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If Jack Kavorkian can be thrown in prison for assisted suicide, yes. I don't think what Jack Kavorkian did was wrong, if these people consented. If you were in horrible pain, you would want them to kill you, or give you the options to do so when you were ready. So yes, I think this person should be charged with the death.
If victim consents to dangerous sex and dies, can partner be held liable?
LYNN - Adrian Exley was wrapped tightly in heavy plastic, then bound with duct tape. A leather hood was put over his head with a thin plastic straw inserted so that he could breathe, and he was shut up in a closet.
That, apparently, was the way Exley liked it. But the way it ended — with Exley suffocating — was not what he had in mind when he traveled from Britain for a bondage session with a man he had met through a sadomasochism Web site.
Exley’s body was discovered in the woods last year, two months after he was bound up in the bondage “playroom” Gary LeBlanc had built in the basement of his suburban Boston home. LeBlanc, a 48-year-old Gulf Oil sales executive, detailed his responsibility in the fatal bondage session in a five-page suicide note, just before he put a gun to his head and killed himself.
Now the question is: Since Exley consented to the sex play, can LeBlanc be held responsible for his death?
Exley’s family is suing LeBlanc’s estate for unspecified damages, claiming wrongful death. Many bondage enthusiasts are watching the case closely, seeing it as a lesson in where to draw the line of responsibility on consensual but dangerous sex.
“There’s definitely the whole spectrum of thought on what really happened — whether it was a consent issue, or negligence or misunderstanding,” said Vivienne Kramer, a board member of the New England Leather Alliance. “Everybody has their own ideas on what should have happened.”
Details of sex play
Exley and LeBlanc met through an online forum for gay men into rubber, leather and bondage. Exley, a 32-year-old stripper, used the screen name “Studpup,” while LeBlanc called himself “Rubrman” and built a chamber with rubber mats on the floors and walls, chains, leather restraints, rubber suits and a hospital gurney.
Exley arrived at LeBlanc’s house in Lynn in April 2006 after the pair had exchanged e-mails in which they discussed plans for LeBlanc to play the “master” and Exley his “slave,” according to the lawsuit.
John Andrews, a lawyer for LeBlanc’s estate, said Exley knew the risks going in. “What occurred was an act or actions between two consenting adults, both of whom knew what they were doing, and it had a tragic end,” he said.
The lawsuit describes a three-day bondage and discipline session that ended when a third man, Scott Vincent, discovered Exley was not breathing. Exley had been put in a closet while bound in plastic up to his neck and left alone for several hours, according to the lawsuit.
In his suicide note, LeBlanc admitted that Exley at one point had trouble breathing. But he said that after “cooling him down,” Exley improved. LeBlanc said that he went to sleep about 3 a.m. but was woken up a few hours later by Vincent, who told him Exley was not breathing and was turning blue and cold.
LeBlanc said he panicked, and he and Vincent drove to Rhode Island, where they buried the body and threw away Exley’s clothing and identification.
The Rhode Island medical examiner determined that Exley suffocated. Vincent said in a sworn statement that the straw had fallen out of his mouth in the closet.
Vincent, a flight attendant who is also being sued, is charged with failure to report a death in Rhode Island. But he has not been charged in Massachusetts.
'A horrible tragedy'
In his note, LeBlanc said he was “responsible for a horrible tragedy,” adding: “Had I dealt with the first crisis responsibly, he would likely have returned home safely.”
Lawyers for Exley’s estate acknowledge that Exley wanted to participate in a bondage session, but say he did not know about LeBlanc’s reputation as an “extreme edge player” in the world of bondage and sadomasochism.
“Just because you are agreeing that you will allow someone to tie you up temporarily as part of role-playing doesn’t mean that you are consenting to be killed or to be left alone or to be abused,” attorney Randy Chapman said.
Several people who came forward after Exley’s death told police that LeBlanc had restrained them and left them alone for long periods or ignored their requests that he curtail a bondage session.
Both actions go against the bondage protocols, which say participants must stop if their partner uses a prearranged “safe word” or “safe signal” and must not leave anyone who is bound alone, said Susan Wright, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
Practitioner: A point where line is crossed
Brian Plant, a bondage and sadomasochism practitioner from Kansas, said: “Nobody goes into these things saying, ‘Oh, well, I’m going to die because of it.’ You reach a point when the line is crossed, and it is no longer consensual.”
Kathy Jo Cook, a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases, said that when you take away the sensational details of the Exley case, the claim being made by Exley’s estate is the same made in many other wrongful death cases.
“The law says if a person causes the death of another person by an act which is either negligent or reckless, that person is liable,” Cook said. “You have a duty to behave reasonably. I think it’s the same thing here, albeit a very strange set of facts.”
It was Exley’s mother, Maggie Horner, who decided to sue LeBlanc’s estate.
“We decided that we didn’t want Gary’s last wishes being granted when Adrian’s couldn’t be,” she said. “Why should Gary be able to kill my son, bury my son, shoot himself and still get his own way?”
Thursday, October 11, 2007
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I find it hard as hell to understand why people who are suppose to know the law, do this. They should know the hell that comes along with the conviction.
NEW YORK (AP) - A tax attorney who paid a woman so he could have sex with her two underage daughters was sentenced Thursday and declared a sex offender.
James Colliton, had pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to second- and third-degree statutory rape and patronizing a prostitute. He received a sentence of one year on each count to run concurrently.
But since he was already jailed for the past 19 months, Colliton, 43, was eligible for immediate release. His lawyer, Howard Greenberg, said he expected the defendant to be released from Rikers Island Thursday.
State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber said Colliton was being declared a Level 3 sex offender, the most serious designation, because in his pre-sentencing interviews he had accepted only legal responsibility for his crimes.
"It is clear that in this statement, there is not moral responsibility for these acts," Farber said. The judge said Colliton seemed to believe that he was "saving these girls" and "doing them a favor by having sex with them."
Colliton, who is married with five children, was formerly with the prestigious Manhattan law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore.
He admitted when he pleaded guilty that he had sex many times with one girl younger than 15 and another under 17 between Dec. 25, 2000, and March 1, 2005. Colliton also admitted he visited a prostitute younger than 17 between August 2000 and February 2004.
- Seems like a lawyer would know to keep your mouth shut!!!
He had faced a possible 30 years in prison if he had been convicted after a trial on a 43-count indictment charging him with several counts of rape and sodomy.
The 38-year-old mother of the two underaged sisters pleaded guilty in April 2006 to endangering the welfare of a child. She admitted she allowed her girls to have sex with Colliton, knew he was giving them money and gifts, and said she had asked him for money for herself.
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(WSBT) Plans to build a center that would house criminal offenders in St. Joseph County, many of them sex offenders, might not happen.
- Of course it won't, they don't want to do anything to help out sex offenders, only dish out further punishment, which is exactly what this is doing.
The county says state funding for the project has been drastically cut.
Mary Wesolowski keeps a close eye on her 3-year-old granddaughter, because three sex offenders live across the street from her house.
- She should do this even if the sex offenders were no where in site. It's called being a mother.
According to the Indiana Sheriff's Sex Offender Registry, two of them were convicted of child molesting.
“You don't know what's going to happen — if one of them is going to snap or not,” said Wesolowski.
She's not the only one to feel this way. Neighbors were outraged to learn five sex offenders live in a house on Dunham Street.
“We need a place where we can house returning felons, where we can have an opportunity to rehabilitate them, and where we can also have a place to monitor them,” said St. Joseph County Commissioner Steve Ross (D).
The county wants to build a work release center on Lathrop Street, behind the county highway department. It would house 60 offenders.
Ross says the location is ideal because the area is industrial, so there are no neighbors with children. Also, it’s near a bus stop, so offenders could still get to and from work.
But there’s a big problem.
“The state was going to give us $1.3 million to $1.8 million as a negotiated amount towards the center; which we anticipated would be about $2.2 million," explained Ross. "It was an ideal direction to go until the state just pulled the rug right out from under us."
In the last three weeks, Ross says the state decided to use that money for projects in Indianapolis — dropping the local amount to $150,000 a year.
It’s not enough for the center and not enough to get them out of Wesolowski’s neighborhood.
“Why do we have to suffer for something they did someplace else or somewhere else,” commented Wesolowski.
The county plans to use a $24 million bond to fund various infrastructure needs. Officials must now decide whether to include the center, and fund the whole $2.2 million.
Ross says it might be too much of a burden on the county's operating budget.
View the article here
They just can't wait to dish out further torture can they!
Just hours after the California State Supreme Court announced it will consider the constitutionality of Jessica's Law residency restrictions, the state announced it will launch a new statewide crackdown on sex offenders who are violating Jessica's Law by living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court agreed to block state parole agents from revoking the parole of four sex offenders who are illegally living too close to schools or parks. In a one-paragraph order, the court said it will consider whether Jessica's Law violates the parolees' constitutional rights. The law approved by voters last November prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. The law pertains to sex offender parolees released from prison on or after November 8, 2006.
Hours after the ruling, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced it will begin sweeping the state, arresting other paroled sex offenders who are violating Jessica’s Law residency restrictions.
More than 850 parolees were found in violation of the law last August and were given 45 days to comply with the law's residency requirements. CDCR says on Friday it will start arresting those who have not complied, revoke their parole and send them back to state prison.
The court case challenging Jessica's Law was filed on behalf of four California sex offenders. Attorneys for the four parolees argued that the law punishes sex offenders after they have already paid for their crime by serving prison time. They alleged the law is unconstitutionally vague and imposes unreasonable conditions on parole.
Jessica's Law could also force offenders underground because they can't find housing that fits the strict rules under the law, said Don Specter, director of the non-profit Prison Law Office.
"It will cause more problems than it will solve," Specter said. "It makes them homeless in many counties. It's irrational in that it doesn't prevent them from going near these places (schools and parks). They just can't sleep there."
The court's order narrowly applies to the four parolees who filed the suit. At this point, the state is allowed to continue pursuing other parolees found to be in violation of the law and Gov. Schwarzenegger says CDCR will proceed with enforcement.
"My administration will vigorously defend against challenges to Jessica's Law and protect the will of the people," said Schwarzenegger in a statement.
"I am disappointed with the court's order, but remain committed to the full implementation of Jessica's Law," the governor added.
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An Albuquerque police officer was fired from the force today and arrested on a charge of raping a woman who was in his custody.
Officer David Maes, 28, a two-year veteran, is accused of raping a 25-year-old woman after taking part in her arrest Oct. 4. He was fired this morning and arrested this evening.
Police Chief Ray Schultz said the woman reported a sexual assault sometime between her arrest and today. He said Maes was not placed on leave sooner because investigators had not gathered enough evidence to secure an arrest warrant.
Schultz said the warrant is sealed because the investigation is not complete. Detectives with the sex crimes unit still need to conduct interviews, he said.
Schultz said there were several officers present when the woamn was arrested at 2:30 p.m., but Maes was solely responsible for her after that. Maes was the only officer involved in the allegations.
The woman was in physical custody, but not necessarily in handcuffs at the time of the incident, police spokesman John Walsh said. He also declined to specify the charges against her.
Schultz called the incident "very discouraging,"
Maes is charged wuith one count of criminal sexual penetration. He is being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center with bail set at $200,000.
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Man Admits Using Internet To Distribute Child Porn
PLATTE CITY -- A former state employee pleaded guilty on Thursday to child-pornography charges.
Roger Kromko, 63, admitted in Platte County Circuit Court that he used the Internet to distribute images of child pornography.
"It is distressing that a former employee of an agency charged with protecting children would be so deeply involved in the black market of child pornography. This case demonstrates yet again that child predators can come from any walk of life," Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a news release.
- And it also proves the Registry and buffers zones do nothing for those who have not been caught yet. It is only punishment after they have been convicted. Labeling them for life, so they cannot get a job, food, housing, etc.
Kromko retired from the Missouri Division of Family Services before the investigation began.
In December 2006, a Platte County Sheriff's Department detective from the Cyber Crimes Unit found a St. Joseph, Mo., computer offering to distribute child pornography.
The computer was later linked to Kromko's residence.
Kromko is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13.
He also has a pending charge in Buchanan County for possession of child pornography.
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A Florida Department of Children and Families investigator from Fort Myers charged with possession of child pornography was sentenced to 37 months in prison and life on supervised release today.
Holger Richard Kjeldsen, 57, sent nude pictures of himself and pictures of bondage equipment in his “dungeon” to an FBI agent who was posing as a 13-year-old girl, according to an FBI criminal complaint. Kjeldsen was arrested March 16.
The case was handled in Tampa because the agent who was chatting with Kjeldsen was there. He was sentenced by Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich.
He was an adult protective investigator with DCF in District 8, which includes Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties.
According to court documents, Kjeldsen faced 37 to 46 months in prison and at least five years of supervised release.
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Seems like this judge would know what sexual harassment is. Guess he thinks he IS the law!
POUGHKEEPSIE - When a local judge laughingly said in open court that criminal defense lawyer Ruth Boyer had "a nice butt," she was not flattered.
The sexist comment by LaGrange Town Justice Edmund Caplicki, made in July 2005, was reported to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which yesterday publicly scolded the jurist for his "inappropriate" remark.
Caplicki, 62, told the watchdog group he was merely parroting the comments Boyer's client - a man accused of theft - had made about the lawyer's backside. But the panel noted the jurist not only quizzed three other male defendants on whether they agreed with the evaluation, but then mentioned it again to Boyer.
"Is that so bad?" Caplicki was quoted by the commission as asking Boyer, laughing as he spoke.
Boyer's supervisor at the Dutchess County Public Defender's office had the incident reported to the commission. Friends described Boyer, 42, as being anything but thin-skinned.
"She has a very cordial, respectful and diplomatic approach to everything," an assistant at Boyer's law office, Larry Clark, told the Daily News. "It's very hard to get a rise out of her."
The commission, which holds the power to strip judges of their robes, decided Caplicki's behavior amounted to "an aberration" and limited his punishment to a public censure.
Caplicki and Boyer did not return calls seeking comment. Caplicki's lawyer, Sara McShea of Manhattan, declined to comment.
View the article here | The Smoking Gun
Sorry, if everyone else must suffer, so must this idiot. Just because he has a lot of money shouldn't mean anything.
Jeffrey Epstein May Serve About 18 Months Under a Deal With Prosecutors
Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire New York money manager accused of soliciting underage prostitutes, are negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors and trying to keep Epstein from having to register as a sex offender if he pleads guilty, sources familiar with the case have confirmed to ABC News.
Epstein was charged in July 2006 with solicitation of prostitution — a felony that carries up to five years in prison — for allegedly paying underage girls to give him erotic massages in his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion. He has pleaded not guilty and has said he did not know any of the girls were underage.
According to The New York Post, Epstein is negotiating a plea deal that is expected to land him in prison for about 18 months in addition to some time under house arrest. As part of the deal, confirmed to ABC News by people familiar with the case, federal authorities are expected to drop their investigation into whether Epstein broke federal laws, which could carry more substantial prison time.
Now, Epstein's high-powered lawyers, including Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, may try to get him out of registering as a sex offender, The Post reported.
People familiar with the case confirmed to ABC News that federal prosecutors still want Epstein, who owns what is reported to be the largest house in Manhattan, to register as a sex offender as part of the deal, though state prosecutors have not demanded that he do so. Under Florida law, people convicted of solicitation of prostitution are not required to register as sex offenders.
- But the girl was underage? A minor, and if anything occures, it's called rape or molestation, depending on the age. They don't tell you how underage, but usually when it's someone rich, etc, they hide this fact.
Mike Edmonson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, declined to comment, saying the office does not comment on "active prosecutions." Through an assistant, Starr also declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office did not return a call for comment. Epstein's lawyer Gerald Lefcourt, the former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, also declined to comment.
Bruce Winick, a criminal law professor at the University of Miami, said it was not inappropriate to negotiate over whether Epstein would have to register as sex offender.
Epstein was arrested last year after an 11-month police investigation. According to a Palm Beach police affidavit, Epstein paid underage girls to come to his house and give him massages and engage in sexual activity.
- And if this occurred, not knowing their age is NOT EXCUSE! At least for people who are not rich or famous!
In sworn statements to the police, a 14-year-old girl and other teenage girls said a friend had arranged for them to visit Epstein's home and give him massages, often in their underwear, in exchange for cash. The police report alleges that Epstein had sex with some of the girls.
- So who is the other girls, and why aren't their ages mentioned?
The affidavit says Epstein's assistant took down the names and numbers of the girls. Investigators watched Epstein's 7,234-square-foot waterfront home and private jet, searched through his trash and interviewed more than a dozen witnesses before making the arrest.
Local police believed they had probable cause to charge Epstein with lewd and lascivious molestation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. But, prosecutor Barry Krischer took the somewhat unusual step of handing the case over to a grand jury, providing jurors with a list of the possible charges against Epstein.
Local criminal lawyers, who were not involved in the case, speculated that Krischer was being cautious or that the alleged victims had credibility issues that would come up at trial.
"I assume these women had serious holes in their stories," said Richard Tendler, a Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer.
The Associated Press reported that Epstein's attorneys, including Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, presented prosecutors with evidence that some of the girls had criminal records and issues with drugs and alcohol. Lawyers claimed that at least one of the girls was older than 18, the agency reported. Dershowitz did not return a call for comment.
- Here we go, make the victims look bad so the rich gets off!!!!
The grand jury indicted Epstein in July 2006 on one count of felony solicitation of a prostitute. That charge does not require him to register as a sex offender.
Police at the time said they had enough evidence to charge Epstein with more serious sex offenses, prompting criticism that the reportedly reclusive financier, who once counted among his friends Clinton and Donald Trump, was getting preferential treatment.
- Had enough evidence? Where is this evidence now? This seems to point it was "lost!" And I don't care who his rich buddies are, if he did the crime, he must do the time, like the public screams for everyone else.
Police Chief Michael Reiter, in a May 2006 letter to Krischer, called Krischer's handling of the case "highly unusual" and asked him to disqualify himself from the case. He also referred the case to the FBI to see whether Epstein may have violated federal law.
Howard Rubenstein, Epstein's spokesman, said Epstein had no comment. He declined to discuss the case.
This guy is clearly an idiot. If anybody has more examples of urinating in public and being labeled a sex offender, clue this jerk in. I have one example on my blog, here, and need more examples.
Federal law and the laws of all 50 states require offenders of sexual crimes to register with local law enforcement.
Megan’s Law requires these offenders to provide their criminal history, address, employment information, a photograph and other relevant information on an online registry for the safety of the public.
Sexual offenders appear to me to be the lowest, most pathetic life forms.
- You surely know how to show your ignorance don't you.
There has been much debate as to whether these laws are doing more harm than good. Claims that the laws should be reformed because they are overboard and too broad make sense.
People who commit victimless crimes such as peeing in public should not have to register as sexual offenders for the rest of their lives. It is pointless because these people do not pose a threat to society.
The old motto “you do the crime, you pay the time” doesn’t exactly meet my expectations when concerning sexual offenders. People who commit sexual crimes should have to “pay the time,” but should not continue to pay for their crimes after they have served the time unless a victim is involved.
Offenders who are convicted of crimes such as rape, molestation and similar crimes ruin lives and cause permanent damage to their victims. So, I believe these offenders should have to register with local law enforcement. Why should these offenders not suffer permanent damage as well?
- Permanent damage? You are wrong. Some yes, if they do not get treatment. I was molested as a young child, and I do not feel ruined for life. I am a survivor. If you pitty yourself and see yourself as a victim, you always will be. Get off your a$$ and become a survivor! I take it you are not a religious person, from your comments. What about a 17 year old who had consensual sex with their 16 year old girlfriend? Or a 4 year old labeled a sex offender for hugging his teacher? Yes, this does and has occurred.
To say that these laws should not be reformed to affect only offenders who commit crimes against people is unfair.
- As usual, you are blinded with hate and did not read and listen to what Human Rights Watch said, did you. Go back and read it again. I guarantee when you or someone you love it labeled a sex offender, you will see where they and others are coming from. Once a person does their time, leave them the hell alone....
If you were arrested for peeing outside during a party and had to register as a sexual offender for the rest of your life you would feel that the law is unjust. So why do we have these laws?
- They were made in knee-jerk fashion to a couple high profile cases to protect society from HIGH-RISK offenders like John Couey, who begged and begged and begged for treatment. If they would've got him the treatment he wanted, Jessica Lunsford would still be here today, so society and the injustice system failed Mark and Jessica Lunsford.
These laws are implemented to protect children and the general public from sexual predators. Someone who pees in public doesn’t seem like a predator to me.
- I agree, but even for predators, do you really think a predator is going to obey a law just because it's on the books? If they are a predator, then you can bet NO LAW will protect anybody. When will people ever realize no matter how tough on crime, all the zero tolerance, all the registries in the world will not prevent a murderer from murdering, a thief from stealing, a dealer from dealing, a user from using, a rapist from raping....accusations on any sex crime, child abuse, or domestic violence will literally nail your butt to the wall! No DNA has to be present, No violence has to be present..... HEARSAY ALONE IS LITERALLY NAILING THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TO THE WALL BECAUSE THESE LAWS ARE BIASED.
The good news is sex crimes against children have dropped dramatically in the last decade, according to a USA Today report. Law enforcement officials are normally able to predict which offenders will repeat similar crimes.
- Do you always believe what the news or politicians says? Why don't you look up some statistics and what experts are saying. I don't think USA Today are experts on sex offenders. Sex crimes have been around since the dawn of time, and I think they are just saying this so people will think "Hey, the sex offender laws are working!" Just so they can continue to torture people who are NOT a threat.
Some states have laws that forbid offenders of violent sex crimes to live within a certain proximity of schools, day care centers and other childcare facilities. These laws are not only just, but fair. The offenders and their crimes are justly made public on an online registry.
- Just and fair? How? Have you read the United States Constitution? They violate rights my friend. If the constitution means nothing to everyone, why don't we just become another Nazi country, bust open the concentration camps and fire up the ovens. Do you think a buffer zone is going to protect you from a true predator? It could be 50 or 100 miles and still would not protect you from someone who was intent on committing another crime. 90% of the offenders are trying their damnedest to obey the laws, but they keep on and on with passing more and more laws to make you "feel safe" and them to "look good" for more votes.
Some say that forcing sexual offenders to live with a designated distance from child care facilities is unjust because it forces them to move away from their families and relocate to areas that are inconvenient.
- Yep, very true. Unconstitutional! You have apparently no clue as to what the Constitution says, do you? I thought this was taught in school, in history class? Guess not.
Some also say that forcing offenders to register online is unjust because it draws unwanted attention and causes harassment. This may be true, but the fact is these people are made public so that parents can protect their children and know where sexual offenders live. If a sexual offender lives in your neighborhood, wouldn’t you want to know where they live before letting your child or sibling go out to trick-or-treat?
- How would you like to be on a registry, similar to what the Nazi's did in WWII and be faced with daily harassment, vigilantes, beatings, etc? I'm sure if you were getting your a$$ kicked every day, you would eventually fight back. You even say it's true above, yet you condone it. You are one sick puppy!! What group of despised people will be next? Blacks? Mexicans? Muslims? Who? What about murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders? I think they kill more people per year than anybody else.
It makes sense to force offenders of violent sexual crimes to register on the online registry, but forcing a person who peed in public to register just seems unreasonable.
- How does it make sense? How does it protect you? How come nobody ever answers this? If you think a registry, buffer zone or anything else will protect you, you are living in a fairytale!
It doesn’t look like reforming the sex crime laws is going to happen any time soon because it appears that the only thing that scares Americans more than sexual offenders is terrorism.
- Ok, so why don't we have a terrorist registry, murderer registry, etc? Why not just put all CRIMINALS on a registry and be done with it? Do you have a criminal record?
The best way to be safe is to be informed.
- No matter how informed or what you do, you will not be safe from a true predator, murderer, serial killer, DUI offender, or anybody else. Wake up, you are in a bad dream my friend!
View the article here
HOUSTON — A man who spent a dozen years in prison for a rape he didn't commit was freed Tuesday, the third inmate to be released because of problems with the Houston Police Department's crime lab.
Wearing dark clothes and carrying a red mesh gym bag and a paper sack containing his belongings, Ronald Taylor greeted his family with warm embraces outside the Harris County Jail.
"It hasn't really sunk in. I'm just glad to see my family," he said.
His plans included eating shrimp, a delicacy he missed in prison, and moving to Atlanta to marry Jeannette Brown, the fiancee who has waited for him since the mid-1990s.
But his first stop was City Hall, where Taylor, 47, urged the City Council to prevent other innocent prisoners from rotting behind bars.
"They don't have the finances, they don't have nobody to help them," he said. "I think something needs to be done about that."
- Amen! All people behind bars, sex offenders inside and outside as well. They are broke because of the insane laws, many are homeless.
Houston officials have been struggling to fix the crime lab for years. An independent audit in 2002 raised concerns about DNA analysis procedures. In June, a former U.S. Justice Department inspector hired by the city cited hundreds of "serious and pervasive" flaws in forensic cases handled by the lab.
Taylor was convicted of rape in 1995 and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The victim picked him out of a lineup but acknowledged she only caught a glimpse of her attacker's face.
During his trial, a crime lab analyst testified that no body fluids were found on the victim's bedsheet. This summer, the Innocence Project paid to have a New Orleans lab retest the bedsheet. Semen that lab found matched the DNA of a man already in prison.
Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal apologized to Taylor in court Tuesday, and several council members echoed his regret.
- What about compensating him for your mistake? You ruined this mans life and should repay him for the time he lost!
Taylor and his mother, Dorothy Henderson, a food-services supervisor at the Walker County Jail, said they didn't blame the criminal justice system for his imprisonment.
- Why not? If they were doing their jobs then none of this would've happened!
"We've just been praying and I just had faith and I knew, I knew within my heart that one day he would get out," Henderson said.
View the article here
Finally someone who believes in portions of the Constitution. If he believed in all of the Constitution, more of these laws would be repealed!
GREENVILLE -- Forcing a registered sex offender to leave a home that he bought before a residence-restriction law went into effect in 2003 violates his constitutional property rights, a lawyer for an offender told the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday.
"We have no quarrel with the government applying this statute prospectively," said David A. Singleton, executive director of the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice and Policy Center. But, "If that person has established a homeowner interest, that right cannot be taken away. That is bedrock law in this state because property rights are so important."
- Even prospectively it is wrong! Residency restrictions DO NOT WORK, period. The buffer zone could be 50 or 100 miles and it still would not prevent further crime. What about someone who lives with family who is a sex offender, but doesn't own the house? Do they get kicked out which still violates their constitutional rights.
Attorneys for the state attorney general and the Hamilton County prosecutor defended the state law as constitutional.
They said the law, which forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, is a child-protection law that state legislators intended to apply to all registered sex offenders. It also is a remedial law and not punitive, so it does not violate constitutional property rights, they said.
- Remedial law and not punitive! THEN WHY IN THE HELL DOES PEOPLE KEEP SAYING "PUNISHMENT" WHEN TALKING ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS? It is punishment. How can anybody look at these laws and say they are not punitive? I just don't understand that. They are, plain and simple! When it becomes punishment, they know it is unconstitutional, that is why they say it's remedial, which is just another name for punishment.
"It is remedial," said Stephen P. Carney, an assistant attorney general. "The purpose is not to punish him but to protect the children nearby."
- When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency "buffer" zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife loose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children loose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children's lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear "I'm a sex offender T-shirt" or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have "sex offender" on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the sex offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.
I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!
The arguments came in the first constitutional challenge of the state's sex offender residency law that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear.
Listening from the courthouse bench in Darke County in western Ohio as part of their occasional road trips outside Columbus, the justices were animated as they pelted the attorneys with questions and made their own observations.
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer pointed out that the legislature did not say the law should be applied retroactively.
But Justice Maureen O'Connor said the law is remedial, intended to protect children, and so a constitutional prohibition against applying a law retroactively "is not automatic."
Moyer seemed troubled by the property-rights issue, even as applied to a sex offender.
"The right to own property in this country is a fundamental right," he said, challenging the lawyers defending the law. "Why is he not being deprived of a fundamental right to own and enjoy property?"
- They will just tell you, they can own the property and rent it to someone else, they just cannot live there. More BS! These laws are pure punishment, end of story, IMO.
Justice Paul Pfeifer noted that more communities are passing local laws additionally restricting where registered sex offenders can live. He mused: "Could the legislature go that far: You can't live in Ohio?"
"I don't think that's reasonable," answered Paula Adams, a Hamilton County assistant prosecutor.
"So, when do we get to reasonable?" Pfeifer shot back. He asked whether the legislature and local communities passing more restrictions ever paused "to see the end result as to where these people can live?"
- Never! They force offenders to live in ghettos and congregate together, and felons cannot live near other felons, so someone is going back to prison for violation. And when they do live near each other, the vigilantes come out in force to get them to move, thus more punishment.
At issue is suburban Cincinnati sex offender Gerry A. Porter Jr. He was forced to move from the home that he has owned since 1991 because it is 983 feet from St. Jude Elementary School. He, his wife and two sons moved into an apartment in October 2005.
- That brings up another point. If the buffer zone is 1000 feet, does living 1001 feet away make you more safe? No! So the buffer zone could be 50 or 100 miles and it still does nothing, except banishment/punishment...
Porter committed his crimes at his home before the law took effect, convicted in 1995 of misdemeanor sexual imposition for touching the breasts of one female relative and in 1999 of felony sexual battery for having sex with another.
The state Supreme Court ruling is expected to settle conflicting rulings by state appeals courts. The 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a judge's ruling that Porter had to move. That is at odds with a 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton that ruled that Miami County sex offender Charles M. Dover, also convicted before 2003, could not be evicted from the home he owned before the law took effect.
The justices did not indicate when they would issue their ruling.
"The right to own property in this country is a fundamental right. Why is he not being deprived of a fundamental right to own and enjoy property?"
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer
View the article here
This is insane. Another kids life ruined! All from playing a game which many adults have played when they were young!
The Saturday night gathering of teens at a Gresham apartment started out as a casual party at the beginning of spring break.
But the only adult in the home had retreated to his bedroom and had either fallen asleep or passed out. And someone broke out a board game: a modern-day, sexually charged version of the classic Spin the Bottle.
By the end of the game, some of the players were in various states of undress.
By the end of the evening, a 15-year-old girl had been raped; a 14-year-old middle-school student soon would be charged with her rape; and two others -- 14- and 16-year-old high school students -- would be charged in helping the boy in jamming a bed frame against the door and holding the girl down.
Wednesday, the oldest of the accused, Jose Uriel Cruz, faced his punishment in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Although Cruz didn't physically commit the rape, he was charged with the first-degree crime for "aiding and abetting" the middle-school student. Because Cruz was 16 at the time, he faced serious prison time in the adult system.
Cruz, now 17, declined to make a statement before Judge Michael McShane sentenced him as part of a plea agreement to four years in a youth prison -- a stint that could drop to less than three with credit for time-served and good behavior. Cruz also was sentenced to sex-offender treatment and 10 years of probation, and McShane told him he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
"These will be on your record, so they are going to follow you," McShane told Cruz, to make sure that Cruz understood the terms of his plea. "College loans, these kinds of things, could be difficult. . . . Employers will be asking you 'What are these charges on your record?' "
Earlier in the week, Cruz told the judge he had second thoughts about taking the plea deal. His parents sat behind him in the courtroom. His mother wiped away tears. His father, dressed in a 2007 Portland Marathon finisher's T-shirt, sat solemnly. Cruz asked McShane for a few more days.
But in the end, Cruz agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charges: attempted rape and attempted sodomy. Prosecutors had a powerful case against him based on statements from the victim, Cruz and the other boys.
According to police and the prosecution, the events unfolded this way:
The girl arrived at the East Park Apartments, at Southeast 188th Avenue and Yamhill Street, on the evening of March 24. She didn't know the three boys; they were friends of a friend.
The group played Spin-the-Bottle. Although it's unclear which version the teens played, at least two manufacturers make such a game and market it to kids as young as 14. One version describes itself as "provocative" and eggs on players to create their own dares for opponents. The other instructs players to "collect a SMOOCH card and do what it tells you." It also promises players that they'll learn about each other's sexual histories.
Cruz told authorities that he had kissed the victim's breasts as part of the game. Some time after the game, Cruz and the two other boys cornered the victim in a dark bedroom.
In another room nearby, two other girls watched TV -- it's unclear what they thought was going on. During the course of the attack, one of the girls went to the door and asked to borrow the victim's cell phone. One of the boys slid it under the door.
The victim reported the attack the next day.
Cruz's attorney, Gary Bertoni, told the judge that his client had been having a tough time understanding why he must go to prison while the other two boys were sentenced to three years of probation and sex-offender treatment. Bertoni also noted that unlike Cruz, who has been locked up since his April 1 arrest, the 14-year-olds were released almost immediately.
"The law draws the line at age 15," McShane said. "You are the adult, they are the children. Is it fair? I don't know."
Deputy District Attorney Chris Ramras countered that the victim and her family were upset that the 14-year-olds returned home so soon.
"The flip side of that is it was very difficult for the victim and her mother to understand that people who essentially participated in a gang rape were released to the street so quickly," Ramras said.
Don Gibson, the Gresham police detective who investigated the case, said the case should remind parents how quickly parties can go bad if they're not supervised by trustworthy adults.
"Parents need to supervise free time," Gibson said. "They don't know what their kids are doing."
View the article here
I don't think 30 years old is a kid!
Ridding neighborhoods of drugs and crime will be Mike Merritt’s top priority if he is elected to Wilkes-Barre City Council.
- Yep, election time, so bust out the kid issues to get votes. Typical!
Merritt, 46, of Wyoming Street, is the Democratic candidate for the District E seat, which includes North End, Brookside and part of Miners Mills. He faces Republican John Yencha. This is Merritt’s first run for public office.
“The neighborhoods have definitely gone downhill,” Merritt said. “The drug problem is terrible. We have to take our streets back. You can see it in our playgrounds; it’s like being in some inner-city area. I see kids 30 years old hanging out there. We must tell them they can play basketball, but don’t bring any drugs.”
- The whole world has gone downhill, sir, where have you been. This is what we get for kicking God out of everyones lives. You do that, then you ask why! Come on! The war on drugs has been going on for how long? And it causes crime. Legalize it and the crime vanishes, that is pretty simple to understand for some folks, and I don't think a 30 year old is a kid. We should've all been doing something about this a long time ago, now it's too late... And like telling "30 year old kids to not bring drugs", like they are going to listen to you!
Merritt said the city has seen an influx of out-of-town residents and that absentee landlords rent to people he described as a “different element.”
- I'd like to hear you elaborate on the "different element" term. Do I sense some discrimination there? And I guess you are without sin?
Drug-related crime is on the increase, he said, and he would like to add more police officers and increase Crime Watch participation. If elected, Merritt said, he would look into available funding to see if more officers can be hired.
- What, more cops to beat the crap out of people? No thank you. Why don't you just make drugs legal, then the crime will vanish!!!!!!!! You make stuff illegal, you create crime! Pretty common sense if you ask me.
“I want to establish a district advisory board in each of the five districts,” Merritt said. “They can discuss issues, prioritize them and I will bring them to council. I think we need residents to get more involved with their neighborhoods. You can never really feel safe enough.”
This election marks the first time that council members will be elected by district since voters approved a referendum that did away with the at-large representation.
Merritt, who said he wouldn’t have run if the system wasn’t changed, doesn’t think the new setup will create problems.
“Will there be bickering, sure,” Merritt said. “But I think we all will realize we represent our districts and we will fight for issues particular to each, but we also know we must manage the entire city.”
Merritt said he supports Mayor Tom Leighton and feels the city is moving in the right direction, but said he won’t be afraid to disagree with the mayor.
“My boss once told me, ‘If we agree on everything, then one of us isn’t needed,’ ” Merritt said.
His campaign spending will be about $2,500, he said, with most of it being spent on printed materials and newspaper advertising.
He supports recreation for children and would be open to listening to proposals for a skatepark.
- Yep, do it for the children and people will vote for you. Hitler once said:
"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."
Merritt said he wants to see the Ice-A-Rama reopen at Coal Street Park and feels the city should look for ways to help subsidize non-profit youth groups.
Merritt would not favor a sex offender ordinance that would allow the offenders to live in designated areas. He said property values in those areas would decline which would be unfair to those residents. He said he would listen to alternative plans to address the problem.
- Tell me, why doesn't property values go down when gang members, drug dealers/users, murderers or homeless people live there? This is just a load of crap! If you put ALL CRIMINALS on the registry, then EVERYONES property value would drop. Say what the people want to hear.........
Merritt said he has been campaigning door-to-door and he considers his opponent a friend, having spent time fishing at Yencha’s pond.
View the article here
Who celebrates Halloween anyway? Every year, my father or I get no knocks at all. If I did go out on Halloween, I'd dress up as a Nazi or something, since we seem to have a bunch of them in office, and they are scary creatures.
BALTIMORE — To discourage contact with children, some registered sex offenders in Maryland will be asked to post signs at their homes that say "No Candy at This Residence," on Halloween.
For the second straight year, parole and probation agents plan to team with local police to dissuade sex offenders who are not allowed to have contact with children from participating in the holiday.
"We actually print out the signs for the offenders and hand them to them," said Elizabeth Bartholomew, a spokeswoman for the Division of Parole and Probation. "We expect them to post the signs."
The program is based on similar initiatives in other states. Last year, no sex offenders in Maryland violated their parole or probation, Bartholomew said.
The effort is particularly intense in Baltimore, home to more than 200 offenders who are barred from contact with children.
In addition to the signs, all such offenders have been advised in a letter to stay home from 6 p.m. on Halloween until the next morning, leave their lights off and refuse to answer their doors.
Offenders can arrange with their parole or probation officers to be elsewhere that night, and accommodations can be made for offenders who abide by the restrictions but don't want to post the signs, Bartholomew said.
"There will be some houses where it's a sex offender's house and there's not a 'No Candy' sign posted, but in all those instances, someone will be going to the house to make sure the right thing is happening at that house," Bartholomew said.
Several states, including Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois, Virginia and Texas, ban registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween, going to kids' parties, or being on the streets.
View the article here
I think that should say "imposing punishment!" Let's just call it what it is!
Brookfield - The city became the latest Waukesha County community to consider restricting where registered sex offenders can live when aldermen debated a proposal Wednesday night that could make most of the city off limits.
Communities across southeast Wisconsin are racing to enact laws that regulate where sex offenders can live. Many of the ordinances target those recently released from prison.
The Town of Brookfield and Butler have recently set limits. Waukesha debated a restriction last week. Menomonee Falls approved a similar measure in June.
The moves are driven by a fear that sex offenders with pose a threat to city residents and reduce property values. But the state Department of Corrections has said such restrictions could force sex offenders underground and gut a program that tells the public where registered sex offenders live.
- That, along with banishment and torture is the true reason behind these laws. It's not about protecting kids. 90% or more of all sex crimes occur in the child's own home, so deciding where they live has no effect on recidivism or whether another crime will occur.
Brookfield's proposal would prevent sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes against children from living within 1,500 feet of a variety of places, including schools, parks, public pools, athletic fields, day care centers and public libraries. It would also include bike trails such as the city's extensive Greenway Trail System.
- No, it will limit ALL SEX OFFENDERS, and not all sex offender have even touched a child. Plus, like I said above, 90% or more of all sex crimes against children occur in the child's own home, so how will this solve anything? It won't! It's feel-good ledislation, that's all!
Aldermen on the Common Council's Legislative and Licensing Committee disagreed on what the limit should be. Ald. Lisa Mellone suggested sex offenders should be kept 2,000 feet away from restricted areas. With dozens of restricted sites across the community, that limit would put virtually the entire city off limits.
- Hell, why don't you just make it 10 miles or 50 miles. It still won't protect anybody! You don't want them in your city anyway, so just say they can't live here. Then it becomes unconstitutional....
City Attorney Karen Flaherty said the law was based on a similar measure passed in Franklin. Even so, the city would have a hard time defending a lawsuit if the distance was 2,000 feet since so much space would be ruled out, Flaherty said.
- Follow the leader. Just because someone else does it, doesn't mean it's right. It's still violating the Constitution of the United States and other Civil/Human Rights!
Ald. Rick Owen was skeptical of whether the proposed ordinance would have any impact in reducing crime or improving safety.
- No it won't. Why don't you ask the experts instead of thinking you know everything. Experts will tell you these laws won't work, but you want to be God!
"Who isn't against sex offenders? I don't think you prove it though by going as far as you can and getting an ordinance thrown out of court," Ald. Steve Ponto said.
- What about other criminals, like murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders? Most of these kill more children than sex offenders, if you'd read. What is next? Firing up the concentration camps and ovens?
Looking at a map that used circles to show how restrictions of varying distances would limit housing, the debate threatened to become a neighborhood issue as aldermen considered how much area in their districts would be left eligible for sex offenders to live. Even a 1,000 foot restriction would make most homes off limits to sex offenders. But uneven slices of space, such as the Imperial Estates subdivision, were left unaffected because there were no schools or other restricted areas nearby.
"A significant portion of my neighborhood is unprotected. I think the people in my neighborhood want the protection of a 1,500 foot circle," said Ald. Bill Carnell, pointing to a neighborhood near N. 124th St.
- A circle isn't going to protect you from anything. A murderer could be living in that circle as well as other criminals. You people are a bunch of Nazi's afraid of your own shadow.
Ponto expressed concern that restrictions would leave sex offenders with no choice but to congregate in a few small, isolated spaces. But adding a restriction that prevents sex offenders from living within 500 or 1,000 feet of each other would eliminate the problem, Mellone said.
- And when they congregate in certain places, the neighbors will wine and moan, so we repeat the cycle over and over again. They will just vanish, because you are making the laws TOO STRICT! There is such a thing you know. You can go overboard, which all states have done, all in the name of security and bowing to their God John Walsh!
In addition to restricting areas offenders can live, the proposal would also prevent them from entering such areas, with fines up to $5,000.
View the article here
As if the noose isn't tight enough!
As of Nov. 1, the two highest levels of registered sex offenders can not live or be within 1,500 feet of Oneida County parks, playgrounds, schools and child-care centers, according to a local law unanimously passed Wednesday by the county Board of Legislators.
The legislation was introduced several months ago but tabled in order to make changes to the law, which included an exception for sex offenders who already established residency in a place in violation of the law prior to Nov. 1.
If the local law is violated by a level two or three sex offender, the person can face a misdemeanor charge.
There are 353 registered sex offenders in the county considered to be of moderate to high risk, not including those in prison, said Dave Tomidy, acting director of the county Probation Department.
Michael Jordan, 61, of New York Mills, is one of them.
Jordan is a level two sex offender and spoke against the passage of the local law at Wednesday’s meeting. He said he’s been through therapy and recovery programs and the new law is going to drastically change his life.
“We are human beings — we are people that made a mistake,” Jordan said. “I’m not planning on reoffending.”
- People don't care. They are all a bunch of sadomasicist who love to see people tortured. When they are swept up into these laws, you can bet they will be screaming about the laws then.
Jordan questioned what would happen if a sex offender was driving through one of the prohibited areas, or was employed at a work place within 1,500 feet of the designated areas.
Assistant County Attorney Ray Bara said the sex offender would be in violation of the law, and if caught, it would be up to police to enforce the law depending on the circumstance.
- So therefore, if you drive within 1,500 feet from a place, not stopping, just driving by, you could be thrown in prison. Hell, just arrest them all now them.
Legislator Daniel LaBella, D-Utica, said the law was very well thought out and will help protect the safety of the children in Oneida County.
“I firmly believe we can limit the exposure to these types of people, and I truly believe it will help our community,” he said.
David Hess, a pastor at a Rochester-area church and a New York representative of Sohopeful International — a group that tries to change the way legislation mandates the registration, tracking and community notification of nonviolent and low risk sex offenders, also spoke at the meeting.
Hess said this type of law is dangerous because it makes sex offenders less likely to register because they can’t find a place to live.
- One line of text from this man? Is that all he gets? Suppression of the truth?
“This law has no chance of surviving a legal challenge,” he said.
View the article here
Look, if we want to truly protect kids, ALL ADULTS NEED TO LEAVE AND GO LIVE ON SOME ISLAND SOME WHERE. Leave the kids along to forge for themselves. That is the only way to protect children.
A hearing is scheduled next week in Madison for a bill that would make some big changes to current sex offender laws.
Five state legislators, including Forest Junction Representative Al Ott, proposed a bill that would require all offenders on the state's registry to notify a school before he or she attended any activity on any school property.
Failure to do so could bring a penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Ott says the bill is meant to be one more way to protect children from sex offenders, "to have people informed, to know who's around, so that they can monitor appropriately then and just not be caught off-guard," the Brillion-area Republican said.
If the bill becomes law, it would affect any activity, including high school football games, graduation ceremonies, even school board meetings.
"I like the idea of making kids safer from sex offenders, but are there some better ways, more effective ways to do it? I'm not sure this one's going to work," Sue Alberti said.
Alberti is superintendent of Ashwaubenon schools. Her biggest concern with this proposed law is whether it's enforceable, and if she would know if a registered sex offender is among a crowd of thousands.
"It's a well-meaning bill, but I would question who's going to hold the offender accountable for notifying the school that he or she is coming in for an event, and how would you know if someone didn't notify you and came to the event?" Alberti said.
Green Bay Superintendent Dan Nerad agrees the bill might be hard to enforce but he thinks the idea is right.
"I think there's a lot of solutions to this problem, and I think this potentially represents one more solution," he said.
Nerad said he would even like to see the proposal go further. If he felt a registered sex offender posed a safety risk by attending an event, Nerad would want law enforcement present.
The way the current bill is worded, it lumps all registered sex offenders into one category, which Albert and the state Department of Corrections don't consider fair but Nerad says doesn't matter.
"We have an interest in knowing who's hurt a child, so we're not going to make all those fine grain distinctions, because our need is to protect," Nerad said.
View the article here
What about hate groups using Myspace to recruit? Or gangs? Huh? Come on, lets just shut down the Internet since criminals are prowling all over it. If it saves one child it's worth it, right? You should've seen Mark Lunsfords web site, before people started raising hell about it. Now he has it locked, which he should've done in the first place. He had tons of strippers and young children as friends on his Myspace page. He has made it private now, but you can see some of the snapshots from this blog. So now we basically have a witch hunt in cyberspace as well. Predators looking for predators. Nice!
Parents in Illinois might want to send Attorney General Lisa Madigan a thank you e-mail.
On Aug. 31, her office announced the arrest of a Granite City man whose name appeared on a list of registered sex offenders provided by MySpace.
- Look, just because someone may be labeled a sex offender, doesn't mean they are using MySpace to look for young children to molest and kill. This is like saying all ex-hackers who are on the Internet are hacking into computers, some may be, but not all of them are.
The online social networking site was responding to subpoenas from Madigan and 30 other state attorneys general for the names of sex offenders who were suspected of using MySpace to contact young potential victims.
- What about all the other social networking sites? Why are we picking on MySpace and Facebook? What about these?
The man was charged with one count of solicitation of child pornography and other offenses.
- Other offenses? Is that like the "other purposes" they add to laws? What other offenses?
But there might not be enough being done to deter sexual predators not registered for committing crimes, said Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org, a group promoting online safety and awareness.
"In my experiences most of the men who are preying on kids are not registered sex offenders," she said. "It's a much, much larger group, unfortunately."
- I concur, most people doing this, as seen on "To Catch A Predator" are NOT SEX OFFENDERS, yet! They just haven't been caught. So you or someone in your family may be a sex offender who just hasn't been caught yet. Come out, come out, where ever you are!
In December 2006, MySpace announced it would partner with Sentinel Tech Holding, a security group, to help pinpoint registered sex offenders signing on to MySpace.
- Big Brother in action! Not all sex offenders use sites like this to troll for kids. Many use it to keep in touch with family and friends, like the site was originally meant to be used for.
That effort found thousands of known sex offenders confirmed as MySpace members, according to a statement issued in May by state attorneys general from eight states.
- Yeah so! How many were using it to troll for kids? How come we don't hear those stats?
"The problem with the sex offender registry is that people who are smart enough are not going use their real name and a photo of their mugshot online," Aftab said.
- Duh! Probably 90% of all Internet users don't use their real names, does that mean they are up to no good?
"These networks are free and provide anonymity to their members."
- That is the whole purpose of the Internet, period. Many sites should be free, but others should have better age identification, like these sites and porn sites. You can find a porn site in a matter of minutes. Why are you not doing something about that? Or all the smut on TV?
MySpace has a safety tips page on its Web site warning teens to avoid meeting their online friends in the physical world.
- That is just to protect their own a$$e$. But will do no good. Many kids reach out because their own parents are not giving them the attention they need. Just ask them! Kids are being neglected at home, so they reach out, that is only common sense. But yeah, their parents or schools should be teaching this stuff to them, to let them know of the dangers. They need God in their lives, which I'm sure they don't have. Just look at all the kids going on rampages in schools now-a-days! What is going on? Neglect, that is what is going on!
"If you decide to meet someone you've met on MySpace, tell your parents first, do it in a public place and bring a trusted adult," the Web site states.
- This is something you should NOT be teaching kids. They should NOT BE MEETING ANYBODY THEY MEET ONLINE, PERIOD!
The Illinois attorney general's office is taking steps to combat sexual predators, registered or not.
- How? By banishing them from web sites? How is that helping?
"Child predators who think they are safe hiding behind a computer screen are no longer anonymous," Madigan said in a statement. "We have the technology, and we are committed to using all of our resources to seek them out and hold them accountable for their crimes."
- Ok, so what about serial killers, gang members, and other criminals trolling the internet? Why do we not know if we are talking to some serial killer?
View the article here
Yeah, lets demonize them. We all know what demonization is used for don't we? If not, check here.
A letter arrived home with the children: "Notice of Public Hearing, Sexual Predator Regulations." The City of Grafton has joined the growing ranks of communities adding ordinances to their books regarding regulation of sexual predators. This seems to be a precursor to an offender moving into the area.
Our family is facing a new fact of life - instead of the boogeyman in the closet, we now have the sex offender down the street.
The very things that families find desirable - schools, pools, parks and libraries - are also things that sexual predators find attractive. Cities all over the country are beginning to look at adding detailed language to their books, language that expressly prohibits sex offenders from residing within 1,000 feet of "safe zones." These are areas that children frequent.
Reading these ordinances is scary stuff. I believe that knowing the enemy is part of an effective strategy to keep families safe. Certainly, the more resources available to deter these crimes the better. But can the designated safe zones really keep our children safe?
Grafton has even added an ordinance prohibiting loitering by a sex offender near the safe zones. While knowing that there is an anti-loitering law may make it easier for a concerned citizen to report suspicious behavior, will it prevent the offender from going to these areas?
- If they are law obiding citizens, yes. But it won't protect children!
While I applaud the city for taking a proactive stance, I am dismayed that the most severe punishment these ordinances can offer is fines. While the fines are hefty, I don't see them as a huge deterrent for a repeat offender.
Also, the ordinances chart new legal territory. Many cities find the ordinances can be suspended or overturned at the federal level. In an effort to protect, the new ordinances can begin to slide into gray areas of personal freedom.
- Your freedoms will be eroded next!
Should a landlord with a home in a safe zone be prevented from renting to a sex offender? I am not talking morally prevented from doing this but legally prevented from engaging in free enterprise. Not to mention that research shows placing too many residency restrictions on offenders may cause them to leave the state registry.
Let me be clear. As a parent, my personal wish would be to have offenders branded as such, a la "The Scarlet Letter." I think the ordinances are a step in the right direction but aren't a magic bullet. These restrictions will not stop a hardcore offender, and they certainly have no effect on the deviant who has yet to be caught.
- Amen! If someone is intent on committing another crime, the registry, buffer zones or anything else about these laws will not prevent them from doing so. These are all just false senses of security to make you feel like you are safe!
More work needs to be done, some on a state level to make sure that local ordinances can be upheld at a higher level. Also, perhaps more harsh punishment is needed for those convicted. It is no good to have these laws if the offenders can get off on a technicality or claim later that their rights have been violated.
- And you need to obey to Constitution of the United States, which everyone seems to have forgotten about. This country was based on this document, and when they start eroding anybodies rights, you will be next, it's only a matter of time. Again with the word "PUNISHMENT!" You see, it is punishment, therefore it's unconstitutional! Ask anybody in the public if they think sex offender laws are punishment, see what they say!
As always, the burden is on families, to remain involved and aware of their kids' activities and surroundings.
- As it should always be, even if sex offenders did not exist! There is still murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, etc out roaming the streets which cause just as much harm!
View the article here
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The idea of forcing convicted predators to register social networking information makes sense, if not applied too broadly.
- To me it's not common sense. If the person used the Internet to do harm to a child, then yes, it makes sense. But if someone had nothing to do with the Internet when their crime was committed, it doesn't make sense. And releasing peoples emails against their will is an invasion of privacy and opens them up to harassing emails, spam and possibly porn and child porn being sent to them to get them in trouble. Why don't we broadcast EVERYONES email addresses to the world???
A Florida law that went into effect recently takes the battle against sex predators to a new level.
- With all these laws being passed, what is your intentions? To torture and punish them forever? You people are sick! Why don't you just fire up the concentration camps and ovens? What's next? You keep tightening and tightening the noose, eventually they will strike back. ANYBODY WOULD!!!!!!! People can only take so much abuse. Why don't we just have a CRIMINAL registry with ALL CRIMINALS on it for everyone to see, along with their street addresses, email addresses, work addresses, etc? That would only be fair, but then again, it's not about being fair, is it? I sure would like to know where the murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, thieves, any other sinners live, don't you?
The law imposes a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for contacting children online for the purpose of sexual gratification or to arrange a sexual encounter. The maximum punishment is among the toughest in the nation.
- Every friggin' state across the country says "it's the toughest in the nation!" Also, every time someone goes to court to sue, they say these laws are not punishment but restrictive. Then why the hell does everyone keep using the word PUNISHMENT!!!!!!! Say what it really is!!!!!! Then it can be knocked down in court for being unconstitutional, which it already is in the first place.
But another provision of the Florida law has the farthest-reaching implications. It requires sex offenders to register e-mail addresses and instant messaging names with law enforcement.
- Look, to make everyone safe, why don't we REQUIRE EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN to do the same? Put their personal information, picture, email addresses, everything on the web, so everyone can see who the criminals are that live among us? It's only fair, right? If it saves one human being, it's worth it right? If you have nothing to hide, why not?
This would seem to be a natural outgrowth of the online sex offender registries required by states. Proponents of the registries note that these Web sites help parents — and children — determine whether sex offenders live in their neighborhoods, thus alerting them to potential danger. Opponents believe forced registration goes too far, permanently branding individuals who have already paid their debt to society.
- How do they help parents? Except instill fear in them, and so they can become a vigilante and harass their neighbor! The registry, when it was offline and used by police only, it was working then, and people were not absconding. Now people are vanishing in droves. That should signal a red flag, IMO, but all the blind folks cannot see this. WAKE THE HELL UP!!!!!!! Who's liberties will be eroded next? You ever read the bible? This is all predicted!!! Next with be "666" in the forehead or right hand, and you will not be able to buy or sell without it, and those without it will be killed!
On balance, we believe that sex offender registries serve the overall common good by revealing the whereabouts of sex offenders, a group with a notoriously high rate of recidivism. Sometimes registry laws are applied too broadly, forcing registration — and thereby branding — of people who have committed crimes that aren’t severe enough to warrant such public notification of residence. Indiana and other states have dealt with this by scaling back application of the registry law, often exempting those whose crime was consensual sex with a minor of similar age.
- What a load of crap? They DO NOT HAVE A HIGH RATE OF RECIDIVISM RATE, if you'd look around and the TONS of studies on the Internet. Here is one from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and some more state specific studies, so don't believe me, read it for yourself.
Now, the Florida law takes the next step in tracking the danger posed by sex predators, requiring the registration of social networking information. Some argue that this policy tramples on individual liberty and puts law enforcement in a position to play Big Brother. They argue that the policy unfairly anticipates crime where no crime has been committed.
- Look, why don't you look on ANY registry, and tell me if you can tell if a person is TRUELY dangerous or not. Since you do not know their entire criminal history, how could you tell? You can't, so how is the registries of any use? Except to help vigilantism?
Such laws do give pause because they enable government to creep into the home. Application of the Florida law and others that will surely follow should be considered carefully. In the case that a convicted offender has a record of using online social networks to set up liaisons with children, the potential benefits of the law necessitate the imposition on individual rights. But states should be careful not to apply the law too broadly to monitor those who have no established propensity to use social networks to prey on children.
- And the government creeping into peoples homes, should have EVERYONE nervous. You will be next, you watch. This is a precursor to what is to come, all in the name of security!!!
Above all, we should focus on making the world a safer place for our children. Let’s just make sure we’re protecting them from the right people, rather than placing blanket restraints on those who do not pose a demonstrated threat.
- Then we need to stop killing one another, stop making guns, drugs, porn and sex on TV, bring God back into the mix, the list is endless. All this smoke screen crap is not going to solve anything. NOBODY WILL EVER BE SAFE WITH ALL THE STUFF GOING ON IN THE WORLD, THAT IS ONLY COMMON SENSE, for those who have any brains left! Know God, Know Peace, No God, No Peace!