Is "To Catch a Predator" immitating Cheaters? Will Chris Hansen wind up stabbed, shot or worse some day? Who knows. These shows are for nothing but ratings, money, money and more money. I am not suggesting anyone do this, but just pointing out a possibility.
Cheaters (Host gets stabbed):
To Catch a Predator (It's only a matter of time):
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Is "To Catch a Predator" immitating Cheaters? Will Chris Hansen wind up stabbed, shot or worse some day? Who knows. These shows are for nothing but ratings, money, money and more money. I am not suggesting anyone do this, but just pointing out a possibility.
View the article here
Why doesn't the police pass out questionnaires to all the sex offenders asking what about the news laws has affected them? Then they can get a sense of what is and isn't working. Oh yeah, that requires common sense and brains which is in shortage these days.
Heart of the Valley leaders examine residency limits at meeting Tuesday
COMBINED LOCKS — Leaders from six communities will meet Tuesday in an attempt to find consensus on how sexual offenders should be regulated in the Heart of the Valley.
- Why must sex offenders be regulated? Why not sexual predators be regulated, they are the ones committing the crimes. Sex offender and predator are two different things.
Officials from Kimberly, Kaukauna, Little Chute, Combined Locks and the towns of Harrison and Buchanan will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Combined Locks Civic Center.
Tuesday’s meeting is strictly informational, and no ordinances will be voted upon.
Last month, Little Chute passed an ordinance that bans sexual offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks, daycare centers and other locations where children congregate.
Restriction proposals have become a trend throughout northeastern Wisconsin following Green Bay’s passage of a residency restriction ordinance in March.
Buchanan Town Chairman Mark McAndrews said it makes more sense to gather as a region than have each governing body pass a patchwork of ordinances.
“It’s just knee-jerk reactions when we’re doing it from community to community,” he said.
- It's knee-jerk regardless, and if you do the homework, you will see these laws are NOT working, and it's forcing people to become homeless and not report their whereabouts to the police, which makes everyone less safe. Use common sense and BE SMART ON CRIME instead of BEING TOUCH ON CRIME which history has proved does not work.
Officials from the state Department of Corrections also are expected to attend the meeting. Correctional officials have attended board meetings throughout the area in opposition of ordinances, arguing that restrictions could drive sex offenders underground, thereby undermining the state’s registry program.
Ordinances have been discussed throughout the region.
Hortonville passed a restriction ordinance on Thursday. The Freedom Town Board is expected to revisit the sex offender issue next month.
Restrictions such as those passed in Green Bay and Little Chute are expected to draw some scrutiny at the Combined Locks meeting.
Combined Locks Police Chief Steve Wulgaert said he’s more supportive of a safety zone ordinance that wouldn’t govern where offenders live, but would instead prohibit them from entering areas such schools or parks.
- This is someone using their brain instead of knee-jerk reactions.
“Once they (leaders) get the facts, I think they’ll probably look at locations rather than look at where offenders are living,” he said.
- I sure hope so, but from history, I doubt it. They'll just follow the band-wagon like everyone else.
While Little Chute has passed its ordinance, Village President Chuck Fischer said he hopes his board is receptive to discussion and willing to revisit the ordinance based on any consensus that develops from the meeting.
“I think it’s more expeditious this way,” said Kimberly Village President Chuck Kuen. “We’ll have all the best resources in one place, so we can do something that’s fair and provides for the safety we’re looking for in our communities.”
View the article here
Another John Walsh (well more like Mark Lunsford, since the child was supposedly carrying a stuffed animal) in the making, using this to exploit their child to make money. And these "parents" left their children in the apartment while they went and got something to eat. This is child abuse and child neglect and they should be in prison. See this article when they went to meet the Pope. Why is he coming to America? Why can't you talk with your own government to get the help you need?
The father of Madeleine McCann will today meet the Attorney General of the United States as part of the international campaign to promote the search for his daughter and other missing children.
Gerry McCann left Portugal yesterday, 80 days after Madeleine was snatched from her bed in Praia da Luz, to meet Alberto Gonzales in Washington.
Mr McCann hopes to discuss the implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. The law, named after a boy who was abducted and murdered in Florida 26 years ago, created a national sex offender register.
- Yeah, created a sex offender registry when "NO PROOF" was obtained that a sex offender killed his son. Why do we pass laws on speculation and false info?
He will also visit the National and International Centres for Missing and Exploited Children following his visit to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in London, which helped in the hunt for Madeleine.
“I wanted to understand better the work that is being carried out across the world to reduce child abductions,” said Mr McCann. “We want to work closely with the police and child welfare agencies in maintaining the profile of Madeleine’s and other children’s disappearance.
- They are not reducing the child abductions, but passing insane laws that protect nobody. The UK is famous for it's "Big Brother" tactics, so where were the cameras to capture this abduction? Why can't your own government help you? Why must America always be a savior for other countries?
“We hope that our efforts will help make the world a little bit safer for all children. Kate and I believe there is a strong public feeling that crimes against children – wherever they may occur – are totally unacceptable.”
- Believe me, it won't help! The years since the Adam Walsh Act was implemented, if you do some homework, you will see it's not working.
Mr McCann’s wife, Kate, will remain on the Algarve, with the two-year-old twin children, Sean and Amelie.
- At least they are not leaving them alone again, that is a good start!
The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, yesterday hit back at reports that they were being investigated for leaving their daughter alone at the time of her abduction while they had dinner with friends at a restaurant on their holiday resort complex.
- This is the whole reason why this child was abducted. If they would've took the child with them to get something to eat, guess what, the child would STILL BE ALIVE! This is child neglect pure and simple.
Portuguese police have consistently stressed that Mr and Mrs McCann had not committed a criminal offence and had never been investigated for committing a crime.
- What? Leaving your children home alone without any supervision is not a crime? It is in my book!
Mr McCann, a consultant cardiologist, said: “Kate and I find this type of criticism deeply hurtful and unhelpful. Anyone who knows us knows we love our children. We have always take our responsibilities as parents with the utmost seriousness, caring deeply for all three of our children.
- Yet you leave them home alone while you go eat! Sounds like a hypocrite to me!
“Kate and I have taken legal advice we believe that there are no grounds for legal action to be taken against us. The authorities have assured us that they regard the criticisms as without foundation.”
- Check their credit cards. The children were home and they went to get something to eat, otherwise, how did they get abducted while they were in an apartment?
A spokeswoman for the couple said: “If they could turn-back time, there are things that they might have none differently, with the benefit of hindsight.
- Like what? Take your kids with you?
“But it is impossible to say if that had there been an adult in the apartment at the time of the abduction it would have stopped a predator and Madeleine would not have been snatched as she slept.
- I can guarantee it would've almost 90% or more have stopped this crime from occurring, you are just covering for your client. Anybody with any common sense can see this.
“There are, sadly, several cases of children being taken by an adult with criminal intention while they have been very close by their parents, parent or responsible adult.”
- Yes, but very little, and in those cases, a lot of the times, the criminal is identified. This is nothing but neglect in my book.
Meanwhile, the only official suspect in the case, Robert Murat, may be questioned by Portuguese police again this week about his movements on the night Madeleine disappeared.
Mr Murat, 33, claims was at home with his mother at their villa about 150 yards from the holiday apartment from where Madeleine was abducted. However, some witnesses have told police they recall him being at the Ocean Club resort at about the time the little girl was taken.
Three friends who were dinning with the McCanns at the time Madeleine disappeared were last week allowed to grill the British expatriate in a five-hour session at a police station in an attempt to clarify his movements.
- Are you telling me they let civilians question this guy?
— People with information about Madeleine’s disappearance are asked to call International Crimestoppers on 00 44 18 83 73 13 36, the Portuguese Police on 00351 282 405 400 and Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
View the article here
PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION, that is the key!
It's about time somebody worked on PREVENTION instead of just how to arrest and lock up everyone, like Walsh and Lunsford. This is so it keeps them in business and their wallets fat. Prevention would cause their businesses to vanish, eventually. She left the Jessica Marie Lunsford foundation. Wonder why? Maybe she didn't agree with what they were doing, but that is speculation on my part. If you don't work on PREVENTION then the problem will ALWAYS exist and keep John Walsh and the like in business of exploiting their children and others to fatten their wallets. Just look at this article from Walsh. He quotes those stats over and over (100,000). Where did he get them from? Well eAdvocate attempts to answer that question here. I bet we'll be seeing more of the 6,242 years everywhere he goes now. He is filled with rage, and this is why I believe, once you are in this type of business for about 4 years, you need to be let go. Otherwise, you get the impression every human is "scum" as he likes to call them, and I'm sure he believes it. You tell a lie often enough and you believe it. Here is another article from eAdvocate about preventative studies on the existing child victims.
ST. PAUL - Child-safety advocate Patty Wetterling will start working for the state Monday, as the coordinator of the Minnesota Department of Health's sexual violence prevention unit.
Wetterling, 57, has been an advocate for missing and exploited children since the 1989 abduction of her son, Jacob.
"My heart has been on the prevention side of sexual violence for years, actually," she said. "When I first found out the (most common) motive behind kidnapping was for sexual purposes, I said to many, many people, 'We've got to get ahead of this; we've got to do better on the prevention side.'"
Wetterling, a Democrat, said she applied for the job in March while she was looking for new opportunities after losing the November election to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the suburban 6th District.
In her new post, Wetterling will oversee an $800,000 federal prevention grant.
Wetterling replaces Amy Okaya, who left the coordinator position after 10 years to finish a graduate degree and pursue other career paths.
Wetterling said she was shocked by a recent Health Department report that said sexual assaults cost Minnesota $8 billion every year in medical bills, lost productivity, criminal justice expenses and lost quality of life for victims. The figure was based on an estimate that 61,000 Minnesotans each year are victims of sexual assault.
"The numbers are staggering," she said. "I really believe we can do better."
View the article here
Video is available at the site, which is here. Why even bring this news article up if we cannot know the name of the person being investigated?
TULSA - A member of the Creek County District Attorney's Office is on paid leave tonight as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations looks into child sex abuse charges.
The man is a high level employee in the District Attorney's office, however he does not directly prosecute cases.
Because the employee has not been arrested or charged, FOX23 news is not reporting his name or specific job position. We did find out that the employee himself asked to be placed on leave to minimize disruption to the office. He is still receiving a paycheck while the investigation continues.
- If he's been accused of child abuse, why isn't he being arrested like everyone else would be?
District Attorney Max Cook says despite the investigation, his office is still running smoothly.
"Of course there is some awareness of it in the office but everyone is continuing to go about business as usual and continuing to do their jobs," said Cook.
Cook says the investigation could last anywhere from a week to several months.
The Creek County Sheriff's office was called first to investigate this case. The Sheriff's Office then called OSBI to help.
A person convicted of child sex abuse can be sentenced to life in prison in the most serious cases.
More articles here
I will provide comments on each as I listen to them, in red as usual. I am not an expert and do not claim to be, but will just provide how I feel about the issue. As you go down in the list, the articles are in most recent to the oldest discussion. My comments are just my thoughts which came to mind as listening to the audio, so they may or may not be related to the actual audio. I strongly recommend everyone, regardless of your stance on the sex offender issues, to listen to some, if not all these audio discussions, to educate yourself and get the other side of the issues.
Behind Closed Doors: Internet Sex Predators - Listen
Summertime means more young people are at home, often unsupervised as they use the Internet. Many wonder what parents can do to protect their children from virtual sexual predators. Stephanie Good, an author and mother who goes undercover to help the FBI catch adults who use the web to prey on children, talks about her work.
- They mention that sex offenders are no longer the traditional stranger lingering around play grounds and schools. They never were. Very few may actually due this, maybe about 5% or less.
- The NPR lady mentioned she thought there were safe guards to keep adults off sites for kids like MySpace and Facebook. Who said these were kid sites? They are not.
- Parents need to move their kids computers out of their rooms and put them where the parent can see what they are doing. They'll say it violates their privacy! Well tough, as long as they live in your house, they have no privacy, and it's for their own protection.
- Also, create your kids account yourself, and assign it a password only you know, and when they want to update their space, log them in and let them do it, but let them know you WILL check the site, and anything wrong will be removed and possibly punished for.
- Be a responsible parent! If you want to protect your child, then do it!
- Here is a complete list of most social networking sites.
- Do not allow your child to have a computer in their room.
- Install a program that monitors what they are doing.
- Install a program that will block adult oriented sites.
- Set up the instant messaging software they use to log their conversions, so you can review them later. There is a lot of things you can do to protect your kids.
- If the kids have passwords you do not know, ask them for them. If they don't want to give it out, that should be a red flag. And tell them you'll remove their Internet privileges if they do not give them to you. It's your right to have them.
- Talk to your kids about the dangers and what information they should NEVER give out to ANYONE!
The Genarlow Wilson case is still just a wire story in many major papers, but here at Talk we think it's a pretty big deal. Not only are the facts of the case surprising, to say the least, but it has real ramifications for parents and kids everywhere. In Genarlow's case, the two year difference between his age and his partner's meant his condemnation for aggravated child molestation, in spite of her willing compliance... and oral sex carried* a much heavier penalty than sex-sex. Turns out Georgia's not the only state with confusing laws about this... do you know the age of consent rules where you live? Do you make sure your sons and daughters are clear on what's just not a good idea, and what's actually illegal?
- That loophole was fixed with a 2006 law -- consensual oral sex between teens is now a misdemeanor, and perpetrators do not register as sex offenders. But it couldn't be applied retroactively to Genarlow.
- I highly recommend this audio, it explains a lot.
- The Genarlow Wilson case is just insane. The girl was 15, he was 17, and the sex was consensual sex. Yet the mother reported him to the police and he was arrested and thrown in prison. This is just wrong. And thank goodness they are now looking into adding "Romeo & Juliet" clause into the laws, but it's too late for Genarlow and about 1,300 others in Georgia. Hopefully his appeal, they will see how insane the law is, and let him go free.
- Each case should be decided on a case by case basis. You should not lump everyone into one massive group and treat them all as if they murdered someones child.
- I have about 50 articles on my blog about Genarlow. Check them out here.
- NEVER video tape your sex, it had always bitten people in the rear-end.
- He was charged with agravated child molestation for the 15 year old. I thought the victim had to be 13 years old to be considered molestation. I guess they changed the laws. Anyway, it's still insane this, now an adult, is in prison for possibly 8 more years for this.
- The original author of the bill, Mr. Towrey, in 1995, stated the law was not intended to crack down on consensual sex among teens and that the law was misinterpreted. So this man is in prison for someone who did not understand they law, and they don't want to let him out. Come on! This is just wrong...
- They are also talking about Genarlow only. There is over 1,300 other people who were young at one time, who are in the same boat as Genarlow. So if they let Genarlow off, they will have a flood of law suits for the other 1,300. So I'm sure that is why they don't want to let him off. So they are wanting to punish 1,301 people instead of be fair and let Genarlow off and deal with the screw up they themselves are responsible for. Now is that justice or what? NOT!!!!!
- I commend this judge. He said the law was cruel and unusual and wanted Genarlow freed. Yet the Attorney General (Thurbert Baker) appealed it, and doesn't want to let him free. He says he's in office to uphold the law. Yet he doesn't mention they misinterpreted the law.
- I'd also like to know why all the news is centered on Genarlow only? What about the 1,300 other kids, adults who are in this same boat? Why are they not investigating these cases as well to see how insane these laws truly are? Ratings maybe? I'm not sure, but I'd love to hear from a reporter to let me know why.
- Plus, the speaker mentions if the person was white they would not have gotten this treatment. Why are they turning this into a race issue? Have then investigated the other 1,300 people? I can guarantee there is some white folks in there as well. I do not think this is a race issue, period. It's about a stupid law that has trapped over 1,300 people in it's nets wrongly.
- B. J. Bernstein, his lawyer, mentioned the case about Marcus Dixon who was sentenced to 10 years prison for the same thing, and his case was overturned. They mentioned at the time, that the lawyers and judges said that this was going to come back and haunt someone, and Genarlow is that person. So why isn't this man being set free?
- And what is really insane, he only had oral sex and was sentence to 10 years in prison. If he would've have full intercourse, he would've only received a misdemeanor and not had to be on the sex offender registry. Now does that make since at all? I don't think so.
- They mentioned that the Attorney General offered Genarlow a deal that would've allowed him to plea to first offender treatment, which would mean he would not have a criminal record, nor have to be on the sex offender registry, and he would be released on time already served, which Genarlow did not take. Sounds good, but they say he'll be on probation for 15 years and once he's off that his record would be wiped out. Now this is just BS! There is many people who have been placed on first offender status as well, who also are on the registry for life. Now once his probation is done, I can garantee you they will tell him he must sign up for the registry and thus the law suits repeat themselves. And who knows how many times they'll change the laws from now until 15 years from now.
- They also mentioned, what if it was the other way around where she was 17 and he was 15, would she have been sentenced the same. Well, history shows she would not be treated the same, just look at all the other females who have been charged with sex crimes over the last couple years. There is a double standard, and that is wrong also.
- They also mention that mandatory minimum sentences almost always have a tragic result, which I totally agree with. Each case should be handled on a case by case basis. Otherwise, the prisons will overflow, as they already are now.
- Mr. Zimmerman mentions that we have an epidemic on passing catastrophic laws, which I totally agree with, and passing laws in the name of a child or anyone for that matter, is one major issue. We need to get back to naming laws HB-XXXX and SB-XXXX and not humanize a law. Nobody would vote against a law with a childs name attached to it, regardless of what is in the law. And that is wrong.
- He also mentions it's a failure with the political system, and I 100% agree. They spend 30 seconds on a law and do not look into it further. All they see is sex offender, and they pass it.
- And he mentions the moral sex panic. AMEN!!!
What should happen with sex offenders after they've served their sentences?
It is a huge problem in the United States, where community outrage often keeps the offenders out of residential neighborhoods. This may force them into industrial districts or, as in Florida, under bridges.
In Canada, there's a growing movement to get volunteers from neighborhoods to sponsor the offenders, like sponsors in an Alcoholics Anonymous group.
- Therapy works folks, without it we will NEVER solve anything, period.
- One caller on this show said "When a bear or cougar comes into the neighborhood, we shoot it right away, because we know it's a danger to us!" Excuse me lady, these men/women are not animals, and with this attitude, you might as well shoot every criminal there is and ever will be. I think we are more of a civilized society than this, and this is the kind of mentality that ticks me off. This lady gives a dumb analogy, IMO. Why kill it, why not capture it, and release it back into the wild?
- We need to go back to how the registry was, off line and used by police. If a person wants to know about offenders in their neighborhood, they can go down to the police station and find out, that is the way it was and it was working.
- This is a very short audio, and doesn't cover much IMO.
Miami has toughened its restrictions on convicted sexual predators living near schools, parks, or other areas where children are likely to be.
One consequence is that some convicted predators must sleep under a highway bridge. This keeps them from living in areas where they're prohibited, while parole officers can check on them nightly.
- The announcer says "Nobody wants sex offenders in their neighborhoods!". Why say this? When you said that, you are assuming everyone is one-sided like you, and it taints the discussion, IMO. I don't want a murderer, gang member, drug dealer, etc in my neighborhood, but I have no right to tell people where they can and cannot live. If we all could do this, everyone would be exiled because they are hated due to race, color, sex, etc.
- She also mentions that officials have a rather unusual solution, to have people live under a bridge. This is NOT a solution. Who does it protect? It puts people more in danger.
- We have basically made these people homeless "trolls" living under a bridge, when adding stressors like this doesn't solve anything. They should be allowed to live anywhere they chose and get treatment. Adding stress like this, makes everything worse. THIS IS NOT A SOLUTION. You are basically making the laws so strict that "sex offenders" cannot live anywhere, and I wasn't aware someone could mandate that someone be homeless and live under a bridge? Have we become animals ourselves by doing this? I think so. This is cruel & unusual punishment.
- Some of these offenders are required to wear a GPS, and they live under a bridge without any power. So how in the hell are they going to charge it up? And what happens if the GPS battery goes dead because they could not charge it? Do they have the gestapo come out and arrest the person and throw them in jail for a violation? This is just wrong, wrong, wrong....
- Morales once had his own business before this new residency restriction came into being, now he's homeless, cannot find a job. So how exactly is this helping any situation? Who is it protecting exactly? It's not protecting anybody, it is just making people feel good to make someone be tortured and live under a bridge. Today's society is very, very sick!
- Morales's probation officer said he has two options, one a motel which is $232 a night, or live under the bride. Who can afford this kind of money? This world is just pure evil, period.
- This just angers me to no end. How is this helping anything?
Washington state's Supreme Court has ruled that it's permissible to confine sex offenders even after they've served their sentences, as long as they receive mental health treatment that could lead to their release.
A federal court had been monitoring the state's sex-crime confinement program since the 1990s, when allegations arose that the program was used to keep sex offenders off the streets indefinitely.
California Church Debates Accepting Sex Offender - Listen
The Pilgrim United Church of Christ of Carlsbad, Calif., has a dilemma. A convicted child molester wants to join its congregation and the community has mixed reactions about whether it should open its arms to this black sheep.
Three Sex Offenders Under One Roof Sparks Debate - Listen
Three sex offenders recently moved into a house in rural Hampden, Me., that is operated by a local charity. A local legislator wants to prevent sex offenders from living together, but the charity argues that giving them a supervised place to live actually helps keep the public safer.
Calif. Follows Trend with Sex-Offender Crackdown - Listen
California voters seem likely to approve an initiative Tuesday that would clamp down on convicted sex offenders. Proponents say it would be the toughest such law in the nation. Under Proposition 83, all convicted sex offenders would be banned from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, and be required to undergo electronic monitoring for life.
It's the latest effort in a nationwide push to increase restrictions on the perpetrators of sex crimes.
Sex Offenders Screened Out of Some Neighborhoods - Listen
Several U.S. states are making efforts to keep select residential communities free of convicted sex offenders. Some private developers plan to run criminal background checks on potential home buyers.
Fla. Congressman Pushes Sex-Offender Database - Listen
(HYPOCRITE) Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) joins Farai Chideya to discuss his efforts to create an effective national sex-offender registry.
Rights Group Sues to Halt Ga. Sex Offender Law - Listen
The Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta has filed suit against Georgia over the state's tough new law severely restricting the lives and activities of sex offenders. Farai Chideya talks with attorney Lisa Kung, who filed the lawsuit, about why she thinks the law is unworkable and illegal.
Weighing the Rights of Convicted Sex Offenders - Listen
Dr. Fred Berlin, one of the nation's foremost experts on pedophilia and founder of the John Hopkins Sexual Disorder Clinic, reacts to a new Georgia law that puts tough restrictions on sexual offenders.
Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies - Listen
Nobody knows why Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life.
One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
These deaths and others raise troubling questions about the public sex-offender registries which every state has. And they highlight the fact that many states list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose little risk to the community.
Iowa Considers Further Rules on Sex Offender - Listen
In Iowa, officials in Polk County vote Tuesday on whether to further restrict where sex offenders may live. A state law already prohibits sex offenders whose victims were minors from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care center. Last month, Des Moines added restrictions making almost the entire city off-limits to sex offenders.
Vigilante Used Web Site to Find Sex Offenders - Listen
An apparent vigilante has confessed to killing two recently released sex offenders in Washington state. The man who claimed responsibility for the killings told police he found his victims using a sex offender community notification Web page run by the local sheriff's department. Martin Kaste reports.
A Dilemma Over Sheltering Sex Offenders - Listen
Public concern over sex offenders has led Florida to open its 59 prisons as hurricane shelters and require registered sex offenders on probation to report there if they don't have anywhere else to go. Registered sex offenders can't go to a public shelter because their probation bars them from being around children. Some sex offenders on probation say the requirement is being punished twice for their crime. Judith Smelser of member station WMFE reports.
Megan's Law, and Personal Choices - Listen
States are required by federal law to register individuals convicted of sex crimes against children. They are also required to make information on registered sex offenders available to the public. Commentator Susan Straight says just because she can find out if there is a sex offender registered in her neighborhood does not mean that she wants to know.
Learning to Identify Repeat Sex Offenders - Listen
Sex offenders frighten communities largely because they're seen as destined to repeat their crimes. Alex Chadwick talks to law professor and sex offender expert John LaFond about sex offender statistics, and the ways of identifying repeat offenders.
Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood - Listen
After their release from prison, convicted sex offenders have to live somewhere. But many who find themselves living in neighborhoods with registered sex offenders have new tools to keep an eye on them.
Fla. Proposes Electronic Tracking of Sex Offenders - Listen
In response to the recent kidnapping and murder of a 9-year-old girl, Florida legislators have proposed a law that would require registered sex offenders to wear electronic tracking devices. NPR's Ed Gordon speaks with Dr. Fred Berlin, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic and director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; and Walter McNeil, chief of police for the Tallahassee, Fla., police department.
Neighbors Offer Sex Offender Payoff to Leave - Listen
The residents of a Cincinnati suburb recently took up a collection to encourage a convicted sexual offender to move from their neighborhood. Ann Thompson of member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports.
Sex Offenders: Community Rejection - Listen
NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that in California, mental health officials are trying to figure out what to do with a so-called sexually violent predator who has served his sentence and completed treatment in a state mental hospital. He's supposed to be released back into the community -- but no community wants him.
Kids and Abduction - Listen
Ernie Allen - President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Kenneth Wooden - Founder, Child Lures Prevention
Sex Offenders, Justice and Community Safety - Listen
NPR's Madeleine Brand talks with former U.S. District Court Judge Charles Warden about how U.S. law balances public safety and protecting civil liberties when deciding when and if to release sex offenders from prison.
Sexual Offenders - Listen
It's the ultimate "not in my backyard" issue. No one wants a released sexual offender in their neighborhood, even one who has undergone treatment. NPR's Neal Conan leads a discussion on the complexity of finding a new home for released sexual offenders.
Homeless Offenders - Listen
A number of states now have notification laws that warn residents when a sex offender moves into their community. But as Cathy Duchamp of member station KUOW in Seattle reports, these laws could be having an unintended and an unforeseen consequence -- an increase in transient sex offenders.
View the article here | The Smoking Gun
Will the next sex offender, please stand up?
Mogul Reportedly Built $30 Million Sex Grotto to Indulge His Desires
When it comes to sexual deviancy, the rich really are different from the rest of us.
Instead of hiring cheap hookers for an hour in a motel, they fly in high-end prostitutes for the weekend to frolic in their underground grotto. Rather than buying sex toys to liven things up, they'll build a sex vault complete with bondage and S&M gear.
The latest in a long line of lurid Lotharios is said to be computer chip mogul Henry T. Nicholas III, who allegedly built a $30 million underground grotto, complete with hidden doors and secret levers, at his equestrian estate in Laguna Hills, Calif. According to court documents unearthed by the Los Angeles Times, Nicholas is said to have planned a "secret and convenient lair" where he could indulge his "manic obsession with prostitutes" and "addiction to cocaine and Ecstasy."
The 47-year-old billionaire, who co-founded Broadcom Corp in 1991, had his private jet ferry prostitutes from New Orleans, Chicago and Las Vegas to his lair, nicknamed the Pond, where he provided his rock-star guests with drugs, including mushrooms and nitrous oxide, according to the draft complaint.
In addition, the complaint dug up by the Times alleges that Nicholas used the lair as his "personal brothel" until his wife caught him in the act with a prostitute, according to the paper. His wife, Stacy Nicholas, has since filed for divorce.
Nicholas' attorney Steven A. Silverstein told the Times that "all of the allegations are denied." In 2000, Nicholas told the paper that the underground facility was a "pump house" to handle runoff from his horse trails.
The allegations seem to echo other well-publicized cases. Publishing heir Richard Quadracci reportedly ran a gay sex club, complete with a 1,000-square-foot playroom equipped with a cross, bondage boards, harness power hoists and other X-rated paraphernalia, out of his penthouse apartment in Manhattan.
Quadracci claims that he only ran a Web site describing a bondage-themed bed and breakfast that he planned to open one day. Eventually, his condominium board sued him and the case was settled in early 2005.
Other notorious cases include Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier who was charged with felony solicitation of a prostitute for hiring underage girls to give him massages at his Palm Beach mansion. In that case, some of Epstein's lawyers including famed barrister Alan Dershowitz, reportedly embarrassed the girls by unearthing their MySpace pages on which they recounted their drug use.
The Palm Beach Police requested an investigation by the FBI after the state's attorney reduced the charges in that case. Currently, prosecutors are expecting the case to go to trial and a case disposition hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16.
The types of sex and erotic indulgences may vary in each case but they're all made possible by having money.
"The rich aren't more prone to extreme sex but they are more likely to have the resources to spend on it," said Manhattan-based therapist Ian Kerner. "There are the $2 toothless hookers and the $20,000 call girl virgins but there's still work for all of them."
Kerner believes that extreme sexual appetites have less to do with money than with core desires and instincts shaped by genetics and your upbringing. But being wealthy and powerful allows you to indulge those cravings -- sometimes with unexpected results.
"I've had cases working with Wall Street bankers who always have to be about testosterone and they never get to explore their feminine side or their vulnerable side and these guys often go to dominatrixes and explore being whipped and spanked," said Kerner.
They also may feel that their wealth is undeserved and that they need to be humiliated. "The investment banker who's mastered the universe just wants to chill out and be dominated."
Wealthy men and women who are in the public eye may already feel above the law but they seek the thrill of putting themselves in high-risk situations. "These are people who feel they can do what they want all the time," said Gini Graham Scott, the author of "Homicide by the Rich and Famous."
- So true! And nobody, and I mean nobody, should be above the law.
"The money lets them indulge every whim and eccentricity and they have the freedom to experiment," she explained. "But once they achieve a certain thrill, they need to expand that. After a while, it gets boring and they keep pushing the envelope on extreme behavior."
That certainly seemed to be the case with Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, who was hospitalized in 2005 after overdosing at the apartment of a 53-year-old transvestite named Patrizia. After a stint in rehab in Arizona, Elkann moved to Manhattan, launched a new line of sunglasses and started indulging new passions: speeding in his family's race cars. Bravo!
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This is why, if you want to come to the United States, you do it legally and you speak English. If you do not speak English, then you are deported without question. Also, if nobody spoke his language, how is it that he was booked into jail and awaiting a court date? What about the persons Miranda Rights, search warrant, etc? Sounds like this whole case was screwed from the beginning. Speak English or be deported, period!
Clerk is unable to find suitable translator in time
WASHINGTON - A 7-year-old girl said she had been raped and repeatedly molested over the course of a year. Police in Montgomery County, acting on information from a relative, soon arrested a Liberian immigrant living in Gaithersburg. They marshaled witnesses and DNA evidence to prepare for trial.
What was missing -- for much of the nearly three years that followed -- was an interpreter fluent in the suspect's native language. A judge recently dropped the charges, not because she found that Mahamu Kanneh had been wrongly accused but because repeated delays in the case had, in her view, violated his right to a speedy trial.
"This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in a long time," Katherine D. Savage said from the bench Tuesday, noting that she was mindful of "the gravity of this case and the community's concern about offenses of this type."
Loretta E. Knight, the Circuit Court clerk responsible for finding interpreters, said her office searched exhaustively for a speaker of Vai, a tribal language spoken in West Africa. They contacted the Liberian Embassy, she said, and courts in all but three states. Linguists estimate that 100,000 people speak Vai, mostly in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In arguing to save the case, Assistant State's Attorney Maura Lynch said that dismissing the indictment "after all the efforts the state has made to accommodate the defendant would be fundamentally unfair."
Appeal under consideration
Prosecutors, who cannot refile the charges against Kanneh, are considering whether to appeal Savage's ruling. Kanneh was granted asylum in the United States, according to State's Attorney John McCarthy. A conviction could have led to deportation proceedings.
His attorney, Theresa Chernosky, declined to comment. Delays were compounded by a dispute about whether Kanneh required an interpreter at all.
In Montgomery and elsewhere, the proliferation of languages resulting from immigration is presenting courts with a novel challenge, legal and linguistics experts say. Rarely, however, does a court have such difficulty finding an interpreter that a criminal case must be dropped.
Court interpreters and linguists say a national database of court interpreters would help quickly locate people fluent in uncommon languages. "The burden of increased requests for rare languages makes it a necessity," said Nataly Kelly, author of a book on interpreting.
Knight said the county spent nearly $1 million on interpreters last year, 10 times the amount it spent in 2000. "It's a constant struggle, and it is extremely expensive," she said.
Kanneh was arrested in August 2004 after witnesses told police that he raped and repeatedly sexually molested the girl, a relative.
In a charging document, Detective Omar Hasan wrote that the girl "attempted to physically stop the behavior from the defendant, but was unsuccessful." Hasan wrote that Kanneh threatened the young girl "with not being able to leave the apartment unless she engaged in sexual behavior with the defendant."
Kanneh spent one night in jail and was released on a $10,000 bond with the restriction that he have no contact with minors. He later waived his right to a speedy trial -- in Maryland, defendants have a right to be tried within 180 days following an indictment -- because the defense wanted time to conduct its own analysis of DNA evidence. That waiver was effective only until the next trial date, Chernosky argued in court.
The trial date was extended repeatedly as the state and the defense argued over whether Kanneh needed an interpreter and whether he understood the legal proceedings. The state noted that Kanneh attended high school and community college in Montgomery and spoke to detectives in English. The defense insisted that he needed an interpreter to fully understand the proceedings.
The matter was resolved after a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated Kanneh recommended that an interpreter be appointed. Judges who handled subsequent hearings heeded that advice.
The first interpreter stormed out of the courtroom in tears because she found the facts of the case disturbing. A second interpreter was rejected for faulty work. After calling the Liberian Embassy and exhausting other avenues, the clerk's office contacted the administrator of the state's court interpreter program in Annapolis. He located a third Vai interpreter, but at the last minute, that person had to tend to a family emergency.
‘This delay is just too long’
In recent weeks, court officials had found a suitable interpreter who could have assisted in the trial, but it was too late.
Earlier this month, Chernosky filed a motion seeking to have the indictment dismissed, arguing that Kanneh's right to a speedy trial had been violated. "This delay is just too long," she argued in court. "The reasons for the delay are not the defendant's fault."
With help from the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, The Washington Post identified three Vai interpreters Thursday, including one in Gaithersburg. Lionbridge, a company that offers interpretation services, said it could provide Vai speakers on short notice. Knight said her office had been diligent. "It's these rare languages we're struggling with so much," she said.
In court, Savage attributed no blame for the delay. She called the prosecutor's efforts to help locate an interpreter "Herculean" and said the court system had learned from the case. "Time has become the enemy," the judge said.
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Joel Covender was convicted of molesting his stepchildren and spent 11 years in prison. But the two accusers now say it was all made up.
ELYRIA — Joel Covender spent nearly 11 years in prison for molesting his two stepchildren.
Now they say he never touched them, and a county judge is giving the 39-year-old registered sex offender another shot to prove his innocence in a new trial.
“I’m just not afraid to fight,” Covender said Wednesday. “I want my name cleared. I lost a lot these 11 years.”
Covender was released from prison on parole in February after the two victims, now adults, asked the state Parole Board to set him free. They also signed affidavits recanting their testimony, which persuaded Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi to order the new trial in the 1994 case.
- They should be thrown in prison for making false allegations and see how they like loosing 11 years of their lives.
Covender’s 20-year-old former stepdaughter, who was 6 when she was allegedly fondled, now insists Covender never touched her.
“Today, as an adult I can confidently say that Joel Covender never molested me,” the girl, now a mother herself, wrote in her affidavit. “I would remember if something like that had occurred.”
She barely remembers being interviewed about it when she was a child, but wrote in her affidavit that she does remember “that I felt pressure from grown-ups involved to say what they wanted me to say.”
Covender’s former stepson, now 18, goes one step further.
He remembers several of the details that he told detectives investigating the case when he was 5. He now says he made all of it up to please his grandparents — his mother’s former in-laws — and insists that Covender never molested him, either.
“I remember wanting to please all these grown-ups,” he wrote in his affidavit.
The 18-year-old told Miraldi during a June hearing that he lied because he wanted to be “placed with his sister, who was receiving attention,” the judge wrote in his decision.
W. Scott Ramsey, Covender’s attorney, said the children were manipulated into making horrific false allegations against their stepfather.
“We all hate child rape — even criminal defense attorneys hate it — but they’re children, and they can be manipulated,” Ramsey said.
Covender said he’s not angry with his former stepchildren for what they told detectives and a jury during his 1996 trial; he’s just glad they’re coming forward.
“I think finally, because they’re adults now, they’re just fed up and wanted to tell the truth,” he said.
April Goode, the mother of the children who accused Covender of molesting them, said she never believed the charges against her now ex-husband, whom she divorced while he was in prison.
She said she’ll never forget when she lost custody of her children for standing by her husband when he was first accused. She said she didn’t regain full custody until around 2000.
Even then, Goode said, she didn’t pressure the children to change their story, though she believed they had been manipulated by her first husband’s family into making the allegations in the first place.
She said her former in-laws never cared for Covender and seemed bent on getting him out of her life because he pushed for her first husband to pay her money he owed and because she and Covender were raising the children as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Still, she refrained from trying to coax what she thought was the truth out of the children.
“We didn’t talk about those things, because they were still underage,” she said. “I did not want to do anything to influence the kids.”
But about a year ago, the children were ready to talk about what happened all those years ago.
“(They) were getting more and more upset about it,” she said.
In the end, they decided on their own to go forward and try to set their former stepfather free, both of Covender’s former stepchildren wrote in their affidavits.
There’s still a chance, Ramsey admitted, that a jury could reconvict Covender despite the fact that the two victims now say nothing ever happened, but he’s hoping prosecutors will simply drop the charges and allow Covender to get on with his life.
- Convicted for something that never occurred? Insane!
“If he’s an innocent man who’s already been robbed of 11 years, what else are you going to do to him?” he asked.
When he was still an assistant county prosecutor in 1994, current County Prosecutor Dennis Will presented the case to the grand jury that indicted Covender on the two counts each of felonious penetration and gross sexual imposition, of which he was ultimately convicted.
Will doesn’t recall the case, but he said when witnesses change their story after they’ve already testified, it calls their credibility into question. He also said trial judges are advised by higher courts to view recanted testimony with the “utmost suspicion.”
Judge Miraldi said he did just that, but in the end he believes he did the right thing.
“If they’re telling the truth, we’ve got an innocent guy who’s been sitting in prison for over 10 years,” he said.
- Happens all the time. You convicted this man on hearsay alone without any real proof, period! Did you do a rape kit or something like that? What proof did you have except for what a young child said?
Will said he plans to review the case before deciding what to do, but his office could appeal Miraldi’s decision, take it to trial or drop the charges. If there’s evidence the children were molested, Will said he’ll fight to uphold Covender’s conviction, no matter what the alleged victims now say.
- Evidence? How are you going to get evidence now? Why must the government butt into everyone's lives? If they said he did not do it, then let him go!! You just don't want to look bad because you convicted a man without any real proof he did it, except hearsay alone, and your reputation would be in question then, wouldn't it?
“If someone has committed an offense, they’ve committed an offense,” he said.
- So how did you "prove" that in court? And how will you prove that now? Mr. Nifong!!
15 to 50 years
There’s no shortage of prison inmates who proclaim their innocence, and child molesters reportedly have a tougher time behind bars than most.
But after he was sentenced to 15 to 50 years in prison by former Common Pleas Judge Lynett McGough after a jury convicted him, Covender was — by official accounts — a model prisoner.
- You could put almost anyone in front of a jury on the allegations of child molestation or similar case, and they'd be convicted about 95% of the time, without any proof whatsoever! What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt? You are throwing people in prison over false allegations and no evidence, which is probably why the prison system is overflowing.
The Parole Board’s decision lists no infractions on the former electrical technician’s record.
Covender said he made friends with the right people on the inside, inmates who were as laid back as he was and looking to avoid trouble.
Still, he refused to participate in any sexual offender counseling that prison officials suggested to him, insisting he would never admit to committing a crime he didn’t do.
Goode said her life fell apart when her then-husband was accused of being a child molester. It hasn’t been much better since — particularly when his mother died while he was serving time.
“It’s hard watching someone you love going through something like that,” she said. “It’s been traumatic to say the least, for years.”
When he was interviewed by a Parole Board member in September 2006, Covender said he fully expected that he might get time added to his sentence when he refused to admit his guilt.
“I said, ‘I’m about to tell you something you’ve probably heard 1 million times before,’ ” Covender said. “And he said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘I’m innocent.’ ”
After hearing his story, Covender said, the Parole Board member told him he had served enough time, and he was freed a few months after a full hearing of the Parole Board in December.
Covender might be free, but he’s still under close scrutiny. As a condition of his release, he’s not allowed contact with minors, even his biological son and daughter — now 15 and 14 — whom he had custody of while he was out on bond and awaiting trial in the mid-1990s.
“If I was such a bad guy, they would have taken away our son and daughter,” he said.
Covender is now subject to an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and is required to register as a sex offender with the sheriff in Wayne County, where he now lives with his brother.
A 1986 Midview graduate, he said he didn’t want to come home to his native Lorain County because he feels the county’s justice system failed him.
- As it has failed millions of people from those who are hell bent on getting a conviction at all costs, like Mike NiFong was. They are after their own greed for money, convictions to make them look better in the publics eyes, and are NOT about justice at all.
“I just don’t really have a desire to live in Lorain County. They done me wrong,” he said. “I used to believe in a thing called justice, but I don’t believe in justice anymore.”
- AMEN!!! I second that thought!!!
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These laws have been on the books for years now, so this is not something that just popped up. These are known facts that politicians and the media are ignoring. I get so sick and tired of people not listening to the experts. 95% or more of sexual crimes happens to someone KNOWN by the family, so how is the "stranger danger" residency restrictions going to protect anybody? They are not. You can pass all the laws in the world, and anyone intent on committing another crime will do so, regardless of the laws on the books. History has proven this, and if we do not learn from history, we are deemed to repeat it. Wise up folks! It's common sense, which we seem to have very little of these days.
Recent cases show suspects know kids
- This is because you recently did the study! This has been a known facts for MANY years now, which everyone is ignoring!
In the past several months, three local towns have begun barring sex offenders from living near schools and parks to protect unsuspecting kids from predators. But if Merrimack County is any indication, those living restrictions won't stop most sex assaults against children.
All of the 19 people indicted in Merrimack County for sexually assaulting a juvenile in the last 12 months knew their victim, mostly because the child was related, lived nearby or was a friend of the family. None of the 19 is charged with assaulting a child met at a school, park or library, according to the charges.
It's those kind of statistics that leave even some in law enforcement opposed to residential restrictions for sex offenders. "We have rapists that jump out of the bushes, but that is very rare," said Allenstown Police Chief Shaun Mulholland. "The vast majority of offenses are committed on people (offenders) know. I don't think this is the solution to the problem. I don't see any redeeming value in this."
Dover was the first city in New Hampshire to regulate where sex offenders could live when it passed its ordinance in 2005. Since March, Tilton, Franklin and Boscawen have followed suit, and other communities are expected to consider their own restrictions at town meetings next year. The debate will no doubt include arguments like those from Tilton police Capt. Owen Wellington, who acknowledges the limitations of his town's residential ordinance.
"It's an ounce of prevention toward people's awareness and their ability to feel safe in their community," Wellington said.
- And that is all "to feel safe" when in fact, they are no safer than they were before these laws came about. You'd be an idiot to not see this. I also find it ironic that all these laws really came about after 09-11 when people were already in fear, and now we add more fear on top of that. The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!
Boscawen's interim Police Chief Sean Sweeney is even more adamant about the benefits of his town's ordinance, which was passed this month. "If only one child is protected from this ordinance, than the ordinance has served its purpose," Sweeney said.
- This is common among politicians to use this saying. It doesn't protect ANY child. Yet they are putting thousands of kids in prison as we speak due to Romeo & Juliet issues, and also ostracizing the children of sex offenders, and their families as well. So protect one child, ruin hundreds more. This is like saying, if we go to war with Iraq and it saves one person, yet we kill thousands, then it's served it's purpose, WTF?
Such ordinances are bound to face legal and philosophical challenges.
- Yeah like Cruel & Unusual punishment, violation of ex post facto, violation of freedom of religion, violation of feeling safe in ones own home, the list is endless. Eventually your rights will be wiped out as well, mark my words on this.
Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a group of lawyers with her organization is already studying the ordinances and has particular concerns about Boscawen's because it restricts not only where a sex offender can live but also where he or she can visit in town. If a sex offender wants to go to the library, for example, they must receive permission first.
"This is just a preposterous, ostrich-like approach to what is a very complex societal issue," Ebel said. "We put our heads in the sand." Rather than making "pariahs" out of registered sex offenders, Ebel thinks parents and guardians could better protect their children by having frank and ongoing discussions about inappropriate touching.
- But the sheeple do not want to be a responsible parent, they want the government to tell them what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. We've all become scared robots in this world and that is very sad! Let's just implement the New World Order, Mark of the Beast, etc and be done with it.
Even more concerning, some say, is the false sense of security these housing restrictions create. Barring a sex offender from living within a half-mile from a school, park or library does nothing to keep parents, grandparents and family friends from molesting children, critics say.
- Because 95% or more is people they know. The stranger danger is a myth and happens very rarely. Why don't we just make a rule where everyone must live 2500 feet from the next door neighbor?
"What it does, to some extent, is give some assurances - however legitimate - to people living where the restrictions are imposed," said Concord city prosecutor Scott Murray. "You know you won't have a sex offender living next door. But it certainly does not guarantee that you are not going to have kids who are getting molested."
- Because it's more than likely you, your husband, wife, son or daughter who is doing the molesting, whether you want to admit that or not, it's a FACT!
The Merrimack County cases illustrate that. (The names of the men and one woman charged are omitted to avoid inadvertently identifying their alleged victims through their relationships.)
Most of the people charged in the last 12 months - eight of the 19 - assaulted their own child, grandchild or other relative. Two are accused of assaulting a stepchild. Five are charged with assaulting a family friend. Three are accused of assaulting a juvenile neighbor or someone who lived nearby.
The one remaining case most closely mirrors the stranger-type assaults the residential restrictions target. In May, a Merrimack man was indicted on five charges of sexually assaulting two boys he met through his work at a nonprofit horse farm in Chichester. But a residential ordinance wouldn't have touched even that case because the farm is not the type of place that would be off-limits to sex offenders.
Some law enforcement officials have also raised questions about the enforceability of the ordinances.
It's more possible to close off parts of town to sex offenders in rural communities such as Boscawen, Tilton and Franklin, because even with the new ordinance, there would still be places offenders could live. (Those allowed areas do tend to be unaffordable for people fresh out of prison and with limited means.)
- Just look in Florida, offenders own probation officers, even the judge has MADE them live under a bridge. How is that protecting anybody? One man even begged to go back to prison, but the judge said your home is under the bridge. If I was that person, I'd be out pissing on some cops car or something to get put back into prison so you the tax payers can pay for my housing, food, medical care, etc.
Managing a residential restriction in a city like Concord, which his not considering such an ordinance, would be far more difficult, said acting Police Chief Robert Barry. Concord's schools are spread through the city, not clustered in one area. That would put a considerable amount of housing in each neighborhood off limits.
In addition, Barry said, much of the counseling and treatment services sex offenders need are located downtown, near schools, parks and day cares. If Concord, like Boscawen, restricted a sex offenders ability to visit parts of the city, it would put treatment centers off limits.
- And thus they would be violated and sent back to prison. If this is the true intent of the laws, just admit it!
The number of sex offenders also matters. Tilton has fewer than 10 registered sex offenders in town; Franklin has about 28 and Boscawen 17. Concord, meanwhile, has about 150 registered offenders.
Barry said he believes Concord could provide a better service by more closely monitoring whether sex offenders register their new addresses when the move. The police department already patrols this, but Barry said additional police positions included in the new city budget will allow him to increase that patrol.
- What will this world be like in 5 or 10 years from now? We already have about 630,000 sex offenders in this country and police are having hard times enforcing the laws now. In 5 or 10 years this could be well over 1 million sex offenders, then what?
That way, the department will know where sex offenders are, and the sex offenders will know the police are closely watching. "It keeps them on their toes," Barry said.
- And stressed out, which raises the threat of someone committing another crime, due to the stress and crual & unusual PUNISHMENT sex offenders are put through.
Dalton Police Chief and state representative John Tholl Jr. fought a statewide residential restrictions at the State House last year, when legislators debated the new sexual predator law. The statewide residential restriction never gained much support and was dropped.
Tholl said such zoning ordinances not only provide little security, but also create other problems.
Tholl said his concern is that other states with similar restrictions discovered that sex offenders stopped registering their addresses with the police, as required by law, to avoid being refused housing. In some cases, 40 percent of registered sex offenders ceased registering with the local police, leaving the police no idea where the offenders were.
Like Barry, Tholl thinks keeping that registry current is crucial.
"I think it's more important to know where these people live than tell them they can't live somewhere," Tholl said.
- Why do you need to know where they live and are at all times? Why aren't you doing this for other criminals who pose a threat to children and yourself, like murderers, drug dealers/users, gang members, DUI offenders, etc? Huh? Create one criminal registry with ALL criminals on it and be done with it. This includes corrupt police, judges, mayors, presidents, politicians, celebrities, rich, etc. Why don't we just make everyones records public for all to see? If you have nothing to hide, then why not?
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Everybody needs to get a life. If they've done their time in prison, they have just as much right to live anywhere that is legal within the law. If you don't like it, that is just too bad! Learn to deal with it. Quit living in fear or your own shadow and expecting the government to "protect" you, that is your job! The government cannot protect themselves, so how can they protect you?
Donna Gardner faced down a crowd of more than 60 angry, fearful and concerned citizens Friday evening at a community meeting with Mason County Sheriff's representatives to discuss a Level 3 sex offender being released into the rural community centered along Toonerville Drive near Belfair.
Gardner lives in that Belfair neighborhood. While many of her neighbors at the meeting held at the Theler Center expressed outrage and fear at the thought of 37-year old Damon Hardt living among them upon his release from the Stafford Creek Corrections Center next week, she is welcoming him with trepidation.
Hardt is her son.
"He is a good person if people get to know him," Gardner told the crowd that assembled to hear Detective William Adam and Chief Deputy Dean Byrd discuss the nuances of the state's sex offender reporting laws. "He will be living in a separate house on my property. He has been going to school and has a job lined up.
"He won't have time to be going on to other people's property."
Gardner's defense of her son, a man with an extensive and varied criminal record that includes rape, attempted rape, burglary, child molestation, assault, theft and trespassing, was delivered over shouts of mistrust and threats of violence against him.
Hardt returns to the community on July 24 with the tag of being a sex criminal who is likely to reoffend. But having served his complete sentence, Hardt returns to the community with no legal restrictions on his activities or movements.
"He has the same rights as anyone else in this room," Byrd said after fielding numerous inquiries about the laws surrounding "shoot to kill" options if Hardt should be seen on private property. "He is required to report and register his whereabouts with us, but he can come and go as he pleases unless he breaks the law."
Mason County currently has 183 registered sex offenders, with 11 Level 2 and 3 offenders in north Mason County, including one other in the neighborhood where Hardt will be living. But despite the worst fears of those at the meeting, numbers show that the local registration program is one of the most successful in the state in terms of keeping track of them, despite it being essentially a one-man operation run by Adam.
"Statewide, jurisdictions on average are unable to find 15 percent of their registered offenders," said Adam, a 28-year law enforcement veteran said. "In Mason County, that number is about 1 percent.
Many in the audience expressed concern about Hardt -- who has molested or raped women ranging in age from 15 to 86 -- being unsupervised except for the requirement to report every 90 days to Adam.
In answer to a question about the rate of reoffending among Level 3 offenders, Adam said that nationally, it's about 3 percent. He credited strong registration laws with making that happen.
"Information is power," he said. "Without this law, we would not be having this meeting and you would not know who is living next door. These offenders know they are being watched and that keeps them from reoffending."
- Yet you don't know if a murderer, drug dealer/user, gang member, DUI offender, thief or any other criminal lives next to you. Why? This is discrimination, period!
That brought cries urging people to arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. Adam pointed out that the Legislature has made it clear that just such actions could force an end to the registration program and the good he believe it has done.
- And when they take the law into their own hands, they will be charged with a crime and become a criminal themselves. This is the kind of crap shows like "To Catch A Predator" and "Perverted-Justice" instill into people, that vigilantism is ok. Get a life folks!
"We are continually told that if the general public takes action on its own against registered sex offenders then changes in the law could occur," he said. "We need to be vigilant about protecting the law."
- Changes in the law need to occur anyway. They are not working! When are people going to quit ignoring the FACTS and open their eyes? Why are we not listening to the experts who say these laws are "feel good", "false sense of security" issues, and do nothing to protect anybody?
As for Gardner, she is more worried about what her neighbors might do to her son -- if he should even do something as innocent as return a stray dog or need help if his car breaks down.
"I have had registered offenders move into my neighborhood in the past," she said. "I wasn't happy about it either. But I didn't feel that I needed to get a gun and shoot them. I don't want that to happen to Damon."
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In the early 1980s, a therapist named Robert Longo was treating adolescent boys who had committed sex offenses. Their offenses ranged from fondling girls a few years younger than they were to outright rape of young children. As part of their treatment, the boys had to keep journals — which Longo read — in which they detailed their sexual fantasies and logged how frequently they masturbated to those fantasies. They created “relapse-prevention plans,” based on the idea that sex-offending is like an addiction and that teenagers need to be watchful of any “triggers” (pornography, anger) that might initiate their “cycle” of reoffending. And at the beginning of each group session, the boys introduced themselves much as an alcoholic begins an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: “I’m Brian, and I’m a sex offender. I sexually offended against a 10-year-old boy; I made him lick my penis three times.”
Sex-offender therapy for juveniles was a new field in the 1980s, and Longo, like other therapists, was basing his practices on what he knew: the adult sex-offender-treatment models. “It’s where the literature was,” Longo, a founder of the international Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, told me not long ago. “It’s what we’d been doing.”
As it turns out, he went on to say, “much of it was wrong.” There is no proof that what Longo calls the “trickle-down phenomenon” of using adult sex-offender treatments on juveniles is effective. Adult models, he notes, don’t account for adolescent development and how family and environment affect children’s behavior. Also, research over the past decade has shown that juveniles who commit sex offenses are in several ways very different from adult sex offenders. As one expert put it, “Kids are not short adults.”
That’s not to say that juvenile sexual offenses aren’t a serious problem. Juveniles account for about one-quarter of the sex offenses in the U.S. Though forcible rapes, the most serious of juvenile sex offenses, have declined since 1997, court cases for other juvenile sex offenses have risen. David Finkelhor, the director of Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, and others argue, however, that those statistics largely reflect increased reporting of juvenile sex offenses and adjudications of less serious offenses. “We are paying attention to inappropriate sexual behavior that juveniles have engaged in for generations,” he said.
The significant controversy isn’t whether there is a problem; it’s how to address it. In other words, when is parental or therapeutic intervention enough? What kind of therapy works best? And at what point should the judicial system get involved — and in what ways?
Longo and other experts have increasingly advocated for a less punitive approach. Over the past decade, however, public policy has largely moved in the opposite direction. Courts have handed down longer sentences to juveniles for sex offenses, while some states have created tougher probation requirements and, most significant, lumped adolescents with adults in sex-offender legislation.
The best-known example is Megan’s Law. Since 1994, federal legislation has required many sex offenders to register with the police, which can aid sex-crime investigations. But Megan’s Law, which went into effect in 1996, mandates that law enforcement also notify the public about certain convicted offenders in their communities. One of the ways states do this is through publicly accessible Web sites. At least 25 states now apply Megan’s Law, also known as a community-notification law, to juveniles, according to a recent survey by Brenda V. Smith, a law professor and the director of the National Institute of Corrections Project on Addressing Prison Rape at American University’s Washington College of Law. That means on many state sex-offender Web sites, you can find juveniles’ photos, names and addresses, and in some cases their birth dates and maps to their homes, alongside those of pedophiles and adult rapists.
Now that concept has reached the federal level. In May, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proposed guidelines for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named for a 6-year-old boy (and son of John Walsh, the host of TV’s “America’s Most Wanted”) abducted from a Florida store and murdered in 1981. Among other things, the legislation, sponsored by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, and signed into law by President Bush last year, creates a federal Internet registry that will allow law enforcement and the public to more effectively track convicted sex offenders — including juveniles 14 and older who engage in genital, anal or oral-genital contact with children younger than 12. Within the next two years, states that have excluded adolescents from community-notification laws may no longer be able to do so without losing federal money.
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