Thursday, May 13, 2010

FL - Yet another vigilante murderer, Robert Pascale, attacks a man he thought was a sex offender, turns out, the man has no criminal history, so another innocent person murdered due to the sex offender registry and laws!

Original Article

05/13/2010

By Drew Petrimoulx

Orange County Deputies got a tip that murder suspect, Robert Pascale, 20, was hiding out near 8th St. and Belvedere Rd. in Bithlo.

They arrived at the scene around 4:00 pm Thursday, and the suspect fled into the wood. Deputies chased after using bloodhounds to track his scent.

"We went down about 200 yards, found him laying on his back in the mud," said master deputy Gary Dolton. "Just a little bit of his face was showing and that was all."

Deputies say Pascal beat _____, 79, to death with a baseball bat in his Bithlo mobile home. Investigators say the killing was likely a case of mistaken identity. Rumors swirled through the community that Edwards was a sex offender who molested children. Records show he had no history of sexual crimes.

Michael Garay, 32, was arrested as an accessory to the murder. He told detectives that he waited outside while Pascal went in the trailer with the bat.

Reminds me of Tammy Gibson (Washington) who beat a man with a baseball bat, and she was turned into a "hero!"

Video Link


CA - Sex Offenders May Have To List E-mail Addresses

Original Article

Just more of the feel good, follow the leader grandstanding that won't prevent a true predator from doing this again, but it gets them votes and helps them "look good" to the people.

05/13/2010

Sex Offenders May Have To List E-mail Addresses, Websites

SACRAMENTO (AP) - Registered sex offenders in California would have to disclose their e-mail addresses, websites and instant messaging user names to police under a bill approved by the state Senate.

Sen. George Runner (Contact) says offenders already must provide their physical addresses to local law enforcement, so it makes sense that they share their electronic addresses as well.

Runner, a Republican from Lancaster, says New York already has a similar law.

The use of social networking sites by sex offenders recently became an issue in the case of John Albert Gardner III, who pleaded guilty to murdering two San Diego County teenagers. He created a MySpace page in violation of his parole for an earlier molestation conviction.

Runner's bill, SB1204, passed Thursday on a 24-0 vote. It now goes to the Assembly.


IL - Reasonable Words for Representatives and the Media

Original Article

This is a copy of a speech Topwop gave at the Illinois House of Representatives Committee meeting. It went good as he was the only person allowed to speak uninterrupted past their time limit. He received a loud round of applause at the end of his speech. It was received well from the Representatives.



I am the father of what I prefer to call a “former” sex offender.

There are always alternatives, and there is a financial and humanitarian alternative to locking up our youth and non-violent sexual “offenders” that cost the state a mere fraction of the monies prosecuting, imprisoning, and monitoring them after release currently costs.

A young man I know personally, and I have the police reports to prove word for word what I am saying, was approached in his home by two 16 year old “victims” who had called to find out if he was home and alone. Upon arrival they asked him if they knew why they were there, and then told him they wanted to have a threesome.

This happened twice. Then the very “victim” who was the mastermind of this crime against herself and her friend, while in therapy for what, I can only imagine, dropped his name and due to mandating laws their family nightmare was on. He was jailed for a month with a $250,000 bond until he could get it reduced. After a yearlong public court nightmare he reached a plea arraignment that saved him from the lifelong punishment of the sex offender registry.

His family must endure four years of probation, offender therapy, all court fees, attorney fees, his loss of two jobs and his current struggle to find gainful employment. This is the financial price they must carry for their son’s soul and family name. To me, this is the price they pay for a common sense, fact based solution that can be a humanitarian and financial win for everyone involved. The cost the state was minimal and the financial burden was shifted to the family.

If one were to write a book on how to successfully make a human being fail, the laws and restrictions pertaining to former sex offenders would be its chapters. “Those people” (a term that when used provides separation for ourselves) are set aside from every other class of criminal including murderers, drug dealers, armed robbers and alcoholics who can barely sit upright while driving an automobile through a crowded school zone. Once becoming a “sex” offender you are set up to fail from the very beginning. As a society we are allowed to do this.

As a society we are even aggressively encouraged to do so by our “misinformed” media. Then there are some of our treatment providers, and parole officers who like to add their own personal twist to the already strict regulations placed upon “those people.”

Why?

The media and most law enforcement publicly will all tell you they are not the same as murderers, drug dealers, armed robbers and DUI's. They will tell you they are not equal......that they are less.

They will affirm for you your right to a “pass” on our God given Christian values. Among those values are forgiveness and redemption. They will tell you it is the right thing to feel and act out on, that for this newly created segment of our society, we can all abridge our principals just this once. They spew fear and uncertainty through a huge amount of misinformation that is promoted by these same people we all put our trust in for guidance and “factual” information.

According to William Samek, director of Florida's sexual abuse treatment program, these laws "don't protect anybody and mislead and coddle us into believing we are doing something effective."

Sex offenders are just like the rest of us, according to criminologist and researcher Philip Birch. Birch, challenges the notion that sex offenders are psychologically damaged, lonely, insecure or dysfunctional. "It serves us well to construct the sex offender as the `other', (to believe) they're not like us, that there's something pathologically wrong with them,” Birch says, a person being destined to become a sex offender, it's something we all have the capacity for, given the right circumstances. "Any one of us at any given time. . . could be a sex offender." "We construct the sex offender as `the other' but they're not."

Sex offenses are the easiest of all major crimes to gain convictions on, even with little or no evidence. Accusation is absolutely as damning as evidence. Accused offenders take plea deals in 95% of cases to avoid even the remotest chance of a guilty verdict that comes with extremely harsh penalties.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers “downplay” the devastating consequences of being listed on the sex offender registry, telling you it’s ”civil”, only ‘regulatory” and “no big deal.” As a result people who are truly innocent plead guilty to the lesser charge, not realizing their life as they knew it is now irrevocably finished, and that the only “real” difference with their plea is virtually length of incarceration only.

The average family knows little or nothing about the legal system. Never expecting to be in this position, they leave that to their lawyer, who is hired under extremely difficult circumstances. Requiring thousands of dollars up front, this money comes from what part of their budget?

” When faced with 14 years in prison and registering possibly for life versus little or no jail time and 10 years on the registry, this choice becomes very attractive when presented to you. After all we have all been told the horror stories of prison especially for “sex” offenders, and whatever a sex offender endures while incarcerated is part of the punishment, and they are probably just getting what they deserve. Right?

In all other criminal classes there need not be the misinformation about lifelong effects of your conviction. Only those convicted of a “sex” offense must endure this lifelong punishment.

There should be no public registry without public education. Most average people have no idea how the registry works and are unaware of the devastating punitive affects that come with it. The public has no grasp of who is dangerous or violent, who is likely to reoffend and who is not. After all we all know from being told by “someone” that they are all the same. Then there are also the overused as well as misused words like pedophile, predator, aggravated, victim or child; as these words are applied by the legal community to former offenders. The general public’s fear and anxiety of all former offenders is an intended and predictable result.

Dr. Jill Levenson states “Parents should not rely simply on sex offender registries to keep their children safe," she said.”With the reliance on sex offender registries, we do parents a disservice," she said. "They need to be aware of what to look for in anyone who spends time with their child."

Former offenders should be thought of as human beings, not faceless media-inspired images of darkness, evil, and hate. We need to start asking our elected officials and law enforcement at all levels how they are honestly striving to educate, and provide former “sex” offenders with the tools to make and maintain a positive reentry. What specifically are they doing to make a positive difference in former offender’s lives as far as housing, jobs and a positive support system, to help insure they remain victim free in our society? Therapist will agree that these are the triggers that lead to re-offending.

Current policies are “punishment driven” aimed at dominating and destroying their lives at every turn. This error in our judgment is costing us billions of dollars each year. In these uncertain economic times this has to stop.

Residency restrictions are a good intention, a bad idea, poorly written and completely ineffective. Ask yourself “Why is it that victim's advocacy groups such as the Texas Association against Sexual Assault, the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, and Stop It Now are against residency restrictions for former sex offenders." According to all available research I have read, these restrictions do nothing to protect children and even create situations where offenders become destabilized and more likely to reoffend.

One must question the motives of our elected officials who make laws that evidence indicates put children in more danger, not less. Our elected officials, law enforcement and media should be telling you that that 93% of sex offenses are committed by family members or someone close to and trusted by your family. Is there an underlying reason you are not being told that your children are in more danger of being sexually assaulted by a close family member than a known former offender who lives in close proximity to their school, park, bus stop or day care? They should also be telling you that 95% of new sex offences are committed by someone “not” on the registry. These facts known would be the true risks your children face.

Former offenders cannot find employment, live near or go to parks, day cares, schools, playgrounds, bus stops, movie theaters or amusement parks. All of these restrictions are due to the public’s intentional misinformation . This you will willingly accept. We currently forbid them from reintegrating and embracing society ignoring the fact that a person who loses everything is capable of anything.

After their “families” public destruction and humiliation, after incarceration, being unemployable, mandatory therapy, being placed on a public registration, being ostracized from their community, and being singled out as a modern day leper. After all of this their recidivism rate according to the USDOJ is about 3.5%.

What does society get with the vast majority of former “sex” offenders? When facts are known they get a former offender with a 96.5% success rate for never again committing this type of crime, and in fact the vast majority go on to never again commit “any” crime.

Society gets a person who after extensive,” proven” and effective therapy has a recidivism rate far lower than other major crimes. Society gets someone wanting a job, a home, their family and simply a chance to reclaim their life.

Society gets a human soul seeking God’s redemption. Redemption is only the first step in their battle for their soul. God does not look at a man the way other men do.

Society gets someone seeking an honest and fair opportunity at society’s redemption, and an individual wanting to prove they are redeemed and worthy of forgiveness.

Society gets to keep a huge chunk of their hard earned money. Money that can be better spent on proven effective therapy and treatment while being incarcerated instead of being mandated “after” their release.

So what does the former offender get? They get to prove by their own hard work, that they can and are willing to successfully rejoin a society built on the forgiveness and redemption of God, if given only that honest and fair opportunity.

There is a popular saying going around “If it saves one child”, we at SOSEN believe we need to save “all” of the children.

There is also a lot of talk today of not being “soft” on crime or being “tough” on crime. I believe we need to start being “smart” on crime.

Thank you,

Topwop


ME - Portland Scales Back Sex Offender Ordinance

Original Article

Someone is finally using their brain! But my question is, are the Police experts in assessing someone if they are high risk or not? I don't think so!

05/13/2010

The Portland Police Department is scaling back on an ordinance that would prevent registered sex offenders from living near schools. Now, the Department is proposing restrictions only for high-risk offenders.

Under the new proposal, police would assess the risk level before determining where sex offenders can and can't live.


IL - Opponents: New sex offender laws won’t help (Just more unconstitutional ex post facto laws)

Original Article

05/13/2010

By Patrick Yeagle

Bills would ban sex offenders from parks, require lifetime registration

Two state bills beefing up Illinois’ sex offender laws await only the governor’s signature to become law. But some groups say the legislation would waste money and fail to prevent future sex crimes.

Senate Bill 3084, known as the retroactive sex offender registration bill, would require lifetime registration for certain sex crimes committed more than 15 years ago. Under the new law, certain sex crimes committed at any time in the past would require registration, which could create as many as 10,000 new sex offenders, according to Laurie Jo Reynolds, a Chicago-based corrections reform advocate. Reynolds organized Tamms Year Ten, a coalition of groups advocating reform at the Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois, and was recently named a Soros Justice Fellow by the Open Society Institute for her work on the unintended consequences of sex offender legislation.

Reynolds says the proposed law would put an enormous financial burden on the Illinois State Police, who monitor sex offender registration, requiring them to analyze old records to see who is required to register and then track down previous offenders. Meanwhile, Reynolds says the law would likely not prevent future crimes.

It would take a tremendous commitment of state police resources to enact this law, and many of the people targeted are low-risk and have been law-abiding for decades,” she explains. “If someone had committed a new sex offense in the last 15 years, they would already be on the registry. We need a smarter registry, not a bigger one.”
- I don't think we need any, at least not one online, but one used by police only. Why do we not have a registry for all other criminals?

Becky Palmer, senior vice president of clinical programs at Alternative Behavior Treatment Centers in Mundelein says the law would force newly-registered child sex offenders to move because Illinois bans child sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds or certain other areas.

Because of the housing restrictions many incarcerated sex offenders cannot find adequate or law-compliant housing, therefore, many are serving their parole behind bars and are being released into the community unsupervised and not receiving the necessary mental health services,” Palmer says, adding that between 93 and 97 percent of sex crimes are incest or are committed by someone the victim knows.

Housing restrictions clearly would not have prevented these sexual assaults or increased public safety,” she says.

Senate Bill 2824 would ban registered sex offenders from forest preserves, conservation areas and public parks. _____, a registered sex offender who asked that his full name not be used to protect his employment, says he was forced to register as a sex offender after downloading inappropriate photographs of underage girls. _____, who is a musician and sports enthusiast, says he could no longer perform concerts at public grandstands or play tennis at public parks if the bill passes, and it would instead remove the support network that keeps many offenders from reoffending.

Therapy ordered by probation teaches us to get involved in things like park district leagues to create a support group of friends and give us more positive things in our lives,” he says. “This law will separate registered sex offenders from their supportive friends and place them into more isolation.”

Laurie Jo Reynolds says current laws and the proposed changes waste state resources on tracking low-risk offenders, such as high school kids caught having consensual sex with an underage partner.

If we want true harm reduction, we should support risk-assessment, treatment, supervised release and other evidence-based practices which are smart on crime,” Reynolds says. “You just can’t expect reasoned sex offender policies from legislators in an election year.”

Annie Thompson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn (Contact), says the legislation will be reviewed when it is received by his office.


CA - Prom fundraiser turns into strip show


NY - Unease in Falls on sex offender proximity

Original Article

04/25/2010

By Nancy A. Fischer

High number in South End raises questions on extent of threat as resident points to ‘ghetto’

Roughly 4 in 10 registered sex offenders in Niagara County live in the South End of Niagara Falls, a roughly 2-square-mile area near the mighty cataracts themselves.

This is called home by about three-quarters of the offenders who are of greatest concern to county law enforcement officials.

It’s a place that Falls resident April L. Jones calls a “ghetto of sex offenders.”

It used to be when I was a child, I could ride my bike in the neighborhood,” said Jones, 49. But now she fears the prospect of her grandchildren riding their bikes to Harry F. Abate Elementary School.

Jones believes that her neighborhood, and her city, have become a dumping ground for sex offenders.

Mayor [Paul] Dyster won’t tolerate gang activity,” she said. “I would think a priority would be given to another danger embedded in our community. What really astonishes me is how the ‘Honeymoon Capital of the World’ is about to become the ‘Home of the Predators.’

Jones is bumping up against several unavoidable realities, according to those who work with sex offenders in the county:

  • Those in the state Sex Offender Registry have police records and tend to require social services most readily available in the Falls, where many agencies have offices.
  • Convicted sex offenders tend to be poor. Many have lost jobs and don’t own vehicles, which means they flock to places where bus routes make for easier transportation. Rents are cheaper in the Falls, and government- subsidized housing is plentiful.
  • Sex offenders freed from prison tend to return to the communities where they once lived, and the greatest number broken down by municipality are from the Falls — the most populated community in the county.

The result: 1 in 279 residents in Niagara Falls is a registered sex offender, compared with 1 in 503 in Lockport and 1 in 1,156 in North Tonawanda.

We don’t have control over that,” Sheriff James R. Voutour said. “We can’t tell people where to live, but the part we can do, we do with all our might.”
- Well, by passing residency restrictions, you ARE telling them where to live!

Niagara County Sheriff’s Investigator Leonard E. Guagliano said that it’s impossible to monitor people 24 hours a day — and also unconstitutional — but that the Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies have “put a solid program in place” to make sure county residents are aware of sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

The bad news for Niagara Falls is that nearly 40 percent of 351 registered sex offenders in the county live in the ZIP codes 14301, 14303 and 14305 in the city, according to the sheriff’s own registry of sex offenders.

That includes 49 offenders who are Level 3 — the most serious classification — compared with four in the Town of Lockport, six in the City of Lockport, and five in North Tonawanda.

The numbers have not changed much in recent years.

The Falls now has 184 registered sex offenders, compared with 200 reported in a 2006 Niagara Weekend article. Four years ago, 60 of those offenders were Level 3, considered the most likely to repeat their criminal behavior.

These numbers are part of another reality for the Falls, where the median family income of $26,800 is roughly $10,000 less than in Lockport and nearly $15,000 less than North Tonawanda.

The rate of other crimes — including murder, rape, robbery, assault and property-related offenses — also is higher.
- And yet we don't have a registry for these crimes, why is that?

We always ask people how many people know where the murderers, drugs dealers, burglars, drug addicts live in their community,” Guagliano said. “No one raises their hands.”

The Sex Offender Registry “is the one opportunity the federal government and state has allowed for notification of crimes,” he said.

Unfair concentration

The state began its Sex Offender Registry in 2007, and the next year, the Assembly amended executive law and social services law to require certain guidelines on the placement of sex offenders.

The law says there are often “unacceptable high levels of concentration of sex offenders in certain residential areas” and requires social services, parole, and probation offices to “consider relevant factors, including over concentration of sex offenders in certain areas when investigating and approving the residences of sex offenders.”

Jones said state and county officials need to pay more heed to the law.

Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte (Contact), D-Lewiston, supported the bill, saying, “No one area should have to bear the entire burden.”

All three [Niagara County] cities have major hospitals,” DelMonte said. “Bus routes exist in each of the communities. They all have housing, so it’s not a question of resources.”

DelMonte added that she also supported the state’s new civil confinement law, which allows for intensive supervised release — or permanent confinement in a mental hospital — for convicted offenders who are deemed most likely to repeat sex crimes after they’ve served their prison sentences.

Perception vs. reality

If there is any good news for the Falls, it’s that the “perceived threat” of the vast majority of sex offenders is much worse than the reality, Guagliano said.

The moment you say ‘sex offender,’ people think he abused a little kid, but that isn’t the fact,” the sheriff’s investigator said. “We have been doing education on this since 2006 and haven’t changed any perceptions.”

In classifying sex offenders, Level 1 is considered the lowest risk, Level 2 medium and Level 3 highest.

State law requires local law enforcement to let nearby residents know where Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders live.

The majority of sex offenders are Level 1 or 2, most of whom were never accused of physical contact with a child, Guagliano said.

John M. Caher, a spokesman for the state Division of Criminal Justice, stressed that a “vast, vast majority” of sex crimes are committed by someone who is not on the Sex Offender Registry — and committed by someone the child knows, not a stranger.

When it comes to crimes involving strangers, the Sex Offender Registry is of limited help, according to Caher and others.

A study by the U. S. Department of Justice of sex crime victims younger than 17 showed that 93 percent of the crimes involving those children were committed by someone they knew.

Consider two high-profile local cases, both in North Tonawanda — which has the lowest number of sex offenders per capita of the county’s three cities.

In 2008, a 12-year-old girl was abducted on her way to school by _____ as she walked past his Gilmore Avenue home. The girl was abused in a vacant house and had to escape out a window. _____ was not a known sex offender before the incident. He is now serving a prison sentence of 25 years to life.

And last month, a 43-year-old Oliver Street man, _____, was charged with kidnapping a 9-year-old boy he didn’t know and holding the child for a couple of hours. North Tonawanda detectives opened an investigation into whether _____, a local truck driver, may have had encounters with other minors.

Earlier this month, _____ was charged with felony first-degree sexual abuse involving a boy younger than 12 who allegedly was abused in the summer of 2008. _____ also was not on the state Sex Offender Registry and was previously unknown to police.

The Sex Offender Registry is pertinent, and we should be aware of it, but it’s not necessarily cause for alarm,” Caher said. “It’s cause for vigilance."

... It shouldn’t scare people. It’s about awareness: Who watches your kids? Who cuts your lawn?

Caher said that of the 30,000 people statewide in the Sex Offender Registry, only about 5,000 are under any supervision at all. The rest can live wherever they choose, as long as it is not in a restricted zone.

Sex offenders are going to live somewhere,” he said, “and they are going to live where they can afford to live and where they can legally live based on local residency restrictions.”

Where can they live?

Residency laws also may help explain the concentration of registered sex offenders in certain pockets of Niagara Falls.

A recent case in the Town of Niagara, where residency restrictions prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet from a school or playground, rather than 1,500 feet like in the Falls, caused a man to move from the town.

Caher said that such tough restrictions are getting challenged in some places, including Schenectady, where the 2,000-foot rule is being fought in court.

You got to have somewhere where people can live affordably,” Caher said. “Are they going to be low-income areas? It would depend on the residency laws. I don’t know why there are concentrations, but if you look and neighboring districts have these super-strict residency restrictions and there isn’t a school, that’s where people are going to live.”

Caher said that there are some communities where the restrictions have become so intense that it makes it impossible for a sex offender to live there. Those restrictions, he said, are the ones that are getting shot down in court.

The objective of the Sex Offender Act was to keep tabs on where people live,” he said. “We do have a concern that the residency laws are pushing people underground and that would be undermining the intent of the law.”

Niagara County Social Services Commissioner Anthony J. Restaino said there is not a concerted effort to place sex offenders in the Falls.

If they are released from jail and on parole and are homeless, we have to find a home for them, whether they are a sex offender or serving time for robbery or come up here from Florida,” Restaino said.

Restaino said the cost and especially the availability of housing are factors.

He said that his office’s role is to help anyone who is homeless but that sex offenders need landlords who will “service this population.”

Any time they can’t find permanent housing, they are forced to use motels, which can be very costly, Restaino said.

It’s not just a Niagara County issue,” he said. “This is a statewide issue, the placement of sex offenders. No locality wants them. But Social Services has to place them somewhere. There really needs to be some type of state-directed or privately directed step-down housing.”

Where are they now?

Meanwhile, Dyster said that at least the Sex Offender Registry provides a tool to address sex-related crime.

Until 2007, there wasn’t any system in place,” the mayor said. “We’ve always had sex offenders, but now we know where those sex offenders are."
- And what about the murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, thieves, etc?

... We are the largest city in the county, so we are going to have more of everything. Our current regulations create a situation that there are very restricted areas where sex offenders can live in the City of Niagara Falls, but if we extended the radius to the point where we blotted out the entire city, then pretty soon, every other municipality would do the same thing.”

Anthony C. Mauro, the county’s director of probation, said his office makes sure people comply with residency laws.

It does become restrictive,” Mauro said, “so there may be a pocket in the City of Niagara Falls that doesn’t violate any of the residency rules, and that’s why people end up in that neighborhood. There may be 10 other neighborhoods they can’t live, and there may be landlords who aren’t willing to rent to sex offenders.”

Mauro said the state should reconsider many of the restrictive laws, making them apply only to “child predators,” not all sex offenders. He said only about one-third of those offenders truly need the restrictions.

Meanwhile, Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John R. Chella said that once the sex offenders are in the city, “we manage them.”

I think we have the best people in Niagara County watching them, between us and the sheriff and Lockport [probation officials],” he said. “We basically know who they are.”