Friday, February 8, 2008

SC - Cayce Police Work to Enforce Sex Offender Ordinance

View the article here

True banishment, and I'm sure it will be fought in court for being unconstitutional.

02/08/2008

Cayce (WLTX) -- Law enforcement in Cayce is designing their plan to enforce a new ordinance that was passed in Cayce Tuesday that bans sex offenders from moving into town.

The ordinance is similar to one that was passed in Lexington that prevents sex offenders from living or loitering within 2,000 feet of schools, churches, parks, playgrounds and other sites where children might gather.

The ordinance went into effect Wednesday, officials say.

State Attorney General Henry McMaster backed Lexington's decision in January, saying the rule would likely stand up in court if challenged.
- Just another jerk who took an oath to uphold the constitution, and apparently lied!

"[Sex offenders] have to notify the sheriff's department who notifies us...and we give them an O.K. or not depending if he's in violation of the ordinance," explained Chief Charles McNair, of the Cayce Police Department.

The law can only work if convicted sex offenders register and give law enforcement their information.

McNair says under the law, there are still plenty of places sex offenders can reside inside the city limits.

He added, "It just gives a buffer zone from schools, playgrounds those types of things."

The ordinance allows the ten sex offenders who currently live in Cayce to continue living there, unless they move into the restricted space.

Law enforcement is now determining how they are going to go about enforcing the new ordinance.

Banning sex offenders from the Town of Cayce could also affect property values in the communities and neighborhoods.

A similar statewide law passed through a house panel Wednesday. It would require a 1,000-foot living restriction for convicted sex offenders. That proposal will head to the house judiciary committee next.


AZ - Gilbert man dragged naked from home is suing city

View the article here

WAKE UP AMERICA - When will you wake up? When they come for you? It will be too late then! Video is available at the site.

02/08/2008

GILBERT -- Gilbert police allegedly dragged a man naked from his home and now he plans to sue the city.

John Ferguson, 53, told a town council meeting he was humiliated after being exposed in front of at least 50 of his neighbors.

A SWAT team responded to his home last August after his girlfriend told police he was going to kill himself.

Records show Ferguson has had run-ins with police in the past and that he has threatened to shoot police if they entered his property.

When the SWAT team went in, officers found him asleep in his bedroom.

Gilbert has offered Ferguson money for damages to his home, but in announcing plans for the lawsuit, he says his emotional damage is worth even more than his home.


Customs Seizing Laptops and Cellphones

View the article here

Here comes the POLICE STATE all in the name of "security!" This is a total violation of privacy rights and probably more. Welcome to the USSA folks!

02/08/2008

ARTICLE SYNOPSIS:

The seizure of electronics at U.S. borders is increasing and prompting protests from travelers. Travelers now are choosing to either leave their laptops and other electronic equipment at home, or have the hard drives or cellphones cleaned of sensitive information before traveling.

Follow this link to the original source: "Electronic searches at border prompt protests"

COMMENTARY:

A U.S. citizen and tech engineer returning from a business trip to London objected when a federal agent wanted his password for his laptop. He protested, saying the laptop belonged to the company, not to him. Under duress, he did finally agreed to log on and watched as the agent copied the web sites he had visited.
- Unlawful search without a warrant!!! True fascism!!

A British citizen and marketing executive with a global travel management firm who routinely flies between London and Dulles International reported that an agent there told her he had “a security concern” with her. She was given the option of turning over her laptop or not getting on the flight. “I was assured that my laptop would be given back to me in 10 or 15 days,” said Maria Udy. The agent copied her log-on and password and asked to see her email. A year later she has still not received her laptop, nor has she been given any explanation.
- Soon you will not be able to buy, sell, trade or travel without the "mark of the beast" which I'm sure will be all in the name of security!

With more than two dozen complaint cases, 15 involving searches of cellphones, laptops, MP3 players and other electronics, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups, are filing a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches. If conducted inside the country, these types of searches would normally require a warrant and probably cause.

Lynn Hollinger, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokeswoman says a laptop may be seized if it contains information tied to terrorism, narcotics smuggling, child porn or any other criminal activity. But how could any agent, at any Customs venue know in advance if that type of info is on any given laptop? They can’t. And a Customs statement that searches are based on “information from various systems and specific techniques for selecting passengers,” is much too ambiguous for comfort. Its acknowledgment that CBP officers “may, unfortunately, inconvenience law-abiding citizens in order to detect those involved in illicit activities,” doesn’t wash either. We’re talking about unconstitutional searches and seizures here.
- So how do they know if it contains the above marked items without searching it without a warrant?

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), tracks complaints from over 2,500 member businesses and their employees who have had laptops seized and the contents copied. They said that not one of the travelers in this category was ever charged with a crime. ACTE has filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for information on what happens to data seized by custom agents.

Some companies would rather their executives travel with “blank laptops,” and access information through the Internet. It has its risks, but Lou Brzezinski, a partner in a Toronto law firm says “those are hacking risks as opposed to search risks.”

In a court case now pending, the government has already stated the position that it has the authority to protect the country’s borders by looking at any information stored in electronic devices without any suspicion of a crime. [Emphasis added.] They regard laptops the same as suitcases. David D. Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University disagrees. He believes it is not reasonable “for them to read your mind and everything you have though over the last year. What a laptop records is as personal as a diary, but much more extensive. It records every web site you have searched. Every e-mail you have sent.”

If the government’s position on these unlawful searches is upheld, every traveler will face the risk of search and seizure, and more. Lawyers would stand to lose confidential info, company trade secrets would be at risk, journalists would be under new scrutiny, and even teenagers could be arrested if they couldn’t prove they downloaded music to their iPods legally.

Hollinger of the CBP says customs officers “are trained to protect confidential information.” Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?


IA - Former Iowa trooper arrested for allegedly possessing child porn

View the article here

02/08/2008

DES MOINES (AP) -- A former Iowa State Patrol trooper was arrested after authorities said they found child pornography on his computer during a routine probation check.

Karl Kluender, of Ames, was sentenced to two years probation in 2006 after pleading guilty to indecent contact with a child. He was originally charged with second-degree sexual abuse for molesting the 7-year-old girl in the early 1990s.

During a probation check in June, the child pornography was found on the computers, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

U.S. Marshals and agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested Kluender, 40, on Friday morning on charges of receiving and possession of child pornography. He was expected to appear before a federal judge in the afternoon.


CT - Officer investigated for conduct in teen sex case

View the article here

02/08/2008

NORWALK - The state's attorney's office in Stamford is exploring allegations that the head of the police department's youth bureau impeded their investigation of former police Lt. Thomas Cummings, who has been accused of having sex with teenage boys.

Another veteran lieutenant also is under investigation amid allegations that he downloaded pornography on at least one police department computer.

Police sources with knowledge of the case said Sgt. Stephen Couture, a 23-year department veteran, is being investigated for immediately informing Cummings on Oct. 26 that a complaint had been filed accusing him of having sex with a 15-year-old Weston boy.

State's Attorney David Cohen at state Superior Court in Stamford would not confirm whether his office is conducting an investigation.

As head of the youth bureau, Couture was in charge of supervising and conducting sexual assault investigations involving underage kids.

Police sources asked for anonymity because departmental policy prohibits them from speaking to the news media about the investigation.

Cummings, who until the end of October headed the police department's detective bureau, was charged last week with three counts of enticing a minor, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.

He faces a maximum 115 years in prison for allegedly having sex with two 15-year-old boys at his Dreamy Hollow condominium and trying to have sex with another, according to three arrest affidavits. Cummings, who resigned Feb. 1, is free on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 14.

Police Chief Harry Rilling said that he preferred not to comment and would not confirm whether an investigation involving Couture is taking place in Stamford.

While acknowledging that he has heard the allegations made against Couture, Rilling said: "At any time, if we receive information that there has been criminal activity or department violations, we do a complete investigation and take the appropriate action."

Rilling would not comment on Couture's current posting, except to say that he is taking time off for vacation.

But department sources said Couture's command has been stripped and he was reassigned out of the youth bureau, which investigates serious crimes by or against children.

Couture, who was promoted to sergeant in June 1991, packed up his office last weekend and may be taking the next month off to study for an upcoming lieutenants' examination, one source said.

Reached by phone yesterday, Couture said he had no comment on the allegations.

With advanced warning given by Couture on Oct. 26 - three days before the rest of the department was made aware of the allegations on Oct. 29 - Cummings may have destroyed computer and other evidence pointing to his guilt, police sources with knowledge of the investigation said.

Cummings' condominium at 41 Wolfpit Ave., Norwalk, was searched on Nov. 1, by an inspector in the state's attorney's office in Stamford and a police department deputy chief, according to court records.

Cummings' personal computer was seized along with 143 VHS tapes and 110 DVDs containing teenage males and males in their 20s engaged in sex acts, the affidavit said.

Messages left with Cummings' attorney, Bob Frost, were not returned yesterday.

As a result of the allegations against Couture, investigators in the Stamford assistant state's attorneys office stumbled upon pornography downloaded on at least one police department computer allegedly by Lt. Michael King, sources in the department said.

Rilling said evidence involving Cummings was seized by the department and turned over to Senior Assistant State's Attorney Richard Colangelo. Rilling would not specify whether Cummings' department computer was seized.

King is a friend of Cummings, and both officers started in the department in 1983.

King is not part of the investigation into Couture's actions from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29, sources said.

Downloading pornography on a department computer does not appear to be a criminal offense unless the images involve children.

According to the department's directives, viewing or downloading materials from the Internet that may involve obscene language or images other than required for police business is prohibited.

A message left with King yesterday afternoon was not returned.

The state's attorney's investigation began in late October after a complaint surfaced about a 15-year-old Weston boy having sex with Cummings.

News reports of the investigation brought a 22-year-old Fairfield man to investigators working in the Stamford state's attorney's office.

The man said he had sex with Cummings when he was 17.

The man provided inspectors with the names of three other youths, now 18 and 19, who told police that when they were 15 they met Cummings on a gay Internet site called Manhunt.net, the arrest affidavits said.

One of the teens, whose name was not included in the affidavits, said he and Cummings got together around Christmas 2003, when he was a sophomore at Norwalk High School.

The youth told inspectors that after a month of e-mails and messages, Cummings picked him up in his Jeep Wrangler and took him to his Wolfpit condo. The two had sex at the apartment, the affidavit said.

Another youth said he began seeing Cummings in the fall of 2004 after meeting him on the Web site. The youth, now 19, said he was 15 at the time he and Cummings had sex at the condo.


CO - One Size Doesn’t Fit All

View the article here

02/08/2008

CSU researcher looks for customized approaches to dealing with young sex offenders

By Erin Frustaci, efrustaci@fortcollinsnow.com

In the adult world, sexual offenses are clear-cut and the punishment swift: Flash yourself at someone in a pool hall, for example, and you’ll quickly find yourself resigning as the Legislature’s assistant majority leader.

Grope someone, or worse, and you’ll carry the label of “sex offender” for the rest of your life.

But what if the offender is a juvenile? And the “grope” a schoolyard smack on the butt? Historically, it hasn’t mattered—the treatment and punishment options for both adult and juvenile sex offenders are largely the same.

Lately, however, some experts are questioning if this is the best approach, as more research sheds light on young offenders and the complex motivations behind their actions—whether it’s simple immaturity or genuine deviance.

“Everyone wants that magic bullet solution,” said Mark Winokur, director of the social work research center in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. “In social science, that doesn’t happen.”

Instead of a one-size-fits-all treatment solution for young offenders, Winokur is advocating for a more flexible approach, one he believes is more effective at curbing potential future behavior. The results of a 2006 study spurred him to take a deeper look at the issue.

Conducted by CSU and funded by 12 counties and the Colorado Department of Human Services, it analyzed existing research on the impact of different treatments, or the lack of treatment, on juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 who commit sexual offenses.

Winokur said CSU has decided to revisit the study for several reasons—one being that the field is picking up steam and more studies have been conducted in recent years.

“I think before the 1990s, juvenile sex offenders received very little attention because it was over-explained as experimentation,” Winokur said. “‘Boys will be boys’ was the approach. ... In the last 15 years there has been more awareness, because the awareness of youth-related violence has gone up. Along with that there has been more of a look at sexual violence. In that 15 year period, states have made more changes in the juvenile court system and consequences have become more severe.”

Now, the pendulum may start to swing in the other direction.

Winokur said several counties are concerned that juveniles are treated the same as adults when offenders’ different developmental stages are not necessarily taken into account. Beyond that, treatment within the juvenile offender population is usually the same even though the degree of offenses may vary. Part of the problem is that very little research has been done on the best practices for treating juveniles in the past.

However, according to Winokur, much of the research that does exist suggests there are two types of juvenile sex offenders: Those who act inappropriately due to a general immaturity, and those who engage in deviant behavior. The concern, he said, is that these two types get lumped into the same group and treated the same.

Michelle Brinegar, chief deputy district attorney for the juvenile division in Larimer County said the ways the laws are written do not leave much room for discretion. Though there are juvenile cases that warrant standard treatment for sexual offenders, Brinegar said what works for an adult is not necessarily always going to work for a juvenile.

“It seems you can’t have a cookie-cutter approach to kids who commit sexual offenses,” Brinegar said. “There are a lot of different reasons and ways for them to sexually offend. They might do the bra snapping or grabbing butts at school, but are we ready to label them as sex offenders?”

In an effort to be proactive, Larimer County formed a new diversion program for juveniles last summer. The Fast Track accountability program is guided more toward boundaries, is more community-based and targets those who clearly need intervention.

Brinegar said the boundary class is usually between 14-18 weeks and is not as extensive as sex offender treatment. Those who agree to do the Fast Track program do not enter the court system, unless they violate their agreement. That way, they are still held accountable.

So far, about 11 have entered the program and four have graduated from it. One of its benefits is that services can be put in place for the juveniles much faster than if they were to go through the court system. In Larimer County about 35 to 40 sex offenses a year involve juveniles, Brinegar said.

Manny Ortega, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, said the schools are notified when a case goes to the courts, so a safety plan can be put in place. Such a plan outlines the conditions under which the student may attend school. In working with these students, the district uses the term “sexually reactive youth” instead of identifying them as sex offenders because of the developmental factor.

The few things that arise at school tend to be name calling or teasing and can often be addressed through the district’s policies. Ortega said depending on the severity of an incident, consequences can range from reprimand to expulsion.

“In school, we have an orderly environment so we see pretty minor stuff,” Ortega said. “There is normal goings-on at schools on societal expectations and school expectations. We don’t live in an MTV world, at least not at school.”

The district also has a Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART), which is a peer program that helps to educate students and prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Through his research, Winokur said preliminary findings suggest juvenile sex offenders are unlikely to re-offend as adults and even less likely if they receive treatment. His hope is that his work, when completed, can be used to help legislators and practitioners deliver effective programs tailored specifically to juveniles.

“It should be individualized to meet the risk level and developmental age,” he said. “It’s not one size fits all. That’s the big thing.”


Offenders need not be damned

View the article here

02/08/2008

Few crimes create more fear among community members than sexual offenses.

Not surprisingly, this fear and the ability of politicians to take advantage of it has resulted in inconsistent and incomprehensible policies toward sex offenders. Such policies often not only decrease the ability of offenders to reintegrate into society but also call into question some of the basic principles on which our judicial system is based.

Earlier this week, an Associated Press story detailed the situation of a group of sex offenders living under a bridge in Miami. The offenders said that the passing of local laws about where offenders could live — akin to other cities’ bans on living within 1,000 or more feet of a church, school or other community area — prevented them from getting housing elsewhere. Thus, 19 of the offenders created a communal living space under the bridge and registered the location with their probation officers as their place of residence. Before being told last week to move out, the men had lived under the bridge for an entire year.

Last March, spurred by Green Bay’s march toward implementing strict restrictions on where sex offenders could live, I wrote an opinion column decrying this practice of legislating segregation. Later, in September, fellow columnist Bassey Etim wrote an excellent column on the continuing spread of these restrictions throughout the nation. The situation in Florida is the exact kind of outcome that Mr. Etim and I warned about: Despite serving their sentences, these released offenders have little hope for reintegration into society after they are released.

Unfortunately, the restrictions on where sex offenders can live are not the only aspect unique to their situation. Even when a particular town or city allows an offender to settle down, he or she is often the subject of a neighborhood meeting that notifies everyone of the potential danger they may present.

In Wisconsin, the addresses of all the state’s sex offenders are readily available via a purpose-built website. One Wisconsin legislator even suggested making sex offenders put specially colored license plates on their cars.

If they aren’t becoming less dangerous in prison, then the ongoing efforts to isolate them from society once they are released certainly aren’t helping them further adjust to a different style of life outside of prison.

Honestly, I find these practices baffling. What is the point of releasing an offender if he or she won’t get a chance to normally reenter society? Won’t the isolation and contempt of their neighbors only increase the likelihood of re-offending?

Taken together, the laws that single out sex offenders have the effect of being another dividing line in our society. This type of law seeks to specifically discriminate against a defined group after they have already served what should be a substantial punishment. This type of law seems particularly foolish considering the fact that sex offenders are among the least likely of felons to ever commit another crime. Reports from Washington and Tennessee correctional systems hold up this fact, as well as a massive 1994 study by the United States Department of Justice.

In the future, absent a court decision striking down residency restrictions or a change in the trend toward enacting them, there doesn’t seem to be anything to stop communities from enacting restrictions on any felon. After all, they are far more likely to re-offend than a sex offender.

Unfortunately, the effect of this would be to create a batch of second-class citizens. Of course, in many states felons aren’t really even citizens because they are no longer allowed to vote. But that’s a topic for another day.

Now, I am open to compromise on this issue. Perhaps more freedom after a release for the first sex offense should be compromised with lifelong punishments for second-time offenders. This way, their fates are in their own hands. An offender can choose the path of reintegration after his or her first crime or face a life sentence, hard labor or a firing squad, for all I care.

I decided to shed light on this issue once again because I think the situation that occurred in Florida is deplorable and should be avoided at all costs. The criminal justice system has enough problems with it already. In the future, it should not be used to hound and segregate offenders for their entire lives after they have paid an appropriate punishment for their actions.

Andrew Wagner (awagner@badgerherald.com) is a junior majoring in computer science and political science.


A Sex offender's life of humiliation

View the article here

Posted by permission!

I know awhile back I put up a post that I would try to post more of my own thoughts. I have failed to do so,but I do have my own reasons for it. Tomorrow is going to be a great day. My fiancee and I are buying a new house together. I have two kids from a previous marriage(ya, I have sole custody, imagine that, a sex offender who got his kids) And she has a daughter of her own. Now, we are having a child together, I am very excited to move into OUR house because it is another step to try to put the past behind me.

I have always been upfront and honest about my past, my x-wife and her family never had an issue with it.................same goes for my fiancee and her family. It's funny if you actually sit down and talk to someone who is a registered sex offender that you automatically forget about the stigma that the media places on them.

The new house to me means a new beginning for my fiancee and my family.....................but..........here is the kicker, I am back to square one again. You may wonder what I am talking about,...well, here is the cenario, I move into a new house, tell my neighbors about my past.................no problem.

But now I will do it all over again, I dont have to, but,....... if I do I always feel better and it is always a good outcome. I know that if they see me on the net or from hear-say than it all a mess.

And here is the entire reason I wrote this. a friend of mine told me it is a waste of money to activate the alarm system that is installed on the new house. I have to do it though, it does not matter where you live, where you work , or anything. If you are a registered sex offender you spend everyday of your life in fear!

I am honestly terrified of someone trying to hurt my family .....or myself. I live in a small town and more than likely I will never have anything to worry about. But............if you read the papers, it does not matter anymore. The damage has been done. Thanks to the combination of the media and the average idiot, anyone like me never gets a good nights sleep.


Election Bull***t 2008


Sex Offender Redemption


Can a repentant sex offender be forgiven, and do they still have a chance in marriage?

Pastor Mark Driscoll answers this question as part of a live "Ask Anything" session in which audience members SMS questions to the pulpit to be answered in real time.

This question was answered in the broader context of a sermon entitled "Sexual Sin" which can be found at the web site link above.