Saturday, March 9, 2013

GA - Local law enforcement raises awareness of sex offenders

Rebecca Cranford
Original Article

Ms. Cranford clearly knows nothing about the laws she is paid to enforce. Not all ex-sex offenders have to stay 1,000 feet away from places, some can live anywhere they wish, and people can petition to get off the list, which she said in the other article below, that you cannot. Don't believe this lady, investigate the laws for yourself, which you can find in 42-1-12 - 42-1-19 in the Georgia code. How can you "educate" people when you don't even know the laws?


By Courtney Highfield

ALBANY - City Commissioner Ivey Hines held a town meeting Saturday morning and asked Lt. Rebecca Cranford with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department to come speak about an issue he feels needs attention.

Lt. Cranford spoke to the public today about laws regarding sex offenders. Cranford says there are a lot of misconceptions. One of those misconceptions deals with proximity for sex offenders. Cranford says the law requires sex offenders to not reside within 1,000 feet of a school or children's area.
- Not exactly true.  Not all ex-offenders have this limitation.  Some can live anywhere they wish and go anywhere they wish.

For sex offenders, their restrictions are not all the same either. Each individual holds a different set of restrictions based on the offenders registered date of offense.
- Exactly!  But this article and the one linked below, is full of discrepancies.

Cranford said there are 321 registered sex offenders in the area and while that seems like a large number, she said its not something to be alarmed about. She stressed to the public just how closely the police department monitors these offenders.

See Also:

NY - Subway riders may soon be sharing trains with sex offenders

Original Article

Yet another politician trying to make a name for himself, and showing that the laws are about punishment, therefore unconstitutional. See the video at the link above.


By Ellyn Marks

TIMES SQUARE (PIX11) - Subway stations all over the city, like the one in Times Square, fill their tiled walls with advertisements and art, but will posters of a different nature soon take over? Particularly, the faces of convicted sex offenders.

If one councilman in Queens has his way, Subway passengers will soon be sharing stations with these posters.

Councilman Peter Vallone, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, has proposed to create a wall-of-shame of sorts. The offender’s face will be posted where he or she committed the crime as well as in the neighborhood they live in.

This is enthusiasm!
Vallone sees it as an extension of sex registry and another way to shame sex offenders so they do not attack again.

Critics of the proposal say it’s unconstitutional, but Vallone says former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who is now a candidate for mayor, is enthusiastic about featuring mug shots in subway stations.

However, today a spokesperson for the MTA told PIX11′s Ellyn marks that the agency is against the idea because it raises all kinds of issues, including the chance of mistaken identity and vigilantism.

Vallone will introduce the proposal to City Council on Monday.

AZ - Ariz. Couple Sues Walmart Over Kids' Bath Photos

Original Article

This is what media hysteria and disinformation does, it makes everybody a suspect when it comes to sexual abuse. Think about this the next time you need photos developed. You might wind up on the sex offender shaming list.


By Abby Ellin

In 2008, Lisa and Anthony "A.J." Demaree took their three young daughters on a trip to San Diego. They returned home to Arizona and brought photos of their then 5, 4 and 1 1/2 year old daughters to a local Walmart in Peoria to be developed.

That should have been that, except instead of receiving 144 happy familial memories, Walmart employees reported the Demarees to the Peoria Police Department on the suspicion that they had taken pornographic images of their children. The police, in turn, called in the Arizona Child Protective Services Agency, and the couple lost custody of their daughters for over a month.

They were shocked. "Some of the photos are bathtime photos," Lisa Demaree told ABC News at the time, "but there are a few after the bath. Three of the girls are naked, lying on a towel with their arms around each other, and we thought it was so cute."

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that the photographs were not, in fact, pornographic, and a medical exam revealed no signs of sexual abuse. The girls were returned to their parents.

But the damage had been done: The couple's named went on a central registry of sex offenders, and "We've missed a year of our children's lives as far as memories go," Demaree told ABC News.
- You see that?  No conviction, no proof of child abuse, yet they were placed on the sex offender registry over allegations!

In 2009, the couple sued the city of Peoria and the State Attorney General's office for defamation. They also sued Walmart for failing to tell them that they had an "unsuitable print policy" and could turn over photos to law enforcement without the customer's knowledge.

A federal judge in Phoenix sided with Walmart, ruling that employees in Arizona cannot be held liable for reporting suspected child pornography. The Demarees appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on March 6 the court held a hearing before three judges.

"The photos involved were simple childhood nudity," the family's lawyer, Richard Treon, told ABC News. He argued that Walmart committed fraud on its customers by not disclosing that employees would look at their photographs. Nor did customers know that employees could take photos they found offensive to their boss, who could then call the police.

"In order to convict a person of a crime of sexual exploitation of a child, you have to show that the intent of the photographer was to sexually stimulate the viewer. All the experts agree that even police officers don't have the authority to make that decision," said Treon. "So, we argued that Walmart was negligent in setting up this program with untrained clerks and giving them tremendous power over the lives of their customers."

Walmart did not respond to an interview request from ABC News. But, according to Courthouse News the company's lawyer, Lawrence Kasten, argued that under Arizona statute employees who report child abuse without malice are immune from prosecution. He added that there was no indication of malice in this case.

"I fear that what may happen after this case is [that the] employee will sit there and say, boy, if I turn these over my employer is going to spend millions of dollars in legal fees, and I'm going to get hauled in front of a deposition for eight hours, [so] maybe I'll just stick them back in the envelope and not worry about them," he said. "Immunity is supposed to prevent exactly that from happening."

It's unknown when the appeals court will rule on the case against the city and Walmart.

MO - House Approves Legislation to Protect Child Sex Abuse Victims

Video Description:
Missouri House of Representatives - Lawmakers endorsed a proposed change to the state's constitution aiming to protect victims of sex crimes (Bill HJR-16: HTML, PDF).

MS - Sex Offender Tracking Bill Even Stronger

Original Article


By Mike McDaniel

A bill aimed at making convicted sex offenders wear tracking devices if they fail to register is heading back to the Mississippi Senate where it started. the House added some elements.

Supporters, including the bill's author, says those additions only make the bill stronger.

Although state law requires convicted sex offenders to register every ninety days, not all of them do so. That problem is now the target of a piece of legislation sailing through the Capitol.
- Since failing to register is a crime for those on and off probation / parole, why is a new law needed?

"The fact is these are just the kinds of criminals who repeat their offenses and all these bills do is enforce our current sex offender laws using modern technology," said Republican Sen. Will Longwitz, of Madison.

The bill, known as Lenora's Law, was originally designed to require any sex offenders convicted of not complying with the state's sex offender registry law to be monitored with a GPS device. It already passed the Senate and has now passed the House with amendments.
- But below they say it's up to the judge.

"It protects victims of sex offenses from people who have proven they can't follow the law," Longwitz said.
- Keep dreaming!  Nothing will protect someone from an offender if they chose to commit a crime.

House members added in language that would give a judge discretion to require a tracking device on any convicted sex offender.

New language also increases the distance a sex offender can live from places like schools and playgrounds. That distance would go from 1,500 feet to 3,000. Longwitz says he's all for the changes.
- This is probably the whole purpose of this bill, which will cause homelessness and clustering, then they'll make yet another bill to "fix" the clustering problem.

"Everybody I talk to, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative has told me they wish we could do more of this," said Longwitz.

The bill is named after Lenora Edhegard who investigators say was killed by a convicted sex offender who did not register in Rankin County.
- The man moved close by without registering, and even if you force him to wear a GPS, it would not prevent him from doing exactly what it's said he did.

When the bill first gained traction at the Capitol, Edhegard's sister, Becky Macon, said she just wished the law already existed.
- If the law already existed and he had a GPS on, how would that have prevented what happened here?

"This may not have happened to our sister had this law been in place," said Macon.
- Nope, sorry, it would not have stopped someone intent on committing a crime from doing so, GPS or not.

Longwitz says he plans to ask the Senate to agree to the additions made by the House and hopes to have the bill sent to the governor's desk as early as next week.

See Also:

FL - Former St. Lucie deputy (Cameron Dean Bates) convicted of having child pornography

Cameron Dean Bates
Original Article

We're beginning to believe most police officers in Florida are sex offenders. See why here.


By Melissa E. Holsman

FORT PIERCE - A man who served as a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy for 18 years before resigning seven years ago now faces decades in prison after a federal jury on Thursday convicted him of 18 counts related to receiving and possessing child pornography.

After an eight-day trial, federal jurors in Fort Pierce deliberated for 3 ½ hours before convicting Cameron Dean Bates, 47, who was initially arrested in August 2012 on 10 counts of possession of child pornography and compiling child pornography. The arrest followed a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office investigation launched in 2011 that resulted in a search warrant being served at Bates’ home, which he shared with his wife and two sons in the 5700 block of Northwest Belwood Circle, an affidavit stated.

Authorities found dozens of images and videos depicting child porn stored on his laptop computer, records show.

During an interview with law enforcement, Bates admitted he had seen “child porn,” but claimed he did not download it intentionally, according to arrest records. He admitted using peer-to-peer software to download files via the Internet and he claimed he’d accidentally downloaded child pornography while accessing music files.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, when Bates testified at trial, he admitted to having bisexual extramarital affairs at a Palm Beach County location linked to child pornography. While being quizzed by a federal prosecutor, Bates admitted lying to family members and to providing advice to his gay lover on how to smuggle marijuana onto a plane. He also admitted falsifying an eviction letter to stave off debt collection by a St. Lucie County hospital and to lying numerous times as a sheriff’s deputy.

Records show Bates was a sheriff’s deputy from May 1988 until resigning in June 2006.

At the time of his arrest, his listed his place of employment as a fast food eatery. He’s also worked as a legal assistant, a teacher and as a case manager for at-risk teens on probation.

Bates was convicted of eight counts of receiving images depicting child pornography; eight-counts of accessing child pornography; one count of distributing child pornography; and one count of possessing child pornography.

At his June 3 sentencing, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years up to a 20-year maximum prison term for each count of receiving the illegal images, and up to 10 years behind bars for each of the eight counts of accessing the material. He’ll also be required to register as a sex offender.

After trial, the court immediately remanded Bates to the custody of the U.S. Marshall Service.