Thursday, January 10, 2008

Repentance, Forgiveness, and Salvation

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Without forgiveness there can be no salvation. There can be no forgiveness if you do not repent (admit you have done something wrong to the LORD and to those you have wronged and change your ways by direction of the HOLY SPIRIT within you). Reading the Word and quoting the Word mean nothing if you continue to knowingly work to lie, decieve, or escape your responsibility for the things you have done. Example: You commit a murder or steal money. You are not caught by the police. You get "saved". Instead of turning yourself in and asking your victims to forgive you and making restitution, you hide behind an attorney in an attempt to escape the consequences of your actions. A true person of faith would fear GOD'S punishment for not turning themselves in to the proper authorities and admitting guilt much more than anything any man could do to him in this life. Faith without works is dead. Jesus told us you will know a tree by it's fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. How can you be a good (regenerated) tree if your actions still continue to hurt and damage your victims? If you are afraid of jail or unwilling to pay back money that you have stolen, how can you claim to be "saved."? GOD is not a respector of persons, nor will HE be mocked. For those who commit such acts under the guise of His Holy Name may escape judgment in this life (jail or fines), but surely not the next. They truely do not have a fear of GOD or an understanding of his Word. Anybody can quote scripture and attempt to prove they have knowledge, gifts, or are holy. Many are either purposely decieving others or have been decieved themselves (test the spirits). If I pray for rent money and "god" tells me to rob a bank to fill this need, can I commit this act because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me? No. GOD would never ask me to steal in any case, because he has commanded me not to so HE would never contradict Himself. That would make Him a liar. There is only one liar. I can then conclude any spirit that attempts to entice me, lead me, or permit me to commit such an act is not of GOD and I can rebuke this spirit in Jesus name. PRAISE GOD. Those who fail to recognize or aknowledge this, do so at their own peril. Read MATT 7 verse 15-28. Heed the warning. Verse #23: "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" KJV or "" Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!" NIV. A man can only see with his eyes, GOD knows all. There is no escape from GOD's wrath for those who mock him. Not a judgement by me, just an obseravtion.


MO - Missouri Sex Offender Laws: Need to be Changed?

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01/10/2008

In some cases, current law can actually make it harder for you to keep tabs on sex offenders in your neighborhood.

But Missouri Senator Kit Bond (Email) wants to change that.

Senator Bond just introduced a new federal law that would make all sex offenders register with local sheriff's departments regardless of when they committed their crimes.
- Thus creating more ex post facto BS. When is someone going to uphold the Constitution? If it means nothing, then I'd like to see President Bush get on national TV and tear it up. I bet he would regret it...

The Senator says a loophole in the current law allows certain offenders to go free, if they committed crimes before 1995.
- Because it is against the Constitution to pass ex post facto laws. Wake up people, if they can wipe out anybodies rights violating the Constitution, you can bet your rights will be wiped out next, mark my words on that. If you believe in the Bible, you know what I am talking about. They are basically sentencing people again without due process of law, and THIS IS ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!

In fact, some judges in Missouri have let offenders out of prison, because of the how they're interpreting the law.

Still, it doesn't look like the proposed federal law would change things in the Show Me State, unless the Missouri Constitution's amended.
- Oh, I'm sure he'll come after the Constitution next!

Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle's pushing for that, but not everyone's thrilled about the proposed changes.

"I served time," convicted Missouri sex offender Ramona Rainwater said.

She found herself in trouble back in 1981.

She still maintains her innocence after all these years, but she's thankful a Missouri Supreme Court ruling back in 2006, exempted her from having to register with the county.

The ruling said anyone convicted of a sex crime prior to 1995 did not have to register.
- Thus not violating the Constitution, which is a good thing.

"When we looked at our registered sex offenders in our county back in September, we had about 120 registered offenders and 47 committed acts prior to 1995. When you consider we have about 118 counties in Missouri, that's a lot of sex offenders who don't have to register," Swingle said.
- So! Have they committed another crime? If so, then they should be bound by the new laws, but until then, you are suppose to assume they will not commit another crime, not try some mind trick and read the future... If you are allowed to do this, violating the Constitution, who's rights will be eroded next? Yours? I doubt it, but the publics, I'm sure...

So as senators push to change federal laws, Swingle hopes legislators consider going through the books and amending the Missouri Constitution first.
- What did I tell you?? Even before I read this... This should SCARE ANYBODY FOLKS!!!!

Otherwise, Swingle points out, sex offenders in Missouri would still slip through the cracks.
- If they are not committing another crime, so what? They are suppose to be free now that they have done their time. Why don't you just go back to the day the Earth was created, BY GOD, and throw everyone on a registry who has committed a SIN. I'm sure 100% would be on that registry!

"Whether they committed a sex crime that happened before 1995 or after 1995, they're just as dangerous to children in the community as someone who committed a crime a year or two ago," he said.
- What a total lie!!!!! Some are, but if they have done their time, then you cannot PREDICT THE FUTURE. If and when they commit another crime, then they'd be sentenced under the new law, but until then, they should be left alone to get on with their lives. Are you without sin Senator? No, so what sin have you committed??

Ramona Rainwater agrees some sex offenders should be kept under surveillance all the time, but she points out offenders like herself should get a chance to move on with their lives.

"It doesn't keep you from getting in your car going outside premises. I don't understand why we had the law to begin with," she said.
- Because we have evil idiots in office who care nothing about the public, they just care about making themselves look HOLIER THAN THOU so they can fatten their wallet, live like a king, and punish everyone who they do not agree with. Further persecution is coming folks, if you believe in the bible. Read it, and you will see what I am talking about. Many of these people claim to be Christian but are nothing but hypocrites. Remember, these are the days of Soddom and Gomorrah, these are the types of people who crucified Jesus Christ.

Voters would have to decide before the state constitution could be amended, but first it needs to be on the ballot.

Swingle's already approached Governor Matt Blunt's office about the issue, but he says you should call your legislators and voice your opinion.


OK - Sex offenders not welcome in Sapulpa

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01/10/2008

Registered sex offenders are no longer welcome in one part of Green Country. Sapulpa annexed part of Tulsa's west side back in 2004. Now, there is a park in that area that is too close to motels where some sex offenders reside.

Sapulpa city leaders say plans for the park were in the works long before the law requiring registered sex offenders to live at least 2,000 feet from parks was put in place. That addition to the law took effect in 2006.

Becky Hartman owns a hair salon nearby. She always knew some sex offenders lived in neighboring hotels, which had her looking over her shoulder at times. Hartman says, "This area has gotten really, really busy and we have loved being here."

In October, the park officially opened, and that's when police started notifying sex offenders who listed the motels as their residences, to move. Their deadline was December 31st.

There were about 30 in the area. Now, police say there are 12. 7 of them can stay because they lived there before the law went into effect. The others are on a list to be notified of a final chance to leave.

Police confirm one rape at one hotel, but say it had nothing to do with any sex offender. Although there were no major problems, this business owner says the change brought business back.

Channel 2 talked with several hotel owners who declined on camera interviews but say even though they've seen a slight dip in money, they appreciate police efforts.


WI - VIOLENT LIST

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01/10/2008

SUDER PUSHING FOR VIOLENT FELON REGISTRY

A Wisconsin lawmaker is pushing for a new listing for people convicted of violent felonies. Assemblyman Scott Suder (Email) says repeat offenders, murderers and rapists would be on the list. Suder says people have the right to know if their neighbor has a violent criminal past. The list will be similar to the state's sex offender registry. The republican is optimistic the proposal will pass this legislative session.
- I thought rapists were on the sex offender registry? Why don't you just have a CRIMINAL REGISTRY with all criminals on it, regardless of their crime, so we all know if a murderer, drunk, drug dealer/users, gang member, etc live next to us?


CA - Report: MySpace issued subpoena in teen suicide case

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01/10/2008

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that social network MySpace was issued a subpoena in the investigation of a 13-year-old girl's 2006 suicide that involved harassment through a fabricated profile on the News Corp.-owned site. The article also said that "witnesses in the case" had additionally received subpoaenas.

Representatives from MySpace were not immediately available for comment or confirmation. The social network is no stranger to court orders, having been subpoenaed by multiple state attorneys general last year over sex offender concerns.

But the tragic case of Megan Meier's suicide is a very different situation; my colleague Ina Fried has been following the issue closely on her Beyond Binary blog. Meier, who had a history of depression, hanged herself after a falling out with someone named "Josh" whom she thought was a 16-year-old boy on MySpace. As it turns out, "Josh" didn't exist; the persona was created by a number of adults, including a woman named Lori Drew, the mother of one of Meier's former friends, specifically to harass the girl.

But no charges have been filed yet, despite the efforts of local and state authorities in Meier's home state of Missouri. The Times article reported that it is still not clear as to who actually created the fictional account--this is something that cooperation from MySpace could help reveal. Sources who spoke to the Times anonymously said that the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, where MySpace is headquartered, is looking at charging Lori Drew with defrauding MySpace by creating the fake profile.

In November, Meier's hometown of Dardenne Prairie, Mo. passed a law banning online harassment. Offenders can face up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.


KY - Jones Sponsors Tougher Sex Offender Legislation

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01/10/2008

FRANKFORT - Senator Ray Jones (Email), D-Pikeville, has filed another bill to add even more bite to the state's already tough sex offender laws.

Senate Bill 70 amends House Bill 3 to include additional restrictions concerning where sex offenders may live.
- 90% or more of all sexual crimes involving children occur in the victims own home, so how does restricting where they live have any impact on solving the problem? If you'd do some homework, you'd know this is a fact!

HB 3, introduced in 2005, limits convicted sex offenders from living within a 1,000 feet of a building, school, preschool, publicly owned playground or licensed day care facility. SB 70 will add to those restrictions a building or structure used as a youth program center that on a regular basis provides recreational, vocational, academic, social or other programs or services for minors on a regular basis.
- Within 1,000 feet of a building??? That has to be a mistake?

"This legislation is aimed at protecting children when they visit a facility like the YMCA from sexual predators," said Jones, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Centers such as YMCAs or church recreational facilities, are not included in the current restrictions. I want this law to be more inclusive of the facilities that regularly provide programming or services to minors in order that we can be more assured that these places too are protected from having a sexual predator living next door."
- So how is punishing where they live have anything to do with this? Why don't you just say sex offenders cannot go here, or here, or here? That makes more sense. Forcing them out into the country does nothing, except BANISHMENT!

During the 2007 session, Jones sponsored legislation which has made Kentucky's sex offender laws among the toughest in the nation. Under Jones' legislation, Kentucky became the first state to require convicted sexual offenders to register their online identities. Offenders who fail to register Internet user names in Kentucky will be charged with a Class D felony for the first offense, punishable by up to five years in prison, and a Class C felony for each subsequent offense, carrying penalties of up to 10 years in prison. The enactment of the bill was recognized in a capitol press conference called by former Attorney General Greg Stumbo and attended by the Chief Security Officer for MySpace, as well as numerous law enforcement officials.
- If I could get paid $1.00 for the number of times I heard "among the toughest in the nation" I'd be a millionaire by now. Also, registering online identities, how does that help? Do you really know how easy it is to create a new identity? A matter of minutes. And do you think an predator is going to use one of their real identities you have on them, if they are intent on committing another crime?

"I am committed to making our sex offender laws as severe as is possible to better protect our children from sexual predators," added Jones. "I will continue to look for ways to strengthen our laws."
- No, I think you are about "looking good" to the public to fatten that wallet of yours. I would really love to hear how any of your proposed laws would help save a child from a person who is intent on committing another crime.

Co-sponsoring the bill with Jones is Senate Floor Leader Ed Worley (Email), D-Richmond, a native of Pike County.

"Ray and I both feel very strongly about protecting our children from predators and agree that we cannot make our laws tough enough in order to achieve that goal," said Senator Worley. "As a parent, I understand the fear of having a sexual predator living near where my children spend time involved in recreational or academic activities. By adding these additional restrictions, we can cut that gap even further and, hopefully, make these environments safer for our children."
- Hell, you could kill every person who harms a child right this second, and none of the laws you have proposed will prevent further crimes against children. What's next? Concentration camps? Firing up the ovens like the Nazi's did? Also, you are assuming all sex offenders are predators or have harmed children, which is a flat out lie!!!

Senate Bill 70 will be considered during the 2008 legislative session, which began this week.


IN - Attorney general to seek passage of online predator law

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Like many other laws, they are well intentioned, but you cannot make blanket laws like this to "look good" to the public. Not all sex offenders use those sites to troll for kids, that is like saying all politicians are corrupt, which is not true. If their crime involved the Internet, then it's one thing, but if it did not, that is another issues. Notice this article came out ONE DAY before the meeting, why? So people would not hear about it, until it's too late, that is why. This kind of BS should be illegal, IMO.

01/09/2008

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter (Contact) will be in Evansville Thursday to talk about a proposed law that would ban convicted sex offenders from using some online features popular with minors.

Carter will speak on the proposed legislation during a press conference scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the Civic Center.

If passed, the law would ban convicted sex offenders from using online social networking sites, chat rooms or instant message programs that allow minors to participate.

According to a news release issued by his office, Carter will work with legislators on the specific language and penalties in the law. One bill on the issue is scheduled to be heard before a House committee next week.


AK - Ex-officer arrested again on child porn charge

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01/10/2008

A former Anchorage police officer, already convicted once of possessing child pornography, has been arrested and charged again.

Bryan Herrera, 44, was charged last month with violating the terms of his probation for having downloaded and stored thousands of child porn images in his computer, according to police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers.

On Wednesday, the Anchorage Police Department's Cyber Crimes Unit detectives re-arrested Herrera on a new charge of child porn possession. He is being held on that charge in lieu of $30,000 bail, Lammers said.

A 12-year veteran at the time, Herrera was charged in October 2005 with collecting images of young children having sex with each other and with adults.He was also accused of setting up a remote-controlled camera in his home so he could tape a teenage girl undressing.

In a plea agreement with the district attorney's office, Herrera pleaded no contest to two counts and was sentenced to serve up to two years in prison. He was released on probation after serving his time. A condition of his release was that he not have a computer with an Internet connection.

In June, probation officers told police they had seized Herrera's laptop and believed he had downloaded and stored child porn on it. Police forensics computer examiners verified the accusation and on Dec. 10 probation officers arrested him, according to Lammers.


CA - New charges filed in deputy's sex case

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01/09/2008

AUBURN – Prosecutors have filed seven new charges against a Placer County sheriff's deputy accused of having engaged in sexual relations with two underage girls.

The latest charges against Michael Stuart Johnson bring the total to 26 counts involving three underage girls, said Scott Owens, a deputy district attorney.

Johnson was arraigned on the new charges Tuesday in Placer Superior Court, Owens said.

Six of the charges allege Johnson distributed or exhibited lewd material to a minor, Owens said. The seventh count alleges Johnson contacted the minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd or lascivious contact, Owens said.

Johnson, 26, had been arraigned in November on 10 counts alleging sexual relations with two minors and six counts of improper use of the Sheriff's Department's computer system. Three others accuse Johnson of furnishing liquor to three minors.

Five of the sex-related charges would require Johnson to register as a sex offender if he is convicted on any of them, according to Owens.

The deputy, a two-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, was arrested Oct. 5 after detectives investigated reports that he was having an affair with a 16-year-old high school girl in Colfax, where Johnson worked as a patrol officer.

Further investigation uncovered an alleged relationship with a second underage girl from August 2003 to June 2004, when Johnson was an Auburn police officer, Owens said.

Johnson, who is on a paid administrative leave, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 21.


OH - Seven former inmates testify against Richland jailer charged with sex crimes

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01/09/2008

MANSFIELD -- A woman had just learned she was heading to prison for eight months for violating her probation.

She said Richland County corrections officer James Campain added to her suffering.

The woman, who testified Tuesday in Campain's trial, said Campain stopped the elevator as he was transporting her and had her perform a sex act on him.
- Not sure I believe this. If this was in a prison or jail or court house, I think when an elevator is stopped with a criminal inside, it would set off alarms. But who knows?

"I got violated by a man of the law that was supposed to be protecting me," she said tearfully.

The woman, whom the News Journal is not identifying because she is the alleged victim of a sex crime, was one of seven former county jail inmates who testified Tuesday against Campain.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Randall Fry hammered away at the woman for not reporting that or other alleged incidents.

"You had already been sentenced by Judge (James) DeWeese, and you somehow thought Officer Campain could make things rougher?" he asked.

"I didn't know what he was capable of," she replied.

The woman said she didn't report what happened, even though Campain said he might be assigned to drive her to prison in Marysville.

On direct examination, the former inmate said Campain previously had unbuttoned her jail jumpsuit while she was a trustee working in the laundry room.

"I didn't think I had a choice," the woman said. "He said he could either be my best friend or he could be my worst enemy."

She explained why she didn't report that alleged incident.

"Who is going to believe an inmate?" the woman asked. "It was my word against his."

She said she later performed a sex act on Campain while she was cleaning a transport van. The former inmate said they left the vacuum cleaner on to give the appearance she was working.

"I did it willingly," the woman said. "I didn't want nothin' to be added to my time."

Fry asked her how Campain could give her added charges or more jail time.

"The police can do anything they want to do if they really want to," she said.

Toward the end of her testimony, the woman broke down and mistakenly left the stand too early. Judge Howard Hall asked her if she was OK to continue.

The first former inmate to testify Tuesday was convicted of driving under the influence in 2005. She said Campain promised to help her get out of jail early if she flashed her breasts.

"I was desperate. I just wanted to go home," the woman said. "It was degrading."

The woman, who is black, said Campain made a comment to her and a white inmate, telling them he wanted a "chocolate swirl."

Fry questioned the woman's reason for her story, implying she was out for revenge.

"You're telling this jury you weren't mad when you didn't get out early?" he asked.

"I was not mad," she said.

The woman admitted she didn't initially tell Sheriff's Capt. Larry Faith, who did the investigation, the full truth. She claimed she was ashamed.

The trial will resume this morning. The state, which could finish its case, has seven more witnesses. When the defense presents its case, Campain is expected to take the stand.


FL - Bond reduced for Fort Pierce officer accused of molesting girl, 15

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01/09/2008

FORT PIERCE — Bond for a Fort Pierce police officer charged with sexual battery was reduced Wednesday morning from $900,000 to $275,000.
- Why put "sexual battery" here? It was child molestation. Oh yeah, he's a cop, so you want the good stuff up front so most people read it, and leave.

According to conditions for pretrial release, Dwight L. Toombs also will be required to wear a global positioning system device to monitor his whereabouts. Circuit Judge Burton Conner also ruled that Toombs will be able to attend church service on Sundays, as long a the alleged victims in the case aren’t members of the same church.

Toombs, 33, who has been with the department since 2001, has been in the St. Lucie County Jail since he was arrested Dec. 26 on three felony counts of sexual battery on a person 12 years of age or older by a government agent and three felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery.

According to a complaint affidavit, Toombs molested a 15-year-old girl he had handcuffed after being called to investigate an incident of the girl and a 20-year-old man having sex in a car Dec. 18 at Kimberly Bergalis Memorial Park in the South Beach area of Fort Pierce on Hutchinson Island.


IA - Cedar Rapids Police Officer Charged with Misuse of Authority

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Tell me the media isn't biased. Most of the time when a cop is charged, they leave the big portion out of the subject line, like "FOR SEEKING SEX" from this one.

01/09/2008

CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) - A Cedar Rapids police officer accused of using his authority to have sexual contact with a woman faces federal charges.

According to documents in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Kevin Sims used his position as an officer to detain the woman and have sexual contact with her in 2004.

Police Chief Mike Klappholz declined to comment on the case.

Sims, who became a Cedar Rapids police officer in 1995, has been on administrative leave since last August.

A plea hearing is set for January 18th.


OK - Former officer pleads to a child porn charge

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01/09/2008

A former area police officer and sheriff's deputy, who survived an apparent suicide attempt, is now in the Oklahoma City jail awaiting sentencing on a child pornography conviction.

Michael Wade Kent, 52, was a Kay County, Okla. deputy when indicted by a federal grand jury last April on six counts involving the sexual exploitation of minors. He was suppose to plead guilty in October but was struck by a train north of Newkirk Oct. 30 - the day before he was to appear in court.

Kent was critically injured and flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. He has since been booked into the Oklahoma jail and in late December pleaded guilty to one charge.

The remaining five charges were to be dismissed as part of the deal.

A pre-sentence evaluation is being performed. A sentencing date has not been set Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Troster said sentencing could occur in early February. Kent faces between five and 20 years in a federal prison, according to Troster.

Kent was a police officer in Cedar Vale from 1975 to 1976 when he joined the Wellington Police Department. He remained there until 1979 when he went to work for the Arkansas City Police Department. Kent remained there until he join the Cowley County Sheriff's department. In 1993, Kent left Cowley County and joined the Kay County Sheriff's Office where he was still working when the federal indictment was handed down.

"He was a good deputy," said Cowley County Sheriff Bob Odell.

In the 11-page plea bargain agreement, Kent was asked his reasons for making the agreement. "It was fairly and freely agreed to and in my interest," he wrote in response. He also wrote that "On Feb. 21, 2007 I sent a video clip of a 12-13 year old girl engaged in oral sex using internet."

It turned out the girl was an undercover law enforcement officer.

Troster said it will be up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to determine where Kent will be incarcerated.


MI - Sex offenders must verify addresses by Tuesday

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01/10/2008

LANSING - The Michigan State Police is reminding registered sex offenders that the 15-day, annual address verification period began Jan. 1.

State law requires all registered sex offenders, both felony and misdemeanor-listed offenders, to report in person to their local law enforcement agency during this period to verify their address or face a graduated penalty ranging from a 93-day misdemeanor to a four-year felony.

Per Public Act 295 of 1994, known as the Sex Offenders Registration Act, offenders convicted of a felony-listed offense must report to their city/township police department, county sheriff or local State Police post to verify their address during the first 15 days of January, April, July and October.

Offenders convicted of misdemeanor-listed offenses are required to report to their local law enforcement agency to verify their address yearly, Jan. 1 through Jan. 15.

Offenders are also required to report a change of address within 10 days of moving or face a four-year felony.

The Sex Offenders Registration Act allows for the arrest of an offender who is not in compliance with the Act's reporting requirements. Violators may be arrested during a traffic stop or any other contact with law enforcement. Additionally, law enforcement agencies can conduct periodic sex offender sweeps, during which offenders' addresses are verified and absconders are actively sought.


AK - Church gives sex offender a role in step toward the priesthood

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01/10/2008

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX: Criticism unwarranted in view of crime's circumstances, chancellor says.

A registered sex offender who served more than a year in prison for sexually abusing minors is wearing robes that signal he has taken a first step toward priesthood in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Terenty Dushkin, 26, was installed as a lay reader of the liturgy last month by Bishop Nikolai, the church's highest-ranking official in Alaska. Church officials say they did so knowingly.

"This is not a scandal in any way," said Chancellor Archimandrite Isidore, the church's No. 2 official here.

"The church believes everyone is redeemable. We don't think people are necessarily damaged goods that have to be locked away."

But Dushkin's investiture appears to violate the Orthodox Church in America's policy on such matters, which states that "no layperson shall commit, attempt to commit, or engage in any act of sexual misconduct."

Alaska church officials knew about Dushkin's past when they "tonsured" him as a reader for St. Innocent Cathedral at a ceremony in early December.

In 2004 -- the year he was charged with 11 sex crimes -- Dushkin was a student at St. Herman's Theological Seminary in Kodiak, which prepares students for Orthodox priesthood.

Dushkin could not be reached for comment.

As a reader, he wears robes that identify him as an official celebrant at church services. That's troublesome, said a California woman who runs a Web site that tracks sex abuse in Orthodox churches.

"He's not going to be hearing confessions or blessing houses, but he is going to be wearing a robe during the services, and that gives him an aura of authority," said Melanie Sakoda, who started www.pokrov.org several years ago in response to allegations of abuse within the church.

"He can come to church, he can go to communion," Sakoda said. "But he doesn't need to be a reader. He doesn't need to go even that far on the path toward clergy."

A reader "is regarded as one of the first steps toward priesthood, the first rank or order of priesthood," said Andrew Jarmus, director of communication for the Orthodox Church in America in Syosset, N.Y.

Jarmus wouldn't comment on Nikolai's choice to tonsure a convicted sex offender.

But Isidore, who said he doesn't think Dushkin has ambitions to become a priest, said readers are like altar boys. They aren't clerics, he said, and they function only under the direction and supervision of a priest.

If anything, Dushkin is under greater supervision as a reader than as a regular member of the church, Isidore said. "It keeps him at the altar."

The tonsuring of a convicted sex offender wrapped up a difficult year for Alaska's Russian Orthodox Church.

Last summer, national church leaders investigated Isidore on charges of inappropriate sexual conduct with a former missionary. The allegations were dismissed.

"I don't see this as a continuation of the regrettable events of this summer," he said of the church's choice to tonsure Dushkin.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Dushkin was convicted on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of exploitation of a minor, a charge that came from a sex tape featuring him and two females, one of them 17 years old. It was filmed with Dushkin's camera and discovered by police at Dushkin's home in Unalaska, according to court documents.

The rest of the original 11 charges were dismissed.

The convictions involve Dushkin having sex on several occasions, from 2002 to 2004, with girls who were 13 and 14 years when the sex started.

"(W)hat may have been a youthful indiscretion on Mr. Dushkin's part has long since been repented," Isidore said in a written statement.

In an interview, Isidore claimed Dushkin's crimes weren't predatory in nature. "From my understanding, it was a situation that could be termed statutory rape -- which albeit is wrong, but very much different than molesting a child, for example."

Isidore said church officials consulted an attorney before tonsuring Dushkin.

He said church officials weren't deterred by the sex scandals that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church recently, some of which unfolded in Alaska, where scores of youths were abused by priests and other church officials.

"The church doesn't operate based on public opinion," Isidore said.


CA - Sex Offender Management Board hears local concerns

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01/09/2008

Mitzelfelt asks board to fully implement Jessica’s Law

SAN BERNARDINO — The California Sex Offender Management Board came to San Bernardino on Wednesday to hear concerns from local leaders on sex-offender tracking.

The board was formed in 2006 to address implementation of laws that apply to sex offenders.

San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt testified in front of the board, encouraging members to fully implement Jessica’s Law.

The law was passed in November 2006, prohibiting sex offenders from living near schools and parks and requiring them to wear Global Positioning System tracking devices.

The residency restrictions were implemented over the summer but only about 50 percent of offenders statewide are currently fitted with GPS devices, said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, who sponsored the initiative.

In San Bernardino County the compliance rate is 93 percent, said Mitzelfelt, who added that there are nearly 4,000 sex offenders countywide.

“We’ve been dealing with these issues because 400 to 700 sex offenders are being released from state prison to parole each month,” Mitzelfelt said. “We prosecute more than 1,000 per year in our county alone.”

Runner said that one of the problems authorities have run into with Jessica’s Law is local governments not being able to afford to institute some of the law’s requirements.

“The people asked for it to be done,” Runner said. “It’s the state and legislators’ responsibility to fund it.”

During his testimony to the board, Mitzelfelt stressed the importance of interagencycooperation.

Mitzelfelt said that Tuesday, as a result of cooperation between the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and law enforcement officials in Los Angeles County, a registered sex offender that had been hiding since 2003 was located and arrested in Rancho Cucamonga.

“It’s my opinion that, thanks to that cooperation, San Bernardino County residents — and Californians — are safer,” Mitzelfelt said.


OH - New offender law is offensive

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01/03/2008

A new, tougher Ohio sexual offenders registration law that went into effect Tuesday is bound to do far more harm than good, and actually could be a step backward in protecting the public. In requiring longer, more frequent and more widespread registrations, it burdens the legal system and hurts low-level offenders who are trying straighten out their lives.

The General Assembly passed the law last summer to reflect a recent federal notification law, the Adam Walsh Act of 2006. The federal law created a national electronic registry to better track offenders from state to state. But it also required states to conform to the federal code by 2009 or lose 10 percent of the funding available under the act.

Ohio is one of six states to pass such laws so far. Kentucky officials say they are still studying their options.

Ohio's new law reclassifies the state's 23,000 offenders into a three-tier system, instead of the previous eight categories. Many will be reclassified into higher levels, even some whose offenses were long-ago youthful indiscretions. This means that people who have obeyed the terms of their registration for years and have not offended since then are suddenly branded as more serious offenders, their addresses and personal information publicized, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

This retroactive action, if not technically illegal, is absurdly unfair. Offenders can appeal. Many should - and judges should hear the appeals carefully and decide fairly on each offender's status.

Re-classifying them upward also requires sheriffs to issue more notifications about offenders' whereabouts, adding administrative burdens with little payoff in public safety. In fact, it may be a case of "crying wolf." The more notifications are issued, the more meaningless they will be perceived as being.

Perhaps the system's greatest failing, however, is how it lumps all offenders together, in public perception at least, as evil people who should be shunned and cannot be "cured."

Citizens have the right to access such public information from the justice system. But without context, it becomes more like a scare tactic.

Part of the problem is the media's sloppy shorthand on "sexual predators," a term some politicians eagerly embrace. But most of these offenders are by no means "predators" - a limited, specific legal term applied to the most violent class of offenders.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Cain got it right in telling the Associated Press, "It's a mess created by politicians, and it's going to be a mess for the courts to sort out." We hope the courts sort it out patiently, and that the public demands common-sense changes.