Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Truth Squad: The Threat Of Online Predators

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05/05/2009

Many parents worry about what their kids do on the Internet, and whether they'll be contacted by criminals who want to exploit them.

It turns out that the threat of online predators may be overblown, though parents should still monitor their kids' Internet use.

Guests:

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids. She wrote "The Myth of Online Predators" for the Daily Beast

Richard Blumenthal, attorney general for Conn. He co-chairs the state attorney general task force on social networking sites.

Janis Wolak, research assistant and professor at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire

Related NPR Stories


Truth Squad: The Threat Of Online Predators

View the article here
Listen Here
Online Comments

05/05/2009

Many parents worry about what their kids do on the Internet, and whether they'll be contacted by criminals who want to exploit them.

It turns out that the threat of online predators may be overblown, though parents should still monitor their kids' Internet use.

Guests:

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids. She wrote "The Myth of Online Predators" for the Daily Beast

Richard Blumenthal, attorney general for Conn. He co-chairs the state attorney general task force on social networking sites.

Janis Wolak, research assistant and professor at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire

Related NPR Stories


OH - Ex-UC star cleared of charges

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Related Article

05/05/2009

By Kimball Perry

Registered sex offender and former professional basketball player Ruben Patterson was cleared of rape allegations Tuesday when his accuser admitted in court she lied.

Amber Wagner, 30, of Hamilton, was indicted in March for making false alarms when she told Indian Hill police that Patterson - who starred at the University of Cincinnati - took advantage of her in a Jan. 24 incident.

Police investigated and later were told by Wagner that she lied to them about her allegations against Patterson. Patterson wasn't charged as a result of Wagner's allegations.

Wagner appeared Tuesday before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Melba Marsh and pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of attempted making a false alarm, a misdemeanor. The original charge against her - making a false alarm - is a felony.
- She should have received the felony charge, to put a stop, or help put a stop, to the many false accusations made by vindictive people, like Amber.

Assistant prosecutor Ryan Nelson allowed Wagner to plead guilty to the lesser charge because she agreed to pay the Indian Hill police the cost of investigating her false charges.
- What about defamation charges?  She could've ruined this man's life more than it is.

She paid $1,250 restitution at Tuesday's hearing but must pay another $200 before her next court date, May 20. The judge told Wagner if she paid the rest of the money then, she wouldn't be punished further.

Patterson is one of three registered sex offenders in upscale Indian Hill, a northeast Hamilton County suburb where he has a $3.4 million house.

Patterson bought the 15-room, 6,447-square-foot house on 5.2 acres in November 2006 on Cunningham Road.

He is required to register as a sex offender after he was convicted in 2001 of attempted rape after he attacked the 24-year-old he employed as a nanny when he played for the NBA's Seattle team.

After playing at UC from 1996-98, Patterson played in the NBA from 1998-2007. He last played for the Los Angeles Clippers in December 2007.


RI - Anonymous flyers warn of sex offenders


Residents of Cranston's Garden Hills neighborhood say they are outraged that several level two and three sex offenders have moved into the area. Someone is taking steps to make sure people know about it.


FL - Miami's Shame - Julia Tuttle homeless sex offenders




Republican Family Values: Sex With A Mule

This is a video someone uploaded to LiveLeak, so is the comments below.

I guess this is what the republicans consider "traditional" family values.

Republican anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley admitted to having sex with a mule. Alan Colmes radio show.

He is now running for governor in Georgia as a Republican and says that he'd kill his own son for liberty. I'm not kidding you.




CT - Brookfield selectmen delay sex offender ordinance vote

View the article here

Hell, why not make the fine $1 million, and when they can't pay it, send them to prison?  That is your ultimate goal, is it not?  Making someone pay fees like this, is wrong!  No other criminal has to pay fees like this, so that would mean it's cruel and unusual punishment.

05/05/2009

By Ethan Fry

Brookfield selectmen ask for changes before taking a vote

BROOKFIELD -- The Board of Selectmen delayed action on a proposed sex offender ordinance after questions were raised at a public hearing about the law's deterrent effect and legality.

"It's a toothless ordinance," said Steve DeVaux, a town resident who asked selectmen to consider enacting a sex offender law in January.

"There's been much discussion in the community of, 'So what's a $100 fine?'" he said.

State law governs how much towns can fine for ordinances.

Town Attorney Thomas Beecher said that fine could be $100 or $250, depending on interpretation. In the ordinance as proposed Monday, the fine was $100.

Selectman Jerry Murphy asked Beecher whether they could change the fine to $250. Beecher said they could, but since such a change would be "substantive," a new public hearing would be required.

"I'd like to do that," Murphy said. "Because $100 is sort of a joke."

DeVaux asked whether the ordinance could say the fine was "the maximum" allowed under state law, so it would increase if the state law changed. Beecher said no.

Earlier in the hearing, Board of Education member Ron Jaffe urged selectmen to delay any action until the school board's legal counsel could review the ordinance.

"Do you see a conflict?" First Selectman Robert Silvaggi asked.

"I'm not a lawyer," Jaffe replied. "I'm reluctant to say yes or no. We really have to have the legal support for the school system" consulted, he said.

"There's certainly not any need to rush into it," Silvaggi said.

Murphy then asked if selectmen could pass the ordinance contingent on the school board's approval, but Beecher said they couldn't.

Ultimately, the selectmen unanimously voted to set down the ordinance for another public hearing June 1, before their next regular meeting.

In that time, Beecher said he'll make the changes requested and send it to Silvaggi, who will then send it to the school board for review.

Silvaggi proposed the ordinance during a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen last month. A number of other towns in the area -- Danbury, New Milford and Ridgefield -- have enacted similar ordinances in the past few years.


VT - House approves expanded sex offender legislation

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05/04/2009

By Bob Kinzel

Montpelier - (Host) The House has approved legislation that expands Vermont's sex offender registry.

The bill also outlaws "sexting". That's when a person sends a sexually explicit photograph to someone else using a cell phone or a computer.

VPR's Bob Kinzel has more.

(Kinzel) The legislation expands the number of people who will be required to be listed on Vermont's Sex Offenders Registry and it allows the Registry to identify individuals who are deemed to be a high risk or haven't successfully complied with treatment programs.

House Judiciary chairman Bill Lippert said the bill is designed to give the public more information about convicted sex offenders:

(Lippert) "I think that we have brought to you a bill that does respond to the desire of many in the public to have a greater access to offender registry through the Internet Registry. I believe we have strengthened the bill by adding requirements particularly that will make certain that Vermont is never perceived as a haven for sex offenders from other jurisdictions."

The bill also addresses a practice known as "sexting." This is when a person sends a sexually explicit photo of himself or herself to another person using their cell phone or computer.

When the Senate passed its version of this bill, it essentially decriminalized "sexting" among minors if there was no threat or coercion involved in the activity.

The House bill takes a different approach - a minor convicted of "sexting" would be remanded to the diversion program, and adults would face up to 6 months in jail. Lippert said his committee wanted to send a clear message about "sexting" to young people:

(Lippert) "Make it clear that it's not something that's appropriate that gives our state's attorneys a range of options from doing absolutely nothing to using the new provisions that we provided but referring young people to hopefully primarily to either a reparative board or diversion board and keeping those proceedings as completely within the juvenile court system and keeping them outside of the sex offenders registry where they do not belong."

And Lippert says a key part of the bill calls an expansion of education programs for young people on this subject:

(Lippert) "We ask the Sexual Violence Prevention task force to include the risks of using computers and electronic communication devices to transmit indecent and inappropriate images in the work that they're doing."

A House - Senate conference committee will now meet in an effort to resolve the different approaches taken by the two chambers with this bill.

For VPR News I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

© Copyright 2009, VPR


CA - Cohn’s Sex Trial Set For June 1

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05/04/2009

West Hollywood - A WeHo attorney caught up in an Internet Sex Task Force Sting faces a jury trial beginning June 1, say prosecutors.

David A. Cohn, 50, of Woodland Hills and an attorney working for Kesluk & Silverstein, a West Hollywood law firm, faced a judge in a pre-trial conference in the downtown Criminal Justice Center on Friday, during which his jury trial date was set.

He faces charges of attempted lewd acts on a child and other crimes after he allegedly exchanged Internet messages with someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl, but who was in reality a law enforcement officer.

The four counts he faces, attempted lewd act upon a child; attempting to send harmful matter with the intent of seduction of a minor; attempt to contact a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense; and possessing materials depicting the sexual exploitation of a child, arose from a “To Catch A Predator” style sting in July of 2007.

He also was charged with one misdemeanor count of contacting a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense.

The complaint alleged the bulk of the crimes occurred between July 17 and July 31, 2007, when the defendant allegedly was exchanging messages on the Internet.

Although he thought the person with whom he was chatting was 13, authorities said, it actually was an FBI agent who is part of the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team.

The felony count alleging possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct occurred on Aug. 3, 2007, according to the complaint.

That was a few days after investigators executed search warrants and seized evidence from the defendant’s home and office.

Besides the FBI and the District Attorney’s office, other members of the team include the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s department, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Child and Family Services, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Immigration Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Mr. Cohn has been working at his law firm since posting a $190,000 bail since July 15, 2007, the day of his arrest.

If convicted, Mr. Cohn could face a six-year, six-month maximum state prison term.


TX - Texas Bill Might Require Sex Offenders To Register Gaming Identities

View the article here
View HB-22 Here

So now, you will also be kicked off gaming and many other sites.  Eventually it will be the Internet!

05/04/2009

By Stephen Johnson

A bill that passed the Texas Senate today would change sex offender registration regulations in the state so convicted sex offenders would have to provide law enforcement with each “alias, assumed name, nickname, or pseudonym, including a screen name, used by the person.” Presumably, the law includes gamertags, twitter user names, facebook names, and other public online identifiers.

The additional information would not be made public but would be available to law enforcement and social-networking sites, and presumably, video game companies. This gives companies the ability reject people from joining based on their inclusion on the list. The bill, introduced by Sen. Florence Shapiro, is headed to a vote by the Texas House, and should it pass, the governor’s desk.

Chicago attorney and video gamer Wesley Johnson said, "It appears this law would apply to gamertags, although the final definition of what's covered in the law is up to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice."

We’ve put in a call to Microsoft and Sony to find out what the companies' policies are regarding these types of non-public databases, and how it would affect membership on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. A Microsoft spokesperson issued the following statement:

“While we don’t have all of the details surrounding this specific bill in Texas or any of the implications it would have for online networks, Microsoft remains committed to abiding by all laws and providing a safe and fun environment for Xbox LIVE members.”

I haven't heard back from Sony on the issue yet, but when I do, I'll pass the word on to you.


LiveLeak Video Link