Wednesday, September 11, 2013

VT - ‘Sexting’ phenomenon raises questions for schools, parents

Sexting
Original Article

09/11/2013

By Neal P. Goswami

BARRE - Administrators at Harwood Union High School in South Duxbury plan to spend time over the school year engaging students and parents in public discourse on the dangers of illegally exchanging explicit photos.

The effort was prompted by a long-term “sexting” ring uncovered last year at Harwood Union High School. According to an op-ed piece written by Washington West Supervisory Union Superintendent Brigid Scheffert and published Wednesday in the Burlington Free Press, the Vermont State Police subpoenaed about 2,000 pages of texting and messages from Facebook from the accounts of Harwood Union High School students last year.

I was shocked not only at what I saw, but how extensive the entire case was. I also learned that sexting and the other behaviors … are rampant in high schools throughout Vermont,” she wrote.

An investigation by both school officials and law enforcement revealed that about 20 female students had sent “very graphic naked pictures” of themselves to their boyfriends, Scheffert wrote. As many as 30 male students shared the pictures and began trading and “collecting them like baseball cards” over a two-year period, she wrote. Some students even offered to buy pictures of certain girls.

I have no doubt that this whole story goes even deeper, but I can only write about what was actually uncovered,” Scheffert, who did not return a message Wednesday seeking comment, wrote.

Similar situations have occurred in Milton and St. Albans. The incidents of sexting, the practice of sending naked or explicit photos of oneself to another person, raises questions about how they can be prevented.
- The parents can stop buying their children cell phones with all the gadgets!  All they need is basic phone capability to use in case of an emergency.  That would stop it.

Parents, according to information provided by the National Crime Prevention Council, should use news stories about sexting as “teachable moments” to discuss safe Internet, cellphone and social media behavior. Parents should also encourage teenagers to think before sending pictures or making online postings.

The Council also suggests that parents remain calm if a child confesses to sending explicit pictures. Parents should consider talking to the student distributing the pictures, or that student’s parents. If necessary, it should be reported to local law enforcement or school administrators.

The state passed a law in 2009 to address teenage sexting. It removed many of the severe penalties previously associated with the crimes that sexting previously fell under.

Now, minors caught sexting are no longer subject to the state’s child pornography laws and associated punishments.

However, prosecutors can decide to use the state’s child pornography statutes for a second offense by a minor.

Additionally, if images were voluntarily provided, a minor caught sending or receiving explicit images will be charged as a juvenile and referred to the diversion program. A minor’s record can be expunged when they turn 18 if the diversion program is successfully completed.

Nobody prosecuted under the sexting statute is required to register as a sex offender. However, when explicit pictures of minors are distributed or sold without consent, serious felony charges can still apply.

Really good students, making really bad choices naively and impulsively, can find themselves with very serious felony charges. Even if convictions get avoided, college acceptances, scholarships, and admission into military academies can go up in smoke, not to mention future employment opportunities,” Scheffert wrote. “Our students are unaware of the magnitude of what can happen to them, and their lives, by engaging in these behaviors.”

Criminal charges are being avoided in the Harwood case in favor of an “educational and restorative justice approach,” according to Scheffert. Some school discipline has been handed down “where warranted,” she wrote.

The Montpelier Community Justice Center is expected to create a school assembly program that will explain the dangers of sexting to students. Law enforcement officials will present factual information about Vermont laws covering sexting, according to Scheffert.

MCJC Director Yvonne Byrd said leveling severe punishment at students who are caught sexting will not solve the problem.

Learning from one’s mistakes works better than punishment. There’s lots of research that shows that punishment doesn’t make things better or make people smarter,” she said.
- Funny how they say this when it's not an ex-sex offender.

Rather, the school and community should look at ways to hold accountable those responsible for distributing the explicit pictures while educating them and others on the consequences. Byrd said the assembly program will serve as “a very open and inclusive conversation over the year.”

I think this kind of process is far more likely to succeed,” Byrd said.

Meanwhile, the needs of the female students whose pictures were initially sent voluntarily before being distributed beyond their intention must also be addressed.
- So are you saying that males do not send nude photos?  Why just single out females here when males do it as well?

I would say they were unwitting accomplices,” Byrd said. “They took some actions that put them at risk without realizing they could be exploited.”

Vermont Agency of Education spokeswoman Angela Ross said agency officials are in the process of updating Education Quality Standards that include some reworked policies dealing with “technology use and digital policy.”

The updated EQS will require each school or supervisory union to “adopt and implement written policies on electronic resources, acceptable Internet usage, and procedures for handling complaints for both staff and students.”

School boards will have to approve the plans, and they must include “strategies and supports to ensure the school maintains a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment which is free from harassment, hazing and bullying …

Scheffert said the supervisory union has developed policies and procedures about acceptable Internet use including student use contracts. Additionally, efforts have been made to educate students and parents about the dangers of the Internet. But the focus has largely been on “stranger danger” situations and inappropriate sites.


UK - Sex offence suspects should remain anonymous, say MSN readers

Garfield - Well Duh!
Original Article

That is a no-brainer, but it should be for everyone who has been accused of a crime. I'm sure everybody knows, just because an accusation is made and someone is arrested, doesn't mean they are guilty, and their name shouldn't be drug through the mud on shows like Nancy Disgrace, etc.

09/11/2013

By Stephen Jones

People charged with sex offences should remain anonymous until a court finds them guilty, according to a poll of MSN readers.

The finding comes after the Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell was cleared of 12 child sex offences following a high-profile trial.

After the verdict, many people expressed the view that those charged with such offences should be given anonymity to prevent their reputations being unfairly tarnished by false charges.

In the survey of more than 10,000 people, 70% said they felt those prosecuted of sex crimes should remain unnamed.

Anonymity: the case for and against
Some wrongly accused of such crimes say their lives have been ruined as a consequence of accusations against them.

In 2003, TV presenter Matthew Kelly was questioned and subsequently cleared during an investigation into child sex abuse, while the politician Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine were also cleared after well-publicized claims of sexual assault were made against them in 2001.

However, one of the major arguments against anonymity is that it may prevent other victims of real offenders from having the confidence to come forward.

Furthermore, the charity Women Against Rape argues that withholding the names of suspects would mark rape out as being different from other crimes, adding that it is a myth that false accusations of rape happen regularly.

Plans to grant anonymity to rape suspects were mooted in 2010 when the coalition took power, but were apparently dropped after criticism from Labour and female members of the Conservative party.


AR - Woman (Kristin Johnson) Facing Felony Charge after Filing False Rape Report

Kristin Johnson
Kristin Johnson
Original Article

09/11/2013

BENTON - A woman who told police she had just been raped is now facing a felony charge.

According to the Benton Police Department (BPD), 24-year-old Kristin Johnson was arrested Tuesday after filing a false police report in August.

BPD says officers responded to Watts Road around 3:30 p.m. Aug. 19, where Johnson told them an unknown suspect had just broken into her home and raped her.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives determined no rape had taken place and that the story had been fabricated, according to BPD.

Johnson was taken to the Saline County Jail on Tuesday, where she was charged with one felony count of filing a false police report and later released.

BPD says the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be possible.

Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Benton Police Department at 778-1171 or 315-TIPS. Individuals also may text an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body, or go to www.crimereports.com.


WA - Freedom by Brandon

User submitted story
The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

By Brandon:
With all the negativity that is exposed in this blog, I figured I would give you a story of hope.

I was 11 years old when I committed my offense. I was in 5th grade and active in pop warner football. My team went undefeated and I was in the best shape of my life. I was just a boy with my whole life ahead of me. I made some poor choices and made a massive mistake that has been haunting me well into adulthood. I broke the law and committed a sex offense.

I am now in my 30's and working an awful job. Sometimes it is difficult to wake up and everything reminds you of the fact that you are a sex offender. It haunts you and makes you timid, scared that someone may find your secret out and you will once again be stripped of any dignity that you hold dear. It was getting unbearable and weighed heavily on my soul. I lost jobs, friends, romantic partners and, most importantly, I lost myself. That is until I researched into what I could do about it....

My offense was in Washington state and their sex offender laws are about as strict as they come. As an 11 year old sex offender, I was told that I would spend the rest of my natural life registering with local law enforcement and I would be banished to a life on the run. Since I was so young, the laws permitted me to not only relieve myself of my registration requirements, but also allowed me to seal my records. I can't express the joy I felt once I found this out. I hired a lawyer (Mark Blair) who specialized in this who was not only professional, but was very sympathetic to my situation. I went through a polygraph and a risk assessment test. I nailed the polygraph and the assessment. I was, as of yesterday, free of my scarlet letter. I wept for hours, realizing that I can once again look forward to life. Just knowing that I had a chance was invigorating!

I did it. I am free. I am 32 and I now have a shot at life. I hope this inspires some of you to show that we aren't monsters.

CONGRATULATIONS!


Extortion Sites: Questions / Comments

User submitted story
The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

NOTE: Don't forget, if you know of other extortion websites like mentioned below, visit this form and fill it out, but first make sure the site is not already listed here.


By Scott:
Just wanted to know if anyone has had their information removed from poedit.org or offenderegistry.com?

I recently had my name removed from the list and started cleaning up the sites that had my picture posted. Homefacts and bustedoffenders removed for free just by asking.

The others charged a fee but removed the info. A couple wanted more money to remove the links on Google. $100 a link. That would of cost over $3000 easy. Instead I just used the same tool they would of used on Google for fee. Just Google "remove cached pages" and Google's removal tool is pretty easy to use. You need a Google account but that's free.

Anyway I just wanted to share that info. Homefacts and bustedoffenders are free and both post pictures to Google images so its probably worth the 5 minutes of your time but you have to be off the list first.

When I first started I did mughshots.com since they are the biggest and smaller start ups steal their pics. A month later I did some more and then this month I did the rest.

Attorney told me it would be cheaper to pay them all rather than him and then sue the ones I cant pay. So only two holdouts. I heard stories around the web of people paying one site and then it appearing on another, hasn't happened to me (yet) but will post a follow up if that happens, then sue them.

If anyone has had any success with either of the first 2 sites I mentioned please let me know in the comments below. I think the offeregistry is part of sexoffenderin (No longer online) which was shutdown..


Forum questions / answer from Dave

User submitted story
The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

By Dave:
I like the news section and briefly joined the forums but not many people are on and I read anyone could join. Way to many vigilantes that will stalk and lie about sex offenders and even start stalking your friends and neighbors.

I tried joining SOSEN but never got a reply and tried joining family of sex offenders and can't join for some reason. Maybe its my iPhone? I just don't know.

I joined WAR and paid for my membership and said I wanted to sponser 2 people each month so they could join but I guess they didnt like that idea. Lol

I need to find a national group that is trying to hire a lobbiest and lawyers to challenge laws in court. Any suggestions?

Dave M



Our Response:
Yes anybody can join the forums which are brand new so that is why not many people are there. We will strickly monitor the forums and anybody who starts posting personal information about someone else, harassing, etc, will be banned.

Also, use an alias and do NOT post any information that can be used to identify you. We respect peoples privacy.

We'd love to have more people join the forums and help it grow, but we understand the concerns.


NY - GOA blacklisting international travelers

User submitted story
The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

By Lenn:
Last May of 2013 I reported my travel as usual to the State police, explained to them and even showed them my invitation from my job offer abroad. They had no problem and just told me if I am gone longer then 3 months just send an update. When I arrived to my destination, they said, well I was denied entry even though I was there a year before and no problems. They told me at JFK when I got back if I didn't have any travel restrictions to fight it. In reality it is a no win situation. So my concern is, I get off the registry in 14 months, if I am offered a job else where, will I have the same situation? I did read one person's comment already and he explained that there are other ways to travel abroad other then flight.. Any suggestions would greatly be helpful.


IL - 2 Investigators: Safe Passage Routes Lead Kids Past Sex Offender Shelters

Not all sex offenders are hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce!
Original Article

Even if no sex offenders lived for miles, children are still in possible danger, even adults are as well. Apparently the media and a vast majority of the sheeple think that all ex-sex offenders are hiding in the bushes just waiting to pounce on someone! Give us a break!

09/10/2013

By Dave Savini

CHICAGO (CBS) - Questions tonight about two Chicago Public School safe passage routes and whether children are being put in harm’s way. CBS 2′s Dave Savini investigates routes having children walk right by shelters with sex offenders.

On the outside, an old church building appears safe. Children walk by it to go along a safe passage route to school. But this church is also a shelter for child sex offenders. Predators targeting the youngest of victims which worries parents like Lisa Jones.
- So what?  How long has the shelter been there and accepting ex-sex offenders?  You don't mention that which makes it appear as if it's infested with predators just waiting for the chance to sexually abuse someone, or you are trying to shut down the church simply due to it housing ex-sex offenders! This is just typical fear mongering!

I didn’t know that the sex offenders were there,” said Jones whose eight-year-old daughter walks by this building, at 200 S. Sacramento, to go to school. “I just thought that was just a shelter for the homeless and, wow, I did not know that.”
- You see, people do not use the online registry and don't care.  Not until someone brings up the issue, then they are all freaking out and stuff, or over reacting due to it being a news story.

CBS 2 found 65 child sex offenders registered at this shelter, yet Chicago Public School officials decided to start safe passage route on the same street.

Santiago Orlando is a shelter guest and says even he did not know about the sex offenders staying there.

It’s a lot of kids around here,” said Orlando concerned about the school children.

The schools nearby are Faraday and Jensen elementary, John Calhoun and Marshall High School.

Also in the area, on the 2700 block of Harrison, is another shelter along a different safe passage route. It too has sex offenders using it as their registered address, along with other homeless folks suffering mental illness and addiction.
- Well maybe if the laws weren't so draconian these people could get a job and have a home somewhere else!  Did you ever think about that?  Apparently not!

A director affiliated with both shelters, Cynthia Jones Northington says they were not told about the safe passage routes.

We actually just saw the signs; that raised red flags for us,” said Jones Northington. “So we have some tremendous concerns.”

The safe passage signs led to Jones Northington asking how shelter guests will be impacted. She says she was told, “Sitting, standing, loitering could result in arrest.”
- Just because someone is sitting or standing doesn't mean they are loitering.  Maybe you should bust open a dictionary?

So shelter officials made their own signs to warn clients to basically stay away during school hours.

It was during this time, CBS 2 found residents hanging out outside both buildings and in a nearby park.

It’s a dangerous place for the kids to be,” said Lisa Jones who says she is not sure what to do about the safe passage route.

Shelter officials shifted schedules to better monitor clients leaving and entering their facility.

A CPS spokesman says there is only one registered sex offender staying at either shelter. Shelter officials say there are about fifty sex offenders.
- So who is right?  Not that is matters.

In a statement to CBS 2, a CPS spokesman says, “In cases where there are overnight or transition shelters and homes, both the Department of Family Support Services and the Chicago Police Department worked in coordination with facility operators to be prepared for the launch of these safe passage routes.”


CA - Sex Offender Registration - PC 290

Wallin & Klarich
Wallin & Klarich
NOTE: This is not an endorsement. We do not know anything about this law firm except from the comments below.

Video Description:
Partner Stephen Klarich reviews the possible ways to end forced sex offender registration in California and how our attorneys can help.

Our comments on the video:
So how many ex-offenders have been removed? What about fighting to delete the draconian and unconstitutional laws?

Their response:
We have removed over 50 people from the sex registration list. We have accomplished this either through a Certificate of Rehabilitation, a Hofsheier Writ of Mandate or attacking the conviction itself as invalid.

The laws may soon be changing! Assembly Bill 702 (AB 702) will likely pass and become law by the end of 2014 putting limits on registration requirements on most sex crimes.


UK - Nigel Evans quits as Deputy Commons Speaker after being charged with rape and sex assaults

Nigel Evans
Nigel Evans
Original Article

09/11/2013

He was arrested for a third time yesterday and questioned after two more men accused him of attacks, bringing the total to seven

Top Tory Nigel Evans (Website) was charged last night with rape and sex assaults on seven men.

The Deputy Commons Speaker, 55, was arrested for a third time yesterday and questioned after two more men accused him of attacks, bringing the total to seven.

All were in their 20s when they claim they were assaulted by Mr Evans in incidents dating back up to a decade.

After being charged, Mr Evans resigned as Deputy Speaker but rejected all the accusations.

Speaking outside Preston police station, he said: “I have today answered bail following complaints I said were incredulous.”

Whilst I’m saddened this case has not been closed today, I am certain of two things: Firstly that I am innocent, secondly, that my innocence will be demonstrated.”

Having informed my fellow Deputy Speakers, Lindsay Hoyle and Dawn Primarolo, my association chairman and my staff, I can confirm I will now resign as Deputy Speaker.”

He said he would continue in his role as Ribble Valley MP, then added: “After today I will not be making any further comment until after the case concludes.”

The Crown Prosecution Service said: “Following a Lancashire police investigation, the CPS has received a file of evidence in the case of Mr Nigel Evans MP which concerns allegations of a sexual nature.”

We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Evans.”

He has been charged with two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape, relating to a total of seven alleged victims.”

Mr Evans arrived at the police station just before 9am in a silver Jaguar driven by his solicitor. The MP smiled at journalists, saying: “Thanks for coming.”

The MP was first arrested in May over claims of rape and indecent assault from two men who said the attacks took place in Pendleton in his Lancashire constituency between 2009 and March 2013.

Swansea-born Mr Evans was arrested again in June over three more claims of sex assault in Blackpool and London between 2003-2011.

He had stayed in his £103,000-a-year post despite standing back from his duties since his first arrest.

Pals said he had resigned to focus on his defence.

The MP, who came out as gay in 2010, will face Preston magistrates court on September 18.


UNITED STATES v. ROBBINS

Original Article

UNITED STATES v. ROBBINS
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Nathan ROBBINS, aka Nathan L.H. Robbins, Defendant–Appellant.

Docket No. 12–3148–cr.

Argued: June 20, 2013. -- September 03, 2013

Before CALABRESI, CABRANES, and SACK, Circuit Judges.
James P. Egan (Lisa A. Peebles, on the brief) Federal Public Defender's Office, Northern District of New York, Syracuse, N.Y., for Defendant–Appellant.Brenda K. Sannes, Assistant United States Attorney (Lisa M. Fletcher, Assistant United States Attorney, on the brief), for Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York, Syracuse, N.Y., for Appellee.

In August 2011, after traveling from New York to Nevada, defendant-appellant Robbins knowingly failed to update his registration as a sex offender, as he was required to do under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), 42 U.S.C. § 16913. He subsequently pled guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), which makes it a crime for someone who is required to register under SORNA to travel in interstate commerce and knowingly fail to update his registration. Despite his plea, Robbins retained the right to challenge the constitutionality of the statutes he admitted violating, and he brings just such a challenge here.

This Court has previously held that Congress acted within its powers under the Constitution's Commerce Clause when it enacted SORNA. See United States v. Guzman, 591 F.3d 83 (2d Cir.2010). Since then, however, the Supreme Court has revisited and further clarified—if that is the appropriate word—the reach of Congress's power “[t]o regulate Commerce ․ among the several States.” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3; see Nat'l. Fed'n. of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 132 S.Ct. 2566 (2012) (“NFIB ”). Robbins invites us to revisit our holding in Guzman in light of the Supreme Court's decision in NFIB.

We decline Robbins' invitation not because his arguments all lack force, nor because the constitutionality of SORNA—particularly when applied within the states—is beyond question, see United States v.. Kebodeaux, 570 U.S. ––––, No. 12–418, slip op. at 5 (U.S. June 24, 2013) (Roberts, C.J., concurring in the judgment) (“The fact of a prior federal conviction, by itself, does not give Congress a freestanding, independent, and perpetual interest in protecting the public from the convict's purely intrastate conduct.”), but because the constitutionality of SORNA as applied to Robbins remains unaffected by any limitations on Congress's Commerce Clause power that may be found in NFIB. Still bound by the precedent set in Guzman, we therefore AFFIRM Robbins' conviction.


Fifty State Survey of Adult Sex Offender Registration Laws

Original Article

With the rate that sex offender laws change, keep that in mind, since this study is from 2009.

August 1, 2009

By Brenda V. Smith

Abstract:
This publication is part of a larger scholarly project and one in a series that aims to create a “legal toolkit” for addressing sexual violence in custody. This chart catalogues statutes that address adult sex offender registration requirements in all fifty states, as well as surrounding territories. This chart provides a list of all registrable offenses; indicates whether sex offender registration is required for staff sexual misconduct; details the type of information maintained in the sex offender registry, community notification and other websites; identifies limitations on residency or employment; and identifies the duration of registration.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 244

Keywords: sex offender registration, adult registry, registrable offenses

See Also: