Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PA - Wife gets jail term for attempted killing

View the article here

10/21/2008

By Sara Ganim - sganim@centredaily.com

BELLEFONTE — A judge sentenced a Muncy woman Monday to spend at least 11 1/2 years in prison for trying three times to kill her husband — the first time after they were married just 93 days.

Ronald Balliet called his wife Christine C. Balliet the “female version of Scott Peterson” in a letter he gave to the media through a victim advocate at the District Attorney’s Office.

Christine Balliet in turn called her husband a child molester, and said she resorted to violence because she believes her husband was sexually abusing her children.

“I am here before you because I dared protect my children from abuse from their stepfather,” she told Senior Judge Charles C. Brown Jr. Ron Balliet and his family fiercely countered those claims, saying Balliet was fabricating the accusations to save herself.

“I can’t believe she said that about my brother,” said Sheri Shoemaker. District Attorney Michael Madeira said, to his knowledge, no report of Balliet’s children being molested was ever made to police.

He called her allegations the desperate attempts of a woman about to be sentenced.

Christine Balliet had pleaded no contest — meaning she acknowledged the prosecution could prove her case, but did not admit any guilt — to attempting to murder Ron Balliet, first by stabbing him in the chest, then by trying to run him over with her car, and then by seeking out a hit man from her jail cell.

“I have nightmares,” Ron Balliet told the court. “And in most of them I am not as lucky.”

The 3 1/2-inch blade that police say Christine Balliet used to stab her husband in February 2007 while they drove along Boalsburg Road was stopped by bone.

The tires of her car missed him when she tried to run him over, and the hit man she tried to hire was an undercover police officer, police said.

“I beg of you, judge, don’t reward her for her failure,” Ron Balliet said.

Christine Balliet asked Brown to sentence her to time already served, which would have allowed her to walk free Monday, so she could be with her children.

“I must note that Mrs. Balliet’s daughters are going to suffer,” Brown said.

Brown said he read with “care and a heavy heart” the letters from Christine Balliet’s children, who don’t have a father in their lives.

But her allegations of abuse couldn’t affect his decision, Brown said.

“I can’t deal with them and sculpt any kind of sentence based on that,” he said.

Ron Balliet said the biggest impact has been on his children, adults who adore their father and are so traumatized that at one point he had to put chairs under all the door knobs in his home so they could sleep.

Prosecuting attorney Karen Kuebler asked for Balliet to be sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison because of her continued attempts, and because of her lack of remorse.

Kuebler said Balliet’s plea of no contest showed she did not accept any responsibility and there is “no belief that she won’t attempt to do this again.”

Brown said he too wasn’t sure that Ron Balliet “is not at risk,” and gave Balliet a right-down- the-middle sentence: 11 1/2 to 23 years in prison with credit for 600 days of time already served. She will also have to pay more than $4,000 in restitution to her husband and is not to have any contact with him.


LA - NOPD officer charged with rape of 13-year-old

View the article here
Related article, new accusations!

10/21/2008

A ten-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department was arrested for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, Superintendent Warren Riley announced in a statement.

Christopher Buckley, 36, was with the Fifth District before resigning Tuesday, said NOPD spokesman Bob Young.

Buckley was arrested following an investigation by the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau, police said.

The officer was taken to Central Lock-Up Tuesday around 4 p.m., booking him for rape, police said.
- Booking him for rape, or child molestation?

Police said that the investigation into the crime is still ongoing.


Ozzy Osbourne - Dreamer



Lyrics:
Gazing through the window at the world outside
Wondering if mother earth will survive
Hoping that mankind will stop abusing her, sometime

After all theres just the two of us
And here we are still fighting for our lives
Watching all of history repeat itself, time after time

Im just a dreamer, I dream my life away
Im just a dreamer, who dreams of better days

I watch the sun go down like everyone of us
Im hoping that the dawn will bring a sign
A better place for those who will come after us this time

Im just a dreamer, I dream my life away, oh yeah
Im just a dreamer, who dreams of better days

Your higher power may be God or jesus christ
It doesnt really matter much to me
Without each others help there aint no hope for us
Im living in a dream, a fantasy
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

If only we could just find serenity
It would be nice if we could live as one
When will all this anger, hate and bigotry be gone?

Im just a dreamer, I dream my life away, today
Im just a dreamer, who dreams of better days, ok
Im just a dreamer, whos searching for the way, today
Im just a dreamer, dreaming my life away
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah


VT - Updating Online Sex Offender Registry Would Cost Millions

View the article here

10/21/2008

Montpelier - Lawmakers say complying with a new federal act involving the state's sex offender registry, could be very costly.

The U.S. Department of Justice is requiring all 50 states to increase public access to its on-line registry, as part of a new unified system. More information would also have to be provided about offenders.
- No, they are not requiring all 50 states to increase public access, it's only RECOMMENDATIONS!  Reporters need to do a little more homework before posting useless news reports, like this one.

Only 400 names currently appear on Vermont's version. The law would require most of the state's 2,400 offenders be listed.

Lawmakers say adding more names would cost the state million of dollars in legal costs.


Interview with Frederick S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D.

View the article here

Dr. Berlin is Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is Director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma. Dr. Berlin has written extensively on sexual disorders for numerous distinguished journals, including The American Journal of Psychiatry, The New England Journal of Medicine and The American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry. He has been a consultant to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse since its inception. The interview was conducted September 8, 1997, in Baltimore.

Q. The problem of sexual abuse of minors has gotten a lot of publicity since the mid-'80s. Is this a new problem?

No, it's absolutely not a new problem. Some of the cases that are coming to light now were from before the '80s. What is new is our paying attention to the problem, recognizing the degree of distress that it can cause, the sense that the criminal Justice system is going to deal with matters more sternly, and a recognition that we cannot cure, although we can sometimes successfully treat, these sexual disorders. So there are new aspects and new ways of understanding, but the problem itself, very sadly, has been with us throughout history.

Q. People refer to "pedophilia" and "ephebophilia." How do you distinguish these?

People are attracted not only by gender -- male, female -- but also by other factors such as age. The average man refrains from sex with a child not only because he's a moral person but also because a child does not tempt him sexually. The term used to describe an orientation toward pre-pubescent children is "pedophilia," of which there are two types. One is the exclusive type: the person is attracted only to children. The other is the non-exclusive type: there is some attraction to adults. Pedophilia can be same gender pedophilia a man attracted to boys; opposite gender pedophilia -- a man attracted to girls; or bi-sexual pedophilia attracted to both boys and girls. Ephebophilia is a condition in which a person is attracted not to prepubescent children but to children or adolescents around the time of puberty, basically teenagers.

Q. Generally when you read or hear in the news about "pedophilia," aren't the media using the term to refer to anyone who is a minor?

Yes. Generally, people use the term "pedophilia" to include ephebophilla. Most men can find adolescents attractive sexually, although, of course, that doesn't mean they're going to act on it. Some men who become involved with teenagers may not have a particular disorder. Opportunity and other factors may have contributed to their behaving in the way they do.

Q. What are the common characteristics you see in sex abusers?

I don't think there are common features in terms of the personality or temperament or even the intelligence level of the individuals. What these people share in common is difficulty in dealing with their sexual needs in a healthy and constructive fashion. The only common feature has to do with the privacy of their sexual lives and how they manage that.

Q. Are there any signs to help identify abusers before they act out?

Obviously if someone's had a prior record, we should be aware of that; or seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time with children and wants to do it without any chaperoning, these would be causes of concern. But a person's demeanor or conduct is not necessarily going to give us a clue of being a risk.

Q. Are some people born with an orientation toward children?

We don't know if it's because they were born that way or because they were damaged during their early psychological maturation. Regardless of the cause, it's not that they chose to be that way.

Q. Is abuse caused by some defect in body chemistry?

We're trying to understand much more about this. Certainly the sex drive itself is rooted in biology. It may have to do with various hormones, with chromosomes, and so on. Particular persons who have more intense drives than others may have more difficulty resisting temptations. There may also be some biological factors that determine the kinds of behaviors or kinds of partners that cause sexual arousal. There's a lot of research going on in that area, so it may be that we will find that there are more biological factors that contribute to the intensity and nature of sexual desire than we previously suspected. We also now have biological treatments --not that we can change an orientation but if a person is hungering sexually for the wrong kinds of partners, to make it easier for them to resist acting on unacceptable sexual impulses.

Q. Do abusers fall into any one I.Q.-range?

No. Abuse can be perpetrated by people at any level of intelligence. They can have a spectrum of personalities from introverted to extroverted and anything in between. Their temperaments can be quite different in terms of whether or not they tend to have a short fuse or are very patient and docile. The only thing that they tend to share in common is that they are experiencing these attractions and acting on them. It has nothing to do with intelligence, personality, or social skills.

Q. Do abusers have healthy relationships in other areas?

Abusers may or may not have healthy relationships in others areas. Usually if they are attracted sexually to children, they are not having a good, intimate life in other ways. But having said that, I want to emphasize that there's a tremendous range of maturity and social giftedness, if I can put it that way, among those who abuse children. Some who are attracted to children are awkward and uncomfortable in adult relationships, but others can be very gifted with adults. The problem isn't that they're not able to relate to adults in a healthy way; it's that they are also experiencing attractions of another sort with which they have to deal.

Q. Do you have cases where a person is married and has what's considered a normal sex life but also is involved in pedophilia?

Yes. This could be what I referred to as a non-exclusive form of pedophilla. They're attracted to adults and to children but it may be that the attraction to the children is stronger, so the availability of an adult partner doesn't erase these other cravings or guarantee that they won't give in to these other kinds of unacceptable temptations.

Q. Is there a relationship between sex abuse and alcohol and/or drug abuse?

Alcohol and drug abuse does not cause one to become involved sexually with a child. On the other hand, if one is already vulnerable because of an attraction to youngsters and then takes an intoxicating substance which will impair judgment and lower inhibitions, it's like throwing gasoline on a fire.

Q. Can stress turn one to abuse?

Yes. We talk about the triggers that heighten the urges that people experience, and just as an alcoholic may drink to feel better when under stress, someone who has sexual difficulties may turn to sex to feel good during stress or depression or even boredom. Part of the treatment is to teach people about these triggers --either internal states, such as stress or boredom, or external situations, such as spending time in the presence of youngsters -- which can heighten urges.

Q. Do sex abusers feel guilty?

Many sex abusers feel guilty once they begin to appreciate the harm that they've caused. When people have strong cravings and satisfying those cravings is pleasurable, people often rationalize. They can't be objective. They convince themselves it isn't really going to be that harmful. In treatment, when we confront these folks and force them to look objectively to see that they've betrayed trust, that they've caused pain and suffering, that they've asked children to keep secrets from their families, that families have been deceived and injured, we see, in many cases but not all, tremendous guilt and remorse and an actual horror about themselves and the kinds of problems that they have caused.

Q. At what age do abusers start abusing children?

People who are attracted to children often become aware of it at quite a young age, about the time most of us become aware of certain attractions. Then it takes a while before any of us ultimately acts on those attractions. Most priests that I've seen have begun to act on these attractions by the time they're in their early twenties or certainly their mid-twenties.

Q. How many victims does an abuser usually have?

We can't give a single answer to that. I have seen the entire spectrum from abusers who have had contacts with literally hundreds of children to those who had contact with one child and never repeated it. So any statistics that say that all abusers victimize either a very low number or a very high number of children need to be looked at, in my opinion, in a very critical fashion.

Q. Do you find that this applies to priest abusers as well?

Yes. We also have to be careful about what we mean by abuse. All of it Is wrong, but if, for example, the pattern of the individual is to pick up teenage prostitutes standing on street comers three times a week and this has been going on for 10 years, that adds up to literally thousands of victims. However, that is not the same as introducing a naive child into sexual activity.

Q. Talking about introducing the naive person into sexual activity, how does this start?

It usually evolves insidiously and can go on for some time. The common misperception about people who become sexually involved with children is that they are just pretending to care in order to get at them sexually. In most cases, it's really quite different. The priest or whoever tends to have a genuine affection for the child and is interested in them in ways that would otherwise be quite positive. Then, sadly, because they feel sexually tempted and act on those temptations, what otherwise might have been a healthy and positive relationship becomes a damaging one. So it usually involves getting to know the child over a period of several weeks or even months, gradually progressing from a non-sexual to a sexual relationship and then, once it becomes sexualized, in some cases, it might go in for a number of years, before it ultimately comes to a conclusion.

Q. Are abusers attracted to the priesthood, and if so, why?

I don't know of any actual evidence that abusers are attracted to the priesthood. There's been speculation that perhaps some people who are having a difficult time in dealing with sexual feelings deceive themselves into thinking that it will become a non-issue if they take vows of celibacy and become priests. I suppose that's possible. On the other hand, I don't know of any evidence that shows it to be the case that there's a higher prevalence of conditions such as pedophilia within the priesthood than outside of it.

Q. Do you have an idea about what percentage of abusers are in the priesthood as compared to other professions, even in the general population?

There is no good data either from the general population or from the priesthood about numbers of pedophiles or people who have a vulnerability that increases their risk to children. The issue of sexuality, particularly of people who may have unusual kinds of sexual cravings, has been one that society has tended to sweep under the carpet. Getting that data is terribly important, but as of now I know of no systematic surveys that would allow us to come to any firm conclusions.

Q. Are the victims of priest abusers usually boys or girls or both?

It's both, but in a majority of cases --that have come to light, it has been boys rather than girls. Why this Is so is not clear. It used to be thought, even in general, that most of the children who were abused were female. We know now, and we're not just talking about priests, that boys are probably just as much at risk of being abused as are girls.

Q. How do priest abusers justify their activity?

Priest abusers justify it just as other abusers do, in a variety of ways. They know that they're feeling pleasure and they convince themselves that the youngster is too. They tell themselves that on the whole the child is better off They have a difficult time appreciating that children are not miniature adults, that they cannot really consent, that there is a tremendous disparity between the child and the priest who is in a position of authority that affects how the priest is perceived by the child. It's often only with proper professional help that they begin to realize the extent to which they have been deceiving themselves.

Q. What are the "red flags" which could justify parishioners expressing concern to church officials about a cleric?

If a cleric shows an inordinate interest in their youngster, wants the youngster to stay over at any time under un-chaperoned circumstances, wants to separate this young person from the family rather than being part of the family structure -- any of these should be red flags to look more closely and to make certain that everything is in order.

Q. You say "un-chaperoned," and yet the priest is the chaperone.

I don't think a priest should be a chaperone with youngsters when there's only one priest present. As a doctor I don't examine patients un-chaperoned myself. It doesn't mean that I'm a bad person, but it's for the protection of myself as well as for the protection of my patients. I think priests have to begin to think about it in those ways.

Q. What are the most common forms of sexual abuse?

Are you asking me in the priesthood or just In general?

Q. Let's say both.

There are many kinds of abuse, and the more harm that can be caused, obviously, the more concerned we become. The two big concerns for society would be those who coercively impose themselves against adult women and those who force, persuade, or cajole children into sexual activity.

Q. What would be the range of sexual activity that you would find in priest pedophiles?

In priests, we rarely see the physical or assaultive kinds of behavior. It's very rare to see rape other than statutory. The most common thing we see with priests is that they enjoy the company of youngsters, like the companionship, want to do good for them, and then, unfortunately, as a bond develops emotionally, begin to feel sexually tempted and persuade the youngster to go along with sexual activity. That's the most common scenario that we see in a priest. Of course the youngster, in respecting the priest and in feeling that the priest is not going to lead him astray, is at a tremendous disadvantage.

Q. What kind of sexual contact are we talking about?

Most sexual contact with children does not involve penetration, although it sometimes does. That's partly because it becomes more difficult to rationalize that you're not really causing much harm if you begin to see obvious signs of pain. With priest abusers, the majority of activity involves fondling, mutual masturbation, sometimes oral sexual contact. That's not to say penetration never occurs, but it's not by any means the most frequent sexual activity in these cases,

Q. How damaging is that kind of contact?

It's not the physical action necessarily that's going to hurt the most. It is much more the abuse of trust that tends to be the issue. We have a responsibility -- all of us -- to protect children. That responsibility is even heavier for those who are held in special positions of esteem, such as priests. A priest involved with a child is certainly going to want that kept secret from the child's parents. This puts the child in a difficult and confusing position. In addition, just as it's difficult enough for many of us as adults to deal with sexual feelings, it's even more difficult for children to deal with these powerful feelings when they're not mature enough developmentally to cope.

Q. How prevalent is sexual abuse of pre-adolescent children by priests?

My clinical impression -- there's been no systematic survey -- is that most of the involvement with youngsters by priests has been with those around the teenage years rather than the prepubescent.

Q. Does celibacy create frustrations which lead toward sexual abuse?

First of all, we have to respect the religious convictions of people, so if Catholicism embraces celibacy as something important, that has to be respected. It may, however, require assisting people. It may be more complicated than "just say no." We may need to counsel and assist people in achieving what is indeed for many a very difficult state to maintain. Pedophilia isn't caused by celibacy, but celibacy can lead to sexual frustration and tension. Some celibates may need help in learning how to deal with this in a healthy, constructive, positive fashion.

Q. Is it ever safe to return a priest abuser to any form of public ministry?

As a working guideline, I do not think that any priest abuser should be placed back into a position where he has unsupervised access to children. That's not to say that priests should not continue, in many instances, to be priests. In fact, I would argue that the Church can often do more not only to help the priest but also to safeguard the community by not requiring the priest to leave. The easiest thing for the Church would be to get rid of these people. If the real responsibility is to safeguard the community, there's often a great deal that the Church can do by holding on to them while making sure that they do not have access to children.

Q. So you don't feel an abuser should be placed back into work with children?

It would be neither an acceptable risk for the community nor proper treatment. We teach people who have an attraction to children that they should not unnecessarily risk temptation. If you're an alcoholic, you don't go to work in a bar; and if you have problems with pedophilia, you shouldn't be in a position where you have unsupervised access to children. In treating these folks we have to remember that the bottom line is that if treatment falls, innocent people suffer.

Q. Would you put him in a parish setting where he's saying Mass on weekends?

I would not, in general, put a priest who's been involved with a child into a parish setting, because I think the potential is there for further problems to develop. Having said that, there can be occasional exceptions. When there has been the rare case of a single, completely isolated instance of abuse, I think it has not been unreasonable for that priest to be returned to the community, particularly if the community knew about his background and was anxious to have him.

Q. What determines if an abuser will abuse again?

There are many factors: the strength of his drives, his motivation not to do it again, the kinds of social supports that are either in place or lacking, the quality of treatment that he has an opportunity to receive or conversely may not have an opportunity to receive, the attitude of his peers -- all of those factors can influence whether or not the abuse will re-emerge.

Q. So pedophilia is almost impossible to cure.

There's no cure for pedophilia. There is, however, effective and successful treatment. As with alcoholism, where there are many similarities, we talk about successful treatment but not cures. There's something about your makeup that makes you vulnerable and you need to pay attention every day to make sure that you don't, so to speak, fall off the wagon. If you think you're cured, meaning that this vulnerability is somehow removed, that's dangerous because you can let down your guard, stop maintaining vigilance, and gradually slip back into old habits. Years back, the Church, very sadly, was misled by mental health professionals. The Church was one of the earliest organizations to recognize that pedophilia existed and to send people for help.

Unfortunately, back in the late '40s and '50s, and even the '60s, psychiatrists who didn't understand what we do now thought that these people could be cured. The Church, after talking to the authorities of the day and believing that these people were going to be safe, put them back into the community. The fault there was not the Church's.

Q. Do you see a difference in how the Catholic Church deals with this problem now as compared to the early '80s when people began to learn that sexual abuse of minors existed in the Catholic Church?

I have met a number of extremely conscientious and dedicated priests who are absolutely determined to do everything they can to deal with this problem as effectively as possible. I personally believe there has been too much Church-bashing. The Church has made mistakes -- we've all made mistakes -- and sadly there may still be mistakes that individuals will make as time goes along. The notion that somehow priests in general don't care about the well-being of children, or that they're insensitive to their parishioners, or that they would turn a blind eye and allow children somehow to be harmed -- that's not true. From what I've seen of all the hard work, there's a tremendous dedication to doing everything possible to minimize these kinds of problems and, to the extent that they can be eliminated to try to do that as well.

Q. Is there anything that can be done to keep pedophiles out of ministry?

There is no screening that would identify a pedophile. We can do some common sense things, such as background checks. We can do more education. We can provide more treatment so that pedophiles can get help. But there is no way that we can identify ahead of time a pedophile who's not previously been identified and who wants very much to keep secret his own sexual yearnings.

Q. What can be done to educate adults about pedophilia?

Adults need to know that there are people who are attracted sexually to youngsters. Most of us can't imagine that because we don't have those kinds of feelings, so education is extremely important. Once people realize the problem some of the steps fall into place: Don't allow un-chaperoned situations; let your children know that they ought to talk with you if somebody approaches them in a sexual way; and teach them it's okay to say 'no,' even to a priest, if it involves something that ought not to happen. Also more treatment has to be made available for pedophiles. People who experience these cravings need to know that treatment is available.

Society is so punitive and stigmatizing about this problem that people with these desires have to be encouraged to get help by assuring them that they will be assisted rather than hurt. All of these things can ultimately make a difference.

Q. Are many accusations of sexual abuse false?

It would be a terrible tragedy not to respond to a child who's been sexually abused. It is also tragic to hold someone responsible for an act of abuse that they did not do. Even though false allegations are made, every allegation has to be taken seriously and looked at carefully and objectively. The mission of those looking into it is to get at the truth.

Q. During the mid-'60s, boundaries between clergy an laity were de-constructed. Is there a need to redefine boundaries and if so, how?

As a physician, it's terribly important that I have boundaries between myself and patients, but those boundaries shouldn't interfere with my showing a genuine concern and care. That's also the issue for priests. They need to be clear, for example, that they should never be in an un-chaperoned situation with a child. The boundaries, however, should not cut off a genuine concern and emotional bonding with parishioners.

Q. Are there any kinds of rules to guide behavior?

Efforts are being made to teach priests. I saw an excellent film made recently to educate bishops and priests about boundary issues, not only with children but also with adults, for example, how to show concern for a woman who's grieving over the death of her husband in a way that will not be misinterpreted. These are tricky issues. They require education. They don't necessarily come to us through intuition.

Q. Is there anything else on which you would like to comment?

Yes. The Church needs to recognize that the first priority must be the parishioners, to let parishioners know that there is a genuine sense of concern. Lawyers need to help the Church accomplish this without creating a "we-vs.-them" mentality. In other organizations, if somebody's suing, it is "we-vs. -them." But the Church is in a unique position where it should never be "we-vs. -them." The people whom I've met in the Church want the first response to be that of ministry, to be what the Church is supposed to be. The question is how to do this in modem American society where the legal system is very adversarial.

Q. Any other comments?

For some, it's easy to write off human beings as disposable commodities, but the Church can't. It needs, first of all, to protect society, when it comes to pedophilla. There is no doubt about that. It also needs to be true to its belief in the possibility of salvaging the human life that's gone astray. Forgiveness and atonement -- those shouldn't just be words. Though these concerns must never interfere with safeguarding parishioners, at the same time, the Church cannot be true to itself, if it treats the pedophile priest as though he is less than human. The Church cannot give up its very essence in dealing with this difficult problem. In the understandable anger and outrage that people feel, the reaction can be to treat these people like disposable items. But that's not the way the Church can function and still be Church.


NM - State brings in doctor to discuss medical treatment for sex offenders

View the article here

Leave your comments.

10/20/2008

State lawmakers brought in an expert Monday to learn more about "chemical castration." They want to know if the medical treatment will be effective way to deal with sex offenders in New Mexico.

Dr. Fred Berlin is best known as the man who diagnosed and testified about serial killer Jeffery Dahmer's sexual disorders during his trial. He is now being questioned about pedophilia, sex crimes and chemical castration.

"I think that lowering testosterone enables some sex offenders to be in better control of themselves. That's not only in their best interest, but the interest of the community and I think that should be explored as an option here," Dr. Berlin said.

New Mexico lawmakers have talked about surgical castration for some sex offenders in the past, but the idea never took hold.

After Monday morning's session, neither committee chairman seemed to embrace the treatment as a punishment the state could force on convicted sex offenders any time soon.

"This is not a one size fits all solution, we need to make sure we get treatment for people who can be treated," said Democratic state Representative Al Park.

Dr. Berlin's expertise doesn't come cheap. The state shelled out $6,000, plus travel expenses to hear from him.

Lawmakers said it was worth it because they learned about ways to protect the community.



See this link as well for some common questions about sex offenders.  I have added a couple below.

Q. The problem of sexual abuse of minors has gotten a lot of publicity since the mid-'80s. Is this a new problem?
A.
No, it's absolutely not a new problem. Some of the cases that are coming to light now were from before the '80s. What is new is our paying attention to the problem, recognizing the degree of distress that it can cause, the sense that the criminal Justice system is going to deal with matters more sternly, and a recognition that we cannot cure, although we can sometimes successfully treat, these sexual disorders. So there are new aspects and new ways of understanding, but the problem itself, very sadly, has been with us throughout history.

Q. People refer to "pedophilia" and "ephebophilia." How do you distinguish these?
A
. People are attracted not only by gender -- male, female -- but also by other factors such as age. The average man refrains from sex with a child not only because he's a moral person but also because a child does not tempt him sexually. The term used to describe an orientation toward pre-pubescent children is "pedophilia," of which there are two types. One is the exclusive type: the person is attracted only to children. The other is the non-exclusive type: there is some attraction to adults. Pedophilia can be same gender pedophilia a man attracted to boys; opposite gender pedophilia -- a man attracted to girls; or bi-sexual pedophilia attracted to both boys and girls. Ephebophilia is a condition in which a person is attracted not to prepubescent children but to children or adolescents around the time of puberty, basically teenagers.

Q. Generally when you read or hear in the news about "pedophilia," aren't the media using the term to refer to anyone who is a minor?
A
. Yes. Generally, people use the term "pedophilia" to include ephebophilla. Most men can find adolescents attractive sexually, although, of course, that doesn't mean they're going to act on it. Some men who become involved with teenagers may not have a particular disorder. Opportunity and other factors may have contributed to their behaving in the way they do.

Q. What are the common characteristics you see in sex abusers?
A.
I don't think there are common features in terms of the personality or temperament or even the intelligence level of the individuals. What these people share in common is difficulty in dealing with their sexual needs in a healthy and constructive fashion. The only common feature has to do with the privacy of their sexual lives and how they manage that.

Q. Can stress turn one to abuse?
A.
Yes. We talk about the triggers that heighten the urges that people experience, and just as an alcoholic may drink to feel better when under stress, someone who has sexual difficulties may turn to sex to feel good during stress or depression or even boredom. Part of the treatment is to teach people about these triggers --either internal states, such as stress or boredom, or external situations, such as spending time in the presence of youngsters -- which can heighten urges.

Q. Do sex abusers feel guilty?
A.
Many sex abusers feel guilty once they begin to appreciate the harm that they've caused. When people have strong cravings and satisfying those cravings is pleasurable, people often rationalize. They can't be objective. They convince themselves it isn't really going to be that harmful. In treatment, when we confront these folks and force them to look objectively to see that they've betrayed trust, that they've caused pain and suffering, that they've asked children to keep secrets from their families, that families have been deceived and injured, we see, in many cases but not all, tremendous guilt and remorse and an actual horror about themselves and the kinds of problems that they have caused.

Q. How many victims does an abuser usually have?
A.
We can't give a single answer to that. I have seen the entire spectrum from abusers who have had contacts with literally hundreds of children to those who had contact with one child and never repeated it. So any statistics that say that all abusers victimize either a very low number or a very high number of children need to be looked at, in my opinion, in a very critical fashion.

Q. What determines if an abuser will abuse again?
A
. There are many factors: the strength of his drives, his motivation not to do it again, the kinds of social supports that are either in place or lacking, the quality of treatment that he has an opportunity to receive or conversely may not have an opportunity to receive, the attitude of his peers -- all of those factors can influence whether or not the abuse will re-emerge.

Q. So pedophilia is almost impossible to cure.
A.
There's no cure for pedophilia. There is, however, effective and successful treatment. As with alcoholism, where there are many similarities, we talk about successful treatment but not cures. There's something about your makeup that makes you vulnerable and you need to pay attention every day to make sure that you don't, so to speak, fall off the wagon. If you think you're cured, meaning that this vulnerability is somehow removed, that's dangerous because you can let down your guard, stop maintaining vigilance, and gradually slip back into old habits. Years back, the Church, very sadly, was misled by mental health professionals. The Church was one of the earliest organizations to recognize that pedophilia existed and to send people for help. Unfortunately, back in the late '40s and '50s, and even the '60s, psychiatrists who didn't understand what we do now thought that these people could be cured. The Church, after talking to the authorities of the day and believing that these people were going to be safe, put them back into the community. The fault there was not the Church's.

Q. Any other comments?
A.
For some, it's easy to write off human beings as disposable commodities, but the Church can't. It needs, first of all, to protect society, when it comes to pedophilla. There is no doubt about that. It also needs to be true to its belief in the possibility of salvaging the human life that's gone astray. Forgiveness and atonement -- those shouldn't just be words. Though these concerns must never interfere with safeguarding parishioners, at the same time, the Church cannot be true to itself, if it treats the pedophile priest as though he is less than human. The Church cannot give up its very essence in dealing with this difficult problem. In the understandable anger and outrage that people feel, the reaction can be to treat these people like disposable items. But that's not the way the Church can function and still be Church.


MA - Town meeting approves limits on where sex offenders live

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Ask yourself this question.  Why do they always hold conferences and votes on sex offender issues at schools?  So sex offenders cannot show up and voice their opinion, maybe?

10/21/2008

By Jim Esslinger CORRESPONDENT

WEBSTER— A 28-article warrant drew nearly 200 voters to the fall version of the annual town meeting last night at the Bartlett High School auditorium.

Voters said OK to a change in the town’s sex offender registry bylaw, no to a change in the way pawnbrokers report transactions to the police; yes to money for one roof repair and no to another; and let live the possibility of the purchase of more land for Mt. Zion Cemetery.

They also passed over several articles requiring the town to borrow money, but approved some $21,000 in account transfers to pay for unused sick and vacation time for town employees who have retired or left town to take other jobs.

The sex offender bylaw will now prohibit Level 2 and 3 offenders from living within 500 feet of a school, a town park, day care centers, and housing for the elderly. Many in the audience felt the 500-foot restriction was inadequate, but the new bylaw is in compliance with state statute and also reflects the restrictions used in many small towns, according to Police Chief Timothy Bent, who presented the article.

The residency restriction will not apply to extant offenders living in town unless they move, Chief Bent said. There are currently 15 Level 3 and 51 Level 2 offenders in town, he said. Those who are homeless are routinely monitored by police, he told a worried parent. Fines and other punishments also were addressed in the bylaw.
- So if they move, now they apply an ex post facto law to you, which is a violation of the Constitution.  What difference does it make if you move?  If you were convicted before the law came into being, then you should not be subjected to that new law.  Otherwise, why don't all other laws passed become retroactive?

But voters turned down Chief Bent’s request to require pawnbrokers to use e-mail to report information on customers who pawn articles rather than the current use of facsimile transmission. He said e-mail would cut down on paper use, as well as keeping the information stored in a central location. That information includes name, address, the item sold the pawnbrokers and the seller’s Social Security number. The latter proved to be the bylaw’s downfall as many residents feared those numbers could be compromised during transmission, despite Chief Bent’s assurances.

Meanwhile, although the article was passed over presumably until free cash is available, the police-fire station on Thompson Road will get a new boiler.

The funds will come this way,” said Finance Committee Chairman Joseph Beresik. Mr. Beresik said fincom met prior to the town meeting and approved a transfer of $15,000 from the reserve account to fund the replacement of the boiler which has been down for more than a year. Further, he said, Department of Public Works crews will remove the other boiler and perform other work, saving the town $1,600.

Voters split over the issue of whether to borrow money to repair the roofs of two town facilities. The first, a $20,000 appropriation to repair the field house at the Memorial Athletic Field, was rejected when voters objected to the cost. The measure required a two-thirds majority vote but failed by three votes. A vote to reconsider the previous vote also failed. But when voters were told it will cost more to repair the roof later, they changed their minds approved $12,000 to repair the roof of the beach house at Memorial Beach. That measure passed, but it was too late to go back to the field house.

The town cemetery off Route 12 and Bigelow Road will have to wait to add space. The approximately one-acre tract will cost the town $250,000, with $180,000 to be borrowed or appropriated from another fund. Seventy-thousand dollars will come from the town Sale of Lots Fund. Again, officials will wait until the state has certified the free cash account to decide what to do.

Voters approved zoning changes to the A.J. Sitkowski School, vacant for two years. The changes are seen as the first step in putting the building up for sale or lease. Without the changes, no project can go forward, according to Selectman Deborah Keefe. The school is attached to the Town Hall, via an auditorium. The town would retain the auditorium in the case of any agreement, but extensive reconstruction would have to be done. The school needs extensive renovations.


IL - Illinois allows convicted felons to register to vote

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All states should do this. But, they won't give the oppressed the right to vote, because then, they might not get voted into office, because those who have been oppressed, know the system is corrupt, but the sheeple just sit and stare at their TV's. As long as it doesn't affect them, they are content. But wait until they get busted for something.

10/21/2008

By KATE THAYER - kthayer@kcchronicle.com

With an abundance of advertisements and messages from public officials reminding the public it’s their right and duty to vote, one group often is ignored – felons.

Like many states, Illinois allows convicted felons who are not in prison to register to vote.

But many convicted felons who have completed their sentence don’t realize this right until it’s pointed out to them.

Terry Klingman was released from prison last August after serving nine months for a domestic battery conviction.

He’s now registered to vote, but it wasn’t easy.

“I knew from talking to people in prison … that I was eligible to vote,” Klingman said. “But some inmates think they can’t vote because they’re on parole. I used to think that, too.”

During a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new state identification card, Klingman also told workers he wanted to register to vote.

At first, he said, he was denied by an uninformed worker, but with the help of a supervising employee, Klingman ultimately registered.

“I plan to vote,” he said. “I want change.”

‘We want them to be prepared’

Jackie Brown is another convicted felon who was recently released from prison after serving time for an attempted homicide of an unborn child.

He said he read a newspaper article while in prison and learned he could vote once he was released on parole.

But Brown also ran into trouble at the DMV, requiring a supervisor to allow him to register.

A Secretary of State spokesman said employees aren’t necessarily versed in election law, even though people can register to vote at the department’s facilities.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Derek Schnapp said department employees inform inmates before they are released on parole that they are free to register to vote.

“We want them to be prepared,” Schnapp said. “Hopefully they’ll be a regular citizen in our society. But it’s up to them whether or not they take the initiative to go register.”

Convicted sex offenders and voting

Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said his office doesn’t necessarily go out to inform convicted felons of their right to vote, but he does send letters to all registered sex offenders who also are registered to vote.

“They cannot vote in schools, and are not allowed to be election judges,” Cunningham said.

The state’s Sex Offender Registry has strict guidelines of where convicted sex offenders are allowed to be in relation to schools and other places where children dwell.

Instead, Cunningham said, some convicted sex offenders should vote by absentee ballot.

In jail, but still able to vote

Besides those who have already been convicted of a crime, but served their time, there is another group that might not be exercising their right to vote.

Those who are in county jails, facing charges, are still eligible to vote because they have not been convicted.

Cunningham said some county clerks actually go to jails with voting machines for inmates, but that isn’t practiced in Kane County.

Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said moving inmates poses a security threat, and that holds true on Election Day, so inmates won’t be taken to precincts.

The best option for inmates is to vote absentee by mail, said Mark Greben, Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman.

‘Voting is a responsibility’

Linda Martin is director of Rita’s Ministry, which works to transition convicted felons back into mainstream society.

She said reminding parolees to register to vote isn’t at the top of their list, but is included.

“We make an effort to let them know as much possible that they can do to better their lives and be a part of the community,” she said. “We talk about being a productive citizen and part of that is taking on their own responsibility. Voting is a responsibility, just like paying taxes, paying bills and being a good neighbor.”
- No, voting is a choice, not a responsibility, IMO, and paying taxes is not a responsibility, it's the law without a law.  In other words, you have to pay taxes or go to prison, even though there is no law about paying taxes.


IL - Belleville approves new Halloween ordinance

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You see, now they are trampling on your rights as well. I told you, when they start trampling on one groups rights, it's easier to trample on your rights as well. Ask yourself this question, how in the hell are they going to enforce this anyway?

10/20/2008

BELLEVILLE -- This Halloween, new trick-or-treating rules will be in place in Belleville regarding curfews, age limits and sex offenders.

The City Council on Monday unanimously passed an ordinance that:

  • Designates trick-or-treating hours as 5 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Limits trick-or-treating to children in eighth grade and lower, unless they are special-needs children accompanied by a parent or guardian. Parents should accompany all children.
  • Restricts to Halloween the wearing of masks or other disguises in public by people older than age 12.
  • Bans child sex offenders from Halloween parties or events where children not theirs own are present. This includes turning off exterior lights between 4 and 11 p.m. and not handing out candy to children.

An existing state law already mandates that sex offenders can't hand out candy on Halloween. Belleville Police Chief William Clay the new ordinance enhances that law.

Mayor Mark Eckert has said he wants sexual predators to know they're not welcome in Belleville.

Despite the new ordinance, Clay warns parents not to assume their children are safe. He said parents still should keep track of whom their children come into contact with on Halloween.
- They should do this, even if there were no sex offenders at all.  Stop letting the government dictate your life and be the parent you should be!  This crap is just getting way out of hand!

Regarding the new age limit, city leaders have said they decided to make the change because they were receiving increasing numbers of complaints from older residents who were scared on Halloween when teenagers rang their doorbells late at night.
- So arrest the teenagers for harassment!  Why step on someone else's rights just because some idiots are harassing someone?  Those people should get cameras, install them, and record on Halloween night, then press charges against anyone who harasses them.  Oh, but it's easier to allow the government to eradicate our rights to help "protect" us!  We the sheeple need protecting from ourselves!

Ward 5 Alderman Randy Hoercher, who has a 16-year-old son that was upset about the age-limit changes, said he thinks it's for the best.

"This is a fun day for the kids, and that's the way it should be," Hoercher said.
- Next they will be banning the holiday all together!

Clay said police will handle age and curfew violations with a "warn and release" method, though parents could have to pay a $25 fine.
- Mo money, mo money, mo money!

Contact reporter Laura Girresch at lgirresch@bnd.com or 239-2507.


NY - City asks sex offenders to post signs on Halloween

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If there is no law, and they are not on probation or parole, then they do not have to do this. It's not a law, that is why they are "asking" them to do this, which is basically more punishment without due process of law.  See the video below.

10/20/2008

By BRYON ACKERMAN - Observer-Dispatch

UTICA — City officials are strongly encouraging the 67 Level three sex offenders in Utica to place signs outside their homes on Halloween that will tell children not to trick-or-treat at those locations, city Public Safety Commissioner and acting police Chief Daniel LaBella said today.

The city is sending letters to Level three sex offenders, who are people who have committed severe sex crimes against children, asking them not to hand out candy to children and to hang the city-provided signs on their houses so that they can be seen from the street, LaBella said.

Level 3 sex offenders living in an apartment building will be required to put the signs on their apartment doors instead of outside the building, he said.
- So where is the law that "requires" this scarlet letter?  There isn't one!

The signs state “no candy at this residence” in black letters over the top of a pumpkin graphic.

LaBella said the city can’t make the sex offenders hang up the signs, but he will attempt to pass legislation by next Halloween that would make it an offense to not do so.

This year, officials will check to see who complied, LaBella said. The next time people who didn’t put up the sign meet with city officials, the officials will ask them why they didn’t comply, LaBella said.
- Because it's not a law, and you are violating their rights!  Screw you!  If they have to ask why you did not comply, then they know, it's a violation of your rights, and there is not a law, so I would not comply, they have no right to tell you to do this, period!

The idea of the plan is to provide Uticans with information that can help them have a safe, enjoyable Halloween, LaBella said.
- Why don't Uticans check the sex offender registry before going out?  Or be a good little parent and go along with your children on Halloween!  Come on, this is pure BS!   It's nothing but a moral panic and mass hysteria!

“We feel an informed community is a protected community,” he said.
- Well then, why don't you inform them of the murderers, drug dealers, DUI offenders, prostitutes, and all other criminals?  Because that is a lie!




CO - Army to probe 5 slayings linked to Colo. brigade

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So now we need to ban all military officials from using Myspace, since they used it to commit 5 murders. Treat them all as one group, just like you treat sex offenders.  Also, are they going to be put into prison for life, and made to be on the sex offender registry?  It was a sex crime!

10/18/2008

DENVER – Fort Carson soldiers returning from deployment in Iraq are suspects in at least five slayings, and officials want to know why.

Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Graham announced Friday a task force will examine any commonalities in the five killings, all allegedly committed by soldiers from the post's 4th Brigade Combat Team in the past 14 months. A sixth BCT soldier faces an attempted murder charge.

"We have many great young Americans in our Army who have volunteered to serve during a time of war, almost all of whom are great citizens," Graham said in a statement. "However, we too are very concerned about these horrible acts."

Fort Carson also plans to re-screen about 1,200 soldiers from the brigade for potential physical or mental health problems.

Earlier Friday, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to investigate the slayings. Officials learned of the latest on Monday, when Spc. Robert Hull Marko, 21, led investigators to the body of 19-year-old Judilianna "Judi" Lawrence, whom he met on the social networking Web site MySpace, according to an arrest affidavit released Tuesday.

The affidavit said Marko told investigators he had violent sex with Lawrence before slitting her throat and leaving her to die in the foothills west of Colorado Springs. His next court appearance is Monday.

The issue of homicides by combat-stressed veterans gained national prominence in January, after The New York Times reported that at least 121 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans had committed a killing in the United States or been charged in one.

Karen Linne, a spokeswoman for Fort Carson, said commanders two months ago ordered squad leaders and team leaders to reevaluate soldiers to see if they need additional help following concerns raised after another soldier from the unit was linked to a double slaying.

Pfc. Jomar Dionisio Falu-Vives, 24, and Spc. Rodolfo Torres-Gandarilla, 20, face attempted murder charges in the May 26 wounding of Capt. Zachary Zsody, who was shot twice while standing at an intersection. An arrest affidavit released in August said an AK-47 used in the Zsody case was found in Falu-Vives' apartment and it was also used in the June 6 deaths of two people gunned down on the street while putting up signs for a garage sale.

Killed were Cesar Ramirez Ibanez, 21, and Amairany Cervantes, 28. Prosecutors filed murder charges against Falu-Vives on Sept. 15.

Three other members of the unit were accused in the slayings of two soldiers. Bruce Bastien Jr. was sentenced last month to 60 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in the December shooting death of Kevin Shields, and conspiracy to commit murder in the August 2007 death of Robert James.

Bastien, and co-defendant Kenneth Eastridge, both agreed to testify against fellow Iraq war veteran Louis Bressler, the alleged triggerman.

Eastridge pleaded guilty July 11 to accessory to murder in Shields' death and will be sentenced Nov. 3. Bressler is scheduled to go on trial in the Shield slaying Nov. 3, while his trial in the James homicide is scheduled for Dec. 1.

"Those who committed these violent crimes should be brought to justice," said Salazar. "But these tragedies also raise a number of questions from the backgrounds and service records of these soldiers, to whether they received waivers to enter the service, to the adequacy of mental health screening and treatment within the Army."

Falu-Vives and Torres-Gandarilla, accused together in one case and Bastien, Bressler and Eastridge, accused in the two slayings, served in Iraq last year with the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Brigade Combat Team. There weren't any immediate indications that both sets of men knew each other.

Marko was a mortarman with Charlie Company, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, of the 4th BCT and served from February 2007 until February of this year.


OH - 6 arraigned in brutal attack in Seneca Falls

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10/21/2008

Six people arrested in connection with a brutal attack in Seneca Falls were in court today.

William, Brandon, Justin Meacham and Marvin Snyder are all charged with first degree gang assault. Stephanie Meachum and sister Angela Wheeler are also charged with gang assault and face additional attempted assault charges. William Meacham is a convicted sex offender.

They're all accused of brutally beating Adrian Porter in his apartment complex last month. Porter was found in the parking lot of the apartment complex where he lived. He was bleeding and unconscious. Family members say he suffered a broken nose, facial fractures, and brain trauma.

"I want justice in my brother's case," Porter's sister Selena McKoy said. "Point blank. Because no human being should ever have to go through something like that."

Seneca Falls Police say the attack appeared to be retaliation for Porter trying to alert his neighbors about sex offenders who lived in their complex.

"We found that Mr. Porter had downloaded the photos of sex offenders that lived in the complex, and had posted them somewhere in the vicinity of the laundromat that's in the facility." Seneca Falls Police Chief Frederick Capozzi said.

After court, Porter's sister and members of the Meacham family had a heated exchange before the mother of five of the suspects came to their defense.

"I'm not saying my kids done right, they done wrong," Sheryl Meachum said. "But when you're being run down with a machete, you're not going to stand there. You're going to fight back."

Police and the Seneca County District Attorney couldn't comment on the use of that machete. They say it's part of their investigation into what the DA calls a tragedy for everyone involved.

"This was a tragic affair for the Porter family," Seneca County District Attorney Richard Swinehart said. "He was seriously injured by a group of people, that's why we brought gang assault charges here today. It's obviously a tragedy for the Meacham family, who have five of their relatives all in jail right now, plus one of their friends."

Adrian Porter is currently recovering at the brain trauma unit at Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester. His mother Deborah Williams says her son has been able to move and talk somewhat, though he is still experiencing problems with his memory.



VT - Pollina stresses prevention over tougher sex offender laws

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10/20/2008

By Bob Kinzel

Montpelier - Independent gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina says he's not convinced that creating new and tougher sex offender laws is the right way to respond to the issue of sexual abuse.

Pollina says it's more important to fully fund prevention programs and special investigative units throughout the state.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:



(Kinzel) After studying the issue for several months, a special legislative panel is backing a plan to create a new crime of aggravated sexual assault on a minor - it's a crime that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in jail and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Speaking on VPRs Vermont Edition, Independent gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina said the proposal deserves closer scrutiny, but Pollina said he generally opposes the concept of adopting longer mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes:

(Pollina) "The idea of the creation of a new crime in a sense I don't have a problem with I still have a problem with whether or not a mandatory minimum is going to result in the kind of conclusion that we want my understanding is mandatory minimums mean those people who are accused of crimes go to court they fight the crime differently or they fight the prosecution differently and they often end up not going to jail and I think that obviously is not the result obviously that we're looking for."

Pollina says he wants to focus more attention on the causes of sexual abuse:

(Pollina) "Most importantly I want us to prevent these crimes from happening I'm not convinced quite honestly that putting someone in jail for a longer period of time stops the next person from committing a crime and in Vermont I want us to start engaging in a real thorough discussion about what we're going to do to prevent men and boys from abusing and harming and frankly killing young girls and women."

Pollina acknowledges that it's going to be a tough budget year to increase spending on prevention and law enforcement programs. He says he wants to conduct a top to bottom review of the state budget and he thinks there are places that should be cut to help pay for his priorities:

(Pollina) "I think we have to stop throwing money at programs that don't work... people will think this is the wrong thing to say but under the Douglas Administration we've spent 200 million dollars on economic development and yet we've lost more jobs than we've gained practically even though those kinds of programs have to be looked at more seriously."

Pollina is also calling for a complete review of the state's parole and probation system to make certain that people who participate in these programs are closely monitored.

For VPR News I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.