Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TN - Sex Offender Results in New Library Policy

Come on, it's very simple to purchase some parental control software to block those types of sites. And the library could do that, if they really wanted to.

NY - Laura Ahearn - "Sex Offenders That Are Complying With Registration Have Lower Rates of Recidivism"

Sex offenders in general already have a low recidivism rate, if you'd look at the facts instead of believing what you think is right.

Video Description:
Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of Parents for Megan's Law, talks to Richard French about the new sweeping sex offender law that has been passed in Suffolk County, New York.

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IN - Scaled-back sex offender bill heads to Ind. Senate

Original Article



INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers rushed Tuesday to narrow the scope of a court-overturned ban on social networking for sex offenders, but it wasn’t clear whether the reworked proposal would be able to withstand future legal challenges over free-speech rights.

The bill the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law unanimously sent to the Senate floor Tuesday rewrites a complete ban dating from 2008 that was overturned by a federal court on Jan. 23. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the old law was too broad and violated freedom of speech.

Two Republican legislators rewrote the ban earlier this session, but critics said it would still virtually ban offenders from using social media, even if they don’t try to directly contact children and their past crimes had nothing to do with the Internet. The amended version approved Tuesday applies only to offenders convicted of child-related sex crimes who knowingly use social networks, instant messaging or chat rooms to communicate with children below age 16.

It’s much narrower now than it was,” said Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, the bill’s sponsor.

But Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council, said he still wasn’t sure the bill was narrow enough. For one thing, the bill would penalize offenders who have already finished their time in prison and on probation.

You’re presuming that a person who’s been convicted of the offense 20 years ago could not possibly be rehabilitated over it and have a legitimate conversation with somebody below the age of 16,” Landis said. “You can meet them face-to-face privately and have a conversation if you want, but you can’t do it remotely.”

Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences, controlling where many live and work and requiring them to register with police. But those laws don’t deal with free speech, Landis said.

MA - Ayer selectman: Vets group showed 'social cowardice' toward sex offender

Original Article


By Mary E. Arata

AYER - Selectman Frank Maxant publicly tore up a letter of appreciation from Ayer-Shirley American Legion Post 139 on Tuesday night in protest of what he said is mistreatment of a veteran who is a registered sex offender.

Maxant said the post denied his friend and former neighbor, [name withheld], club membership. [name withheld]  a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is a Level 3 sex offender who used to live aside Maxant in the 14 Williams St. boarding house owned by Hugh Ernisee.

"Approximately four years ago, a veteran, comrade in arms honorably discharged from our United States Marine Corps moved to Ayer and nearly immediately came under attack by vicious lies and false rumors about his past," said Maxant, a U.S. Navy veteran. "When he approached his fellow veterans of Post 139, instead of talking with [name withheld] to learn the truth of his life, our United States military veterans surrendered to public opinion and increased Mr. [name withheld]'s misery and isolation by refusing to allow him to join their post."

Maxant concluded his speech by saying, "I appreciate the gesture but I will not accept any recognition from an organization which has displayed such social cowardice and turned their backs on a veteran in need."

The certificates were signed by Post Commander Betty Ann Matozel and Memorial Day Parade Chairman Tom Brown, and sent in appreciation of board members marching in the town's Memorial Day Parade on May 26.

Maxant ripped the certificate into fourths and let them fall to the floor, to the gasps of the audience. The torn certificate remained on the floor for the entire 2 1/2-hour meeting.

Selectmen Chairman James Fay paraphrased from the famous biography called the "Friends of Voltaire" which reads "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Whether Maxant's charges were accurate or not were not clear. No officers of the American Legion Post 139 present at the meeting to answer Maxant's claims.

After the meeting, Maxant threw the pieces of the certificate into the recycling bin in the selectmen's office. He said he'd spoken with [name withheld] earlier in the day and that [name withheld] was now living in an artist colony in the South.

[name withheld] is no longer registered on the state's online registry maintained by the Sex Offender Registry Board.

VT - Vermont unveils new sex offender registry and database

Original Article


By Lauren Victory

WATERBURY - Some 1,485 active registered sex offenders live in Vermont. There are 12 in Essex Junction, a number that doesn't surprise some residents.

"No, I think that's probably, for this area, reasonable," said Mary Lynn, who lives in Essex Junction.

But now Bruce Parizo at the Vermont Crime Information Center says the public can learn more about sex offenders living nearby -- information like where they were arrested and about his or her crime are available on a new Vermont sex offender registry website.

"Our goal is to get the information out to the public so they have the most accurate and complete data in a timely fashion so we can in fact ensure their safety within the scope of what we do," said Parizo, who works as the VCIC's deputy director.

The new system, called Offender Watch, brings Vermont in line with at least 34 other states when it comes to tracking sex offenders.

One new feature: The ability to get email notifications when a sex offender moves into town. The problem is for people living on a town line. Parizo said they might not get an alert if a sex offender moves into the neighboring town.

Still, at least some people think it's a great idea.

"That would be quite valuable, particularly for people with families and kids or women living alone," said Lynn.

Parizo said the system is even outfitted to track offenders within a specified radius, though Vermont law does not allow it. That feature is not currently activated.

"We're hoping as time progresses and the Legislature develops some confidence in the data, that they will then move forward in allowing the publication of actual addresses on offenders," he said.
- And thus opening them, their families and children' lives to potential danger from vigilantes.

NY - The Folly of Residence Restrictions for Sex Offenders

Original Article


By Jacob Sullum

The New York Times reports that 40 or so sex offenders in Long Island's Suffolk County live in two government-supplied trailers, one of them located in the parking lot of a prison, largely because residence restrictions make it almost impossible for them to find a legal home after they are released:

In New York State, laws prohibit sex offenders on parole or whose victims were younger than 18 from residing within 1,000 feet of schools or other child care facilities. In 2006, Suffolk [County] passed a law extending the distance for all sex offenders to a quarter mile. Southampton [a Suffolk County beach town] later stretched that to up to a mile.

As I explained in a 2011 Reason article about sex offenders, there are several problems with such rules:

There is no evidence that residence restrictions prevent crime and little reason to think they would. Sex offenders are free to move around over the course of a day, and residence restrictions do not even notionally prevent them from finding victims more than 1,000 feet, a quarter mile, or a mile from their homes. Furthermore, data from the Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey indicate that more than 90 percent of sexually abused minors are assaulted by relatives or acquaintances, not by strangers who happen to live near a playground or school.

Residence restrictions are indiscriminate. The rules are supposed to be aimed at people who pose a special threat to children. Yet New York's law applies to all sex offenders on parole, whether or not their crimes involved minors. Even a sex offense involving a minor, which triggers lifelong residence restrictions under New York's law, does not necessarily mark someone as a menace to children. An 18-year-old who had consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend, for instance, is not exactly a child molester. The same might be true, depending on the details, of the Southampton trailer dweller who was convicted of "disseminating pornography among minors."

Residence restrictions promote recidivism. By effectively banishing sex offenders from most (sometimes nearly all) of a city or county and forcing them to live together in trailers, in cheap motels, in campgrounds, or under bridges, often far from therapy and employment opportunities, the restrictions impede reintegration and rehabilitation, making new crimes more likely. They also undermine the registration systems championed by the same people who support residence restrictions, since it is hard to keep tabs on homeless sex offenders.

Even some advocates of residence restrictions concede they have gone too far:

"When you propose a law restricting sex offenders to 1,000 feet from any bus stop, that's just not going to work," said Laura A. Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center, who lives on Long Island. "You have to be reasonable."

Since their costs are clear and their benefits are unproven at best, it is hard to see how any residence restrictions count as reasonable. All they seem to offer is emotional satisfaction and a false sense of security.

TX - DPS: Registered sex offenders are at most universities, but ZERO sex crimes, how shocking!

Original Article

And you will notice, not a single ex-sex offender has committed another sex related crime, on or off campus. See the "spooky and scary" fear-mongering video at the link above.


By Joel Eisenbaum

HOUSTON - One in four female college students are victims of sexual assault, according to data provided by The Houston Area Women's Center.

More than 90 percent of those victims are raped by someone they know, but that still leaves hundreds of other young women every year who are sexually assaulted by strangers.

It happened to Larisa, 19, at the University of Texas in Austin last year.

"He was like, 'It's unsafe for you to be out at night. I can just give you a ride,'" Larisa said.
- So why would you accept a ride from a stranger, and aren't you taught to walk in groups?

The life-changing experience that followed has prompted some to ask whether students are generally at risk with the presence of convicted sex offenders on campus.
- You will notice they do not say if any of these ex-sex offenders have been convicted of any new sex crimes, so that tells me that people are NOT at risk, they are just freaked out because of media hysteria like this story.

Local 2 Investigates discovered that almost every campus, big and small, across the Lone Star state has registered sex offenders as students and employees, according to data collected from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The DPS website breaks down sex offender information by campus.
- So if they have the number of ex-offenders at the schools, then surely they also have the number of additional sex crimes committed, which I assume is ZERO, since they are not talking about that, but that is not good for them, it shows their hysteria for what it is, hysteria!

The University of Houston's main campus topped the list for the number of registered sex offenders of major schools in Texas, with 9, according to the state.

DPS disclaims the information the agency provides on the website as having the possibility of being out-of-date and inaccurate.

University of Houston officials said the numbers on the state website are grossly inflated. Executive Director of UH Media Relations sent the following statement.

"We are committed to doing our utmost to maintain the overall safety and security of our campus."

"The University of Houston complies fully with the Federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requiring institutions of higher education to advise the campus community of where law enforcement agency information about registered sex offenders in the state can be obtained. According to our enrollment and employee records, the information provided to us by KPRC indicating the number of registered sex offenders on the UH campus is inflated and inaccurate."

"While it is an important resource of benefit to the public, it is worth noting that the website housing the Texas Sex Offender Database states that the Department of Public Safety 'cannot guarantee the records obtained through this site relate to the person about whom information is sought. Searches based on names, dates of birth, or other alphanumeric identifiers are not always accurate. The only way to positively link an individual to a specific sex offender record is though fingerprint verification... Extreme care should be exercised in using any information obtained from this website. Neither DPS nor the State of Texas shall be responsible for any errors or omissions produced by secondary dissemination of this information.'"

Two universities KPRC Local 2 surveyed had no registered sex offenders affiliated with the school -- Rice University and The University of St. Thomas.

Although a subject of much debate, it is generally accepted that public universities have less latitude than private universities in limiting sex offenders from campuses.

Perhaps, more importantly, there does not appear to be a direct correlation between the number of registered sex offenders on campus and the number of incidents of sexual assault.

"The vast majority of perpetrators of sexual assault on any campus are going to be somebody the survivor knows. It is a very rarely a registered sex offender," said Dr. Jane Morgan Bost, associate director for Prevention and Outreach Services at the University of Texas Austin.

AL - Community concerned over sex offenders living at a church

Original Article

This is exactly what happens when you have residency laws. If you do not like this clustering of ex-offenders, then repeal the residency restrictions, then the ex-offenders can live in their original addresses.


By Clare Huddleston

CHILTON COUNTY (WBRC) - Triumph Church on County Road 374 looks like many churches in Chilton County. It has a cross above the door, an inspirational message on the sign out front, but it has also become home to 36 sex offenders.

"I don't like them living that close to me because my wife works in the yard a lot and they walk up and down the road all the time," explained Gordon "Duck" Burkhalter.

Burkhalter says Triumph Church popped up a few years ago. He does not mind the ministry, but he does not think it needs to be in a group setting and he does not like their living conditions.

"They got 4, 5, 6 trailers with 3-4 people in each trailer as far as I know," said Burkhalter.

As more sex offenders started moving into the trailers behind Triumph Church, it caught the eye of Chilton County Chief Deputy District Attorney, CJ Robinson.

"When somebody is released from the Department of Corrections and they are a registered sex offender, the DA get an info packet from the department of corrections and it lists the address, names, and info about the offense," said Robinson.

Since August 2010:
  • 36 sex offenders have listed Triumph Church as their address once they got out of prison.
  • 29 of them committed their crime against children; the youngest victim was 4 years old.
  • 13 cases involved some form of child molestation.

Another concerning stat for Robinson, these convicted criminals don't appear to have any ties to Chilton County. "Only one committed their crime in Chilton county," said Robinson, "That offense was a misdemeanor, it was a non-jail sentence, it was a probationary sentence."

"It's a scary thought," said State Representative Kurt Wallace, "I wouldn't have a problem with us taking care of our own but don't send me your problem children."
- These are not children!

Wallace isn't happy these sex offenders are moving into his district. He has pre-filed House Bill 85 for the 2013 legislation session. The bill states two sex offenders must live 500 feet apart from each other; they can't live under the same roof unless they are related or in a state-approved facility.

At this time there is no treatment center for sex offenders and if Wallace's bill passes it could severely limit where sex offenders can live.
- And thus create more problems!

Wallace said, "The biggest concern that people have is where are they gonna go? I don't know. I would suggest they go back to their families and I know where I don't want them to go. I don't want them in my neighborhood."
- Then repeal the residency laws, which do not work, instead of passing more knee-jerk laws, and which only create clusters of offenders in other areas of town, like you are seeing now.

Ricky Martin who runs Triumph Church declined to talk to Fox 6 News on camera. However, last year he told our sister station in Montgomery, WSFA, that all of the sex offenders who have come through his church have left as success stories.

Martin confirmed to Fox 6 News he's against Wallace's bill and he believes his ministry is helping. One sex offender agrees.

"He has helped us out," said [name withheld][name withheld] was convicted of first degree sexual abuse of a 9-year-old female. He moved to Triumph Church from Barbour County.

Robinson confirms the sex offenders like [name withheld], who have moved to Triumph Church, have not committed another sex crime that he's prosecuted. Still he thinks in this case it's better to be proactive than reactive.

"If we wait until there is a child that has been victimized we've waited too late," said Robinson.

ID - House to Debate Doubling Sex Offender (Extortion) Fee to Support Electronic Registry

Original Article


BOISE — An Idaho House committee has agreed to introduce a bill that would double the fees charged to sex offenders to help pay for a statewide electronic registry.

The bill pushed by the Idaho Sheriff's Association was introduced Tuesday in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee.

Some of Idaho's biggest counties — including Ada, Canyon and Kootenai — are already plugged into an electronic network tracking addresses and movement of sex offenders on probation or parole. But many smaller counties still track and exchange sex offender movement on paper.

Sheriff's Association lobbyist Michael Kane says doubling the $40 annual fee offenders now pay would raise about $150,000.

The money would be enough to bring all Idaho counties online and link Idaho's network into a similar database shared by 35 other states.

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MS - Lawmaker wants tracking devices on certain sex offenders

Original Article


By Mike McDaniel

JACKSON (Mississippi News Now) - When Becky Macon's sister, Lenora Edhegard was murdered inside her home last fall, little did she know at the time, the murderer lived right next door.

"He had been there two or three months and didn't present any kind of threat," said Macon.

The man who has now confessed to the crime is [name withheld], a convicted sex offender, who, by law, was registered at an address in Hinds County. The problem is, he was living next door to Edhegard in Rankin County.

"What this brought to light was that there are major problems with the enforcement of our sex offender registry and with our notification system," said Senator Will Longwitz, a republican from Madison.

Longwitz is now behind a piece of legislation to make some changes. Known as Lenora's Law, the bill went before and passed through a senate committee Tuesday morning. If it becomes law, any sex offender who is convicted of not complying with the state's sex offender registry law, will be tracked with a GPS device.

"What we are simply trying to do with this bill is add modern technology to achieve the original purposes of our sex offender registry," said Longwitz.

Currently sex offenders are required to register every 90 days and if convicted of non-compliance, could be sentenced up to five years in prison, typically spending even less time actually behind bars. That's just what happened in the case of [name withheld]  Longwitz says the remainder of that sentence spent out of prison should be attached to an electronic lease.

"If you can't follow the sex offender registry law, then you need to be monitored," said Longwitz.

Although a reactive effort, Longwitz says Lenora's Law will be the foundation for better laws to prevent future crimes. For Edhegard's family, it's a small piece of mind for immeasurable loss.

"This may not have happened to our sister had this law been in place," said Macon.

Those tracking devices are expected to cost about $10 a day and the cost is set to be paid by the offenders. If the offenders can't pay, the state would have to pick up the tab. If signed by the governor, the law wouldn't be in effect until 2015.