Monday, July 19, 2010

GA - Sex Offenders (Discussing HB-571)

Video Link | HB-571


GA - Court battles ensure change in Georgia sex offender laws

Original Article

07/19/2010

The US state of Georgia has decided to pull back on a portion of its restrictive sex offender rules.

The conservative rules had been challenged by civil liberties groups, who have convinced courts that the nation's toughest sex offender statute needs to be reviewed.

Georgia has had to significantly change its sex-offender stance due to the successful court challenges by opponents.

After losing a string of the court challenges, the Georgia legislature decided to make the changes to ensure the entire law was not rejected by a federal court.

Previously, all sex offenders were banned from living and working near schools, parks and places where children gather.

The new law lifts the restrictions on sex offenders who committed their crimes before June 4th, 2003, although about 5,000 registered sex offenders still face the tougher rules.


11 Year Old YouTube Star Receiving Death Threats, Under Police Protection

Original Article

07/19/2010

The Internet is no doubt an amazing place for kids. They can learn, express themselves, play games, email friends, and engage in other generally harmless behaviors. But as good as the web is, it also has a darker side. Kids are certainly looking up material that many a kid in our day would never be able to get their hands on (unless someone in their family worked at an X-rated store). They can meet people and get into trouble and wind up dead or in a very bad situation. We’ve all seen To Catch A Predator. But it’s not just the illicit stuff-it’s also cyber bullying.

Back in my day, all you really needed to be popular was the right clothes (Hyper color) and the right Trapper Keeper (New Kids On The Block). It was stressful to keep up appearances, but nothing compared to now, when children are pressured to look cool in IRL (in real life) and online. There was the shocking case of Lori Drew, who created a fake MySpace account of a young boy to become friends with a young girl, Megan Meier, who was bullying her daughter at school. Mom wrote such hateful messages that Megan committed suicide.

And that’s just one example. The latest case of cyber bullying is [name withheld], a young girl who has been targeted by Internet hacker board 4 chan, the group of pranksters responsible for trying to send Justin Beiber to North Korea.

Her parents have no idea what to do.

It all started when [name withheld], a frequent uploader of videos to YouTube, was rumored to be involved with a much-older lead singer of an emo-band called Blood on the Dance Floor. In response, she created an expletive-laced video in which she calls out “haters.”

WARNING: Video contains adult language, discretion is advised!

Video Link


People retaliated by posting her real name, phone number, address and social networking information online. They also began a campaign to harass her. This led [name withheld] to post a YouTube of herself crying with her father in the background yelling at those who were bothering her.

Back in the day, you could come home and tell your parents that the school bully took your lunch money and they would call their parents to discipline them. Some parents would show up at the school yard and intimidate said bully. This is the modern version of those actions:

Video Link


Sadly, this is not a version that works. How do you handle a faceless enemy? Her father had to do something to protect his child and clearly did not know what. Instead of doing what it was intended to, help his child, it made matters worse. The video became an instant viral because poor Dad, obviously unequipped (and who wouldn’t be) to know how to handle this sort of thing, used lines such as “You done goofed” and “Consequences will never be the same” which Internet users found “hilarious.”

4 chan users and other people online, some of whom are adults and some whom are also kids, began bothering [name withheld] and her family even more. They sent pizza to her house, prank called, and even sent her death threats. Her parents called the cops and she was brought to a safe house. She has been court ordered to stay off the Internet for at least three days.

[name withheld]’s mother told Gawker.com, ”I’ve had people calling, impersonating themselves as cops, as child protection services. Something we never wanted! We’ve had may, many death threats. We’re afraid to leave the house. We’re afraid to go to bed. We’re sleeping in shifts, my husband and I am. I want my life back. I want my daughter’s life back.”

At 11, this young girl is acting like an 11 year old, although in a very public manner. The Internet is not forgiving of childish mistakes and has no qualms stalking a little girl. It’s a frightening cautionary tale about what can happen to kids online. Cyber bullying is a new phenomenon and laws and regulations and how to deal with this sort of thing as a family are still being worked out.

The only thing a parent can really do is be cognizant of what their child is looking at and how they are behaving online. [name withheld]’s mom has said she never watched her daughter’s videos. “I don’t even go on the computer.”

Do you know what your kid is doing online?

Video Link


IL - Fine, but what about all the other predators out there?

Original Article (Listen)
See Also: Press Release

07/19/2010

Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday signed a raft of bills designed to further control, ostracize and otherwise punish sex offenders who target minors when the go into effect in January:

Under House Bill 4583, sponsored by Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) and Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), minors who are involved in “sexting” or distributing indecent photos of other minors electronically may be taken into custody by law enforcement officers....

House Bill 5321, sponsored by Rep. Senger and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields)... makes it a crime to sexually exploit a child using a computer or Internet-based software. The new law is aimed at catching sex offenders who utilize Internet chat rooms to engage in sex acts with someone whom they believe to be a child.....

Senate Bill 2462, sponsored by Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville) and Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago).. requires convicted sex offenders to provide local law enforcement agencies with a copy of the terms of their parole or mandatory supervised release upon registering. ...

HB 5043 - Provides that a person convicted of certain additional sex offenses against victims under 18 years of age is also defined as a sexual predator.

HB 5791 - Expands the Attorney General’s ability to notify crime victims regarding certain sexual offenses.

HB 6124 - Extends the window of civil complaints for childhood sexual abuse from 10 years to 20 years.

HB 6464 - Makes it a criminal offense for a parent or guardian to leave custody or control of a child with a child sex offender.

SB 1702 - Increases the fees associated with the Sex Offender Registration Fund and creates the Attorney General Sex Offender Awareness, Training and Education Fund.

SB 2589 - Increases penalties for public indecency and sexual exploitation of a child when the person committing the act is an adult and the offense occurs within 500 feet of a school.

SB 2824 - Prohibits a child sex offender or a sexual predator from being in or loitering near a public park.

SB 3176 - Shortens the amount of time a sex offender can be outside of their hometown before they must register with local law enforcement.

SB 3293 - Amends the Sex Offender Registration Act to require that any sex offender subject to the Act’s requirements must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of any change in their telephone number within 3 days of the change and the State Police must be notified of the change by the appropriate law enforcement agency within 3 days.

You can't go wrong politically getting tough on sexual predators who target children. Even when you make it even more difficult for one-time, non-violent offenders to put their lives back together (used to be they couldn't be in public parks when children were present; now, under SB 2824, above, they can't even jog through a vacant park at dawn).

My question: Where is this zeal, this relentless focus, this ultra-protective, ultra-punitive spirit when it comes other predators? The gang bangers and spouse beaters and repeat drunk drivers who live anonymously among us after paying their usually minor debt to society?

Where are the registries and restrictions for murderers and muggers and burglars who are no longer behind bars?

Why are we keeping relentless tabs on people like this guy and this guy while violent felons with mental problems, such as Bryant Brewer -- who has been charged with murder in the July 7 slaying of Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg -- move about freely?