Monday, January 12, 2009

TX - Politicians to Discuss New Predator Law

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HOUSTON -- The Texas Legislature gets back to business on Tuesday, and a stack of bills has already been filed. Among them, a handful of House bills dealing with registered sex offenders.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26's Carolyn Canville

House Bill 265 concerns teachers caught having inappropriate romantic liaisons with their underage students. If the teacher is convicted of a sex crime, he or she is required to register as a sex offender.

But in many cases, a teacher charged with Sexual Assault of a Child will plea down to the lesser offense of Improper Relations between an Educator and Student. When that happens, the teacher is not required to register under current law.

House Bill 265 would change that.

"This clears up some of the glitches teachers might have fallen through," says Houston Crime Victims' Office Director Andy Kahan.

Another bill that's being proposed would require any registered sex offender stepping foot on school grounds to tell administrators about his or her background.

But many school security systems would already detect that.

At HISD schools, for example, all visitors are required to swipe their drivers licenses through an identification scanner, spokesman Norm Uhl explains, "and it tells us whether you're a registered sex offender."

House Bill 460 would force school districts to try to locate bus stops at least 1500 feet from the homes of registered sex offenders. But some say that would be a logistical nightmare, because of the sheer number of sex offenders, especially in cities like Houston.

In Texas, sex offenders can live anywhere they want, unless they're on probation or parole with conditions restricting where they reside, or unless the city or town has passed an ordinance with restrictions. So trying to keep bus stops away from where sex offenders live could be difficult, if not impossible, to do, says Kahan.

"Realistically," he says, "it's just unenforceable."

House Bill 190 would allow certain convicted sex offenders to reduce the length of time they're required to register, based on a risk assessment performed by a state panel. The Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment would be required to come up with a tool for assessing risk levels, and any sex offender could apply for the screening.

The offender could then file an appeal with the trial court, asking that his or her registration requirements be terminated. Kahn says this would allow the state to examine these cases on an individual basis, eliminating the need for registration supervision for offenders who are not a risk to the public, such as those involved in so-called "Romeo and Juliet" cases.

House Bill 22 deals with the internet, the new hunting ground for sexual predators. It would require registered offenders to report to police any email addresses or online identities they have.

These are the first predator bills being introduced in this new session, and it's far too early to tell how they will fare. Last year, hundreds of predator bills were introduced in the Texas Legislature. Six of them actually passed.

SD - New Legislator Calls for Changes in Sex Offender Prosecution Rules

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By Bob Ellis

South Dakota legislative District 30's new representative Lance Russell (Contact) isn't wasting any time in making a positive impact in the South Dakota legislature.
- Yeah, as usual, bust out the scapegoat sex offender issues!

KOTA is reporting that Rep. Russell plans to introduce legislation which would allow juries in child molestation cases to hear evidence of prior molestations.

Currently this is not permitted in South Dakota, but Federal Rule of Evidence 414 which does allow for evidence of prior offenses has been on the federal books since 1995.

Rep. Russell has been Fall River County State's Attorney for some time, and so has plenty of experience in this area.

From the KOTA story:

"As a State's Attorney attempting to protect children from predators, I was surprised that South Dakota has not adopted this Federal Rule of Evidence," said Russell. "South Dakota has adopted almost all of the Federal Rules of Evidence in our laws and Federal Rule of Evidence 414 should be no exception," he said. "Child molestation trials are some of the most difficult to prosecute because of the age of the victim and normally the late disclosure of the abuse," said Russell. "South Dakota juries deserve to have all of the evidence just like Federal juries," he concluded.

Recidivism rates for pedophiles can be very high. If a child molester has become a serial offender, the jury needs to be able to see all the evidence, including what may be revealed in a pattern of behavior.
- This is a load of crap!  Recidivism among sex offenders is LOW, not HIGH!  I have many studies on my blog, and links to the original studies, here.  So get the true facts, not those from politicians with an agenda!

As a former law enforcement official, I have seen the lives of children instantly devastated even by relatively minor sex offenses. Sex offenses involve very intimate contact with the body, and often involve egregious violations of trust. Such abuse can inflict unimaginable damage on the mental and emotional development of young children. Our justice system needs every tool at its disposal to obtain justice for the current victim...and to help prevent future abuses.
- So how to you expect to prevent further abuses?  How?  I'd love to hear it!  Locking them up forever won't do this.  So let's hear your magical proposal, if you even have one!

Rep. Russell is hitting the ground running. I think the people of Dist. 30 are going to be very pleased that they elected him to the legislature.

VA - RSLC - Republican Attorneys General Working To Protect Individuals From Sexual Predators

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NOTE: These people are suppose to represent the people, yet when the people post comments on their article, they continue to delete them.  So, they are denying people their freedom of speech....


ALEXANDRIA – Republican Attorneys General Jon Bruning (Nebraska), Troy King (Alabama) and Rob McKenna (Washington) have announced new initiatives to fight sexual predators in their 2009 legislative agendas. The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the nation’s largest caucus of Republican state leaders, noted that these proposals continue the ongoing efforts of these three Attorneys General, along with other Republican Attorneys General across the country, to keep individuals, especially children, safe from harm.

“Republican Attorneys General are working to keep individuals safe from sexual predators – whether it’s on the school yard, in their neighborhood or on the internet,” said RSLC President Scott Ward. “One of the foremost obligations of the state is to protect citizens from harm, and Attorneys General Bruning, King and McKenna are doing just that with the legislative agendas they have each announced in their home states to strengthen penalties and laws against sex offenders.”
- Sex Offenders does not equal sexual predator.  When you get that through your heads, then you might come up with laws that will actually work.

Attorney General Jon Bruning (Nebraska) – Child Protection Bill:

  • Protects Nebraska children from Internet sexual predators by making it illegal for registered sex offenders to use social networking sites
  • Requires offenders to share their online aliases and profiles on social networking sites as a condition of sex offender registration
- So which is it?  You want to make it illegal for them to use social networking sites, but then you want to also require them to share online aliases for those social networking sites?  Come on, what idiot came up with this?  You cannot have it both ways!  And again, not all sex offenders are predators, like you allude to!

Attorney General Troy King (Alabama) – Online Solicitation Bill:

  • Make the intent to lure a child for immoral purposes punishable regardless of whether a child is involved (courts in Alabama are dismissing charges on the basis that it was not a child but an undercover policeman that was actually soliciting)
  • Expand Alabama’s child solicitation law to include electronic communications other than online as new technologies develop

Attorney General Rob McKenna (Washington) – Sexually Violent Predators Bill:

  • Streamline the state’s ability to civilly commit dangerous offenders.
  • Clarify where civil commitment proceedings may be filed, especially in cases where the sexually violent offense occurred outside of Washington.
  • Make it easier for the AGO to receive court records.
  • Prevent the AGO from being charged court fees in excess of those charged to county prosecutors.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the only national organization whose mission is electing Republicans to the office of Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and State legislator. The RSLC is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country – making a national impact one state at a time.

The RSLC has over 70,000 donors from all 50 states supporting the RSLC’s goals to pursue a pro-growth agenda, including reforming the tax code, healthcare and legal systems; promoting a better educational system; encouraging sound energy initiatives; and advocating public safety through tough, crime-fighting policies. During the 2008 election, the RSLC helped maintain the number of Republican Attorneys General and Lieutenant Governors across the U.S. In addition, the RSLC was able to deliver new Republican majorities in the Montana, Oklahoma and Tennessee state senates, as well as an unprecedented majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

And yet many Republicans commit sexual crimes, and they usually go unnoticed by the media. So below is a web site and video to show you this information.

A Man 'Drugs' His Date's Drink: What Do You Do? Would You Speak Up If You Saw Someone's Drink Get Drugged?

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Imagine you're sitting at a picturesque bar on the New Jersey shore, enjoying a drink and an appetizer, when an attractive young couple sits down next to you. You soon learn that the couple is on their very first date. Everything appears to be normal until the woman excuses herself to use the restroom.

Suddenly the situation turns ugly and dangerous. The man pulls out a capsule filled with a white powder and begins pouring the substance into his unsuspecting date's drink. Customers sitting at the bar can't believe their eyes; could the seemingly charming guy be drugging his date?

What would you do? Is it your responsibility to step in or is it better to keep your distance? We went to Mcloone's Pier House to find out.

We rigged the ocean-side restaurant with hidden cameras and hired actors, Jeremy and Brigitte, to portray a couple on their first date.

"What Would You Do" anchor John Quinones watched alongside the producers and production team as the experiment unfolded on monitors in an upstairs control room. We had no idea how people would react to this shocking scenario.

'Don't Drink That!'

The first couple immediately noticed Jeremy pour some white powder into his date's drink. Yet when Brigitte returned they said nothing, as the actors clinked glasses and took a sip. The couple seemed concerned but several minutes lapsed and they didn't say a word. We asked Jeremy to excuse himself to see if this would make the approach easier, but they still said nothing. Brigitte then began to act sick from the drug, fanning her face and repeatedly saying, "It's hot in here."

Four minutes went by and finally Angie, the woman who had watched the entire scene unfold, leaned over to Brigitte and asked, "Do you have a headache? Maybe it's the drink, don't drink that! Ask for another one and drink your water!"

Angie's husband Walter offered to buy Brigitte a new drink as Angie offered some motherly advice: "I always tell my kids, if you leave your drink, just get another one when you get back."

Hero of the Day

Next, our actors sat next to Doug and Patricia, a local couple who offered Jeremy some sweet advice for his first date: "Give her a nice impression. Don't go wild, be yourself, be calm, and you know, do your thing."

This budding friendship took a nasty turn, however, when Doug noticed Jeremy drugging Brigitte's drink. Immediately he sprang into action, "Can I say something to you?" he shouted. "You dropped something in that drink."

Jeremy denied it but Doug persisted, even to his wife's dismay. Doug was so sure of what he saw he kept telling his wife to "shut up."

But did he tell Brigitte what he saw when she returned?

We were surprised to find that Doug, along with most other patrons, remained quiet until Brigitte started to act sick from the fake drug. As soon as he saw her act faint, Doug reacted, telling Brigitte authoritatively, "Throw that wine away.… Are you OK?"

We let Doug in on our experiment, and he had some advice of his own.

"The right thing for this whole country is if something is wrong, speak up. React and protect your neighbors and let your neighbors protect you. C'mon America …We are the best, let's live it that way," he said.

A Different Look for Our Actress

As a twist in our experiment, we decided to dress Brigitte more provocatively; a variable that Keating, the psychology professor, thought might provoke a different reaction. "She looks like she's been there, done that, and I would imagine not as much sympathy for her."

Was she right?

Dressed in a tight, revealing blue dress, Brigitte took a seat with her date Jeremy. Two men sitting at the bar immediately noticed the sexy actress, and as soon as she stepped away told Jeremy, "Good for you, I wish I could do that s--t. Unfortunately I got married a long time ago."

Jeremy laughed with his new cohorts and then proceeded to spike Brigitte's drink not once, but five times, to make sure they saw what he was doing.

When Brigitte returned from the restroom, Jeremy excused himself saying, "These are nice guys, they'll take care of ya." But to our astonishment, they refused to get involved or say anything even after Brigitte began to fake a headache. We decided to up the ante by telling Jeremy to attempt to bring Brigitte home.

"I have a pool in my house, if you want to go back there," he said.

The two men responded by leaving the bar without a word. When we asked why they didn't say anything, they refused to speak with us but we did learn that only one of them saw the powder go into Brigitte's drink.

Brigitte was disturbed that they didn't get involved, saying, "I feel dirty, not like I felt before when I was the cute little girl." Earlier, nobody had let Brigitte walk out of the bar with Jeremy. Speaking up would have saved the young woman in this precarious, possibly even deadly, situation.

Next, two older men took a seat next to our actors.

After witnessing Jeremy poison Brigitte's drink, they surprised us by immediately telling the bartender, who was also an actor working for "WWYD."

Later, after we let them in on our secret, on of the men, Arthur, said, "I wanted to prevent violence and I wanted him [my friend Tim] to calm down. And you gotta be careful of how you get involved."

But after nearly two full days of repeating the scenario, no one told Brigitte exactly what they saw or why they were concerned about her.

A Witness Who Doesn't Mince Words

Then, a remarkable woman showed up. As soon as Jeremy drugged Brigitte's drink, Linda was on the case.

"Did you just put something in her drink?" she asked.

Jeremy once again denied he did anything. When Brigitte returned from the restroom, Jeremy excused himself. Linda wasted no time.

"Excuse me, Miss? I'm probably out of line, he thinks I'm crazy, I thought I saw him put something in your drink and stir it."

When the scene broke, Brigitte was moved to tears by her new friend. She explained to us how protected she felt with Linda who not only spoke up but who also followed Brigitte into the restroom to make sure she was all right.

MN - Back in jail, offender talks about time under Sorlie Bridge

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By Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald

For a while, anyway, _____ has a place to call home, an official residence where police and _____’s parole officer can check to make sure the registered sex offender is abiding by requirements of his registration.

His old address, under the Sorlie Bridge, wasn’t conducive to that, but the new address is: the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.

“It’s no fun being in jail,” _____ said last week, talking through a video-phone connection in the jail’s visiting room. “But it beats living under the bridge in this weather.”

_____, 51, is one of 82 registered sex offenders — one of seven high-risk offenders — living, working or attending school in Grand Forks. He has four convictions for indecent exposure, from 1977 in Tacoma, Wash., to 1998 in Grafton and Edinburg, N.D., to 2005, again in Walsh County, N.D.

He was jailed in Grand Forks last fall on a possible parole violation, failing to register as a sex offender. A hearing is scheduled Monday.

Released from the North Dakota state prison in August 2006, he came to Grand Forks and initially registered his address as the Grand Forks Mission. Later, after leaving the Mission, he briefly registered what turned out to be a false address on Belmont Road, then lived in motels.

“I didn’t try getting an apartment,” he said.

“Actually, I had more trouble with getting jobs because of the (sex offender) registration. I applied at a few places, and I was honest with them about my situation. I didn’t hear back from them.

“I find it very discriminating around here.”

He also objects to what he considers overly intrusive media attention.

“I’ve been to court (in Grand Forks) four or five times, and I’m on the news every time,” he said. “How’s a man supposed to get a job? I see it’s the law that the community has to be notified. I understand that. But I’m in the news every time I go to court? That’s unfair.”

_____ said he lived beneath the Sorlie Bridge “for a few weeks” last fall. Grand Forks Police believe he was using that “address” as early as July.

“I had nowhere else to go” after a motel manager kicked him out, _____ said.

“It was miserable, a little noisy under there, and the mosquitoes were kinda bad,” he said. “I had nowhere to go during the day since I didn’t have a job, so I’d just walk the streets.”

He said he wanted to try to get his life on track.

“You take it one day at a time,” he said. “But being homeless is never any fun. It does make it more difficult.”

Jay Middleton, a Grand Forks Police community resources officer, spends about three-fourths of his time verifying the residency and employment of registered sex offenders. He said that police tried several times but were unable to verify that _____ was living beneath the bridge.

“He had been registered at a motel, then was kicked out,” Middleton said. “We tried to get him back into the Mission, but apparently there had been some rule violations there. Then, he registered his address as ‘under the Sorlie Bridge.’?”

That lasted about two months, he said. “There were some concerns about that because it made our job more difficult. You can’t register them as homeless, but it’s hard to verify someone who may be living under a bridge. I tried to check on him three or four times, but I never found him there. There was no tent or sleeping bag, as I recall.”

Middleton acknowledged that registered sex offenders can face considerable suspicion, hostility and resistance when they look for work or a place to live. “When we do our door-to-door notifications, we get a lot of complaints,” he said. “There are real concerns, especially if the conviction was for anything child-related.

“Or, when you’re in an apartment building, everybody is under one roof and there are common areas, sometimes people contact the building management and complain, and sometimes the management changes its mind. We’ve seen that.

“You have some compassion for them,” he said. “You understand the uphill battle they face. But as I explain to them at our first meeting, state law requires each of us to do certain things. I’m doing my job, and I’m hired to protect the community and uphold the law.”

CA - All Calif. sex offenders now monitored by GPS

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And the Governor has been asking for bailout money. Guess they don't need it much after all. GPS is going to cost a ton of money.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Contact) has issued the following statement on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation having finished placing a GPS device on every sex offender on state parole.

These 6,622 sex offenders have all been fitted with an ankle bracelet that transmits its location to parole agents who monitor them. Agents also visit these individuals on a routine basis.

The CDCR had originally expected to complete the task by by June, but has finished six months ahead of time.

Having a GPS device on every sex offender parolee in California is an important public safety tool that will hold these individuals accountable for their actions and whereabouts,” Schwarzenegger said. “Protecting our children and families from sexual predators is a priority, and with a GPS device on every sex offender on parole and parole agents monitoring these offenders aggressively, we will make our communities safer.”
- Notice how he says "predators" and "sex offenders" and makes it look like all sex offenders on parole are predators?  Well, that is a total myth!  Many are NOT predators, but, it sounds good to say!  If a person is a true predator, and has the intent to commit another crime, GPS will not prevent it.  So this is just a waste of time and money.  They should only really put these on those who are deemed extremely dangerous, not all, that just waste more money, and the state, by his own words, is in a budget crisis.

Jessica’s Law, also known as Proposition 83, which was passed overwhelmingly by California voters in 2006, required that every paroled sex offender be monitored by GPS. More than a year before Jessica’s Law passed, CDCR began using GPS to monitor sex offenders and has more GPS units in the field than any other state or law enforcement agency in the country.
- Well, maybe because the state is larger than any other!  And why did it take 3 years?  And why track all sex offenders, when all are not dangerous?  Wasting more money, and then expecting the tax payers to bail them out, as usual!