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The release of individuals from prisons to communities is a practice that has long been fraught with systemic challenges and one which evokes considerable public concern. As a result, in recent years, prisoner reentry has become the focus of a number of problem-solving initiatives at the national, state, and local levels, and a body of promising research and professional literature to inform reentry efforts has begun to accumulate. Thus far, however, these strategies have primarily targeted general criminal offenders.
Facilitating successful reentry is always a challenging endeavor, but with sex offenders specifically, several unique dynamics and barriers make the transition even more difficult. For example, myths about sex offenders and victims, inflated recidivism rates, claims that sex offender treatment is ineffective, and highly publicized cases involving predatory offenders fuel negative public sentiment and exacerbate concerns by policymakers and the public alike about the return of sex offenders to local communities. Furthermore, the proliferation of legislation that specifically targets the sex offender population – including longer minimum mandatory sentences for certain sex crimes, expanded registration and community notification policies, and the creation of “sex offender free” zones that restrict residency, employment, or travel within prescribed areas in many communities – can inadvertently but significantly hamper reintegration efforts.
This policy and practice brief is designed to inform the efforts of correctional administrators and staff, parole boards and other releasing authorities, community supervision officials, treatment providers, and non-criminal justice partners as they work collaboratively to support the successful transition of sex offenders from prison to the community while ensuring victim and community safety. Consistent with the research and professional literature on effective reentry efforts with general criminal offenders, and drawing upon the available research from the field of sex offender management, this document emphasizes a balanced and rehabilitation-oriented framework for facilitating the transition and reintegration of sex offenders.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
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A lot of mythology surrounds criminal sexual offenses, and, in many cases, these assumptions can hamper attempts to reduce recidivism.
Also see: Sex Offender Boundaries Deemed Ineffective
Residency restrictions on released sex offenders — which typically prohibit them from living within 1,000 to 2,000 feet of a school, park or other child-friendly spot — have become an increasingly popular strategy aimed at preventing new sex crimes. As of 2006, 22 states had adopted a form of residency restriction on sex offenders, and even localities with fewer than 1,000 residents have passed such laws.
The perception that sex offenders — even in comparison to other violent offenders — prey on the defenseless in particular is no doubt one of the reasons for the revulsion with which the public regards them. Considering sex offenders' frequent victimization of children and adolescents and common use of deception to lure their victims, this perception has a substantial basis in fact. Another common public perception — that sex offenders are programmed predators, doomed to re-offend — rests on a shakier factual foundation.
The language of California's version of Jessica's Law (officially the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act) is typical of the conventional wisdom on the subject. Citing an unnamed 1998 U.S. Department of Justice report, the legislation declares, "Sex offenders are the least likely to be cured and the most likely to re-offend ... Sex offenders have a dramatically higher recidivism rate for their crimes than any other type of violent felon."
The research actually tells a somewhat different story. A 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics report noted that, based on a study of felons on probation, "Rapists had a lower rate of re-arrest for a new felony and a lower rate of re-arrest for a violent felony than most categories of probationers with convictions for violence," with 19.5 percent of rapists being arrested for a new felony within three years, compared with 41 percent of other violent felons on probation.
A 2002 BJS study that followed nearly 300,000 felons released from state prison found that those who had served time for robbery or assault (excluding sexual assault) were the most likely to be "specialists" — those who, upon release, commit the same crime for which they had just been incarcerated. Within three years of their release, 13 percent of robbers and 22 percent of those convicted of assault had been arrested for new crimes of the same type as their previous offense — compared with 2.5 percent of released rapists arrested for a new rape during the same time period.
This is not to minimize the danger posed by sex offenders, who are more likely — when they do re-offend — to commit a sex crime than are other violent felons. The 1997 BJS report notes, "Released rapists were found to be 10.5 times as likely as nonrapists to be re-arrested for rape, and those who had served time for sexual assault were 7.5 times as likely as those convicted of other crimes to be re-arrested for a new sexual assault."
These figures are not the most chilling statistics to be found in the research, however. According to the 1997 BJS report, "Sexual assaulters were about three times as likely as all violent offenders and twice as likely as rapists to report that the victim had been a member of their family." A quarter of those imprisoned for sexual assault, notes the study, had victimized their own child or stepchild.
In other words — although the cases that capture headlines and drive ever more punitive legislation involve heinous crimes committed by strangers — studies indicate that sexual offenders usually are not the stereotypical stranger lurking at the edges of the playground.
As the Iowa County Attorneys Association noted in 2006, "Residency restrictions were intended to reduce sex crimes against children by strangers who seek access to children at the covered locations. Those crimes are tragic, but very rare. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by a relative or acquaintance who has some prior relationship with the child and access to the child that is not impeded by residency restrictions. Only parents and caretakers can effectively impede that kind of access."
Defending residency restrictions, California state Sen. George Runner — the sponsor of California's Jessica's Law — told Miller-McCune.com, "Polygraph exams of sex offenders often reveal dozens or even hundreds of previously undisclosed offenses ... few rapes and even fewer child molestations are ever reported." Government data support this assertion: A 2006 BJS report on criminal victimization indicates that 41 percent of rapes and sexual assaults committed that year were reported to police, compared to 57 percent of robberies and 59 percent of aggravated assaults.
But if the distribution of unreported rapes and sexual assaults follows that of reported ones, it means that most undisclosed sex crimes are also committed by people who are related or otherwise known to their victims.
For his part, Runner has greater confidence in monitoring and controlling sex offenders than treating them as a way to prevent future crimes. "I am less than optimistic about the efficacy of (treatment) programs. For example, most gang members — the young ones in particular — have the potential to rehabilitate, while most sex offenders will recidivate because they are pedophiles," he told Miller-McCune.com.
"Pedophiles tend to require severe behavior modification — intensive supervision, chemical castration, GPS, random drug testing, etc.," he added. "Sex offenders tend to be model citizens except they sexually abuse children, which must require a higher level of treatment regimens. I believe in the near future GPS will be a standard tool of every law enforcement agency to monitor sex offenders. ... Therefore, the problem of supervising sex offenders should be a thing of the past. California law was the first to pair GPS monitoring with residency restrictions and, thus, I anticipate significant success in the coming years."
Despite his optimism, Runner has also expressed frustration at the slow implementation of the law's provision for GPS monitoring. And even though California lawmakers are currently scrambling to close a $15 billion budget gap, Runner said he is committed to having the state pay the costs of GPS tracking (which the sex offender management board has projected to be a minimum of $20 million for the state corrections agency alone), whether they are incurred by state or local law enforcement agencies.
But in focusing on reducing the odds of something that — while terrifying — is already highly unlikely to occur, parents and others concerned with the welfare of children may be missing the bigger picture.
As noted by the authors of a study of released Minnesota sex offenders, nearly two-thirds of the recidivating offenders "were biologically related to their victims (14 percent), or they gained access to their victims through a form of collateral contact such as a girlfriend, wife, co-worker, friend or acquaintance (51 percent). Thus, for the biological-contact and collateral-contact offenders, residential proximity was not nearly as important as social or relationship proximity."
Gentlemen, I come before you, a man powerless under the law, seeking the redress of grievances done by the legislators of the country, and by the executive power, that impermissibly infringes upon both human rights, and civil rights.
I write this, knowing that what I am to say is true, but it is a view that few will look at, however, I know that you will understand.
There are two varieties of court in the country, civil or escrow court (as it was termed in the days of the founding of the Constitution) and criminal court. One tries actions between individuals, for the remediation of grievances under contract law. The other, provides punishments due prisoners for wrongs done against society.
The Adam Walsh act claims to be a civil matter.. but it provides punishment more consistent with a criminal code. Further, it impermissibly co-mingles the civil and the criminal justice system, without the protections granted under the Criminal Justice system for criminal offenses.
Under the Federalist Papers 83, this separation was discussed as a necessary guarantee of freedom. However, this act also has other, perhaps unintended consequences.
The Adam Walsh act creates a unique situation. On one hand, it attempts to protect society, on the other, it places a vulnerable population, which, in general has had both its capability of self-protection removed, and in many cases the right to vote, in a position where they are vulnerable to vigilantes. Further, it places limits on where such people can live, advertises their location, making them more vulnerable to attacks, financial fraud, and property damage, and further creates situations where friends, neighbors, and family members (including children) are endangered without recourse to law.
Our constitution guarantees certain rights, and recognizes that other rights exist, from the state of humanity itself. Among these rights were the right to life, to liberty, to property, and to security.
Removing these rights by writ is prohibited, under Article 1, Section 9 of the US consittution, as well as Article 1, Section 10. There is no power granted to the legislature to remove rights, for any group of people, or for all persons, by writ. Such a power was specifically prohibited, and discussed in detail in the Federalist papers. The federalist 48 was specific in the reasons behind the limitations to the congressional powers on this subject, as was the Federalist 83.
The legislative department derives a superiority in our governments from other circumstances. Its constitutional powers being at once more extensive, and less susceptible of precise limits, it can, with the greater facility, mask, under complicated and indirect measures, the encroachments which it makes on the co-ordinate departments. It is not unfrequently a question of real nicety in legislative bodies, whether the operation of a particular measure will, or will not, extend beyond the legislative sphere. On the other side, the executive power being restrained within a narrower compass, and being more simple in its nature, and the judiciary being described by landmarks still less uncertain, projects of usurpation by either of these departments would immediately betray and defeat themselves. Nor is this all: as the legislative department alone has access to the pockets of the people, and has in some constitutions full discretion, and in all a prevailing influence, over the pecuniary rewards of those who fill the other departments, a dependence is thus created in the latter, which gives still greater facility to encroachments of the former.
The first example is that of Virginia, a State which, as we have seen, has expressly declared in its constitution, that the three great departments ought not to be intermixed. The authority in support of it is Mr. Jefferson, who, besides his other advantages for remarking the operation of the government, was himself the chief magistrate of it. In order to convey fully the ideas with which his experience had impressed him on this subject, it will be necessary to quote a passage of some length from his very interesting "Notes on the State of Virginia," p. 195. "All the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative body. The concentrating these in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation, that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it, turn their eyes on the republic of Venice. As little will it avail us, that they are chosen by ourselves. An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. For this reason, that convention which passed the ordinance of government, laid its foundation on this basis, that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be separate and distinct, so that no person should exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time. BUT NO BARRIER WAS PROVIDED BETWEEN THESE SEVERAL POWERS. The judiciary and the executive members were left dependent on the legislative for their subsistence in office, and some of them for their continuance in it. If, therefore, the legislature assumes executive and judiciary powers, no opposition is likely to be made; nor, if made, can be effectual; because in that case they may put their proceedings into the form of acts of Assembly, which will render them obligatory on the other branches. They have accordingly, IN MANY instances, DECIDED RIGHTS which should have been left to JUDICIARY CONTROVERSY, and THE DIRECTION OF THE EXECUTIVE, DURING THE WHOLE TIME OF THEIR SESSION, IS BECOMING HABITUAL AND FAMILIAR. (Federalist 48)
I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.
If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.
Such will be the relation between the House of Representatives and their constituents. Duty, gratitude, interest, ambition itself, are the chords by which they will be bound to fidelity and sympathy with the great mass of the people. It is possible that these may all be insufficient to control the caprice and wickedness of man. But are they not all that government will admit, and that human prudence can devise? Are they not the genuine and the characteristic means by which republican government provides for the liberty and happiness of the people? Are they not the identical means on which every State government in the Union relies for the attainment of these important ends? What then are we to understand by the objection which this paper has combated? What are we to say to the men who profess the most flaming zeal for republican government, yet boldly impeach the fundamental principle of it; who pretend to be champions for the right and the capacity of the people to choose their own rulers, yet maintain that they will prefer those only who will immediately and infallibly betray the trust committed to them?
Were the objection to be read by one who had not seen the mode prescribed by the Constitution for the choice of representatives, he could suppose nothing less than that some unreasonable qualification of property was annexed to the right of suffrage; or that the right of eligibility was limited to persons of particular families or fortunes; or at least that the mode prescribed by the State constitutions was in some respect or other, very grossly departed from. We have seen how far such a supposition would err, as to the two first points. Nor would it, in fact, be less erroneous as to the last. The only difference discoverable between the two cases is, that each representative of the United States will be elected by five or six thousand citizens; whilst in the individual States, the election of a representative is left to about as many hundreds. Will it be pretended that this difference is sufficient to justify an attachment to the State governments, and an abhorrence to the federal government? If this be the point on which the objection turns, it deserves to be examined. (Federalist 57)
The supreme court has said that the constitution and the history thereof are silent on the matter of civil law and ex post facto, therefore it is allowed.. I'd argue the following (written regarding the right to jury in civil trials) as evidence against this.
With regard to civil causes, subtleties almost too contemptible for refutation have been employed to countenance the surmise that a thing which is only NOT PROVIDED FOR, is entirely ABOLISHED. Every man of discernment must at once perceive the wide difference between SILENCE and ABOLITION. But as the inventors of this fallacy have attempted to support it by certain LEGAL MAXIMS of interpretation, which they have perverted from their true meaning, it may not be wholly useless to explore the ground they have taken.
The maxims on which they rely are of this nature: "A specification of particulars is an exclusion of generals"; or, "The expression of one thing is the exclusion of another." Hence, say they, as the Constitution has established the trial by jury in criminal cases, and is silent in respect to civil, this silence is an implied prohibition of trial by jury in regard to the latter. (Federalist 83)
Further, I would argue that such a law would be utterly nonsensical under the common law tradition of civil suits. Civil law at the time was contract, tort, property, or escrow law, regarding private individuals, and private matters, in direct contrast to the common law criminal law which dealt with wrongs against the society.
Under civil law no punishment could be meted, not even a moment in prison could be assessed. All judgments were remedial, and such judgments could only occur in explicit or implied contract.
No civil law, further, could be imposed upon any person. Civil code, as well, was an alien issue, the first civil code (a predecessor of the Code Napoleon) coming in with the Louisiana Purchase. (currently still the basis of Louisiana code).
Criminal law, however, is quite the opposite. Criminal law is imposed by its very nature, and punitive, by providing for unique imprisonment and loss of freedom, liberties, and rights.
How then is mandatory registration on pain of incarceration civil? How is it thus legal to restrict the rights of men, not for what they do, but for what they may, someday, perhaps do?
There are three aspects to any criminal law, first that the law must be clear. The second test is one of fairness. The third test is one of assumption of innocence. In primus, is the law clear? It establishes a large number of punishments, increases minimum sentences.. but also leaves the interpretation and application of the law, rather than being codified, in the hands of the Attorney General of the United States. This is a strike against clarity, and the separation of powers.
The second test, fairness, is a subjective test. But according to this test, is it 'fair' or 'reasonable' to expose a population to danger, simply because one believes they may reoffend? Is this just or reasonable? When divested of their ability to protect themselves, labeled and demonized, how is it reasonable to expose them to those to whom they have been labeled as demons? When it has been judged by the Supreme Court that there is no protected property interest in police protection, and that they are in truth there to simply catch criminals and incarcerate, the police in many cases will not protect those thus labeled.. and further in most cases cannot.
"Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public." (Lynch v. NC Dept. Justice)
". . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."--Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)
Cases known supporting this:
South v. Maryland, 59 U.S. (HOW) 396,15 L.Ed., 433 (1856)
Bowers v. DeVito, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 686F.2d 616 (1882)
Riss v. City of New York, 293 N.Y. 2d 897 (1968)
Keane v. City of Chicago, 98 Ill App 2d 460 (1968)
Hartzler v. City of San Jose, App., 120 Cal. Rptr 5 (1975)
Reiff v. City of Philadelphia, 477F. Supp. 1262 (E.D.Pa. 1979)
Chapman v. City of Philadelphia, 434 A.2d 753 (Sup. Ct. Penn. 1981)
Warren v. District of Columbia, D.C. App., 444 A.2d 1 (1981)
Davidson v. City of Westminster, 32 C.3d 197,185 Cal. Rptr. 252,649
P.2d 894 (S.Ct. Cal. 1982)
Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A2d 1306 (D.C. App. 1983)
Morris v. Musser, 478 A.2d 937 (1984)
Calogrides v. City of Mobile, 475 So. 2d 560 (S.Ct. Ala. 1985)
Lynch v. N.C. Dept. of Justice, 376 S.E. 2nd 247 (N.C. App. 1989)
Marshall v. Winston, 389 S.E. 2nd 902 (Va. 1990)
After these things, it becomes plain that there is a protected interest, a substantiative due process interest, in abolishing this law. Further, it may well be that abolishment may come too late. Due to the decision to distribute the data over the Internet, to use the vernacular, the 'genie is out of the bottle'. There is no way to put the knowledge held there back away, nor to delete it from all archives, especially that of those who would willingly put it to malicious use.
After these things, we must ask, and remonstrate for injunctive relief. By the right to redress of grievances, as well, we must insist upon the restoration of our rights, the abolition of this law, and further, the restoration of our ability to protect ourselves, as the government cannot protect us.
We must seek injunctive relief not only for ourselves, but for our families, our children, our friends, and our loved ones. This law does not simply apply to the offender, it applies to those around the offender. The innocents who are bullied, targeted, and harmed, not because of their own actions, but because of a governmental backlash of hatred, control, and intolerance.
Should this state continue, we will be ended, and so will the lives of others who count on us. No right can be removed from any person without causing that right to become a privilege in the eyes of the government. Banishment, disarmament, concentration, and limitations on free speech and association are the tools of tyranny.
The current law stands as a legislative bill of pains and penalties, insofar as they have judged that offenders are guilty of the possibility of a new crime, therefor they must pay. They must register, they must obey restrictions on their livelihood, their location, their communication, their families, their friends, and be legislated further by whim and writ, to limit their rights without recourse to due process of law. Should they refuse, they should be imprisoned.
Wherein is this American? Wherein does the United States gain such power, that the congress can ignore the very foundation of their grant of power?
No, the congress has no such power granted in the Constitution, nor does the states. Article 1, section 9 specifically prohibits attainder and ex post facto legislation. Article 1, section 10 specifically prohibits the same to the states.
It is time to end this. The persons labeled 'sex offenders' according to the GOVERNMENT'S OWN STATISTICS have a lower reoffense rate for any crime, as well as a low reoffense rate for sexual crimes. The lies must end. If you do not believe me, do the research yourself. Go to the department of justice. Go to the departments of correction. The numbers are there, and available, if you look. Look at the studies, and meta studies. Learn and understand, and think!
The actions of few, should not destroy the rights of all.
The death Brooke Bennett in Vermont is a tragic event. Most troubling is that her uncle Michael Jacques has been charged in her kidnapping and is a potential suspect in her death. Jacques allegedly wanted to initiate the 12 year old into a sex ring. He was arrested along with Brooke's former stepfather Ray Gagnon for allegedly sexually assaulting another adolescent girl.
Many wonder how someone in Brooke's family could do this to her and how others could not suspect that Jacques and Gagnon were sexually offending young girls. According to Ami Mejia, Decatur County Family Connection Coordinator, "Many individuals rely on state sex offender registries to reveal who perpetrators are in the community.
Many people may wonder whom they should trust. To help people learn how they can recognize appropriate as well inappropriate behaviors and prevent child sexual abuse, the Decatur County Family Connection Collaborative will offer a Circles of Safety Training: A Community Approach to Child Sexual Abuse Prevention on Thursday, August 14, 2008, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Southwest Georgia Regional Library.
This training is free and open to the public. Parents, teachers, ministers, and anyone concerned about children are encouraged to attend.
If you need more information, please contact Ami Mejia at 243-6451 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (Contact) on Monday signed a bill that will add the names of people found liable for sexual abuse to a court-administered public registry.
The legislation -- Senate Bill 319 -- was introduced late in the session by state Sen. Karen A. Peterson (Email), D-Stanton, to add a public notice segment to the 2007 Child Victim's Act, which eliminated the civil statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.
The new law requires a "Civil Sexual Abuse Report" to be posted in courthouses and on the court's Web site, including the name and address of the defendant, plus the offense for which he or she was found liable. Cases settled out of court would not be included.
At a Lower Makefield sleepover this spring, three teenage boys said they were trying to figure how to get a 38-year-old woman “to do stuff ... to say "yes.' ”
They didn't have to try hard, according to their testimony at Tuesday's preliminary hearing for Angela Honeycutt, a Lower Makefield woman charged with statutory sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor.
That night, each boy kissed Honeycutt before one had sex with her and another engaged in sexual acts with her, all three teens testified in district court in Morrisville.
“She undressed herself and asked if anyone would like to join her in the shower, and I went,” testified a 15-year-old Lower Makefield boy, who went on to say he had sex with Honeycutt in a glass-walled shower.
Dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and Birkenstocks, the teen nervously stretched his thin, tanned arms while sitting on the stand and touched his mop of sandy-blond hair. He tried to answer a stream of questions from Assistant District Attorney Mark Walz and Honeycutt's defense attorney, Niels Eriksen.
He was recalling the night of April 11, when a high school friend hosted a party in the township attended by some 20 boys and girls. But eventually he and two other friends said they found themselves hanging out with the 45-year-old owner of the house and her friend, the 38-year-old Honeycutt.
The 15-year-old said discussions soon focused on sex, which were followed by “making out” and a naked Honeycutt jumping in the shower with him.
“We were just showering and washing ourselves with shampoo, like normal stuff,” the boy continued. “After some touching occurred, we decided for me to go ask my friend for his condom.”
He added: “I wasn't planning on having sex when I went into the bathroom. But after stuff happened, we decided to do it.”
When Honeycutt's attorney began asking the 15-year-old questions about that night, the teen said he had trouble remembering several details. Eriksen asked if the boy's poor memory stemmed from the roughly one glass of wine he drank that night.
The boy replied: “More so because it was a long time ago, and I've been trying to think about it as little as possible.”
But his gaps in memory were allegedly filled in by the testimony of the other two teens — a 14-year-old boy and another 15-year-old boy who were there that night. They said Honeycutt, a mother of two, danced like a stripper with her clothes on in front of them and her 8-year-old daughter. They also testified that she detailed her sexual fantasies and smoked a cigarette immediately after having sex with the 15-year-old.
Their testimony was enough to convince District Judge Michael J. Burns to send the charges against Honeycutt to Doylestown for trial next month.
Dressed in a black skirt, white blouse and large gold earrings, Honeycutt sat quietly in the courtroom, occasionally jotting down notes or chatting with her lawyer. As she left court, Honeycutt told reporters she wanted people “to wait until the end before they make or pass judgment.”
Honeycutt is living on Finch Court on $250,000 unsecured bail. She is scheduled to be in county court for her formal arraignment Aug. 26.
If guilty of the two second-degree felonies, Honeycutt faces a maximum 10 years in prison.
The owner of the house in which the sleepover occurred, Lynne Long-Higham of South Dove Road, waived her preliminary hearing two weeks ago, sending the charges against her to county court.
Long-Higham, who allegedly encouraged the sexual activity and told the teens not to tell anyone, is charged with endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Both charges are first-degree misdemeanors, which carry a maximum jail sentence of five years for each count.
The case has attracted national attention with ABC's “20/20” following the case. The mother of the 15-year-old who allegedly had sex with Honeycutt stood in the court's foyer Tuesday. She put a coat over her head, preparing to brave the clutch of news cameras outside before a constable showed her a way out the back door.
Speaking outside the courtroom, Honeycutt's attorney said his client is extremely upset and genuinely fearful of jail time. Based on his assessment of the state's sentencing guidelines, Eriksen said if Honeycutt is found guilty she could face nine to 12 months in prison and might be forced to abide by Megan's Law, a sex-offender registry. Honeycutt's two kids, ages 8 and 12, are living with their grandparents in Texas.
Eriksen, who said his client is pleading not guilty, said the three teens who testified Tuesday were making false accusations that didn't even add up. He said they couldn't corroborate each other's testimony on what time certain events occurred and where they occurred and other details.
There were some discrepancies among the three teens who often appeared nervous. For instance, one boy said the 14-year-old said, “That was awesome” after allegedly engaging in sexual acts with Honeycutt. But when the 14-year-old took the stand, quietly mumbling through much of his testimony, he denied having said the experience was “awesome.”
The kids also differed on whether Honeycutt was wearing a robe or a towel when she exited the bathroom after allegedly having sex in the shower.
But each teen was clear about who allegedly entered the shower with Honeycutt.
When Honeycutt first jumped in the shower, one of the 15-year-olds and the 14-year-old quickly looked at each other, according to testimony.
“I guess I beat him to the spot,” said the 15-year-old, who added that he went on to have sex with the woman.
After he left the shower, the 14-year-old friend allegedly joined Honeycutt in the bathroom. But the third friend did not.
“He was going to go in,” said the 15-year-old. “But I told him not to because he had a girlfriend.”
Ben Finley can be reached at 215-949-4203 or bfinley@phillyBurbs.com.
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When sex offenders are released from their prison and sent back into the community, the majority of them (but not all according to state law) are required to register with their local police agency. Legislatures and the general community believe that, new sex offenses are committed by these former offenders. While that is a myth, we can now present some hard facts to prove our claim.
To make sense of this issue we searched for a "Victim Study" which showed the number of offenses according to victims. Here is what we found. The United States Department of Justice has a report called "Criminal Victimization in the United States, 1994," published in May of 1997. In 1994 victims reported 432,750 incidents.
Although that report has later versions, we used 1994 to be consistent with the latest sex offender recidivism statistics, "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994, also published by the US Department of Justice, published in November 2003.
The DoJ reported 3.5% of those sex offenders released were RECONVICTED for another sex crime, within 3 years, following their release. (DoJ Pg-24) see note below.
Video is available at the site above.Pretty soon, this segregation will become like the racial segregation was, SO's will have their own bathrooms, made to sit at the backs of buses, etc.
Officials say at the least, they will be separated from others
Starr County - Registered sex offenders in Starr County, who need shelter, will not be allowed in regular shelters. In Starr County shelters are not open yet, but when they are registered sex offenders will be separated.
If you are a registered sex offender in Starr County and you are forced to evacuate to a shelter, you must first contact your local law enforcement office. In Roma and Rio Grande City, call the police department. If you live in the county, contact the sheriff's office. They will give you the shelter location. If you evacuate to a shelter other than the designated shelter, that may be considered a violation.
Starr County authorities are not disclosing the shelter location to the public. As for general shelters, emergency leaders are waiting on the Red Cross to open them.
Many people apparently do not know what a dictionary or loitering actually means. They think it means you cannot be there at all, but that is not the case. It means being somewhere "without a purpose!" Check it for yourself at Merriam-Webster.
I have followed the saga of the Sunbury sex offender law, in regards to the "incident" at the Oppenheimer Pleasure Grounds. According to the ordinance, Ms Hunt was supposedly "loitering."
Megan's law was enacted for a good reason, the state has laws that are passed on to those on the list, and they can then choose to abide by the law or to break the law. City codes are sometimes enacted due to some kind of hysteria concerning some kind of action. Those who would be affected by those laws should be informed of them in a way that can be tracked. A municipality has a responsibility to ensure that those who would be affected be notified. Apparently Sunbury, in its haste and hysteria, created a law without notifying those who are affected by that law.
If a municipality has any person, whether a registered sex offender or not, who is actually hanging around places where children congregate, that person should be watched; but a mother who takes her children to a playground so they can play should be allowed to do so without harassment by the police or anyone else.
I hope that Ms Hunt is cleared of the "loitering" charge, and that this law might be put to rest. I also hope that she might be given some grace by the community. She paid for the "crime," and has been a law-abiding citizen for six years. Let's all cut her a break.
Seventy-Five Percent Of Barre Off Limits To Sex Offenders
BARRE -- Barre has become the first Vermont town to pass an ordinance limiting where sex offenders can live.
NewsChannel 5's Matt Gerien reported parents in Barre were pleased after the City Council passed the ordinance that makes more than three-quarters of the city off-limits to sex offenders.
The mayor and council said their ordinance takes action amid inaction by the state Legislature. The City Council unanimously approved the measure at a meeting Tuesday night attended by 15 people, of which no one spoke out against the ordinance.
"This ordinance is well thought out. It's something that we've been thinking about, that we've been doing the research on for quite a while," Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon said. "It's something that 23 states and 400 municipalities around the country have enacted."
- You did not think it out, you just followed the bandwagon. It has been proven, via studies, than 90% or more of all sexual crimes occur in the victims own home or close family, so pushing offenders out into the woods will do nothing. Plus, the registry continues to grow every day, because 90% of those being put on the registry are people who are not criminals and never had a record, so the registry would not protect you from the people who are unknown. THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN FORCED BANISHMENT, PERIOD!!
The ordinance prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or playground. The 45 sex offenders already living in the city will not have to move, but the law will apply to anyone new moving into the city.
- How many sexual crimes can you tell me about, which has occurred at a school or play ground? Or how many sex crimes were from some stranger? Not many. It's mostly in the family.
"If you send your kids to one of these areas, you expect them to be safe," Barre Police Chief Tim Bombardier said. "This takes steps to further ensure their safety in those areas and to be able to deal with somebody if they are in an area where they don't belong."
- You are right, and if you or I go ANYWHERE, we expect to be safe, but we are not, not from someone who is intent on committing a crime. Nobody is safe, everyone in living in fantasy land!
The new ordinance also makes it illegal for sex offenders to go to schools, parks, day care facilities or city buildings unless they have a child at those locations.
- So if they cannot go to city buildings, does that mean they will be thrown in prison when they cannot go register because it's a "city" building? Again, how many sex crimes can you tell me about, which has occurred at a school, park or day care? I'd love to hear about them...
"I applaud Barre City for doing this for being first to take the initiative," said Jennifer Tosi, principal of the Central Vermont Catholic School in Barre.
Some residents told the City Council the ordinance not tough enough, but Vermont's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is taking a look at it. The group's executive director told NewsChannel 5 that these type of laws have constitutional issues.
- So where is all the lawyers, who have balls, to stand up for these unconstitutional issues? Nobody has the balls to stand up for what is right. They see law suits, and thus more money coming into their pockets, that is what it is all about. Exploiting others for money and fame!
The mayor doesn't think so.
"We're not telling people you can't live anywhere in Barre City, and as far as the constitutional ramifications, I don't think there are going to be any," Lauzon said.
- Yeah, but you are telling them where they can and cannot live, which is a direct violation of the US and state constitutions. Read the damn things yourself, here and here. But, I'm sure you don't care what these documents say, or else you'd repeal these unconstitutional laws.
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