Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UK - Disclosing sex offenders not brightest Orser idea

Original Article


By Joe Belanger

It's not necessary for Londoners to know where sex offenders live.

But it is necessary and a comfort to know police monitor the comings and goings of these offenders.

London Police Chief Brad Duncan was convincing in arguing if the name and address of sex offenders reached the public realm it would drive them "underground," and make them more difficult to track.

At best, Ward 4 Coun. Steve Orser's proposal to make the general locations of local sex offenders public is misguided, at worst a blatant grab at headlines in an election year.

Provided these people have paid the price for their offences and keep their noses clean, they should be allowed to live in peace and rebuild their lives.

What is it Orser wants? To make them keep paying? Not all these offenders are repeat offenders. Not all are depraved pedophiles or rapists. Yes, some sex offenders do things in life they regret and will never do again and some simply won't or can't change.

Duncan is right not to want to disclose information about these offenders, if only to prevent those in our community inclined to vigilantism from fulfilling their sick brand of justice. It's constant harassment, finger-pointing, threats, assaults or worse that will drive these people underground.

The only possible outcomes of Orser's proposal would have been entire neighbourhoods living in fear, pointing fingers, keeping their kids at home, not to mention the victimization of innocent people through nothing but rumour.

When police see 97% compliance, as Duncan noted, that tells any reasonable person the system is working and police are keeping close tabs on these offenders.

But Duncan's refusal to say how many of these offenders are in the city is somewhat perplexing, an unnecessary level of secrecy police are often inclined to embrace with little or no justification.

Regardless, one has to wonder if city council isn't getting a little tired of Orser's proposals, such as allowing chickens in backyards and banning the sale of pipes in convenience stores.

Orser would do well to talk to people in the community about issues such as drugs and poverty and refocus his efforts on pushing for solutions that are effective, practical and legal instead of wasting council's and staff's time on such trivial, headline-grabbing proposals.

Everybody needs their monster!

In today's sex crazed, media frenzied, sex offender hysteria, everyone needs their scapegoat or monster, and today, sex offenders are it!

NY - Man Cleared of Rape Wins $18.5 Million Jury Award

Original Article


By Lisa Flam

A jury has awarded $18.5 million to a New York City man who spent more than 20 years in jail for rape before he was cleared by DNA evidence.

The amount awarded Tuesday to [name withheld] is among the largest given to a wrongfully imprisoned person in New York City, The New York Times reported.

The jury ruled that the city violated the constitutional rights of [name withheld], 49, who was released from prison about four years ago.

[name withheld] was convicted in 1985 of rape, robbery and assault, based mostly on eyewitness testimony, the Times said. DNA testing on a rape kit found in 2005 showed that DNA from the victim did not match that of [name withheld].

"I'm just real numb right now," [name withheld] told the Times. "It hasn't really sunk in. It's so emotional. It's something I've been fighting for the last four years, since I came home. I'm just glad things worked out at the end of the day."

A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department said the city was "disappointed" and planned to appeal.

SWEDEN - 20 Women Arrested in Swedish Child Porn Raid

Original Article


STOCKHOLM -- Swedish police say they have arrested 23 people in a nationwide raid against a child pornography ring, including 20 women.

Police spokesman Sven-Ake Petters called the raid "unique" and said he has never come across so many female suspects in a child pornography investigation before. He says arrests were made at 12 different locations across Sweden on Wednesday and include women aged between 38 and 60.

Police uncovered the network during the investigation of a man in Dalarna, western Sweden, who was charged last month with breaking child pornography laws.

Petters says there were no immediate clues as to why so many women were involved but that police will now investigate computers and mobile phones that were seized during the raid.
- Hmm, maybe because they commit crimes just like men.  Do you have any clues in why the men did this?

NE - Cheerleader, 11, ousted for refusing to ‘shake booty’

Original Article

Article sent to us via this blog. This is just sick, IMO. It shows how people are over sexualizing women in general. If anyone should have been let go, it should be the coach. And good for this girl for standing up for her beliefs.


By John Springer

An 11-year-old girl who was thrown off a Nebraska elementary school’s junior cheerleading squad because she refused to “shake her booty” says that while the gyrations may be a crowd-pleaser, she doesn’t think young girls should be moving their bodies like that.

It just felt wrong. I don’t know why,” Faylene Frampton said Wednesday during an interview on TODAY with Tamron Hall. “It just didn’t feel it was a cheer that was appropriate for kids of my age or younger.”

The sixth-grader from Ashland, Neb., says she complained to cheerleading coach Tina Harris in the past that she did not feel comfortable with the cheer, which is number 33 in the squad’s 44-cheer routine.

The cheer calls upon Faylene and younger members of the squad — including some in the second grade — to turn their backs to the bleachers, bend over, and move their pelvises from side to side.

Taking a stand
The cheer had been used in the past, but Faylene says never liked doing it and told the coach so. So when Harris gave the signal for “shake your booty” on Oct. 10, the third-to-last game of the season, she decided it was time to put her foot down — both of them, actually — and take a stand.

Vote: Should 11-year-old have been thrown off cheerleading squad?

Faylene, the oldest and most senior of the junior cheerleaders, refused to do the cheer and was sent home. Later, her father was informed by the coach during a phone call that Faylene was being benched for the last two games for disrespecting the coach.

But for her mother, Sabrina Bobzien, Faylene’s act of defiance was a moment to be proud of. Her adolescent daughter did not feel comfortable doing something she felt was wrong, and took a firm stand despite the consequences, the mother said.

Video: Kathie Lee and Hoda address ‘booty’ cheer controversy

I’m proud she had a voice and she used it,” Bobzien said.

Coach Harris told the local NBC affiliate that she didn’t find the cheer sexually suggestive or objectionable, but nonetheless dropped it from the last two games.

She added that no one had complained about the cheer before, and that explaining the controversy, and her decision to bench Faylene for the remainder of the season, was difficult.

As for Faylene, she said she would make the same decision again.

I don't much regret it. I feel like what I did was right,” the 11-year-old told Hall.

Related: Girl, 6, thrown off squad over ‘booty’ cheer

The removal of a cheerleader for refusing to perform a cheer they didn’t feel comfortable about is not unprecedented. In September, 6-year-old Kennedy Tesch was removed from her cheerleading squad in Michigan because she didn’t like the wording of a cheer — which also included the term “booty.”

UK - Boy And Girl Killed Suspected Paedophile

Original Article


By Richard Williams

A teenage boy and girl have been found guilty of killing suspected paedophile [name withheld] in London.

The 15-year-old boy was convicted of murdering the 45-year-old victim. The girl, also 15, was found guilty of manslaughter.

Mr [name withheld] collapsed after being stabbed five times at his home in Brixton, south London, on April 23.

The prosecution told the Old Bailey the teenagers, then both aged 14, had gone "to teach him a lesson".

Earlier, on the day of the slaying, Mr [name withheld] had been informed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was dropping a sex allegation case against him.

The girl, her 15-year-old sister and a woman had previously complained to police that the heavy drinking crack-user had abused them.

Soon after receiving a call from police telling him lawyers considered there was a lack of evidence to press charges, Mr [name withheld] rang the older sister.

She texted him back: "Stop calling and texting me. I really don't want anything to do with you. You are a perverted man."

The court heard she rang her younger sister and the boy - the father of the baby she was expecting.

The 14-year-olds - who cannot be named for legal reasons - then went to Mr [name withheld]'s home, where a struggle broke out in the kitchen. He died after two knife wounds punctured his heart.

The pair denied the charges and claimed the victim had grabbed the girl round her throat and was trying to indecently assault her.

They said the boy started jabbing him with a knife to try to free the girl, as she struggled with 6ft 1in Mr [name withheld].

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said evidence suggested Mr [name withheld] was a "Jekyll and Hyde character", but warned "this is not a vigilante society" and people were not allowed to take the law into their own hands.

The victim's mother Inez Marks said in a statement to the court: "It feels like I have been stabbed in the heart. I don't think I will ever get over it."

The teenagers were remanded in custody for sentencing on November 17.

TX - Parolees question new monitoring program

Original Article

Yes, it's politics, and unconstitutional ex post facto punishment.  This man was convicted at 15 years old, is now 45 years old, and all of a sudden, Governor Perry thinks he's dangerous?  Come on, it's just nothing but grandstanding politics!


By Mike Ward

State officials say it enhances public safety, but convicts and their lawyers say previous freedoms are being taken away.

Under Gov. Rick Perry's rules, [name withheld] is a dangerous sex offender.

The 45-year-old convicted kidnapper was on the list when Perry last month ordered as many as 600 parolees to begin wearing satellite-based GPS monitors to track their every movement, around the clock.

No matter that [name withheld] has been free on parole for five years, without any monitoring bracelet, without any new crimes.

No matter that [name withheld] has not been convicted of a sex crime. He was convicted in the 1978 kidnapping of a young boy, which included sodomizing the boy, and he served eight years in prison.

No matter that [name withheld] is not required to register as a sex offender, the usual litmus test for danger.

"In my case, it's a waste of the taxpayers' money," said [name withheld]. "It's just politics. But it's not going to make anyone safer. If someone was dangerous, they would already have been on GPS monitoring."

Though Perry and state corrections officials say the mandate will make the public safer, questions linger about why parolees who were considered good enough safety risks to remove from monitors are now dangerous enough to need them — $1.7 million worth, paid for by a federal criminal-justice grant to improve public safety.

"If they've been determined to be a high-risk offender, then they are being reviewed for a GPS bracelet," said Bryan Collier, deputy director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a former state parole director. "Why are some who did not have monitors now being placed on GPS? This grant has enabled us to monitor some who we didn't have the resources to do before."
- And it's also going against the constitutions ex post facto clause, which is punishment after the fact.  What's next?  Going back and re-punishing those convicted over 50 years ago of some crime?

In his Sept. 27 announcement in Houston, Perry touted the new monitoring initiative as a way to "provide greater protections to our citizens by taking our efforts in dealing with sex offenders up yet another notch."
- So how many "notches" are you going to take it up? What's next? Burning at the stake?

Maybe so, said Huntsville attorney Bill Habern, who represents [name withheld].

"But why, now, all of a sudden, have some of these parolees who have been off monitoring for several years been determined to be a high risk?" Habern asked.

"It begs the question about how the risk is being determined."
- It begs more than that.  Like, what about their rights?  They've already been convicted and punished, now they are coming back, many years later, and punishing them again, or trying to.  And this is a waste of money.  Are they going to go back 100 years, review all criminal records, and re-punish everyone?

By last week, at least 153 parolees had been ordered onto GPS monitors.

Parole officials said more than 500 others, most of them with crimes against children in their backgrounds, were being reviewed for inclusion as well.

[name withheld] was in the first group.

Arrested when he was 15, [name withheld] was convicted of aggravated kidnapping — as an adult — and sentenced to eight years for the kidnapping in which the young boy was sodomized.

The incident occurred after [name withheld] escaped from juvenile authorities who had charged him with stealing a car, he said.

He was released from prison but was returned in 1986, on a forgery charge, after being caught with a stolen check to buy groceries.

After completing his sentences for the kidnapping and forgery in 1988, [name withheld] was back in prison in 1989 as a habitual criminal — with a 25-year sentence for stealing money from an ATM with a stolen debit card.

"I'd been in prison since I was 16. I didn't have a job, didn't know how to make it," [name withheld] said.

Paroled in 1991, he was locked up again in 1998 for parole violations that included allowing a youth who was 17 to work for him. Conditions of his parole included a prohibition from associating with anyone under 18, he said.

He was released on parole once again in 2005, prison records show.

He wore a monitoring bracelet for four months. He and Habern said his rating at the time was low risk.

Parole officials subsequently ordered him to be evaluated by a state-paid therapist.
- There is the problem!  It should be a non-state paid therapist.

"After that, they said I was high risk," [name withheld] said.

Parolees and their attorneys have complained for years that the state-contracted therapists find almost everyone a high risk, as a prelude to recommending continuing counseling with them for offenders.

Parole officials counter that the therapists are licensed and that the tests are legitimate.

Despite the high-risk rating, [name withheld] has been allowed to live ever since without a monitor, with monthly visits to his parole office and with visits from his parole officer four times a month, according to him and his attorney.

He is also allowed to use the Internet for his business buying and selling used and vintage cars in Eddy, just outside Waco.

Parolees who are considered high-risk sex offenders usually get none of those privileges.

Parole officials said they could not confirm any details about [name withheld]' case, because parole records in Texas are secret.
- Then how was he deemed a high risk?

Though [name withheld] was willing to share his views publicly, other parolees would not, fearing reprisals from authorities. But they tell similar stories.
- This is the same fear that led the Jews to their own slaughter!  Speak up folks, sue the pants off the states.

A 63-year-old Dallas-area parolee, who was sentenced to 15 years for indecency with a child, said he is mostly homebound, suffering from congestive heart disease and diabetes, among other ailments. His parole officer verified those details and that the parolee was dropped from the monitor program four years ago because he posed no threat to reoffend.

"I go out once or twice a week, is all. I'm not able to do more," the parolee said. "To have a monitor on me is a waste of money. This seems like political grandstanding."

Like other parolees who have been ordered to wear GPS bracelets, [name withheld] is not sure how it will affect him. He lives with his aunt and elderly mother, goes to work and attends church twice a week, he said.

When he was initially told about the GPS bracelet earlier this month, he refused to sign a form consenting to it. And he said he has yet to hear back from his parole officer.

Habern said he expects [name withheld] to be placed on a GPS monitor soon anyway.

PA - Court hears sex offender housing case

Original Article


By Paula Reed Ward

Plaintiffs say ordinance left them with nowhere to live

Local residency restrictions that force sex offenders to live in outlying communities -- away from jobs, transportation, family and treatment -- are contrary to the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration.

More than that, opponents argued before the state Supreme Court Tuesday, such patchwork community regulations run counter to the uniform system administered by the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Pennsylvania's Megan's Law, said attorney Donald Driscoll, is -- and should be -- the controlling legislation for sex offenders.

Mr. Driscoll represents six convicted offenders who filed a federal lawsuit against Allegheny County in 2008.

In 2007, Allegheny County Council passed a bill that bans convicted sex offenders registered under Megan's Law from living within 2,500 feet of a child care facility, recreational facility, community center, public park or school.

The plaintiffs sued a year later, alleging that the ordinance was so restrictive that it eliminated nearly all of the city of Pittsburgh and much of Allegheny County.

In March 2009, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster struck down the county ordinance, saying that it conflicted with state law. The county appealed the issue to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the state Supreme Court to hear the case.

During the county's 20 minutes of argument Tuesday, the justices repeatedly questioned Assistant County Solicitor Craig Maravich on the issue of uniformity across Pennsylvania in dealing with sex offenders.

"How can the county of Allegheny limit the parole board in its state required duties to give these people housing?" Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille asked Mr. Maravich.

"We are not pre-empting the board from doing its job," the county's attorney answered.

Parole officers still consider an offender's crime and develop a sufficient home plan, he said. Mr. Maravich noted, too, that the state parole board chose not to file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of either side of the debate.

But for Justice Max Baer, the idea of dozens of these types of regulations across Pennsylvania raises the specter of trouble.

"The state has said we want a uniform, statewide system of regulation, and this would encroach on that," Justice Baer said, noting that there are 130 municipalities in Allegheny County and 67 counties in Pennsylvania. "My concern, are we going to have this patchwork of indecipherable, variable standards?"

That is exactly what Mr. Driscoll believes will happen if the Supreme Court allows the ordinance to stand.

"If an individual is forced out of Allegheny County, it's not going to be long before Beaver County does the same thing," he said.

But Mr. Maravich told the court that even under the local ordinance, approximately 48 percent of the square footage of Allegheny County would remain available to sex offenders to live.

Some of the justices were suspicious.

"It covers almost all of the city of Pittsburgh," the chief justice said.

"That probably includes the Mon River, a bridge," added Justice J. Michael Eakin. "There's probably not much left."

According to Mr. Driscoll, the original lawsuit was filed, in part, after some sex offenders due for release by the state were kept in custody because where they planned to live was made off-limits by the ordinance.

That particular concern has faded, though, because after the litigation was filed, the county agreed not to enforce the new regulation.