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What the hell is this world coming to? I think neither should've been charged, but why arrest the 8 year old when the 14 year old started the whole situation? Insane, double standard!
SALT LAKE CITY - A mother is upset after a 14-year-old babysitter engaged in sexual conduct with her eight-year-old boy, and the eight-year-old was charged with lewd conduct.
Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against the boy, but his mother is still concerned.
The sexual conduct occurred during a game of “truth or dare” while the boy was being watched by the babysitter.
Prosecutors say that, while the babysitter initiated the contact, the young boy was a willing participant.
“She dared my son to touch her breasts,” says Michelle Grosbeck, the boy’s mother.
After hiring the teenager to baby sit, Grosbeck got the feeling something was wrong.
“It was just that sense that something wasn’t quite right with this 14-year-old girl,” she said. She asked her son what had happened. “He just came right out as if nothing was awry, and just started talking about what had happened.”
Grosbeck went to police and child protection workers, and the case went to the district attorney, after which her son, age eight, had been charged with an act of lewdness with a minor.
Grosbeck says the Salt Lake County District Attorney told her both the child and teenager were equal participants. But Mrs. Grosbeck didn’t believe that.
“My son is eight, he’s a little boy. He does not have the ability to participate on the same level as a fourteen-year-old,” she said.
Although the charges against her son were dropped, she is concerned that the same thing could happen to other victims of sexual abuse.
“I don’t want parents to be afraid to go to the state agencies that are supposed to be protecting our children when things like this happen, out of fear that their children are going to be charged
The district attorney’s office confirmed the charges had been made, and that they had been dropped. Other than that, they wouldn’t comment. The Division of Child and Family Services also declined to comment.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
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Children as well!
A proposed Green Bay ordinance that's nearing passage is leaving the families of convicted child-sex offenders caught between a rock and a hard place.
The ordinance would ban these registered offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, place of worship, day care, park, or trail system. That leaves only seven-percent of the city where they can live.
A mother we'll only identify as Pat says her son would fall under the new ordinance when he's released from prison. She spoke out against the city's plan at Tuesday night's city council meeting, and she fears for her son's safety.
Her son is 35 years old and has spent 15 of those years in prison.
"He got involved with someone that was not healthy mentally for him, and we could sit it happening, and that's when he assaulted his sister," she shares.
Pat adopted him at the age of five. She attributes his behavior to a troubled childhood but she makes no excuses for him. "Do I like what he did? No. Do I like what was done to him? No. But he's still our son."
Her son is expected to be released in a year. She says her son is a different person now, and she is sure he's not going to re-offend.
"He was very disheartened, very afraid of what's going to happen to him when he is finally released. Where is he going to go?"
Even though she doesn't live in Green Bay, she asked the city council to deny the controversial ordinance.
"That ordinance will affect everybody in Brown County because all the outlying areas are going to be forced to vote on this," she said.
After hours of discussion, the ordinance still passed by a vote of 9-2.
"I felt it was a political ploy what they were doing, and that's what I had a very difficult time with," she said, "and they forget they're dealing with people in this -- real, warm-blooded human beings that live in this county."
"Somebody at the meeting said, 'Just put them on an island someplace,' and I thought, you know, if it was your child you wouldn't say that."
Pat has come to terms with the fact Green Bay will probably enact the ordinance and surrounding communities are likely to follow. So she's prepared to move to a different community if it means being closer to her son.
Next week, leaders from neighboring communities plan to talk about their plan of action following the approval of the Green Bay ordinance.
View the article here.
She knew it was wrong.
But there Gail was, performing sex with her boyfriend in front of a 13-year-old girl.
The man, who would later become Gail's husband, dabbled in the black arts and fashioned himself a warlock. This depraved demonstration was designed to somehow enhance his dark powers. He had threatened to kill Gail and her family if she didn't go along with his plan.
Gail spent a year on probation for her role in this lewd act. Fourteen years later, she remains a modern-day pariah, one of a growing number of women included in the ranks of South Carolina's nearly 10,000 convicted sex offenders.
"When someone finds out about it, they're suddenly leery of me," said Gail, who spoke on the condition that her full name not be used. "I'm constantly having to explain myself and what happened. ... I'm not a pervert."
Some 165 women are listed on the state's sex offender registry, a small fraction in this male-dominated roster of deviance. Nationally, less than 5 percent of the sexual assaults reported to police are committed by women. But experts caution that sexual misconduct by women has long been under-reported in our society, which has had trouble accepting the notion of women as molesters.
"I think people are just waking up to it now," said Julia Hislop, a Virginia psychologist who authored a book on female sex offenders. "It took time for people to take this seriously."
Some of these perceptions have changed in recent years as strange and unsettling sex crimes involving women have made headlines here and across the country.
The South Carolina cases include:
--Laurens County teacher Wendie Schweickert, 36, arrested in February 2006 for allegedly having sex with an 11-year-old male student.
--Richland County teacher Kimberly Moody Alexander, 45, charged in September with kissing a 14-year-old boy in a parked car on a dead-end street.
--Clinton middle school teacher Allenna Ward, 23, accused in January of having sex with five boys, ages 14 and 15, at the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.
--Former Berkeley County bus driver Lacey Bolen, 26, pleaded guilty in July 2005 to accepting $10 to allow two boys tosexually assault a 14-year-old girl on her bus while Bolen stood by.
--A couple dozen female sex offenders live in the greater Charleston area. Their crimes are varied, ranging from molesting their own children to affairs with underage boys and other crimes. One woman had a sex with a friend of her children. Another had sex with an inmate while working as a prison nurse. A third performed oral sex on a child while her boyfriend videotaped the incident.
Still, authorities say they have struggled for years to convince the public and jurors that women are capable of rape and other sexual crimes. Charleston County prosecutor Debbie Herring-Lash said she has had people laugh when she's given talks on the subject.
At times, even the victims have a hard time seeing themselves as such. The episodes become colored with rite-of-passage myths and society's atta-boy attitude toward the sexual conquests of teenage boys. Through films such as "Private Lessons" and "My Tutor," the entertainment industry also has helped glamorize the image of the comely teacher seducing her willing, virginal student, experts said.
Even in cases where victims have been violently assaulted, people "tend to impose a Mrs. Robinson stereotype" on the episode, Hislop said, referring to the aging seductress from "The Graduate."
"People tend to feel it is a badge of honor, and it's been very difficult for me to convince people that it's a crime," said Assistant Solicitor Kristi Harrington, who prosecuted the Bolen case and other sex crimes in Berkeley County. "This is not a badge of honor, this is a predatory act."
Female sex offenders tend to have just one victim, though repeat predators have been documented. Many are needy individuals with low self esteem, a history of sexual abuse, family problems and mental health issues. Where male molesters tend to be driven by lust, female sex offenders often view their victims as boyfriends or willing participants, experts said.
"This kind of offender often thinks she is in love with the children," said Hollida Wakefield, a Minnesota-based psychologist who has studied women molesters. "To them, it doesn't seem like offending. It's more of a romantic relationship."
Researchers and therapists, however, have come to see the damage these skewed relationships can inflict upon the boys involved. The victims often have difficulty forming stable relationships, develop sexual issues of their own and fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse, said William Burke, a licensed professional counselor from Summerville who assesses and treats sex offenders.
Herring-Lash, who prosecutes sex crimes in Charleston County, recalled the story of one man who was seduced by an older woman from his neighborhood when he was in his teens. By the time he reported the incident, he was in his 40s, had been in therapy and had experienced difficulty dating women, she said.
"At the time it happened, he didn't see it. He thought it was great," she said. "But later on, he realized he had been victimized."
State Rep. Karl Allen is a Greenville Democrat who represents three of the boys in the Clinton school case, which occurred in the same county where the 11-year-old was molested last year. Allen said the victims of these crimes likely will need counseling to overcome problems with trust, guilt and behavioral issues.
"When you talk about someone who is 11, they have only been walking for less for 10 years," he said. "When someone preys upon that type of vulnerability, it does irreparable harm. ... These are babies."
Allen is pushing legislation that would institute a 25-year minimum sentence for sex crimes committed by school personnel.
A 2004 report by Charol Shakeshaft, a Hofstra University professor, found that more than 4.5 million students endure sexual misconduct by employees at their schools, from inappropriate jokes all the way to forced sex. The report found that teachers were the most common culprits, with women accounting for 43 percent of the offenders.
Public awareness of the problem has increased since the mid-1990s, when Washington state teacher Mary Kay Letourneau went to prison for her affair with a 12-year-old student. Still, debate exists as to whether female sex offenders continue to receive lighter sentences than their male counterparts. Critics are quick to point to the case of Florida teacher Debra LaFave, who received house arrest and probation for having sex with a 14-year-old student. Her lawyer grabbed headlines by stating that LaFave's pin-up features made her too pretty for prison.
But Gail, the South Carolina woman who had sex in front of a teenage girl, said she worries that the public's fear of sex offenders has gone too far, leaving little room for compassion and consideration of the facts of each case. She insists that she was as much a victim as the 13-year-old. She hopes to someday win a pardon and be removed from the registry, which has cost her jobs, friends and respect in the community, she said.
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MIAMI - Fred Gray thought it was a mistake when he was told he didn't have clearance to work at schools. A background check had flagged the telephone company employee under a 2005 law aimed at protecting children from sex offenders.
His crime: hunting wild hogs out of season in 1971, a case that had been dismissed.
Gray says his arrest and the barbecue he had hoped to have with the hog has been a joke for decades. But the incident had him losing sleep recently, he said. Clearing it up with the Orange County School Board took months, and he worried about losing his job.
"It's funny to me now, but at that point I was so mad," he said.
Gray's case is perhaps one of the most bizarre cited by communications workers who have been vocal in arguing the Jessica Lunsford Act needs to be refined and vague wording clarified so it doesn't affect people whose backgrounds include long-ago minor crimes that had nothing to do with children.
As a result, Florida legislators this year are discussing amendments to the act. Similar bills proposed last year won overwhelming support, but lawmakers ran out of time in the regular session to reconcile House and Senate versions.
When it was passed two years ago, lawmakers touted the act as a way to toughen laws against sex offenders, and about 30 states now have similar laws. But wording in the law created headaches for some school contractors in Florida, ranging from companies that repair air conditioners to those that stock vending machines.
The act is named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, whose killer, John Couey, had briefly worked as a mason's assistant during a building project at her school even though he was a convicted child molester. The act's primary purpose was to enact a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life for people convicted of certain sex crimes against young children and lifetime tracking by global positioning satellite after they are freed.
But the act also bars people convicted of a crime of "moral turpitude" from school grounds when students are present. The problem, legislators and workers agree, is that the definition of moral turpitude is up to school boards. Some have defined it in the strictest sense possible, well beyond what sponsors intended, so that a person cleared in one county sometimes fails in another.
This year's Senate bill (SB 988) would replace the vague "moral turpitude" with a specific list of sex crimes, along with terrorism, murder and kidnapping.
It also includes a provision that driver licenses and IDs issued to sexual offenders and sexual predators have identifying numbers on them. Florida would be one of the first states to enact such a measure, according to Stop Child Predators, a Washington-based group that advocates for the passage of Jessica's laws.
State Sen. Nancy Argenziano, who sponsored the Lunsford Act and proposed fixes last year and this, said some school boards did not look at the intent of the law.
"Much to my surprise, every school board ran the gambit of what they thought was moral turpitude," said Argenziano, in whose district Jessica lived. "I didn't know it would go crazy like that, and of course we've changed that now."
The amendments proposed by Argenziano, R-Dunnellon, have passed through Senate committees with no opposition and are likely headed for the chamber floor. No companion bill has yet been filed in the House, though Rep. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, said he will sponsor one, as he did last year. He defended the revisions, saying glitches are almost expected on legislation as complicated and expansive as the Lunsford Act.
Supporters have been in Tallahassee lobbying for the new wording, including communications workers from the Miami and Orlando areas, where many of the complaints have originated. In Miami-Dade County, contractors were held to the same standard as teachers and administrators hired by the school district.
About 12,000 people were screened under the act and about 4 percent failed, according to Miami-Dade public schools spokesman John Schuster.
The school board recently relaxed its policies and is allowing people denied clearance under the old rules to appeal or re-appeal, but contractors say the headaches could have been avoided if either the law were clearer or the school district had followed its intent.
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Randy Robinson Sr. says he is a marked man.
The 49-year-old Ravenna resident, who was a paramedic in Muskegon for Professional Med Team Ambulance for 18 years, says he was beaten up several times in Muskegon County's jail while serving a seven-month sentence for molesting a child.
He says he can't find a job because he is on Michigan's Sex Offender Registry. And, he says, he lives daily with the humiliation of being on that list, where his name will remain a total of 25 years.
"I am not a pedophile," says Robinson, who lives at 12111 Stafford in the village of Ravenna and has been out of jail since Aug. 22, 2005. "The incident that I was convicted for happened one time and it wasn't a case of sexual abuse. I actually thought they were going to charge me with child abuse.
"Jail was awful," said Robinson. "I was assaulted several times because when (inmates) find out you are a child sex offender, they really go after you."
Robinson, who was going through a divorce at the time, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and served five months in jail for molesting his stepson.
"Now here I am on the registry and it's kept me from getting jobs," said Robinson. "It's embarrassing. I've lost the respect of the firemen and policemen I worked with for so many years because of it."
Supporters of a public sex offender registry say it is important because they feel safer by being able to track sex offenders.
"You don't have to be a victim (of sexual assault) to understand how important being aware is," said one Ottawa County woman, who was raped in the 1980s when a man broke into her home. "I check the registry because I don't want to put my family at risk."
A study of area communities found that sex offenders can, and do, live anywhere. Some reside in rural, less-populated communities and some live in urban areas.
Nunica, a rural Ottawa County area of 3,251, has 21 offenders on the registry.
One Nunica man said he was surprised to see so many sex offenders living in his neighborhood.
"It is definitely a concern. ... Ninety percent or more of the sexual offenders that are convicted are former victims themselves, and I do believe in God's forgiveness for people," said a Nunica father of four who has worked in the juvenile court system, but asked that The Chronicle not use his name. "However, I would never knowingly allow any of my children to be in the same location as any sexual offender.
"We keep our doors at home locked, we have two big dogs, and my wife and I believe strongly in the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) and are capable of protecting ourselves before any police arrive."
While people living near sex offenders should remain cautious, they need to be more concerned about the people with whom they associate, said Kris Burda, development director for the Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County.
"The days of 'stranger danger' is almost not even valid anymore," she said, citing national statistics that show 90 percent of children are sexually abused by someone they know.
Sexual abuse isn't limited to children. One in six American women and one in 33 men are victims of sexual assault, according to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Still, nearly 70 percent of all reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and younger, according to www.darkness2light.org, a national Web site that tracks child abuse. And 30 percent to 40 percent are abused by someone they know.
The Ottawa County mother, who spoke on condition of anonymity, checks the registry once a month as a "precautionary" measure.
"You want to know who's in your neighborhood so you're better prepared ... so you know who's there," said the woman, who is single, and has a daughter in elementary school.
"I think, in this day and age, we're more aware that sexual predators are out there. No neighborhood is immune," she said.
Within the past year, a man convicted of criminal sexual assault moved within a block of her home after he was released from prison. The neighbors discovered his name -- and photograph -- on the registry.
"We watch him very carefully whenever we see him outdoors," she said, "and trust me, the mothers in the neighborhood talk with each other."
She has not told her 8-year-old daughter any specifics about the new neighbor's history.
"You don't want your children to live in fear," she said.
But she expanded the all-important discussion about "good-touch, bad-touch" and personal safety.
"I tell her it's not just men who can hurt her, not just grownups, not just strangers," she said.
The mom also has told her daughter that when she tells her to leave the neighborhood's community pool or play area "it's for a good reason" -- the neighbor convicted of criminal sexual assault is on the premises.
"He's apparently paid his price for the crime," said the woman, who was victimized before the existence of the registry, "but I consider anyone who's been convicted a risk.
"I never presume it is a one-time act. What about the people who have assaulted someone, but don't have records because nobody pressed charges against them? Or because their crime pre-dated the registry?"
Meanwhile, Robinson said, despite being on the sex offender registry, "people who know me know I would never do something like that."
Robinson has remarried and has five of his own children, three of whom are adults. He also has grandchildren.
"I see them all the time," said Robinson.
Robinson, however, is not against having a Sex Offender Registry.
"I think it can be helpful for people who actually are guilty," he said. "But, for me, it has destroyed my life. I live with it every day."
View the article here.
It happens for 15 days every three months at state police posts throughout the state.
Those convicted of sex crimes stream in as required by law to verify their home addresses and other registration information for Michigan's Sex Offender Registry.
This quarterly event, which began 12 years ago and resumes April 1, jokingly is called the "SOR Parade" by the state police. But for many offenders, there's nothing funny about the process that has to be repeated four times a year for at least 25 years or more. Some even compare the registry to a "public lynching that lasts for life."
Supporters of the SOR say it helps law-enforcement officials and citizens keep tabs on the worst offenders.
Detractors call the registry a lifelong punishment that is inherently unfair to the many offenders who got caught in nonviolent offenses, but are grouped with hard-core felons. Critics also say the registry especially is hard on juvenile offenders who often get caught in acts of sexual experimentation, but must be on the registry for 25 years once they turn 17.
While law-enforcement officials acknowledge there are problems with the registry, they say it is an important crime-fighting tool and empowers citizens to take action to protect themselves and their children.
"It helps us keep track of the most serious offenders," said Lt. David Roesler, commander of the Michigan State Police Grand Haven Post. "At the same time, it helps the public keep track."
In Muskegon and Ottawa counties, about 1,400 sex offenders are required to register annually or quarterly. Statewide, there are about 39,000 offenders in the sex registry, almost half of whom are juveniles.
Roesler acknowledges the registry could stand revisions to prune out juvenile offenders and those adults who got caught in marginal sex offenses, such as urinating in public and then being charged with indecent exposure, a sex offense.
Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague supports the SOR, but believes it needs to be revised to give local prosecutors more discretion on who should be listed.
"I believe the Sex Offender Registration Act has provided a very, very valuable tool for both law enforcement and our citizens," Tague has said in the past. "However, there were occasions where a nonviolent offender may have been more severely penalized than needed because of the Registration Act.
"Discretion should be given to the charging prosecutor, as opposed to a hard and fast rule."
Muskegon attorney Michael G. Walsh shares Tague's view, particularly as the act applies to juveniles, most of whom "acted dumb" in a situation and are not predators.
"I think the legislative intent is good -- to give notice to folks that a predator is in their midst," he said. "The problem comes when you throw everyone onto the registry.
"The whole point is to balance social needs and the need for punishment. To put someone on the Internet for life or 25 years should be reserved for the predators."
Linda Zimmerman of Grand Haven, co-founder of Citizens for Second Chances, has been working for years to reform the sex offender registry. Her son was convicted of a sex offense as a youth.
"The registry pertains to everyone, whether it is sex as a teen or a juvenile playing doctor, or an adult committing a serious assault," she said. "And what has been done by the Legislature is to make the whole situation more restrictive."
Citizens for Second Chances is launching a new reform effort.
Finding a legislator sympathetic to sex offenders is a daunting task, Zimmerman said.
"It is very safe for a legislator to further restrict sex offenders whether needed or not. It's a winning situation for them to get tough on crime while ignoring the consequences," he said.
Doug Tjapkes, director of the Muskegon-based Innocent organization that is dedicated to helping the wrongfully convicted, also finds fault with the registry. Based on cases Innocent has handled, Tjapkes is convinced a high number are wrongfully convicted of low-level sex crimes.
He said sexual charges are easy to level against a person, particularly during a messy divorce case.
"In cases involving divorces or estranged families, you can almost lay out a template and change the names and places and come up with the same story," he said. "People decide to get even and persuade their kids to tell some story that daddy did this. When someone gets into court on a charge like that, he's cooked."
Although Innocent has not taken a formal stand on sex registries, Tjapkes is critical of how marginal offenders are grouped with hard-core offenders.
"These people are branded for life," he said. "You have people who had consensual sex with a minor and lump them in with the hardened. Let's face it, when someone is a pedophile, he has been doing it for years. It just does not happen at the age of 50 when a granddaughter comes over and the daughter-in-law is in the middle of a divorce."
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Yep, more of protecting the "good ole' boys". This really makes me sick. He should be punished just like the average Joe would be. Actually more so, because he abused his position of authority.
Sounds to me like they are predators! They "stalked" her back to her apartment. This idiot should have to register as a sex offender, anyone else would have to. Typical BS! Also, what about the other cop? Nothing was mentioned about him, except he had part in the abuse.
A Brooklyn cop has dodged jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a woman he and his partner pulled over for a traffic violation.
Officer Charles McGeean, 38, will get three years probation after admitting to sexual abuse and official misconduct for his role in the November 2005 incident.
McGeean and partner Fernand Clerge, 39, both of the 83rd Precinct, were charged with fondling a 35-year-old female driver they stopped at a Bushwick intersection for not wearing a seatbelt.
The officers, who were on duty at the time, allegedly followed the woman back to her nearby apartment, where the abuse was said to have taken place.
Five other people, including four children, were inside the apartment at the time, sources said.
McGeean's lawyer, Steven Worth, said: "My client determined in view of all the circumstances that it was best for him to enter this plea and move on."
As part of the deal, McGeean will not have to register as a sex offender.
View the article here.
The Senate set off on a dangerous course that threatens basic civil liberties on Tuesday when it voted 28-0 to give preliminary approval to legislation that could put convicted sex offenders in prison for life for failing to comply with increased registry requirements.
The bill starts with good intentions, to better protect the public from people likely to commit sex-related crimes. The legislation jumps the tracks when it calls for up to a life sentence for failing to meet the requirements designed to keep better tabs on high-risk sex offenders. The bill calls for the wrong punishment for the wrong reasons.
As the bill is written, a life sentence hangs over any person who has served time for a sex-related crime and fails to register as a sex offender, report to the state Department of Public Safety at least once a month, or notify the state of any changes in address or that he or she has enrolled in college.
Obviously, failure to report college enrollment in itself doesn't warrant a life sentence.
If the threat of a life in prison is the only effective way to keep the public safe from these criminals, that punishment needs to be handed down in the original sentence as a direct consequence of the crime. If committing the crime didn't warrant a life sentence, how can anyone justify that the possibility of committing a similar crime deserves a harsher penalty?
Last year, the Legislature toughened punishment for sex offenders to include up to a lifetime supervision for those who fail to complete sex offender treatment. S.123 targets those who went to prison before the stricter sentences took effect. The problem with the bill is that it seeks to reach back in time to impose an additional and harsher punishment for a past conviction, to put away for life those who -- in some lawmakers' view -- should have received a life sentence in the first place.
S.123 is perhaps worse than civil commitment, an idea backed by the governor that calls for the state to hold indefinitely sex offenders who have completed their sentence if they fail to complete treatment or meet other requirements. Under civil commitment, at least, the confinement is for treatment and not as punishment, although the idea still raises serious concerns about giving the state a way to hold people who have served their full time in prison.
The Senate proposal would allow the state to punish a person more than once for the same offense because the possible life sentence would really be based on past crimes. S.123 in effect bases punishment not for what someone did, but for what he might do and for having been convicted in the past of a sex crime. In other words, for who he is.
That's why the bill misses its mark. The punishment not only has to fit the crime, it must be for the crime.
View the article here.
You see, even the Sheriff says the pink plates for drunk drivers don't work, and he thinks these will be a waste of time as well.
Dozens of sex offenders living in Ottawa County neighborhoods may become more identifiable to the public.
Ohio lawmakers are considering requiring all habitual and child-oriented sex offenders to have fluorescent green license plates.
But local law enforcement officials question whether the plates, which two Cleveland-area legislators proposed earlier this month, will actually reduce sex-related crimes.
“Sex offenders are not going to be rehabilitated,” Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton said. “We all know that. Why in the hell are we letting them out?”
- Come on Sheriff, you should know the "sex offender" label covers many people, like mooners, public urinaters, consensual sex, etc. And yes, many cannot be "cured" but therapy DOES help. It should be mandatory people in prison get therapy. If they deny it, then they remain in prison. This way, with the first crime committed, you nail the problem in the butt, and will probably reduce crime greatly. If you just throw them in prison without it, how can you expect them to be better off when they get out of prison? Before being released, they should be fairly evaluated, and if still a risk, then they go back before the judge to determine what needs to happen next. If they are not a risk, then they are freed and allowed to live a normal life without all these BS restrictions. You are wasting tons of tax payers money.
Instead of branding their cars with colorful plates, Bratton wants to see the Legislature make laws that give harsher sentences to molesters and rapists. Many sentences do not carry mandatory prison terms, and he feels a required three- or five-year punishment is more suitable.
“Don’t let them get out early on good behavior,” he said. “Let’s protect our kids by keeping these people locked up.”
- Even if every one was locked up or killed right this second, you would still be having sex offenders! Sex crimes have been around since the dawn of time. It's the people out there who have not yet offended or been caught that will later be caught. So locking them up does nothing to protect children, even if all were put to death. How stupid can one be?
State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, said he is opposed to the bill because he shares Bratton’s opinions. He plans to lobby for harsher punishments and allocating money to sheriff’s offices for Internet sex crime units.
Redfern said he does not believe the bill, which is being debated in House and Senate committees, will come to the Legislature floor or be passed. It is too politically charged and has little support from police agencies, he said.
“There’s so many levels of this crime,” Redfern said. “It can range from a 21-year-old having consensual sex in Ohio with a 16-year-old to unspeakable, terrible acts of depravity.”
The men who proposed the bill, Rep. Michael DeBose, D-Cleveland, and Sen. Kevin Coughlin, R-Cuyahoga Falls, were not available for comment Wednesday. DeBose, whose 2005 proposal for a pink sex-offender plate was unsuccessful, and Coughlin maintain on their Web sites the plates would help law enforcement track offenders and help children better recognize they could be dangerous.
- Stupidity at work folks! If drunk drivers have pink plates already, and now you want sex offenders to have pink plates, how would you know who is a drunk driver or sex offender?
Bratton, however, argues adding another colored plate to the mix of types currently on the road — out-of-state, yellow (drunken driving) plates, various Ohio designs — simply gives officers another mark to identify.
- Yep, it's called discrimination, and marks them for police & public harassment, a Scarlet Letter.
“Where does it stop?” he said. “We’re missing the whole point. I think it’s a useless piece of legislation.”
Since 2004, the state has issued yellow and red plates to those convicted of drunken driving. They have proven rather ineffective in stopping drunken driving, Bratton said.
Although deputies often note when they see a yellow plate, they rarely have time to follow the driver and watch for suspicious activity, he said. Ohio law does not allow law enforcement to stop a car with a DUI plate unless it commits a traffic violation or breaks the law, he said.
He also doubts sex offenders would drive a car with a green plate when planning an inappropriate activity, such as watching children play at a park.
- Get it through your thick skull, not all sex offenders do this. You've been brainwashed! The "stranger danger" issue is BS. Most sex crimes happen within the family or close friends. Even if this were true, like you said, nothing would stop a predator who is determined to commit another crime, from doing so. Nothing!
“They’re borrowing someone else’s car,” Bratton said. “They’ll just get someone else to register a car.”
- Exactly. It won't work. So why do you still require drunk drivers to have red or yellow tags? Is there some "special" price for them? So you can suck more money from them?
Clay Township Police Chief Roger Schultze and Port Clinton Police Detective Bob Case also share some concerns about branding offenders’ cars.
“A sex offender could have someone like his wife or a relative driving, and someone decides to confront that person,” Schultze said.
- Exactly. And Coughlin said this would NOT happen. He compared it to the drunk driver plates. I think drunk drivers and sex offenders are a little different. Sex Offenders, especially if high risk offenders are made to have these, you WILL see a lot of vigilantism where they harass or kill who they think is a sex offender. It's occurring in many states who don't even have these plate, just the online registry. If you'd read the news, you would see this.
Or, people could see the plates and vandalize the car, Case said.
- I agree, and you might be getting a lot of car damage bills being sent your way, since you passed a stupid law that caused it.
Their fears are the other reason Redfern said he will not endorse the bill. He also worries others driving near the offenders’ cars could be hurt in vigilante retaliation.
“I don’t want to risk the public’s safety,” he said.
Schultze said he would rather the Legislature upgrade the statewide Law Enforcement Automated Data System to allow them to run a regular plate and immediately show whether the owner is a sex offender.
- This makes a lot more sense. This as the registry should be like it was in the past, accessible by law enforcement only.
“When you run a license plate (now), all you’re going to get is the vehicle registration and history,” he said.
- Why can't you hire some programmers to change the software in the police cars? So when the vehicle tag is ran through the system, it pulls up everything about that person? Their criminal history seems like it would be important, and I thought this was already done. Guess not.
If officers want to check LEADS for a person’s criminal history, they must do a more advanced and time-consuming search, he said.
He is more optimistic the plates could help enforcement, however. Officers can use the plates to watch offenders and keep track of their activities, he said.