Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NY - Chris Hansen’s Latest Sting Series

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Why don't they make one called "To catch an idiot exploiting people for a quick buck?", or why doesn't he go after the big guys and make a show called "To Catch A Drug Dealer" or "To Catch A Murderer?" Because he knows they won't take his crap! I guess his "investigation" is branching out... Mighty long investigation, don't you think! Come on, this is all about money and ratings, any idiot can see that!

04/08/2008

From the producers who brought you “To Catch A Predator”: it’s “To Catch A Shady Insurance Agent.”

Actually, the program is titled “Tricks of the Trade,” but you get the drift. “With an estimated $15 trillion under their control, American seniors have become more of a sales target than ever for insurance agents seeking to sell them annuities,” NBC said in a press release on Tuesday. So on “Dateline” this Sunday, the correspondent Chris Hansen will confront agents about questionable pitches to senior citizens.

Mr. Hansen is best known for his stings on “To Catch a Predator,” which targets people whom are suspected to be pedophiles. The segments, while popular with viewers, were criticized because of NBC’s coordination with a vigilante group that chatted with possible predators online and with police officers who arrested the men. Last year “Dateline” tried several variations on the format, including “To Catch a Con Man” and “To Catch an ID Thief.”

For Mr. Hansen’s latest hidden camera investigation, the “Catch” title has been dropped, but the on-camera confrontations continue.


Video from the show CHEATERS, which To Catch A Predator is exactly like.

Talk show host "Joey Greco" gets stabbed by someone he exposes on national TV.


FL - For sexual predators, it's a camp of isolation

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Video available at the site.

04/08/2008

BY NICHOLAS SPANGLER (nspangler@MiamiHerald.com)

The bridge overhead is so close there isn't room for a man to stand.

All the neighbors are felons and everyone lives in Wal-Mart tents, except the oldest man, who is 82. He lives in a shack.

There's no running water, no sewer system and one gasoline-powered generator.

This camp of sex offenders beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway made news in February, when the Department of Corrections probation officers arrived and began passing out notices that said the men -- who are largely barred by local ordinances from living anywhere else in Miami-Dade County -- might be charged with trespassing if they stayed beneath the bridge.

The notices appeared to foretell a full-scale eviction. But two months later, the Florida Department of Transportation, which manages the land, is not pursuing any charges. Many of the men still haven't moved and say they won't, if it means leaving the county.

And while no one -- least of all the men who live under the bridge -- would mistake this camp for a home, there are signs of permanence: a weight bench, a pair of composting toilets, a television.

The view of the downtown Miami skyline is fabulous, if you can look past the pile of rusted empties. The air smells of old beer and dust and the roast chicken from dinner. Electric lanterns glow through tent walls. A TV is tuned to the news. Salsa blares on a radio until early, early morning, and when it stops there is only the rushing wharf of cars clicking over the seams of the interstate overhead.

That never, ever stops.

Curfew for most of the men is 10 p.m. If the electronic tracking device each wears shows he's not back by then, he can get sent back to prison.

So the men drift back at dusk, hitching rides with girlfriends or walking the highway shoulder from the mainland.

On this night, the old man -- el viejo, the others call him -- shuffled down the steep concrete embankment, gripping the wire mesh fence for balance. He is Manuel Perea, sentenced to 10 years probation for groping three children in the neighborhood where he used to live. He did not want to talk about this, and besides, he is deaf.

Patrick Wiese started the generator. Wiese -- first profiled in a 2007 Miami New Times story -- is 46, served 18 months for molesting his 9-year-old step-daughter, something he did at least three times but says he sincerely regrets.

It costs a couple hundred dollars to fuel the generator each week, Wiese said, and the men pool their money. It powers the three fluorescent lights hanging from the bridge overhead, the television he watches at night, everyone's cell phone chargers. More importantly, it powers the chargers for the tracking devices. Another way a man can get sent back to prison is by letting his device run down.

No place else to live

There are 2,050 registered sex offenders and predators in Miami-Dade County and another 1,252 in Broward, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's website. (The ''predator'' category includes felons whose crimes -- usually related to kidnapping, rape, sexual battery or child prostitution -- are deemed more serious than the lewd and lascivious behavior with which many offenders are charged.)

Two hundred forty-five are said to have ''absconded,'' meaning FDLE cannot locate them.

And, over the last year, at least 32 have called the camp under the Julia Tuttle Causeway their ''permanent residence,'' in FDLE parlance.

Among them:

• Albert Baril, 43, sentenced to four years in prison for having sex with his wife's 16-year-old sister.

• Juan Martin, 30, who exposed himself to a 16-year-old girl.

• Jermain Kinsey, 24, sentenced to six years for attempted sexual battery of a girl younger than 12 (he himself was 14 at the time of the encounter).

• Homer Barkley, 43, sentenced to 5 years for the attempted sexual battery of a girl younger than 12.

• Robel Perea, 53, sentenced to house arrest, followed by 10 years of probation, for having sex with his 14-year-old daughter.

• Ricardo Carmenate, who had the same sentence for exposing himself in front of two brothers, ages 4 and 7; he was returned to jail, after a late-night check found him not under the bridge but at his old address, just 180 feet from Miami's Curtis Park.

Several of the men say they were told to come here by their probation officers. Court records for one man back that up, though Gretl K. Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, wrote in an e-mail to The Miami Herald that ``it has never been a policy of the Department to tell offenders where to live.''

Others came because they were unable to find anywhere else to legally live in Miami-Dade.

Most of the county has been off-limits since 2005. That's when the rape and murder of Florida third-grader Jessica Lunsford prompted many municipalities to bar sex offenders whose victims are minors from moving within 2,500 feet (almost half a mile) of a school, daycare center, park or playground, extending the 1,000-foot zone already in existence in state statute.

Miami Beach was one of the first to pass the ban. One hundred twenty-five more Florida municipalities passed similar laws, including, by the end of the year, at least 21 in Miami-Dade, as well as Unincorporated Miami-Dade itself.

The resulting patchwork of overlapping no-go zones excludes most of the county except for parts of Pinecrest, Medley and unincorporated land to the far west. Pinecrest is too pricey for most of the men under the bridge, and housing is scarce in Medley and out west.

Residency restrictions in Broward are having a similar effect. Earlier this year, three sex offenders were kicked out of locations in Fort Lauderdale, Cooper City and Southwest Ranches.

Bills now under consideration in the state Legislature would repeal municipal residential restrictions while extending the statewide residential exclusion zone to 1,500 feet and strengthening penalties against certain offenders for loitering or prowling within 600 feet of children's gathering places. The bills would also make it legal to rearrest an offender for not securing an acceptable address before leaving prison.

It's not easy to find places besides their own family homes that will accept sex offenders, even if it were legal to do so.

''I looked at halfway houses, drug treatment centers, religious places,'' Wiese said. ``They don't allow us in there.''

Many of Miami-Dade's registered sex offenders were already living in the county before the 2005 ordinances, which are not retroactive. But now, anytime a sex offender moves inside the county, or moves in from outside, or is released from prison into the county, he will likely find himself legislated out of a home.

He will likely have two options: Leave the area or move under the bridge.

The Department of Corrections is hoping more of the men will find homes, but Plessinger says many under the bridge already have stopped looking, which doesn't bode well.

''It's very difficult to successfully adapt into society when you are homeless,'' she wrote in an e-mail. ``Homeless offenders are more likely to abscond from supervision. If we do not know where they are, we cannot supervise them. Homeless offenders are more likely to commit a crime.''

Persuading the lawmakers

It's not clear that residency restrictions make children safer; they may even have the opposite effect, says Jill Levenson, the author of a study on sexual offenders and a professor of human services at Lynn University, in Boca Raton. ``There does not appear to be a relationship between proximity and recidivism. . . . Laws that interfere with the ability to maintain housing stability are unlikely to be in the best interest of public safety because housing instability is a risk factor for criminal recidivism.''

It's not even clear that released sex offenders present a greater risk to communities than other released felons. According to a 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics study, 5 percent of sex offenders were rearrested on another sex crime charge within three years of release; but they were less likely to be rearrested than other felons, and less likely to be rearrested for a felony.

''There is a small proportion of sex offenders who are highly compulsive and dangerous and likely to reoffend,'' Levenson says. ``The majority do not fall into that category.''

Levenson argues for a more nuanced approach to risk assessment than the current offender/predator classification system. The system in place in New York state, for instance, classes offenders by risk of re-offense as well as by the nature of their offenses.

``A better strategy for public safety would involve . . . tailoring restrictions to be pertinent to offense patterns.''

The Florida Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has taken an interest in the case of the men under the bridge.

''They need to be in a safe, sane environment where they're at the lowest risk of having additional problems and re-offending in the future,'' said Jeanne Baker, president of the Florida ACLU. They have ``all of those same rights that you or I have.''

But that's a difficult argument to make to the politicians who write the laws or the citizens who elect them.

Sex offenders excite a special revulsion in the public imagination, particularly when the victims are children.

Polls suggest most people are in favor of measures more punitive than the ones already in place.

''I don't really care where they live,'' North Miami Mayor Joe Celestin said in 2005, when his city was considering a municipal ordinance. ``At this point I don't care if they live out of civilization.''

Getting out from under the bridge

Wiese had just returned to the camp after getting off work. He makes sandwiches for $6.75 an hour. He's amply qualified, as he was training to be a chef at Cordon Bleu, in Miramar, before he was arrested.

For a sex offender, everything about a job -- from getting hired to talking with coworkers -- is fraught with danger. Failure to inform an employer of one's sex offender status is a felony, and a lot of bosses won't hire a sex offender.

''I told him straight out,'' Wiese said. ``I'd already been trying to get jobs and I'm aware what happens. I know what people are going to say to me.''

Most of the time he doesn't say anything to anybody besides the requisite pleasantries. In his experience, anything more ``ends up hurting me or hurting them.''

Sooner or later he'd get out from under the bridge, he said. He wouldn't be making sandwiches for the rest of his life. He'd go back to school. He'd win back some of the life he'd lost, maybe the love of the woman whose child he abused.

That part, at least, didn't seem likely -- ''I want no contact whatsoever with him,'' she once said -- but he had hope. ''I'm a wishful, hopeful person,'' he said.


LA - Senate panel approves bill allowing castration for sex offenders

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04/08/2008

BATON ROUGE -- A Senate committee today took the first step toward giving judges the authority to order sex offenders to undergo physical or chemical castration.

The Judiciary C Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 144 by Sen. Nick Gautreaux (Email), D-Abbeville, to give a judge the option to order medroxyprogestrone acetate, or MPA, to be administered to a first time sex offender. On a repeat violation, the judge must order the treatment for a specific time if a medical expert agrees the treatment can help the offender.

The offender can opt for physical castration on a first or second offense if he agrees to the surgery and a judge concurs.

Gautreaux said the state does not currently allow either type of castration. He said one or both forms of the procedure can help sex offenders lower their sex drive and possibly keep them from committing future sex crimes.

Gautreaux said either type of castration would be in addition to the jail time a judge orders the offender to serve. The castration cannot reduce the sentence or replace it, Gautreaux said.

"This does not make it easy on the sex offender," Gautreaux said.

The committee also approved Gautreaux's Senate Bill 143 to prohibit anyone convicted of a sex offense from wearing a mask, hood or costume to hand out candy or gifts on Halloween to children under 18. The bill was amended to prohibit the distribution of gifts by a sex offender who may or may not wear a costume at other times of the year, such as Easter and Christmas.

A violator could get at least six months and up to three years in jail with the first six months to be served behind bars.

Both bills must now be debated by the Senate.

Ed Anderson can be reached at eanderson@timespicayune.com or (225) 342-5810.


NJ - Global reach of Megan's Law - Smith proposes international registry of sex offenders

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Anything for a vote!

04/08/2008

HAMILTON -- Flanked by the parents of Megan Kanka, Rep. Chris Smith (Contact) announced an effort yesterday to take the law named after the slain 7-year-old Hamilton girl and make it enforceable across the world.

A bill that Smith called Megan's Law International would bar those listed on other countries' sex-offender registries from entering the United States, ask countries to start registries and inform countries when American sex offenders plan to travel abroad.

Smith, R-Hamilton, announced that he would introduce the legislation today during a press conference at the park near the Kankas' house on Barbara Lee Drive.

"Every country around the world would have a Megan's Law," Smith said of the bill's intent.

Under the law, sex offenders would be required to notify authorities when they plan to leave the country and the federal Department of Homeland Security would notify the intended destination country. Violators would face up to 10 years in prison.

Smith thanked Richard and Maureen Kanka for their advocacy of laws to notify the public of the location of convicted sex offenders. Smith and the couple have discussed expanding the law to other countries over the past year.

"We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Maureen and to Richard," Smith said.
- No you do, for them helping you "look good" to the sheeple!

Megan Kanka was killed by child molester Jesse Timmendequas in 1994, sparking a New Jersey law, then a nationwide effort to alert communities where sex offenders live. The small, quiet park where the press conference was held was built on the site of Timmendequas' house.

The congressman linked the new bill to a 2000 bill he sponsored to ban human trafficking. Smith said that while that bill initially drew resistance, its provisions have gained wide support and have been adopted by more than 100 countries.

The new bill would include a provision similar to the trafficking law that would reduce American aid to countries that will not enact its provisions. Smith said the combination of "carrots and sticks" would get the attention of other countries.

"It's an idea whose time has come and we're going to work very hard," Smith said, adding that advisers to President Bush support the bill.

"The president, I think, gets it and gets it big-time," he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested more than 8,600 noncitizens since 2003 for illegally exploiting children, including child pornography, child sex tourism and the trafficking of minors, according to the legislation.

Maureen Kanka said it is important to emphasize the problem and bring it to residents' attention.

"We have a tremendous problem, not just in the U.S. but abroad, with our children being exploited," she said.

There are 129 registered sex offenders in Mercer County, including 110 in Trenton and seven in Hamilton.

Smith said a diplomatic delegation from Thailand noted that their country is a destination for sex offenders from the United States. They told him that the Americans wouldn't receive a visa to enter Thailand if the United States notified its government, Smith said.

While the bill has drawn several Republican co-sponsors, its chief co-sponsor is Rep. Donald Payne, a Democrat from Newark. Payne is the chairman and Smith is the ranking Republican of the House subcommittee on Africa and global health.

"We are hopeful that this legislation will bolster the ability of law enforcement authorities to protect all children and keep them safe from those who would exploit them," Payne said yesterday.

Richard Kanka said he looked forward to supporting the effort to passing the bill.

"Anyone who can't see that this is vital to the safety of children everywhere are, as far as I'm concerned, blinded," he said.

Contact Andrew Kitchenman at akitchenman@njtimes.com or (609) 989-5706.


PA - America Continuing To Police World

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04/08/2008

There's an election come November, so what is U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (Contact) to do? Oh, that's right: Some grandstanding! Yesterday, Smith announced he was expanding Megan's Law globally! Megan Kanka's parents even flanked him at his press conference. That's election season gold right there.

Smith's bill would bar registered sex offenders in other countries from coming to the U.S., would notify other countries if a registered sex offender was dropping in and would use "carrots and sticks" to get other countries to adopt Megan's Law.

Our friendly rep from New Jersey also said the president is in favor of his bill and he "gets it big-time," which is the first time President Bush has ever gotten anything. Well, besides from his daddy and the Supreme Court.

Global reach of Megan's Law [Trenton Times]


DC - It's a Bad World

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04/08/2008

Here are some news items from just this past week:

In Tibet, according to an Associated Press report, "police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who had marched on local government offices to demand the release of two monks detained for possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader." At least eight died.

In Iraq, the mass murder of civilians continues while American and Iraqi government forces continue to battle murderous Shiite gangs known as militias. And a 40-year-old Assyrian Orthodox priest was killed in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad in the latest attack against Iraq's Christian minority.

In Zimbabwe, one of the world's longest-reigning tyrants, Robert Mugabe, began to violently annul the latest elections. He has virtually destroyed a once thriving country. Unemployment is 80 percent. Inflation is over 100,000 percent. The Zimbabwean dollar has been trading at a rate of 55 million for one U.S. dollar. And life expectancy has gone from 60 to 35.

In Woodbridge, Va., moronic officials at an elementary school called in police to arrest a 6-year-old boy for slapping a 6-year-old on her bottom. He has now been labeled a sex offender for life. And he is hardly alone among elementary school students. As reported in the Washington Post: "The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or 'improper physical contact against a student.' In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education."

In Pakistan, more than 25,000 people rallied against "Fitna," an anti-Quran film made by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament. Speakers called on Muslims to kill themselves and others in defense of Islam's honor.

Human Rights Watch released a report that the government of Sudan "is giving [Sudanese Arab gangs] a license to rape" black women and girls in Darfur.

In Sri Lanka, the Associated Press reported, "A suicide bomber killed 14 people at an opening ceremony for a Sri Lankan marathon. … More than 90 others were wounded."

In Israel, Haaretz reported that an Arab woman has been shot in an attempted honor killing. She was the ninth female member of her family to be killed. "Eight women from this family were murdered in the past six years, all in connection with 'family honor.'" Male relatives had murdered them all because they brought shame on their Muslim family by not marrying the men picked for them or otherwise disobeying family religious dictates.

These are only the news items of the last seven days. I purposely chose a period without dramatic headlines. And, of course, no news came out of North Korea, which continues to be the world's largest concentration camp. Cubans continue to have no freedom. Iranians continue to be whipped and killed for sexual improprieties. Saudi women continue to be forced to be invisible in public and live a demeaned status.

The world is filled with evil. Always has been. The biggest difference today is that, thanks to communications, we are far more aware of much of it.

I am convinced that human evil is so great that most people choose either to ignore it or to focus their concerns elsewhere -- like those who believe that human-created carbon dioxide emission, not human evil, poses the greatest threat to mankind. No one will ever get killed for fighting global warming. Fighting evil, on the other hand, is quite dangerous.

Mr. Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is www.dennisprager.com.


CA - Acting O.C. sheriff calls in FBI to look at jails

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04/06/2008

Jack Anderson wants probe into civil-rights violations, promises punishment. Supervisor says report shows 'clear case of human failure.'

SANTA ANA - Acting Sheriff Jack Anderson has called in the FBI to investigate any possible civil rights violations within the county's jails -- a day after a grand jury report found a disgraceful jail system that is run by bullying inmates, lazy deputies and a command staff who tried to cover it all up.

Anderson told the Orange County Board of Supervisors today that he contacted the FBI on Monday, inviting the U.S. Justice Department in to "partner" with him on an internal investigation that has already been launched by an independent watchdog.

Six sheriff's personnel have already been placed on paid leave and more will be identified as he digests the grand jury report, Anderson said, who added that those people may ultimately face criminal charges.

"I will take it as far as I can take it," Anderson said. "Termination will not be enough for me."

Asked how many people will be reprimanded, Anderson replied, "It will be more than it took to carry Chamberlain's casket."

Supervisors, who were briefed on the report by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on Monday, appeared shaken by the panel's findings. They wondered aloud why video cameras weren't already in place to watch deputies and why there wasn't more supervision of the staff.

"This is not a good day for Orange County," said Supervisor John Moorlach. "We have another clear case of human failure. "The complacency's gotta stop. Good cops can't protect bad cops. The code of silence has gotta stop."

The thousands of pages of documents, created during months of investigation by the grand jury, found that deputies at Theo Lacy Jail often slept in the guard station, played video games, watched television and used inmate "shot callers" to punish other inmates.

The panel was investigating the beating death of Chamberlain, who inmates mistakenly believed to be a child molester – he was being held on charges of possessing child pornography -- and then singled out by other inmates for a brutal attack. The report found that deputies didn't perform routine patrols of the jail barracks and instead focused on watching their favorite TV programs or used their cell phones to text friends.

The panel also found that two of the highest-ranking members of the former Sheriff Mike Carona's command staff lied during testimony, broke grand jury secrecy rules and even doctored a document to defend a decision. The report uncovered a culture among Carona and his staff that refused to allow the DA to investigate Chamberlain's death, with Carona telling Rackauckas, "If I don't want you in my jails, you're not coming in my jails."

Anderson again publically outlined the changes the department has made since the October 2006 murder, which include:

  • Removal of all TVs in the guard stations. "They never should have been there," Anderson said.
  • Banning the use of PDAs, or personal digital assistants, like cell phones or text messengers.
  • Special housing for inmates charged with some sex crimes.
  • Spending a proposed $8.8 million on adding video cameras throughout the jails -- $4.4 million has already been allocated.
  • Removing privacy walls in the F Barracks of Theo Lacy, where Chamberlain was killed.
  • Changing the daily log to make it less vulnerable to "unauthorized editing" by deputies who don't make required checks.
  • Rotating personnel among the county's three jails.
  • Studying the use of correction officers in the jails, instead of deputies, to reduce costs and increase staffing.

Supervisor Bill Campbell said he was shocked that there weren't video cameras in place to monitor deputies, which would also be a way to ensure their safety, he said.

"It's surprising to me that we didn't have that in place already," Campbell said.

Campbell asked Anderson would the new cameras would be put in place, to which Anderson replied, "It's not going to be quick enough."

The county's strict contracting system has slowed the purchase of new cameras, Anderson said, even as they are trying to fast track cameras for the F Barracks.

Supervisor Chris Norby told Anderson that new policies aren't needed in the jail, but rather the enforcing of already existing policies that call for supervisor of inmates and deputies.

"This is a wake-up call to do that," Norby said.

Contact the writer: (714) 285-2862 or plowe@ocregister.com


CA - Housing options few for molester

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04/08/2008

Lockwood residents protest possible move

Sheriff Mike Kanalakis cautioned that "vigilantism will absolutely not be tolerated" after an angry group of Lockwood residents appeared in a Salinas courtroom Monday to protest the contemplated placement of a high risk sex offender in their community.

Fifteen people showed up with petitions signed by more than 500 others who oppose "sexually violent predator" James Lamb's placement near their rural properties. The residents were not allowed to address the court Monday, but vowed to return in greater numbers April 17 when Judge Richard Curtis said he will hear their concerns.

Curtis said he had received a sealed report from the sheriff's office reviewing the appropriateness of two properties. Lamb's attorney said one of those properties had been nixed because it backed up to a greenbelt where children played.

Curtis said he was withholding judgment on the other until he could drive to South County and view it and the surrounding area himself. While the location was not released, the residents shared a letter from San Antonio Union School District Superintendent Linda Irving that indicated the site was near Lockwood.

Curtis said he was keeping the location secret for the time being for fear it would be burned down if the address was revealed.

Lamb, 50, is the first Monterey County man to be ordered released under supervision from the state's Sexually Violent Predator program. The former Spreckels resident, who has admitted molesting 50 children, has completed the four inpatient phases of the program and was voluntarily physically castrated.

On Monday, Curtis tried to assure the residents in the gallery that Lamb had undergone stringent treatment and would be "intensely supervised." In addition to 15 pages of restrictions, Lamb will wear a global positioning device that will be monitored by a state contractor 24 hours a day.

In his 18 years on the bench, Curtis said, Lamb's was his most difficult case. While he "is and always will be a pedophile," the judge said, tests showed physical and chemical castration had left Lamb with the testosterone level of a 6-year-old boy.

Curtis said Lamb was the only one of 11 sexually violent predators who'd come before him from the program who had done everything that was asked and more. All five of his doctors and the state director of the Department of Mental Health agreed that he was not a danger to the community if supervised.

"I am required to follow the law," said Curtis.

His assurances did little to assuage the Lockwood residents, who said there was no data showing the Sexually Violent Predator program was effective and that the only grocery store in Lockwood doubled as a school bus stop.

Residents and mothers Tricia Martinus and Paula Roth said it would be unfair to foist Lamb on Lockwood, which already has three registered sex offenders, a higher ratio than any other community in Monterey County.

They also complained that sheriff response times to their isolated community can be up to an hour. Roth said there have been times when deputies could not respond at all when she's called to complain about the presence of one of the community's sex registrants at the local market.

"If we said, 'It's OK, don't come, we just shot him,' then they would come," said Roth, her voice breaking.

Curtis and Kanalakis said that while they were focused on the community's safety, they were also charged with protecting Lamb.

"I'm not at all pleased by this entirely unpleasant situation," Kanalakis said. "But I will tell you, vigilantism will absolutely not be tolerated under any circumstance."

Martinus noted that Lamb has indicated he wants to go to Arizona and be with his mother and questioned why he's not allowed to go.

Ironically, Supervisor Simon Salinas, who represents Lockwood on the Board of Supervisors, wrote the state law that requires Lamb to be placed in the county of his most recent offense for at least one year before he is released from supervision. Salinas said Monday he wrote the law as an assemblyman after the state placed sexually violent predator Brian DeVries in a trailer in Soledad when Santa Clara County was unable to find housing for him in 2003. DeVries was allowed to go to Washington to live with his father a year later.

Salinas said he realized when he wrote the law it was only a matter of time before Monterey County would have to follow through. Now, he said, he wonders if a local ordinance is not needed to prevent South County from becoming a sex-offender dumping ground.

But the alternative to placing Lamb in a house, Salinas said, would be to eventually release him as a transient.

"Then who's safe?" he asked.

Lamb's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Deana Davis, said her client just "wants someplace where he can be protected and safe."

If Judge Curtis approves the proposed housing at the April 17 hearing, she said, the matter will be referred to the state Department of Mental Health, which then has 30 days to notify local law enforcement of the pending placement.

Once law enforcement is notified, she said, the location would become public. The case would then return to the court for final approval.

Kanalakis said he would await a court order on whether residents would be individually notified.

"We've never had this happen before," he said. "We're in uncharted waters."

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 753-6751 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com.


AL - Former FBI Agent Says Sex Offender Label is Problematic

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03/19/2008

HUNTSVILLE (WAAY) - What should be done with sex offenders? That's a question child welfare professionals are tackling this week in Huntsville, and a former FBI agent has some very strong views that he's shared with others.

Sex offenders are treated as second-class citizens in American society, and most would say rightly so. To get the designation, they've convicted of a terrible crime, most of them against children. But for those convicted of a sexual crime, no matter what charge or the age of the victim, they all have the same label.

Ken Lanning spent 35 years as a special agent for the FBI. He now trains law enforcement officials across the United States on how to investigate allegations of sexual abuse. But even though he's seen and investigated some of the worst cases in the country, he doesn't like the title of sexual predator.

"The reason I don't like the term is while I agree that they are many are predatory in their behavior," Lanning said. "The label predatory conjures up an evil type of image that they're evil monsters, dirty old men in wrinkled rain coats, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Men prowling around and mean nasty people. And while there are people who fit that, a lot these guys are pillars of the community. They go to church on Sunday and they're nice to their neighbors."

That description would apply former Huntsville Police officer Kenneth Haga, who was convicted two years ago of possession of child pornography. Another example is Rev. Jerry Wayne Love, who was convicted of first-degree sodomy and repeated sexual abuse of three of his adopted children.

But while you can find the names of Love and many other offenders on bulletin boards and sex offender web sites, Lanning said the public shouldn't try to fit them all into the same category. Also, he said that not all people convicted of sex crimes should be required to wear electronic monitoring bracelets, and move 2,000 feet from schools or day cares, under laws like Jessica or Megan's Law.

"What happened to Jessica, what happened to Megan? These were two little girls who were sexually assaulted and murdered. Most child molesters don't abduct their victims, and most don't kill their victims, so why have we passed a law based on the worst possible case and apply to offenders who don't fit in these categories?" he said.

"I'm not against registering sex offenders," Lanning continued. "I'm not against community notification. I just think that we need to do it in a realistic, practical kind of way."

Lanning said it's not possible to put all sex offenders in jail. No one's going to pay for that. But all of them can't also be sent to counseling. He said the key is balance -- a balance that law makers don't want to take the time to look for.

Reporter: Justin McFarland
Web Editor: Dana Franks

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What are Cyberbullies?

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Sounds like PeeJ and their geek squad to me...

Cyberbullies are people who send mean images and text to others. Generally, most people consider harmful material sent from a minor to another minor cyberbulling; the same behavior when adults are involved is called cyberharassment. Cyberbullies are a big issue for children, especially with growing use of the Internet and digital devices like cellphones with camera and texting capabilities. As a result, many school districts and youth advocates are working to combat cyberbullying, and to educate people about the behavior so that they can put a stop to it.

Harmful material can take a wide range of forms. A cyberbully might, for example, send cruel instant messages or emails. Cyberbullies also post harmful material on websites, often in very public locations so that other young people will find the material. Essentially, cyberbullying is garden variety bullying, taken to a whole new level; instead of just involving a close group of bullies, for example, cyberbullies might attract millions of readers with harmful websites, and these readers in turn may start harassing the victim as well. Cybervictims may be popular, well liked people one day and pariahs the next.

If cyberbullying doesn't sound serious to you, it should. Victims of cyberbullying have been forced to switch schools or miss large amounts of school in order to avoid hurtful taunting and humiliation. Children have even committed suicide over cyberbullying, and several instances of serious school violence such as shootings have been linked to cyberbullies. Since victims often feel alone and targeted, they are sometimes extremely shy about speaking up and asking for help, especially if they are young children.

Cyberbullies can be subject to severe legal penalties, although the law in regards to cyber harassment is still being shaped. Harmful material could be considered defamation, for example, and cybervictims can sue people who post such material. If someone receives repeated unwanted emails and texts, this can be considered harassment, and it is possible to get a restraining order to get the behavior to stop. Many school districts are working directly with law enforcement to address the cyberbully problem, and there may be penalties outside of school as well as in for someone who is a cyberbully.

Many teachers and law enforcement are training together to learn more about the behavior and how to stop it. Several organizations offer services like presentations to parents, school officials, law enforcement, and schools. These organizations hope to stamp out cyberbullying by clearing defining it and showing people how to stop it.

Everyone can take a role in fighting cyberbullies. If you are a victim, you should save any harmful material you receive and turn it over to your parents or the police. It is also important to remember that you should not respond to a cyberbully, as bullies want to goad you into responding. You may also want to change your account passwords to ensure that no one can access any websites with your log-on information. Always report cyberbullying and any other type of harassment to a teacher or member of law enforcement, and don't hesitate to get your parents involved as well.

If you see one of your peers being harassed on the Internet, speak up. The victim could just as easily be you, and even if it means going against your friends, you have an obligation to defend people who cannot defend themselves. If you can't get a cyberbully to stop, report him or her. Parents can also get involved in the fight against cyberbullies by bringing up concerns with teachers or the bully's parents, or working with law enforcement to put the behavior to a stop.


IL - Teen taken off sex offender list

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04/08/2008

A teenager who challenged Illinois' sex offender law has had his name removed from the state's public registry under a provision allowing local judges to determine if youths are still a threat to the public.

The teen, formerly of South Elgin, had filed one of the first legal tests of the state law that requires juvenile sex offenders to register as adults when they turn 17, igniting a debate over attempts for rehabilitation vs. the public's right to know.

His case had been mired in an appellate court but ended in his favor April 1 after Kane County juvenile court Judge Wiley Edmondson granted a request to pull the teenager's identity from the state's public sex offender list.

The decision was up to the judge after state lawmakers last fall overrode Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (Contact) veto of a plan that allowed county judges to say whether young sex offenders can be removed from the adult registry.

"This basically gives juveniles a chance to be productive adults," the teenager's attorney, D.J. Tegeler of Geneva, said Monday.

The teenager was 13 when he pleaded guilty in 2002 to grabbing a girl's breasts in a prank -- an agreement that netted five years of probation but kept him off the public's adult sex offender list.

When requirement to register as an adult took effect in 2006, two months before his 17th birthday, he challenged the law, or at least wanted to be able to withdraw his guilty plea.

When the challenge was filed, Tegeler argued adding the teenager to the public registry amounted to a scarlet letter and the teenager would face trouble finding employment, housing and an education.

The teenager's move faced opposition from public registration advocates who said parents had the right to know whom their children were dating or who lived next door.

The teenager is now a 19-year-old college student and, having completed his probation, is considered a low risk to commit a similar offense, Tegeler said.

The law requires teenage sex offenders to register as adults when they turn 17, switching their identities to a public list instead of a registry typically reserved for police, schools and day care organizations.

The legislature's vote last fall allows juveniles to petition a judge to be removed from the registry five years after being


TX - Ex-jailer gets year in prison

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04/08/2008

ANGLETON — A former jailer received one year in prison and five years probation Monday after he pleaded guilty to having sex with an inmate at the Pearland jail.

Matthew Hartman, 29, was accused of twice taking an inmate into a laundry room at the Pearland jail in July 2006 and having sex with her, prosecutors said. He could have received up to two years in prison for each of the two counts of improper sexual relationship with a person in custody.

The sentencing hearing began March 20 with the woman testifying to the sexual act and continued Monday with Hartman’s testimony.

Hartman testified that when he spoke to an investigator about the incident, he wasn’t sure he had done something illegal.

“I had asked him, ‘Who needs to know about this?’” he said, hoping his girlfriend at the time would not find out about it. “At that time I didn’t know I’d broken the law. I definitely realize it now.”

When District Judge Ed Denman delivered the sentence, he told Hartman he had to have known it was illegal.

“I find it beyond belief you did not recognize this conduct is not criminal activity,” Denman said. “There’s absolutely no excuse for the second incident.”

Hartman was emotional awaiting his sentence Monday, constantly wiping tears from his face and hugging his attorney after it was delivered.

In addition to the one-year sentence and probation, Hartman must pay a $5,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service, Denman said.

During a victim impact statement Monday, the woman told Hartman he deeply affected her life and even her children’s grades had dropped because of it.

“We’ve had to move out of Pearland,” she said. But because she came forward, “I don’t think you’ll ever do it again.”

Defense attorney Keith Gross had asked Denman for probation and said his client likely received jail time because he was in a position of trust as a jailer.

“If you’re a public official, you should be held to a higher standard,” he said.

Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said she was happy Hartman received prison time.

“I think it’s a very well-reasoned sentence,” she said. “It requires some form of supervision. I think it’s important to acknowledge he violated a huge public trust.”

Yenne said there are similar pending charges against Hartmann stemming from accusations by another woman. Hartman still awaits trial on those charges.

A conviction of improper sexual activity with a person in custody does not require a person to register as a sex offender upon release.