Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Online Predation An Exaggerated Problem

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See also: 
Speading 1 in 5 number does more harm than good
50,000 Online Predators?
Just the facts about online victimization

11/04/2008

CBS Tech Analyst Larry Magid Breaks Down The Stats; Drugs And Alcohol A Much Bigger Risk

(CBS) A survey of 1,000 moms of teenagers commissioned by McAfee and conducted by Harris Interactive reached the surprising conclusion that “about two-thirds of mothers of teens in the United States are just as, or more, concerned about their teenagers’ online safety, such as from threatening emails or solicitation by online sexual predators, as they are about drunk driving (62 per cent) and experimenting with drugs (65 per cent).”

That might be how moms feel, but it’s not reflective of the real world. While moms have good reason to be concerned about how their teens use the Internet, online dangers pale compared to the risks of drunk driving. In 2007, 6,552 people were killed in auto accidents involving young drivers (16-20), according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. In 2006, nearly a fifth of the 7,643 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes had a blood had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Perception of Internet danger has been heightened thanks to the TV show “To Catch a Predator” and inaccurate reports stating that “one in five children have been sexually solicited by a predator.” That statistic is a misquote from a 2000 study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center. The data (which, based on a 2005 follow-up study, was revised to one in seven) is based on a survey that asked teens if they had in the last year received an unwanted sexual solicitation.

But many - possibly most - of those solicitations were from other teens, not from adult predators. What’s more, most recipients didn’t view them as serious or threatening. “Almost all youth handled the solicitations easily and effectively” and “extremely few youth (two out of 1,500 interviewed) were actually sexually victimized by someone they met online,” reported the authors of the study.

Other studies have shown that “the stereotype of the Internet child molester who uses trickery and violence to assault children is largely inaccurate” (Wolak, Finkelhor & Mitchell, 2004). In a survey of law enforcement investigators of Internet sex crimes, it was reported that only 5 percent of offenders pretended to be teens when trying to meet potential victims online.

Research has also shown that kids who do get into trouble online are the same kids who get in trouble offline. Most kids are pretty careful when it comes to Internet safety but a small percentage of teens take unnecessary risks that could lead to sexual solicitations and other dangers. Based on what we know about teenage risk taking, it is likely that the same kids who are abusing drugs or driving while under the influence are the same ones who are taking extraordinary risks online

Still, even among those kids, the odds of them dying, being injured or being sexually molested is quite low.

I’m not surprised by another finding in the McAfee/Harris survey that “20% of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors, including posting mean or hurtful information or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors, publicizing private communications, sending anonymous e-mails or cyberpranking someone.” That number tracks other surveys on the subject, though it’s important to point out that cyber bullying, while real, is also subject to exaggeration.

As reported by NetFamilyNews.org, a CCRC a study of online bullying found that “9% of youth were harassed online in the past year, 43% of them by known peers and 57% by people they met online and did not know in person. … Most online harassment incidents did not appear to meet the standard dentition of bullying used in school-based research and requiring aggression, repetition, and power imbalance.”

I’m not suggesting that parents have nothing to worry about when it comes to the Internet. Parents should talk with their kids about Internet safety and engage in frequent conversations about how they behave online. But let’s keep things in perspective and not turn parental concern into unjustified fears.

By Larry Magid, ©MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Video Proof that Supreme Court Judges Consider Selling our Our Children

YouTube Channel


MS - Convicted Mendenhall police chief still on payroll

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11/04/2008

By Heather Civil - heather.civil@clarionledger.com

Mendenhall's police chief is still on the payroll three weeks after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in plea deal involving allegations of having sex with a minor.

Jimbo Suillivan is on leave with pay from his $32,000-a-year job and he must report to the Simpson County Sheriff's Department by Feb. 1 to begin serving a four-year sentence.

The attorney general's office has started the process of removing Sullivan from office, but the city cannot change the chief's leave status until a court order is signed, said Mayor Randal Neely.

"Until we get the signed order, there's nothing we can do," Neely said.

Mendenhall is one of a few cities in the state that elects its police chief.

Neely did not know how long it could take for the court to issue the order.

Under a plea deal, Sullivan avoided pleading guilty to a sex-related charge and therefore won’t have to register as a sex offender.
- Of course, the "Good Ole' Boys Club," in action!

Deputy Police Chief Bruce Barlow is heading up the Police Department, Neely said.


OR - STD website creator has criminal past - Website creator didn't report himself online although he admits to having herpes

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Original Article

Click the image to visit this sick site.  Also, a video is available at the site above.  See this article, where they tried the same thing for AIDS patients.

11/04/2008

By ANNE YEAGER and ERIC ADAMS, kgw.com Staff

PORTLAND -- Cyrus Sullivan has taken a lot of heat after unveiling a website that “outs” people with incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

Much of that criticism has been levied at Sullivan on kgw.com, where at least 50 comments have been posted in relation to a previous report on the former Oregon State University student’s new STD reporting site.

Viewers have left a range of comments on the story and website, ranging from, “You’re a jerk,” to “Get some help,” to “In this day and age, only a dummy has unprotected sex.”

More: STD reporting website generates controversy

Sullivan has responded to the criticism, both online in the commenting section of the story, and on the record to KGW.

“Of course people are going to make those kinds of comments,” Sullivan said. “I also get a lot of comments that were supportive.”

Sullivan has a prior criminal record involving a “sex offender prank” he pulled while attending OSU.

In April 2005 Sullivan was arrested for forging documents sent to hundreds of OSU students alleging that a former member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity was a sex offender.

Background: 'Prank' involves false sexual assault allegation

Specifically, Sullivan claimed his former fraternity brother had assaulted a teenaged boy.

He also created a flier advertising a free STD clinic, which included pictures of other members of the fraternity and an address leading to the Tau Kappa Epsilon house.

But Sullivan claims his latest creation, the STD reporting website, is unrelated to his prior fraternity “stunts.”

“This (website) has nothing to do with my past,” he said.

Sullivan went on to say his fraternity experience with Tau Kappa Epsilon was “unpleasant” and specifically alleges that he was hazed.

“I was hogtied and thrown into a shower,” he said.

The idea for the STD website came from a bad experience with a young woman at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

“She infected me and didn’t tell me,” he claims.

Sullivan created the STD reporting website so that infected people could be reported -- and in the hopes that others might have an online reference for those carrying sexual diseases.

However, Sullivan failed to report himself on his own STD reporting website, even though he admitted to carrying herpes.

After the story ran on kgw.com this weekend at least five people reported him.

His picture is now featured on the site.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassment relating to the falsely advertised STD clinics, after he claims his attorney told the court the fliers were pranks.

Despite his past, Sullivan still says he’s doing a public service by posting people who have STDs online.

“This is the most honest thing I’ve done,” he says.


AZ - Police: Former Officer Had Child Porn

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11/04/2008

PHOENIX -- A former Mesa police officer is sitting in the Pinal County Jail after being accused of taking sexually explicit photographs of a young girl, authorities said.

Maricopa police confiscated the phone and computer of former Officer Justin Bowman after his wife said she discovered the pictures on Bowman's cell phone.

"He said he was doing his own personal little research, trying to see how accessible child porn is on the Internet," said Bowman's wife, who requested her name not be used. "He told me ... all he found was one site where you had to submit a picture to get (a) picture, that he had the picture for that and before submitting (it) he realized it was stupid."

She said she asked the child why she allowed Bowman to take the picture.

"(She said) it was just something they did for fun -- something she wanted to do," his wife said. "They didn't think he did anything wrong because he didn't make them do anything they didn't want to do."

Maricopa police Sgt. Stephen Judd said he and other officers are "disheartened" by Bowman's alleged conduct.

"We're going to make sure anybody, regardless of their profession, is going to be held accountable if they victimize children," Judd said.

Bowman resigned from the Mesa Police Department in September, and he was taking a fitness test for another police department when his wife found the photographs, his wife said.

Mesa police would not comment on why Bowman left the department.

His wife, meanwhile, said she is wondering why a man who worked on one side of the law would go to the other side.

"He is in there for something he was trying to keep off the street," she said. "If I hadn't found that picture -- would I have ever known?

"I could have been with him forever."


OH - Mother pleads guilty in poisoning case

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11/04/2008

ELYRIA — A Lorain mother who poisoned her three children and planned to drive them off a cliff pleaded guilty Monday to charges of felonious assault, endangering children and corrupting another with drugs.

Theresa Fennell, 36, will avoid prison under a plea deal with prosecutors that will likely see her placed on probation and possibly serving up to 90 days in the county jail, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski said. She will also have her driver’s license suspended for six months to five years.

Fennell stood rigidly before Betleski as she entered her guilty plea. She left the county Justice Center without comment.

Her attorney, Shimane Smith, said his client is being treated for a serious mental health condition that led her to make a mistake because she believed she was protecting her children from an evil world.

Police say Fennell laced the food of her children, then 4, 9 and 13, with prescription drugs and had planned to drive them off the Mill Hollow cliff in Vermilion in September 2006.

Instead, she drove them to Amherst Hospital, where they were treated and eventually made a full recovery.

Although she has been allowed contact with her children since the incident, they are in the custody of their paternal grandmother, Smith said.

Fennell, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, wanted to take the case to trial but took the plea deal because prosecutors planned to put her children on the stand to testify against her. It was something the mother in her couldn’t allow, Smith said.

“She’s trying to save them,” he said.

Fennell also asked if prosecutors could provide her with copies of photographs she had of her children that were on her computer hard drive, which was seized by police during their investigation.

A search of the hard drive turned up 400 pornographic images of minors that police traced to Fennell’s husband, Jeffrey Fennell, 38.

Jeffrey Fennell admitted downloading the pornography and pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the images last year. He was placed on probation and is now a registered sex offender living in Arizona.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.


CA - Sex offenders' reform depends on education

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11/03/2008

By Narsu Rao

Registered non-felony sex offenders should be given a chance to attend college and become better citizens. Rehabilitating those who have erred in the past is as integral a part of the community as ensuring people's safety and security. Denying higher education to those who genuinely want to reenter society hurts their chances of building stable new lives.

Proposition 83, approved by 70 percent of California voters in 2006, bars all registered sex offenders - whose crimes range from forcible rape to indecent exposure - from living within 2,000 feet of a public or private school or a park where children regularly gather. And under a new bill, sex offenders are ineligible for Pell Grants, the nation's premier financial aid program for low-income students, starting July next July.

All this is good in the interest of children and families. We should make every effort to protect society from sexual predators. But making it difficult for registered sex offenders to reform their lives does not help the situation.

It is worth noting the flaws that exist in the record keeping of sex offenders. Many with serious charges declare themselves "homeless" and leave without a trace, while some with minor offenses suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives.

It is only fair to give registered offenders a second chance, as long as they are psychologically stable and committed to living decent lives.

This would not compromise campus safety. In order to allow sex offenders the option of integrating back into society while ensuring the safety of others, colleges should deal with applicants on a case-by-case basis. Through a careful screening and interview process, colleges should be able to admit those who are truly ready to rebuild their lives.


CO - Naked runners face registering as sex offenders - Indecent exposure is a sexual offense

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And what about these folks in California, mooning trains?

Funny how they boo the police, in the non-Nudity video below, when it is about them. A sex crime, is a sex crime. So now, all the skinny dipping, streaking at games, or at events like this, are a thing of the past, thanks to the puritans!  You can find more videos at YouTube about this event.

11/03/2008

By Laura Snider (Contact)

Twelve of the runners who streaked the Pearl Street Mall on Friday night wearing nothing but pumpkins on their heads will have to register as sex offenders if they are convicted of indecent exposure.

The 10th year of the Naked Pumpkin Run started as usual — with laughter, beer and a whole lot of pumpkin carving. But the nude run, which has grown in recent years to include well over 100 people, ended with police citing 12 of the streakers for indecent exposure, a Class 1 misdemeanor. Police have warned runners in the past that the activity isn’t legal, but this is the first time officers showed up en masse to enforce the law.
- Only 12 of over 100?

Now the ticketed runners, whose names have not yet been released, will have to register as sex offenders — a scarlet letter that could mark their professional and personal lives for years — if the charge of indecent exposure sticks.
- And it will end their careers, and lives.  Welcome to the 21st century of shaming, witch hunts, etc!  I bet many of them, were all for the sex offender registry, now lets see what they think about it, if they are actually charged and made to register, which I doubt!

“It’s very nasty,” said Alexander Garlin, a local lawyer who has experience defending sex-related criminal charges. “Over the years, the system, the way of responding to individuals who are called sex offenders, ultimately has become institutionalized. There’s a whole industry around this, and certain critics have charged that the industry is too much one-size-fits-all.

Convicting a naked pumpkin runner of indecent exposure in court, however, may not be completely straightforward. According to state law, the prosecution must show that the defendant “knowingly exposed his genitals to the view of any person,” which is the easy part in this case, and that the exposure likely caused “affront or alarm” to someone.
- Well, when it involves a person urinating in the woods, or on the side of the road, this has never been an issue.  Maybe now, they will change the draconian laws, that are sweeping many into their large nets, and ruining careers and lives!

The “affront and alarm” is the obvious place to begin a defense, Garlin said. In the case of the pumpkin run, which didn’t start until nearly 11 p.m., many of the people packed onto the mall said they were there specifically to see the nude runners.

How does a jury figure out if someone is guilty (of affronting and alarming) beyond a reasonable doubt?” Garlin said. “I would guess the average Boulderite is not likely to be affronted or alarmed — entertained, maybe.”
- Well, they seem to have no problem with it's someone "accused" of a sex crime against a child.  They should have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, on ANYTHING!  But they don't, because the DA's get to look tough on crime, and move on to the next victim, and make more money, etc...  It's a business, and without the sex offender business, many people would not be as rich as they are, just look at John Walsh, Mark Lunsford, etc...

If the cited runners don’t want to test their luck in court, they could try to plead to a lesser charge. In this case, the obvious alternate would be “public indecency.”
- NEVER TAKE A PLEA!!!!  IT'S NOT A DEAL, PERIOD!!!!  These people are going to be suckered into a plea deal, by some DA scaring the hell out of them.  And when they take that plea, their life is over!

Oddly, public indecency may sound worse on paper — it includes doing such things in public as having sex, masturbating or fondling someone else — but it carries far less serious consequences. Public indecency is a Class 1 petty offense and does not require registration as a sex offender.

“Public indecency has a real kicker — it’s generally nakedness plus some pretty hard-core conduct,” Garlin said.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said his officers cited the runners because “first of all, it’s illegal,” he had a high enough staffing level that night and he was concerned that the event was getting out of hand.

“This isn’t OK,” he said. “It is against the law. You can’t do this with immunity.”


OK - Sex-crime offenders classified into tiers

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11/03/2008

By NICOLE MARSHALL World Staff Writer

Police here say all tiers are held to the same standard.

One year has passed since Oklahoma began classifying sex offenders into a three-level ranking system that designates how long they must register their addresses with law enforcement authorities.

Creating the tier system was one step toward complying with the federal Adam Walsh Act by the deadline of July 2009 to avoid losing a percentage of the state’s federal funding.

Under a state law that went into effect Nov. 1, 2007, offenders are placed in tiers based on their numeric risk levels, which are determined by the type and severity of crimes for which they were convicted and the number of convictions they have.

Level One offenders will register for 15 years; Level Two offenders will register for 25 years; and Level Three offenders will register for life.

But because the tier system is not tied to anything other than the length of time an offender must register, the law has had little effect locally, said Detective Tim Lawson, who maintains the Tulsa Police Department’s sex-offender registry.

There has been zero effect because there is no discrepancy between the tiers,” he said. “They are all held accountable to the same standard.”

Some states base the number of restrictions with which offenders must comply on their potential risk to the public.

About 370 sex offenders are registered in Tulsa, and no increase or decrease in the number of registrations has been seen in Tulsa since the law took effect, Lawson said.

Now that one year has passed, police will be able to use new computer software to determine the breakdown of those offenders into the three tiers, he said.

The largest number of offenders falls into the tier designated as having the highest risk.

In Oklahoma, 844 offenders have been assigned by the Department of Corrections to Level One; 218 to Level Two; and 2,578 to Level Three, said Lawana Hamrick, coordinator of the DOC’s Sex and Violent Offender Registration Unit.

Hamrick said the tier system is not popular with sex offenders because it makes the time of registration longer for some of them.
- Because you do not put people into tiers based on their potential to reoffend, it's all based on the crime itself, and nothing else.  So yeah, it's not fair!

While the tier system is Oklahoma’s first step in coming into compliance with the Adam Walsh Act, the state will have to take additional measures to be in compliance, she said.
- It's all about grant money!  It's going to cost more in the long run, to pay for it and enforce it.  Just look at this one study.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and nine area police agencies announced last week that they are taking part in a regional database, Offender Watch, that tracks sex offenders in their jurisdictions.

Sheriff Stanley Glanz said the database brings those agencies into compliance with the Adam Walsh Act’s requirements regarding registries.

Tulsa County Chief Deputy George Haralson said 107 sex offenders are registered as living in the unincorporated areas of the county. Of that number, 19 are in Level One; 2 are in Level Two; and 86 are in Level Three. Two offenders have not yet been assigned to a tier, he said.