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A Cicero man was charged with a hate crime and sexual assault for allegedly raping a man Saturday, Cicero police officials said Thursday.
Felipe Rivera, 43, of Cicero, who allegedly told police in a video confession that he hates homosexuals and the victim got what he deserved, was charged with a hate crime, aggravated criminal sexual assault, sexual assault and aggravated battery. Bond was set at $350,000 Thursday in the Maywood courthouse, a Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman said.
Cicero spokesman Dan Proft said a 37-year-old man was attacked as he was climbing an outdoor stairwell to his Cicero apartment about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Proft said a neighbor called the police, who found the victim unconscious and bleeding on the stairwell.
Proft said Rivera and the victim were both at a party in the 1200 block of South 50th Avenue earlier in the evening. Proft said Rivera allegedly punched the man in the face at the party after, Rivera said, the victim "winked at him."
Proft said the victim alleged he had refused an offer from Rivera to pay him $50 for sex later in the evening. Police said Rivera was asked to leave the party, waited for the victim outside and followed him home.
Rivera was arrested later that night after his mother found out about the incident and called police, Proft said.
He said the victim was treated at a hospital and released.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
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SEX education lessons should be given to schoolchildren as young as five as part of a bid to combat soaring levels of teenage pregnancy and sexual disease, Scotland's most senior public health doctor said last night.
Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish consultants' committee, warned that schools were leaving the safe-sex message so late that many teenagers were already exposing themselves to avoidable risk.
Saunders also called for secondary schools to hand out condoms and other forms of contraception to children from the age of 13.
His comments are the most radical call for reform of sex education in Scotland ever to be made by such a senior doctors' leader.
Last night, parents' groups gave Saunders' remarks their cautious backing and the Scottish Government said it was up to individual schools to decide when to begin sex education. But the Catholic Church in Scotland said it would oppose any such move, describing it as "pointless".
Scotland's sexual health record is one of the poorest in the western world. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise with 9,040 in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, compared with 8,891 in 2004. Cases of sexually transmitted diseases are also rising. In April to June this year, Scottish laboratories saw 4,715 cases of chlamydia – up 6% from 4,468 in January to March.
Saunders, a consultant in public health medicine at NHS Fife, said: "It needs to start at quite an early age, because if you leave it until they are 12 it is too late because some are already experimenting. It probably needs to be started off when children start school. You need to start laying the groundwork to help them and empower them to make decisions and turn things down.
"At five it needs to be a language that they understand and taught in the same way as any other subject. It would be basic mechanics at that age in the same way as you teach a child of that age a tiny amount about geography, a fairly superficial introduction.
"It should start off with relatively simple concepts in the same way as English and science start off with the basics. It could start off with how babies are made and progress from there."
He added: "You need to start somewhere and it makes an awful lot of sense to start long before it's needed, because if you leave it too long you are wasting your time.
"Basically sex education needs to be a whole lot better. It's not just anatomical drawings but what the risks are from infections and what the pros and cons are of having sex or waiting.
"It's not a simple task to get young people empowered enough to use condoms, but it's the key. You want to ensure people are not having sex when they don't want to have it, and that when they do want to have it they are not putting themselves at risk."
Saunders added that all schools should also provide contraception to pupils. Currently contraception is on offer at a small number of schools.
He said: "Particularly in rural areas, schools may well be the only way that pupils can access contraception.
"It may well be that as time goes on it would make sense to have emergency contraception in schools."
The Scottish Government allows local authorities and head teachers to set their own sex education policies, provided they are deemed appropriate to the age of the child and parents are happy with the subject matter.
In the majority of cases children do not learn about sex until Primary Six or Seven, when they are 10 or 11. They are not taught about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases until secondary school.
A school could introduce sex education in Primary One, provided parents and teachers agreed it was the right move.
Judith Gillespie, development manager of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said she was undecided about whether
five was the appropriate age to begin sex education, but she recognised Saunders' concerns.
She said: "We do have to step up our sex education, but if they want to move forward with this they can't just take it into schools, they have to have the support of parents.
"Sex education is an area where schools have to approach parents, and parents have the opportunity to veto it. We need to have a concerted information campaign so that parents understand it."
A spokesman for the teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland
said: "While it is sensible to examine ways of improving the quality of information available to pupils, we must always take full account of the concerns of both the parents of the children concerned, and the teachers who are expected to deliver sex and relationship education."
However, a spokesman for the Catholic Church said five-year-olds were too young to understand sex.
He said: "When
children reach puberty they are able to assimilate information about their own sexuality but they are just not ready at five. It's way over their heads and would be as pointless as giving a five-year-old a talk on alcohol. At the age of 15 it's a different matter."
Public Health Minister Shona Robison
said: "We expect all schools to teach sex and relationships education and we expect them to consult parents about the content of sex and relationships education programmes.
"Any sex and relationships education needs to be appropriate to the age and stage of the pupils involved. Younger pupils might start learning about the broad idea of relationships, and family and friends, for example.
"We are not persuaded of the need to provide emergency contraception on school premises but do want to ensure that such services are available and are accessible in other local facilities."
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Ohio's 25,000 sex offenders got a big surprise earlier this month when the state told them that, starting Jan. 1, they will have to register longer than they had previously thought, and in many cases they'll have to register more often.
Nearly one third will go from registering addresses with the sheriff's office in the county where they live annually for 10 years to having to register every 90 days for life.
Most others will have five years tacked onto their 10-year reporting requirement, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
- Again, violating ex post facto laws. You cannot legally tack on punishment without due process, yet they are.
The tougher requirements - although controversial - are designed to keep better tabs on sex offenders, a group that moves often and frequently crosses state lines.
- No, I think you mean punish them longer.. Yet if you said "punish" that would deem them unconstitutional, now wouldn't it... So you say it's restrictive and not punishment, what a load of BS!
The closer scrutiny comes at a price, because registrations will nearly double, creating more work for sheriff's offices, which are charged with making sure the addresses are correct and tracking down those who don't register.
In passing the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, state lawmakers say they are making communities safer. But critics say it's a false sense of security, because most offenders are people the victim already knows.
State Sen. Steve Austria (Email), R-Beavercreek, who introduced the law, said tracking sex offenders keeps everyone safer.
- But adding punishment onto their sentence, after they've been sentenced, violates the Constitution, and you know it.
"This law sends a very strong message that our state has zero tolerance for sex offenders," said the father of three. "If you commit these violent crimes, we will take you off the streets for a very long time, and if you get out we will continue to monitor your whereabouts."
But David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center who works to reform the criminal justice system, said there's probably no more unconstitutional law in state history.
Amelia Orr, executive director of Community Counseling & Crisis Center in Butler County, which handles that county's rape crisis program, called the registry a scare tactic that gives people a "superficial sense of security."
CHILDREN INSPIRE LAW
The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act - named for Adam Walsh, 6, who was kidnapped from a Florida department store and killed in 1981 - was signed into law by President Bush in July 2006. It calls for national conformity on varying sex offender laws across the country.
- Why did we get away from naming laws HB-XXXX or SB-XXXX? Who is the world would NOT vote for a law named in a childs name? Nobody... That is why they do this. Eventually they will come up with a law which violates your rights, in a childs name, and then I am willing to bet you will see my points then. This should be illegal, IMO.
States are now being called on to implement the new guidelines. Ohio is one of six states to pass the legislation.
Kentucky is still reviewing its options, said Kentucky State Police Lt. Phil Crumpton. "It's quite an extensive project, we're working our way to compliance," he said.
In the past, judges decided how long and how often a convicted sex offender had to register on the likelihood that person would re-offend. Judges could choose one of seven designations, which required a minimum 10 years of registration and went as high as a lifetime registration.
Lists of offenders could be found online - searchable by county or ZIP code. In the worst cases, communities would be notified.
Now, designations will be based on what charge a person faced.
Minor sex offenders can face once-a-year registration for 15 years, but people convicted on the most serious charges like rape and sexual battery must register every 90 days for life.
Unlike most laws that apply going forward, the changes affect offenders dating back to 1997 when the state registry was created.
- And this is in direct violation of the Constitution for ex post facto and due process to name a few.
The law allows sexual offenders to file a court challenge to their new designation.
About 18,000 of the state's 27,000 offenders live in Ohio's 88 counties, the rest are serving prison terms. With 1,959 on the sex offender registry, Hamilton County has the second highest number of offenders behind Cuyahoga County.
"The goal is to create uniformity among the states and close loopholes when offenders move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction," said Assistant Ohio Attorney General Erin Rosen.
- No, it's to get GRANT money...
For instance, in the past, people convicted in other states of child pornography flocked to Ohio, where that crime didn't require registration. The revamped law makes it a registration-required offense, Rosen said.
- That is why these types of laws should NOT be at a state level, but federal.
Holli Burd, 34, a North College Hill mother, thought her 10-year registration requirement would be up before her 14-month-old daughter starts school.
But, the new law means Burd, convicted in Warren County of sexual battery in 2002 for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, will have to register for life.
Burd said she cried when she heard about the extended registration. "It's like they're coming back and punishing me all over again, but worse," she said.
Burd said she would have pleaded not guilty if such a restriction was attached. "I understand there are people out there that must be monitored on a daily basis, but I am not one of them," she said.
In her case, she said the sex was consensual and she thought the victim was older. She sees it as part of her old life. She has since married and had a child.
Burd is pinning her hopes on a challenge the Ohio Justice & Policy Center is helping her file.
Once convicted rapist Sidney Souffrance is released from prison he'll be in the same predicament. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge David Davis sentenced Souffrance to seven years in prison on a rape charge for raping a high school student at his home. Davis designated him a sexually oriented offender.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Megan Shanahan, who prosecuted the case and still remembers how the victim shook in fear as she testified, applauded the changes. "These people need to be kept on short leashes," she said. "The fact that we'll know where Souffrance is for the rest of his life is fantastic."
Not everyone thinks the changes are a good idea. The Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a Cincinnati-based non-profit agency, filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court in October challenging the retroactive portion of the law.
The court determined last week that the lawsuit had to be first filed on a county level. Center officials are looking for the right venue, but will re-file soon, Singleton said.
"There's probably no more unconstitutional law in the history of the state than what the legislature has done with the Adam Walsh Act," Singleton said.
"We think tying registration duties to offenses (makes) registration part of the punishment and you can't punish retroactively," Singleton said. "It's unconstitutional on a number of grounds."
Sheriff's offices are grappling with how to handle the swelling tide of sex-offender registrations.
Margarita Mergy, assistant coordinator of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office sex offender program, said her office will see all of Hamilton County's 1,959 sex offenders between Jan. 1 and June 1.
She expects about 800 will have to register longer and more often. In the past, about 350 registered every 90 days, all involve an in-person check by a deputy.
"It will be a lot more work," she said.
Currently about 3,000 in-person address checks are done each year, a number that will likely double, she said. "That's somebody's pay, gas, wear and tear on vehicles along with officer safety issues," she said.
She wondered where the money to pay for the work will come from. "That question has not been answered yet," she said.
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True hypocrisy in the world. Many "claim" to be Christians, yet what would Jesus do? Not what is occurring in this world today! Where are the "true" Christians when you need them?
They arrive hours early, even knowing they can't get in the doors yet. They huddle in the rain, the wind, the cold and, finally, the dark.
It's the night after Christmas, and they'll be spending it the way they spent the previous night, and the one before that, and the one before that: sleeping on a thin mat on the floor of a Hampton synagogue, and happy to be there.
Rarely are the rules bent, but this night they are. Foul weather moves volunteers to unlock the double doors long before the 7 p.m. schedule so weary and wet men and women can file inside Rodef Sholom Temple on Whealton Road, which every year hosts the homeless for Christmas week.
One by one, "guests" stop at the sign-in table. Most know the drill. They show their ID unbidden. They lean into a portable Breathalyzer unit roughly the size of a deck of cards and blow. They pause to have their picture taken.
If they don't have ID or fail the breath-alcohol test, they're turned away at once. If their face shows up on a sex offender Web site or there's an outstanding warrant against them, they'll be turned out, too.
They're every shape, size and age, from a petite young deaf girl to gristly grandpas. A few come equipped with backpacks and bedrolls, others with only the shirts on their backs.
Persistent sniffles and the smell of damp clothes and stale cigarette smoke fill the air.
Most guests process through in silence, but a few regulars joke with Shari Crockett, longtime volunteer manager of A Night's Welcome, the homeless program of HELP, or Hampton Ecumenical Lodging and Provisions.
A different house of worship plays host each week for 23 weeks, offering hearty meals and hot coffee every evening and morning to as many as 80 overnight guests.
"I don't think you can find anything more rewarding," says Crockett, who by day is a manager with York County government. "Once people come in, they have perceptions of the homeless from television. (But) they're just like you and I — they just don't sleep in a bed."
Many of them request wee-hour wake-up calls so they can get to their day jobs on time.
A fashionisto admires Crockett's shoes and tells her, "I want to find me a pink tuxedo to be buried in."
Crockett chuckles at him.
"How's it goin'?" another man asks the volunteer who handles the Breathalyzer.
"Better," the volunteer says.
"Better. That's a start."
Another guest rambles about a tugboat job. He's young and animated — maybe too animated, tan hair pulled back tight in a ponytail. He talks about benefits and 401(k)s.
"I've got it all planned out," he says. "It's just a stepping stone."
Once they've processed, the men head for the main hall, where they'll sleep behind partitions, and take a seat at one of many tables covered in red and purple paper tablecloths. The women head for the carpeted library where they'll spend the night.
Each stakes out a spot on the floor, then it's off to restrooms to wash up or to the big coffee urn in the corner.
Dinner is fat tuna subs and steaming vegetable soup. More volunteers, congregation members, build the subs in speedy, assembly-line fashion in the temple's dairy kitchen.
"You do it because people need the help," says Martha Katz-Hyman, who pitches in every year and will rise at 4 the next morning to take on the breakfast shift, too. "Especially this week, when this is a big holiday period for our Christian neighbors. We should take part."
In the main hall, three 17-year-old girls open boxes of plastic utensils. They're students at Hampton High School and members of the Keyettes, a community service group.
Brianna Miles, Keyettes president, also spent Christmas at the synagogue, when guests are allowed the rare privilege of staying the entire day. They watch sports on the big flat-screen, play cards or just socialize. Many, exhausted, spend the day in the luxury of sleep.
Often guests keep to themselves, but Miles chatted with the more convivial ones, some of whom went to her school. Some, she says, still have younger siblings there.
"Some played football, some graduated from Hampton," Miles says. "Some should be going to college. They talked about how great the food was."
The big feast came Christmas Eve. Turkey and gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls and apple pie. And, like every year, not a bite of turkey left over.
Hosting the homeless has its challenges, from the broken boiler in the kitchen to a late-night catfight to the three — count 'em, three — ambulances called in on Christmas Day for guests who took ill.
But Crockett handles it with a firm hand and high expectations of every guest.
"Nobody's gonna come into God's house and disrespect it," Crockett says. "If I lower my standards, that's saying they're not capable."
So guests police themselves and each other, whether rising to her expectations or for fear of expulsion. Likely a bit of both.
Talk to volunteers about why they do it and they'll say things like "community service" or "giving back" or "helping."
Like the volunteer who took Crockett aside on behalf of a particular guest — a middle-aged man in plaid shirt sleeves and strapped glasses with the look of a down-and-out bookkeeper, shod in leaky black shoes. Do you have any warm boots, the volunteer murmured, in that "magnificent magic trunk" of yours?
Crockett sighed. She didn't have boots. But she'd find some. It's what you do.
She counts among her proudest moments the year not long ago when they had a little boy overnight for Christmas. She convinced the rabbi to allow a Christmas tree, something the synagogue, being a synagogue, normally doesn't.
But the rabbi relented, and the boy had his Christmas with all the trimmings.
Two months later, Crockett says, the boy was killed.
"So he spent his last Christmas in a Jewish synagogue with a Christmas tree," she says. "It's stuff like this that makes a difference."
Tamara Dietrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-7892.
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A year after the first sex offender residency restriction ordinance in the state of Wisconsin was passed, similar ordinances have sprung up in communities around the state that place restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live.
However, concerns about the restrictions have prompted one state legislator to draft a bill that would prevent local governments from enacting ordinances that restrict where offenders can reside.
The town of Algoma approved the first residency restriction ordinance in November 2006. Their ordinance prohibits sex offenders who have victimized a child younger than 16 years old from living within 2,000 feet of parks, playgrounds, churches, schools and bike trails. However, the ordinance does provide a mechanism that would allow offenders to live within the child safe zones if they meet certain criteria.
"When it comes to sex offenders and children, they're not perceived as normal criminals in the community and people want them dealt with a little more harshly," Algoma Supervisor Daniel Mingus said. "Our bottom line is to keep them away from kids because that's who they prey on."
- No you are wrong, not all sex offenders have anything to do with children, that is an assumption you are making which makes things worse.
Since the town of Algoma created its ordinance, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections is aware of 19 other communities in the state that have passed some kind of residency restriction, said DOC spokesman John Dipko. Nine other Wisconsin communities rejected proposed ordinances and two other communities have passed ordinances that have established "child safety zones" that are not considered residency restrictions, Dipko said.
The Oshkosh Common Council has not had any discussions about creating a residency restriction ordinance for the city, Mayor Frank Tower (Email) said.
State Rep. Don Friske (Email), R-Merrill, has written a bill that aims to prevent local governments from enacting their own residency restrictions. Under the bill, governments would have to follow state law, which requires offenders be placed in their county of origin.
"We're just going to take it off their plate," Friske told the Wisconsin Radio Network earlier this month. "I think some may not say it, but I think some will be probably somewhat relieved that this issue is not before them."
Friske could not be reached by The Northwestern for comment this week.
While the community ordinances works, Mingus said, a statewide law establishing restrictions would be the best option because it would provide a uniform law that had consistent buffer zones for offenders to abide by.
"More and more communities are either adopting (residency restrictions) or looking into it," Mingus said. "I will call it a success when the state gets involved and comes up with a statewide law."
Green Bay established a residency restriction ordinance that prohibits certain convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of where children gather in April. At the same time, the city also established an appeals board that hears from offenders who are seeking exemption that would allow them to live in areas of the city where convicted offenders are banned.
When an offender is getting ready to be released from prison or is on supervision the process to find a residence begins in advance, said Jed Neuman, a corrections field supervisor with the Division of Community Corrections. There are several factors that are looked at with any offender, including avoiding placements near where children congregate or where victims live.
If an offender committed an offense where Green Bay's residency restriction applies, Neuman said, the offender can appear before the appeals board. A hearing is held and a corrections official helps the offender with the process. Factors that are considered include whether the offender has a stable residence, stable employment, a pro-social peer group and is receiving treatment or intervention to deal with the issues they are dealing with. But sometimes the board denies an exemption and offenders are left looking outside the city for an alternative living situation, Neuman said.
"It adds another step in the process and occasionally it does make it more difficult," said Neuman, who primarily works in the Brown County area.
Neuman did not have an exact number of offenders who have appeared before the appeals board.
While corrections officials have found ways to deal with the communities that have residency restriction ordinances, Neuman said there are other important tools that DOC has in place, such as the state's Sex Offender Registry program, to help know where convicted offenders are residing and what they are doing. Not only does the program keep DOC officials aware of where offenders are living, it also helps provide information to the public.
"Wisconsin is a one of the leaders in the nation as far as the sex offender registry goes," Neuman said. "The compliance rate is very good and we want to keep it that way. It's a very valuable tool for the citizens of the state."
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SAN PABLO — S.T. is a registered sex offender with a wife, three kids and a cozy apartment near Hilltop Mall. But every night he roams the dark streets in a pea coat, a wool cap and a GPS tracker strapped to his left ankle.
He'd rather stay home. But that could mean running afoul of Jessica's Law, and a return trip to prison.
So at 10 p.m. he slips on the soft prison shoes he wore out of San Quentin this month and walks to his favorite bus stop shelter. He sits and chats with the drivers. He circles the mall. Then he treks down near the Richmond BART station to watch the hookers and drug dealers and to lie on a sheet of cardboard plucked from behind a KFC.
When light breaks he shakes off the chill and heads home — but never before 7 a.m., because that's when his parole officer says it's OK, said S.T., who asked to remain anonymous, saying he fears upsetting his parole agent.
"My hands get so cold they turn actually red and get numb," he says on a recent night out. "Mentally and psychologically, I'm fighting."
S.T. lives under a kind of reverse-curfew that owes to the state's enforcement of Proposition 83, the 2006 ballot measure that bans newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
He's not alone. State corrections figures show a big spike in parolee sex offenders who, like him, are registering as transient — homeless or bouncing from bed to bed, doing anything to comply with the 2,000-foot rule.
The surge started in August, when parole agents began to enforce a law that was billed as a way to ease safety fears over children. Yet concern is mounting among state officials, parole agents, victim advocates and even the law's Republican author, that this is not the way.
Of the 3,952 parolees who now fall under the ban, nearly one in five were registered as transient last week, up from very few before the law, officials said. In the parole region that runs the coast from Ventura north to the Oregon border and includes the Bay Area, more than a third of the 859 sex offender parolees who fall under Jessica's Law are officially transient.
The situation is most acute in urban areas, where the 2,000-foot rule leaves few places for newly released offenders to live.
Proposition 83, or Jessica's Law, added several get-tough measures against sex offenders. The most controversial is the ban on newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet — about four-tenths of a mile — of a school or park where children "regularly gather."
As judges and policymakers sort out the legal and practical implications, what has emerged is a makeshift — some say slipshod — system of enforcement.
Parole agents measure off the 2,000 feet "as the crow flies," under state policy. But they have leeway over what it means to live somewhere. For S.T. and others, it's where they spend the night.
The rise in transients is a concern, said Gareth Lacy, spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office keeps the state sex offender registry.
"It's much harder to track and manage offenders who are moving around and not in one location," he said.
Most of the transients are fitted with GPS anklets. They also must report daily to their parole agents, instead of weekly. But the tracking is no cure-all, said Mark McCarthy, a parole agent who oversees sex offenders.
"The big fallacy with GPS is that it's going to curtail crimes. It isn't going to make them not molest kids or rape women. We'll just know if they did it or not," he said. "For public safety purposes, I'd rather know where a guy's at, at home, than have him transient, out in the streets somewhere."
A state corrections official denied any policy for parole agents to tell people like S.T. to go transient.
Some agents, though, say it is written between the lines of an Aug. 17 memo detailing the agency's policy on the law.
The choices are few in some counties. In San Francisco, where state maps show virtually no compliant housing, 31 of the city's 97 Jessica's Law parolees are now registered transient.
"We had an obligation to make sure parolees knew their options under the law," said state corrections spokesman Bill Sessa. "We weren't directing them. We were simply saying, you either have to find a compliant address or register as transient."
A third option: a parole violation and possible return to prison.
As many as 700 sex offenders are paroled each month. They all fall under the 2,000 foot rule for life unless a court rules otherwise.
The state Supreme Court is expected to rule this spring on a challenge to the restriction.
"The continuing issue is there have to be places for people to live," said Sessa. "The number of sex offenders covered by the law will be constantly expanding."
Transients can't set up anywhere, said Sessa. They can't sleep, for instance, under a bridge for several nights if it's too close to a school or park, he said. But parole agents have discretion.
"There's a common-sense perspective of what it means to live somewhere," he said. "There is a balancing act here, because all the research shows that having a stable environment is the biggest key to rehabilitation, and so agents are always trying to strike a balance."
For S.T., it feels more like an imbalance.
He was convicted in 1990 of an assault with intent to commit rape against his son's teacher. Court documents say he sprayed her with mace, hit her in the head and tried to force her legs open with his knees before a school janitor came with a shovel and he ran off.
Court documents show he suffered bouts of alcoholism, depression and hallucinations. He pleaded guilty and received a 64-month prison sentence.
He has since committed other crimes, records show. The latest came early this year. He was convicted of battery on a police officer after a takedown in 2005 during an attempt to arrest him as a parolee-at-large. He bit an officer's finger.
When he left prison early this month, he fell under Jessica's Law.
His wife often joins him early on his nightly journey. They hold hands and circle the mall. Then he walks her back home, across from a church school.
"This is for me to feel what he's going through," she says as they walk. "He has a place to come to. He has a family. We have children. It is so weird. He just can't be home."
S.T. says his parole officer told him: "Wherever you go, just keep it moving." That's usually what he does, if only to keep warm.
"I'm really — how would you say? — traumatized," he says. "Being in the cold, being tired, walking in the rain ... What if I have to use the bathroom? It is very degrading."
The author of Jessica's Law now says the state is misguided in its early enforcement of the law, and that policymakers need to be more "creative."
Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, described S.T.'s case as "a very tortured interpretation, obviously. Somebody in corrections has decided it was easier to go let somebody be transient than to insist that they follow the law."
Still, Runner said he never meant the law for people such as S.T. who fall under Jessica's Law only because of non-sex convictions. That borders on being retroactive, he said.
He also disagrees with how the state strictly measures 2,000 feet, when in some cases freeways split a home from a school or park. He thinks cities can better define parks. Should all of Golden Gate Park count, or only areas that children frequent?
"We're always concerned if there are issues that make something impossible to implement," he said. "We believe there's a big difference between impossible and hard. The bottom line is it's going to work."
Critics blame Runner for writing a vaguely worded law that was ripe for trouble. Corrections officials say they are merely enforcing the letter of a law that 70 percent of voters passed.
The California Sex Offender Management Board, formed under Jessica's Law, is studying the fallout and possible fixes, including the idea of "cluster-housing" for sex offenders.
"It's really about keeping sex offenders from living in a place where they have easy access to children," said Nancy O'Malley, chief assistant district attorney in Alameda County.
O'Malley couldn't grasp the purpose of S.T. wandering the streets at night.
"That's not good," she said. "What does that do?"
AND certain former Michigan residents:
Now, according to Michigan's rules those folks are not supposed to appear on the PSOR (Public Registry) (CLICK I do have a backup of this file should it be removed):
II. Public Sex Offender RegistryMichigan has now arbitrarily began listing these folks on the PSOR, AND showing them as NON-COMPLIANT just like certain other registrants reported in our earlier ACTION ALERT below. Now, to add salt to the wounds of ALL DECLARED NON-COMPLIANT, Michigan has UPLOADED them to the National Sex Offender Registry subjecting these folks to arrest anywhere they are in the nation!
Under the SOR Act, certain offenders are exempt from the PSOR (even though they remain on the SOR). ..... In addition, those individuals who are ..... and offenders who have moved out of the state or out of the country ..... are removed from the PSOR following the submission ..... or notification of a change of address. page-2
A. Public Sex Offender Registry Statistics
As of August 1, 2007, there were 21,807 offenders on the PSOR. The PSOR does not include offenders who have moved out of the state, are incarcerated, have a known false address or are juveniles. page-3
Michigan's Auditors audited the registry in 2005 which led to my Commentary "A significant percentage of Michigan's Sex Offender Registrants may be erroneously subjected to arrest nationwide when the Michigan Sex Offender registry is phased into the Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Registry this August (2005)." Then it was due to what the Auditors found (see commentary), today -two years later- it appears they still have not fixed the registry and clearly have made things worse with further erroneous and arbitrary designations.Can we expect Michigan to take responsibility for this? Will they be liable for whatever happens to these folks? Michigan's registry law says, no, they are not liable for good faith actions, but are these good faith actions? I'll let readers decide, and those NON-COMPLIANT can answer that after consulting with a lawyer.
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VALPARAISO - Gary Branham was released from prison Dec. 5 after completing a two-year sentence for molesting a young girl at his apartment and at the Salvation Army in South Haven.
The 48-year-old lived with a friend for a week and then found himself without a home, according to a report completed by his probation officer, Katty Holland.
Branham called multiple hotels and apartments, but was unable to find a place he could afford on his disability income of $542 a month, Holland said. He also is unable pay for other living expenses or fees associated with his probation and sex offender treatment.
As a result, Branham was placed back behind bars at the county jail and Holland is asking that he be sent back to prison to complete the three-year balance of the sentence he was supposed to spend on probation. The request is based on accusations Branham will be unable to comply with probation and the Project PRO sex offender treatment and monitoring program.
"It is this officer's opinion that these circumstances create an environment that is unsafe for both the defendant and the community," Holland wrote.
A hearing on Branham's fate is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 12 before Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper.
The dilemma involving Branham is not new for the county probation department, according to Adult Probation Chief Neil Hannon.
The county has had similar cases, including repeat child molester Edward Drlich, who was sent back to prison last fall after he was unable to find a place to live. Drlich had no income and suffers from physical and mental ailments.
Harper sentenced Drlich to the entire five years remaining on his sentence, saying he poses a serious threat to children if left unsupervised or untreated.
"We're going to have more of these," Hannon predicted.
Rental properties in Porter County are not cheap and the more affordable units are far enough out to require that offenders have reliable transportation, he said. This challenge is fueled further by various hardships created by fearful neighbors and a state law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, park or youth center.
Hannon said he has heard of homeowners applying for day-care status in order to keep a sex offender from moving into a neighborhood and vigilantes vandalizing an offender's vehicle.
The problem could be addressed in part by doing away with a section of the law that prohibits sex offenders from living together, Hannon said. This would allow these individuals to pool their resources.
Yet if they live together, their treatment may be placed at risk by allowing them to brag or share stories, he said.
"They need to have supervised housing," Hannon said.
The Indiana Department of Correction is starting a sex offender containment and accountability program at the Plainfield Correctional Facility on Wednesday, according to Porter County PACT.
If Branham were enrolled at Plainfield, he would take part in a re-entry program designed to work on transition issues and establish resources well in advance of his release, PACT said. He also would receive assistance once on parole with polygraph testing, treatment and possibly housing costs.