Monday, November 9, 2009

OH - Registry couldn't stop Ohio deaths

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No matter how many laws you pass, or registries you have, like I have said a thousand times, if someone wants to commit a crime, they will.

11/09/2009

COLUMBUS (AP) — One of Ohio's foremost champions of tougher sexual predator laws conceded a certain futility to such efforts as body after body was removed last week from the Cleveland home of Anthony Sowell.

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Austria (Contact), a former state Senator from the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, repeatedly championed state laws that he and other supporters believed would make the state safer.

Yet Sowell, a compliant registered sex offender after doing prison time for attempted rape, is accused of murdering several unsuspecting women and stowing their bodies in a house and yard that reeked of rotting flesh.

Remains of 11 people have been found and Sowell, 50, has been charged with five counts of aggravated murder. The FBI has expanded its investigation to unsolved murders in other states where Sowell lived.

Bills that Austria introduced and ushered through the state Legislature cracked down on Internet predators, created a tracking system for sex offenders within and outside the state's borders, and established the country's first substantially complete sex offender registration and notification systems under the federal Adam Walsh Act.

Austria acknowledged, though, that no law probably could have been written that would have avoided the "horrific and disturbing tragedy" that's unfolding in Cleveland.

"While these bills play an important role in allowing us to keep track of sex offenders and requiring them to register, those who are going to commit these terrible acts unfortunately will find ways around any safeguards we create in the law," he said.

States have turned their attention to laws aimed at curbing sexually predatory crimes since about 1994, said Donna Lyons of The National Conference of State Legislatures (Contact). Among legislative trends that have swept through the states have been stricter residency reporting requirements for convicted sex offenders and tougher surveillance strategies, including GPS monitoring.

"Certainly going back over a decade, there's been a lot of interest in the states," Lyons said.

According to a 2008 report by the Office of Sex Offender Management, a project of the U.S. Justice Department, "these laws have significant resource implications, yet to date very little research has been conducted to examine the extent to which these investments have yielded significant public safety returns."

When he announced in September that Ohio had achieved substantial implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (Contact) said registration information was clearly providing benefits to families.

"Effective tracking and monitoring of sex offenders equips parents with the information they need to keep their children safe," he said in a statement at the time. "Taking deliberate steps to provide a common foundation for all the registration systems throughout the United States allows our families to make the most effective use of the information those systems provide."

The Buckeye Sheriffs Association added that electronic sex offender registration was a tool that would provide families unprecedented peace of mind, because it allowed law enforcement agencies to communicate across communities and state borders.

Joyce Lukima, executive director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (Contact), said registries are most effective when followed up with aggressive monitoring of sex offenders after they're released.

In the Sowell case, police have said they were unable to access his home during their routine visits. Also, some of the women who were his alleged victims were seen fraternizing willingly with Sowell before their disappearances, either unfazed by his sex offender status or unaware of it.

But even women aware of the registries can be at risk. Megan O'Bryan, director of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (Contact), said sex offender registries as addressing only part of the problem.

"They are focused on convicted sex offenders, and this is a vastly underreported crime," she said. "It's not a comprehensive way of looking at the problem. It may increase the safety of a community, but it limits it to the small number of sex offenders who are actually convicted. It's a false sense of security."


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


UK - Claims of sex abuse by women grow

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11/09/2009

By Hannah Richardson

A huge rise in the number of children calling to report sexual abuse by women has been revealed by Childline.

Over the past five years, the charity says the number of such calls has risen five times faster than youngsters reporting abuse by a man.

Of 16,094 children who called Childline about sex abuse last year, 2,142 told of abuse by a woman, up 132% on 2004-5.

Men still account for the majority of child abuse claims, but the NSPCC said female sex abuse was under-reported.

This is because there is a reluctance or unwillingness on the part of professionals to acknowledge or identify sexual abuse by females, the charity suggested.

The research follows the recent high-profile case of nursery worker _____, who abused children in her care. She was a member of an internet paedophile ring which included another woman.

Mothers

Childline's report did not claim that sexual abuse by women was on the rise.

It instead suggested that, as more boys were tending to call its helpline, more cases were being reported.

The research said nearly two-thirds (1,311) of the claims it received about sex abuse by a female involved the child's mother.

Just over twice as many victims (2,972) said they had been abused by their father - which amounted to 45% of calls about sex abuse by males.

The number of children claiming to have been abused by men grew by 27% in the same four-year period.

The Childline research also showed that 42% more children were calling the helpline in 2008-09 than in 2004-5.

Sue Minto, head of Childline, said: "Most sex abuse calls to Childline come from girls saying they were assaulted by a male."

"But a growing number of callers now say they were sexually abused by a female. This may be partly because more boys are calling us than previously."

"Many would find it shocking that any woman - let alone a mother - can sexually assault a child. But they do."

'Internalising'

Dr Lisa Bunting, senior researcher at the NSPCC, who has studied the issue, said: "There is such an intense stigma in disclosing incidents of abuse by women."

"We get a lot of stigma with any type of sex abuse, but this is particularly the case in the participation of women."

She said this often led to victims "internalising" the abuse because they could not believe it had happened and did not think they would be believed.

She added: "If you don't think females are capable of committing sex offences, then you are never going to be looking for that."

The Childline report said the issue of female sex offending was not well reflected in policy, practice and guidance on child protection and offender management.

It added: "It is important that regardless of what is currently known about the numbers of female offenders, more is done to understand the nature of sexual offending by women [and to] raise awareness among the public so that they can report it."

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"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


PA - Former Police Officer Accused Of Sex With Teen Runaway

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11/09/2009

Complaint Says Robert Helphenstine Met Boy In Downtown Pittsburgh

NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP - A former Fallowfield Township police officer is accused of picking up a runaway teen near the Greyhound bus station in downtown Pittsburgh and having sex with the boy, according to court documents.

Channel 4 Action News' Sheldon Ingram reported that police said Robert Helphenstine, the former officer-in-charge of the department, met the 17-year-old Virginia boy on Liberty Avenue while his trip to California was on a layover.

The criminal complaint alleges that Helphenstine brought the teen to his house and had sex with him and let him stay there, but while Helphenstine was at work, the boy called his family.

Helphenstine is facing charges which include endangering the welfare of a child and official oppression. He was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller in North Strabane and released on Monday.

Helphenstine did not comment as he left the courtroom.

He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 20.

Township supervisor Donnie Henderson said he never wanted to give the officer-in-charge job to Helphenstine, who already had two DUIs in 1993 and was still employed by the state police as a dispatcher.

Henderson said he voted against Helphenstine, but the other township supervisors voted for him.

"This particular case today is one we could have avoided, and I made a proposal to avoid it, but the other two didn't see it that way. They made a critical error," Henderson said.

The supervisors who voted to hire Helphenstine declined to be interviewed by Channel 4 Action News.

Prior to Helphenstine's promotion in November 2008, the township's police department was without an officer-in-charge from the time former Capt. Allen Pettit resigned in 2006.

Pettit was accused of using a township credit card to buy gasoline for himself. He was also accused of stealing drugs from evidence in a case he prosecuted.

Fallowfield's police department has one full-time officer and four part-time officers.

"We have one very good full-time officer, and I hope in the future, I hope the people who just got elected make sure you hire qualified people," Henderson said.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Julia Tuttle Causeway resident cleared of probation charges

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So, we have another person who was falsely accused of something he was not doing, and spent almost 2 months in jail over accusations alone!

11/09/2009

By Robert Samuels

A sex offender living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway has been cleared of accusations that he went to a park when children were present, violating state and county restrictions.

_____, who is one of two plaintiffs named in the ACLU of Florida's lawsuit in connection with Miami-Dade's mandate that sex offenders keep at least 2,500 feet away from places where children congregate, was released from jail last week. He had been arrested Sept. 4 on misdemeanor charges of violating probation and trespassing.

_____ was falsely accused of trespassing in a housing project, then walking to the park. The charges were dropped by Nov. 6 after prosecutors learned _____ was never in the park, according to an ACLU news release.

"Fortunately, the state attorney's office acted responsibly in this case and released an innocent man from custody," said Bruce Alter, _____'s attorney.

The ACLU lawsuit, which is now in the Third District Court of Appeals, is attempting to nullify the county's 2,500 feet law. It alleges local law should not supersede the state law, which calls for sex offenders to stay 1,000 feet from parks, schools and other places were children gather.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved