Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Turns Out Social Networks Aren't Breeding Grounds For Sexual Predators

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Of course it's BS! The sheeple will believe anything that is on the TV or comes from a politicians mouth.

02/19/2008

From the won't-stop-politician-grandstanding dept

Over the past few years there has been a huge number of grandstanding politicians claiming that social networks like Facebook and MySpace were breeding grounds for online predators, who were trying to entice children. They've been pushing for new laws, basically so they can get into the papers along with some quip about how they are out there protecting "the children." Of course, it turns out that the entire premise is faulty. A few years back we pointed to a study that showed the problem was entirely exaggerated. Very few kids were approached by predators and most who were could easily brush it off, so long as they had been educated about the risks. Now there's a new study out going even deeper in noting that sexual predators are unlikely to pretend to be teenagers using social networks, but rather are very upfront about who they are and what they want. In most cases, the victims knew that they were chatting with an older person, and believed that they were in a legitimate relationship, rather than being tricked. Once again, this suggests that all the hype and new laws being proposed to deal with the "problem" of predators on social networks are misplaced. The focus should be on basic education. Teach kids to have some "internet smarts" and they're probably going to be just fine.


MS - Did 'Bite Mark' Expert Fabricate Evidence? Two African-American Men Separately Convicted of Child Murders Are Freed From Prison

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Sound familiar? Does Nifong ring a bell? Just goes to show, that scientific evidence is not science, but just guessing. And DA's, judges and others will stop at nothing to get a conviction to boost their reputation.

02/20/2008

Imagine being wrongly convicted and jailed for abducting, raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl.

That's apparently exactly what happened to two African-American men — separately — in one rural Mississippi county, and now their livid lawyers are calling for criminal charges to be brought against a controversial "bite mark" expert whose testimony helped convict the two men.

A separate investigation by the state attorney general's office led to the arrest last week of a third man who reportedly confessed in telling detail to killing both toddlers after DNA tied him to one of the murders. He told authorities that he never bit either victim, according to lawyers who reviewed the taped confession.

The two little girls, who were abducted 20 months apart from homes separated by a few miles, were murdered and violated in the same way. Both were left in watery graves. Kennedy Brewer was convicted in the May 1992 murder of Christine Jackson.

In 1990, 3-year-old Courtney Smith had been abducted, raped and murdered. Levon Brooks spent 18 years in jail after being convicted in that killing.

In each case, forensic odontologist Dr. Michael West testified that abrasions on the victims' bodies were bite marks — and told two juries that he conclusively matched the marks to, respectively, Brewer's and Brooks' dental records.

Capital murder charges against Brewer were dismissed by a Mississippi judge last Friday, and Brooks' conviction has been vacated. He was released on bond, pending a dismissal hearing in March.

'Attempted Murder'

Lawyers for the wrongly convicted men are infuriated. They are calling for the criminal prosecution of West, the forensic dentist.

West "deliberately fabricated evidence and conclusions which were not supported by the evidence, the data or the rules of science but … because they were consistent with the prosecutor's theory,'' said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that examines questionable convictions and has won the exoneration of more than 200 inmates.

"If you fabricate evidence in a capital murder case, where you know that if the person's convicted they are going to be executed — as far as I'm concerned that's the crime of attempted murder.''

"He's a criminal," Neufeld said of West.

The two cases were investigated by the same Noxubee County, Mississippi detective and prosecuted by the same attorney, and the same medical examiner and forensic dentist appeared in each case.

This is the first time that Neufeld or his colleagues at the Innocence Project have ever called for the criminal prosecution of a scientist, Neufeld said.

"These are not cases of sloppy forensic science,'' Neufeld said on Monday. "This is intentional misconduct. It's fabricated evidence to send people to death row.''

West did not respond to repeated inquiries Monday, but he told Mississippi's Clarion Ledger newspaper — which first reported the story — that he stands by his testimony in both cases.

He had testified that Brewer bit Jackson 19 times, using only his upper two teeth — a conclusion that fellow forensic dentists told ABC News is extremely tenuous. West identified the wounds as human bite marks, and said they matched Brewer, according to court documents and scientists who reviewed the case.

"Five of those matches I give my highest level of match or comparison -- which is reasonable medical certainty,'' West testified in the Brewer trial, according to court transcripts of the case. "Of the remaining fourteen I have several that are what I refer to as highly consistent, consistent and probable."

Under cross-examination, West confirms that in a report to the deputy county medical examiner, he wrote that the 19 bite marks "were indeed and without a doubt inflicted by Mr. Kennedy Brewer."

Even after DNA tests failed to tie either of two samples found on the young victim to Brewer, West stood by his findings in an interview with CBS's Steve Kroft.

"I never testified that Mr. Brewer raped or sodomized anyone. I testified that Mr. Brewer bit [victim Christine Jackson],'' West said in 2002.

"So [Brewer] bit her, and two other people raped and sodomized her?" he was asked.

"That's a possibility,'' West replied, according to transcripts of the interview.

'Ridiculous' Theory?

But West's medical peers challenge that claim. Iain Pretty, one of England's leading forensic odontologists, called it "patently ridiculous."

Pretty and three leading experts from Canada and the U.S. peer-reviewed the Brewer case for the defense.

In the Brewer case, West "was saying, 'Look, it's [Brewer], definitely, no doubt, no room for error,'' said Pretty, who reviewed West's work on the Brewer case as part of the peer review panel put together by the Innocence Project.

"There was no scientific evidence, no ballistics, no DNA that would have would have resulted in a match of that certainty. I mean, DNA is a well-regarded forensic tool, but even with DNA, [experts] will say there's a one in fifty million chance it's someone else. But [West was] not even throwing 50 million at you — he's saying it's definite. And the evidence itself really wasn't sufficient to draw that conclusion.

"We didn't even think they were bite marks,'' Pretty said of himself and his colleagues, who reached unanimous conclusions, according to court documents.

The field of forensic odontology is relatively new and has been met with controversy since its inception in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in the early 1970s. There is no widely accepted way to measure the reliability of bite marks, no database with which to compare samples, and none of the kind of extensive peer review and research that has come to characterize more scientifically accepted forensic tools like DNA.

"To a jury, science sounds like science, unfortunately, and when you look at someone like Dr. West you see the kind of problems that arise from that notion,'' Neufeld said.

Colleagues who have reviewed his work and law enforcement officials who have worked with him say West has a reputation for testifying with unbridled confidence in his own conclusions, sometimes despite conflicting scientific evidence.

"I'm sure West would still claim they are bite marks,'' noted Noxubee County prosecutor Forrest Allgood, of the dismissal of the Brewer case.

Forensic odontology has been criticized from within and outside of the profession.

"I think bite marks probably ought to be the poster child for bad forensic science,'' David Faigman, a University of California professor told the Boston Globe in an in-depth 2004 investigation of the field by reporters Flynn McRoberts and Steve Mills.

Dr. Michael Bowers, who served on the credentialing committee of the American Board of Forensic Odontology, told the Globe that bite-mark identifications are "flawed and based on wishful thinking, as far as being conclusive scientifically."

Bowers co-wrote a controversial study in 2002 that concluded that on average, forensic odontologists falsely identify biters two out of every three times.

On an Island All By Himself

Dr. John M. Williams, president of the American Society of Forensic Odontologists, seemed to indicate in an interview Monday that the society, from which West has resigned, wants to distance itself from the controversial odontologist.

"He's on an island all by himself,'' Williams said. "People can go through the process and pass the board exam and be certified, but what they do after that is really an ethical issue. "Are you going to be a true scientist or are you going to be a hired gun?"

Lawyers for Brewer and Brooks are calling on the state of Mississippi to review 20 cases in which West provided testimony, and are seeking investigations into prosecutor Allgood, his investigators, and controversial state pathologist Stephen Hayne.

But Allgood insisted to ABC News in a lengthy telephone interview that he'd done the best he could with the evidence he had. He pointed out that neither Brewer nor Brooks was convicted solely on the testimony of West — whom he said he severed ties years ago.

"What's my take on Michael West?'' Allgood asked rhetorically. "I'm never going to use him again. I told him, 'I can't afford to use you in court. You've got too much baggage.' "

Kennedy Brewer was the boyfriend of victim Christine Jackson's mother. He was in the home the night the child disappeared. Allgood said he was a primary suspect because Jackson's mother told police she woke and all the doors and windows in the home were locked, but Christine was gone.

"The police come, examine the outside of the house, and there's no sign of forced entry, no footprints by the bedroom window, and if I remember correctly, there were cobwebs on the windowsills, a deputy testified,'' Allgood said. "In other words, the child somehow got out of the house."

Allgood apparently did not remember the court testimony correctly, according to Neufeld.

"That's ridiculous,'' the Innocence Project attorney said late Tuesday night. "Separate and apart from Johnson confessing that he reached in to the broken window [in the Jackson home], lifted it, and bent over and picked up the child, the child's mother testified that when she came home at midnight she knocked on the same window to wake up brewer to get him to open the door. Also," Neufeld said, "two young men who came to visit earlier in the evening, testified at trial that they walked up to the window and knocked on it to get brewer's attention."

"The reason the window is so important,'' Neufeld continued, "is because on the night in question, it had a big hole in it such that anyone could reach in and unlock it and then lift it."

Allgood, the prosecutor, acknowledged to ABC News that he had not read the case file in some time - the case was transferred to a district attorney in a neighboring county after Allgood hired a lawyer who once represented Brewer.

Still, Allgood countered that police suspicion of Brewer was elevated when he did not appear to them to be sufficiently concerned about the child's disappearance.

"Brewer becomes a suspect because he's not interested in looking for the child,'' Allgood said. "The sheriff goes out there and takes him, in essence, takes him in to protect him. The neighborhood is getting angry because he's indifferent to the child's whereabouts."

But again, other witnesses testified that Brewer looked frantically for the child for hours with a team of neighbors.

Allgood said that even after Brewer's DNA was shown not to be a match to DNA from the Jackson rape kit, he still believed Brewer was somehow involved in the abduction and murder. That prompted Allgood to announce he'd retry the capital murder case against Brewer, a first in Mississippi prosecutorial history.

"I honestly believed [Brewer] was involved because I couldn't [otherwise] get that girl out of that locked house," Allgood said.

But during the same investigation, another man, Justin Albert Johnson, 51, a local man with a known history of sexual abuse, was questioned and volunteered his DNA, according to lawyers involved in the case. That DNA was not tested until Innocence Project lawyers acquired and tested it and informed the state Attorney General's office that it, in fact, matched the DNA from semen in the Jackson rape kit.

In the Courtney Smith murder case, Allgood said, Brooks was identified by a young witness.

"On the Brooks case, a six-year-old sister of Courtney Smith is awakened in the middle of the night and treated to the sight of the suspect picking up her sister Courtney and walking out the door.'' Allgood said the sister later identified the man by his street name, Tytee. Prosecutors took that to mean Brooks, who Allgood said went by that name. Like Brewer, Brooks had previously dated the victim's mother.

Allgood said that when Smith's body was found, "there are marks on her."

"The pathologist [medical examiner Stephen Hayne] says, 'gee, these might be bite marks. West says these match the marks of Levon Brooks. You've got the identification [by the sister] and the identification of the bite marks. A grand jury indicts, a jury convicts, and the district court affirms the conviction."

Allgood said that during the trials of Brewer and Brooks in the early 1990s, West's reputation was intact.

"At the time he was sitting on top of the world,'' Allgood said. "He was lecturing in China. He was lecturing in England."

"Nobody wants to put the wrong guy in jail,'' Allgood concluded, though adding that he still believes that Brewer "had a hand'' in Jackson's abduction.

But Neufeld doesn't buy Allgood's arguments.

"What kind of morons, in a small, rural county, see two 3-year old girls abducted, raped and murdered, who wouldn't think, 'maybe the same guy did both of these crimes?'''


CO - Jessica Lunsford's dad backs GPS tracking for sex offenders

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This is easy for Mark to say, when he is not footing the bill. Where is this money going to come from? Tax payers? It should, they are the ones approving these draconian laws, so make them pay for it, they want it. Making someone pay to obey the law is just insane! Why don't you make everyone on the highway pay a dollar every time they pass some stop sign or mile marker?

Also Mark, is your son, Joshua, who was convicted of a sex crime in Ohio going to be made to wear one for the rest of his life?

02/20/2008

DENVER - The father of a Florida girl who was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender is in Colorado supporting a plan to require sex offenders to wear GPS tracking devices.

Jessica Lunsford was 9 years old when she was assaulted and buried alive in 2005. Her father, Mark Lunsford, is working with advocates across the country to pass state laws meant to protect children from sex offenders.
- I think everyone knows this by now, and you keep repeating it as if ALL sex offenders are killers like John Couey was, they are not. That is like calling all whites evil killers just because Couey was one, or all muslims killers because a couple are. STOP THE BS!!!!

About 50 of the 1,300 Colorado sex offenders who are out on parole or probation wear GPS devices.

A bill scheduled for a vote in the Legislature Wednesday would require all of them to wear the devices.

The main sticking point is the $4 million cost. Lawmakers want offenders to pay it, but officials say only 10 percent of them could afford to.
- Sorry, I don't think I'd pay for it, it's punishment after the fact, which violates the constitution. Why don't serial killers, murderers, gang members, drug dealers and everyone else have to wear these so you know where they are 24/7?


MO - Gov. Blunt Statement on Missouri Supreme Court Sex Offender Ruling

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02/20/2008

JEFFERSON CITYGov. Matt Blunt (Contact) today issued the following statement on the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling to allow some dangerous sex offenders to live near Missouri’s schools and child care facilities if they were living there prior to 2006:

“No sex offender should be allowed to live near a Missouri school or child care facility which is why the state has passed tough legislation barring these deviants from living close to where our children learn and play.

“Every decent society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens and it is an outrage that our state’s highest court has ruled in favor of sex offenders who want to continue living near schools and child care facilities.
- Oh give me a F'ing break! It's a damn shame that you lied when you took an oath to uphold the constitution, which you are not doing, so you are a lier sir! These laws, regardless of what you say, are unconstitutional, and nothing about these laws passed to boost your ego, will do anything to protect children, and you know that. A buffer zone could be 50 miles, but if a true predator wanted to harm another child, what would stop them from doing so?? Nothing!

“Missouri parents need to know that even though their Supreme Court has said it is acceptable for some dangerous sexual predators to live within 1,000 feet of a Missouri school, or child care facility, their governor strongly disagrees.
- It's because they know the law better than you THINK you know it. These laws violate their rights, and yes, everyone, even sex offenders have rights. So someone needs to knock that chip off your shoulder and you need to come back from wonderland!

“My administration has taken aggressive steps to strengthen our state laws to protect our most precious citizens from depraved sexual predators and to hold these offenders accountable for their atrocious crimes. Our version of Jessica’s Law has achieved a great deal to protect our children by creating a mandatory minimum sentence for those who commit the most egregious crimes against a young Missouri child.
- Stop using these damn power words "depraved, decent, etc!" That is typical BS retoric that politicians like to use on the sheeple. No matter how many laws you pass, nothing will protect anybody, period. But, the sheeple will believe anything!! AND STOP USING SEX PREDATOR AND SEX OFFENDER AS IF THEY MEAN THE SAME THING, THEY DO NOT!!! There is a HUGE difference sir! Why don't you read that quote I have in the upper-left of my blog one time....

“I will continue to take a tough stand against those who seek to harm Missouri’s children which is why this year I have called for the legislature to allow the death penalty for convicted child rapists.”
- This all brings the following bible verses to mind, every time I hear some politician speak. Sound familiar to you?

2 Timothy (3-7)

Godlessness in the Last Days
1 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

2 - People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

3 - without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

4 - treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—

5 - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 - They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

7 - always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.


CA - Sunny Acres residents becoming nervous at the prospect of facility closing down

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Welcome to communist USSA folks, where the gestapo love to kick homeless folks out of their only home, if you can call it a home.

02/20/2008

San Luis Obispo County becomes the dark cloud over Sunny Acres. Tuesday afternoon the county posted signs saying the clean and sober living facility is violating building codes.

The county posted similar signs last September. But now, there is a March 3 deadline attached to the posting.

People at Sunny Acres are generally very nervous about what the county might do in 10 days. They say if this building gets bulldozed, they will have nowhere to go.

For the second time in less than six months the County of San Luis Obispo wants to bring Sunny Acres in line with code. But this time, code enforcers tell Sunny Acres founder Dan De Vaul they are serious.

"Supposedly if we don't get everybody out of there they're going to tear down the building at my expense," said De Vaul.

The county told Action News the deadline for letting the building remain out of code is March 3. Then they will take action.

One neighbor says it's about time.

"It was built illegally, without a permit, and Mr. De Vaul told code enforcement it was a barn," said Christine Mulholland.

That alleged barn now houses 25 to 30 people as well as the kitchen, dining room, and meeting room at the clean and sober facility.

One client, Brian Lovenduski, says if those things go away he will be lost again. "I was in the Marine Corps about six years ago and I was a part of something, but I lost that through drugs and alcohol. But coming here I feel a part of something again."

Sunny Acres opens its doors to just about everyone, including criminals, which doesn't sit well with many of the neighbors.

"No legitimate recovery program houses men, women, and sex offenders together," said Christine.

The recent county crackdown is coming just one week after a convicted sex offender, who lived at Sunny Acres, was arrested for allegedly committing murder.

That convicted sex offender, Freddie Lewis, entered a not guilty plea in court today. He faces murder charges in the death of Sharon Ostman. Her body was found in the creek below Mission Plaza back in 2005.

Detectives arrested Lewis last week after searching for a suspect for nearly three years. He is scheduled to be back in court later this month.


FL - Sex laws push trio off land

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02/20/2008

Strict limits on where sex offenders can live have left three men homeless in Broward County.

Three men are in limbo after getting kicked out of three Broward County locations in two months because of rules that limit where convicted sex offenders can live.

Since January, the men have lived in several places, including under a bridge, in the woods and on eight acres of undeveloped land bordering Cooper City and Southwest Ranches, according to the Florida Department of Corrections, which supervises offenders after their release.

But each time, the men were asked to leave, either because land owners wanted them gone or because the location was too close to restricted places such as schools and parks.

NEW HOME

Tuesday night, the trio was searching for another home, probably a motel, corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

''Right now, we are just trying to make sure where everybody is and where they are planning to go,'' Plessinger said.

The three men's situation marks another episode in a saga that began in 2005 when several South Florida cities passed laws prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of places including parks and schools.

State law requires 1,000 feet.

The strict local ordinances left many sex offenders with few places to live.

In Miami, a handful of sex offenders began sleeping under the Julia Tuttle Causeway because the city laws meant they couldn't live anywhere else. They were evicted from the bridge earlier this month.

The Broward group consists of one convicted sex offender and two parolees given similar restrictions to those of sex offenders, Plessinger said.

Levi Adams, 44, is on probation for lewd and lascivious battery on a child between 12 and 15 years old, according to corrections records.

Sten Johanson, 45, is on parole for felony battery, corrections records state. He was released from prison in January after serving seven years for the same felony battery, according to records.

Mark Dacosta, 46, is on parole for burglary assault. He previously spent more than 13 years in prison for the same burglary assault and for ''written threats to kill,'' corrections records state.

THE SAGA

The trio's own saga began in January when they were ousted with a no-trespassing order from under the Oakland Park Boulevard Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale.

Next, the men went to a spot in the woods near U.S. 27 and Griffin Road along the Everglades. But government water managers, who own the land, also got a no-trespassing order and told the men to leave.

This past weekend, the men went to an eight-acre site near 5050 Flamingo Rd., Plessinger said. But one edge of the land was too close to a school bus stop. Another end had a park.

On Tuesday, they were in the process of leaving.


FL - Homeless felons bounced from Everglades and Cooper City camps

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02/19/2008

By Kathleen Kernicky | Sun-Sentinel.com

Homeless felons, including registered sex offenders, have been forced by deputies to move from a campsite near the Everglades in Southwest Ranches and from an eight-acre site in Cooper City.

Late last week, eight men were evicted from a wooded site near U.S. 27 and Griffin Road that is owned by the South Florida Water Management District. The district did not want them there, said Broward Sheriff's Office Commander George Jarboe.

On Tuesday, four men were told to vacate a private, eight-acre site near the 5000 block of Flamingo Road in Cooper City. The site was too close to a place where children gather, said Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.

Some of the men have been forced to move several times because state law requires that registered sex offenders live at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, bus stops and places where children congregate. Many South Florida cities have similar or stricter ordinances.

The men's presence set off alarms in Southwest Ranches, where a mass email circulated over the weekend.

"They had tents, barbecue grills, generators. Quite an elaborate campsite," said Jarboe, who did not know how long the men had been living there.

"We contacted them and their probation officers and told them they were trespassing, and they needed to move. They said, 'no problem.' When we went to check on them [ Saturday], they were gone," Jarboe said.

Plessinger said it is not the state's responsibility to find housing for the offenders.

"It's their job to find a residence. It's our job to approve the residence," said Plessinger, who said there are less than 40 registered sex offenders statewide who are homeless and on probation. The majority live in South Florida, including 16 who live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge in Miami Beach, she said.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to find a place to live," Plessinger said. "Some of these offenders have looked at a dozen different residences, and each has been too close to a school or a bus stop or a place" where they are banned.

State Rep. Martin Kiar, D-Davie, who received an email from a Southwest Ranches resident complaining about the Everglades camp, has filed a bill for the upcoming session that would require sex offenders and predators to list their cell phone numbers. Now, they are required to give addresses and email, but not phone numbers.

"These are residential communities where you have families and young children and we really need to keep track of these individuals to keep people safe," Kiar said.

Staff writer Robin Benedick contributed to this report. Kathleen Kernicky can be reached at kkernicky@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7907.


The return of the paedophile panic

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02/19/2008

By granting people access to info about sex offenders, the Home Office is institutionalizing fear of adults and paranoia about ‘the mob’.

They are at it again, it seems, both frightening children and terrifying parents. That’s right, the New labor government has once more stoked the fires of the pedophile panic. Parents, it has announced, will be able to inquire whether a new friend, partner or colleague is a pedophile - a measure which is likely to nurture fear and paranoia in the UK.

First came the Sex Offenders Register in 1997. Currently listing around 29,000 people, from children who’ve groped other children, teachers who’ve had liaisons with students, to those who’ve sexually abused young children, it is an unwieldy, indiscriminate testament to the special place the child sex offender occupies in the contemporary imagination (1). Its effect has been profound. The sex offender has now been officially distinguished as a breed of criminal apart, one that requires constant monitoring and house visits. Unlike others who have broken the law, the sex offender is forever stained by his offence, a subject of endless control. For the public the paedophile has become an everyday nightmare; a faceless threat living amongst us, but not like us – the enemy within. Seen in this way, it’s not surprising that since the compilation of the Sex Offenders Register, there have been periodic attempts to have its listed names made publicly available.

On Sunday came something of a breakthrough in this regard. UK home secretary Jacqui Smith finally announced that parents will be able to enquire if a new partner or a ‘named individual’ - for example someone coming into regular contact with their child, like a relative or a neighbour - possesses any convictions for child sex offences (2). This doesn’t mean they will receive an answer exactly. Rather, the police will then decide what information to disclose depending on whether they believe that the specified individual poses a risk. Such a move, coming on the back of last summer’s Home Office Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders, has been hailed by some as a major step on the way to putting ‘Sarah’s law’ in place (3).

‘Sarah’s law’, named after Sarah Payne, the eight-year-old girl murdered by convicted child molester Roy Whiting in 2000, is about giving parents access to information about sex offenders: their whereabouts, their crimes, their threat level. It would be the UK equivalent of ‘Megan’s law’, itself alluding to the case of Jesse Timmendequas, a convicted sex offender, who killed seven-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The revulsion to Timmendequas’s crime was such that 50 US states eventually passed Megan’s law; that is, they began to grant free public access to information on the history and location of high-risk sex offenders.

Yet while the Home Office’s new measures do not amount to the full ‘community-wide disclosure’ that Sarah’s law campaigners advocate, and which Megan’s law encapsculates, its new measures do suggest that it’s perfectly sensible to suspect a new boyfriend or a grandparent of being a paedophile. In this sense, the new powers do achieve one unwitting objective of ‘Megan’s law’ - they institutionalise a fear of others. More specifically, they actively encourage parents to view every other adult as a potential threat to their child. Not to do so could almost be viewed as a dereliction of parental duty. Just as the Sex Offenders Register exists as a permanent warning to the nation that there are evil people out there, so the invitation to inquire about our friends, relatives and colleagues - to check whether they are paedophiles - nurtures fear and finger-pointing. The Home Office is creating a climate of suspicion and spying on the back of the already overblown paedophile panic; every adult is invited to see other adults as potentially wierd and dangerous.

In not quite going so far as Megan’s law, as the Sarah’s law campaigners are demanding, the Home Office could be nurturing paranoia, too. Instead of granting community-wide and publicly available disclosure of offenders’ whereabouts, the Home Office is leaving disclosure to the discretion of the police and probation services. Far from making the new measures a more ‘acceptable’ version of Megan’s law, this is likely to make people ask: ‘What if the police are withholding something that I should know?’ On the parent’s side, this sense of the unknown provides a perfect climate in which to imagine the worst of everyone, despite the assurances of the authorities.

Many of the supporters of the Home Office’s new measures, be it the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Barnado’s or various commentators, seem pleased that it has stopped short of Megan’s law. They are relieved that there will not be full disclosure of offenders’ whereabouts because apparently this might give rise to outbursts of anti-paedophile lynch mobs and vigilantism. On one hand, we have the government institutionalising fear of adults who come into contact with children - on the other hand, charities and opinion-formers spread fear about out-of-control communities that might use the disclosed information to run riot and burn people’s homes down.

Indeed, by not going as far as full disclosure, the Home Office itself evinces a distrust of the public that is all too typical of today’s estranged political elite. As Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnado’s, a supporter of the new measures, argued, full disclosure might ‘drive paedophiles underground’, making them near impossible to monitor. Why would this happen? Because the public, apparently infused by the irrational fervour of the mob, would hound them with threats of bloody and brutal revenge.

Yet as spiked‘s editor Brendan O’Neill argued in relation to the semi-apocryphal tale of a mob hounding a paediatrician in Gwent, South Wales in 2000, stories of rampant vigilantism are frequently exaggerated, and are used to justify a particularly patronising attitude to the public. In a report for BBC News Online, O’Neill wrote: ‘The irony is that some in the media, in challenging the scaremongering over sex offenders, indulge in some scaremongering of their own. They raise fears about violent tabloid-reading protesters who will attack, hound and destroy a paediatrician - which seem to be just as unfounded as the fears about thousands of paedophiles stalking the land.’ (See Whispering game, BBC News.) Deemed incapable of handling the full story without erupting into a seething, ignorant mass of hate, the public can only be given what the authorities deem to be a safe amount of information. At the same time as fomenting and institutionalising suspicion of others, the partial nature of these measures confirm the political elite’s disparaging attitude towards an unpredictable public.

The real story here has little to do with paedophiles or their purported lynchers. It has to do with a government so short of popular support that it’ll fasten on to anything it believes the public agrees upon. Hence Jacqui Smith’s self-regarding congratulations in yesterday’s Sun newspaper: ‘I congratulate The Sun and its readers for campaigning on this issue.’ (4) And what could be better than the ready-made solidarity of the good fight against the paedophile menace? After all, you’ll not find many people coming out in support of child abuse.

The political exploitation of fear and the accompanying moral grandstanding are the key problems in the paedophile panic. As a result, a prevailing fear of other adults, indeed, of adults’ intentions towards children, will be further exacerbated by the new measures. While these measures are likely to prove ineffective when it comes to protecting the small numbers of children who are at genuine risk, they will succeed in one aspect: they will give the interminable hunt for the paedophile in our midst legal sanction. The Home Office has not demonstrated that Britain really is at risk from marauding paedophiles or thick, rampant communities - but it has, once again, shown its dislocation from and distrust of the British public, and its political opportunism.


NH - Aldermen reject sex-offender housing ban

View the article here

02/19/2008

Manchester – Aldermen yesterday said no to a proposal that would have banned registered sex offenders from living near schools, parks and other places frequented by children.

The measure was unanimously rejected by the Public Safety, Health and Traffic Committee at the urging of the city's police department. Deputy Police Chief Marc Lussier and officers in the juvenile division argued the restrictions would not prevent offenders from committing another crime, and could drive some offenders into homelessness.

"Having residency restrictions is not going to be the answer," Sgt. Scott Fuller said.

Leo Pepino, the former alderman who has lobbied hard for a measure that would keep offenders away from children, said he plans to take the fight directly to the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

"I'll keep working to get a couple more (votes)," he said yesterday.
- That is what it's all about, votes, so he looks good to the sheeple who believe the BS! If this man would read the FACTS and listen to the EXPERTS he'd know these laws will do nothing to protect children. He is just exploiting them for his own gain, period!

The committee's vote was yet another defeat for anti-crime activists who hope to restrict the number of places where registered sex offenders can live. A similar proposal in Nashua was recently vetoed by the outgoing mayor, Bernie Streeter.

At least five communities in New Hampshire have adopted residency restrictions in recent years. Officials in Derry have said they would consider a proposal to keep offenders out of certain neighborhoods after it was revealed a man convicted many years ago of killing a child was living near a school. The man has since moved out of the state.

Pepino said the scare in Derry should convince people that restrictions are needed.

"If they had had a residency (restriction) like this, he wouldn't have been there in the first place," Pepino told the aldermen.
- Ok, that is true, but it doesn't prevent him from walking somewhere to commit a crime, now does it. Besides, stranger danger accounts for 5% or less of all sex crimes. When are you going to read the facts and listen to the experts instead of believing you know better than them?

Roughly 300 sex offenders on the state's registry are living in Manchester, police said. Fuller said the department currently requires each offender to come by the station twice a year to update his or her registration.

In addition, he said, officers in the juvenile division try to stop by each offender's home as many as three or four times each year to confirm he or she is living at the listed address.

With a compliance rate of 97 percent, Fuller said, "the current system is working." Police say as much as 90 to 95 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by people who know the victim.
- Exactly, so you need to look in your own home to find the potential offenders who have not been caught yet!!

In seven years with the juvenile division, Fuller said, no more than four convicted offenders were arrested for committing another sex crime. In all cases, he said, the victim was known to the assailant.

"There are very few stranger attacks, per se," he said.

All five members of the public safety committee voted to receive and file. Members are Bill Shea, Russ Ouellette, Dan O'Neil, Jim Roy and Peter Sullivan.

"I don't think the citizens and young people of Manchester can be protected more than what our police department is already doing," O'Neil said.
- No matter how many laws you create and pass, it will never protect children 100% of the time, so when are you going to get SMART on crime instead of ignoring the facts?

Committee members said they hope to find extra money for the police department, so officers can do more compliance checks than they already do. Fuller said the department currently averages about 15 compliance checks a week, depending on its case load.


MO - Missouri Court Rules Sex Offenders Cannot Be Forced To Move

View the article here

02/19/2008

JEFFERSON CITY - Dozens of Missouri sex offenders can continue living near schools or child care centers as a result of a state Supreme Court decision.

In a unanimous ruling Tuesday, Missouri's high court upheld a decision in May by a circuit judge striking down a portion of Missouri's sex offender statutes that could have forced the sex offenders to move.

Missouri, like many other states, has enacted progressively tougher laws targeting its roughly 7,200 registered sex offenders.

Since 2004, Missouri has prohibited sex offenders from moving into a home within 1,000 feet of a school or day care. A 2006 law expanded that ban to cover sex offenders who already lived near a school or child care center before the law took effect.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce declared that portion of the law unconstitutional because of its retroactive application. The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments on a state appeal Jan. 31 and ruled Tuesday -- an unusually speedy decision.

St. Louis attorney Chet Pleban, who represented the sex offender who sued, said the court's quick action affirms his contention that the law "clearly was unconstitutional."

"The reality of this is that this was an ill-conceived piece of legislation, because it was a vote for apple pie, motherhood and the American flag," Pleban said. "The fact of the matter is sex offenders are not popular people in this state."

The provision was part a broad bill targeting sex offenders that passed the House 157-0 and the Senate 33-0 with the backing of Republican Gov. Matt Blunt (Contact). The main portions of that bill required 30-year prison sentences for raping or sodomizing children younger than 12 and life prison sentences for certain repeat sex offenders.

Blunt defended the stricken law, which he said barred "deviants from living close to where our children learn and play."

"Every decent society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens," Blunt said Tuesday in a written statement, "and it is an outrage that our state's highest court has ruled in favor of sex offenders who want to continue living near schools and child care facilities."
- No, it's an outrage that you do not listen to the experts who will tell you over and over that these laws will not work, and 90% or more of all sex crimes are someone KNOWN to the victim, not some stranger at a park or school. And plus the fact that you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, which was apparently a LIE!!!

After the law took, the state Department of Corrections identified 69 sex offenders on probation or parole who in fall 2006 were living within 1,000 feet of a school of child care facility, said spokesman Brian Hauswirth. Each of them was sent a letter asking them to relocate.

The actual number of sex offenders affected by Tuesday's ruling could be significantly higher, because only about 1,600 of the state's roughly 7,200 registered sex offenders are under state supervision. The rest have completed their sentences.

Hauswirth said the department stopped enforcing the provision requiring sex offenders with previously established residences to move away from schools after the Cole County court decision. The portion covering new residents remains in effect.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a St. Louis County offender identified in court documents only as "R.L." Pleban said his client lived near a private school, which he did not identify, and that school officials are aware of his presence.

The man pleaded guilty in December 2005 to attempted enticement of a child and was placed on five years probation. At the time of his plea, there was no law that would have required a sex offender to move away from a school.

Missouri's 2006 law contained an exception from the school-area ban for sex offenders who had lived in their homes before the schools or child-care centers opened. But that exception did not cover the man who sued, because the school had existed since 1988 and the man had lived there since 1997.

"The fact of the matter is that the constitution was set up to protect people like that, and it worked in this case," Pleban said.


Songs from the past that would make society today squirm!!!

Billy J Kramer, Little Children (2 weeks at #1 - 13 weeks on chart)

Video Link

Little children, you better not tell on me
I'm tellin' you
Little children, you better not tell what you see
And if you're good
I'll give you candy and a quarter
If you're quiet like you oughta be
And keep a secret with me

I wish they would go away
Little children, now why aren't you playin' outside
I'm askin' you
You can't fool me, 'cause I'm gonna know if you hide
And try to peek
I'm gonna treat you to a movie
Stop your gigglin', children do be nice
Like little sugars and spice

You saw me kissin' your sister
You saw me holdin' her hand
But if you snitch to your mother
Your father won't understand

I wish they would take a nap
Little children, now why don't you go bye-bye
Go anywhere at all
Little children, I know you would if you tried
Go up the stairs
Me and your sister, we're goin' steady
How can I kiss her when I'm ready to
With little children like you around
I wonder what can I do around
Little children like you

Gary Puckett - Young Girl

Video Link

Young girl, get out of my mind.
My love for you is way out of line.
Better run, girl
You're much too young, girl.
With all the charms of a woman.
You've kept the secret of your youth
You led me to believe you're old enough
To give me love
And now it hurts to know the truth, woah

Elton John - All the young girls love Alice

Video Link

Raised to be a lady by the golden rule
Alice was the spawn of a public school
With a double barrel name in the back of her brain
And a simple case of Mummy-doesn't-love-me blues

Reality it seems was just a dream
She couldn't get it on with the boys on the scene
But what do you expect from a chick who's just sixteen
And hey, hey, hey, you know what I mean

All the young girls love Alice
Tender young Alice they say
Come over and see me
Come over and please me
Alice it's my turn today

All the young girls love Alice
Tender young Alice they say
If I give you my number
Will you promise to call me
Wait till my husband's away

Poor little darling with a chip out of her heart
It's like acting in a movie when you got the wrong part
Getting your kicks in another girl's bed
And it was only last Tuesday they found you in the subway dead

And who could you call your friends down in Soho
One or two middle-aged dykes in a Go-Go
And what do you expect from a sixteen year old yo-yo
And hey, hey, hey, oh don't you know

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire

Video Link

Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go away and leave you all alone
I got a bad desire
I'm on fire

Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
I'm on fire

Sometimes it's like, someone took a knife
Baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch
Valley through the middle of my soul

At night I wake up with the sheets
Soaking wet and a freight train running
Through the middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I'm on fire

The Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues

Video Link

I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs
I know you're no scare-eyed honey.
There'll be a feast if you just come upstairs
But its no hanging matter
Its no capital crime

I can see that you're fifteen years old
No I don't want your i.d.
You look so rest-less and you're so far from home
But its no hanging matter
Its no capital crime

Oh yeah, you're a strange stray cat
Oh yeah, dontcha' scratch like that
Oh yeah, you're a strange stray cat
Bet your mama don't know you scream like that
I bet your mother don't know you can spit like that.

You look so weird and you're so far from home
But you don't really miss your mother
Don't look so scared I'm no mad-brained bear
But its no hanging matter
Its no capital crime
Oh, yeah
Woo!

I bet your mama don't know that you scratch like that
I bet she don't know you can bite like that.

You say you got a friend, that shes wilder than you
Why don't you bring her upstairs
If shes so wild then she can join in too
Its no hanging matter
Its no capital crime

Oh yeah, you're a strange stray cat
Oh yeah, dontcha' scratch like that
Oh yeah, you're a strange stray cat
I bet you mama don't know you can bite like that
Ill bet she never saw you scratch my back

Ringo Starr - You're Sixteen

Video Link

Ho!

You come on like a dream, peaches and cream,
Lips like strawberry wine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine. (mine, all mine)

You're all ribbons and curls, ooh, what a girl,
Eyes that sparkle and shine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine.
(mine, all mine, mine, mine)

You're my baby, you're my pet,
We fell in love on the night we met.
You touched my hand, my heart went pop,
Ooh, when we kissed, i could not stop.

You walked out of my dreams, into my arms,
Now you're my angel divine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine.

You're my baby, you're my pet,
We fell in love on the night we met.
You touched my hand, my heart went pop,
Ooh, when we kissed, i could not stop.

You walked out of my dreams, into my car,
Now you're my angel divine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine.
You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine.
All mine, all mine, all mine.
All mine, all mine, all mine.
All mine, all mine, all mine, all mine, but i do.
You are mine!

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?


OR - Perverted justice? A Sourtheast Portland-based online group blurs the lines between profits and justice

View the article here
Visit Corrupted-Justice.com today!

Rather old I know, but a good article.

02/16/2007

Xavier Von Erck and his Southeast Portland-based online group Perverted Justice are perverted all right. Formed in 2003, the ironically named group, which is mostly staffed by volunteers, trolls internet chat rooms looking for "would be" pedophiles and induces them to commit a crime. The men are enticed into having sexually explicit conversations with what they believe to be underage girls. If the Perverted Justice member, posing as a minor, is good enough, they'll convince the man to meet them at a decoy house where law enforcement agents will be waiting to arrest them.

There is no denying that pedophiles are terribly sick individuals who should be strongly punished for any offenses they commit. But where does one draw the line between a fantasy and an actual illegal offense? Perverted Justice, with the help of law enforcement agencies and recently NBC and other news organizations, has made that judgment call. Once a person-usually a man-intends to commit a lewd act upon a child, they are in violation of the law and can then be arrested and prosecuted. It seems a fair enough idea that pedophiles be apprehended before they have the opportunity to harm a child. But are the men that Perverted Justice is helping catch and prosecute actually criminals?

Many believe they are not. In a recent article in The Oregonian, Lynn Davenport, a former child protective services worker, suggests that few of the men that are caught through Perverted Justice have ever abused a minor. It is also suggested that these stings divert attention and resources away from real child abuse. So what it breaks down to is these men have pedophilic desires, they find themselves in a position to potentially act on them and are enticed to do so. But they never actually harm a child. One could assume that without provocation most of these men would never have acted upon their perverse attractions.

Law enforcement stings of this type are becoming more popular throughout our country. In some cities, there are officers who go undercover and pose as couples and park in front of a convenience mart or such and leave their car running while they go inside. Sometimes someone will take the bait and get into the car and attempt to drive off. This is when tens of police swarm and arrest the perpetrator.

It's bad enough that people who are provoked into crime are being punished in place of the opposite. And these sorts of sting operations beg questions from the public like: Don't our law enforcement agencies have anything better to do than to trick people into committing crimes? Aren't there enough criminals out there, ones who don't need to be tempted into crimes by undercover officers, to arrest?

The answer to those questions presumably is that stings of this type are feel-good operations for police. They get to go out there into the criminal element and get their hands dirty. They play the role and at the end of the day they're the good guys. They can actively feel like they made a difference and were able to get one more criminal off the streets. Never mind they might have caught someone who may have gone their entire life without committing a crime of that nature. That without that one single perfect instance that the police have created and provided for them the person may have remained completely law-abiding. But since they actually did commit the crime, regardless of police involvement, they can be prosecuted.

Whether you agree with that reasoning or not there is something more sinister to Xavier Von Erck's Perverted Justice group and their new affiliates NBC and MSNBC. With shows like To Catch A Predator the networks have proven that there is a profit to be made off of the depiction of the bait and then capture of these men. Even our local Fox affiliate news station here in Portland, Fox12, has teamed up with Perverted Justice to produce segments in their evening news that boils down to nothing short of petty harassment. In these segments called "Operation Cyber Sting" a Fox12 news crew will be waiting with police at a decoy home and when the man is arrested he is forced in front of bright lights and cameras as a reporter attempts to interview them about the offense. This is when the departure from criminal justice into irresponsible and distasteful entertainment occurs.

Whether Perverted Justice was started with the best intentions or not is irrelevant. Its message has been corrupted and perverted by money. Xavier Von Erck, a man who admits to not liking children at all, could be commended by his intentions but should instead be ashamed for what his organization, through affiliation with NBC and others, has devolved into. A profit should not be derived from the capture of criminals, especially when the moralistic lines can be so differently interpreted. These operations, in the views of many, are blurring the lines between true guilt and intention. Not only that but they compromise our justice system's founding belief that one is innocent until proven guilty. Believe it or not there was a time when integrity used to be valued more highly than money. But those days are apparently long since dead.