Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MI - Woman Accused of Letting Teen Daughter Dance at Sex Party

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And more proof that "stranger danger" is all hype!

12/09/2008

DETROIT — Police say they raided a sex-for-cash party involving 19 adult female prostitutes and two 16-year-old girls, including the hostess's daughter.

Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans says authorities raided the Detroit home about 4 a.m. Sunday and discovered about 20 adult men, 19 adult female prostitutes, the 39-year-old homeowner, her daughter and another 16-year-old, both of whom were dancing partially nude.

Evans says the men paid a $15 cover charge plus whatever the prostitutes charged for sex. It isn't known whether the underage girls had offered sex for money.

The sheriff says most of the prostitutes and johns were ticketed and released, but the homeowner and three men believed to be involved in operating the party were arrested.

The woman's daughter was taken into protective custody. The other 16-year-old was released to her parents.


How Politics Helped Start the Scandal of Missing Children

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Thanks to the viewer who submitted this, they know who they are.  It's all about fear.  Fear is the great motivator.  Scare the people with bogus information, and they will freely give you money!

By John Edward Gill

By now Walsh was saying between 1.5 million and 2 million children were missing each year, yet still not giving sources for his estimates. His Adam Walsh Child Resource Center (Adam Walsh Center), which started with no money in 1981, now had about half a million dollars a year. He spoke to many state legislatures and received awards. Politicians and civic groups wanted their pictures taken with him. He seemed the perfect advocate, articulating a new, if unproven, sensational danger to children.

On February 2, 1983, he told another Congressional hearing about the need for an unidentified dead file. "I believe the Missing Children Act was something that should have been done ten years ago...That set into motion the ability that when the children were found dead, or someone found them, that at least those searching parents criss-crossing the country could get the body back."

He still never talked about trying to find children while they were alive.

That 50,000 figure had become the cornerstone of a new industry in missing children agencies and businesses, with novel schemes to make money from doubtful and useless products like fingerprinting kits, photo identification kits, videos of children, identification tags, bracelets, pendants, tooth implants, child harnesses, and child beepers, among others. With only a handful of agencies in 1981 working on parental abduction, soon there were around 150 missing children agencies by 1984, all dealing with "missing" children. Most of their cases were about parents who left a spouse or partner and hid with their children. But all of their publicity was about strangers abducting children.

And they kept using that 50,000 figure, without giving sources, without asking for an incident study, and without stressing the need for federal laws against parental abduction. There were stories about groups of homosexual men who kidnapped young children to molest or film; there was talk that such groups had thousands of members, and that they were organized. Walsh told Congress, "The kidnappers are more organized that we are." These agencies, businesses, and their products thrived on Walsh's publicity and other promotional work by Child Find. Private companies bought pictures of missing children to use in their advertising, without any explanation of how a child had disappeared. Some cases were years old; some were runaways; none had witnesses to these alleged abductions.

So no one paid attention to Sutherland, not politicians, not the press. False publicity and news-making events continued. Stranger abduction was new, a seemingly horrifying crime which made perfect feature stories and excellent material for talk shows. Child Find started having fundraising dinners on May 25th each year, the anniversary of Etan Patz's 1981 disappearance in New York City. President Reagan soon proclaimed that date, May 25th, as National Missing Children's Day. Child Find boasted in its private literature that it "had excellent contacts with the national media."

That first showing of "Adam," in October, 1983, on NBC-TV, mentioned both Paula Hawkins and Jay Howell and that film implied that Walsh created the Missing Children's Act to require the F.B.I. to list missing children in its files. In December, 1983, Howell, Walsh, Child Find and some members from the American Bar Association (ABA) Washington, D.C., organized a conference at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, which is near Houston. Five people from Child Find came down, as well as Linda Otto, who produced the movie "Adam." Howell chaired the conference, which allowed each agency there to advertise itself. But he didn't want controversy and wouldn't allow questions.

For instance, this author wanted to know why the ABA didn't support those federal bills to outlaw child stealing by parents. "The ABA never supported those bills because they would have taken away money from private lawyers who handled custody cases and given the government jurisdiction over such cases," this author commented, over Howell's protests.

Howell was firm, though, and wouldn't allow an answer. Each group gave a short speech, with John Walsh and Linda Otto speaking last and having the most time. Walsh spoke again of the need to identify dead bodies and list missing children in a national register. Walsh never said more police should be hired to find abductors or that Hollywood paid him $300,000 for screen rights to his story. Every speaker told of the need to raise money, work with other groups, meet with law enforcement, get publicity, organize boards of directors who could donate funds, and solicit volunteers.

None spoke of finding children. None spoke of those Congressional bills to make parental abduction a federal crime. None spoke of hiring more police and law enforcement officials to look for missing children. None spoke of studies to determine the number of missing childen each year, whether those children ran away, became lost, or were taken by parents or strangers. None mentioned that police had more experience and more authority to find child abductors and molesters than private groups and vigilantes.

Barry Flint, head of Child Find's board of directors, said there was a need to seek corporate funding. Gloria Yerkovich, founder of Child Find, talked about getting on television. Howard Davidson said the ABA had a list of state child-stealing laws. Howell promised that a national organization would be set up soon to deal with the problem, and the closing statements were by a Justice Department official who said such a national agency would hold a conference soon.

"An incident study would show how rare stranger abduction was," Abbott has said. "And getting more police and the federal government involved would have put those groups out of business." Abbott wasn't invited to that conference and heard about it from friends who had gone there.

There were other groups concerned that Walsh, Howell, and Child Find distorted the issue of "missing" children, ignoring parental abduction.

Walsh fueled concerns of those small groups with a letter published by Ann Landers on Friday, February 3, 1984, in her nationally-syndicated column. Written by Denny Abbott, executive director of the Adam Walsh Center, that letter took the opposite approach from Sutherland, explaining how 50,000 children a year are abducted by strangers.

"Dear Ann: Consider these chilling statistics: every hour 205 American children are reported missing. This means 4,920 per day and 1.8 million per year," Denny Abbott wrote. He then gave that 50,000 figure on stranger abductions. He offered tips about how children should know their addresses and phone numbers and not get into cars with strangers. But Denny Abbott concluded with, "We welcome queries from your readers who want to join us in the fight to make America safe for our children once again." Landers published the address of the Adam Walsh Center, which then was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She didn't question his figures. (Nikki Abbott and Denny Abbott are not related.)

In June, 1984, President Reagan held a reception for officials of the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children (the National Center) in the White House Rose Garden. Walsh and his wife were there, as were many advisory board members of Child Find, including Yerkovich. President Reagan posed for pictures with Walsh again and introduced Howell as the National Center's Executive Director. His starting salary was $40,000, but soon it climbed to $65,000.

Many of the National Center's board members were advisory board members of Child Find. They included Ernie Allen, from Louisville, Kentucky, Dick Ruffino, a Sheriff from New Jersey, Davidson, from the ABA, and Dr. Daniel Broughton, from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Pat Hoff, also from the ABA, was not officially with the National Center, but she'd given her name to Child Find, while Walsh and Howell had attended a 1983 fundraiser in New York City for Child Find. Walsh and several officials from that Kentucky Task Force in Louisville founded the National Center, which was a non-law enforcement, private agency.

A press release from the White House said nearly two million children were missing each year and that 50,000 youngsters were taken annually by strangers. So, distorted publicity about strangers abducting children continued, with the White House now officially involved. In April, 1984, NBC-TV again aired "Adam," and, as with the first showing, it came in among the top ten in the Nielsen ratings. The National Center itself got press, both print and broadcast. Brochures distributed by Howell claimed the National Center was a clearinghouse for information about missing children. Soon it became clear the National Center copied Child Find -- keep the fear going by using those high, false figures; always give examples of how small children were killed or murdered, even though "strangers" weren't involved; talk about the need for "public awareness" about the problem; list any case where you were even remotely involved in finding a child; say you need extra money to find more children. And don't talk about the need for stronger federal laws and for hiring more police. Talk about changing state laws, because such laws will still conflict and won't solve the problem. Don't mention the F.B.I. or U.S. Marshall Service, either.

Aided by three million dollars a year from the Justice Department, the National Center set out to get private money. For donations of anywhere from ten thousand dollars and up, a company could purchase pictures of missing children to use in its advertising. People were more likely to buy products from companies which looked like they wanted to find missing children. A National Endowment was created to accept private contributions, and donors had their names and companies mentioned in At The Center, a newsletter published three times a year by Howell.

In keeping with conservative policies of President Reagan, the National Center involved as many private corporations as possible in recovering allegedly missing children. Pictures of children appeared in airport and hotel lobbies, on grocery bags and utility bills. At The Center listed bus companies, hotels and airlines who supposedly gave searching parents free accommodations.

Then came the milk cartons.

H.R. Wilkinson, president of the National Child Safety Council (NCSC), in Jackson, Michigan, came up with the idea. He would get dairies to print pictures of missing children and then give the toll-free number of the National Center. The idea caught on and soon more than three hundred dairies were involved. But like so many posters and directories, those milk cartons carried pictures of children who might have run away, and who might have been helped if phone numbers of runaway hotlines, not pictures, had been on those cartons. Jennifer Anne Douglas, for instance, was 17 when she vanished. Kristen Marie Koslowski was 18 when she vanished.

Wilkinson also printed an Abducted Children Directory in March, 1986, with the name and phone number of the National Center. That Directory had pictures of approximately 140 children, but about 80 of them were 12-years-old or older, which meant they might have run away instead of having been abducted. Howell went on radio shows with Hawkins, claiming several children had been found through the milk cartons. But he couldn't prove it. Yet no one questioned him -- no reporters, no television producers, no public officials.

Ellis "Bud" Meredith soon joined Howell at the National Center, becoming its "president." Meredith was a staunch Republican who'd been a lobbyist for the clothing industry, but he had no experience in finding missing children. The Wall Street Journal and Family Circle in 1986 raised questions about the National Center, but nothing stopped the National Center, Child Find, or similar groups. They continued to promote questionable services and products, and still claimed 50,000 stranger abductions of small children each year.

Congress held two more hearings in the summer of 1986, but there were no suggestions to cut off funding for the National Center. By 1988 Ernie Allen, then chairperson of the Center, told Congress that 953 companies distributed photos of missing children, but not on milk cartons. "The Center is concerned about the potential for unnecessarily frightening children, and therefore we do not cooperate with programs that distribute photos through such media as milk cartons...." It would not be the first time Allen, Walsh, or anyone else in the missing childrens business would have to back off from statements or activities which they once supported. For Allen didn't tell Congress that the National Center had allowed the NCSC earlier to print its (the National Center's) toll-free phone number on such milk cartons. Allen then criticized those cartons in 1988 because the National Center raised money from private sources, annoying NCSC officials, who took the National Center's number off the cartons.

Yet another questionable issue was the National Center's claims that it had "recovered" thousands of missing children, when it had done nothing to bring them home. In many cases, children had not even been abducted, but were gone for other reasons. Yet the National Center always wanted publicity and still wrote monthly reports on children it claimed to have found. Child Find, of course, and other companion agencies in the missing children business, still made similar claims, never offering proof, yet escaping Congressional and journalistic attack.

Undaunted, Walsh had appeared before the Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice of the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee on April 1, 1982. He again said, "50,000 children disappear annually and are abducted for reasons of foul play." He urged parents to fingerprint their children. As usual, neither Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, Senator Hawkins, nor any other panel member asked him where that 50,000 figure came from.

And on February 2, 1983, Walsh appeared before the same Senate committee with Specter and Hawkins. "The children are the victims," Walsh said, after repeating the story of Adam's disappearance and death. "This country is littered with mutilated, decapitated, raped, strangled children."
- Fear mongering at it's best, to scare folks, and make millions of dollars!

No one asked where he had seen such a littered countryside.

Other articles that may be of interest:
  • Domestic Armageddon Who profits from the maternal child-snatching epidemic? Two book reviews by Stephen Baskerville. 
  • Men Are Beasts Whereas false accusations by women are in fact rare, occurring no more often than do other false reports of crimes, such as bank robbery -- Joint Congressional Resolution 182.
  • Mother Accuses Father of Child Abuse What to do? Win! Advice from The Fathering Advisor with links to resources.

Copyright © 2000, FatherMag.com, All rights reserved.


MO - State Supreme Court considers legality of sex offender registration

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So, do you think they are going to knock it down, and look "soft on crime?" I doubt it. Do you think they will uphold the Constitution? I doubt it! These laws need some very experienced lawyers working on repealing these draconian, unconstitutional laws.

12/10/2008

By CHRIS BLANK • Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) -- Attorneys for two sex offenders asked the Missouri Supreme Court to release them from state custody Wednesday while challenging the propriety of the post-prison restrictions placed upon the men.

_____ is serving a four-year sentence at the Farmington Correctional Center for not properly registering as a sex offender and contends he should be released because the registry didn't exist when he committed the crime.

_____ finished his prison sentence but was ruled a "sexually violent predator" and has been housed at the Missouri Sexual Offender Treatment Center in Farmington. _____ argues that the state didn't follow its own procedures in having him civilly committed.

At issue in the _____ case is how to apply Missouri's sex offender registry. Starting in 1995, sex offenders were required to register with the state. But the state high court has ruled that those whose only offense happened before 1995 cannot be forced to register because the continuous registration was not part of the punishment when the sex offense occurred.
- Yes, it would violate the Constitution and ex post facto.  The Constitution clearly states that "No ex post facto law should be passed," yet this is exactly what these laws are, and they are doing.

But because of some of the language used by the courts in determining who is required to register, it wasn't completely clear whether the focus should be on the date of the guilty plea or conviction or on the date of the offense.

_____, 48, pleaded guilty in 1995 to sodomizing a 5-year-old - after the sex offender list was created - but the crime happened before the registry was established in April 1994. After _____ was released from prison, he registered as a sex offender when he moved to Hannibal in 2001, but he did not notify the Marion County Sheriff's Department within 10 days after he moved in 2007 from a basement to another house and then again to his car.

Public defender Irene Karns argued Wednesday that _____ shouldn't have been required to register as a sex offender because he had no way of knowing that such registration would have been required when the sodomy occurred.

Assistant Attorney General Dan McPherson said that the registration requirement for sex offenders is triggered by the conviction, not by the offense itself.

"When you commit a crime, you know you are subjecting yourself to prison time, and you know there are consequences that flow from that," McPherson said.
- Well, for those who committed their crimes before the law came into being, it wasn't a law, and how can you know you will be on a registry, when the registry and laws do not yet exist?  Are they suppose to be able to predict the future now?

Judge Patricia Breckenridge questioned whether there should be different standards for those who plead guilty and those convicted by a jury. She said in the time it takes to get a conviction, there could be new consequences imposed for the crime.

The seven-judge panel also heard arguments Wednesday in a case focusing on a 1998 law that allows those deemed to be "sexually violent predators" to be held in a Department of Mental Health facility even after their prison sentence expires.
- Mental health facilities cost millions of tax payer dollars.  If they are so dangerous, why don't they get longer sentences in the first place?  Prison costs a lot less than civil commitment centers.  But, it's not about that, is it?  It's about punishment, and looking good to the sheeple, while you sap all the money from tax payers.

The case involves the civil commitment of _____, but the attorney general's office estimates that the Supreme Court's ruling could affect five other men who could be held after completing prison sentences.
- If the law is deemed unconstitutional, then it should apply to ALL SEX OFFENDERS, not just those who had to lose money to fight it in court!

The case hinges on how Missouri evaluates those convicted of sex offenses in determining those who have better than even odds of again committing certain violent sexual crimes.

The Department of Corrections is supposed to alert the attorney general's office of inmates nearing their release dates who might qualify as sexually violent predators. The attorney general's office then decides if it agrees and convenes a prosecutor's committee to decide whether to petition the courts to transfer the prison inmate to a mental health facility following the prison term.

A trial judge in Macon County rejected a request by the attorney general's office to involuntarily commit _____ to the Farmington mental health facility because the attorney general's office used a psychiatric report that was prepared by Department of Corrections psychologist David Suire, who was not licensed in Missouri.

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary order blocking the dismissal of the petition, but if the court sides with _____, he would be freed.

Public defender Emmett Queener said Wednesday that should happen because the state didn't follow its own procedures in allowing Suire to write the psychiatric report when the law states a Missouri-licensed practitioner is supposed to write it.
- Well, we know rules and laws are only for the general public, not those in government jobs.

Missouri Solicitor Jim Layton said the report was designed to get prison officials involved in weeding out sex offenders who should not be released rather than add extra hoops. Layton said that a possible error by the Department of Corrections should not affect the attorney general's ability to ask the courts to hold certain sex offenders.

In fact, Layton argued, the attorney general's office and the Department of Corrections are not bound by the findings in the psychologist's report and can go against them.


MD - Keeping children safe - Plain clothes officers on the lookout for sex offenders among holiday shoppers

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So now sex offender cannot go Christmas shopping at a mall? And again, not all sex offenders are out "preying" on children, like these idiots seem to think.

12/10/2008

By Adam Bednar

Sex offenders beware: Baltimore County police are deploying plainclothes officers at shopping centers and malls throughout the county to prevent you from preying on children who are part of large holiday crowds.
- Well Mr Bednar, not all sex offenders are "preying" on children, and not all had anything to do with children!

Police are even passing out photos of registered offenders to shopping center security officers.

If a plainclothes or security officer spots an offender violating probation by being close to children, the officer will notify a uniformed officer who will confirm the offender’s identity.

“When we recognize these fellas, we’ll be able to find out the condition of their release,” police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

If the offender is in violation of his probation, the officer will pass the offender’s name to the department’s Sex Offender Registration Team, which will pursue the case and possibly return the offender to jail.

This is the second year police have patrolled busy shopping areas looking for sex offenders who are prohibited from being near children, Toohey said.

Although last year’s effort didn’t result in any sex offenders being detained, Toohey said he believes the program’s high visibility helped keep sex offenders away and children safe.


IA - Point/Counterpoint: Sex-offender laws

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Yes, it's all about money.  The government is basically bribing people to implement these draconian laws.  But, they don't tell people, it will cost more to implement, than to not implement.

12/10/2008

By Colin Gilbert

Point - Overly restrictive policies against sex offenders

The Iowa Department of Public Safety is considering a hike in restriction and monitoring of convicted sex offenders, ostensibly to keep the children safe from their clutching fingers, but also in an attempt to meet realistic levels of compliance with the Adam Walsh Act and the national standards it's meant to establish. Failure to meet these standards as laid out by the act, which President Bush signed in July 2006, could mean a drastic cut in federal law-enforcement money - like the "um, what?"-ness of the No Child Left Behind Act, this seems a whit counterintuitive, and could ultimately lower general standards of applied policy instead of solve discrete problems.

The Iowa Legislature is in the process of reviewing elements of the act, and lobbyists have drafted a 2009 plan for the implementation of many of its key points by the national July deadline. If you are a convicted sex offender, you may have a number of exciting violations to your civil liberties in your future, such as:

  • Similar to the degrees of murder, a three-tiered system of offense and related sentencing able to be retroactively applied to already-rehabbed offenders.
  • You aren't allowed to stand, walk, or exist, period, within 300 feet of such "restricted" areas as schools or churches.
  • Publication on the state's Sex Offender Public Registry website of information on your place of work and education.
  • Registration of your residence, with zero tolerance, meaning homelessness is illegal and failure to comply could garner possibly a life sentence (one Iowa man was sentenced to jail time for listing his address as "rest area mile marker 149," which is where he did, in fact, reside).
  • And many more.

The issue here is that the state's immanent adoption of these new codifications isn't addressing the scourge of night-lurking, bad-touching predators out there, it's simply exploiting mass fear to the effect of meeting rigid federal standards to retain some grant money - mass fear mostly hinging on the misconception that all offenders will offend again and that rehabilitation is impossible. Now, the government probably has the little ones' best interests at stake here, no doubt, but its leverage against law-enforcement agencies is money, forcing state and offender compliance for what feels like the wrong reasons.

Balancing test favors proposed sex-offender law

Neal Schuett

When the Iowa Legislature reconvenes Jan. 12, 2009, lawmakers in Des Moines will have until July 29 to decide whether to adopt the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Failure to adopt the federal sex-offender law will result in a penalty that could result in a loss of almost $500,000 for state drug task forces and overtime funds for law-enforcement officers. Yet, the adoption of the Adam Walsh Act isn't a foregone conclusion.

Many lawmakers are worried about the added expenses the act will impose on law enforcement. Some are concerned about a retroactive application that raises constitutional questions. Many parents and residents are disturbed by the abrogation of an Iowa judge's right to waive the requirement for a minor to be listed in the Sexual Offender Registry. Past offenders waiting to be removed from the list are anxious because the act will add five more years of being a social pariah. Despite all of these valid points of apprehension, the balancing test clearly tips in favor of adopting substantial portions of the act.

For years, the Iowa sex-offender law has been the subject of great controversy. The law prohibits registry members from living within 2,000 feet of a daycare center or a school. The law has pushed many former offenders underground; meaning their whereabouts are unknown. Sex offenders have listed rest stops and cemeteries as their address. Many offenders are in locations "unknown." The adoption of the Adam Walsh Act will allow Iowa lawmakers to repeal the 2,000-foot prohibition without appearing to be soft on sexual predators.

The act focuses on sexual predators' daytime activities more than where they sleep. The new law would require information regarding place of employment, campus location for any classes that an offender is taking, license plates, and descriptions of any vehicle driven by an offender. This data will be stored in a national database that can be accessed online. Harsh and invasive? Yes. But hopefully, the new requirements will serve as a further set of deterrents to stop the abuse before it occurs, while at the same time providing for better nationwide protection of our children. If the more severe and invasive penalties fail to deter a sexual predator, then the offender deserves no sympathy for the hardships he or she must endure after committing a sex crime. Our society should have no qualms about valuing the safety of our nation's children over the personal adversity a sexual predator faces after raping a 20-month old child in the bathroom of a library.

While I have concerns over the federal law's abrogation of the juvenile waiver currently in place, the new law only mandates inclusion of juvenile offenders for crimes that included force, the threat of force, or rendering the victim unconscious. Serious crimes warrant serious punishments. Moreover, the three-tiered system of the federal law will provide Iowa judges more options than the current two-tiered 10-year or life system. Supplying judges with the ability to find a crime to be severe but not worthy of a lifetime inclusion on the sex-offender list is an important tool for a more even-handed legal system that acknowledges that not every crime is the same.

In the end, the Adam Walsh Act is not perfect. It overreaches and does little to avoid pushing sexual offenders underground. However, Iowa lawmakers have the ability to address concerns and adopt a version better suited for our state. If nothing else, the act should be used to amend our ineffective residence restrictions for sexual offenders. Constitutionality questions can be handled through the litigation system after the adoption of the law. Every new law creates a balancing test, and this act is no different. In this case, the prejudicial effect felt by sexual predators fails to counterbalance the hope of saving even one more child from a lifetime of pain and suffering after being the victim of rape or sexual abuse.

Counterpoint-Balancing test favors proposed sex-offender law

By Neal Schuett

When the Iowa Legislature reconvenes Jan. 12, 2009, lawmakers in Des Moines will have until July 29 to decide whether to adopt the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Failure to adopt the federal sex-offender law will result in a penalty that could result in a loss of almost $500,000 for state drug task forces and overtime funds for law-enforcement officers. Yet, the adoption of the Adam Walsh Act isn't a foregone conclusion.

Many lawmakers are worried about the added expenses the act will impose on law enforcement. Some are concerned about a retroactive application that raises constitutional questions. Many parents and residents are disturbed by the abrogation of an Iowa judge's right to waive the requirement for a minor to be listed in the Sexual Offender Registry. Past offenders waiting to be removed from the list are anxious because the act will add five more years of being a social pariah. Despite all of these valid points of apprehension, the balancing test clearly tips in favor of adopting substantial portions of the act.

For years, the Iowa sex-offender law has been the subject of great controversy. The law prohibits registry members from living within 2,000 feet of a daycare center or a school. The law has pushed many former offenders underground, meaning their whereabouts are unknown. Sex offenders have listed rest stops and cemeteries as their address. Many offenders are in locations "unknown." The adoption of the Adam Walsh Act will allow Iowa lawmakers to repeal the 2,000-foot prohibition without appearing to be soft on sexual predators.

The act focuses on sexual predators' daytime activities more than where they sleep. The new law would require information regarding place of employment, campus location for any classes that an offender is taking, license-plate number and description of any vehicle driven by an offender. This data will be stored in a national database that can be accessed online. Harsh and invasive? Yes. But hopefully, the new requirements will serve as a further set of deterrents to stop the abuse before it occurs, while at the same time providing for better nationwide protection of our children. If the more severe and invasive penalties fail to deter a sexual predator, then the offender deserves no sympathy for the hardships he or she must endure after committing a sex crime. Our society should have no qualms about valuing the safety of our nation's children over the personal adversity a sexual predator faces after raping a 20-month old child in the bathroom of a library.

While I have concerns over the federal law's abrogation of the juvenile waiver currently in place, the new law only mandates inclusion of juvenile offenders for crimes that included force, the threat of force, or rendering the victim unconscious. Serious crimes warrant serious punishments. Moreover, the three-tiered system of the federal law will provide Iowa judges more options than the current two-tiered 10-year or life system. Supplying judges with the ability to find a crime to be severe but not worthy of a lifetime inclusion on the sex-offender list is an important tool for a more even-handed legal system that acknowledges that not every crime is the same.

In the end, the Adam Walsh Act is not perfect. It overreaches and does little to avoid pushing sexual offenders underground. However, Iowa lawmakers have the ability to address concerns and adopt a version better suited for our state. If nothing else, the act should be used to amend our ineffective residence restrictions for sexual offenders. Constitutionality questions can be handled through the litigation system after the adoption of the law. Every new law creates a balancing test, and this act is no different. In this case, the prejudicial effect felt by sexual predators fails to counterbalance the hope of saving even one more child from a lifetime of pain and suffering after being the victim of rape or sexual abuse.


TX - State Lawmaker Wants '21st Century' Sex Offender Database

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Video is available at the site above, and below.

12/10/2008

By Kim Fischer - kimfischer@woaitv.com

A state representative from our area wants to bring the Texas sex offender registry into the 21st century.

Representative David Leibowitz (Contact) filed House Bill 22 (Also here), which would make it easier to identify sexual predators online. The bill is actually an amendment to the current sexual offender registry law.

Leibowitz said with today's technology, changes to our current law need to be made.

If his bill passes, more information will be added to the current registry on the DPS website.

"When they register with the DPS database, they have to provide any e-mail addresses they may have or any aliases," Leibowitz said.

That would include names on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Leibowitz says he got the idea after watching Dateline's "To Catch A Predator" and doing his own research on MySpace.

The bill will go to a house committee at the beginning of the year. If it passes during this legislative session, it will go into effect in September of 2009.

The presence of websites mapping and naming offenders in a given neighborhood is all well and good, and parents should have access to information they consider necessary for keeping their families safe, but the upped parameters are panic-driven and unfair. More than anything, the act applies itself to punitive measures for past crimes, not the risks of further crime. A "sex offender" who commits statutory rape is now, under the act, a Tier I offender, and instead of getting on with one's life with the judge's assessment that, yeah, it probably won't happen again, one must be registered in the system for 15 years. That's a rather large chunk of life spent with the overblown stigma of "sexual offense," especially for getting lucky with your high-school girlfriend.

A more reasonable approach would be a blend of the current laws with the proposed. A tiered system of conviction is a good start, but its wording in the act is ambiguous and anyway inordinately harsh on lower-tier offenders. In the murder-degree analogy, conviction informs the judge's sentence - not so with sex offense, the sentencing of which is bound by mandate and doesn't allow much room for interpretation. Restricting locomotion is a convoluted approach to preventing future crime, implying an offender's physical presence is to be feared and not his actions, and assuming the certainty of those actions if given the slightest chance. A person will be considered nothing but a direct and immediate threat for the duration of his listing in the registry, not someone working toward rehabilitation.


Survey: Teens sharing nude images online

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So these teens, are basically producing and distributing child pornography!  I find it hard to believe, that in this article, nobody suggested the parents stop buying their kids cell phones with all the gadgets on them.  Buy them a basic phone, without Internet, Cameras, texting capability, etc, just a plain phone.  When they turn 18, then they are free to buy any phone they want, they are an adult then, but until then...


Kids, stop taking and sending nude photos, you could wind up arrested, thrown in prison, on the sex offender registry, and your life ruined forever.  Parents, your kids are not the angels you think they are.  Get rid of the fancy cell phone, get them a basic phone.  Or do like they did in the old days, no phone period.  Why does society today think they all need cell phones?  Remember the old days before cell phones and computers?

12/10/2008

Recent survey finds that sex, tech and teens make bad bedfellows

When it comes to sex, tech and teens don't make the best bedfellows. As tech-savvy teens become increasingly fluent with new technology, from social networking sites to tricked-out new cell phones, research finds the negative consequences stacking up.

According to the results of a survey released today by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, 22 percent of all teen girls — and 11 percent of teen girls ages 13-16 years old — say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves.

And these racy images are also getting passed around: One-third (33 percent) of teen boys and one-quarter (25 percent) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images — originally meant to be private — shared with them.

Sharing is baring
For some teens, like 16-year-old Megan, the downside to “sex-ting” quickly became apparent. “I was with my friend and we were busy texting a couple of boys we were friends with at the time,” Megan recalled. “And they sent us a picture of them without their shirts on, and we just kind of decided to send one back.”

The photo that Megan and her friend sent showed the then-14-year-old girls with their shirts pulled up, revealing their bras. “They didn't think it was a big deal, they just kept sending it to other people,” said Megan. “I really don't think I would ever do anything like that ever again, because I know what could happen now and how dangerous it could be and where it could leak to.”

But it turns out that teen girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content. According to the survey, almost one in five teen boys (18 percent) say they have sent or posted nude/semi-nude images of themselves. One-third (33 percent) of young adults — 36 percent of women and 31 percent of men ages 20-26 — say they have sent or posted such images.

Diamond, a teen who spoke to TODAY along with a panel of other young people, said, “I also have female friends who have pictures of guys' private area, chest, all type of stuff like that. So it happens.”

The online survey of 1,280 teens and young adults — done by TRU, a company that conducts research on teens and 20-somethings — indicates that 15 percent of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, e-mail, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online.

Real life imitates life online
What teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life: Nearly one-quarter of teens (22 percent) admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive. More than one-third of teens (38 percent) say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely and nearly one-third of teens (29 percent) believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.

“That so many young people say technology is encouraging an even more casual hook-up culture is reason for concern, given the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the United States,” said Marisa Nightingale, senior adviser to the Entertainment Media Program at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Parents should understand that their own notions of what's public, what's private, and what's appropriate may differ greatly from how teens and young adults define these concepts.”

Here are five tips from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to help parents talk to their kids about sex and technology.

Talk to your kids about what they are doing in cyberspace.
Just as you need to talk openly and honestly with your kids about real-life sex and relationships, you also want to discuss online and cell phone activity. Make sure your kids fully understand that messages or pictures they send over the Internet or their cell phones are not truly private or anonymous. Also make sure they know that others might forward their pictures or messages to people they do not know or want to see them, and that school administrators and employers often look at online profiles to make judgments about potential students/employees. It’s essential that your kids grasp the potential short-term and long-term consequences of their actions.

Know who your kids are communicating with.
Of course it’s a given that you want to know who your children are spending time with when they leave the house. Also do your best to learn who your kids are spending time with online and on the phone. Supervising and monitoring your kids’ whereabouts in real life and in cyberspace doesn’t make you a nag; it’s just part of your job as a parent. Many young people consider someone a “friend” even if they’ve only met online. What about your kids?

Consider limitations on electronic communication.
The days of having to talk on the phone in the kitchen in front of the whole family are long gone, but you can still limit the time your kids spend online and on the phone. Consider, for example, telling your teen to leave the phone on the kitchen counter when they’re at home and to take the laptop out of their bedroom before they go to bed, so they won’t be tempted to log on or talk to friends at 2 a.m.

Be aware of what your teens are posting publicly.
Check out your teen’s MySpace, Facebook and other public online profiles from time to time. This isn’t snooping — this is information your kids are making public. If everyone else can look at it, why can’t you? Talk with them specifically about their own notions of what is public and what is private. Your views may differ, but you won’t know until you ask, listen and discuss.

Set expectations.
Make sure you are clear with your teen about what you consider appropriate “electronic” behavior. Just as certain clothing is probably off-limits or certain language unacceptable in your house, make sure you let your kids know what is and is not allowed online, too. And give reminders of those expectations from time to time. It doesn’t mean you don’t trust your kids, it just reinforces that you care about them enough to be paying attention.

Here are five tips from the National Campaign that looks at what young people should think about before pressing "send."

Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private.
Your messages and images will get passed around, even if you think they won’t: Forty percent of teens and young adults say they have had a sexually suggestive message (originally meant to be private) shown to them, and 20 percent say they have shared such a message with someone other than the person for whom it was originally meant.

There is no changing your mind in cyberspace — anything you send or post will never truly go away.
Something that seems fun and flirty and is done on a whim will never really die. Potential employers, college recruiters, teachers, coaches, parents, friends, enemies, strangers and others may all be able to find your past posts, even after you delete them. And it is nearly impossible to control what other people are posting about you. Think about it: Even if you have second thoughts and delete a racy photo, there is no telling who has already copied that photo and posted it elsewhere.

Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
More than 40 percent of teens and young adults (42 percent total, 47 percent of teens, 38 percent of young adults) say “pressure from guys” is a reason girls and women send and post sexually suggestive messages and images. More than 20 percent of teens and young adults (22 percent total, 24 percent teens, 20 percent young adults) say “pressure from friends” is a reason guys send and post sexually suggestive messages and images.

Consider the recipient’s reaction.
Just because a message is meant to be fun doesn’t mean the person who gets it will see it that way. Four in 10 teen girls who have sent sexually suggestive content did so “as a joke,” but many teen boys (29 percent) agree that girls who send such content are “expected to date or hook up in real life.” It’s easier to be more provocative or outgoing online, but whatever you write, post or send does contribute to the real-life impression you’re making.

Nothing is truly anonymous.
Nearly one in five young people who send sexually suggestive messages and images do so to people they only know online (18 percent total, 15 percent teens, 19 percent young adults). It is important to remember that even if someone only knows you by screen name, online profile, phone number or e-mail address, that they can probably find you if they try hard enough.

For more information, visit the Web site for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, as well as Cosmogirl.com.


CT - Glitches Cast Doubt On Sex Offender Monitoring

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12/10/2008

By Stan Simpson

A vaunted electronic tracking system actually managed to turn a Southbury serial rapist into a sympathetic figure three months ago.

The gaffe still reverberates, even after a report three weeks ago outlined the problem as a technician's error and made recommendations aimed at making sure the embarrassing mishap won't happen again.

When you can't rely on the accuracy of a global positioning system — the same technology the military uses — to tell you the whereabouts of a sex offender via an electronic ankle bracelet, it doesn't do much for public confidence. About 230 offenders in the state are monitored by electronic bracelets.

"It's a waste of time for the entire system when your client is hauled in for a violation that didn't happen," said Hartford criminal lawyer Carlton Hume. "Of course it shakes your confidence in the system because when it doesn't work, who's going to tell you? It shows that there is no system that doesn't have any faults."

That's the case being made by Thomas Siconolfi, executive director of the state judicial branch's administrative services division.

He is the author of a Nov. 17 report on the judicial branch's use of GPS. It outlines the safeguards needed to prevent mishaps, such as what happened with convicted rapist David Pollitt Sept. 3 in Southbury. A technician apparently misinterpreted GPS data and Pollitt was charged with leaving his designated area.
- And the Governor, based on this misread information, was demanding he be sent back to prison.  Typical knee-jerk reaction from someone wanting to "look tough on crime!"

Many of those safeguards are in place now.

For example, having competent technicians monitoring the GPS tracking system: Those vendors been "read the riot act" and threatened with termination of the $400,000 contract if they are again found to have unqualified technicians monitoring the GPS system, Siconolfi said. "We feel that they have rectified the problem," he said Tuesday.

In a couple of months, a new monitoring center, which will cost between $250,000 to $400,000, will be up and running to better vet tracking system alerts and flag false alarms. Also, 27 new probation officers will be hired next April to focus solely on released sex offenders.

Still, with all that, we know that human error could muck up the process again.

Last year, a convicted rapist out on probation was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in a Bristol park. He was said to be under tight supervision, including GPS monitoring.
- So you say he was "accused!"  So did he do it?

Too many times, the public sees this high-tech stuff as highly infallible. It's not.

The bracelets and the technology, Siconolfi said, only augment the enforcement process.

"With all its faults, it's the best complementary technology that we have," he said. "It's not a magic wand. We don't want to rely on it, but without it, we would have far less information about what offenders are doing."

Siconolfi's report found that probation officers were losing confidence in the GPS system because many of the alerts they were getting ending up being system errors or false alarms.

My problem with the ankle bracelets and GPS system is that they're costly. If a determination is made to put one on an offender, maybe that's an indication the inmate is not ready to return to society.

For now, brace yourself for the next time an ex-offender slips out of grasp of this electronic law.

Technology is great. But when it comes to keeping an eye on ex-offenders, it simply tries to make the best of an awkward situation.

Stan Simpson's column appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Read his blog at http://blogs.courant.com/stan_simpson/.


John Walsh admits to having a sexual addiction, and that you should be fearful of all men, except him - How ironic!

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Repost!

07/15/2003

KING: We're back with John Walsh. In our remaining moments, we want to touch some other bases. Your marriage problems continue. Your wife filed for divorce in 1999, then changed her mind. Then you admitted on this program that you had relationships with other women.

WALSH: Yes, I did. I apologized to her, and I've -- I went off the richter there somewhere, and...

KING: This was during the height of all of your fame? Do you think that had something to do with it?

WALSH: I think my inability to deal with my problems -- I never went to a therapist for 20 years. I think it just -- my own selfishness, my own stupidity, my own ego, all of those things, and I hurt my children, and I hurt my wife, and she's a good woman, and she, you know, we're working very hard at this.

KING: Are you in therapy with her, or?

WALSH: Both of us. Yes. I recommend it to everybody.

KING: Does it help?

WALSH: I do -- I think it helps. I think especially crime victims, and it's not an excuse, people that have been through an awful traumas, I think therapy is a terrific thing, and I thought, you know, I'm the tough guy, I'm the toughest guy, I mean, I can deal with this myself -- I couldn't deal with it. And you know, you thinking not hurting somebody, you know, women can be an addiction, and you have to deal with it...
- So he admits he had an adultery problem, and seeked therapy and it worked, but he denies it won't help for sex offenders. Well, you are wrong Mr. Walsh, and a typical hypocrite!

KING: So you understand men who have that problem?

WALSH: Oh, I had it for years and didn't think I had it.

KING: How have your children treated you when it was made public?

WALSH: I think it was a terrific embarrassment for them, but they're wonderful kids, I apologized to them, and they said, you know, you're a human being. You tell a lot of good things. You know, you're a good dad.


Are we teaching children that men are out to hurt them? The answer, on many fronts, is yes. Child advocate John Walsh advises parents to never hire a male babysitter.


FL - Fla. Investigates Graves at Boys' School

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Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Photos

12/10/2008

By SCOTT MICHELS

Former Reform School Students Recall Beatings, Sex Assault

There are secrets hidden at the Florida State Reform School.

One day in the late 1950s, Richard Colon was working in the school's laundry room. After a long bathroom break, Colon, then a student inmate in his early teens, said he returned and found the room empty and quiet, except for one tumble dryer that was running.

A young boy had been shoved into it, he said.

"I looked around and I thought 'I could help him, but if I do, what will they do to me?'" he said, assuming the boy had been forced into the dryer as punishment. "So I left him. And he died.

"I think about him every day," said Colon, who is now 65 and lives in Baltimore. "I think to myself, I could have opened that door and I didn't. That torments me."

Colon says he does not know what happened to the boy's body or who forced him into the dryer. But he and a group of men who were students at the school during the 1950s and 1960s believe his remains may be buried among 32 unmarked graves recently discovered near the school, where they suspect boys who were killed at the school were dumped.

Their claims, kept hidden for more than 50 years, prompted Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday to order the state department of criminal investigation to investigate the four neat rows of white crosses in Marianna near the area where the school used to house black inmates.

The men, all now in their 60s, call themselves the White House Boys, a name taken from the small, white cinder-block building where they say they were beaten repeatedly with a leather strap lined with sheet metal. Others say they were sexually abused while at the school.

"The beatings were ungodly. I thought they were going to kill me," said Roger Kiser, who said he was sent to the reform school from an orphanage in late 1958. "They would beat you for anything."

Officials at the school, now known as the Arthur Dozier School for Boys, and the state Department of Juvenile Justice have not disputed that some abuse took place and recently dedicated a memorial to the White House Boys.

A Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman said the department did not hear about the abuse claims at the White House until last year and that the school has changed.

"We have zero tolerance for anything that would hurt a child in our custody," said Frank Panela, the spokesman.

Corporal punishment was banned in reform schools in 1967. But, as late as 1987, the state settled a lawsuit that claimed that officials at Dozier and other reform schools shackled and hogtied students and kept them in isolation cells as punishment. The state did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to stop the use of hogtying and isolation cells.

When Robert Straley was sent to the school in 1963, he said he looked at the sprawling campus with cottages for the students, large oak trees, a swimming pool and gymnasium and "thought I was in heaven."

"I didn't know it was a beautiful hell," he said.

His first night, Straley said he and four other boys were taken to the White House for talking about running away. He was whipped 40 times, he said.

Straley, Colon and Kiser said boys were beaten for smoking, swearing or any number of other infractions. Kiser said school officials thought one boy was masturbating under the table in the dining hall. He was taken to the White House and never seen again, Kiser claims.

The men said they forced into a small, dank room and told to lie down on their stomachs on a bed covered in blood and other bodily fluids and grab the bed's metal bars. Colon said the boys were told if they yelled or whimpered, the whipping would start over.

"There were little pieces of lip and tongue where people were biting themselves trying to control themselves," said Colon, who was sent to the school in 1957 for stealing cars.

After one particularly bad beating, Kiser said he woke up in a school administrator's office. When he went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, "I screamed as loud as I could because I couldn't tell who I was."

He said he was beaten so badly that his underwear was stuck to his buttocks and he had to go to the infirmary to have pieces removed.

Once, Kiser said, a friend had been taken to the White House. School staff dragged the boy out of the building and left him on the ground, blood running out of his nose and mouth, Kiser said.

A group of boys crowded around to see if he was all right.

"Roger, would you kiss me?" the boy asked. "Like when your grandmother kisses you when you were hurt because she loves you."

Kiser said he bent down on his knees and kissed the boy's forehead.

The three men said their time at the school left them angry and emotionally detached as they grew older. As the years passed, several of the White House Boys found each other, mostly through the Internet, where some had written about their experiences. They began advocating for an investigation into their allegations of abuse.

In October, Kiser, Colon, Straley and several other men returned to the school for a ceremony in which the White House was officially sealed and shut. They walked through the building and saw the graveyard.

Kiser's old friends suggested he light a cigarette, a small act of defiance nearly 50 years after he left the school.

"I couldn't do it. I was whispering, I was afraid," he said. "To see those walls and smell that smell ... I was still scared to smoke, even at 62 years old."


UK - Wikipedia child image censored

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12/08/2008

A decision by a number of UK internet providers to block a Wikipedia page showing an image of a naked girl has angered users of the popular site.

The blocked page of the online encyclopaedia shows an album cover of German heavy metal band Scorpions, released in 1976.

Internet providers acted after online watchdog the Internet Watch Foundation warned them its picture may be illegal.

The IWF said it was a "potentially illegal child sexual abuse image".

Some volunteers who run Wikipedia said it was not for the foundation to censor one of the web's most popular sites.

They also argued that the image was available in a number of books and had never been ruled illegal.

But the IWF, which warns internet providers about possible images that could be linked to child abuse, said it had consulted the police before making its decision.

The foundation's list of proscribed sites is widely used by British internet service providers to filter out images showing child abuse and other illegal content.

As a result, the addition of the Scorpions Wikipedia page has made it inaccessible to the majority of British internet users.

The IWF, which lists the BBC, News International and internet companies AOL (UK) and Ask among its members, said as many as 95% of British users would now be unable to access the page.

Wikipedia volunteer David Gerard said he and fellow users were angry that as well as the photo, the text on the page had been blocked.

"Blocking text is a whole new thing - it's the first time they've done this on such a visible site," he said.

Mr Gerard also told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the album cover was still available as part of the band's box set and could be viewed on retail websites.

"When we asked the Internet Watch Foundation why they blocked Wikipedia and not Amazon, apparently the decision was 'pragmatic', which we think means that Amazon had money and would sue them, whereas we're an educational charity."

Access blocked

Susan Robertson, of the IWF, said the image could potentially contravene the Protection of Children Act 1978.

"We only act on the reports we receive, and as I understand it, the only report we received regarding this content, as of Friday, was the content on Wikipedia," she said.

Ms Robertson also said the IWF needed to "take a view" on the images available on Amazon with its "analyst team and police partners".

Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, which manages the encyclopaedia, said the removal of the page also appeared to have stopped thousands of UK users from editing articles on Wikipedia, which allows readers to self-edit its pages.

"It appears that there's a large number of editors - I can't say all - who appear to have access issues," he said.

The IWF spokeswoman said a reader had brought the image to the foundation's attention last week and it had contacted the police before adding the page to their list.

Wikipedia is one of the world's most popular websites. It is a multi-lingual online database written, edited and funded largely by its users. It has 2.6m articles in English alone.


Sex Offender Treatment - Does It Work? Is It Worth It?

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It is my opinion, that when we are talking about sex offender recidivism, we should be talking about additional sex crimes, not any crime.  If you consider any crime, then of course the recidivism rates are going to be high.

By Ron Kokish

This can be a controversial subject. What constitutes success? Do we look only at sexual reoffenses, or also at related (compulsive) behaviors like alcoholism, drugs, gambling, etc.? What about other crimes - burglary, assaults, etc.? Do we look at the probationary period only, or is post treatment considered? If post, how long? How do we get data? Self report? Crime reports? Family follow-up?

How hard do we look for failure? Do we rely only on crime reports or do we do a confidential study where we annually polygraph people for ten years following treatment? How do we count treatment drop outs in such a study - as treated offenders, untreated offenders, or as a separate group?

It’s unreasonable to expect zero recidivism, so how much does a program have to reduce reoffenses to call itself successful?

Given all the difficulties, here are some things we do know.

Barry Maletzky, MD and Kevin McGovern, Ph.D. of The Sexual Abuse Clinic of Portland Oregon followed about 5000 offenders treated in their clinic and similar clinics between 1973 and 1990 using behavior oriented methods. About 3700 of these were pedophiles -770 were exhibitionists. The remainder were referred for a variety of other paraphilias. Criteria for "success" included:

  • No re-arrest
  • Self report of no maladaptive sexual behaviors
  • Reduced deviant arousal maintained post - treatment as verified on penile plethysmograph
  • "Significant other" ratings of patient behavior

Using these stringent measures to follow some men for as long as 17 years post treatment, success was achieved with 94.7% of heterosexual and 86.4% of homosexual pedophiles. Rapists showed 73.5% success, exhibitionists and public masturbators about 92% , with men referred for various other paraphilias ranging from 100% for zoophiliacs to 80% for frotteurs. These data do not represent a controlled study, but the sample is large and with success criteria as stringent as they were, the data gives strong indication that treatment is effective for a great many offenders.

A June 1991 report to the State of Washington legislature also supports community treatment as a viable alternative for sex offenders. The report covers 613 probation eligible offenders sentences between January 1985 and July 1986. Three hundred thirteen of these actually received probation sentences while 300 were sent to prison. Both groups were followed. The probationers had significantly lower re-arrest rates and conviction rates in all crime categories. The study concluded that, generally speaking, probationary sentences did not place the community at undue risk and offered a cost - effective alternative to prison.

An Oregon study of sex offender monitoring using polygraphy indicated dramatic success having offenders complete their probationary periods without reoffenses.

In 1999 Margaret Alexander, Ph.D. (Oshkosh, Wis. Correctional Facility) examined no less than 424 studies. After eliminating most of them because they were poorly done she presented an analysis of the remaining 79studies covering 10, 988 offenders with some being followed as long as ten years post treatment. (Sexual Abuse; A Journal of Research and Treatment, 11(2) Here are some of her findings.

  • Over all, treated offenders reoffended at a rate of 11%, untreated at 17.6%
  • True incest offenders have lower reoffense rates than other child molesters. (5.3% with 5-year follow-up without treatment, no recidivism with treatment, compares to 17.8% treated and 25% untreated for non-incestuous child molesters.)
  • When subjects were followed for as long as ten years, the "treatment effect" weakened over time, but even in the tenth year, treated offenders reoffended less untreated men.
  • Men treated before 1980 (more traditional methods) reoffended at a rate of 12.8%. while men treated after 1980 (present day methods) reoffended at 7.4% (1993 data – not included in article)

Also in 1999, Grossman, Martis and Fichtner presented an analysis of Medline literature and concluded that offenders treated with anti-androgen and / or cognitive-behavioral therapy showed a robust treatment effect in the neighborhood of 30%. (Psychiatric Services, 50(3) ) Recently released Data from ATSA’s collaborative database project also show a robust over-all treatment effect.

Data from a variety of sources show that “some treatment is not better than none” is an unwarranted attitude. Treatment dropouts reoffend at the same or higher rates than do untreated offenders.

None of this represents true controlled studies. Such experiments are under way in California and Vermont using inpatient populations and preliminary data are interesting, but samples are so small that statistically significant data will not be available until 2005. Even then, we will not necessarily be able to generalize to outpatient programs. Controlled outpatient studies may never be done because of reluctance to have matched controls at large in the community without any treatment. (Studies comparing various forms of treatment are however, feasible and should be done.)

Robert Prentky, Ph.D. (Bridgewater. Mass. Correctional Facility) developed a cost effectiveness model for "success." He suggested comparing the cost of prosecuting a single reoffense, incarcerating the offender, and treating one additional victim to the cost of meaningfully treating an offender during his initial incarceration. According to his figures, the Bridgewater program is cost effective if it reduces reoffenses by 11%, it. When Janice Marques applied his model to California she arrived at a 14% cutoff.

CONCLUSIONS:
Given available data, it appears that out patient programs do much better than 11 - 14% offense reduction. In fact, it does not seem unreasonable to assume we reduce reoffenses by a third or more, that we teach offenders empathy, encouraging them to treat others better in non-sexual ways as well, and that we make a significant contribution to their social functioning. (reduce non-sexual crimes, improve employment performance, etc.)

The United States already locks up a greater percentage of its people than any western nation while California, with about 10% of the country's population accounts for about 14% of the U.S. prison population. Under theses circumstances, strict conditions of probation, close monitoring and quality treatment paid for by the offenders themselves is clearly the most promising alternative.


Sex Offender Treatment - Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

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March 2004

Profile Of Sex Offenders

In November of 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice‘s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report on the recidivism of sex offenders released from prison in 1994. This study represents the largest follow-up ever conducted on convicted sex offenders following discharge from prison. A total of 9,691 sex offenders from 15 states were tracked for 3 years after their release from prison. The report provides evidence that sex offenders have fairly low recidivism rates. Within 3 years of release from prison, only 5.3% of sex offenders were rearrested for a sex crime. Also, compared to non-sex offenders, sex offenders had a lower overall rearrest rate for any type of crime (43% vs. 68%).

Furthermore, sex offenders were rearrested for less serious crimes. Of those who were rearrested, 84% of non-sex offenders were rearrested for a felony while only 75% of sex offenders were arrested for a felony. When comparing sex offender’s risk of rearrest for a sex crime versus risk of rearrest for any type of crime, it is also evident that sex offenders, on the whole, do not specialize in sex crimes alone but are actually more likely to reoffend for other types of crimes. Another interesting finding from this report is that a comparison of older and younger sex offenders did not consistently show older prisoners having lower rearrest rates. Recidivism studies of other types of offenders typically find that older offenders have lower recidivism rates but this may not be the case for sex offenders.

Although sexual recidivism rates average only 5.3% after a follow-up period of 3 years, these rates continue to increase gradually with extended follow-up periods (Hanson, 2001). Recidivism studies with extended follow-up periods reveal that sex offenders clearly need to be tracked for longer periods of time. Not only do longer follow-up periods allow researchers to more fully capture a true picture of sexual recidivism but they also allow researchers to break down recidivism rates by type of sex offender. For instance, the BJS 3-year follow-up study was unable to identify differences in recidivism rates between rapists and child molesters. However, according to a recent metaanalysis that included studies with an average follow-up period of 7 years (with varying measures of recidivism), significant differences in recidivism rates were noted for different types of sex offenders (Hanson, 2001). This meta-analysis (with a total sample size of 4,673 sex offenders) revealed an overall recidivism rate of 17.5% after the average 7-year follow-up period, compared to the 5.3% recidivism rate from the BJS study. Incest child molesters were the least likely to sexually recidivate, at a rate of 8.4%. Rapists were the second most likely to sexually recidivate, at a rate of 17.1%. Interestingly, rapists were also more likely to recidivate non-sexually than were child molesters.  In fact, rapists may actually share more characteristics with the general criminal population.

Non-incest child molesters were the most likely to sexually recidivate, at a rate of 19.5%. Non-incest child molesters who molest boys are specifically at a high risk of recidivism. In fact, one study revealed that the highest recidivism rate among sex offenders was for those with previous sex offenses, who victimized boys from outside the family, and were never married. These sex offenders recidivated at a rate of 77% (Hanson, 1996).

Major Treatment Approaches

Several existing meta-analyses (Hall, 1995; Hanson and Harris, 1998; Hanson and Bussiere, 1998; Gallagher, et al., 1999) have described a number of treatment targets that should be addressed in a comprehensive sex offender treatment program. These include: cognitive distortions, victim empathy, social functioning and relationship issues, deviant sexual preferences, and relapse prevention. Cognitive distortions involve attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that encourage deviant sexual behavior (e.g., acceptance of interpersonal violence, hostility towards women, etc.). To address cognitive distortions, a therapist may initially require each offender to provide disclosure of his or her offense(s) in a small group setting, detailing the chain of events and the accompanying thoughts and feelings that led to the offense(s). The therapist questions the offender to extract more details and provides a model for other group participants to challenge the offender‘s cognitive distortions in a firm but supportive manner.

Victim empathy training aims to sensitize offenders to the harm they have rendered. Evidence suggests that most sex offenders are not generally unempathic, but rather, withhold empathy for their victim. Empathy training usually involves didactic materials such as films or videos of victims recounting their distress or victim impact statements, encouraging a more accurate perception of harm. Therapists may require the offender to write a hypothetical letter from the victim to the offender, outlining how he/she feels. The group then critiques the letter and asks the offender to rewrite it until they are satisfied that it is a reasonably accurate reflection of the harm caused. The offender may then be required to write a hypothetical response to the victim, indicating that he is taking responsibility for the offense.  Social functioning training aims to build relationship skills and self-confidence among offenders in order to overcome the isolation, loneliness and maladaptive relationships that may impel a sex offender to abuse a victim. Issues such as assertiveness, communication, attitudes towards others, jealousy, human sexuality, and dealing with being alone are targeted through group discussion and role-playing.

Deviant sexual preferences are generally associated with an increased risk of recidivism. Because of this association, deviant arousal is considered a primary treatment target. Although popular in the 1970s, electric aversive conditioning is no longer used to reduce deviant sexual arousal because of significant practical and ethical problems. Olfactory aversion, on the other hand, continues to be used. This type of treatment involves pairing a noxious odor with a deviant sexual fantasy. Other approaches targeting deviant sexual preferences include substituting appropriate sexual fantasies in place of deviant thoughts during masturbation to orgasm and rehearsal of deviant images during the post-orgasmic refractory period until decreases are achieved in arousal to the sexually deviant stimuli. In addition to these behavioral models, various medications can also be employed to increase control over deviant tendencies.

Relapse prevention is the overarching framework for most sex offender treatment programs. Relapse prevention involves helping the offender to identify and avoid the situations and choices that lead to offending behavior. For each identified risk factor, the offender is required to list and rehearse plans to avoid them or deal with them should they arise. Emphasis is placed on the offender’s responsibility for controlling his or her own behavior.

Effectiveness Of Treatment Approaches

Research on the most effective methods of treatment for sex offenders is still in the very early stages of development. Existing studies on the efficacy of sex offender treatment have been plagued by methodological weaknesses and are therefore largely inconclusive. Even cognitive behavioral approaches, which have been widely supported as effective in the general rehabilitation literature, have produced mixed evaluation findings among groups of sex offenders (Gallagher, et. al., 1999). While no evidence currently exists to definitively favor one treatment approach over another for sex offenders, several emerging principles should be considered when treating sex offenders.

The first principle of sex offender treatment is that research findings are clear on the point that sex offenders are a very diverse group and that differences in their characteristics will have important implications for the development of individualized treatment programs. Particularly, several typologies of sex offenders can be identified based primarily on subtype of sex offense. These subtypes differ in terms of offense patterns and risk of reoffense. For instance, research indicates that adult rapists demonstrate higher levels of psychopathy and pose a much stronger risk for both sexual and non-sexual reoffending than do child molesters (Porter et al., 2000; Serin et al., 2001; Seto and Barbaree, 1999). Additionally, among child molesters, father-daughter incest offenders are least likely to reoffend, with heterosexual child molesters and homosexual child molesters, respectively, following behind (Harris, Rice, and Quinsey, 1998). While research is able to identify unique typologies of sex offenders, it is still very unclear as to the most effective treatment approaches for each typology.

The second principle of sex offender treatment is that there is a well-established need to carry out careful assessment of sex offenders. Evidence suggests that “blanket policies applied to all sex offenders expend resources on large groups who would have stopped offending given minimal or no intervention” (Hanson, 1998).  Risk assessment instruments allow treatment providers to target higher risk offenders as a priority for treatment.  Since sex offenders demonstrate wide-ranging pathways to sexual offending, needs assessments are also important in identifying the most suitable treatment targets for a particular offender.

Reflecting the increasing demand for sex offender assessment tools, a number of available instruments have proliferated in recent years. Of the available instruments, four instruments have been empirically validated and are recognized as providing somewhat acceptable levels of prediction of sexual reoffending: the Rapid Risk Assessment of Sexual Offense Recidivism (RRASOR), Static-99, Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG), and the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSOST-R). Two of these tools can actually be combined since one of the subscales on the Static-99 is the total score from the RRASOR. While each of these instruments have their advantages and disadvantages, the growing consensus is that the Static-99/RRASOR produces the greatest level of statistical validity and reliability as a predictor of sexual recidivism (Barbaree, et. al., 2001). More specifically, the Static-99/RRASOR has been validated on a population of Pennsylvania offenders, with the conclusion being that the Static-99/RRASOR is “a reliable and valid instrument for assessing sex offenders‘ risk to recidivate” (Austin, et. al., 2003). The downside to all of these instruments (including the Static-99/RRASOR) is that they rely heavily on measuring static variables that do not change over time and cannot be used to target treatment (e.g., age at first offense, number of prior sex offenses, etc.). One instrument that has been identified as a valid tool for measuring dynamic change in offenders and making treatment decisions is the Penile Plethysmograph, which measures sexual arousal to various stimuli. Since it is known from research that “deviant sexual interests” is one of the strongest predictors of sexual recidivism (Hanson and Bussiere, 1998), the Penile Plethysmograph is useful for identifying these deviant interests and targeting them for corrective treatment.

The third principle of sex offender treatment is that available research indicates that institutionally-based programs which offer little in the way of follow-up may produce only short-term treatment gains. It appears that effective treatment of sex offenders must incorporate follow-up contact or “booster” treatments if long-term benefits are to be attained. Particularly for high risk sex offenders, an ongoing combination of post-release supervision and reinforced relapse prevention plans are critical. Emphasis should be placed on the idea that the sex offender may never be completely cured and therefore must take ongoing steps and receive ongoing treatment to avoid falling back into a pattern of reoffending.

The fourth principle of sex offender treatment is that remaining in treatment is absolutely crucial. Meta-analyses have demonstrated that sex offenders who drop out of treatment, regardless of the type of treatment received, not only have higher recidivism rates than those who complete treatment but also have higher recidivism rates than those who never even received treatment. Dropping out of treatment is recognized as one of the strongest single predictors of sexual recidivism (Hanson and Bussiere, 1998). It is unclear why treatment dropouts have higher recidivism rates than even those who never received treatment. Once further research is able to more definitively distinguish between effective and ineffective sex offender treatment programs, the impact of treatment drop-out may disappear for certain program types. Nonetheless, it is important that sex offender treatment providers stress the importance of remaining in treatment once an offender begins.

Some researchers hold that a fifth principle of sex offender treatment is crucial. This principle involves the concept of denial (i.e., offenders must admit to their crime in order to continue in treatment). Unfortunately research is mixed on this point. While it is widely held that admission of guilt is crucial in order for a sex offender to progress through treatment, a recent meta-analysis of nearly 29,000 sex offenders concluded that denial/minimization of sexual offenses was not related to sexual recidivism (Hanson and Bussiere, 1998). It is simply too early to tell if the concept of denial is a crucial principle to be addressed when treating sex offenders.

Because existing research provides very little evidence in favor of specific sex offender treatment strategies, it is currently very difficult to identify specific programs as being “state-of-the-art”. One promising program that has been evaluated and recognized by many researchers as one of the most effective sex offender treatment programs is the Phoenix Program in Canada (Clelland, et al., 1998; Studer, et al., 1996). The program is operated by the Alberta Mental Health Board and utilizes a comprehensive treatment philosophy. Offenders are required to stay in the residential component of the program for a minimum of six months, but they progress through treatment at varying rates, with the average stay in the residential phase being 10 months. Offenders are required to attend 32 to 35 hours of therapy per week. Therapy is delivered in many forms including: psychotherapy, victim empathy, cognitive restructuring, anger management, human sexuality, substance abuse, relapse prevention, life planning, and goal attainment. Treatment is delivered throughout three phases of the program. The first phase in an intensive, six to 12 month residential treatment schedule focusing on the various forms of treatment noted above. The second phase spans a period of four to eight months of daily, four hours per evening treatment delivered while the offender is in the community. Finally, the third phase consists of a weekly follow-up group that can be accessed over the long term. Offenders have somewhat of a lifetime membership in the program and are offered continued support from Phoenix Program staff after release. Evaluations of the Phoenix Program indicate a sexual recidivism rate as low as 3.3% over an average follow-up period of 39 months. While this low sexual recidivism rate has afforded the program a great deal of respect in the treatment arena, it should be noted that the overall sexual recidivism rate for sex offenders, both treated and untreated, is only 5.3% within 3 years of release (Langan, et. al., 2003).

The future of sex offender treatment is uncertain at this point. As a similar report in Minnesota on the “state of the art” in sex offender treatment concluded, “given the current state of knowledge, we cannot make specific recommendations about whther or how to expand treatment”. Clearly what is needed is more carefully designed research into the effectiveness of individual approaches to treatment. Until then, treatment for sex offenders should primarily focus on the general principles outlined throughout this paper.