Thursday, July 3, 2008

MA - Predator-free zones would accomplish little

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07/02/2008

Let's start by asserting that, no, we don't want children attacked or harassed by sexual predators. That should go without saying.

But the creation of "predator-free zones" around public places where children congregate is unlikely to do anything to keep kids safe. City Councilor Kenneth Willette's (Email) proposal to establish such zones in Methuen is unworkable and would be ineffective.
- Well when we have a nation of sheeple what do you expect? They do not listen to reason and believe everything that comes out of the TV tube and out of a politicians mouth. When they come for your rights, I'm sure you will be screaming then, but, it will be too late then. What? You don't think we are a nation of sheeple? Just look around, when someone does something, everybody has to follow along, they are called fads, mass hysteria and moral panics, which the politicians use to their advantage.

Willette wants 1,000-foot zones established around city-owned parks, schools and day-care centers, and the Nevins Memorial Library. Level II and Level III sex offenders would be banned from the zones — not just prohibited from living near such places, but from simply being in the zones.

Level 2 sex offenders are considered to be a moderate risk of re-offending, and Level 3 offenders are considered a high risk.

Willette also wants tougher penalties for offenders — the most the city can impose now is a $300 fine similar to that for trespassing. He wants the police to be able to arrest offenders, but that would require legislative approval. Willette would also prohibit sex offenders from entering voting locations but would allow them to cast absentee ballots.
- And this is exactly what they want, to get rid of the people who would most likely vote against them, they want sheeple, not people who want to stand for their rights. Why else do you think all voting booths are in schools? This is why I would NOT vote, if you are a RSO or family member of an RSO. Let the sheeple vote. They will get what they vote for. Everyone knows about karma, right?

Methuen leaders are broadly supportive of Willette. Both City Council President Philip Lahey Jr. (Email) and Mayor William Manzi (Contact) told reporter J.J. Huggins they would likely be in favor of the idea of tighter restrictions on sex offenders.

"They gave up their rights," Lahey said. "I have no sympathy — a sex offender is a sex offender. I don't think they ought be entitled to any kind of privacy whatsoever. I think you get what you deserve."
- This just shows how much of an idiot this "mayor" is. He's got his head in his a$$. A corrupt politicians is a corrupt politician as well. Not all sex offenders are pedophiles, predators or molesters. I guess he thinks all these CHILDREN are evil creatures as well?

But what would it take to enforce such predator-free zones? Start drawing 1,000-foot circles around city parks, schools, day-care centers and the library and one can cover a great deal of Methuen. Is the city prepared to have police officers tail the offenders to make certain they never enter the predator-free zones? Or will there be an officer stationed in each zone running background checks on every person they encounter to see if they are on any sex-offender lists? Such measures would be unworkable.

Carving up the city so extensively that offenders' freedom of movement is restricted produces ready-made cases for the American Civil Liberties Union to bring to court. The zones would open Methuen to any number of lawsuits without producing any tangible improvement in the safety of children.
- Well, what do you expect from a bunch of idiots. They cannot see past their own holier than thou egos.

Consider this as well: Is a person prepared to commit the heinous crime of a sexual attack against a child likely to be deterred because he faces a fine for being near a park?
- Thank you, a point I have been trying to make for a long time. A true predator will not obey ANY of the laws, period. These laws are for those who WILL obey them, and thus punishment. They are unconstitutional, and they know it, yet they do not have the gonads to stand up for what is right anymore for fear of looking like they are all for sex offenders. BUNCH OF COWARDS!!!! Yep, America is doomed if this is what it has become...

We're no defenders of sex offenders. We support tough jail sentences for predators and the sex offender registry. But measures like "predator-free zones" are feel-good measures that do little to enhance public safety.


MO - Donnelly pledges to strengthen sexual predator & child safety laws

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Here we go again, another wanna-be, using the backs of sex offenders to get votes. In other words, she cannot get voted in, unless she busts out the sex offender issues.

07/03/2008

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri House Member and Democratic Attorney General Candidate Margaret Donnelly (Contact) says she'll work to strengthen sexual predator and product safety laws if elected.

At a press conference this morning in Jefferson City, Donnelly told reporters that she would renew her quest for The Children's Product Safety Act, a bill she sponsored this year that died in the State House.

"This bill makes the recalls of toys and children's products mandatory, and requires the retailers and manufacturers to remove the products in a timely manner or face a fine of up to $500 a day," Donnelly said.

Donnelly also says she'll work to make Missouri's sexual predator registry guidelines comply with federal standards.

She added that she would create a fugitive unit within the Attorney General's office.

"It will be used to track down sexual predators that violate their parole or fail to register...the Attorney General is charged within the Adam Walsh Act of monitoring the sex offender registry, and this fugitive unit will be part of that effort," Donnelly said.

She also voiced support for background checks for school employees and bus drivers, which were the subject of two recent state audits.

Donnelly faces fellow House Member Jeff Harris and State Senator Chris Koster in the August 5th Democratic primary.

The winner faces Senate President Pro-tem and Republican Attorney General candidate Michael Gibbons in November.


Predator Panic: A Closer Look

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I have posted this before, but am posting it again. Notice the highlighted in bold red, this is where the 50,000 online predators "statistics" comes from... THIN AIR, from Chris Hansen, who has to boost the fear factor to get more viewers and ratings thus more money in his pockets. Also see these articles.

Example #1, Example #2, Example #3

“Protect the children.” Over the years that mantra has been applied to countless real and perceived threats. America has scrambled to protect its children from a wide variety of dangers including school shooters, cyberbullying, violent video games, snipers, Satanic Ritual Abuse, pornography, the Internet, and drugs.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent protecting children from one threat or other, often with little concern for how expensive or effective the remedies are—or how serious the threat actually is in the first place. So it is with America’s latest panic: sexual predators.

According to lawmakers and near-daily news reports, sexual predators lurk everywhere: in parks, at schools, in the malls—even in children’s bedrooms, through the Internet. A few rare (but high-profile) incidents have spawned an unprecedented deluge of new laws enacted in response to the public’s fear. Every state has notification laws to alert communities about former sex offenders. Many states have banned sex offenders from living in certain areas, and are tracking them using satellite technology. Other states have gone even further; state emergency leaders in Florida and Texas, for example, are developing plans to route convicted sex offenders away from public emergency shelters during hurricanes. “We don’t want them in the same shelters as others,” said Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw. (How exactly thousands of desperate and homeless storm victims are to be identified, screened, and routed in an emergency is unclear.)

An Epidemic?

To many people, sex offenders pose a serious and growing threat—especially on the Internet. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has made them a top priority this year, launching raids and arrest sweeps. According to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, “the danger to teens is high.” On the April 18, 2005, CBS Evening News broadcast, correspondent Jim Acosta reported that “when a child is missing, chances are good it was a convicted sex offender.” (Acosta is incorrect: If a child goes missing, a convicted sex offender is among the least likely explanations, far behind runaways, family abductions, and the child being lost or injured.) On his NBC series “To Catch a Predator,” Dateline reporter Chris Hansen claimed that “the scope of the problem is immense,” and “seems to be getting worse.” Hansen claimed that Web predators are “a national epidemic,” while Alberto Gonzales stated that there are 50,000 potential child predators online.

Sex offenders are clearly a real threat, and commit horrific crimes. Those who prey on children are dangerous, but how common are they? How great is the danger? After all, there are many dangers in the world—from lightning to Mad Cow Disease to school shootings—that are genuine but very remote. Let’s examine some widely repeated claims about the threat posed by sex offenders.

One in Five?

According to a May 3, 2006, ABC News report, “One in five children is now approached by online predators.” This alarming statistic is commonly cited in news stories about prevalence of Internet predators, but the factoid is simply wrong. The “one in five statistic” can be traced back to a 2001 Department of Justice study issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“The Youth Internet Safety Survey”) that asked 1,501 American teens between 10 and 17 about their online experiences. Anyone bothering to actually read the report will find a very different picture. Among the study’s conclusions: “Almost one in five (19 percent) . . . received an unwanted sexual solicitation in the past year.” (A “sexual solicitation” is defined as a “request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or give personal sexual information that were unwanted or, whether wanted or not, made by an adult.” Using this definition, one teen asking another teen if her or she is a virgin—or got lucky with a recent date—could be considered “sexual solicitation.”) Not a single one of the reported solicitations led to any actual sexual contact or assault. Furthermore, almost half of the “sexual solicitations” came not from “predators” or adults but from other teens—in many cases the equivalent of teen flirting. When the study examined the type of Internet “solicitation” parents are most concerned about (e.g., someone who asked to meet the teen somewhere, called the teen on the telephone, or sent gifts), the number drops from “one in five” to just 3 percent.

This is a far cry from an epidemic of children being “approached by online predators.” As the study noted, “The problem highlighted in this survey is not just adult males trolling for sex. Much of the offending behavior comes from other youth [and] from females.” Furthermore, “Most young people seem to know what to do to deflect these sexual ‘come ons.’” The reality is far less grave than the ubiquitous “one in five” statistic suggests.

Recidivism Revisited

Much of the concern over sex offenders stems from the perception that if they have committed one sex offense, they are almost certain to commit more. This is the reason given for why sex offenders (instead of, say, murderers or armed robbers) should be monitored and separated from the public once released from prison. While it’s true that serial sex offenders (like serial killers) are by definition likely to strike again, the reality is that very few sex offenders commit further sex crimes.

The high recidivism rate among sex offenders is repeated so often that it is accepted as truth, but in fact recent studies show that the recidivism rates for sex offenses is not unusually high. According to a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics study (“Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994”), just five percent of sex offenders followed for three years after their release from prison in 1994 were arrested for another sex crime. A study released in 2003 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that within three years, 3.3 percent of the released child molesters were arrested again for committing another sex crime against a child. Three to five percent is hardly a high repeat offender rate.

In the largest and most comprehensive study ever done of prison recidivism, the Justice Department found that sex offenders were in fact less likely to reoffend than other criminals. The 2003 study of nearly 10,000 men convicted of rape, sexual assault, and child molestation found that sex offenders had a re-arrest rate 25 percent lower than for all other criminals. Part of the reason is that serial sex offenders—those who pose the greatest threat—rarely get released from prison, and the ones who do are unlikely to re-offend. If released sex offenders are in fact no more likely to re-offend than murderers or armed robbers, there seems little justification for the public’s fear and the monitoring laws targeting them. (Studies also suggest that sex offenders living near schools or playgrounds are no more likely to commit a sex crime than those living elsewhere.)

While the abduction, rape, and killing of children by strangers is very, very rare, such incidents receive a lot of media coverage, leading the public to overestimate how common these cases are. (See John Ruscio’s article “Risky Business: Vividness, Availability, and the Media Paradox” in the March/April 2000 Skeptical Inquirer.)

Why the Hysteria?

There are several reasons for the hysteria and fear surrounding sexual predators. The predator panic is largely fueled by the news media. News stories emphasize the dangers of Internet predators, convicted sex offenders, pedophiles, and child abductions. The Today Show, for example, ran a series of misleading and poorly designed hidden camera “tests” to see if strangers would help a child being abducted. [1] Dateline NBC teamed up with a group called Perverted Justice to lure potential online predators to a house with hidden cameras. The program’s ratings were so high that it spawned six follow-up “To Catch a Predator” specials. While the many men captured on film supposedly showing up to meet teens for sex is disturbing, questions have been raised about Perverted Justice’s methods and accuracy. (For example, the predators are often found in unmoderated chatrooms frequented by those looking for casual sex—hardly places where most children spend their time.) Nor is it surprising that out of over a hundred million Internet users, a fraction of a percentage might be caught in such a sting.

Because there is little hard data on how widespread the problem of Internet predators is, journalists often resort to sensationalism, cobbling a few anecdotes and interviews together into a trend while glossing over data suggesting that the problem may not be as widespread as they claim. But good journalism requires that personal stories—no matter how emotional and compelling—must be balanced with facts and context. Much of the news coverage about sexual predation is not so much wrong as incomplete, lacking perspective.

Moral Panics

The news media’s tendency toward alarmism only partly explains the concern. America is in the grip of a moral panic over sexual predators, and has been for many months. A moral panic is a sociological term describing a social reaction to a false or exaggerated threat to social values by moral deviants. (For more on moral panics, see Ehrich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda’s 1994 book Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance.)

In a discussion of moral panics, sociologist Robert Bartholomew points out that a defining characteristic of the panics is that the “concern about the threat posed by moral deviants and their numerical abundance is far greater than can be objectively verified, despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary.” Furthermore, according to Goode and Ben-Yehuda, during a moral panic “most of the figures cited by moral panic ‘claims-makers’ are wildly exaggerated.”

Indeed, we see exactly this trend in the panic over sexual predators. News stories invariably exaggerate the true extent of sexual predation on the Internet; the magnitude of the danger to children, and the likelihood that sexual predators will strike. (As it turns out, Attorney General Gonzales had taken his 50,000 Web predator statistic not from any government study or report, but from NBC’s Dateline TV show. Dateline, in turn, had broadcast the number several times without checking its accuracy. In an interview on NPR’s On the Media program, Hansen admitted that he had no source for the statistic, and stated that “It was attributed to, you know, law enforcement, as an estimate, and it was talked about as sort of an extrapolated number.”) According to Wall Street Journal writer Carl Bialik, journalists “often will use dubious numbers to advance that goal [of protecting children] . . . one of the reasons that this is allowed to happen is that there isn’t really a natural critic. . . . Nobody really wants to go on the record saying, ‘It turns out this really isn’t a big problem.’”

Panicky Laws

Besides needlessly scaring children and the public, there is a danger to this quasi-fabricated, scare-of-the-week reportage: misleading news stories influence lawmakers, who in turn react with genuine (and voter-friendly) moral outrage. Because nearly any measure intended (or claimed) to protect children will be popular and largely unopposed, politicians trip over themselves in the rush to endorse new laws that “protect the children.”

Politicians, child advocates, and journalists denounce current sex offender laws as ineffective and flawed, yet are rarely able to articulate exactly why new laws are needed. Instead, they cite each news story about a kidnapped child or Web predator as proof that more laws are needed, as if sex crimes would cease if only the penalties were harsher, or enough people were monitored. Yet the fact that rare crimes continue to be committed does not necessarily imply that current laws against those crimes are inadequate. By that standard, any law is ineffective if someone violates that law. We don’t assume that existing laws against murder are ineffective simply because murders continue to be committed.

In July 2006, teen abduction victim Elizabeth Smart and child advocate John Walsh (whose murdered son Adam spawned America’s Most Wanted) were instrumental in helping pass the most extensive national sex offender bill in history. According to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the bill’s sponsor, Smart’s 2002 “abduction by a convicted sex offender” might have been prevented had his bill been law. “I don’t want to see others go through what I had to go through,” said Smart. “This bill should go through without a thought.” Yet bills passed without thought rarely make good laws. In fact, a closer look at the cases of Elizabeth Smart and Adam Walsh demonstrate why sex offender registries do not protect children. Like most people who abduct children, Smart’s kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, was not a convicted sex offender. Nor was Adam Walsh abducted by a sex offender. Apparently unable to find a vocal advocate for a child who had actually been abducted by a convicted sex offender, Hatch used Smart and Walsh to promote an agenda that had nothing to do with the circumstances of their abductions. The two high-profile abductions (neither by sex offenders) were somehow claimed to demonstrate the urgent need for tighter restrictions on sex offenders. Hatch’s bill, signed by President Bush on July 27, will likely have little effect in protecting America’s children.

The last high-profile government effort to prevent Internet predation occurred in December 2002, when President Bush signed the Dot-Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act into law, creating a special safe Internet “neighborhood” for children. Elliot Noss, president of Internet address registrar Tucows Inc., correctly predicted that the domain had “absolutely zero” chance of being effective. The “.kids.us” domain is now a largely ignored Internet footnote that has done little or nothing to protect children.

Tragic Misdirection

The issue is not whether children need to be protected; of course they do. The issues are whether the danger to them is great, and whether the measures proposed will ensure their safety. While some efforts—such as longer sentences for repeat offenders—are well-reasoned and likely to be effective, those focused on separating sex offenders from the public are of little value because they are based on a faulty premise. Simply knowing where a released sex offender lives—or is at any given moment—does not ensure that he or she won’t be near potential victims. Since relatively few sexual assaults are committed by released sex offenders, the concern over the danger is wildly disproportionate to the real threat. Efforts to protect children are well-intentioned, but legislation should be based on facts and reasoned argument instead of fear in the midst of a national moral panic.

The tragic irony is that the panic over sex offenders distracts the public from the real danger, a far greater threat to children than sexual predators: parental abuse and neglect. The vast majority of crimes against children are committed not by released sex offenders but instead by the victim’s own family, church clergy, and family friends. According to a 2003 report by the Department of Human Services, hundreds of thousands of children are abused and neglected each year by their parents and caregivers, and more than 1,500 American children died from that abuse in 2003—most of the victims under four years old. That is more than four children killed per day—not by convicted sexual offenders or Internet predators, but by those entrusted to care for them. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “danger to children is greater from someone they or their family knows than from a stranger.”

If journalists, child advocates, and lawmakers are serious about wanting to protect children, they should turn from the burning matchbook in front of them to face the blazing forest fire behind them. The resources allocated to tracking ex-felons who are unlikely to re-offend could be much more effectively spent on preventing child abuse in the home and hiring more social workers.

Eventually this predator panic will subside and some new threat will take its place. Expensive, ineffective, and unworkable laws will be left in its wake when the panic passes. And no one is protecting America from that.

Note:

1. For more on this, see my article “Stranger Danger: ‘Shocking’ TV Test Flawed” here.


IN - Officer, wife accused in prostitution ring

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This is pretty blatant even for a cop, complete disregard for the law

07/02/2008

GREENWOOD — A former police officer and his wife have been accused of running a prostitution ring out of their home, where he allegedly collected cash from the prostitutes while in uniform.

Former Indianapolis police officer Jeremy Lee faces a charge of aiding in promoting prostitution.

Lee was fired Wednesday after the charge was filed against him in Johnson County, just south of Indianapolis.

"We're disturbed by his conduct; we're ashamed of him," said Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears, who added that the investigation was started by his department.

Lee, 30, would collect money from prostitutes hired by his wife, Lori Vernon-Lee, while wearing his police uniform, according to court documents.

Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for the couple and Jerry L. McCory, 56, a Marion County Sheriff's Department employee who faces a misdemeanor count of patronizing a prostitute.

Vernon-Lee, 36, is charged with five felony counts of promoting prostitution for allegedly operating the illegal escort service from home in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, according to an affidavit.

Vernon-Lee was being held in Johnson County Jail late Wednesday night on $40,000 bond, said a jail officer. McCory was released earlier on $2,000 bond. Lee was not in custody, the officer said. WTHR TV reported that Lee was in Massachusetts and had been contacted and told to surrender to authorities there.

Vernon-Lee allegedly recruited women to serve as escorts and then advertised their services in a weekly Indianapolis newspaper.

When clients called Vernon-Lee's escort service, she allegedly would arrange for a meeting between client and one of the escorts during which money was exchanged for various sex acts.

Each escort would turn over part of the money she collected — typically about half — to Vernon-Lee, whose husband would collect the cash while in his police uniform, the affidavit states.


NC - Third person charged in satanic rituals case

View the article here
View the ABC News Video Here
Satanic Ritual Abuse (Wikipedia)

Also check out this blog item entitled "Satan's Silence - Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt" I wonder if we are going to start hearing of more of these so called Satanic cults. Remember the old Geraldo and Oprah shows? I am willing to bet we will be seeing more and more of these.

07/02/2008

DURHAM - Another local Democratic official has been charged in a criminal case that includes allegations of sexual assault and satanic rituals.

Diana Palmer, first vice chairwoman of the Durham County Democratic Party, turned herself in to Durham police this afternoon. Palmer, 44, of Cottage Woods Court, was charged with one count of accessory after the fact of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Bill Thomas, a defense lawyer in the Duke lacrosse case, is representing Palmer and is disturbed by the accusations.

"Ms. Palmer vehemently denies any association whatsoever with a satanic cult," Thomas said this afternoon while his client was being processed at the jail. "She further denies any knowledge of a crime being perpetrated by the persons previously arrested."

Joseph Scott Craig, 25, and Joy Suzanne Johnson, 30, both of 2305 Albany St., are in the Durham County jail.

Craig, a dispatcher at Allied Waste Industries, has been charged with second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Two of the kidnapping charges were filed Tuesday.

Two charges of aiding and abetting filed against Johnson on Tuesday reveal new details of what the woman in their house alleged.

The warrants accuse Johnson of "instigating and encouraging" her husband as he handcuffed a man and forced him "into a dog cage, leaving him there for hours, terrorizing him."

Johnson was charged Friday with two other counts of aiding and abetting. The charges stem from accusations by a woman who listed the couple's home as her address.

The man who police say was caged also lived at the house.

"The Durham Police Department has knowledge that my client was not present and did not have knowledge of crimes for which others have been arrested, and I hope the investigator will share this with the public," Thomas said Wednesday.

In a city where an escort service dancer's highly publicized accusations of gang rape were dismissed as phony allegations in the Duke lacrosse case, many are reserving judgment in the satanic ritual case until more facts are disclosed.

With prosecutors are divulging little information and newly appointed public defenders are not yet up to speed on the cases, the only details available are in arrest warrants.

The News & Observer does not generally identify people who have filed complaints of sexual assault.

The incidents, according to warrants, occurred in December 2007 and in January and May.

Palmer was a partner with Craig and Johnson in a company called Indigo Dawn. The company's Web site says Indigo Dawn offers products and services "to promote enlightenment and assist in the development and self-empowerment and divine potential."

Among the services offered, according to the Web site, are "intuitive guidance, past-life regression, spirit guide communication and healing and cleansing."

Police continued their investigation today. They executed a search warrant at the Albany Street home.

Durham animal control officers were at the couple's Albany Street home today with pet abandonment notices.

The couple has two dogs, according to neighbors, a small chihuahua named Pebbles and a white pit bull terrier named Tia. Neighbors said they thought the smaller dog had been taken out of the home and was being cared for by a friend.

The larger dog was in the backyard, but a neighbor had been feeding and taking care of him since the arrest.

Johnson and Craig have been in the Durham County jail since Friday.


WI - Wis. teen gets 5 years for sex assault on girl, 11

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07/02/2006

The 2006 attack involved as many as 20 men and boys over several hours

MILWAUKEE - The last defendant sentenced in a group sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl was ordered Wednesday to serve five years in prison.

Seventeen-year-old Terrell Jefferson was the 14th person punished for his role in the Labor Day 2006 assault. Authorities said as many as 20 men and boys engaged in sex acts with the girl over several hours. A 16-year-old girl was accused of helping get the younger girl to take part.

Jefferson, who was 15 but was charged as an adult, has apologized to the victim and said he takes full responsibility for his actions. Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner told Jefferson in court Wednesday that the girl has had a difficult time.

"She's lost a lot and that's because of your participation in these events, so the court can't overstate it enough — that you're one of the people responsible for creating this situation," he said.

Most got sentences of four to 15 years
The people convicted ranged in age from 13 to 40 at the time of the assault. Most received prison sentences of four to 15 years. The 40-year-old man got 25 years, while the 16-year-old girl was sentenced to up to three years in a juvenile facility.

Court records from the case reveal the child was assaulted over several hours at the older girl's home. Authorities said initially that the 16-year-old had orchestrated the encounter, but later said she had taken part, but in a lesser way.

Some neighbors say they still haven't recovered from the shock of what happened on their block. Others claim the males are victims, too.

"We don't talk about it. It's something that happened and we choose to forget it," said Jackie Hawkins, 55, who said she was the grandmother of one of the defendants. "This whole neighborhood is close, and everybody's watching out for everyone else now."

Matthew Torbenson, an assistant district attorney who prosecuted the juveniles, said he hoped it was a one-time aberration.

"The really scary thing is, during court proceedings I heard members of the perpetrators' families saying this kind of behavior is not uncommon," Torbenson said.

The lawyer representing the girl's family declined an interview request.

A number of women in the girl's neighborhood said the males involved were good people who made bad decisions.

"Five years? Ten years? That's ridiculous," said LaToya Bell, 22, sitting on a porch with four others who nodded in agreement. "They (are) getting time for nothing. That girl, she knew what she was doing."

Denying responsibility by saying the girl appeared willing is contemptible, said Cordelia Anderson, a child sexual abuse expert in Minneapolis.

"It sounds like a scene from pornography, where children or women are often ordered to say they like it even when they're brutalized," Anderson said.


SC - Felon Website, Is it Legit?

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I have been to this site and noticed the same thing and immediately knew it was a scam. Just someone trying to use peoples fears to make a quick buck from the gullible people who will believe anything. Try it yourself. It would not surprise me though if something like this pops up that is legitimate. I wish it would basically, so sex offenders are not the only people on a shame list. This could seriously damage someones reputation, IMO.

07/02/2008

AIKEN - It's a website that's supposed to tell you if criminals live in your backyard. But, there are questions whether or not it's a legitimate website.

It's called felonspy.com and it's available in your home. All you have to do is log onto your computer's web browser.

Brendan Lloyd logged on for the first time on Wednesday.

"If it's actually legitimate I think it is a good idea," says Brendan.

It's a website that claims to be community activists making sure you don't fall victim to any crime. They help, because they care.

A mother of three thinks that sounds pretty good.

"You like to know your neighbors. Today's not like it used to be," says Victoria Jenkins.

But, is this site actually legit? Brendan typed in an address and clicked search. She looked at what felons popped up. Then, she searched the same addresses again and the names changed.

"It should show all the offenders or perhaps people who committed crimes all at the same time, not just randomly," says Brendan. "It's obviously not a reliable source from what I've seen and I think it's awful."

Another question is, are the names on the site listed as criminals, legit? We found a man who supposedly lives near Park Avenue in Aiken, convicted of promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child. That's something that would land you on the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry. So, we checked the registry and he wasn't there.

"Once you get your name out there, it's hard to clear your name and say you didn't do it," says Victoria.

"If it's not a government website... showing legitimately these people have been convicted of these crimes, I don't think it should be up on the Internet," says Brendan.

The FBI in Atlanta said they are not looking into whether this is a legit site or not. The Aiken County Sheriff's Office wouldn't use this site for their work purposes.

There is a disclaimer on the site saying it's not official nor guaranteed.