Tuesday, October 5, 2010
CA - Sex offenders can be difficult for police and state parole agents to track, LAPD detective says
By Joel Rubin
Los Angeles police and state parole agents continue to face major challenges with keeping tabs on the thousands of sex offenders living in the city, an LAPD detective said Tuesday.
In a briefing to the L.A. Police Commission, Det. Diane Webb, who heads a unit responsible for tracking the whereabouts of sex offenders, said there are currently about 5,100 registered sex offenders living in the city. Of those, about 20%, or approximately 1,020 people, are on parole or probation for felony crimes and so are prohibited by state law from living near a school or park where children gather, Webb said.
These residency restrictions have made finding housing for offenders -– a major task for parole agents -– a serious problem, because there are relatively few places that meet the law's requirements, Webb said. As a result, she told the commission, the number of sex offenders who are homeless and transient has grown from about 30 in 2007, before the law went into effect, to about 260 today.
The strain of being homeless might lead to sex offenders to relapse, Webb suggested. "If you’re living under a bridge somewhere, you're not near your family support network, you’re not near the services you need. You're more unstable," she said in an interview.
Some of the city's sex-offender population has come to Los Angeles from surrounding cities that have passed additional sex-offender laws that make it next to impossible for offenders to find a place to live and push them to look elsewhere. Los Angeles does not have any additional laws on its books, making it a feasible destination.
Sex offenders who committed misdemeanor crimes are not subject to Megan’s Law, which implemented the residency restrictions in 2007, and they can live where they want. They still must register their home addresses with Webb’s team of officers.
Webb challenged a commonly held assumption that where an offender lives affects the chances the person will commit another sex crime. Research, Webb said, has shown there is no correlation between recidivism rates and where offenders live.
How is it these police officers do this, and get fired, yet in Florida, Ron Book and his stooges can tear down a tent city, under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which his lobbying helped create, and get a way with it?
By Josie Raymond
It takes a special form of intolerance to destroy a person's only possession, particularly when that possession is the tent in which he or she lives. But that's what three Colorado police officers did recently in the name of crime-fighting. Reporter Paul Shockley attempts to get the bottom of it all in a great piece in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
The three cops in Grand Junction, Colorado were searching for a thief in a "transient camp" in May. Somewhere along the line, for some reason, several tents were cut up with the officers' knives. Police Chief John Camper fired them in part for conducting an illegal, warrantless search. Now it's he said-he said, with the fired officers saying that was standard law enforcement procedure and the chief saying, and I paraphrase, "Um, what?" The three are seeking to be reinstated and the case is ongoing.
The police were searching for a man they wanted to question about the theft of some copper wiring. They were dispatched to "The Point," a bushy sliver of land between the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. The three men say they shouted and got no answer, so they entered the camp with guns drawn. Then they took turns covering each other while they looked in the tents. They also "disabled" two bikes by slashing the tires so the "suspect did not flee."
"This is a haven for violent crime and I'm taking every precaution to make sure I go home that night," officer Joseph Mulcahy, 28, told Shockley. (If a 15-tent encampment actually was a haven for violent crime, I think it would be dismantled a lot sooner, don't you?)
They say they sliced the tents rather than unzipping them because that was safer. "In addition to booby traps with feces and urine, there are barbs and fish hooks you have to worry about," officer Phillip Van Why, 35, said. The cops say they're weren't being malicious, which might be true. They were most certainly being goofy, though.
It sounds like the police were scared, which is of course a normal reaction when heading into the woods where strangers live. But it sounds like these paranoid men thought they were on a primetime cable TV cop show rather than dealing with neighboring homeless residents.
The Sheriff's Department says four tents were damaged. The officers admit to three. I say, when you're this deep in the hole, why quibble?
In their own defense, the officers say they've cleared homeless camps the same way in the past with the support of the department, something the chief denies. It appears that in the past, residents were given notice that the camp would be dismantled.
In the letter of termination for the officers, Chief Camper writes, "Frankly, I'm at a loss ... as to how the three of you could even try to justify entry into a tent using the zippered door, let alone cutting a window through the side or the top without the benefit of a search warrant, arrest warrant or the owner's consent, which would have allowed you to do it legally."
In other words: use common sense and respect the homes of others, even if they're made of nylon.
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!
I know many of you will say "this is impossible!" Let me remind you, Congress has the lowest approval rating of any entity in Government. Now is the time when Americans will join together to reform Congress - the entity that represents us.
We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House. These people will become American heroes
- Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below:
- Two Six-year Senate terms
- Six Two-year House terms
- One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
- No Tenure / No Pension.
- Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
- Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
- Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
- Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
- Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
- All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Could this just be the federal government going after this state, because of their immigration policies?
By Katie Raml
PHOENIX - An international child porn ring with ties to Arizona has been shut down.
For the first time, law enforcement officials are sharing the latest, inside details in a case involving 30,000 customers, 132 countries and more than 230 websites.
Law enforcement officials from around the globe are calling it the most important child pornography bust in the history of the Internet.
Matthew Allen is Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigation and Immigration Customs Enforcement in Arizona.
He oversees any leads identified in Arizona by the international child pornography bust, otherwise known as Project Flicker.
- This also involves many of those in high security offices in the US government, click the link to read more.
“If the average American were to see it they would be completely outraged at the kind of victimization that goes on,” Allen said. “[It] resulted in more than 5,000 leads in the United States involving individuals who have subscribed or downloaded child pornography from websites.”
- Yeah, I'm sure they would, and a lot of them run hold positions in the US government!
Allen said the focus of Project Flicker wasn’t just to identify who was at the center of the child pornography ring.
“The focus of Flicker was kind of backward, looking at the people who subscribed to the child pornography websites,” he said.
Among those identified as customers were 10,000 Americans. Individuals who subscribed were given access to images and videos of sexually exploited boys and girls, some possibly as young as three-years old.
“[Their ages] spanned from infancy all the way to adulthood,” Allen said.
Now, a Scripps Howard News Service investigation has uncovered new details involved in these cases, such as who was buying the sexually explicit material. Doctors, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, attorneys, church preachers and school teachers were just some of the customer’s professions identified as buying child pornography.
As the result of a lead from Project Flicker, one Valley school teacher has been accused of purchasing child pornography.
[name withheld], 30, was a fifth-grade teacher at Sun Canyon Elementary in west Phoenix until his arrest in May for allegedly possessing child pornography.
Parents in the west Phoenix neighborhood spoke with ABC15 in May when [name withheld] was arrested.
"I'm shocked this is my school down the street,” one parent told ABC15.
[name withheld] has not been convicted of any crime, and is currently awaiting trail.
While the focus of Project Flicker is to stop the spread of child pornography, Allen says protecting its victims is just as important.
“In the end, our true goal is to identify the victims and make sure they become whole again,” Allen said.
Could this just be the federal government going after this state, because of their immigration policies? You will notice again, in the video, they bring up the goldilock number 100,000 missing offenders.
By Lori Jane Gliha
PHOENIX - Arizona is one of five states where sex offenders flock, hoping to slip unnoticed across the border and out of the country, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
- So what proof do you have to back up this statement? Maybe they are absconding because of the draconian nature of the laws?
The U.S. Marshals Service has been the lead federal agency in tracking down sex offenders since the Adam Walsh Act was passed in 2006.
That sexual predator legislation requires out-of-state offenders to register within three business days.
In Arizona, the Marshals Service arrested 243 sex offender absconders between July 2006 and May 2010, 27 of them through the first half of this year.
"It could be they just abscond, they take off, and much like a fugitive that we would chase down in a fugitive investigation," said Derrick Driscoll, U.S. Marshals Service chief inspector. "We're prosecuting them and they're being convicted."
Nationwide, there have been nearly 12,000 arrests in that time period.
"Those are the ones, the ones who are deliberately trying to stay under the radar that are of greatest concern to law enforcement," said Kristen Anderson with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
She stresses the importance of finding these outstanding offenders.
"Obviously if they're missing, they're missing for a reason and it's probably not a good reason," Anderson said.
- That is not always the case. If it were, we'd have a lot more people being sexually abused. Many, I am willing to bet, abscond because of the draconian laws, and they'd rather take their chances, in order to survive.
By the end of the year, 100 full-time Marshals Service agents will investigate sex offenders, triple the usual number.
Also, Marshals are now making better use of the FBI's national crime records and other law enforcement tools to track absconders.
"As we're able to dedicate more resources to this problem, our arrest numbers obviously go up," Driscoll said.
Behind Closed Doors tells the story of Bettina, Sandy, Valerie and Tonier who have spent decades struggling to overcome childhood abuse. Retraumatized within psychiatric hospital walls, their lives continue to spiral downward into drug abuse, sexual victimization, and homelessness. Their future uncertain, they turn to a non-traditional, community program, hoping to heal.
Behind Closed Doors won the ‘Best Documentary Award’ at the All-American Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2007 Maryland Film Festival and the 2007 Baltimore Women’s Film Festival.