Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thoughts About The Sex Offender Laws

Sent in via the "Contact" form, and posted with the users permission.

Thank you for your efforts and dedication to the truth. But this is not the reason that I decided to request your time with this email. This is more of a response to your "My Thoughts about Sex Offender Laws" article. I found that it was well written and the readability flowed smoothly. Also, I cannot think of any point that I completely disagreed with. But, there are a few facts that you had wrong and I want to correct these; and, there are some things that I would like to comment on, where I may have more insight and understanding, to help you grow in your knowledge of the issues.

I must start by telling you about myself. I committed a sex crime in 2000, was arrested, and completed all requirement imposed by the court. This happened in the state of Washington and I chose to move back to California where I grew up this year. This being the short version, I will expand on this through out this letter.

The first things that I would like to comment on are in the paragraph about myspace.com and porn sites.

I have been a member of Myspace since its registered user count was under 200,000. When I first registered with Myspace the TOS clearly stated that users under the age of 18 were not permitted to use the services they offered. Myspace also provided a way for adult users on myspace to report minor’s profiles so that they can be removed. Unfortunately, this was before I started saving copies of the original terms that I agreed to when signing up. The number of minors became to numerous to manage, so they chose to cater to children instead. It was this change in policy that changed social networking to what it is now.

You asked, “Why are they not going after all the other hundreds of social networking sites?” Well, they are.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/11/scitech/pcanswer/main4791878.shtml

The main reason why Myspace is getting all the attention is because they are only removing offenders that draw attention to with deviant activity. Where as Facebook decided to skip all the bad publicity with this in their TOS “4. You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.” You see, Myspace is trying to preserve our right to free communication and all the other sites are just rolling over and giving up. I know Myspace has not gave into this yet; you see, every time there is a national news frenzy about Myspace and sex offenders, I send them an email letting them know that I am still on the site and I ask them to let me know when I have to quit the site. So far in the time that I have been on there they have not asked me to leave, although I did change my account once due to harassment. I talk about that somewhere else in this letter.

You asked, “[W]e need to make all X-rated sites perform verification of ages…But they do not, and are not prosecuted, why?

Well to tell you the truth, age verification is a form of censorship. Here is an article by the ACLU

http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/internet/38428prs20090121.html

You see, it is verification enough if you just say that you are old enough to participate in that site. Really, I agree. I don’t think the law should restrict me just because parents are not protecting their children.

It’s restrictive, not Punishment!” It is a lie now. You see, when the courts made that decision the legal environment around this issue was completely different. It wasn’t even restrictive in the beginning, it was meant to just monitor and track. The information that was made available was also available to anyone that knew how to search public records. For example, my name, address, and phone is in any phone directory, and crimes that I was convicted of can be found in any news paper archive. After that ruling was made the government took it as, “we can do what ever we want under this law,” which, essentially, has changed it from a monitoring tool to a way to punish for life.

You go on to quote the Bill Of Rights in the US Constitution. Unfortunately, that document was taken from the US citizens some years ago when the Supreme court upheld the opinion that gun control laws were constitutional because the states had a right to create laws to fit their communities, even though these laws removed constitutional rights.

There is one thing that you brought to my attention. Somewhere in the constitution it states that US law consists of the Constitution, any laws passed by the states, and any treaties enacted by the US government. Well, I haven’t researched it at all, or even thought through all the possibilities, but you gave me a new research topic.

Now my thoughts on buffer zones! Take a look at this article:

http://www.insidesocal.com/news247/2009/04/sex-offender-arrested-after-mo.html

That was me. This was when I was first moving to California. I did not know about the buffer laws. They don’t list this as a requirement on the sheriff website. As a matter of fact, they did not even tell me about it until I was moments from finishing my registration. Their answer to my problem was to just register homeless. I told them that this was an illegal law and that I refuse to obey this law. They registered me and arrested me. The interesting thing, I am the only person in that whole county to ever be arrested under that law. I wanted to fight this in court, but they would have kept me in jail the whole time. The max sentence for this law is something like $10,000 or six months in jail. It would have taken a year or more to fight my case. I took a no contest plea and they gave me time served and a hundred dollar fine and I can’t go back to that house. I still want to fight it, but I have no money and no lawyer will touch my case for free.

Now, as for therapy, this is the main thing that I wanted to tell you about.

You said, “Almost every single prison in this country, when sex offenders are locked up, whether it is in jail or prison, they do not get therapy. None whatsoever!” This is not true at all. While I served my prison sentence I participated in a treatment program over the last year that I was in. When I started this program I committed the next six years of my life to therapy. This program treats about 300 offenders a year. The only way to get into this program is to start in prison. If you don’t start it inside you don’t get it. The program has a 95% success rate. There are other states with better programs, but I don’t know much about those. Here is a link to the program I participated in:

http://www.doc.wa.gov/community/sexoffenders/prisontreatment.asp

Well, thank you for taking the time to read this. I do understand if you don’t get back to me, but I will follow your blog. With this new federal law I think that I may build my own notification to go along with the one they are making. If I do this I will send you the link.

Thank You


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


Web "Predator Panic" A Risky Distraction

View the article here

02/11/2009

By Larry Magid

(CBS) This analysis was written by CBS News and CNET technology analyst Larry Magid.

I've been an Internet safety advocate since 1993 and right now I'm discouraged and angry about what's going on in this field.

I'm angry because people who ought to know better are trying to mislead the public with false information about online risks, which is diverting attention away from real risks. And I'm not alone.

Many respected online safety organizations and leading youth-risk researchers are trying to shift the discussion away from mostly predator danger to youth behavior risk. Thanks to some politicians, it's an uphill battle.

Online safety groups and public officials should be spending our time educating families on how to avoid real risks that affect most kids - like bullying, harassment and unwanted exposure to inappropriate material. We also need to do a better job of identifying and reaching the small minority of "at risk" kids who are putting themselves at greater risk by the way they behave online.

At issue is the constant drumbeat of predator panic coming from state attorneys general, including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Roy Cooper of North Carolina, who are co-chairs of the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking, which represents attorneys general from 49 states. Although their rhetoric is purported to help protect young people from harm, the actual impact of their campaign to rid social networks of predators may be inadvertently putting young people at greater risk.

In addition to shifting attention away from more common online dangers, they have proposed the use of age-verification and parental controls which could actually increase risk by driving teens "underground," possibly to overseas sites that are far more dangerous than sites like MySpace and Facebook.

What's more, all the hoopla is disrupting the work of several of the most respected non-profit Internet safety organizations which, ironically, have to spend resources countering this misleading information at the cost of focusing on how to help young people use the Internet more safely.

A bit of background

For more than two years, these and other elected officials have been talking about predator dangers on MySpace and other social networking sites and calling for the use of age-verification technology to help separate minors from adults. A year ago, the working group of attorneys general entered an agreement with MySpace to form a task force to study the issue.

After months of careful consideration, including a review of all research, the task force came back with a report that questioned the prevalence of predator danger and also questioned both the desirability and effectiveness of using any single technology to verity the age of users. Instead of carefully considering the report, it was rejected out of hand.

The justice officers' reaction to the report was best summed up by Blumenthal, who recently said it was, "based on outdated and incomplete data - falsely downplaying the threat of predators on social networking sites."

I have a great deal of respect for much of the work that Blumenthal, Cooper and other attorneys general do for public safety and to protect consumers, but when it comes to Internet safety, they continue to rely on anecdotal evidence rather than available peer-reviewed academic research (PDF).

Disclosure: I served on the task force as co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization that receives financial support from several Internet and social networking companies including MySpace and Facebook. I also served as a member of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force and am the founder of SafeKids.com.

Now there's a new argument based on the disclosure last week that MySpace has evicted 90,000 registered sex offenders from its roles. In a press release, Blumenthal said, "This shocking revelation - resulting from our subpoena - provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators."

But what Blumenthal failed to point out is that 90,000 is not the number of currently or recently evicted registered sex offenders (RSOs) on MySpace, but a cumulative number based on all the RSO's MySpace has ejected since two years ago when it adopted technology to identify and remove them from its roles.

Facebook, too

In the meantime, Facebook has been under attack for its own reported predator problem. Tech Crunch ran a story last week with the headline "Thousands Of MySpace Sex Offender Refugees Found On Facebook." It reportedly got the information from John Cardillo, CEO of Sentinel, the security company that helps MySpace and other social networking sites identify registered sex offenders so they can be removed.

Facebook is not one of Sentinel's customers, but says that it employs other methods to attempt to identify registered sex offenders and others who might endanger its members. This includes relying on Facebook members and working directly with state databases and state attorneys general, according to Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt.

But, the attorneys general who are screaming about predators don't seem to have information about specific individuals harming children. Facebook, according to Schnitt, "is not aware of a single case where a registered sex offender has contacted a minor through Facebook."

The same is true on MySpace. According to MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam, "not one of the deleted MySpace offenders has ever been prosecuted for criminal misconduct with a teen on MySpace."

Based on surveys with teens, I suspect that this is largely because the vast majority of teens are savvy enough to avoid these creeps. As you would expect, officials from both Facebook and MySpace say that they are doing all they can to rid their sites of registered sex offenders.

Of course, that doesn't mean they'll be 100% successful. Short of shutting down their services, I can't think of anything that can be done to completely eliminate even registered sex offenders, let alone the much larger number of offenders who haven't been caught and convicted.

They're everywhere

At the risk of contributing to the paranoia, it's important to point out sex offenders are also in the real world. Unless we decide to keep them in jail forever, they are going to be among us. They go to malls, they shop at grocery stores, they live in neighborhoods and many have jobs. I know for a fact that there are registered sex offenders living within walking distance from my house and I have no doubt that my children have encountered them in the real world.

And then there are the ones who haven't been caught. It's a known fact that some of them teach in our schools, patrol our streets, preach in our places of worship, work in our hospitals and clinics, and coach our kids.

What's worse, family members, according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, account for "a quarter to a third of offenders." Strangers make up the smallest group with estimates ranging between 7 and 25 percent.

Strangers who meet their victims on the Internet represent an extremely small percentage of all cases, especially compared to family members. It's analogous to worrying about being killed in a plane crash instead of focusing on driving safely. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is one of several safety organizations that no longer condone the use of the phrase "stranger danger."

As I've pointed out in previous articles, researchers who study sexual assault cases have found very few actual cases of children being sexually molested as a result of a contact they made on the Internet. It happens, but it happens in far fewer numbers than other forms of sexual abuse. And when it does happen, it is almost always a case of a teenager who is taking extraordinary risks online, including - in most cases - engaging in sexual conversation with a person known to be an adult.

I'm not saying this to place blame on the victims or excuse illegal behavior of some adults, but rather to point out that how young people behave online affects their risk.

It's time that all of us - politicians too - start looking for real solutions and talking with real experts, not just relying on anecdotal data and provocative sound bites.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


FL - 'Romeo' gets pardon from Crist, Fla. Cabinet

View the article here

This is good, but what about all the others in the same situation?

08/01/2009

TALLAHASSEE (AP) -- He was 19 and she was 14 when they first had sex and even though they eventually married, he was arrested because of her age at the time.

Some 15 years later, _____ of Panama City Beach now has a pardon from Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (Contact) and the Florida Cabinet. It means he'll no longer be listed as a sex offender in what's known as a "Romeo and Juliet" case.

The Palm Beach Post reports _____ and his wife, Misty, appeared before Crist and the Cabinet in June to plead for a pardon but the panel did not make a decision until this week.

_____ says he kept losing jobs and their four children have been stigmatized. That's because his name, picture and other personal information appeared on the state's sex offender Web site.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


KS - KSNT 27 NEWS - Media Turns to vigilantism and gets a sex offender fired

View the article here

07/30/2009

You Ask. We Investigate: Email claims of a registered sex offender working as a Pizza Hut delivery driver. The writer is concerned the man may be having contact with children. The man denies all of the claims.

The email accuses convicted sex offender, _____ of outfitting his car with some devices used by law enforcement.

In an interview with 27 News, _____ vehemently denied the claims. He said he has not had inappropriate contact with children.

Thursday, we visited with police, a state law maker, and spoke with _____ and his former employer about these claims.




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


UK - BBS News 24 - Sex Offenders Notification Law

Video Link



"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


UT - This is what happens when fear and hysteria takes over. Two neighborhood watch citizens thought each other were bad guys, now one is dead!

View the article here
Another story with video

07/29/2009

By Stephen Hunt

Man had a run-in with and shot a crime watch organizer.

West Jordan - Reginald George Campos is not your typical gunman.

A 43-year-old certified public accountant with no previous criminal record, Campos is married with four children and has a home in Bluffdale, where he recently took it upon himself to sound the alert about an influx of crime.

After a spate of mail thefts and car and home burglaries, Campos -- whose home was broken into just two weeks ago -- contacted neighbors and sent out fliers urging people to foil thieves by locking their doors and removing valuables from vehicles, according to family members.

Then Campos became a criminal defendant himself.

In the early hours of July 22, he allegedly shot and wounded David Serbeck, 36, a crime watch organizer from a nearby neighborhood.

Prosecutors claim Serbeck, who is now permanently paralyzed, was unarmed when Campos shot him. By all accounts, the two men did not know each other.

On Wednesday, Campos appeared before 3rd District Judge Terry Christiansen, who read the charges: one count of attempted murder with injury, a first-degree felony punishable by three years to life in prison; and two third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

At the request of defense attorney Greg Skordas, and with the approval of prosecutor Nathan Evershed, the judge lowered Campos' bail from $500,000 cash to $100,000, bondable with property.

Within hours, Campos was released from the Salt Lake County jail.

Sixteen family members and friends attended the hearing in support of Campos, including his older brother, Conrad, who said the family "look[s] forward to the full facts and story coming out." He called the version of events described by police in court documents "overdone."

Conrad Campos said his brother, who has lived in the Salt Lake Valley for more than 10 years and moved to Bluffdale last fall, had only shot at paper targets in the past.

When Reginald Campos' home was burglarized a week before the shooting, the thieves stole purses, identification, electronics and "peace of mind," Conrad Campos said.

Conrad Campos said his brother was not in a formal neighborhood watch group, but was a "neighborhood watch advocate."

He said his brother's neighbors are "very concerned and very supportive" of Reginald Campos, his wife, Kathy, and their four children ages 2 to 18.

According to police, Serbeck and the president of the neighborhood homeowners association, Troy Peterson, were patrolling in a sport-utility vehicle near 1570 West and Iron Horse Boulevard (15375 South) when they saw two girls walking and asked them what they were doing.

When the girls later saw the same SUV, they thought the men might be following them, Salt Lake County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Don Hutson has said. Campos then drove through the neighborhood with his 15-year-old daughter looking for the men.

Serbeck told police a vehicle pulled in front of him and forced him to stop, according to charging documents. Campos got out of his SUV with a gun, which he pointed at Serbeck and Peterson, charges state.

Campos told Serbeck to "put his hands up," and Serbeck got out of his vehicle, placed his weapon on the ground and kicked it away, disarming himself, charges state. Campos then allegedly fired two shots at Serbeck. One bullet entered his shoulder and exited through his back.

When officers arrived at the scene, Serbeck's firearm was on the ground with the safety lock on, charges state.

Conrad Campos said that during a jail visit, his brother seemed "discouraged but upbeat," and that he had been visited by his LDS bishop and stake president.

The 15-year-old daughter, who was with her father at the time of the shooting, burst into tears in the hallway after Wednesday's court hearing.

"It's the first time she's seen her father in a week," Conrad Campos said, adding that it was tough for him to see his brother brought into court in handcuffs and shackles.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved