Thursday, September 12, 2013

AL - ACLU files suit against Etowah County Sheriff over registered sex offender house searches

Original Article


By William Thornton

GADSDEN - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and two officers in the department over what they say are "unannounced, random, and suspicionless" searches of the home of a registered sex offender.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, does not name the three family members. They are identified in the suit as John, Jane and James Doe. The law firm of Jaffe & Drennan filed the suit today, according to a news release.

ACLU Attorney Brandon Buskey said the searches are "unconstitutional harassment."

"These officers are trampling on this family's constitutional rights, and because this is the sheriff's policy, we fear this may be happening over and over again to families around the county," Buskey said in a release.

According to the ACLU, one member of the family is a registered sex offender because of an offense committed as a child. The suit contends he has "fulfilled every requirement" under the offender registration and community notification act. He must register four times a year with the sheriff.

Come back with a warrant
However, the ACLU contends the family is threatened with arrest if they fail to cooperate with random inspections of their home. The suit contends this is a violation of the family's Constitutional rights, because it takes place without a warrant or any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

The suit seeks an end to the searches and the policy of inspecting registered offenders' homes. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Natalie Barton said the department was aware of the lawsuit, but had not seen the complaint and had no comment.

TX - Registering sex offenders will not make children safer

Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc.
Original Article


By Sandy Rozek

I am writing in response to the article "Sex offenders in town down by more than 50 percent" by Paul Gnadt. (Editor's note: The article appeared on Page 7 of the Sept. 4 issue of the Burleson Star.)

While this fact is no doubt well received by parents and citizens in general, it is irresponsible journalism on your part to use it with no explanation as to what it does--and doesn't--accomplish.

What does it accomplish? 17 individuals, or some portion of them, now quite possibly have no fixed home address and therefore cannot be located by law enforcement if desired. I have never seen a study suggesting that homeless registrants are at a lower risk to re-offend that those with stable homes and lives. And if they are homeless in Alvarado, which you would not necessarily know, you have accomplished less than you think.

For those who have children and spouses, the problem is compounded. I can think of very little that justifies needlessly disrupting the stability of children and the implications that has on their social and academic lives.

For those who have been fortunate enough to relocate, they are in another town or city. Will this town or city also set out in a deliberate campaign to force them from their midst? Will every town in Texas? In neighboring states? What do you see as the ultimate outcome if every town does what you have done?

Now, what will this NOT accomplish? It will not have increased public safety in your town. Study after study has been done, and none of them were able to find any correlation between residency and presence restrictions for sex offenders and public safety. This is from the DOC website of another state, one that has chosen not to have residency restrictions. Their decision is based on extensive research, which they cite.

This move will not reduce the incidences of child abuse that are taking place now and will in the future. Virtually all sexual abuse of children is committed by those NOT already identified as sexual offenders, those people who are integral parts of their lives--their family members, their peers, and their authority figures. They are still among you, and you will never know who more than a tiny percentage of them are. And without concentrated education and prevention programs in the schools and the community, the percentage of children being sexually abused will not decrease.

You have not made children safer. You have not reduced the number of sex offenders in Alvarado by 50 percent or even by 1 percent. You have reduced the number of registrants by 50 percent. And you have gained nothing.

AUSTRALIA - Boy's penis prank may put him on register

Juvenile Sex Offenders
Original Article


A 13-year-old boy who took a photo of his genitals and sent it to his school mates could be placed on a sex offenders' register, the South Australian parliament has been told.

Independent MP Bob Such raised the issue on Wednesday and said he believed the boy took the picture in question with a school iPad.

The teenager has since been reported by police for producing and disseminating child exploitation material.

The case showed the current laws, which placed sex offenders on a register and restricted their future work and activities, were flawed, Dr Such said.

He and called on the government to make changes.

The laws were not designed to turn silly 13-year-olds into criminals, he said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the government would look into the issues raised by the case.

"We need to make sure that the mischief that the sexual offenders' register was seeking to address is not diluted in any way," he told reporters on Thursday.

"But also we don't want to label young people for life for some silly prank."

Attorney-General John Rau said at present there were no children on the sex offenders register and the default position for judges in the Youth Court was not to put convicted offenders on the register.

"The judge has to be convinced that their behaviour is so bad that they need to be on the register," Mr Rau said.

"That's completely different to an adult person, they automatically go on the register."

In the case raised by Dr Such, the children concerned would need to first be convicted of an offence, Mr Rau said.

But even then, the chance of a judge ordering their names be placed on the sex offenders' register was "very, very small".

MN - State seeks to move some sex offenders to less secure setting

Moose Lake Correctional Facility
Moose Lake Correctional Facility
Original Article



Minnesota plans to move as many as a dozen low-functioning and medically needy sex offenders from its high-security treatment campuses to a lower-security facility in Cambridge next year if the state receives court approval.

Thursday’s announcement comes as state Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson faces mounting legal pressure to reform the two-decade old sex offender program. Several residents in the program are suing the state in federal court, claiming it violates their constitutional rights because no one ever gets released from the two high-security facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter.

“These are steps to reform the program,” Jesson said.

In a letter to state legislative leaders, Jesson said the program’s treatment team is supporting the petitions of six offenders who are intellectually disabled to transfer to the state facility in Cambridge. In the fall, the state will also seek to move roughly six offenders with serious medical needs to the facility.

The Cambridge facility, which is operated by the Department of Human Services, currently serves clients with developmental disabilities. They are being moved from that facility, and it will be refashioned to serve the sex offenders. It will include increased security, but be less restrictive than St. Peter and Moose Lake, Jesson said.

She said her agency will meet with local officials and Cambridge residents if they have questions about moving the sex offenders to their community.

There is security at this facility already,” she said. “We are going to enhance that security.”

If the court approves the transfer, the offenders would start moving sometime in the summer or fall of 2014, she said. The facility is licensed for a maximum of 16 occupants.

SWEDEN - Public masturbation not a crime

Original Article


A man who openly masturbated on a Stockholm beach has been acquitted of sexual assault in court after it was ruled he was not targeting a specific person, with the prosecutor saying it's "okay" to play with yourself in public.

The incident occurred on June 6th at the Drevviken beach when the man removed his shorts and began masturbating close to the water. He was subsequently charged with sexual assault.

The Södertörn District Court has now acquitted the 65-year old in a judgement which stated that it "may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion".

However, the court added that no offence had been committed as the masturbating man was not pleasuring himself towards a specific person.

Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told the Mitti newspaper that he wasn't planning to appeal the ruling.

"For this to be a criminal offence it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court's judgement is reasonable," he said.

When asked if it was now acceptable to masturbate in public if you don't direct it towards a specific individual the prosecutor said it was "okay."

"The district court has made a judgement on this case. With that we can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach. The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct."

In another recent judgement a 15-year-old boy was acquitted after being previously charged with sexual assault. The teen had thrown his underwear into a lake and stood naked in front of two under-age girls.

The Södertörn District Court said that his behaviour did not have a sexual undertone and the charge was dismissed. Both the girls had requested the boy be charged with molestation.

H.R. 898: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013

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PA - Further details of international travel

User submitted questions / comments on International travel
The following was sent to us via the contact form and posted with the users permission.

By Lenn:
I live in Pennsylvania and yes they changed the law in December 2011. I traveled before last fall. I was going back to Manila to work. Now I will be moving back to Ohio since my crime was from there, just so they can boot me off the registry. I know several other SO's who got off last year who just recently traveled from PA to Thailand and Hong Kong mostly for their job. I take it as long as we pop up on radar yet and try to travel they will have some kind of fit and alert where ever your destination is at.

My crime was unlawful conduct with a minor, and it was a federal charge because I was 22 and she was 15 and we went over state lines to an amusement park for the day, but yes we had relations as well. I made a bad error in judgment. I basically am blacklisted from going back to Manila but once you are off the registry it shouldn't be an issue other then if trying to go to England or Canada.