Friday, April 9, 2010

AR - Benton alderman Brad Moore wants to put sex offenders on alert

Original Article

Keep in mind, this man is up for re-election, so like clockwork, out comes the "tough on sex offenders" issues.

04/09/2010

By Faith Abubey

Benton alderman Brad Moore wants to push sex offenders out of his city.

The city council member, Brad Moore, is proposing an ordinance he hopes will make the town "undesirable" for sex offenders.

Moore says he's looking into a proposal that will require sex offenders to place "all weather/permanent" signs on their lawns. The signs will make it apparent to passers-by that a sex offender lives in the home.

But even in its early stages, community members have mixed feelings about the idea.

A level-two sex offender's week-old move the Benton community off Aaronfield Road has cast some uneasy feelings among some neighbors.

Paula Bowers says, "I'm not real happy about it. But it is America; he has the right to live as long as he leaves my kids alone."

Neighbor Harold Jeffcoat Sr., along with Joanie Morrison, say they don't like it either.

Morrison has three children under age seven and says the offender's history of raping a 6 year-old worries her.

"I'm not going to let them just play out without somebody right on the porch. I'm not fixing to leave them just like that," said Morrison.

According to police, there are currently 53 sex offenders in Benton.

Community members who live within a two-block radius of each offender have all been notified. There's also an online registry with public information.

Moore believes it's not enough.

"I suggest that we consider an ordinance that will require an all weather/permanent type sign placed in their yard wherever a sex offender resides," he said.

Moore says he plans to aggressively push the proposal if the city attorney deems it constitutional.

"The intent of my proposal is to make the city of Benton an undesirable location for sex offenders to call home," Moore said.

Ward 1 Alderman, Larry Wolf, says he has no problem discussing a proposal of the sort but he sees several problems with the idea.

"If you start putting signs in people's yards you're going to make them a target, also. Certainly folks, regardless of their past have a right to leave," he said.

But even with the concerns some in the community have raised over the lawn signs, Morrison says she's for anything that'll keep her children safe.

"It'll be sort of violating their privacy but at the same time they kind of gave up their rights for anything when they did something like that to a child," she said.
- You are assuming all sex offenders are child molesters as well, like usual!

Moore has drafted a letter to the Benton Public Safety Committee chairman to consider the proposal. The city attorney will have to look into the legality of it.

You can read the letter here.

The alderman has sighted a Texas City, Corpus Christi which is currently implementing the requirement. Police




"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


TN - Police Struggle To Track Homeless Sex Offenders

Original Article

See the video at the link above.

04/09/2010

By Heather Jensen

Investigators Worry About Repeat Offenders

NASHVILLE - The city of Nashville has thousands of homeless. Of those, 70 are registered sex offenders. Keeping up with them is an ongoing problem for Metro police.

"We know that registered sex offenders need to be kept up with because most of them will re-offend," said Metro Police Lt. Mickey Garner.
- Another cop just spewing bogus sound bites he's heard over the past, without any proof.  I have studies here, which disprove what he says. Also, if most offenders re-offend, like you say, then why would you let them out of jail/prison in the first place?  Do you want more victims?  Well, the truth is, they don't usually re-offend, and that's why they are out. Granted some will re-offend, but it's the total opposite of what was said, most do NOT re-offend, and sex offenders have the second lowest recidivism rate of any other criminal, and yet these other criminals, who will most likely re-offend, do not have a registry or residency restrictions.

This week, convicted sex offender _____, 31, was arrested and charged with the rape of a 17-year-old girl. He told police he's homeless.

"When he registers as homeless, we don't know where he is," said Garner. "We can't keep up with him."

It is legal for a convicted sex offender to register as homeless. No address makes tracking sex offenders difficult, but the bigger problem is getting them to register at all.

"They could show up anywhere," said Garner.

That isn't to say officers haven't been successful in catching some violators.

Last week, _____ was arrested after members of Cornerstone Church in Madison called police with safety concerns. They believe _____ was living behind the church.

Two months ago, _____ and _____ were arrested in Tent City, a well-known homeless encampment along the Cumberland River.

All three men failed to register on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.

Erik Cole of the Homelessness Commission said the sex offender status often keeps homeless men and women out of housing facilities and keeps them on the streets. Outreach workers urge them to register and warn them that they can't hide from police in well-known homeless hang-outs such as Tent City.

In recent years, changes were made to state laws to help track homeless sex offenders. They are now required to register more often.
- So tell me, why are more and more offenders homeless?  It's because the laws the legislature are making and passing is making it impossible to find a home or job.  So repeal the laws and the problem goes a way.

"The law requiring sex offenders who register as homeless was increased from the normal registration period of time either every year or four times a year to every 30 days," said Kristin Helm of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

But that's no guarantee they will register. So in the coming months, more will be done by police.

"What we might be doing is some kind of stings downtown to try to locate these people," said Garner.

Metro police currently have 150 outstanding warrants for sex crimes, 125 of which are for failure to register, a felony offense.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


NY - Former prosecutor and wife of a police officer released from state prison after 21 months for having sex with teenage boys

Original Article

Just flip the roles and a man doing the same to two teenage girls, and he'd be in prison for a lot longer than 21 months.

04/09/2010

By Steve Lieberman

NANUET — A former prosecutor left state prison Thursday after spending 21 months behind bars for having sex with two underage boys.

_____, 46, the mother of four children, is living at 395 Avalon Gardens with her parents as a Level 2 sex offender, considered a moderate risk.

She is looking to appeal that classification by Judge Catherine Bartlett down to a minimum risk of Level 1 offender.

Bartlett sentenced _____ in July 2008 to two years in state prison on her guilty plea to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act.

_____ admitted she had intercourse with a 16-year-old boy in July 2007 and performed oral sex several times with a 15-year-old boy, including once in the bathroom of her Sloatsburg home in July 2007.

The 16-year-old boy had been dating _____'s eldest daughter at the time.

_____ provided alcohol and marijuana for the young men during parties at her home and urged her children to keep the information from their father, who was away.

_____'s action led to her disbarment as a lawyer, losing her job as a Ramapo deputy town attorney, and estrangement from her children. Her husband, Spring Valley Police Chief _____, filed for divorce.

_____'s lawyer, Gerard Damiani, argued for a maximum of six months in jail, noting similar offenders across the state got such sentences. Her pre-sentence reported noted she was not likely to repeat her offense.

While the Rockland District Attorney's Office considered _____ a child predator , prosecutors had been willing to accept a six-month jail sentence with 10 years probation.

Bartlett insisted on state prison time for _____.

A Rockland grand jury indicted _____ in January on five felony sex counts, five misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse and 25 misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The endangering counts involved the providing or sharing of alcohol and marijuana with the two boys and five other minors during July and August 2007. She did not plead to those counts.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


UK - Does 'befriending' sex offenders stop new crimes?

Original Article

04/09/2010

By Bob Howard

Paedophiles and other sex offenders are the subject of regular public outrage and demands for longer jail terms, but could "befriending" them be the best way to stop them committing more crimes?

"I said to myself my worst nightmare is someone who offended against very young girls because my nieces are those ages. Sure enough, that's exactly what I got."

Sarah from London is a volunteer working with a category of former prisoners few of us would feel comfortable meeting at all, let alone on a regular basis.

Along with four others she regularly meets a man convicted of serious sex offences against children who has since been released back into the community.

She's part of a "circle" which befriends but also monitors offenders. The idea came from Canada where a survey by the country's prison service found it reduced re-offending by 70%.

The first circles in the UK were formed in 2002 and there are currently 63 running across England and Wales. It is based on the premise that while some offenders have friends and family to return to when they come out of prison, others have not and the more isolated they are, the more likely they are to re-offend.

Sarah says she was partly inspired to volunteer by the press coverage surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

"There was a lot of press talking about paedophiles, lots of big splash front pages saying 'evil'. I started to think there's got to be a way to stop this from happening in the beginning."

Sarah joined her circle through child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, one of several organisations which run circles in the UK. Volunteers receive 20 hours of instruction and are supported by a liaison officer.

They meet offenders discreetly in local cafes where they talk about everything from what could lead to re-offending to finding work and fitting back into society.

Emotionally charged

Before the first meeting, they are told a lot of detail about the crimes and background of the offender. The meetings with the group - 4-6 volunteers plus the offender - are for about an hour, once a week, for the first few months, with the whole programme lasting one or two years. Each member of the group typically speaks to the offender on the phone at least once a week.

Despite her initial concerns, Sarah has been able to work with two offenders, both of whom have been imprisoned for offences against girls under 14. Sarah found the first encounter was highly emotionally charged.

"There's a lot of trepidation. You never know how you're going to react. Your first instinct is to feel disgust and revulsion over what they've done."

Sarah believes by questioning offenders about their behaviour and helping them settle back into everyday life she has helped to keep them from re-offending. In the case of the offender she is currently working with, Sarah believes her group has helped him turn round a long history of offending behaviour.

"I don't consider myself a bleeding-heart liberal. I'm someone who looks at the big picture and tries to find a solution. As far as the police tell us he hasn't offended in five years. He doesn't want to re-offend again, he doesn't want to create any more victims."

Grooming spotted

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation says of the 35 offenders who have taken part in their circles project so far, only three have been found to have re-offended.

In one of these cases, volunteers in East Anglia say they became suspicious of the offender's behaviour. Circle volunteer Ian says from the start they felt there was something wrong.

"He was telling us things which just didn't sound right. We reported it. The police reckoned he was grooming a young boy."

The offender was subsequently sent back to prison.

Donald Findlater, director of research and development at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, says great care is taken in choosing which offenders are selected. A determination to change their behaviour pattern is key.

"Not all sex offenders are suitable for a circle. Professional staff need to assess that the individual is committed to leading a good life and keen to get support in doing this."

He feels in the vast majority of cases the circles have been effective.

"I have no doubt that circles are making a tangible difference to the lives that sex offenders lead and to the safety of the public."

Circles are part of a wider programme to rehabilitate sex offenders. The National Offender Management Service offers treatment to around 1,200 sex offenders a year in prison and the same number who have been released back into the community.

Many experts with experience in rehabilitating sex offenders agree circles have potential to stop re-offending, but they are only part of the overall effort to stop further crimes being committed.

"Circles have a lot to offer, particularly in cases of very socially isolated sexual offenders or offenders," says David Middleton, professor of community and criminal justice at De Montfort University, and former head of the government's sex offender strategy and programmes.

"However they are not a substitute for experienced and well trained professionals."

The circles projects are part funded by government money channelled through local police, probation and offender management budgets. This frustrates some victims group who feel more money should be directed at those who have been abused.

Many are also highly sceptical that sex offenders can be rehabilitated. Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, feels while circles may have some value, there are more reliable ways of monitoring offenders.

"Abusers cannot be trusted at their word. We tend to favour the idea that these kind of offenders need to be electronically tagged for a very long time."


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


MA - High court hears arguments in GPS sex offender case

Original Article

04/07/2010

By Mike Beaudet

BOSTON - The state's highest court heard arguments today in a case that could decide whether judges have the ability to force convicted sex offenders to wear GPS bracelets.

The sex offender at the center of today’s hearing was the subject of a FOX Undercover report earlier this week. The mother of his victim, who was 7-years old when he was kidnapped and raped, told FOX Undercover that she fears another child will be molested without closer scrutiny of him.

_____, a Level 3 sex offender, is not wearing a GPS bracelet now as he walks around his Lowell neighborhood filled with children. He lives across the street from a playground.

He was released last year after spending nearly 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in 1990 to luring his victim away with a game of hide-and-seek, then raping him repeatedly throughout the night. The following morning he put the boy in a cardboard box, carried him outside and left him on a street corner so a cab he called would pick the boy up and take him home. Before going to prison, he was investigated for allegedly molesting five other children in 1980s.

FOX Undercover caught up with _____ as he left his apartment.
- Media vigilantism! The man is clearly living by he law, and if not, then they should contact the police and let the police do their job, but, they have to get their big story!

Do you think you should be monitored by GPS, sir?,” FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked him.

No, I don't,” he replied.

Do you still have urges to molest children?” Beaudet asked.

I don't molest children,” _____ replied.

Are you dangerous?” Beaudet asked.

No, I'm not. Please leave me alone,” _____ said.

Before today’s hearing, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office tried to get a Superior Court judge to put a GPS bracelet on _____, but the judge, Kathe Tuttman, refused, claiming her hands were tied. She cited a ruling from the state's highest court last year, which stated the 2006 law requiring sex offenders on probation to wear GPS devices cannot be applied to sex offenders convicted before the law passed.

But the victim’s mother told FOX Undercover that the judge made a bad decision letting _____ out without a GPS device.

He should have had it on there. The day he got out of prison. The day he got out,” she said.
- So by putting a GPS on him, that is just a false sense of security.  If he is truly dangerous and wants to commit a crime, he will, with or without GPS.

Now the DA’s office is trying again to have a GPS device put on _____, arguing before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today that judges do have discretion to order GPS monitoring in cases like _____’s.

The state’s public defenders, representing _____, say he should not have to wear a GPS bracelet because it would be a burden on his liberty and privacy.

During the hearing, Justice Judith Cowin asked why a tracking device shouldn’t be put on _____ since his freedom is already limited by his having to report to a probation office every day.

So why couldn't wearing a GPS bracelet be part of intensive supervision as the sentencing judge ordered?,” Cowin asked.

Because (of) the intensive supervision that's in place now. He's compliant with. It's working,” replied _____’s attorney, Beth L. Eisenberg.

The SJC is expected to issue a written decision within 130 days.

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


FL - HS Ballplayers Face Trouble For Teen Tryst

Original Article

Video is available at the site above.

04/09/2010

18-Year-Olds Facing Second-Degree Felony Charges

LAKELAND - Two Lakeland High School baseball players are facing second-degree felony charges after police said they were caught fooling around with a pair of underage girls.

Seniors _____ and _____, both 18, are baseball standouts. One is tanked as one of the best players in the nation. Now, they're facing lewd battery charges, a second-degree felony.

"Unfortunately the relationships that they had engaged in were second-degree felonies," said Polk County Sheriff's Grady Judd.

A Polk County deputy allegedly caught the two ballplayers fooling around with their underage dates Friday night in a pickup truck.

A police arrest report said _____ was in the front seat with a 15-year-old girl, and _____ was in the back seat with his 14-year-old date.

Police said they were well past second base when a deputy found them.

"Sure enough, it's these kids trying to get dressed," Judd said.

Even though the girls said the acts were consensual, the boys are in big trouble, and their principal said they won't be running bases anytime soon.

"We are in an information gathering time, so they have been suspended indefinitely," said Lakeland High School principal Tracy Collins.

Judd said the girls' parents knew they were out with the baseball players, but after finding out what happened in the truck, they said they want to press serious charges.

One parent of a 16-year-old daughter said he thinks it's all a little overboard.

"I think it's unfortunate that the sex predator laws may apply in this situation," Mikel Dorminy said.

Investigators said it's now up to the State Attorney's Office to decide the baseball players' fate.

"This is a slam dunk. It's a clear felony of the second degree," Judd said.

He said cases like this are not uncommon, and most of the time parents can sign waivers and settle the matter privately.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


TX - Stopping prison rape - Rape is a crime. Corrections officers, of all people, need to know that

Original Article

04/08/2010

Even by the standards of the Texas justice system, the number of rapes committed in our prisons is astounding. And it's even more appalling that most of the rapists are corrections officers — the very people charged with enforcing our laws.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that of the 10 U.S. prisons with the highest rates of sexual abuse, five are in Texas. The Estelle Unit, in Huntsville, is No. 1 on that wretched list.

Nationwide, 4.5 percent of prisoners report that they've been sexually victimized in the last 12 months. At the Estelle Unit, it's 15.7 percent. Assuming that Estelle is running near its capacity, that means roughly 470 people are raped there each year; many of those victims are raped more than once.

The other four Texas prisons on the list — the Clements Unit in Amarillo; the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls; the Mountain View Unit near Gatesville; and the Coffield Unit near Tennessee Colony — had rates between 9.3 percent and 13.9 percent.

Most often, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveys, the rapists are corrections staff. The prisoners most at risk tend to be the weakest: women, gay men, juvenile offenders, the mentally disabled, the physically small and those new to life behind bars.

In every state, it's a crime for corrections officers to have sex with prisoners, whether it's consensual or not. But that crime is rarely prosecuted.

That needs to change. And lately, we have reason to hope that it will.

In 2003, George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which prompted the studies we're quoting. Attorney General Eric Holder (Contact) hopes that soon he'll be able to implement the actions those studies suggested. Some of those common-sense standards seem easy to put into effect: Have a written policy of zero tolerance toward all forms of sexual abuse, whether by prisoners or corrections personnel; make it mandatory that staff report any suspicions; assess inmates' risk of abuse; protect those most in danger. (Meaning: Don't put a scrawny, new-to-prison 18-year-old in the same cell as a big, violent known rapist.)

Harder to change, though, will be the code of silence that protects staff at many prisons. As Linda McFarlane, deputy director of Just Detention, recently told the Chronicle, each prison “is sort of an entity unto itself.” For that reason, one of the recommendations under consideration is particularly important: requiring regular independent audits of every prison or jail and making that data public.

How much do we need those independent audits? Consider the West Texas State School, a juvenile prison repeatedly praised by the Texas Youth Commission's internal quality assurance monitors — even as the school's staff was complaining to their higher-ups, and even to officials in Austin, that two high-ranking officials had been sexually abusing teenage inmates for more than a year. A volunteer alerted the Texas Rangers, and an investigation uncovered significant evidence that the officials used a combination of bribes and threats to ensure both cooperation and silence. After refusing advances, one boy was locked in solitary confinement for more than 13 hours.

Even after that investigation, neither the area's district attorney nor the Department of Justice pressed charges against the two men, who found jobs elsewhere (one at a school). Only after the Texas Observer broke the story, and the scandal became public knowledge, did anyone act to clean up the school.

Secrecy is sexual abuse's best ally. And in prison, it's all too easy to keep secrets.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


Martin Bashir of ABC's Nightline, spreading the usual bogus statistics on sex offenders

Many reporters, like Martin Bashir, claim to be fair reporters who report the truth and facts. Well in this video, he says that sex offenders have a high recidivism rate, but he doesn't quote his source. Well, I have many studies linked here, which disprove what he has said, but I am not making a news story to get viewers and ratings, now am I? The man they talk about in this video, may be a sick individual, and a threat to kids, but not all sex offenders are like this man. The news media and politicians continue to spread disinformation and paint all sex offenders as if they are all child molesting, pedophile predators who will kill your children. That is pure BS, and nothing but fear-mongering. Watch this video, and see if you can spot what I am talking about.

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


IL - Sex offender housing restrictions may lead to more crimes

Original Article

For years, politicos and media types had been yelling that residency restrictions and serving entire sentences behind bars were necessary for the safety of the community. We have been harping that dumping someone in the community after maxing out in prison into a society ready to do everything they can to make it difficult for the registered sex offender to re-integrate back into society INCREASES the chance of reoffending. Well, you reap what you sow! A man who was maxed out, never had treatment and never was monitored through parole, committed sex offenses against children within his first year of release.

04/08/2010

By Megan Twohey

After his prison sentence came to an end in April 2007, child sex predator _____ was supposed to undergo one year of tightly controlled supervision as he transitioned back home -- with electronic monitoring, mandatory therapy and frequent meetings with a parole officer.

But because he could not find a place to live that met Illinois' ever-expanding sex offender housing restrictions, _____ served parole behind bars and then was released into Cook County without monitoring.

Faced with complete freedom, he quickly returned to his predatory ways, attempting to lure young children into his Berwyn apartment for sex, court records show.

_____' case illustrates a growing danger in Illinois. A Tribune review has found that the state's sex offender housing laws, enacted over the past decade with the goal of protecting the public, may be having the opposite effect.

Thousands of sex offenders have remained in prison for parole and then been returned to the streets without oversight or treatment. These offenders are less likely to register their addresses than those serving tightly monitored paroles in the community. They also are more likely to reoffend, sometimes repeating the same sex crimes, the review found.

For example, within a year of his release, _____ was convicted of trying to abduct children between 4 and 12 years old and soliciting sex acts from them. And _____, released into Des Plaines, was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a young relative, while _____ was charged with killing a man in Chicago with a broken bottle after what investigators said could have been a sexual solicitation gone wrong.

Of the 1,292 sex offenders discharged in fiscal 2008 after serving parole behind bars, 28 percent were listed as missing, not having registered their address or not being up-to-date with their registrations, compared with 23 percent of the 1,868 sex offenders paroled into the community.

Another 21 percent of the discharged offenders returned to prison, a slightly higher rate than those who were paroled. But in most cases, offenders monitored in the community were sent back to prison for technical parole violations, in many cases housing-related problems, while the discharged offenders were convicted of new crimes.

Sex offender housing restrictions have long been criticized by civil liberties advocates, who argue that it's unjust to banish any segment of society, and by criminal justice experts, who say it's more productive and cost-effective for most offenders to undergo parole supervision and treatment in the community.

Now some victims' advocates and members of law enforcement are echoing the calls for reform.

"There's a growing awareness that these housing restrictions make politicians feel good, but don't protect victims or prevent crime," said Kaethe Morris Hoffer, a legal director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

The restrictions were prompted by several high-profile attacks on children in the 1990s, among them the abduction, rape and murder of 7-year-old Megan Kanka of New Jersey by a convicted sex offender who was the family's neighbor.

The first wave of laws required that convicted offenders register their addresses or face arrest. They were followed by actual prohibitions on where offenders could reside.

In 2000, Illinois passed a law that prohibited child sex offenders from residing within 500 feet of schools, parks and day care centers. Some municipalities went further, setting the distance at 1,000 feet or more.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's (Contact) office pushed for a 2004 law that, among other things, allowed parole officers to prevent all sex offenders, not just those who targeted children, from living in such areas.

One year later, lawmakers from Chicago championed legislation that made it illegal for more than one sex offender to live in the same apartment complex unless it was a transitional housing facility that met strict state licensing requirements, such as 24-hour-a-day security. They were upset that offenders from across the state were landing in high concentrations on the city's South and West sides after prison.

"It's a dangerous world out there," said state Rep. Kevin Joyce (Email), D-Chicago. "We want to help protect our kids."

Since then, the number of transitional housing beds for sex offenders in Illinois has dropped from more than 200 to 26. Today, there is only one halfway house licensed by the state. The facility, in East St. Louis, has a waiting list of more than 1,300 inmates.

The Illinois Department of Corrections has stopped releasing offenders for parole who do not have an acceptable place to live.

There are as many as 1,800 of these refusals to release each year, according to the department. In many cases, inmates have been walked to the prison door on the day of their scheduled release, only to be turned around and reprocessed all over again.

"We won't release them if they don't have a place to live," said Alyssa Williams-Schafer, the department's coordinator of sex offender services.

This turnaround policy has come under fire from civil rights advocates, including a team of Chicago attorneys who filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Corrections alleging that the offenders' constitutional rights to due process and equal protection are violated when they are forced to remain behind bars because they can't afford a place to live.

Other critics question the one-size-fits-all application of housing restrictions, seeing a significant difference in the small percentage of sex offenders who target strangers, for example, and the so-called "Romeo and Juliet" cases, in which older boyfriends are convicted of criminal sexual abuse for having consensual sex with their younger girlfriends.

"The boyfriend-girlfriend thing with an age difference is different from a person who kidnapped a 7-year-old girl or boy," said Laimutis Nargelenas, a lobbyist for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. "Maybe the housing laws should only apply to the most serious sex offenders."

Less visible are the safety concerns that come with releasing sex offenders without supervision.

When sex offenders serve parole in the community, they must wear electronic monitoring devices, participate in weekly counseling and undergo other strict monitoring.

Those who serve parole behind bars are not required to undergo counseling (most don't, Williams-Schafer said), and their length of parole can be cut in half due to "good time" credit applicable to inmates -- as was the case with _____. Once the parole comes to an end, the prison has no legal means to keep or monitor them once they are out.

"It's kind of scary as a woman out on the street," said Tracie Newton, supervisor of the state's sex offender registry.

Even those convicted of sex offenses see the heightened risks in such scenarios.

A 32-year-old sex offender serving parole in Chicago said many of the participants in his weekly sex offender treatment sessions make him nervous. He was not surprised that those released without any monitoring after serving parole behind bars are less likely to register their address and more likely to commit other crimes.

"It's more dangerous to society if the person maxes out parole in prison and then just leaves straight up," the sex offender said. "Some people require a lot of attention."

Madigan's office in 2007 began tracking down sex offenders who disappeared after serving parole behind bars. Investigators have been able to locate no more than 60 percent of offenders, including many who landed back in prison. About 40 percent remain missing.

"They have disappeared into a black hole," said Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff.

Last month, The Collaborative on Re-Entry, a coalition of community safety officials from across the state, pledged to find ways to address the unintended consequences of sex offender housing restrictions.

Absent reform, offenders such as _____ will continue to walk the streets without oversight.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin