Saturday, October 26, 2013
We modified the title, we all know how the media likes to add the "pedophile" word to the title. The media has no clue what that term truly means, they seem to think sex offender = pedophile, which is not true! You can email the reporter using the link below, and tell him the difference.
By Aaron Brilbeck
A convicted sex offender moved into the small Marshall County town of Liscomb and quickly learned he was not welcome.
_____ was greeted with smashed windows and the word “Pedophile” spray-painted on his garage. “We got spray paint on our garage last night around midnight. And the window got broken,” _____ said, pointing to the damage.
We couldn't find any neighbors who admitted to doing this but we also couldn't find any who felt bad about it.
- Of course they don't, but a crime is a crime, and the police should do their jobs and investigate the crime!
“For the simple fact what’s on his garage lets everybody know who he is, where he lives,” says neighbor Joe Robinson. “I don’t know. I’m not upset about it.”
- The online registry (hit-list) is for that, but apparently someone used the registry to target this family for vigilantism, and by the police not investigating it further, they are condoning it!
“If it’s true they got what came to them,” adds neighbor Alex Draft. “I live right over here and I got a younger sibling, she’s about 14 years old and she’s kinda been scared to come out here lately.”
Police understand the neighbors’ frustration. Afterall, _____ molested a five year old girl back in 2005. But authorities say he did his time and he has to live somewhere.
“The bottom line is these individuals are in our society,” says Marshall County Sheriff Ted Kamatchus. “We can’t victimize those people based on something that they’re legally doing.”
- So why aren't you investigating the crime? That is you job isn't it?
_____’s wife says the couple just wants to live at the home in peace, “We just want to be left alone so we can live our life without all the hassles that they give to pedophiles and stuff.”
Neighbors say they know the _____ have to live somewhere just not in their town.
“It makes my gut wrench,” Robinson says glancing at the _____ on their front porch. “Especially to watch him sit there watching those kids. Is it going to continue? I don’t want him to be here to continue.”
Police say _____ could face charges for failing to report his change of address.
- And what about the criminals who vandalized his home?
By Tom Lyden
An offender who knows many of the men who may soon be released from the state's sex offender treatment centers says some being considered are "ticking time bombs."
Thomas Evenstad (Blog, Google+) knows several of the civilly-committed sex offenders that may soon be freed by the state of Minnesota or the federal court considering their case, and he candidly said they may also be the most-likely to reoffend.
"You can't change the pathology of a sex offender," he said.
- We totally disagree with this statement!
According to Evenstad, those who are the most likely to be released know how to work the system. Men like _____, who has committed more than 90 sex offenses and is now 70 years old.
"_____ isn't the least dangerous," Evenstad said of those being considered for release. "He's one of the most dangerous. Same with Mr. _____."
- And are you a sex offender expert?
_____ was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl at knifepoint after he was released from a prison term he was serving for another rape.
Both _____ and _____ are among the 700 men and one woman who are so-called "patients" in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program at the facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake. Only one patient has ever been released, but in light of a federal lawsuit, a task force has been set up to find a way to release some of them.
"There are hundreds of low-risk sex offenders, but they're selecting the most dangerous sex offenders in the state," Evenstad insisted.
Evenstad knows them because he himself has been there. Fox 9's Tom Lyden first met him 15 years ago when he was convicted of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old girl he met on a dating chat line. Evenstad has always maintained his innocence, but he served 8 years in prison.
Days before he was set to be released, Hennepin County prosecutors filed a petition to have Evenstad civilly committed as a sexual predator. That effort failed.
"The psychologists in Minnesota are susceptible to political pressure," he said. "If you didn't commit, you were bounced off the panel."
As a voice from inside, Evenstad said he believes there are many patients who would be ideal for release, such as men who committed their crimes as juveniles or those who wouldn't be considered Level 3 offenders in the criminal system; however, he said the patients who are successful in the program are some of the most dangerous to the public.
"These people become very cunning, able to con and manipulate," Evenstad continued. "_____ is one of the top candidates in the program -- would graduate to murder."
The state's task force considering the issue has created a rough draft of proposals for dealing with sex offenders. It includes a sex offender court to determine which offenders should be selected for civil commitment and who should be released, a higher standard of proof for civil commitment and a panel of experts to be involved in screening.
These vigilantes are hampering what the police should be doing and by them not arresting these vigilantes, they are basically condoning what they are doing.
By Robert Booth
Police say the actions of the vigilantes can be damaging to abuse victims as well as innocent people wrongly suspected
In a motel room 100 miles from home, a middle-aged man using the name Peter counts the cost of one of the internet's latest trends: paedophile hunting.
"I have lost everything apart from my life. I have lost my job, I've lost my home, I've lost family, friends. I am a shell of a man. I am completely broken," he told the Guardian.
In May, this married former member of the armed forces was the target of a vigilante using the name Daemon Hunter (Facebook), part of an online subculture in which members of the public pose as children to lure men to meetings where they accuse them of grooming children for sex. The filmed encounters are then posted on YouTube for all to see, and after one such encounter, Peter is in hiding.
It is a form of rough justice that has the power to expose the guilty – but also to wreck the lives of the accused regardless of whether there is evidence of a crime. The "hunter" phenomenon has been fuelled by the ever increasing speed and reach of online social networks and an undercurrent of public concern that police are struggling to trap online sex offenders. Hunter groups have been active in the Midlands and some targets have been convicted, but police want it to stop.
- Well stop it then! If you don't arrest these vigilantes then it will continue!
The Daemon Hunter vigilante who targeted Peter in Staffordshire used the slogan "Public against paedos". He pretended to be interested in his target on an adult dating site and they arranged to meet in a branch of Costa coffee. Peter thought he was meeting an 18-year-old, and insists he is not a paedophile or child groomer. Only when he was waiting in the cafe did a text come through saying "she" was 15 and that he immediately got up and left.
It was then that Daemon Hunter accosted him in the street, accused him of trying to meet a 15-year-old for sex, and chased him through town filming him. Peter told the Guardian: "He said: 'I think we need to talk because you're a f****** paedophile.' I said: 'What do you mean mate? She's 18, that's what I was told. I've just had a text message up there saying she's 15 and that's why I've walked away.' Next thing I know he got his phone up filming me, calling me a paedophile, asking her age. I was shocked. He started shouting I was a paedophile in the middle of town. I thought 'I am going to get a kicking here' so I just legged it."
Within hours, the vigilante uploaded footage of the sting on to the internet along with Peter's mobile number. That night his phone was jammed with abusive texts and voicemails, which he said included death threats.
- He should have contacted police then and reported these vigilantes!
So he fled north in his car, only returning when he thought the worst was over. Later, he said his house was hit with bricks and that his wife tried to kill herself with an overdose of pills. He was so scared he was reduced to hiding in a cupboard when the doorbell rang.
Staffordshire police reviewed the evidence and concluded there was no case for any prosecution, but the damage was done. More than 5,000 people viewed the film and Peter has now moved to the other side of the country, cut off from family, friends and work.
- This is exactly why these vigilantes continue, because the police condone it and do not arrest them!
Sam, from the West Midlands, said he was beaten to the ground near his home after a prolific Nuneaton-based vigilante known as Stinson Hunter posted a video that appeared to show him travelling to meet an 11-year-old girl. Stinson Hunter's real name is Kieren Parsons, a 32-year-old who has been working on stings for almost four years with a small group of friends. He has previously told how he was partly inspired by the American TV programme To Catch a Predator, in which reporters pose as children to entrap child groomers.
Sam's story began when he was talking to a person on the dating site Badoo. After a while someone told him she was 11 and asked if it put him off. He said it did but he didn't mind chatting from time to time.
"I knew she wasn't an 11-year-old because she sounded so mature and when her picture was up I said to her that's a picture of a 17- or 18-year-old, I think I am being fooled here. She said no, I'm 11." Later they had an adult exchange in which she asked about sex. "I discussed slowly what happens," he said. "After, I said: 'I don't think you are 11.' An 11-year-old would not respond to me in this nature."
Soon, "she" asked to come and meet him. He made excuses to avoid it, but shortly afterwards, Stinson posted Sam's picture and number online and accused him of grooming. Hate messages poured in. "Kill threats, you're a paedo, you're this you're that," he said. "I was panicking, I couldn't eat." Sam went to the police and said he had been talking to someone he didn't believe was a child.
Then Stinson called. "He said if you think you are not a vile person, come and see us and we'll have a chat with you and leave it at that," Sam said. Stinson gave him a contact at Nuneaton police station who he said had previously handled his cases. According to Sam, the officer told him not to go because of the risk that a film shaming him would be broadcast. But it seemed a chance to clear his name and he went.
"Straight away the camera was on my face," he said. "There were about four people in there. Straight away all the bad questions. I just started crying thinking what the hell have we come into. He has made the nation believe that me and my friend had actually come to meet the 11-year-old."
Detective Inspector Chris Hanson, of the West Midlands police public protection unit, said Stinson's video sting on Sam had been thoroughly investigated by specialist child abuse investigation officers who also made their own extensive inquiries and found no evidence of any sexual offences. But Sam said that came too late to prevent social workers asking him to move away from his children temporarily and his life being threatened by strangers.
- So why didn't you arrest the vigilantes for harassment and taking the law into their own hands? You are basically condoning their actions in our opinion.
When approached by the Guardian to comment about his activities and Sam's claims, Stinson Hunter declined to comment.
Despite their belief that they have been unfairly pilloried in public, Peter and Sam feel they are lucky. The family of Gary Cleary can only grieve. The 28-year-old killed himself four days after he was arrested and was released on police bail following a sting by a Leicestershire group, Letzgo Hunting, in which they posed as a 14-year-old girl. They have denied any responsibility for his suicide.
Police admit they have been torn over whether to embrace or reject the morally fraught method that may secure useful evidence but also risks the destruction of vital evidence and the safety of children if genuine paedophiles are discovered before the police can intervene.
There have been convictions. _____, 23, was jailed for child sex abuse after a girl's mother approached Letzgo Hunting worried about what he had done to her daughter. Nottinghamshire police, however, said the sting played no role in the conviction. _____ 66, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted sexual grooming following a sting by Stinson Hunter in which he posed as 15-year-old girl and they arranged to meet at a park.
Police say some hunters have exposed people whose potential child grooming behaviour was previously unknown, but that in the majority of cases examined the targets do not reflect any sexual interest in children.
Stinson Hunter has even admitted as much."Guys that I catch generally aren't paedophiles," he told supporters in an online broadcast in August. "A massive percent of them are guys that have been lonely and someone has paid them attention and they've jumped on it."
In an anonymous interview with the BBC in the Midlands last month, one of Letzgo Hunting's leaders insisted it always made clear early to targets that they were talking to someone underage, and never prompted meetings themselves. "The fact that we have caught 11 people trying to meet children for sex in one area of the country says the police aren't doing enough," he said.
But Letzgo Hunting declined to comment further for this article, saying: "There are no more operations. The group's activities are over."
- So they say!
A significant problem for police is that the tactic of posting the videos online before approaching the police allows genuine criminals time to destroy evidence. "We are spending lots of time and effort with these cases and finding lots of deleted material that we can't access or even a computer-shaped hole in the suspect's bedroom," one police source said.
Now the targets of stings who have spoken to the Guardian say they are considering legal action. But police are cautious about the prospect of securing criminal convictions in the case of wrongly accused people.
Peter Davies, the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on child protection and the head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency, said that was only possible if it could be established there was "criminal causality between the actions of the vigilante groups and the harm that came to anybody" and that prosecutions could follow in extreme cases.
Civil action may be an alternative. "I will be taking legal action against this person, because they just can't do that," said Peter. "I have consulted some people and I will be taking civil action against him. I have lost a £45,000-a-year job. I was a womaniser. That's what I've done wrong, but I have been accused of being a paedophile when I was completely innocent."
Sam said he had already spoken to solicitors about the possibility of bringing a defamation case, but was worried about the cost.
Davies said the vigilante tactics were "hugely inadvisable – to victims, to suspects and also to innocent people who may wrongly be suspected".
"If someone is wrongly accused of this in a hugely public way that makes people who live with them, live near them, work with them assume they have committed the offence. The temptation to take themselves out of it [kill themselves] may be just as great even if they are innocent and that is an appalling consequence to contemplate," he said. "Vigilante groups like this should not continue because they are taking risks they don't understand."
He said there were at least 5,000 police officers trained and accredited in child protection and urged parents who are concerned that their children are being targeted to contact the police and not vigilantes. "I can guarantee that if a parent thinks their child is being targeted on line they will get a far better response from the police or Ceop than from any other way," he said. "The risks of allowing this kind of vigilante behaviour to continue are immense. It is hugely risky for the child, and other children who may be being abused by the same person, to do anything else."
- Anti-paedophile group Letzgo Hunting closes down
- Man hangs himself after vigilantes (Letzgo Hunting) accuse him of being a paedophile
- We don't need the paedophile hunters
- Paedophile vigilantes terrorised us for daring to criticise them: Sisters left in fear after challenge to gang who outed online suspect
Please click the link above and take the poll below the main video.
And to reiterate what eAdvocate said "A registry which merely shows where registrant's are for a few hours of the night when they are sleeping does nothing to protect the public. Politicians want the registry to further political goals!"
LANSING (WNEM) - Legislation passed by the Michigan Senate in Lansing would require registered sex offenders to pay an annual fee to help maintain the state's sex offender registry.
Senate Bill 221's sponsor, state Sen. Rick Jones, said it is ready for the governor's signature.
"These are people who committed crimes," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "I do not believe that the hardworking taxpayers in Michigan should foot the bill for a registry of crimes they did not commit."
- So when are you going to force all other ex-felons to pay an extortion fee?
In a news release on Thursday, Jones cited other states such as Indiana, which charges $50 per year for a similar registry, and Illinois and Ohio, which charge $100 per year.
- Just because another state gets away with extortion doesn't mean you should follow them!
Currently, Jones stated the cost of maintaining the Sex Offender Registry database in Michigan is funded through a one-time $50 registration fee for offenders, even though the majority of offenders register for 25 years to life.
Jones stated in the release that during the past five years, the money collected from this one-time fee is less than 10 percent of the cost of maintaining the registry. Jones noted that as a result, law enforcement must divert taxpayer dollars that should be spent on putting more police officers on the streets.
- Well the tax payers are the ones who want this online hit-list so they should pay for it!
"Sex offenders can afford to pay a dollar or two per week to pay for the list," Jones said. "Taxpayers should not have to be burdened with this cost. The offenders should support this list as they do in neighboring states."
- We should also not have to pay taxes on a lot of other things, but I don't see you eliminating those taxes!
By Andrew Extein
It can be said that sex offenders are the new bogeymen, mythical monsters invented to scare children into social order. People convicted of sex offenses, and subsequently placed on the public registry, are transformed into a concept of evil, which is then personified as a group of faceless, terrifying, and predatory devils. It would appear that this strategy is used to keep sex offenders at a distance, in turn keeping our children and families safe from harm. But in reality, such fantasy does just the opposite: ignoring the realities of sex offenses puts children, families, and adults at greater risk.
Halloween is a notable time to talk about sex offenders and the issues surrounding such labeling, as they conjure both legal realities and Jungian fantasy. Many cities and counties have enacted special laws that dictate what sex offenders are allowed to do and where they are allowed to be on Halloween, publicizing their identities and putting them at risk of harassment or worse. On a deeper level, Halloween enhances cultural fear, paranoia, and panic--a bad combination for sex offenders. Why have sex offenders become our "bogeymen," and why is this counterproductive?
The concept of the bogeyman has been around for centuries, with variations around the world. He is faceless, vague, and cloaked, yet undeniably terrifying. Parents instill the idea of the bogeyman in the minds of children to make them behave, or avoid dangerous situations. The sick beauty of the bogeyman is that he exists only in the mind, with every person imagining a different manifestation of the mythical figure. He is a projection of your worst fears, your scariest nightmares, and your most crippling anxieties.
The bogeyman is central to Halloween. The holiday is rooted in Christian tradition and folklore, and dates back for centuries in Europe. Halloween in the United States began in the 19th century with the Irish and Scottish migration. Jack-o-lanterns frighten evil spirits, trick-or-treating uses threats to get sweets, and costumes mock satanic figures. Halloween has evolved into a cathartic holiday that celebrates fear, indulges in horror, and helps us exercise our imagination. The personification of this fear takes many forms--witches, killers, vampires--but the central concept remains the same. Some fears are too scary to take such specific forms, and the result is the vaguely terrifying bogeyman.
American culture is steeped in moral panics. Puritanical witch-hunts, racial persecution, xenophobic internment, and institutionalization of gay men are all examples of misplaced solutions to deeply engrained cultural fears of difference. In the mid-1960s the concept of "stranger danger" came into prominence, dissuading children from interacting with unknown adults and feeding dormant fears of otherness. Adult males with an inexplicable interest in talking to children were specific targets of stranger danger, resulting in a new, vague bogeyman archetype. Comedic by contemporary standards, educational films were created and propagated in schools to make sure every child understood that adult men were not to be trusted--guilty until proven innocent, bad until proven good.
Over decades this archetype has grown, been fostered, and gained steam. It is deeply ingrained in the way families view the outside world. In the 1980s, this bogeyman, the one who bribes children with candy, took on a new, more specific form. Sex offenders were selected as the realization of moral panics about sex, stranger danger, and national paranoia. Over time, Americans have become well accustomed to the sex offender bogeyman. Despite any statistics, data, or examples that prove otherwise (low re-offense rates of 2-5%, the majority of child sexual abuse being enacted by a family member or trusted friend), we believe that sex offenders prove a serious threat to children and families. They remain dormant, anonymous, in our neighborhoods, just waiting for the right time to strike. Public online registries were created to satiate our appetite for sex offenders, to indulge in our darkest fears, and inspect all the bogeymen that haunt our fantasies.
It's FloriDuh, what do you expect?
By Sally Kestin
The troubled state program charged with identifying rapists and child molesters too dangerous for society is getting a new boss: a Broward prosecutor who has devoted much of her career to locking up sex offenders.
The appointment Friday of Kristin Kanner to head Florida's Sexually Violent Predator Program (Video) signals a renewed focus on public safety and is the latest in the fallout from a Sun Sentinel investigative series in August.
The newspaper found Florida had failed to stop hundreds of sex offenders from harming again, despite a 1999 law that allows the state to keep predators confined even after their prison sentences end. Lawmakers are now working on a series of reforms to strengthen sex offender laws.
- Sex offender recidivism is low, but that doesn't stop the media from fear-mongering. Of course some will reoffend, you cannot prevent everything!
Kanner said in an interview that her top priority will be preventing dangerous sex offenders from slipping through and getting out.
- And how will she do this? No matter how many laws are passed, if a person is intent on committing a new crime, they will, so she will either lock all who wear the sex offender label up for life, just to protect her reputation, or someone at some time, will get out and commit another sexual related crime and basically she will have changed nothing but she will be blamed for it, and we're sure she will "get tougher!"
"I think you have to look at more of them to be able to catch the ones that are flying under the radar,'' she said. "I'm afraid ... there are some people that perhaps should have been picked up that were not.''
- That is obvious! But when you have so many on the registry, it's also obvious some will slip through the "cracks!"
Esther Jacobo, interim secretary of the Department of Children & Families, tapped Kanner for the job after seeing her testify at two legislative hearings on sex predators in September.
"It was very clear to me she had an understanding of the whole system,'' Jacobo told the Sun Sentinel on Friday. "She can bring that public safety perspective that I think was missing.''
Kanner, 47, joined the Broward State Attorney's Office in 1993 and has spent the past decade in the sex crimes division.
She is the first prosecutor to lead the 14-year-old sex predator program, which has traditionally been run by a psychologist involved in sex offender evaluations. The previous director, Dan Montaldi, resigned in September after the Sun Sentinel questioned his record and his views defending sex offenders' rights.
Under Montaldi, the state recommended confinement for fewer and fewer predators, giving Florida the lowest referral rate of 17 states with similar laws, the newspaper reported.
- So what they are basically saying is they want to lock up more and keep more in civil commitment just so they can have a higher referral rate and "look tough?" And so, their ultimate goal is finally coming out!
"It's important to return the program back to the intent of the statute ... to keep the most seriously predatory and violent sexual offenders confined,'' Kanner said. "It does seem that it lost its focus.''
Kanner will oversee a team of state psychologists who evaluate about 3,000 sex offender inmates each year to identify predators who warrant continued confinement in a treatment facility. Those cases are referred to prosecutors, who must convince judges or juries in civil trials that the offenders are likely to attack again if released.
As a prosecutor, Kanner handled more than 30 sex predator trials.
"I've had to learn the pitfalls and what the pros and cons of the program are,'' she said. "I'm thrilled to be able to fix some of the things that we've all complained about for years.''
Jacobo said she's directed Kanner to examine the program top to bottom. "I asked her to take a fresh look at how we do everything,'' she said.
Kanner said she wants to widen the state's net of potential predators, an idea her boss supports. "I'd like to see more referrals,'' Jacobo said.
Kanner said one of her first tasks will be to review the criteria the program uses to single out predators. The Sun Sentinel found that screeners limited their searches to only the most egregious offenders such as child molesters with multiple offenses and a pattern of "extensive physical violation.''
"I've prosecuted tons of pedophiles who touched kids only over their clothes. How is that any less predatory?'' Kanner said. "I think if you change your definition, you're going to pick up a lot of people.''
- Does she know the true definition of a pedophile, or is she just assuming all who harm a child sexually is a pedophile? Sounds like the usual thought mentality to us.
Kanner said she would take a close look at sex offenders still in custody who the program found were not predators to see if any of those decisions should be reversed. The department already began an internal review, reclassifying 16 cases on one day in June.
Another area of concern is what happens to predators once the program flags them. Of more than 1,500 the state has recommended for confinement, nearly half were freed by the courts.
"I would like to see if there is something we can do to shore that number up,'' Kanner said.
Married to a criminal defense lawyer, Kanner will remain in Broward. She starts her new job Nov. 4 at a salary of $98,000 a year.
"It is daunting,'' Kanner said. "There's so much at stake.''