Monday, February 11, 2013

WI - Proposal would restrict sex offender placement in Racine

Original Article



RACINE — After a sex offender was nearly relocated within blocks of a former victim’s West Racine residence, an alderman is proposing changes that would restrict where sex offenders can live in the city.

In designating a residence for released sexual offenders, the state Department of Health Services is required to vet potential locations for proximity to possible victims (schools, public pools and parks, for example).

The trouble that arises for communities is that the state has no hard and fast rules that dictate exactly how close a convicted sex offender can live to schools, churches and other places children might gather. To help give the city some control over where sex offenders can be placed in Racine, 12th District Alderman Molly Hall is working with City Attorney Rob Weber on a proposed ordinance that limits how close to such places convicted sex offenders can live.
- Hmm, so the first paragraph states they are concerned about ex-offenders living near victims.  So instead of making a law for that, they are making a law preventing ex-offenders from living near schools, parks, etc?

The Public Safety and Licensing Committee is slated to review the proposed ordinance, which is still in draft form, on Wednesday. If the City Council ends up approving the measure, Racine will join dozens of other municipalities across the state, including Burlington and Caledonia, that have already opted to install their own sex offender buffer zones.

The purpose of the ordinance will be to put Racine on equal footing with other municipalities that currently have ordinances restricting the placement of convicted sex offenders,” Hall said. “Currently the city does not have any ordinances restricting the placement of sex offenders, and those who have been convicted of sexual crimes against children.”
- Why not make one state law so it's uniform across the state?  Instead you are allowing all counties in the state to make their own laws?  What a mess!

Hall began looking into what could be done to limit where sex offenders are relocated last month when news surfaced that the state Department of Health Services had almost relocated convicted sex offender [name withheld] to a residence.

In addition to being close to the home of a former victim, the residence, which is in Hall’s district, is within blocks of Fratt Elementary School, 3501 Kinzie Ave., and Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3805 Kinzie Ave.
- Blocks?  So how many feet is it?  Not that it makes any difference!

West Racine residents, like Mary Schiro, were left rattled by the misstep.

Schiro said an ordinance barring sex offenders from living near places like schools, churches and parks in Racine is needed to protect neighborhoods, kids and all victims of sexual assault.

There are a lot of places in the state that do have these ordinances,” the 58-year-old registered nurse said. “Something has to give somewhere.”

MS - Bill to make unregistered sex offenders wear GPS

Original Article


JACKSON (AP) - The Mississippi Senate has passed a bill that would make unregistered sex offenders wear GPS tracking bracelets and require local governments to notify the public when offenders move to their neighborhood.

Lenora's Law is named for 59-year-old Lenora Edhegard who was killed in her Brandon home last year. Her neighbor and convicted felon who used a fake address to register as a sex offender but was living in a different town has been charged with murder.
- Even if he was wearing a GPS and at a fake address, this would not prevent something like this from happening again!

The bill would require using tracking technology if the accused are convicted of failing to register their residence.
- Isn't failing to register a crime (See Here) which would cause a warrant to be issued for someones arrest? Why is this law even needed?

The law would require localities to use the Web, including social networks, to spread word of sex offenders moving into town.

Sex offenders who do not comply with the monitoring face a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.

The bill moves to the House.

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NY - NYPD officer (Michael Pena) who sexually assaulted teacher beats rape conviction

Michael Pena
Original Article


A New York police officer who brutally sodomized and inflicted oral sex upon a schoolteacher at gunpoint has not been convicted of rape, despite DNA evidence and witness testimonies about the violent attack.

New York’s state law excludes nonconsensual oral and anal sex from the definition of “rape”, calling them “sexual assault” instead, the New York Daily News reports.

New York lags behind such liberal bastions as South Dakota and Tennessee in how we define rape,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, who last year introduced a bill that expanded the definition of “rape”, which failed to get passed. “New York should be at the forefront to protect crime victims.”

Lydia Cuomo, the 25-year-old schoolteacher who was victimized on the first day of her new job at a Bronx charter school, was sexually assaulted by off-duty police officer Michael Pena on Aug. 19, 2011. The cop asked her for directions to the subway at about 6:15 am, while she was waiting to be picked up by her principal.

But the NYPD officer suddenly pointed his 9-mm handgun at the woman’s face, threatening to kill her and violate her in every way imaginable. The officer let her live, but not without sexually assaulting her first.

And the evidence was there: doctors found Pena’s DNA on the victim’s undergarments, a witness testified to seeing the man penetrate the woman, and even NYPD officers admitted that Pena sexually assaulted Cuomo.

I feel like essentially I had a silver platter of a rape case. I had witnesses, I had DNA, I had my own testimony, I had two cops,” Cuomo said, speaking publicly for the first time in an interview with the Daily News.

Pena was found guilty of committing a criminal sex act and predatory sexual assault, but fell short of being convicted of rape in Cuomo’s case – even though he was convicted of rape in several other cases involving different women.

Anal’s not rape?” Cuomo said. “On what planet do you live? It never occurred to us that that’s not rape.”

The young woman is now going public with her case to try to change the New York statute limiting the definition of rape. States like Tennessee and South Dakota define forced sodomy and oral sex as rape, while New York has repeatedly failed to change its statute.

I applaud Lydia Cuomo for speaking out and lending her support for the ‘Rape is Rape’ bill. Her courage in coming forward to shed light on this important issue is truly inspiring,” Simotas said in a statement. Although the bill was rejected by the Assembly in 2012, Simotas and Cuoma both hope to eventually get it passed.

Meanwhile, Cuomo has returned to work at the Bronx elementary school, but continues to deal with the trauma from the attack.

My life has been shattered – my sense of security, my sense of safety, any and all independence,” she said.

Even though Cuomo’s offender has been sentenced to 10 years to life in addition to 75 years to life for two other rape charges that he pled guilty to, she believes it is wrong for the court to refuse to acknowledge that she too was raped. While Pena will likely spend most or all of his life behind bars, Cuomo hopes to change the definition of rape to incorporate other types of sexual assault.

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