Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SC - More unconstitutional sex offender extortion fees

Original Article

11/03/2011

By Rick Brundrett

In South Carolina, convicted sex offenders who have finished their prison sentences can be held indefinitely afterward behind bars if designated as a “sexually violent predator.”

And if they eventually are released from a treatment program run by the S.C. Department of Mental Health, they likely will face six-figure bills for their forced stay in the program, an investigation by The Nerve has found.

The Nerve recently obtained copies of DMH bills for seven offenders who are or were in the program. The bills ranged from more than $100,000 to more than $700,000.

Most of the bills listed a daily flat rate of $268. Based on that figure, a one-year stay in the program would cost $97,820.

The length of time spent in the program for the seven offenders ranges from more than a year to more than seven years. Most of the seven were convicted of sex offenses with children, State Law Enforcement Division records show.

An offender who was released from the program and asked that he not be identified told The Nerve last week that the mental health agency threatened to put a lien on his property to cover his bill of more than $200,000.

When I pass away, they get it all, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

The man provided The Nerve with a copy of a DMH letter warning him that the agency would put a lien on his property if he didn’t pay his bill within 20 days. The letter noted that nothing had been paid toward the bill.

The Department of Mental Health has a lien upon all real and personal property of current and former patients to the extent of the total cost of care,” the letter said, adding, “We want to assure you that once the lien is filed, it certainly will not affect any care you receive while in our facilities.”


CA - Divided H.B. council OKs sex-offender ban in parks

Follow The Leader!
Original Article

11/08/2011

By JAIMEE LYNN FLETCHER

The members are torn on applying a blanket rule, but ordinance passes 4-3.

Huntington Beach will join a handful of other Orange County cities in prohibiting sex offenders from city parks.

City Council members at their meeting Monday approved the ordinance in a 4-3 vote with council members Connie Boardman, Joe Shaw and Keith Bohr dissenting.

The council was torn and at times emotional in discussing the issue; some saying a strong rule should be a given while others questioned the necessity of a blanket ordinance.

"I don't think anyone on the council is looking to not protect children, but I do think it's flawed logic to want to carve out an exception for a crime that should have no exceptions," Councilman Don Hansen said.

Councilman Keith Bohr said there are too many gray areas to approve a full ban and argued that violent offenders will not be discouraged by this ordinance.
- Exactly, these are just laws to help politicians look good while doing nothing, and to further punish those who are and will obey the laws, even if they are draconian and unconstitutional.

"It might feel good, but I don't think it has a real effect," he said.

Huntington Beach has 184 registered sex offenders, 94 of those are registered with the California Megan's Law Website and an additional 90 are not required to publicly disclose their status but have registered with the police department, Police Chief Kenneth Small said.

Orange, Tustin and Fullerton have already adopted some type of sex-offender ordinance. La Habra, Westminster and Los Alamitos adopted ordinances fashioned after the county rule, officials said.

Other cities including Costa Mesa, Placentia and Mission Viejo are considering a rule.

The issue was first brought before the council by Mayor Joe Carchio and Councilman Matthew Harper in May on the heels of an ordinance passed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in April.

The city came up with a version that included some exceptions to the rule after some council members cited concerns in May about applying the rule to all offenders.

City staff proposed a partial ban that would list exceptions for offenders who are parents or legal guardians or for city employees who work in parks. The original proposal also suggested a list of certain crimes that would be on the list while others would be exempt.

Councilwoman Connie Boardman wanted a rule passed that prohibited loitering in parks but would not discriminate against possible offenders who committed a crime in the past but have children of their own now.

"I think (this) alternative punishes these children needlessly," she said.
- And the same can be said to the offenders and their families as well, it's additional ex post facto punishment, which the constitution forbids, but hey, it's just a piece of paper, right?

The exceptions didn't hold up.

"I don't want to be sitting up here and say that I had the ability and didn't use it and some child was abused," Carchio said. "If it were up to me and I could get rid of them all, I would."
- You do that every single day!  Millions of kids are abused every single day, by their own parents, and yet I don't see you up in arms about that!  It's because ex-sex offenders are easy to exploit, like you all are doing, IMO.  And how would you "get rid of them" your evilness?

Orange County District Attorney Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder argued for an all-out prohibition, citing several cases that she said show the ordinance is effective.
- Of course it is, so is the registry and residency restrictions, hell, all the laws for ex-sex offenders are, so tell me something else new.  They are all unconstitutional as well, and these corrupt people running this country, lied to get into office, because they are not upholding their oath of office.

One suspect in Westminster was cited twice and sentenced to 60 days in jail after violating the ordinance. That suspect was a violent offender who had previously raped a woman, Schroeder said.
- So you are making laws based on one idiot?  Send him back to prison and punish HIM, not everyone else wearing the modern day scarlet letter.  Do you punish everyone in the USA who runs a stop light because one idiot did?  No, of course not, but that is exactly what you are doing here.

The county has also filed three cases, two of which occurred at Fountain Valley's Mile Square Park, Schroeder said.

"These people are dangerous people and I'm not sure why you would want them in your parks," she said. "We know that they violate, they repeatedly violate, and we want to know where they are, and we want to know what they did."
- Some do, but to say that, as if it's a fact for all ex-sex offenders, that is just absurd.  It's like me calling you a corrupt official because a couple in office are.  Yes, it's exactly the same thing!  You clearly haven't read the facts, or you'd see that sex offenders rarely commit another sexual related crime, most are put back into jail or prison on technicalities or other unrelated crimes.

While Schroeder had the support of the majority of the council, some members said graphic stories of sexual abuse wouldn't sell them on a blanket ordinance.

"I do not believe (the police chief) would recommend an ordinance that (he) thought was unsafe or created an atmosphere that was going to create a sex crime," Shaw said.

See Also:


AUSTRALIA - State Government Unveils Plans for Public Sex Offenders Website


National Study Finds Widespread Sexual Harassment of Students in Grades 7 to 12

Original Article

I wonder if all these kids will be ruined for life and wind up on the sex offender registry? Harassment and bullying has been around since the dawn of time, and I seriously doubt it will go away anytime soon.

11/07/2011

By JENNY ANDERSON

Nearly half of 7th to 12th graders experienced sexual harassment in the last school year, according to a study scheduled for release on Monday, with 87 percent of those who have been harassed reporting negative effects such as absenteeism, poor sleep and stomachaches.

On its survey of a nationally representative group of 1,965 students, the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit research organization, defined harassment as “unwelcome sexual behavior that takes place in person or electronically.” Over all, girls reported being harassed more than boys — 56 percent compared with 40 percent — though it was evenly divided during middle school. Boys were more likely to be the harassers, according to the study, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects.

It’s pervasive, and almost a normal part of the school day,” said Catherine Hill, the director of research at the association and one of the authors of the report.

Over all, 48 percent of students surveyed said they were harassed during the 2010-11 school year. Forty-four percent of students said they were harassed “in person” — being subjected to unwelcome comments or jokes, inappropriate touching or sexual intimidation — and 30 percent reported online harassment, like receiving unwelcome comments, jokes or pictures through texts, e-mail, Facebook and other tools, or having sexual rumors, information or pictures spread about them.

Whatever the medium, more girls were victims: 52 percent of girls said they had been harassed in person, and 36 percent online, compared with 35 percent of boys who were harassed in person and 24 percent online.

I was called a whore because I have many friends that are boys,” one ninth-grade girl was quoted as saying. An eighth-grade boy, meanwhile, reported, “They spread rumors I was gay because I played on the basketball team.”

The study asked students to reflect on the 2010-11 school year in an attempt to capture the prevalence of sexual harassment, the effects it has on the harassed and the reasons the harassers engage in the behavior. It also questioned students about preventive measures. Coming amid increased attention to bullying and cyber-bullying, the report aimed to highlight the damaging effects of inappropriate sexual comments, online rumors or lurid Facebook posts.

Bullying is getting a lot of attention,” said Holly Kearl, an author of the report and program manager of the university association’s Advocacy Fund. “We don’t want schools to forget about sexual harassment” and not talk about it, she said. Ms. Kearl said some schools that talk to students about sexual harassment and how to respond to it have been successful in reducing it. “We want to encourage schools to know what Title IX is,” she said, referring to the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools, “to have a coordinator and to publicize it.”

The report documents many forms of harassment. The most common was unwelcome sexual comments, gestures or jokes, which was experienced by 46 percent of girls and 22 percent of boys. Separately, 13 percent of girls reported being touched in an unwelcome way, compared with 3 percent of boys; 3.5 percent of girls said they were forced to do something sexual, as did 0.2 percent of boys. About 18 percent of both boys and girls reported being called gay or lesbian in a negative way.

In the survey, students were asked to identify what had the worst effect on them. For boys, it was being called gay — “Everyone was saying I was gay, and I felt the need to have to run away and hide,” a ninth-grader said. For girls, the leading problem was having someone make “unwelcome sexual comments, jokes or gestures to or about you.”

Girls also reported more negative consequences: 37 percent said they did not want to go to school after being harassed, versus 25 percent of boys. Twenty-two percent of girls who were harassed said they had trouble sleeping, compared with 14 percent of boys; 37 percent of girls felt sick to their stomach, versus 21 percent of boys.

Those students who experienced both online and in-person harassment experienced the worst effects: 46 percent said they did not want to go to school, 44 percent felt sick to their stomachs and 43 percent found it hard to study.

Half of those who were harassed said they did nothing about it; 9 percent said they reported the incident to an adult at school; and 27 percent of students (32 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys) said they talked about it with a family member.

When asked what types of students were most at risk of harassment, students said “good-looking boys” were the safest, with pretty girls, ugly girls and feminine boys the likely targets. Girls whose bodies are most developed are the most at-risk, students said.

This is an issue that’s especially complex for girls, though it affects all students,” Ms. Hill said. “Boys are targets, and girls can be harassers.”


PA - "Loophole" in Sex Offender Registry Law Targeted by Lawmakers

Original Article

11/08/2011

By Deanna Garcia

District Attorneys throughout Pennsylvania are urging state lawmakers to close loophole that allows some sex offenders to go without registering.

Megan’s Law requires sex offenders to register, but Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed said that the bill doesn’t specifically apply to offenders without a fixed address or offenders from out-of-state.

The larger problem is, we’re becoming a haven for out-of-state sex offenders because they know they can live here, even if they’re out of registration in their home state. They can live here and not be prosecuted here because they know the loophole exists,” said Freed.
- Yeah, ex-sex offenders are all knowing! They know all the laws and all the loopholes. Give me a break!


Freed said that he’s seen cases in Cumberland County in which a sex offender suspected of an assault could be charged with failing to register in Pennsylvania under Megan’s Law, but those charges had to be dropped, giving police one less tool to detain an offender while they investigate a possible crime.

Just the way it’s been interpreted by our state court has rendered the failure to register of people who were homeless or transient, or failure to register of people who were out of state. Those sections of law are ineffective based on the way they were written,” said Freed.
- The entire Megan's law, and other sex offender laws are ineffective!

Legislation to fix the loophole has passed the state House with unanimous approval.

A Senate GOP spokesman says that his caucus is reviewing the bill and may try to combine it with necessary changes to sex offender registration that are mandated by federal law. If passed by the chamber, the plan to close the loophole could be sent to the governor by the end of the year.


PA - Treesdale Residents Call for New Ordinance After Sex Offender Moves into Neighborhood

Original Article

11/08/2011

By Cindy Cusic Micco

Man now in jail; neighbors want protection so it does not happen again.

Rebecca Staiger could not sleep for days after finding out a lifetime sex offender was living in the house two doors away from her Treesdale home.

She, her husband Carl and their Treesdale neighbors addressed the Pine Board of Supervisors at Monday's meeting about the situation and asked for an ordinance to prevent it from happening again.

The man listed on the Megan's Law website as living at South Lake Drive in Gibsonia has since been moved to the Allegheny County Jail, according to court documents. He lived in the house for less than three weeks, neighbors said.
- So why has he been moved into the jail?  Did he do anything illegal?  If this state doesn't have residency restrictions, then what did he do?  I'm assuming he did not register the new address, but I'd like to know the truth, and it would seem a reporter would also want to know this.

"It's unsettling. It's unbelievable," said Staiger, who added that the man was living in the garage of a vacant home located beside a park and in between two school bus stops.

Township Solicitor Gary Gushard said he would research laws from other municipalities and draft an ordinance for the supervisors to consider at their Dec. 5 meeting.

A law enacted by Allegheny County to limit where sex offenders can live was struck down in May by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Supervisors Chairman Michael Dennehy said there was no question the members of the board wanted to get something on the books to allay the residents' fears, but needed to make sure such an ordinance is legal.

"We all feel for your concerns; we all have kids," said Supervisor Philip D. Henry.

Greg Bosiljevac said his home is directly across the street from where the sex offender was living.

The man told him he was down on his luck, had lost his house on a short sale and had made some bad choices in his life, said Bosiljevac.

"He was sleeping in the garage on an air mattress," said Bosiljevac, who aimed his spotlights on the man's house. "I was watching him like a hawk."
- This is basically harassment, and if the man would've contacted police, they should have done something about it, but the man probably didn't contact them.

The man pleaded guilty in June to four felony counts -- indecent assault on a person younger than 13, unlawful contact with a minor/sexual offense, endangering the welfare of children and child pornography. The man also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of a person younger than 13, indecent exposure and corruption of minors.

Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann said, "We went to the residence and checked into it."

Police saw no sign of a person living in the house, he said. After checking with a real estate company, police found that the man's sister owns the home and gave him permission to stay there, said Amann.

Although patrols checked the house, they did not find him at the house at any time, he added.

Pennsylvania's Megan's Law requires the state police to maintain a registry of persons who have either been convicted of or entered a plea of guilty to certain sexual offenses.

Community notification takes place only in two instances, according to the Megan's Law website:
  • if the convicted sex offender is determined by a court to be a sexually violent predator, or
  • if an out-of-state offender is required to submit to community notification in his or her state of origin.

"Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law does not restrict where a sexual offender or sexually violent predator may reside," the website states. "However, an offender may be restricted from residing near a school, park, daycare center ..."
- That is a little contradictory, wouldn't you say?