Wednesday, November 19, 2008

GA - Weakening the law would hurt too many

View the article here

Some quotes from a man who has lost touch with reality!

And many more articles here

Now I know why the reporter let him publish this. I believe he is mostly a financial person, and apparently knows nothing about how the legal system works, but thinks he does, and he made himself look like a total a__ in this article, IMO.

Once again, Jerry Keen shows what an hypocritical a__hole he is. You never say anything, unless you are in trouble, and you know, these laws will come crumbling down, eventually, but you got to stick your nose out there, so you look good to the sheeple, we know! SORRY FOLKS, EVERY TIME THIS JERK OPENS HIS BIG MOUTH, IT TICKS ME OFF, AS IF YOU CANNOT TELL! He is basically comparing all sex offenders to John Couey! Those who scream the loudest, usually have something to hide, just look at Mark Foley, and the many others in the videos below, as examples. So what are you hiding Jerry?

11/20/2008

By JERRY KEEN (Email)

In 2006, I authored the bill that created the toughest sexual offender law in the nation in response to the tragic death of Jessica Lunsford. The 9-year-old girl was raped, bound with speaker wire, wrapped in garbage bags and put into a hole in the ground before being buried alive by her kidnapper: a convicted sex offender. John Couey was apprehended here in Georgia.
- Toughest doesn't always mean the best! You should be passing smart, constitutional laws, not tough, unconstitutional laws, which punish and torture people who have served their time already! Wait until you, or someone in your family get slammed with the sex offender label! You passed a law to punish thousands, due to the insanity of one man. Wow! If that is how laws are made, we are all in trouble. You should be fired, along with all the other idiots in office.

In Georgia, as much as possible, we want to protect children from people who want to rob them of their innocence and even their lives.
- No you don't, you want to cover your own a__, make it look like you are actually doing something. 90% of all sexual crimes occur in the family, or close friends. So by pushing them out into the country, you are just pushing the problem a way, so you don't have to deal with it, and can look "tough" on crime. If a person is intent on harming someone, they will do it, regardless of the laws you idiots pass!

In their zeal to protect the rights of convicted felons, those fighting the new sex offender law have trivialized the rights of the victims of sexual crimes. And they haven’t told you the whole story.
- And in your zeal to protect your career, you have stomped on the constitution of the state and US, and are punishing and torturing thousands of offenders, their family and children as well, just to save your career, and win some brownie points from the sheeple of this state! And you are a member of the Georgia Christian Coalition???? Give me a break, HYPOCRITE!!! So Jerry, what is the "whole" story? Why don't you tell us then? Also not all sex offenders are convicted of felonies, so another lie on your part!

Offenders who received first offender treatment before the new law went into effect should be able to come off the registry if they are in compliance with the requirements of their probation. Those who are still on the registry have either committed subsequent crimes or were not granted first offender treatment because the judge in that particular trial did not consider it appropriate.
- You are lying! Many committed their crime before 1996, and have NOT committed another sex crime. But, you come along, pass a new law, make it retroactive, thus VIOLATING YOUR OATH OF OFFICE, AND THE CONSTITUTION, back date it to July 1st, 1996, and now every sex offender in the state of Georgia is on the registry for life. Stop your d___ lying! Are you really a Christian?

Sexual offenders are placed on the state registry for a reason. We do not always hear every sordid detail of one offender’s case because those who are pushing so hard for relief for offenders often leave out the particular circumstances that led the offender to be placed on the list in the first place.
- That is not what is being fought in court either. The ex post facto issues, and other UNCONSTITUTIONAL issues are. Anyone who commits a crime, sex crime or not, should be punished, but the punishment should fit the crime, and I think by making someone be on a shaming list for life, move every time a daycare or church decides to open up, offenders and their families must move, they lose their jobs, homes, etc, that is cruel & unusual punishment. But, you will never see that, not until someone in your family is slammed with the label.

For that reason, it is incumbent upon us to trust the criminal justice system. Each offender on the registry list has been indicted by a grand jury, gone to trial and convicted by a jury of his or her peers.
- This is another outright lie. Many accept plea bargains, so that shows you are lying!!!! I never went to a grand jury, nor a jury trial, so stop the BS, sir!!! And no, it is incumbent upon us to participate in our democracy, exercise our rights, and protest when the government overreaches. Also, I am willing to bet that 99% of the folks on the sex offender registry took a plea deal, so once again, you are lying, or are clueless about how laws and the legal system works!

The new law also provides that, for certain crimes, teenagers who are engaging in what some might call “consensual” sex acts will be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges.
- So why did Genarlow Wilson get sent to prison for 10 years? And why is Wendy Whitaker, who did less than Genarlow did, being forced to move. Since you pass ex post facto laws, why not make the new law affect those prior to the law, and set them free? Oh, it doesn't go both ways, right?

If found guilty of a misdemeanor sex act, a teenage offender will not have to register. Only felony crimes require registration for life.
- Another crock of BS!

Those convicted offenders who were on the registry before the new law went into effect were not reviewed by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board and we have no way of knowing how dangerous they could be.
- Sure you do. Review them, their criminal history... It doesn't take rocket science to figure that out. So, all those who were convicted before the law, you just ASSUME are dangerous, and put them on the registry for life. What about your mother and father? If we examined their marriage licenses, how old would they be when they had sex? I bet they'd be on the registry as well.

The law needs to be tough, because as much as sexual criminals want you to believe that they will not reoffend, we know that they can, do and will re-offend. If you don’t believe that, think of Jessica.
- Yes, they can, but many do not. Some do, that is common sense! But, statistics, even from the Bureau of Justice, shows they are less likely to reoffend than any other criminal. You are lying through your teeth!!!! Oh, if you don't believe that, think of Jessica. She was killed by a sick psychopath, and also because instead of her father staying home and watching his child, he left to go meet some woman, expecting his mother to watch them, plus they left the doors and windows unlocked!!! Why are you comparing all sex offenders to John Couey!!! Screw you sir! So I guess we can say that all republicans are Internet Predators, because Mark Foley is? No, of course not, but that is exactly what you are doing!

It is not the role of the General Assembly to play judge and jury. When the legislature passes a law it does so for a class of people. It would be reckless for the General Assembly to exempt an entire group of offenders from registration and monitoring requirements.
- You are right, the General Assembly should not be playing judge and jury, so stop doing so! You made a law, which is unconstitutional, and you clearly did not give it much thought. But, you are too proud to admit you made a huge mistake. Very arogant and self-centered! So, why don't you make the same laws apply to any and all criminals? There is many other people, like their own family, DUI offenders, gang members, drug dealers, etc, who are just as must, if not more of a danger to kids than all sex offenders. I admit, there is some psycho people out there, but you are treating all sex offenders as if they are some sick murderer like John Couey, that sir, is morally and ethically wrong... Not all sex offenders are like John Couey! If that is true, then all republicans are pedophile, internet predators. See here, from many of your other buddies being busted on child sex crimes.


We created a law that is designed to keep all sexual criminals away from any future victims. To weaken the law for one has grave potential to hurt many.
- Shut the hell up! This really sounds like some BS Hitler would say... Really!!!

No matter how vigorously some might argue that the General Assembly needs to fix the woes of convicted sexual offenders, I believe that our duty is first to the victims of these crimes, and that is where we should focus our time and energy.
- Look, you could pass 10 million laws, and again, if someone wants to harm someone, they will, period!!!

- Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons) is House majority leader in the Georgia General Assembly.
- And should be fired for not upholding his "oath of office!"



Republican Hypocrisy!


Rep Davis - One of your hate monger buddies!


GA - Real offender in this sex case is Georgia law

View the article here

11/20/2008

In its relentless efforts to expel Wendy Whitaker from her Columbia County home, the state of Georgia has crossed the line from protector to persecutor of its citizens. The state isn’t inciting torch-wielding mobs to chase Whitaker from her home 20 miles west of Augusta. But it is using a gaggle of state attorneys and a politically driven, poorly written sex offender law to wreck her life.

Twelve years ago, Whitaker engaged in oral sex with a classmate in her sophomore class on high school property. She had just turned 17; the boy was three weeks shy of 16. After they were caught, Whitaker pleaded guilty to sodomy, never realizing that the admission to a single act of adolescent stupidity would cast a shadow on her life that she could never escape. Whitaker is now doomed to be on Georgia’s sex offender registry for the rest of her life. She can’t live near schools, churches, swimming pools, school bus stops, day care centers, parks, rec centers or skating rinks, or work near schools, churches or day care centers.

Whitaker poses no danger to the children of Georgia; she’s a happily married 29-year-old, trying to get on with her life and live in the home that she and her husband bought a few years ago. Yet, the state has spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to force Whitaker from her house.

In 2006, after politicians discovered that there was political mileage in talking tough on sex crimes, Georgia passed one of the most draconian laws in the country on where offenders could live or work. Born out of political expedience rather than careful research, the law failed to differentiate offenders based on the nature or severity of the crimes, placing Whitaker and others like her in the same category as truly dangerous people such as rapists and child molesters. The law imposed the same wholesale residency and work limits on all offenders, including Whitaker. A sheriff’s deputy told Whitaker in July that she had to move within 72 hours because her house was within 1,000 feet of a day care center. She didn’t want to give up her home and sought help in federal court.

On Nov. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper declined to intervene on Whitaker’s behalf. The judge accepted the state’s contention that finding a new place to live represented an “inconvenience” for Whitaker rather than a banishment from her home county.

Describing what is happening to Whitaker as an “inconvenience” is a grave understatement. After plotting all the property in Columbia County, a researcher testified that registered sex offenders could legally reside on only about 1.2 percent of all the parcels in the county, assuming there were even rental housing available on those parcels.

Whitaker fought back tears when the court ruled against her. She testified that her home will go into foreclosure now because she and her husband cannot afford to pay rent somewhere else and the mortgage.

“A teenager shouldn’t be punished in perpetuity, especially one who poses no threat to society,” said Whitaker’s attorney Sarah Geraghty.

Most of the bills that the Legislature enacts are pantomime — symbolic acts designed to give the appearance of decisiveness. But, sometimes, lawmakers blunder into acts of real and grievous consequence, including the sex offender statute. Since its passage two years ago, the over-reaching law has lost several court challenges that required the Legislature to revise it. For example, a united Supreme Court struck down the law last year as it applied to homeowners who owned their homes before a day care or church opened nearby, ruling that such forced evictions violate the takings clause and property rights protections in the Fifth Amendment.

Now, lawmakers have to revamp the law in January because the high court recently declared unconstitutional the provision of the sex-offender registry law that made homelessness a crime. With all of the successful and costly legal challenges to the law, common sense might suggest that the General Assembly reconsider its haste in passing it and rewrite the law to reflect the difference between the youthful indiscretions of teenagers, such as Whitaker, and the predatory acts of dangerous deviants.

The law should create a graduated scale of restrictions, leveling the toughest limitations on the most dangerous offenders rather than on people like Whitaker. That would free up law enforcement officials to focus their time and attention on those truly dangerous offenders.

The public has no problem understanding the difference between Whitaker’s offense and those of true child predators. Why can’t our legislators?

— Maureen Downey, for the editorial board (mdowney@ajc.com)


SC - Lawmaker: Lessening S.C. sex offender penalty necessary

View the article here

Video is available at the site.

11/19/2008

By Jody Barr - WBTW News 13 Reporter

In June, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford signed a new sex offender law that makes it illegal for a convicted sex offender to live within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, daycare, or church.

State Representative Joan Brady of Columbia introduced the bill in Dec. 2006 and fought to have the 1,000 feet rule set, but said the lessening of the penalty came in just before the bill was approved by both House and Senate members.

Under the previous sex offender law, the first time an offender fails to register annually with their sheriff’s office; state law required a judge to sentence the offender to a mandatory 90 days in jail. No part of the sentence could be suspended or given probation.

The Brady Bill reduced that penalty to allow a magistrate judge to sentence an offender anywhere from one day in jail up to 30 and/or fine the offender $500.

The problem Brady said is that with the 90 days sentence, first-offense registry violation cases are stuck in circuit courts where they may not be heard for years, “They’re dealing with sex offenders who are committing other crimes. They’re dealing with murders, they’re dealing with drug dealers, so consequently an offender who is not registered, these cases are way down on the totem pole and offenders know this,” Brady told News13.

In Horry County, the 15th Circuit solicitor’s office has 10 first-offense registry violation cases awaiting trial in circuit court.

The oldest case in Horry County dates back to Jan. 2006, the latest pending case is Oct. 2008.

“We want these cases to be heard. If they’re heard in magistrate’s court, you get a conviction. When you get a conviction, then you have something to go for the second time around, which is a much stronger penalty,” Brady said.

A second offense sex offender registry violation carries a mandatory one year prison sentence, where an offender must pull each and every day of the sentence.

A third offense is a felony punishable by five years in prison, but only three years of the sentence is mandatory.

“We want convicted sex offenders to know they have to register, that if they don’t register their case is going to magistrate court and it’s going to be heard in a timely fashion; they’re going to get that conviction and then that’s going to be on the books so the second time around, it’s going to be a whole different ball game for them,” Brady said.

The Brady Bill won’t become law until 90 days after the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division implements mapping software on the state’s sex offender registry.

SLED said it does not have the funds to provide the service and that the division was looking into a federal grant to help get the software on the state’s online registry.

The mapping feature would allow citizens to enter a street address and see where an offender lives within a one to five mile radius.

Brady said if lessening the penalty doesn’t help push violation cases through the courts faster or if law enforcement runs into troubles over the reduced penalty, she will lead the effort in changing that part of the law back.


CA - Long Beach Council OKs weakened sex-offender residency law; city won't prosecute

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11/19/2008

By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer

Constitutional challenges prompt action

LONG BEACH - The City Council approved a watered-down version of a sex offender residency law Tuesday night, but City Prosecutor Thomas Reeves said he won't prosecute violators.

The council voted 8-0, with Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal absent, to approve the revised ordinance, which will strictly limit where future registered sex offenders may live in Long Beach.

City Attorney Robert Shannon said the ordinance was rewritten after police officials and City Prosecutor Thomas Reeves raised concerns about the law, and after a lawsuit was filed last month challenging its constitutionality.

Reeves told the council Tuesday that a similar state law, known as Jessica's Law, has been facing legal challenges and that Long Beach should wait until those issues are resolved to move forward with its ordinance.

"I have continuing serious concerns about criminal enforcement of this amended ordinance," Reeves said. "The attorney general of this state and 58 district prosecutors in this state are not prosecuting the residential restrictions of Jessica's Law because it remains uncertain and ambiguous as to whether they are constitutional."

Deputy City Attorney Cristyl Meyers said the city attorney's office will still be able to take civil legal action, such as asking a court to prohibit a property owner from violating the ordinance and possibly seeking monetary damages.

The primary constitutional issue addressed in the lawsuit, which was filed by 35 registered sex offenders, was that the original ordinance was a retroactive penalty that applied to all current registered sex offenders living in Long Beach.

The revised law now no longer applies to current offenders, but only to anyone convicted of a sex crime and who must register as a sex offender after the law goes into effect.

The council will have a second reading of the law and the mayor must approve it before it goes into effect 31 days later.

The revised ordinance also eliminates an anti-loitering provision that created "child safety zones" of 300 feet around places where children gather. Furthermore, the law limits to one the number of sex offenders that can live in a residential unit, rather than one per multi-unit building as originally written.

This seems to fly in the face of the sex offender "clustering" issue that the law originally was designed to battle.

Last winter, neighbors of 1149 E. First St. in Alamitos Beach called for city action when they learned that more than a dozen registered sex offenders were living in the apartment building.

Unchanged in the ordinance is the creation of "residential exclusion zones" - a 2,000-foot radius around child-care centers, parks and schools - where sex offenders aren't allowed to live. The law also restricts property owners from knowingly renting to sex offenders in violation of the law.

With Reeves determined not to prosecute the law, Police Dep. Chief Bill Blair said officers could help the city attorney's office in its civil enforcement, but wouldn't write criminal citations.

"It would put the department in a very awkward position to try to enforce a law that we would have no one to file a case with," Blair said.

Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga said the criminal enforcement provisions in the law should be left out, but ultimately she supported it as-is.

"I still believe that if it's not going to be enforced, we shouldn't pass meaningless legislation," Uranga said.

Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal disagreed and said the ordinance is just Long Beach's first step against sex offenders.

"Whether we pursue criminally today or not, that option should remain," Lowenthal said. "I think it's long from over."


TX - Family, School District Feud After Sex Act Between Kindergarten Students

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Again, old I know, but putting it here for reference.  If there is anybody out there who wants to help me search the registries for young kids, I'd appreciate it.  Like kids 15 and under!

09/27/2007

By Stephen Dean

HOUSTON -- A 5-year-old kindergarten student was suspended for three days and Child Protective Services is investigating how he learned sexual behavior after a teacher interrupted one boy performing a sex act on another.

Both children attend kindergarten at Dunn Elementary, located at 2003 W. W. Thorne Drive in the Aldine Independent School District, near Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The teacher thought that both 5-year-olds were taking too long in the bathroom when she interrupted the act.

The victim's father told Local 2 News, "Physically, I got sick. I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't eat. I was a little bit numb, and it was more surreal than anything else."

"As horrible as it sounds, it would have been a lot easier for me to accept an older child doing that to my child, than a child the same age as my son," he said.

In a report filed with Child Protective Services, the father said the principal at Dunn Elementary agreed with his request to have the aggressor moved to a different school.

"But then what happened, we got a call later on that day and said that there was a little problem," the father said.

He said Aldine claimed that the law prevents them from moving the young offender.

The district confirmed that it did offer to move the victim to a different school, but the father told Local 2, "I'm the victim, and the other one is the perpetrator, and why should I have to rearrange my life to accommodate this other individual?"

State law dictates that any child younger than the age of 6 years old cannot be moved into an alternative discipline school. But the family said they never even asked the district for that. They just wanted the other child moved to any other regular school so that their son would not have to keep reliving the event.

Aldine ISD responded that they followed the law, and they moved the aggressor to a different classroom and lunch to avoid future contact between the boys. Teachers are also closely watching the child.

District leaders said they thought the family was OK with the action they took.

The father, however, said state laws are not equipped to handle such an event.

"It seemed as though the perpetrator was protected under the law, and not the victim," he said.


WA - WHO WILL PROTECT the children from their protectors?

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Old, I know, but still archiving it here.

01/02/2002

WHO WILL PROTECT the children from their protectors? That's among the questions lingering over the troubled Echo Glen Children's Center in Snoqualmie that the Legislature may answer this session. Home to 200 juvenile offenders, Echo Glen is where the state recently tried to hush up the second teen suicide in three years and then halfheartedly investigated the causes [See "Disturbing Echo," June 28, 2001]. It's where a supposedly supervised 10-year-old sex offender repeatedly had sex with other residents for two years, costing the state a $125,000 legal settlement a few weeks ago. It's also where a recently fired ex-con had been counseling—and sometimes "inappropriately" touching— children since 1995.

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles thinks it's way past time for new legislation—which she plans to introduce soon—dealing with the issue of offenders tending offenders. "We do need to be careful that people who have served their debt to society are not punished twice by being denied employment," says the Seattle Democrat. But she thinks a balance can be struck by tinkering with an existing law (which she also championed) that allows the state to run criminal background checks on some employees with unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults (among the law's flaws: A review is allowed only if an applicant has lived in Washington for three or fewer years).

It's not just Echo Glen residents who may be in peril, the senator says. "DSHS estimates that 50 to 200 of its employees working with vulnerable populations have criminal convictions, some of which are very serious."

The catch to changing it all, as usual, is money. To review backgrounds of all 15,000 employees of the Department of Social and Health Services working with captive/care populations would cost $735,000, she estimates. On the other hand, Kohl-Welles says, the state has shelled out millions in damages and settlements and for the legal battles to fire employees who posed an abuse risk. "In comparison, $735,000 [to weed out abusers in advance] is a bargain," she says. "And the emotional costs to victims and their families simply can't be measured." The idea's only political drawback may be that it makes so much sense.

Rick Anderson -randerson@seattleweekly.com


GA - Georgia's sex offender law blocks religious redemption

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PLEASE, anyone who lives in Georgia, or even those who do not, please consider going to the Southern Center for Human Rights web site, and donating.  It will help many people in the state of Georgia fighting these draconian laws. Tell them ZMan from Sex Offender Issues sent you!  (HERE)

So much for separation of church and state. Now the state dictates who can and cannot go to church. Yeah, there is not restrictions on going to church, or so they say, yet why don't you see how many former sex offenders are actually allowed in churches? This is pure punishment, plain and simple, from the "holier than thou" politicians who are waxing worse and worse. Whose rights will be trampled on next? Yours? Why don't we have a corrupt politician registry, or one criminal registry with all criminals on it, including murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, thieves, DUI offenders, politicians having sex with prostitutes, police sex offenders, you name it. Then we can all see who lives around us. Well, they don't want that, now do they! They want to punish someone else, to divert attention from them. Just look at hypocrites like Mark Foley for example!

11/19/2008

By Scott Henry

Lori Collins, an ordained minister from Henry County who found religion in prison, is no longer allowed to work with church groups that perform prison outreach.

Andrew Norton of Cobb County has been told he can't sing in his church choir or help set up for church events. Steven Lee Williams of Polk County is forbidden from playing drums at services.

Churches frequently invite College Park's Omar Howard to offer testimony about how God rescued him from a life of violent crime. Eventually, he hopes to join the ministry. For the time being, however, Howard risks a mandatory 10-year term if he so much as performs a Bible reading before a congregation.

This past Thursday, lawyers with the Southern Center for Human Rights argued in federal court that a new law unconstitutionally criminalizes religious practice by making it illegal for people on Georgia's sex offender registry to volunteer at a church. A judge's ruling is expected within weeks.

It was the latest challenge to a controversial law that targets registered sex offenders with wide-ranging restrictions and stiff punishments. Initially authored by state House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (Email, Quotes), R-St. Simons, and adopted in 2006, the law was overhauled by the Legislature this year after large chunks of it had been thrown out by various courts.

Even so, the chipping away continues. Last month, the state Supreme Court struck down a provision to send homeless sex offenders to prison for being unable to register a valid address with their county sheriff's office. The plaintiff in that suit, William James Santos, had spent a year in a Hall County jail and was facing a life sentence for failing to register his address – even though he didn't have an address.
- Well, when you have rich folk sitting on their "holier than thou" thrones, what do you expect.  Now I know why Jesus liked the wretched and down trodden, because when you have been there, then love, respect and compassion, etc comes out.  When you are rich, and never faced with these issues, you pass draconian laws like these.  How can someone register an address, when they are homeless Mr. Keen?  Wait until your son or daughter get trapped in these laws, then we will see what a heartless, hypocrite you are.

If you think aspects of the sex offender law seem to defy common sense, welcome to the club.

"My parole officer doesn't understand it," says Howard, the would-be minister. "He told me it's safer just to stay away from church."

Howard, 34, admits he used to be a rough character. He spent 14 years behind bars for voluntary manslaughter, armed robbery and false imprisonment of a minor during a 1993 home invasion. That last charge landed him on the sex offender registry despite not having been convicted of a sex crime.

During his long incarceration, Howard got religion; he led Bible study and became a chaplain's aide. "My goal is to do full-time ministry," he says. "That was the only hope I had that got me through my time."

After entering probation last year, he devoted much of his time talking at churches about his experiences in an effort to warn at-risk young men away from the thug life. He's even spoken at the invitation of the Georgia Department of Corrections and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

But as of July 1, when the newest incarnation of the sex offender law went into effect, Howard had to give up most of his church-related activities. The law offers no guidance as to what constitutes volunteering; His parole officer has told him to no longer sing in the choir or take part in revivals, seminars or prayer vigils. Howard still accepts invitations to visit churches, but he's limited to sitting in the congregation. Offering testimony is off-limits.

In a court brief, Howard complains that the law "interferes with my religious freedom and prohibits me from expressing my strongly held religious beliefs." He adds that none of his previous church activities involved being around minors unsupervised.

Also testifying, Andrea Shelton, founder and president of Heartbound Ministries, a prison outreach program, told Judge Clarence Cooper that "religion makes recidivism less likely" for all convicts. Shelton explained that most churches routinely perform background checks on would-be volunteers before giving them positions of responsibility. The chance that a church would give a registered sex offender free access to children is fairly slim, she said.

Permitting Howard, who volunteered at Heartbound in the past, to continue work with churches will allow others to "see that redemption is possible," added Shelton, her voice choking with tears. "Rehabilitation rarely takes place without redemption."

Ironically, Rep. Keen, whose law criminalizes religious volunteerism for sex offenders, is the former head of the Georgia Christian Coalition.
- Just goes to show you what a hypocrite he is.

Collins, the Henry County woman, also took the witness stand to explain that, although she's ordained, her parole officer told her she can't even lead an adult prayer group in her home. Said Collins, who served three years in prison for sleeping with an underage boy: "I don't know what I can and cannot do."

That's the problem with the law, argued Southern Center attorney Gerry Weber: It's too vague.
- Yes, they are too vague, and change on a constant basis, plus, they have basically tore up the CONTRACT signed by the offender and state, at the time of conviction, and now punishing them twice for the same crime, which goes against double-jeopardy without due process, and ex post facto clauses of the Constitution.

"The law prevents 'volunteering,' but doesn't define what that is," Weber told the judge. "Law enforcement is making up the rules as it goes along."

The result is that enforcement is likely to vary greatly, depending on how each county's sheriff interprets the volunteering provision. In one Georgia county, a sex offender was prosecuted for playing the piano during services, Weber said.

It's no surprise that the revamped law lacks well-articulated guidelines for determining what behavior is illegal. Keen was never much interested in clarity or even enforceability. Back in 2006, he indicated that his goal was to make life so difficult, costly and perilous for sex offenders that they'd be forced to leave Georgia. Speaking at a Senate hearing, he said, "Candidly, senators, they will in many cases have to move to another state."
- Jerry Keen was about punishment, and driving all offenders out of Georgia, his intentions are well documented in the quotes link further above.  Man, he is a true hypocrite, using the Georgia Christian Coalition as his cover.  Give me a break Mr. Keen, you are pure evil, IMO!  You do not want to solve the problem, but push your problem off to someone else, for them to handle it, boost your ego, and look good to the sheeple of this state, and protecting your own a$$!

Certainly, Keen's law has succeeded in harrassing Wendy Whitaker, a Columbia County woman who was the subject of a CL cover story in July 2006 when she was ordered to leave her house because it was within 1,000 feet of a church-based child-care facility. That provision eventually was struck down.

Whitaker, lead plaintiff in the Southern Center constitutional challenge, was back in court last week. trying to keep her home. She'd moved back after the state Supreme Court struck down the law late last year, ruling the restrictions made it practically impossible for sex offenders to remain in their homes.

This time, Cooper ruled her lawyers failed to establish that the restrictions barring her from occupying her home rose to the level of banishment from the county. The judge appeared to be swayed by the argument that other sex offenders had managed to find some form of housing in Columbia County.
- WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH PEOPLES LIVES?  WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE?  IT DIED APPARENTLY!

On the witness stand, Whitaker indicated that if she and her husband are forced to rent a place to live, in addition to paying their home mortgage, they'll likely face foreclosure. "It will be bad for us," she said.


GA - Georgia sex offender registry: Over 16,000 stories for each crime

View the article here

11/19/2008

Reporter: Katie Beasley - Katie.Beasley@wrdw.com

AUGUSTA - Wendy Whitaker, she's the Harlem women arrested and charged with having consensual sex. Wendy was forced to register as a sex offender, even though not all sex offenders can be put into the same category. Wendy is one of over 16,000 people on Georgia's sex offender registry. One of over 16,000 stories to go along with each crime.

This is Wendy Whitaker -- she's one of thousands on the Georgia sex offender registry. Wendy had consensual oral sex with a classmate. She was seventeen, he was fifteen. That crime, from twelve years ago, has her being forced to move from her Harlem home because of Georgia's residency restrictions.

Richmond County Investigator Ron Sylvester says that's the way the law works. "Without there being a court order or something removing them from the registry then they're on it for life," says Sylvester.

This is Jeffery York -- he's on the registry because of a similar situation. Like Wendy, Jeffery was also charged with sodomy for having oral sex with a classmate. He was also seventeen, his classmate was fifteen. Another similarity between Wendy and Jeffery is that if they had committed their crime today, they wouldn't be on this list.

"Under those changes there are people who are on the registry now that if they were charged after 2006 would not have been on the registry," explains Investigator Sylvester.

This is Genarlow Wilson -- in 2003 he also had consensual oral sex with a classmate, the whole thing captured on tape at a New Years Eve party. Again, Genarlow was seventeen, the girl only fifteen. He was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He's not on this registry because in 2007 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that sex between teens is not the same as adults who prey on children.

And despite the fact that some sex offenders feel wronged. The registry does keep track of people classified as violent predators. "Better to have it than not have it. And it does serve the right purpose when done the right way," says Investigator Sylvester.

News 12 talked with Wendy Whitaker's attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights. She said they are continuing to work with Wendy to keep her in her home. They have not filed an appeal to last week's federal ruling that she must move because of those residency restrictions. But she will remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of her life.

The main difference in the Wilson case that was overturned, and the Whitaker case is how they were charged. Whitaker plead guilty to sodomy and served five years probation. Wilson was charged with aggravated child molestation and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a harsher punishment, but only served three because his case was overturned.


GA - Vice charges dropped because cop had sex

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11/19/2008

By DOUG NURSE

The Sandy Springs solicitor has dropped prostitution-related charges against four women who were arrested after a vice detective engaged in sex with them.

Solicitor Bill Riley said such behavior calls into question a detective’s motives and makes the cases more difficult to prosecute. Moreover, Riley wanted to send a message to other detectives that such behavior crosses a line.

“It goes to the officer’s credibility,” he said. “The defense always says the sex was consensual, that it wasn’t sex for hire. It’s a policy decision. We don’t want a policy that encourages officers to do that. If we don’t prosecute, the guys get the message and they tailor their work to something that can get prosecuted.”

In a few similar cases in which the officer did not engage in sex, the women were taken to court, convicted and given jail time, Riley said.

Sandy Springs launched an investigation into whether the officer, J. Mayberry, went too far by engaging in sex with the women. Mayberry would make the women stop in midact to call in reinforcements. Citing the ongoing investigation, Sandy Springs police declined to say what Mayberry’s status is with the department or when the probe will be concluded.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said in an earlier interview that an arrest can be made as soon as the prostitute makes an offer or agrees to have sex for money or something of value.

“Some hookers will make the john take his clothes off first because they believe a cop can’t do that, but they can,” Porter said then. “Police are trained not to put themselves in a compromising position. The deal doesn’t have to be consummated. The further the officer goes into illegal conduct, the more difficult it is to convince a jury that it was prostitution.”

In August, Mayberry was part of a Sandy Springs police investigation into spas and erotic services advertised on Craigslist, the online classified advertising service.


NH - Sex offender says he'll move, regrets attaching his name to legal challenge

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11/19/2008

By AARON SANBORN - asanborn@fosters.com

DOVER — A registered sex offender challenging the city's sex offender ordinance plans on leaving the city, regardless of the outcome of the court case seeking the ordinance's dismissal.

Last year, 42-year-old Richard Jennings attached his name to a New Hampshire Civil Liberties challenge against the city's sex offender ordinance, which prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,500 feet of a school or day care center.

Jennings and his fiancée, Janice Sessler, sat down with Foster's on Tuesday to speak publicly for the first time about his challenge to the city's ordinance. He said he now regrets attaching his name to the challenge because of the repercussions that decision has had on him and his family. But he doesn't regret taking a stand against an ordinance he believes violates the constitutional rights of many.

"I wanted to be the first sex offender to stand up for himself, now people think I'm defending all sex offenders," Jennings said. "I do regret it, but I want it (the challenge) to help other sex offenders in my shoes."

Jennings was charged with violating the ordinance in November 2007 when he moved in with Sessler, which is located within 2,500 feet of My School Kindergarten.

From the couch of Sessler's Locust Street apartment, Jennings laid out his argument for why the ordinance doesn't work.

"The reason I challenged the ordinance is because people are under the impression that all sex offenders are dangerous and I will admit that some are," Jennings said. "I don't blame people for having that impression, but some don't pose a threat against children."

Jennings said he's not a risk to reoffend and would never hurt a child.

"I made a bad decision over eight years ago, I've done my time and I'm trying to move on with my life," he said.

Jennings was convicted in May 2000 of two counts of felonious sexual assault for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, he said. In describing the encounter, Jennings said, "one thing led to another and it happened."

He served two years in prison but didn't have to take part in an extensive sex-offender treatment program because he wasn't viewed as a threat, he said. Since the victim was 15 at the time of the offense, Jennings is required to register as a sex offender for life.

The problem with registering as a sex offender for life is that you become bunched in with violent pedophiles that do pose a risk to children, according to Jennings.

"I never caused physical or mental harm to anyone," Jennings said. "There are some decent men and women who are registered sex offenders because they made one bad decision."

The city's ordinance is geared toward all registered sex offenders and has made it difficult for Jennings and Sessler to find housing in the city that doesn't fall under the ordinance.

Jennings added the publicity from his challenge to the ordinance has also made it difficult for him to get a job, made neighbors hostile toward Sessler, and has caused Sessler's 14-year-old daughter to lose friends.

"The biggest problem is society is in fear of all sex offenders, and I just wish society would stop and find out more about each individual case. I wish more information was put out there that could separate us (sex offenders) more."

Sessler said she met Jennings shortly before his conviction and the two have been together since.

"I knew there was a good man behind him, he just needed a good woman," she said. "He helped me raise my daughter and has never reoffended."

Sessler's 14-year-old daughter, who Sessler asked not to be named, said she has never felt uncomfortable around Jennings.

"He's strict but he's not a weirdo," she said.

The case against the sex offender ordinance went before District Court Judge Mark Weaver on Oct. 2 and a decision has yet to be issued.

During the five-hour hearing in October, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union Attorney Barbara Keshen argued that such ordinances can sometimes make the situation worse because it could result in some sex offenders going underground and not registering with police and could shift them to other communities.

Jennings echoed that sentiment.

"If a sex offender has nowhere to go, they can start doing desperate things," he said. "They could give false names and addresses just to get an apartment in the area."

City officials say the ordinance has made the community safer and, during October's hearing, offered up statistics showing a reduction of registered sex offenders.
- Show me the facts where it has "made the community safer!"

Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso stressed the ordinance doesn't restrict registered sex offenders from living in the city; it only restricts them from certain areas.

"These type of measures are always debatable, but that doesn't mean you don't try the best you can to protect children in the city," he said.
- If you really want to protect the children, then you should remove them from their family, separate them from all adults.  That is the only way you will ever protect them from any abuse and neglect!

No matter what decision is reached with the ordinance, Jennings and Sessler say they are ready to move on. If a judge dismisses the ordinance, Sessler says she'll stay in the city through the winter; if a judge upholds the ordinance, Sessler says she'll be gone sooner.

Jennings currently spends his days at Sessler's Locust Street home, but says he returns to his mother's Epping home at night to sleep and to avoid being arrested again. A sex offender residing, living and sleeping in the city longer than five days is required to register with police.

Jennings recently finished serving a six-month jail sentence for living at the Locust Street address and failing to register with police in April. Sessler was recently given a suspended six-month jail sentence and community service for helping Jennings elude authorities in April by not answering the door when police came to arrest him.

"I don't want child molesters near schools," Jennings said. "There should be some law that prevents them from being there, but the ordinance is not the answer because it violates the rights of those who aren't a danger to children."


UK - Britain Considering 'Name and Shame' Plan For Men Who Visit Prostitutes

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I guess they don't want their government officials named and shamed! The USA should do this as well. If we must have a "name and shame" sex offender registry, lets put all criminals on a registry, and post all their personal information. Funny how when it affects someone, that is when they start screaming, but when it affects someone else, they are ok with it. Ironic!

11/19/2008

LONDON — The British government wants to make it illegal to pay for sex and is considering a plan to "name and shame" men who visit prostitutes — a move critics say would turn back the clock to Victorian times.

The sex trade is already heavily restricted in Britain, unlike in many of its European neighbors where prostitution and solicitation are tolerated in some form. Denmark has even decriminalized the business.

But Britain wants to go its own way, marking yet another foray into human foibles by a government many people call overly moralistic.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the son of a Presbyterian minister, has already backed a series of sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, called for tougher drug laws and scrapped plans for Britain's first Las Vegas-style casino.

Officials say there is also a need for a crackdown on prostitution.

"Basically, if it means fewer people are able to go out and pay for sex I think that would be a good thing," Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told The Guardian newspaper over the weekend, before the government's announcement of the plan's details Wednesday.

Any changes will have to be approved by Parliament, where Brown's Labour Party has a 63-seat majority. Debate is expected next month.

The proposal would make paying for sex illegal and carry additional penalties for men who have sex with women forced into prostitution, the Home Office said. But it declined to give details on fines and other penalties before the formal announcement.
- Why do they always go after the users and not the sellers?  They do this with drugs, and prostitution.  Why not arrest the prostitutes and drug dealers?

Men who frequent prostitutes could also be identified publicly, as they are in the London borough of Lambeth, where police send warning letters to the homes of drivers whose license plate numbers are caught on closed-circuit television picking up street walkers.

In addition, the plan would make it a criminal offense to pay for sex with a prostitute "controlled for another person's gain" and could bring rape charges against men who knowingly paid for sex with a woman forced to work as a prostitute.

Under current laws in England and Wales, it is illegal to loiter and sell sex on the streets or elsewhere in public. Keeping a brothel is unlawful, but a lone woman selling sex inside is not. Similarly, paying for sex is legal. But solicitation in public — commonly known as "curb crawling" — is not.

Some 80,000 prostitutes are estimated to be working in Britain, the same as during the Victorian Age — an era when a raft of laws were enacted in a vain effort to curb the flourishing sex trade. These days, cards advertising purported escort services and erotic sites on the Web are plastered inside the country's iconic red telephone booths.
- So arrest the 80,000 prositutes, and not the millions who use them.  So you'd rather torture and punish millions, instead of the 80,000 who are responsible?

Sex workers criticized the government's proposal. They said they might be put at greater risk if they had to ply their trade in remote neighborhoods or to work alone.

"The plan is puritanical," said Cari Mitchell, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes.

"If they make solicitation illegal and start outing clients, men are going to be more nervous and women will be forced to make hasty decisions to survive economically. As Britain and the rest of the world face dire economic circumstances, the government should try to help women rather than make things harder."

Britain made global headlines in 2006 when a man murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of London. Recent headlines, however, have focused on police raids on brothels where women from eastern Europe, Asia and Africa have been forced into the sex trade.

There is growing debate on whether a crackdown would lessen violence or cut down on human trafficking.

Scottish cities such as Edinburgh used to have "tolerance zones" where prostitutes were allowed to work freely.

But when the zones were scrapped in several cities years ago and curb crawling was made illegal, reported attacks on sex workers increased because prostitutes were forced to work in more isolated areas, according to the Scottish Prostitutes Education Project, which represents workers in the sex industry.

In the Pacific nation of New Zealand, where prostitution was decriminalized in 2003, sex workers said the change has given women greater legal protection.

"I do think it's extraordinary that the U.K. is considering such a dreadful turn," Catherine Healy, national coordinator for the New Zealand's Prostitutes' Collective, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "We know from a lot of research ... that sex workers in this country are feeling much safer, better protected."

The Home Office said the government's plan was put together after top officials visited Sweden, where selling sex is legal but paying for it is not. Norway plans to introduce similar legislation.

Prostitution also is illegal in Britain's closest neighbor, France, but it is largely tolerated in Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece.

The sex trade is legal in many parts of Germany. In Cologne, the first German city to introduce a prostitution tax, the government collected more than $1 million in revenue in 2006.

In London, sex workers expressed opposition to the government plan.

"We all support measures to protect prostitutes, but this isn't the way," said a 36-year-old prostitute in London who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the risk of prosecution.

In the United States, where prostitution is illegal except at a few brothels in Nevada, authorities have recently taken aim at cracking down on prostitution arranged over the Internet.

As part of Craigslist's agreement with attorneys general around the U.S., anyone who posts an "erotic services" ad on the Web site will be required to provide a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card, which would make it easier for authorities to track them down.


NJ - 10-Year-Old's Crime Tests Limits of Megan's Law

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Old article I know, but I do not have this here, so I am adding it.

06/16/2001

By LAURA MANSNERUS

J. G., as he is identified by New Jersey's courts, is 16, trying to finish high school and hoping to clear his record of something he did when he was 10. But that may be impossible, because J. G. committed a sex offense, and for sex offenders the rules are different.

In fact, the rules collectively known as Megan's Law, establishing a register of sex offenders and publicly identifying those considered most dangerous, are meant to keep the past in view. And as New Jersey legislators respond to a voter referendum allowing the posting of offenders' names and photographs on the Internet, J. G. has presented the State Supreme Court with the question: Can this law be applied to a 10-year-old?

The issue, being raised around the country at a time that all 50 states have passed some form of sex-offender-notification law, shows a tension between two deeply held goals. While sex-offender laws seek to give the widest possible publicity to sex crimes, the juvenile justice system seeks to give the widest possible protection to young offenders.

And while New Jersey's juvenile system ensures that no one enters adulthood with a criminal record, the state's sex-offender-registry law, depending on the offense, stigmatizes offenders for many years or for life.

''Too few people understand how broad these laws are in their reach,'' said Hunter Hurst Sr., the director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice.

''We've got all these ugly laws we passed when we were in a bad mood, and this is one of them.''

Of the 7,447 people registered under the sex-offender law in New Jersey, it is not clear how many were juvenile offenders, since the state does not systematically keep track of their ages.

Prosecutors and public defenders estimate that 10 percent to 25 percent of the offenders are under 18, with many fewer under 14 and only a handful as young as 10.

Offenders are ranked, regardless of age, according to the likelihood of committing another crime. Fewer than 200 of the 7,447 are deemed high-risk offenders, whose names are given to local residents, and the rest are identified to police agencies and sometimes to schools and child-care providers.

The case, called In the Matter of J. G., began with an incident that no one wants to talk about in detail and it continued in closed proceedings because he is a juvenile. The Supreme Court has even impounded the briefs filed in the case, which is to be decided soon.

But limited information from the boy's lawyers and other sources yields this account:

At 10, J. G., diagnosed as educable mentally retarded, was found rubbing himself against a girl, 8, in his mother's care at his home in Mercer County. Both children were wearing only underwear.

The boy, whose primary language was Spanish, had some trouble with investigators' questions; his lawyers say he equated the term sex with kissing, although prosecutors say that he understood what investigators were asking.

In juvenile court, J. G. pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault. A doctor's examination of the girl found no evidence of penetration, but it is not clear what other evidence was presented.

A year later, in a separate hearing, J. G. was assigned a risk classification. His probation was going well, but the judge was also told that the boy had been accused of similar behavior before he molested the 8-year-old girl. J. G. was placed in the moderate-risk category, requiring notification of local police, schools and child-care facilities. An appeals court limited the notice to J. G.'s own school.

But the boy's lawyers, Craig J. Hubert and James M. Graziano, contend that a 10-year-old should not be subject to the sex-offender law at all -- an argument that becomes especially important if the Legislature allows any Internet access to the names of moderate-risk offenders.

While the notification law in New Jersey clearly applies to juveniles, or those ''adjudicated delinquent'' for an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult, the Supreme Court has never considered an offender as young as 10. J. G.'s lawyers would draw a line at 14, the minimum age for transfer to adult court.

The enforcement of New Jersey's Megan's Law, named for a 7-year-old who was murdered by a convicted child molester in Hamilton Township, not far from J. G.'s home, has been limited for years because of court challenges.

But as written, the New Jersey statute remains relatively strict for juveniles. Many states have age limits for their notification laws, typically 14 or 15, or apply them only to those convicted in adult court.

A few states identify juveniles on Web sites; the Kansas site, for example, pictures a few who registered as sex offenders at 12 or 13, and one boy who at 11 participated in the gang rape of two 6-year-old girls.

Mark Soler, president of the Youth Law Center in Washington, said the New Jersey case ''cries out for looking at individual circumstances.''

''This is not a 17-year-old who committed a forcible rape,'' he said. ''This is a young boy who apparently rubbed up against some girls in an inappropriate way, has done well since.''

But Cynthia Liccardo, the head of the Megan's Law unit in the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, said that J. G. had molested more than two young girls and that ''this was not a scenario even close to two kids playing doctor.''

Ms. Liccardo said that ''that stuff clearly gets filtered out'' as prosecutors rely increasingly on psychologists and social workers to evaluate young offenders before charges are brought.

''I can also tell you I've had 15-year-olds who are pedophiles,'' she added, ''who have already had 25 victims.''

Lee Solomon, the Camden County prosecutor, said prosecutors had little latitude in bringing charges. ''If the offense qualifies as a Megan's Law offense, we believe they should be treated as adults until the Supreme Court tells us otherwise,'' he said.

''I don't think the exercise of prosecutorial discretion includes looking the other way when a crime has been committed.''

One woman in Burlington County, who spoke only on the condition that no names be used, said her family was devastated when her stepson, 13, was charged with sexually molesting his sister, 8, and then compelled to register under sex-offender law.

''His sister even wrote the judge a letter saying, 'I don't want my brother to be a criminal,' '' the woman said, even though ''she wasn't entirely sure she could forgive him.''

Now, she said, the family fears that if offenders' names are accessible on a Web site, the boy's chance of a normal life will be threatened and people will know his sister was the victim.

Concerns like this have given legislators pause. The State Assembly has approved a bill to post names and pictures of high- and moderate-risk offenders and set up a second site making the names of low-risk offenders available to some potential employers, like school districts.

But the State Senate has hesitated. At the request of Senator Peter A. Inverso, the bill's original sponsor, a task force is examining privacy issues, particularly in juvenile and incest cases.

''This Internet notification is scaring a lot of people,'' said Ken Singer, who works with sex offenders and set up a treatment program for adolescents for the State Corrections Department. Megan's Law, he added, is ''a very wide net that sweeps in everybody.''



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07/18/2001

By ROBERT HANLEY

EXCEPTION RULED IN SEX CRIME LAW

New Jersey's highest court ruled today that children who are found guilty of sexual offenses before age 14 are not automatically subject to decades of public warnings about them and their crimes.

The State Supreme Court ruled in the case of a Mercer County youth, now 17, who admitted that when he was 10 he had sexually assaulted an 8-year-old cousin. The boy, identified in court documents only as J. G., was classified as a sex offender under Megan's Law. He was required to register with the police and have schools near his home notified of his presence. Similar sanctions would have continued into his adult years.

But in what it called an effort to reconcile the public safety provisions of the sex offender law and the privacy protections of the state's Code of Juvenile Justice, the court ruled unanimously today that offenders found guilty before their 14th birthday should have a chance to escape those sanctions at 18, by presenting evidence that they do not pose a risk of committing another sex crime.

New Jersey has been a pioneer in creation of laws providing public warnings about sex offenders. In 1994, it became the second state, after Washington, to enact a Megan's Law, named for a 7-year-old girl, Megan Kanka, who was murdered by a sex offender who lived across the street from her home in Hamilton Township.

All 50 states now have their own version of Megan's Law. Although the New Jersey Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction outside the state, lawyers familiar with the case said its ruling could provide guidance to courts in other states dealing with a legal challenge similar to J. G.'s. They knew of none, however.

The ruling noted that the state laws vary widely in their treatment of juvenile sex offenders. It said 13, including New York's, do not explicitly include or exclude juveniles. Twenty-four others apply rules to juvenile sex offenders to register with the police, the ruling said, but many are less severe than New Jersey's law.

Five others apply registration requirements only to juveniles who have been tried and convicted of sex crimes as adults. Alabama's excludes juveniles from its registration and notification laws altogether.

In New Jersey, earlier rulings by state and federal courts have prompted the state to set more restrictions than many others on community notification. But the decision today was the first creating age distinctions. Until now, the registration and community notification provisions of the law covered offenders of all ages.

Justice Gary S. Stein, who wrote the decision, said he found it ''implausible and anomalous'' that a 10-year-old faced the same sanctions as an adult under Megan's Law, even though the state's juvenile justice law requires that all juvenile records except jail terms be expunged when a delinquent turns 18. The court also accepted the arguments by J. G.'s lawyers that the sanctions should not apply to those under 14, the age at which juveniles can be tried as adults.

Still, the court rejected arguments that the classification of juveniles as sex offenders was unconstitutional.

It was not immediately clear how many juveniles were affected by the ruling, because the state attorney general's office does not track registered offenders by age. Of the nearly 7,500 sex offenders who have registered with New Jersey police departments under Megan's Law, prosecutors and public defenders estimate that 10 percent to 25 percent of them are under 18, with few under 14 and only a handful as young as 10.

J. G.'s lawyers, Craig J. Hubert and James M. Graziano, who took the case four years ago for no fee, said their client was ''very happy'' with the decision.

''He's a good kid and he's come a long way,'' Mr. Graziano said. ''For seven years, he hasn't had an offense even remotely like the one in this case.''

Mr. Hubert added: ''He's a kid and now he's going to be allowed to be a kid. Within one year, we'll have this weight off his shoulders.'' Both said they were confident that they could persuade a judge next year to remove him from the law's provisions.

The Associated Press quoted a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, Emily Hornaday, as saying that the office was pleased that the court had affirmed the basic notion that sex offender laws could be applied to juveniles, and that officials did not object to the new standard giving offenders a chance to clear their records at 18. Megan's Law already gives all sex offenders a chance to clear their records after 15 years.

Part of today's ruling overturned a lower-court decision that upheld the state's classification of J. G. as posing a moderate risk of committing another sex crime. That classification had cleared the way for officials to give J. G.'s name and address to several schools in his neighborhood.

Today the Supreme Court reclassified him as low risk, meaning that he is now required only to register his name with the local police. The state will still be allowed to give information about J. G.'s case to the principal of the high school he now attends. Justice Stein said such a notification was permitted under the state's juvenile code.

Justice Stein also wrote that the court was troubled by the lack of evidence to support the charge that J. G., as a 10-year-old, had committed an act of sexual penetration on his cousin. Although J.G. admitted to the crime in 1996, when he was 11, the justice noted that a detective who investigated the case was not convinced that penetration had occurred.

In addition, a therapist for J. G. testified in a lower-court hearing that the boy had a learning disability and had difficulty reading and spelling simple words, and that she did not believe that he understood the terms ''sex,'' ''rape'' or ''penetration'' when he admitted the crime.



This is a different case, in Pennsylvania, but it's also a 10 year old child!


KS - Teen In Trouble For Hugging Teacher

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This is just insane!  Reporting a child to the police, over a hug!  Come one!

11/18/2008

Olathe Teacher Reports To Police She Felt Uncomfortable

Olathe - Police are investigating after a 13-year-old student hugged his teacher.

It happened on Nov. 11 at Chisolm Trail Junior High at 16700 W. 159th St.

The hug made the teacher feel uncomfortable, so she told the school's resource officer, who filed a police report.

Police were classifying the incident as a sex crime, said Officer Johnny Roland, the Olathe Police Department's public information officer.

Police wouldn't discuss the incident because it involved a juvenile, and school officials declined to comment.

Olathe parents were split about whether the student should be in trouble.

"I'm all for hugging kids. Kids deserve and require a lot of affection, but in a school setting, that really might not be an appropriate thing," said Karen Brown, a mother of three.

Brown said the teen was old enough to understand that might make his teacher feel uncomfortable.

"He should know where the boundaries lie, especially as he's becoming an adolescent," Brown said.

Denise Ketelle is also an Olathe mother.

"I have kids that are used to hugging other adults. We encourage that in our family. It's very natural for that to carry over in the schools."

What punishment, if any, the teen may face may never be known to the public because juvenile criminal records are kept confidential.