Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love His Views or Hate Them, Dr. Klein has an Opinion on Sex Offenders and Protecting Your Children

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As the proud Dad of two teenage boys, I am re-printing Dr. Klein’s recent newsletter article about sex offenders and the Missouri law because I agree with Marty that this new Missouri law is overboard.

I take the time to drop Dr. Marty Klein’s articles into these SHM community forums because I share Marty’s view that our increasingly religion-infused government is mixing issues of ‘church and state’ by passing laws that hurt rather than help us as an intelligent, free-thinking society.

But your thoughts count , too. Let us hear from you after you read and think about what Dr. Klein has to say:

Exploiting Sex Offenders to Ruin Childhood, Part 26: Halloween

Before this year’s Halloween is a distant memory, consider this:

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt recently signed a law requiring registered sex offenders to "refrain from all Halloween-related contact with children from 5:00-10:30 pm on October 31." It requires them to remain inside their homes with the outside lights off, and to post a sign saying they have no candy. A federal judge held that forcing offenders to remain in their home and refrain from being around children was overly broad, while finding that keeping a sign on their door and the lights off was constitutional.

We need to be clear about our actions toward convicted offenders: are we attempting to 1) punish them, or 2) make ourselves feel better, or 3) actually make ourselves safer? We can’t do all three simultaneously.

So most communities and elected bodies settle for numbers 1 and 2. But they’re dishonest about it. They say they want #3. But what if that means letting go of the lust for ever-greater punishment? And what if that means letting go of the gratuitous limitations, insults, and pointless exercises in proving How Much We Care About The Children?

The neighborhood notification law regarding offenders don’t make us safer. The Amber Alerts and other edicts named after dead kids don’t make us safer. And this pathetic Halloween grandstanding doesn’t make us safer.

Instead, such actions allow us to feel like we Really Care, and that we’re Really Serious about Doing Something about the safety of our kids.

But ironically, these measures make people feel less safe, not more. The continuing obsession with preventing our kids from being molested steals their childhood, robs us of sleep, and inflates the danger in parents’ minds. While in some ways the world has become more dangerous, in most ways, it only feels more dangerous.

If Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, Missouri must now be the Scariest Place on Earth.

If you want to cripple kids, just convince them they live in a dangerous place, surrounded by invisible threats, and that the world is getting more menacing by the day.

This tragic program works for parents as well. Too many have stopped asking "how do I help my kid grow strong and capable of taking appropriate risks," and now mostly ask "how do I keep my kid from being destroyed by irrational violence?"

That’s not an ambitious enough goal. It’s not possible. It ruins parenting. And it’s awful for kids. A convicted sex offender offering candy on Halloween isn’t even close to being that dangerous.

Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, © Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexualIntelligence.org)

Study Shows Cyberspace Is Safer Than Thought

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Experts urge parents to be cautious nevertheless

A new scientific study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University, has found out that children are not severely endangered online, and that the risks of them being picked up by an adult and dragged into dangerous conversations and actions are fairly similar to those the young ones are subjected to daily, in real life. However, the authors say that parents should continue to be extremely attentive to what their children are doing online, and must swiftly and promptly address all issues that arise.

The research has also found that teens who are experiencing problems at home are also more likely than others to fall into the hands of Internet “predators.” The same holds true for kids engaged in dangerous and risky activities, such as drug and alcohol consumption. They are also more prone to falling victims to soliciting, either to get money, or simply for the fun of it.

These solicitations occur every day. Just because the kids are high-risk anyway doesn't make it not a problem,” retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza, who is also an Internet safety expert, says.

He urges parents to read the report fully, and not let things get out of hand after reading just portions of the report. Lanza points the finger at various local and national US newspapers, which have covered the Harvard study, calling headlines such as “Report calls online threats to children overblown” misleading and confusing.

“The message of this shouldn't be, 'All is well, I shouldn't pay attention, I shouldn't monitor what my kids are doing.' I think what the report attempts to say is the nature of this problem is different than the general public perception,” the president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Ernie Allen, argues.

More than 41,000 incidents involving children have been registered in the country since 1998, and the phenomenon could be far more widespread, authorities caution. Over the years, the police has set up numerous sting operations online, luring men who thought they were talking to little girls in traps and arresting them. Various TV stations have done reality shows on the theme, such as NBC's To Catch a Predator.

What I think is, the 'Catch a Predator' phenomenon, that was pure showbiz. And to a certain extent, maybe that caused the pendulum to swing too far in one direction about the nature of the problem,” Lanza explains. “We've made real progress. But parental awareness and education remains important," Allen concludes.

UK - Fears of vigilante killing after missing rapist's body is found in underground drain

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Detectives investigating the murder of a convicted rapist today confirmed his body was found in an underground drain.

_____ is thought to have been killed by a vigilante mob at a house in Padiham, Lancashire, last month after police found blood matching his DNA.

Police believe a 'sustained and prolonged attack' took place at the property in Stockbridge Road in the early hours of December 21.

_____, 26, from Oswaldtwistle, was convicted of rape in 1999.

He was jailed and placed on the sex offender register but repeatedly ignored court orders by drifting between addresses.

It is believed his killers discovered his past when _____ turned up in Padiham.

Lancashire police today confirmed a body recovered from a culvert in Accrington was _____.

Contractors working for the Environment Agency alerted police yesterday after finding the body during a routine CCTV inspection of Woodnook Water, Mount Street.

_____'s body was recovered by underwater search teams and a post mortem examination took place late last night.

Police said further tests were needed to establish the exact cause of death but confirmed _____ did not die of natural causes or accidental injuries.

Kieran Davison, 20, of Stockbridge Road, and Ian Palmer, 45, of Whitegate Close, both Padiham, have been charged with murder.

Detectives are still trying to trace two men, Alan Palmer (Pictured Left), 43, and Peter Leonard (Pictured Right), 51, in connection with _____'s death.

It is believed both men may have left the county as Mr Palmer is a long-distance lorry driver.

Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, of Lancashire Police, who is leading the investigation said: 'I still want to question Palmer and Leonard.'

'We are as committed as ever to finding them.'

Mr Palmer is white, 5ft 11ins, of medium build, with receding/skinhead dark brown hair.

He has brown eyes and several tattoos on his left arm of a snake head, bull, eagle and swallow.

On his right arm he has a snake and skull, and two flower designs with 'MAM' and 'LUCKY' with a swallow.

Mr Leonard is white, around 5ft 8ins, of medium build, with blue eyes and light brown hair, which is cropped very short.

He has a two-inch injury scar on his nose and 'LOVE' tattooed on the knuckles of his left hand with 'HEIDI' on the back of his left hand.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Burnley police on 01282 425001 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

CA - Former officer turns himself in

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A former Ukiah Police officer on Monday turned himself in to the Mendocino County jail to begin serving a 90-day sentence for sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.

Billy Lee Moore, 71, was arrested last year after the girl reported that Moore forced her to kiss him and would kiss parts of her body, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.

Moore pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery. He initially was arrested on suspicion of exhibiting harmful matter with the intent to seduce a minor; annoying or molesting children; and sexual battery, according to Ukiah police.

Following his release from jail, Moore will be required to register as a sex offender and will be on formal probation for three years, the District Attorney's Office said following his sentencing Friday in Mendocino County Superior Court.

Moore went to work for the Ukiah Police Department in the 1970s and retired in the mid-1980s, police officials said following his arrest. He later worked as a fraud investigator for the County of Mendocino, retiring again sometime in the 1990s, officials said.


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MA - Police: Lawrence girl fabricated story about abduction attempt

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By Mark E. Vogler

LAWRENCE — Police were all ready to look for a man in his early 30s with a chunky build and a thin mustache, who was wearing a white New York Yankees cap.

That was the description a 13-year-old girl gave to detectives for the man she claimed tried to abduct her Tuesday as she waited for a taxi cab on Farley Street to take her to Frost School.

But the composite sketch of the suspect and a related be-on-the lookout bulletin that police planned to circulate turned out to be a ruse.

Two days after the supposed abduction attempt, the girl, her boyfriend and her 10-year-old brother recanted their stories just as police were about to search the streets for a possible sex offender on the loose.
"They all stated that it never happened and they made up the story because they did not want to get into trouble because they skipped school that day," Officer Christopher Cote wrote in his report.

Lawrence police Chief John Romero said this is the first time he could recall in his 10 years in charge that somebody fabricated a complaint about an attempted abduction.

"When we get these kinds of complaints, they're usually legitimate and we take them very seriously," Romero said.

"But here we have a case of three kids concocting a story so they had an excuse for cutting classes. We've got to discourage things like this from happening because it ties up valuable resources," the chief said.

Frost School officials and the parents of the three students were notified by police.

"I don't know how much more we can do about it. These were young kids, and they've all been spoken to," Romero said.
- You can punish them some how.  Put them in jail for a weekend, and/or fine them, maybe some community service.  If you do nothing, then it sends the message that it's ok to do this, nothing will happen to you!

NV - Former Las Vegas police officer charged in molestation case

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A former Las Vegas police officer has been charged with molesting two girls during his time on the force.

Richard Gagnon, 38, was arrested last month by North Las Vegas police and charged with 26 counts of lewdness with a minor under 14, according to court documents.

The arrest came more than two years after Gagnon resigned from the Metropolitan Police Department in May 2006, but the charges stem from incidents between 2001 and 2003, when Gagnon was a police officer, according to the documents.

One of the girls, now 17, told North Las Vegas detectives that she didn’t come forward earlier because she was “intimidated because she knew he was a police officer,” according to Gagnon’s arrest report.

The other girl, now 11, told investigators she stayed silent because she “did not want to spoil his new life” as a newly remarried man with children, the report states.

Both girls came forward in November and told police that Gagnon had rubbed their chests and genitals multiple times about four or five years earlier. The incidents usually happened while the girls spent the night at Gagnon’s home, according to the report.