Thursday, November 1, 2007

Amazing Grace History


Sex Offender Testimony


TX - Poteet mayor pleads guilty to child indecency

View the article here

11/01/2007

SAN ANTONIO - The mayor of Poteet pleaded guilty to indecency with a child, cutting short his trial on accusations he exposed himself to two girls and improperly touched one of them a decade ago.

Lino Donato pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of indecency by exposure and no contest to one count of indecency by contact for incidents that occurred between 1996 and 2000.

"I did what was the best to my interests," Donato said after the trial that was stopped after two days.

He was placed on probation and will have to register as a sex offender. He also got 10 years of deferred adjudication, meaning his plea is not a final conviction yet and would only become so immediately if he violates his probation.

That may leave him eligible to continue serving as mayor. Donato, who was re-elected in 2006 after his indictment, would not say if he plans to continue in office.


WA - Most OK with birth control at school, poll finds

View the article here

11/01/2007

67 percent support handing out contraceptives, but qualms remain

WASHINGTON - People decisively favor letting their public schools provide birth control to students, but they also voice misgivings that divide them along generational, income and racial lines, a poll showed.

Sixty-seven percent support giving contraceptives to students, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. About as many — 62 percent — said they believe providing birth control reduces the number of teenage pregnancies.

"Kids are kids," said Danielle Kessenger, 39, a mother of three young children from Jacksonville, Fla., who supports providing contraceptives to those who request them. "I was a teenager once and parents don't know everything, though we think we do."

Yet most who support schools distributing contraceptives prefer that they go to children whose parents have consented. People are also closely divided over whether sex education and birth control are more effective than stressing morality and abstinence, and whether giving contraceptives to teenagers encourages them to have sexual intercourse.

"It's not the school's place to be parents," said Robert Shaw, 53, a telecommunications company manager from Duncanville, Texas. "For a school to provide birth control, it's almost like the school saying, 'You should go out and have sex.'"

Those surveyed were not asked to distinguish between giving contraceptives to boys or girls.

The survey was conducted in late October after a school board in Portland, Maine, voted to let a middle school health center provide students with full contraceptive services. The school's students are sixth- through eighth-graders, when most children are 11 to 13 years old, and do not have to tell their parents about services they receive.

Opt-out policy considered
Portland school officials plan to consider a proposal soon that would let parents forbid their children from receiving prescription contraceptives like birth control pills.

Teenage pregnancy rates have declined to about 75 per 1,000, down from a 1990 peak of 117, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center. Still, nearly half of teens aged 15 to 19 report having had sex at least once, and almost 750,000 of them a year become pregnant.

The 67 percent in the AP poll who favor providing birth control to students include 37 percent who would limit it to those whose parents have consented, and 30 percent to all who ask.

Minorities, older and lower-earning people were likeliest to prefer requiring parental consent, while those favoring no restriction tended to be younger and from cities or suburbs. People who wanted schools to provide no birth control at all were likelier to be white and higher-income earners.

"Parents should be in on it," said Jennifer Johnson, 29, of Excel, Ala., a homemaker and mother of a school-age child. "Birth control is not saying you can have sex, it's protecting them if they decide to."

About 1,300 U.S. public schools with adolescent students — less than 2 percent of the total — have health centers staffed by a doctor or nurse practitioner who can write prescriptions, said spokeswoman Divya Mohan of the National Assembly of School-Based Health Care. About one in four of those provide condoms, other contraceptives, prescriptions or referrals, Mohan said.

Less than 1 percent of middle schools and nearly 5 percent of high schools make condoms available for students, said Nancy Brener, a health scientist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Underlining the schisms over the issue, those saying sex education and birth control were better for reducing teen pregnancies outnumber people preferring morality and abstinence by a slim 51 percent to 46 percent.

Younger people were likelier to consider sex education and birth control the better way to limit teenage pregnancies, as were 64 percent of minorities and 47 percent of whites. Nearly seven in 10 white evangelicals opted for abstinence, along with about half of Catholics and Protestants.

Split on encouragement issue
In addition, 49 percent say providing teens with birth control would not encourage sexual intercourse and a virtually identical 46 percent said it would.

Though men and women have similar views about whether to provide contraceptives to students, women are likelier than men to think it will not encourage sexual intercourse, 55 percent to 43 percent.

Asked when young people should first be allowed to get birth control, ages 16 and 18 drew the most responses, while only a third chose age 15 or younger. Women's selections averaged just over age 16, slightly higher than men, while young people and Westerners preferred younger ages than others.

"I'd be pulling my kids out of that school," Ron Wrobel, 55, an engineer from Port Huron, Mich., said of the Maine middle school. He said birth control should be for teens at least 17 years old.

Mirroring the rift that has played out in countless battles in Congress, Democrats were likelier than Republicans to favor freer access to birth control and to have more faith that it reduces teenage pregnancies. Forty-five percent of Republicans _ including 51 percent of GOP women _ say birth control should not be provided to any students, compared to 19 percent of Democrats.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,004 adults from Oct. 23-25. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


CT - Released Rapist's Sister Speaks Out

View the article here

10/31/2007

Southbury Woman Discusses Her Decision

SOUTHBURY -- A convicted rapist's sister explained for the first time how she decided to allow her brother to move into her house, despite her neighbors' strenuous protests.

Janice Rosengren, David Pollitt's sister, shared her side of the story with Eyewitness News since Pollitt's release from prison after time served earlier this month.

Pollitt, 54, formerly of Clinton, served more than 24 years in prison for rapes in several towns more than 20 years ago.

When neighbors learned of Pollitt's scheduled release, they protested, met with local and state officials and petitioned the governor to intervene."I'm not surprised. (I'm) disappointed," Rosengren said. "It was an eye-awakening experience. It brought the best and worst out of people, and it really showed us who our friends were and the people who supported us."Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Teresa LaBarbera reported Rosengren felt strongly about her decision and sees no problem with it."He's my brother. He's family," she said. "Would I do it again? Yes. Would he do it for me? Absolutely."

Protests, Rallies Continue To Greet Family
Rosengren explained the day-to-day trouble she has experienced with some of her neighbors on Fox Run Drive who can't understand why she would let her brother into her home and into their neighborhood."I've offered, many times, (for them to) talk to me, but no one wants to talk to me. They want to make their own judgments and make this thing bigger," she said. "It's out of control."When you look out of the windows of the Rosengren home, the neighborhood appears quiet and peaceful, LaBarbera said. But for the last two weeks, neighbors have held protests and rallies."This is his home," Rosengren said. "Where was he supposed to go? What were the other options? There were none."Earlier in the month, about 200 residents gathered at a meeting with local and state police to discuss Pollitt's release."You can't believe something like this is coming to your neighborhood," said Jill Sweeney, a Southbury resident at the meeting.According to Rosengren, the people who do not support her decision continually cited concerns for her children.

Janice Rosengren, David Pollitt's sister, speaks with Eyewitness News
"It's sad. We're all supposed to get a second chance. He's not getting a second chance -- no one will allow him to."
- Janice Rosengren David Pollitt's sister
Pollitt is not a pedophile; however, according to the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry, a convicted pedophile does live within a five-mile radius of the neighborhood. Five other convicted sex offenders live in Southbury."I don't know what all this nervous reaction is about the children, when in fact, I've lived here for five years and I didn't know there was a (pedophile) two miles from my house," Rosengren said. "Kids are playing by themselves without any parents around ... for the last five years I have lived here."Gov. Jodi Rell sent a letter to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to seek a delay in releasing Pollitt from prison. He argued before a state judge in New London to argue the state's case to no avail.Judge Susan Handy told the state Pollitt has paid his debt to society.According to Rosengren, a convicted sex offender was released from prison and found housing in Waterbury last month."We are no better in Southbury than anybody else -- Waterbury, New Haven, New London, Bridgeport. We're no better. So, therefore, we should not get special treatment. The governor of the state should not give us special treatment. It's very sad."

Probation Keeps Pollitt Inside House
Pollitt's rules of probation keep him inside on home confinement with monitoring via a GPS unit attached to his person. He is unable to leave the front door or hold a job, but he stays busy doing home improvements."He's fine. He's a great guy. He understands how the neighbors feel, we talk about it. He just wishes they feel more at ease. He's doing good," Rosengren said.The Rosengren family and Pollitt are trying to keep their lives as normal as possible while people constantly pass by the house."If they're on the front yard or standing outside, we just pull our blinds down and everything goes away. We're in our family unit, we're in our home, we're doing our thing," Rosengren said. "It's sad. We're all supposed to get a second chance. He's not getting a second chance -- no one will allow him to."


CT - Changes For Sex Registry

View the article here

11/01/2007

Connecticut lists 4,600 sex offenders on its Internet registry, but there are some notable omissions. People who commit sex crimes but plead guilty to non-sex-related charges can keep their names off the town-by-town list of sex offenders.

Conversely, many of the listed offenders do not pose a danger to the community, such as those guilty of public indecency or teens convicted of having consensual sex with an underage partner. Yet their pictures and addresses appear right alongside the sexually violent. The public has no way of knowing who is dangerous.

State Rep. Mike Lawlor, chairman of the newly constituted sex offender risk-assessment board, is right that this kind of list is not useful in protecting the public.

That's why the legislature is refining Connecticut's online reporting system to match superior models in other states, such as Colorado and Minnesota. Those states list only inmates released into the community who are deemed by experts to be high-risk.

In Connecticut, it is impossible to know exactly what kind of risk a pictured sex offender poses, if any. The more enlightened registries include details about the high-risk offender's criminal history, whether his/her victims were adults or children, male or female.

Those registries also include name, e-mail and phone numbers of the offender's post-incarceration supervisor. This information allows jittery residents living near the offender to call with questions or concerns.

Besides a streamlined registry, Mr. Lawlor also envisions community meetings to answer questions when a person who has served time for a violent offense is released into a neighborhood, such as David Pollitt's recent arrival in Southbury, which caused an uproar. Complete information can diffuse panic and reassure residents.

Under the improved system, offenders would be screened by the risk-assessment board using specific criteria.

That board would consist of representatives in mental health, corrections and public safety; from the offices of the chief state's attorney, chief public defender and victim advocate; and parole board and court support services representatives.

Only those criminals deemed dangerous would be listed. A fair summary of their crimes would be included, as well as a supervisory contact.

This system would close disturbing loopholes that allow some potentially dangerous offenders to escape the public registry and cause other offenders to be unnecessarily feared.

Above all, it will give clearer and more complete information to the public it is designed to protect.


CA - Jessica’s Law dilemma

View the article here

11/01/2007

Parolees going homeless due to restrictions

SACRAMENTO – Hundreds of California sex offenders who face tough new restrictions on where they can live are declaring themselves homeless, making it difficult for the state to track them.

“Jessica’s Law,” approved by 70 percent of California voters a year ago, bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. That leaves few places where offenders can live legally.

That goes for Marysville, where there is no place for sex offenders who arrive in town that is far enough from a school or park, said Lynda Cummings, the department’s civilian investigator who handles sex offender duties.

“It’s virtually impossible to find a place where these folks can stay,” said Cummings.

Cummings worries that time will be spent tracking down sex offenders rather than monitoring them.

“My concern with the new Jessica’s Law, rather than monitoring, supervising people, we’re going to be hunting for them,” said Cummings.

She has seen four sex offenders initially declare themselves homeless in the last month – three have since found a residence. One man could not live with his father and chose to register as homeless instead. A shelter that used to be a place where arrivals can stay is now off limits because it is too close to a park.

Some who have had trouble finding a place to live are avoiding re-arrest by reporting that they are homeless – falsely, in some cases.

Experts say it is hard to monitor sex offenders when they lie about their address or are living day-to-day in cheap hotels, homeless shelters or on the street. It also means they may not be getting the treatment they need.

“We could potentially be making the world more dangerous rather than less dangerous,” said therapist Gerry Blasingame, past chairman of the California Coalition on Sexual Offending.

Similar laws in Florida and Iowa have driven offenders underground or onto the streets.

Sixteen homeless offenders are now living under a Miami bridge, while another took to sleeping on a bench outside a probation office. In Iowa, the state prosecutors’ association tried unsuccessfully in the past two years to persuade lawmakers to repeal the state’s residency restriction.

“Most legislators know in their hearts that the law is no good and a waste of time, but they’re afraid of the politics of it,” said Corwin Ritchie, the association’s executive director.

Twenty-two states have distance restrictions varying from 500 feet to 2,000 feet, according to California researchers. But most impose the offender-free zones only around schools, and several apply only to child molesters, not all sex offenders.

California’s law requires parolees to live in the county of their last legal residence. But in San Francisco, for example, all homes are within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

“The state is requiring parolees to find eligible housing in San Francisco, knowing full well there isn’t any,” said Mike Jimenez, president of the California parole officers union. “It will be impossible for parole agents to enforce Jessica’s Law in certain areas, and encouraging ‘transient’ living arrangements just allows sex offenders to avoid it altogether.”

State figures show a 27 percent increase in homelessness among California’s 67,000 registered sex offenders since the law took effect in November 2006. Since August, the number of offenders with no permanent address rose by 560 to 2,622.

“This is a huge surge,” said Deputy Attorney General Janet Neeley, whose office maintains the database. “Any law enforcement officer would tell you we would prefer to have offenders at addresses where we can locate them.”

There were no figures available for the number of Yuba and Sutter sex offenders declaring themselves homeless.

Offenders who declare themselves homeless must tell their parole officer each day where they spent the previous night.

Those who declare themselves homeless are still legally bound by the 2,000-foot rule; they cannot stay under a bridge near where children gather, for example. But it is more difficult for parole officers to keep tabs on them.

Parole officers said some offenders are registering as homeless, then sneaking back to homes that violate the law. That’s easy to do because fewer than 30 percent of transient offenders currently wear the Global Positioning System tracking devices required by Jessica’s Law.

“If they tell you that they were under the American River bridge, we’re going to take that at face value,” said Corrections Department spokesman Bill Sessa, referring to a homeless hangout in Sacramento.

Department spokesman Seth Unger said parole agents are starting to make the homeless a priority in issuing the GPS ankle bracelets, which are still being phased in.

R.L., a 42-year-old sex offender who lives near Disneyland in Orange County, said he registered as homeless after his parole agent told him two potential homes were too close to schools or parks.

“I finally asked, ‘Where do you want me to live?’ He said, ‘You have a car, don’t you?”’ said R.L., who asked that his full name not be used because of the stigma surrounding sex offenders.

Recent parolees such as R.L. appear to be driving the trend. Of the 3,311 sex offenders paroled since last November, 552 – or nearly 17 percent – were registered as having no permanent address on Oct. 21 of this year.

The vast majority of those declared themselves transient this month, when the corrections department began arresting violators. Just 81 were listed as homeless before the department made its first Jessica’s Law sweeps in early October.

Enforcement of the law had been delayed by a series of court challenges. Before sending officers out to make the arrests, the department issued a policy stating offenders could “declare themselves transient” on the spot as an alternative to being arrested for living too close to areas where children congregate.

The law was named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a convicted sex offender near her Florida home in 2005.

“This is not what the people of California voted for,” said her father, Mark Lunsford. “If there’s a loophole, then we must fix it because our children’s lives are at stake.”

In addition, the state attorney general says the law includes no criminal penalties for offenders who live near schools and parks once they are off parole. So for now, most are not being tracked at all.

“As they’re discharging (from parole) they’re moving anywhere they want. We know that as a fact,” supervising parole agent Guillermo Viera Rosa said while checking on parolees’ whereabouts in the Oakland area last week.

One of them, Jason Beasley, 28, had about four more months on parole for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old when he was 23.

“Then this thing comes off and I’m all done,” Beasley said, gesturing to his ankle monitor as he sat in his temporary apartment in nearby San Leandro, surrounded by Oakland Athletics paraphernalia.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s advisory commission on sex offenders is preparing a report urging state lawmakers to fix these and other loopholes in the law.

The state Supreme Court also is considering whether Jessica’s Law is too vague and therefore unenforceable, and whether it unfairly punishes offenders after they have completed their prison terms.

The author of Jessica’s Law, state Sen. George Runner, said “90 percent” of it is working well.

He expects most offenders will find legal housing somewhere, but conceded that some portions of the law should be fixed.

“When the voters voted for this, they decided that they didn’t want a child molester to live across the street from a school,” said Runner, a Republican from Lancaster in Los Angeles County’s high desert. “If that means that in some areas that needs to be 1,000 feet or 1,500 feet, then I think that we still accomplish what it is the voters wanted.”


OR - County lawyer charged with Internet sex crimes

View the article here

10/26/2007

A Washington County lawyer currently serving time in jail for violating his parole on public indecency charges has now been federally indicted for allegedly using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sex.

Jason Thomas Fehlman, 36, a resident of Tualatin, and member of the Oregon State Bar, was arraigned Wednesday.

Fehlman entered a plea of not guilty and a trial date was set for Dec. 18.

Federal Magistrate Donald Ashmankas ordered Fehlman indefinitely detained as a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Fehlman has been in Washington County Jail since Sept. 12 after he was sentenced to 18 months for violating probation on two public indecency convictions connected to incidents in Tigard and Tualatin.

Fehlman's license to practice law in Oregon was suspended in July because of these activities, according to a document filed in U.S. District Court.

Hillsboro Police Department Det. Cheryl Banks works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of the Innocent Images Task Force.

"Online, it is OK if you chat with a person that you know is a minor (under 16), but when you take that extra step, and create a meeting location, and show up for that meeting, you've taken a significant step toward commission of a more serious crime," Banks said.

The federal enticement charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and upon conviction a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The project directs resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.


TX - Who's Living In Your Neighborhood?

View the article here | Video

11/01/2007

You've probably all done it: Gone to the state's sex offender registry online to see if any live in your neighborhood. It's just good information to have to keep your family safe. The News 4 Trouble Shooters are taking this idea farther than anyone has before.

You don't want a murderer or drug dealer for a neighbor. No one does. Yet, criminals get out early on parole, and are living in our community.

The good news: Authorities keep close tabs on where they live and work. If you could, would you want to know where they live, and especially if they live near you and your family?

Here's what's unsettling. If you think your neighborhood is too nice of a place for a parolee to live, our Trouble Shooters Investigation will prove you wrong. We found them in virtually every neighborhood in town.

Trouble Shooter Brian Collister launches an investigation he's been working on for you for months, tonight at 10:00. He'll bring you the tools to know what they did and which ones live near you.


OH - Former prison guard challenges new sex offender registry rules

View the article here

Ironic, isn't it? She was probably all for sex offender laws, until she became one.

11/01/2007

Columbus - Former prison guard Tamara Welton was convicted in 2000 of two counts of sexual battery and got six months in jail for her intimate romps in a prison laundry room with a male inmate.

But the Cincinnati-area woman caught a break. Forced to register with the state as a sexual offender, the judge in her case seven years ago put her in a low-risk category, meaning after 10 years she would drop off the publicly accessible list.

But a new state law bringing lengthier registration periods will start on Jan. 1 and will apply retroactively. Sexual battery will be among Ohio's worst sex crimes, which means Welton, 37, who hoped to come off that embarrassing list in three years, instead will be on it for life.

"We obviously have some substantial legal problems with this, but it is also terrible policy," said David Singleton, director of the Ohio Justice Policy Center and an attorney for Welton and another woman who sued in the Ohio Supreme Court challenging the law.

"It is going back and retroactively making our clients have to endure a lifetime of harassment and problems from being on the registry, and yet they are not likely to re-offend, a judge has already found," Singleton argues.

Ohio has about 23,000 known sexual offenders - about 7,000 of them incarcerated - and all of them will be required to stay on the registry longer under the new law.

Erin Rosen, senior assistant attorney general, said that no offender will catch a break and get less time on the registry under the new system.

Ohio lawmakers, at the urging of Attorney General Marc Dann, changed the state's sexual offender registry rules to comply with a federal law, known as the Adam Walsh Act. It requires states to toughen their registries and link them to a federal database by 2009 or risk losing federal crime-fighting money.

By getting it done this year, the state qualified for bonus money.

Under Ohio's new system, Dann assigns offenders to one of three registry categories according to the crime committed. Judges, who used to make the determination based on the likelihood the person would re-offend, no longer have that discretion.

A divorced mother and former first lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard, Welton, who worked at the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, was considered the lowest risk by her trial judge. The law now says otherwise.

"You are just diluting the registry with people who shouldn't have to be on it forever," said Singleton, who questions whether Congress intended for the states to make the new guidelines retroactive.

Greg Beswick, Dann's director of policy and legislative affairs, said the federal government does require the rules to be retroactive.

Singleton filed the suit against Dann - and some Cincinnati-area police, prosecutors and judges charged with upholding the law - on behalf of Welton and a Jane Doe, another former prison guard convicted in 2003 of having sex with an inmate.

They are challenging the retroactive portion of the law, saying it is a violation of both the Ohio and U.S. constitutions. They also argue the law is a violation of the separation of powers because it requires the state attorney general to undo the work of judges.

They are asking the court for an order to stop the reclassification process.

Dann filed a reply brief on Monday saying the suit is unwarranted, filed in the wrong court and that an emergency does not exist. He added that holding up the new law "would cause great harm" to Ohio citizens.

The law officially took effect on July 1 when Dann's office began notifying offenders who thought their time on the registry was about to end that it would not. Dann says 534 offenders would have dropped off the list between July 1 and the end of this year.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

rfields@plaind.com, 1-800-228-8272


TX - Deputies on Halloween patrol for tricky sex offenders

View the article here

Video available on the site, and below.

11/01/2007

Every Oct. 31, as the sun sets and the sky turns dark; they hit the streets.

The ghouls and goblins are everywhere. Little ones on the hunt for goodies.

Meanwhile, big ones are looking for the baddies.

“All the sex offenders should have already had a plan of action turned in with their probation or parole officers,” said Deputy Alfredo Soto of the Harris County Pct. 6 constable office.

In this area, there are 86 registered sex offenders on the list. All of them required not to have any contact with children.

That's why they were all notified in advance just, what they could and could not do on Halloween.

"No decorations, make sure the lights are out (and) gates closed and locked,” said Soto. “Nothing that is going to look inviting to children."

Soto was making the rounds to make sure the sex offenders were following the rules.

The first warning though came on the corner of Nichols and Clementine.

The reason?

A paroled offender was not following the rules. He had his door open and an inviting light inside.

"When a child passes and sees the lights on he might stop by,” said Soto.

Sure enough, right across the street, little ones and their parents none the wiser.

"We didn't even know we had one (a sex offender) just a block away,” said parent Jorge Villanueva.

They know now.

Across the neighborhood, another address. The offender was home and following the rules.


OH - School locked down due to incorrect information

View the article here

11/01/2007

Allen Elementary went into lockdown Tuesday afternoon while the Chillicothe City Police investigated a suspect vehicle across the street.

Capt. Tom Hewitt said the vehicle belonged to a man initially thought to be a violent sexual predator.

"He was wanted on a summons from Wellston ... but they had incorrectly inputted information into the computer," Hewitt said.
However, acting on what ended up being incorrect information, the school locked down, since police did not know where the man was. Principal Jane Caine was at a meeting Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

Chillicothe City Schools Superintendent Roger Crago said the lockdown was just precautionary since police did not know where the man was.

Although Assistant Superintendent Joyce Atwood said a letter is generally sent home to parents, Caine has not sent one.

"We usually send something home but the main concern is the safety of the children ... I expect she will send something home (Thursday)," Atwood said, adding that parents who picked up their children Tuesday were told.


OK - Sex-offender rules need work, agencies say

View the article here

11/01/2007

Letters will be mailed to sex offenders beginning today, informing them of a new three-tiered classification system called for under a law that takes effect today.

Detective Nancy Lombardo doubts it will mean she'll come to work today to find sex offenders lined up at the police department to be registered.

Lombardo, who is in charge of Lawton's sex offender registry, said her agency still is struggling to understand the requirements of the law. While it lessens some requirements for registered sex offenders, it places tougher restrictions on others.

Ultimately, all the change seems to mean is more work for local police and any tangible benefits of the law remain to be seen, Lombardo said.

An Oklahoma law passed last year prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or day care center. The amended version gives a more specific definition of a day care center to exclude some smaller home-based child care centers.

That means police must start redrawing complex boundary maps that outline where an offender can live legally, Lombardo said.

"I would hope it helps, but we already have so many delinquents,” Lombardo said.

What opponents say
Opponents of the law have argued it puts so much space off limits that offenders find it difficult to find a place to live.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said the residency restrictions designate so much space as being off-limits that it makes prosecuting violations of the law almost impossible.

Prosecutors must prove an offender "knowingly moves” into a restricted area, Prater said. That's relatively simple to do if an offender moves in across the street from an elementary school. It's a lot harder to prove an offender knows their proximity to every day care and park scattered through a neighborhood, he said.

"I like the intent of the law,” said Sgt. Gary Stansill of the Tulsa Police Department. "I think we're going in the right direction, but we are not there yet.”

The new law ranks sex offenders into three categories of perceived risk, based on their offense. What it doesn't do, however, is take each case in the proper context, Stansill said.

State efforts
The new law was patterned after the federal Adam Walsh Act, which states are required to comply with at the risk of losing federal funding, said Jim Rabon, who oversees the sex offender registration program at the Corrections Department.

Rabon said a survey of people convicted of sex offenses in the past year showed that 78 percent of those would fall into the highest-risk category.

"That's the 78 percent we want to be focusing our efforts on,” Prater said.

Level 1 offenders must register for 15 years, and level 2 offenders must register for 25.

The highest-level offenders must register for life and must update their address every 90 days. Lower-risk offenders register every six months or one year.

Rabon said it could take as long as 90 days to update the registration information for all of the state's offenders.


NY - Pastor Questions Sex Offender Halloween Surveillance

View the article here

Two videos available at the site, and one below.

11/01/2007

Sean Carroll (Rochester, N.Y.) – Police and probation officers throughout the Rochester area patrolled the streets Halloween night, in part, to keep kids safe from convicted sex offenders. However, not everyone agrees such extremes are unnecessary.

New York State Probation officers like Lou Hrycko and Doug Rusinko worked surveillance Wednesday night. The officers visited the homes of convicted sex offenders on probation to make sure they were complying with restrictions to stay home with no decorations and no exterior lights.

"There's a lot of vulnerabilities out there tonight with all the kids being out there, obviously there's a lot of pedophiles,” Hrycko said. "It's zero tolerance, and they know that it's back to state prison if they violate their parole."

The Monroe County's Probation Office ordered 45 of the area's highest-risk sex offenders on probation to report to the office from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. They also ordered more than 120 sex offenders to remain in their homes and refrain from any Halloween activity.

Monroe County Probation Director Bob Burns said, "If there are sex offenders who we feel should be completely off the street and incapacitated for the evening, we have them join us for the entire evening."

Canandaigua police also patrolled heavily Wednesday night. Two teams worked between 5 p.m. and midnight, keeping tabs on the 28 sex offenders who live there. Officers checked in with the sex offenders initially and continued to patrol the area through the night.

Daniel Ball of Canandaigua Police said, "What we do is--go to their homes, let them know we are there checking on them...We tell them they can't be around children less than 18. We'll make sure they're not handing out candy."

Appropriate or Overkill?
Parents like Patrick Love say the precautions are a good idea.

"I think it's a good thing, that they're out looking and making sure nobody get bothered tonight on a night for the kids," he said.

But, the Rev. David Hess says the perceived danger is “pure hype.”

Hess, pastor of West Henrietta Baptist Church, said, "I know of no incident anywhere in the United States in recent history where a trick or treater has been a victim of a sexual predator."

Hess is a representative of sohopeful.org, a group aimed at creating useful and effective sex offender laws. He recognizes some sex offenders pose risks, yet cites many statistics show they don't re-offend.

The pastor said one study in New York state showed only two percent of convicted sex offenders committed another sex crime in the first three years after being released from prison.

Hess said most sex crimes occur a lot closer to a child's home, not the home they'll visit trick or treating.

"I'm sure that there are more children who are going to be molested in their own homes tonight than are going to be molested when they're out trick or treating,” he said.

One parole officer told 13WHAM news he can't ever remember a sex offender committing another sex crime under his watch.

However, Probation Director Burns pointed out that some sex offenders welcome the Halloween restrictions because then they won't be mistakenly accused of a crime.


MD - Child DNA profiles offered

View the article here

10/29/2007

SALISBURY -- Parents anxious about the "what ifs" of a missing child can prepare against the fearsome event by obtaining a free profile of their child's DNA.

Pohanka of Salisbury will host a free event Saturday offering DNA data kits, FBI-certified fingerprint profiles, high-resolution digital photographs and child safety journals at their Route 13 location.

Immediate access to DNA profiles and quality photographs of the child are crucial to law enforcement's ability to quickly recover a missing person, said DNA Lifeprint Inc. of Davie, Fla.

Parents can also aid law enforcement by keeping a detailed child safety journal containing vital information about the child in a condensed, prepared format.

Missing children and sex offenders continue to be national problems.

Last year, the FBI reported 950,000 missing people, with children disappearing at a rate of one every 40 seconds. There are now more than 603,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.

DNA Lifeprint, which was founded by a retired supervisor in Miami's homicide division, will provide technical assistance at Saturday's event.

The company is endorsed by John Walsh, host of the crime-solving TV show, "America's Most Wanted," and father of a son who was abducted and murdered.

Collecting DNA is a painless procedure. Using the DNA Lifeprint kit, DNA is collected by swabbing the inside cheek for several seconds. That swab is then inserted into a vial of solution. The vial is placed in a red envelope that filters out ultraviolet light.

If maintained in a safe place at room temperature, the vial can be preserved for several generations, DNA Lifeprint said.

According to research, DNA data is more effective than a child's fingerprint, which can sometimes be illegible. Footprints of a child taken at birth are also ineffective because of how much the footprint changes as a child develops.


NY - Tarrytown cop pleads not guilty on child porn charges

View the article here

11/01/2007

WHITE PLAINS - A Tarrytown police officer pleaded not guilty yesterday to federal charges that he illegally possessed child pornography and an unregistered machine gun.

Anthony Rypka Jr., 38, was indicted by a federal grand jury in White Plains on two child-pornography charges and two charges related to a fully automatic submachine gun state police found during a search of his Tarrytown home during the investigation. Rypka was arrested in September 2006 by state police following a tip from America Online that child pornography had been uploaded to an account belonging to Rypka.

Rypka, who has been a Tarrytown village police officer since 1998, didn't say a word during a brief arraignment yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains. Rypka's lawyer, Andrew Quinn, entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of the married father of three young girls.

Four members of Rypka's family sat stone-faced throughout the five-minute appearance. Quinn declined to comment on the case afterward. Rypka was suspended by Tarrytown police after his arrest.

Tarrytown Police Chief Scott Brown did not return calls seeking comment on the case.

The investigation began in June 2006 with a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tipline that someone using the screenname "alertexchief" had uploaded two images of child pornography to an AOL e-mail address using the same screenname, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court by FBI Special Agent Stephen Tortorella. AOL's records indicated the account belonged to Rypka

Rypka faces up to 20 years if convicted on a distributing child pornography charge. He faces a maximum of 10 years on each of the gun charges.


CA - Court strikes down adult social network restrictions

View the article here

11/01/2007

Owners of social networking and sex-positive Web sites rejoiced last week when a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued a unanimous decision striking down a federal statute commonly known as "Section 2257" because it imposes an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

In a 3-0 decision on October 23, a three-judge panel – Cornelia Kennedy, Karen Nelson Moore, and David McKeague – concurred that under the Overbreadth Doctrine the statute amending Section 2257 of the Federal Recordkeeping and Label Act was unconstitutional.

Kennedy, appointed by President Jimmy Carter, found that the statute's reach was "extremely broad," that the "breadth of the recordkeeping provisions" in this statute couldn't be narrowed, and "[Section] 2257's universal age-verification requirement runs afoul of the First Amendment." Moore, appointed by President Bill Clinton, agreed with Kennedy's reasoning for the decision, adding emphasis on the statute's violation of anonymity under the First Amendment.

McKeague, appointed by President Bush, partially dissented on the decision disagreeing with the application of the doctrine and believed that portions of the section could be judicially salvaged.

"We are absolutely thrilled," said Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition. "It's a solid decision, and it's significant."

The court's decision gives free speech and sex-positive advocates hope, but Duke cautioned that Congress and the Department of Justice have several options to challenge the court's decision. First, the government could ask all of the judges on the court to review the decision or to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. Second, because the 6th Circuit only reviews cases arising from the federal courts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, other states could consider the decision. Finally, Congress could rewrite the statute per the court's recommendations, removing what the judges found objectionable.

As the Bay Area Reporter reported in September, civil liberties organizations stated that the language in the statute lacked clarity about how personal information could be used by the federal government and maintained the regulations violated individuals' rights to privacy and free speech and caused concerns about security. Individuals and businesses that didn't comply with the statute would be subject to investigation without probable cause or warrants, with potential financial penalties and imprisonment up to five years.

The Federal Recordkeeping and Labeling Act's Section 2257 was enacted by Congress in 1988 in response to the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography's recommendation to enact an age-related recordkeeping provision. This was in response to the United States vs. Kantor, the 1987 criminal case against porn star Traci Lords's film producers. Lords began her film career in hardcore pornographic movies when she was 15 years old. Since then, Section 2257 has been amended twice, with the Child Protection Restoration and Penalties Enhancement Act of 1990 and the Prosecutorial Remedies and Tools Against the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003.

"This welcome court decision affirms that the government should not be prying into and punishing relationships between consenting adults under the guise of fighting child pornography," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in an October 24 press release. "Section 2257 and the regulations proposed are part of our government's hypocritical and punitive views about sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights."

NGLTF, along with other civil rights and free speech organizations, mobilized various communities to protest the proposed amendment to Section 2257, which was a product of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The act is designed to prevent sexual and other violent crimes against children, and regulate sexually explicit digital images online. More than 85,000 visitors viewed NGLTF's online center, according to the release, and the U.S. Department of Justice received thousands of objections.

The court's ruling was the result of a legal challenge by Connection Distributing Company, which is owned by Rondee Kamins, owner of General Video of America and Trans World News. Last month, the B.A.R. reported an announced merger between GVA-TWN and San Francisco-based Good Vibrations sex toy company. Kamins was the lead plaintiff in the case, Connection Distributing Co., et al. v. Keisler, which had been in litigation since 1995, Kamins said. She filed the case on behalf of the company's adult "swingers" magazine, Connections, and two unnamed plaintiffs who wanted to publish personal photos in an advertisement in the magazine.

Kamins told the B.A.R. she closed the Connection company and the magazine in February.

"This decision really could have a large impact on the entire adult industry," said Kamins.

Kamins added, "I definitely feel like we need to stand up for our First Amendment rights and ... if people don't start standing up we are going to lose rights."

In an unusual move, Judge Kennedy applied the Overbreadth Doctrine, which is used sparingly, to strike down unconstitutional statutes related to unprotected and protected speech as "strong medicine." Kennedy stated the recordkeeping statute failed the doctrine's principles, citing constitutional infirmity of the statute, the type of speech in question, the reach of the effect the statute would have impacting and limiting free speech, and the burden it would produce.

Kennedy citied similar earlier U.S. Supreme Court decisions in her decision and wrote that imposing the statute's regulations on "noncommercial sexually explicit speech" violates a great deal of First Amendment rights protected under free speech, including an individual's anonymity. By requiring secondary producers of images that weren't meant for sale or distribution to be open to government inspection and to potentially suffer penalties that include financial to imprisonment up to five years, it is a statute that "'unquestionably attaches' criminal penalties to protected speech" and could "chill speech."

Furthermore, Kennedy recognized that enforcers could potentially "seek out and silence particularly disliked people or speech."

Therefore, the court reversed and remanded the district court's "grant of summary judgment" in the case.

McKeague partially concurred, agreeing that the statute went beyond the boundaries of the First Amendment's protections of free speech with its aims to reduce child pornography. But he didn't believe Section 2257 "purely" regulated free speech, describing it as something closer to "conduct plus speech." He also believed that the court could salvage the current statute.

"It's like New Year's Eve," said Jonathan Crutchley, co-owner of Boston-based Online Buddies Inc., owner of Manhunt.net. Crutchley was one of the few social networking Web site owners to publicly speak out against Section 2257.

The court is expected to release a more detailed analysis of its decision sometime this week. The Department of Justice should announce its response to the decision within a few weeks. To view the decision, visit:

http://www.ca6.usCourts.gov/opinions.pdf/07a0430p-06.pdf


CA - County Jail officer pleads no contest

View the article here

11/01/2007

23-year-old, accused of asking a female to flash him, is convicted of engaging in sexual activity with an inmate; he no longer works at jail

A former correctional officer at County Jail accused of asking a female inmate to flash him was convicted Wednesday of engaging in sexual activity with an inmate while a jail employee.

Steven Edward Irysh, 23, pleaded no contest—which results in a conviction without admitting guilt —to the misdemeanor charge, according to Deputy District Attorney Craig Van Rooyen.

The misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure was dropped as part of the plea deal.

Irysh faces up to a year in jail but will likely be sentenced Dec. 5 to 45 days in custody, Van Rooyen said.

San Luis Obispo attorney Trace Milan, who represented Irysh on Wednesday, said his client wants to put the situation behind him and agreed to the offer because it was in his best interest.

“I think he regards it as one of the biggest mistakes of his life,” Milan said. “He has started working again and put himself back in school to try and create a new career path.”

As part of the probation terms, the former correctional officer may be ordered to receive counseling. The three-year probation will likely not affect Irysh’s ability to carry a firearm, Milan said.

Irysh was charged after jail employees reviewing outgoing mail discovered an officer had asked a female inmate to flash him, sheriff’s officials said.

The no-contest plea is related to an incident in which Irysh masturbated in front of a female inmate.

The crime happened between March 13 and 28.

As of April 3, Irysh was no longer working at the jail; he had been employed there less than two years, sheriff’s officials said.


CA - LAPD Arrests School Security Guard For Sex Assault

View the article here

Video available at the site.

10/31/2007

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles police have arrested a school security guard in connection with the alleged sexual assault of an 11-year-old female student at Gompers Middle School.

The alleged assault occured on the morning of October 26, say the police.

According to investigators, at approximately 10:30, a security guard identified as Donald Johnson (aka D.J.) saw two female students on their way to class and stopped them. He allegedly told one of the girls to return to class and told the other he was taking her to the attendance office in another building.

Investigators say that when he got the girl outside, the 42-year-old Johnson put his hand over her mouth and then began reaching under her clothing. He told her he would kill her if she told anyone about the molestation, say authorities.

Johnson, who has worked at the school as a guard for four years following a stint as a janitor there, was arrested on October 29 and booked him on a charge of kidnap for the purpose of sexual assault.

Detective Oscar Gamino said given the nature of the crime, he suspects there could be other victims. "We are asking that they come forward and report it," Gamino said.

Johnson's bail was set at $1 million.


CA - Female Deputy In Child Abuse Case Out On Bail

View the article here

10/31/2007

LOS ANGELES - A sheriff's deputy charged with corporal injury and other felonies for allegedly abusing an 8-year-old family member was released from jail Wednesday after her bail was lowered to $35,000.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Henry Hall agreed to lower Deana Santino's bail from $170,000, and she was released from custody early Wednesday afternoon.

The 32-year-old deputy is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 7 on two counts each of corporal injury to a child and false imprisonment by violence, along with one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.

The complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between April 2006 and October 2006.

Authorities said the alleged victim, an 8-year-old boy, was living with Santino at the time.

Gibbons of the District Attorney's Office, noting that any further information might lead to the boy being publicly identified.

Santino, who was arrested Tuesday by sheriff's investigators, will be suspended without pay, according to sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

If convicted, she could face up to nine years and eight months in state prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz.


WA - Wash. State GOP Lawmaker Resigns Amid Alleged Sex Tryst

View the article here

10/31/2007 OLYMPIA — A Republican state legislator who repeatedly voted against gay rights measures resigned his seat Wednesday amid revelations he had sex with a man he met at an erotic video store while in Spokane on a GOP retreat.

In a written statement, Rep. Richard Curtis, of La Center, said that while he believes he's done a lot of good during his time in the Legislature, "events that have recently come to light have hurt a lot of people."

"I sincerely apologize for any pain my actions may have caused," he wrote. "This has been damaging to my family, and I don't want to subject them to any additional pain that might result from carrying out this matter under the scrutiny that comes with holding public office."

Three days earlier, Curtis had insisted to his local newspaper that he was not gay and that sex was not involved in what he said was an extortion attempt by a man last week.

But in police reports, Curtis said he was being extorted by a man he had sex with in a Spokane hotel room. The other man contends Curtis reneged on a promise to pay $1,000 for sex.

House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, said that as more "troubling" details began to emerge "it has become clear that he can no longer effectively represent the constituents who elected him."

His resignation was delivered to Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday afternoon. A Republican successor will be chosen by county Republican leaders, and will serve until the 2008 election.

Numerous efforts to reach Curtis or his lawyer, John Wolfe, by phone have been unsuccessful.

Curtis, 48, told police he was the victim of an extortion attempt by Cody Castagna at the posh Davenport Tower hotel on Oct. 26, search warrant documents said. Castagna, 26, of nearby Medical Lake, told police that Curtis had agreed to pay him for sex, then reneged.

Curtis is married and has children, according to his legislative Web site. Elected to the state House of Representatives in 2004, he voted in 2005 and 2006 against a bill that granted civil rights protections to gays and lesbians, and in 2007 voted against a bill that created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Both measures eventually passed the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and are now state law.

Curtis was among state GOP lawmakers in Spokane Oct. 24-26 for a retreat to discuss the upcoming legislative session. He went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique early on Oct. 26 and met Castagna, who accompanied him to the hotel, police documents said.

The two arrived at the hotel around 3:30 a.m. and had sex, after which Curtis fell asleep, according to documents released Tuesday.

Curtis alleged Castagna took his wallet and later offered to return it for $1,000. Curtis said he only had $200 and left an envelope with the money at the hotel desk, the documents said.

Police reports said Castagna allegedly called Curtis and demanded an additional $800, and threatened to expose Curtis. But Curtis had already contacted police, who listened to the call and then met with Castagna.

There have been no arrests in the case. On Wednesday, Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said a decision about possible criminal charges in the alleged extortion case was weeks away.

Castagna, who appeared Tuesday at a Spokane news conference with his lawyer, David Partovi, said Curtis gave him his wallet to hold as collateral "for the money that he promised me." Partovi refused to let his client tell reporters what he did for the money, noting Castagna had already spoken voluntarily with police.

"Cody Castagna admitted threatening to publicly expose Richard Curtis' gay lifestyle to his wife unless Richard Curtis provided the disputed money," the police documents said.

Partovi refused to let Castagna respond to a question about whether he threatened to "out" Curtis.

The lawyer noted extortion "is a violent Class B felony" and declared that his client "didn't do anything wrong, at that level anyway."

On Monday, Curtis told The Columbian newspaper of Vancouver, Wash., that he did not solicit sex.

"I committed no crime," he said. "I did not solicit sex. I was trying to help somebody out."

Curtis, a former firefighter, declared, "I am not gay."

In his initial statement to Spokane police on Oct. 26, Curtis admitted having sex with Castagna, but said he did not offer to pay for sex. He said he gave him $100 as gas money, but said he did not consider that paying for sex, according to the police reports.

Police reports said Curtis initially contacted a friend in the Washington State Patrol, in Western Washington, to investigate the case because he feared the Spokane authorities would talk to the media. But patrol officials referred the case to Spokane police.

The police reports added that Curtis told officers he only wanted his wallet back "and wanted to keep the incident as low key as possible." He did not want to pursue charges against Castagna, the report said.

The next day, police reports said, Curtis told a detective by phone that he was in Cle Elum because he had wrecked his car on the drive home.

Curtis also told the detective he "would have to tell his wife the truth and he would have to get a divorce attorney."


Crazy preacher locked in a Casket


CA - California's sex offenders beat tracking system

View the article here

10/31/2007

They declare themselves homeless — truthfully or not — to avoid re-arrest

SACRAMENTO - Hundreds of California sex offenders who face tough new restrictions on where they can live are declaring themselves homeless — truthfully or not — and that’s making it difficult for the state to track them.

Jessica’s Law, approved by 70 percent of California voters a year ago, bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. That leaves few places where offenders can live legally.

Some who have had trouble finding a place to live are avoiding re-arrest by reporting — falsely, in some cases — that they are homeless.

Experts say it is hard to monitor sex offenders when they lie about their address or are living day-to-day in cheap hotels, homeless shelters or on the street. It also means they may not be getting the treatment they need.

We could potentially be making the world more dangerous rather than less dangerous,” said therapist Gerry Blasingame, past chairman of the California Coalition on Sexual Offending.

Laws drive offenders underground
Similar laws in Iowa and Florida have driven offenders underground or onto the streets.

“They drop off the registry because they don’t want to admit living in a prohibited zone,” said Corwin Ritchie, executive director of the association of Iowa prosecutors.

The organization tried unsuccessfully in the past two years to persuade lawmakers to repeal the state’s 2,000-foot residency restriction.

Most legislators know in their hearts that the law is no good and a waste of time, but they’re afraid of the politics of it,” Ritchie said.

The problem is worsening in Florida as about 100 local ordinances add restrictions to the state’s 1,000-foot rule, said Florida Corrections Department spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. Sixteen homeless offenders are now living under a Miami bridge, while another took to sleeping on a bench outside a probation office.

“As society has imposed restrictions, it becomes almost impossible for them to find places to live,” Plessinger said.

Distance laws common
Twenty-two states have distance restrictions varying from 500 feet to 2,000 feet, according to California researchers. But most impose the offender-free zones only around schools, and several apply only to child molesters, not all sex offenders.

California’s law requires parolees to live in the county of their last legal residence. But in San Francisco, for example, all homes are within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

The state is requiring parolees to find eligible housing in San Francisco, knowing full well there isn’t any,” said Mike Jimenez, president of the California parole officers union. “It will be impossible for parole agents to enforce Jessica’s Law in certain areas, and encouraging ‘transient’ living arrangements just allows sex offenders to avoid it altogether.”

State figures show a 27 percent increase in homelessness among California’s 67,000 registered sex offenders since the law took effect in November 2006. Since August, the number of offenders with no permanent address rose by 560 to 2,622.

“This is a huge surge,” said Deputy Attorney General Janet Neeley, whose office maintains the database. “Any law enforcement officer would tell you we would prefer to have offenders at addresses where we can locate them.”

Strict regulations
Offenders who declare themselves homeless must tell their parole officer each day where they spent the previous night.

Those who declare themselves homeless are still legally bound by the 2,000-foot rule; they cannot stay under a bridge near where children gather, for example. But it is more difficult for parole officers to keep tabs on them.

Parole officers said some offenders are registering as homeless, then sneaking back to homes that violate the law. That’s easy to do because fewer than 30 percent of transient offenders currently wear the Global Positioning System tracking devices required by Jessica’s Law.

“If they tell you that they were under the American River bridge, we’re going to take that at face value,” said Corrections Department spokesman Bill Sessa, referring to a homeless hangout in Sacramento.

During a recent sweep in the Oakland area, parole officers discovered that two of the five offenders they checked weren’t living in the temporary shelters they had reported as their new homes. Neither had been issued a GPS device.

GPS bracelets phased in
Department spokesman Seth Unger said parole agents are starting to make the homeless a priority in issuing the GPS ankle bracelets, which are still being phased in.

R.L., a 42-year-old sex offender who lives near Disneyland in Southern California, said he registered as homeless after his parole agent told him two potential homes were too close to schools or parks.

I finally asked, ‘Where do you want me to live?’ He said, ‘You have a car, don’t you?”’ said R.L., who asked that his full not be used because of the stigma surrounding sex offenders.

The law was named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a convicted sex offender near her Florida home in 2005.

The author of Jessica’s Law, state Sen. George Runner, said “90 percent” of it is working well. But he conceded that some portions need to be fixed.

“When the voters voted for this, they decided that they didn’t want a child molester to live across the street from a school,” said Runner, a Republican from Lancaster in Los Angeles County’s high desert. “If that means that in some areas that needs to be 1,000 feet or 1,500 feet, then I think that we still accomplish what it is the voters wanted.”


OK - New Law Will Place Stamps On Sex Offender Drivers Licenses

View the article here

10/31/2007

Several new laws go into effect Thursday. And, while the new immigration law is getting most of the attention, another one will force sex offenders to get a special label printed on their drivers license. State leaders passed the bill to identify violent sex offenders quickly and hopefully deter future crime. The new stamp says 'sex offender' in three places -- one below the Oklahoma label, another below the picture and a third on the ghost image.

The law only applies to habitual or aggravated offenders. State leaders say the label will help police identify offenders quickly and that maybe if offenders have the stamp in plain view on their license, it will prevent them from committing another crime.

We asked parents how they feel about it. All said it can't hurt, only help.

"Children are children," says Dennis Crow. "You don't do things like that to children and I think they need to be tracked down and stay on top of things."

Sex offenders say the law is humiliating. They say they already have enough restrictions and they don't understand how the lettering will benefit the community.


BEWARE THE CLOSING GATE!

There was a Chemistry professor in a large college that had some Exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Prof noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter.

The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said he was not joking. You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every ay to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming.

When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around squealing inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America . The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the "free corn" out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not
to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time.

One should always remember 'There is no such thing as a free Lunch.


Sex Offender, Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, & Tracking (SMART)



These are the comments they received about the original guidelines (Mentioned here).

Proposed Guidelines

The proposed guidelines were published in the May 30, 2007 Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 103. The period for comment on the proposed guidelines ended on August 1, 2007. All comments submitted are in the process of being reviewed and the SMART Office will publish final guidelines in the coming months.

Compliance Dates

The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act (AWA) of 2006 was signed into law on July 27, 2006. Section 124 of the AWA specifically requires that all jurisdictions implement the SORNA requirements within 3 years: July 27, 2009. Section 125(a) allows for a 10 percent Bryne Justice Assistance Grant fund reduction for any state, the District of Columbia, or territory that fails to substantially implement the SORNA requirements by July 27, 2009. Failure to substantially implement will be considered on an individual basis by the Attorney General. Section 124(b) provides for the Attorney General to authorize up to two 1-year extensions of the implementation deadline. Requests for extensions will be considered on a case by case basis.

According to §126(a) of the AWA, the Attorney General shall establish and implement a Sex Offender Management program (SOMA) under which the Attorney General may award a grant to a jurisdiction to offset the costs of implementing SORNA. Section 126(c) allows for bonus payments to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and federally recognized Indian Tribes that promptly comply and implement the SORNA standards. The bonus award shall be 10 percent of the total received by the jurisdiction under SOMA program for the preceding fiscal year if the implementation is not later than July 27, 2007 or 5 percent if the implementation is not later than July 27, 2008.


OH - Sex offender faces fifth move after legal action filed

View the article here

11/01/2007

TROY — For the fifth time, Miami County prosecutors have filed legal action against a Piqua registered sex offender they claim again is living within 1,000 feet of a school in violation of state law.

The civil complaint filed in county Common Pleas Court seeks a court order banning Edward Burge from living at a South Wayne Street apartment he listed as his address last week with the county sheriff's department.

The apartment is within 260 feet of the Piqua Catholic School's Downing Street campus, said John Carroll, who handles the sex offender registration for the sheriff's office.

Burge, 34, gave the address when turning himself in on a Piqua police warrant for his arrest on felony trafficking in marijuana charges. He pleaded not guilty last week to the trafficking charges and is scheduled for a hearing today. Bail was set at $10,000 and a surety bond posted late last week.

He has 30 days to answer the complaint regarding his residence.

Burge has appeared on national TV this year — on the "Montel" show and a CBS network news program — in his battle against sex offender residency restrictions and classifications placed on offenders.

Prosecutor Gary Nasal said prosecutors will continue to file actions against Burge if he does not reside more than 1,000 feet from a school.

"I don't know what Mr. Burge's particular problem is with his ability to determine an address is legal or illegal," Nasal said. "We are bound by law to pursue those who fail to abide by the law."

Since early 2006, prosecutors have filed residence complaints against Burge five times. The first time, he was ordered to move from a Piqua residence. He then left another house in Troy voluntarily.

Ohio's 2nd District Court of Appeals is hearing arguments in the third case involving another Piqua apartment. The fourth violation filed in the spring, claiming a residence on Piqua's west side was in violation, is pending in Common Pleas Court.

Contact this reporter at (937) 335-4357 or nbowman@DaytonDailyNews.com.


MI - Bill would expand sex offender registry

View the article here

10/31/2007

Certain Michigan sex offenders convicted prior to October 1995 would have to retroactively register as a sex offender under legislation introduced by a lakes area legislator.

Those who were convicted of a sex offense on or before Oct. 1, 1995 and were 17-years-old or older at the time the offense was committed against a victim that was under 13, would be included on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, under to House Bill (HB) 5349 (PDF) sponsored by state Rep. David Law (R-Commerce, West Bloomfield, Wolverine Lake).

"I felt that we should be looking at — in order to better protect our kids — people who were convicted of molesting a child even before the (sex offender) registry went into effect," Law said. "Just because somebody did it before the registry was in effect, I don't see why they shouldn't be part of (the registry) once it was created."

Law said his bill only targets the most egregious offenders — adults who prey on children.

"Those people obviously have severe problems and deserve everything they get, including being put on the (sex offender) registry," he said.

Law said 20 other states have similar laws requiring the registration of sex offenders who were convicted before a registry was created; and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can implemented such a measure if the intent is better public safety, not additional punishment.

That wasn't the case when Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard — then a state legislator — first penned the 1994 act requiring sex offenders to register with law enforcement officials.

"I would love to see (these convicts) on the registry," Bouchard said of those convicted prior to creation of Michigan's sex offender registry. "I didn't do that at the time because I was told there were legal hurdles to making that happen."

Currently, anyone convicted of a listed sex offense after Oct. 1, 1995, is required to register with law enforcement officials if they reside, work, or are a student in Michigan on a permanent or temporary basis, defined as being in Michigan for 14 or more consecutive days or at least 30 days in a calendar year.

Anyone convicted of a listed offense on or before Oct. 1, 1995, if on that date he or she was on probation or parole, in jail or prison, or under the jurisdiction of the juvenile division of the probate court or the Department of Social Services for the listable offense, is required to register. Individuals who are transferred to Michigan under those same conditions are also required to register.

Additionally, sex offenders are required to report any change of address to law enforcement officials within 10 days of moving from the address which is listed on the registry. They must also verify that address, report employment, report attendance or employment — or any change of attendance or employment — at an institution of higher learning.

A one-time $35 fee is assessed to all registered offenders. A valid Michigan driving licenses or personal identification card must be maintained. Registered offenders must sign all required registration forms, and they can't reside, work, or loiter in a student safety zone.

Law previously introduced both HB 5133 (PDF) and HB 3134 (Unable to locate) to monitor and in some cases prohibit Internet use by registered sex offenders, provisions that drew fire from the Michigan Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Group officials, however, are still looking at Law's retroactive registration proposal.

"We don't have an opinion on that right now, and we're still looking at some things involved with that," said Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the ACLU of Michigan. "We have things to look at with that particular attempt at legislation."

Law's bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, on which he serves. Lakes area state Rep. John Stakoe (R-Highland, White Lake), who said he hopes his companions tread lightly with the stipulations offered in Law's bill — though he said he likes the idea — is also a member of that committee.

"It deals with the issues of a predatory and repeat offender, and from that standpoint, it's definitely worth looking at," he said. "I just want to make sure that whatever we do, we're doing it with the aspect of public safety, we're doing it with the right offenders, and we're not doing it to add penalties to someone who's already served their punishment."