Friday, October 5, 2012

CA - No Halloween For Sex Offenders?

It's not about the fact they cannot have decorations on Halloween, it's about rights, period! Not a single child has ever been sexually abused by a known or unknown sex offender on this night, it's nothing more than hysteria.

WARNING: ADULT LANGUAGE, DISCRETION ADVISED!


PA - Pet Offender Registry Proposal for Animal Abusers

We are all for this, we should have one registry for all sinners.


View HB-2663


CA - Sex offender challenges city bans

Original Article

10/04/2012

By Mona Shadia

Orange County resident targets Huntington Beach, three other cities in lawsuit filed in September.

A registered sex offender has filed a lawsuit against the cities of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Lake Forest challenging the constitutionality of laws they adopted to ban registered sex offenders from entering public property.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court, claims the cities' ordinances banning him from entering city parks, roads and beaches violate the Constitution and his protected rights under the law. The lawsuit also names Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the four cities' police chiefs.

A copy of the lawsuit was provided to the Independent by the Huntington Beach city attorney's office, which received it Tuesday, said City Atty. Jennifer McGrath.

The San Francisco law firm representing the sex offender, whose name was not listed but was verified by the courts, said the ban violates his 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, by being banned from entering public property, is unable to peaceably assemble, speak freely, travel via some public roads, receive information and petition the government. The ban also deprives him of his liberties without a fair hearing and prevents him from judicial access, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also claims that because he completed his sentence long before the ban was enacted, those cities' laws stand to potentially increase his punishment, which also violates the Constitution.

The lawsuit asks the courts to permanently stop the four cities from enforcing their ban and declare the laws unconstitutional.

The plaintiff was convicted more than 15 years ago, according to the lawsuit. He has long since served his sentence and been treated and is now employed and married with children, the lawsuit said.


MS - Former Ocean Springs officer Steven Futral pleads guilty to five counts of child porn

Steven Futral
Original Article

10/05/2012

By April M. Havens

PASCAGOULA - Former Ocean Springs lieutenant Steven Ray Futral pleaded guilty to five counts of child exploitation, or possession of child pornography, in court this morning.

"I downloaded videos on the internet that had underage girls in it," Futral told Circuit Judge Dale Harkey during his plea.

According to his indictment, Futral downloaded 4 videos that appear to feature a child the file names call "[title withheld]."

One 24-minute video's file name points to an "early work" by a 9-year-old [name withheld], and another title points to a "string bikini" video featuring an 11-year-old [name withheld].

Two others do not allude to an age and are, in part, simply named "[title withheld]."

A fifth video's title points to a 14-year-old [name withheld] performing sex acts.

Futral's sentencing has been deferred until Nov. 9 at the request of his attorney, Calvin Taylor.

"The plea came about today, last second," Taylor said, noting Futral's church family in Ocean Springs would like the opportunity to testify on his behalf.

The state is recommending a total of 25 years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections -- 5 years to serve, day for day, for each charge. The judge may choose to sentence him up to 40 years in prison on each charge.

Arrested in June 2010, Futral originally faced six charges, but the state dismissed the sixth charge.

Futral, 46, has been free on $100,000 bail since June 2011. He is currently living in Starkville and working at a kennel, he told the judge. He does not have any minor children.

Futral was initially arrested by Jackson County Sheriff's investigators at his Pabst Road home on June 7, 2010, and charged on one count of possession of child pornography.

His police laptop and home computer were seized and sent to a county forensic expert for examination.

Futral said Friday that he downloaded the videos on his personal computer.

Futral was released from the Jackson County Adult Detention Center on June 8, 2010, on $50,000 bail.

He was arrested for a second time on June 11, 2010, after authorities said more child porn was discovered.

Following the second arrest, the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen held a special meeting and voted unanimously to terminate Futral's employment.

Sheriff Mike Byrd said he's glad the case is over, and he looks forward to seeing all of the county's other child pornography cases completed.

"These cases are very tedious, and they take a lot of time," he said. "The detectives and prosecutors who worked this did a great job."

It's especially disheartening to see a law enforcement officer commit such a crime, the sheriff said.

"Everybody in law enforcement is held to a higher standard," Byrd said. "You have to do what is right."

See Also:


UK - Ex-PCSO (Lawrence Dunn) guilty of eight sex crimes against girl

Lawrence Dunn
Original Article

10/05/2012

A former police community support officer is facing jail after being found guilty of eight sex offences involving a girl.

Lawrence Dunn, 48, of Axbridge Road, Burnham, was convicted of six counts of sexual activity with a girl under 16, and another two counts of attempted sexual activity with a girl under 16.

Dunn was a PCSO when the offences took place but resigned his position when a police investigation into his conduct began.

He was cleared of one further count of attempted sexual activity with a child under 16.

The verdicts followed a four-day trial at Taunton Crown Court this week.

In a statement, Avon and Somerset Police said: “The court heard compelling evidence at the trial which highlighted the gross abuse of his position of trust.”

Dunn had every opportunity to plead guilty following this investigation but instead put his victim through the trauma of a trial.”

It added: “We are disappointed with the actions of a man who was in a position of trust in our communities. We hope that this case sends out a stern message that any inappropriate conduct from officers within Avon and Somerset will be fully investigated.”

Dunn will be sentenced at a later date.

See Also:


CA - California opts out of U.S. sex offender listing

Original Article

10/05/2012

By DON THOMPSON

Sacramento - California is sticking with its first-in-the-nation sex offender registry instead of complying with a 2006 federal law that sought to create a seamless 50-state tracking program.

The state Department of Justice says state legislators made no attempt to meet the federal standards set by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, despite the threat of a loss in federal grant money.

Experts questioned the value of the federal law and said California’s cost of complying would far exceed the lost federal funding.

State justice officials said California stands to lose nearly $800,000 this year. The grant money previously had been used for drug enforcement but would have been diverted to sex offender management, registration and victim notification programs under the federal law. Only the state’s portion of the grant will be lost, the department said; grants to local law enforcement are unaffected.

The California Sex Offender Management Board, which advises the governor and Legislature, estimated in 2008 that it would cost the state at least $32 million to comply with the federal law, not including the cost of incarcerating offenders who failed to comply with the new federal registration regulations.

The bulk of the cost, about $25 million, would have been for local law enforcement agencies to assess and more frequently reassess offenders’ risk of committing new crimes to meet the federal requirements, the board projected.

The board, made up of law enforcement and treatment experts, also said California’s registration system was superior to that required by the federal law.

The federal law requires that an offender’s perceived risk of committing a new crime be based solely on his or her previous crime, while California relies on a range of indicators. They include the offender’s criminal history, age at the time of the offense and the type of victim. The board said the federal requirement “is far less reliable than California’s method.

The federal law also would require California to begin publicly naming many juvenile sex offenders on its Megan’s Law website, which the state board said was counterproductive. It also would have had to add several additional crimes to the list of those requiring criminals to register as sex offenders.

California should absorb the comparatively small loss of federal funds that would result from not accepting the very costly and ill-advised changes to state law and policy required by the (federal) Act,” the board said in its 2008 report.


MN - ‘He was a kid’: Former juvenile sex offenders languish in MSOP

Original Article

10/05/2012

By Paul Demko

[name withheld] could spend his whole life confined to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program for actions he committed as a juvenile. And there are more than 50 others like him inside the walls of MSOP.

On May 5, 2001, [mother name withheld] discovered her 15-year-old son, [name withheld], inside the family’s van with his 9-year-old sister. His pants were around his knees and he had a visible erection. Under questioning, he admitted that he had been sexually molesting his sister.

[name withheld] was immediately pulled out of the family home. He was eventually ruled delinquent after being charged with criminal sexual conduct in the juvenile court system and ordered to Mille Lacs Academy for sex offender treatment. He was kicked out of the program after seven months because he lacked motivation, misbehaved and argued with staff.

Over the next three years, [name withheld] cycled through juvenile treatment facilities, making little headway in various programs. His progress was stymied, in part, by symptoms from what was eventually diagnosed as Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by extreme difficulties with social interaction.

One week before his 19th birthday, he was referred by the Anoka County Attorney’s Office for civil commitment as mentally ill and dangerous, a sexual psychopathic personality and a sexually dangerous person.

During the civil court hearing to determine whether he would be involuntarily detained, other episodes of [name withheld]’s sexual misconduct were detailed. According to court documents, he admitted molesting both of his younger sisters on multiple occasions going back to when he was just eight years old. In addition, he acknowledged sexual offenses against two younger boys in his neighborhood and a years-long habit of attempting to view children urinating in public bathrooms.

In September 2005, following a two-day trial, Anoka County District Court Judge Edward Bearse ordered that [name withheld] be civilly committed. Judge Bearse was blunt in his assessment of his prospects for being rehabilitated and released. “It would be safe to predict, after evaluating Respondent’s history in other treatment programs, that Respondent may not be responsive to treatment,” Bearse wrote in his order. “It would also probably be safe to say that Respondent has a very, very minute chance of successfully graduating from the Minnesota Sex Offender’s Program, but who knows — anything is possible.”

Bearse’s order has proven prescient. Seven years later, [name withheld] remains indefinitely detained at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. He has yet to complete the initial phase of the treatment program and isn’t currently participating in therapy.

When her son was first institutionalized at age 15, [mother name withheld] viewed it with relief. Dealing with such a severely troubled child had caused tremendous stress. The family had taken extraordinary measures to try to control his behavior, including the installation of motion detectors in the house to help monitor his movements. [mother name withheld] felt like she had neglected her two daughters because of the constant attention [name withheld] required.

I was a frantic mother,” [mother name withheld] recalled. “Mostly I just wanted help for him … I wanted something, someone who might be able to diagnose him correctly, to help him correctly. That’s what we were hoping.”

Even [name withheld]’s commitment to the MSOP was initially viewed with weary resignation. “We were more worried about him hurting himself or somebody else,” [mother name withheld] recalls. “What do we do to keep him safe? Because we didn’t want him to go to prison. In the prison system, we knew that he would become a victim … We didn’t feel we had too much of a choice.”

But seven years later, [mother name withheld] and other family members are exasperated by the exceedingly bleak prospect that [name withheld], who is now 26 years old, will ever get the opportunity to live a life outside of the prison-like setting of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. They are convinced that there are less-restrictive settings where he could receive more appropriate treatment and present little threat to public safety. They also worry about how more than a decade of institutionalization has permanently altered him.

I see discouragement,” said [grandmother name withheld], [name withheld]’s grandmother. “He says, ‘You know, Grandma, there’s a guy up here who sits in a wheelchair and drools all the time, and I feel like that’s what my life is going to be.’ And that’s pretty painful to hear.”

Long festering troubles for the MSOP

Minnesota has the highest per capita rate of civilly committed sex offenders in the country. Currently there are more than 650 individuals indefinitely detained as sexual deviants who cannot control their behavior. The program’s population has more than tripled over the past nine years, since the grisly murder of Dru Sjodin by a convicted sex offender released on parole, and is expected to double again in the next decade. (See related post)

No one was released from the program during the next eight-plus years. It wasn’t until this year that the program provisionally released one offender, a 64-year-old pedophile named [name withheld], back into the community. That lack of success at rehabilitating and releasing MSOP clients has caused increasing concern in recent years that the state is walking a dangerous legal tightrope.
We in the Legislature, or by us writing law, seem to give someone that’s incarcerated in a civil commitment for sex offender actions an impression that they will get out if they can earn the cure, and we don’t have a track record of letting people out,” said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chair of the Judiciary Committee. “If that’s a false impression, a court could come to the conclusion that that’s illegal.”

The troubles attending the MSOP are well documented, most thoroughly in a critical report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor released in 2011. What’s never been explored is the disturbing number of individuals like [name withheld] who have no adult criminal convictions but are nonetheless being indefinitely detained. Currently there are 52 individuals enrolled in the MSOP who meet this description — roughly 8 percent of its entire population. These individuals are potentially facing a de facto life sentence despite never having been convicted of a crime as an adult.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders on the grounds that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The treatment of juveniles civilly committed as sexual deviants in Minnesota seems to raise similar constitutional and moral concerns.

It is an outrage,” said Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law and an expert on the civil commitment of sex offenders. “The problem with it is that we know that civil commitment is, at this stage, tantamount to life imprisonment. So these are people who, based on behavior that they exhibited as adolescents, are most likely going to be locked up for life. And that’s unconscionable.”

See Also:


Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Is That Always A Good Thing?

Original Article

10/01/2012

By Robert Krulwich

There was a time — and it wasn't that long ago — when kids would leave home on a summer morning and roam free. "I knew kids who were pushed out the door at eight in the morning," writes Bill Bryson of his childhood in the 1950s, "and not allowed back until five unless they were on fire or actively bleeding." That's what kids did. They went out. Parents let them, and everybody did it. "If you stood on any corner with a bike — any corner anywhere — more than a hundred children, many of whom you had never seen before, would appear and ask you where you were going," Bryson writes. That was then.

But it's not now. Look at what's been happening all over the developed world. The Thomas family has been living in Sheffield, a town toward the north of England, for at least four generations. When great-grandpa George Thomas turned 8 in 1919, he was allowed to walk six miles — by himself — to go fishing. But each generation after has been given less and less room to roam.

In 1950, when Jack, the grandfather, turned 8, he was allowed to go just a mile on his own to visit the woods.

In 1979, when Vicky, the mom, turned 8, she was allowed to ride her bike around the immediate neighborhood, walk by herself to school, and could visit a swimming pool on her own. Her zone of play was a half-mile wide.

And then we have the current generation, Ed.

His freedom to roam is drastically different from his great-granddad's. In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2007, Vicky said her son, then 8, was "driven the few minutes to school, is taken by car to a safe place to ride his bike and can roam no more than 300 yards from home." Basically, he stays on the block.

In fact, she says, he prefers the family yard to the street outside. "He doesn't tend to go out because the other children don't," she said.

The Thomases are not unusual. A 1990 study called "One False Move" (PDF) tracked the unsupervised play spaces of British children across generations and found the newest 8-year-olds have 1/9th the roaming territory of their parents. That's a one-generation change. Back in the 1970s, 80 percent of British 7- and 8-year-olds were allowed to go to school unsupervised. By 1990, the percentage was 10 percent.

These days in the United States, writes scholar Chelsea Benson, "children spend an average of 30 minutes per week engaged in free play outdoors." Their parents won't let them out alone. "Children do not have the time or parental permission to explore natural areas and create their own special places," she says. "Unstructured time outdoors is becoming a thing of the past."

What's happened? Back in the 1950s in Des Moines, parents must have known their kids would do stupid things, like jump off trestle bridges into filthy rivers. Bill Bryson regularly leaped into the Raccoon River, which was a watery soup of "dead fish, old tires, oil drums, algal slime, heavy metal effluents and uncategorizable goo." He describes sneaking to the top of a shopping center past "a vicious, eagle-eyed stick of a woman named Mrs. Musgrove who hated little boys," to get to a perch eight floors directly above a lobby restaurant onto which he would drop peanut M&Ms.

"A peanut M&M that falls seventy feet into a bowl of tomato soup makes one heck of a splash, I can tell you," he says.

Are modern parents trying to protect innocent soup eaters from their 8-year-olds?

No, say the studies. Parents today are afraid that their children will be hurt, bullied or even abducted close to home. And they worry longer. In Italy, reports Chelsea Benson, "71 percent of 7- to 12-year-olds are always accompanied by adults on journeys to and from school." (12-year-olds? Really?)

Are These Fears Real?

Maybe parents have good reason to fear strangers, predators or heavy traffic. Maybe they think their friends will think them irresponsible to let their kids go unsupervised. Maybe media horror stories are more horrible these days. Or more accurate.

Whatever is causing this, children don't seem to be objecting. In this, too, the Thomas family in Britain is typical. Eight-year-olds these days seem content to stay close to home, plugged in to Playstations, iPads, their phones, texting away. Richard Louv, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, worries that bugs and creepy crawly things may become more alien, more "other," if kids stay out of the woods. All over the world, children may not be getting to explore plants and animals in natural settings on their own. That's a loss, he thinks. Will they know what they're missing? In 2005, Louv asked a fourth-grader in San Diego where he liked to play, indoors or out? The kid said, "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where the electric outlets are."

See Also:


Bill Bryson's book about growing up in Des Moines can be found in his The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Chelsea Benson's graduate thesis about child play is now a book, Changing Places. Mayer Hillman, John Adams and John Whitelegg's study of how families in Britain are shrinking their unsupervised play spaces is called One False Move ... A Study of Children's Independent Mobility (PDF), from the Policy Studies Institute in London.


The News Journal’s Predatory Sensationalism On Sex Offenders Near Local Schools

George Griffin
Original Article

10/04/2012

By George Griffin

All too often, public policy and community actions are established based on gut reactions and knee-jerk responses rather than sound evidence and best practices. The alarmist Sept. 16 front page story in the News-Journal regarding sex offenders (“445 registered sex offenders live near local elementary schools”) is the type of journalism that sparks needless fear and wrong-headed actions.

As a news organization, the News-Journal cannot claim ignorance of the June double murder of two registered sex offenders. One of these was guilty of the crime of sleeping with his underage girlfriend when he was just a kid, and was now married with children. But the irrational fear of the sex offender label led to the murderer being called a hero. In light of that event, did the News-Journal find it necessary to list the names and locations of sex offenders in Volusia and Flagler County? Most disturbingly, the News-Journal implied that something must be done about this situation, yet did not produce a single example of any of the 445 registered sex offenders in the two counties doing anything to endanger the community. They are only guilty of existing in the county.

The article played into the most pervasive myths about sex offenders, such as:

Once a sex offender, always a sex offender. Not true. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, recidivism rates are as follows: “Released prisoners with the highest re-arrest rates were robbers (70.2 percent), burglars (74.0 percent), larcenists (74.6 percent), motor vehicle thieves (78.8 percent), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4 percent), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2 percent). Within three years, 2.5 percent of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2 percent of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.” Other more generic sex offense research shows a recidivism rate between 5 percent and 15 percent.

Sex offenders in the neighborhood endanger children. Sex offenses against children are tragic. But the cold hard fact (PDF) is that 80 to 90 percent these offenses are committed by a relative or an acquaintance who had a prior relationship and access to the child–not a stranger down the block.

Residency restrictions make our neighborhood safer. Empirical evidence indicates that where sex offenders live is not a significant contributing factor to reoffending. A 2008 peer-reviewed study looked at the Florida residences of sex offenders and their proximity to schools and daycare centers. The analysts studied sex offenders living 1000, 1500, and 2500 feet away, and found no correlation to sex crimes or re-offenses. The findings were similar to the results of a 2004 study by the Colorado Department of Public Safety, a study of the Jacksonville 2500 feet residency restriction, and the Iowa Department of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning. In fact, in Minnesota, an analysis of 224 repeat sex offenders led the researchers to conclude that residential restriction laws would not have prevented even one re-offense.

Sex offenders rarely encountered their victims in public locations where children congregate, and therefore policies emphasizing residential proximity to schools, parks, and other ‘child-friendly’ locations ignore the empirical reality of sexual abuse patterns,” a 2011 study concluded.

Many registered sex offenders in our community are guilty of relatively minor crimes that do not endanger children – “Romeo and Juliet” relationships, opening an email or clicking on a website with forbidden pictures, or even being seen urinating at night in public. Our “hair on fire” approach to sex offenders in general lead to travesties like the encampments here in Central Florida woods or the 70+ sex offenders who were forced to live under a bridge in Miami (YouTube).

If our true goal is to eliminate the repeat of sex offenses, we need to honestly look at the evidence. Sex offenders need stability in order to reenter society – a job, a place to live, perhaps counseling and monitoring. But residency restrictions and harassment by neighborhoods and newspapers undermines the goal. The Iowa prosecuting attorneys found that residency restriction not only did no good, they actually did harm. They resulted in a reduction in confessions and fewer plea agreements, which results in fewer convictions. Therefore, fewer sex offenders are held accountable and do not receive the treatment they need. As a result more victims are endangered. Even worse, the child victim must now endure the trauma of the trial system, reliving and retelling his experiences.

To those who disagree with the above arguments, a challenge: find one reputable study that indicates that residency restrictions on registered offenders have done any good. The News Journal owes it to their readers – all of their readers, to be more responsible in their reporting, not resorting to scare tactics that lead to irrational laws and actions.


NY - Guest column: Sex offender registry benefits are a myth

Original Article

10/03/2012

Shana Rowan is a New York-based advocate for effective laws and voice for families of sex offenders nationwide. She maintains a blog at iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com.

As a registry reform advocate and fiancée to a registered sex offender whose crime was committed as a minor, the editorial “Sex offender registry protects community” (Sept. 27) was a frustrating read.

For nearly two decades, sex offender laws have been based on emotion and anecdote rather than facts. Also absent have been considerations for the often-forgotten victims: the children and family members of registrants. The most disturbing results? Sexual crime rates that remain unchanged.

The ineffectiveness of the registry probably comes as a surprise to most. It is the goal of advocates like myself to raise awareness and remind society that while revenge-based laws may feel good, they aren’t making us or our families any safer.

Several pervasive myths have formed the political and social climate responsible for today’s sex offender laws. One is the belief that registrants have high sexual recidivism rates, which has been proven incorrect by dozens of academic, federal and state studies. (They actually have the lowest re-offense rates of all criminals except murderers.) Another is the fallacy of “stranger danger,” when in reality 90-97 percent of children are sexually abused by a family member or trusted acquaintance, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Short of a few tragic, high-profile cases, instances of children being abducted and/or abused by convicted sex offenders are actually very rare.

In their 2008 study, “Does a Watched Pot Boil?”, researchers found recidivism rates of convicted sex offenders to be indistinguishable from what they were 10 years before the registry became public. They also found that 96 percent of sex crimes were committed by those not on the registry — which means that at best, our laws target a very small number of would-be predators. While we can all agree that any re-offense is too many, it’s equally true that no law will deter someone intent on committing a crime. Instead, they negatively impact the majority of law-abiding registrants, and prevent them from becoming productive members of society.

There are over 200 crimes that can land someone on the registry, many having nothing to do with children, violence or even an actual victim. Hundreds of thousands of sex offenders are children, or were at the time of their offense. The U.S. Department of Justice found that over a third of all sex crimes committed against minors were committed by minors themselves. The laws we think are only impacting sex offenders are equally damaging and restrictive to their children and families.

Sex crime is a serious issue that cannot and should not be ignored, and effective punishment of perpetrators is necessary. Also necessary is a system that allows law-abiding former offenders to re-integrate healthily back into society, minimizes damage to their families and adequately protects the public. By allowing the majority to move on with their lives, everyone is better able to identify, track and monitor those who truly need it, and focus more on healing the survivors and preventing these crimes from happening in the first place.


WI - Weston Village Board approves sex offender ordinance

Original Article

10/03/2012

By Katie Hoffman

WESTON - Sex offenders now will have more strict regulations to adhere to when looking to make this village their home.

The Weston Village Board unanimously approved Oct. 1 an ordinance to regulate where sex offenders are allowed to live in an effort to create safety zones for children within the community.

Registered sex offenders already are required to register their addresses with police when moving into a municipality, but this ordinance will prevent offenders from living within 250 feet of specific locations, including public parks and pools, movie theaters, day care centers and athletic fields.

The ordinance also will prevent sex offenders from entering those same locations.

Village Administrator Daniel Guild said the goal of the ordinance is to stress the village’s “complete intolerance for sexual violence and assault.”

The ordinance was put into play after an incident at the Weston Aquatic Center on July 3 involving a 22-year-old man and female pool guests. The man was not a registered sex offender, and police said it was an isolated incident, but at Monday’s meeting, Police Chief Wally Sparks said sexual assault is a growing concern in many communities.

The ordinance sends a message that the Weston community is held to a higher standard,” Sparks said. “Parents and residents want to know they and their kids are living in a safe environment.”

Board member Loren White said the ordinance has been received well by the village’s Public Safety Committee and was discussed with officials at the local Department of Corrections.

This will, of course, require more work on the corrections side before clients are placed,” White said. “We aren’t intending to throw people out; we just want to raise awareness and protect the places our kids hang out.”

About 120 Wisconsin municipalities already have imposed similar restrictions, including Green Bay and Wrightstown, a village in the northeastern part of the state. Registered sex offenders currently living in Weston within 250 feet of restricted areas will be exempt.

The ordinance will go into effect after it is officially published by the village clerk. Guild estimated publishing will take place in the next two weeks.


NJ - Senate passes stiffer terms for child sex offenders

Original Article

10/05/2012

By Joelle Farrell

TRENTON - The New Jersey Senate approved a bill Thursday that would lock up certain child sex offenders for a minimum of 25 years. The measure had languished for years and drew the attention last summer of conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly.

The Jessica Lunsford Act, named for a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005, would punish those convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 with a 25-years-to-life prison sentence. The bill also would sentence anyone who harbored such an offender to a minimum of six months in jail and impose up to $10,000 in fines.

The Senate, ruled by Democrats, voted 31-0 in favor. In the Assembly, the bill remains in committee.

Sen. Diane Allen (R., Burlington) introduced the bill in 2005, but it never made it to a floor vote until this week. New Jersey is one of the few states that has not enacted some type of "Jessica" law.

"I think politics played a role, unfortunately," Allen said after the vote. "Hopefully we won't have to deal with that again. I'm happy that this was a bipartisan effort."

O'Reilly in July accused Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) of blocking a vote on the bill. He called Sweeney's inaction "cowardly."

The West Deptford ironworker went on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor in August, noting that he cosponsored the latest version of the bill. Sweeney also sponsored a 2005 bill requiring GPS tracking of convicted sex offenders, a major component of Florida's "Jessica" law.

But Sweeney acknowledged on the show that seven years was too long for the bill to sit.

During the voting session Thursday, Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D., Union), a lawyer, asked how the law would affect a 13-year-old who had consensual sex with a 12-year-old. Could the 13-year-old be sentenced to 25 years in prison?

A 13-year-old would be tried as a juvenile, Allen said, and no 13-year-old in the last five years has been tried as an adult.

Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union) voted for the bill but said he wanted to ensure that it included provisions that would prevent teenagers engaging in consensual sex from being prosecuted.

The Office of Legislative Services could not determine an exact cost, but it estimates that the bill could add as much as $6.5 million annually to the corrections budget.

Gov. Christie, a Republican, told O'Reilly that he would likely sign such a bill.

Under current law, a person convicted of such a crime would face 10 to 20 years in prison and could be released on parole after serving 81/2 years.


FL - Customs officer (Paulo Morales) sentenced 33 months after groping women at MIA

Original Article

And what do you know, another sex crime by a government official in Florida.

10/04/2012

By Ken Kaye

A former Customs and Border Protection officer who admitted groping three female passengers at Miami International Airport was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison on Thursday.

Paulo Morales, 48, of Miami, also must submit to one year of supervised release as part of the sentence, handed down in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. He has until Oct.19 to turn himself in.

Federal prosecutors said while working as a Customs and Border Protection officer on Jan. 14, 2011, Morales placed his hands under the clothing of a Guatemalan woman and "willfully touched her breasts" without her consent after she arrived on an international flight and was going through an immigration line.

He was charged with doing the same thing to a Honduran woman on Jan. 20, 2011. A week later, on Jan. 27, 2011, he was charged with touching the breast of an Israeli woman on top of her clothing without her consent.

Prosecutors said Morales had ordered the women to a private area, saying he wanted to conduct further questioning after they had been removed from the immigration line. In each case, Morales intended to "abuse, humiliate and degrade" the women, "and to arouse and gratify" his own sexual desire, prosecutors said.

Initially charged with several felony counts of abusive sexual conduct and depriving the women of their civil rights, Morales faced up to nine years in prison. But the charges were reduced to misdemeanors after he made a plea agreement.
- If you or I did this it would not be reduced to a misdemeanor!

As part of the deal, he resigned on July 23 and agreed never to seek federal employment again. He also is receiving counseling and has no criminal history.

Though he didn't speak in court on his own behalf, Morales is "deeply ashamed, deeply remorseful" and insisted on quickly pleading guilty, according to his attorney, Jude Faccidomo. Morales also apologized, via his attorney, to the victims during Thursday's hearing.

Faccidomo said the offenses were "an aberration" that all occurred within a one-month period of an otherwise respectable five-year career with Customs and Border Protection.

As U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum read the sentence, Morales covered his face with his hands. Before leaving the courtroom, he embraced his sobbing wife.

Rosenbaum said the offenses had "far-reaching consequences" because they undermined the public's confidence in an important security process. She said it was particularly disturbing because Morales used his position of authority to take advantage of the women.

Several of Morales' co-workers wrote letters of support to the court. Margarita Crompton Perez, a Customs and Border Protection officer, said she had helped train Morales.

"I found him to be extremely kind, dependable and professional and of good moral character, showing compassion for others," Perez wrote. "He always conducted himself as a proper gentleman."

Stuart Toth, a Customs and Border Protection supervisor, wrote, "When I first heard of his legal problems I was shocked. I saw no indication of the potential of that kind of behavior."


CA - Sex Offenders Sue to Overturn Simi Valley Halloween Restrictions

Original Article

Notice the parts we've highlighted about all ex-sex offenders, not just pedophiles? But the reporter (in the video) seems to think all ex-sex offenders are pedophiles, but they are not!

10/03/2012

By Melissa Pamer

The ordinance requires convicted sex offenders to display a sign that says "No candy or treats at this residence"

An attorney representing five Simi Valley sex offenders who sued the city over limits to their Halloween activities said the lawsuit will be the first of several she expects to file over such restrictions.

Lawyer Janice Bellucci heads the 18-month-old advocacy group California Reform Sex Offender Laws. On Friday, she filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Simi Valley's ordinance violates her clients' First Amendment rights.

The suit seeks a judge's order prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance in Simi Valley, which has 119 registered sex offenders, according to a city report. Bellucci is representing five unnamed sex offenders, three of their spouses and two minor children, she said.

The ordinance, adopted Sept. 10, prohibits registered sex offenders in the Ventura County city of about 125,000 from displaying Halloween decorations, answering the door to trick-or-treaters or having outside lighting after dark on Oct. 31.

Simi Valley councilman and LAPD officer Mike Judge said the law is modeled after similar Halloween laws enforced in other California cities, and is meant to protect children.
- Just because others pass laws doesn't mean it's okay, besides, how many children can you point to who have been sexually assaulted by anybody, sex offender or not, on Halloween?

"This law was generated by citizens asking the City Council to do something," Judge said. "And it didn’t seem unreasonable for the City Council to take it up."
- Well the public has been filled with disinformation and fear, so of course they are going to want the placebos.

"As far as I’m concerned, our law doesn’t go as far as other laws in the state of California and it still, in our opinion, protects our children a little bit better than not having it."
- What a crock!  All cities are passing the same restrictions on Halloween, not more.

Registered sex offenders are also required to post signs on their front doors reading, in 1-inch letters, "No candy or treats at this residence." Those offenders visible to the public on the state's Megan's Law website and convicted of a crime against a child are required to post the sign.
- Exactly, everybody, not just pedophiles.  They might as well have to post a huge sign in their front yard that says "SEX OFFENDER LIVES HERE, GO AWAY!!!"

Sixty-seven of the city's offenders are listed on the website, according to a city report; the rest are convicted of misdemeanors and don't have their names on the public list.
- So what, all ex-sex offenders still have to post the sign.

Bellucci said the sign-posting requirement was "particularly egregious."

"We consider that to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution," Bellucci said Tuesday.

The ordinance both imposes "forced speech" – the sign – and restricts speech by prohibiting Halloween celebrations, she said.

Nazi Badges
"It's similar to Jews in Nazi Germany who had to wear the yellow star on their clothing," Bellucci said.

The Simi Valley measure is part of a trend of increasing strict restrictions on the activities of convicted sex offenders who have "paid their debt to society," Bellucci said.

Her organization intends to begin filing lawsuits to challenge other statutes, she said.

The office of Simi Valley City Attorney Marjorie Baxter said the city had not been served with Bellucci's complaint, so it had no comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Baxter was quoted in the Ventura County Star, which first reported on the lawsuit, as saying: "We thoroughly researched the ordinance and I don't feel the lawsuit has any merit, and we will defend it vigorously."

At an Aug. 20 initial City Council hearing on the ordinance, a deputy city attorney told council members that "traditional trick or treat activities associated with Halloween have the potential to provide significant opportunities for sex offenders to victimize minors."
- Sure it does, but how many kids have every been sexually harmed on this day?  ZERO!  And if parents are going a long with their kids, then what is the problem?

Council members at that time expressed some concern about legal repercussions, as well as worries that residents who decide not to decorate will be thought by neighbors to be sex offenders.

The police chief told the council that he could find no records of a sex crime against a child on Halloween in Simi Valley.

Those who are convicted of violating the ordinance would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in county jail, according to a city staff report.

California residents who have been convicted of or pleaded no contest or guilty to a sex-related offense must register with local public safety authorities. Offenders are listed on the registry for life.


NC - State could lose grant money for not updating sex offender registry

Original Article

Video available at the link above.

10/04/2012

By Jeff Smith

CHARLOTTE - Eyewitness News has learned the state could lose more than $800,000 every year for not updating its sex offender database.

The state attorney general urged lawmakers Thursday to find the money to make the improvements.

A 6-year-old federal law requires states to upgrade their sex offender databases to be part of a unified, national tracking system. North Carolina hasn't even attempted to follow that law.
- No, SORNA doesn't require states to comply, they are simply guidelines.

Eyewitness News dug through documents explaining how some say becoming part of the federal sex offender database -- called SORNA -- better protects families by giving them more information about offenders in their communities.

Law enforcement sources said it would cost North Carolina $16 million to upgrade its registry software and reclassify nearly 13,000 sex offenders in the federal system.
- Exactly, it would cost more to comply with the bribery!

"At some point, when you have limited resources, you have to pick and choose and prioritize where you feel the spending is most important," said state Sen. Bob Rucho.

The SORNA database was designed to make it easier to track sex offenders across state lines, find out their places of employment and even the kinds of cars they drive.

However, 36 states have not spent the money to upgrade their sex offender registries and comply with the law. Many states said it's cheaper to lose grant money than overhaul their internet databases.

"There's a saying, 'You show me where your money is, and I'll show you where your heart is,'" said Kate Stahlman, who works with local women who've been abused and sold into sex slavery and prostitution. "Unfortunately, their heart is not with our children and not with women that are being raped and trafficked."
- Yeah, the usual attack instead of looking at the facts.  SORNA would not protect women or children and would not prevent a sex crime.

Stahlman said state lawmakers recently passed a $20-billion budget and was outraged they didn't consider finding the money to become part of the federal system.

"I guarantee if their daughter was raped or trafficked, they would find that $16 million," she said.

Rucho said North Carolina already effectively tracks sex offenders through an easy-to-use website, and there's no need to make drastic changes.
- Exactly, if it works, then don't touch it!

"It's an example of Washington deciding that they're so much smarter than the rest of us, deciding how they want it done, even though it isn't necessary for us to do," Rucho said. "We feel we have a system that is probably as good or better than what they're offering."

There are also concerns that the SORNA database goes too far and greatly expands the kinds of crimes that are considered sex offenses. It no longer affords any privacy protection to juveniles whose information and photos must be posted online.

The state Department of Justice said lawmakers haven't even drafted a bill to make the federal changes. Until they do, the state will lose $800,000 in federal law enforcement grant money every year.
- No wonder the country is going broke.  It's people like this who are causing it.  They want the state to spend over $16 million to save $800,000, that doesn't make any sense.