Thursday, April 24, 2014

SC - Ruling in favor of registered sex offender raises questions

Off the sex offender registry
Original Article (Video available)

04/23/2014

By Greg Suskin

Marjorie Carroll believes that once someone is on the sex offender register, that person should be listed there for life.

They're not going to change," Carroll said. "You have to protect the children."
- You need to stop believing everything you read. Not all ex-offenders have harmed children and anybody can change, if they want to.

However, a South Carolina sex offender won a major court battle Wednesday that will remove his name and picture from the life-long public registry. The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of _____ of Florence, who argued the registry wasn't equitable.

The decision raises questions for many about the online sex offender registry, who should be listed there, and for how long.

There are 235 names and pictures on the registry in Rock Hill alone. On Wednesday, Channel 9 spoke to a Rock Hill man, who's on that list and didn't want to be identified.

"Everyone wants to be forgiven," he said. "No one wants to be reminded of their past all your life."

He spent 10 years in prison for having sex with a minor. He told Channel 9 he's not that person anymore, and shouldn't be listed as a sex offender now.

"I believe God is a God of second chances, and I believe everybody else should have a second chance," he said.

Currently, anyone on the registry is there for life, unless their conviction is overturned, or if they are pardoned.

Many offenders are listed, even though they are not considered sexual predators. Some are there for having sex with minors, when they were teens themselves. Other cases involve people charged with indecent exposure.

16th circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett said for some of those cases, a change could make sense.

"I don't know that there shouldn't be some mechanism for people that have been sort of caught in the web of the registry, that are not truly sexual predators," Brackett said.

However, he also said the registry is an important tool for public safety.

"Clearly I think the public interest is very strong in alerting the public to individuals who are repeat or sexually violent predators," he said.

Shirley James of York said she feels like some of the people listed on the registry don't belong there.

"That happened to a friend of mine, even though the case wasn't right, and it ruined his life," she said.

A spokesman for the South Carolina Attorney General's office said they are reviewing the Supreme Court's ruling, and have 10 days to appeal it.


AL - New law could force sex offenders to move from Chilton County church facility

Sex offender housing
Original Article

04/22/2014

By Mike Cason

MONTGOMERY - A small church property in Chilton County where dozens of sex offenders have lived over the last four years will apparently no longer be able to house them.

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed into law HB 556, pertaining only to Chilton County, that prohibits registered sex offenders from living on the same property within 300 feet of each other unless they are related.

Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville, sponsored the bill because of the multiple sex offenders living behind Triumph Church, which is on a two-lane highway just outside Clanton. There are camper trailers behind the church for the men.

Ricky Martin, who operates the facility, declined to talk to AL.com for this article.

The law gives the district attorney's office the authority to file a civil complaint against someone owning or leasing property where more than one unrelated sex offender lives. The law takes effect July 1.

C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, who helped write the bill, said notice would be given before a complaint is filed. He said the law gives judges the authority to issue fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

It’s one of those things where we’re not going way overboard with the punishment,” Robinson said.

Under Alabama’s sex offender laws, offenders are required to notify authorities when they move into a county, and authorities notify nearby residents.

Robinson said he received notices for 51 sex offenders moving to the address from August 2010 through October 2013.

Many have come and gone. Robinson said he’s not aware of any moving there this year.

Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis said last week there were 10 offenders living at the address and one had filed his paperwork to move.

Davis said he’s not aware of any problems caused by the men.

Brandy Morrison, 26, has lived next door to the church for four years. She said she worries sometimes but that the men have never bothered anybody. She said one of the men helps her father with work around the yard.

Morrison says the family takes precautions when nieces and nephews visit and play outside.

We always make sure they stay real close because you never know,” Morrison said.

Wallace worked on the bill for several years and at one point had a statewide version that would have required facilities with multiple sex offenders to have a live-in monitor and obtain a license from the county sheriff.

He said he thought the bill that passed, more simple and applying only to Chilton County, would achieve the purpose.

"The guys who are there now are going to have to find somewhere else to go," Wallace said.

Wallace and Robinson said one objection they have had to the facility is that most of the men are from outside the county.

Robinson said only two of the 51 men committed their crimes in Chilton County. One of those was a misdemeanor, he said.

These are not folks from Chilton County who committed a crime and are coming back home,” Robinson said.


LA - Police officer (Bradley Wax) charged with 38 counts of possessing child porn

Bradley Wax
Bradley Wax
Original Article

04/23/2014

By Amber Stegall

MANDEVILLE (WAFB) - According to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, a New Orleans Police officer has been arrested for possessing child pornography.

Reports say 54-year-old Bradley Wax, of Mandeville, has been charged with 38 counts of pornography involving juveniles.

An online undercover operation led investigators to execute a search warrant on Wax's residence in January. After forensic analysis was conducted on computers and other electronic devices seized during the warrant, investigators determined Wax was in possession of child pornography, according to the report.

Wax was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison on each count of child pornography.


OH - Officer (John Daniel Kamphaus) tried to lure minor online

John Daniel Kamphaus
John Kamphaus
Original Article

04/23/2014

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

A Hamilton County corrections officer is locked up at the Kenton County jail on a charge of using a computer to lure a minor.

John Daniel Kamphaus, 40, was arrested at 1:30 a.m. when he traveled to Mills Road Park in Independence.

That's where he arranged to meet a 15-year-old girl he had been chatting with online for sex, said Kenton County Police Chief Brian Capps.

"He believed he was chatting with a 15-year-old Independence teenager when, in fact, it was one of our officers," the police chief said.

Kamphaus was booked into the jail about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday on a charge of prohibited use of a electronic communication system to procure a minor in reference to a sex offense, jail records show.

He briefly appeared Wednesday morning before a Kenton County judge, who set his bond at $2,500.

Kamphaus has been employed at the Hamilton County Sherif's Office nearly 20 years, since January 1996, said Michael Robison, agency spokesman.

"Per our policies, effective immediately Officer Kamphaus is placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation by internal affairs," Robison said. "The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is fully cooperating with the Kenton County Police Department."

Kamphaus' personnel file will not be released to the Enquirer for review until next week.

"... .pursuant to their standing labor contract, we are required to notify him five days prior to releasing his file," Robison said.


CA - Santa Maria attorney files sex offender lawsuit against Lompoc

Lawsuit
Original Article

04/23/2014

A Santa Maria attorney has filed a complaint in federal district court on behalf of a Grover Beach resident against the city of Lompoc over a sex offender ordinance the city adopted, claiming it violates both the federal and state constitutions.

Attorney Janice Bellucci, who also serves as president of the California chapter of the nonprofit organization Reform Sex Offender Laws, filed the complaint on behalf of registered sex offender _____, 61, who serves as a board member for the chapter.

In 1979, _____ was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, according to the State of California Department of Justice, Megan’s Law sex offender database. He has no other subsequent felonies within the state of California, according to the database.

We filed the lawsuit because we are protecting the Constitution. That is what’s important to us,” Bellucci said.

Lompoc Mayor John Linn said the city’s ordinance, titled “Registered Sex Offender Residency Prohibitions,” was put in place in an effort to “strike a balance between letting registered sex offenders live their lives while still protecting the women and children in our community.”

According to Linn, the Lompoc Police Department and the City’s Attorney’s office worked together to devise an ordinance to best fit the city.

State law allowed us to put the ordinance in place,” Linn said.

In her complaint, Bellucci argues the ordinance bans sex offender registrants from residing in “vast parts of the city of Lompoc by virtue of 2,000-foot ‘residential exclusion zones’ surrounding the perimeter of certain locations.”

The complaint alleges that the ordinance also significantly restricts registrants’ access to public facilities and bans them from loitering near any privately owned business with the “child safety zones” around certain establishments and facilities.

Registrants are prohibited from loitering anywhere on the grounds or within 300 feet of schools, parks, day care centers, public libraries, school bus stops, playgrounds and any location that holds classes or group activities for children.

Sex offenders who violate the ordinance are subject to punishment including incarceration up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of violation, according to Bellucci.

The Lompoc ordinance violates the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution,” she said.

In the complaint, the attorney has asked that the ordinance be declared null and void as “unconstitutionally vague” and request the Central District court allow _____ to recover all reasonable attorney’s fees, cost and litigation expenses from the city of Lompoc.

This is a civil rights issue. Our hope is that the city of Lompoc will do the right thing and repeal their ordinance,” Bellucci said.

Linn said he and the Lompoc City Council will address the merits of the complaint once they are served with the lawsuit and they have had the opportunity to review it.

Apparently, we are not alone. Other cities have been sued from what I understand,” Linn said.

Bellucci has sent out warning letters to more than 70 cities within California to let them know they could be sued if they did not repeal their ordinances. El Centro and Costa Mesa have repealed their ordinances, while cities including Anaheim, Grand Terrace and South Pasadena agreed not to enforce their ordinances at this time. Pomona, South Lake Tahoe, National City and Carson have been sued.