Thursday, April 12, 2012

CA - Torturing Auburn's homeless sex offenders - A great idea?

Original Article

04/12/2012

By RLitchfield1

This is the fourteenth article in a series of articles written to promote the April 14th, 2012, charity showing of local film maker and Placer High School Graduate Ryan Frew’s documentary film about the homeless in Auburn, called, “Life is Mandatory.” The film will be shown at the State Theater in Auburn. The funds raised will be used to assist Auburn Area Homeless People. Written by local attorney, author, and Instructor at Sierra College, Bob Litchfield.

There will be no photographs of the two men I interviewed to write this article.

Nor will I publish their real names.

I made this decision to protect these homeless men, as they walk around Auburn.

We’ll call one of them Jack, and the other one Ernie.

Jack is a tall, Caucasian male, a bit on the pudgy side, wearing glasses, and looking a lot like your average businessman. He walks with a cane, because of a bad knee. His clothing is clean, and his personal appearance is much neater than that of most other homeless men I have met.

His friend, Ernie, is also very clean. Ernie is a fairly short, stocky black man. He is a good speaker. He also walks with a cane.

I was searching for homeless women or families to interview when I ran into Jack and Ernie. They heard that I was interviewing homeless people, and they sought me out. They are hoping that someone will advocate for their unique, and dire situation.

Jack and Ernie both wear ankle monitors. Both of them have recently been released from prison, and both are registered sex offenders... what they call “290 offenders.”

They are both homeless because our laws made them that way.

Both men were dumped here in Placer County on parole, after they got out of prison for sex offenses.

Neither one of them have any family or friends here.

They have no prospects of employment here.

Nor is there any shelter of any kind in this area that will take them in. Even the local Christian Program, The Gathering Inn, will not take them, because they are registered sex offenders.

But the conditions of Jack’s and Ernie’s parole require that they both stay here in the Auburn area for the next three to four years.

During all of that time, both men must wear an ankle monitor, which must be plugged in and recharged every day.

But these men do not have any home, any shelter, or even any place where they can go to plug in their ankle monitors to re-charge them.

Ernie says that this places the men in a position where they are forced by the justice system of break the law again, because one of the only ways that they can get their ankle monitors re-charged is to sneak into some commercial establishment and plug in, thereby committing the crime of stealing electricity (potentially a commercial burglary).

Jack is a tile setter by trade, and is originally from Arizona. He was here in Auburn when he committed his offense. But he would like to go back to Arizona, to be near his family. But the prison system dumped him here to serve his four years of parole. There is a program where the States of California and Arizona can swap former prisoners on parole, but Jack wasn’t even told where he was going to be paroled until he was freed.

Ernie used to work as a Chef at a restaurant in the Grand Canyon. He was in Modesto when he committed his offense. He was dumped here in Placer County to serve his parole because of a new law that requires sex offenders to be paroled a certain distance away from their victims.

I should point out that not everyone you might encounter in the Auburn area who is wearing an ankle monitor is a sex offender or a movie star. The justice system now uses ankle bracelets to monitor a lot of different kinds of offenders, because it is cheaper than feeding them in jail.

Jack and Ernie will have to wear their ankle bracelets all day, every day, for the next three or four years. It is possible to shower with the ankle monitor on, but the device cannot be submerged. Which means that for the next four years, neither one of these two men will ever be able to go for a swim, or to get into a bath.

Both men are on pain medications, which they are able to get from county health, and both are also on psychiatric medications.

The fact that they were homeless men adrift in Auburn, and that they are on psychiatric medications worried me a great deal, at first. Because I have been told by other local experts on homelessness that the homeless people in the Auburn area who are on psychiatric medications are only able to get examined and get their psychiatric medications adjusted once every six months.

But the medication situation for homeless sex offenders is not quite that perilous.

One of the men tells me that his psychiatric medication is for depression. He also tells me that they do not get their psychiatric medications through county health, but rather, through their parole officers and the parole system. Through the parole system, they are able to get their medications checked once every two months.

Jack was in prison for twelve years. Ernie was in prison for a little over five years.

Jack has been here in Auburn, homeless, for about two months. Ernie has been here, homeless, for about a year now.

Jack described his arrival in Auburn, and their current situation. “I arrived in Auburn, and by the time that they processed me out of the jail, it was about 3:00 P.M. They put on my ankle monitor and told me that it had to be recharged every day. They gave me $200, and told me to go to the County Welcome Center, which is one of the only places in Auburn where there are services available for homeless people."

But the Welcome Center closes at 4:00 P.M. So, I got there just barely in time to find out anything. I didn’t know where I could go to get shelter, where I could go to get food. I didn’t even know where I could go to re-charge my ankle bracelet."

I was at least able to get a sleeping bag. And someone told me about a relatively safe spot where I could sleep outside for the night. So, I slept outside that first night."

The next day, I ran into Ernie, and he showed me some of the ropes with regard to how to survive on the streets as a homeless registered sex offender.”

Jack and Ernie usually do not camp anywhere near the other homeless men, because neither one of them do drugs or alcohol, and they do not want to be near the problems caused by drugs and alcohol. But they do have to camp outside every day, because there is no shelter, anywhere in Placer County, that will take in a registered sex offender.

Nor is there any campground, nor any piece of ground, anywhere in the Auburn area, where it is permissible for homeless people to camp. So, homeless people are forced to sneak around and camp at any remote location where they can get away with it, until the police come and roust them out of that spot, and they move somewhere else.

Ankle monitors or not, this wandering camping life does not strike me as a very good way to monitor registered sex offenders.

Jack says that he is disabled, because of his knee and back injuries. But he is not receiving disability. He is in the process of making application for disability. But in the mean time, he has no income at all.

Ernie has peripheral artery disease in his right leg, and has had two stints put in. He applied for disability, but his claim was rejected. Right now, he is attempting to appeal his disability claim. Until then, he is homeless and without income. He sleeps outside, on the ground, every night, in a tent, with two stints in his leg.

I ask Jack what message he would like to send to the world.

Jack says, “Get to know a person before you judge them for their past, because people do change.” Earlier, Jack had assured me that he was not the same person as the man who went to prison twelve years earlier.

I want to believe him. But I have heard all of the same news stories, television stories, and propaganda that you have heard, to the effect that sex offenders, particularly sexual predators, never really change, and that they will be repeat offenders for life.

I ask Jack what his response is to that general belief.

Jack tells me that those sex offenders whom you see walking free on the streets are very unlikely to be repeat offenders.

He says that before he was released, he had to be examined and pass written reports made by four different psychiatrists.

He says that sex offenders who cannot pass that kind of rigorous testing simply no longer get released. He says that this is especially true after the Garrido case.

Who can say for sure how accurate that information is?

Certainly not me.

But I do know that the registered sex offender list has been grossly abused by our justice system, and that there are men on the registered sex offender list who have nothing whatsoever to do with being sexual predators, and that those men’s lives are ruined.

Should a twenty-year-old boy who slept with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend be registered on the same list with rapists and child molesters?

Should the youth pastor of a church who gets seduced by a troubled seventeen-year-old girl be registered on the same list with rapists and child molesters?

Should a father who takes a troubled sixteen-year-old foster child into his home, and ends up being seduced by her be on the same list with rapists and child molesters?

Maybe you think so. There is certainly a wide berth for disagreement on these kinds of emotional hot-button issues.

I have been told that a man can end up being placed on the registered sex offender list for just for stopping by the side of the road to urinate, and thereby exposing himself.

If we are going to make registered sex offenders out of every person who has ever committed some form of sexual indiscretion, and put ankle bracelets on them all, then let’s start with one of our past foothills district attorneys, or two or three of our local judges, or maybe the state legislators who used to sit with lobbyists at the bar in downtown Sacramento where the legislators were encouraged to pick out the prostitutes they liked from those swimming nude in the glass-walled swimming pool behind the bar... services happily paid for by the lobbyists.

Legislators aside, I have known many a good man and good woman during my lifetime who had his or her life ruined by a moment of sexual indiscretion. But we did not register all of them as sex offenders.

Back when we were kids in school, we were taught how barbaric it was that our Puritan ancestors would force an adulteress to wear a large scarlet letter “A” on her clothing.

We were also taught, and saw in our annual viewing of the movie about Moses, that it was barbaric to create a class of people who were outcasts from society because they were afflicted with leprosy.

We were taught that it was barbaric, and totally un-American for people in India to separate themselves into a caste system that included one class of people who were called the “untouchables.”

But now, when vengeance and punishment and sex is involved, Americans don’t seem to have any problem at all with creating a group of Americans whom we shall call “registered sex offenders,” and who shall be treated as outcasts, lepers, untouchables, and who shall wear the scarlet letter of the ankle monitor, and whose names shall be posted on the internet.

Do I exaggerate about these people being outcasts and untouchables?

Jack and Ernie tell me that there is not one single shelter in Placer County that will take them in, even for one night.

And remember that they are not permitted to leave Placer County.

They do not have a place to plug in their ankle monitors, which must be recharged every day.

Even if Jack and Ernie did have any money, which they do not, there is only one place that they know of, in all of Placer County, that is even willing to rent a room to them.

The cost of renting a room at that one place is $500 per person per month.

If Jack or Ernie ever do succeed in getting disability payments, those payments will be about $900 a month. So, more than half of their income would go to rent a room at the one place in Placer County that is willing to rent them a room.

In the mean time, they sleep in a tent... even on a cold day when the rain is pouring down in buckets, like it is today.

Last night, as I lay in my warm, dry bed, the rain beat down on the roof of my home like a constant drumming. I could not sleep. I laid there, thinking about the fact that Jack and Ernie were out there, somewhere, trying to sleep in a soggy tent.

There was no room at the Inn for them. There was not even an Inn available that would accept them.

We created this situation, with our own, well-intentioned laws.

But if we were to leave our dogs, our horses, or even our livestock out in weather like this with no shelter whatsoever, someone from the humane society or animal control would probably have us arrested.

We treat our dogs and our livestock better than we treat these human beings whom we have labeled as “registered sex offenders.”

Maybe, like me, you are one of those vindictive people who are thinking, or who have thought at some time or other in the past, “Good. Let these registered sex offenders suffer. Let’s punish them even more. They are not human beings like us. They are animals.”

Well, fine.

You can explain that kind of no-mercy reasoning to Jesus, when you finally meet Him face-to-face.

But in the mean time, I think that what we need here are a few, extraordinary Christians who have enough grace to get together and figure out some safe way that we can get Auburn’s homeless registered sex offenders some shelter from the rain.

This is a problem that is too big, and too complicated, for one person to solve by himself.


LA - Louisiana not appealing rejection of sex offender Facebook ban

Original Article

04/12/2012

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state of Louisiana has decided not to appeal a federal judge's decision to throw out a state law that prohibited certain sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who pushed for the ban, had repeatedly said the state would challenge the ruling.

But Marjorie Esman, head of the ACLU of Louisiana, said Thursday that the organization received a $65,000 state check reimbursing its legal fees and acknowledging the state won't appeal the ruling.

In the current legislative session, Jindal has backed a proposal to rewrite the law to more narrowly define what sites are banned, with hopes it could withstand a court challenge. The judge said the law was too broad and would effectively ban those sex offenders from the Internet.


Curiosity - How evil are you?

Video Description:
Eli Roth knows a thing or two about the nature of evil. As this generation's master of horror, his Hostel films terrify us by dramatizing the fiendish acts of lunatics and madmen. Now, Roth plans to unveil the most horrifying monster of them all, capable of callous murder with only the slightest prodding: the Average American. Roth and a team of psychological experts carry out a series of startling experiments that will shed light on the capacity for evil that lurks within ordinary men and women -- what they find will astound you.


NY - Woman Fights for Rights Of Sex Offenders & Families

Original Article

04/12/2012

Shana Rowan doesn't live in the north country, but she shares a connection and wanted to talk with 7 News reporter John Friot.

Why?

Shana saw our report last week on what registered sex offender [name withheld] and his live-in girlfriend in Massena are going through.

The neighbors put up a sign warning that a Level 3 registered sex offender lives in the apartment house.

"That is asking for them to be targeted," said Shana.

A domestic violence survivor, the Oneida County woman finds herself constantly looking over her shoulder.

She says she's forced to live in fear, not because of her past at the hands of a former husband, but because of what people think about her and her fiancé - a registered sex offender.

That's why she is campaigning for changes, including elimination of the state's Sex Offender Registry.

"Families and children of registrants are essentially treated as if they've committed sex crimes in the way that they don't have privacy. They don't have safety or stability in their own homes," said Shana.

Shana Rowan sees education and awareness as the key.

That's why she's embarked on a campaign to reform the sex offender registry and related legislation.

The Oneida Castle woman is speaking out for family members and children of sex offenders.

She is a state organizer for a New York chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws.

Her fiancé, Geoff, served four years in prison after being convicted of sodomizing and inappropriately touching his six year old step-sister while he was a teenager.

His name is now listed as a Level 2 offender on the state registry.

Shana feels the registry and sex offender laws are invasive and damaging to those trying to rebuild their lives.

"It infiltrates every aspect of your life," said Shana.

Geoff agreed to speak to us on camera if we protected his identity, which means withholding his last name.

Geoff told us it's an unjustified portrayal and pointed out that not all offenders, himself included, are predators.

The Placebo Effect
"If there's going to be a registry, it's got to be accurate. It can't just be everybody is all in one huge bowl and all you get is one of three numbers to determine how horrible a person people are going to judge you as," said Geoff.

There are 778 registered sex offenders now living in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells says the Sex Offender Registry is vital for the public.

"It's not just important to law enforcement, it's important to the peace of mind for our community," said Wells.

Shana Rowan says she will fight on for families of sex offenders facing torment and humiliation, while standing by her fiancé and his daily struggle to regain his life.


MN - IN RE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF LONERGAN

Original Article

Excerpt:
Lonergan and Kunshier are both indeterminately civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Lonergan and Kunshier each sought relief from his commitment by filing a pro se motion in Dakota County District Court under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02. After the district court denied the motions, both Lonergan and Kunshier appealed. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of Lonergan's motion. The court held that as a Sexually Dangerous Person, Lonergan could not use Rule 60.02 to seek a discharge from his indeterminate commitment or to make a constitutional challenge to the adequacy of his treatment at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. The court reached its holding, in part, by concluding that Rule 60.02 conflicts with the Minnesota Commitment and Treatment Act, Minn. Stat. ch. 253B (2010). The court also affirmed the denial of Kunshier's motion in a separate opinion, citing its decision in In re Civil Commitment of Lonergan, 792 N.W.2d 473 (Minn. App. 2011), to mean that Rule 60.02 may not be used to seek any relief from an indeterminate civil commitment order. Lonergan and Kunshier appealed to our court arguing, among other things, that their commitments are unconstitutional. We reverse in part and remand.

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SC - LONGSHORE v. SOUTH CAROLINA LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION

Original Article

Excerpt:
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division ("SLED") appeals the decision of the circuit court, which reversed the family court's order requiring Longshore ("Respondent") to register on the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry.1 SLED contends the circuit court erred as: (1) it was without subject matter jurisdiction to review the family court's decision; and (2) Respondent, who was adjudicated delinquent after he admitted guilt to having committed criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree, was not statutorily exempt from the registration requirement.

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AL - 'Madison County Spring Cleaning' is huge operation to verify sex offenders

Original Article

HUGE is right! Do they really need SEVEN squad cars to go check on ONE person? What a waste of time and money!

04/12/2012

By Chris Welch

HUNTSVILLE - It seemed like something straight out of the movies or one of the "Cops"-type reality TV shows.

On Tuesday afternoon, a caravan of seven vehicles from the Madison County Sheriff's Office turned onto Ariel Drive into a Harvest subdivision.

One by one, the cars stopped in front of a house, the deputies spilling out of their cars and taking their positions - two on the left side of the house, four on the right, another in a black SUV that held K-9 Rambo and two others who approached the front door.

Some were in the foliage green, Army-like uniforms of the sheriff's SWAT team, others in the gray uniforms of the sheriff's reserve volunteers and one, Deputy Johnny Daversa, in the all black K-9 uniform.

When Deputy Cody Davis knocked on the door, the adrenaline started rushing and the heart started pumping just a little bit faster.

Would the suspect come out peacefully and surrender, start firing or head out the back door?

Nobody really knew.

These officers were among 65 taking part in "Operation Madison County Spring Cleaning" to verify 400 registered sex offenders are compliant with local and state sexual offender laws. The roundup included the U.S. Marshal's Office in Birmingham, Huntsville and Madison police, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Alabama State Probation Office and Madison County District Attorney's Office.

Madison County Sheriff's Office Investigator Brent Patterson said five of the sexual offenders have been arrested so far for noncompliance of the state and local sex offender laws.

"We've been planning this for 8 1/2 months," said Sheriff's Investigator Shawn McClure.
- Really?  Why do you need so much planning to just get addresses from the registry/database, and then go to their homes and verify if they live there?  Come on, this is nothing more than show-boating!

At the house in Harvest, a man came to the door and chatted outside with deputies and investigators. But he was not the sexual offender registered at the address. He told deputies, including Investigator Forrest Edde, in charge of this group, he had met the sexual offender in question once but he had never lived there. The homeowner told deputies he had been getting the offender's mail for two years and showed them a stack he was keeping inside.

"Deputy (Cody) Davis didn't see any evidence he had lived there," Edde said.

Because sexual offenders only have to report in to law enforcement every three months, and because of the shortages in law enforcement, it's not always easy to verify the address, officials say. Thus, the need for yearly roundups like these.

Satisfied the sexual offender wasn't at the Harvest address, the deputies got back in their cars and headed off to plan their second attempt at an arrest. Stopping on the side of the road near a grain mill in Harvest, the deputies went over the sexual offender's history, called up his address via Google Maps on their car-mounted laptops, made their plan and piled back into their cars.

The caravan headed to Sam Thomas Road in Huntsville and deputies again got out and took their positions near a dilapidated wooden house. There were no cars outside or signs of life until the deputies knocked on the door. It opened and a little dog came running out, barking.

The registered sex offender, thin and frail-looking with glasses, walked outside, chatted with deputies for a few minutes and then sat down on the steps. As it turned out, Edde said, the man was the sexual offender in question, but the person on a harassment warrant the deputies had planned to serve was actually the man's son of the same name, who was at work.

As deputies looked around the house to make sure the sexual offender was compliant, his grandchildren got off a yellow school bus and walked through the maze of police. Law enforcement officials aren't very sympathetic toward sexual offenders, but deputies said it was sad the children had to go through this, especially since their classmates on the bus had driven by.
- Yes, it is sad, especially when you come out in force instead of just one single officer out of uniform to check on someone.  It's pathetic if you ask me!

Children aren't normally allowed in the homes of sexual offenders, but if they're relatives and list in the court order it's OK, Edde said. The offender's son and his family had moved into the home to help his dad, who has been out of work for three years, keep the electricity on. Now, the son and means of support are in danger of going to jail.

As for the Madison County Sheriff's deputies and investigators, Edde said they'd done their jobs -- making sure sexual offenders are where they're supposed to be, and when they're not, reporting it.


WI - Sex Offender Residency Board "Frustrated" with DOC

Original Article

04/12/2012

Green Bay's Sex Offender Residency Board is asking for the State for more help, and the City is looking at changes to its sex offender residency ordinance.

The residency board has been in operation since 2007, when an ordinance took effect that restricts where registered sex offenders can live once they've served their time in prison. It effectively made 95 percent of the city off-limits. The only way in is through the board's approval.
- And yet, when they are forced to cluster in certain areas, due to these draconian laws, the public mob then comes out and forces them from there as well.  These laws need to be deleted!  Residency restrictions do not work and do nothing to prevent further crimes or protect anybody, they only force people into homelessness, joblessness and exiles them away from family and support.

It is often a grueling task. The board of five appointed members determines which sex offenders will live within Green Bay's city limits.

On Wednesday, eleven appeals were heard. Some offenders still in prison argued their case by phone.

"I've had a lot of time to think about what's going to happen. I just want to have a chance of making it when I get out," one told them.

Some offenders don't show up.

Board Chair Dean Gerondale directs, "Would you send an officer to [name withheld] to see if he's actually living there? If he is, fine him."

Others appear in person, where some board members feel a growing disconnect between their job and that of agents with the Department of Corrections overseeing offenders on parole.

"It seems as if, no matter what our ordinance states, a parole officer can simply override us," board member Ben Heiman said.

In one instance, an offender is already living with his aunt without board approval. that's a $500-a-day fine.

The offender claims his agent gave permission.

"I don't need my aunt and uncle to be getting any fines, because they can't afford that," he pleaded.

"I understand your situation, but I have to inform you that you are living there in violation of the ordinance," a board member replied.

In Target 2's initial report last month on the unintended consequences of the ordinance, the Department of Corrections said "making sure the offender maintains housing while he or she pursues residency approval ensures the offender does not become homeless, transient, and difficult or impossible to track."

"What we've had to do is take the situation we're encountered with and work with them as well as other community agents on doing the best we can -- and that's finding stable housing," Jed Neuman of the DOC said last month.
- If you get rid of the residency restrictions, then this would not be a problem!

At Wednesday's meeting, the board approved six people to live in the city, denied four, and postponed a decision on one.

And it's now discussing changes to how it works with the Department of Corrections.

"I would say we are very frustrated with them, for sure," Gerondale acknowledged.

Meantime, as Action 2 News reported several weeks ago, the City is working on proposed changes not only to this board but overall city ordinance. Those proposed changes could go before a city committee next month.

See Also:


AUSTRALIA - Why have an online sex offender register?

Original Article

04/12/2012

By Chloe Papas

The WA Government is set to bring in controversial sex offender laws in July - supposedly 'trumping' other states in being the first to implement tough laws in the best interests of the people.

The legislation will allow the Government to publicise an online sex register, which will be completely available to the public.

The register will have three tiers: the first will provide information and photographs of offenders who have failed to report to police as instructed; the second will provide individuals with photos and information about 'highly dangerous' offenders living in the same or adjoining postcode; the third will allow guardians and parents to put in a request regarding somebody who spends significant regular time with their children.

Now, let's get one thing straight right off the bat. Sex offences, in particular those committed against children, are internationally recognised as the most abhorrent of crimes – there really is no disputing that.

There is no doubt that the crimes are not only disturbing and damaging, but are extremely devastating for victims and their families. But is this legislation the right way to go about protecting the public and punishing the offenders?

There's no doubt that different laws need to be put in place; that different solutions and programs need to be trialled. Simply putting an offender in prison and releasing them five, 10, 20 years later is unlikely to stop repeat offences. But how will this legislation be effective?

Firstly, will publicly naming offenders not just push those who haven't been reported, or who are yet to commit an offense, further underground? The minute that an attempt is made to 'out' or criminalise someone, it is human instinct to run and hide.

Secondly, the legislation in no way promotes rehabilitation or treatment for sex offenders. There is a longstanding debate within the mental health field as to whether sex offenders, in particular those who commit sexual assaults on children, can ever be rehabilitated.

Paedophilia is currently classified in the internationally recognised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as a high-level mental disorder.

There is a significant amount of research outlining that those who commit paedophilia cannot be rehabilitated. However, there is also a number of studies and programs throughout the world that have been successful in partially or fully rehabilitating offenders.
- I simply do not believe this.  Nobody is beyond help, IMO.

For those that understand that their actions are wrong, for those who may want to attempt rehabilitation, would this register not prevent or curb such a process?

The register could also be viewed as a violation of privacy and basic rights; we don't publish the photographs, places of residence, and personal information of others considered criminals.
- Yes it is a violation of privacy and rights, and I agree, if we are going to publish the names of ex-sex offenders, then to be fair, it should be done with all criminals.

On the other hand, it can easily be argued that by committing such a crime, offenders are giving up their right to privacy – and, of course, that it is for the good of the greater public to identify the offender, which it may well be.

Another possible contention for the register is the fact that some sex offenders choose to seek help before or after offending – some identify that their thoughts or actions are wrong.

If there is any chance that they will be forced to register (the registry is mandatory in many cases), it is extremely unlikely that they will ask for help.

There has also already been conflict regarding the age and 'danger' level of offenders listed on the registry. Many low-level sexual offences are committed by boys in their teens – will they too be listed? And if so, should they be?

There are so many more loopholes with this legislation to be considered – the possibility of a wrongful conviction, the length of time an offender will be kept on the registry, the definition of a 'dangerous' offender, and so on.

Perhaps as we get closer to the release date, some of these questions will be answered. But it still raises the question: what is the point of the register?

This is an extremely difficult subject, with countless arguments and counter-arguments to consider. Speaking to family members and friends about the legislation, a common statement was that I am not a parent – how could I make such a judgement? No doubt many of you reading this are thinking the same, and you absolutely have a right to.

But be that as it may, consider this hypothetical: you put your postcode into the register, and the results show that there is a sex offender residing in your suburb.

What is your course of action then? The police are obviously already aware of the offender's whereabouts and crime, and it is likely they have already served jail time. Do you keep your kids inside? Do you move house? If you are moving into an area, do you choose not to?

Maybe somehow you discover the individual's identity, or view a photograph and happen to see them down the shops. What then – do you verbally or physically attack them in some way? Do you discuss their identity with others? Each of these reactions would be natural in such a situation. No matter what your reaction may be, will anything have significantly changed, or improved the situation?

The Barnett Government's mandate is evidently to protect the greater public. But when has naming and shaming ever been a positive move? It is difficult to see how this legislation will achieve anything, and it may simply end with further stigmatisation for offenders, and potential panic and sensationalism for the public.

Everyone is going to have a different view on this legislation, and it will of course depend on personal situations and views. We probably all agree that something needs to change in our current justice system – not just within the area of sexual crimes, but in a broader sense – but is this register the right way to go about it?


TX - GARY v. STATE

Original Article

Excerpt:
Pursuant to a plea agreement, appellant Gary pled guilty to the offense of failure to comply with the sex offender registration requirements. The trial court found the evidence sufficient to find Gary guilty, but deferred finding him guilty. The trial court placed Gary on community supervision for seven years and assessed a fine of $1,000. The State subsequently filed a motion to revoke Gary's unadjudicated community supervision. Gary pled "true" to six violations of the terms of his community supervision. The trial court found that Gary violated the terms of the community supervision order, found Gary guilty of failure to comply with the sex offender registration requirements, revoked Gary's community supervision, and imposed a sentence of ten years of confinement.

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ID - STATE v. FORBES

Original Article

Excerpt:
On January 13, 2003, Forbes pleaded guilty to the crime of Attempted Lewd Conduct with a Minor Child Under Sixteen Years of Age, a felony in violation of I.C. § 18-1508. The district court withheld judgment on March 31, 2003, and placed Forbes on probation for a period of seven years. As a result of his plea, Forbes is required to register as a sex offender under I.C. § 18-8304(1)(a).

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KS - Former officer (Brian Vincent) facing sexual exploitation of a minor and use of a concealed camcorder to eavesdrop

Brian Vincent
Original Article

04/12/2012

By Andrew Gaug

A former police officer in Elwood and Wathena, Kan., facing sex and eavesdropping charges, will have his next day in court in May.

After being charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and use of a concealed camcorder to eavesdrop, former Sgt. Brian Vincent had his preliminary hearing continued in Doniphan County until May 17 at 10 a.m.

An officer in Elwood since 1998, Mr. Vincent worked full time there and part time for the Wathena Police Department until his firing last June 3, when the Kansas Bureau of Investigation began its probe of the case.

According to court files, Mr. Vincent had two sets of videos containing underage girls either nude or undressing who were filmed without them knowing.

(Mr. Vincent used) a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph ... another identifiable person ... for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by that other person,” court documents stated.

The acts occurred between November 2007 and July 2010. A probable cause statement was not made available.

The case is being handled by special prosecutor Brad Lippert, of Nemaha County, after Doniphan County prosecutor Charles Baskins removed himself from the case due to a conflict of interest.

In April 2011, Mr. Vincent was re-elected to his post as a school board member for the Riverside Unified School District. According to the school district’s website, his term will end on June 30, 2015. No one from the school board could be reached for comment on his status with the organization.

No plea has been entered in the case.


AUSTRALIA - Former cop Paul Raeck jailed for using Facebook to lure underage girls into sex acts

Original Article

04/12/2012

By Mark Dunn

A FORMER police officer was today jailed for a minimum of eight months after using a fake Facebook persona to target underage girls for sex.

Ex-Boronia police station Sen-Constable Paul Raeck, 34, was jailed for a maximum two years and nine months for using the internet to expose seven victims, girls aged 14 and 15, to his sexual activities and asking a number of them to engage in sexual acts or to pose for him on webcams.

"It's sad that a police officer who should know better should engage in this kind of conduct," County Court Judge Richard Maidment said.

"You have thrown away your career as a police officer, you have thrown away your marriage and you have the embarrassment of public humiliation."

The court heard Raeck, who will be a registered sex offender for the next eight years, used a false identity to pose as a young attractive male on a Facebook account and used online jargon to entice his victims and lure them into believing the masquerade for a period of more than a year.

After his arrest in July last year when fellow police seized his mobile phone and laptop computer, Raeck told officers his offending was "like a bloody addiction" and that getting caught was "probably the best thing that could happen to me".

His wife left him as a result of the offences, the court heard.

Judge Maidment said, despite the prosecution agreeing that Raeck had never intended to actually meet his victims face to face, "the emotional impact (on his victims) will be felt probably for a considerable period of time".

Raeck pleaded guilty to three counts of using the internet to transmit indecent content to children under 16, three counts of using the internet for sexual activity with children under 16 and one count of using a mobile phone to procure a person under 16 for sexual activity.

He will serve his jail time in a form of protective custody due to his former employment as a policeman.