Friday, October 9, 2009

CA - Woman Sues Toyota Over 'Terrifying' Prank

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This is similar to this prank, which I do not find the least bit funny.



A Los Angeles woman is suing Toyota for $10 million over a marketing campaign that she claims "punked" her into incorrectly believing she was being stalked.

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Amber Duick claims she had difficulty eating, sleeping and going to work during March and April of last year after she received e-mails for five days from a fictitious man called Sebastian Bowler, from England, who said he was on the run from the law, knew her and where she lived, and was coming to her home to hide from the police.

There was even a fictitious MySpace page reportedly created for Bowler.

Although Bowler did not have Duick's current address, he sent her links to his My Space page as well as links to video clips of him causing trouble all over the country on his way to her former house in Los Angeles, according to the lawsuit.

"Amber mate! Coming 2 Los Angeles. Gonna lay low at your place for a bit till it all blows over," the man wrote in one e-mail.

Ficticious Man Claimed He Knew Alleged Victim, and Was Coming to Her House

Duick's attorney said the marketing company went so far as to send Duick a bill for damages the fictitious man supposedly made to a hotel room.

"Amber, ran into a little problem at the hotel," a note with the invoice stated. "After I'm done visiting you, I'm going to go back and sort out that front desk Muppet."

The alleged harassment lasted five days, according to the suit, and frightened Duick so much she contacted neighbors, friends and family, and the occupant of her former home about the man she feared was coming to visit. Her attorney declined to comment as to whether or not she called the police. She even made her longtime boyfriend sleep with a club and mace next to the bed for protection.

"As a result of the e-mails, [Duick] found it extremely difficult to work, and her job performance suffered," the complaint said. "[She] was unable to perform her job duties at standard levels."

It turns out the prank was actually part of a marketing effort executed by the Los Angeles division of global marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which created the campaign to promote the Toyota Matrix, a new model launched in 2008.

Woman Sues Toyota Over Prank Marketing Campaign

Duick claims she was ridiculed by those she contacted about the fictitious man from England after they found out it was a prank, but to her it was no laughing matter.

Her attorney, Nick Tepper, said the Matrix campaign was similar to "Punk'd" a former MTV show starring Ashton Kutcher that featured celebrities being set up by their friends for elaborate pranks. Toyota's marketers used the Internet to find people who wanted to set up friends to be "punked," and Duick was set up by a friend of hers, he said.

"They had some people who decided they wanted to use the new social media, and they didn't really think about the consequences," Tepper said. "Clearly, their objective with those people was to terrify them first and embarrass them second. … Obviously, they're trying to use this campaign to sell to someone other than my client."

In a statement written on behalf of Toyota and Saatchi about the lawsuit, Toyota Spokesman Chad Harp said Duick voluntarily participated in the alleged prank.

"The person who made this claim specifically opted in, granting her permission to receive campaign emails and other communications from Toyota," he wrote in an e-mail.

"It was definitely something where people had to opt in to receive campaign communications," he said. "Numerous people opted in for this campaign. It was a national campaign."

Attorney for Toyota Says Duick Agreed to Participate

Tepper, Duick's attorney, said he discussed the campaign with Toyota's attorneys earlier this year, and they said the "opting in" Harp referred to was done when Duick's friend e-mailed her a "personality test" that contained a link to an "indecipherable" written statement that Toyota used as a form of consent from Duick.

Tepper, said that during those legal negotiations, Toyota's lawyers claimed Duick signed the written legal agreement, which they said amounts to "informed written consent."

"So if [Duick] signed something, she's informed that she's signing 'A,' but in fact she's signing something else," Duick's attorney said. "It's written and it is consent, but you're not informed about the thing that you're actually signing up for? "It didn't say someone was going to be stalking my client. It was premised upon keeping my client in the dark, upon fooling her that these e-mails were real."

Toyota's Matrix Prank Campaign

Harp said Toyota cannot discuss the legal aspects of the case, but marketing agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi are always thinking of new and innovative ways to attract consumers for clients like Toyota.

"They are our agency of record," he said. "We have numerous advertising and marketing campaigns that we do with them. … You see everything going on these days, so there's numerous different realms in terms of what people are looking into in terms of marketing campaigns."

Saatchi & Saatchi told the marketing magazine OMMA last year that it had developed the campaign to target men under 35 who hate advertising.

The prank campaign, Saatchi creative director Alex Flint told the magazine, should gain the appreciation from "even the most cynical, anti-advertising guy."

Harp said Saatchi & Saatchi continues to work with Toyota, but its Matrix campaign ended last year. "It's been suspended for quite some time," he said, but it had run its course. "It did follow our projected timeline."

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

Quagmire Discovers Internet Porn

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

IN - Where Should Sex Offenders be Allowed to Live?

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Anywhere they chose! When are we going to dictate where all other criminals, like murderers, gang members, drug dealers, etc can live?


The story about a bus stop near the house of a sex offender has raised questions about where sex offenders should be able to live. Some lawmakers want to add more rules and prevent them from living near a bus stop.
- How about passing a law that you have to have a certain high IQ to be a politician?

There are close to 3500 registered sex offenders in Marion County and they live all over the place and in some cases within a mile or less of a school bus stop.

There's already a law saying offenders with crimes involving children can't live within 1,000 feet of a park, school, or youth program center.
- Yeah, the law may say "against children," but it affects all sex offenders!

Should they be forced to move away from bus stops too? The mother of a convicted child molester speaks out.
- No!  Isn't it against the law to leave your child unattended for a certain amount of time?  Move the bus stop!

"It's unfair they have decided to prosecute anybody. We don't have laws that say there's a drunk driver that can't live near you or somebody who's robbed somebody."

But Lawrence city leaders see it differently; they want to add school bus stops to that list by creating an ordinance or something else.
- They want to do this, so they can look good to the sheeple, and what about their "oath of office," which they apparently lied about.  What about stop denying people their rights?

A law could be challenging though especially at the bus stop at East 47th Street and Karen where 68 offenders are located around that bus stop.

American Civil Liberties Union (Contact) Attorney Ken Falk says there's little if any evidence that proves a new restriction will deter predators.

"There may be a bus stop on this corner this year. It may be moved to the next corner. So does that mean the offender has to move every year, every six months?"

Mapping out a solution won't be easy, but Lawrence City Officials hope to sit down with school leaders soon and come up with a game plan by the end of the week.
- So it will be easy, forget bus stops, problem solved!

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

OK - Too Much Information, Not Enough Common Sense (Abortion Registry?)

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I'm all for it!  The more registries the better! I have emailed them my support for it, as well as a SIN REGISTRY with everyone who has sinned on it?  Murder is murder, doesn't matter who is doing the killing, IMO!


By Tali Yahalom

A new Oklahoma law will require the details of every abortion to be posted on a public website.

Mothers -- or would-be mothers, rather -- will be prompted to answer 37 questions that range from her marital status and race to how many times she's ever been pregnant. One question asks for the woman's reason to abort, offering "relationship problems" as a possible check-off box, and it's difficult to ignore the judgmental and disapproving tone.

The website, which will cost $200,000 per year to implement, is intended to prevent or decrease the number of abortions in Oklahoma (where have we heard this before?), but the bill has already raised considerable debate, attracting opposition from the Center For Reproductive Rights and former Oklahoma Representative Wanda Jo Stapleton, among others. This questionnaire not only forces doctors into an uncomfortable predicament -- failure to disclose this information would result in "criminal sanctions and loss of medical license," as Salon's Lynn Harris reports -- but, put simply, it shames women. "They're really just trying to frighten women out of having abortions," Kery Parks, director of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, told Harris. Indeed, in a small town, probing details would easily identify the woman with a proverbial scarlet A.
- Oh, I don't think Planned Parenthood should have any say in this.  Especially their recent scandals.

Sensitivity issues aside, this possible law poses a question about the extent to which transparency works in today's information-saturated society, where the line between reasonable alerts and public shaming has increasingly blurred. The latter is nothing new, with historical roots in the mark of Cain, Jesus's crucifixion, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and the Nazis' yellow stars during the Holocaust -- quite the range right there.
- Funny how when the Nazi's are mentioned with sex offender issues, it's ignored, and here, they mention the same thing!  Ironic, isn't it?  If it's good enough for sex offenders, then it's good enough for everybody else!

More contemporary examples include a theft defendant in Michigan who was ordered by a judge to bear the words "Daddy, don't steal" on his arm, and convicted shoplifters who were sentenced to wear neon green t-shirt with the phrase "I'm a thief" while performing community service in Ohio.

Sometimes, transparency makes complete sense, like when a medical professor promotes a specific drug and simultaneously sits on the board of its distributor. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig discusses transparency's merits in The New Republic:

In particular, management transparency, which is designed to make the performance of government agencies more measurable, will radically improve how government works. And making government data available for others to build upon has historically produced enormous value -- from weather data, which produces more than $800 billion in economic value to the United States, to GPS data, liberated originally by Ronald Reagan, which now allows cell phones to instantly report (among other essential facts) whether Peets or Starbucks is closer.

But Lessig's piece focuses more on the questionable uses of transparency, arguing that the good intentions do not always yield good results. Consider an editorial recently published in the New York Times about sex offender registries:

Meanwhile, an attempt to create a national registry -- part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act passed in 2006 -- has faltered badly. States fretting about the costs and legal complications all missed the deadline to comply, which was then extended to July 2010. They worry that the registry would create an overwhelming monitoring burden and that it uses crude means of assessing the likelihood that offenders might repeat their crimes. The list of offenders is so large as to be almost useless. It is supposed to include not only rapists and kidnappers but also flashers and teenagers who had consensual sex.

The Offender Locator iPhone application is among Apple's top-selling features, but is it creating more harm than protection? In many ways, as these sorts of disclosures, literally available at our fingertips, spiral out of control, and everyone can find out everyone else's business in the virtual community created by the Internet, we seem to be returning to the dangerous age that Hawthrone described. Oklahoma legislators, take note: "Sunlight may well be a great disinfectant," Lessig says, "But as anyone who has ever waded through a swamp knows, it has other effects as well."

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

CA - Operation Boo (Should be called "Operation FEAR MONGER!")

Parole Officers of the CA Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation closely monitor known sex offenders on Halloween to keep the holiday safe for children.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

Derek Logue Book Review

Web Site | SOClear Media

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

Sex Offenders as Commodities — Really?

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By Greg Demers

I’m always impressed by the variety of items for sale on Ebay. I’ve seen air guitars, chewing gum used by Madonna and even a ghost being sold by a woman who would do anything to convince her son that there weren’t monsters in his closet. One thing I haven’t seen, however, is a sex offender for sale. Yet, later this term, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about whether Congress can regulate the commercial distribution of sex offenders.

You aren’t familiar with this growing domestic market? Well, admittedly, my articulation is not the precise question that the Justices granted certiorari on. In United States v. Comstock, the Court will consider whether the Commerce Clause gives the federal government the power to indefinitely confine sex offenders after their release from prison. Before Comstock reached the Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit struck down the commitment provision as an unconstitutional expansion of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. Last May, the Eighth Circuit upheld the provision, creating a circuit split and prompting the Supreme Court to resolve the dispute.

My guess is that most people outside of academic legal circles will find it inconceivable that the Commerce Clause, which allows Congress “to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes,” also creates the broad power to determine the treatment of sex offenders after their release from prison. It reminds me of an old adage: “It takes a scholar to say something that stupid.”

So how did we get here? Like many areas of constitutional law, the Commerce Clause has had a tumultuous history. For more than 100 years after its enactment, most controversies focused on the “Dormant Commerce Clause,” the implied restriction on states from enacting legislation that impeded interstate commerce. Then, during the early 20th century, as the power of the federal government soared to previously unimaginable heights, the Court’s interpretation of the Commerce Clause became decidedly more liberal. In a few groundbreaking cases, the Supreme Court determined that the Clause allows Congress to regulate any activity that “substantially affects” interstate commerce, regardless of whether the activity occurred entirely intrastate and whether the impact was direct or indirect. Not surprisingly, these decisions provided the necessary legal foundation for the explosion of federal legislation that followed.

It wasn’t until the 1990s, in the cases of United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison, that the Supreme Court began defining the outer limits of Congress’s commerce power. In Lopez, the Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act, which made it a federal crime to carry a firearm near a school. Five years later, in Morrison, the Court invalidated a provision of the Violence Against Women Act that created a federal civil remedy for gender-motivated crimes of violence. In both cases, the government argued that the regulations would decrease crime, that crime imposes a myriad of costs on society, and that these costs extend across state borders, thus justifying the use of Congress’s commerce power. In two 5-4 decisions, the Court rejected the government’s attempt to “pile inference upon inference” to justify its position.

In Comstock, the Supreme Court will revisit its Commerce Clause jurisprudence, and the discussion will likely focus on whether to maintain these outer boundaries or eliminate them entirely. If the Supreme Court decides that the Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate activities that are clearly not economic in nature, that occur entirely intrastate, and that have only the most attenuated relation to interstate commerce, it would lift the last restriction on federal authority. To quote from an earlier Supreme Court opinion, this is a case that involves “effects upon interstate commerce so indirect and remote that to embrace them, in view of our complex society, would effectually obliterate the distinction between what is national and what is local and create a completely centralized government.”

The latter is not hyperbole. In his Morrison dissent, Justice Breyer did not reject this argument as alarmist rhetoric but instead embraced it as a “practical reality” of the modern world. I will refrain from discussing the virtues of a federalist system and the glaring problems with abandoning such a system based on an undeniably strained reading of the Constitution. Despite how close the Morrison and Lopez decisions were, I find it hard to believe that the Supreme Court would take the radical step described above. In all likelihood, the Court will strike down the provision or, if it heads in the opposite direction, it will find some contrived way to narrowly confine its decision to the facts of this case.

Sadly, it will almost certainly not consider a more appropriate alternative: eliminating the “substantial effects” test once and for all. As Justice Thomas wrote in his Morrison concurrence, this “rootless and malleable standard ... has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.”

It is also the reason why our highest court must now decide whether Congress’s commerce power allows it to regulate the post-release treatment of sex offenders, as if they were a commodity being shipped interstate. If the Court wishes to avoid such odd questions in the future, it should make clear that Congress’s commerce power applies only to commerce. Or, if it truly believes that practical realities of the modern world make it necessary for Congress to have such an all-encompassing power, it should recommend the adoption of a constitutional amendment, rather than fundamentally altering a core feature of our democracy through piecemeal judicial review.

Greg Demers is a third-year law student at Cornell. Barely Legal, a column featuring a rotating cast of law students, appears alternate Fridays this semester. He may be reached at

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

GA - Cops: Woman Was Police Groupie Who 'Traded Sex'

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So, what about charges against those in the police force, who accepted sex?


CANTON - A Cherokee County woman who was stopped for speeding has been charged with impersonating a police officer after an unusual collection of police paraphernalia and gun holsters was found in her car.

Officials said 22-year-old _____ of Woodstock was in the Cherokee County Jail Thursday and was also charged with drug possession and giving a false name.

Cherokee County Sheriff's deputy James Clement wrote in his report that _____ appeared to be a police groupie who "traded sex" to gain entry to the law enforcement world.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, _____ claimed several names - Nicole Marie Roberts, Jenna Clements, Stephanie Clements and Jenna Jenkins.

_____'s bond is $22,900. It could not be determined if she had a lawyer.

Clement wrote that _____'s story changed in a confusing manner and she first told him she was a police officer. He said she had notebook in which she documented "numerous liaisons with many police officers from across Georgia."

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

NY - Mark Lesko, running for office, so out come the sex offender issues to exploit RSO's and peoples fear, for votes - POLITICS AS USUAL!

Notice how they get in front of the camera's to say "look at us, see what we are doing!" Typical political BS! So what about the "oath of office" you all took to uphold the constitution, which you are not doing? Oh yeah, that doesn't matter, the only thing that matters it making ourselves look better! Oh yeah, and he's also up for election, so there you go!



Brookhaven Town is looking to strengthen its restrictions on where sex offenders are allowed to reside, a move town officials say would beef up laws that already are among the toughest in the state.

The proposed law would prevent Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within a quarter-mile of almost anywhere children congregate.

The legislation, which is scheduled for a town board vote on Nov. 24, came under immediate fire from civil liberties and sex offender reform advocates, who said the restrictions would leave offenders with nowhere to live and little hope of reform or reintegration into society. Others said the measure would force offenders to avoid registering with the state.

But Supervisor Mark Lesko said the law will "take back the streets from predatory sex offenders who strike fear into the hearts" of families.
- And also help me boast and look good to you sheeple who believe anything we say!

The proposed law also levies up to $1,500 weekly fines on landlords who rent residences within the new limits to sex offenders, Lesko said.

"If you are a suburban slumlord renting to a Level 2 or 3 sex offender, we're coming after you," Lesko said.

The town's current laws require registered Level 2 and 3 sex offenders to live more than a quarter-mile from schools, playgrounds, day care centers and parks. The expanded law would add 15 types of locales - including video arcades, churches, school bus stops and ice cream stores - to the list.

The legislation "sounds good on paper" but will result in sex offenders' skirting the state registry system, making them harder to track, said Kenneth Lau, president of the state chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Andrea Callan, director of the Suffolk Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (Contact), issued a statement that said Lesko's "proposal for legislation may actually push sex offenders into the dark and into places where they will live outside of all systems of supervision."

The proposed law might also be unconstitutional if it leaves sex offenders with nowhere to live in an entire community, Callan said.
- So they will make only 1% livable, and when people find out the RSO's are congregating there, then they will be kicked out from there.

Lesko said the town is creating a map, which will be available on the town's Web site, that will show which parts of town are covered by the law's "community protection zones."
- So what about "protection zones" from gang members, murderers, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders?  Oh yeah, that would cover some of you guys, and we can't have that, now can we?

Brookhaven Town officials unveiled the proposal at a news conference a few miles from Gordon Heights, a neighborhood where, officials say, about 40 offenders live within a roughly half-square-mile area. Lesko said he hopes the new law, and another town law designed to break up clusters of sex offenders, helps reduce the number of offenders there.
- The very laws are what is creating these "clusters!"

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

VT - Editorial: Sex offender registry must be used properly

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Vermont's expanded sex offender registry offers one more tool in the effort to keep our communities safer, but the registry is effective only if the information is up-to-date and accurate, and people who turn to the registry use the information properly.

Outdated information about a sex offender's whereabouts is less than useless. Inaccurate information could render a background check -- of a coach, baby sitter or a youth group leader, for instance -- meaningless. A wrong name, address or photo could have devastating consequences for a person misidentified in the registry.

The consequences of inaccuracies place an especially heavy burden on those charged with maintaining the registry.

People in the community who use the registry must avoid the trap of falling into a false sense of security by focusing on those who have a record. As Allen Gilbert of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont (Contact) points out, 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by someone the child knows -- a friend, family or a trusted member of the community.

The registry must never become a tool for vigilantism, by individuals or by entire towns. Some communities have tried to run sex offenders out of town by enacting residency restrictions that placed much of the city off limits. The state Supreme Court ruled that one city, Barre, had no power to enact such an ordinance.

The people on the registry are there because they have been convicted of a crime. But in our society, even people who have committed a heinous crimes retain many of their rights, especially if they have served their time.

Karen Tronsgard-Scott, director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence (Contact), warns that the registry hardly represents a complete accounting of predators: "Sex offenders are all around us," she said.

That means we must never be lulled into believing that simply focusing on those who have been convicted of a sex crime can keep us safe. Rather than stoking paranoia, Tronsgard-Scott's warning means taking reasonable precautions and never ignoring suspicious behavior or signs, even when they involve a trusted person. Unfortunately, we live in that kind of world.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

CA - Sexual Predators Have to Pay Off Taxpayer Funds Used During Release

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Well, the tax payers and corrupt politicians are the ones making and passing these unconstitutional laws, so you should have to pay for what you wanted, IMO!


By Kimberlee Sakamoto

BAY AREA (KRON) – By state law, sexually violent predators are given housing, living expenses and security when they are released from prison. Though all costs are paid with taxpayer dollars, the predators must agree to repay some of the funds they are provided. KRON 4’s Terisa Estacio has learned that some high profile predators are making good on their word.

Four-time sex offender _____ was convicted of molesting young boys. When he was conditionally released form a state hospital he was given housing in Contra Costa County and all living expenses, including therapy, transportation and security to keep him safe from angry protestors, was paid for by taxpayer dollars.

_____, like other sexually violent predators, must sign a promissory note, agreeing to pay back the thousands of dollars borrowed when released.
- How can you pay it back, when the state laws force you into homelessness and joblessness?

The state department of mental health tells Terisa that figure can range from $48,000 per year they are in the program, to $300,000.

According to state records, _____ paid back all the thousands of dollars he used and is now a taxpayer himself.

Another person convicted of molesting several young boys, _____, also used state dollars and paid back the $8,000 he owed.

_____ is also a convicted serial rapist who is considered a sexually violent predator. When he was released from a state hospital, he moved to home in Vacaville with his wife. Using taxpayer funds, police were put on 24-hour watch, private security was established and new lights were installed all over town to increase safety.

Though _____ was eligible for more money to pay for living expenses, transportation, therapy and groceries, he declined, choosing to pay for everything himself.

According to state records, _____ is on unconditional release and is also a taxpayer.

Terisa notes that not all predators make it through the program and some have to go back to the state hospital.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

TX - Sex Offenders Must Report to Probation on Halloween

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By Mario Boone

Probation officers are requiring sex offenders on active probation to report to them during peak trick or treat hours from 6pm-9pm. Their goal: take away a sex offender's opportunity to offend. Officials know Halloween is a prime time when kids will be out. Sex offender probation officer David Rodgers says having offenders in one place during this period allows officers to minimize the risk to children. While there, offenders will undergo the usual regimen of treatment and drug screens. Offenders who fail to show will face a judge and possible jail time. Residents we talked to support the practice.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

NJ - Council repeals local sex offender ordinance

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Supreme Court decision makes local ordinances unconstitutional

West Milford — With a vote of 4-2, the West Milford Township Council voted to repeal its sex offender ordinance that prohibited convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, day care centers, parks and playgrounds.

The council voted in response to township attorney Fred Semrau’s recommendation to repeal the 2005 ordinance because the New Jersey Supreme Court declared an ordinance similar to this unconstitutional in May. If the council did not repeal it, the township could be sued if charges were brought against someone in town. The Supreme Court found that the state’s Megan’s Law was adequate protection for children from sexual predators.

Council disagrees

Members of the council talked at length of how their ordinance is more of a safeguard for children, prohibiting convicted offenders from living near places that children are found.

Fred I know you’ve mentioned all the reasons we have to do this,” said Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg. “I’ve read the Megan’s Law and I know the Megan’s Law has no section with so many feet from schools. Privacy interests of persons convicted of sex offences are less important than the government’s interest in public safety,” she said, reading from Megan’s Law.

Taking the restricted area out of the law, she noted, was contrary to what the law is all about.

Lichtenberg and Dan Jurkovic were the two council members who voted against the measure.

Township could be sued

Semrau explained both when the issue was originally brought up in August and again at the last meeting in September that the reason for repealing the ordinance had nothing to do with the safety of the children of West Milford and everything to do with keeping the township from being named in a lawsuit. The Supreme Court decided in May that an ordinance very similar to the one on the books in West Milford was unconstitutional when it didn’t allow a teenager, who was convicted of a sexual offense, from living in a dorm in Galloway Township.

The college student was attending Stockton College and was informed by the township that he could not live on campus, which was within 2,500 feet of a daycare center, because he had served two years probation for criminal sexual contact against a 13-year-old when he was 15 years old. He was considered a Tier 1 sex offender, the lowest level offender.

The decision by the court was unanimous, 6-0, with Justice John E. Wallace not participating in the decision.

In legal terms, state law supersedes our ordinance and if we act or enforce the ordinance we’re putting ourselves at risk for a lawsuit,” said Councilman Bob Nolan in confirmation to Semrau.

A challenge

Let them do it,” said Jurkovic. “They’ll have their names plastered all over the papers of northern New Jersey and southern New Jersey like the gentleman in Galloway Township so everyone will know they take advantage of the rights of children. It makes me irritated to hear about their rights. Let them sue us so everyone in New Jersey and West Milford will know who they are.”

Convicted sex offenders must register with their local police. Some towns are so small, particularly in the more urban areas of the state, that putting a distance in an ordinance could keep them from living in the town at all.

Megan’s Law was originally passed in 1994 by the state of New Jersey requiring that convicted sex offenders register when released from prison and that neighbors be notified if a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood. It was named for seven-year-old Megan Kanka who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a neighbor who was a repeat dangerous sex offender. Her parents did not know his criminal history. Every state in the country has some form of Megan’s Law.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

FL - Ron Book Makes A Call To Action

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Why does the media continue to go to a lobbyist, whose job is to say things to make you believe him, whether they are true or not? It's his job, to get what he wants! Why don't you talk to the offenders and their families? Oh yeah, that would not bring good ratings or further your agenda of hate!


By Michele Gillen

MIAMI (CBS4) - "Those people are not safe to be in a population with elderly people. I just can't even imagine that this is happening and nobody knew about it. You obviously have discovered it," says Ron Book, a man who walks where many wouldn't dare, the darkest den of homeless sex offenders who, created their own tent city under the famed Julia Tuttle Bridge.

But while Book has rolled up his sleeves to find them housing and close this colony, seeing the CBS4 I-Team investigation into how sex predators, registered offenders and violent felons are living in nursing homes and ALF'S with the most vulnerable elderly, left him, in his words, "shocked was probably an understatement, rage, anger. You know you see the world differently when you have a family member that has been victimized."

Her name is Lauren, a daughter who has grown into a force for change. As a child she kept a secret and lived the nightmare that the family's trusted live-in nanny was molesting her.

"They are abusing people, they are manipulating, they are controlling, they are hurting, they are harming, they are maiming. Nobody, nobody other than a family member can tell you about the impact that one of these people have on families other than somebody that been there done, that," Book tells Chief I-Team Investigator Michele Gillen.

"They try to harm and use power and control over people who are weaker than themselves," daughter Lauren tells Gillen as they walk together under the bridge. She is now joining her dad in alarm over the CBS4 I-Team findings of elderly being raped and assaulted by nursing home residents with records.

"It's just outrageous, totally outrageous, we shouldn't, we can't, we can't do that to those, it's just like putting them live in a daycare facility, or kindergarten or first grade class. You can't do it. And we must do all we can do to have them removed and find compliant housing for those individuals as well," she declares.

Book points out that when a registered sex offender moves into a neighborhood, residents are alerted with flyers. Yet, in the CBS-4 investigation no facility owner interviewed told residents that there are registered sex offenders living among them.

Book found this most disturbing.

"You are not going to notify the people or the families of the nursing homes or ALF's? That is absurd, that is, in my opinion, a misinterpretation of what the law requires today. I think if you are in a residence, you are required to tell people, you are required to distribute those photos and if they are not doing it, they're likely to be in violation of the law. They should be required to do it and they should be no if ands or buts."

Father and daughter says they are baffled that the I-Team found most nursing homes don't conduct criminal background checks before admitting a resident, when many apartment buildings do, and as chairman of the Homeless Trust, Book knows -- even homeless shelters screen for a violent past.

"We don't let offenders and predators in, we do a background check, we don't let them in, why because we have children there, we have older people there, we don't want to expose them to the population," he explains to Gillen.

While he and daughter Lauren struggle to still find appropriate housing for the several dozen men under the bridge, expect to hear their voice asking for protection of the elderly along with children. Time, he says, for our political leaders to bring everyone to the table.

"They ought to be outraged by this, they ought to call public hearings, public meetings, they ought to summon the secretaries in those departments and there ought to be some answers," Book said. "Background checks, notification, straight prohibition, flyer notification, certified letters to family members and the like, the guardians and guardians ad litems," are among the suggestions some experts say should be considered. The public need to do that, email, the phone, and snail mail to get this message through to lawmakers, that something needs to be done and we are watching and we are going to hold you accountable."

Book says he needs no convincing that, "If you have a heart for the elderly, if you have a heart for your own family, your children, this issue ought to cause you deep, deep concern."
- Yeah, because Ron Book sees monsters around every corner!

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

AK - Former cop accused of sex abuse, child porn, takes stand

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ANCHORAGE - Sammy Cohen, the former Anchorage Police officer on trail for child abuse and making child pornography, took the stand Thursday.

Cohen says a little lie changed his life, and now he wants to set it straight.

Four women testified against Cohen during the trial. They all claimed Cohen abused them, or tried to.

His story doesn't add up if you ask the prosecution.

From the defense's standpoint, it's a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, but one thing both attorneys can agree on is that it's rare for a defendant to testify.

The defense kept Cohen on the stand all day. He denied accusations that he took naked pictures of a 13-year-old girl and sexually abused her.

He says many of his words were misconstrued.

"There was an incident when you jumped into the shower with her," said defense attorney John Cashion.

"I bapped the shower curtain and said ‘you got to hurry up, I need to get in there,' and finally I'd gone in there and shake the shower curtain real hard and said ‘alright I'm getting in there, you are too late.' She surprised me by leaping out of the shower and dashing off to the back bedroom," Cohen said.

In opening statements the prosecution commented on how Cohen conveniently explained away several odd sexual encounters.

Like the time he offered to teach a young girl how to kiss her first boyfriend, but he said it was a joke.

Or the time he gave a girl a back massage and her bra strap came unhooked. Cohen says he wanted to keep it from rubbing against her skin.

He had several explanations and flatly denied some of the accusations.

"Very important in this case there was testimony that there was topless wrestling occurring after puberty with (the accuser), true or not true?" asked Cashion.

"Not true," Cohen replied.

The prosecution claims Cohen and his attorneys took too many liberties on the stand.

"Thus far the view of the direct examination is character, character, character, character and character. He has repeatedly gone beyond simply the question that's asked to paint himself as a saint while simultaneously making disparaging comments about the victims," argued prosecutor John Skidmore.

For the former police officer it's not so much about his character, but mischaracterizing the truth.

Four women testified against Cohen during the trial, but he is only on trial for the abuse charges raised by one woman.

Skidmore plans to make a motion to the court to allow him to go into Cohen's character.

The defense doesn't want that, they say they've been very specific about questioning.

Skidmore says Cohen went too far with his answers.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved