Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From Sex Assault Fury to Internet-Fueled Fortune

Original Article



Antoine Dodson Capitalizes on Accidental Fame With Facebook, Twitter, Web Page, Merchandise

For many people who dabble with fame, it's their face that determines their fortune. But Antoine Dodson's ticket to success isn't his face, it's his fury.

Three weeks ago, the 24-year-old man was struggling to complete an associate's degree at a college in Huntsville, Ala., while living with his mother, three sisters and a niece.

Now, he's an Internet superstar with Facebook fans by thousands, YouTube views in the millions and enough money of his own to move his family into a new house.

All because of a televised rant that attracted a rabid following.

On the local news in late July, Dodson unleashed an animated diatribe the likes of which even the Internet had never seen, denouncing an intruder who allegedly attempted to rape his 22-year-old sister, Kelly, in her bed one night.

"Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park," the 24-year-old called out to the camera. "He's climbing in your windows, he's snatching your people up, trying to rape them; so y'all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because they're raping everybody out here."

He ended the video with a sharp warning to the still-at-large perpetrator: "We're looking for you. We gonna find you. I'm letting you know that. So you can run and tell that, homeboy!"

Gregory Brothers Turns Dodson Video Into 'Bed Intruder Song'

The next day, Dodson said, the online video surpassed one million views, making him a local celebrity. A few days later, his star rose even higher when the Gregory brothers, the masterminds behind the popular Auto-Tune the News videos, turned his blustering into the iTunes hit, "Bed Intruder Song ."

Last week, the song broke through to No. 16 on iTunes' pop charts and the Gregory brothers estimate that, in total, the song has attracted about 15 million views.

"I love it," said Dodson, who now sits atop a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, a personal website and even "official merchandise." "We laugh and joke about the videos. ... We watch it every day."

He declined to say exactly how much money he's made from the video and his new celebrity. But between a PayPal account on his website, which lets people donate to help his family, his merchandise and YouTube ad sales (the Gregory brothers split the earnings 50-50), he said he's made "a nice amount of money."

"It was enough to move my family from the projects," said Dodson, who is known by his first name "Kevin" at home.

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TX - Erykah Badu gets fine, probation for naked stroll

Original Article

Just goes to show you, if you are famous, or a female, you can do just about anything. Why do we even have laws, when some can break them and others get crucified for doing so? If a man did this, they'd be in jail and/or prison for public lewdness and possibly on the sex offender registry.


By Alan Duke

(CNN) -- Erykah Badu must pay a $500 fine and serve six months on probation for her naked stroll through downtown Dallas, Texas, while making a music video last March, a city official confirmed Tuesday.

Badu reached a plea deal to settle a misdemeanor disorderly conduct citation issued after she released a music video, according to Dallas spokesman Jose Torres.

The singer shed her clothes as she walked through Dealey Plaza until she was nude and then fell near where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Badu said the video was "shot guerrilla style," without a crew and in one take March 17, 2010.

Badu then posted a message on her Twitter account acknowledging that "there were children there." She said she prayed they wouldn't be traumatized by seeing her naked.

It wasn't until several days after the video for the song "Window Seat" was released on March 28 that anyone who witnessed the taping filed a complaint with Dallas Police. Only then did police issue a citation against Badu.

Under the plea agreement, the offense will be erased from Badu's criminal record if she successfully completes the 180 days probation.

"If she violates any law at the city, state or federal level, a motion to adjudicate (seeking to revoke probation) will be filed," Torres said. "If the motion to adjudicate is granted, Ms. Badu will have a criminal conviction."

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US Radio News - Special Report

Part 1 (Video Link | YouTube Channel)

Part 2 (Video Link)

Part 3 (Video Link)

FL - Hey Ron, maybe you should look in the mirror to see the REAL monster!

Ron Book runs the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, to end homelessness, yet he continues to lobby for laws to make offenders homeless. Guess you got to do something to stay in business, right? You are nothing more than a vengeful hypocrite who is still feeling sorry for himself for hiring someone who abused his daughter, IMO.

Video Link

Sex Offenders More Dangerous When They're Homeless

Original Article

Visit the above link and sign the petition.


By Jessica Rowshandel

Jessica's Law, first passed in Florida in 2005 as a way to protect children from sex offenders, actually puts kids more at risk. Since Jessica's Law (Proposition 83) was passed in California in late 2006, for example, the number of homeless sex offenders skyrocketed from 88 to 2,300, all in the name of increased safety, especially for our children. This is because Jessica's Law restricts sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. In cramped urban areas, however, finding housing outside of these parameters is nearly impossible, so where are they supposed to live?

The silliest part is that Jessica's Law doesn't restrict sex offenders from hanging out in parks and near schools all day long. They just can't sleep nearby. Shouldn't folks be more concerned with what a sex offender does while awake than asleep? California lawmakers are catching on, pushing Chelsea's Law, which would regulate where sex offenders can and cannot go during the day.

A person's living situation does inform where he commits crime, but in a different way than Jessica's Law assumes. Sex offenders are at increased risk for committing another sex offense if they are homeless. As we all know by now, the instability of homelessness and associated turmoil can exacerbate mental health conditions or trigger new ones. It's no different for sex offenders released from prison and sent to the streets with nothing to help focus their energy into positive behavioral change.

Some argue, however, that sex offenders really don't change. So, how do we deal with this issue? Suggestion and practice has varied from castration to more consistent supervision to mental health treatment, but really, the verdict is still out (although, castration seems a bit inhumane and extreme if you ask me). It's important to remember, however, that not all sex offenders are the same and that cases should be considered individually. We need to pause and think more clearly about the issue instead of letting fear drag us down a blinding rabbit hole that actually makes the problem worse.

This reminds me of the outraged and irrational Venice Beach residents who bully their homeless, disgusted by their existence, fearful that the homeless will hurt them and their children. Granted, parents have every right to want to protect their children from sexual assault, but it seems that our culture of fear, reactivity and a lack of thinking things through informs our laws — laws that don't work and put our children, our elders, and the rest of us, at greater risk.

Nationwide, Jessica's Laws exist to offer us a sense of safety, instead of true safety. This delusion offers us a false sense of control over our lives. Consider the facade of "national security," and even more relevant, the shooing away of the homeless to give the illusion of solving the homelessness problem.

Homeless sex offenders are faced with even more meager housing options than other people experiencing homelessness. Few want to hire them or willingly live among them. For their well being and the community's, sex offenders need to be housed. Tell your representatives to review your state's current sex offender laws to make them more humane and effective, instead of making Jessica's Law stricter. Remember, sex offenders are people too (See this video), and if that's not something that necessarily grips you, be warned that Jessica's Law causes homelessness, which puts sex offenders, perhaps even the best intentioned ones, at increased risk of relapse. We should all care what happens to homeless sex offenders, one way or the other.

Jessica Rowshandel is a social worker who currently runs a large homeless shelter in New York City.

FL - Sex Offenders Have Nowhere to Live

Original Article


By Matt Kelley

There's no doubt that laws targeting sex offenders have a valuable purpose — to protect the public, and especially kids, from dangerous individuals. But these laws don't quite work when what they're doing is driving sex offenders to live under bridges.

Earlier this year, this problem came starkly to light in Florida's Miami-Dade county, after national media exposed a sex offender shantytown under a highway. How did they county respond to the pressure? They came up with a band-aid solution: first by demolishing the camp, and then by putting its 92 residents into studio apartments with six-month leases.
- And Ron Book did this by using federal grant and tax payer money! It was nothing more than a quick fix to put out the fire he started.

Predictably, the six-month apartments are now about to expire, and many of the 92 residents have nowhere to go. The county hasn't addressed the root of the problem, which is the fact that it restricts sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or park. Almost every house in a city like Miami lies within 2,500 feet of such a school or park, which is what originally drove the 92 people to live under a bridge — and unless that policy is changed, it will continue to fuel homelessness.

Jessica has covered this issue at our End Homelessness blog, pointing out that living situations aren't exactly what drive crime. Though reforms to address this issue are pending in Florida, for the moment, counties still operate under their own authority. Accordingly, Miami-Dade is continuing to close doors on former sex offenders who are trying to turn their lives around. For example, one man, [name withheld], recently had his house foreclosed and was subsequently barred from living on the same block because he was no longer grandfathered out of the 2,500-foot rule.

This kind of red tape for sex offenders doesn't prevent crime — all it does create uncertainty and difficultly for people when what they need is help leading productive, safe lives.

To make matters worse, California is now following in Florida's footsteps. Not content to simply push restrictive laws that drive sex offenders to congregate in the few neighborhoods in which they're actually allowed to live, the state is considering new restrictions to strictly regulate the number of parolees who can live in a given neighborhood.
- I think it's the other way around. California has been playing the sex offender shuffle for many years now.

But make no mistake: We can't ask former sex offenders to become productive members of society if we insist on driving them to the far fringes.

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ME - A False Sense of Security

Original Article


The Bangor City Council will soon consider an ordinance forbidding sex offenders from living within 750 feet of a playground or school. While such an ordinance may make councilors feel as though they are protecting children and families, there is little evidence that this is true. In fact, research has shown that such restrictions often force sex offenders to hide their whereabouts or live on the street. In both instances, there is less oversight.

Worse, such restrictions may be unconstitutional.

That, however, didn’t stop the Maine Legislature from passing a law last year allowing communities to enact such restrictions when the victim was under 14 years old. The law has the benefit of not being retroactive, but the state’s attorney general was not asked to assess whether it was constitutional. Around the country, some residency restrictions have been upheld, while others have been struck down.

Aside from the legal concerns, there is no evidence that such restrictions are effective. The majority of sex crimes are committed by people — often family members — who know their victims.

At best they are ineffective,” Rep. Gary Plummer, R-Windham, said during a May 2009 debate on the legislation. “They give a false sense of security. They force people to go underground and, in my mind, there are more negatives than there are positives.”

Rep. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, said the worst outcome would be for the local ordinances to force sex offenders to move into rural areas far from the jobs, transportation networks and services they need to live healthful lives post-conviction.

The Maine Municipal Association advocated for residency restrictions as a means of local control. Portland rejected such restrictions in June.

Bangor was asked to consider such a move by a resident concerned about the safety of her five children. About 200 registered sex offenders are living in the city. The city’s government operations committee voted 2-1 last week to pass the proposed ordinance to the full council.

As drafted, the proposed ordinance would put about one-third of the city off-limits to those convicted of sex offenses against children under 14. The restrictions would apply only to those convicted in the future so that sex offenders now living within 750 feet of a school or playground would not be forced to move.

A better approach would be to classify sex offenders by the severity of their crime. Those in the top tier should face tough restrictions as part of their sentencing with fewer requirements for low-level offenders. Someone who had sex with an underage girlfriend (this was the case with one of the men killed in 2006 by a vigilante who found his name on the state’s sex offender registry) should not be treated the same as a serial child rapist.

In addition, if lawmakers wanted to place further restrictions on some sex offenders, they could write a law to include such considerations in sentencing and probation guidelines. This would leave punishment in the hands of the judicial system where it belongs.

TX - Grandma Accused of Prostituting Girl

Like we and many others have said over and over, most kids are sexually abused, or abused, by their own family or relatives, and this is yet another example of that.