Saturday, October 17, 2009

IL - Why Did 1 In 7 Girls Get Pregnant At Robeson High?

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And how many of the men, who had sex with them, are likely to be placed on the sex offender registry? The age of consent in Illinois is 17.


By Kristyn Hartman

Officials Say A Mix Of Factors Are To Blame, As They Try To Help The Young Women

CHICAGO (CBS) - It is a Chicago public school full of energy and spirit. It has about 800 girls, and 115 of them have something in common – something you might find disturbing.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports.

All those young ladies are moms or moms-to-be at Paul Robeson High School. It's not a school for young mothers, it's a neighborhood school. And all of the pregnancies have happened, despite prevention talk.

If you want to know why, the people closest to the situation say there's no simple explanation.

Chicago Public Schools says it does not track the overall number of teen moms in the district. But Robeson Principal Gerald Morrow knows the count at his school in Englewood: 115 young ladies who are either expecting or already have had children.

To put it in perspective, their school pictures would fill roughly six pages of their high school year book.

Why is it happening at Robeson?

"It can be a lot of things that are happening in the home or not happening in the home, if you will," Morrow said. Absentee fathers are another factor, he said.

LaDonna Denson and two other Robeson students say parents not talking to teens and, in some cases, the pursuit of public assistance also factor into the pregnancies. None of them thought they'd be moms at such a young age.

They said they have support at home. But not all girls do, they said. In fact, some girls get thrown out of the home.

Not on Morrow's turf. "We're not looking at them like 'Ooh you made a mistake,'" he said. "We're looking at how we can get them to the next phase, how can we still get them thinking about graduation?"

So there's help in a teen parent program. And coming soon, right across from Robeson, developers are turning a one-time crack house into a day care for student use. "We have to provide some type of environment for them and some form of support for them," Van Vincent, CEO of VLV Development, said.

It's all made an impression.

"Just cause you have a baby, that doesn't mean your life is over," one student said.
- No, but the person who helped have the baby, their life could be over!

One thing they might not know about their principal: His mom had him when she was 15. That's why accepting the problem -- and working through it -- is so important to him.

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"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

FL - No Bond For Man Who Shot Daughter’s Boyfriend

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See the video and hear the 911 call, at the above link. This man should be in prison for a very long time.


APOPKA - An Apopka man accused of shooting a teen that he caught having sex with his stepdaughter will not be allowed to bond out of jail. Wade Edwards is facing second-degree attempted murder charges after he caught the couple in the act.

The family of 18-year-old Julian Harp knows he's lucky to be alive.

He could have told him to get out of his house instead of shooting him,” Harp’s brother Dmeric Collier said.

Thursday night, Wade Edwards arrived home to an unpleasant surprise. His 16-year-old stepdaughter daughter and Harp were having sex inside the family's Apopka home.

According to a police report, Edwards walked in on the two having sex. He left the girl's bedroom and Harp quickly threw on his clothes fearing something bad might happen.

Edwards walked into the room again, this time armed with .45-caliber handgun. Harp asked Edwards not to shoot, but police said he fired four times as he left the house.

Then Wade called 911 to report what he'd done (911 call).

"I saw someone.. someone was inside my house... with my daughter and I shot him, I feared for my life," Edwards told the operator.
- BS!  You calmly walked into another room, to get a gun, that is not fearing for your life!

Is she a juvenile or teenager?” the operator asked.

Yes.” He replied.

And you walked in on them and they were there and he scared you?” asked the operator.

Yes. I feared for my life, I didn't know what to do,” he said.
- But you could think enough to get a gun?

But your daughter knows this gentleman?” asked the operator.

"I don't know ma'am, I don't know," he said.

Harp was hit in lower back, buttocks and twice in his left leg. Harp walked across the street and collapsed. A passer-by helped him until rescue crews arrived.

It didn't take that many times to let him know something. Shot him four times,” Harp’s aunt Gloria Windom said.

Police arrested the stepdad and charged him with attempted second-degree murder. An Orange County judge denied Edwards bond so he will stay in jail.

Edwards’ criminal past includes weapons and assault charges in Saint Croix.

Apopka parent Bill Goff told Eyewitness News what he'd do if he found his child in bed with someone else.

I think I would have been irate. I may have been physical and thrown the person out, but I don't think I would have shot him,” Goff said.

Harp's aunt Gloria Windom agrees.

He could have popped him beside the head and said, ‘Get off the girl,’” she said.

His relatives said Harp and the girl have been dating for over one year and it is the first known time there's been a confrontation involving the stepfather.

Sex between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old is legal in the state of Florida.

By law, an adult under 24 can legally have sex with a minor no younger than 16. That law is called the “close in age exemption."

However, if the adult is 24 or older, then sex with a 16-year-old becomes a second-degree felony.

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

WA - Sex offenders to receive treatment in prison

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"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

MA - Sex offender bylaw now includes loitering provision

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No loitering within 300 feet of town or state park for sex offenders convicted of child-related offense

PLYMOUTH - If Town Meeting passes a bylaw restricting where Level 3 sex offenders may legally live in town, legislators will also be restricting where these felons may legally loiter.

The town’s contracted law firm, Kopelman & Paige, used a sex offender bylaw that has already been approved by the Attorney General’s office as a template for the one Plymouth’s Town Meeting will vote on late this month, Acting Town Manager Melissa Arrighi explained.

This bylaw includes a loitering restriction.

Selectman Butch Machado pushed for a sex offender bylaw preventing Level 3 sex offenders from living within 2,500, or half a mile, of any school, daycare center, elderly housing complex, park or recreation facility.

But, after hearing arguments against the efficacy of such a restriction, the Advisory and Finance Committee voted unanimously against it.

In the event the article was passed without their blessing, committee members voted to reduce the residency requirement to 1,500 feet. But that amendment would have to be made on Town Meeting floor.

Earlier in the same meeting, experts noted that restricting Level 3 sex offenders to such a serious degree would only lead to homeless offenders who will be more difficult for police to track. These experts also noted that a loitering restriction might prove more effective, since sex offenses are rarely committed in the offenders’ homes.

They conceded, however, that Plymouth could become a dumping ground for these convicted felons if surrounding towns adopt sex offender residency restrictions and Plymouth doesn’t.

Selectmen stuck to their guns on the issue, voting, 4-1, last month to recommend Town Meeting approve the proposed sex offender bylaw, in spite of the Advisory & Finance Committee’s position against the measure.

Since then, town counsel has added the loitering restriction, which reads: “It shall be unlawful for a sex offender who has been convicted of a sex offense involving a child to knowingly be present in any town or state park.” The restriction, if passed, would also prohibit these offenders from being within 300 feet of a town or state park. The added section on loitering does not, however, specifically address loitering in the vicinity of a school or daycare center and makes no mention of protections for the elderly.
- You see how they say one thing, but mean another?  Above, they say these laws are for Level 3 offenders only, but here, it says any crime against a child, which will include Level 1 and 2 offenders as well.  Also, they say "loitering," but then say sex offenders cannot be within 300 feet of a town or state park.  That is not what loitering means, see the definition here.

Under the language of the proposed bylaw, police would be given the authority to enforce the loitering provisions, and violators would be slapped with a $300 non-criminal fine for every day they are in violation.

The residency restriction would not apply to Level 3 sex offenders who have reported their Plymouth residence prior to Oct. 26 of this year, or if the person is a minor or was a minor when he or she committed the offense and was not convicted as an adult. Other exceptions include those Level 3 sex offenders who register at a particular residence prior to a school, day care center, park or elderly housing facility being established and therefore creating a new prohibited area.

Under the bylaw’s restrictions, Level 3 sex offenders who move to within a half mile of a school, day care center, park or elderly housing complex would have 30 days to move outside that radius.

The first offense would prompt a notification to the offender that he or she has 30 days to move. Subsequent offenses are enforceable by police and carry a $300 non-criminal fine for each offense.

Town Meeting convenes Oct. 26.

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

EDITORIAL: Sex-offender residency restrictions don't make kids safer

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Well, the sheeple will believe anything!


Conventional wisdom is a powerful force that often leads the well-intentioned astray. For example, there's the widespread belief that we can make children safer by restricting where known sex offenders are allowed to live. The notion is enticing in its simplicity. Make sure offenders don't lay their heads near schools or parks or other places where children congregate, and kids will be safely ensconced in a predator-free bubble. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy.

Residency restrictions don't make children safer. In fact, they may make communities more dangerous by pushing offenders underground. No one wants a sex offender living nearby. And the effort to protect kids is important and heartfelt. But the public, and elected officials, shouldn't waste their time and energy on ever more exclusionary residency laws.

Having a kid snatched by a stranger skulking around a school yard is a nightmarish prospect. But that's not how it usually happens. Nine out of 10 children who are sexually abused know and trust their abusers. They aren't strangers. They're a relative or babysitter, a coach or Mom's boyfriend. It's proximity through those and other relationships that puts children in harm's way.

Even when the attacker is a stranger, victims are increasingly likely to have met them on the Internet. Besides, residency restrictions limit where offenders sleep, but not where they go. So they provide a false sense of security, while doing nothing to prevent most dangerous encounters.

What these restrictions do instead is cluster offenders in fewer and fewer places - too often in poor, politically powerless communities. And as it becomes harder for offenders to find legal housing, more will drop off the grid. They'll report false addresses, or stop reporting any address at all. Some will become homeless and virtually impossible to monitor. And when the restrictions force offenders away from the support of relatives and counselors, or make it difficult for them to work, those laws increase the likelihood that they will reoffend.

Researchers who have studied the issue in places like Colorado and Florida and Minnesota all reached similar conclusions. In Minnesota, for instance, corrections officials analyzed the crimes committed by 224 sex offenders released from prison between 1990 and 2002 who were reincarcerated for a new sex crime by 2006. They looked at how they established contact with their more recent victims and where the crimes occurred. The conclusion? "Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law."

They're not alone. The sentiment is shared by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault - a group of 78 rape crisis centers whose reason for being is to support rape victims and end sexual violence. The group opposes the laws for one very simple reason, said executive director Jane McEwen: "Residency restrictions don't keep people safer."

Despite scant evidence that restrictions work, they're on the books in Nassau and Suffolk counties; the towns of Brookhaven, Huntington and Southampton; the villages of Mineola, Floral Park, Valley Stream, East Rockaway, Lynbrook and Massapequa Park; and the City of Glen Cove, according to New York's Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Residency restrictions are popular with the public and easy for elected officials to support. In fact, it would take real political courage for an official to resist. So the prospect that any of the existing laws will be repealed hovers somewhere between unthinkable and impossible. But enough is enough.

Officials shouldn't up the ante, for instance as proposed in Brookhaven, where Supervisor Mark Lesko and some town board members have sponsored an infinitely more restrictive amendment to the town's current residency restriction law.

It would bar sex offenders from living within a quarter-mile of "community protection zones," which include any school, park, playground, day care center, school bus stop, video arcade, amusement park, ice cream store, skate park, youth sports facility, church, gym, public swimming pool, ballfield, library, movie theater, youth center or shopping mall. It would put practically all of Brookhaven off limits.

But pushing sex offenders out of one town would mean pushing them into another. That risks igniting a residency-restriction arms race, with municipalities enacting more and more restrictive laws. Eventually widespread exclusion would invite a constitutional challenge. And that could threaten residency restrictions of all kinds, should a court decide that they advance no legitimate state interest.

Suffolk municipalities are already fighting in court over sex offenders. The towns of Riverhead and Southampton sued Suffolk County to root out homeless sex offenders temporarily housed in a trailer on the grounds of the Suffolk County jail. Town residents don't like having them in their midst. And they say that because the trailers are near a park, they violate the law.

But the high cost of housing and residency restrictions - including a strict limit in Suffolk on the number who can be placed in motels, which is what Nassau does - have contributed to the homelessness. And in New York, officials have a constitutional obligation to provide shelter for the homeless. Suffolk's answer was to place them in trailers at two locations with a total capacity of 30 people. To ease the burden on residents of the area, Suffolk pays $300,000 a year to transport the offenders to the trailers at night and away in the morning.

It's not a perfect solution, but it should be a workable one. What safer place for offenders than on the grounds of the jail?

So, what's a worried public to do? There's no silver bullet, but some things work better than others. Like educating kids about the dangers. Longer prison sentences. Registration of sex offenders, as in New York, where 29,491 are listed - including 927 in Suffolk and 492 in Nassau. Rigorous risk assessment, to target the most dangerous offenders. Mental health treatment. Intensive supervision on parole and probation - in some cases for life - with individually tailored restrictions, maybe including GPS tracking. And for the most dangerous, civil confinement in a mental institution after prison.

To protect children from sexual abuse we need to identify what works and stop spinning our wheels with what doesn't.

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

MN - Minn. high school streakers could be charged as sex offenders

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By Emily Kaiser

It's official: High school kids are no longer allowed to have any fun. Seriously. High school streakers are sex offenders?! Give us a break.

One St. Francis teen who was caught streaking at a high school football game might be charged a sex offender. How does that add up, you ask? He could be charged with fifth degree criminal sexual conduct for exposing himself to a minor under the age of 16. He would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

St. Francis High School is so fed up with streakers that they are doubling police presence at the last home game of the year. There have been five students caught streaking at three games this year. In addition to being charged as sex offenders, they could be suspended, banned from school activities, or expelled.

FL - Playground pushes out sex offenders

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By Daniel Chang

Opening of Fort Lauderdale playground spurs ouster of convicted sexual offenders from a nearby treatment center

FORT LAUDERDALE - Drug addicts and alcoholics stopped coming to the Mission of St. Francis for residential treatment about five years ago, after the faith-based center admitted its first convicted sex offender.

One by one, the substance abuse clients moved out. Then the donors stopped giving, and the board of directors stopped meeting -- until only convicted sex offenders lived at St. Francis, a motel-like cluster of buildings behind a pink, Alamo facade and a mission bell in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

About 20 sex offenders -- all men -- helped keep St. Francis open by paying the $190 weekly fee required of each, though the center still fell into deep debt. In turn, St. Francis helped keep the men from their demons with constant supervision and therapy and spiritual guidance.

"It changed my whole view of life that somebody cared," says Dwight Rennie Dennis, 47, a registered sexual predator and St. Francis resident who has spent much of his adult life in and out of Florida prisons. "This place made me understand that I can be somebody, that I can do better."

That all changed in January, though, when a playground opened about two blocks away in Florence C. Hardy Park, triggering state and local residency restriction laws for sex offenders. In all of Miami-Dade and Broward, ordinances forbid convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools and places where children congregate.

The Department of Corrections, which supervises sex offenders on probation, ordered the men to leave St. Francis, says Chris Mancini, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who filed an injunction on behalf of eight residents who wanted to remain.

The injunction bought the men some time, Mancini says. But in August, when it looked like St. Francis would close for lack of clients and mounting debt, the men signed a court settlement agreeing to move out by Oct. 21.

"The Mission had no funds," says Mancini, who represented the men pro bono.

The nonprofit St. Francis, which gets no government assistance, subsists solely on private donations and client fees.

But St. Francis had waived the men's weekly fees while they saved up to rent a new home, adding to debts accumulated over the years, including a $250,000 mortgage and another $250,000 in notes secured with the property, according to Broward County records and the center's tax filings.

After nearly 40 years of rescuing outcasts and addicts, St. Francis' end appeared imminent.

"We had not been a good steward by letting our hearts guide us instead of our heads," says St. Francis director Jack LaBarga. "It cost us dearly."

Yet, once word spread that St. Francis would no longer house sex offenders, new clients emerged for substance abuse treatment, LaBarga says, and an anonymous donor pledged enough money to keep the center open for six months -- with conditional promises of more.

"The donor required that we center our program back on alcoholics and drug addicts," LaBarga says.

St. Francis' departure from treating only substance abusers occurred in 2005, when the Depatment of Corrections first approached the center about taking in a convicted sex offender, Mancini says.

The center admitted the man as a residential client, and soon afterward state probation officers referred more sex offenders to St. Francis, which interviewed and admitted the men on a case-by-case basis.

The last six convicted sex offenders now living at St. Francis say they have lived by the center's rules that they find jobs, pay rent, attend therapy and nightly chapel services, and observe curfews.

Sharing a home, and a common purpose of self-improvement, has created a bond among the residents, some of whom launched a car washing and detailing business together after failing to find jobs.

"We've been living as a family for the last three years," says Michael Gustavo Navarro, 29, a St. Francis resident.

Navarro, who is on probation through September 2021, was convicted of exposing himself to and having sex with a 13-year-old in 2003.

He owns up to his crime and says he accepts the punishment. However, Navarro believes he is entitled to live in Broward.

He says the Department of Corrections gave him a list of approved residency locations, with the closest one near Fort Myers.

"Nothing local," he says.

As the Oct. 21 deadline approaches, Navarro worries he and the other residents may end up like the colony of sex offenders living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami-Dade, where a multitude of local residency restrictions for sex offenders have left them with few other places to live.

It's not like homeless sex offenders are leaving town, Mancini says.

"They're there," he says. "They haven't gone anywhere. They're living under bridges. They're being driven off the registration roles. So this whole residency restriction thing has turned out to be counterproductive."

The irony of evicting the St. Francis residents, said Jill Levenson, a licensed clinical social worker and chairwoman of the Department of Human Services at Lynn University Bachelor's, master's & online degrees in Boca Raton, is that the center was probably the best environment for them.

"The programming was probably ideal for this kind of person," she says. "He's got a structured, safe, supervised environment to live in, with therapeutic programming that focuses on preventing future crimes, resisting temptations, changing your thinking, living in a law-abiding fashion, and being part of a therapeutic community where those pro-social behaviors are supported."

"That is exactly the kind of environment we know helps prevent recidivism."

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved