Monday, September 13, 2010

PA - Changes proposed to Megan's Law registry; Awaiting Senate consideration

Original Article

09/13/2010

By Michael Gorsegner

HARRISBURG - Changes could be coming to the Megan's Law registry in Pennsylvania. State legislators are looking to close a couple of loopholes in the law to make sure everyone is accounted for.

Both the House and Senate are coming back in to session over the next week. When the Senate comes back, they will have a chance to look at some legislation that would close two loopholes in the Megan's Law registry. They are loopholes that leave a segment of convicted offenders off the list.

Keeping everyone informed, that is the goal of the Megan's Law registry. The law requires convicted sex offenders to register their names in a state database. Now, legislators want to make sure the list is complete and accurate.

"You need to make these things very easy for access by moms, dads, and grandparents, so they know what is going on in their communities," said Representative Stan Saylor, (R) York County after a hearing on this issue on August 17.

Two improvements that could be on the horizon includes closing some loopholes that make the list incomplete. First, House Bill 1926, which has already passed the House and is awaiting Senate consideration, would require homeless sex offenders to register with state police. The proposal is for offenders to check in, in person on a weekly basis, until they find a permanent residence. They would also have to register the areas they frequent most. Right now, the law doesn't account for this group.

"Megan's Law is set up to track them. If they're homeless, you can't track them," said Shari Bellish of Carlisle CARES during a July interview about this subject.

The second loophole legislators are looking to close is the out-of-state requirement. As it stands now, convicted offenders from other states are not required to register on the Pennsylvania list. If the new legislation is passed, out-of-staters would need to check-in with Pennsylvania State Police once a year for ten years, if a convicted sex offender, or four times a year for life if they are deemed a violent sexual predator.

The legislation passed the House unanimously during the summer time. Now, the Senate will have to consider the changes. No timetable has been set for when that might happen. If the Senate passes the measure, it would go the Governor's desk for his signature.


TX - Former police officer (Julian Vasquez) takes plea on child indecency charges

Original Article

09/13/2010

By Mary Ann Cavazos

CORPUS CHRISTI — A former Corpus Christi police officer took a plea deal on Monday for jail time and probation for molesting a 15-year-old girl last year.

Julian Vasquez, 47, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact, a second-degree felony.

He had been set to face trial this week in 347th District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ court.

District Attorney Anna Jimenez said the deal was made at the request of the girl’s family and spares her from having to testify in a public trial.

As part of the deal, Vasquez was sentenced to 90 days in jail and six years deferred adjudication probation.

That type of probation allows Vasquez to avoid a conviction as long as he successfully completes probation.

But if his probation is ever revoked, he would face the full punishment range of two to 20 years in prison on each count.

He also was fined $1,500, must pay $3,000 in restitution to help pay for the girl’s counseling and has to register as a sex offender for life, Jimenez said.

This case also could be used to increase the punishment range if he reoffends, she added.

Vasquez had been a 10-year department veteran. He was on paid administrative leave until he resigned in February, days after the indictment.

Department spokeswoman Julie Garcia said Vasquez resigned after refusing to cooperate with an internal investigation and the criminal investigation.

Vasquez’s attorney, John Gilmore, confirmed his client will be a registered sex offender and wouldn’t comment further.


CA - California Pedobear Fear-Mongering Campaign

Original Article

Click the "PedoBear" link above for all related items. So far it's for California and Oklahoma. Talk about fear mongering!

09/13/2010

By Adrian Chen

Pedobear is a meme featuring a cute cartoon bear who pops up wherever people are being creepy about kids on the Internet. Cops in California don't understand this, and have issued a hilarious warning about Pedobear.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, who can't be bothered to look up Pedobear's extensive Wikipedia entry, issued a very serious warning about Pedobear last week, as seen in the news report above. According to KSBY-TV:

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department is warning parents about a disturbing new phenomenon made popular by pedophiles and sexual deviants.

The Pedo Bear began as an online Japanese cartoon character, and is known for his "lecherous nature" towards prepubescent children.

Recently, pedophiles have adopted the bear as a mascot.

Although there have been no reported sightings of the image on the Central Coast, individuals dressed in the bear costume and car decals have been seen in Southern California.

The news report includes one of these Southern California "sightings": A guy in a Pedobear costume next to a man holding a baby. The baby's father is just blithely standing next to a dangerous pedophile! Actually, no. That picture was taken at Comic Con. The person inside the costume—and anyone spotted with pedobear paraphernalia—is a nerd who spends too much time on the Internet.

As explained by Urlesque, Pedobear originated on the anarchic messageboard 4chan as an inside joke.

Pedobear is a shorthand for saying, "You're being creepy about a kid." If anyone on 4chan posts a picture of a questionably young looking girl in a sexy pose, someone will inevitably reply with a pic of Pedobear. Many times, Pedobear is added to a picture to point out real-world sexualization of presexual kids, but it's alternately shown as an acknowledgment of being inappropriately attracted to a child.

Pedobear went on to become one of the Internet's most popular memes—right up there with lolcats. (He even visited the Pope.)

As much as it would make cops' jobs easier (and, judging from this episode, it needs to be as easy as possible for these idiots to get anything done) pedophiles have not collectively decided to brand themselves with a logo so we can easily identify them. Jesus, cops can be dumb.

Update: Oh, wow. We just got off the phone with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department. The good news: They apparently do understand Pedobear is an Internet joke. The bad news: They sent us this colorful two-page Public Safety Information Bulletin: "A Seemingly Innocent Menace: An Introduction to PEDO BEAR". It's as good as it sounds.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge