Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CT - Former Portland Cop (Edward Kalinowski) and Former First Selectman Charged in Sex Sting

Edward Kalinowski
Original Article

Here is another article, about this sting, and it says "None of those arrested are sex offenders!"

09/06/2011

By Bob Connors

A former Portland First Selectman and retired police officer has been charged in a sex sting involving minors in Florida.

Edward Kalinowski, 59, was arrested Friday in Volusia County, Florida after police say he traveled to a Daytona Beach home to have sex with what he believed to be a 13-year-old boy.

It is a situation that has been made famous by Dateline NBC's "To Catch A Predator" series, although the operation had nothing to do with NBC or Dateline.

Several Florida law enforcement agencies set up the seven-day sting operation, arresting 15 men in all. The suspects, including Kalinowski, set up encounters over the computer with what they believed to be children between the ages of 9 and 15, according to Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. The men were arrested when they showed up at the house. A video of the arrest shows Kalinowski, who now lives in Ocala, Florida, arrived at the home without a shirt on. Officers arrested him as he walked through the front door.

Kalinowski is identified by the Volusia County Sheriff's office as a retired First Selectman from Portland and a former Portland police officer. He is charged with use of a computer to seduce or solicit a child, traveling to meet or lure a child for sex and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.


New Book Says Sex Offender Registries Are Too Harsh

Original Article

08/31/2011

In a new book called “Sex Panic & The Punitive State,” professor and author Roger N. Lancaster says that sex offender registries are a waste of time and that current punishments for sex offenders in the US are too harsh.

While sex offender registries in the US now collectively list three quarters of a million people, Lancaster argues that many of those listed are being unfairly treated as public pariahs. End up on a registry and you’ll be told where you can and can’t live, and will find it impossible to get a job. While certain criminals may deserve such punishment, he believes there are quite a few who shouldn’t even be on the lists, explaining in a Washington Post interview that registries now include those convicted of sex crimes who “… had consensual relations with near-adults. Others appear to have been falsely accused and accepted a plea bargain. Some were themselves minors who had consensual sex with their girlfriends or boyfriends. A random sample of one state’s listings shows that two-thirds of the registrants were convicted of non-violent first offenses — and their crimes may have involved no physical contact.”

Lancaster cites research that he says proves sex offender laws are ineffective, and says their main achievement has been to engender an unnecessary atmosphere of fear, with parents afraid to let their children play outside because of the false belief that there are predators lurking around every corner. In the same Washington Post interview, he explained his position: “Stories of abduction, rape, and murder by strangers excite the worst fears. But these are exceedingly rare events — comparable to the chances of being struck by lightning. And only a very small percentage of sex crimes are committed by repeat offenders, which does suggest that the registries mislead parents.”

Lancaster thinks parents should be less worried about sex offender registrants, and more concerned that their own children will end up listed on one. ”Young children have found themselves on sex offender registries and not invariably for brutal acts. Minors who had sex with their boyfriends or girlfriends have been labeled sex offenders,” he warns. “Teens have been prosecuted for ‘sexting.’

While I understand there are likely people on sex offender registries who don’t belong, there’s this part of me that would rather have that than unknown predators who could have access to my children. Lancaster suggests only certain types of sex crimes should land people on these registries, and that they shouldn’t be public. As a mom, though, I do get some sense of comfort knowing that a registry could help me identify someone who should truly be avoided.
- There are probably a ton of "unknown predators who could have access to your children!" they just haven't been caught committing a crime yet.

What do you think? Is Lancaster right? Are we ruled by unfounded fears and mistakenly catching too many people up in the sexual predator dragnet? (Leave your comments at the article, here)


GERMANY - Sex offender dies after self-immolation in front of court

Original Article

09/06/2011

A 71-year-old convicted sex offender has died from serious burn injuries after he set himself on fire in front of a state court in the western German city of Koblenz.

The man, who has not been named by police, was set to begin serving a prison sentence of three and half years on Monday. According to the Rhein-Zeitung (RZ) newspaper, he had been convicted in 2010 of abusing a four-year-old child beginning in 1986 and lasting into late 1993.

The man left a suicide note and doused himself with a flammable liquid before setting himself alight on Monday afternoon. Although he was taken to a nearby emergency clinic, he died overnight.

Throughout his trial, he expressed outrage at the charges against him and accused his victim of fantasizing, the paper reported.

He admitted an attraction to children but denied ever having had sex with them. The man had also spent time in prison decades ago for abusing a child, although he continued to maintain his innocence, according to the newspaper.

It’s not clear why the man killed himself, although a court employee reported that he had wanted to protest against his conviction.


CA - Expanding sex registration headed to governor

Original Article

09/06/2011

RIVERSIDE — An Inland Empire lawmaker's bill to close a loophole in the state's sex offender registration law that permits some out-of-state convicts to avoid registering their status is on its way this week to the governor's desk.

Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Beaumont, co-authored SB 622 (PDF), which was introduced by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro.

The legislation, approved unanimously by the Assembly on Wednesday, stipulates that a person who establishes residency in California and has a sex-related conviction from another state would likely be required to register as a sex offender in California.

Under Penal Code section 290, anyone convicted of a felony sex offense must register with a local law enforcement agency when they move into the area. The law also requires that registrants alert authorities whenever they change residence and annually renew their registration.

In some cases, registrants must update their whereabouts every three months.

Until last summer, the California Department of Justice scrutinized out-of- state convicts to determine whether their sex-related crimes were comparable to offenses in the Golden State and merit being placed on the state's list of 90,000-plus registrants.

However, the DOJ's practice was challenged in a lawsuit that reached the Third District Court of Appeal, which tightly narrowed what elements state prosecutors could examine in determining whether an out-of-state offender should register in California.

The result, according to a legislative analysis, was that someone convicted of rape in Nevada might not be required to register as a sex offender in California because its rape statute mandates that some degree of force be used during the act, while Nevada's does not.

When the courts barred the Department of Justice from reviewing these sex offender cases, they created a virtual safe haven for the predators,” Cook said.

If Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 622 into law, the DOJ will have complete discretion to review any out-of-state case, using broad criteria, to ascertain whether a person convicted in another jurisdiction should be compelled to register.

Supporters of the bill include Crime Victims United of California, the California District Attorneys Association and the California State Sheriffs' Association.

Opponents include the American Civil Liberties Union, the California Public Defenders Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.


AUSTRALIA - Child sexual predators known to parents

Original Article

Have you ever wondered, why do they never provide a link to the so called "study?" I do, I don't take anything they say, when it comes to "studies" at face value, but, they want you to just accept it as fact.

09/06/2011

By Petrina Berry

A study of Australian child sex abuse cases has found nearly half of parents involved knew their child was interacting with a child sex offender.

The study is based on a survey by child protection group Bravehearts of 556 child sex victims who have used its services.

Consistent with national and international research, it found girls were more likely to be sexually abused than boys, with 72 per cent of victims being girls and 28 per cent boys.

On average the children were about six years old when they were assaulted.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston (Twitter) released the findings on Tuesday in Brisbane, telling reporters that some parents and the community were letting children down.
- Weird, I checked their web site, and Twitter, and no mention of the "study!"  Seems that if it was important, Hetty would've mentioned it, don't you think?

"The most alarming finding for me was that 45 per cent of people knew that their children were interacting with someone who had offended before," Ms Johnston said.

"They believed they would not do it again, so they allowed their children to be in the care of that person."

"I understand the dynamic of that, but we have to get this as a community that offenders never stop offending until they are caught."
- This is a lie, as usual.  Most ex-sex offenders do not go on to continue committing sexual crimes, that is a fact!

Tuesday marks the 15th year of Bravehearts' signature event, White Balloon Day.

This year's event aims to raise $500,000 to support child sexual assault victims.
- So, what does "support" mean exactly?

In Australia, 59,000 children are sexually assaulted every year, with an estimated one in five children subjected to assault before their 18th birthday, Bravehearts says.
- 59,000?  Really?  I don't buy it!  Also, here is the "1 in 5" which we have seen over and over again.

Child protection is in the spotlight in Queensland due to the recent discovery of the remains of Daniel Morcombe, who was 13 when he went missing in 2003, sparking Queensland's highest profile missing child case.
- So, since you are using this as an example, was the kid sexually abused?  At the link above, I see no mention of sexual assault or abuse.

His parents Bruce and Denise have been recognised for their efforts to promote child safety, along with Ms Johnston.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said child safety messages were gaining momentum to a degree not seen before.

He said almost eight years of campaigning by the Morcombes to find their missing son and to educate other children on how to ward off predators were working.
- Working how?  Not by what you said above.

But Mr Atkinson said abductions were rare and in most cases children were abused by relatives or someone they trusted.

"Children often feel they can't tell anyone and sadly the offending continues," he said.

"We've had cases of people offending against three generations of children before someone has spoken out."
- Care to show the proof?  It may be true, but I like to see the evidence for myself, not just take someone's word for it.

Queensland's Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves on Tuesday told parliament he would ask the Commissioner for Children and Young People and Child Guardian to consider releasing a summary of all abuse cases it investigated and its recommendations.

The state's role in protecting youths from abuse has been under a cloud due to the suicide deaths of two teenage girls in Maryborough in 2009.

Both had been in state care, and one had complained to authorities about being abused.

Failings in the system were linked to one of the girls' deaths.

Mr Reeves had previously resisted calls to release information about the girls' contact with authorities before they died, prompting accusations of a cover-up.


IL - State of the State - Sex offender legislation is often more about politics than justice

Jamey Dunn
Original Article

So instead of doing what is right, and constitutional, they go with the flow out of fear they will be looked at as soft on crime or pro-sex offender! Wow, no wonder new laws pass with ease all the time (nothing we did not know already!). They don't mind stomping on some, just to save their own butts! Like the old saying goes, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it!" And they continue to try to fix or add to a broken law, eventually it will be so overloaded, that it comes crashing down! This brings a couple quotes to mind:

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law." - Winston Churchill

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." - James Madison

"The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice." - Benjamin Franklin

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln

09/2011

By Jamey Dunn

Unless you spend time in the state Capitol, you would likely never imagine that lawmakers spend a good portion of their time debating a single issue: sex offenders.

A cursory search of the General Assembly’s website shows two dozen bills that deal with sex offenders were introduced since the current legislative session began in January. They include bills requiring sex offenders to register with a university if they are students or workers there, and legislation that pushes the areas where they are allowed to live farther and farther away from places such as schools and parks.

There is a collective groan and eye roll from many Statehouse observers when some of these bills come up for floor debate, not because they think Illinois should take it easy on sex offenders — it would be a difficult task to find anyone who feels that way. It is because the passage of these bills is so politically charged that lawmakers fear voting against them — even bills that are nearly impossible to implement —because they do not want to get labeled as soft on crime by a political opponent during a campaign.

Illinois for a long time has every new set of legislators come in, and they pass bills on crime because it looks good when you go back home and you say, ‘I’m tough on crime.’ So what happens is, we’re now layered with bill after bill after bill,” Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Park Ridge Republican, said in the last days of the spring legislative session while debating a bill that pertained to sex offenders. “Most of us will vote for it because it looks bad if you don’t, which is a mistake that happens when we continue to pass these kinds of laws.” Mulligan and 90 of her House colleagues voted in favor of the bill.

When I started out at Illinois Issues as an intern, one of my wry classmates observed that sex offenders were the only group with so much legislation concerning them that did not have a lobbyist. Apparently the idea was not a new one. Illinois Issues reported in June 2005 that future Senate President John Cullerton remarked after several such bills came up in a committee hearing: "It seems like every other bill deals with sex offenders. If they had any money, they should hire a lobbyist." Since then, at least one registered pedophile has come to Springfield to testify in committee about a piece of legislation that would affect sex offenders. And juvenile justice reform organizations lobby lawmakers if they think proposed penalties for minors are too punitive.
- So, was the man truly a pedophile as deemed by a panel of experts, or is that your opinion? Without knowing his crime, are we to just take your word for it? We all know the media, politicians and others throw that term around all the time, when it should not be.

However, because the issue is such a political hot potato, little public debate takes place over which ideas are workable and what penalties might hurt those who do not easily fit the description of a pedophile.
- This is the problem, most all in congress think all sex offenders, if not most, are pedophiles, when the opposite is the truth. Most are not, by definition, a pedophile, only a few are.

The big thing is, nobody wants to be seen as being soft on sexual perversion,” says Rep. Jim Sacia, a Republican from Pecatonica. A former special investigator with the FBI, Sacia sponsored a bill that would give judges discretion when sentencing offenders in so-called Romeo and Juliet cases. Such cases involve young people who had consenting sexual contact — often within the context of a relationship — but one of the two is under the legal age. People in these cases have been labeled as sex offenders, sometimes for a decade or more, for something they did when they were young that was not a predatory act. “The registry is such a joke, in my opinion anyway, because we continue to treat Romeo and Juliet crimes the same way we do a sexual deviant,” Sacia says. “I literally have five couples that I know of in my district that the man is married to the woman now.” Sen. William Haine, an Alton Democrat, sponsored similar legislation in the Senate, and like Sacia’s bill, it also could not get the necessary support to pass. Haine, a former state’s attorney, says such offenders should not escape punishment but should not have to register. “Those cases should be prosecuted, and people should be deterred.”

Both lawmakers say they will continue to push legislation to change the registry policies. “We’ve had attempts in the past to change this, and they’ve come to naught because of the political fear of voting on anything,” Haine says. It is an indicator of the climate surrounding the issue that two legislators with law enforcement backgrounds and tough-on-crime records — both spoke passionately against the repeal of the death penalty during floor debate — cannot rally support behind such a measure.
- So, if you are going to be "tough on crime," and stomp on sex offenders just to save your own careers and reputation, why not get "tough" on all the other criminals out there?

One legislator points to a recent audit as an indicator that lawmakers must start thinking about how the bills they pass will be implemented in the future. “I’m as tough as anybody on these offenders, but we need to make sure what we are doing actually does something,” says Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat. He says an audit of the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) is a prime example of good intentions that go nowhere in practice.

Auditor General Bill Holland found that the board, whose responsibilities went into effect in 2004, was far from fulfilling its primary goals of tracking sex offenders after they are released from prison. The board has not created a tracking system and does not have a solid plan or timeline to do so. According to the audit, 10,039 sex offenders in Illinois are currently eligible for board monitoring. The audit found that the board was impeded by a lack of staff and funding and by a lack of any laws supporting its efforts.

Current Illinois law makes it extremely difficult for the SOMB to develop a system to follow the progress of offenders who have completed their sentence,” the audit states. “Under current Illinois law, registration as a sex offender does not require either supervision or monitoring. Approximately two-thirds of registered Illinois sex offenders are not under any form of supervision. Thus, the law does not require that the vast majority of convicted sex offenders who have served their sentence be subject to any mandated supervision or monitoring. As a result, the SOMB faces significant challenges in devising a program to evaluate the treatment progress of sex offenders who are under no legal requirement to report this progress or even cooperate in a minimal way with the SOMB.”
- Those who have been convicted, sentenced and served their jail/prison time, as well as parole/probation, should now be free to do as they wish. If they commit another crime or any nature, punish them accordingly.

Franks says, “Sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.”

He suggests that lawmakers create a commission to look at sex offender laws with a critical eye and make suggestions for clearing out redundancies and concepts that are not being used in practice.
- This is an impossible dream, as you can see from the above!

Some lawmakers say a bill to bring Illinois in line with federal legislation would be one way to make the system more coherent, but even Haine, a sponsor of such legislation, warns that such a change should be done with deliberative care.
- Yes, you all have a reputation to defend, instead of doing what is right!

The federal government is pushing states to pass their own versions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, also known as the Adam Walsh Act, which would create national requirements for how states deal with pedophiles. If states sign on, it would allow for the sharing of registry information on a national scale.
- Look, sex offender and pedophile are not the same thing, so stop using the terms as if they are. Also, the law is called the "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act," which was originally passed because it was said to protect all children who are abused, now it's basically the "Adam Walsh Sex Offender Punishment And Vengeance Act!" If it was implemented, as it was originally intended, then we'd also have a child abuse registry, and other registries for those who harm children in any way, but they called it one thing, then implemented it another way, after it passed, as most laws these days are.

But the plan has run into controversy. Ohio, the first state to comply, saw thousands of legal challenges from offenders who were ordered to spend more time on the registry than they were originally told. Some of them had already completed their required time and were told they had to start registering again because their crimes had been reclassified. In the end, the state’s supreme court threw out provisions of the bill.
- And not everyone in the world, has $150,000 or more, to defend themselves either. My question is, why isn't the ACLU and other so called civil/human rights organizations doing all they can to get these unconstitutional laws repealed? Like others, they don't want to look pro-sex offender? So it's a win/win for politicians, so they can exploit fear and sex offenders just to make themselves look "tough on crime," while actually doing neither.

Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming have all signed on to the federal standard. CNN reported that the number of offenders on Wyoming’s registry increased from 125 to 1,450 after the state moved to federal registration guidelines. Activists for juvenile justice reform and civil rights across the nation have voiced opposition, saying the plan paints with too broad of a brush and does not allow law enforcement officials to focus limited resources on those most likely to reoffend.

Those are some of the reasons that Haine says he put the brakes on his Illinois legislation. “I held the bill until October … so we can have people come in and offer their views before we take this leap.”

States were required to comply by the end of July or lose some federal funding in 2012. However, the Illinois State Police submitted the state’s compliance paperwork by the deadline. The feds say it will take about three months to sift through the entries and find out which states made the cut. Haine and a spokeswoman for the state police both say they are not concerned that the state will lose funds. “The federal government’s going to have to wait until we pass it,” Haine says. State lawmakers should be reluctant to take such sweeping changes handed down from the federal government, he says, without first seriously reviewing them. “In some instances, Congress adds things that some congressman dreams up from who knows where, and it may or it may not be a good idea.”

Haine says that when Illinois originated its sex offender registry, lawmakers did not consider some of the potential outcomes, such as the Romeo and Juliet cases. “This wasn’t well thought out a number of years ago when we started down this registration path. … It was a good thing to do, but it wasn’t done with critical thought.”
- And this shocks people? Hell, most laws are not thought out, they just see the title, some person reads through the bill (real quick), or a portion of it (the portion they want to use, so it gets passed), then they vote on it to pass it, all without reading the bill and thinking about it as well as all the potential consequences. Like Nancy Pelosi once said, "we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it," but once the bill is passed, they spend a lot of time going back fixing problems, or fighting law suits.

Sacia agrees: “The devil’s in the details. … We keep striving for perfection … but how many times do we create unintended consequences?

Haine warns that the politics makes a future rollback next to impossible. “Once we pass these things, and they are signed into law, it is very difficult to go back into the law.”

Haine says when sentencing is the topic of legislative debate, he likes to dust off a quote from former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. “He said, ‘The hallmark of the law is reasonableness.’ … And that’s what we’re trying to do here. It shouldn’t be based on an unthinking emotional reaction or a harsh vindictiveness. It should be reasonable.”