Monday, January 23, 2012

SOSEN - Mandated Reporting - A Failed Policy in Reducing Sexual Offending

(PDF) It is a fact that 93% of all sexual abuse occurs within the home, and are committed by family members, close family friends, or someone known to the victim. This fact comes from the United States Department of Justice. Why do we then, and how can we as a society, go along with this “choice” to ignore the 93% of all sexual abuse? Simply put, because we are told to.

Law enforcement, politicians, and our media will tell you that sexual crimes are very much underreported. They should know, for they are the ones who are allowing this to happen and exploiting it for their political and financial gain. Let’s examine why and how this is happening. This article examines mandating reporting, the biggest roadblock to reducing sexual offending and the goal of “No More Victims.

We are told that mandated reporting laws are designed to catch child abuse in its earliest stages, so that a child does not suffer long-term damage, however these laws fall far short of this goal. Sexual abuse discovered and treated within families seeking help, could save so many more of our nation’s children and their families. Wouldn’t this greatly aid in achieving the goal of “No More Victims” or at least the goal of Far Fewer Victims?

Mandated reporters are individuals who are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Although laws vary from state to state, generally, any person who has contact with children in a professional capacity is a mandated reporter. As of April, 2010 New Jersey and Wyoming were the only two States that did not specifically name professional groups as mandated reporters yet these two states require all persons to report abuse.

Mandated reporters who suspect that abuse is occurring must report it to the state, and failure to do so could result in fines, sanctions, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution with the prospect of imprisonment for the mandated reporter. This places moral, professional, and financial duress on a vital public safety net. Choice or professional judgment no longer applies since patient confidentiality has been disallowed. With this system, decisions involving children within the family that are under the age of consent are made for us by people that insist that they know what is best for the family. Mothers and Fathers are not included within this decision process.

Most states also have laws about false reporting though prosecution is rare. A mandated reporter who knowingly makes a false report may have their identity disclosed to law enforcement and possibly to the alleged perpetrator of the reported abuse. However immunity from civil or criminal liability is granted to those who report in good faith. There can however be a very fine line between a false report and good faith. We believe that this same immunity from civil or criminal liability as well as the right of patient confidentiality needs to be extended to all families wishing to seek assistance, before any legal intervention is initiated. Even when abuse within a family has been brought to the attention of law enforcement, DA’s should have the latitude within a time frame to suspend charges as long as the abuse is stopped and all members of the family become involved in therapy. This would indeed make far more families willing to seek assistance.

Mandated reporters are usually required to give their name when they make a report, but are allowed to request anonymity to protect “their” privacy. Anonymity and privacy is a two way street that also needs to be afforded to the very same families that are caught up in this kind of crisis.

Mandated reporters typically are not obligated to inform parents, siblings or offspring that a report has been made. In cases of sexual abuse, we are told that it may be unwise to advise caregivers before a case is reported, since it would likely interfere with the forthcoming criminal investigation. Families are often unaware that their right of patient confidentiality does not exist and are then blindsided by a retribution driven system that includes public humiliation, financial devastation, public ostracism and lifelong punishment. This puts mandated reporters in the unenviable position where they must not only report their suspicions to the legal system, but often are not even allowed to counsel with family members or guardians and offer the support and guidance that was originally sought. Unfortunately the support and guidance for the family are now strictly regulated and controlled by the legal system.

Conflicts between a mandated reporter’s duties and privileged communication statutes are common. It has been argued that the category of "mandatory reporters" should be expanded to all members of the clergy; however in some denominations this creates conflict with the "confessional" making this unworkable and effectively splits members of the clergy. Generally Priests from Catholic or Greek Orthodox churches who hear of abuse within the act of confession are not obligated to report, yet members of Protestant congregations who confide with their Pastors or Ministers, have no right of confession available to them.

Mandated reporting requirements generally apply to, but are not limited to the following: Adult Protective Service Employees, Caregivers, Child Advocates, Child Protective Service Employees, Chiropractors, Clergy, Commercial Film and Photographic Print Processors, Dentists and Hygienists, Emergency Medical Service Providers, Marital and Family Therapists, Mediators, Medical Examiners, Mental Health Professionals, Nurses, Optometrists, Parole Officers, Paralegals, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, Physician Assistants, Physicians, Podiatrists, Police Officers, Probation Officers, Psychologists, Public Health Service Providers responsible for the licensing or monitoring of Child Day-care Centers, Long-term Care and Nursing Facilities, Group Day-care Homes, Family Day-care Homes, Youth Camp Professional Counselors, Resident Medical Interns, School Teachers, Coaches, Guidance Counselors, Paraprofessionals, and Principals, Sexual Assault and Battered Women’s Counselors, Social Workers, Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Counselors, Undergrad or Graduate Level Students in the Human Services, Counseling, or Social Work Fields.

Many of these professionals are the very same professionals that families should turn to in time of crisis, and unknowingly families do turn to them. These professionals have been educated and trained in these specific areas to restore people and families in crisis. They now find themselves forced under penalty of law to further destroy the very families; their children included that turn to them for help. Patient confidentiality has been voided and yet that same confidentiality is the one vital key to build a binding family trust. Without this trust the family will be publicly humiliated, branded, socially destroyed and financially devastated. In the meantime, we then allow the 93% of abuse to continue unchecked. Ironically the same people that coined the term “No More Victims” intentionally and knowingly tolerate this victimization and allow it to continue, while at the same time fully realizing that it creates even more victims through this collateral damage.

Do you believe that retribution driven strategies are a better deterrent than a proposal for rehabilitation? Do the financial and punitive needs of those few in control outweigh the moral and emotional needs of many of the 93% that need and would willingly seek professional help if confidentially were available?

Once a family has been reported the media will claim that as a society we have saved one golden child from abuse and arrested the abuser for punishment. However, you will not be told that we have also just created more victims through the Government Induced Victimization Effect. How is that you ask? If the abuser is in the immediate family, the children will often be removed thus traumatizing everyone. If the offender is the primary source of income, that financial support has often ceased along with the family health insurance, and the ability to pay for housing, their utility bills, to buy food, make car and insurance payments, buy gasoline and pay for all their other personal living expenses that we all have. Their family loved one is now sitting in jail facing charges, with no money for bail bond or an attorney. If or when they do gain their release by paying exorbitant amounts of money in bail, they may not even be allowed to return to their home or have contact with any of their children that are under the age of consent. If any of the charges become convictions, they often face years of incarceration, any professional licenses they may have earned are revoked and their family is left in financial ruin. If the offender is a cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, the Government Induced Victimization Effect may well be quadrupled.

Socially there is character assassination for the entire family. This destruction of the family as a whole is necessary and inevitable. It is necessary because our society does not want anyone feeling anything but disgust for this family as a whole. This entire family will now and forever be under the public’s scrutiny. It also provides a separation allowing all other families in our society to feel that they and their families are much better than this family and that this does not happen to families like theirs when the reality is this could easily happen within their own family. It all starts with mandatory reporting that leads to retribution based justice and provides a platform for society to stand and deliver their shame, guilt and fact-less innuendo. Our societies’ thinking has been rewired from redemption and forgiveness to the concept that if a little punishment is good then a lot of punishment is better.

The personal effect mandated reporting has on children who have been sexual abused is far more devastating than helpful. The real reason so many in our society appear so outraged at sexual abuse is that, in the depths of their own conscience they earnestly must believe and sell to an unsuspecting public that abuse, no matter how minor, soils those children beyond any repair.

They will sell to you the well-used rhetoric that once a child has had a sexual experience, they are forever less of a human being and that it is impossible for youngsters to ever recover once they have been abused. This is simply not true. Therapy or counseling for young children just as it is for adults is highly effective if acted on early and confidentially.

Far too often that misguided and warped set of motivations is the basis for our reaction to the idea of an end-all to what makes children valuable. It's easy to see why in other parts of the world where the victims of rape bring so much shame on their families that they are killed in order to prove the purity of the remaining family members. We however, as "Christian conservatives” in the U.S. having been fed unfounded misinformation, are only slightly less murderous. We now seem to prefer public ostracism and lifelong punishment to education, redemption and forgiveness.

Another problem we have is with the definition of “a child.” The government defines a child as anyone under the age of consent, which varies from state to state. Most people automatically assume that the word child means pre-pubescent or young child. This is the basis for the incorrect and over use of the word “pedophile” which is often used interchangeably for “sex offender”. Pedophiles make up less than 1% of all sexual offenders. Every year thousands of our youth are added to the registry for under aged consensual sex being charged with “statutory rape” or “sex with a minor”. The term most often used for this type of offense is a Romeo/Juliet case. Information on the registry would lead a person to believe that these offenders are pedophiles, but are they? NO! Mandated reporting is largely responsible; however this is largely a health and education issue, and should not be treated as a criminal case.

Why do we as a society make the “choice” to continue to add punishment to those in the system who are already being effectively treated and monitored? As indicated in this article, our society seems to care a lot more about punishing offenders no matter how young they may be or how minor their offense, than we care about the victims who have been abused receiving productive effective therapy. Confidential treatment for the offender and the victim is sorely lacking to nonexistent in the U.S. There are some very effective treatments by which the affects of being abused can be erased from the psyches of the victims of abuse. There are also highly effective and proven treatments for offenders. One of the largest problems caused in a punishment first attitude is that while both victim and offender may receive some treatment under the current system, since most offending occurs within the family, the separation of offender from victim itself becomes the largest roadblock to family reunification. Unfortunately, we as a society are being told that these decisions within a family are not our choice to make.

How do we as a society reduce the cases of abuse and repair the damage when it does occur? We start by using factually correct education and counseling at an early age instead of emphasizing headline grabbing sound bites about families in crisis. Unfortunately the attempts at counseling victims in the US get shrouded behind the anger at the offenders, by those who are selling their own agenda of misinformation. Often those setting the policies are so busy injecting their own anger at abusers that they fail to pay any attention to the fact that they are often doing further damage to the victims, and in most cases the families they are purportedly trying to help.

Sexual abuse should not and would not be such a devastating issue if confidential treatment for victims and offenders were simply available. People would be shocked to find out how many people believe they were sexually assaulted and how many actual or even potential offenders simply had a need for basic sex education, or counseling. However, both types of people are afraid of the social stigma that comes with this issue and the potential that if it were known, it would destroy their families. This works both ways whether one is being labeled as the victim or the abuser.

What does “no more victims” really mean? To this writer, it is a hollow saying that comes with a high price for the families that are required to pay for this failed policy, for the rest of their lives. Under our current system, it should be said with added emphasis to the word MORE, and state “no, MORE victims!

Does the age of the abuser and victim matter? Consider this; one-third to one-half of all sexual abuse is done by children themselves with the average age of most of the offenders being a whopping 14.6 years old. Both groups, victims and offenders, are children themselves and both deserve to be saved, treated and released to live normal lives without causing permanent victimhood or the devastating damage of being placed on a lifelong registry. All of these children’s lives must count the same.

Here are some very important questions that you must ask yourself:

  • Would you intentionally do this for your family, or more profoundly, would you intentionally do this to your family?
  • Does mandated reporting save one child without creating more victims?
  • Is it possible that this national policy prevents reporting and thus healing, and specifically does any aspect of this policy outweigh the collateral damage caused to a family needing intervention?
  • How specifically does mandated reporting reduce sexual offending knowing that 93% percent of sexual abuse actually occurs within the home and is committed by family members or close family friends known to the victim?

Draw your conclusions from the facts and current research that is easily available to everyone who searches for the truth, or just sit back and accept the hype, hysteria, fear and misinformation put forward by the politicians, judicial system, law enforcement and the media who are all benefiting from the current system. This choice is truly yours to make.

We hope you will choose to support the needs of children and families and their parental right to seek confidential counseling and therapy for their family rather than being forced to either hide their “family shame” or devastate their family forever through the impact of our current legal system.


VA - Virginia Senate panel endorses 2 bills targeting sex offenders

Original Article

01/23/2012

RICHMOND - Republican senators used their new majority status to muscle a pair of tough sex-offender measures through a committee Monday.

One of the bills would require a life sentence for anyone convicted in adult court of raping a child under the age of 13. The other would put the names of juveniles convicted of rape, forcible sodomy or object sexual penetration on a registry that would be available only to law-enforcement personnel.

Last fall’s elections led to the end of four years of Democratic control and left the 40-member Senate evenly divided. Republicans claimed control on Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s tie-breaking vote on rules giving the GOP the numerical edge in committee assignments, including an 8-7 majority on the Courts of Justice Committee.

On a straight party-line vote, the committee endorsed legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg to increase the penalty for sexually assaulting a child. The bill is part of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s legislative agenda.

State law currently imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years. The Virginia State Police and the attorney general’s office both support the increase.

Steve Benjamin, a Richmond criminal defense lawyer who serves as counsel to the committee, said the bill eliminates any judicial discretion when a defendant is convicted based solely on a child’s accusation.
- So basically, if you tick off your husband, wife or family friend, they can get their under 13 child to say you sexually abused them, and you are in prison for life.

It requires a life term regardless of the quality of proof,” Benjamin said.

The bill now must go to the Senate Finance Committee for approval of the approximately $1.7 million it would cost to keep offenders in prison longer.

Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. of Moneta said his juvenile sex-offender registry measure is necessary to bring Virginia into compliance with a federal law and prevent the state from losing about $600,000 in grant money. He also said that if Virginia doesn’t establish the registry, the state “may be labeled a haven for sex offenders.”
- And to enforce the laws, it's going to cost more than $600,000, so you will be spending more money to save $600,000, which doesn't make sense.

But Mary Devoy, director of Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia, said that even with the legislation, Virginia would have to spend an additional $12.5 million on increased state police monitoring of sex offenders to fully comply with the federal law.

She also said juvenile sex offenders are easier to rehabilitate than adults, and putting kids on the registry would make it harder for them to get into college or get a job even if they are not likely to ever commit another sex crime.

Do not brand these children for life,” Devoy said.

Barry Green, former director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, agreed.

I do think this is going to do more harm than good,” he said.

The committee amended the bill to strike a provision that would have made it retroactive to 2005. However, an amendment to allow an offender to petition the court to get off the registry after 10 years failed on a party-line vote. One Democrat then joined the GOP majority in a 9-6 vote to endorse the measure and send it to the Finance Committee to appropriate the $50,000 estimated for implementation.

A third bill dealing with sex offenders — this one supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans — failed on a 7-7 vote in the absence of one GOP senator.

The proposal by Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, would have required the attorney general to annually compile a list of laws governing sex offenders and publish it on the office’s website. The state police would be required to distribute the list to registered sex offenders.

Marsden said the bill is intended to keep offenders from inadvertently running afoul of the law.
- All states should have something like this, so offenders know all the insane laws they must obey.

Devoy offered an example of how that might happen. She noted that the General Assembly last year passed legislation prohibiting registered violent sex offenders from attending a high school graduation off school property. This spring, she said, some registered sex offenders undoubtedly “will be committing a Class 6 felony without even knowing it.”

Sen. Richard Stuart of Montross questioned why sex offenders should get special notification when there are even more changes every year affecting law-abiding citizens, who are given no such consideration.


MO - Sex Offender May Have a Case for Not Registering

Original Article
Court Case File (PDF)

01/23/2012

By BARBARA LEONARD

Sex offenders do not need to register if they were convicted before enactment of a 2006 federal law, unless the attorney general makes that specific finding, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The majority reversal offers relief to [name withheld] who pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly failing to register and update a registration, in violation of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

[name withheld] had spent four years in prison years earlier stemming from his 2001 conviction of a Missouri sex offense. Though [name withheld] registered as a Missouri sex offender when he got out of prison, he moved to Pennsylvania in 2007 without updating his Missouri registration information or registering in Pennsylvania.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act became law in July 2006, but it was not for another seven months that the attorney general promulgated interim rules applying the registration requirements to "all sex offenders, including sex offenders convicted of the offense for which registration is required prior to the enactment of that act."

As [name withheld] appealed his conviction, he claimed that the act's registration requirements had not yet become applicable to offenders with pre-2006 convictions.

The courts were unsympathetic, however, with the 3rd Circuit finding (PDF) that the act's registration requirements would not apply to "pre-act" of­fenders like [name withheld] from the date of the new law's enactment, "even in the absence of any rule or regulation by the attorney general specifying that the new registration requirements apply," according to the Supreme Court's summary.

A majority of justices concluded otherwise Monday.

"The question before us is whether the act requires pre-act offenders to register before the attorney general validly specifies that the act's registration provisions apply to them," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court. "We believe that it does not."

"Although a state pre-act offender could not be prosecuted until he traveled interstate, there is no interstate requirement for a federal pre-act offender," Breyer added. "And to apply the act to either of these pre-act offenders from the date of enactment would require reading into the statute, silent on the point, some kind of unsaid equiva­lent."

"Pre-act offenders, aware of such complexities, lacunae, and difficulties, might, on their own, reach different con­clusions about whether, or how, the new registration requirements applied to them. A ruling from the attorney general, however, could diminish or eliminate those un­certainties, thereby helping to eliminate the very kind of vagueness and uncertainty that criminal law must seek to avoid."

The entire court did not share this view, however.

"The issue is whether 'specify the applicability' means that no pre-act offenders need register unless the attorney general says so, or rather that the attorney general may excuse the unqualified requirement for pre-act offenders," according a dissent authored by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "In that context, it seems to me that the latter meaning is more natural. One specifies the applica­bility of an application that already exists by describing or revising its contours."

"Indeed, it is not entirely clear to me that Congress can constitutionally leave it to the attorney general to decide - with no statutory standard whatever governing his discretion - whether a criminal statute will or will not apply to certain individuals," Scalia added. "That seems to me sailing close to the wind with regard to the principle that legisla­tive powers are nondelegable. Construing the act to give the attorney general the power to reduce congressionally imposed requirements fits that bill, because such a power is little more than a formalized version of the time­-honored practice of prosecutorial discretion."


Number of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S. Nears Three-quarters of a Million


Click the image to read the article


Rape in the military

These videos may be a year or so old, but you will notice the usual feminist demonization of men, when men are also raped in the military as well. Why can't they talk in general terms instead of about women only? They could say "when a person is raped," instead of "when a women is raped," etc!


'Far more lethal' — About 1,500 kids die at the hands of a caregiver each year

Original Article

See Also: How Rare Are Female Child Killers?

And the law, that punishes sex offenders, is called the Adam Walsh CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT, but it only punishes ex-sex offenders, by placing them on an online shaming list, not parents or others who have harmed children.  Why not?  Imagine how big the list would be if we put everyone who harmed children on the list, which was the original intent, was it not?  You will notice, they don't demonize these people like they do sex offenders.

08/18/2010

By Glenn Smith

Depression. Psychosis. Stress. Feelings of being overwhelmed.

These are just some of the factors that drive women to kill their children.

Such crimes evoke horror and clash with traditional notions of women as natural, nurturing caregivers. But these killings are neither a new nor a rare phenomenon, experts said.

More than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year, according to the American Anthropological Association.
- And how many of those do you hear about on Nancy Disgrace, or other "news" shows?

"For all the anxieties we have about stranger abductions, for young children, parents are far more lethal," said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Authorities said Shaquan Duley of Orangeburg suffocated her two toddlers and left their bodies inside a car in the Edisto River. Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said Tuesday the responsibility of being a mother "was a bit much for her."

The case immediately drew comparisons to that of Susan Smith of Union, who is serving a life sentence for drowning her two sons in 1994. But a host of similar cases can be found. Take Andrea Yates of Texas, who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001. Or consider Ellen Feinberg, who stabbed her two sons, one fatally, in Illinois in 2002.

Harold Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist who teaches at the University of South Carolina, has examined a half-dozen women who killed their children and thinks most fall into four broad and, at times, overlapping categories.

Some are psychotic or out of touch with reality, such as a Lowcountry woman who threw her baby in a river in the 1980s because she thought the infant was possessed by the devil or a demon, Morgan said.

Others are narcissistic, self-centered and feel entitled to do whatever they want, he said.

A third group includes women who are depressed and want to spare their children the suffering they endured in life, Morgan said.

Another group includes needy, insecure mothers who feel overwhelmed by their circumstances. "The only way they can see to fix their problems is to get rid of their children," he said.

Libby Ralston, executive director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, said she seldom sees cases where children are killed simply out of malice.

"I think parents sometimes just get stressed to the point where they feel totally trapped and inadequate in being able to meet their kids' needs and they don't see any other options," she said.

About 1,500 children die on average each year at the hands of a parent or caregiver, with rage or out-of-control discipline often a factor, Finkelhor said.

In South Carolina alone, 231 children have been slain by their parents since 1993, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

Fathers have been charged with their share of killings as well. Just last month, a Summerville man was charged with allowing his 2-year-old son to die from unspecified injuries and then hiding the body in cement.

Experts said there are a variety of places parents can turn to for help if they find themselves overwhelmed or unable to care for their children. The state's so-called Daniel's Law allows an infant less than 30 days old to be left at a hospital, police station, fire station, outpatient medical facility or any place of worship, as long as the child is left in an employee's hands. Parents also can seek help and advice through hot lines, churches and social service agencies.

Ralston urged people who suspect child abuse, neglect or the potential for harm to contact authorities immediately. "It may save the life of a child."