Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WI - Sexual predator costs soar

Original Article

07/20/2010

Wisconsin taxpayers pay a steep price — $51.2 million this year — to keep sexual predators off the streets.

But there is no public clamor to cut funds for the secure treatment facilities that hold those deemed sexually violent, even at a time when state finances are heavily strained.

"It's a price that people are willing to pay," state Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, said. "These are the worst of the worst and they have a high probability to re-offend."

The annual cost per offender at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston — which provides specialized treatment to convicted sex offenders who have been civilly committed under the predator law — is $142,334, said Beth Kaplan, communications specialist with the state Department of Health Services.

That figure dwarfs the $31,806 annual per inmate cost in the state's adult prison system. The disparity is due mainly to the wide variety of psychiatric-based treatment and programming methods in place at Sand Ridge.

Kaufert doesn't take issue with the ever-rising cost of treating sex offenders under Wisconsin's predator law. When Sand Ridge opened in June 2001, the annual cost per offender was $87,000.

"I think the Legislature and the general public don't really look at the cost of housing these individuals," he said. "The cost to keep those individuals away from society is something I've never heard anyone complain about."
- So why don't you impose a tax on all tax payers, make them pay some amount per month to help with the costs?  When it hits their pocket books, then you can bet they will be complaining!  Everyone is okay with stuff, as long as it's perceived they are not footing the bill, which they are.

Kaufert said legislators don't decry the cost of housing predators "because no one wants to appear that they are being lenient on sex offenders," especially when they are facing re-election.

The number of sex offenders who have been confined under the predator law is much higher than predicted, which has further added to the costs, Kaufert said.

In addition to the 280-plus offenders being held at Sand Ridge on a monthly basis, another 90 or so are regularly confined at the Wisconsin Resource Center near Oshkosh. The estimated cost to operate Sand Ridge this year is $40.6 million, and the cost to operate the Resource Center is estimated at $10.6, Kaplan said.

"It was estimated when it started that there would be a small percentage of sex offenders meeting the criteria (for civil commitment) and the overall cost wouldn't be that great," Kaufert said. "Now, we have seen the numbers climb. But you can't put the genie back in the bottle."
- Well, as long as you think you can't, then you can't, but you can always put the genie back in the bottle.

Measuring the effect

The high cost of keeping sex offenders confined beyond their prison-release dates poses a question in the mind of Gene Bartman, supervisor of the Appleton office of the State Public Defender.

"I would think (the state) would want to do a study on the cost-effectiveness, now that we have more than a decade of experience with this type of commitment," said Bartman, who has represented defendants in predator cases.

"There is inherent in the process the claim that people are able to predict the chances that someone will re-offend. So there ought to be the ability to determine whether or not the increased amount of money being spent per patient is an effective use of public funds."

Bartman understands the reasoning behind the creation of the sexual predator law.

"There is probably not a scarier issue than the notion that someone's child may be abused," he said. "And there's been a number of highly publicized, terrible incidents involving people with (criminal) records and what they've done to children. The reality is that those kinds of events have a lot to do with driving public policy. I'm not surprised that a very large investment is put forward for things that people are extremely afraid of."
- What about someone's child being killed by a drunk driver, drive by shooting, or some other criminal?  Why do they not have an online registry?

Still, Bartman believes that the system of confining sex offenders indefinitely should be examined.

"I'm not prepared to condemn the program, but I don't know the statistics. Nobody wants their child to be at risk, but I don't know if there's proof that this particular program and the millions spent on it is giving the kind of security that people want. That's why a study should be done."

Fear factor

Winnebago County District Attorney Christian Gossett was taken aback at the high cost of keeping sex offenders in mental health facilities.

But he said it is money well spent.

"We're talking about the most vulnerable segment or our population — children," Gossett said. "Generally, the public is willing to do what it takes to protect children."
- Not so, if that was the case, we'd have gang members, murderers, DUI offenders, drug dealers, and all other felons on an online registry.  It's easy to single out sex offenders, but why not all the others?  If you really wanted to protect children, and society, then we'd have everyone on a registry, and everyone must submit DNA upon birth.

Gossett said those who are confined under the predator law pose a risk to communities if they are released.
- Also not true.  Some, if not most are, but some are not a threat, but were confined by biased people who fear anybody labeled a sex offender.

"The big problem with the type of people who get the commitment is they are people who can't be treated. There's not really a cure for it. (Releasing them) is what people fear the most."
- Again, not true.  Anybody can change, if they want to, and if you give them a chance.  But, when you think like this person does, then nothing will be resolved!

Kyle Christianson, policy-research analyst with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a private government research organization, said the public appears to be highly supportive of spending tax dollars to keep sex offenders in custody.

"Most of the criticism is with (incarcerating) the non-violent offenders," Christianson said. "(Citizens) are more willing to let go of (them)."


AUSTRALIA - Jailed, but innocent, of sex attacks

Video Link


WA - Innocent man may be labeled a sex offender for 'rest of his life' (It could happen to you)

Original Article

07/21/2010

By ERIC WILKINSON

PORT ORCHARD - It has been a nightmare for [name withheld] for 15 years. It started with his wallet being stolen from his truck, and his identity stolen. Usually the trouble that follows has to do with bank or credit fraud, but [name withheld] says his identity was stolen by a sex offender who was arrested and used [name withheld]'s name as an alias.

"It's been absolutely miserable," said [name withheld].

About five years ago the Port Orchard man was stopped for making an illegal left turn.

"The officer told me to get out of the car and I was under arrest," said [name withheld]. "I asked why and he said I was a wanted sex offender. I couldn't believe it."

Since then, [name withheld] has been fighting desperately to get his identity back. He has a difficult timing getting any kind of job that involves a background check, and was recently rejected as a foster parent -- all because of a case of stolen identity.

"I've been to police and prosecutors and they all tell me there's nothing that can be done," said [name withheld].

He may be right. A spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, which handles the State Sex Offenders Database, says when someone is arrested and uses an alias, that alias is kept on file forever. The concern is that if authorities delete the alias, the criminal could go back to using it again.

[name withheld] doesn't know where to turn. For now, he just hopes he gets the job he recently applied for, as a maintenence worker at an assisted living facility.

"But they require a background check," he said. "Who knows if they'll believe me?"

Video Link


Is Your Boss on the New Sexual Harassment Registry?

Original Article

07/21/2010

By Addy Dugdale

Boasting one of the better rhyming strap lines I've heard in a while, eBossWatch is a registry for bosses prone to sexual harassment. "Nobody should have to work with a jerk," claims the National Sexual Harassment Agency, and if the testimonies are to be believed, it's the best thing since Dolly did disco.

Not content with merely being a searchable database (Noah and Tyler, my two bosses at Fast Company, have both checked out okay) it's also got a Worst Boss section where the truly execrable top dogs are outed. Interestingly enough, of the 25 dawgs, five of them are women, with 15.9% of all complaints in 2008 being filed by men--this one especially sounds nice.

The site, which was inspired by the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry, was launched yesterday. It sends, apparently, "a strong message to those intending to sexually harass their employees or co-workers that they will be publicly held accountable and will suffer serious consequences for their abusive actions," according to Asher Adelman, eBossWatch's founder. So, no public lopping off of genitalia. Yet.


IL - Former deputy (Robert Freeman) in court on sexual assault, misconduct charges

Original Article

07/21/2010

By GEORGE PAWLACZYK and BETH HUNDSDORFER

BELLEVILLE -- A sexual assault case where an armed Pike County sheriff's deputy is accused of using his position to force a woman inmate to perform a sex act on him, got under way Wednesday in St. Clair County after more than three years.

Robert Freeman, 68, who was alone with inmate [name withheld] in a transport van that pulled over on Interstate 64 in St. Clair County to let [name withheld] smoke a cigarette, is accused of coercing her to perform oral sex on him. Freeman no longer is a deputy.

He is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and custodial sexual misconduct and is free on $5,000 bond.

The case was in limbo because, after languishing in Jefferson County where [name withheld] was charged, it was moved by court order to St. Clair County, where the alleged crime occurred. A mixup with paperwork caused further delay. The case did not get on track until shortly after the News-Democrat published an article about it on June 20.

During a hearing Wednesday, Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Porter asked for and received time for the prosecutor's office to obtain paperwork in the case, and locate [name withheld].

"We anticipate there will be a prosecution in the case," Porter said in court.

After the case was transferred from Jefferson County to St. Clair County, former Jefferson County State's Attorney Jeff Bradley was appointed a special prosecutor in the case.

But Bradley said he never actually pursued the case because he thought it had somehow been adjudicated without his knowledge. After the news article he promised to fully prosecute.

However, he withdrew from the case Wednesday because a few days earlier a court ruled that he had actually lost a close election and was no longer in office.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Bob Haida said that he spoke with new State's Attorney Nicole Vallani on Tuesday and she told him that she would not pursue the case. Haida said he will review the investigation and decide whether his office will prosecute.

Freeman appeared with his lawyer, John Leonard of Mt. Sterling, who agreed with Porter to postpone the case until Aug. 19 before Circuit Judge Jan Fiss.

After the hearing, Leonard said, "My client is not commenting and neither am I."

[name withheld], now 34, told a reporter she agreed to perform the sex act because she was afraid of Freeman and did not know what he would do if she refused.

Freeman's wife, Sharon Freeman, has said her husband did nothing wrong and that the charge was a set up.

According to a court file, evidence in the case will include a videotape made by an Illinois State Police investigator who had a court order to obtain "overhear" evidence.

The documents state that when Freeman was about to transport [name withheld] again from Pike County back to Jefferson County, he was heard to say, "Is it OK if we pull off the road again and do what we did before?"


NE - Former Police Officer (Larry Williams) Found Guilty of having sex with a minor

Original Article

07/21/2010

It's guilty on all counts in the case of a former Ravenna Police Officer.

The jury began their deliberations shortly after Noon today in the case of Larry Williams.

He faced five charges of First Degree Sexual Assault and having sex with a minor.

After just over five hours of debate, the jury returned with a verdict of guilty on all counts.

Williams was visibly distraught when the verdict was read, even crying.

His bond was revoked, and he was taken to the Buffalo County Jail.

Much of the trial focused on a planner the victim kept, alleging 68 different encounters with Williams. Five of those encounters were sexual in nature.

The defense brought in a forensic examiner who said that the entries weren't all made at the same time.

The prosecution based their case on what they said started as a somewhat professional
relationship, but turned into a man of power taking advantage of a vulnerable girl.

They also said he told the girl when she was 17 that he wanted to end their relationship, because he was looking to get back with his first wife.

The defense said Williams was only trying to help the girl with her struggles in life.

Sentencing is set for September 3rd at 10:30 AM.


ME - Woman Charged with Making False Rape Report

Original Article

07/21/2010

On Tuesday, Portland police charged 22-year-old Maryanne Morin of Portland with filing a false report for lying about being attacked and raped in Portland on Monday night.

Earlier in the day, police held a news conference about the rape Morin reported on Monday, in which she allegedly told them she was jogging on Back Cove around 9:30 p.m. when a group of black men started making verbal advances toward her, then attacked her, held her down, and sexually assaulted her.

Police say that after a second interview with Morin, they learned she made the whole incident up, though it is still unclear why.

The Portland Police Department says it's frustrated and that it exhausted a lot of resources all day Tuesday following up on the report.


OH - Reclassifying sex offenders sends courts into chaos

Original Article

07/21/2010

By Lou Grieco 
and Mark Gokavi

DAYTON — The second reclassification of sex offenders in two years is forcing prosecutors and judges statewide to spend an inordinate amount of time and money trying to resolve the resulting fiasco.

It’s a mess,” said Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller. “To me it’s an example of nonlawyers trying to pass legislation just because it’s today’s hot topic.”

From 1997 until Jan. 1, 2008, sex offenders were classified under the state’s Megan’s Law. Judges determined what risk the offenders were and placed them in one of three categories.

The Adam Walsh Act, which replaced Megan’s Law, has three categories as well — but offenders are placed solely by convicted offense. The act also was to be retroactive, causing a re-classification of the nearly 26,000 offenders designated under Megan.

The result was thousands of court challenges statewide. The Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office filed challenges on behalf of nearly 250 offenders. In Cuyahoga County, there were nearly 2,000.

On June 3, the Ohio Supreme Court found that those re-classifications violated the separation-of-powers doctrine of the state constitution.

Now those who were reclassified, at state expense, must go back to their original classifications. Sheriff’s offices say it will take weeks or longer to reclassify, particularly in counties without online court records.

It was almost predictable,” Haller said. “We’re trying to clean up the mess.”