Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FL - The village where half the population are sex offenders

Miracle Village - Green grass, American Flag
Miracle Village
Original Article


By Linda Pressly

Miracle Village lies deep in a sea of green. This is sugar cane country, south Florida. At the edge of the everglades, and over two miles from the nearest town, around 200 people live in the small, neat bungalows.

More than 100 of them are registered sex offenders - people who were found guilty, and have usually served a prison sentence, for a sex crime. There is one woman, the rest are men. Some of them viewed child pornography, or molested their own children.

Others abused minors when they were in positions of power - there is a teacher here, a pastor, a sports coach. There are those who have been to prison for exposing themselves. A number of residents were convicted because they had sex with underage girlfriends.

Under Florida's state law none of them can live within 1,000 feet of a school, day care centre, park or playground. Cities and counties have extended those restrictions up to 2,500 feet - about half a mile. And in some places swimming pools, bus stops and libraries are out of bounds too. The effect has been to push sex offenders out of densely populated areas.

The laws of Florida have made Miracle Village an attractive option. It was set up in 2009 by the late Dick Witherow, a pastor with Matthew 25 Ministries.

He saw the difficulties sex offenders faced when trying to find a place to live. Although they can travel pretty much anywhere during the day, at night they must be at an address that complies with the residency restrictions.

Miracle Park Geese
Miracle Park Geese
Applications to Miracle Village from potential residents arrive daily. "We get between 10 and 20 a week", says [name withheld], the intake co-ordinator for the ministry, and also a registered sex offender.

"We try not to accept people with a history of violence or drugs, or to take any diagnosed paedophile - that is, someone who can only become sexually aroused by a child. We want to protect the people who are already here and those who were living here before us."

[name withheld] moved in 10 years ago - back in the days when it was known as Pelican Lake and was home to cane-cutters and their families. He arrived in South Florida from Jamaica in 1962, and spent his working life harvesting the sugar that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Retired now, he spends his days tending an extensive garden of cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas - a whole range of fruit and vegetables that he gifts to his neighbours.

"It's a very peaceful place, no one troubles nobody," he says. And how does he find the dozens of sex offenders who have moved in over the last few years? "They're good people. I've made plenty of friends. The only thing we miss is the kids, and the school bus don't come here no more."

A few children do live at Miracle Village - Florida's laws don't stop sex offenders from living in the same neighbourhood as minors, although their terms of probation may ban them from having any contact with them.

[name withheld], a 22-year-old, is a registered sex offender prohibited from speaking to anyone under the age of 18. When he was 19, he had what he says is a consensual sexual relationship with a 14-year-old. He believed she was older.

"I knew her for a year, and we dated for a few months", he remembers. "Her parents testified against me, and I was sentenced to two years' house arrest followed by eight years' probation."

When he violated the terms of his probation by speaking to the younger brother of a friend, he spent four months in the county jail. Then the judge ordered him to move to Miracle Village - the alternative was a lengthy prison sentence.

Church Service
Church Service
"It's been a blessing in disguise. It was upsetting to leave my parents, but I feel as though I have a destiny with Miracle Village. I feel at home and safe here - I love the people," he says. "Even though I have the label of a sex offender, I'm not a monster. I made a mistake and I've faced the consequences."

A talented musician, [name withheld] plays drums for the band that leads the services in the small church at the heart of Miracle Village.

This is a Christian community dedicated to helping sex offenders rebuild their lives, but non-Christians are accepted, and everyone is welcomed at church. There are anger management and bible study classes. And, as a condition of their probation, most of the sex offenders attend psychological treatment programmes. Some of the offenders have jobs in local towns.

With its neatly cut lawns, and luscious, tropical vegetation, this is an idyllic, rural community. It is easy to forget that some of its residents have committed serious and shocking crimes.

[name withheld], the executive director of Matthew 25 Ministries, was a top youth racquetball coach. In the early 1990s he was convicted of sexual contact with 11 minors. As a born-again Christian, he says he is using his experience as a sex-offender to influence others.

"I can see through these guys' stories. So if we get someone here and they say, 'I'm not guilty, all I did was look at a picture. I say, no. You're guilty, period.' Because the only way you're going to change is to admit you are wrong."

At the Methodist church in the nearby town of Pahokee, some of the sex offenders from Miracle Village provide live music for the services. They are appreciated members of the congregation, and one of them is a preacher here.

But having so many sex offenders close by has unnerved some locals. Kathy was raped at knife-point when she was a teenager. Decades after the event, she is still struggling to come to terms with her experience. And she isn't impressed with Miracle Village.

"I don't think it's a miracle at all," she says. "Maybe it is for the sex offenders, but for me it's more like a nightmare on Elm Street."

Pahokee's Mayor, Colin Walkes, believes people are coming to terms with their unusual neighbours living just outside the town.

"I know at first there was a lot of opposition to them, because the whole thing was about protecting our number one asset - our kids. But we're moving on, and this is a country of second and third chances for people who make mistakes. As long as law enforcement is involved and there are no problems, the community will accept them."

Detective Courtney Minton
Detective Courtney Minton
It is the job of police officer Detective Courtney Minton, from Palm Beach County's Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking Unit, to monitor the sex offenders living at Miracle Village.

She visits weekly to verify addresses, and check residents have registered all their details in accordance with the law.

On a scorching Thursday morning in June, she cruises around in her red pickup truck, stopping at the houses on her list. Some people are not in because they are at work, so she leaves a calling card. At one home, she talks to an offender's wife.

Back in her truck, she reflects on her job - often she has an intimate knowledge of someone's crimes.

"The offender I just checked on is a case I worked on a few years ago as a detective - he was molesting his daughters. So I made the charges against him, and worked the investigation. Then he went to prison, he got out, and now it's my job to be checking on him," she says.

Detective Minton has a case-load of 300. There are 900 registered sex offenders in Palm Beach County. Across Florida there are around 55,000. Enforcement of the residency laws is expensive.

And there is a debate about whether the restrictions actually make the population safer. Campaigners say there is no empirical evidence to show that recidivism rates are lower among sex offenders who live away from places like schools. Supporters of the laws claim it is common sense - if you let sexual predators live close to anywhere lots of children gather, more will be at risk.

Many of those residing at Miracle Village do so because they cannot find anywhere else in Florida that complies with the law. For others it is home. So what would happen to the community if the residency laws were revoked so sex offenders could live anywhere they chose?

"Sex offenders would still live here," says Pat Powers. "It's very peaceful out here in the middle of nowhere."

See Also:

GOVTRACK.US - Easily track the activities of the United States Congress

Original Article

Use this free service to track bills in the government. Simply log in, enter a search term, and then you can get the new stuff via email or an RSS feed.

GovTrack.us, a tool by Civic Impulse, LLC, is one of the worldʼs most visited government transparency websites. The site helps ordinary citizens find and track bills in the U.S. Congress and understand their representatives’ legislative record.

In 2012, GovTrack.us was used by more than 5 million individuals. Its embeddable widgets were deployed on more than 70 official websites of Members of Congress.

We bring together the status of U.S. federal legislation, voting records, congressional district maps, and more (see the table at the right). Most of the information is assembled in an automated way by scanning federal government websites, such as THOMAS. State legislative information is available here through a partnership with LegiNation, Inc. and LegiScan, Inc.

Once we get the information, we make it easier to understand and we let you track bills for updates with email updates and RSS feeds. We also have unique statistical analyses to put the information in context. Read the «Analysis Methodology».

GovTrack openly shares the data it brings together so that other websites can build other tools to help citizens engage with government. See the «Developer Documentation» for more. We have led the open government data movement in the United States since GovTrack’s launch in 2004, and the site has served as a model for legislative transparency websites around the world.

CANADA - Canadian vigilante and "founder" of BUACA is out harassing ex-offenders and families while the Canadian Royal Mounted Police do nothing!

These videos are on YouTube (Channel, Website), but we have downloaded them, as well, in case they goes missing. This person is going to the homes of ex-offenders and harassing them and their families! Surely that is a crime in Canada? We've also contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, here.

Video #1 - The Announcement

Video #2 - The Harassment
Sorry folks, he has deleted the video and we will not be re-posting it here.

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Sex Offender Issues

KS - Judge overturns sex offender's registration extension

Kansas sex offender registry is unconstitutional punishment
Original Article


By Steve Fry

15-year extension on registration became statute in Kansas in 2011; conviction stemmed from case originating in 2003

TOPEKA - Citing the U.S. Constitution forbidding more punishment for a crime already resolved, a Shawnee County District Court judge has ordered two law enforcement agencies to terminate a man's additional 15-year offender registration requirement.

In addition, District Judge Larry Hendricks ordered the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office to "immediately delete" all information required by the Kansas Offender Registration Act that is publicly displayed about the man.

"I'm pleased with the ruling," Chris Joseph, the offender's attorney, said Tuesday. "I think it's dead-on right with the law. Registration is clearly punishment, clearly punitive. When you change the rules after the fact, it's an ex post facto violation."

The registered offender was identified in district court records only as "John Doe." Doe sued KBI director Kirk Thompson and Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning.

As for Doe's reaction to the ruling, "he's very excited that he may be able to live a normal life in the near future," Joseph said.

Kirk T. Ridgway, an Overland Park attorney representing Denning, said Tuesday, "We're reviewing the opinion (PDF) and have no comment at this time."

Assistant attorney general Christopher Grunewald, one of two attorneys representing Thompson, said he hadn't received the Doe ruling.

Joseph said he "has no doubt" the KBI and Johnson County Sheriff's Office will appeal Hendricks' ruling. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of offenders, who are affected by the increased registration statute, Joseph said.

The Hendricks ruling isn't binding on other district court judges faced with the same set of circumstances.

But if the ruling is appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court and if that court would uphold the ruling, the KBI would have to remove everyone from its offender registry who had completed their original 10-year registration, Joseph said.

The offender registration of Doe stems from his guilty plea on Feb. 19, 2003, to a charge of indecent liberties with a child (touching). He was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years until 2013.

But the Kansas Legislature amended the Kansas Offender Registration Act in 2011 to require offenders convicted of indecent liberties to register for 25 years, the Hendricks decision said.

Doe filed the lawsuit on Feb. 15, 2012, asking that Hendricks find Thompson and Denning couldn't enforce the 25-year registration period against Doe "because it violates the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution."

Hendricks agreed.

Provisions of the offender registration statute "have become oppressive to the point of punishment," Hendricks said in his 29-page ruling. "Therefore, the KORA's retroactive application assigns a new punitive measure to a crime already consummated, in violation of the ex post facto clause."

According to the 2011 statute, Doe was required by the Kansas statute to:
  • Register for 25 years until 2028.
  • Report in person four times a year in each jurisdiction he would live in, work or attend school, a potential total of 12 times a year.
  • Pay a $20 reporting fee each time and have his photograph taken.
  • Register within three days of changing residence, job or school.
  • Provide his address, phone numbers, vehicle, boat and aircraft information, professional licenses, palm prints, email address, online identities, membership in online social networks, and travel and immigration documents.
  • Notify law enforcement officers of any plans for international travel.
  • Face a potential conviction of a person felony for each violation of the law.

In affidavits, Doe and his wife said negative impacts of the offender registration law included concern that people who see his registered offender number on his driver's license, then deny him services or discriminate against him, loss of a job, landlords wouldn't rent to him, suffer a "strong sense of shame" and hopelessness, vandalism to his home, shunning of the offender's family, and impact of the registration on their children.

In opposing the lawsuit, Thompson and Denning contended the Kansas statute blocked Doe from being granted a court order relieving him from registering. The defendants also cited a U.S. Supreme Court case which upheld provisions of a retroactive Alaska offender registration law.

Hendricks said the Kansas statute was "significantly different" from Alaska's.

Hendricks concluded the Kansas Offender Registration Act "is effectively punitive" and "is excessive in relation to its alleged purpose of protecting public safety. These provisions have become oppressive to the point of punishment. Therefore, the KORA's retroactive application assigns a new punitive measure to a crime already consummated in violation of the ex post facto clause."

SC - Killing Sex Offenders: The Apparent Hypocrisy of Crew 41

Crew 41 Rednecks
Jonathan Schmidt (left) and fellow Rednecks
Original Article


By Hatewatch Staff

Jeremy Moody, a member of a small but violent racist skinhead gang called Crew 41, shocked South Carolina authorities last week when he told them that he and his wife shot and stabbed to death a middle-aged couple July 21 because the man was a registered sex offender.

But if ridding the world of sex offenders was Moody’s goal, he didn’t have to go outside of his crew to find one.

The head of the gang’s Colorado chapter, Archie Glen Ware Jr., is a registered sex offender, convicted of “accosting for immoral purposes.”

Indeed, the criminal resumes of the members of Crew 41 are long and violent and include charges of attempted murder; witness intimidation, armed robbery, aggravated assault and most recently double homicide.

The same day of the double homicide in South Carolina, 1,200 miles away near Kearney, Neb., Jonathan Schmidt, the founder of Crew 41, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in a brutal attack July 20 that left a man with a fractured skull.

A few days after the assault, Schmidt, known as “Monster,” lamented his and his crew’s fate. He wrote on VK, a European version of Facebook, “I am out on bail facing 50 years in prison. And our South Carolina chapter has been picked up on murder charges. Having a hard first year but hopefully things turn around for us.”

After the crew’s sergeant-at-arms, Ryan Hesse, was arrested in 2001 on a warrant for investigation of attempted murder, Salt Lake County (Utah) sheriff’s deputies discovered two explosive devices in his briefcase. The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s complex had to be evacuated.

Ryan Hesse Sargeant at Arms
Ryan Hesse Sargeant at Arms
Another member of the crew, Tyler Palson, 24, was charged last year, according to local news accounts, with making terroristic threats, harassment and stalking after threatening to burn down a house and murder the family living there in central Pennsylvania.

Moody, 30, and his wife, Christine, 36, appear to make up the entire South Carolina chapter of Crew 41. On her Facebook page, Christine Moody thanked the gang for accepting their membership: “Special thanks to Crew 41 for welcoming Jeremy & I with such open arms. May the 14 words live on forever 841!!!” [The “14 Words” are a famous white supremacist catchphrase, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.” The 41 in neo-Nazi code stands for the fourth and first letters of the alphabet, D and A, which stands for the other name for Crew 41, Die Auserwahlten, German meaning “the chosen few.” The 8 before the 41 stands for H, which presumably means “Heil,” as in Heil Die Auserwahlten.”]

Christine Moody, who calls herself “a veteran skinbyrd,” was also apparently trying to recruit more members in South Carolina. “Looks like I may have a good potential prospect,” she wrote on Facebook. “Things are looking up. 841!!!

Union County Sheriff David H. Taylor said that Christine Moody was tight-lipped when first arrested but in recent days has been talking a lot “because she’s pissed off she’s not getting as much attention” as her husband.

She wants to get the glory,” Taylor said.

So far, she is getting equal billing when it comes to criminal charges. Additional charges were filed against the couple today, including two counts each of burglary and two counts each of kidnapping. The skinhead and his skinbyrd were each charged with two counts of murder last week.

He shot both of them and she stabbed both of them,” Taylor said. “She cut the woman’s throat.

I’m going to tell you,” the sheriff added, “she’s cold as hell.”

Taylor said the Moodys told investigators they planned to travel to Nebraska in late August for Crew 41’s now-cancelled first meet and greet. “Anybody with any association with this bunch,” the sheriff said, “is trying to dump them like a bad cold.”

The Moodys have been charged with killing Charles Parker, 59, a registered sex offender and his wife, Gretchen Parker, 51, on Sunday, July 21, in their home in Union County South, Carolina. Moody told investigators that he picked Charles Parker out from a sex offender registry. The head of the gang’s Colorado chapter is on a similar registry.

As for why Parker’s wife was killed, Taylor said that Moody explained, “She was a casualty of war.”

Jonathan Schmidt (Fat A**)
Jonathan Schmidt
Beyond its violent membership, what is unusual about Crew 41 is the way and speed in which it came into existence and started spilling blood.

Crew 41 was essentially created online. Few, if any of the gang members, have actually met face-to-face. The crew was scheduled to hold a meet and greet in a small town in Nebraska where Schmidt, the founder, lives. But the gathering was recently cancelled.

Schmidt began the gang on Jan. 28, three days after resigning his post as “National Director” of the Aryan Terror Brigade (ATB).

Six months later, the two South Carolina victims were brutally murdered.

Schmidt resigned from ATB under a cloud of suspicion. Schmidt was accused online of being a police informant.

“So apparently people are saying I am a confidential informant,” Schmidt wrote on his VK page on Feb. 8. “It makes me laugh and at the same time it makes me sick. Better have something in your hand before my name ever leaves your mouth. I live in Pleasanton, Nebraska and I am not real hard to find if you have something to say to me.”

Doesn't take brains to be a Redneck!
Doesn't take brains to be a Redneck!
Schmidt is heavily tattooed from his arms to his torso to most of his 28-year-old face. There’s a large swastika in the middle of his chest and “Ladies Loves” above that and runes, or medieval Germanic letters, on his left eyebrow that spell out “Hate.”

People who are Rocking patches or call themselves white nationalists…but not doing ANYTHING to actually further their race are really just waisting [sic] time and really making the movement look terrible,” Schmidt wrote on VK on May 30. “So lets just say this…either start living the 14/88/9 [88 stands for “Heil Hitler”] or just get the f*** out and go join the punk scene or something…iam [sic] not against old school skinhead tradition or any of it but there is a difference…a lot of guys say they are white nationalist but have never done anything to help move our race forward.”

No one can say that Crew 41 hasn’t been busy.

RUSSIA - Mob Beats Suspected Sex-Offender to Death in South Russia

Mob mentality - Judge, Jury and Executioner
Original Article


MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - A man suspected of sexually assaulting a young girl has been beaten to death in North Ossetia in Russia’s North Caucasus, a regional Investigative Department statement said Tuesday.

Investigators say the suspect is thought to have enticed two girls aged 5 and 6 into his home last Thursday by offering them sweets, after which he sexually molested one of them.

After hearing about the incident, unidentified persons beat up the man who was then hospitalized,” the statement said, adding that he died of his injuries several days later.

A manslaughter case has been opened, the Investigative Committee said.

This is not the first time people suspected of sexually abusing children, or convicted on pedophilia charges, have been targeted in Russia. In January 2013, a convicted pedophile was beaten to death by two men in Russia’s Siberian republic of Buryatia, local media reported.

In May 2012, three women and one man were charged with assaulting a suspected pedophile after he was beaten to death in a town in Russia’s Urals region, the local Investigative Committee said in a statement at the time.

FL - 90 Sex Offenders Might Become Homeless in Miami-Dade Next Week

Homelessness is not the answer
Original Article


The Florida Action Committee has been advised that next week, approximately 90 registered sex offenders might be notified that they have to leave the mobile homes that they own or rent at the River Park Trailer Park, located at 2260 NW 27nd Avenue.

Recently, authorities were advised by a representative of the County’s Homeless Trust that the registrants are living there in violation of the County’s 2500 foot ordinance, because a “school”, the Miami Bridge, is within that buffer zone.

It is unclear as to whether The Bridge is even a school. It is not listed on the Department of Education site and the sex offender registration unit has been permitting the residents to move in for a while – apparently not considering it a school either. On its website, miamibridge.org, the facility is described as a shelter for at-risk youth.

Regardless, the residents of the mobile home community and the Miami Bridge have coexisted within the 2500 foot buffer for years, but now 90 otherwise law-abiding, former offenders who are clustered at the trailer park will likely be kicked out of their homes and the County may receive 90 new homeless sex offenders.

The Florida Action Committee urges the media to contact the office of the Circuit Administrator of the Department of Corrections, the Miami-Dade Police Department or the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, to find out more and ascertain the exact date these individuals would become homeless in the community.