Typical mob mentality! The mob assumes all sex offenders are pedophiles who molested kids, and that is just not the case.
Greenville residents battled over sex offenders Friday morning. Emotions overflowed as residents who support and oppose new buffer zones, met face-to-face.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Typical mob mentality! The mob assumes all sex offenders are pedophiles who molested kids, and that is just not the case.
The editors will discuss the impact Chelsea's Law could have on California's ability to prosecute violent sex offenders and the state's overcrowded prison system. We'll also discuss a controversial budget proposal to send some state prisoners to county jails.
By Trish Mehaffey
A Drake University law professor questions the stringent punishment of being listed on the sex offender registry in the case of a 24-year-old non-licensed youth counselor convicted Wednesday for kissing a 16-year-old.
“Her chances for employment just dropped to zero,” Robert Rigg, also director of Drake’s Criminal Defense Program, said after the verdict came in. “Everybody in the world will know. It’s the kiss of death.”
Two legislators defend the sex offender laws they helped revise, saying they're not harsh because they protect children.
- They are harsh and they "protect" nobody. If a person is intent on committing a crime, they will.
“Those laws prevent harm to a child who already is a victim,” Sen. Keith Kreiman, D-Bloomfield, and chairman of Judiciary Committee, said Thursday regarding counselors, therapist or social workers who have inappropriate contact with clients.
[name withheld], a former Four Oaks youth counselor, was convicted by a jury in Linn County Associate Court Wednesday for sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist for kissing a 16-year-old client who was in residential treatment for behavioral issues in June 2008.
The teen testified he initiated the kiss that happened at Four Oaks, but after the incident, he never replied to e-mails sent by [name withheld], who wanted to pursue a romantic relationship.
[name withheld] faces up to a year in prison. She also will be listed on the sex offender registry for 10 years and be ordered to the 10-year special parole after serving her sentence. She will be added to the list of about 110 women out of 5,164 sex offenders on the registry.
Mark Brown, [name withheld]’ attorney, said Wednesday he believes the registry laws are too harsh for the lesser sex-related offenses and he will ask the court for a deferred judgment, which would eliminate the mandated 10-year special parole.
“I think the legislators should have trust in the judges to decide who should be placed on the registry in cases like this,” Brown said.
Rigg said the legislators decided they wanted to be the “super judge.”
“This is a common criticism of mandatory sentences – it doesn’t take into account the facts and circumstances of individual cases," he said. "The mandatory sentencing is addictive – once you have it, you get hooked. No politician is going to change it because they would lose the next election. They would be a friend of pedophiles. They get politically stuck in it.”
Rigg said the judges in these cases are concerned about the lack of flexibility in the law, so the only one left with any power or control in a situation like this is the county attorney or prosecutor.
“If you think about it, there’s no downside for them,” Rigg said. “If they win, great. If they lose, they can say they did their best and they don’t look soft on sex offenders.”
Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, who worked on the bipartisan revision of sex offender laws, said [name withheld] “got a bargain.”
“She was undoubtedly pursuing this juvenile,” Baudler said. “I was for tougher laws as in the federal guidelines (based on risk factor) 15 years, 25 years and life.”
The lawmakers made the decision to stay with 10 years of less serious and life for more serious and violent offenders, he said.
Baudler, a former state patrol officer, said there was some discussion about giving judges the discretion regarding the registry requirement, but that idea was shot down because after considering how crimes are charged and then how they are pleaded down, the legislators opted against it.
Kreiman, also a practicing attorney, said [name withheld]’ actions were wrong and the laws aren’t too harsh for someone like her to be on the registry for 10 years.
“These (offenders) need to be monitored. If she has a proclivity for this, she could go to the next place to work with kids,” Kreiman said.
The registry may seem unfair for someone who is convicted for a minor sexual offense if it’s a one time incident, but “the problem is we don’t now who’s going to re-offend,” Kreiman said.
- Exactly, but do you have civil commitment, where all of a sudden, you can predict who you think will re-offend?
There is a provision in the law which would give someone who may not have that tendency to re-offend a “slim chance” to shorten their time on the registry, Kreiman said.
Ross Loder, legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said the modification provision in the law enacted in 2009 allows an offender to ask a district court judge to modify or shorten their time on the registry, but there is stiff criteria that must be met.
Loder said the offender must have: a recommendation from a probation or parole officer; be released from jail or prison; have approval from assigned community based corrections; must be on the register so many years based on level of offense; and must complete sex offender treatment and risk assessment, ranking as low risk to re-offend.
“There have been no successful modifications since (the law) went into effect,” Loder said. “There may be some in the works now…. those are ones with minor offenses committed as juveniles.”
Loder said the number of women on the registry has remained about 3 percent of the total for the last decade or so.
The Iowa registry started in 1995, and major revisions were made in 2002, 2005, 2009 and this year.
Springfield - A former Noel police officer and ex-reserve deputy for the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of sexually exploiting a child and possession of child pornography.
Casey Nanez, 28, Noel, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England in regards to the Nov. 17, 2009, federal indictment, according to a press release from Beth Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
According to Thursday’s plea agreement, the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department seized Nanez’s computer during an investigation into allegations that he had unlawful sexual contact with one or more minors. An officer with the Joplin Police Department conducted a forensic examination of the computer and located several photographs of minors, including a set of photographs that depicted a minor engaged in sex with an adult. Nanez admitted he took those photographs and downloaded them onto his computer.
Under federal laws, Nanez is subject to 15 to 40 years in a federal prison without parole, a fine of $500,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United Sates Probation Office.
Nanez was originally charged with two felony counts of second-degree statutory rape, a misdemeanor charge of second-degree child molestation and a misdemeanor charge of tampering with a witness. He was accused of having sexual intercourse and deviate sexual intercourse or sodomy with a 15-year-old girl between July and November of 2008, and having sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl on several occasions between December and June, 2008. He was also accused of rubbing the buttocks of an underage girl through her clothing on June 3, 2009, and that he asked a witness in the case, the mother of the 16-year-old, if she had filed a complaint against him charging him with having sex with her daughter. According to a probable cause affidavit, he was accused of telling the woman she should tell law enforcement officers “a different story that he and the victims had already agreed on.”
The case was initiated as a part of Project Safe Childhood, a program launched in 2006 by the federal Justice Department to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. Agencies investigating the allegations included the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department, the Joplin Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
By Caitlin Dickson
Federal law requiring juvenile sex offenders to register as predators for life does more harm than good
In 1999, Anthony, a 13-year-old boy who weighed 350 pounds, told his four-year-old cousin to expose herself. Anthony, now 24, swears he did not touch her. Nonetheless, her father pressed charges and Anthony was found delinquent for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, sentenced to sex offender treatment, and assigned a lifetime spot on Iowa’s public sex offender registry.
- In the old days, this was "show me yours and I'll show you mine!" Experimentation, now it's a life sentence as a modern day leper!
Ten years after beginning treatment at Woodward Academy in Woodward, Iowa, Anthony, who asked that his last name not be published, finds it impossible to lead a normal life. Permanently associated with dangerous pedophiles and pathological rapists, his childhood mistake has hindered his ability to find work, housing and societal acceptance. Although he left Woodward when he was 18, Iowa’s residency restriction at that time—which barred sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school—forced him to leave his family’s home in Des Moines for a trailer with no electricity on land owned by his father in rural Osceola, Iowa.
Anthony’s plight could soon become common among all of America’s juvenile sex offenders, who in 2009 were responsible for one-third of all sex offenses against minors in the United States. Following the 2006 passage of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the federal government instructed all U.S. states and Indian territories to adopt a new sex offender registry system that includes juvenile offenders. But at the July 2009 deadline, not one state had complied.
Iowa has long required juvenile sex offenders to register their crimes online. And it is moving closer to the federally mandated system—in 2009 Iowa updated its laws to look more like SORNA. As other states consider compliance—the Justice Department has set a new July 2011 deadline—the impact of Iowa’s already strict registry system offers a window into what adulthood might look like for juvenile offenders around the country.
The new federal legislation organizes sex offenders into three tiers, categorized by the severity of their crime. The tier to which a defendant is assigned determines the punishment and duration of registration. The highest, tier III, covers the most heinous offenses. Anyone 14 or older who has sexually offended against a child 13 or younger is put in tier III, and required to register for life.
- And it's all based on the crime, not the intent or what actually occurred. If the child is under 13, you are a tier 3, automatically. This is wrong, and is basically child abuse, if you ask me.
Critics of the juvenile registry system believe that tier III requirements are unnecessarily harsh when applied to all juveniles. Only 10 percent of young offenders will re-offend, according to the Center for Sex Offender Management. Yet young offenders who commit crimes against even younger peers are stuck in the most serious category.
- I am not sure about juveniles, but many studies show the recidivism rates of sex offenders, below 10%, see here for many studies.
Juvenile justice experts argue that therapy, not registration, is the most effective way to deter future offenses and that lifetime registration harms juveniles’ chances of reintegrating into society. All juveniles judged delinquent (the equivalent of being convicted in juvenial court) for sex crimes in Iowa are required to undergo treatment. Woodward Academy, the largest of three sex offender treatment facilities in the state, receives kids from all over the country.
- Everything they are saying here, applies to all sex offenders, adults and children! Many are winding up jobless and homeless, and are also requested to pay for something they cannot pay for, GPS or the "privilege" of being on the shaming list.
“These kids are young enough that we can teach them right from wrong,” says Tonna Lawrenson, the academy’s program director. Woodward’s long-term sex offender treatment program treats juveniles whose offenses range from what experts call “Romeo and Juliet”-style statutory rapes (where the sex is consensual, but because of the participants’ ages, illegal) to flashing, fondling and forcing younger children to expose themselves.
- Just because you become an adult, doesn't mean you can never be taught what is right or wrong, why give up on someone, just because they are an adult? That is a major problem!
As is the case with many teen offenders, Anthony’s act against his cousin was not random, but stemmed from his own childhood abuse. When he was nine, a 16-year-old boy sodomized him and threatened to kill his mother if anyone found out.
- Most sex offenders were also abused when they were kids, but not all who were abused become sex offenders.
Children act out sexually for a variety of other reasons. Anthony Rodriguez, therapist and founder of The Men’s Center in Davenport, Iowa, is one of four sex addiction experts in the state and has worked extensively with sexually abusive youth. He says a lack of attachment between parent and child can cause children a great amount of anxiety—an anxiety that is relieved when they do something like look at pornography or touch someone inappropriately.
Lawrenson also sees many young offenders exhibit behavior she says is not natural, but learned. “I’ve never believed that a child is born to be a sex offender,” she says.
Stephen Draminski agrees. “They become what we call ‘sexually reactive,’” says Draminski, who leads a sex offender treatment group at the Robert Young Center in Rock Island, Ill. “They act out sexually in different ways, replaying their abuse over and over again.” He says poor social skills combined with sexual curiosity can also prompt an offense.
Draminski’s group therapy focuses heavily on empathy, teaches kids to manage destructive emotions, and promotes healthy relationships and sexual behavior. At Woodward, intensive one-on-one therapy allows kids to discuss things that might embarrass them in front of peers. In one of these individual sessions, Anthony finally revealed his own abuse to Lawrenson, years after it happened.
Those opposed to lifetime juvenile registration suggest that it does not prevent future offenses, since sexual abuse is most often committed not by strangers but by someone in, or close to, the family. “Registration gives people a false sense of security, a false sense of hope,” says Randy Smith, who reviewed adult and juvenile sex offenders for courts in Chicago and Ohio.
But despite the efforts of advocates, the futures of young offenders like Anthony are in the hands of elected officials unlikely to oppose a law that claims to protect children from sexual abuse. Smith says, “A lot of sex offender laws come from the six o’clock news, from the random person who buries the kids in the woods.”
- And less than 5% of all sex offenders, fit into this category!
Iowa State Senator Jerry Behn, who authored the state’s original residency restriction in 2002, admits the law overreached when it applied to all sex offenders, rather than only dangerous pedophiles. But, Behn says, “anyone who votes to fix this now is going to be viewed as light on sexual predators.”
Erin Lovejoy, a detective who tracks sex offenders for the Des Moines Police Department, admits registration is more effective at quelling public fears than preventing offenses. “It’s not going to prevent an act from occurring by any means. Nothing will do that unless they’re locked up,” she says.
Anthony spent one year in prison after moving into his mother’s Des Moines home in 2007 to care for her as she died. This was a violation of Iowa’s harsh residency restrictions since she lived within 2,000 feet of a school. The 2,000-foot restriction was amended in 2009, but Iowa still prohibits registered sex offenders from working at or visiting places frequented by children, such as schools, public pools, libraries and fairs.
Iowa Associate Juvenile Judge Constance Cohen believes employment and residency restrictions should factor in successful treatment and behavioral change. She says, “If you paint with such a broad brush, it will eliminate opportunities for these kids.”
- Adults as well! Stop just thinking about kids and think about all human beings!
The new 2009 Iowa law also limits the power juvenile court judges once had to waive registration, thus bringing the state closer to compliance with SORNA. Cohen says this will force more juveniles to register whether or not they are at risk to re-offend. Behn, however, opposes judicial discretion. “If a person is big enough to commit the crime,” he says, “they’re big enough to pay for it.”
- Then just wait until your son or daughter gets busted, then you will be singing a different tune, I guarantee you that!
Those who work closest with juvenile offenders maintain that the negative effects of lifetime registration are well-documented. But it is politicians like Behn who set the rules for juvenile sex offenders. This means Anthony, who at 13—like so many others—was “big enough to commit the crime,” will spend the rest of his life paying for it.
- So what about Mark Foley, and the many others who got a slap on the wrist? Are they not big enough to pay for life for their once stupid mistake?
Run for your lives! Child molesting, pedophile predators are everywhere. In the gas stations, malls, under bridges, and even in your own homes. So next time you are out walking alone, check behind every bush......