Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Santa Monica - False sexual assault allegations are made with surprising frequency. Vincent Imhoff, managing partner of Imhoff & Associates, PC, says that he has increasingly seen many cases of fraudulent sexual assault claims, many of them used as leverage in divorce cases.
"One of the allegations that happens frequently when people get divorced are child molestation allegations," Imhoff says. "One parent will use the children as a wedge or a vehicle to gain influence over the situation and to exact revenge.
"In that regard, that's why you need a criminal attorney in addition to a divorce attorney: to ensure your rights are defended vigorously and to prevent false allegations from becoming filed charges. When those allegations are made, you need someone who is accustomed to these types of cases.
"What makes these cases difficult is that in many states the person the child made the allegations to is allowed to testify as though they were the child. It's a shield to prevent children from testifying. It can be difficult to defend the accused because you cannot cross examine the child. The accused needs someone who knows what they are doing and knows what to ask and what to ask for. The lawyer has to be skilled and tactful but still aggressive.
"These cases are also difficult because the people that hear the outcry [the initial allegations] are obligated by law to report it. If the allegations come up in school or confession, those people are forced to tell the police about it. There is no discretion for professionals to determine if the allegations are true or false: it is the sole discretion of the police department and the District Attorney's office. So, when there is an outcry, you have to act quickly to know the circumstances of the outcry and what surrounds it.
"It is very important to fight false sexual assault allegations. If you are found guilty, you have permanent registration on your birthday every year. If you move, you have to register and then continue registering on your birthday. You wear the sex offender label forever—just because you are getting divorced.
"If allegations are made against you, you need to act quickly. Do not just ignore the allegations or assume the divorce lawyer will handle the situation. These are very serious threats with serious consequences. The sooner you start the investigation, the better off you are. If the child is being used as leverage, his or her memories can fade quickly. You can also find out the motivation for the lie if you act quickly."
An experienced law firm can help you to fight false sexual assault allegations, but it is vital that you see a lawyer as soon as possible to allow the attorney to defend you to the fullest extent possible. If you have had false sexual assault allegations made against you, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
HARRISBURG - Sex offenders who are released from prison should be monitored more widely by global positioning satellite technology so that law enforcement officers do not lose track of them as often, Pennsylvania's auditor general said Tuesday.
- If someone is dangerous enough they need to be monitored 24/7, then why are they out of prison? GPS is a waste of tax payer dollars. I would like to see how many of these people have stock in the GPS market, I bet we might be surprised.
Auditor General Jack Wagner urged state lawmakers to require at least five years of GPS monitoring for sex offenders who do not comply with Megan's Law, which requires them to register their address with state police upon their release from prison.
The law should also be revised to mandate similar tracking of sexually violent predators whose victims are children immediately after they are released, Wagner said.
- Well, like I said, it's a waste of money. If a violent predator wants to commit another crime, they will simply cut off the GPS device and vanish. They have already done this in many cases.
The recommendations were included in a report Wagner released at a Capitol news conference. Auditors determined in early June that the state lost track of more than 900 sex offenders, or about 10 percent of all registered sex offenders, based on apparently outdated addresses in Pennsylvania's Megan's Law registry.
- You are losing track of these people, because the laws are so draconian, they quit reporting.
"This is very disturbing to me ... and should be to every Pennsylvanian, and quite frankly, is unacceptable," Wagner said.
GPS systems allow tracking of offenders using a monitor attached to an ankle bracelet and a small tracking device that offenders must carry with them whenever they leave the house. The device transmits information that allows authorities to view an offender's location on a computerized map.
- That is for those who are willing to obey these laws. A person who is intent on not obeying the law or intent on committing another crime, will simply cut it off and vanish. Also, the information is NOT REAL TIME, so they can remove it and vanish, but it will not be known until some human checks on the person to see where they have been.
Wagner, who is seeking re-election this year to a second four-year term, previously criticized the state's Megan's Law enforcement in a 2006 audit that found state police had not verified the whereabouts of 700 sex offenders.
- Well, that explains all of this. He's up for election, so he must ride the backs of sex offenders and jump on the bandwagon of scaring people to get your votes. I should've known..
State law currently allows, but does not mandate, the use of sex offender GPS monitoring by county probation authorities and the state Board of Probation and Parole.
Republican Sens. Jane Orie of Allegheny County and John Rafferty of Chester County said they are planning introduce legislation that would require wider use of GPS tracking. They said they hope a bill will be considered when the Legislature returns to Harrisburg in the fall.
At least 24 other states have laws requiring GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders, and 14 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are using GPS tracking for that purpose, Wagner said.
Gov. Ed Rendell's administration had no immediate comment on Wagner's recommendations. Spokesmen for Rendell and the state police said their offices needed to evaluate them.
The probation and parole board is preparing to embark in the coming weeks on a pilot program to test the equipment of eight GPS vendors, spokeswoman Sherry Tate said. She did not know where the testing would be performed or how many sex offenders would be involved.
A previous test program that ran between October 2005 and June 2006 was riddled with problems, such as lost or blocked signals, she said.
"We found the technology was not sufficient at the time," Tate said.
- And it still isn't today. Where do homeless offenders go to charge the devices? Also, when someone goes into a building, the GPS signal is lost, and thus the hysteria starts to find out where the person has gone and why the device is sounding an alarm, due to a false alarm...
Counties that use GPS tracking typically pay for it by charging sex offenders one-time hookup fees of $30 to $50 and daily rates of $5 to $20 to cover the equipment costs, Wagner said.
- Yeah, extortion. Make the SO pay for it, thus making others rich off the backs of sex offenders who are mostly poor in the first place, due to all the draconian laws, having to move all the time, pay insane fees, like this one.
In Lycoming County, officials have spent more than $10,000 since January on GPS monitoring, said chief adult probation officer Bob McCullough. Offenders who cannot pay for the full cost of the monitoring are placed on a payment schedule, and in some cases they are allowed to work off those costs by performing community service, he said.
"We have had no problems whatsoever in terms of offenders paying their obligation," McCullough said.
- But it's extortion! Either they pay for it, or go back to jail/prison.
Like similar laws in all 50 states, Pennsylvania's Megan's Law is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender who lived near her home.
Donny Emmert, a 30-year-old warehouse supervisor from Groveport, Ohio, is serving nearly four years in federal prison after being prosecuted for a sex crime in Campbell County, Ky., and faces a lifetime of supervision and registration as a sex offender.
Richard M. Wattwood, 41, a factory worker from Hermitage, Tenn., is serving a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty in Warren County Circuit Court to attempted unlawful transaction with a minor.
And David Quist, a 46-year-old IBM employee from Fort Thomas, was convicted by a Campbell County jury of the same charge and ordered to serve 10 years.
The three were among 28 men arrested in Kentucky between late 2006 and 2007 in three Internet sex stings set up by the citizen watchdog group Perverted Justice in consultation with local law enforcement.
As part of the sting, Perverted Justice members pretend to be young teenagers while corresponding online with men who vividly described sexual acts they would like to perform -- sometimes sending sexually graphic photographs or video via the Internet -- and then arrange to meet at the child's home.
When the men come to the address given, they are arrested by local law enforcement.
While some states have had mixed results with the so-called "predator" cases, made famous by Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator" segments, Kentucky's were deemed a success by all involved -- and have led to some of the longest sentences in the country.
The message was, "Don't come here to Campbell County and do this; you're going to go to prison," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Michelle Snodgrass. Convictions there sent three men to prison for five years each, one for nine years and a fifth for 10 years. "Our experience with Perverted Justice was incredible. We had no problems."
Of the 28 Kentucky defendants caught up in the stings, all but three cases already have resulted in felony convictions.
Overall, 20 of the defendants have or soon will be sent to prison for a minimum of about four years -- with an average of more than five years. Not one case has been dismissed.
Level of success varies
Xavier Von Erck, who founded Perverted Justice in 2003, said in an e-mail that the average sentence across the country for the predator cases is 1.8 years and a requirement to sign up for state sex offender registries.
In Kentucky, only Jefferson County defendants were spared multiple years of prison time, as each of the seven people arrested there were given probation. (One defendant in Campbell County was given probation, but only because he is a quadriplegic.)
Jefferson County officials still consider their cases a success as each defendant was convicted of a felony and most are now required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
Kentucky prosecutors say they were able to learn from the prosecution in other states and from each other. And the main charge Kentucky used -- attempted unlawful transaction with a minor -- carries a stiffer penalty in Kentucky than some other states, up to 20 years in prison.
In Ohio, the charge available for prosecutors to use -- attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor -- carries a maximum penalty of 18 months.
"It absolutely does not have enough of a deterrent," said Warren County, Ohio, Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel. "We heard from the perpetrators that … they are willing to take the chances since the punishment is not that great."
Officials in Kentucky said that the evidence Perverted Justice provided was surprisingly strong and noted that both juries and prosecutors took a hard stand.
"These are very serious offenders," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Bracke, whose office prosecuted seven defendants out of Campbell County, sending each to prison for sentences ranging from 46 months to 84 months, without parole.
Jefferson a guinea pig
On its Web site, Perverted Justice, which boasts its efforts have resulted in 279 convictions since 2004, was ecstatic with most of the sentences in Kentucky, though somewhat critical of the lack of prison time for the Jefferson County cases.
For example, Perverted Justice wrote that they weren't "particularly happy" with the result in one Louisville case and deemed another "not the greatest sentence."
But Assistant Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Heck defended his handling of the cases, saying his office was the first in the state to try the Perverted Justice cases.
"We were the guinea pigs," he said, noting that federal prosecutors didn't even get involved until after Jefferson County's cases. "We did not have the hammer of the U.S. attorney's office at that time. They were as skeptical as I was about this organization."
Doubts proved wrong
Heck said that, while Perverted Justice proved his initial doubts "100 percent wrong," he still feared what a jury might think of the main evidence being provided by a group outside of law enforcement.
Still, Heck said each defendant in Jefferson County was convicted, with most having to register as a sex offender for life and a prison sentence hanging over their head if they break the law.
Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron agreed that the work Jefferson County did made subsequent cases stronger, helping other counties obtain tougher sentences.
"I think we were able to build on the work done by Jefferson County," said Cohron, whose office is working with federal prosecutors to ensure that seven defendants who were caught in Warren serve at least seven years.
"Jefferson County was brave enough to be the first to go down this road."
Asked if there would be similar stings in the future, Cohron laughed and said, "Oh yeah."
"That's for us to know and the child predators to find out," he said.
A federal appeals court struck down as unconstitutional a Clinton-era law that would have forced websites with adult material to verify visitors' ages, dealing another blow to the government in a 10-year court battle over net censorship.
The 3rd U.S. Circurt Court of Appeals upheld on Tuesday a 2007 lower-court decision that the Child Online Protection Act violated the First Amendment since it was not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult websites.
Both courts also found that the standards for material that had to be hidden from open browsing were so loosely defined that any content not suitable for a four-year-old would have been hidden behind a age-verification firewall.
"Unlike COPA, filters permit adults to determine if and when they want to use them and do not subject speakers to criminal or civil penalties," the court wrote.
The Justice Department has been defending COPA since its passage in 1998, when the ACLU and others filed suit against the censorship law and won an immediate injunction. Since then, the court battle has made its way twice to the Supreme Court, though the government has never won any clear battles in the dispute.
COPA makes it a crime to knowingly post material that is "harmful to minors" on the web for "commercial purposes" without having some method -- such as a credit card -- to verify a visitor's age.
Critics assailed the law for infantilizing the internet and requiring website operators -- including news sites -- to live in fear of prosecution if even a small part of their website contained adult material.
COPA was intended to be a narrower version of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which would have catastrophically extended the rules of television 'decency' to the internet had the Supreme Court not emphatically rejected it in 1997.
In its ruling (.pdf), however, the appeals court did not see much of a difference between the two laws.
"It is apparent that COPA, like the Communications Decency Act before it, 'effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another,' Reno, 521 U.S. at 874, 117 S.Ct. at 2346, and thus is overbroad. For this reason, COPA violates the First Amendment," the judges wrote. "These burdens would chill protected speech."
The ACLU's Chris Hansen, a First Amendment lawyer for the rights group, applauded the decision.
"For years the government has been trying to thwart freedom of speech on the Internet, and for years the courts have been finding the attempts unconstitutional," Hansen wrote in a statement. "The government has no more right to censor the internet than it does books and magazines."
The Justice Department is not pleased with the decision and is reviewing its options, according to spokesman Charles Miller.
"We are disappointed that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Congressional statute designed to protect our children from exposure to sexually explicit material on the internet," Miller said.
The ACLU, suing on behalf of Salon magazine sexualhealth.com and the owner of the Urban Dictionary website, successfully argued that the law criminalizes constitutionally protected speech, would drive pornography sites to non-U.S. servers, and prevent the spread of health information due to people's unwillingness to register to read sensitive information.
They also argued the law would apply to anyone who wrote about mature subjects who also happened to have Google or Yahoo ads on their personal blog.
For its part, the government says the law was intended to apply to pornographic websites, not news sites. It also argues COPA's age restrictions would work with content filters.
The government is likely to appeal Tuesday's decision for a full hearing at the appeals court or to the Supreme Court.
WA - RCW 9A.44.140 - Registration of sex offenders and kidnapping offenders — End of duty to register — Expiration of subsection.
(1) The duty to register under RCW 9A.44.130 shall end:
(a) For a person convicted of a class A felony or an offense listed in subsection (5) of this section, or a person convicted of any sex offense or kidnapping offense who has one or more prior convictions for a sex offense or kidnapping offense: Such person may only be relieved of the duty to register under subsection (3) or (4) of this section.
(b) For a person convicted of a class B felony, and the person does not have one or more prior convictions for a sex offense or kidnapping offense and the person's current offense is not listed in subsection (5) of this section: Fifteen years after the last date of release from confinement, if any, (including full-time residential treatment) pursuant to the conviction, or entry of the judgment and sentence, if the person has spent fifteen consecutive years in the community without being convicted of any new offenses.
(c) For a person convicted of a class C felony, a violation of RCW 9.68A.090 or 9A.44.096, or an attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a class C felony, and the person does not have one or more prior convictions for a sex offense or kidnapping offense and the person's current offense is not listed in subsection (5) of this section: Ten years after the last date of release from confinement, if any, (including full-time residential treatment) pursuant to the conviction, or entry of the judgment and sentence, if the person has spent ten consecutive years in the community without being convicted of any new offenses.
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall apply equally to a person who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity under chapter 10.77 RCW of a sex offense or kidnapping offense.
(3)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, any person having a duty to register under RCW 9A.44.130 may petition the superior court to be relieved of that duty, if the person has spent ten consecutive years in the community without being convicted of any new offenses. The petition shall be made to the court in which the petitioner was convicted of the offense that subjects him or her to the duty to register, or, in the case of convictions in other states, a foreign country, or a federal or military court, to the court in Thurston county. The prosecuting attorney of the county shall be named and served as the respondent in any such petition. The court shall consider the nature of the registrable offense committed, and the criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior of the petitioner both before and after conviction, and may consider other factors. Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, the court may relieve the petitioner of the duty to register only if the petitioner shows, with clear and convincing evidence, that future registration of the petitioner will not serve the purposes of RCW 9A.44.130, 10.01.200, 43.43.540, 46.20.187, 70.48.470, and 72.09.330.
(b)(i) The court may not relieve a person of the duty to register if the person has been determined to be a sexually violent predator as defined in RCW 71.09.020, or has been convicted of a sex offense or kidnapping offense that is a class A felony and that was committed with forcible compulsion on or after June 8, 2000.
(ii) The court may not relieve a person of the duty to register if the person has been convicted of one aggravated offense or more than one sexually violent offense, as defined in subsection (5) of this section, and the offense or offenses were committed on or after March 12, 2002.
(c) Any person subject to (b) of this subsection or subsection (5) of this section may petition the court to be exempted from any community notification requirements that the person may be subject to fifteen years after the later of the entry of the judgment and sentence or the last date of release from confinement, including full-time residential treatment, pursuant to the conviction, if the person has spent the time in the community without being convicted of any new offense.
(4) An offender having a duty to register under RCW 9A.44.130 for a sex offense or kidnapping offense committed when the offender was a juvenile may petition the superior court to be relieved of that duty. The court shall consider the nature of the registrable offense committed, and the criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior of the petitioner both before and after adjudication, and may consider other factors.
(a) The court may relieve the petitioner of the duty to register for a sex offense or kidnapping offense that was committed while the petitioner was fifteen years of age or older only if the petitioner shows, with clear and convincing evidence, that future registration of the petitioner will not serve the purposes of RCW 9A.44.130, 10.01.200, 43.43.540, 46.20.187, 70.48.470, and 72.09.330.
(b) The court may relieve the petitioner of the duty to register for a sex offense or kidnapping offense that was committed while the petitioner was under the age of fifteen if the petitioner (i) has not been adjudicated of any additional sex offenses or kidnapping offenses during the twenty-four months following the adjudication for the offense giving rise to the duty to register, and (ii) proves by a preponderance of the evidence that future registration of the petitioner will not serve the purposes of RCW 9A.44.130, 10.01.200, 43.43.540, 46.20.187, 70.48.470, and 72.09.330.
This subsection shall not apply to juveniles prosecuted as adults.
(5)(a) A person who has been convicted of an aggravated offense, or has been convicted of one or more prior sexually violent offenses or criminal offenses against a victim who is a minor, as defined in (b) of this subsection may only be relieved of the duty to register under subsection (3)(b) of this section. This provision shall apply to convictions for crimes committed on or after July 22, 2001.
(b) Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following definitions apply only to the federal lifetime registration requirements under this subsection:
(i) "Aggravated offense" means an adult conviction that meets the definition of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2241, which is limited to the following:
(A) Any sex offense involving sexual intercourse or sexual contact where the victim is under twelve years of age;
(B) RCW 9A.44.040 (rape in the first degree), RCW 9A.44.073 (rape of a child in the first degree), or RCW 9A.44.083 (child molestation in the first degree);
(C) Any of the following offenses when committed by forcible compulsion or by the offender administering, by threat or force or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance that substantially impairs the ability of that person to appraise or control conduct: RCW 9A.44.050 (rape in the second degree), RCW 9A.44.100 (indecent liberties), RCW 9A.44.160 (custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree), RCW 9A.64.020 (incest), or RCW 9.68A.040 (sexual exploitation of a minor);
(D) Any of the following offenses when committed by forcible compulsion or by the offender administering, by threat or force or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance that substantially impairs the ability of that person to appraise or control conduct, if the victim is twelve years of age or over but under sixteen years of age and the offender is eighteen years of age or over and is more than forty-eight months older than the victim: RCW 9A.44.076 (rape of a child in the second degree), RCW 9A.44.079 (rape of a child in the third degree), RCW 9A.44.086 (child molestation in the second degree), or RCW 9A.44.089 (child molestation in the third degree);
(E) A felony with a finding of sexual motivation under RCW 9.94A.835 where the victim is under twelve years of age or that is committed by forcible compulsion or by the offender administering, by threat or force or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance that substantially impairs the ability of that person to appraise or control conduct;
(F) An offense that is, under chapter 9A.28 RCW, an attempt or solicitation to commit such an offense; or
(G) An offense defined by federal law or the laws of another state that is equivalent to the offenses listed in (b)(i)(A) through (F) of this subsection.
(ii) "Sexually violent offense" means an adult conviction that meets the definition of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 14071(a)(1)(A), which is limited to the following:
(A) An aggravated offense;
(B) An offense that is not an aggravated offense but meets the definition of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2242, which is limited to RCW 9A.44.050(1) (b) through (f) (rape in the second degree) and RCW 9A.44.100(1) (b) through (f) (indecent liberties);
(C) A felony with a finding of sexual motivation under RCW 9.94A.835 where the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, the conduct;
(D) An offense that is, under chapter 9A.28 RCW, an attempt or solicitation to commit such an offense; or
(E) An offense defined by federal law or the laws of another state that is equivalent to the offenses listed in (b)(ii)(A) through (D) of this subsection.
(iii) "Criminal offense against a victim who is a minor" means, in addition to any aggravated offense or sexually violent offense where the victim was under eighteen years of age, an adult conviction for the following offenses where the victim is under eighteen years of age:
(A) RCW 9A.44.060 (rape in the third degree), RCW 9A.44.076 (rape of a child in the second degree), RCW 9A.44.079 (rape of a child in the third degree), RCW 9A.44.086 (child molestation in the second degree), RCW 9A.44.089 (child molestation in the third degree), RCW 9A.44.093 (sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree), RCW 9A.44.096 (sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree), RCW 9A.44.160 (custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree), RCW 9A.64.020 (incest), RCW 9.68A.040 (sexual exploitation of a minor), RCW 9.68A.090 (communication with a minor for immoral purposes), or *RCW 9.68A.100 (patronizing a juvenile prostitute);
(B) RCW 9A.40.020 (kidnapping in the first degree), RCW 9A.40.030 (kidnapping in the second degree), or RCW 9A.40.040 (unlawful imprisonment), where the victim is a minor and the offender is not the minor's parent;
(C) A felony with a finding of sexual motivation under RCW 9.94A.835 where the victim is a minor;
(D) An offense that is, under chapter 9A.28 RCW, an attempt or solicitation to commit such an offense; or
(E) An offense defined by federal law or the laws of another state that is equivalent to the offenses listed in (b)(iii)(A) through (D) of this subsection.
(6) Unless relieved of the duty to register pursuant to this section, a violation of RCW 9A.44.130 is an ongoing offense for purposes of the statute of limitations under RCW 9A.04.080.
(7) Nothing in RCW 9.94A.637 relating to discharge of an offender shall be construed as operating to relieve the offender of his or her duty to register pursuant to RCW 9A.44.130.
(8) For purposes of determining whether a person has been convicted of more than one sex offense, failure to register as a sex offender or kidnapping offender is not a sex or kidnapping offense.
[2002 c 25 § 1; 2001 c 170 § 2; 2000 c 91 § 3; 1998 c 220 § 3; 1997 c 113 § 4; 1996 c 275 § 12. Prior: 1995 c 268 § 4; 1995 c 248 § 2; 1995 c 195 § 2; 1991 c 274 § 3; 1990 c 3 § 408.]
Notes:*Reviser's note: RCW 9.68A.100 was amended by 2007 c 368 § 2, changing the term "patronizing a juvenile prostitute" to "commercial sexual abuse of a minor." Expiration of subsection: "RCW 9A.44.140(3)(b)(ii) expires July 1, 2012." [2002 c 25 § 2.]
Effective date -- 2002 c 25: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 12, 2002]." [2002 c 25 § 3.]
Intent -- 2001 c 170: "The legislature intends to amend the lifetime sex offender registration requirement so that it is narrowly tailored to meet the requirements of the Jacob Wetterling act." [2001 c 170 § 1.]
Severability -- 1998 c 220: See note following RCW 9A.44.130.
Findings -- 1997 c 113: See note following RCW 4.24.550.
Finding -- 1996 c 275: See note following RCW 9.94A.505.
Purpose -- 1995 c 268: See note following RCW 9.94A.030.
Finding and intent -- 1991 c 274: See note following RCW 9A.44.130.
Index, part headings not law -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1990 c 3: See RCW 18.155.900 through 18.155.902.
Studies from 2005, 2006 & 2007
My question is, why are people this young on social networking sites anyway? I hope they post a link to this so-called new study? I'd like to see it. Also, it says they were contacted by strangers online. Is this adult strangers or other peers?
Survey Looks at What Tweens Do Online and How Much They Tell Parents
A new survey about pre-teens' behavior on the Internet, released today, finds that kids are putting more information about themselves on the Web and that they are being contacted by strangers more often.
- Strange adults or strange peers? How come nobody looks into this? They just let you assume it's adult strangers looking for some child to have sex with. It does happen, but I'd like to see they break up.
The survey, conducted by Cox Communications, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, focuses on "tweens" -- kids between the ages of 8 and 12, whose Internet use is exploding.
It appears that Internet safety information campaigns are working. The survey shows that more parents are making it a priority to talk to their children about their use of the Internet.
However, the study also says there's a significant drop in the number of kids who talk openly with their parents about their Internet use as they get older.
Find out more at www.safeteensonline.com.
Some key findings from the survey:
- 96 percent of tweens tell parents some of what they do online.
- 79 percent tell parents everything.
- Kids tell their parents far less as they get older.
- One in five tweens post information about themselves online, including pictures, the city they live in, and how old they are.
- 37 percent of 11- and 12-year-olds admit to posting a fake age online.
- 34 percent of 11- and 12-year-olds have a profile on a social networking site. Tweens with social networking profiles post more online and face greater exposure to unknown contacts and online bullying.
- 28 percent have been contacted by strangers online. (Strange adults or peers?)
The results of the survey are being released today at the Internet Safety Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh and Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 21, 2008
3rd Annual Cox Communications National Summit on Internet Safety To Convene Tomorrow
Children's Advocate John Walsh and Miss America 2007 Will Present Key Findings from the Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey and Highlight Tips to Help Keep Kids Safe
WASHINGTON, D.C. − Cox Communications and partners the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), children's advocate John Walsh and Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson will convene the 3rd annual Cox Communications National Summit on Internet Safety tomorrow. Fifteen students from Cox communities nationwide will participate in discussions on Internet safety led by Walsh and Nelson.
WHAT: Cox Communications National Summit on Internet Safety
WHEN: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
- Tween Summit 9:00 a.m. (no media, tweens only)
- Press Conference 10:45 a.m.
WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20045
At the press conference, Walsh and Nelson will present key findings from the Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey, along with highlights from their discussion with the tweens and teens participating in the summit. More information on the participating students from Cox communities, Cox's historical research on teen Internet safety, and multimedia files are available at www.safeteensonline.com. The site will be updated with the complete findings from the Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey at the conclusion of the press conference.
On Wednesday, July 23rd, Walsh and Nelson will also discuss the research and implications for families, live, in local broadcast television and radio interviews, and they will also will be available via Webcast 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EDT to answer questions about Internet safety and discuss the teen survey in greater detail. To join the Webcast, click here.
Also on July 23rd, participating tweens and teens are headed to Capitol Hill where they will meet with Senators and Representatives from their respective states in an effort to bring awareness to the issue of Internet safety.
The Tween Summit is an extension of Cox Communications' ongoing Take Charge! initiative (www.cox.com/takecharge) which helps parents, guardians and kids make smarter media decisions. The Tween Summit will air on Cox's local cable channels nationwide starting later this summer.
About Cox Communications:
Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with 6.2 million total residential and commercial customers. The third-largest cable television company in the United States, Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network. Cox Business is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. Cox Communications wholly owns and operates the Travel Channel. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com, www.coxbusiness.com, and www.coxmedia.com.
About Cox's Take Charge Initiative:
Cox's Take Charge! program was launched in 2004 to educate parents and guardians about the importance of Internet safety and to help families get the most out of mass media in the home. It provides scores of resources to help parents and guardians manage what their children see, and don't see, on TV and the Internet -- from instructions on setting parental controls, to a guide to the lingo teens use online, to tips for more constructive conversations between parents and kids. Teaching young children and teens how to stay safer online is a major element of the Take Charge program, thanks in part to Cox's partnership with the NetSmartz® Workshop, NCMEC's Internet safety resource available at www.NetSmartz.org. Cox has donated more than $30 million worth of advertising time to NetSmartz and NCMEC to encourage safer online behavior among children. More information on Take Charge! is available at www.Cox.com/TakeCharge.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2.2 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 126,000 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 594,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification program has analyzed 14,437,865 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.
David Grabert Director,
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
404.266.7557 (w) 404.909.9318 (c)
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By Jennifer Poehlmann and Karen Tronsgard-Scott
In the wake of a truly horrifying tragedy, Vermonters are understandably asking how we can prevent this from happening again — and once again we are debating the need for "Jessica's Law." Certainly the required imposition of a 25-year prison sentence for certain sex offenders reflects the outrage we experience when we hear that a child has been victimized. However, while one purpose of the law is to insure that certain sex offenders spend more time behind bars, the unintended consequences of the law promise to decrease the number of sex offenders found guilty in the first place.
Victim advocates in Vermont work every day with victims of sexual violence who have not received justice from our legal system. These advocates see firsthand the impact of sexual violence and the courage and strength it takes for individual victims to participate in even the most minimal ways in a grueling process that is often re-traumatizing. The question is not whether we need longer sentences, it's how best to achieve this goal. Jessica's Law is not the answer.
In 2006, the Vermont Legislature debated the merits of adopting "Jessica's Law." After hearing strong opposition to the law from victim advocates, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement, corrections professionals and defense attorneys, the Vermont Legislature chose not to pass such a law, but rather to establish indeterminate life sentences for certain crimes of sexual violence. Under current law, these perpetrators automatically receive a maximum sentence of life; judges do not have the discretion to impose anything less than life. Lifetime sentences send a clear message to offenders, victims and communities that perpetrators of sexual violence deserve lifelong consequences.
The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services do not support the sentencing provisions in Jessica's Law. The complexities of these crimes and the specific vulnerabilities of many victims – especially children – require our system to be responsive and flexible. The "one size fits all" approach of a required 25-year prison term can have negative consequences that may actually serve to decrease public safety.
A 25-year mandatory minimum sentence will virtually eliminate the incentive for defendants to plead guilty, meaning more of these crimes will result in trials. Consequently, more victims will be subjected to a deposition and trial they might otherwise have had the option to avoid. Over 60% of crimes of sexual violence that go to trial in Vermont result in an acquittal – and these are the cases prosecutors believe are the strongest. The dynamics of these trials are vastly different than for other crimes: the defense must focus on proving the victim a liar and destroying his or her credibility. The only alternative to proceeding to trial becomes dismissing the case or charging the perpetrator with a lesser crime. Under this scenario, it is conceivable that if a parent of a four-year old does not want their child to go through a trial, the perpetrator could walk away with few or no consequences.
Most sex offenders pick victims they know cannot come forward or will not be believed. These crimes are often reported some time after the incident happened, making them more challenging to prosecute. A negotiated plea, which achieves the certainty of conviction, even for a lower sentence, is often the best possible outcome prosecutors can obtain given the victim's fear and trauma and the facts of a case.
In Vermont in 2005, 99 percent of crimes of sexual violence reported to law enforcement were perpetrated by someone known to the victim, most often family and friends. Survivors may be hesitant to come forward if they know the perpetrator will automatically face a lengthy prison sentence: they may fear the reaction of family and friends for sending that person to jail; the survivor may be a child who doesn't want the relative they love sent to jail but simply wants the abuse to stop. The flexibility of our current system at least allows sentences to be crafted that take into account victims' concerns.
In other states, prosecutors and judges have gotten around very lengthy mandatory minimum sentences by charging perpetrators with lower level offenses that don't carry the lengthy mandatory prison term. We want perpetrators of sexual violence to be convicted for what they actually did – we want them on the sex offender registry if they should be and we want their criminal record to provide a full picture of their crimes.
Research conducted across the country has shown that governments and communities can pass laws and implement policies that result in reduction in sex offense recidivism. These measures include the use of actuarial risk assessments to determine who is at greatest risk to re-offend; the use of polygraphs; long-term, in-depth treatment provided by qualified practitioners and paid for by the offenders; intensive supervision and monitoring by specially trained probation and parole officers; advocacy on behalf of victims; and comprehensive prevention strategies targeting members of the general public.
Attention should also be focused on measures that will prevent the first act of sexual violence perpetrated against a child. All Vermonters should have access to educational materials that will increase community safety, including factual information about sex offenders and their behavior, information about available resources for victims, offenders and families, and information about actions adults can take to reduce the risk posed by sexual offenders. There are significant policy decisions on the table and there promise to be more proposals for consideration; we must proceed thoughtfully and deliberately. The sentencing provisions in Jessica's Law are relatively new, and we have yet to understand the full impact of the law on victims. Before we rush to do something in the name of victims of these crimes, we owe it to them to at least make sure that we will actually help them. They have already been placed in a situation where choices were made for them – the legal system should offer them more.
Jennifer Poehlmann works for the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services. Karen Tronsgard-Scott works for Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
A convicted pedophile represented everyone who had ever abused the young Adelaide man who killed him in a primal rage, a court was told today.
Timothy Hemi Schaefer, 19, went to the home of Jeffrey Edwin Payne, 56, in Adelaide in April 2007, called him a "pedo", punched him and stabbed him in the leg.
Drunk and taunting his victim, Schaefer followed Payne across parklands before strangling and stabbing him and stomping on his head, the South Australian Supreme Court has heard after Schaefer pleaded guilty to murder.
Prosecutor Jane Powell said there was an element of "sanguinary" to the crime, with Schaefer stopping to smoke a cigarette during the brutal and prolonged attack.
Schaefer had never expressed remorse for killing Mr Payne, who was an extremely thin man, weighing just 47 kilograms, with ulcers and emphysema, she said.
"In fact, during his interview with police he referred to Mr Payne as a sack of shit," Ms Powell said.
"He would have had to hear and feel the sounds of the bones fracturing under foot."
Schaefer's lawyer Greg Mead said there was no clear motive for the crime.
- What? The motive is obvious!
But it appeared that, in Schaefer's drunk and enraged state, Payne had come to represent all the people who ever had abused him.
"He snapped ... he said to police, 'I just got heaps angry,' " Mr Mead said.
One of nine children, Schaefer suffered "a living hell" at the hands of a violent, alcoholic father who beat him every day, his lawyer said.
After his mother left, his father would abandon the children for weeks at a time, leaving them at the mercy of two friends who would sexually abuse some of them.
- Nothing justifies killing another person, especially in the brutal way he did. This man is sick and needs to be in prison until he dies.
"He was fed rotten meat, his father would have to scrape the slime off," Mr Mead said.
"It was the cruelty and brutality of those early years that led to this almost primal expression of rage."
Judge John Sulan said the crime had "all the characteristics of a frenzied attack" and Schaefer could expect to be jailed for a long time.
He also said Schaefer had been "destroyed" by his appalling early life.
He ordered a neurological report to investigate possible damage from Schaefer being beaten with hammers in an earlier, unrelated attack.
Schaefer, who faces a possible life term, was remanded in custody for sentencing at a date to be set.
This site has TONS of news and articles related to sex offenders!
This web site has TONS of information about EVERY ASPECT of the sex offender laws and issues!
FORT PIERCE — City officials want to join forces with St. Lucie County to develop tougher restrictions on how close a sexual predator or offender may live to a school, park or child-care operation.
Under state law, sex offenders and predators can’t live within 1,000 feet of a school, park or a licensed day care. The county, following the lead of other Florida cities and counties, wants to increase that to 2,500 feet. County officials are expected to discuss adopting a sex offender residency ordinance, which would apply only in the unincorporated county, on Aug. 19.
- Why do we have every county in the USA passing their own laws? The buffers won't work anyway, but if they must be kept, why not make one state buffer and be done with it? This is just making everything more complicated. 90% or more of all sex crimes occur in the victims own home or immediate family, so pushing someone into homelessness or out into the country will still not protect anybody. It's just nothing more than PR!
Indian River County is the only other government agency along the Treasure Coast to have a similar ordinance tougher than state requirements.
City Commissioner Christine Coke proposed following the county’s lead Monday night, but City Attorney Rob Schwerer said it would be prudent to wait and see what the county’s ordinance says first. He said literature concerning the idea of municipalities regulating sex offender residency is turning more toward letting counties develop an overall ordinance that would apply countywide. Cities then could move to adopt the same ordinance within their jurisdictions.
“We need to move forward in an expeditious manner to protect our children,” Coke said. “I have recently had calls regarding people (sex offenders) moving into neighborhoods directly across from parks.”
- The idiots will never listen. Nothing about these banishment buffers will do anything to protect children, it's just another fancy word for FORCED EXILE!
Coke said immediately following the county’s adoption of the ordinance, the city could adopt stricter rules with “more teeth in them” if they’re not satisfied with the county’s law.
- How many "teeth" do you need, until these people are ripped to shreds? Why not just make the buffer zone 100 miles? Even then, it still won't protect children.
Officials asked Police Chief Sean Baldwin to provide them with information in two weeks on what other jurisdictions have done and conditions that exist there.
Schwerer said there have been several legal challenges against cities adopting stricter sex offender residency ordinances. Some cities are being forced to pay for prosecution and public defender costs, he said. The county taking the lead may resolve some of those issues, he said.
- Well, the cities are the idiots passing these laws, and are getting sued left and right, so yeah, the city should pay for the expenses. But we know the tax payers are really paying for all this madness.
The Fort Pierce Police Department already works closely with the Sheriff’s Office to monitor sex offenders and make sure they are residing where they say they are living. The Port St. Lucie Police Department has its own sex offender monitoring unit comprised of seven reserve officers who also monitor offenders and predators on a monthly basis. They check on their statuses and place of residency.
The Public Defender’s Office in Miami-Dade is challenging the constitutionality of its sex offender residency ordinance, arguing it makes it nearly impossible for sex offenders to find housing in the county, according to a Miami Herald news report. Miami-Dade’s ordinance also uses the 2,500-foot restriction, but some ordinances in South Florida extend as far as 3,000 feet, according to the Herald report.
Baldwin said some jurisdictions go so far as to include school bus stops in their ordinances.