The rise of social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace was a two-part story for many parents. Part one was excitement over how easy it is to connect with people. Part two was pure fear. There seemed to be an infinite pool of monsters waiting to pounce at the other end of our modems. At least, that’s what shows like To Catch a Predator and Law & Order: SVU seemed to suggest. Well, perhaps this post can serve as part three: truth and reconciliation. Considering that I write about my children online, using their real names and pictures to boot, I think I can say with some certainty that worry over Web predators has been a bit overblown. But don’t take my word for it. Earlier this year a task force created by 49 state attorneys general concluded the same thing. It is still more dangerous to take your kid to the grocery store than it is to write about them online, or let them surf the Web. I think social media has actually done so much more good than bad in terms of bringing people together, especially in my online community where we write to connect with other people and to reflect on the absurdity of everyday life with the hope that the people who read it will find similarities in their own routine. We write to feel less alone, and this scary technology has made all of that possible.
West Milford Township Council Repeals Ordinance Preventing Offenders From Living Near Schools, Playgrounds
WEST MILFORD (CBS) - It's a controversial debate in New Jersey. Some local governments are now dropping restrictions on convicted sex offenders.
In one West Milford neighborhood, residents have been on edge knowing a convicted sex offender lives next door. He is one of six top-tier sex offenders in town, registered under Megan's Law. Their pictures appear on the New Jersey State Police Web site because the courts believe there is a likelihood these men could re-offend.
"We have young children here and I really get nervous about it," said resident Rosanne Demeo.
Despite those concerns, the township council recently repealed an ordinance that made it unlawful for registered sex offenders to live within 2,500 feet of a school, park, playground or day-care center.
Now, registered sex offenders can live wherever they want in West Milford.
One mother CBS 2 HD spoke with doesn't like it.
"I wouldn't want them by my kids, no, not at all," Maryanne Lindstrom said.
West Milford officials said they repealed the ordinance because of a recent state Supreme Court ruling that said ordinances like this are invalid and that state law overrides them. Officials said keeping the ordinance would open them up to lawsuits if a person felt his or her rights were being violated.
Off-camera, some residents said limitations are unconstitutional, that under Megan's Law, named after Megan Kanka, who was murdered by a convicted sex offender, the state can't decide where a registered offender can live.
"They committed a crime. They should have no right to live next to a school," resident Julie Cerniglia said. - So what about all the other criminals? Like murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, thieves, etc?
Many towns, like Paramus, have decided to keep their ordinances, limiting sex offenders to 1,000 feet from schools or where children play. In fact, on a state level a measure is being introduced to allow towns to create their own ordinances without facing consequences. - So, if the state Supreme Court ruled these types of laws are invalid, how is the state then going to come along and pass more laws to get what they want anyway? They are invalid and unconstitutional, period.
Officials from West Milford were unavailable for comment on camera because of a League of Municipalities meeting. However, the township council made sure to include language in the repealed ordinance that says members of the body favor restricting where registered sex offenders can live.
BASTROP (AP) - A former Elgin police officer has been sentenced to three years in prison in a child pornography case.
A Bastrop County jury on Friday convicted 48-year-old Orval Roger Miller on three third-degree felony counts of child pornography possession. Sentencing was Monday for Miller, who also was fine $10,000.
Miller was indicted in September 2007 after a thumb drive left in a police computer was found to contain child porn.
Miller is a former community college police officer in Austin.
Former Elgin police officer sentenced to three years in prison
Former Elgin police officer Orval Roger Miller, 48 was sentenced on three third-degree felony counts of child pornography possession.
Miller pled guilty to the charges in May, 2007 and was indicted in September of that year.
Miller received a three-year prison term for the first charge and 10 years probation on the remaining charges. He was also fined $10,000.
Miller's trial was held last week before 335 District Judge Reva Corbett. A jury of eight women and four men deliberated a full day before deciding the sentencing.
"We are grateful to the Bastrop District Attorney's Office and the Elgin Police Department for assistance with this case and their commitment to Texas children," said Attorney General Greg Abbott (Contact).
Assistant Chief Phil Taylor, who was a big part of the case, stated that Miller had been a good officer.
"He was one you wouldn't suspect of doing something like this. This is a real discredit to our profession. I just hope the sentencing is enough," said Taylor.
According to the report, the digital thumb drive with the images was discovered at the Elgin Police Department by a fellow officer and contained explicit pictures of girls from 10 to 14 years of age.
Bastrop County District Attorney Brian Goertz stated that this sends a strong message that juries in Bastrop County will not tolerate this type of offense.
"I am very pleased with the outcome of the trial. I didn't get a chance to talk to members of the jury, but think they did a good job. No one, even a police officer, is above the law," said Goertz.
Goertz stated that Miller will have to register as a sex offender the rest of his life, which makes life 'very difficult.'