Monday, September 8, 2008

IN - Department of corrections job fair aims to help parolees

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The Indiana Department of Corrections local parole district, which includes Morgan County, will host a job fair Tuesday to help parolees find employment.

The job fair will be held at the parole district office, 1500 N. Packing House Road. Along with local businesses, the fair will also include representatives from Opportunity House, My Sister’s Closet, Ivy Tech and the Indiana University general studies program.

Once offenders have completed their sentences, it can be difficult for them to find a job, said Don Lokey, supervising parole agent.

“It depends on the charge and their skills,” Lokey said.

For example, some employers are reluctant to hire parolees if they were convicted of theft. For sex offenders, restrictions say they can’t work around children. The sex offender registry also lists the employers of those parolees, which may be seen as a negative by the company.

But having a job means the offender has a better chance of finishing parole without reoffending, Lokey said.

With today’s economy and job outlook, times are even tougher, making the job fair even more important.

Lokey said parolees may get discouraged about their job prospects, but they still have to continue to look. “We have frequent complaints that no one’s hiring,” Lokey said.

Along with encouraging the job search, Lokey said, he encourages the men to look their best and act their best.

“We also had interviewing skills here, and personal appearance is one thing that is discussed,” Lokey said. “I recommend they neaten themselves to look more clean-cut.”

Sometimes that can be a problem, especially if the men are “sleeved out” — a term used to describe tattoos which cover the arms.

Lokey said prospective employers recognize such body art as prison work. He said he talked to one offender who had large triangles tattooed under his eyes.

“I would have predicted his success would have been very dismal,” Lokey said.

Lokey works with about 60 sex offenders. He said about 35 have jobs, 19 are either retired or disabled and the remainder are still looking for work.

“Most of those have recently gotten out of prison,” he said. “They just haven’t hit their stride yet in knowing where to go.”

During the job fair, Lokey said, he plans to watch to see how the parolees perform during their interviews.

“If we see that they’re lacking success or people are just reacting to them badly, we’re going to have to try and figure out why and prepare them for the next one,” Lokey said. “We’re going to do it again, and hopefully the second would be more successful.”

KS - Do residency restrictions for sex offenders work?

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Topeka"They don't work."

That's the short answer from Kansas Corrections Secretary Roger Werholz when asked why the state doesn't have laws restricting where sex offenders can live.

"They don't work, and they actually make things more dangerous rather than make them safer."

Werholz and others point to research done in other states like Minnesota, Florida, Arkansas and Iowa, which actually has a residency restriction in place.

"Where the sheriffs, district attorneys and the victims' services organizations all came out asking that that legislation be repealed," said Werholz.

The reason they asked that the legislation be repealed is that a lot of the sex offenders who were required to register were absconding supervision, going underground, because they were losing their places to live.

Kansas has looked at imposing residency restrictions, but has so far decided against it. And the state has gone a step further and placed a moratorium against any city in Kansas putting in its own restrictions.

"What we want to do is not so much what makes us feel safer, but what makes us safer," he said. "It's not what the sex offender deserves. It's what we deserve and we deserve to live in a community and a state where our kids are as safe as possible. Residency restrictions does not deliver that."

In addition to offenders going "underground" and no longer reporting where they live, other states have found that residency restrictions can force offenders out of areas where they can get the treatment they need and away from available jobs.

CT - Town's sex offender law nearly completed

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RIDGEFIELD -- Town officials and town attorney David Grogins should have a completed sex offender ordinance to send to the state Attorney General's Office for review in two to three weeks.

Grogins, First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Ridgefield Police Department Chief Richard Ligi and Major John Roche began work on the ordinance last November, after convicted sex offender Carl T. Fisher moved to the Branchville section of town.

"Only after the approval of the attorney general will we make an official copy of the ordinance and make it available to the public for review," Marconi said last week.

The ordinance will need a public hearing and a town meeting vote to become law.

The ordinance sets up child safety zones -- sites where a sex offender cannot go -- that include public parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, beaches, and sports fields.

A convicted sex offender would be cited with a ticket, possibly costing $100, the first time he is found in one of these places.

"We had thought of issuing a warning on the first violation, but on the recommendation of Chief Ligi we are changing that," Marconi said. "If someone who shouldn't be in a child safety zone is found there, they shouldn't be warned. They should be cited."

Town officials will also look at including privately owned and run nursery schools and day-care centers.

"I personally would like to be able to post these private properties as child safety zones, too," Marconi said.

He stressed that the ordinance is still "a work in progress." It has to be very specific, giving the name and address of each child safety zone.

"We know Danbury has made some changes to its ordinance to include this specificity," Marconi said.

Fisher was sentenced to six years in prison on Nov. 20, 2007, suspended after 39 months, and 10 years of probation. The sentence was the result of violating his probation on a previous sex offense charge.

The Connecticut Sex Offenders Registry list Fisher's residence as 19 Old Branchville Road.

Contact Susan Tuz at or (203) 731-3352.

NY - Father, daughter tell of his sexual abuse

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Video at the link above, or below.


By Shawn Cohen

MOUNT VERNON - Arthur Meuse desperately wanted to visit his daughter, hospitalized in a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide, but feared he would make things worse because he is the root of her problems.

The 64-year-old Mount Vernon man molested her when she was 6, and the abuse continued for a year. It led to the breakup of their family: His daughter Sherry Meuse got shuffled between foster homes, where she suffered more abuse. Struggling with drugs and depression, she grew up to have four children with four fathers. She's now 31, living with her mother, unable to make it in the outside world.

Sherry Meuse fell into a depressive spiral last month after her father, wearing nothing but a bikini top and black wig, was arrested. He was accused of masturbating as joggers passed him on the Bronx River Parkway in Greenburgh.

"My therapist said to let her calm down," Arthur Meuse said, chain-smoking menthol cigarettes at his kitchen table late last month. "I want to go, but he's right. If she's in there and she's upset about me, all I'm going to do is escalate it to a higher level, and I don't want to do that. I think I've done enough damage to her."

Days before her hospitalization, Sherry Meuse was already in a dark state at home in northern Westchester, reliving memories of her childhood trauma. Even so, she was anxious to see her father, to tell him she was upset but also to show compassion. To this day, she expresses no anger toward him for what he did to her as a child.

"You only get one father, and I'm not going to disown or hate my father for what he did," Sherry Meuse said. "I still love him. I'm still daddy's little girl, even though I'm fully grown."

A father's guilt

Even her father wishes she would accept that what he did to her was wrong. He and others around her think this would be a major breakthrough in her recovery.

"She's in denial, and it's upsetting me," Arthur Meuse said. "Since I got out of prison, I've been trying to convince her that the reason your head is screwed up and you are the way you are is because of what I did to you. She goes, 'No, it's not.' She just refuses to listen to me. I fear she's never going to get better. That's where my punishment is."

Arthur Meuse, a high-risk sex offender, is still struggling with his own demons. After serving eight years for abusing his daughter, he got involved with a teenage girl and had two children with her. He is now fighting to get them out of foster care. The only job he has found is delivering bread for a local bakery, on the graveyard shift. He is waging a continuing battle to control his deviant sexual urges - through therapy and what he calls the victimless practice of wearing women's clothing in the woods.

"It is totally impossible for anyone with a rational mind to understand this," Meuse said, trying to explain the origin of his compulsions. "You get out of control. All rational thinking, right and wrong, goes right out your freaking head. It's like a drug addict.

"Where this comes from," he continued, "I think it's my mother; her abuse of me as a child."

His mother, now deceased, treated him as if he were nothing, he said.

"When I was a child, any time I took my clothes off - I'm talking a 1-, 2-, 3-year-old kid - any time you'd take your clothes off in front of your mother, you'd get your ass beaten," he said. "When you tried to hug her, you're going to get your head handed to you. Try to kiss her? Same results. My mother was totally cold and unemotional."

His sister was her mom's favorite, he said, and she would get lots of affection.

"She'd get all the new (stuff)," Meuse said. "So somewhere in my perception, as a kid, girls get new clothes and get away with stuff. Boys don't. They're useless. So in my mind, it's connected to clothes. I feel comfortable in women's clothes. Do I want to stop? Yes. But at the same time, if I don't, then the compulsion gets stronger, where I do something stupid outside."

Seeking solace

As a young boy in White Plains, Meuse would dress like a girl, go out in the yard and sometimes expose himself to neighbors. He continued this into adulthood, but said he never harmed anyone, not until his marriage began to fall apart in the mid-1980s.

"In 1985, communication between me and my wife broke down," he said. "I ended up going to my daughter emotionally."

Sherry Meuse grew up in White Plains as the middle child, with an older brother and a baby sister. She and her father tell a similar story about how the abuse started.

"I caught him masturbating one day, and I was always daddy's little girl and I wanted to help daddy feel good," Sherry Meuse said. "The first time, he pushed me away. And I kept coming back, and his illness gave in after that."

As he explained it, "The fantasy world took over."

A year after the abuse started, her friend saw them and reported what she saw. Sherry Meuse recalls the day police came into her kitchen, put her father in handcuffs and took him away.

"I ran through the apartment screaming, 'No, don't take my daddy!' " she said. "I was hysterical. I didn't know what he did was wrong. He didn't hurt me. It was like the end of the world for me. They were taking my father, the one person I ever really, really loved."

Her father pleaded guilty to avoid having his daughter testify in a trial, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The young girl spent the next two years in foster care, during which time she said she was sexually assaulted at knife point by a foster uncle. Her own newly aggressive behavior got her kicked out of several schools and group homes.

"I had a very bad temper," Sherry Meuse said. "I started keeping all of my feelings in, to the point where I didn't even know how I felt anymore. I was physically unable to cry, and I'd have a lot of anger outbursts that got me in trouble."

A method to cope

Sherry Meuse's coping mechanism is not uncommon for victims of sex abuse, mental-health professionals say.

"For someone who's been abused in childhood, one of the common ways a child will survive the abuse is to develop a skill of dissociation, where, psychologically, they're not present," said May Krukiel, director of Victims Assistance Services in Elmsford. "What happens is, if abuse continues for a significant period of time, something that starts as a healthy way to cope in desperation becomes habitual, something that some survivors can no longer control."

In her teens, Sherry Meuse sought to visit her father in the Fishkill Correctional Facility, but he wouldn't allow it. It wasn't until the year after his release that he agreed to meet her, in the food court of the Galleria mall in White Plains. They hugged, and the first thing he did was to apologize.

"I said it was OK, I forgave him," she recalled. "He's always apologized, and he's waiting for the day when I finally find my anger toward him and confront him, and yell and scream at him. And it's just not going to happen. It's not."

She blames her problems on her foster experience, not her father.

Another family

Arthur Meuse was nearly 50 when he got out of prison. Shortly thereafter, he started dating a Mount Vernon teenager, the daughter of a friend.

"I was having problems with my mom, and she told me to stay away from him," said the woman, Brandy Thompson, who has a learning disability and doesn't work. "That just drove me right to him."

Thompson is now 29 and lives with Arthur Meuse on a Mount Vernon side street.

They have a 9-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter, both of whom were taken away in 2005, when Thompson was accused of striking the boy. That case got dropped, but the children remain with a foster family.

Arthur Meuse said he believes it's all because of him, because he molested his daughter and continues to be registered as a Level 3 sex offender.

The stress has gotten to him, and, as he struggles to pay bills and reunite his family, his sexual compulsions have grown stronger, he said. He relieves the pressure by going out in the woods, dressed in a bikini, with the risk of getting caught making it more exciting, he said.

"I can't be a saint like everybody wants me to," Arthur Meuse said. "I wish I could, but the anxiety and the depression and feeling like a piece of (expletive), and not succeeding at what I want to do, the commotion comes on. So I go and put on my clothes and sit under the trees."

This obsession is no secret to his daughter, who occasionally joins him in the woods, and his girlfriend.

"I knew he was going out in girls' clothes," Thompson said. "Everyone, including myself and his therapist, told him to stop doing it. If you keep telling him to stop, the more he's going to do it. It calmed him down. He did it because he didn't want to repeat what he did to his daughter."

Arthur Meuse was arrested Aug. 13 on two counts of public lewdness, a misdemeanor; a police officer said he saw him fondling himself. He posted $5,000 bail. He is due in Greenburgh Town Court on Friday.

While he faces up to six months in jail, he said his greatest concern now is for his children. He fears the arrest will make it impossible for him to get them out of foster care, so he is considering moving out of his girlfriend's apartment, hoping this will make it easier for her to get them back.

He also is worried about his older daughter, Sherry Meuse. But despite concerns raised by her therapist, he did end up visiting her in the hospital; she was the one who persuaded him, urging him to drop off cigarettes.

They had a cordial visit in which he expressed concern for her well-being. Doctors placed her on an anti-depressant and sent her home Sept. 1. She's hoping to see her father again soon.

Arthur Meuse said he's hoping to remain a part of her life, even though it hurts, because it reminds him of the damage he has done.

"Every time I talk to my daughter, it's a slap in the face," he said. "I want her to face the fact that if I hadn't molested her, she wouldn't be the way she is today. She's in denial, and it's upsetting me.

"She shouldn't be blaming herself," he said. "She didn't do anything wrong, just like I didn't do anything wrong when I was abused. I just found out a little too late that my mother was abused. And the cycle just keeps going on, down the generations."

Reach Shawn Cohen at or 914-694-5046.

Humor of the day!

Two Crocodiles were sitting at the side of the swamp near the lake.

The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said,

I can't understand how you can be so much bigger than me.

We're the same age; we were the same size as kids.

I just don't get it.'

Well, said the big Croc, 'what have you been eating?'

Politicians, same as you,' replied the small Croc.

'Hmm. Well, where do you catch them?'

Down the other side of the swamp near the parking lot by the Capitol.'

Same here. Hmm. How do you catch them?'

Well, I crawl up under one of their Lexus cars and wait for one to unlock the car door. Then I jump out, grab them by the leg, shake the s--t out of them and eat 'em!'

Ah!' says the big Crocodile, 'I think I see your problem. You're not getting any real nourishment.

See, by the time you finish shaking the s--t out of a Politician, there's nothing left but an a$$hole and a briefcase!