Sunday, February 24, 2013

FIJI - Considers setting up a sex offenders registry, saying historically sex offender registers have never worked before

Original Article

02/25/2013

Fiji is the latest Pacific nation to consider setting up a register of sex offenders.

The country's Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni, says a register would address the 'root cause' of sex related crime against girls and women.
- What about men and boys?

The minister says the register would be able to identify offenders, track and educate them and provide important information to the police.

Shamima Ali, the chief executive of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, says historically sex offender registers have never worked before.

She told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat she is not totally opposed to such a move, but more discussion around the issue is needed from a human rights perspective.

"I still believe in Fiji there needs to be a lot more discussion and consultation which we seem to be lacking nowadays," Ms Ali said.

"And rather than just talking about bandaid solutions - a quick way to address the situation...looking at where has it worked, if it has worked anywhere. And in from my knowledge, it hasn't worked."


MO - Missouri adds sex offenders to treatment program

Original Article

Boy these concentration camps are popping up all over the country.

When are we going to start committing murderers, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, thieves and others who are likely to re-offend? They should be getting the same treatment.

Imagine all the money that could be saved if this treatment was done while the offender was in prison? Civil commitment centers are expensive and it's tax payer money that is being wasted. This is nothing more than prison outside of prison!


02/24/2013

By CHRIS BLANK

FULTON (AP) - The number of people held in Missouri as sexually violent predators is shooting up, leading mental health officials to seek millions of additional dollars for their care.

In the upcoming year alone, Gov. Jay Nixon recommends more than $2.6 million for nearly 60 additional positions within the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program at the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center in Farmington and at the Fulton State Hospital.

It's not the first time officials have sought and received funding for additional staff.

"Pretty much like clockwork we get about 20 people a year," committed to the sex offender program, Mental Health Department Director Keith Schafer said.

A Missouri law that took effect in 1999 permits certain sex offenders to be civilly committed as a "sexually violent predator" after completing their criminal sentences. It requires a mental abnormality and a "more likely than not" probability that the person would commit sexual violence if released.

Security is high, and the facilities are surrounded by razor wire. In 2008, the number of people committed or detained while awaiting a civil commitment decision was 152. That grew to 212 people four years later, which included 34 detained in jails while the civil commitment process was pending.

Officials project that the count will rise to 234 people, with 31 people detained in jails, during the current 2013 fiscal year. In 2015, it is estimated to be 274 people, with 31 people detained in jails.

Missouri's current operating budget includes partial-year funding for a third 25-person unit at the Fulton State Hospital. Nixon's budget proposal for next year would fully fund the expansion ward at Fulton and would provide 10 months of funding to open 25 new beds in Farmington.

"This simply gives the Department of Mental Health the ability to initiate treatment," Schafer said.

Treatment consists of group therapy, classes and individual therapy. It is designed to help patients with accepting responsibility for sexual offenses and their consequences, gaining control of deviant sexual urges and behavior, coping with negative emotions that can create risk for re-offending and developing plans for functional use of leisure time.

The process for deciding who enters the sex offender program starts with prison or mental health officials alerting the attorney general's office and a seven-member multidisciplinary team that someone nearing release could qualify as a "sexually violent predator." The attorney general's office receives an assessment from the multidisciplinary team, and a five-member prosecutor's committee also completes a review.

When it appears someone could be a "sexually violent predator" and the prosecutor's committee agrees by majority vote the person meets the definition, the attorney general can file a petition in court. A trial then is held.

Among those who have been committed, nine transferred back to prison and seven people have died. Two people have been granted conditional release without discharge, which allows the resident to leave the facility for scheduled activities and appointments with an escort and electronic monitoring.

The growth in the sex offender program has become part of mental health officials' pitch for building a new high-security facility at the Fulton State Hospital.

The hospital about 30 miles northeast of the state Capitol admitted its first patients in 1851 and is the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River. Officials want to replace antiquated space at the hospital with a new $211 million facility that has a better treatment environment and is safer for patients and employees.

Lawmakers and Nixon this year have been working on a proposal to issue several hundred million dollars in bonds for improvements and construction at college campuses, state facilities and state parks. The Mental Health Department hopes the new 300-bed facility will be part of the bonding strategy and could ease the need for a new $70 million facility to house sex offenders. At the current growth rate, the department estimates it would run out of high-security space around 2018.

The new facility would house patients who currently live in the maximum security Biggs Forensic Center and the intermediate security Guhleman Forensic Center. Biggs would be razed, and 91 beds would be opened in Guhleman for the sex offender program.


GA - FBI sex crime task force work questioned

Original Article

02/23/2013

By Joy Lukachick

The work of an undercover FBI task force in North Georgia that exists to catch people responding to online offers for underage sex has come into question as federal authorities investigate the agent in charge.

FBI Special Agent Ken Hillman is named in a police investigation that led to the firing of Tom Evans, a Ringgold, Ga., police officer. The Ringgold Police Department's internal investigation said Hillman was leaving a bar with a local millionaire's wife last year and avoided arrest by convincing the responding officer to give him a ride. The internal affairs report also stated that the FBI is investigating Hillman.

He has been the chief of the Northwest Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which was made up of federal agents and officers from multiple local agencies including the Catoosa and Walker County sheriffs' offices.

The task force agents post on websites such as Craigslist, arranging meetings with people who believe they will be able to have sex with underage girls or boys. When the would-be child molesters show up, they're arrested and charged with sex crimes.

The internal affairs investigation involved Evans. The Times Free Press obtained the document under a Georgia Open Records Act request.

In the investigation, Angela Russell, the estranged wife of businessman Emerson Russell, said in interviews that she worked on the task force under Hillman.

Angela Russell is not a certified law enforcement officer in Georgia, Peace Officer Standards and Training records show. No local authorities contacted for this story could confirm that she was a task force member.

Several local attorneys now are questioning whether the FBI task force's investigations, which led to dozens of arrests in North Georgia counties, has been compromised.

Ringgold defense attorney McCracken Poston, who first alerted the FBI to the allegations against Hillman, said he learned that Angela Russell may have been posing as an undercover officer.

Poston said he reported that information to the FBI and told its representative that civilians were being allowed to ride with the FBI task force on arrest stings and agents reportedly were letting those civilians slap handcuffs on the surprised suspects.

"[These allegations] definitely damage the credibility of this task force and everything it's doing," said defense attorney Shawn Bible, who represents several suspects arrested recently by the FBI task force.

Neither the FBI's Atlanta office nor Hillman responded to requests for comment.

Lookout Mountain District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin said he is aware only of an FBI investigation that is personal but doesn't relate to the task force.

"I'm not aware of anything that would jeopardize any cases," he said Friday afternoon.

Franklin said the task force has allowed civilians to work with its agents on certain tasks, such as making a phone call pretending to be a juvenile. But he said he wasn't aware of any allegations of Angela Russell's involvement with the task force.

Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said he learned about a month ago that allegations were being made. He had one officer working part time with the task force, and he pulled that officer off that duty, he said. He said the task force now is not operating, as far as he knows.

Sisk said no one in his office has complained to him about inappropriate behavior on the task force since he became sheriff Jan. 1, and he wasn't aware of anything questionable going on last year when he was chief deputy.

Catoosa County Superior Court records show more than a dozen pending criminal cases dating back to last summer that came out of task force stings.

Court documents reveal Hillman was the lead investigator in most of the cases. In many of the indictments, prosecutors tell the grand jury Hillman was posing as a man called "daddy K" who was trying to set up a meeting between the potential suspect and an underage girl.

Angela Russell's name does not appear on any of the indictments.

On Friday, Russell declined through her attorney to comment for this story.

Several defense attorneys with clients in these pending cases said they plan to file motions that would force prosecutors to reveal anything inappropriate that may have been going on involving the task force.

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NY - Registered sex offenders being placed at North Utica motels

Original Article

02/23/2013

By ROCCO LaDUCA

UTICA - Anyone who spends a night at a motel accepts the fact that they know little about the guests who are staying in surrounding rooms.

So there’s always the possibility that a convicted criminal – such as a registered sex offender – might occasionally be sleeping next door.

But when sex offenders and child molesters are among the homeless people temporarily placed by the Oneida County Department of Social Services in a cluster of local motels just off the state Thruway exit, questions can arise whether any child’s safety is being systemically put at risk.

This practice comes as news to some authorities, including the Utica Police Department where offenders are required to register any changes in address within the city.

Within the past two weeks, at least eight Level 2 and Level 3 registered sex offenders have reported living at the Scottish Inns, Happy Journey and Super 8 motels along North Genesee Street, according to the state’s public sex offender registry.

I think you would want to know that you’re safe and your family is safe, and I think any reasonable person would want to know if a sex offender is staying next to them for a week,” said Utica police Sgt. Steven Hauck. “We’re not looking to brand people with a scarlet letter, but the most important thing is to keep people safe.”

A homeless sex offender is able to apply for public assistance and temporary housing like anybody else, officials said. The issue, however, is that sex offenders are not required to disclose their criminal past when applying.

That means motel staff might never know they are hosting a sex offender, and neither would any guests with children who might be staying in the neighboring rooms.

. . . . .

2 sides weigh in

Despite these worries, two typically opposing voices at least agree on one thing: It would not be fair to “paint with a broad brush” all sex offenders as a public risk in motel settings.

Shana Rowan, executive director of USA Families Advocating an Intelligent Registry, or FAIR, said sex offenders already struggle to find jobs and housing, so disclosing this information would likely only make it more difficult to move on with their lives.

It’s understandable that people would feel empowered to know information like that, but there’s no research to suggest a sex offender would abduct a child they don’t know to molest them,” Rowan said. “I don’t see any positive outcome in making them even bigger targets.”

The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center investigates sex abuse against children, but its director, Chief Deputy Dean Obernesser, agrees that the label of being a sex offender does not necessarily mean the person is a threat to children.

You have to look at each one individually,” Obernesser said. “I don’t think you can randomly say that if there are 10 sex offenders living at a particular place that you put the community at risk.”


OH - You & The Law "Sex Offender Laws" (Part 2)

Video Description:
Host Mike Monta gives you an inside look at Montgomery County's "Sex Offender Laws" and how they impact you.

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