Monday, November 5, 2012

OH - Special Report: Loophole Allows Certain Sex Offenders to Live Near Schools

Original Article

The so called "loophole" is called the CONSTITUTION, and apparently these idiotic people and "reporters" think we should side step the founding document(s) just so they can "feel" safe?


MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Schools are supposed to be a safe haven from sex offenders. State law prevents offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care center. But a FOX 45/ABC 22 investigation found a huge loophole in the law.
- There is no law that will ever make schools or any other place 100% safe.  If you think we can legislate the problem a way, you are living in another world.  In recent years, other school kids have gone into schools and blasted a way with guns and killed many people, but do you see a registry for that?

In an effort to streamline transportation, Dayton Public Schools tightened eligibility requirements for busing. Thousands of additional students are walking to school for the first time.

"We don't let her walk," said Danielle Macky, "I don't care if she's with a group or not, she's not walking."
- So I take it you are not letting her be a kid and experience the world as it is.  My, I am glad I grew up when I did, and not in today's fearful society!

That's because she knows her daughter would be walking by the front doors of hundreds of sex offenders.
- Well, if you'd actually investigate, you'd see that the reason there are so many in that area is because of the very laws being passed.  Remove the residency restrictions and people will be free to live where they want to in the first place, not near you.

"I'm definitely going to keep her close to me," said Manday Lindal, "It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that. I did not know that at all."
- Once again proving that the registry is a waste of time and money.  Only those who live in total fear check it daily.  It's like a speed addict looking out the door constantly paranoid.

Manday's kids go to Ruskin on the east side. According to state records, 78 registered sex offenders live within a mile of the elementary school. Students must live more than a mile and a half from the school to be bused.

"They shouldn't be able to live that close to a school," Lindal continued. "Especially sex offenders with charges against children."
- Wrong, just like you, they should be able to live anywhere they please!  If you don't like your neighbors, you can always move.

"If they're child molesters, they don't need to be anywhere near kids," said Allen Wright, who also has a child at Ruskin "That's sickening."
- And I'm sure you have some skeletons in your closet as well.

But these Ruskin parents are actually the lucky ones. E.J. Brown has 101 registered offenders living within a mile of the school. John Collins lives just 528 feet away from the elementary school's front door. He is one of hundreds of sex offenders in Montgomery County that do not have to follow the law.

"One of the reasons we chose to live across the street from a school is we didn't think we had to worry about things like that," said Aleicia Eisen, who lives next door to a sex offender.

"We get a lot of calls from people wondering why they're allowed to live there," said Sgt. Julie Stephens with the Montgomery Count Sheriff's Office. "And sadly I have to explain the loophole in the law to them."
- It's not a damn loophole.  The Constitution guarantees people certain rights, and apparently you want to rid them of those rights?  Well, then your rights should be eradicated as well.

It's a loophole that's quite large. The law preventing offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school went into effect on July 31, 2003. Convicted offenders who committed the crime before that date have no housing restrictions at all.
- Yeah, that would be an unconstitutional ex post facto law.  The Constitution forbids laws like that, so the Constitution, for what it's worth these days, is still breathing a little.

[name withheld] and his wife can live across the street from Wright Brothers Elementary. He's grandfathered into the law because he was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor three years before it was died. [name withheld]'s wife says they're living here because they took over a family member's lease.

"He's just like everybody else," said [name withheld], "We're so tired of people discriminating against him. It's ridiculous people say, 'Oh he's a sex offender, you better stay away from him,' and it's not like that. Not all sex offenders are bad."

Some disagree. George Ester, who's a grandparent of a student at Cleveland PreK-8 said that's ridiculous.

"There should be no grandfather rule for sex offenders," Ester said. "A sex offender is a sex offender."
- No, that is not true.  And what would you say if the government came to you and said "sorry, you cannot live here, you have a criminal record, or we just don't want you here?"

The law was upgraded in 2007 to include preschools and day care centers. The initial law only specified "schools." That means convicted offenders who committed the crime after July 1, 2007, are restricted from living within 1,000 feet of those facilities. All other offenders are afforded a loophole.
- No, they are afforded their constitutional rights, period!

"There's not a whole lot of restrictions on sex offenders out there as much as people would believe there are," Sgt. Stephens continued.

"I'm in shock, it's sickening," added Manday Lindal, "It's not right. I don't think they should live that close to a school. It's not right. It's dangerous."
- Some may be dangerous, but not all, and if you do not like it, you are free to move!

Which is why Lindal is going home to look up sex offenders who live close to Ruskin. With more than 1,000 registered offenders in Montgomery County alone, the Sheriff's Office is hoping you do the same thing too.
- Once they look up the offenders, who are trying to get on with their lives, then what?

Effects of sex offender laws

Links from the video description:

NY - Letter: Protect children with actual facts

Original Article


The Times Union has failed its readers by posting on the social media site Pinterest the photos of convicted sex offenders in the four counties of the Capital Region. It's sex offender Halloween hysteria ("Keeping children safe on Halloween," Oct. 30).

Dr. Jill Levenson's 2009 study, "How safe are trick-or-treaters? An analysis of sex crimes on Halloween," reported that non-familial sex crimes against children on Halloween account for less than 0.2 percent of all Halloween crime incidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the biggest Halloween danger children face is being hit by a vehicle.

Halloween hysteria is rooted in the stubborn myth of high sex offender recidivism. In reality, re-offense rates are in the single digits, according to years of research. Perpetuating this false belief significantly increases the risk that the innocent children and families of former offenders will be targeted on a holiday that often involves criminal mischief.

The overwhelming majority of child victims are abused by family members or acquaintances behind closed doors in a familiar place — not stemming from three-second candy exchanges with strangers.

Furthermore, many sex offenders have not victimized children. In fact, children account for more than a third of all sex crimes committed against other minors.

This information does not take away from the suffering of sexual abuse victims. It merely provides a basis for effective safety measures.

I urge the Times Union to go forth with a renewed promise to deliver factual information. Anecdote doesn't protect children; facts do.

Sex offender registry reform advocate

ME - Gardiner, Augusta city officials consider restrictions on where sex offenders can live

Original Article


By Paul Koenig

Overly restrictive rules do more harm than good, experts claim; state law also needs consideration

GARDINER -- City councilors are considering whether to restrict where some sex offenders can live, while officials a few miles north in Augusta are already debating a similar ordinance.

The issue in Gardiner arose after residents around Lincoln Avenue expressed concern to Councilor Scott Williams about a sex offender who moved into the neighborhood in September.
- So are we going to have a debate and pass more laws any time an ex-sex offender moves into your neighborhood?

"There was a lot of outrage about it," he said.
- Just because there is outrage doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.  People in society have been outraged by a lot of other things as well, but I don't see you passing draconian laws about those issues.

Gardiner councilors meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall. In Augusta, city councilors will continue their discussion at an informational meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers at City Center.

Williams and residents in the neighborhood were surprised to learn that the city of Gardiner doesn't have any ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live.

"I believe it help keeps our kids safe in school, and I think it gives people a good sense of mind that their kids will be safe around day cares and schools," he said, regarding residential restrictions.
- Well that is a false sense of security.  If someone is so dangerous, and is intent on committing a crime, do you think just because they cannot live near one of these places that it will prevent them from committing a crime?  It only exiles people, making it almost impossible to find a home or job.

Maine law says municipalities may prohibit sex offenders convicted of Class A, B or C crimes committed against minors younger than 14 years of age from living with 750 feet a public or private elementary, middle or high school or a municipally owned property where children are the primary users.

Williams said he's seeking to establish an ordinance similar to the town of Oakland's residential restriction ordinance, which prohibits sex offenders from living with 750 feet of a school that provides services to 25 or more students under the age of 14 years, or any licensed day care that is clearly marked with at least one sign.

But Maine's law doesn't specifically allow for residential restrictions around day cares.

Oakland Town Manager Peter Nielsen said he wasn't aware of the discrepancy and that the town intended to be in sync with the Maine law when they amended the ordinance in 2009, after the state passed its law.

"We certainly don't want to be outside of state law," he said.

Williams also said he wasn't aware that day cares can't be included in restrictions of sex offenders' residences.

The Legislature passed the law dictating what restrictions municipalities could enact in 2009, in response to communities enacting overly strict residential restrictions for sex offenders, said state Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, who cosponsored the bill. Gerzofsky said the original bill he supported didn't allow municipalities to restrict where sex offenders can live, but the 750-foot maximum distance in the final law was a compromise.

The city of Westbrook had an ordinance on the books banning any sex offenders whose crime was committed against a minor from living or working within 2,500 feet of any school, day care, park or recreation area frequented by minors. City councilors grudgingly amended the ordinance in 2009 to comply with state law, according to a Portland Press Herald story at the time.

Restrictions questioned

Opponents of residential restrictions for sex offenders say they can have the opposite effect on well-intentioned towns looking to keep children safe.

MO - Sex offender registry too far-reaching, some say

Sheriff John Jordan
Original Article


By Scott Moyers

As a newly elected sheriff in 1995, John Jordan liked the idea that was then in its infancy -- a public registry of the "worst of the worst" sex offenders. By Jordan's estimation, such a public listing of convicted rapists, child molesters and perpetrators of other violent sexual offenses could only help potential victims and their families stand guard against attack of what seemed to be a growing number of would-be predators.

In the years since, however, Jordan says he has watched as the list has been bloated by perhaps well-meaning lawmakers who continue to expand the registry to include some who, while technically lawbreakers, don't belong among the state's harshest sex offenders.

"There are so many people who get on the list anymore, it's hard to see who the real predators are," Jordan said. "When you look at these laws, it's something to be concerned with. There are people who definitely deserve to be on these lists and those who probably don't need to be there."

That's why this spring, Jordan, now nearly two decades on the job, stood in front of Missouri legislators who were considering a bill to drastically cut back on the state's offender registry rolls. In what he described as an informational discussion, he presented testimony to House members who were about to vote.

As proposed, the legislation would eliminate mandatory registration for some offenses, such as promoting obscenity, as well as outline a course for some offenders to have their names removed from the list early based on the severity of the crime. Missouri has more than 13,000 people on its sex offender registry, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, with crimes running the gamut from rape to consensual sex with minors.

The House, as it did in 2010, again passed the bill by a wide margin largely with bipartisan support. But the bill, as before, stalled in the Senate. This year's rejection, however, came with a concession -- the creation of the Joint Committee on the Missouri Criminal Code charged with making recommendations on which of the offenses that require registration should be removed. The law directs the committee to "evaluate removal of offenses from the sexual offender registry which do not jeopardize public safety or do not contribute to the public's assessment of risk associated with offenders."

The committee is to present recommendations to Missouri lawmakers by the end of the year.

With the committee already holding hearings to gauge public sentiment, some locally welcomed the news that the laws could soon be changed.

"When you have that many offenses, the list becomes meaningless," said Gordon Glaus, a Cape Girardeau defense lawyer who has represented a number of accused sex offenders. "It's gone overboard. But these are popular laws for legislators to run on. The alleged evil sex offender is a great punching bag for politicians."

Attorney Morley Swingle
Any future bill, as last year's did, would also likely allow for sex offenders to petition the court to remove their name from the registry after 10 years for most offenses and 20 years for cases that are more severe. Nearly all of the supporters of scaling back the registry agree that any offenders who are a danger to children should stay on the list.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle, whose office works daily to prosecute such offenders, thinks that the laws have already been fine tuned.

"The legislators have gone back and forth and tinkered with it every way they could," Swingle said. "What we're left with is a law that is working pretty much the way it was intended."