Sunday, December 4, 2011

MO - State investigators looking into alleged fondling at pre-school

Original Article

Hell, pretty soon we'll have all kids on the sex offender registry for simply being human beings!

11/14/2011

By Courtney Gousman

Pacific (KSDK) - An incident at a pre-school has launched a state investigation.

Two students allegedly touched each other in the bathroom at Meramec Valley Early Childhood Center in Pacific, Missouri.

NewsChannel 5 learned the Children's Division of Missouri's Department of Social Services is now looking into the matter.

An attorney for the Meramec Valley R-3 School District tells NewsChannel 5 district officials have also launched an investigation into a child to child fondling incident that took place at the pre-school early last week.

An attorney for the district says two pre-school aged boys allegedly touched each other during a trip to the bathroom at Meramec Valley Early Childhood Center. District officials say the three and four-year-olds are typically allowed to visit the bathroom in pairs.

The incident was reported to the state's Department of Social Services after one of the children informed an adult of the incident. As a result the pre-school's director met with parents over the weekend to make them aware of the situation and two pending investigations.

Concerns also grew this weekend after a parent called the state's child abuse hotline to report she witnessed her child, who was not involved in the first incident, touching himself.
- Really, you called the child abuse hotline for your kid being a human being?  I bet you touched yourself when you were a child, and even as an adult!  So are you going to report yourself as well?

Attorney Tom Mickes says right now, there's no indication of any adults being involved in the incident.

The Department of Social Services would not confirm or deny either investigation.

Monday night, many parents didn't feel comfortable talking about the situation.
- And this is a problem.  They should be outraged by this insanity!

We met with a Cardinal Glennon pediatrician who tells me this could be a sign of something greater.
- And it could be a sign of being human and exploring oneself on sexuality, remember the old days?

"It's natural for them to sort of look at each other you know, and ask questions of each other. When it gets to the point where they're actually touching each other, then we have to expect there might be something else going on and that they might have experienced this in some other setting," said Dr. Ken Haller.
- Oh come on!  Most kids, if not all, experiment when they are young, it's called growing up!

Doctor Haller says it's important for parents to openly talk to their kids and ask questions.

The school district's attorney says he wouldn't be surprised if it's discovered that more children at the pre-school may have been involved in similar incidents.


MA - First-grader accused of sexual harassment for kicking a bully in the testicles?

Original Article

Another prime example of how the sex offender hysteria is getting out of control.  What would any politician who has been passing these draconian laws do, if this were their son?

12/02/2011

By Maria Cramer

A Boston elementary school is investigating a 7-year-old first-grader for sexual harassment after he struck another boy his age in the groin.

But the mother of the accused said her son was fending off the other child, who had choked him in an altercation on a school bus on Nov. 22.

"I think my kid was right to fight back," said the mother, Tasha Lynch, 30. "He wasn’t doing anything except protecting himself."

Lynch’s son, Mark Curran, who wears his light-brown hair in a Mohawk, said he has been afraid to return to Tynan Elementary School in South Boston since the fight.

"They can’t promise me that it’s not going to happen again," Lynch said of school officials.

Matthew Wilder, spokesman for the Boston public schools, declined to comment on the incident or why it has been classified as a possible case of sexual harassment. He said officials do not discuss confidential student information.

"Any kind of inappropriate touching would fall under that category," Wilder said. "The school administration is conducting a full investigation that has not concluded yet. Certainly, once that investigation is through, we’ll then make a final conclusion as to who will be disciplined and how."

The interim school principal, Leslie Gant, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Lynch offered her account of the fight yesterday as she and her son sat in the living room of their Dorchester apartment, where Mark watched cartoons.

That Tuesday afternoon, she said, she met her son at his bus stop. As he stepped off, he looked as if he were about to burst into tears.

When she asked him what was wrong, Lynch said, he told her another boy had choked him and taken his new gloves. Lynch said she stormed up to the bus driver and asked him what he saw.

"He just smiled and shrugged," she said. Lynch said she called the school repeatedly but got no answer.

The following Monday, Lynch said, she told her older son, who is 11, to take Mark to the principal’s office and explain what happened.

"I just thought they were going to call the parents, tell us both to come in and make the boys shake hands," Lynch said. At best, she said the other boy would apologize and return her son’s gloves.

Instead, Lynch said, officials kept him inside the office and began questioning him.

Lynch said the boy later told her he was so rattled by the questioning he told school officials he started the fight.

"They didn’t believe me," Mark said softly. "I didn’t get my gloves back."

Later that day, Lynch received a message from Mark’s grandmother, telling her that school officials were trying to reach her. Lynch said she spoke with Gant, who told her the school had called the state Department of Children and Families to report the incident.

Gant said Mark confessed to punching the other boy in the groin, according to Lynch. But later Mark said he had kicked, not punched, the student.

"She said, ‘It doesn’t matter who hit who first,’ " Lynch said. " ‘He said he hit him in the testicles. That’s assault. That’s sexual assault.

"I said: ‘The kid choked my son first and that’s called attempted murder. He said he couldn’t breathe,’ " Lynch said.

That day, Lynch said her older son came home from school with a letter from Gant, telling her that Mark had been accused of violating codes of discipline related to sexual harassment and endangering the physical safety of another student.

The school could suspend him or transfer him to another school, the letter stated.

Cayenne Isaksen, spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, said yesterday that she could not find a record of a complaint against Lynch or her son.

Wilder declined to comment on any possible calls to the state, but said generally they are legally obligated to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the agency.

"We’re mandatory reporters as a school employee," he said. "We have to report any type of accusation of sexual assault or sexual harassment that is reported to a school employee."

Lynch said she does not want her son to ride the bus until school officials assign an adult monitor. She said officials have told her to come in Monday for a hearing regarding the incident.

Wilder said either Gant, or the school principal, Eileen Morales, who has been on leave, will act as the hearing officer.

The hearing officer could call in various witnesses, including the two boys, though Wilder said it is unlikely they would be called at the same time.

Lynch said she has been trying to find a lawyer or an advocate who will help defend her son at the hearing.

"He said he felt totally alone," she said. "Nobody believed him. Nobody was there for him."


FL - City will have to pay attorney fees for sex offenders

Original Article

12/01/2011

By JAMES HARPER

A new Daytona Beach ordinance banning sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of certain places will cost taxpayers and the city more money because those arrested for violating the ordinance will have their attorney fees paid for by the city.

The ordinance is expected to be amended next week to cover people convicted of the sex offenses outside of the state.

Seventh Judicial Circuit Public Defender James Purdy weighed in on the impact of the ordinance.

"We don’t defend anybody involved in city ordinance violations. The city has to hire an attorney to represent them. Every person has a right to have an attorney represent them,’’ he said. "There is no legal organization to represent people charged with city ordinance violations.’’

Increase since September

Purdy says his office’s budget is half that of the state attorney’s office. Attorneys working for him have to handle more cases than they should because of budget cuts. "There is less time for them to spend on cases," he said. The Seventh Judicial Circuit serves Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties.

The public defender also says an increase in the number of feet where registered sex offenders/predators can live near certain places in Daytona Beach may lead to more of them not registering and more of them being homeless.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), sexual registry website, 272 predators and offenders were living in Daytona Beach as of Nov. 29, an increase of four since the Daytona Times reported about the Sept. 27 passing of the ordinance.

Latest figures

The number of predators and offenders living in other Volusia county cities are in Ormond Beach, 56; Port Orange, 62; South Daytona, 24; Holly Hill, eight; Deltona, 109; DeLand, 95; New Smyrna, 60, Oak Hill, 12, and Daytona Beach Shores, five.

Volusia has 810 sexual predators and offenders registered. In neighboring Orange County there are 1,785; Flagler County has 91 and Seminole County has 318. All four counties saw an increase in the number of registered sex offenders and predators since last reported in the Times in September.

Purdy says the reason Daytona Beach has the highest number of registered sexual offenders under the original state 1,000-foot buffer is because the law was working and Volusia County cities with the 2,500-foot buffer probably have sexual offenders not registered.

"Right now there are convicted sex offenders living under bridges. It (2,500-foot ordinance) does not promote public safety," Purdy noted.

More homeless?

Purdy says those labeled as sexual predators or offenders have two choices if they cannot find a place to live.

"Disappear and change their identity or not have a legal place to live. Then there is no way to keep tabs on them," he said.

Purdy said the new ordinances are driving sexual offenders underground. "No one knows where they are.’’ He asked: "Do we want to make all sex offenders homeless?’’

He added that at one point offenders and predators who completed their prison sentences but had probation were not being released because the places they were requesting to live violated the new city ordinances.

"I addressed this issue in 2005 or 2006 when it came to my attention that inmates of DOC (Department of Corrections) who were convicted sex offenders serving "split sentences" (prison followed by probation) were not being released at the end of their prison sentences to begin probation if they were unable to provide a valid residential address," Purdy explained.

Probation period

Purdy said a probation officer would contact them near the conclusion of their prison sentence and ask where they were going to live while on probation. The probation officer would then do a 1,000-foot circle around the residence on the map and if the residence was within 1,000 feet of a school, park, playground or daycare center, the probation officer would tell the inmate he could not live there upon release.

If the inmate could not provide a good address, then the probation officer would prepare a violation of probation and arrest the inmate upon the end of his prison sentence. The inmate would then be transported to the county where he was convicted for a violation of probation hearing.

"That is when we would get involved representing the defendant on the violation of probation. We were successful in convincing the judges that the alleged violations were not "willful" (intentional) and on two cases we demonstrated that the alleges "park" or "day care center" were not as represented," said Purdy.

Purdy says the ordinance passed by Daytona Beach and other cities in Volusia County "makes it virtually impossible for sexual offenders to live in the cities," which could mean more are living unregistered in the county.

The ordinance prohibits certain sexual offenders from residing within 2,500 feet of schools, daycare centers, public parks, public and private playgrounds, recreational open spaces, libraries and churches.

"Ironically, it is the offender who is NOT likely to reoffend who is targeted by this 2,500-foot rule since those likely to re-offend are held in custody for treatment under the Jimmy Ryce Act," said Purdy.

Jimmy Ryce Act

City commissioners and Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said that convicted sexual offenders released from custody will repeat the acts for which they had originally been convicted.

Purdy said those released from custody are more than likely not to reoffend because of the battery of tests they undergo before being released.

Every sex offender that goes to prison can be kept in custody if it is determined he or she is likely to reoffend because of the Jimmy Ryce Act.

The Jimmy Ryce Act (Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment And Care Act) was passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature and was signed by Gov.Lawton Chiles on May 19, 1998, and became effective on Jan. 1, 1999.

The act calls for inmates with sex offense histories to be reviewed by the Florida Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Family Services and state attorneys to determine the level of risk for re-offense.

"Doctors review the files and determine which inmates are likely to reoffend and they are referred to 2 psychiatrists for face to face evaluations. Those 2 psychiatrists decide which inmates should be involuntarily committed as likely to reoffend," said Purdy.

Do buffers work?

The act was named after a 9-year-old boy who was raped and killed by Juan Carlos Chavez on Sept. 11, 1995. Sexual offenders under the Ryce Act are held indefinitely until a trial determines when they can be release.

Purdy said there are Florida legislators working on a law that will stop counties and cities from increasing the number of feet where offenders can reside near certain places so that all have same 1,000-foot buffer that is currently statewide for some places where offenders can’t reside.

"The legislature has not acted to prevent cities or counties from passing such ordinances although bills were proposed a couple of years in a row to do so," he said.

Purdy questions the logic of having buffers where sex offenders live. Purdy elaborated, "How about somebody that is a residential burglar. Career shoplifter. Where do you stop?"