Friday, December 3, 2010
Latest about this controversy
Of course I am poking fun at this. Click on the photos!
By KI MAE HEUSSNER
Cartoons From '80s, '90s Spread Across Social Networking Site
The Rugrats. Strawberry Shortcake. Jem and the Holograms. Mickey Mouse.
If cartoon characters are starting to replace your Facebook friends, take comfort. You're not alone.
The latest fad to go viral on the social networking site has users changing their profile pictures to images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters.
And judging from this morning's Google trends and Twitter traffic, Facebook users across the site are enjoying the animated walk down memory lane.
On Facebook, images of the Flintstones, Thundercats, the Smurfs and other classic cartoon characters are taking over users' news feeds.
According to the trend-tracking website Know Your Meme, the cartoon fad started with Facebook users in Greece and Cyprus in mid-November.
Cartoon Message Says Campaign Is to Stop Violence Against Children
The site said the original message was in Greek and translated to "From the 16th to the 20th of November, we shall change our profile pictures to our favourite cartoon characters. The purpose of this game is to remove all photos of human for a few days from Facebook."
On November 19, All Facebook noticed a slightly different cartoon message sweeping the site.
"NewGame: Change your profile picture to your favorite cartoon from when you were a kid. The goal of this game is not to see a human picture on Facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories until Monday. PLAY AND PASS ALONG!"
"Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, Dec 6th of 2010, there should be no human faces on facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is for a campaign against violence on children."
The origin of this latest message is murky, but, as with most Facebook memes, that isn't stopping Facebook users from joining the online movement.
Read the rest of the article here
Yes, this world has gone insane! If someone is truly wanting to harm a child, there is probably a million other ways they could do it as well. This is just pure fear-mongering BS, IMO!
By EMILY FRIEDMAN
'Video Girl' Barbie Has Built In Camera, Viewing Capabilities
The FBI is warning against the potential misuse of a Barbie doll with video recording capabilities, cautioning that the popular toy could make it easier for sex offenders to surreptitiously film child pornography.
In a memo from the FBI that was mistakenly released to the press and obtained by ABC News, the FBI warned that the Barbie known as "Video Girl," which is equipped with the ability to capture thirty minutes of footage through a concealed camera in the necklace worn by the doll, could be a "pornography production method."
FBI Special Agent Steve Dupre from the Sacremento Field Office, where the memo -- dubbed a "Cyber Crime Alert" -- originated, declined to comment.
Mattel, the manufacturer of the doll, said in a written statement that the FBI has not said that there have been any incidents of this doll "being used as anything other than intended."
"Mattel products are designed with children and their best interests in mind," said the statement. "Many of Mattel's employees are parents themselves and we understand the importance of child safety – it is our number one priority."
But law enforcement sources close to the investigation into the doll tell ABC News that Barbie dolls have been known to be a used by sexual predators looking for ways to attract their young victims.
The combination of the concealed camera and the popular toy concerned officials, according to the source, who said law enforcement agencies nationwide were immediately made aware of the product.
Dr. N.G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist, said that the FBI's warning could serve to be helpful in preventing harm to unsuspecting children.
"It's the potential for surreptitious filming and the luring potential of the doll that makes this particularly insidious," said Berrill.
Berrill said that the common misperception about child molestation is that a complete stranger shows up at a school or a playground and attracts children with a toy or candy. While that is possible, Berrill said, it is not what commonly happens.
"It's a relative rare event that a complete stranger comes along and has a Barbie that gets the kid to come over," said Berrill.
Berrill says he's more concerned about the use of these dolls by individuals who are familiar to a child. The vast majority of child molestation occurs by relatives or friends of the family, or authorities in the child's life, he said.
"If we pair the doll with someone familiar to the child, a babysitter or a friend, then you have something that is fairly dangerous at play," said Berrill.
"A doll that would permit someone who is engaging a child in inappropriate sexual conduct to be able to film it using the doll?" he asked. "That's a scary idea."
Sgt. John Urquhart from the King County Sheriff's Department in Washington told ABC News' affiliate KOMO-TV that this warning will change the way his officers do their jobs.
"When we're doing a search warrant looking for media that a child pornographer may have used we're gonna have to put Barbie on the list just like any other cameras (and) computers," said Urquhart.
By BETH SLOVIC
Jolene Jenkins was 16 when she first met Antjuanece Brown. The two ate pizza, watched a movie and messed around looking at YouTube videos. Jenkins, a student at Grant High School, was so moonstruck by Brown, she marked the occasion in her day planner by doodling dozens of loopy hearts on the date.
It was Oct. 10, 2009.
One year later, Brown, who is three years older than Jenkins, learned a Washington County grand jury had indicted her for the felony crimes of sex abuse, creating child pornography and luring a minor.
Those charges may suggest a heinous crime. But the evidence against Brown was far more mundane. The photos and text messages police found on Jenkins’ cell phone would make few teenagers blush.
The sentencing, on the other hand, would. Seventy months in prison and membership on the sex offender registry are the minimum punishments for peddling child pornography, a crime whose official name is “using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct.”
“Child pornography” may conjure images of lecherous men prowling playgrounds for underage victims. But the anti-pornography laws in Oregon—much like the rest of the country—have not changed since the advent of cell-phone cameras. As a result, Oregon’s anti-pornography statute ensnares not only perverts but teenagers who stupidly, or casually, “sext.”
“It’s not the fidgety old man on the street corner, at the schoolhouse gate or hunched over a computer who gets caught up in this sexting,” says David Fidanque, president of ACLU of Oregon. “It’s young people who aren’t thinking.”
Among teenagers who have cell phones, more than one in seven say they’ve sexted, according to the Pew Research Center. “Acting stupid isn’t always a criminal offense,” says Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk.
Indeed, few find themselves in court over sexting. Antjuanece Brown was not so lucky. “I’ve never been in trouble in my life,” Brown says. “I’m not a sex offender.”
By R. English
One after another the reports come in, another victim! How long will the public stand for it? Laws have been put in place to protect children and yet there are more and more victims.
From one part of the country to another it seems that these cases are not limited to one area. In the cities and in rural areas victims are beaten and a good number are murdered. This is occurring and law enforcement, legislators and the public are turning a blind eye.
Can we define the causes of these crimes? If we simply look at newspaper reports we can clearly see the cause; the cause is none other than the public sex offender registry.
The latest vigilante action to come across the internet is a case from Florida. A register Offender was walking his dog in his own front yard when he was attacked, beaten and his dog was killed. Those responsible had found his name and picture on the public hit list known as the Sex Offender Registry.
Was this an isolated case? Hardly. Here are a few interesting cases.
Michael Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead from stab wounds last month in his mobile home. A neighbor was arrested for the murder. The neighbor had "told every house" that he had found Dodele's name listed on the Sex Offender Registry.
Two released sex offenders who were on the Sex Offender Registry were murdered. A man is believed to have posed as an FBI officer, went to their apartment and shot them. Police said that the man spoke with three roommates and said he was as a member of the FBI and said he wanted to talk to them about their Level III sex offender status.
Dennis McCarthy was stabbed to death at his Holly Township home Sunday morning, just one week after release from prison. Police said, "We have strong suspicions that he was targeted"
Stephen A. Marshall shot and killed Joseph Gray. The victim had been dozing on a couch at his home in Milo, Maine. Five hours later, Marshall knocked on the door of William Elliot's vinyl-sided mobile home in Corinth, 24 miles away. When Elliot appeared, the 20-year-old assassin fired at point-blank range. The murders were vigilante strikes against registered sex offenders who were strangers to Marshall and to each other.
Registered Sex Offender Targeted - Investigators say two Scott County men took the law into their own hands. They admitted to setting a fire that killed an innocent woman. "It was vigilante justice," said Scott County Sheriff Anthony Lay. "This is a prime example of how an innocent person has been fatally injured," added Sheriff Lay.
These are but a minute sample of the vigilante murders that are being carried out with the full knowledge of police departments across the country. I say full knowledge because any time you make it easy for vigilantes to target a group that they hate, the outcome is obvious. In this case murder. However beyond the murders of RFSO's, there have been other vigilantly attacks such as these:
Vigilantes Use Online Sex Offender Map to Burn Down Wrong House - Critics of these tools often say that they can make those sex offenders targets of retribution crimes by would-be vigilantes, and that seems to be just what was attempted in a case of arson in Evansville, Indiana. There, a trailer full of equipment sitting in the driveway of a house was ignited by arsonists who also scribbled "GET OUT PERV" on the garage door. The vigilantes, however, seemed to have the wrong address.
Vigilantes: Coming soon to a community near you - In a scene reminiscent of the Salem witch trial days, a crowd of angry neighbors descended on a New Hampshire home, taunting the woman resident as a "molester" and "skinner" (prison lingo for a child molester) before tossing a burning scarecrow on her front porch.
A drunken father and son broke into the house of a paroled sex offender in New Jersey and began beating another man whom they mistakenly took as the sex offender. Yet again, the vigilantes had found their victim through a "Megan's Law" community notification law.
In Bakersfield, California, a knife-wielding vigilante tried to break down the door of a sex offender whose name, photograph and address had been distributed in the neighborhood by police. Police shot the vigilante dead.
Vigilantism against a wrongfully convicted sex offender - In June 1995 the state of California opened up a 900-number hotline in which callers can get information about registered sex offenders. Someone in the neighborhood found out that Ted was on the list. He and Jean have since been hounded and harassed. The neighbors have placed posters all over the neighborhood containing information about Ted. They have received three death threats.
Once again these are but a few of the enormous number of vigilante attacks that are taking place here in the land of the free. One would expect this in some place like Siberia, but here?
So why are the police and legislators still backing the registry? Well maybe it is working to protect children, that would explain it right?
Report finds Megan's Law fails to reduce sex crimes, deter repeat offenders in N.J. - Despite wide community support for these laws, there is little evidence to date, including this study, to support a claim that Megan's Law is effective in reducing either new first-time sex offenses or sexual re-offenses,
Megan's Law: does it protect children? - Most states have very little evidence on the actual impact of community notification on their jurisdiction. Most of the understood benefits of the laws are based on assumptions about the nature of sexual offending and the behavior of parents and community members. Such assumptions are rarely supported through research, but continue to legitimize the law for law enforcement workers and members of the public
Seems that the registry is not protecting children and the government knows it.
Considering the real danger to life and limb that the public registry poses, it is time for humane people to stand up and call for an end to the violence, murders and vigilantism. It is time to take the registry out of the public view and place it back in the hands of law enforcement. It is time to make America safe for ALL of its citizens.
By Lizz Marrs
Tennessee lawmakers have only a few months to decide whether they'll follow a mandate set by the federal government and adopt a juvenile sex offender registry.
Federal guidelines known as the Adam Walsh Act of 2006 say every state must put juveniles on a state sex offender registry.
The act requires youth ages 14 and up who have committed sexual violence to be identified.
The information must also be forwarded to the federal government.
If a state doesn't comply, they will be fined.
The US Attorney General issued Tennessee a one year extension but that will expire in July.
“A good majority of these kids have been sexually abused themselves so we are often times dealing in a cycle of abuse,” explains Dr. Mike Adler.
Adler is chair of the Tennessee Sex Offender Treatment Board, and he says putting minors on a registry isn't the answer.
- Putting anybody on an online hit-list is not the answer!
“What we need, as a state, is good intervention and good supervision that helps the child rehabilitate and change their life,” says Adler. “That's what we need.”
Adler says at the age of 18, they will be subject to the same restrictions as adult offenders.
Meaning they can't live or work near a school, park or bus stop and they won't have a future.
“There would be some limitations on furthering education and certainly job opportunities would be very inhabited.”
But sponsor of the bill, Representative Debra Maggart thinks a juvenile registry will make the community safer.
“Tennessee would not be a haven for sex offenders,” says Maggart.
Maggart says it will protect the innocent if juveniles convicted of any type of rape are listed.
“These are violent horrible crimes. So the sex offender registry for juveniles would only be applied to juveniles 14 and up who committed one of those 3 violent crimes.”
- Not all who are on the sex offender registry have committed a "violent horrible" crime either!
The violent crimes include rape, rape of a child and aggravated rape.
- It also includes urinating in public, while drunk, consensual sex among teens (ie. Romeo & Juliet), and other non-violent crimes.
A juvenile sex offender registry was proposed last year, it passed both the House and Senate judiciary but it didn't pass the financial committee.
If it doesn't pass this year, the state will lose 10 percent of its Federal Burn Grant Money.
- And it will cost a lot more to implement everything as well. Your own state did a study which shows this is a waste of time and money, see here.
That could be up to 50 million dollars.
By Sara Walsh and Joseph Pinciaro
After missing Oct. 15 deadline, Department of Social Services has until Jan. 15 to set up shelter system across Long Island.
Suffolk County Legislators voted to move forward with a proposal to set a new deadline for implementing a housing program for homeless sex offenders, despite missing an October deadline.
The legislature's Health and Human Services Committee approved of setting a new Jan. 15, 2011 deadline for the county's Department of Social Services to enter a contract to create a shelter system house homeless sex offenders with a private company at Thursday's Hauppauge meeting.
The vote aimed to end a three-month stalemate between the legislature versus DDS (run by the executive branch) and the County Attorney's office. The bill proposed by Legis. Edward Romaine, R-Center Moriches, was to appease the DSS and County Attorney's office who said the legislature had to vote again to approve a "new program" that had been received from the private contractor Community Housing Innovations - the reason an Oct. 15 deadline had come and gone, without any changes.
CHI's new program calls for creating approximately six shelters, or group homes, to house homeless sex offenders. Legis. Schneiderman, I-Montuak, said it was no small task in rallying support for this bill that would scatter these homes across Suffolk County into other legislative districts. He suggested no more than six homeless sex offenders per a house, and one per either a township or legislative district.
"You will have people coming out of the woodwork trying to block this from town supervisors right on down," said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter
At Thursday's meeting, Waleter strongly advocated restarting a countywide voucher program suggested by County Executive Steve Levy, that gave homeless sex offenders $90 per day for housing, then was discontinued by the legislature in the spring.
"I'm not as happy as I would have been with the voucher system," Walter said in an interview Thursday evening. "When they start to site these sex offender homes, I don't care if they're put in industrial areas. Industrial areas are surrounded by residential areas."
The supervisor said he felt the voucher system would have fairly spread homeless sex offenders across the county without creating a group home that may cause problems, citing on Riverhead's West Main Street. Both Nassau and Westchester counties use similar systems.
"This will be a nightmare. When Legis. [Vivian] Villoria-Fisher tried to put a home for unwed mothers in her community - which was a CHI home as well - there was outrage. That was shut down," Walter said.
Legislators tabled a resolution that proposed re-enactment of the voucher system, stating issues with keeping track of sex offenders and other issues.
Furthermore, the new shelter system for housing homeless sex offenders contains no provision for the closure of the Riverside and Westhampton shelters. Two pieces of legislation that would have done so were tabled by the committee.
"We are in support of closing those trailers. We understand the burden on your communities, we have come up with a solution, the legislature has come up with a solution. The problem is that the plan has not been implemented," said Legis. Kate Browning, WF-Shirley.
By Sam Penrod and Randall Jeppesen
PROVO -- A former Provo police officer will be put on the sex offender registry and could face prison time after admitting to groping a woman after a traffic accident last July. Jeffery Westerman took a plea deal in court Thursday where he pleaded guilty to third-degree felony attempted forcible sexual abuse and obstruction of justice.
A 29-year-old woman from California was visiting Utah on vacation when she was involved in a small traffic accident on July 22. She later filed a complaint, saying Westerman wouldn't let her leave for an hour and threatened to take her to jail unless she lifted her shirt. He then groped her. Former officer Westerman denied the allegations, but video surveillance later backed up her claim as to what happened.
Provo police then fired Westerman, who has since been working on a plea deal with prosecutors.
Wednesday, Westerman told the judge he was guilty of groping the woman after he threatened to arrest her for DUI if she didn't give in to his demands.
Prosecutor Craig Johnson said, "You can imagine the fright and fear of being in that situation, your car being taken by an officer and you being asked to perform sexual acts. That's what happened here, he admitted to that today, even though at the time he lied about it."
The plea deal includes a lesser charge, but there is no agreement as to what sentence Westerman could receive.
Johnson calls what happened an extreme abuse of authority, saying they went after Westerman aggressively to get him off the streets. He also says the victim will now be able to start healing.
"Her mental health is going to be a lot better. It's been quite stressful, as you can imagine, going up against a former police officer in kind of a he-said-she-said thing," said Johnson.
Defense attorney Rebecca H. Skordas asked the judge to give Westerman time to have a mental and psychosexual evaluation before he's sentenced in February to give them a better idea of why he acted the way he did.
"To go from being a respected and recognized police officer to this, it's just tragic," said Skordas.
Skordas says Westerman had no previous criminal history and had an excellent record with the police department and had been recognized for his service to the community.
She believes a mental breakdown, was a factor in the assault, but his actions disgraced Provo Police and violated the public's trust.
Westerman remains free, but will face up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 3. He will also be on the state's sex offender registry for the next 10 years, and his career as a law enforcement officer is permanently over.
Prosecutors say the victim may travel to Utah to speak at Westerman's sentencing.
By Beatriz E. Valenzuela
A Hesperia man who works as a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been arrested and charged Thursday with a sex crime against a Tustin teen that allegedly occurred while he was on duty, Orange County District Attorney Office officials said.
Scott Allen Cole, 41, of Hesperia was charged with sexual penetration with a foreign object of a victim under the age of 18, according to Superior Court of California Orange County records. If convicted, Cole faces three years in prison.
“It’s serious case when you have a sworn peace officer in uniform going into a person’s home on a call and they then victimize the people they’re supposed to be protecting and serving,” Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman said.
Cole was released on his own recognizance against the DA’s office’s objections, Mestman said. Cole has been on paid administrative leave from the sheriff’s department since his initial arrest in June.
- If the man was not a officer, he would have had to pay a large bail bond to get out.
The crime allegedly took place on June 23 at the victim’s Tustin home, the Orange County Register reports.
Cole responded to the home to investigate a jewelry theft case and was speaking to the victim, her mother and sister in the living room of the home, according to Mestman. Cole then took the 17-year-old victim into her bedroom and allegedly asked her to remove some of her clothing, which she did. He returned to the living room to speak to the victim’s mother and sister. He then re-entered the victim’s room and allegedly molested her at that time.
As soon as Cole left the home, the victim told her mother what took place.
“Her mother then immediately reported it to the sheriff’s department,” Mestman stated.
Cole was arrested two days after the incident and subsequently released to allow the DA’s office to continue their investigation, authorities said.
A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday morning and Cole was taken into custody as he arrived at the sheriff’s department.
Cole has yet to enter a plea and his arraignment has been continued until today.
While investigators haven’t uncovered any evidence of additional victims, Mestman said anytime there is a potential someone may have been victimized by someone who is supposed to protect the public, they want to be heard.
Anyone who thinks they may been a victim is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at (714) 347-8794.