Monday, February 1, 2010

News Update: Aristotle International CEO Calls for the Sale of News Corp.'s MySpace

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KS - Legislators Push For Tougher Sex Offender Penalties

Original Article


By Abby Barnett

Over the past few years, several incidents have occurred inside the state correctional facilities state lawmakers found alarming. As a result, legislators have looked into and questioned whether the state is doing enough to prevent misconduct among it's correctional employees.

"We need to make sure prisons are safe," said State Senator Jean Schodorf.
- Safe?  Since when has ANY prison been safe?  There is killings, fights, drugs, gangs, corruption and much more since the dawn of the prison system.

Schodorf has played a central role in the investigation. Monday morning she will present her findings, along with Senate Bill 434 to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Currently, the state penalty for authority figures within correctional institutions, committing sex crimes with inmates or parolees is less when compared to other states. This bill would heighten the penalty, even allowing the judge to sentence the offender to time served behind bars.
- That you know of!

"This would make the crime equal with trafficking... We need to increase the penalty level," said Schodorf.
- So will those who commit sex crimes be forced onto the sex offender registry, prison, and obey the draconian laws once they get out?  I doubt it!

Schodorf will meet with the Senate Judiciary committee Monday morning at 9:30.

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CA - California Supreme Court upholds state enforcement of sex offender ban

Original Article
Sex offenders may challenge 'Jessica's Law' residency rules


By John Simerman

Voter-approved limits on where sex offenders can live may be enforced on parolees who committed their sex crimes long before Jessica's Law passed, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.
- So apparently the constitution and it's guarantee on NOT to pass ex post facto laws, means nothing anymore. And when the Constitution means nothing, they can do anything.

But the court did not clarify what happens once they leave parole, or if the law applies to county probationers, frustrating law enforcement officials who had hoped the court would settle vexing questions over the most controversial provision of a 2006 ballot measure backed by 70 percent of voters.

The ruling means state parole agents can continue their strict enforcement of a ban on sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where kids "regularly gather."

"It matters not ... whether the registered sex offender is being released on his current parole for a sex or nonsex offense," Justice Marvin Baxter wrote in the majority opinion. To rule otherwise, he wrote, would grant parolees with earlier sex convictions "a free lifetime pass" from the ban.

Justices Carlos Moreno and Joyce Kennard dissented, arguing that the ban should apply only to those convicted of sex offenses after the law passed.

Critics say the 2,000-foot rule has forced thousands of parolee sex offenders into homelessness and raised the risk of reoffense. Since the law passed, the number of paroled sex offenders who register as transients has risen from less than 100 to more than 2,200. The ranks of homeless sex offenders increased dramatically over the past year, after state parole officials cut back on paying for motel rooms and apartment rents for many sex offenders.

"There definitely are challenges in certain areas to find locations in big cities, well-populated areas. I think we've handled those very well as a department," said Gordon Hinkle, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "We're pretty pleased with the ruling."

The plaintiffs in the case are four registered sex offenders who committed their sex offenses before the law passed — in some cases decades earlier — and were released from prison after serving time for other crimes. They claimed the ban amounted to retroactive punishment, which the court rejected, 5-2.

They also argued that the law is unconstitutionally vague and that the 2,000-foot rule infringes on various constitutional rights, including property and privacy rights, by severely limiting where they can live. The court left that question open, however, saying the plaintiffs would need to show evidence to lower courts that the law virtually shuts them out of housing.

The ruling sets up potentially hundreds or thousands of lower court challenges by individual sex offenders. Some law enforcement experts predicted lower courts may find the 2,000-foot rule unconstitutional in counties like San Francisco, where there is scant housing outside the zones, but legal elsewhere.

"This case is not over," said Jake Goldenflame, a convicted sex offender and advocate. "It is just beginning."
- I agree, more law suits will follow, continually fighting for rights and sucking money from the state tax payers, as long as the unconstitutional laws stand.  That is a fact!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Contact) praised the decision in a statement Monday.
- What about all the sexual issues in his past?  The smoking drugs, etc? Guess that doesn't matter, because he's a rich celebrity.

"The voters passed this important initiative to help protect our communities and our children from sexual predators and I am pleased the court ruled today to uphold the will of the people," he said. "My Administration will continue to do everything within our power to protect California's children and families from the threat of sexual predators including defending Jessica's law."

Ernest Galvan, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the ruling, and the constitutional questions it left open, warrant a change in the law.

"This is in no way a green light for rousting sex offense registrants out of their homes or starting a round of local enforcement of these residency restrictions," Galvan said. "There are still very grave constitutional doubts about this law. The best thing to do would be for the Legislature to fix it."

Proposition 83, backed by 70 percent of voters in 2006, stiffened penalties for some sex crimes, required lifetime GPS monitoring of newly released sex criminals and set the 2,000-foot "predator free zones." It is considered among the nation's stiffest anti-predator laws.

About 90,000 registered sex offenders live in California, including about 23,000 now in prison. About 10,000 are either on parole or probation.

"I don't think we can count on the courts to answer all of these things, when experts statewide are saying this is a broken process," said Robert Coombs of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (Contact), a victim advocacy group.

"You're now 3½ years into a law that everybody said, 'We'll look to the courts to figure this out.' And for 3½ years sex offenders are going homeless. It's time for the policymakers to roll up their sleeves."

FL - A Law for the Sex Offenders Under a Miami Bridge

Original Article


The Julia Tuttle Causeway is one of Miami's most beautiful bridge spans, connecting the city to Miami Beach through palm-tree-filled islands fringed with red mangroves. But beneath the tranquil expanse sits one of South Florida's most contentious social problems: a large colony of convicted sex offenders, thrown into homelessness in recent years by draconian residency restrictions that leave them scant available or affordable housing. They live in tents and shacks built from cast-off supplies, clinging to pylons and embankments, with no running water, electricity or bathrooms. Not even during a recent cold spell, when nighttime temperatures dropped into the 30s, could they move into temporary lodging.

Miami is hardly the only place in the U.S. where registered sex offenders can't find shelter. In Georgia, a group living in tents in the woods near Atlanta was recently ordered out of even that refuge. But the Miami shantytown, with as many as 70 residents, is the largest of its kind, thanks to a frenzied wave of local laws passed in Florida after the grisly 2005 rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender. The state had already been the first to enact residency rules for convicted predators, barring them in 1995 from living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and other children's sites. Municipalities, with questionable authority, then adopted even tougher ordinances — there are 156 of them so far. Miami Beach, for example, bars offenders from living within 2,500 feet of all school-bus stops, effectively precluding them from living anywhere in the city. (See "The Unkindest Cut: A Czech Solution for Sex Offenders.")

County officials, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (Contact), hope the law will prod states and perhaps even the U.S. Congress to craft more-uniform laws to prevent the kind of residency-restriction arms race that Florida let local governments wage. "The safety of Floridians has suffered as local politicians have tried to one-up each other with policies that have resulted in colonies of homeless sex offenders left to roam our streets," says state senator Dave Aronberg (Email), a Democrat running for state attorney general. The excessive rules, he adds, "have the effect of driving offenders underground and off law enforcement's radar." Aronberg is co-sponsoring a new bill that would establish uniform statewide residency rules fixed at 1,750 feet — studies show that in many cities, over 50% of available housing is within 2,500 feet of schools — and include the sweeping no-loitering zones.

Theoretically, Florida's 1995 legislation should have pre-empted more-severe local ordinances. Yet most state politicians didn't want to be seen as coming to the rescue of sex offenders. Governor Charlie Crist (Contact), now a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who is facing a more conservative opponent for the GOP nomination, has largely ignored the municipal laws as well as the Julia Tuttle eyesore, even as it has become a cautionary symbol of how restrictions can backfire. (See pictures of crime in Middle America.)

Ironically, it was one of residency restrictions' fiercest proponents who helped push the softer Miami-Dade law through the county commission. Ron Book, a powerful Florida lobbyist, began his crusade for tougher residency laws after discovering that his daughter was molested by a nanny for years. Now, realizing that homelessness makes offenders potentially more dangerous, Book has shifted his campaign to the kind of child-safety, no-loitering zones that are built into the Miami-Dade measure. "Child-safety zones [should] have been a critical component of what we did [before]," says Book. "We just didn't think of them." Book, who chairs Miami-Dade's Homeless Trust (Contact), which works to combat homelessness in the county, helped write the new state bill. Even so, because he was so involved in promoting the original residency restrictions, the offenders under the bridge still call their colony Bookville.

Many of them, however, are skeptical about the new county ordinance. _____, 42, has lived under the bridge since 2007, and he doubts that the colony's population, which has numbered more than 70 since he arrived, will thin out anytime soon. "Honestly, I don't think it is going to make any difference," says _____, who sleeps in a van and works at his family's business by day. "And the loitering [rules] are just another way to punish us." _____ was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 16 as well as false imprisonment. Although he has been released from probation and has even received court permission to have contact with his victim (who has O.K.'d it as well), he says that under the no-loitering guidelines, "I don't know where I can go. Can I still take my grandchildren to the park?"

Research by agencies like the Minnesota Department of Corrections has found that a stable home is the strongest guarantor of sound post-incarceration behavior among sex offenders. What's more, Jill Levenson, an expert on sex offenders, says the no-loitering zones are more effective than unreasonable residency restrictions aimed at keeping predators away from kids. "They provide an increased public-safety benefit," says Levenson, a professor of human services at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. "One of the biggest flaws in the residency restrictions is that the offenders couldn't sleep near these places but could wander around them during the day. Loitering zones go a long way in managing risk and [preventing] predators from cultivating relationships with children."

Florida Department of Corrections spokesperson Greti Plessinger agrees, saying, "We are glad that [Miami-Dade County] has taken the lead on this." But Miami-Dade is just one of Florida's 67 counties. Eventually the state, and maybe even Washington, will have to assume that lead. Keeping sex offenders under the bridge may be good short-term politics, but it may well threaten the long-term safety of kids.

Registries, registries, registries, bring on the registries! Which one will you be on?

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MD - Maryland legislature targets sex offenders


Legislation against sex offenders is gaining momentum in the Maryland General Assembly, as lawmakers consider lengthening sex offenders' prison terms, monitoring them with GPS devices and sharing their registry information with other states.

Following the murder of 11-year-old Sarah Foster, who was abducted by a registered sex offender on the Eastern Shore and found dead on Christmas Day, Maryland lawmakers have been trying to figure out how to tighten up their laws.
- So, when a child is killed by a drunk driver, why do we not tighten up DUI laws?  Or when a child is killed by gang members, tighten up the gang laws?  It's because sex offenders get them votes, that is why!  Exploiting people for their own personal gain! Punish all sex offenders for the crimes of a few.

Sen. James DeGrange (Email), D-Anne Arundel County, says the loophole may be in the state's Sex Offender Registry database.
- Yeah, right.  Add more stuff to the registry, it's still not going to prevent this from occurring again.  Admit it, it's so you can look good to the sheeple who believe anything you insane idiots say!  Power corrupts, and that is exactly what is occurring in this country!  Pretty soon, all citizens will be on a database, just in case a crime is committed!  Remember, first they came for the Jews and we did not speak out, because we were not Jews, but when they come for you, who will speak for you?

Under a bill he is sponsoring, sex offenders would have to provide more information -- such as palm prints and professional license information -- to the registry. And offenders would have to update their status with the registry every three months -- instead of every six -- to bring Maryland in line with federal standards.
- Federal standards?  What standards might that be?  Show me where these "standards" mention you must do this to be in compliance?  It doesn't!

"Without making these changes, Maryland could lose $2 million in federal funding, so it's something that we have to do," DeGrange said. "It's something that's needed to know who these people are and to prevent a tragedy that was recently experienced on the Eastern Shore."
- So, how much, in the long run, is it going to cost you per year to instigate all this political BS?  Huh?  And tell me, how will this "PREVENT" anything?  It won't!  You must really believe the American people are stupid, hell, maybe they really are.  When you come for them, I'm sure they will raise hell then, but it will be too late!

DeGrange's bill was included in a list of 10 legislative priorities Democratic lawmakers announced for the 2010 session. His measure also would increase information sharing between Maryland and neighboring states, so offenders moving among states would be more easily identifiable.
- Why don't you just put it into one Big Brother database, then you'd not have to waste billions, if not more, of the tax payers hard earned money?  Or is that too much common sense for you folks?

Expanding the state's Sex Offender Registry is one of several priorities Gov. Martin O'Malley (Contact) outlined to the General Assembly.

"There should be absolutely no mercy shown to anyone who harms a child in our state, and our legislation serves to impose the strictest standards of supervision to ensure that Maryland's children are protected," O'Malley said, describing his agenda for toughening up on sex offenders.
- But here's the kicker, these laws affect ALL sex offenders, and not all have harmed children.  So when will you start taking DNA, palm prints, etc from everyone, children at birth, etc?  Come on, why not, if it's on file, then using your "insane thought process," it would prevent a crime, right?  The people wanted this, so put them on a registry as well, so we can prevent more crime!

O'Malley also said he supports lifetime supervision -- possibly using GPS devices -- for repeat offenders, criminal background checks for all employees at child care facilities, and reinstitution of the state's failed Sexual Offender Advisory Board, which hasn't convened in the four years since its creation. The board is expected to meet for the first time this week.

Other proposals before the General Assembly would increase minimum sentences for second-degree rape and sex offense against a child from five to 20 years, prohibit offenders from earning "good time" credits in prison, and require repeat offenders to be placed in state mental institutions following a prison term.



The 'Secret:' the key to understanding child sex abuse

Original Article

The "Secret' is the key ingredient of child sexual abuse.

The 'Secret' is the bond established by the abuser with the child victim. It ensures that nobody knows of the abuse other than the abuser and the abused. It is kept in place by embarrassment, fear, respect; even love.

Embarrassment that friends or family will find out what happened. An emotion sometimes secured with photographs.

Fear for the safety of the child and their family should they disclose anything - fear that the abuser will inform – parents – friends, about the behavior their child has been pulled into and subjected to.

Respect or love for the abuser – strange as this may seem – for the attention and concern that they have shown the child that the child craves and does not receive at home. Over time, absent a good relationship between child and parents, the abuser seduces the child, earning their trust and friendship.

For this reason the child will keep the secret intact out of a need for the attention received from the abuser and the fear of losing a friend should the abuser be caught.

Other reasons
Disruption of the family by revealing the abuse - when the child sees the disruption to their family that follows the revelation of abuse, they can see this as being their fault, that the disruption and upset is as a result of their disclosure or of their behavior. Recantation sometimes follows and the secret is intact again.

Life disruption. This belief that it is their fault can at times be reinforced by other family members who either don’t believe the child or live in denial. In the case of a single mother, panic may set in at the through of a destruction of a lifestyle if dad or her boyfriend is forced to leave. There is pressure on the child to recant or not tell at call – a conscious or unconscious pressure.

The child thinks the behavior is normal. They have been abused from such a young age that they don’t know any differently. They don’t wonder why sleepover at friends houses is discouraged where they might find that the abuse is not a normal part of life at all.

Their abuser tells them and the child believes that the behavior is love. “This is how daddy (Uncle) shows how much they love you.” They believe them because they don’t know any better.

Abusers seldom intentionally hurt their victims because they know that will lead them to tell someone about it or to see help. You can see how this reinforces the seductive nature of the relationship.

Its success depends entirely on the abuser knowing that parent won’t or don’t talk to their children. 'Our little secret' is what makes abuse thrive, knowing this is a key component of helping unlock the secret and freeing your child.

Seduced; groomed to secrecy
To understand the Secret you have to understand the process of child seduction – here’s an overview:

Pedophiles, abusers, are rarely strangers. They can family members (fathers, mothers, brothers, cousins, uncles), close family friends, step-fathers, pillars of the community, neighbors, clergy, doctors, boy-scout leaders, any social position that gives access to the child. Pedophiles who are truly strangers set out to change the relationship so that when they do abuse the child they are friends not only of the child but also of the family. Friendship makes for a lasting abusive ‘relationship.’

Pedophiles are about more than just sex, although sex is the ultimate goal of the abuse. Pedophiles spend time – sometimes lots of time - planning and searching for, grooming and gaining the trust of their victims and this denotes more than a sexual deviance. This behavior is about control.

Just as one adult courts another, he seduces children over a period of time by gradually lowering their sexual inhibitions. The child must fit the predator’s preferences and demonstrate the vulnerabilities that pedophiles know will make them susceptible to abuse. This pattern characterizes the offender who engages children in sexual activity by “seducing” them—grooming them with attention, affection, and gifts.

His victims arrive at the point where they are unwittingly willing to trade 'sex' for the attention, affection, and other benefits they receive from the offender. The child may be unaware of what is happening or that there is anything wrong with the ‘relationship.’ Seducing the parents is also part of the process, infused with charm, friendship and a demonstration of caring for their child(ren).

When victimizing young children, the sex is often made part of a game or horseplay and usually not completely understood as real sex by the child. Most of these offenders are simultaneously involved with multiple victims. This may include a group of children in the same class at school, scout troop, or neighborhood. The characteristic that seems to make this individual a master seducer of children is his ability to identify with them. He knows how to talk to children but, more importantly, he knows how to listen to them. He also knows how to charm the child's parents into thinking that he's the nicest guy around.

His adult status and authority are also an important part of the seduction process. All children are at risk from such seduction, but offenders frequently select as targets children who are from dysfunctional homes or victims of emotional or physical neglect.

The biggest problem for the child molester is not how to obtain child victims but how to get them to leave after they are too old.

Victim Characteristics
Children who become abuse victims have certain characteristics that make them 'ideal' victims from the offender’s point of view. Some of these characteristics are listed below.

Naturally Curious. Children have a natural curiosity about the world around them. As they grow older they become increasingly curious about sex and develop an active sex drive. For most children sex is a taboo subject about which they receive little accurate information especially from their parents. Most parents find it difficult to discuss sex with their children. A clever child molester, to lower children’s inhibitions and gradually seduce them into sexual activity, can easily exploit this natural curiosity and the lack of available information.

Easily Led by Adults. Many parents specifically instruct their children to respect and obey adults. Children are aware that their very survival depends on these powerful adults. In addition to fulfilling the physical and emotional needs of children, adults are bigger and stronger. Any adult child molester can simply exploit his or her size and adult status to influence and control a child’s behavior. Some child molesters exploit their status as individuals such as stepfathers, guardians, volunteers, youth leaders, and counselors to entice children into sexual activity. Child molesters who do not have this added adult authority sometimes impersonate individuals who do. For example they may falsely claim to be law-enforcement officers and clergy members.

Need for Attention and Affection. This is by far the most significant characteristic of children that makes them ideal victims especially for the seduction-acquaintance child molester. Even when they are getting attention and affection at home, children still crave and need it from others in their lives. It is important to realize that all children, even those from “normal” homes and “good” families, are at risk from such seduction techniques. Although all children are at some risk, it seems that the child from a dysfunctional home, who is the victim of emotional neglect or has strong feelings of alienation, is most vulnerable. Many victims get to the point where they are willing to trade sex for the attention and affection they get from some child molesters. It is sad but true that in many ways some child molesters treat their victims better than the victim’s own parents do. The seduction child molester exploits the child’s need for attention and affection to his advantage; however, the child molester is usually willing to supply all this attention and affection only as long as the child meets his age preferences. When the child gets too “old,” the attention and affection usually turn to neglect and rejection.

Need to Defy Parents. Many children, especially when they reach adolescence, go through a rebellious period. The child molester can exploit this to his advantage. Children who are victimized as a result of disobeying parental guidelines or rules will be reluctant to admit their error and may misrepresent the nature of their victimization. This is especially true of adolescent boys.

Single Parent Family. Large numbers of children are being raised in single-parent families. This is an ideal situation for the seduction-acquaintance child molester. Many working parents are desperate for affordable daycare and readily available babysitters. Many parents are not only not suspicious of adults who want to spend time with their children, but they welcome them. Parents should at least be suspicious of individuals who want to be together with their children for long periods of time.

Beware of anyone who wants to be with your children more than you do.

Children from dysfunctional families and families with poor communication are at significant risk for seduction. Older children are obviously at greater risk than younger children. Adolescent boys confused over their sexual orientation are at particularly high risk of such contacts.

Although a variety of individuals sexually abuse children, preferential-type sex offenders, and especially pedophiles, are the primary acquaintance sexual exploiters of children. A preferential-acquaintance child molester might molest 10, 50, hundreds, or even thousands of children in a lifetime, depending on the offender and how broadly or narrowly child molestation is defined. And whether are caught or not.

Although pedophiles vary greatly, their sexual behavior is repetitive and highly predictable. While his preferential sexual interest in children affects his victim selection, however, most of his behavior is determined by a stunning lack of conscience.

Men sexually attracted to young adolescent boys are the most persistent and prolific child molesters known to the criminal-justice system. Depending on how one defines molestation, they can easily have dozens if not hundreds of victims in a lifetime. They usually begin their activity when they are teenagers themselves and continue throughout their lives as long as they are physically able.

Abuser behavior rationalization
Many pedophiles spend their entire lives attempting to convince themselves and others that they are not evil sexual perverts, but good guys who love and nurture children. That is a major reason why they do such things as join organizations where they can help troubled children and volunteer to search for missing children. Preferential offender’s have a driving need to rationalize and justify his behavior.

Because so many of them have successfully hidden their activities for so long, when identified and prosecuted they try to convince themselves that they will somehow continue to escape responsibility. This is why they often vehemently proclaim their innocence right up to the time of their trial.

[Edited and complied with thanks: Child Molesters: a Behavioral Analysis Kenneth V. Lanning FBI]

MD - HELP!! It's the AWA!! Maryland Needs some legal minds, experienced activists

The Maryland House and Senate have at least 30 Bills dealing with sex offenders, which were introduced just in the past week or two. Most of them will be heard for the first time on February 23. I didn't try to do a point-by-point on these, but I feel pretty sure that if they are all passed, Maryland will be fully compliant with the Adam Walsh Act.

Our protest group is very small (less than 10), very new at activism, and barely organized! We need some folks who have "been there - done that" to help us focus in on what we can realistically do by way of speaking out about these Bills during the session. I'm attaching a list of synopses of the Bills. You can access the full texts here, along with projected costs if available:

Join the SOSEN Forums, and help in any way you can!

Summary of Bills