Monday, November 22, 2010

MN - Minnesota Sex Offender Program: "No Men Will Be Released in 2010"

Original Article

11/22/2010

Duluth - In a follow up to our report on the Minnesota Sex Offender Program spokespeople say no men will be released in 2010.

Sex offenders who will be released must go before a court appointed panel after they've successfully completed treatment and because the court has not begun the process to release any men at this point no releases will be made before the end of the year.

Spokespeople say the final stage before any release is to transfer offenders to the facility in St. Peter.

No one has been transferred in preparation for release at this point.

There are currently 587 sex offenders in the program and in the 15 years of Minnesota's Civil Commitment program no one has been successfully released.


CANADA - Girls lied about age, man acquitted on sex charges

Original Article

11/18/2010

REGINA — A Regina man who picked up two underage teens for sex was acquitted Thursday after Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn accepted the accused's testimony that the girls showed him fake IDs.

"I find as a fact that they told him they were 18 or over," Gunn said in finding [name withheld], 34, not guilty. "I further find . . . the accused asked them to produce photo identification as proof of their age, and that they produced false identification."

[name withheld], 34, was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault, two counts of obtaining sexual services from a person under age 18, and one count of invitation to sexual touching.

Court had heard the two girls were 14 at the time of the incident in 2009. [name withheld] never denied engaging in sexual activities with the teens; rather the case turned on how old he believed they were, and what he did to back up that belief.


HI - Lawmakers proposing convicted murderers registry bill

Original Article | Politicians wasting money!

So if you murder one or more folks, you can get off the list once you are off parole, but commit a sex crime, and you're screwed for life. How insane is that?

11/19/2010

HONOLULU - Days after paroled murderer Justin Boulay arrived in Hawaii, lawmakers are proposing a new bill that would keep tabs on convicted killers in the state.

Representative John Mizuno and Sen. Will Espero say a registry they're proposing would be similar to that of Hawaii's existing sex offender registry.

But the names of offenders would be taken off the list once they finish their parole.

The lawmakers will introduce the bill during the legislative session in January.


PA - Sex offenders and public paranoia

Original Article

11/07/2010

By STEVE GORDON

My name is Steve Gordon. I am a registered sex offender under Megan's Law and recently attended a public hearing on HB 2742, called the KIDS ACT.

As I sat and listened to somewhat repetitive testimonies, I was hoping the hearing would open the floor and I don't think anyone expected a sex offender to attend in what could be described as a potentially hostile environment. Unfortunately, the hearing went long and time did not allow for this.

The first person to speak, Carolyn Atwell-Davis of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, spoke about the dangers of the Internet. She very competently spoke of sex offenses against children and how predators can use the Internet, specifically social networks to lure children into bad situations. She also spouted statistics about sex offenders.

One of the last speakers was Karl Baker, representing the American Civil Liberties Union, and he shot down nearly every stereotype previous testimonies highlighted. It visibly upset the panel, most notably the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Steve Santarsiero.

What was glaringly left out of all the statistics presented was the percentage of sex offenses involving children vs. all sex offenses. This is being called the KIDS ACT, yet it includes offenders who didn't have offenses against children, as I did not.

Mentioned in discussion was the issue of protecting children and implementing local restrictions on where sex offenders could live. I understand a number of states have repealed such restrictions. The mentality is the same that drives HB 2742, and it is misguided in my opinion.

On July 3, 2007 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an editorial titled "Harm's Way." The editorial cited a 2005 study published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice that concluded in part "... there is no evidence that housing restrictions achieve this goal (of preventing sex crimes)." It further said, "Most sexual perpetrators know their victims. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 93 percent of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser and that 34 percent of them were family members."

I conclude that a lot of what was said at the hearing plays to public paranoia, a false paranoia. I do believe the intent to protect our children is noble; I, however, believe that the vehicle being ridden toward that goal has a flat tire.

  • USA Today in 2004 or 2005 wrote that Justice Department statistics showed sex offenders had a 2.5 percent recidivism rate. Drug offenses topped the charts with a 41.2 percent recidivism rate.
  • The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 14, 2005 wrote an article citing its source as the Department of Justice and stated that "Sex offenders were less likely than others to be rearrested for any offense."

Testimony alluded to a low recidivism rate, but it was soft pedaled and made light of, as the numbers were presented. I would like to have asked the panel if they were considering a bill to register drug offenders (like the drug offenders who sell to school kids) from social networking on the Internet.

When I was in prison, I read an article in the Altoona Mirror about parole. It read, "The purpose of parole is to reintegrate individuals back into the community and give them a chance to live a conventional lifestyle. If an individual has served his sentence for a prior wrong act, his past should not be held against him."

The fact is this bill does exactly that. It also violates my First Amendment rights, but further it violates the rights of anyone I have contact with on the Internet.

For the record my offense was private in my own home and it was domestic in nature. It was wrong, I regret it. Nothing can change that. All parties have moved on. Please explain to me how I or others without offenses against children are a threat?

Generalizations are dangerous. There were two state troopers present who gave a very good presentation of the dangers of the Internet. They were sincere and seem to be very honorable men. But in light of other police officers and officials who have committed wrongs and broken the law, would you generalize those two men and enact legislation geared toward censoring all law enforcement?

Anyone who knows anything about government knows that bills are amended many times over coming out of committee even before they hit the floor for a vote. I hope HB 2742 undergoes this scrutiny because it is flawed in its nature for being too wide open making generalizations of all sex offenders.

Steve Gordon, Southampton, is a lifelong Bucks County resident. He's been out of prison six months and is unemployed but does some freelance golf writing. A Navy veteran, he also has worked as a part-time sports writer.