I have no doubt that people are being sexually abused in the military, but "500,000" sounds like one of those magical Goldilock numbers to us, not too much, not too less.
In this devastating exposé of injustice, Academy Award-nominated documentarian Kirby Dick uncovers the epidemic of sexual abuse that pervades America's military system, in which over 500,000 US soldiers have been victimized.
Friday, June 1, 2012
I have no doubt that people are being sexually abused in the military, but "500,000" sounds like one of those magical Goldilock numbers to us, not too much, not too less.
By La'Tasha Givens
OKLAHOMA CITY — Convicted sex offenders are prohibited from using Facebook, Linkedin in and other social media outlets.
Law makers say the goal is to deter predators from easily finding new victims but others say it’s unconstitutional.
[name withheld] is a convicted sex offender.
That’s not the label this former OSU football player thought he would wear the rest of his life.
Instead of the “OS” on his letterman jacket, he’s now bearing the scarlet letters “SO” after pleading guilty to raping a teen more than a decade ago.
Freshman year he had sex with a girl at a campus party who told him she was 18, it turns out she was only 13.
But [name withheld] said people have the wrong idea about his situation.
“People think I saw a little girl with some pigtails, jumping rope or walking down the street and I snatched her up in the car and raped her while she was crying for mama the whole time. That’s not the case at all,” [name withheld] said.
Now, he along with other sex offenders are calling for social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin to lift the ban restricting them from use.
He’s now a father of three and the injunction prevents him from monitoring his own children’s online activities.
“I know some of these things are set up because there are predators out there and I understand that, I have children of my own. I have a daughter and I would never want anyone to hurt her. But you have a lot of people in my shoes who are not but they are on the list,” [name withheld] said.
Attorney David Slane now represents [name withheld] and his fighting to restore his liberties.
“People have rights and the First Amendment right to speak or be on Facebook or anything else that’s part of communication. We can’t just take those rights away,” Slane said.
[name withheld] said although he is not a monster who preys on children, he’s treated like one every time he has to use his license.
Sex offender in bold red letters banners over his name.
“If they are going to do this, I don’t understand why murderers don’t have murderer on his license and I don’t understand why a convicted drug dealer doesn’t have drug dealer on his license,” [name withheld] said.
Nebraska and Louisiana are some of the first states to suspend the social media ban for sex offenders.
The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging similar laws around the country they say strip people of their first amendments rights.
MN - Executive director (Dennis Benson) of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program - We will never depoliticize this program!
By Amy Forliti
MINNEAPOLIS — The outgoing executive director of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program said this week that the state has a long way to go in making policy changes to improve the program, one of the state's most controversial.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Dennis Benson said he is proud of the strides his clinical team has made in "cutting edge" treatment for sex offenders and claimed dramatic progress in program operations during his tenure.
But, he said, it's incumbent upon lawmakers to review everything from how offenders are referred for commitment to whether the state can provide alternatives to the extremes of civil commitment or release.
"These are very, very difficult issues, and they take time," he said.
Benson advised lawmakers to take a serious look at a 2011 legislative auditor's report (PDF) that he said provides recommendations and a road map for improving the program in the future.
"We will never depoliticize this program. It is a highly, highly political area of discussion," he said. "But we should do everything we can to depoliticize the process, of who comes in and who goes out."
"Hopefully we can keep this program constitutionally sound and keep us out of harm's way with respect to the eyes of the court."
Benson will retire from his job at the sex offender program June 5, after 38 years of working for the state. He began his state service as an officer with the Department of Corrections and served as a corrections deputy commissioner for 12 years before going on to lead the sex offender program in 2008.
The program allows the state to pursue civil confinement for the most dangerous sex offenders deemed likely to strike again. As of April 1, there were 641 people in the program.
- And how many have actually been released?
The program faces constitutional challenges from critics who claim it's little more than a life sentence disguised as treatment. This year, the program saw its first provisional discharge in more than a decade, but Benson said the discharge of one person is not an indicator of success.
- So, out of 641 people admitted, 1 has been released? Doesn't sound like a very good program to me.
"Quite frankly, I don't think one is enough. But it is a beginning," he said.
He applauded his clinical team and said the percentage of offenders participating in treatment has improved during his tenure.
Treatment for sex offenders is costly because it is tailored to each individual, but Benson worked to reduce the per-diem cost by about $100, to $298 a day.
- So, if all 641 people are attending, that is $191,018 per day and $69,721,570 per year. Sounds like a huge waste of money to me. Of course it doesn't cost this much because I'm sure not every person is attending the treatment, but it just shows how much they'd be spending if they were.
Benson said lawmakers need to question why Minnesota has one of the largest number of civilly committed sex offenders per capita. He also said policymakers could create other options for offenders, so judges aren't faced with the extremes of either civilly committing someone or turning an offender out on the streets.
"For the most part, the people that are in our program are very, very difficult people," he said. "But I think it's much more complicated than saying, 'Well, let's just not civilly commit somebody.' One of the problems in Minnesota is you are either civilly committed or you are released to the streets."
- I am willing to bet there is many who have been committed to the program who are not real threats. It's just, like the man said, all political. Nobody wants to release an offender and find out they commit another related crime, so they commit them. I know they don't commit all, but I wonder how many they have committed who don't really belong there?
He said there have been discussions about possible changes in sentencing of sex offenders.
In addition, he said, the state must not lose sight of the importance of prevention, to keep people from committing sexually violent acts in the first place.
- Yes, and if you look at the facts, most ex-sex offenders do NOT go on to commit another sex related crime, they are usually re-arrested for some technicality due to the insanity of the laws.
He said the staff he's worked with over the years truly care about these marginalized populations and work hard to do the right thing while balancing the need for public safety.
- Somehow I doubt that, but that is just my opinion.
While he acknowledged that this year, an election year, wasn't the time to get policies changed, he said he has confidence in the legislative process.
"It can be frustrating at times, but I have been impressed with leadership on both sides of the aisle with respect to this issue," he said. "I believe ultimately the state of Minnesota will make good decisions on how we manage this."
NC - Former Police Officer (Travis Lee Baker) Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison for rape and other felonies
|Travis Lee Baker|
By John Chappell
A former police officer who worked for both the Carthage and Robbins departments pleaded guilty to numerous felonies Thursday in Superior Court.
Travis Lee Baker, 32, of Pinehurst, was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count each of crime against nature, second-degree rape and second-degree sexual assault and obstruction of justice. He also faced multiple charges of identity theft, access to government computers without permission, and felony obstruction of justice.
Under a plea arrangement worked out with Assistant District Attorney Peter Strickland, some charges were dropped and others consolidated for sentencing.
Baker was sentenced to 10 to 12 months on all the identity and access charges, consolidated for sentencing, and four to five months on the sexual battery charge and one of two obstruction of justice counts. A second obstruction of justice count resulted in additional time in prison, according to Strickland.
“He will serve from 18 months minimum to 22 months maximum on all counts,” Strickland said after court.
- Basically a slap on the wrist compared to non-police who are charged with the same.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb gave Baker the benefit of some mitigation based on his honorable discharge from military service, for continuing to support his family, having active support in the community and for cooperating fully with the State Bureau of Investigation on the investigation.
- All stuff that is NEVER considered with others who don't work for the government!
Baker had served as a police officer with the Carthage Police Department before going to work for the Robbins Police Department, from which he was fired when charges came to light.
Carthage Chief Bart Davis said the former police officer was not employed with his department when he committed wrongdoings. According to the SBI’s Noelle Talley, the incident that led to the sexual battery charge happened Aug. 16, 2011, when Baker was a Robbins officer.
The other incidents were alleged to have taken place in March 2011 — after he left Carthage and before he was hired in Robbins. They were being investigated at the time Baker took the Robbins job, but that department was not made aware of the investigation.
“The SBI investigation had been going on prior to April before he came to Robbins,” former Town Manager George Hayfield said at the time. “Had we known that about it then, he wouldn’t have been hired.”
Robbins placed Baker on administrative leave once the investigation came to light and fired him after he was indicted in December.
“After Baker left the Carthage Police Department, he used government computers to find out information about his girlfriend’s ex,” Strickland told the court as he summarized evidence to support the plea. “It was used in a custody hearing, and he used the ID of another officer to do that.”
When Baker stopped a woman in August 2011 he told her he would not write her a ticket if she had sex with him, which she did, Strickland said. That led to charges of second-degree rape and crime against nature, which were dropped as part of Baker’s guilty plea to sexual battery.
Baker, who had been out on bail, surrendered following his plea and was in the Moore County jail on a temporary hold pending arrival sentencing documents from the court. He was represented by Brett Yauger, a Carthage attorney.
- So from what I am getting from the above, he committed a ton of crimes, even a sex crime, but is basically getting a way with it. No mention if he'll be a registered sex offender for life. Figures! Got to protect those "Good Ole' Boys!"
By IULIA FILIP
An Oklahoma law that prohibits more than one sex offender from living in the same home will prevent a ministry from helping sex offenders find places to live, increasing danger to the public, the ministry claims in Federal Court (PDF).
Hand Up Ministries says it houses more than 200 registered sex offenders in mobile homes in south Oklahoma City. But the state is trying to reduce occupancy levels to one person per home, "which is in direct conflict with its faith based mission of offering help to as many men and women [as] possible who are coming out of prison," the nonprofit claims.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed the law restricting individual dwelling for registered sex offenders in May 2011.
The law, which is slated to take effect July 1, makes it illegal for two or more registered sex offenders to live together in the same home. It also prohibits landlords from leasing or operating housing where sex offenders can share a living unit. Violators could face up to $5,000 in fines and five years in jail.
Sex offenders in Oklahoma must register their home address with local law-enforcement agencies for 15 years, 25 years or life, depending on the offense. State and Oklahoma City ordinances ban registered sex offenders from living near schools and other facilities, and limits housing opportunities, according to the complaint.
Hand Up Ministries, which offers temporary and permanent housing to registered sex offenders in three locations in Oklahoma, claims the new law would expose the ministry's president, David Nichols, to criminal prosecution for trying to help sex offenders find living accommodations away from the general public.
It claims the ministry will be financially harmed by the loss of tenants, and many sex offenders will stop registering if they no longer have a permanent address.
The ministry says the law, which exempts private prisons housing multiple sex offenders and criminalizes previously legal activities, violates its equal-protection and due-process rights.
It wants Oklahoma enjoined from enforcing the law.
Hand Up Ministries and Nichols are represented by Chris Mudd.
The defendants are Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Wetsel, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and State Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt.
By BRETT HAMBRIGHT
First, Kelly Peretzman beat up her estranged husband, choking him and punching his face with a closed fist, police allege.
Then, police reported, Peretzman gave a sworn statement to officers that her husband raped her at gun-point.
Elizabethtown police investigated the alleged rape, taking statements from both parties.
In time, when Mrs. Peretzman stopped returning officers' calls and canceled an interview, police became suspicious. A detective eventually realized the rape story was a lie.
Now, Peretzman is facing several charges related to the April crimes.
She is wanted by Elizabethtown police on three misdemeanors: assault, false incrimination of another person, and providing a false statement to police.
Detective Clair Martin filed charges Thursday against Peretzman, who moved to Carlisle after parting ways with her husband, [husband name withheld].
It's the second time in recent months that Kelly Peretzman, 38, was given serious charges after domestic disputes.
In November, she was charged with slashing her husband with a knife, then "grabbing" the couple's two toddlers and running out of the house, dropping the girls.
They weren't hurt.
[husband name withheld] told police his wife was on "bath salts" during the incident, according to an affidavit.
Mrs. Peretzman was ordered last month to stand trial on those charges, which include felony aggravated assault and endangering children.
The new batch of charges stem from an April 19 incident inside [husband name withheld]'s home on Cherry Street.
So what other group of ex-criminals get punished over and over for the deeds of one person? Of course the answer is nobody! So how is the corrupt injustice system able to continually punish all ex-sex offenders for the deeds of one individual? The sex offender laws are unconstitutional plain and simple, but because the Constitution is not worth the paper and ink it's written with, and the politicians running this country lied when taking their oath of office to defend said document and people's rights, anything goes now.
Oneida - This week, the Assembly passed A9229-2011, a bill that now heads to the Senate. Co-sponsored by Assemblyman Brindisi and Senator Griffo, it is in direct response to the rape and murder of Linda Turner by registered sex offender [name withheld]. It requires that registrants take updated photographs every 90 days, as opposed to the current requirements depending on the registrant’s assigned risk level.
[name withheld] absconded while on parole. When found, his appearance was drastically different than the photograph police had issued to the public. Many wondered if a more accurate photo might have yielded his capture before he had the chance to take a woman’s life.
A9229-2011 certainly sounds like a good idea. Without close examination, however, New York risks finding itself in an unpleasant situation that could have been easily avoided, but not quickly overcome.
Historically, sex offender legislation has been based on particularly heinous, high-profile cases that incite public fury and political grandstanding. When reacting to something deplorable, we often support anything that sounds like it will do something to avenge the innocent and send a message to the “bad guys.”
Unfortunately, our emotionally fueled laws have yet to achieve any results. According to empirical research, the public registry has had no impact whatsoever on sex crime rates. Recidivism rates (3.5 percent in 2007) for registered sex are still as surprisingly low as before SORA. Offense rates for first-time offenders continue to correlate with overall, general arrest rates. Despite the never-ending passage of “tough” legislation, innocent people continue to be victimized. Why?
Ninety-six percent of sex crimes in New York are committed by people who have no prior conviction for one and, therefore, are not on the registry. Laws that exclusively target registered offenders might speak to the desire for revenge, but that’s about it. Unwillingness to tackle the uncomfortable reality that most victims are assaulted by family members or trusted acquaintances behind closed doors doesn’t prevent sex crimes.
We should absolutely encourage healthy recovery for victims and just punishment for perpetrators, but shouldn’t we also support laws that place just as much importance on preventing these crimes in the first place?
Oneida County has one of the highest concentrations of registered sex offenders in New York state. There is one person who handles the sex offender photography and record maintenance.
Increasing the workload for this person three-fold would result in significant delays and increased margin of error – the very issues that A9229-2011 is trying to reduce. Counties and local municipalities all over the state would experience the same problems. There’s only one way to solve them: more staff and more money.
Let’s ask Senator Griffo to reconsider his support of this bill and tell him to allocate resources toward more effective solutions.