Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NY - Flaws of New York sex offender registry revealed

View the article here

Just goes to show you, the data on the registry is only as good as the person entering the data or what was provided. I'm sure many states are just like this.

01/15/2008

ALBANY - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released an audit Tuesday of the state sex offender registry that, while generally positive, found "significant" flaws with its administration.

According to the findings, one-fourth of the records investigators surveyed had mismatched driver's license information and, in some cases, license details for the wrong people were given out as those of offenders.
- So who enters this data? Are you going to round up these people because your staff cannot enter data correctly?

Auditors randomly sampled license data for 200 of the state's 23,000 registered sex offenders, and found "a quarter of the records did not match," DiNapoli spokeswoman Jennifer Freeman said. "If you apply this to the entire database, we are concerned that this problem may be significant."

The audit also found the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, legally responsible for maintaining the sex offender registry, in some cases failed to follow up with local law enforcement agencies that were trying to locate offenders.

"DCJS is not reaching out to local law enforcement to find out the status of these investigations," Freeman said. "We don't want to see any sex offender missed because of miscommunication between Justice Services and local law enforcement."

The Division of Criminal Justice Services said it had corrected the errors in the driver's license data and was moving to improve communications with local law enforcement.
- Oh I'm sure you still screwed up some. Human error....

"We are working diligently to implement the recommendations," said Janine Kava, a spokeswoman for the agency. "We want to ensure that the state's sex offender registry remains accurate and up to date and continues to be an important resource for the public."

Kava said the agency has begun working closely with local police forces to issue arrest warrants for those who fail to register their addresses with authorities. The DCJS has also begun posting names and photos of missing sex offenders on the agency Web site and appealing to the public for help in finding them.
- I hope these are not due to your own screw ups when entering the data? When the offenders come in, they fill out paperwork. Do they get a copy of it, so they can verify you screwed up and not them?

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse welcomed the audit findings.

"We commend the comptroller for making child safety and community safety a top priority," said Laura Ahern, director of Parents for Megan's Law. She said complaints from the community regarding inaccuracies in the registry were among the most common her Stony Brook-based group receives. "The registry is only one tool, but if it's going to be a tool the government is providing it has to be accurate," she said.
- When you have to deal with humans entering the data, it's always going to be screwed up. Believe me, I was a programmer for 11 1/2 years and had to deal with this on a daily basis. It will NEVER be fixed until it's automated somehow.

Ahern took issue with DiNapoli's recommendation that the state record calls it receives to the hotline offering information on registered offenders for training and quality purposes.

"Somebody who is victimized has a fear that somehow or another that information would get back to the offender," Ahern said. "So they don't call."


FL - Politician's Plan Keeps Better Tabs On Sex Offenders

View the article here

I truly believe almost everybody in office is brain dead!

01/15/2008

Bill Would Replace Local Ordinances With 'Floating Restrictions'
- I don't like this "floating" term. That means they can do anything anytime they want.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Parents at George English Park feel comfortable knowing the city keeps registered sex offenders far away from their children. The state prohibits offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, park or anywhere else that kids gather, but Fort Lauderdale pushes them back even farther to 1,400 feet.

"You have to make it safe for the kids. I don't know I just don't trust those kinds of people," said Oz Carranza, one of several parents at English park Tuesday afternoon.

Nearly every city in South Florida has "Sex Offender Residency Restrictions" that are tougher than the state's. It's why a group of ex-convicts are living under the Oakland Park Boulevard bridge. They can't find a place to live that isn't near a school, park or children's bus stop. The Department of Corrections wants them to be under the bridge every night so probation officers can check on them.

Marco DaCosta was sent to the bridge as a condition of his parole, even though he’s never been convicted of a sex crime.

"There's not even a park bench that you can sleep on. You have to sleep in the dirt," DaCosta told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

What most parents don't realize is that the felons only have to be under the bridge at night but during the day, they are allowed to go wherever they want.

"You couldn't think of a worse system that undermines public safety more than the current system we have," said State Sen. Dave Aronberg (Contact), D-Lake Worth.
- Then do something about it, that is your job!!!!

Aronberg thinks he has a plan to fix the system. He's working on a bill that would replace all local ordinances with the state's 1,000 foot rule and then create a "floating restriction" whereby offenders wouldn't be allowed within 300 feet of a school or park 24 hours a day.
- WTF??? This is total BS, and will not solve anything! Come up with a REAL solution, not some quick BS law that will not work.

Aronberg believes the Department of Corrections will be able to track offenders more effectively if they can find a place to live.

"When the only alternative is to live under a bridge, they'll say 'no, we’re going to live in a house, we're just not going to tell you where we are,' and that to me is the most dangerous situation, when we lose sight of them," said Aronberg.

He believes local efforts to protect public safety actually undermines public safety because a system that he thinks makes no sense, is giving parents a false sense of security.

Aronberg plans to file his bill so lawmakers can begin working on it when the session begins in March.


OR - Advocacy group accuses Washington County sheriff of inflaming community

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01/15/2008

The attorney for eight "guilty except for insanity" residents of Connell House in Cornelius has accused Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon of violating federal law with"false and misleading information" to the community.

Gordon, who recently notified 1,300 Cornelius residents of three sex offenders living in Connell House, said he believes his statements are accurate but that he may not have all the key information. (Previous stories from The Oregonian.)

In a Jan. 11 letter to Gordon, Bob Joondeph, executive director of the Oregon Advocacy Center, charged that Gordon had "endangered the safety of Connell House residents and staff by encouraging irrational public passions." He said the sheriff had violated the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits anyone from denying a dwelling to a person because of a disability, which in this case would be mental illness. The act also prohibits intimidating or interfering with the residents' enjoyment of their home.

"I just think that's silly," said Gordon, who hosted a public meeting that drew nearly 300 people, some of whom said they were angry and frightened because of the Connell House. The residents of the house have been found "guilty except for insanity" for crimes ranging from attempted murder and rape to assault and arson.

"I've dealt with the public on a lot of issues," he said. "They just want information. They're a very smart group of people and a very controlled group of people. To say they're going to go berserk, that's ridiculous."
- No it's not. Why don't you look at all the number of sex offenders harassed, killed and beaten due to these BS laws! Not all people will, but a large number of them do. Check out my blog and you will see this is a FACT!

Gordon said that several of Joondeph's charges about inaccurate statements are matters of nuance or semantics.

Joondeph criticized Gordon for characterizing the residents as "high-risk offenders who should never be released to the community."

Joondeph said the residents have gone through multiple screenings by experts and that the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, which releases and supervises them, has an exemplary safety record.

Washington County District Attorney Bob Hermann, who prosecuted the 1988 case against sex offender and Connell House resident Matthew Shipley, said he didn't object to Shipley's conditional release because he knew Shipley had gone through 20 years of treatment and because he trusted the review board's judgment.

"Traditionally, the PSRB has been very selective and run a pretty tight ship from a public safety standpoint, at least in our county," Hermann said.

Gordon said 10 (out of 500) "guilty except for insanity" clients have committed new felonies since 2002 -- a low rate statistically, but a disaster for the victims.
- You see folks, he admits here the recidivism rate is VERY LOW!!!!!

Joondeph said his office is currently focusing on Cornelius' revocation of the conditional use permit for Connell House and is not actively pursuing a lawsuit against Gordon.

In an earlier letter, however, he promised legal action if any Connell House residents or staff are harmed as a result of Gordon's actions.


OH - WTVG -- Sex offenders across the state are vowing to fight the changes to the new laws.

View the article here

01/15/2008

Sex offenders across the state are vowing to fight the changes to the new sex offender classification laws. A local sex offender says the new law is an extra punishment. The 53-year-old sex offender is fighting the state's new sex offender registration requirements.

In 1999, the Seneca County man was convicted of gross sexual imposition. He touched an underage girl, but he says he regrets violating his victim, a crime he says he has done time for. Ohio's new sex offender registry requires the offender to now register for 25 years instead of 10 years. Prosecutors say the new law will help protect the community.
- How does increasing someones time on the registry protect them anymore? It doesn't! It violates the Constitution of the United States and the state Constitution as well. Prosecutors want convictions, because it makes them look better.

Attorney Richard Kahler represents the sex offender in our story. He says people across the state are challenging the new law just like his client.
- EVERY SEX OFFENDER SHOULD CHALLENGE THESE DRACONIAN LAWS, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU LIVE!

Judge Michael Kelbley says as he hears the cases, he plans to talk to judges in Lucas County to see how they are handling them. According to investigators, research shows most convicted sex offenders commit many assaults before they are caught. Many offenders have no official criminal record or sex crime history.
- This is a load of BS! I have tons of studies and FACTS here and here.


SC - Aiken County Sex Offender Law Too Strict, Critics Want Changes

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Video available at the site. More people with brains!

01/15/2008

Aiken County Council will try to iron out details of a proposed sex offender law--some say the current law is too strict to enforce.

Like many day care managers Judy Thompson, of Building Blocks Child Development Center, wouldn't mind having a new sex offender law in Aiken.

She's knows 76 sex offenders live near her school, one just three blocks away.

“Yes it would make the children safer but if they've done a hideous crime, I think they should be in jail. I don't think they should be living next door to anybody,” said Thompson.

But at least 200 of them do live in Aiken County. 15 sex offenders moved from Richmond County after Georgia passed a similar law. Council member LaWana McKenzie (Email), a co-sponsor of Aiken's proposed law, admits changes are needed.

She says if passed today too many offenders would have to move or quit their jobs because they live or work within a 1,000 feet of where a child would be.

“I do think it will pass council eventually but we want to pass it in the best form were we can be fair and tough,” said McKenzie.

Critics say part of being fair includes allowing sex offenders who already live in Aiken County to stay there if the law is passed.

If a school or church is built within 1,000 feet of where a sex offender already lives, that offender would not be forced to move.

Critics say the law should be enforced in both cities and unincorporated areas and clearly define who the law should apply to.

“There's a lot of different things people do that require them to be registered as sex offenders and it is very narrow in scope when you look at the state law,” said McKenzie.

A law, if brought to Aiken, may need more tweaks before it’s passed.

The council has already passed two readings of the proposed law. McKenzie hopes after the changes, a final reading will be passed next month.


TX - Indictment dismissed against Houston man cleared by DNA testing

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01/15/2008

HOUSTON—The Harris County district attorney has dismissed a rape indictment against a Houston man who was freed in October after a DNA test showed he was innocent of a rape for which he spent 12 years in prison.

The dismissal Monday represents the final major legal hurdle for Ronald Taylor, who is the third innocent man released from prison because of mistakes made by the Houston Police Department's crime lab.

Once District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sends a letter to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles, Taylor will be eligible for up to $50,000 for each of the 12 years he spent behind bars. Rosenthal's letter probably will be sent Tuesday, said Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center that specializes in overturning wrongful convictions.

Taylor, 48, was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 1993 rape of a woman. The victim told authorities she glimpsed her attacker's face and identified Taylor as the rapist.

At the trial, a Houston police crime lab analyst testified that there was no semen on a bed sheet. But last summer, a private lab retested the sheet and found semen that was matched to Roosevelt Carroll, currently in prison for failing to register as a sex offender. Carroll also has been convicted of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault.

Rosenthal has said Carroll will not be prosecuted for the rape because the statute of limitations has expired.

The Innocence Project of Texas is reviewing about 180 serology cases from the Houston police crime lab that were identified by a county review as having "major issues." The crime lab's accuracy has been in question since at least 2002, when the DNA section was shut down. Inaccuracies were later found in four other lab divisions that test firearms, body fluids and controlled substances. The DNA section has since been reopened.

Taylor is the 30th Texan exonerated by DNA evidence. Those numbers do not include three recent cases from Dallas in which DNA testing showed the men were wrongly convicted. In those three cases, the men have not yet had their convictions vacated or indictments dismissed.

Texas leads the nation in DNA exonerations. There have been 212 DNA exonerations nationwide, according to the Innocence Project.


AR - Fort Smith Authorities Track Area Sex Offenders Online

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You see, Family Watchdog has a business, so this is why they came down so hard on the Human Rights Watch report. They would lose their business if the registries went offline and used by police only, like they were originally.

01/14/2008

A new addition to the Fort Smith Police Department Web site is designed to increase resident awareness of where dangerous sex offenders live.

The Police Department has hired the nonprofit organization Family Watchdog to provide a service that keeps track of where Level 3 and Level 4 registered sex offenders live and displays those locations via the Police Department’s Web site, according to Sgt. Adam Holland of the Police Department’s Cyber Investigation Unit.

The Police Department launched the new addition to its Web site on Jan. 5 and anticipates providing more types of crime awareness in the future as Family Watchdog enhances the services on its Web site, according to Holland.

“We’re getting to come in on the ground floor as they change their Web site,” Holland said.

Over the summer, the Police Department officials began searching for an organization that would help them provide data and locations of sex offenders in Fort Smith and throughout the nation. Holland said he initially spoke with an organization that provided a sex offender database at a cost higher than the money afforded by the Police Department’s budget.

The Cyber Investigations Unit, Holland said, chose Family Watchdog about two months ago. Family Watchdog, he said, would provide the Police Department a database comparable to costly databases free of charge.

Holland said prior to signing on with Family Watchdog, he checked the organization’s credentials with law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Florida that use the service. “I called and talked with the investigators, and they spoke very highly of (Family Watchdog),” he said.

Holland said his department is one of the first in Arkansas to implement a database that helps residents pinpoint which streets and blocks are inhabited by felons classified as sexually violent offenders.

To search for a sex offender, Holland said, go to the Police Department’s Web site, and click on “public awareness” at the top of the page. After a list of public awareness links pop up, click on the “Sex Offender Search” option. A disclaimer page will pop up, but click on the “National Sex Offender” link at the bottom of the page, and the Police Department’s Family Watchdog page will pop up. Sex offender locations are marked on virtual maps of cities throughout the nation.

Family Watchdog updates its service with the most recent sex offender residence locations by consulting official state crime databases. Holland said he can send updated information and photos of local sex offenders to Family Watchdog, which then quickly integrates the new material into its database.

Residents, Holland said, can search for sex offenders by name or physical characteristics.

Holland said he looks forward to a new crime-mapping feature Family Watchdog is preparing to launch. Crime-mapping, he said, will allow residents to see which crimes are occurring in their area.


NH - National Child Abuse Expert Available to Discuss MySpace Agreement

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01/15/2008

NewswiseDavid Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, is available to discuss new policies adopted by MySpace designed to protect children from Internet predators.

On Monday, MySpace reached an agreement with nearly all of the nation’s attorneys general to implement changes designed to protect children from Internet predators. Among the changes, MySpace will create an e-mail registry for parents that allows them to restrict their child’s access to the site by submitting their child's e-mail addresses to registry. MySpace also plans to investigate better ways to verify ages of subscribers. MySpace has 110 million registered users and is the nation’s largest social-networking site.
- Oh, now we are creating a registry of children. Who is next? Blacks, Mexicans, etc?

According to Finkelhor, this is an important agreement for a number of reasons:

“A majority of online teens use social networking sites, and the overwhelming number use MySpace, partly because of its openness. Unlike many other current child safety initiatives, such as sex offender residency restrictions, this one is nuanced and complex in its approach -- for example, thinking about the different needs and risks for different aged youth.”

“However, some very important caveats exist. The parties have not solved some of the most important problems, such as how to verify the ages of participants. The technology and social networking environment is changing so fast, much of this initiative could be obsolete in a year or two.”
- Why doesn't the government give MySpace and other sites access to the SSN database? Then the user can enter their SSN# and it is verified that way? Seems logical to me. But what if that gets stolen by hackers?

“The attorneys general should be congratulated for showing what can be done. But ultimately, this is not the best arrangement for ‘watchdogging’ the safety of kids online. We need more agencies with a national scope, both in the federal government, equivalent to the Federal Trade Commission, and in the private sector, equivalent to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, with the resources and leverage to be doing this study and negotiation on an ongoing basis.”
- Why does the government (Big Brother) have to watch over everyone? I can take care of myself, and I think the parents should be watching their kids as well, and installing software to monitor and restrict their kids access. It's not that hard, but if you don't tell them how to do it, what good is all this? Wake up! The entire world is dangerous and any one of us could die at any moment. Criminals have and will find a way around anything you put together...

Links of Interest

One in 25 Online Youth Asked To Send Sexual Pictures of Themselves
http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2007/july/lw17youth.cfm
- So where is the statistics on who is asking this? Other kids or adults? I'd like to see that. I am willing to bet they are being asked by other kids a majority of the time, and on occasion by adults. If they are asked, why don't you teach them how to get the persons IM name or MySpace account name, and a link they can go to to report it? Also, like the "just say no" campaign about drugs, why not here? Teach them how to say NO!

Survey Identifies Teen Online Behaviors Associated With Online Interpersonal Victimization
http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2007/feb/lw07teen.cfm


CO - Sex offender’s dad: Predator label arbitrary

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Hey John Walsh, Mark Lunsford, etc.. I thought the Adam Walsh law and other sex offender laws were not for situations like this? Then why are so many children being labeled sex offenders because of your hatred and lies, and their lives ruined forever?

01/15/2008

LONGMONT — Sean Christopher Jackson’s legal problems began in 2004 when he was an 18-year-old Skyline High School senior and a 14-year-old girl accused him of giving her alcohol and having sex with her.

The following year, a second accuser stepped forward and Jackson broke a deal with prosecutors for a second chance. He landed in prison.

Before his release from the Colorado Department of Corrections earlier this month, state officials evaluated Jackson, now 22, and designated him as a “sexually violent predator.” The designation is applied to sex offenders considered likely to reoffend.

In January 2004, a 14-year-old Longmont girl accused Jackson of assaulting her at a party. Another girl accused him of assaulting her when she was 14 and he was 17. With charges pending against him, he was banned from his 2004 graduation ceremony by St. Vrain Valley School District officials.

In January 2005, in a deal with prosecutors, Jackson pleaded guilty to felony attempted sexual assault and misdemeanor assault. A Boulder District judge allowed a deferred sentence for his felony conviction, which meant the conviction would have been removed from his record had he stayed clear of breaking the law for four years.

Eight days after he was sentenced to work-release, Jackson failed to return to the jail. As a result, he was sentenced in September 2005 to three years in prison on the felony charge.

Through his father, Dwight Jackson, Sean Christopher Jackson declined to comment. But Dwight Jackson provided written comments to the Times-Call.

Dwight Jackson believes the criteria for the lifetime “sexually violent predator” label is arbitrary.

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, a “sexually violent predator ” label is applied to offenders who meet all of the criteria outlined on a state-designed assessment, including: the offender was an adult at the time of the crime or was tried as an adult; was convicted of first-, second- or third-degree sexual assault, sexual assault on a child or sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust; didn’t know the victim or had “established or promoted a relationship primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization”; and “is likely to subsequently commit one or more of the offenses.”

Dwight Jackson said his son accepted the original plea agreement because he did not have the money to defend himself and was not going to risk the sentencing consequences of the charges he was facing.

“Consider the fact that he was 17 and 18 and the girls were 14 or 15 at the time,” Dwight Jackson wrote. “Regardless of the he-said-she-said tussle, this is not a 50-year-old man preying on 4- and 5-year-old little boys and girls.”

Dwight Jackson said the sexually violent predator label was not part of his son’s original plea agreement.

“The criteria for being an SVP is entirely subjective and based on sketchy psychological evaluations,” Dwight Jackson wrote. “People in Longmont should be more afraid of opportunistic (district attorneys) in Boulder who are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars than immature, misguided teenagers.”

As part of his parole, Jackson may not have contact with anyone younger than 18 or his victims. He must participate in mental-health and alcohol- and drug-treatment programs and must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sean Christopher Jackson will live at 10480 Mooring Road during his parole and will be monitored by a parole officer, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.

Dwight Jackson said his son is afraid of violating his parole by commenting on his situation.

“His hope is that the community would use common sense and good judgment,” he wrote.


TALK BACKS: Undercover Sex Stings

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Yes I agree the police and not vigilantes like Perverted-Justice should be doing this. They should be out arresting people who harm children and produce child porn as well as murderers, drug dealers/users, gang members, etc. I am all for this personally. But people like Perverted-Justice need to be shut down and let the police do their jobs. Visit Corrupted-Justice to find out what PJ is REALLY about, which is harassment, slander, stalking in some cases, etc. They (or their partners) have even threatened me. What they are doing is cyber-stalking, harassment, slander, you name it, and is illegal and they should be prosecuted, IMO.

01/15/2008

In Monday's Download segment we discussed undercover sex stings. In particular we talked about Collins leader Allen Kauffman. He was arrested and charged with attempting to entice what he thought was a 13 year old girl in an internet chatroom. The girl turned out to be a police officer in Diamond. Our question to you was "Should police be allowed to pose as teenagers online?"

We got a great amount of response from viewers not only through texts and emails, but also online. You can read the original story by clicking here.. You can still join in the discussion by commenting below. Here are your Talk Backs...

“Yes who else is going to catch those creeps who try to get with teens”

“They can go undercover other places why not the internet?” –Jason

“100 percent YES. These preditors need to be of the streets. It would also help if parents were more active in kid's lives.” –Charles

“Yes they should be allowed ur not doing something wrong u shouldn't have a problem”

“Yes i think it is ok for police to pose as teens but i dont think that they should be thrown in jail if this has been their first time”
- I don't agree with this. They should not be talking sexually with young kids period. And they should be prosecuted.

“You Bet! Anyway or anything law enforcement can use to catch these predators should be used.”

“Unfortunately the times demands it. Children first.” –John, Nixa
- So why don't we have an age limit for the Internet? If it's so dangerous, then you should be 18 before you can use it, IMO. Just like driving a car, drinking, etc. We should be educating the parents and working on preventing sex crimes in the first place and rehabilitating people, not locking them up and throwing away the key. Everyone is redeemable, regardless of what some heartless folks may think. The way they are going about it at the present will solve nothing, except bring more arrests and overflow and already overflowing prison system.

“Well, let's think clearly and morally. It is against the law to lie to law enforcement, an offense that results i jail time. But, it should be legal for police to lie? Of course not. The hypocrasy involved in this activity is not a symptom, but a cause, of the anything-goes attitude in our society. Consider that no underage victim exists when an adult, whether police or not, pretends to be a teenager wanting sex. So, no crime has occurred. Only God is entitled to punish people for what is "in their heart". This foolish disregard for truth in law enforcement is eroding what has been an upright example of morality in our society: law enforcement officers.”

“Absolutely yes!!!!” –Kathy, Willard

“Policel pose enough already... But sexual predators need to be repremanded.”

“I think it is a great thing for police to set up stings. i belive if they catch enough sexual predators that they might stop talking to minors on the web. so i belive it will be a great thing.”
- I see your point, but it won't stop.. If you think it will, you are lying to yourself.

“Yes thay shood.” –Kathy

“YES police should be allowed to pose as teens to catch a child predator. We have to do something to stop this epidemic and we have all seen the results on Dateline. There is a real problem out there with these predators and they comb the internet looking for victims and if the cops can take them out, them more power to them and keep it up. Make life a bit safer even if it is in your own little piece of the world.” –Dee, Conway
- It's not an epidemic!! It's been around for ages, but is just in the media more to bring them more ratings... Sex sells. And in today's voyeuristic society, we love to watch other people get in trouble, why do you think Jerry Springer, Oprah and other shows like this are so popular. We have lost our morals and values... Everything you said above, you sound like Bill O'Reilly or something. Do you believe everything the TV tells you? Apparently so..

“yes i think that the cop was in the right. just because the man didnt follow through does not mean that he would not of. he oviously didnt get the chance and could of if it wasnt for the smarts of a police officer.”

“I am in favor of police acting as a young person to catch a predator. Anything that will stop or discourage a predator before a child is violated should be acceptable.” –Alice

“In regard to the recent sex offender case involving a minister/mayor (?), I think that it is frightening how many of these people live among us as "holier than thou" but have an alternative lifestyle behind closed doors...however, I believe that this predatory practice made famous by the national network investigations has gotten way out of hand. Parents need to parent minor children on the internet and watch closely what they access (no My Space) and law enforcement officers need to go by the book, not pose as someone they are not. After all, if one of us poses as a law enforcement officer isn't it a felony?? I think it is our responsibility as citizens to know who our mayors and ministers and other public figures are. Just because they have a bible in their hands doesn't make them good...it may just be their marketing ploy.”
- AMEN!!!

“i beleave when a person who pray on under age kids if i was a judge i would put them in jail for about 25 to 50 years them kind of people do not need to be on our streets the courts are to slack on them” –Jim, Warsaw
- This is why you are not a judge!

“No, that is entrapment which used to be against the law”
- No it's not. Close, but it's not. It's just like them posing as prostitutes and arresting people who want sex from them.

“Too many of our youths are involved in these chat rooms and I feel it is our law enforcement's duty to use this media (the internet) to find the predators. It is unfortunate that the sex predators have found a new way to find their victims. Our youth and community needs to feel protected in every way.”
- By who? Do you want the government deciding when you can breath or use the bathroom? You need to be responsible for yourself and stop wanting someone else to do it, so you have someone to blame besides yourself when something happens. Our whole society is like this now.. Who can I blame for my mistake???

“Absolutely. Police should be allowed to pose as teenagers online, because of all the sexual preditors out there, and if it was their daughter or their son, they would agree with me. God says, ‘Woe to them who harm little children.’” –Tony, Salem
- I'm sorry, but you misquoted that bible verse. That verse means "woe to them that cause these little ones to SIN". Look it up yourself and bust out the dictionary... Educate yourself my friend!

“it is legal for police to run sting operation s they let him hang himself now he should pay”


TX - Mansfield residents call on mayor to resign

View the article here | Another here

Witch Hunts are popular these days, thanks to politicians and the media. Poetic Justice!! What goes around, comes around. I wish they'd do this in Georgia with Jerry Keen and Sonny Purdue... People are starting to see the light, finally. And in Texas, the last place I'd expect this.

01/15/2008

MANSFIELD - The mayor of one of the fastest growing affluent cities in North Texas endured a long, public tongue-lashing last night from citizens who want him to resign.

Mansfield city council formally accepted petitions to recall the mayor, and residents unloaded on him.

It was the 21st century Texas version of villagers coming with pitchforks.

Mansfield residents collected far more signatures than needed to force a recall vote on Mayor Barton Scott.

"They think you're doing a horrible job as mayor and ruining our city," said one resident, Joyce Williams.

Mayor Scott could do nothing but sit there and take it from citizen after citizen.

"You're a poor image for the city Bart. Bad leader," said another resident.

Scott is a political newcomer, trying to lead Mansfield, while teaching full time, tutoring a school chess club and raising a family.

Critics claim he missed signing important bond documents because he was too busy.

"That I had flatly refused to sign a bond document because I was too busy playing chess. That's an absolute lie," he said.

Scott says opponents want to get him for pushing for tough new sex offender restrictions that have been repeatedly rejected.

"We are not supporters of pedophile rights. We are supporters of the right to have a competent mayor," said Williams.

If the signatures are validated in the next few days, then the mayor will have a public name-clearing hearing. The recall vote could be held in May.


OH - Local Sex Offenders Still Posting Online

View the article here

I guess their little "crack down" isn't working. I thought they were checking people who sign on against the registries? Just shows you, people can create a new identity in a matter of minutes and then go online, if that is their intention. I agree, they should not be talking with kids, but just because a sex offender is using MySpace to keep in touch with family and friends, doesn't mean they are trolling for kids. Video available at the site.

01/15/2008

COLUMBUS - 10 Investigates found sex offenders who were still contacting teenagers on MySpace, the world's most popular social-networking Web site, one day after it announced it would more closely monitor user-submitted photos and videos.

The site, which has more than 200 million registered users, will make it harder for adults to contact teenagers.

10 Investigates first uncovered the problem in 2006, finding more than 50 central Ohio sex offenders registered on MySpace.

"We're worried adults will have unsolicited sexual contact with children," said Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.

Dann and numerous attorneys general leaned on MySpace and even threatened litigation.

On Monday, MySpace announced that it was cracking down, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported. The company said it would implement stricter identity standards and logs of who signs on from computers would go into effect immediately.

Critics said that determined predators would still hide their identities.

Edwin Salazar, a registered sex offender who was featured in a 2006 10 Investigates report, said that he thought the crackdown is a good idea.

He said that he has moved onto Facebook, another social networking site.


IL - Fourth man charged in killing

View the article here | More at eAdvocate

07/13/2007

ALTON — A fourth man was charged Friday with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the February beating death of a man at the Alton Acres public housing complex.

The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Sherman L. Crockett, 25, of St. Louis, with the Feb. 22 killing of Ernest V. Walker, 41, of the 1300 block of Alby Street in Alton. Crockett was charged in the criminal information with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping, a Class X felony.

No bond was set for Crockett, who remained at large Friday, authorities said.

Another man charged March 1 with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the killing was arrested on a felony warrant Saturday in Hennepin County, Minn., while hiding in the Minneapolis area.

Lt. David Hayes, chief of detectives for the Alton Police Department, said the Ramsey County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Office had notified the Madison County Sheriff’s Department that they had Kevin M. “K-9” Scott, 27, of Wellston, in custody.

“Sgt. Gary Cranmer and Detective Pete Vambaketes on Monday morning flew to Minnesota,” Hayes said. “They interviewed Mr. Scott, and it was very productive and fruitful. It has confirmed all the evidence we had against Mr. Scott and the other defendants and shed light on another suspect.”

Alton Police Chief Chris Sullivan said Scott provided information that allowed detectives to more solidly piece together the chain of events in the homicide that began in Alton and ended with a mortally beaten Walker being dumped in a lot in Wellston in North St. Louis County.

Authorities believe Walker was killed because of “alleged sexual abuse of a family member of one of the defendants,” Sullivan said.

Charges filed March 1 in Madison County Circuit Court say three men repeatedly hit, kicked and stomped on Walker and slit his throat Feb. 22 outside his girlfriend’s apartment at Alton Acres and confined him against his will.

The men then drove Walker to Wellston and dumped him under an abandoned car seat in an empty lot. His body was found Feb. 24.

Besides Scott and Crockett, the other men charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping in Walker’s death are Terry A. Ballinger, of the 3100 block of Paul Street in Alton, and Eric J. Swisher, of the 3200 block of Belle Street in Alton.

Scott’s girlfriend at the time, Sigrid L. Hickman, of the 3100 block of Belle Street, was charged with concealment of a homicidal death. She was accused of destroying physical evidence of the slaying and providing a car for transporting Walker after the attack.

Sullivan said Walker was to be extradited at any time from Minnesota to the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville.


Bill O'Reilly is a liar and hates child abuse victims

As you would say yourself Mr. "nothing but spin" O'Reilly

S H U T U P - H Y P O C R I T E


GA - House leaders try again to limit where sex offenders live

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01/15/2008

ATLANTA -- House lawmakers tried on Tuesday renewed their effort to limit where sex offenders live and work, months after the state's top court declared the strict residency requirements unconstitutional.

The Georgia Supreme Court in November overturned a portion of the tough law passed two years ago that banned sex offenders from living and working within 1,000 feet of schools, churches and other areas where children congregate.

Under a new bill introduced by House Republicans Tuesday, a sex offender who owns his or her home would no longer have to vacate it if a center where children gather later opens up within 1,000 feet of the home.

It carves out a similar exception for sex offenders who have established employment, allowing them to keep their job if a day care center or other gathering spot pops up.

State Rep. David Ralston (Email), the Republican who sponsored the bill, said keeping Georgia children safe is a top priority.
- And upholding the Constitution, which he and others took an oath to uphold, is not important? You lied!!

Last year's bill prohibited sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of just about anywhere children gather - schools, churches, parks, gyms, swimming pools or one of the state's 150,000 school bus stops.

It led to challenges from groups like the Southern Center for Human Rights, which argued that it would render vast residential areas off-limits to sex offenders and could backfire by encouraging offenders to stop reporting there whereabouts to authorities.

The Georgia Supreme Court overturned the law in November, saying the law failed to protect the property rights of offenders, who could be forced to move if a facility catering to children pops up near their home.

House Republican leaders quickly vowed to introduce new legislation to soothe the court's concerns. The bill will face its first test on Wednesday, when it will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee.


NY - MySpace works on sex predator and bully issues

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Why don't they just set an age limit to 18, and anyone under 18 cannot use the site? They'd still have to verify the ages, but that can be done by a parent using a credit card # or something, but that is still not perfect.

01/15/2008

NEW YORK -- Under mounting pressure from law enforcement authorities and parents, MySpace agreed Monday to take steps aimed at protecting youngsters from online sexual predators and bullies, including searching for ways to better verify users' ages.

The hugely popular online hangout will create a task force of industry professionals to watch over its operations, and other social-networking sites will be invited to participate.

"We must keep telling children that they're not just typing into a computer. They're sharing themselves with the world," said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The deal comes as sites such as MySpace and Facebook have grown exponentially in recent years, with teenagers making up a large part of their membership. This has created a new venue for sexual predators who lie about their age to lure young victims and for cyber bullies who send threatening and anonymous messages.

But Monday's announcement was short on specifics about how improvements would be carried out. And skeptics are doubtful that MySpace and similar sites can eliminate the problems because age-verification technology is difficult to implement and predators are good at circumventing restrictions.

Parry Aftab, executive director of Wiredsafety.org, a children's Internet safety group, said the agreement was a good first step but could have unforeseen consequences.

"There's no system that will work for age verification without putting kids at risk," she said. "Age verification requires that you have a database of kids and if you do, that database is available to hackers and anyone who can get into it."

The only state not joining the agreement was Texas, where the attorney general said he cannot support the effort unless it takes specific, workable action to verify people's ages.

"We do not believe that MySpace.com -- or any other social-networking site -- can adequately protect minors" without an age-proof system, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. "We are concerned that our signing the joint statement would be misperceived as an endorsement of the inadequate safety measures."

MySpace has more than 200 million registered users worldwide, and Facebook claims more than 61 million users.

Investigators have grown increasingly interested in the sites in their search for sexual offenders. New York investigators said they set up Facebook profiles last year as 12- to 14-year olds and were quickly contacted by users looking for sex.

"We thank the attorneys general for a thoughtful and constructive conversation on Internet safety," MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam said in a statement.

Under the agreement, profiles for users under age 16 will be set to private in an effort to keep strangers from getting information from the profiles.

MySpace said it was combing through sex offender registries to identify predators, who would then be kicked off the site. But sex offenders are unlikely to open an account under their real names, as are underage children.

MySpace said it is creating a database where parents can submit children's e-mail addresses to prevent their children from setting up profiles.


HI - Hawaii Law Enforcement Coalition Lays Out 2008 Legislative Package

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01/15/2008

HONOLULU - The Hawaii Law Enforcement Coalition has announced a legislative package of six bills designed to protect the public, to protect children and adults from sex offenders, to protect victims of domestic violence, and to reform laws regarding testimony.

The Law Enforcement Coalition comprises the Attorney General, the Prosecuting Attorneys and Police Chiefs of Hawaii’s four counties, and the United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii. The members of the Coalition support a broad range of measures to protect public safety, help law enforcement, and help restore balance to the criminal justice system. Each of the six bills included in the Coalition’s legislative package has the unanimous support of every member of the Coalition.

The following bills comprise the 2008 Law Enforcement Coalition legislative package:

Public Safety

• Strengthens laws to protect the public, especially children, from sex offenders

This bill strengthens sex offender registration laws to comply with parts of Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

In addition, this bill adds mandatory sentencing provisions for serious child abuse and electronic enticement offenses. These provisions focus on offenses involving the dissemination or possession of child pornography and electronic enticement where the offender travels to meet with a child to engage in a sexual offense. The bill also addresses possession of particularly violent or egregious child pornography that involves a child under the age of twelve, sadomasochistic abuse of a minor, sexual penetration of a minor, or bestiality involving a minor.

With regard to sex offender registration, all public information will be available on the Internet, thus citizens will no longer need to travel to a police station or the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center to access information on some offenders. Publicly available information will be significantly expanded, and will include age, a physical description, including any identifying marks such as scars or tattoos, expanded residence information, professional licenses held, an electronic link to the public criminal conviction history of the offender, the judgments of conviction documenting the covered offenses for which the offender is required to register, and a link to the law setting out the crimes for which the offender was convicted.

Registration information that offenders will need to provide to authorities will be significantly expanded, including e-mail addresses, instant messaging information, cell phone numbers, and car registration information.

In addition, the Attorney General will establish a system where the public can get periodic information about newly furnished information from covered offenders in, for example, a particular geographic location.

And, starting in 2009, offenders will be required to report to authorities in person, to update information and to have a new picture taken every year instead of every five years. In this age of electronic communication and digital information sharing, this bill strengthens the law to protect children more adequately.

First, those guilty of First Degree Electronic Enticement of a Child, that is, those who try to entice a child, or a person whom they believe to be a child, to have sex, and then travel to meet the child, will no longer be able to receive a sentence of probation.

Internet predators develop online relationships with children to “groom” them so that they become willing to meet to engage in sexual acts. Current laws only prohibit conduct that includes actually traveling to the meeting place. This bill amends the offense of Electronic Enticement in the Second Degree to require only the agreement to meet, so that a predator may be brought to justice even if he does not actually arrive at the meeting place – for example, because he has transportation problems or realizes that he is being followed by law enforcement.

This bill creates a misdemeanor offense that focuses on “grooming” activities. The new offense of Electronic Enticement of a Child in the Third Degree prohibits the use of a computer to solicit, lure, or entice a child to engage in sexual conduct with intent to facilitate the commission of a sexual offense.

This bill also creates a class C felony offense of Indecent Electronic Display to a Child, which targets a specific grooming activity: In Internet communications with children (or with law enforcement officers posing as children), predators often transmit images of themselves masturbating or exposing their genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner as part of a scheme to entice children to engage in sexual conduct.

Finally, this bill updates the repeat offender sentencing law to include the offense of failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements, as well as the new offense of Indecent Electronic Display to a Child.

Crime

• Clarifies and strengthens several laws relating to crime.

This bill amends the offense of Murder in the Second Degree to include acts committed with the intent to cause serious bodily injury to another person or create the strong probability of causing death or serious bodily injury to another person, when those acts result in death. Those who kill another, but then claim they were only trying to seriously injure them, should not be able to avoid murder convictions. If there is an intent to cause serious injury, or assaultive acts that create a strong probability of death, and death results, a murder conviction should result, and now will, if this bill is adopted.

In addition, this bill creates new offenses and increases the penalties for certain other public administration offenses, including obstructing official investigations or proceedings; offering false statements in official matters; tampering with physical evidence; coercing, intimidating, or otherwise tampering with witnesses; and retaliating against witnesses or jurors. These offenses obstruct the performance and undermine the integrity of government functions and the justice system. Current laws do not reflect the seriousness of these offenses or adequately deter them. For example, this bill creates the specific felony offense of "obstruction of criminal investigations", makes tampering with government records in certain serious situations a felony, makes tampering with physical evidence a felony, makes false swearing in official matters a felony, makes tampering with a witness a felony, and makes retaliating against a witness a class B felony instead of a class C felony.

Current law requires all individuals convicted of a felony offense to provide a DNA buccal swab sample for the statewide DNA data bank, which can be used to solve crimes, including cold cases, and exonerate the innocent. But refusal to comply with this requirement is currently only a misdemeanor offense – an unlikely deterrent for convicted felons. This bill makes knowing refusal to comply a felony.

Law enforcement officers sometimes need access to vital statistics records during the course of investigating or prosecuting a crime. For example, access to a birth certificate case might be necessary to determine the age of a child victim in a sexual assault case. Current law does not allow the Department of Health to give law enforcement officers access to vital statistics records. This bill provides a narrow exception that allows such access, but only when necessary in relation to law enforcement duties, and only when the request for access is signed under penalty of criminal prosecution for misuse. This will allow more timely investigation of crimes where vital statistics records are needed.

Current law allows prosecutions of certain felony offenses to be initiated by information charging. Information charging has an important role in the criminal justice system because it spares victims and witnesses the time, and in some cases the trauma, of testifying at probable cause hearings. This bill provides that Methamphetamine Trafficking in the Second Degree, Unauthorized Entry in a Dwelling, Unauthorized Possession of Confidential Personal Information, and all class C felonies for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements may be initiated by information charging.

Finally, this bill clarifies that courts must determine that defendants who plead guilty or no contest understand the possible effect of the plea on their alien status, but that courts need not read the language of the advisement statute verbatim.

“Use Immunity”

• Amends the state constitution to allow prosecutors to compel the testimony of a witness claiming Fifth Amendment privilege, but prohibits use of that testimony in any criminal proceeding against a witness, except prosecution for perjury or false statement.

It is critically important to the successful prosecution of criminal cases in Hawaii that the State has the means to compel the testimony of witnesses in possession of vital information. Currently, if a witness asserts a privilege to refuse to testify or provide evidence on the ground of self-incrimination, the State can compel that witness's testimony only by providing that witness complete and permanent "transactional immunity" from any criminal prosecution ever for or on account of any act, transaction, or matter concerning which the witness is required to testify. This severely burdens Hawaii's prosecutors.

By comparison, in prosecutions by the United States and most of Hawaii's sister states, a witness's testimony can be compelled, so long as the testimony, and any evidence and information derived from that testimony, cannot be used against that witness in any criminal case, except one for perjury, false statement, failing to comply with the order to testify, or similar offenses. Such a system, called "use immunity," has been upheld as complying with the Constitution of the United States by the United States Supreme Court.

"Use immunity" appropriately balances society’s need to prosecute serious criminal cases with the rights of individuals. The current system, which conditions compelling testimony on a grant of "transactional immunity," makes society pay too high a price for such testimony and severely impedes the ability of prosecutors to obtain convictions in appropriate cases.

Hawaii's legislature enacted a "use immunity" statute, but the Hawaii Supreme Court struck it down as violating Hawaii's Constitution. Thus, amending Hawaii's Constitution is the only option if "use immunity" is to be allowed in Hawaii.

Testimony of Defendants in Criminal Cases

• Amends the state constitution to allow testifying defendants in criminal cases to be impeached with evidence of prior convictions for crimes involving dishonesty.

In federal court and in the courts of almost all other states, when a criminal defendant or any other witness testifies, the witness’s prior convictions for crimes involving dishonesty can be used to impeach the witness -- that is, to help the jury decide if the witness is telling the truth. But in Hawaii, a state supreme court case prohibits the use of such prior convictions to impeach defendants in criminal cases, even though victims and other witnesses to crime can be impeached in this way. Thus, in a rape case tried today in Hawaii state court, if both the victim and the testifying defendant have been convicted of perjury in the past, the jury will learn that the victim has a conviction but will not learn that the defendant has one.

Hawaii is virtually unique in this respect, and as a result, the truth-finding function of trials suffers. This amendment would provide that, in a criminal case, the judge or jury can use evidence of prior convictions of crimes involving dishonesty to evaluate a testifying defendant’s credibility, to the same extent as with any other testifying witness. It will help juries find the truth and render fairer verdicts.

Domestic Violence

• Helps protect victims of domestic violence

The current statute on Abuse of Family or Household Member sets two levels of abuse, felony and misdemeanor. There are many instances of abuse when the facts require amendment to Harassment, a petty misdemeanor. Some true misdemeanor cases are also pled down to Harassment when the prosecution encounters problems with proving the case, including when victims or other witnesses refuse to testify or are not available. It is appropriate to treat these cases as abuse cases.

This bill addresses this issue by providing a petty misdemeanor level of Abuse of Family or Household Member in the Third Degree. Currently, defendants in cases that are amended to Harassment are not necessarily ordered to participate in Domestic Abuse Intervention programs, nor does a Harassment conviction count for sentencing enhancements if the abuser reoffends.

This bill requires petty misdemeanor level offenders to participate in Domestic Violence Intervention programs. It also increases the time period in which prior abuse convictions can be used for sentencing enhancements from two years to ten years. And it separates the current felony and misdemeanor level family abuse offenses into separate sections to assist in keeping clear records.

Protect Victims of Domestic Violence Act

• Raises the seriousness of violent offenses committed by those subject to certain types of protective orders.

Domestic violence is a terrible problem in Hawaii and throughout our nation. Victims of domestic violence often endure extended periods of mental abuse, intimidation, harassment, terrorization, and physical violence. And all too often they are killed by their tormentors. Unfortunately, even with intervention by the police and the court system, the abuse and violence may not end. Current laws simply do not provide adequate protection nor do they provide adequate deterrence. This bill will help.

This bill amends the offenses of Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the Second Degree, Assault in the Second Degree, and Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree by raising the level of each offense when the offense is committed against victims who have obtained certain types of protective orders, by those who are the subjects of the protective orders. Thus, what was misdemeanor assault will become felony assault if committed by a person against whom the victim has obtained a certain type of protective order. Misdemeanor terroristic threatening will become felony terroristic threatening, manslaughter will become second degree murder, and second degree murder will become first degree murder.

These increased penalties will deter abusers and give law enforcement more opportunity to protect victims. Those protected will include spouses or reciprocal beneficiaries, former spouses or former reciprocal beneficiaries, persons who have a child in common, parents, children, persons related by consanguinity, persons jointly residing or formerly residing in the same dwelling unit, and persons who have or have had a dating relationship.


FL - Convicted sex offender commits suicide in jail

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01/15/2008

LAKE WALES – Polk County authorities say a convicted sex offender apparently committed suicide in his jail cell early Tuesday morning.

Deputies say 26-year-old David Spalding was found dead in his jail cell. They say he hung himself with a sheet sometime during the early morning hours, and he was discovered when a detention deputy found him during medication rounds at about 2:00 a.m.

Attempts by deputies to revive Spalding were unsuccessful, and he was taken to Lake Wales Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to authorities, the other two inmates that were in the cell with Spalding at the time did not know he had hung himself.

Spalding was in jail after a violation of probation. He was arrested back in April of 2006 on charges of sexual battery on a child. Investigators say he sexually battered a 14-year-old girl and got her pregnant. He pled guilty in August of 2006, and served six month in jail.

Deputies say Spalding was also sentenced to 10 years probation, which he violated earlier this month. They say he failed to move from his previous residence, and he admitted to contact with children under 18—both of which were violations of his probation.

Authorities say Spalding's death is still under investigation.


DC - Other Washington Sex Scandals - Let us not forget!

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So why are they not on the sex offender registry? Money, fame maybe?

08/29/2007

Some other Washington sex scandals from the past:

_ In July, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., acknowledged "a very serious sin in my past" after his Washington telephone number was linked to an escort service that prosecutors say was a prostitution ring. He went into seclusion for a week, apologized and has returned to the Senate.

Vitter was elected to fill the vacancy left by fellow Republican Bob Livingston, who quit in 1999 after acknowledging marital infidelity.

_ Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned in September 2006 after his communications with former congressional pages were exposed, setting off months of recrimination during the election campaign over the stewardship of young people working on Capitol Hill. A criminal investigation continues in Florida over whether Foley tried to seduce underage boys.

_ President Clinton gave evasive and misleading testimony under oath and publicly denied having sexual relations with "that woman," former intern Monica Lewinsky, only to be forced into a humiliating reversal.

He was impeached and then acquitted in a 1999 Senate trial.

_ Jack Ryan dropped out of the 2004 Illinois Senate race after the release of divorce papers in which his former wife alleged he had taken her to "bizarre clubs" and asked her to have sex in front of other people.

Ryan denied that. He acknowledged only that they went to one avant-garde club in Paris where they both felt creepy. Democrat Barack Obama easily defeated Ryan's late replacement in what had been a GOP seat, and now Obama is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

_ Rep. Livingston, R-La., was on the verge of becoming House speaker in 1998 when he acknowledged straying in his marriage. He resigned from Congress the next year.

_Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., was an early favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987 when The Miami Herald reported he had spent a night and a day with a young woman while his wife was away. Hart, who had challenged the press to check on rumors of philandering, initially denounced the report as preposterous. But his liaison with Donna Rice, who had also been photographed sitting on his lap near a yacht named "Monkey Business," sank his campaign.

_Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., resigned in 1995 amid allegations he made unwanted sexual advances to 17 female employees and colleagues, solicited jobs from lobbyists for his former wife and altered his personal diaries to obstruct an ethics investigation.

_Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., lost the Democratic primary in his district in 2002 after the disappearance of former Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy. Her remains were found in May 2002 in a Washington park, and no one has been charged in her death. Condit reportedly told police that he and Levy had had an affair, although he swore in a deposition they were just friends. He denied involvement in her disappearance.

_Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., was reprimanded by the House in 1990 for using his influence on behalf of prostitute Stephen Gobie. Frank admitted paying Gobie for sex _ with his own money, he said _ and writing a letter on Gobie's behalf.

A repentant Frank faced constituents at a meeting until they ran out of questions, saying, "I did not handle the pressures of having a public life, of being a closeted gay man, nearly as well as I should have."

He's won re-election ever since.


DC - FBI wants instant access to British identity data

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Yep, pretty soon you will have 666 stuck on your forehead and not be able to buy, sale or trade either.

01/15/2008

Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints

Senior British police officials are talking to the FBI about an international database to hunt for major criminals and terrorists.

The US-initiated programme, "Server in the Sky", would take cooperation between the police forces way beyond the current faxing of fingerprints across the Atlantic. Allies in the "war against terror" - the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - have formed a working group, the International Information Consortium, to plan their strategy.

Biometric measurements, irises or palm prints as well as fingerprints, and other personal information are likely to be exchanged across the network. One section will feature the world's most wanted suspects. The database could hold details of millions of criminals and suspects.

The FBI is keen for the police forces of American allies to sign up to improve international security. The Home Office yesterday confirmed it was aware of Server in the Sky, as did the Metropolitan police.

The plan will make groups anxious to safeguard personal privacy question how much access to UK databases is granted to foreign law enforcement agencies. There will also be concern over security, particularly after embarrassing data losses within the UK, and accuracy: in one case, an arrest for a terror offence by US investigators used what turned out to be misidentified fingerprint matches.

Britain's National Policing Improvement Agency has been the lead body for the FBI project because it is responsible for IDENT1, the UK database holding 7m sets of fingerprints and other biometric details used by police forces to search for matches from scenes of crimes. Many of the prints are either from a person with no criminal record, or have yet to be matched to a named individual.

IDENT1 was built by the computer technology arm of the US defence company Northrop Grumman. In future it is expected to hold palm prints, facial images and video sequences. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Northrop Grumman had spoken to the FBI about Server in the Sky. "It can run independently but if existing systems are connected up to it then the intelligence agencies would have to approve," she said.

The FBI told the Guardian: "Server in the Sky is an FBI initiative designed to foster the advanced search and exchange of biometric information on a global scale. While it is currently in the concept and design stages, once complete it will provide a technical forum for member nations to submit biometric search requests to other nations. It will maintain a core holding of the world's 'worst of the worst' individuals. Any identifications of these people will be sent as a priority message to the requesting nation."

In London, the NPIA confirmed it was aware of Server in the Sky but said it was "too early to comment on what our active participation might be".

The FBI is proposing to establish three categories of suspects in the shared system: "internationally recognised terrorists and felons", those who are "major felons and suspected terrorists", and finally those who the subjects of terrorist investigations or criminals with international links. Tom Bush, assistant director at the FBI's criminal justice information service, has said he hopes to see a pilot project for the programme up and running by the middle of the year.

Although each participating country would manage and secure its own data, the sharing of personal data between countries is becoming an increasingly controversial area of police practice. There is political concern at Westminster about the public transparency of such cooperation.

A similar proposal has emerged from the EU for closer security cooperation between the security services and police forces of member states, including allowing countries to search each other's databases. Under what is known as the Prum treaty, there are plans to open up access to DNA profiles, fingerprints and vehicle registration numbers.