Thursday, July 10, 2008

CA - Supervisors may repeal sex offender law

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This is just insane. Everyone is HELL-BENT and stuck on nothing but punishment, punishment, punishment instead of FIXING THE PROBLEMS and examining if the laws are actually working, which they are not, and won't. They are repeating the SHUFFLE the Governator was doing a while back, see the video below. Arnold had some problems of his own, until they were swept under the rug, see here.


County supervisors will wrestle again Tuesday with a rule about where registered sex offenders can live — a rule so strict some supervisors fear it will force them all into rural areas.

The supervisors adopted a law in April barring sex offenders from taking up residence within 2,000 feet of a licensed day care. But that would include three-quarters of the residential parcels in unincorporated Kern.

If the supervisors repeal the law Tuesday morning, offenders still wouldn’t be able to live in the day cares. And they’d still have to stay 2,000 feet away from parks and schools — a requirement of the state Jessica’s Law.

But that still would leave sex offenders located in hotels on Union Avenue, next to Rosegarden Residential Care Home, which houses people with disabilities. The owner of the care home has been a driving force behind the ordinance.

There is some uncertainty over whether the Bakersfield Lodge motel counts as within 2,000 feet of Casa Loma Park, two county lawyers said, even after the supervisors in April clarified how to measure the distance.

In any case, the county ordinance only applies to people who moved in since the law was passed.

The state parole office has been placing offenders in the motels, but county lawyer John Irby said he’s not sure whether that is illegal, because it depends on where the parolees were before.

And even if the parole office is violating the law, it’s unlikely that the district attorney would prosecute a parole officer doing his job, or a parolee following his officer’s instructions.

The supervisors were scheduled to talk with officials from state parole, but the local parole administrator, Rodney Armstrong, said there were schedule conflicts. He said he is trying to reschedule.

And the whole question hinges on a state Supreme Court decision, still pending, on whether Jessica’s Law is even constitutional.

The issue of whether to even consider a repeal already split the supervisors, pitting the two supervisors with more urban districts — Michael Rubio and Mike Maggard — against the three whose districts include large rural swaths.

In other action, the supervisors will hear from Urban Futures, a consulting firm hired to answer questions about forming a redevelopment area for Oildale.

WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised!

VT - Attorney General Bill Sorrell on Sex Offender Laws

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Listen to this audio below. I'm sure more knee-jerk reactions will follow. Also, who gives a rats a$$ what Bill O'Reilly or Nancy Disgrace thinks? She is an ex-DA, and they are all about convictions and not about justice. That is obvious. She claims to be a Christian also. Check out this web site.


In the wake of Brooke Bennett's death, we take a closer look at Vermont's sex offender laws. The body of the 12-year-old Braintree girl was found last week, and federal prosecutors have charged her uncle with kidnapping. Now, some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the state's sex offender laws, and for the passage of "Jessica's Law", which requires a 25-year minimum sentence for sex offenders. Attorney General Bill Sorrell explains Vermont's current sex offender laws, how they've changed, and why Vermont has a national reputation as being lenient on offenders.

© Copyright 2008, VPR

FL - Thousands Flock to Revival in Search of Miracles

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Just another false prophet, IMO, exploiting the gullible. Some videos are at the end. You be the judge! Why are people so quickly eager to believe in some fruit cake, claiming they can heal, but they do not look to God for help? I trust God more than I would EVER trust ANY man. Look to God for help, not man!


Controversial Canadian Minister Says He Can Cure the Sick and Weary

A middle-aged woman suffering from ovarian cancer shakes back and forth, speaking in tongues.

A young child with spina bifida and splints on his legs tears them off and bolts across the stage. He cries as he declares that his legs have strength like never before.

"The boy's been healed," says the preacher as thousands cheer him on.

Meanwhile, Bill Wise sits quietly with one arm raised to the sky, the other tightly clutching his 2-year-old daughter, who was born with her bladder and colon outside of her body.

He prays for a miracle.

Todd Bentley, a tattooed Canadian, stands with a microphone in one hand and the other stretched out to this electrified crowd of nearly 10,000.

"Bam!" He yells. "Bam, bam, bam!"

Several people onstage with him collapse to the ground.

Bentley has led a rapidly growing throng of people from all over the world in a religious revival that has transformed the small city of Lakeland, Fla., into the center of an international phenomenon.

Wise flew from Seattle with his daughter, Caelyn, in hopes that Bentley would be able to help his child where modern medicine has failed.

Like so many here, Wise believes Bentley has a special connection with God.

"He is very close with the Lord," Wise said. "He has actively and passionately pursued God. My daughter needs a miracle."

Tens of thousands of others like Wise are making a pilgrimage to this small city in central Florida in hopes of finding a miracle.

Spreading the Word

Thanks to the Internet and satellite television, word of the revival spread quickly around the world to people like Jim Carter, who came to Lakeland from Anaheim, Calif., with his wife and daughter.

"We've been watching on the Internet since it started, basically," he said. "We just wanted to come down and first-hand experience."

Carter added, "We just want more of God, more of his presence and to see God change our country and bring America back to God."

From the looks of it, Carter's daughter, Tanya, is a typical American teenager. But she is deaf.

"She was onstage last night around 11 o'clock," Carter said. "Todd prayed for her, and she said she actually felt fire and heat in her right ear."

"The crowd just keeps growing," said Bentley. "We're drawing anywhere from five to ten thousand people a night, and up to 70 percent of the crowd is brand new every night," he said. "And they're coming from all over the world, more than 130 nations, from every background."

A Dark Past

With his arms, legs and chest covered in tattoos and his lip pierced with a stud, Bentley is not the image of an evangelist most people have in mind.

Born in British Columbia, Canada, Bentley said he led a rough life before finding God.

He says his mom raised him on welfare, parading a succession of boyfriends through the house. When he saw his dad, even as boy, Bentley said it was to get drunk together and do drugs.

"You know it's a cycle of destructive abuse. Alcoholism, drugs, drinking at 11, I got involved in all kinds of criminal activity and ended up in prison before I was 15," he said.

At 15, Bentley was incarcerated for sexual abuse, a crime he committed when he was 13 against a younger boy.

Bentley, however, doesn't shy away from talking about his past and takes responsibility for his crimes.

"I'm very open about my past. I've written a book and it's in my autobiography," he said. "I served time in prison for my crime."

"I'd break into vehicles, I'd steal, as I got older, I'd take your pot, I'd take your drugs. I got involved with people who were affiliated with gangs and bikers."

At 18, Bentley said he found God, something he neither expected nor anticipated.

"God found me in my drug dealer's trailer and spoke to me in an audible voice," he said. "I was instantly delivered from drug and alcohol addiction, I never had one craving, not one withdrawal symptom, I was transformed from that man to the man that I am today."

"I see myself, you know, as a sinner saved by grace the same way the tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners were saved in the Bible," Bentley said.

It's not clear if the tens of thousands who are coming to Lakeland know all about Bentley's past, but they do know that he makes a virtue of repenting and embracing the Lord.

A Town Reacts

Amidst the frenetic passion of the revival not everyone is embracing the movement with open arms.

Ellen Simms owns a small store on Main Street, and though she has seen an increase in business over the past few weeks, the whole movement makes her uncomfortable.

"Miracles may happen, but this is such theater that it bothers me," she said while sitting behind the counter of her store in downtown Lakeland. "I'm not buying it."

Others are even more skeptical.

"They're just using this as a gimmick to make money," said June Cochran, who has been in a wheelchair all her life due to cerebral palsy.

Cochran said that people from the revival have lobbied her to attend the revival so that she can be "cured." She's a deeply religious person but she is offended by the tone of Bentley's revival.

"At first I didn't know how to respond, but they're not hearing what they're saying. They're saying that there is something wrong with us and that if we do not have our self-esteem already built up, it tears us down even more. Like we're not even worthy to be here."

Rev. Jeff White, a pastor at a local Missionary church in Lakeland, heard so much talk about Todd Bentley and the revival tent that he wanted to see it for himself.

He struggled with what he saw.

"I've had to fight skepticism and cynicism because I truly believe that God heals. I really believe his powers are real and it is today," White said. "I can't say that my spirit enters in and joins in with some of the things we've seen here tonight."

Bentley said he expects skepticism and embraces it.

"I would encourage the skeptic, come to a meeting, sit in a meeting for two days, see what happens to you," he said. "I'll pray for a skeptic. I'm not afraid of skeptics, I expect skeptics."

The Healing Touch?

When asked to present evidence of the healings, Bentley promised to give "Nightline" the names and medical records of three followers who would talk openly about his miracles. He never delivered. Instead, his staff gave "Nightline" a binder filled with what he says are inspiring miracles, but with scant hard evidence. It offered incomplete contact information, a few pages of incomplete medical records, and the doctors' names were crossed out.

When pressed further, Bentley provided the name of a woman in California who had a large tumor in her uterus that shrank after she saw Bentley.

Her husband, however, told "Nightline" that it could be a coincidence because she was still undergoing medical treatment. He said she was too ill to talk to the media.

The husband did provide some of his wife's medical records from a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, where she went for cancer treatment after being turned away by American hospitals. The wife, however, insisted on obscuring the clinic's name and the names of the doctors.

Not a single claim of Bentley's healing powers could be independently verified.

Bentley, however, remains positive.

"I believe God is real and he's showing himself to his people," he said. "Yes, I believe the prayer of faith will save the sick."

Bentley's revival is filled with wheelchairs and crutches, with people of faith and people desperate for salvation through faith.

One of them is Bill Wise. He patiently tended his desperately ill baby daughter throughout the long night's revival. He listened for a call from Bentley offering a cure for his child's condition. But it never came.

Yet Wise defiantly refuses to lose faith.

"Even if we don't see any change, in the immediate run here, sometimes prayer is cumulative," Wise said.

Research Project conducted by Dr. Jill Levenson


Dear Sir or Madam:

Dr. Jill Levenson of Lynn University in Florida is conducting a research project to better understand the impact that sex offender registration, notification, and residence laws have on families of registered sex offenders (RSO).

If you are the family member or loved one of a registered sex offender in the USA, please click on the link below to complete the survey.

This survey is confidential, secure, and anonymous. All answers will be used only for research purposes, and your identity will not be known. The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete.

If you have already completed this survey, please DO NOT do so again. However, please feel free to forward this email to anyone else you know who is a family member or loved one of a RSO and might be interested in taking the survey.

Click to take Survey

Thank you,

Jill Levenson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Human Services
Lynn University
3601 N. Military Trail
Boca Raton , FL 33431

NY - Proposed law targets sex-offender residences

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Brookhaven Councilwoman Kathy Walsh (R-Centereach) has proposed a local law to prohibit more than two registered sex offenders from residing in the same one-family dwelling.

The intent is to "limit the saturation" of registered sex offenders, Walsh said, adding that the approval of this law would amend Chapter 55 of the code of the Town of Brookhaven's Child Protection Act. A public hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 5.

According to Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, town officials recently amended their local code to be consistent with Suffolk County law, which states that "registered sex offenders cannot live within a quarter mile of public and private schools, licensed day care centers or playgrounds with playground apparatus." Ahearn said this week there are 854 registered sex offenders in Suffolk County.

Based on that relatively small number, Walsh said, "Limiting it to two per household in Brookhaven doesn't seem to be an unreasonable law."

Currently, there is no town code that regulates the number of registered sex offenders residing in the same one-family dwelling, Ahearn said. She has been approached by residents from Gordon Heights "deeply concerned about multiple sex offenders in one home," she noted, adding that there were five to six per house, specifically mentioning Homestead Drive in that Coram neighborhood.
- Come on, they are concerned about one sex offender living in a home, that is obvious by the news. And this shows that the people making these laws are ignorant. Several sex offenders living in one place usually police each other and if one screws up the other reports it.

"This community has had a tremendous burden … for over a decade" of so many offenders located in the area, said the executive director. "This is a problem not only locally but all over the country."
- If you'd quit passing insane, unconstitutional and draconian laws, then you would not have this grouping of offenders. They are forced to group together due to the very laws which limit where they can and cannot live. Open your eyes!

Walsh and Ahearn, who began working together in January, agreed the proposed law would alleviate the problem by holding landlords accountable. "We can ticket the landlords so that they don't rent to five, six offenders [per household], saturating a community that has affordable, rentable homes," Walsh said.

Town officials will be able to track the registered sex offenders through the town's geographic information system, Walsh noted, eliminating the need for additional funds. "The idea is to keep landlords from exploiting our communities for profit," the councilwoman continued. "We acknowledge that they have paid their debt to society. They do have to be given the opportunity to readjust to society, but we also have a responsibility to keep our families safe."
- I don't think what you say here is true. Your actions prove that you do not believe what you are saying.

Ahearn, who founded PFML 12 years ago, agreed Walsh's amendment to the Child Protection Act would alleviate the saturation problem by penalizing "landlords ... who are just trying to make a buck."

"We're very pleased that Councilwoman Walsh stepped up to the plate," she said. "Brookhaven can now rest assured that certain landlords who are looking to exploit the community are not going to be able to anymore."

According to Walsh, landlords violating the proposed local law would face fines between $250 and $2,500 per week for as long as the violation continues.

"Some of these [sex offenders] will never do this again," Walsh added. "You don't want to penalize people forever, but you also have a responsibility to make sure that the community is not saturated."
- Well, these very laws ARE penalizing people forever. I guess the old saying "Ignorance is bliss" is true for you people.

In 2006, the Suffolk County Legislature approved a bill introduced by Legislator Kate Browning (Email) (WF-Shirley) to prohibit multiple-registered sex offenders from living in one household. That bill, however, only applies to those offenders who are on parole or probation, or those who receive social services.

PA - Mandatory sentence dropped in sex offender’s case

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And yet more proof laws applied to anyone before the law was created is unconstitutional.


By Heather Stauffer, Sentinel Reporter

A Middlesex Township sex offender convicted of possessing child pornography no longer faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for each offense.

The state law setting the mandatory sentence was enacted after the defendant’s crime was committed, Jaime M. Keating, Cumberland County’s first assistant district attorney, told Cumberland County President Judge Edgar Bayley Tuesday. Applying a law retroactively would be unconstitutional.

The last-minute finding prompted Keating to withdraw the notice of mandatory sentence against Bruce Paul Ward, 33, of the first block of Wolf Bridge Road. “Had I been made aware of this earlier, we could have avoided this,” Keating said.
- Why don't you read the Constitution of the United States? You might learn something!

Ward was originally scheduled to be sentenced three weeks ago, at which time his attorney, Arla Waller, raised a number of objections to the mandatory sentence. However, Keating said, his reason for withdrawing the notice was independent of those objections.

Earlier this year, a jury found Ward guilty of two counts of possessing child pornography, which, given his 2001 federal conviction for the same offense, would have triggered the mandatory sentence were it not for the time issue, Keating said. The jury also found Ward guilty of 45 counts of designing obscene or sexual materials, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Furthermore, last November, Ward, whose federal conviction required him to register under Megan’s Law, pleaded guilty to failing to register properly when he moved.

Keating also told Bayley he would still be seeking a lengthy state sentence for Ward that, given the guidelines for possessing child pornography are 1 to 12 months in prison and the guidelines on obscenity are up to 6 months per count, would require consecutive or aggravated-range sentences.

To support such a sentence, Keating said, he wanted to enter into the record evidence that was found at Ward’s house. That included a video of children swimming at a public pool, video of Ward performing sex acts on furniture and clothing and video of Ward assembling what Keating called a “rape bag” containing duct tape, ropes and condoms, Keating said.

Although that evidence was not admissible at trial, the assistant DA said it was relevant during sentencing as it spoke to Ward’s character.

Keating cited that same evidence following Ward’s conviction, when he made a motion to revoke Ward’s bail, which is at $10,000 and was posted last year. Bayley denied that motion.

As for Keating’s current requests for sentencing, Bayley told him he will consider them and set a sentencing date once he decides whether to allow such evidence. Ward remains free until that date.

CA - Supreme Court to Determine Constitutionality of ‘Jessica’s Law’

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The California Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide whether a popular law that allows sexually violent predators to be confined indefinitely is constitutional.

At their weekly conference in San Francisco, the justices voted 5-2, with Justices Ming Chin and Marvin Baxter in the minority, to grant the defendant’s petition for review in People v. Mckee,160 Cal.App.4th 1517. The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. One ruled March 20 that the statute does not violate the Due Process, Equal Protection, or Ex Post Facto clauses.

Affirming the decision of San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter L. Gallagher, Div. One upheld the constitutionality of “Jessica’s Law,” enacted by an overwhelming majority of the voters as Proposition 83. The 2006 measure provides in part that an individual committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act will remain in custody until he can prove that he no longer suffers from a mental illness that predisposes him to commit sex crimes.
- So how does one "prove" you do not have a mental illness? Also, if this is a mental illness, then I suggest everyone in California to go down and file for disability.

Under prior law, a sexually violent predator who had completed his sentence could only be recommitted for two years at a time.

The defendant in the case considered by the justices yesterday, Richard McKee, was involuntarily committed to the custody of the State Department of Mental Health for an indeterminate term in March 2007.
- Why did he not get treatment in prison while serving his time? Now you are making him serve more time by placing him in what basically amounts to a concentration camp? Is prison just a holding place? I thought it was meant to be a place where people go to serve their time and get the help they need, so why is that not being done? This is basically sentencing a person twice for the same crime, which violates the constitution. Thanks to good ole' President Bush for eradicating everyones right to a fair trial. He did it with the Guantanamo "terrorists," and now, you may be next...

Jessica’s Law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year old Florida girl who was raped and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey, a previously convicted sex offender. In addition to providing for indefinite commitments, it changed the definition of a sexually violent predator by permitting an offender to be so designated on the basis of a single conviction of a violent sex crime.

Proposition 83 did not change the requirement that the prerequisites for commitment be proved at trial beyond a reasonable doubt, or the act’s requirement that the offender bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he is entitled to conditional release for one year and subsequent unconditional discharge after that one-year conditional release.
- Hell, if this country really wants to prevent another sex crime on a child, then you should go arrest EVERYONE right now, take them down to the Haliburton Concentration Camps and imprison everyone. If it saves one child, it's worth it, right?

McKee claimed the act’s release provisions were inadequate to ensure that only those persons with a current mental illness that makes them dangerous to the public continue to be confined.

Citing Jones v. United States (1983) 463 U.S. 354, which held that the application of a standard of proof by a preponderance of the evidence did not violate the due process at an initial hearing regarding the civil commitment of a person previously found not guilty of committing a criminal offense by reason of insanity, the court concluded that an SVP’s initial indefinite civil commitment pursuant to the amended act did not violate due process because McKee’s mental illness and dangerousness were proved beyond a reasonable doubt, an even higher standard of proof.

The court also did not find any due process issue with the potential length of an indefinite civil commitment, noting that the inmate could still petition for review or release based on an alleged change in his status.
- Yeah, it's because the USA is not the USSA!!!! Welcome to the "REPUBLIC OF USSA" Just because the corrupt government says it's right, doesn't mean it's right.

Also, because the act provides measure for the release of committed persons, the indeterminate term does not indicate that the amended act is now punitive, Justice Alex McDonald reasoned, because the term’s duration “is linked not to punishment, but to its stated purpose of treating the committed person and protecting the public.”
- What a crock of s--t!

Pursuant to the California Supreme Court’s opinion in Hubbart v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1138, which rejected the ex post facto challenge to the pre-Proposition 83 version of the act, the court concluded that the act, as amended, did not implicate any ex port facto concerns either.
- And another crock of s--t! Ex post facto means changing the rules of the game after the fact. They are just trying to change the meaning. I think the meaning is rather self explanatory as it is, and these laws are ex post facto, period.

The court also held that the amended act did not violate equal protection because it treats mentally disordered defendants civilly committed under Penal Code Sec. 2960 and persons found not guilty by reason of insanity and civilly committed under Penal Code Sec. 1026.

Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company

OH - Sex offenders don't have to move, court rules

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How come some states say these laws can't be applied retroactively (because they apparently consider them to be punishment), but in other states it's OK to do that? It seems to me that all similar laws, wherever they are being used, should be considered the same type of law, either punitive or not, and for all sex offenders, not just those in a court case.


LANCASTER — Four convicted sex offenders who are violating state law by living within 1,000 feet of elementary schools don’t have to move because they committed their crimes before the law took effect in 2003, a state appeals court ruled.

The 5th District Court of Appeals ruling conforms with an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that declared the state’s sex-offender residency restrictions could not apply retroactively.

Lancaster City Prosecutor Terre Vandervoort filed a lawsuit in Fairfield County Common Pleas Court to force the four to move. Last year, Judge Chris A. Martin ruled they must move, and then allowed them to stay put while they appealed his ruling.

The appeals court ruling June 9 means that Virgil E. Larson Jr., Darren L. Coey, William E. Rudd and Jerry L. Groves may remain in their homes.
- What about all the other sex offenders in this same situation?

In the meantime, Larson is scheduled for trial Aug. 19 on new charges. A county grand jury in February indicted him on two counts of rape and six counts of gross sexual imposition. He is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old neighbor girl who was in the third grade at Cedar Heights Elementary School.

OH - Lawsuit challenging Ohio's obscenity law

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Here come the Puritans! Trying to decide what everyone else can read or watch. It is a known fact, that those who usually scream the loudest or point the finger at someone, usually have something to hide themselves, it's called a diversion a way from themselves, just look at people like Mark Foley, David Vitter and the many others. I wonder what Mark Lunsford and John Walsh have in their closets?


Attorneys for Larry Flynt's Hustler pornography empire are challenging Ohio's new sex-offender registration requirement for people convicted of pandering obscenity.

Ohio's version of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act went into effect earlier this year, requiring individuals convicted of sex offense-related crimes, such as selling hardcore pornographic material, to register as sex offenders for 15 years. The manager of the Hustler store in downtown Cincinnati -- described by the Cincinnati Enquirer as being from northern Kentucky and the mother of two children who attend a Catholic school -- is suing the Ohio attorney general, claiming that the registration requirement is unconstitutional in that it violates her rights of free speech and privacy. Her attorney says although his client has not been convicted or charged with anything, she is "frightened."

Phil Burress, president of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, says the woman's claim that she has no way of knowing what constitutes "obscene material" is not credible.

"In Ohio, pandering obscenity is a felony," Burress explains. "It's one of only five states where, if you sell an X-rated, hardcore can be charged with a felony and spend a year in jail. [The store manager and her attorneys] need to understand that the obscenity laws are quite clear, even though they say they're not."

The Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. California that any depiction of actual or simulated sexual activity or full frontal nudity constitutes obscenity.
- So what about all the other porn related web sites out there?

"The woman is the only person in this whole city of Cincinnati, apparently, who is selling something that she knows she could be prosecuted for selling," notes the family advocate. "So what she needs to do is to stop selling hardcore, sexually explicit pornography -- and then she won't have a problem."

Burress predicts Flynt's pornography empire will lose the lawsuit. "Let's put this into perspective: Is there anyone else who's afraid of being convicted for selling obscenity?" he asks. "No -- these are the only people in Cincinnati who know what they're prosecutable under Ohio law....[So] stop selling material where you could be prosecuted for selling obscenity. Get a job somewhere else."
- I'm sure if they knew the law, yes, they would be. But most sheeple are ignorant of the laws, until they gestapo come knocking on their doors.

The lawsuit notes that a planned expansion of the Cincinnati Hustler store has been put on hold because of the sex-offender registration requirement. Burress says that shows the real motivation for the lawsuit: Hustler is afraid that it will not be able to find anyone to work in its store if its employees are prosecuted for violating Ohio's obscenity law and have to register as sex offenders.

IN - Ex-Mich. City officer sentenced for misconduct

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MICHIGAN CITY -- A former Michigan City police officer has been sentenced to three years probation in a case that began when he was accused of engaging in a sexual act with a female prisoner.

Forty-five-year-old Ronald Fargo of LaPorte pleaded guilty last month to charges of official misconduct and false reporting in a plea agreement under which a sexual misconduct charge was dismissed. A judge sentenced Fargo on Wednesday.

Prosecutors accused Fargo of misconduct with the 35-year-old prisoner as he was transporting her to the police station. He resigned from the department in 2006 after 15 years on the force.

MD - Inmate's Death in Maryland County Triggers New Federal Probe

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Ronnie L. White, the suspect in the death of a police officer, was strangled in his jail cell in Prince George's County, Maryland, on June 29. Authorities suspect someone in a uniform did it.

The revelation that White, 19, died while in an area accessible only to jail employees shocked officials and residents of the Washington, D.C., suburb, who have been rocked before by accusations against law-enforcement officers.
- So was he strangled in his jail cell, or did someone kill him some where else, then put him in his cell?

During the past year, jail employees have been suspended or fired for allegedly having sex with inmates, giving them cell phones, and losing handguns. The county's deputy director of homeland security was convicted of shooting to death one furniture mover and wounding another when they showed up late to his home. In 2006, a jury awarded a family $3.7 million after county police killed an unarmed man during a botched surveillance operation.
- Wow, sounds like a very corrupt system!

"It's a department that's completely out of control,'' said Gregory Lattimer of Washington, the attorney for the family of Prince Jones, a 25-year-old college student who was shot to death by a county detective in a case of mistaken identity in 2000. "They have a number of incidents from the bizarre to the downright incompetent.''

Causes Concern

The jail incident is a setback as Prince George's -- the wealthiest black-majority county in the U.S. -- tries to highlight its recent economic gains, said James Dula, president of the county's Chamber of Commerce. A $4 billion hotel and restaurant development, on the banks of the Potomac River and within sight of the U.S. Capitol dome, opened this year.

"Any negativity causes concern for the business community,'' said Dula. Newspaper headlines about the jail death have triggered questions from visitors, he said.

Police spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said White's death was "unrelated to the police department,'' which she said has made strides in improving its relationship with the community. Vicki Duncan, a spokeswoman for the jail, declined to comment on the incident, while saying the facility consistently gets high ratings from accreditation agencies.
- So, these agencies can be bribed or payed off to get high scores as well.

County Executive Jack Johnson compared the jail incident to "vigilante justice,'' saying only correctional officers would have had contact with the prisoner. He has asked the state police to investigate. The state's attorney of Prince George's County said he would convene a grand jury to probe the case. Rushern Baker, who ran against Johnson in 2006, called it "a tragedy all around.''

Feds Return

"We haven't learned from the mistakes we've made out here,'' Baker said.

Reports of excessive force in 2000 spurred a federal investigation that led to the county agreeing to use mounted cameras on squad cars to videotape interactions with residents. Many of the incidents in question aren't specifically racial in nature, since they've involved black, as well as white, law- enforcement officers.

White's death has brought federal authorities back. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a civil rights probe into the killing, said Rich Wolf, an FBI spokesman.

White was arrested on June 27 and charged with running over and killing County Police Corporal Richard Findley, 39, a 10-year veteran, who tried to stop White from stealing a truck.

Access Question

White was taken to the jail and held in a cell, and "only correctional officers in the unit where he was housed had access to him from the time he was put in the cell until the time of his death,'' Johnson, the county executive, said July 1.

He was found dead in his cell about two days after his arrest.

Because White was accused of killing a Prince George's County officer, he shouldn't have been housed in a jail in the same county, where emotions were high, said David Rocah, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It appears to be a troubled correctional facilities system,'' he said.

Findley was buried last week as bagpipes played and hundreds of police officers stood at attention. Police are mourning a husband and father who was "dragged under a truck,'' said Taylor, the police spokeswoman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vanessa Rozier at

FL - Law may further limit where sex felons live

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PORT ST. LUCIE - Authorities in St. Lucie County say their sex offender population has increased in recent months as people learned the county had lax laws limiting where sex offenders can live.

County commissioners agreed Tuesday to consider an ordinance that would tighten limits on where sex offenders can live.

State law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, park or child-care facility. The county wants to increase that to 2,500 feet. The proposed ordinance is to be considered next month.

Many other Florida counties and cities already have similar ordinances.

CA - Gardena gets tougher on sex offenders

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Gardena may soon have the tightest restrictions on registered sex offenders in the South Bay, because officials say the city has too many of them.

The City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday, without discussion, that goes beyond the statewide Jessica's Law requirement that sex offenders live outside a 2,000-foot radius of schools and parks.

Gardena also wants to require offenders to be at least 300 feet from day care centers, and restrict them to a 10-to-1 ratio in multi-unit housing.

The ordinance was initiated by the Gardena Police Department (Contact) and will be voted on at the council's July 22 meeting.

"We need something permanent in place because of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's problem with density," City Attorney Steve Fischer said.

Since Jessica's Law reduced the areas where the registrants could move in 2006, the Department of Corrections has consolidated several sex offenders into single apartment buildings and motels.

Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano said he realized something needed to be done about the problem in March, when police officers discovered that the state was filling houses in the city with sex offenders.

"The impetus for this was when someone subleased their house to six parolee sex offenders," Medrano said. "We have about 160 of them in our city. That's too many."

Gardena's proposed law would further reduce areas in the city where registered sex offenders can move by about half.

Department of Corrections Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Hinkle said corrections officers help parolees find housing on a case-by-case basis, within parameters of the law, if it is determined that they need assistance.

"Often, with individuals first coming out of prison, they're still trying to get their feet on the ground," Hinkle said. "Having them transient on the streets is definitely not in the best interest of society - not only for safety reasons but for the individual's rehabilitation efforts."

But some local residents have made it clear that they don't want groups of sex offenders living together.

Recently, protesters picketed an apartment building in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood of Long Beach where 15 parolee sex offenders lived; a Carson hotel where 30 registered sex offenders resided; and a residential care facility near Gardena where six sex offenders were housed.

After the protest in Long Beach, the City Council passed an ordinance that created 2,000-foot buffers around child care centers and beaches, and only allows one registered sex offender per land parcel.

However, enforcement of the new law has been suspended since a group of sex offenders, who said they have a right to stay, threatened to sue the city in June. Since then, no lawsuit has materialized and the city appears to be cautiously moving forward.

If Gardena's ordinance is approved, it would take effect Aug. 21 and would only apply to new sex offenders coming to the city.

"It primarily affects new people coming in, not those that are here now," City Manager Mitch Lansdell said. "This is a population that turns over."

Carson is planning a similar ordinance that will go before the Planning Commission in the next two months, City Attorney Bill Wynder said.

If Carson enacts its law, it will give registered sex offenders six months to comply, he said.

"It prohibits over-concentration of sex offenders in any one type of housing stock," Wynder said.

PHILIPPINES - Campaign to revise Philippines consent laws

LA - Sex offenders in need of alternative sentencing

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They should be getting treatment in prison, not once they get out and are put into confinement, which is basically a concentration camp.


Sexual predators should certainly be punished, and if possible, they should be helped with appropriate mental health treatment.

But should the help come from involuntary commitments or should it be part of the incarceration?

A resolution approved by the Legislature this year provides for a study of civil commitment procedures for mental health treatment of sexually violent predators.

On its face, the law sounds like a good thing. But think a little and problems arise with this approach.

Basically, if a resolution was passed, it would allow for the confinement of a violent sexual predator outside of the prison system, much like any other person suffering from a mental illness who is confined for the public good.

More than a dozen other states already have similar laws, which have been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. But being legal doesn't mean it's effective.

It quickly hearkens back to arguments for alternative sentencing. Similar to drug addicts, sexual predators have a problem that should be addressed while they are incarcerated.

Alan Levine, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, who supports the idea of civil commitment, made the argument himself in an Associated Press story: "When they're in prison, they're not necessarily receiving any treatment. They serve their time, and then they're released into society, but the underlying condition that caused them to offend doesn't go away."

Mental health advocates find the process questionable at best.

"At its worst, it's a way to re-incarcerate a population of people we're understandably troubled about," said Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (Contact).

Instead of filling up mental institutions, he suggests weaving treatment into sentencing such as restricting where people live, closely monitoring them and mandating whatever counseling or medication is necessary.

If sex offenders are placed in the already limited state mental health system, it detracts from the many people who seek help on their own. Those with diagnosable illnesses also are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse, so placing offenders there is obviously problematic.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors raises several issues the Legislature would need to consider about how to make such a program work. It recommends these criminals be housed and treated separately from people with diagnosable mental illness for safety and therapeutic reasons, that facilities and treatment should be funded outside the mental health system, and laws should be drafted carefully and narrowly so they only include those criminals likely to pose a threat to society.

The current resolution (HCR 155) only calls for a six month study of the issue. Please, look at it. Sexual violence is a real and seemingly growing problem for society. But maybe there is some other answer for treating sexually violent predators than taking up space in mental health institutions.

FL - Jury Votes 5-1 To Free Sex Predator

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JACKSONVILLE -- A Duval County jury has voted to free a convicted sexual predator confined to a sexual treatment center for nearly two years since his release from prison.

Roger Roark, who admitted to sexually assaulting two young relatives in Clay County in the early 1990s and served a long prison sentence, had sued the state for his release.

In the early 1990s, Roger Roark admitted to sexually assaulting two of his young relatives. After his released from a long prison sentence for those crimes, he was arrested in Kentucky and confessed to sexually assaulting another girl.

Since the Department of Corrections deemed Roark was likely to reoffend, the state was allowed to hold him indefinitely in treatment under provisions of the Jimmy Ryce Act.

After a final defense witness Thursday morning, both sides gave closing arguments.

"It's critically important that you not commit Roger Roark because of the heinous, atrocious, unspeakable things he did to innocent women and children. You should commit him ... because he meets the criteria as a sexually violent offender," Assistant State Attorney Phil Bavington told the jury.

The defense said the crimes Roark committed that landed him in indefinite confinement occurred 18 years ago, and the counseling he has received since then make it unlikely he would offend again.

"That's what he did. He's not proud of it, but he's not in denial," said Roark's attorney, Kelly Pappa.

On Wednesday, prosecutors called Roark to the stand to talk about his past. Roark told the court he knows what he did was wrong, but said he has served his time and deserves to be released.

During questioning, Roark admitted that he molested his family members in Middleburg but said that happened in 1990, and said now he’s a different person.

“I was a very sick individual then, sir,” Roark said.

When questioned by his defense attorney, Roark took responsibility but blamed his disturbing actions in the past in part on drug addiction.

He said he doesn’t think he would have committed the crimes had he not been on drugs.

Roark also told the jury that as a child he was molested by a neighbor and claimed although he’s been diagnosed as a pedophile, he’s been helped by counseling and is no longer a threat to others.

Roark’s wife of seven years also took the stand on Wednesday to say she feels her husband has changed and should be released from the treatment facility. She said she would welcome her husband home to live their 5-year-old daughter.

“He’s always been very open with me about his crime and the situation he was in. The only change that I’ve seen is that he got more open and more honest and seems more remorseful to the crimes he’s committed,” Roark’s wife told the court.

Roark's now-adult victims also testified during the three-day civil trial and asked that the man remain in the treatment facility for sexual offenders.

After just over one hour of deliberations, the jury vote 5 to 1 to grant Roark's request for freedom -- a verdict that surprised even Roark.

"For a sex offender like myself, or whatever, to get out, 'cause society looks so hard on us," Roark told Channel 4's Dan Leveton.

Roark praise his attorneys for their hard work in earning his release.

Throughout the trial Roark said the therapy he has received has helped ensure he will not commit another crime. After the verdict, he said he will continue voluntarily in counseling.

After the trial, Roark was immediately released. He said he was anxious to return home to care for his wife and child.

TX-SONAR - Texas' monitoring site for Sex Offender Legislation!

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What is the first thing that comes to mind?

Look at the pictures below, be honest.

What is the first thing that comes to mind?

Picture #1

Picture #2

So what was the first thing that came to your mind?

Picture #1 - Is a father and daughter in the park

Did sex offender, pedophile, pervert or something else pop into your mind?

If so, why?

Don't you think that is a problem?

Picture #2 - Is a mother and son in the park

Did mother and son pop into your head first or something else?

Texas Voices

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