Saturday, July 7, 2012

WI - Taxpayers spend nearly $43M a year to keep sex offenders confined

Original Article

07/06/2012

MADISON (WTAQ) - Wisconsin taxpayers are shelling out more than expected to keep sexual predators confined.

The Appleton Post-Crescent said it now costs almost $43 million a year to keep over 360 sex offenders confined at the Sand Ridge Treatment Center in Mauston.

Officials expected the law to have only a small effect on taxpayers when it was established in 1994.

But Assembly Republican Dean Kaufert of Neenah calls the expense “a necessary evil.” He says the public wants to be protected from sexually violent criminals, and none of his constituents have ever complained about the cost.
- Since when did evil become "necessary?"

Representative Pat Strachota of West Bend chairs a panel that’s looking at criteria for possible supervised releases of sexually violent offenders. She says the cost is a matter of public safety – and a price tag cannot be put on it.

The numbers of sexual predators in Wisconsin had risen before Sand Ridge opened in 2001. It’s been at over 300 since 2005, but the number has leveled off in the past four years.

The Post-Crescent says there have been 97 supervised releases of sex offenders to Wisconsin communities since 1994, plus 68 total discharges.

Sand Ridge director Deborah McCullough says she’s encouraged that relatively few people have committed new crimes after leaving her institution. That figure is estimated to be around 5 percent.
- And even without civil commitment, recidivism is about 5%, so basically it's a waste of money.


WI - Green Bay needs to find middle ground with sex offender ordinance

Original Article

07/06/2012

The support to amend, replace or remove the city of Green Bay’s sex offender ordinance is growing as recent reports have shown that it may not be working as intended.
- My question is, what was the intention?

At the June 25 Protection & Welfare Committee meeting, several officials spoke out against the ordinance, including the Brown County District Attorney’s office and state Rep. Karl Van Roy, R-Howard. They worry that the law is too restrictive and suitable housing isn’t always available because of it, resulting in sex offenders failing to register where they live and extending their stay in prison at taxpayer expense.

The Green Bay City Council is scheduled to debate the issue at its July 17 meeting and we hope that they find a better alternative to the current ordinance, namely one that leads to greater compliance of sex offenders registering where they live.

In 2007, the City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, playground or other place where children gather. Supporters of the ordinance said that by having no restrictions, released sex offenders would move to the city. The Green Bay ordinance then prompted suburban municipalities to draw up similar ordinances. What resulted was a patchwork of laws that made it difficult for the Department of Corrections to place sex offenders who are returning to society.

A Jan. 25, 2012, report in the Green Bay Press-Gazette illustrated some of those concerns. The story reported that convicted sex offenders were returning from prison to the city of Green Bay and bypassing the city’s Sex Offender Residence Board, which approves where they can live. At the time, the state Department of Corrections defended its action, saying it was better to know where the registered sex offenders were living than to have them be homeless.

About a year ago, the Press-Gazette reported that some offenders had been held in prison after their sentences had ended because of a lack of suitable house. At the time, the Green Bay police chief estimated as many as 30 offenders were living in the city without reporting their residence to the police, as required by state law.

It’s hard to argue against proponents of the ordinance. Victims of sexual abuse serve a lifetime sentence of their own private hell and no parent wants a registered sex offender to live next door. But if an ordinance is so restrictive that it drives sex offenders “underground” and they don’t report where they’re living, then maybe it’s time to re-examine the ordinance.
- Not all sexual abuse victims serve a lifetime sentence!  Many chose to be a survivor and not dwell on the past they cannot change.

City attorneys have recommended replacing the ordinance with one that calls for 150-foot barrier around schools, parks and other places where children gather. It would give officials more leeway in placing sex offenders in the city while protecting sensitive locations. While 150 feet might not be restrictive enough, the recommendation has prompted debate. The Protection & Welfare Committee agreed with recommendation, in a way. It approved keeping the current ordinance and adding the 150-foot barrier on top of it.

We have long maintained that sex offender residency should be governed by a state standard so we don’t end up with each municipality authoring a slightly different ordinance. A collage of ordinances is confusing and ones that are too restrictive drive released offenders underground, like we’ve seen in Green Bay.

Assembly Bill 759 (PDF) would have done that — restricting violent sex offenders from living within 100 to 250 feet of areas where children congregate — and would have given everyone in Wisconsin the same protections under the law, no matter which municipality they lived in.

But since that bill died in 2010 and none seems forthcoming, we would recommend that the city of Green Bay find a compromise. Somewhere between the 2,000-foot and 150-foot barriers there is a middle ground. We urge alderman and local law enforcement officials to work together to find that.


INDIA - Making children aware of sexual abuse

Original Article

This should be taught to all children, and children old enough to use the Internet should also be taught about the online dangers.

07/07/2012

Nearly 350 children in the age group of six and 10 got to know the difference between a safe and unsafe touch as part of the ‘Touch’ programme. It is a programme on child sexual abuse education and is an initiative of Anugraha Educational Trust to end it.

Children of Nachiyar Vidyalayam School in Pollachi were trained on this and many more aspects relating to child sexual abuse by trainers from the Anugraha Educational Trust and Anugraha Mandhir School who are implementing the programme.

With an aim to make children recognise an unsafe touch and guard themselves against it, the trainers used aid like activity sheets, video clippings and also presented scenarios that had cases of adults interacting with children to find out from them which of those were good and bad touches,” A.L. Shobaa, Trustee of the Trust, said.

Trainers played animation CDs that displayed five or six real life day-to-day scenarios of chid sexual abuse. After each incident, volunteers asked the children if there was anything wrong in the depiction. They were made to understand the right perception and also given tips on protecting them in similar situations."

"The activity sheets had drawings or pictures of certain poses, such as a mother kissing a child, a stranger kissing a child and offering a toffee, etc. Using these, the children were taught to differentiate between the right touch and the wrong one,” she added.

Once they were made to realise what a safe and unsafe touch was, children were told how to protect themselves against an unsafe touch.

They were told that it involved three important steps – when the child felt uncomfortable, he had to “shout’ to attract the attention to people nearby, or “run away”, or “inform a safe adult”.

Children were also made to understand how to identify a safe adult and who could possibly be safe adults, from the family, and from outside the family too.

Teachers of the school were also oriented to continue the child sexual abuse awareness forward.

The Trust is planning to organise similar programmes in other schools. It also organises ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes.

Those interested, can contact 93600-97005.


SORNA Declared Unconstitutional?

I sure hope so, a long with the Adam Walsh Act and all the others.

Click the image to read more and see the PDF document


Teenage Sexting Is Becoming The Norm

Original Article

07/06/2012

By Gregory Ferenstein

Under most existing laws, if our findings were extrapolated nationally, several million teens could be prosecuted for child pornography,” explains a new study on teen sexting, which finds that a whopping 28% of teenagers text fully-nude pictures of themselves. We took a deep dive into the much reported Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine article, and found some weird insights into a 21st century trend that is quickly becoming the norm among teenagers.
  1. White kids love sexting. More than any other demographic (Hispanic, African American, and Asian), white students reported sexting in the highest percentage (35%), nearly double that of Asians (19). African Americans were a somewhat distant second at 27%, followed by Hispanics (21%), and Asians.
  2. Several million” teens could be held liable for child pornography, as some states do not define inappropriate sexual behavior as only between an adult and a minor. The prevalence of sexting has put some experts in the awkward position of pressing for laxer child pornography laws, so that curious teenagers aren’t branded as pedophiles.
  3. If you find sexting pics sent from your kid’s phone, there’s a strong possibility that he or she is sexually active. 77% of girls and 82% of boys who had reported sending a sext were also no longer virgins.
  4. Gender stereotypes hold true with new technology: boys are bothered by being asked to sext much less than girls. Nearly all girls (~95%) were at least a “little bothered” by sexting requests and roughly 30% were bothered “a great deal.” Yet, nearly half of all boys didn’t mind “at all”, and less than 5% were bothered a great deal. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
  5. The suburbs aren’t safe from the trend either: socio-economic status had virtually no effect on whether teens sexted. Parents with a high school diploma or less were only 2% more likely to have sexting teens compared to those with at least some college.

As sexting moves closer to becoming the norm, it begs the question of whether sexting will be seen as deviant to the next generation, just as out-of-wedlock sexual relations became the norm for previous generations. Until such time, sexting still poses distressing risks for teens whose pictures end up in the wrong hands, and suffer dangerous psychological damage from their cruel peers. In other words, talk to your kids about responsible use of technology.


KS - Owner (Matthew Creed) shuts down Blabbermouthkc.com, citing huge backlash

Matthew Creed
Original Article

This is a prime example of why personal records, or criminal records, should NOT be available online. If you want info on someone, go down to the court house like it originally was.

07/05/2012

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

A website that published addresses and photographs of people arrested in Johnson County and offered to remove the embarrassing information for a fee shut down Thursday after a massive backlash.
- It's called extortion!

Matthew Creed of Shawnee said the site would remain down indefinitely. He said he was working with possible investors and might restart it with a different focus and different name.
- Site isn't shut down, see the link to it below.

Creed, 30, said he received death threats and had to relocate his family, which includes two small children, after news spread about his website. Many people objected to his business concept and thought he was trying to profit off people already down on their luck.

This guy is just a bottom-feeding vulture,” said Jay Norton, a lawyer in Johnson County who had clients featured on the website. “The idea that he was trying to help the community is a total farce.”

Many people also questioned whether the site violated state laws. The Johnson County District Attorney’s office said Thursday it still was investigating.

When Creed started the site, Blabbermouthkc.com (Facebook), in May, he said he thought he had found a legal way to publish mugshots and ask arrestees for up to $199.99 to delete the information. He sent letters to dozens of people arrested in May and June in envelopes with their mugshots printed on the outside next to the words: “We know …

The letters congratulated recipients on their recent release from jail and noted their arrests were “obviously embarrassing to you and your family.”

We have already started blabbing to the world about your release from jail, and we want to make you aware of our services, as we kind of have a big mouth,” the letters said.

If the recipients didn’t pay up, they risked having their neighborhoods flooded with fliers about their arrests, his letter said. The so-called “blitz notification” would be triggered by a request from the public. No fliers were ever distributed.

He said he thought the system was workable but wondered whether people would gripe about it too much.

And people griped about it way too much,” he said.

Creed said he knew he was delving into gray areas of the law but thought he remained on the right side of the legal line. If he restarts a similar business, he said he would ensure the model stays “a lot farther away from the line.”

Creed posted a note admitting defeat Thursday on kcsr.org, a local message board. Its members had united against Creed after a member who had been featured on Blabbermouthkc.com posted the letter he received from Creed. The members said they thought Creed’s business model amounted to blackmail.

You win,” Creed wrote. “I’m sincerely sorry to have pissed so many people off, caused the trouble I did, and for everything else. … Can’t change what’s been done ... the past is the past, and I apologize.”

He also asked kcsr.org’s owner to take down photos and personal information posted by message board members about Creed’s family members who had been arrested. Creed said he didn’t care whether the message board left up the information about his own 2010 DUI arrest, but he asked it not to punish his relatives.

No hard feelings on my side ... sometimes an initial idea doesn’t pan out and needs to go back to the drawing board, and you guys made me realize that,” he wrote.

Creed said he intended for his website to deter crime by notifying the public about people who got arrested. His site allowed users to click on a map to check on their neighbors.

At one point the site featured more than 900 mugshots of people, most of whom had not been convicted. Many had been arrested for DUI, but some were arrested for failing to show up for court for simple traffic tickets.

One person said that her face was posted on the website after a charge against her had been dropped. The 43-year-old woman said the charge came about after she locked herself out of her home over the Memorial Day weekend and broke a window to get inside. Prior to breaking the window, she pounded on her door to awaken her boyfriend, and the ruckus caused a neighbor to call police.

She was booked into jail for criminal damage to property, but a judge dropped the charge within 12 hours.

Still, her mugshot was posted and remained on the website until this week. She was one of dozens of arrestees who received letters from Creed.

It really did scare me when I got the letter,” said Stacie, who didn’t want her last name published because she didn’t want to be linked to a criminal act she hadn’t committed. “I thought, ‘I’m being blackmailed.

I know these are public record, but he made me feel like some sort of criminal. … I didn’t think it could be legal.”

The letter recipient who posted his letter on kcsr.org said he wasn’t overly concerned about his DUI arrest being publicized. Instead, he was concerned that it felt like he was being blackmailed.

It didn’t seem like he was doing it for the community,” he said. “I didn’t need someone telling me I messed up. I already knew I messed up.”

As the firestorm about the letters grew, Creed pledged to send retraction letters to clarify that he wasn’t threatening anyone. But Creed never sent any retractions because he did not know everyone who received the first letters, he said Thursday. He said that a hacker corrupted all his files on Tuesday and that he had to buy a new laptop computer.

Creed initially planned to revamp the website to focus only on DUI, drug and sex offenders. He registered his website as a nonprofit organization and removed the neighborhood service, and made other changes. But this week he decided to pull the plug entirely.

He declined to say how many people paid him to remove their personal information. But the map on his website — before it was shut down — indicated people at seven addresses had paid.

Creed said he didn’t make any money off the website. Any funds received went to offset the start-up costs, he said.

He’s now considering a member-based “safety-watch” type website, he said.

Everything’s up in the air for now,” he said. “There are so many different avenues that this thing can potentially go before I go back and brave the firestorm I did.”

Meanwhile, the owner of kcsr.org, Erik Razdins, remained cautious.

If it (Creed’s website) truly is down, I think it’s a great victory,” he said.
- Well, it's not.