Thursday, October 11, 2012

CA - Hey Tony Rackauckas, no park ban will prevent a criminal from committing a crime

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Ban has been shot down (for now)

Tony Rackauckas is going around to all counties in California pushing his park ban on ex-sex offenders, but he doesn't tell you that no park ban will EVER prevent anything he talks about, he talks about one situation where an offender cut off his GPS device and ran, but he never entered a park, and nothing happened! In our opinion, he's only doing this to help himself look good, and is probably thinking about running for higher office, in the future.

His bad example starts at 3:12


CA - Victory in California!

Posted elsewhere. See the link below for videos on the hearing and more info.

Dear Registrants,

Family Members and Supporters - California RSOL scored another success in Anaheim last night when the City Council decided not to pass a proposed ordinance that would ban all registrants from the city's 50 parks.

This decision was made after 7 people from California RSOL who spoke in opposition to the ordinance. It was also made after presentations by the Orange County DA, deputy DA and mother of Samantha Runnion.

The City Council debated the issue for about an hour during which one member of the council stated clearly that she does not want to punish registrants. In addition, the Chief of Police stated that he believes the ordinance would be ineffective and would create potential legal liability for the city.

This was AMAZING! A video of the relevant parts of the city council meeting can be found online at www.californiarsol.org.

Please join us next week for the City Council meeting in Fountain Valley -- Tuesday, October 16. It's time to Show Up, Stand Up and Speak Up!


MA - City Council to Consider Local Sex Offender Law

Ted Bettencourt
Original Article

10/11/2012

By John Castelluccio

The proposal from the mayor's office would create "child safety zones," such as at city parks and schools, where child sex offenders would not be allowed unless their presence was required for certain occasions -- as a parent, for example.

Four months after first revealing he was pursuing a new local law for convicted sex offenders, Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s proposal for child safety zones will be heard by the City Council Thursday night.

Bettencourt submitted a draft form of the proposal to the council on Oct. 4, and if approved, would in fact be an amendment to existing city codes.

The proposal targets “child sex offenders” and “child safety zones.” The goal of the law is to make it “unlawful for a child sex offender to be present in any child safety zone,” reads the draft language.
- We have not read the bill he's proposing, but we are willing to bet it affects all ex-sex offenders, not just those who have harmed children.

There is no state law in Massachusetts or in most other states restricting the activities of convicted sex offenders -- neither do most cities and towns have such local laws. Such restrictions are typically dealt with in court by a judge as part of sentencing.

Bettencourt says his greatest concern here is for the "health and safety" of the city's children.
- Yeah right.  If that were true, then he'd also put all other criminals who harm children on an online shaming registry, a long with similar residency laws.

He expects a legal challenge will be forthcoming from the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union, which has appealed many other communities' attempts to enact local laws, arguing the restrictions infringe on individual rights.

"If they [the ACLU] challenge it, they challenge it," Bettencourt said in a previous interview.

Creating safety zones and other definitions

Child safety zones, as outlined in the proposed ordinance, include parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, libraries, schools, daycares, youth centers, video arcades, bathing beaches, swimming pools, gyms, sports fields or sports facilities, along with parking areas and land adjacent to those locations and school or camp bus stops under the city’s jurisdiction or leased by the city for recreational purposes.
- Why don't you just say they cannot live in the state?

The ordinance differs from proposals in other Massachusetts communities – most notably in Lynn – by not containing language specifying where a child sex offender can live in the city or any measurable proximity to the locations above, as long as it’s not next-door.

Child sex offenders would be those Level 2 or 3 offenders whose victims were children under 16, but also include anyone who has not been classified yet by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board and who was also convicted of such charges as indecent assault and battery of a child, forced rape of a child, assault with intent to commit rape, kidnapping a child, prostitution of a child, child pornography, etc.

The scope likewise includes those deemed sexually dangerous by the courts and whose victim was a child.

Sex offenders are classified by the board as Level 1, 2 or 3, with the last being for the most serious offenses. Current state law requires Level 2 and 3 offenders to register with the police and those individuals' names, addresses and pictures are then made available to the public.

There are currently 12 registered Level 3 offenders in Peabody.

Some exceptions to the rule

The proposed law does allow for several exceptions to the local prohibition, such as granting an exemption to anyone whose name has been removed from the state registry or other state system where offenses occurred, or who has been reclassified down to a Level 1 offender.

Affected individuals would still be able to attend religious services, but only during hours of worship or programs open to the public and would have to abstain from any religious education programs involving anyone under 18.

Where a child sex offender’s own child is concerned, he or she would be allowed in cases where his or her presence as a parent was required, and only during the specific hours of whatever the activity was. In instances, where the person was a student at a school, his or her presence would be allowed only during required school hours or activities.

Offenders would also be allowed to vote in their normal precincts, and then finally, they would be able to visit a courthouse, City Hall or other government office to transact business, or attend a public meeting, but then vacate the premises immediately afterward.

Enforcement and fines

All child sex offenders in the city would be notified of the new rules by the Police Department, although failure to receive written notice could not be used as a defense for violation of the law. A map of child safety zones would be on file with the Community Development Department, police and the City Clerk’s office, as well as posted at all public buildings and on the city’s website.

Enforcement would rest with the police and allow for fines in addition to criminal charges, if offenders refuse to comply with police orders to vacate the premises. A first violation would carry a fine up to $150 and succeeding violations would be up to $300 each.

The City Council's Legal Affairs Subcommittee, which is chaired by Anne Manning-Martin, is scheduled to review the proposal Thursday, starting at 6:30 p.m. in Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall. Depending on the outcome there, the full council may take a vote later in the evening to adopt the new ordinance.


MN - Sex offender civil commitment task force holds first meeting

Original Article

10/11/2012

By Paul Demko

The court-mandated Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force held its initial meeting on Thursday morning at the State Office Building. Former Chief Justice Eric Magnuson is chairing the 20-member panel, which resulted from a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the terms of confinement for more more than 650 individuals indefinitely committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

The task force is charged with submitting its initial findings by December 3. Specifically a court order directed it to come up with recommendations for “less restrictive alternatives” to civil commitment.

Magnuson pointed out that the deadline is rapidly approaching and that it may be necessary to ask the court for additional time. “If there is change on the horizon, the court might not feel compelled to act,” Magnuson said, of the threat of further judicial intervention. “We’re going to do something. We’re going to come up with some recommendations.”

Minnesota has the highest level of civilly committed sex offenders in the country. Only one individual has been provisionally discharged in roughly two decades. Last week PIM published an in-depth article about the fact that 52 of those individuals have no adult criminal convictions. They were referred for civil commitment after aging out of the juvenile justice system.
- Like we've said before, civil commitment is just prison outside of prison, another place to put them and forget about them, and this state is proving that.

DFL state Rep. Tina Liebling, of Rochester, one of four legislators on the panel, underscored the need for changes in the MSOP. “The reason we’re all here is because a federal judge is holding a stick over us,” Liebling said. “I think the public really needs to understand that.”
- I don't think it's the judge who is "holding the stick" but the Constitution, which he is just obeying, from what I understand.


CT - Montville ordinances create sex-offender-free zones

Original Article

10/11/2012

By Jeffrey A. Johnson

Supporters say new rules would keep seniors, children in town safe

Montville - The executive director of a leading civil rights advocacy group on Wednesday harshly criticized two ordinances the town has adopted that place restrictions on where registered sex offenders are allowed in town.

The two ordinances create so-called child and senior safety zones. Marked by signs, these zones are designed to keep registered sex offenders from town-owned and town-leased property such as the senior center, senior buses, parks, playgrounds, beaches and sports fields.
- Ex-offenders have just as much a right to be at parks, playgrounds, beaches and the other places as you do.

Some town councilors have argued the safety zones put registered sex offenders on notice that they're being watched by the town.

Andrew Schneider, executive director of the state American Civil Liberties Union, said Wednesday the restrictions are ineffective because they do not focus on offenders who are a threat. He also sees no evidence to support the town's belief that its seniors are targets of sex crimes.

"There's no rationale behind any of this. It tramples on basic fundamental rights," Schneider said. "It seems to be this sort of baseless fear."

The safety zones first were proposed as the town fought the state's plan to open a residential sex-offender treatment facility on the grounds of the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. The 24-bed January Center opened Feb. 14.

The ordinances allow the town to issue a $99 fine to a sex offender who is found in either a child or senior safety zone. A police officer would determine the person is a sex offender by asking for a name, address and phone number.

Schneider said the restrictions unfairly lump all sex offenders together and could serve to banish people from town who already have paid for their crimes.

He also pointed to studies in the last decade that have shown that in many cases, there is a relatively low risk of sex offenders committing sex crimes once they are released from prison. He went on to argue that these zones could further stigmatize and isolate offenders.

Town Councilor Billy Caron said Wednesday he understood many of Schneider's points. But he said it is more important to consider the safety of the town's children and seniors above those convicted of sex crimes.
- If that is the case, then we should ban all adults from having kids, since most sexual crimes are by someone the victim knows, and what about all other ex-felons who have harmed children?

"The seniors and the children of the town deserve to have as much protection as we can give them from these sex offenders," Caron said. "These are not only child safety zones and senior safety zones - these are comfort zones. This is part of our job to protect our citizens."

Both zones would have no effect on private property, such as the Hillcrest senior retirement community, Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. said. Exceptions also exist for sex offenders who wish to enter a municipal building or school to vote in an election, pick up a child or family member or have a parent-teacher conference.

Councilor Dana McFee has been a staunch critic of both the child and senior safety zones. He called them "feel-good" ordinances that are unenforceable and a waste of time.

Councilor Rosetta Jones, a former warden in the state Department of Correction, said at a council meeting last month that it will be difficult to identify sex offenders in the community because they blend in. She said she would rather see the town focus its efforts on the issue elsewhere.

"I think the resources would be better spent if we were to provide education and public programs and conversations with parents and students about how to keep them safe," Jones said. "That would be a lot more effective."
- Amen!

William Anselmo, a chief probation specialist with the state, said Wednesday that it is standard for the state to restrict where certain sex offenders on probation are allowed to go. For instance, a person convicted of a sex crime against a minor would be restricted from being in the presence of children and would not be allowed to loiter at school yards.
- Just because it's standard doesn't mean it's right, and these restrictions apply to all ex-sex offenders, in most cases, not just those who have harmed a child.

Anselmo said his office works on "action plans" for sex offenders who wish to change a daily routine. If the offender were to visit a senior center to drop off a family member, Anselmo said, the state would ask a number of questions about what exactly would take place. He said it's a good possibility a probation officer would inform the center of the visit beforehand.

The Town Council passed the ordinance creating child safety zones on Sept. 10; it went into effect Wednesday. Wednesday night, the council passed the senior safety zone ordinance by a 4-2 vote, and it will go into effect in 30 days. Jones, who cast a dissenting vote, argued to postpone the vote so that language in the ordinance could be revised.

A map of both zones will be made available at the mayor's office and the town police station. The ordinance says that McDaniel or the resident state trooper will provide written notice of the safety zones to registered sex offenders.

Schneider said the ACLU has worked to prevent similar restrictions and laws in other places, including Greenwich, where child safety zones precluding sex offenders were proposed two years ago.

"I think the bottom line is, these fears are unwarranted," Schneider said. "There seems to be nothing real that is driving this."

See Also:


AL - Sexual predators and your children on Instagram

Original Article

Come on, this hysteria is just insane! A criminal will always find ways to commit crimes, no matter what web site you pick on. We should be educating kids on Internet safety and safety in general, not spreading panic around! Online identity thieves also target kids, the elderly and adults, but you don't hear shocking news articles with scary titles on them, or what about all the other criminals out there who will exploit anybody to commit a crime? They also failed to mention the fact that many photos add info to photos that say where it was taken, so if you took the photo at home, someone could see that info and find exactly where you live. It's called Geotagging.

10/10/2012

By Diana Crawford

MADISON (WAFF) - Instagram has become a popular way to post pictures online, but what happens when those photos fall into the wrong hands?

DeLisa Locke and her 12-year-old daughter, Kassidy, are spending their evening combing through a popular photo-sharing app known as Instagram.

They're going down the list of Kassidy's "followers," one-by-one, checking to make sure she actually knows them.

That's because up until now, there was at least one person "following" her photos that she didn't know.

"Kassidy had taken a few pictures of herself and was posting them on Instagram. I happened to notice someone that commented on her picture that kind of threw a red flag," said Locke.

The comment said "pretty eyes," and the man who wrote it is at least twice her age.

As Locke continued to look through the photos, she realized this wasn't the first time he tried to reach out to her daughter.

"It made me sick, and it scared me because then I realized how dangerous this situation was," explained Locke.

Locke decided to do some digging to find out who this man is, and what she found, she didn't like.

He was "following" many other pre-teen girls on Instagram, as well as several pornography-type profiles, including one called "Jail bait."

"That's where I realized if your Instagram isn't on private, they can upload your pictures to those jail bait sites and then make comments about those girls," said Locke.

Fortunately, this didn't happen to Kassidy, but it easily could have.

Madison Police said this is a growing problem.

"20-something-year-olds and 30-something-year-olds have no business making friends with 12 and 13-year-olds," added Sgt. Drew Westrope.

This can be easily prevented.

Police say to monitor your kids on all social media sites and apps, know what they are posting and who can see it.

"Get their phones and go through them. You are the parent, and you have the right to do so," said Westrope.

As for DeLisa and Kassidy, they've blocked that potential predator from her profile and turned on the privacy settings to make sure only people she knows can see her photos.

Police have also gotten involved in this case. They are currently working to track down this man. They don't think he lives in the area.


Sex Crimes on Halloween (Jill Levenson)

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