Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MO - Missouri Senate endorses child protection legislation

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Notice the picture? All politicians do this, so you feel for them more like a friend. They exploit children, IMO, for their own gain, and it makes me sick. Just watch ALL politicians.. They will always bust out the kids so you like them better, it's a tactic to tug at your emotions and vote for them... I know, people will think I am crazy, but just watch them, and you will see.

03/25/2008

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate gave first round approval today to two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting children from predators.

Senators endorsed a child protection bill that would toughen sentences against sexual predators.

State Senator John Loudon (Contact) (R, Chesterfield) says some predators are getting lesser sentences because they communicated with an undercover cop instead of an actual child.

"So we're closing those loopholes and making sure that they get an equal sentence, as if they were actually going after a kid," Loudon said.

An amendment added to the bill would also bar predators from taking part in Halloween's most well-known tradition.

"If you're a registered sex offender, you have to turn off all your outside lights and put a 'No Trick-or-Treating' sign, basically, on the door, and not open it to children," Loudon said.

Another provision would also strengthen sentences against non-custodial parents who kidnap their own children.

The Senate also endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow retroactive laws, and allow them to apply to sex offenders.
- Totally against the constitution and ex post facto clause. I knew they'd be changing the constitution next. Hell, if it means nothing, why even have a constitution? We are a communist country now anyway!

In 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the names and addresses of predators convicted before the 1995 sex registry law took effect had to be removed, because it violated the state's ban on retroactive laws.

If added to the November ballot and passed by voters, more than 4,300 sexual predators could be added back into the registry.

© Copyright 2008, KWMU


FL - State panel OK's Internet dating-service bill

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03/25/2008

TALLAHASSEE - Is that online romantic match for you also a match for a registered sex offender -- and should there be a law that lets you know?

Or is such a legal requirement just a virtual ''food fight'' that one Internet dating service has launched against rivals for a competitive advantage?

Those concerns were bandied back and forth Tuesday at the state Senate's Commerce Committee, which narrowly approved the ''Internet predator awareness and online safety act'' despite the objections of companies such as Yahoo! and Match.com.

The bill, a perennial loser in the Legislature, would require any Internet dating service to disclose online and by e-mail whether or not it conducts a criminal background check. If it does, it must tell the consumer that background checks are ``fallible.''

The site would have to tell a user if it allows members to have criminal records, but it doesn't have to say what that record is.

Only the True.com dating service bans anyone with a criminal background from belonging, according to committee testimony. That led senators and rivals to question the company's motives in pushing the bill. They noted that online networking sites, such as MySpace, are far more likely places for predators to lurk for children than dating-service sites.

''This doesn't have to do with online predators as the bill says,'' said Bill Ashworth, a lobbyist with Yahoo! ``This is a food fight between True.com and the rest of the Internet dating industry.''

True.com lobbyist Cynthia Henderson and Republican bill sponsor Ronda Storms of Valrico said the bill was being misrepresented.

``It does not require criminal background checks. All it does is require disclosure,''Storms said.

But Match.com doesn't conduct background searches because they're so unreliable, something that Republican Senator and former Alachua County Sheriff Steve Oelrich confirmed. He said criminal background checks are iffy things and would give ''a false sense of comfort'' to users who could think that a ''Jack the Ripper'' was really a ''Jack Robertson'' until it's too late.

''I can tell you there are just so may holes in that system. Even those in the criminal investigations business have a hard time finding out [criminal identities],'' he said. ``Do we do any fingerprinting -- and the ultimate is a DNA test?''

Oelrich successfully amended the bill to require libraries to pass Internet safety protocols if they want to be awarded extra points when the state doles out grants.


FL - Man Says Judge Made Him Live Under a Bridge

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03/25/2008

MIAMI -- A south Florida man says he was ordered by the state to live under a bridge and near the Everglades.

When Marco DaCosta was released from prison he was ordered by state corrections to live near the Everglades with two other former inmates and countless gators nearby.

The men lived in a tent with a battery-powered TV, DaCosta said.

"We're being tortured out here," he said.

DaCosta said he had previously been ordered to live under an overpass on the Sawgrass Expressway.

A court document showed that the Department of Corrections previously ordered DaCosta to live under the Oakland Park Bridge.

He had no toilet, bed or even a bench.

"He's in a difficult spot," said Gretl Plessinger of the Department of Corrections.

Plessinger said that this is not normal policy, but it's acceptable.

DaCosta is on sex offender status, so he can't live near children. Plessinger said DaCosta failed to find an acceptable place to live.

"So his probation officer suggested, and the prison when he was released suggested, that he live under the Oakland Park Bridge, because that was a place that was accepted," Plessinger said.

DaCosta said he couldn't believe that he was made to live under a bridge.

Weeks later, police kicked him out from under the bridge.

That's when he started searching for a more permanent home.

"I have personally submitted 15 different addresses, and every one of them has been disapproved," he said.

He can't live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks or anywhere children gather.

However, DaCosta is not a convicted sex offender.

He was convicted of burglary, aggravated assault and threatening to kill his ex-wife.

He was arrested on charges of sexual battery on two girls and aggravated assault involving fondling a woman, but all charges were dropped.

Still, the parole commission said it has total discretion to protect the public from future violent acts.

DaCosta's attorney, Patric Jones, is appealing in the courts.

"He's not a convicted sex offender," Jones said. "So why should he have to do things that are meant for convicted sex offenders?"
- Even for convicted sex offenders, it's just wrong, cruel & unusual punishment.

DaCosta said he's living an absurd life.

"I don't think they have a clue about what laws they pass," he said.
- Amen!

DaCosta was back in jail on Monday night.

He forgot to wear his ankle bracelet, which tracks his every move.

He's awaiting a hearing.

DaCosta isn't the only parolee living this life.

When lawmakers added school bus stops to the list of places to avoid, they removed thousands of places where parolees could live.

There are no plans to change that law, officials said.


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Sex Offender Rally in Colubus Ohio in December 2007
And the rally that the vigilantes say they hijacked!


Long Beach California - Press-Telegram newspaper editorial


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Indianapolis, Indiana - WANE TV - New RSO email & social network website laws


CA - Suspicious conversations with children cause arrest of Folsom man

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So now standing next to a child and talking with them is a crime? This man is NOT a sex offender, and yet was arrested for talking with a child. WTF is going on here people! So now, even you, if you are seen near a child, you can be arrested for loitering near a child... From what this appears to say!

03/19/2008

After an El Dorado Hills mom reported observing a strange man speaking with her two children at each of three children's-story events, deputies arrested the man at his Folsom home.

Victor Emmer, 49, was arrested March 13 on suspicion of loitering where children gather.

"It's an odd charge," said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Byers, noting the statute intends chiefly to protect school-grounds neighborhoods. "The family was at the Folsom Borders Books story-telling time, where he (spoke to one of the children), and for lack of a better term, he creeped the mom out.

Then, a few days later at the El Dorado Hills Library story time, she saw him again striking up conversation with her children. And then, he does it again. We felt it justified a criminal complaint, she signed it and he was arrested."

The case appears unrelated to recent report of unwelcome advances to children in the area by a middle-aged man driving a dark-colored van or SUV, Byers said.

When investigators heard a low bail amount set for Emmer, they explained to a judge that they believed it was too low. Now bail in the case is set at $100,000, and Emmer has bailed out of custody, Byers said.

Investigators want to hear about any similar incidents, he said.

He is not a registered sex offender in Folsom or California and we have not found any information to indicate he has any prior offenses,” said Lt. Sheldon Sterling of the Folsom Police Department.

The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at rogerp@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com.


CA - Child abuse by the government

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And the sheeple all think the government is here to help children?

02/17/2008

Government rips an autistic boy from his home because it prefers a different treatment than the one offered by the parents.

What kind of society rips a 17-year-old autistic boy from his loving home and places him in a state-run mental institution, where he is given heavy doses of drugs, kept physically restrained, kept away from his family, deprived of books and other mental stimulation and is left alone to rot?

Certainly not a free or humane one.

Yet that's exactly what has happened to Nate Tseglin, after a teacher called Child Protective Services, the county agency charged with protecting children from many forms of abuse and given power to remove children from their family homes in certain circumstances. The teacher reported seeing self-inflicted scratches on Nate's body and complained about the doctor-approved arm restraints his parents used to keep Nate from hurting himself. Nate remains in Fairview Developmental Center (formerly Fairview State Hospital) in Costa Mesa, labeled a danger to himself and others, while his parents fight a lonely battle to bring their son back home.

Isn't there anyone out there who can help them?

After the complaint, social workers intervened and decided that the judgment of a psychologist who examined Nate's records but never even met the boy trumped a lifetime of treatment and experiences by his parents, Ilya and Riva Tseglin. Without prior notice, "the San Diego Health and Human Services agency social worker, with the aid of law enforcement, forcibly removed a struggling and terrified autistic boy … from his home, while his mother and father, who are Russian Jewish immigrants, and Nate's younger brother stood by helplessly," according to the complaint the parents, who have since moved to Irvine to be near Nate, filed with the court.

The forced removal came after the Tseglins came to loggerheads with the government over Nate's proper treatment. The parents are opposed to the use of psychotropic drugs and argue that Nate has had strong negative reactions to them. They point to success they've had with an alternative, holistic approach that focuses on diet and psychiatric counseling. The government disagreed, so it took the boy away from home and initially placed him in a group home – where he had the same negative reaction to the drugs that his parents predicted would happen.

Of course, once social workers are involved in a family, they are reluctant to relinquish their power – something I've found in every Child Protective Services case I've written about. And even though the court determined "the evidence is clear that the parents have always stood by and tried to help their son," the court sided with the government. That's another common theme from these closed family-court proceedings – the social workers' words are taken as gospel, and the parents are treated like enemies and given little chance to defend themselves.

The details are complicated and discouraging. But, essentially, the parents were cut out of any decision-making regarding their son. They were given only short visits with him. After he ran away from the group home, the government transferred Nate to a mental hospital. The Tseglins say the drugs the hospital gave Nate caused him to have a "grand mal" seizure, and his health has continued to deteriorate while he languishes in a government mental facility. When they visited him over the summer, they found his face swollen. He faded in and out of consciousness and was suffering from convulsions. They believe he has been beaten and are worried about sexual abuse, given that he is housed with the criminally insane.

The Tseglins claim Child Protective Services has told them they have the "wrong set of beliefs" and even threatened to force them to undergo court-ordered psychological evaluation. The agency at one point suspended the parents' visitations as a way "to assist them in coming to grips regarding their son." The Tseglins, as former citizens of the Soviet Union, have good reason to be fearful of the authorities. But they tell me that they experienced nothing of this sort in the former communist nation. If their descriptions are correct, then the Soviets weren't the only ones who know how to create a totalitarian bureaucracy.

The family's legal argument is persuasive:

"Riva and her husband have cared for Nate, in their home, for his entire life, until he was dragged kicking and screaming away from his parents. … The court found that it was very impressive that the parents 'were able to maintain Nate in the home for the better part of a decade when he was having some severe behavioral difficulties.' … The court found further that when the parents put Nate on a 'more holistic approach' and ignored the professional opinions, that 'for a period of time, Nate responded very well to that.' Even though Nate subsequently deteriorated, the court found that he fared no differently using the more traditional medical approach.' …

"In short, this case turns on value judgments, such as whether it is preferable for Nate to be maintained in his own home, subject to occasional physical restraint, surrounded by the love and devotion of his parents and brother, or whether Nate should be placed in a locked facility, subject to occasional physical restraint and constant chemical restraint, surrounded by strangers and a burden to the California taxpayer. … The real issue in this case is that the agency and some medical personnel believe their opinions regarding Nate's treatment are better than the parents' choices, and have sought the judicial intervention to override the parents' decisions regarding their son."

In a free society, individuals and families get to make those judgments and decisions. As the Tseglins argue, "Riva has a right to raise her child, Nate, free from government interference, as long as he is not at risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or exploitation."

Sure, the state can and does intervene when parents are accused of abusing or neglecting their children. There are many problems and injustices even in those cases, but at least it's understandable when the government intervenes to protect a potentially threatened child. But in this case, the state is simply saying that it knows best, that no matter how diligently a boy's parents have worked to provide the best-possible care for him, that officials get the final say. And the government's choice of mandatory incarceration seems harsh and cruel, which shouldn't surprise anyone, given the basic nature of government.

At last check, autism is not a crime. It's time to free Nate Tseglin and return him to the love and care of his parents.

Contact the writer: sgreenhut@ocregister.com or 714-796-7823


TX - Teen Sex for Sale: Middle School Madam Busted

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03/25/2008

Arrest of Texas Girl, 13, Accused of Enticing Peers Into Prostitution Reveals a Broader Problem

The arrest of a 13-year-old girl who allegedly lured other teens to dance and perform sexual acts for money at a Dallas nightclub has focused a spotlight on the widespread problem of teen prostitution and the challenge it presents law enforcement.

Investigators told ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV that the teen enticed girls to work at Club Metropolis with the promise of money in exchange for sexual services.

Lt. Chess Williams of the Dallas Police Department would not comment on the specific case to ABC News, but WFAA video shows Dallas police leading girls from the club Saturday.

"The circumstance where we might arrest a juvenile is truly an unusual circumstance," Williams said to ABC News. "The far more prevalent scenario is that it's adults who are going after kids."

Dallas police have made going after the adults behind teenage prostitution a priority. It's an approach that Williams says is more complicated for law enforcement and prosecutors, but a more effective approach to a problem facing cities across the country.

Teen Prostitution

The Dallas Police Department unveiled a pilot program in 2004 to try to gauge the extent of teen prostitution in the city.

During two six-month-long periods, 120 underage girls involved in some type of sex exchange were identified by police. "There were far more juveniles than we anticipated," Williams said.

While the program revealed a more widespread problem than first perceived, authorities also were faced with a challenge of responding appropriately -- a response that Williams said typically means treating the teenage girls as victims rather than offenders.

"We look at them first as potential victims who are being exploited by others for personal gain," Williams said. "It's pretty unlikely that a 13-,14- or 15-year-old decided, 'I'm going to inject myself into the prostitution worlds and turn 20 tricks a night.'"

"I don't want Dallas being portrayed as the juvenile prostitution capital of the world," he said. "This is happening across the United States. The question is how it's being responded to."

A survey published in August 2006 estimated that about 650,000 American teenagers -- girls and boys -- have exchanged sex for money or drugs.

The survey, published in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Infections, surveyed 13,000 American teens from grades seven through 12 between 1995 and 1996.

he findings were particularly alarming, according to lead researcher Jessica Edwards of the Pacific Institute for esearch and Evaluation, because many of the teens involved in the sex trade also exhibited other risk behaviors, including drug use and carrying sexually transmitted disease infections.

"Three-and-a-half percent may seem like a small percentage, but it translates into a sizable number of youths," Edwards said, adding that she is now researching the the underlying factors that drive teens into prostitution.

Joshua Collier, a spokesman for the Promise House in Dallas, a nonprofit organization that offers services to at-risk teens, including runaways, said that counselors are well aware of the teen prostitution problem.

To a runaway, exchanging sex for money is an option that not only provides a financial benefit, Collier said, but might also provide an illusion of security.

"The sex industry is the place where a majority of these kids do turn," Collier said. "When you have somebody who has just run away from home, who has almost nothing, they are so much more susceptible to this kind of abuse."

The problem is exacerbated by adults eager to prey on vulnerable children, he said, citing 1,200 children and teens who sleep each night on the streets of Dallas.

"It's very much an offer of false protection," he said.

Williams, of the Dallas police, adds that the majority of underage people linked to prostitution are part of the the city's runaway population.

It's not clear whether any of the girls allegedly involved in the Club Metropolis raid were runaways, but it's one more factor that has prompted authorities to consider the children and teens involved as victims instead of criminals.

"All of these kids live in another world where they are both offender and victim," Williams said. "But the central thing we have to keep in mind is that these people are kids."


NV - Juvenile sex offender laws muddy waters

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This is exactly what you get when you make so many laws or regulations where nobody knows what is or what isn't required. So with everyone interpreting it differently, someone is bound to go to jail/prison over some stupid technicality.

03/25/2008

DA, public defender take interpretation problems to Family Court

The debate over Nevada’s juvenile sex offender laws landed in Family Court last week, where one thing about the controversial legislation quickly became clear: Nothing is clear at all.

As it turns out, everybody was wrong about the new laws. The district attorney, who is fighting for stricter legislation, and the public defender, who is fighting against it, each incorrectly interpreted what was considered one of the most problematic aspects: a rule that juvenile sex offenders couldn’t live within 1,000 feet or be within 500 feet of any structure designed for use primarily by children. That meant starting July 1, when the laws take effect, they couldn’t go to school, or to the movies for that matter.

Actually, they can. Everybody just misunderstood the 49-page legislation, which wasn’t hard to do. Many sections of Assembly Bill 579 read like lousy translations of Sanskrit.

The bill made changes to several existing laws and added a few new rules. The distance requirement wasn’t the only thing everybody has misinterpreted. As recently as late February, the defense and the prosecution, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, were still operating under the assumption that Tier 3 juvenile sex offenders, those deemed at the highest risk to offend again, would be required to publicly register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Actually, they don’t have to. Even Tier 3 juvenile sex offenders, the most closely monitored of the four possible classifications, can petition for removal from the sex offender Web sites after 25 years. That was another misread.

But wait, there’s more! Susan Roske, the Clark County chief deputy public defender leading the charge against the sex offender legislation, still disagrees with Deputy District Attorney Jonathan VanBoskerck about the definition of a Tier 2 juvenile sex offender.

Roske believes a child needs to commit “X” offenses to become Tier 2, while VanBoskerck believes a child needs to commit “Y.” The differences between the interpretations are so nuanced that they’re almost as confusing as the laws themselves.

After studying the laws for months, Roske is “still confused about it,” she said.

She was happy to learn she was wrong, happy to learn the laws weren’t as restrictive as she’d imagined.

Only the confusion now presents an entirely new problem to fight out in court: Are the laws so incomprehensible that they’re illegal?

Laws that are too vague are unconstitutional. Roske and the ACLU hammer that point in arguments against the state’s juvenile sex offender laws, which are based on the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that President Bush signed into law in July 2006. The Walsh Act lumps teenage sex offenders in with adults when it comes to certain punishments and requires that many of those juveniles be included in Internet sex offender registries. Critics argue this sets the teenagers up for a lifetime of shame so psychologically profound it could ruin their chances of rehabilitation. The same critics contend that juvenile offenders are very different from their adult counterparts, and that the two should not be treated, or punished, alike. This difference is the entire reason, they argue, we have separate justice systems for adults and juveniles, after all.

In January, Roske filed a case in Family Court arguing the juvenile sex offender laws are unconstitutional.

But now the debate has shifted away from the actual effect of the new laws on children to the language of the laws, and whether it makes sense. It’s become an argument within an argument, circular enough to cause dizziness.

Roske is concerned that if she couldn’t understand the laws, and still disagrees with the district attorney about certain aspects of the laws, then the laws could be arbitrarily enforced, depending on the person doing the enforcing and that person’s take on the legal jargon.

The first to figure out everybody had misunderstood certain elements of the laws was VanBoskerck. He saw a copy of the actual Nevada Revised Statute and realized there were differences between the laws as they would appear on the books and the laws as they appear in the bill. Straightening out those semantic differences is like splitting hairs with a dull blade.

Maggie McLetchie, staff attorney with the ACLU of Nevada, explains it like this: “The laws are, in their entirety, a confusing morass.”

VanBoskerck filed his discovery with the court Feb. 28, which is how Roske realized she too had read everything wrong. On Thursday, the attorneys squared off before Family Court Judge William Voy.

Roske opened her arguments with a statement about the confusion and how it underscores a world of problems inherent in the legislation.

VanBoskerck countered by brushing off her concern as no big deal.

“I made the same mistake reading the bill draft, but lo and behold, a little reflection, a little time, (and) we all pretty much agree (certain regulations) don’t apply,” he said, later adding, “Some bright people on both sides of the fence misread it.”

Voy is now sitting on that fence. He told those bright people he hopes to give them some kind of decision about the laws Wednesday. They’re hoping he’ll be clear.