View the article here
This is one sick man! He lies all the time, and no he's expecting people to listen to graphic talk about sex crimes? IMPEACH THIS MAN!! I wish he'd wipe that smile off his face, he always looks like he's about to bust out laughing, probably is, he's probably thinking "I can't believe the American people are buying all this BS I say!" He disrespects the Constitution and Bill of Rights, lies under oath, etc...
07/28/2007 SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recommends authorities become “extremely graphic” in describing sex crimes and exploitation they see perpetrated against children.
“Otherwise, people have a tendency to turn away, to tune out,” Gonzales told a group of downstate police and prosecutors gathered Friday at a federal building in Springfield.
- Maybe they "tune out" because your mouth is open and nothing but lies come flying at them!
Gonzales repeatedly stressed the need to be “graphic” to get the public’s attention.
“We have to be very, very graphic in describing what we’re discovering over the Internet, for example, the images that we see. Not just young teenage girls in bikinis, but these are images of crimes being committed against our children, of dads having sex with their young daughters, oral sex, defecation,” Gonzales said. “I mean, just, we’ve got to be extremely graphic about what we’re seeing because all these images mean that a child has been molested.”
The embattled Republican attorney general took no questions from reporters during the 25-minute public discussion and talked only about cracking down on sex crimes and child exploitation.
Later, during a tour of the state Capitol, which included a stop in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office, Gonzales declined to answer questions when approached by the Daily Herald. As he shook his head no, a staff member approached and said the attorney general was on a tight schedule.
His Illinois appearance came a day after the head of the FBI contradicted Gonzales’ sworn testimony about dissent within the Bush administration regarding the president’s secret wiretapping program.
Senate Democrats are pushing for a perjury investigation of Gonzales, but the White House backs him.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
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View the article here
This shows how insane we are about sex these days. The man is in prison for Pete's sake. Also, why is a female monitoring male inmates for anyway? If she is this upset about seeing the male anatomy, she needs to dump her girl-friend and get a boy-friend. The toilets are without walls, same with the showers, etc, so isn't he exposing himself every time he takes a leak or showers? Get a life folks!! Men will do this in prison, this lady needs to be moved to the womens prison anyway.
FORT LAUDERDALE - A Broward County jail inmate accused of masturbating in his cell while a female deputy saw him from another room was convicted of indecent exposure Wednesday.
- It's called human nature! This lady is probably an old hag who hasn't seen a male organ in centuries..
A jury took 45 minutes to convict Terry Lee Alexander of the misdemeanor.
Judge Fred Berman sentenced Alexander to 60 days in the county jail. He could have received a maximium one-year sentence.
Alexander, 20, was sitting on his bunk alone in his cell masturbating in November when a female deputy, monitoring his cell from a nearby control room, took offense.
Although masturbation, a common jailhouse occurrence, violates most jail and prison rules, it doesn't often result in criminal charges. It is generally dealt with internally with a disciplinary write-up and temporary loss of phone or recreation privileges, Florida jail and prison officials said.
To discourage the behavior in Broward jails, the Sheriff's Office encourages deputies to file criminal charges, said Elliot Cohen, the agency's spokesman.
Deputy Coryus Veal seems to have taken that mission to heart: She has brought similar charges against seven other inmates in six months.
- Why is females monitoring male inmates in the first place? Do you have males monitoring female inmates as well? If so, this is so wrong!
Alexander's court-appointed defense attorney, Kathleen McHugh, said her client did nothing wrong, he was alone, and his cell, tantamount to his home, is not open to the public.
"I think the government's gone awry," McHugh said. "Has it been a slow year in crime that they've got to go prosecute masturbation in the Broward County Jail? Aren't there more heinous crimes to prosecute, like drug trafficking or sexual predators?"
The crime is not masturbation, Cohen emphasized, it's indecent exposure. And privacy is among the many rights an inmate forfeits in jail.
- He was in his own cell, and a women is monitoring male inmates which is wrong, period! Females need to monitor females and males monitor males, period. Why isn't anybody mentioning anything about this to the prison officials? I bet you have a lot of sex crimes for the males monitoring the females.
"That's why there are no doors on the bathrooms. That's why detention deputies monitor what you do and when you do it," Cohen said. "That's what jail is."
- Yeah, so he commits indecent exposure every time they take a leak or shower. Get a life you old hag!!!
Alexander was charged with indecent exposure last November while waiting in jail to resolve an armed robbery case. Veal saw him from a centrally located control room that allows deputies to view cells.
- If he was standing up, pointing himself at this lady, or looking directly at the camera, that is different. These people just don't have a life, so they have to entertain themselves by wasting tax payers money on stupid BS like this.
"Generally, we prosecute such cases in which the inmate exposes himself in such plain view of the detention staff or other persons," said Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office.
Were it not for this pending charge, Alexander would have moved to the state prison system months ago.
Twelve days after the cell incident, he pleaded guilty to the armed robbery and received a 10-year prison sentence.
Broward taxpayers have been footing the bill — $91.29 a day — to keep Alexander in the main jail while the indecent exposure case has worked its way to a trial date. The grand total for Alexander's incarceration in that case is nearly $21,000. On top of that, the public will pay $1,150 for his attorney.
Deputy Veal, 45, a nearly nine-year veteran with the Broward Sheriff's Office, referred all questions to its media relations department when reached at her home Monday evening. "We're not allowed to speak to the media," she said.
- Why not? If you don't have anything to hide, what's the big deal? That is the same BS line you say all the time to citizens as well.
In each of the eight arrest affidavits Veal has written, she cites the "vulgar and indecent manner" in which the activity is conducted. Those are key components of the state's indecent exposure statute.
- Apparently this lady doesn't get much sex, or is gay, and didn't have sex ed in school. It's called masturbation lady, not indecent exposure. If they are staring right at you or some other female, who shouldn't be there in the first place, then it's a different story, but this is why women should not be monitoring men anyway. These people are without sex for a long time, so any female gets them excited, and you know that. I'm sure you are probably gay, or this would not be an issue, plus if you were in the womens prison where you should be in the first place.
Some critics are appalled at what they call a deputy's "moral crusade" and question the value of prosecuting such cases.
"I would think [taxpayers] would be upset that this is how their money is being spent," said Betsy Benson, a Broward assistant public defender who trains new attorneys. "I'm very confused as to why they would think this is a good use of our dollars, our judges, the court's time and the jurors' time."
Inmates indulge in masturbation for a variety of reasons, said Trudy Block-Garfield, a forensic psychologist.
"It's normal human behavior and these people are locked up, they're behind bars and it relieves a variety of stressors including boredom," she said. "But some aren't only doing it to relieve stress or tension or boredom. You have some who do it for shock value."
- And the second type is the ones who should be punished, not the first mentioned.
Shock value wasn't the motive with Alexander and Veal, McHugh said.
"She's completely removed from him in a master control station behind glass, and he's in his own cell sitting on his bunk," she said. "Is it truly vulgar and offensive if one, out of however many deputies that are in that jail, find it offensive?"
Alexander has been offered time served but rejected it, not wanting to risk a possible sexual-offender charge and the liabilities that come with it, McHugh said. Of Veal's seven other cases, three are pending, three took plea deals and the state dropped the charges in one case. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office responds to similar episodes with write-ups and internal discipline, said Teri Barbera, the agency's spokeswoman.
But in Miami-Dade County, the corrections department has had recent discussions with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office about pursuing criminal charges against inmates, said Janelle Hall, spokeswoman for the corrections department.
"It's considered offensive behavior," Hall said. "It can be a thin line, we understand. It depends on the perception of the individual that it's happening to at that point in time."
View the article here
PUTNAM COUNTY -- Putnam County detectives are investigating the deaths of a man and woman as a homicide.
Police in Putnam County said 30-year-old Karley Collum and 36-year-old Terrance McCloud, who were found dead Friday in a mobile home park south of Palatka, Fla., were killed.
Police also said that McCloud was a registered sex offender, but said that may not be related at all to his death.
The manager of the mobile home park found the pair after friends said they had not heard from them in several days.
"Whatever happened, they need to get to the bottom it because he didn't bother nobody," said Sabrina Thomas, a friend of McCloud.
Collum was a friend of McCloud and a frequent visitor.
There was no sign of forced entry into the home, according to investigators.
Anyone with information surrounding the deaths of Collum and McCloud is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 386-329-0800.
View the article here
Notice the "spin" here. They make you think all these people are sex offenders. Only one person was a registered sex offender. So you see folks, it's the unknown people, like maybe yourself or a family member you need to be worried about. They may be secretly trying to meet up with young girls online. Registered sex offenders are not the problem, it's the unregistered unknown sex offenders. So instead of 22 sex offenders like they "spin" it for you to believe, we have 1 registered sex offender and 21 other unknown people. The Fox "No Spin" is nothing but SPIN!
BARTOW — Twenty-two men were arrested and charged with soliciting sex from a minor over the Internet during a four-day undercover operation, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said Monday.
The men included a volunteer youth hockey coach, an airport security screener and a volunteer firefighter. They ranged in age from early 20s to a 60-year-old man, a registered sex offender in Ohio.
Mitchell Nixon, coordinator for North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), an organization involved in the sting, told FOXNews.com these were 22 individual cases, and this was the third operation the Polk County Sheriff's Department had undergone in 2 years.
He said the one similarity between all 22 of those arrested had was that they were acting as predators.
- Well I think that is something even and idiot could figure out. I still cannot believe though, how stupid these people are. They know cops are out there watching, so why do they still do it?
"They all share one common thing...they're interested in victimizing," he told FOXNews.com.
Investigators used Internet chat rooms and instant messaging to direct the men individually to a suburban home west of Orlando, where they believed they were meeting a teenage girl to have sex, the sheriff's office said in a news release.
Nixon said people generally have misconceptions about how law enforcement takes on these operations.
"People watch Dateline and think it's really easy," he said. "Its a very expensive, time consuming operation."
- Time consuming? Dateline makes it seem like you get on there and there is a swarm of people who start hitting on the "young girl!" So this sounds like that is not the case. Also, from some studies, found on this blog, most people solicited online are from peers, and not older men. Go into the VideoRoom and check it out.
He said ICAC provides training for investigators involved in the sting operations.
"We give them the tools to be able to do this," he said. "It's one thing to make an arrest. You need to make sure you do it properly and get a conviction out of it."
The sting began Thursday. Each of the 22 men arrested face multiple charges.
"It's disappointing to know that we have arrested child predators who come from public service industries," Sheriff Grad Judd said in a statement. "This reconfirms our dedication to our number one cause, and that's keeping children safe."
- Since this is in Florida, I'd like to know how many cops show up and get busted? From looking at BadCopNews, it appears there is a ton of perverted cops in Florida getting busted for sex crimes.
Nixon said it was rewarding for ICAC to have been able to take part in the successful operation.
"It feels great," he told FOXNews.com. "It's 22 guys that aren’t going to be out there preying on kids."
In April, the sheriff's office arrested 29 men during a similar undercover sting.
View the article here
And in this video series by EXPERTS, they say it's all hype.
Thanks to shows like NBC's "To Catch a Predator" -- that sick bit of voyeurism they cast as a "news show," parents all over the U.S. have been freaking out about MySpace and networking sites like it.
Adding fuel to the fire were Wednesday's headlines letting already paranoid parents know that, "MySpace: 29,000 Sex Offenders Were Registered on Site" (AdvertisingAge.com) and "MySpace: 29,000 sex offenders have profiles" (MSNBC.com). Unfortunately for MySpace, that's more than four times the 7,000 registered sex offenders it claimed to have on its site in May. And those are just the ones who used a real name for their accounts.
Stranger Danger! Lock up your kids! Oh, wait, you already have? Maybe that's why they're online 24/7. But I digress. Those 29,000 profiles were deleted. You might've heard that over this past year, investigators found 100 incidents of adults preying on underage kids on the site. Sounds like a lot, but given that there are 180 million profiles on the site, it's really not. Regardless, law enforcement officials are seeking new rules for use of community/social networking sites.
In theory, enforcing age-authentication on these sites seems like a good idea -- it'll keep too-young kids off the site. But subjecting all adult users to a potential public records search (that's where this is going) is far too invasive. It's misguided to go after the Web sites like this, and it's far more reasonable to expect parents to keep tabs on their children's online activities.
Everyone -- kids especially -- needs to know that predators aren't just digital bogeymen. They're on the streets more than they are online, and we've all seen the gut-wrenching stories reported in the news of children snatched from their homes or on their way to school. Of course, it's understandable why parents worry about their kids being preyed upon, especially after hearing that, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, when compared with non-sex offenders released from state prisons, sex offenders were four times more likely to re-offend (and get arrested for it).
But here's the thing: There are about 600,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., and fewer than 5 percent were on MySpace. Besides, not all sex offenders are the same, meaning that not all of them touch children, or anyone, for that matter. In some cases, streakers, flashers and public urinators must register as sex offenders, as do teenage boys who've had any sort of sexual contact with teen girls, as is the case for Genarlow Wilson, the Georgia teen who, at the age of 17, received consensual oral sex from a 15 year-old girl. He's now three years into his 10-year prison sentence. The state Supreme Court is now considering his case.
It's important to realize that being online is a trippy version of being outside. In the age of information technology, it doesn't really matter if you are out there. It's your info that counts, and -- once freakin' more, with feeling -- parents have to drill that into the heads of their little cyberactive darlings before letting them touch a keyboard. It's not easy, I know. I don't have children, but I'll never forget the sick feeling I got when I did a search on my kid sister's name online and found that she'd posted her full name, age (11), home address and phone number on a Spice Girls fan site. All that was missing was, "I'm home alone between 2 and 5 p.m." Had I talked to her about it before? Hell yeah, and I did again and again.
The expectation that cyberspace is meant to be this sanitized, supersafe place where nothing bad can ever happen is the candy-coated delusion of the simpleminded. In a sense, you're just as vulnerable to most threats online just as you are, well, offline, and demanding that they weed out child molesters, murderers, scam artists or fans of Clay Aiken -- I know, not a criminal element, but a personal point of revulsion nonetheless -- is flat out unreasonable. It's like holding a nightclub or a coffee shop responsible for allowing a creep with a criminal record in.
Yup, that's life, and it can be terrifying, be it online or in the "real" world. Just learn to deal with it.
* * * URGENT - GEORGIA RSO'S - PLEASE FILL THIS OUT * * *
THIS IS VERY, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT!!!
LAST CHANCE to fill out our survey- PLEASE RESPOND if you haven't already. Please make sure to fill out the survey completely, answering all the questions. More directions are below.
Also, if you left the state of Georgia last summer because you couldn't find a place to live, please reply back and let us know that too.
Thanks so much!!!!
We are writing today to ask you once again to give us some information.
Over the last year we have spoken with many of you and taken statements and information about how HB 1059 has impacted your life. We need to understand the full scope of damage caused by this law, so we want to make sure we have the most up-to-date and complete information from each of you.
We need this information right now because the State is trying to argue that not that many people have had to move from their homes or leave jobs their jobs because of HB 1059. We must be able to show the Court what a tremendous impact this law has had on families across Georgia. We need your help to be able to do so. You may fill this out for someone who is on the registry but who is not on the email list.
This info will be shared with the Attorney General’s office, but we are not asking for any information that the state does not already have. Your responses will not be published anywhere. Please complete this survey no later than July 30th and send it to us.
Attached is a questionnaire that we’d like for everyone to fill out and send back to us. Here’s how to do so:
- OPEN the attachment to this email titled “HB 1059 Residence Survey”
- If you have problems opening the attachment, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the survey in the text of an email.
- TYPE your answers in the spaces provided.
- To indicate CHECK MARKS (for yes or no questions) just type an “x” in the line like this: ___X___YES ______NO
- When you are finished filling it out, SAVE the document.
- Using your email program, open a blank email and attach the saved file.
- Send this email to email@example.com
All the best,
Sara, Sarah, Lisa and Mica
Sara J. Totonchi
Public Policy Director
Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
View the article here
Laws restrict where 2,400 can live; courts and neighborhoods struggle with consequences
It seems like a common-sense precaution to protect children: Prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.
- How is this considered "common-sense?" It's totally without any common-sense!
But that simple premise - which has been law in Ohio since 2003 and Kentucky since 2006 - is quickly degenerating into a legislative free-for-all, fraught with unintended consequences, controversy and constitutional questions.
The Ohio and Kentucky supreme courts are poised this fall to decide if the laws are unconstitutional because they subject offenders to further punishment after they've served their sentences.
Meanwhile, evidence suggests that residency restrictions may be counterproductive, forcing sex offenders underground and lulling parents into a false sense of security. Hamilton County sheriff's deputies, for example, have arrest warrants out for 49 sex offenders who should have registered their addresses - but who have dropped out of sight.
Seven of them simply stopped registering after the city of Cincinnati told them they couldn't live within 1,000 feet of a school.
And there's this: As more areas become off-limits, sex offenders are being concentrated into neighborhoods with few schools and inexpensive housing - neighborhoods like Westwood and Florence, an Enquirer analysis of sex offender registration data shows.
Even if they're not a threat, a concentration of sex offenders is bad news for property values. One study by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that a sex offender moving into a neighborhood can reduce a home's value by $5,500.
"Just knowing they're there has added this extra stress," says Amber Shock, the mother of a 3-year-old daughter in White Oak.
Shock found out via the Internet that two sex offenders are living in a nearby house at Blue Rock and Cheviot roads - which the neighborhood children walk past on their way to a soft-serve ice cream stand.
"People think this isn't a big deal, but it is a big deal. Registered sex offenders will do it again, and maybe next time they'll kill someone," she says. Shock says she realizes that most sex offenses are committed by someone known to the family - "We all watch Oprah" - and that sex offenders have to live somewhere.
"Whether they live next to a park or a school or whatever, they're going to be with us. They've done their time and they're out," she says. "But when you become a mom, things totally change.
"You look at the world so different. Maybe they should all go to a mental hospital."
OFF-LIMITS AREAS EXPAND
Restrictions on where sex offenders can live have been proliferating nationally since the 1990s.
Ohio and Kentucky require all sex offenders - as determined by a judge at a sentencing hearing - to register their address with the sheriff of the county in which they will live, as often as every 30 days. Registrations, with photographs, are available on Web sites maintained by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Kentucky State Police.
In Ohio, sheriffs must then notify neighbors when the most serious classes of sex offenders - sex predators and some repeat offenders - move in next door. Kentucky has no such requirement. Both states also say where sex offenders can live, typically barring them from within 1,000 feet of any school and some day-care centers. Kentucky has added playgrounds to the list.
The Cincinnati City Council approved further restrictions this year. Now, sex offenders also are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of any recreation center, or any boys or girls club.
The effect: At least 60 percent of Cincinnati's housing units are off-limits to sex offenders, according to a study by the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.
Cincinnati is by far the most aggressive jurisdiction in enforcing residency restrictions, filing 167 of the 198 lawsuits aimed at evicting offenders in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court since 2006.
The law can be frustrating to enforce.
View the article here
* * * LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS * * *
I've been saying this for over a year now, as have many sex offender experts who the people passing these laws and Albertos Gonzales have been ignoring for too long now. When are these people going to listen to the experts? Most of this is common sense, which we appear to have none of in the justice system anymore. These laws will not work, and we'll be dealing with them 20 years from now if nothing is done. Open your eyes people!
Trying to limit sex offenders by restricting where they can live is like trying to carry sand in a sieve. The sieve is a container that offers no real restraint.
The Enquirer's special report on registered sex offenders in Greater Cincinnati contains some unsettling statistics.
There are more than 2,400 registered sexual offenders in the region.
There are 51 of them who can't be accounted for.
These offenders all have been convicted and served their time. There registration is a form of permanent probation, indicative of the fact that their "debts to society" can never fully be paid. Society may be willing to forgive a thief; to believe a drug addict or alcoholic can stay clean; even that a killer may be rehabilitated. But a sexual offender, particularly one classified as a "predator" is unlikely to ever be trusted in our society. Statistics, anecdotes and a primal loathing of anyone who harms children has ingrained this distrust into our social fabric.
- I think murderers, drug dealers, gang members and DUI offenders, to name a few, harm children as well, so why are they not treated the same?
A reaction to that distrust has been the growing use of restrictive laws limiting where such post-prison offenders can live. And, as we noted above, these laws have very limited effectiveness.
The stories by reporter Gregory Korte note that some jurisdictions say offenders can't live within 1,000 feet of a school. Others restrict how close such a person can live to a park or a playground. The city of Reading imposed a 2,000 feet from a school limit, effectively zoning sexual offenders out of that suburb.
- Yeah, they can't live 1000 feet, but if they are 1001 foot away, they are ok now?
Several of these restrictions now face court challenges over their Constitutionality. Imposing penalties on someone who already has served a sentence sets a dubious precedent.
- I agree, and it will spread into other aspects of the "no justice" system as well, mark my words on that. They know they can get away with violating the Constitution and somebodies rights, your rights will be next!
As Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, noted the more communities ratchet up the restrictions, the less supportable they become, and the greater the risk that the whole concept will be thrown out.
- I wish it would hurry up and get to that point. I just wish people would open their minds and think for themselves and I do not see how ANYBODY can think ANYTHING about these laws will protect your child from further harm, it won't.....
But the biggest flaw with the restrictions is that they may lull people into a false sense of security. The problem with sexual predators is not where they live, but where they commit their offenses. A predator is not any less likely to prey on innocent children if his apartment is 1,001 feet from a school or park than he is if he lives 999 feet away. Increasing residential restrictions also tends to concentrate registered offenders in areas where restrictions are not so tight, or were there are no schools, parks or other banned facilities. That creates an unfair burden on the inhabited community and often prompts a new round of restrictions.
- Yeah, and does this make sense? They say felons cannot live around each other, yet these buffer zones corral people into this very situation, thus they will then be violated and thrown in prison. If that is the ultimate goal, then why don't you say it? Because you know the laws will then be shot down.
One other key statistic noted in today's report: 90 percent of child sexual abuse is committed by a family friend or relative that is permitted into the home.
What is needed more than restrictions is vigilance.
Do not assume your child is safe at the playground just because the local sheriff's Web site doesn't show a registered offender living nearby. Make it your business to know where your children are and who they are around.
View the article here
These laws are NOT about protecting children, they are about banishment, period, end of story. How is a "buffer zone" going to protect anybody from a predator who is intent on committing another crime? Do you really think they will obey the law now that you've placed some "buffer zone" up? No! It could be 50 or 100 miles and it would make no difference.
Sex offenders in the Fox Cities are becoming increasingly unwelcome.
Several communities resumed discussions in the past week on sex offender regulations, including restrictions that would prohibit offenders from living near areas frequented by children.
But when a 2,000-foot buffer is placed around parks, schools and day care centers, for example, nearly all habitable land in any Fox Cities urban area becomes off-limits, an analysis by The Post-Crescent has found.
Additionally, more than two-thirds of the roughly 450 registered sex offenders listed as living in Outagamie and northern Winnebago counties reside within 2,000 feet of those places, the newspaper found.
In March, Green Bay became the first large city in the region to adopt a 2,000-foot ordinance, effectively banning sex offenders from living in 93 percent of the city, unless they get special permission.
The move ignited a sprawling debate on the issue as leaders in other communities, fearing an overflow of offenders, are considering ordinances. Little Chute passed a similar 2,000-foot rule last month, followed by Hortonville earlier this month. Like Green Bay, the vast majority of land in the two villages is now off-limits to sex offenders, unless they lived there prior to the ordinances.
State Department of Corrections officials worry the region is heading down a dangerous path — creating a false sense of security while inadvertently driving offenders underground.
"Sex offenders have to live somewhere," said Melissa Roberts, director of sex offender programs for the state agency, which is in charge of maintaining the state's Sex Offender Registry. "We haven't taken a position on these ordinances, but there is evidence they can reduce public safety by decreasing compliance with the registry."
Advocates for the restrictions say they're only looking out for the safety of their communities. David Peterson, chief of the Fox Valley Metro Police Department, which serves Kimberly and Little Chute, said he's only heard positive comments from Little Chute residents since the Village Board passed its ordinance last month. The same rule has been proposed in Kimberly.
"I don't see how this ordinance can hurt us," Peterson said. "Could it hurt us if we don't pass it? Possibly. I think we should err on the side of safety."
Most fall in zone
The Post-Crescent's analysis, based on June data from the Department of Corrections and maps from local communities, showed that at least 71 percent of registered sex offenders in Outagamie County live within 2,000 feet of a park, school or daycare. Fifty percent live within two or more places.
In Appleton, 139 of 168 registered offenders reside within the would-be buffer zones. In the towns and cities of Neenah and Menasha, the number is 99 out of 102 offenders.
At a meeting Tuesday of leaders from Buchanan, Clatyon, Combined Locks, Freedom, Harrison, Kaukauna, Kimberly and Little Chute, some expressed wariness about passing an ordinance without first studying its effects in Green Bay.
Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna doesn't expect the debate to surface in his city.
He said residency ordinances don't address the fact that offenders can still drive or loiter in areas where children congregate even if they can't live nearby. At the same time, the rules could make parents let their guards down.
"I'm not interested in having a long debate about this, because I don't think it solves any problems," Hanna said. "Vigilance by parents and families is what is going to keep children safe."
'I don't deserve that'
Michael Brown, a registered sex offender living in Little Chute, was grandfathered into that village's ordinance and will not have to move despite living within the new 2,000-foot buffer zone.
Still, if he decided to move, he wouldn't be welcome in the vast majority of the village he's called home for six years.
He finds the ordinance an attack on his rights. He said he served his sentence and has been on the right side of the law ever since.
"I don't deserve that," Brown said.
Brown, 48, was convicted in Waukesha County in 1994 for the sexual assault of a child younger than 16. He served a 90-day work release sentence and was placed on probation for five years.
He now has a wife of nearly 11 years, he's a father, and he hasn't had any violations since that conviction more serious than a speeding ticket. He's abided by the terms of the registry.
Brown's wife, Sheri, said it's incredible to think they wouldn't be allowed to live in the greater part of Little Chute if they moved. She said her husband isn't a threat.
"He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke — his biggest downfall is his boob tube over there," she said pointing at the television.
Connie Hietpas, a neighbor of the Browns, said there's no reason to place such strong regulations on Michael Brown.
His status on the registry had been the topic of neighborhood chatter, she said, although she got to know the family and came to find him harmless. The families became acquainted through their children and have since become friends.
"He's just another guy," she said.
Brown doesn't dispute that offenders with predatory behaviors should be subject to close supervision. But not all sex offenders are predators, he said. "They're worried about the bad ones, so they're going to label everybody."
Peterson, the police chief, however, doesn't apologize for being more concerned with protecting the children in Little Chute than people there who have been convicted of sex crimes.
"If we're worried about sex offenders getting another chance, what about children who were sexually abused? They don't get second chances."
Restrictions not unique
Residency restrictions for sex offenders are not unique to Wisconsin. According to the California Research Bureau, 21 states and more than 400 local governments had adopted some type of restriction as of last year.
Winnebago County's Town of Algoma passed Wisconsin's first sex offender residency restriction in November.
Town Chairman Richard Spanbauer said the 2,000-foot restriction hasn't drawn much response, aside from communities seeking information on how the town crafted the rule. He said his board expected other communities would follow suit.
Spanbauer said the ordinance was passed out of concern that community notification for incoming offenders was occurring too infrequently. It's a safety tool intended to protect the community from offenders who might target children, he said.
"We have to be ready as a community to take care of what happens in our own backyard," Spanbauer said.
While states and communities crafted their policies out of concern for safety, they've also been challenged in court on the belief they encroach upon offenders' rights.
The most significant decisions to date occurred in the federal courts and dealt with Iowa's statewide residency restriction law.
A federal district court initially issued a restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the 2,000-foot buffer there, based on a challenge from three sex offenders. The 8th District Court of Appeals in 2005 found the state law constitutional.
Chris Ahmuty, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, said the appellate decision regarding Iowa's law wouldn't leave Wisconsin communities immune from court challenges. The issue has yet to be litigated here.
Little Chute Village President Chuck Fischer said he's not overly concerned about the possibility of his community's ordinance going before the court. "It's something we'll address if happens."
Brown said the government should end what he calls a witch-hunt and instead focus on the worst offenders rather than lumping all of them together.
He has paid his debt to society. "Now leave me be, and let me go on with my life."
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I am so sick of these idiots who do not think. Why are you making buffer zones which force people out into the country away from the help they need? Why not make "safe zones" they cannot go, like, you cannot go to parks, you cannot go to schools, etc? Neither will protect people 100% of the time, but "safe zones" are better than "buffer zones". A buffer zone could be 50 or 100 miles and it will not make a difference for someone who is a predator, who won't pay attention to the laws anyway. This is nothing except forced exile, nothing more. And I am very ashamed to be a part of what was a great country. We are now the USSA!
Laws in nearby towns raise issue
Fearing that recently passed restrictions on where sex offenders may live in Marlborough and other nearby towns might push offenders into Framingham, selectmen are pondering their own version of such controversial laws.
At their meeting Tuesday, Framingham selectmen voted unanimously to direct Town Manager Julian Suso to recommend who should sit on a special committee that, if formed, would assess the merits of a new, tough law for sex offenders in town.
"It's really reasonable to think towns without such laws will receive an influx of these sex offenders if we don't have a law ourselves," said Selectman Jason Smith, who proposed placing the issue on the board's agenda. "Obviously the youth is kind of our future. We need to protect them."
Smith said he met with officials from Shrewsbury and other towns considering similar laws. He didn't want to see Framingham becoming the home of last resort for sex offenders, he said.
"I think Framingham can take a lead on this rather than wait for other towns," said Smith.
Sixteen Level 3 sex offenders deemed likely to repeat their crimes and 73 Level 2 offenders live or work in Framingham, Smith said.
In May, Marlborough approved a law that effectively bars convicted sex offenders from visiting, living, or working in nearly 85 percent of the city. Schools, day-care centers, Solomon Pond Mall, city parks, and other locations frequented by children and other potential victims are off-limits to offenders. Lawbreakers would be fined and have to change residences within 30 days. Fitchburg and West Boylston have passed similar measures.
Civil rights activists denounced the Marlborough law, saying it is more extensive than that of most communities throughout the country and would expose the city to lawsuits.
Framingham Board of Selectmen chairman Dennis Giombetti said if he and his colleagues vote later to create a special committee, its members should address three questions: whether sex offenders would be likely to move to Framingham from Marlborough and other municipalities with tougher laws; whether sex offenders would ignore a new law and move into town but not register with police; and whether a new law would force sex offenders to cluster in a few neighborhoods.
"We need to be thoughtful on how we approach this," Giombetti said.
Suso was asked to return with suggestions for committee members at the board's Aug. 7 meeting. Police officers, school officials, and others might sit on the panel.
Selectman Ginger Esty said she favored forcing convicted sex offenders to wear electronic bracelets that allow police to track their movements.
But Selectman Charles Sisitsky said the town cannot force people to wear the bracelets. Only the Legislature can do that, he said. Sisitsky recommended the special committee contact state Attorney General Martha Coakley to see how Beacon Hill could help Framingham enact a new law, especially if civil rights activists threaten to sue the town after its approval.
Sisitsky said he envisions holding a public hearing on a proposed law in early fall and asking Town Meeting members to vote on it in late fall.
Selectman John Stasik said he agreed Framingham should look into banning sex offenders from living or working near areas where children congregate.
He noted, however, that he does not want to set off a chain reaction where Framingham reacted to Marlborough and passed the problem onto yet another town.
"We have to be careful we don't push [offenders] out of town and into a neighboring town," said Stasik.
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Green Bay sent area communities scrambling when it approved an ordinance in April that restricted where registered sex offenders could live in the city.
Concerned that the new rule would drive the offenders to neighboring communities, Hobart adopted a similar restriction. Some other Green Bay suburbs formed a coalition to consider their own ordinance or discussed one independently. Just a handful did nothing.
Now, the debate has spread throughout the Fox River Valley where communities are deciding whether to approve a rule similar to the one that Green Bay adopted. It forbids sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children gather.
In a July 22 report, the Press-Gazette revealed that its analysis of Wisconsin Department of Corrections records from June 14 found that Green Bay ordinance supporters had used inflated numbers in claiming that 87 percent of Brown County's sex offenders lived in the city when the number actually was 65 percent.
They also said violent sex offenders were a primary concern in the city, although the Press-Gazette found that not a single offender living in Green Bay had been convicted under the state's violent sex offender law.
In a report in today's and Monday's Appleton Post-Crescent, the newspaper reveals how, in its analysis of the same prison system records that the Press-Gazette studied, the region might look if rules similar to one approved in Green Bay and Little Chute became the norm.
It found that, in urban areas of the Fox Cities, the vast majority of sex offenders already were living within 2,000 feet of parks, schools and daycare centers.
In Appleton, for example, at least 83 percent of the city's roughly 168 sex offenders were living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or day care. In the Neenah-Menasha area, 99 of the 102 registered sex offenders also were living within at least one of those places.
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Prosecutors on Friday dropped charges against two Lodi brothers who spent three months in jail after a woman accused them of rape.
Robert Silva, 26, and Ernest Silva, 20, had been jailed since April 27 after a 37-year-old Lodi woman told police she had been raped.
"It was only a matter of time before the truth would come out," Ernest Silva said after walking out of a Stockton courtroom for the last time.
The elder Silva, however, remains in jail because the case triggered a violation of his probation in unrelated Lodi cases. That must be dealt with in Lodi court, Judge Richard Mallett said.
The brothers had pleaded not guilty and were headed to trial when a defense investigator talked to witnesses who "contradicted (the woman's) version of what happened," said Allan Jose, who represents Robert Silva.
Jose turned that information over to Deputy District Attorney Michael Rasmussen, who had his investigators do further work. That prompted Rasmussen to dismiss the case, said fellow prosecutor Kristine Reed, who filled in for Rasmussen on Friday because he was out of state on vacation.
The Silvas' accuser testified at a preliminary hearing that she drank something and didn't remember much of the night, but awoke as she was being assaulted.
She acknowledged on the witness stand that she is an alcoholic and that she had gone to a park near her house to sip vodka in a disguised bottle. She said she met a man there, was introduced to more of his family members and then agreed to go to dinner in Tracy with them.
At some point, she said, she was given what she thought was alcohol, and then she remembered nothing more of the night. The next thing she knew, she testified, she awoke to discover that someone was having sex with her while two other men held her arms.
They quickly pushed her out of the house, and she initially told police it was the Silvas' house. On the witness stand, she said she wasn't quite sure about the house, though she did say that both brothers had been in the car on the ride to Tracy.
Both Jose and Deputy Public Defender Tim Garrigan declined to divulge details of the further investigation that led to the dismissal. State laws limit information released on alleged sexual assault victims, and the defense attorney deferred questions to Rasmussen.
Reed said she knew little about the details in the case, and that Rasmussen is on vacation through next week.
The Silva family members, who have shown up at every court appearance in the case, smiled as they left court, though they were frustrated that Robert Silva has to remain in jail on unrelated drug cases.
His last criminal case was resolved in February 2006, but when a judge ruled there was enough evidence for the brothers to stand trial in the rape case, that meant Robert Silva had violated his probation.
Though the rape charges have now been dismissed and Reed said her office did not plan to refile them, the probation violation remains on Robert Silva's record.
That matter will be addressed Aug. 13 in Lodi court.