Wednesday, October 13, 2010
MONTREAL - Passersby could be forgiven for mistaking the zombie bride, the cadaver in a nun’s habit, and the butcher with a severed hand tucked in his bloody smock as part of a pre-Halloween stunt.
But in fact, this macabre cast stood in front of the Montreal courthouse along with a dozen others for a reason far more serious. Though little known outside the city, a criminal case is starting to take shape that touches directly and deeply on the idea of “art” and freedom of expression.
Last year, Montreal horror film makeup artist [name withheld] was picked up by police, his house and computer searched, after Interpol levelled a complaint based on a couple of short films he made that can be classified, at the very least, as grotesque.
Entitled “Inner Depravity,” they attempt to show the mind of a heinous, drug-taking serial killer whose psychopathic tendencies lead him to also have sex with his dead female victims.
Art to some. Graphic obscenity to the Crown Prosecutors.
[name withheld] made his first appearance in court Wednesday to face charges of producing and disseminating obscene material.
Police have previously alluded to the sexual nature of the films in choosing to lay charges.
[name withheld] on Wednesday pled not guilty and chose to have his trial in front of a jury.
In an interview, he expressed disbelief that he was being pursued by the law, given all the “real crimes” going on.
“It’s absurd,” said [name withheld], dressed all in black, his Mohawk fashioned like a short rooster comb. “So many people spending so much time on my file and not on real violent crimes.”
As he spoke, his zombie supporters milled about behind him, carrying placards such as: “Real charges for fake blood!” and “To be a victim of his talent is completely ridiculous!”
Karine Fournier, a textile artist dressed as a zombie bride, felt compelled to support [name withheld]. “To lose our freedom of expression,” she reasoned, “is death.”
Julie Delisle, who also works in the horror genre, said she was surprised by the charges and now feels like “we are being watched more closely.”
[name withheld], 33, intends to argue that there are many other gory films in circulation that haven’t been targeted as obscenity, and he wants to know why.
[name withheld]’s lawyer Dominic Bouchard said the case could have repercussions on horror films generally. “We will expose other movies worse than this,” he promised.
Bouchard said it’s the first time obscenity charges have been laid in Canada related to works from the horror genre.
But obscenity charges are both controversial and complicated. The Supreme Court in 1992 recognized that demeaning and violent depictions of sex can do harm to society and especially women and established some tests in this regard.
Though the Montreal police said members of the public complained that the movies showed a child being molested and killed, Bouchard said they are in error; the films only depict an “adolescent” being killed, not sexually violated.
[name withheld] pointed out that the sex in his film is all simulated, as opposed to pornography, in which the sex is real. “They know (my work) is all fiction,” he added.
Whether simulated or real sex makes a difference is something Bouchard agreed the judge will have to weigh.
The 10-minute films were available on [name withheld]’s website until his arrest. They are still online on other sites. As if to cap the extraordinary violence of the first movie, these words appear on screen: “Mankind has become the master in the art of cruelty.”
No one is forced to watch, [name withheld] explained through a smile. “It’s horror,” he said, “not a cartoon.”
[name withheld] returns to court Nov. 1.
Of course Offender Watch wants everyone using it, it's more money for them, out of your pocket, by the fear campaign spread by the media for ratings and politicians to make themselves look better and get your votes. It's called exploitation!
I would urge everyone to visit the Offender Watch Info link below, and contact all the sheriff web sites who use it, for your state, and have them fix the "50% of sex offenders re-offend" statistic, which is wrong, and can be proven by the recidivism studies at the next link below.
OFFENDER WATCH INFO:
Interactive website sends sex offender alerts
ROSWELL (KRQE) - A one-of-a-kind tool is being used to track sex offenders in Southeastern New Mexico.
One of its main functions is to alert parents on the whereabouts of offenders.
One hundred and twenty five registered sex offenders live in Chaves County and according to law enforcement statistics, that number grows almost everyday. Now it, along with Eddy, Lea and Dona Ana counties have an interactive tool anyone can use to track offenders.
"Before we had this there was no way to track offenders," said Chaves County Sheriff's Lt. Britt Snyder "You didn't know all the things that had gone on in some people's past and unfortunately they are known to re-offend with the same types of offenses."
- This is a lie, and not based on facts. There are tons of recidivism studies online that show this is a lie.
Here's how it works:
- You go onto the website, type in your name, your address or the address of your child's school, bus stop or baby sitter.
- Click register and within 24 hours you should start seeing email alerts of when an offender moves in and out of that area.
This system is different from the state's website. There you have to do the searching on your own, and you don't get email alerts. It's not just residents who benefit from the offender tracker. It's also a tool for law enforcement. They can upload and access all of their sex offender case notes which is then available to participating law enforcement agencies.
Creators say they're working on getting every department in the state involved. The hope is that will happen within the next six months.
By Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) Nearly eight in 10 respondents who participated in a Christianity Today International survey said convicted sex offenders should be welcomed in church pews.
The vast majority of survey participants -- pastors, church leaders and staff members and active Christians -- agreed to the idea so long as offenders who were released from prison were subject to appropriate limitations and kept under supervision.
The results were published in the September issue of Christianity Today, the evangelical magazine that is the flagship of the Illinois-based publishing company.
A significant majority -- 83 percent -- said a demonstration of repentance is a key factor in shaping views about whether or not convicted offenders should be welcomed by a congregation. Two in three respondents said their views would depend on whether one or more of the victims of the offender attend the church.
Almost three-quarters of the respondents' churches do not provide a recovery ministry to people with sexual addictions. Almost a quarter said they "do nothing," while about half provide referrals to other organizations or ministries.
The survey was based on the responses of 2,864 people drawn from publications and websites of Christianity Today International.
By Lisa Rab (Contact)
In a world where residency restrictions exile convicted sex offenders to live under bridges (YouTube) and on park benches, a glimmer of sanity has emerged.
Working with psychology professors at Lynn University, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has launched a new program to individually assess the threat posed by each of the 890 registered sex offenders in the county and monitor them accordingly.
Now, instead of just making sure an offender sleeps at the correct address, far from the nearest church or school, police officers will have more information about which ex-cons are most likely to commit another crime.
"Not all sex offenders are equally dangerous. Not everybody who's arrested for a sex crime is a pedophile," says Jill Levenson, an associate professor of human services at Lynn University who has treated sex offenders for years and is helping to run the program.
Levenson, a national expert on sexual violence, contends that residency restrictions alone do little to protect the public, because there's "no empirical relationship between where a sex offender lives and whether or not he re-offends," she says.
Instead, researchers with this new program will look for risk factors such as how many prior crimes an offender has committed and whether his victims were strangers. That way, sheriff's deputies can focus on monitoring the people who pose the greatest threat.
"We really think that's a promising approach to public safety," Levenson says.
Each offender will also receive an individual case management plan -- including mental health services or help looking for housing or a job.
Researchers are slated to begin assessing offenders early next year. As the two-year program, funded by a $150,000 grant from the federal Department of Justice, progresses, Levenson says they'll also research its impact.
The goal is to keep criminals from attacking again. "We are expecting that our approach will reduce re-offending," she says.