7. I have been sexually abusing my wife for several years."
- And he himself, if he were still alive, would be a sex offender!

While some of Boren’s secrets were known to the circle of family and friends who had watched his marriage to Kelly Boren unravel, everyone who knew the couple were shocked to learn that on Jan. 16 Boren had shot and killed his estranged wife, his mother-in-law and his two young children before turning his handgun on himself.

On Monday, Spanish Fork police Lt. Matt Johnson said the Utah state medical examiner’s office confirmed detectives’ initial conclusion that the deaths were a case of multiple murder-suicide.

Johnson also confirmed that the 34-year-old Boren used his department-issued Glock 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the slayings of his 32-year-old wife, Kelly; the couple’s two children, Joshua, 7, and Haley, 5; and Kelly Boren’s mother, 55-year-old Marie King.

"Toxicology tests reveal the absence of any drugs or alcohol in the bodies of the victims or Joshua Boren," Johnson added.

In an investigative report obtained Monday through an open-records request, friends and family detailed to police the volatile relationship between Joshua and Kelly Boren, which centered around the man’s issues with sex, and apparently stemmed from when he was physically and sexually abused as a child.

Boren’s wife had confided to several friends that her husband had drugged her — putting Ambien in her protein shakes — then videotaped himself having sex with her while she was unconscious. She had discovered the tapes, friends told police, and had asked Joshua Boren to leave their house.

Investigators never found the video tapes, but the day before the fatal shootings, text messages show that Kelly Boren confronted her husband about them, telling him their marriage was over.

"You [expletive] raped me," she texted him, following up with four more messages consisting of a single word: "Raped."

Another text from the woman said, "You killed a part of me."

Friends who knew the police officer through work told investigators after the shootings that they knew the Borens were contemplating divorce, but also that they had a very "up-and-down" relationship.

Buck Bufton, who met Joshua Boren through the Utah County SWAT team, told investigators that he urged Joshua Boren to seek professional help.

"Buck advised that Josh Boren needed help 20 years ago," an investigator wrote. "With whatever happened to him as a kid, he needed help 20 years ago. Buck said Josh was able to fool a lot of us. Buck said Josh was a good officer and deputy. Buck said he knew Josh had problems, [but] he never imagined it was this horrible and that Josh was so far gone."

Friends of Kelly Boren told investigators that she had been having an affair for a few months before her death with a man she met at her gym. That man told police that he didn’t believe that her husband was aware of the affair, and that his phone number was saved in her phone as "Jana." They had exchanged nearly 13,000 text messages, he told police, and on the day before her death, he had exchanged messages with her throughout the day.

At one point, she texted him that "Josh is ‘starting crap’ again."

IL - Elgin police want new sex offender registration law

Boo HooOriginal Article


By Elena Ferrarin

Members of the Elgin Police Department have asked local state officials to craft legislation that would supersede a court decision they say makes it more difficult to enforce the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Officers from the department's resident officer program and crime-free housing unit are in charge of keeping track of Elgin's approximately 120 registered sex offenders, Elgin police Lt. Frank Trost said.

Sex offenders must notify the local enforcement agency of their residence within three days of moving. Most have to do that for 10 years; sexual predators must register for life. Failing to register once is a Class 3 felony, and a Class 2 felony thereafter, Trost said.

However, the August 2013 ruling by the Second District Illinois Appellate Court regarding a case in Aurora means that police, in addition to having to prove sex offenders are not living at their registered address, have to prove they have been living elsewhere for more than five days, Trost said.
- Remember, people are innocent until PROVEN guilty, so you must prove someone is guilty, not the other way around!

Consequently, Trost said, police now have to allocate extra time and resources -- through surveillance and record-checking -- to prove residence at the unregistered address, which is especially burdensome if the sex offenders moved out of town, Trost said.
- Aww, too bad!  Police, politicians and the public are the ones who want these unconstitutional laws, so now you should have to deal with it like those who are affected by the laws have to.

"It's a small percentage (of sex offenders) that try to go off the record, but I can think of three within the last six months that were directly affected by that ruling," he said. "The hours involved can be pretty intensive."

One case involving a sex offender who was living in Aurora without registering there required about 25 hours of work over three weeks, officer Robert Engelke said.

Trost, Engelke and other officers met with state Rep. Anna Moeller and state Sen. Michael Noland in late June to push for new legislation.

Moeller and Noland said they'll be looking into the issue.

"From my initial conversation with police, it does sound like it is a burden and it takes a lot of time and resources for the police departments to track these registered sex offenders down," Moeller said.

"I'm going to be looking into how we can fix that, if possible with legislation, but I need to do more research first to understand where in the statutes we need to fix that," she said.

Noland said he will be doing research in the next couple of weeks.

"The fact that police have to prove this individual is at a specific address, I think may be a little too burdensome for the police, and not fair to the public, because we have to ensure their safety," he said.
- So are you saying you want to just assume the person in question is guilty?

He also noted the appellate court opinion was delivered by Judge Joe Birkett, the former DuPage County state's attorney.

In Elgin, the police department conducts at-home checks of sex offenders twice a year, even though state law requires it only once a year, Trost said.

Sometimes, it's hard to say whether someone truly lives where they say they do, officer Shelley Mendiola said.

For example, one sex offender's home had only a mattress on the floor and no stove, although there was a working bathroom, she said. In that case, the only way to be certain is to set up surveillance, she said. Police also can get clues about sex offenders' whereabouts via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, officer Rob Hartman said. Illinois bars registered sex offenders from using social networking sites.

Elgin's major investigations division used to be in charge of the sex offender program until spring 2013, when it was assigned to ROPE and crime-free housing officers, who have closer ties with the community, Trost said.

"(Sex offenders) are human like we are, so you want to create a rapport with them," Engelke said.

Thứ Tư, 9 tháng 7, 2014

CA - Do Residency Bans Drive Sex Offenders Underground?

Question mark
Original Article


By Steven Yoder

Early last year, Los Angeles set aside a sliver of land in its Harbor Gateway neighborhood for the city’s newest and smallest park: two jungle gyms on a fifth of an acre.

The project was more than just an effort to increase the city’s green space. City Council members made clear that one of the park’s principal reasons for existence was to force 33 people on the California sex offender registry who were living in a nearby apartment building to move out. State law bars those on its registry from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school.

We came together, working with the police department, to problem-solve, to send a message that Harbor Gateway cannot be dumped upon with a high number of registered sex offenders,” councilman Joe Buscaino said (Video) at the park’s opening.
- Just imaging how much money would be wasted if all grandstanding politician were to put pocket parks all over the state just so they can "look tough" on ex-sex offenders?  That is all this is, grandstanding!

But the state ban itself already clusters registrants into a limited number of areas, according to a September 2011 report by the California Sex Offender Management Board, which was created by the state legislature to advise it on sex offender policies.

California hasn’t been alone in its tough approach to ensuring that formerly incarcerated sex offenders pose no danger after they are released. As part of a wave of new sex offender laws starting in the mid-1990s, about 30 states and thousands of cities and towns passed such residency restrictions—prompting in turn a pushback from civil liberties advocates, state legislators and registrants themselves who argued the restrictions were not only unduly harsh but counterproductive.

But a court decision in Colorado last year could mark a shift in momentum.

In the Colorado case, _____, a high school soccer coach convicted in 2001 for a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, was sentenced to seven years’ probation and put on the state sex offender registry.

Eleven years later, in 2012, he and his wife bought a house in the city of Englewood. But the police department told him he couldn’t live there because of a city ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds—a law that effectively made 99 percent of its homes and rentals off limits to offenders.

Englewood police also warned offenders that even in the open one percent, if they contacted a homeowner whose property wasn’t for rent or for sale, they could be charged with trespassing.

_____ sued, and last August a federal court concluded that the city’s ban went too far.

The judge ruled that it conflicted with the state’s existing system for managing and reintegrating sex offenders and could encourage other towns and cities to do the same, effectively barring offenders from the entire state. Englewood has appealed, but two of the state’s five other cities that have residence bans have softened their restrictions since the decision.

The other three are awaiting the outcome of the appeal, according to John Krieger of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado, which represented Ryals.

CA - Sex-offender ordinance to be repealed

Original Article



Riverside County is poised to do away with an ordinance that sets rules on where sex offenders can live or visit in an effort to avoid a lawsuit.

The county established sex-offender residency and loitering prohibitions for unincorporated areas in 2010, but the Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval last week to repeal the law because an appeal court has invalidated similar ordinances in other municipalities.

Hemet and Beaumont changed their ordinances recently for the same reason.

The county ordinance sets limits on where parolees could live and how close they could come to schools, parks and child care centers. The court said such laws are unnecessary because local ordinances regulating sex offenders are trumped by state law, a county report states.

County counsel insisted that the 2010 law be repealed because a legal group has been suing other counties that had passed similar ordinances, said Jeff Greene, chief of staff for Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries.

The courts have struck down every meaningful provision of our ordinance in other counties,” Greene said.

We asked if there was any of this that ought to be salvaged,” he said. The county counsel’s office insisted that there are still “good protections for families against sex offenders.”

State penal code provisions include a lifetime requirements for sex offenders to register with local law enforcement, prohibitions against entering any park where children gather and a prohibition against a sex offender living with other sex offenders or within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

The 2010 county ordinance prohibited sex offenders from being within 300 feet of a park, school or day care center Supervisors have not heard objections to the repeal of the ordinance from the sheriff or district attorney, Greene said.

The county ordinance came amid public furor over the prospect of a child rapist and killer, _____, being released to a Perris-area group home. _____ eventually was turned away from the facility. Two court rulings said parts of the ordinance were illegal.

In September 2012, the 4th District Court of Appeal’s ruling on a San Diego County case decided that blanket restrictions of Jessica’s Law were unconstitutional.

The law, named after Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was the murder victim of a convicted sex offender who had failed to report his whereabouts, was approved by California voters in 2006 (Proposition 83).

It requires registered sex offenders who have been convicted of a felony sex offense to be monitored by GPS devices and includes a number of other provisions that increase the legal penalties for specified sex offenses.

The ruling does not prohibit the Department of Corrections from individually enforcing residency restrictions of the law in San Diego County, but disallowed blanket enforcement.

A different division of the same Court of Appeal issued a decision earlier this year invalidating ordinances in the city of Irvine and Orange County that prohibited sex offenders from entering public parks and recreational facilities.

The state Supreme Court in April denied Irvine’s request to review the decision, keeping the ruling in place.

Thứ Sáu, 4 tháng 7, 2014

AUSTRALIA - Dangerous Sex Offender Act under review

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article (Video available)


West Australia's Attorney General says the government is currently reviewing the state's Dangerous Sex Offenders act.

It follows the removal of serial rapist _____ from a small wheatbelt town amid fears of vigilante attacks.

_____, 41, was released from prison last week by the WA Supreme Court on a strict supervision order that includes curfews and electronic monitoring.

Corrective services commissioner James McMahon said _____ was relocated from his property because the situation had destabilised.

'I've moved him for his own safety,' Mr McMahon said.

'The situation has become untenable in that location for all ... parties concerned.

'But the No.1 priority for my department and for the police department is the safety of the community.'

_____ was handed an indefinite detention order in October 2008 after spending most of his adult life in prison.

His release from prison last week sparked an outcry from talkback callers and politicians.

_____ had five episodes of serious sexual offending, starting in 1987 when he was 15.

The victims were generally adult women, but five offences in 1994 were committed against a nine-year-old girl.

It was reported in The West Australian newspaper on Thursday that the Wheatbelt town's residents were given no warning about _____ moving in, and some female residents had begun arming themselves for protection or fled town.

WA opposition police spokeswoman Michelle Roberts said relocating _____ to another location only shifted the problem.

'It seems to me just really unfair to take him out of one community and inflict him on another,' Ms Roberts said.

'If he presents any kind of danger to the community, to children, to women ... the place for him is in a secure facility.'

AL - DA asks for emergency hearing in case of former officer (William Watson) charged with sex abuse

William Watson
William Watson
Original Article


LIMESTONE (WAFF) - The Limestone County District Attorney filed a motion for an emergency hearing in the case against a former police officer charged with sex crimes against several victims.

William Watson, a former officer with the Madison Police Department, is charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse against victims under the age of 12.

District Attorney Brian Jones said it concerns conditions surrounding the terms of Watson’s release on bond as he awaits trial.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office charged Watson with one count of sexual abuse in the Summer of 2012 while he was still with the Madison Police Department. He resigned, then in January 2013, more charges came down.

The motion filed by the DA asks the court for the emergency hearing as soon as possible. It says, based on new information, prosecutors believe it is necessary to add additional conditions to Watson’s release.

Watson is free on $300,000 bond. His trial is scheduled to start August 25.

OH - New search allows check for sex offender email, phone numbers

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article


By Jessie Balmert

Concerned your child is chatting with a sex offender? There’s a new tool to help you check.

A new function on the Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification (eSORN) Database will allow parents to input phone numbers, email addresses, social media screen names and video game handles to check if they are linked to a registered sex offender, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced at a news conference Thursday.

If the information is linked to a registered sex offender, a screen will advise parents to contact the local sheriff’s office or the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, DeWine said. Specific information about the sex offender will not be listed, according to a news release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

From there, deputies can investigate whether sex offenders have violated the law by contacting children, DeWine said.

Sheriffs in Ohio’s 88 counties already collect detailed information about registered sex offenders, but now it will be available for the public to check.

Our communication capabilities are better than ever before. We can talk on our smart phones, we can email people, we can post pictures and share our experiences through social media. But it’s that kind of access that can open the door for predators to have access to our children,” DeWine said.

Ohio joins seven other states that allow residents to investigate whether sex offenders are contacting their children electronically. The eSORN database contains nearly 18,000 people required to register as sex offenders after convictions for offenses from soliciting sex to rape.

MD - Are Sex Offender Registries Effective?

Original Article


By Jemie Lee

MARYLAND - It gives a sense of security for many parents – having access to the state's sex offender registry.

"It's a way for us to be safe as parents for our children. I use an app to find out if there's any in the neighborhood. That's what my sister and I did before, and we actually found some. So we would know to keep an eye out, especially for my daughter that I'm worried about," Christie Sarminto said.

But a controversial ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals could immediately remove about a third of those currently on Maryland's sex offender database. It's cause for concern, but experts say the registry itself isn't a good tool to keep our children safe.

"There are cases where someone is pleading to a lesser offense, which doesn't require registration on the sex offender registry," executive director of the Life Crisis Center in Salisbury, Md. Michele Hughes said.

Hughes was also on the governor's sex offender advisory board. She says she's seen cases where the judge won't order the offender to register, and many cases, especially those involving children, either never go to trial or end in a not guilty verdict.

"The child can't articulate clearly what happened to them, even though the child may have been offended against. Those people show up nowhere and those are the people you have to worry about, because no one is looking at them," she said.

So, what's the best way to keep our kids safe?

Hughes points to good parole and probation departments that have programs in which sex offenders go to therapy, take lie detector tests periodically, and are heavily monitored.

"There are a lot of studies that say that this works much better than sort of public shaming on the sex offender registry. So perhaps we need to look more at things like that and be less dependent on public lists," she said.

The problem is, these programs are extremely expensive, and funds are already limited. So until we can find a way to change the system, Michele says, for now, the responsibility lies on the parents.

"Parents should not get a level of comfort knowing that no one in their neighborhood for instance is on the sex offender registry, because it is not a panacea. You still need to be vigilant with your children. You need to make certain that your children are not left alone with adults, one on one," she said.

Hughes also says that often times parents focus solely on stranger danger, when in fact most children are not abused by strangers. They're abused by people they know and trust. So it's important to understand that the sex offender registry, and teaching our kids to run away from strangers, isn't enough to keep them safe.

See Also:

Thứ Năm, 3 tháng 7, 2014

CA - Sex offenders sue over ordinances that ban them from places

Sex offender lawsuit
Original Article


By Jose Gaspar

BAKERSFIELD - Wasco and Taft are among a group of California cities being sued by a civil rights group that advocates on behalf of sex offenders.

In 2006, state voters approved Jessica's Law (Proposition 83), which bars sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

Shortly after, numerous cities adopted much more restrictive local laws that prohibit sex offenders from being present in any "children's facility," such as a public library, school bus stop, or "any location that facilitates on their property classes or group activities for children."

"We believe it is a misguided and unconstitutional effort to do that," said Santa Maria attorney Janice Bellucci, president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws.

Bellucci said the group was created to give a voice to registered sex offenders.

In addition to Wasco and Taft, Shafter, Delano, Tehachapi and California City also passed similar sex offender ordinances. So far, Wasco and Taft are the only two cities in Kern County served with a lawsuit by the civil rights group.

In June, the Tehachapi City Council voted to repeal its ordinance rather than risk litigation.

"For us, it's going to be a point where we're going to be spending a lot of money on attorney fees," said Tehachapi Mayor Phil Smith. "And we will not win that battle."
- And that is why all states and counties must fight these laws!

In May, Shafter Mayor Jon Johnston wrote a letter to Bellucci stating Shafter would stop enforcing its ordinance pending further review. The city of Wasco is currently reviewing its response to the lawsuit.

For people such as _____ of Grover Beach, he said the ordinances and restrictions placed on his life have made it extremely difficult to continue with his life. According to the Megan's Law website, in 1979 _____ pleaded guilty to lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. He served six months in jail and was given two years probation. _____ went on to make a new life and opened a small business. He never committed a new sex crime again.

"The city of Pismo Beach awarded me volunteer of the year for a project I worked on for them," said _____.

But when word leaked about his past, _____ said his landlord terminated his lease and he was forced to lay off five employees and run his business from his home. His gross earnings fell dramatically, he said. He came home one night to find a man waiting for him inside his house. The man took a hammer to _____, who managed to fight him off, but _____ said he suffered numerous injuries. The assailant was arrested and is now in prison.

The way Bellucci sees it, not everyone on the sex offender registry should be on it.

"We have a boy on the registry because he streaked at his high school. That's a sex offense. We had a 16-year-old girl who took a nude selfie and shared it with some students at her high school, she's on the registry," said Bellucci.

And because cases like these are on the registry, they are subject to all sex offender restrictions. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, less then 2 percent of sex offenders on parole committed a new sex crime between 2007 and 2009. The vast majority of children who are sexually molested suffer at the hands of someone known to the family.

California Reform Sex Offender Laws is lobbying for the state to create a tiered registry that distinguishes between the severity of the offenses.

"There are people on the sex offender registry who have raped a child or an adult, and they certainly would be at the highest level," said Bellucci.

For _____, his 1979 conviction will never go away. California law requires him to register for life as a sex offender.

"That was 35 years ago I did something. That's not who I am today," said _____.

AL - Law banning sex offender camp might violate Alabama's constitution

Sex offender housing
Original Article



CLANTON - A new law used to shut down a church-affiliated camp for convicted sex offenders in rural Alabama violates a state constitutional amendment designed to protect religious liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday.

Randall Marshall, legal director of the ACLU's Alabama office, said the law that went into effect this week is in apparent conflict with the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment, passed in 1998 to make it tougher for government to infringe on religious rights.

Pastor Ricky Martin says he built a church in rural Chilton County and allowed convicted sex offenders to move to the property because the men had nowhere else to live. He said he was trying to follow biblical instructions to help the outcast.

The camp, which began accepting former inmates in 2010, closed when the new law took effect Tuesday.

Marshall said the amendment "raises serious questions" about the law, which was passed this year and affects Chilton County only. The amendment says laws can restrict religion narrowly only if there is a "compelling governmental interest."

Martin "has sincerely held religious beliefs that he's acting upon, and now you've got government prohibiting him from doing something that he considers part of his religion," Marshall said.

The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Kurt Wallace, said the law is meant to protect the public from people convicted of rape, child molestation and other crimes.

Most of the more than 50 men who've lived in the camp through the years are from other counties and states, officials said.

"No religion is being disenfranchised," Wallace said. "He can practice any religion he wants, but he can't recruit sex offenders to our community. That's just crazy."

Martin hasn't sued to block the law, but he said he might. Some of the half-dozen men who were living in old campers behind his Triumph Church are now homeless, he said.

"I don't know what they're doing, just walking around trying to find a place to sleep," he said.

The law, which Wallace said was drafted with Martin's refuge in mind, prohibits two convicted sex offenders from living within 300 feet of each other on the same property in Chilton County unless they are married. It includes a provision to allow a state-approved counseling center or halfway house if one opened, Wallace said.

Martin, who serves as a volunteer prison chaplain, said the camp was needed because inmates serving time for sex-related offenses have a hard time finding suitable residences after release.

Like other states, Alabama restricts the areas where sex offenders are required to live, barring anyone convicted of certain crimes to reside within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. Laws are even stricter about where offenders can work or hang out, restricting them from being within 500 feet of parks, athletic fields or businesses where kids gather.

Inmates serving time for sex crimes must tell authorities where they plan to live following their release, and prisons or county jails must continue holding anyone who can't prove they have a legal place to live.

See Also:

WA - $150,000 bail set for SPD officer (Eric A. Smith) accused of child molestation

Eric A. Smith charged with child molestation
Eric A. Smith
Original Article


By Jennifer Sullivan

A Seattle police officer accused of molesting his ex-girlfriend’s daughter was ordered held Tuesday in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Officer Eric A. Smith, 57, of Bothell, appeared in Everett District Court on Tuesday afternoon via video feed from the Snohomish County Jail, where he is being held for investigation of alleged child molestation and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Kathy Jo Blake sought $250,000 bail, claiming Smith was an “untreated sex offender.” Smith’s attorney, Soloman Kim, sought a lower bail for the veteran police officer, who was arrested on Monday.
- He is not a sex offender until he's found guilty!

Officer Smith is a 30-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department. He has no criminal history, whatsoever,” Kim said in court Tuesday.

Kim said his client has had no contact with the victim or his ex-girlfriend since October.

District Court Judge Tam Bui found probable cause to hold Smith and granted Kim’s bail request. She also ordered Smith to turn over his passport.

Blake said felony charges could be filed as early as Wednesday.

The allegations came to light after the girl, who is now 12, told a teacher about years of abuse, according to jail booking paperwork released Tuesday by the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. The abuse allegedly occurred when the girl was between the ages of 7 and 11 while Smith was dating her mother.

According to the paperwork, the child had told her mother about the alleged abuse on three earlier occasions.

Blake said in court that when the girl first told her mother about the abuse in 2009, the mother confronted Smith.

The mother and Smith, together, then went to talk to the girl, Blake said. Smith never should have been included in that conversation, she said.

The girl’s mother told investigators that after the first disclosure the girl recanted and was punished by her mother for lying.

The mother told investigators she now believes her daughter might have been coerced by Smith into changing her story, booking paperwork said.

Over the years, the girl told her friends and wrote notes about being abused, the booking paperwork said.

Seattle police personnel records say Smith was hired as an officer in 1983 and has worked as a motorcycle officer since 2002.

The department says he was placed on administrative leave on June 18 when the department became aware of the Snohomish County investigation.

According to a tweet sent Tuesday, Smith remains on paid leave. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will re-evaluate his status if he is charged, police tweeted.

And yet it's not being done this way!

Click the image to view the Constitution

MD - Ruling could scrub quarter of sex offender registry

Reform the sex offender laws now!
Original Article


By Ian Duncan

One-fourth of the names on Maryland's sex offender registry could be removed after the state's top court expanded Monday on an earlier ruling that adding offenders from before the list was created violated the state constitution.

The Court of Appeals declared last year that the state could not require the registration of people who committed their crimes before October 1995, when the database was established. State officials removed the one name in question in that case but maintained that federal law required them to keep older cases in the database.

On Monday, the judges ruled in that case and another one that federal law doesn't override the state constitution.

"Where we have declared the retroactive application of Maryland's sex offender registry to be unconstitutional, the State must remove [the men's] information from the registry," Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote for the court.

Those who say the registries are punitive and do little to protect future victims hailed the ruling, but victims' advocates expressed disappointment. They see the registry as a useful tool to alert families to potential predators in their midst.
- You don't need the registry for that!  "Potential" predators are all around you, so are "potential" murderers, etc!

As many as 1,800 of the state's 8,000 registered sex offenders could be affected by the decisions, and other cases are pending that could expand the number of people whose names are scrubbed.

Maryland requires people convicted of certain sex crimes to register for 15 years, 25 years or for life, depending on the severity of their conviction, and publishes a searchable online database of those on the list.

Lisae C. Jordan, the executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the ruling means Maryland will now need to look at other ways to track dangerous offenders.

"We cannot rely on the registry," she said. "We need to take other steps."
- You can't rely on the registry even without this case!

Nancy S. Forster, an attorney who argued the cases on behalf of the two men, said the court made clear that its decision should apply to anyone who was required to add their names to the registry even though their crimes took place before its creation.

She pointed to language in Greene's ruling, noting that the constitutional issue applies not just to the men who had sued but also "individuals similarly situated in Maryland."

"I believe this means that the state absolutely must remove these people automatically, without each individual having to go to court seeking removal," she said. "If the state does not remove them automatically, I will contemplate the need for a lawsuit."

David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland attorney general's office, said the state's lawyers will review the decision before offering legal advice to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which manages the list.

The state's high court was considering challenges brought by two men, who are identified in court records as John Doe and John Roe.

Doe is _____, a former teacher who pleaded guilty in 2006 to a single court of child sexual abuse for a 1984 incident involving a 13-year-old student. John Roe has not been identified, but according to court records he was convicted of third-degree sex offense in 1997 for conduct involving a 14-year-old victim.

The ruling last year was on _____' case alone. It examined state laws from 2009 and 2010 that made registering a requirement even for those convicted before the creation of the database.

The court ruled that requiring people to go back and register amounted to punishing them twice, a violation of the state's constitution.

After losing that case, officials reluctantly agreed to remove _____ from the registry but vowed to keep on fighting.

They took the fight back to court, after a trial court judge ordered the removal of _____' name from state and federal databases, and argued that federal law required that they keep the offenders' names on the list.

The Court of Appeals rejected that view.

Thứ Ba, 1 tháng 7, 2014

AL - New law forces Chilton. Co. sex offenders to leave pastor’s backyard

Original Article

Yeah, don't you know that ex-offenders who live near each other are just planning a mass molesting of children? (Being sarcastic)


By Kaitlin McCulley

CHILTON COUNTY (WIAT) - A man’s dream to rehabilitate convicted sex offenders is coming to an end.

Since 2010, 53 sex offenders released from prison have moved in to trailers in Ricky Martin’s backyard. The property is located at 40 County Road 374 in Chilton County. Of those 53 convicted offenders, 32 are convicted rapists and 21 have been convicted of molestation. 43 committed crimes against children.

Martin pastors Triumph Church, also on his property. Neighbors tell WIAT 42 they do not feel safe in their homes.

Debra Morrison lives next door to Martin and the sex offender camp in his backyard.

Usually when you go to grandma’s house and you want to go swing on the swing, usually that’s ok,” Morrison said. “But not here.”

Morrison’s young grandchildren are frequent visitors to her home.

When they come to Nana’s, they know that we’ve got to be with them at all times,” Morrison said. “And they’re scared. There’s always fear, even when we go to bed at night.”

Chilton County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson said neighbors will not have to feel that way much longer. A legislative bill was passed recently, requiring sex offenders in Chilton County to live at least 300 feet apart from each other. The seven remaining offenders living on Martin’s property must leave by July 1st.

This might be the only chance I ever have as a prosecutor to try to take steps on the front end,” Robinson said. “If there’s something I can do to keep a child from being victimized.”

Morrison is thankful her worst fears have not become a reality. She hopes soon, “Nana’s house,” will be a place of carefree fun.

WIAT 42 Reporter Kaitlin McCulley talked with Martin, but he declined to be recorded on camera for this report and would not answer questions on-the-record. His only comment regarding the sex offenders is this: “I hope they continue their relationship with Christ when they leave here.”