Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TX - Sex offender agency under fire

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article

06/16/2014

AUSTIN (AP) - State officials say the Texas agency that oversees violent sex offenders must undergo an overhaul because for years it didn't operate according to basic management practices.

The new director of the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management, Marsha McLane, says she's found that employees worked from home and had little supervision. Personnel and contract files could not be found. The Houston Chronicle reports these and other problems have conspired to slow efforts to bring order to the agency.

The former director, Allison Taylor, has been criticized by lawmakers and others for relocating about three-dozen sex offenders to neighborhoods in Austin and Houston without notifying residents. She later moved another two-dozen offenders to a minimum security halfway house, again without notifying nearby residents.


End of Love (Documentary)

End of Love Documentary
Original Article (Survey)

They are looking for people to interview for this documentary, so if you are interested, take the survey (link above) and contact them if needed.

Matt, Neil, Josh and Zach sought out pornography on the Internet as adolescents. Today they are convicted felons on the National Sex Offender Registry. Their names, photos and addresses are public information available on the Internet. Their residency, movement and employment options are extremely limited.

Law enforcement officials say child pornography possession constitutes the fastest growing prosecuted crime in the US. END OF LOVE is a feature-length documentary about the epidemic of males who are being convicted of downloading child pornography - how it happens and what it says about who we are.

END OF LOVE questions why and how the impulse to seek out child pornography originates in boys and men. Is their on-line sexual exploration and arousal responding to the normalization of sexualized images of underage girls in popular culture? Taking into consideration new discoveries in brain development and addictive behavior, does uncontrolled access to the cornucopia of sexual acts on the Internet at an early age pre-dispose youth to become eventual consumers of child pornography? Or not?


SD - My Voice: Treatment, not prison, answer for sex offenses

Letters to the editor
Original Article

06/16/2014

By Georgina M. Schaff

On behalf of our 4,000-plus members, the Dakota Reform Sex Offender Laws Family Solutions is asking South Dakota Senate candidates to make this issue a campaign priority.

Our mission — promote medical research, legislation and education to provide an empirically based, rational approach to dealing with sexually related offenses and stop the cycle of abuse to protect all children.

According to the Department of Justice, most child sexual-abuse victims are molested by family members or close acquaintances. About 40 percent of crimes take place in the victim's own home, and 20 percent take place in the home of a friend or relative. Your children are more at risk from your family, your friends and you than from convicted sex offenders.

While I was growing up in the Dakotas, incest was common. The abuser was confronted by family members and the inappropriate behavior stopped, a method that was very successful. I know from personal experience that the behavior can be changed and the abuser can be stopped, with the support of family and loved ones.

History has proved that incarceration and labeling does not protect all children. The Unified Judicial System Annual Report and the Crime in South Dakota report published each year by the Division of Criminal Investigation verify the number of new offenses each year while another child is victimized.

For an "offense" of any sexual nature, America law does not hesitate to destroy the family structure, slowly bankrupts the family and might force the family on public assistance (paid by taxpayers). Often the accused is provided additional legal resources through the court (paid by taxpayers). Citizens are incarcerated (health insurance, room and board paid by taxpayers), and once their sentence is served, they are released back into society, labeled with the registry as to where they can live and have difficulty finding jobs.

Tax dollars could be spent on prevention with a focus on changing the behavior and stopping this cycle of abuse. The Dakotas are known for their compassion and the opportunity to reach out and help those less fortunate.

We must take the "weapon" away, the "law" that provides the power and control over their victim. "If you tell I will have to go to prison, you will never be able see me and our family will be divided." Replace that "law" with, "If you tell, I will have to change my behavior or go to jail."

Early intervention is the only true way to protect all children who are being sexually abused by a first-time offender, and many can live with their family with respect and dignity while confronting their wrongdoing.

Among intervention benefits:
  • Protect all sexually abused children with a promise of resources to change the behavior and stop the abuse.
  • Behavior therapy is covered by most insurance, not the taxpayer.
  • Children would be encouraged to immediately report.
  • Future, additional victims will be prevented.
  • Taxpayers would save billions on prosecution, incarceration and the registry.
  • Cover-ups would be eliminated if treatment were the first option.
  • Overcrowding in prisons would be eliminated.
  • Families would not have to face a lifetime of shame.
  • Many lives would be saved for those who choose suicide.

Dakota RSOL Family Solutions' Mission is for legislation for a confidential family intervention for first time nonviolent sex offenses.

Georgina Schaff of Lemmon is a Dakota RSOL Family Solutions State Affiliate Organizer.


CA - Santa Fe Springs City Council repeals sex offender restrictions

Morning paper and coffee
Original Article

06/14/2014

By Mike Sprague

SANTA FE SPRINGS - The City Council Thursday voted 5-0 to repeal a 2010 law that doesn't allow registered sex offenders to come within 300 feet of day-care centers, libraries, schools and parks.

City Manager Thaddeus McCormack said the council didn’t have a choice after a state appellate court in January ruled that state law preempted a city of Irvine law prohibiting registered sex offenders from entering city parks without written permission from its police chief.

The state Supreme Court later declined to review the case.

In his opinion striking down the Irvine law, Justice Richard Aronson wrote, ”We conclude the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life fully occupies the field and therefore preempts the city’s efforts to restrict sex offenders from visiting city parks and recreational facilities.”

Santa Fe Springs hasn't enforced its law for about a year while awaiting a decision from the court, McCormack said.

The city still has Jessica’s Law (Proposition 83), which was approved by California voters. The law bans registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any public or private school or park, McCormack said.

It’s a bit regretful that we can’t add our own restrictions,” McCormack said.

(But) “I think the health and safety of residents of Santa Fe Springs are still going to be maintained and protected,” he said. “It’s an area where the state had weighed in and we defer to the state.”

McCormack said the city was threatened with a lawsuit from California Reform Sex Offender Laws if it didn’t repeal its law.

Janice Bellucci, president of the group, praised the city for its action.

We are very encouraged and commend the city for repealing the ordinance that violates both the state and federal constitutions,” Bellucci said.

Bellucci said ordinances like Irvine’s and Santa Fe Springs are unfair and don’t make people safer.

The laws restricting where sex offenders can go also give families a false sense of security, Bellucci said.

Less than 2 percent (of registered sex offenders) will commit another sex crime, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,” she said. “(Sex) offenders are more likely to be a family member, a coach or a member of the clergy.”

Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper, whose city provides police services for Santa Fe Springs, said he understands the rationale for repealing the law and doesn't expect any problems because of the presence of Jessica’s Law.

He also couldn't remember anybody in past years being charged with a violation of the Santa Fe Springs law.