Thursday, September 4, 2008
By MIKE CONLEY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marion's parks will soon be off limits to registered sex offenders.
At the regular Tuesday meeting, the Marion City Council approved a ban on registered sex offenders at public parks in Marion. The ban is similar to the one in Woodfin. Marion officials wanted to adopt a ban like that here but waited to see if it could withstand legal tests in the court system.
Although the ban takes effect immediately, city officials will first send out letters to registered sex offenders in McDowell County notifying them of the new ordinance. At last count, McDowell has 52 registered sex offenders, said City Manager Bob Boyette.
Signs will also be posted at the parks. In addition, the N.C. General Assembly passed the Jessica Lunsford Act, which is designed to punish sex offenders and reduce their ability to commit future crimes.
"This gets us started with letting sex offenders know they are not welcome in city parks where kids congregate," said Boyette to the council.
The new ban will be enforced based on reports or observations of known sex offenders going to the parks. They could face civil or criminal penalties, including arrest.
Written by Macklin Reid
Town schools, pools, parks, playgrounds, gyms, sports fields and beaches would be designated "child safety zones" where convicted child sex offenders are forbidden to go, under a draft ordinance town officials have been working on for more than a year.
"It does take time, but we are moving forward with a sex offender ordinance," First Selectman Rudy Marconi (Email) said.
Town officials began working on the ordinance after residents of upper Old Branchville Road were upset to learn a registered sex offender had moved into their neighborhood.
- They have to live somewhere!
The ordinance was scheduled for discussion at the Sept. 3 selectmen's meeting, though a vote by the Board of Selectmen was not expected until after the state Attorney General's Office has reviewed the proposal.
"We'll have a brief discussion and once we hear from the attorney general then we'll move it forward to a public hearing and town meeting," Mr. Marconi said.
The three page ordinance would basically make it illegal - and punishable by a $100 fine - for anyone listed on the state's registry of sex offenders to simply be in one of the town's designated child safety zones.
A police officer who "reasonable believes" that sex offender is in one of the town's listed child safety zones can require the suspect to provide his name, address and telephone number.
An earlier a draft provided for a written warning the first time an offender is caught in a child safety zone, but Mr. Marconi said this would be changed so fines are given for first offenses.
"There will be no warnings," he said.
There are exceptions: The offender may enter a child safety zone to vote in an election, or if required to go there by the terms of his or her parole.
The law is designed to apply to people "convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" of crimes that land them on the state registry of sex offenders. These include people who have committed of "sexually violent" offenses, "non-violent sexual offenses" and criminal offenses "against a victim who is a minor," according to the draft law.
Mr. Marconi said the law was based on Danbury's ordinance, and reflects changes based on legal challenges to it - including a requirement that the child safety zones be specifically listed in town hall, not simply described in a general away in the ordinance.
Mr. Marconi said that the ordinance would not be taken to a public hearing or town meeting until after the review by the state Attorney General's office, which the police department had requested.
"I'm sure, given the work load they have there, it'll take a little bit of time before we hear from the attorney general's office, but if that's the process the police want to see happen then we'll conform," he said.
"Once we hear from the attorney general, we'll bring it back to the Board of Selectmen."
The following is a draft of a proposed town ordinance. It will be reviewed by the state attorney general's office and would have to be approved by the Board of Selectmen and then a Town Meeting to become law.
Sec. 1-1. Purpose.
Since the Town of Ridgefield (the "town") has a compelling interest in protecting children from the threat of sexual abuse from child sex offenders, it is hereby resolved that, to preserve and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the children of the town, it is in the common interest to enact reasonable regulations restricting child sex offenders from entering Child Safety Zones.
Sec. 1-2. Definitions.
When used in this Ordinance, the terms, phrases, words and derivations shall have the meanings set forth thereafter. When not inconsistent with the context, words in the plural number include the singular and words in the singular number include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory. Terms not defined below shall have the meanings set forth in Section 54-250 of the Connecticut General Statutes as amended.
Child Safety Zone. Any park, school, playground, recreation center, bathing beach, swimming pool or wading pool, gymnasium, sports field, or sports facility, which is 1) under the jurisdiction of any department, agency, or authority of the town, including but not limited to the Board of Education of the Town of Ridgefield, or 2) leased by the town to another person for the purpose of operating a park, school, playground, recreation center, bathing beach, swimming pool or wading pool, gymnasium, sports field, or sports facility. Child Safety Zone includes any and all buildings, land, parking area or other improvements located on the same parcel on which each of the aforementioned facilities is located, but does not include any public street, and also does not include any public sidewalk which is located on the outside boundary of a Child Safety Zone. A document listing every Child Safety Zone in the town and a map illustrating every Child Safety Zone in the town will be available at the Ridgefield Town Hall.
Child sex offender.
(a) A person who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of 1) a "criminal offense against a victim who is a minor," 2) "a nonviolent sexual offense," 3) a "sexually violent offense," or 4) any felony that the court finds was committed for a "sexual purpose," as those terms are defined in subdivisions (2), (5), (11) and (12) of Section 54-250 of the Connecticut General Statutes as amended, and who is required to register with the Commissioner of Public Safety pursuant to Sections 54-251, 54-252, 54-253 or 54-254 of the Connecticut General Statutes as amended, or
(b) A person who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in any other state, in a federal or military court or in any foreign jurisdiction of any crime the essential elements of which are substantially the same as any of the crimes specified in subdivisions (2), (5) and (11) of section 54-250 of the Connecticut General Statutes as amended, and which requires registration as a sexual offender in such other state or in the federal or military system, and who resides in this state on and after October 1, 1998.
Sec. 1-3. Prohibition.
It shall be unlawful for a child sex offender to be present in a Child Safety Zone.
Sec. 1-4. Exclusions.
This Ordinance shall not apply:
(1) To any person whose name has been removed from the Connecticut Department of Public Safety's Sex Offender Registry ("Sex Offender Registry") or from the registry of any other state or in the federal or military system by act of a court or by expiration of the term such person is required to remain on such registry.
(2) To any person entering into a facility in a Child Safety Zone for the sole purpose of voting in any municipal, state or federal election or referendum, provided that the person leaves the facility immediately after voting.
(3) To the extent that the conduct prohibited by this Ordinance is in conflict with any sentence or order of probation or parole imposed upon a sex offender.
Sec. 1-5. Notice.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall make reasonable efforts to provide prompt, actual written notice of the enactment of this Ordinance (which notice shall contain a copy of the Ordinance) to all persons who are listed on the Sex Offender Registry as of the effective date of this Ordinance, as well as those persons who are added to the Sex Offender Registry thereafter, which persons' addresses (as shown on the Sex Offender Registry) are within the town. Such notice requirement may be satisfied by the mailing of such notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested to the last known address of such person as listed on the Sex Offender Registry or as otherwise known to the Chief of Police. The failure of any person to receive such actual written notice shall not be a defense to a violation of this Ordinance.
Sec. 1-6. Enforcement.
(a) If a police officer reasonably believes that a child sex offender is in a Child Safety Zone in violation of this Ordinance, the officer shall require the suspected child sex offender to provide his/her name, address, and telephone number. If it is established that the individual is a child sex offender, then the officer shall issue a written warning that he/she is in violation of this Ordinance and require the person to leave the Child Safety Zone. If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in the same Child Safety Zone, the penalties set forth in this Ordinance shall apply. (Editors' note: First Selectman Rudy Marconi has said the provision for a warning on first violation of the statute will probably be chopped.)
(b) Any person in violation of this Ordinance shall be fined in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each violation. Fines under this Ordinance shall not apply when the prohibited conduct results in a conviction for a new criminal offense under any applicable state or federal law or when the prohibited conduct is the basis for the revocation of any condition of parole or probation.
Sec. 1-7. Severability.
Any provision of this Ordinance held to be unconstitutional or superseded by state law or regulation shall not serve to invalidate the remaining unaffected provisions hereof. No provision of this Ordinance shall serve to validate any activity otherwise prohibited by state or local law or lawfully enacted zoning regulations.
Sec. 1-8. Effective Date.
This Ordinance shall become effective (15) days after publication hereof in a newspaper having general circulation in the town
DETROIT - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was bounced from office Thursday in a deal with prosecutors that will send him to jail and put an end to the sex scandal that embarrassed this chronically struggling city and preoccupied its government for months.
The 38-year-old "Hip-Hop Mayor" who brought energy and excitement to City Hall when he took office in 2002 pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and will get four months behind bars.
The Democrat will also pay a $1 million fine and lose his license to practice law, and cannot run for any elected office for five years. His resignation will take effect in two weeks.
Kilpatrick was charged earlier this year with perjury and other offenses for denying he and his chief of staff had an affair. The scandal broke wide open in January with the release of a trove of lusty text messages between the two of them that appeared to contradict the mayor.
"I lied under oath," the beefy former college lineman said in court Thursday. His wife, Carlita, watched from the second row, occasionally closing her eyes.
Coming after eight months of turmoil and demands that Kilpatrick step down, the plea bargain was met with relief from politicians and ordinary Detroit residents alike. His departure could also remove a major embarrassment for Barack Obama and the Democrats in Michigan, a crucial battleground state in the presidential election.
"This gives us hope. He's not a king," said Monica Smith, 24, of Detroit, a college student who was on the courthouse steps. "This is a huge victory for the city of Detroit. He was not a role model. He was a thug. I'm definitely optimistic."
For the scandal's nearly eight months, Kilpatrick repeatedly said the nation's 11th-largest city hadn't missed a beat. He liked to say trash was still being picked up, snow was cleared, parks were open and the grass was cut.
But Detroit - which has struggled for decades with high crime, unemployment and a shrinking population - has been hurt mightily by the mortgage crisis and the downturn in the auto industry, faces a possible budget deficit of $65 million, and was recently declared one of America's "fastest-dying" cities by Forbes magazine.
Some business leaders said the city suffered while the criminal case hung over the mayor.
"I'm not sure there were lost projects. Things were put on hold," said Doug Rothwell, head of Detroit Renaissance, an economic development group. "For business people, if you don't know the environment, you don't invest. What you found was everything was put on pause. Hopefully we can get things off the pause button."
Richard E. Blouse, president of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said: "A lot of damage has been done to the region's image."
The scandal stems from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former police officers who accused Kilpatrick of retaliating against them for trying to investigate misconduct by the mayor and his security detail. Questioned under oath in 2004 and 2007, Kilpatrick repeatedly denied having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
But the Detroit Free Press later obtained text messages between the two - some of them sexually explicit - and published excerpts. Kilpatrick and Beatty were later charged.
In addition to perjury, Kilpatrick was accused of misleading City Council when he secured its approval of an $8.4 million settlement with three former police officers. Prosecutors said he settled to keep the text messages from becoming public.
Beatty is expected to enter a plea bargain during her next court appearance, on Sept. 11.
On Thursday, Kilpatrick also pleaded no contest to assault, for allegedly shoving a detective who was trying to serve a subpoena in the text-message case. His sentence in that case will be served at the same time as the one for obstruction.
Kilpatrick's sentence will be officially imposed on Oct. 28, and he will immediately report to jail, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
Under the city charter, any mayor guilty of a felony is automatically expelled from office.
In court on Thursday, Circuit Judge David Groner asked Kilpatrick if he understood he was giving up the right to be innocent until proven guilty.
"I gave that up a long time ago," Kilpatrick replied.
The plea bargain came just one day after Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm convened an extraordinary hearing on whether to oust Kilpatrick as mayor. The City Council called on Kilpatrick months ago to resign but had no authority to remove him.
Granholm described Thursday's events as "a sad but historic story" and said they "serve as a profound reminder to us all, public officials and citizens, that a public office is entrusted to the person who holds that office but belongs to the people who are served by that office."
City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. will succeed Kilpatrick as mayor until a special election is held.
Obama, who has avoided Kilpatrick in campaign trips to Michigan and discouraged him from attending the Democratic convention, welcomed the change in leadership.
"Sen. Obama believes that the serious charges against the mayor were a distraction the city could not afford and that his immediate resignation is the only way for the city to move forward and get back to business," spokesman Brent Colburn said.
The son of a Detroit congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick was 31 when he was elected in 2001, becoming the youngest mayor in Detroit history. His youth, energy and diamond stud earring endeared Kilpatrick to many fellow blacks, especially young ones.
But Kilpatrick's first term was tumultuous. He came under fire for racking up thousands of dollars in travel on his city-issued credit card and leasing a luxury Lincoln Navigator for his wife.
Under his leadership, though, Detroit landed baseball's 2005 All-Star Game and the 2006 Super Bowl. And Kilpatrick's ability to work with business leaders also has been credited with an overhaul of the city's riverfront and development downtown.
State official says ordinance could create false security
By JOHN SCHULTZ - email@example.com
A state law official has warned the Common Council that adopting a sex offender residency ordinance could backfire and make Muskego less safe.
Sally Tess, a regional chief with the Wisconsin Probation and Patrol Department, was armed with statistics from a couple of studies done on restrictions limiting where sex offenders can live when she spoke with officials Aug. 26.
“The intentions of the restrictions are noble, but there are some unintended consequences,” she said, providing numerous examples of how the restrictions provide a less-than-perfect solution to the safety issue.
- When Iowa set strict rules about where registered sex offenders could reside, that state’s noncompliance rate doubled. “When 50 percent stop reporting where they are living, you have to ask yourself, ‘Are we any safer?’ ” Tess said.
- Setting strict residency ordinances creates fewer housing options and limits employment, factors that cause stress for the offender. “An unstable sex offender is more dangerous,” she said. “A stable offender is less likely to reoffend.”
- A Colorado study on residency restrictions concluded residency was not a factor in sex offenders reoffending. “Sex offenders can still drive, sex offenders can still walk,” Tess said.
- The most common way sex offenders gain access to children is through another adult, mostly women with children, she said. Ninety-eight percent of sex offenders are male. “Protect kids by prohibiting men from living in the city,” she said, tongue in cheek.
- Residency restrictions come with law enforcement costs from agencies too overworked to properly respond.
- Restrictions can create a false sense of security and people can let their guard down around others. “People need to use a universal precaution with everybody,” Tess said.
- Twenty-nine percent of sexual assaults are committed by people age 17 or younger. Residency restrictions could result in children having to move out of their homes.
While the two studies provided a lot of information, Alderman Noah Fiedler wondered if there were not more studies for the city to consider. But Tess said those were the only two on the subject she could find.
The committee discussed a possible ordinance Aug. 12, but wanted the input from the state before taking any action.
“This is not making our decision any easier,” Mayor John Johnson said.
Tess offered some alternatives to a residency ordinance. She suggested child safety zones that prohibit loitering in areas frequented by children.
Or in what she called “risk-based restrictions,” she suggested focusing on the most dangerous sexual offenders.
Johnson said the city might consider modeling a Muskego ordinance after one North Prairie uses.
“North Prairie’s is less restrictive than Franklin’s,” City Attorney Donald Molter said. “Franklin’s is complicated and restrictive. North Prairie’s just requires them (offenders) to register, it doesn’t say where they can live.”
Tess said not enough evidence exists to prove the lesser restrictions work, adding her department has not taken any official position on sex offender residency restrictions.
BY THE NUMBERS
people on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry
people in prison on sex offender registry
people on probation/parole on registry
those required to register, but who are not supervised
oldest person on registry
Registry started Dec. 25, 1993
By DANNY ADLER - Bucks County Courier Times
Yardley's council took just 1 minute and 10 seconds to agree to order the drafting of an ordinance to limit where sex offenders can live in the borough.
“We need to get this [ordinance] done in 30 days,'' said Councilman Robert Benbenek.
“That's as quickly as you can adopt an ordinance,'' council President Joe Hunter said after the meeting and with little explanation on the borough's rush to get this done.
Not explained at the council's Tuesday night meeting was the recent receipt of a letter from a sex offender inquiring whether Yardley has a sex offender ordinance.
After the meeting, council President Joe Hunter denied the borough received a request for residency from a sex offender. On Wednesday, he explained that the letter just asked whether Yardley had a sex offender law on the books.
Yardley police Chief James O'Neill, who previously had asked the council to enact such a law, Wednesday said it was a “generic letter” sent to the police department. And Yardley wasn't the only municipality to receive the letter, officials said.
“We've actually talked about this before, when Lower Makefield passed their ordinance [in 2005],” said Hunter.
The idea was put on the back burner because the borough had been dealing with flood issues in the past few years, he said. When the borough got the letter, though, it “reminded us about the issue,” Hunter said.
Officials agreed without a vote that a draft of the ordinance should “restrict sexual offenders residing in the borough, within reason.'' The draft should be completed within a few weeks, officials said.
Benbenek said he'd like the ordinance to be modeled after Lower Makefield's.
Lower Makefield's law bans anyone who must register with authorities under the federal Megan's Law from moving within 2,500 feet of any school, day care center, township park or other facility where children gather. While the ordinance doesn't state it, Lower Makefield board members acknowledged it effectively prevents any more sex offenders covered under Megan's Law from moving into the township. The township was the second in the area, behind Tullytown, to enact such a residency rule. Since then, many more municipalities have followed suit.
Danny Adler can be reached at 215-949-4205 or dadler@phillyBurbs.com.
View the article here
Posted to make a point, see below highlighted in yellow!
The first-ever hearing of a criminal case by the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission determined that a former Plymouth police officer's conviction for taking indecent sexual liberties should stand.
The commission said in a news release Wednesday that a three-judge panel's review did not find enough evidence to overturn the conviction, which sent Henry Archie Reeves III to prison seven years ago for 20 months.
"The panel unanimously concludes that the convicted person ... has failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he is innocent of the charge," Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood said.
- Since when does the accused have to prove they are innocent? You are suppose to prove they are guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt! So this shows, you are guilty automatically now, and must prove you did not do something, which is almost impossible! And this is coming from a judge!!! Who should be fired IMO. Have you ever heard of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? Apparently not, now it is GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT!
Reeves, 43, said in a hearing in Greenville that the victim, now 15, was coached to make up the allegations. The victim took the stand and testified that Reeves never molested her. Reeves also took the stand to proclaim his innocence.
Pitt County District Attorney Clark Everett and an assistant prosecutor, Kimberly Robb, presented evidence that the victim had made consistent disclosures of abuse from 1999 to 2001. They also showed the judges that Reeves had been married to two women at the same time.
The state created the commission in 2006 to investigate post-conviction claims of innocence. The commission does not represent convicted people but evaluates new evidence of innocence.
The three-judge panel is the final phase of commission proceedings. Since 2007, the eight-member commission has received more than 300 requests to re-examine convictions and has determined five of those should be investigated.
Reeves moved to Georgia after his release from prison, but he is now serving time there after he was accused of failing to update his sex offender registration.
You people in office are total idiots! It's these very laws you are passing that is causing this problem, open your eyes, use your brain for once in your life!
CARSON: City Council votes for ban on multiple offenders living in any single home.
Responding to community outrage, the Carson City Council has banned the clustering of sex offenders - a problem that has been worsened since the passage of Jessica's Law.
- And Jessica's law is what is causing this, because sex offenders are forced into clustering into certain areas of the state. Now, you are saying you don't want that either. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS!!!!
The law forbids offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park, effectively restricting them to small slivers of the city. That has prompted parole agents to place many registered sex offenders together in one location just outside the restricted area.
In recent months, more than a dozen sex offenders were found to be living at the Carson Plaza Hotel on Albertoni Street, and nearly that many live in a small duplex on Harrison Street in the Dominguez area.
- Yeah, so? You made the laws which are forcing people to huddle together!
Both sites have been the object of community protests, prompting the City Council to vote unanimously Tuesday night to ban placing more than one sex offender in a single home.
"We think state law has somewhat failed local jurisdictions," said Sheri Repp-Loadsman, the city's planning director. "When you start setting these separation standards, and restricting locations where sex offenders can come back to - that becomes an over-concentration issue."
About 11 sex offenders are registered at the duplex on Harrison Street, which is slightly more than 2,000 feet from Dominguez Elementary School.
Jose Mendoza, 48, lives a few doors down from the duplex, and said he worries that a 13-year-old girl in his family could be at risk.
- She is at risk anywhere! No matter who lives around you. What about all the people NOT on the sex offender registry? Also, studies show that 80% or more of all sex crimes occur in the family or close friends, so your child is in more danger from your own family and friends, not someone down the road!
"It's not good to have them here," he said in Spanish. "It's not normal."
- It is normal! Sex offenders and other criminals have been living around you for a very, very long time. It's just now the media mass hysteria has taken hold and you are more aware of it.
There are a lot of children here. It's dangerous. Why don't they send them to Palos Verdes?"
One of the offenders, Keith Carllel, 39, said he would prefer to stay at a hotel, but his parole agent had placed him there.
Carllel said he was released in February after serving 15 years. He said he became a registrant under Megan's Law because he was convicted of sexually assaulting a female prison guard. He says he was falsely accused, and they had a consensual relationship.
He said that sheriff's deputies put out fliers alerting neighbors to the number of sex offenders at the duplex about two months ago. After that, neighbors had been giving the residents funny looks.
- You see, this is police harassment. They knew what would transpire!
"Everybody here is not a child molester," he said. "We got a few of them cats living back here. But they got everybody thinking everybody is child molesters. That ain't cool."
Carllel said he hoped to move out as soon as he gets off parole in a few months, and said he supported a law to prevent clustering of offenders.
"This situation is not cool," he said. "It's really not enough room. They only got one bathroom for six people."
Carson is following Gardena and Long Beach in passing an ordinance against clustering of offenders. Long Beach, however, suspended enforcement of its ordinance in May, after lawyers and property owners raised potential legal challenges.
"We don't want to be a dumping ground because of the geographic uniqueness of our city," said City Attorney Bill Wynder. "If Carson neighborhoods are laid out in a unique way that will permit concentrations of these offenders consistent with Jessica's Law, then Jessica's Law needs to be fixed."
- Exactly! Jessica's law IS the problem!
California voters passed Jessica's Law by an overwhelming margin in 2006. In addition to limiting residency for paroled sex offenders, the law toughened sentences for sex crimes, and required satellite monitoring for rapists and child molesters. The California Supreme Court is considering whether the law restricts parolees' constitutional rights.
Other cities have passed enhanced versions of the law, and Carson's statute adds a restriction that offenders cannot live or loiter within 300 feet of a day-care center. Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said parole agents want to work with local communities and would agree to abide by local zoning ordinances.
"There is still some debate on whether clustering is good or bad," Hinkle said. "Some believe that when you do have them in a central location, then law enforcement can keep a better eye on them. The other school of thought is that you can't let them conspire together, and you need to spread them out."
- That second item is a myths. They are "assuming" that all sex offenders are conspiring to carry out some MASS MOLESTATION which is just absurd and idiotic! When you have many drug dealers or other criminals living near each other, are they conspiring to carry out some mass crime? No!
If nothing else, clustering of offenders can create a focal point for media attention and community outrage. In March, the Daily Breeze reported that 30 offenders were registered at the Carson Plaza Hotel.
- So why did the Daily Breeze take it upon themselves to report this instead of letting the police do their jobs? They knew what would occur, then they would have more news to report!
Council members organized protests and vowed to take action. As part of the ordinance passed Tuesday, the hotel will be allowed to house only six offenders - or 10 percent of its 60 rooms.
The hotel and the facility on Harrison Street will have six months to come into compliance with the ordinance.
- What ordinance? Where is the law? Or is this just some protest and you are forcing this onto people without any law? So tell me, where are all the so called Christians who say they are Christians? Would Jesus Christ do this? I don't think so!
"Whatever the law is, we'll comply," said Hitesh Patel, the hotel manager.
BY RYAN TRACY
Registered sex offenders would be required to turn over their e-mail addresses and passwords to authorities as part of a bill that is receiving a renewed push from a local state lawmaker.
- I can understand email addresses, but passwords? I'd take that to court!
The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (Email), D-Plainsboro, portrayed the proposed law as a way to bring Megan's Law further into the digital age.
- And to further invade someone's privacy and rights by requesting their passwords. You give someone your password and that is like giving some company your bank PIN number, you are asking for problems. What is to stop some corrupt cop, who is ticked off at some sex offender, from using their email address and password to send some hateful email to someone, or worse? I don't think so, I'd go to court before you'd get my password. Just goes to show you the ignorance in office making laws...
"Anonymous internet usage wasn't envisioned when Megan's Law was enacted, but it's now commonplace," Greenstein said in a statement released yesterday.
"We have a duty to ensure sex offenders cannot hide behind a secretive user name when hunting for new potential victims. This is a common sense step we must take in this technological age," Greenstein said.
- Once a sex offender gave you their email addresses and passwords, they can still go off and create a new name and password in a matter of minutes, then do anything they wanted to do. This is just big brothers way of inching their way into everybody's personal lives. "Common Sense?" For who? You are not thinking using common sense, that is apparent.
Megan's Law, named for the young victim of a high-profile sex crime in Hamilton, requires that a community receive notification when a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
The bill, A-1554, was originally introduced in January.
Greenstein is renewing her effort to push the bill into law sometime after the Legislature begins its next session on Sept. 15, according to a spokesperson for the Assembly Democrats.
The measure would subject convicted offenders classified as "high or moderate" risks to "continued supervision" of their internet communications and "period unannounced examinations" of their computers or other devices with internet access, according to a copy of the bill.
- What if the offender is off parole and probation? Doing this unannounced examination without a warrant is illegal and unconstitutional. People need to start speaking up about this bill now, it's UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
Sex offenders serving a sentence of parole supervision for life would be subject to the same monitoring.
The proposed law would require that offenders provide the e-mail information during their registration.
Convicted offenders who fail to register their e-mail or provide false information would face a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Greenstein also praised state Attorney General Anne Milgram for reaching an agreement with Facebook, a popular social networking web site, to test the state's "Report Abuse" icon.
The symbol, revealed about a year ago, is intended to make it easier for online users to identify and report online abuse or harassment.
Pastor cites flaws in proposal, which would have prevented offenders from living in Easton.
By EDWARD SIEGER - The Express-Times
EASTON - After trying unsuccessfully to revise a plan limiting where sexual predators can live, city Councilman Ken Brown has opted to withdraw the proposal altogether.
He hasn't, however, ruled out trying again.
Brown proposed prohibiting registered sexual predators from living within 2,500 feet of any school, church, child care facility, park or playground. The proposal effectively banned predators from living in Easton.
Brown decided during a public safety committee meeting Tuesday that more discussion is needed before city council should consider any residency ban.
The Rev. Susan Ruggles, pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church, has questioned why the ordinance indicates sex offenders have a 70 percent recidivism rate.
"That's just not true," she said during Tuesday's committee meeting.
Ruggles told council members Brown, Jeff Warren and Sandra Vulcano that no research has measured whether residency restrictions prevent repeat offenses.
The Colorado Department of Public Safety in 2004 tracked 130 sex offenders on probation for 15 months to monitor recidivism, according to Federal Probation, a professional correctional journal. Police rearrested 15 offenders for new crimes such as peeping or indecent exposure, according to the report.
Ruggles reiterated her concerns that instituting a general ban lumps all offenders together. A parole board can decide whether a registered offender or predator poses a threat to the community before imposing any kind of restriction, she said.
And if parents are concerned about a "creepy guy" hanging out at the park, a loitering ordinance is more appropriate, Ruggles said.
While he tried to craft legislation that protects children, Brown said, he realizes any residency restriction cannot punish someone trying to legitimately re-enter society.
Reporter Edward Sieger can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By D. E. Smoot - Phoenix Staff Writer
A third woman stepped forward this week with claims against a former Hulbert police officer whom all three accuse of sexual battery or worse.
Tahlequah lawyer James Cosby, who filed tort claim notices of his clients’ intent to pursue damages for the officer’s alleged wrongdoing, said there may be other women with similar stories to tell.
The women say Johnathan Baldree used his badge to place them in a position in which he could take advantage of them. Cosby said Baldree’s alleged conduct resulted from Hulbert officials’ negligence in hiring and failure to train and supervise its employees.
Hulbert Town Clerk Leona Welch said the third woman’s claim has been forwarded to the town’s insurer for evaluation and further investigation.
Baldree, who is serving a two-year deferred sentence after pleading no contest in July to a misdemeanor count of neglect of duty by a public official, worked for the Hulbert Police Department from Nov. 14 to Jan. 7.
Police Chief Jim Morgan said he suspended Baldree for three days after the first woman came forward with complaints about the reserve officer’s behavior.
“I immediately placed him on three days paid suspension,” said Morgan, who requested an external investigation. “He never came back to work after that.”
A report submitted to Cherokee County prosecutors by an investigator with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation alleges Baldree admitted having sexual intercourse with one woman in the break room at the police department.
The woman, who was detained by Baldree after she had stopped at a Hulbert convenience store after realizing she was too drunk to drive, told investigators she never would have allowed Baldree to have sex with her if she were sober.
In addition to the threatened lawsuits, the town of Hulbert is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office. Public Information Officer Terri Watkins said the audit was requested Feb. 15 by Cherokee County District Attorney Jerry Moore.
Moore’s request came after an OSBI investigation revealed the town’s police department could not account for an estimated 2,630 citations issued between July 2003 to August 2005 but never reported to the proper authorities.
“We are asking that the audit address this discrepancy in traffic citations relative to their disposition, fees paid, and money collected in addition to your overall auditing procedures for a municipality,” Moore states in his request.
Moore asked that the investigative audit include the town’s records kept since Jan. 1, 2002. Watkins said the audit, which began April 7, is progressing.
“We are, at this point, waiting for them (city officials) to produce documents,” Watkins said.
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Authorities say the offer sounded simple but chilling.
"She was driving on a revoked license, and he made a deal that he wouldn't arrest her if she did the evil deed for him," LaFollette Police Chief Ben Baird said. "He told her she had to have sex with him, and he'd let her go. I guess the arrest went the other way."
Jeremy S. Cross turned himself in Tuesday to face charges of raping a woman at gunpoint during a traffic stop.
A Campbell County grand jury indicted Cross, a former LaFollette police officer, last week on charges of aggravated rape, official oppression and two counts of official misconduct.
Cross had worked for the department for about three years when he pulled the woman's car over July 5 on North Tennessee Avenue, Baird said.
Authorities said Cross forced the woman to have sex with him behind some warehouses on nearby Howard Armstrong Lane under threat of arrest if she refused.
"There was a patrol rifle in the seat, and he would have been carrying his service weapon," the chief said. "He apparently cut his (in-cruiser video) camera off, which is a violation of our rules and regulations."
Baird said he called in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation the same day he learned of the woman's complaint.
"It happened on a Friday," the chief said. "She filed her complaint on Monday around 2 p.m. By 4 p.m., we had the TBI investigating."
He said he didn't know whether TBI agents recovered DNA evidence from either car.
Cross resigned soon after the investigation began. He'd previously worked as a deputy in neighboring Scott County and had no history of discipline problems other than a few minor write-ups for such offenses as showing up late for court, the chief said.
"I'm going to send a message to everybody that I don't tolerate this sort of behavior from anybody. It's a stain on everybody who wears a badge up here.
"We have 20 other people in this department, and most everybody here is very professional. If they're not, I don't keep them long."
Cross remains free on $50,000 bond.
He could make his first court appearance Sept. 8.
Matt Lakin may be reached at 865-342-6306.