Friday, July 29, 2011

MI - Former sheriff's deputy (Dale Larry Tompkins) in custody amid sex allegations

Original Article

07/27/2011

By Brandon Allendorfer

TUSCOLA COUNTY (WNEM) - A former Tuscola County Sheriff's Office deputy turned himself in Wednesday morning after a year-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

The incident was alleged to have occurred on July 5, 2010 during the transporting of a female prisoner from Genesee County.

Dale Larry Tompkins, 41, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon, Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark E. Reene said.

Tompkins is charged with three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of escape where an office voluntarily allowed escape and delayed arrest, one count of bribery, five weapons counts and one count of public officer willfully neglecting duty.

He entered a plea of not guilty during a video arraignment with a judge.

The investigation was conducted by the Michigan State Police. His bond has been set at $30,000 personal recognizance. A preliminary exam has been scheduled for Aug. 22.

If convicted on the criminal sexual conduct or escape charges, Tompkins could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Tompkins resigned Aug. 11 after more than 13 years of service and even earned an award for professional excellence a few years ago.

"It's especially disheartening to us when an officer, much less accused of misconduct but if one is charged with one, that's especially hard on the whole law enforcement family," said Sheriff Teschendorf of the Tuscola County Sheriff's Office.


Reshaping Sex Offender Policy for Prevention

Original Article

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) recently released "A Reasoned Approach: Reshaping sex offender policy to prevent child sexual abuse (PDF)," written by former Stop It Now! staff, Joan Tabachnick (ATSA Prevention Committee) and Alisa Klein (ATSA public policy consultant).

The policy paper makes three broad recommendations that Stop It Now! wholeheartedly supports:
  • Design and implement evidence based policy.
  • Develop successful community policies that expand the notion of what constitutes abuser accountability; encourage community responsibility and healing, and; provide safety, restitution, healing and avenues for input for victims;
  • Integrate what is known about perpetration into prevention, victim services, and public education.

The paper includes additional, detailed recommendations under each of these broad categories.

Stop It Now! welcomes this policy statement, in particular its emphasis on evidence based policy for both prevention and sex offender management. Much of the paper addresses policy related to treatment and management of people who have already sexually abused; an area led by groups like ATSA, the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) and others. As a prevention organization, Stop It Now! fully supports the recommendations around integrating what is known about perpetration into prevention and public education. Read more about Policy.

For nearly 20 years, Stop It Now! has emphasized the importance of learning about the behaviors and situations that increase risk of child sexual abuse. We have talked about the need for hope and help for families and friends who are faced with the possibility that someone they know and often love may be acting in a sexually inappropriate way towards a child. And we have talked about how language like “monsters” and “predators” can have the unintended consequence of making it harder for people to see and take action when someone is behaving inappropriately around a child.

One need only look to our sister organization, Stop It Now! UK & Ireland, for an example of how the core philosophy and program elements of the Stop It Now! approach can be developed and supported based on national partnerships between prevention, treatment and law enforcement professionals.

Stop It Now! has also championed the need for cross-disciplinary professional partners to work together, sharing research, expertise, and points of view. We initiated the research, done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that resulted in the publication of "Risk factors for the perpetration of child sexual abuse: A review and meta-analysis" by Daniel J. Whitaker et al. (2008). We support the recommendation of communicating this growing knowledge about perpetration to the public and will continue to incorporate it into our public education materials.


ME - Maine one of many states failing to comply with federal sex offender laws

Original Article

Another smart state not bowing to the bribery of the governmental SORNA laws. Good for them!

07/29/2011

By Eric Russell

AUGUSTA — State officials said Friday they are unsure how much money they stand to lose for failing to meet a deadline to comply with a federal law related to sex offender registries.

One thing is certain, though: It is almost certainly less than the amount of money it would cost Maine to come into full compliance.

As of Friday, Maine was one of at least 36 states that failed to meet requirements by the July 27 deadline of the Adam Walsh Act that passed five years ago.

The law, named after a Florida boy who was killed 30 years ago by a sex offender, calls on states to work toward changing their registries in a way that feeds into a national sex offender database.
- This is not true, Adam Walsh was NOT killed by a sex offender.  Nobody knows who actually killed Adam, but they assume Ottis Toole did.

The number of compliant states could shrink after the Department of Justice’s Office of Sex Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending and Tracking reviews additional state plans, but Maine will not be on the list.

For Maine to comply, it would be a radical departure from what we have now,” said Matthew Ruel with the State’s Bureau of Identification, which oversees Maine’s Sex Offender Registry. “I couldn’t say what the dollar impact would be because, frankly, we don’t know what substantial compliance would look like.”

According to the Department of Justice, states that fail to comply could lose 10 percent of their Byrne Justice Assistance Grant. Maine received more than $1.3 million in funding for 2011 under that program.

Rep. Gary Plummer, R-Windham, said he would be surprised if the the Department of Justice withholds state funds.

But I’m more concerned about doing what’s right for Maine,” said Plummer, the House chairman of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Other states have voiced concerns about the federal act’s requirements, including how it addresses retroactive punishment and that it seeks to include juveniles on the national registry.

Rep. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, a member of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said her problem with the Adam Walsh Act is that it treats all states the same.

There is no flexibility built into it,” she said. “I understand that a percentage of [federal] grant money could be withheld, but full compliance would be much more expensive for Maine.”

Ruel said his office would know more in a few weeks about what Maine’s next steps are but he has been in close contact with the SMART office.

Haskell, meanwhile, said she has been trying to set up a workshop of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to discuss her bill, LD 1514 (PDF), which was held during the recent Legislative session.
- What about upholding your oath of office to defend the Constitution and the Constitutional rights of everyone?  These laws are ex post facto punishment, period.

Haskell’s bill seeks to overhaul Maine’s Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act, first passed in 1990, by creating a three-tiered system for offenders.
- But SORNA creates three-tiers!  Have they not read them?  Or just don't agree with how they are placed into these tiers?

Plummer supports Haskell’s bill and said it distills what his committee has been working on for several years.

I had hoped to get it done this last session, but there were several new members on the committee and I remember how long it took me to get up to speed,” Plummer said, adding that he plans to schedule a workshop on LD 1514 sometime this fall.

Ruel said he’s not sure if Haskell’s bill addresses all the requirements spelled out in the Adam Walsh Act. Part of the problem, he said, is that different state’s courts have ruled in different ways on the constitutionality of sex offender registries.
- If the laws apply to people who have already been sentenced, then it's additional punishment, which is unconstitutional.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.


CA - Ex Post Facto and Access to Parks

This video discusses the park bans in California, but it also discusses ex post facto laws, which are a national issues, and are unconstitutional laws.


Controversial phone app offering background checks is back (BE FOREWARNED!)

Original Article

If you ever need to do a background check on anybody, be forewarned. Most companies go through INTELLIUS, and they do not tell you, but when you do this, they ask for your credit card info, and you can expect a monthly deduction on your credit card from them, for their "service!" I know, I've been the victim of this BS, and have had to spend months fighting this. I had to cancel a credit card and get a new one issued, so these idiots could not continue to charge my credit card, even after they said they would stop the charges, after a long run-around with them.  Just Google "BACKGROUND CHECK SCAMS!" So be forewarned!

See These From RipOffReport:

07/29/2011

By Leslie Kwoh

Imagine being able to run an instant background check on a blind date, job applicant or new neighbor — all with a few taps on your smart phone.

Sounds convenient, right? Not if you’re a victim of stalking or identity theft, share the same name as a registered sex offender, or just cherish a certain degree of privacy.

That’s the idea behind BeenVerified’s mobile app, which scours public records and the web for all kinds of information about people — from past convictions to what kind of music and books they like. The popular iPhone tool, launched in 2009 by two Marlboro High School graduates, was downloaded nearly 1 million times before Apple pulled it amid growing concerns about privacy invasion.

Now, two years later, the Manhattan-based startup has relaunched the app — this time for both iPhones and Android devices — with the aim of making background checks accessible to everyone, not just private investigators. The tool, which was initially marketed as a service for employers, provides users with a quick way to confirm identities in a new era of online social networking where people are "meeting" on Craigslist, Match.com and Facebook.

"All these anonymous interactions are leading people to say they need to trust but verify," said CEO Josh Levy, 31. "We’re seeing hundreds of thousands of searches each day, so clearly there’s a demand in the consumer market."
- Because people are using fear to get people to use their service, who then charge them monthly fees.  Again, look it up yourself, and if you've ever done a background check, you probably already know about this.

Here’s how the app works: For $2, it searches for a person’s phone number, address, names of relatives, criminal records and property records. For another $2, the app conducts an email search, which finds social media profiles, Amazon.com reading lists and Pandora radio playlists. For $20, BeenVerified’s website offers an even more comprehensive check, covering bankruptcies, sex offenses, judgments and liens.
- This is the upfront fee for getting the report, but after that, monthly fees will also follow, so you are signing up for more than a one time report.

A few caveats: Not everyone is searchable to the same degree. People who recently lived abroad, for instance, might not show up. The checks can’t access private profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media sites. When necessary, as with court records, the company pays for the data.

Levy, 31, and co-founder Ross Cohen, 30, insist the app is entirely legal because it draws only from public records.
- Many scams are legal, until enough people complain about it.  And I am not saying this is or isn't a scam, since I've not used the service, nor do I plan on using it.  I've been burned before.

But cyber security experts and privacy advocates say BeenVerified is just one of many "information brokers" that are pushing the blurry boundaries of privacy in a new digital age.

Social Intelligence, a startup that provides employers with background checks on a job candidate’s internet and social media activity, also attracted scrutiny when it launched last year. The Federal Trade Commission started an investigation but dropped it in June after determining the company was compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

While background check services offer the public some advantages, there is a high risk for abuse, such as stalking or identity theft, said Gary Kessler, a cyber security expert in Burlington, Va.
- Or pulling monthly fees from the persons banking account without letting them know (obviously) up front.

"We’re hiding under the banner of ‘this is my right to know,’ but it’s merely a way for someone to sell a service to people who are just nosy or curious," Kessler said. "We need to figure out whether the tradeoffs are worth it."

Even basic personal information can be used in dangerous ways, experts say. In a 2009 study by Carnegie Mellon University, researchers discovered that simply knowing a person’s place and date of birth was, in many cases, enough to determine their Social Security number.

"There are deep implications for privacy even if it’s not certain these tools violate the law," said Rainey Reitman, activism director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on how technology affects free speech and privacy.

For people with an "acute need" for privacy, such as stalking victims, judges, public defenders, and people who are entangled in divorces or child custody battles, background checking tools unfairly put them at risk, Reitman said. In some cases, when public records are wrong, these tools also spread those inaccuracies more quickly, she added.

"They’re just putting it in an app store and hoping a million people download it, without taking into account consumers’ risks and rights," she said.
- IMO, it's just another get rich scheme, for the developer of the app.  Fear motivates people, and if they charge $2 for the app, and another $20 for the report, that is millions of dollars in their pockets.

But BeenVerified’s Levy disagrees. What the app does, he said, is simply modernize information databases that already exist. For instance, the company is in the process of downloading criminal records from 3,100 counties, he said.

"In the old days, you used to send in all the info to the courthouse in the county you lived in," he said. "We’re providing a service that’s definitely needed, and people are looking for."
- They are looking for it, because sites continue to use fear to get people to use their service.  Just think about it, they get rich off your fear of people.  And at one time, to protect privacy, people had to go down to the court house to look up private information, and since people had to do that, they would not bother.  Now that scammers have placed this online (not saying all are scammers), it's easier for people to look it up, I agree with that, but they are not aware that they will probably be signing up for some "service" as well, and getting monthly deductions on their credit card, as well as the privacy issues mentioned.  Just be careful what you do, and read the fine print!


IN - Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry: Is it working?

Original Article

07/29/2011

By Pat Munsey

The Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry has been available to citizens for more than a decade. The Perspective is proud to provide a copy of the registry to its readers each year, sponsored by the City of Kokomo, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, AFSCME Council 632 and Local 2185 and White’s Meat Market. But is the registry working?
- Why would The Perspective provide a yearly copy of the registry to people?  It would be out-dated in a few days, weeks or months.  Just more fear-mongering to viewers, readers, etc.

That can be a difficult question to answer without identifying what its existence is supposed to accomplish. According to Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers, it isn’t a deterrent for would-be offenders, but it certainly provides valuable information to citizens and law enforcement agencies alike.

People do re-offend, even if they’re on the sex offender registry,” said Rogers. “Sex offenders -- especially those committing crimes against children -- are so dreaded that citizens want us to watch those folks.”

The sheriff acknowledged that recidivism rates are high among sex offenders (FALSE), which makes a registry a valuable tool. And long before the Internet exploded in popularity, the registry was around -- on good old paper -- to help investigators solve crimes.
- And once again, and ignorant sheriff who is just reporting the same lies as everyone else.  Recidivism (new sex crimes) for sex offenders, are the second lowest of any other criminal, except murderers, and if you stop believing everything these idiots say, and find out for yourselves, you will see that recidivism is LOW, not high.

Rogers had an opportunity to use the registry in its early form when he worked to find [name withheld], the man who abducted Anita Wooldridge in 1998.

Even [name withheld] was on a hard-copy registry; that’s how we located him,” said Rogers. “When the name ‘[name withheld]’ came up during the investigation, we cross-referenced the name in the big book and found [name withheld]. That led us to making him a suspect."

Recently, we had a fellow who attempted to abduct a woman on the north end of Kokomo, and they determined later that he had been on the sex offender registry and got away from where he was supposed to be. That information gets to be very valuable during an investigation. If you have someone who has committed a crime and you can match it to someone who has committed a similar crime who lives in the neighborhood, it gives you someone to look at as a suspect. As a law enforcement officer, I see the value in that.”
- Yes, but putting the registry online, making it a vigilante hit-list, is not right, and it should be taken offline and used by police only.  The public has proven they cannot handle the information without taking the law into their own hands.  See here and here for some examples.

For citizens, the registry is successful as an informational tool.
- So, why stop there?  Why not put all criminals on the online registry?  Like gang members, gun owners (not that they are criminals), DUI offenders, drug dealers/users, abusive parents, domestic abusers, etc?  If it's okay for one group, then it should be done to all criminals.

The community knows to be aware,” said Rogers. “You tell your kids to be careful, but when you realize there is a predator close by, it makes you more careful.”
- And, in many cases, it makes you live in fear, and take the law into your own hands.

The sheriff’s department takes the enforcement of sex offender restrictions very seriously, and since the beginning of the year, that effort has risen to a new level of effectiveness. Those who choose not to follow the rules are finding themselves back behind bars.

Some do resist,” said Rogers. “Sometimes, they register at a certain address, and later we find they haven’t maintained residence there for a long time. That’s when we start building a case against them. Then, they’re referred to the prosecutor, and warrants are issued."

I don’t want this to be seen as a negative, but we have a much higher rate of warrants issued under Prosecutor Mark McCann’s watch. He has taken this very seriously for us. We have an increase in successful warrant requests and an increase in arrests. You are going to get arrested and charged if you violate the rules.”

In reviewing this year’s registry, readers should notice that offenders are broken into categories, based on the severity of their offense. The sheriff’s department provided an explanation of these categories.
- I am not sure of this states tier levels, but if it goes along with the federal laws, then it's not based on severity of the crime, but the label itself.  If you did XXX you get XXX, etc.  Many who are not a threat, have been labeled level 3 offenders, simply due to the label of the crime.

The sex offender is a low-level offender who has committed a crime such as sexual misconduct, sexual battery or possession of child pornography. They have no living restrictions.
- Child porn is a low level crime?  I don't think this sheriff knows what he's talking about.

The offender against children is a higher-level offender who has committed a crime such as child molest, child seduction, child solicitation or any other sexual crime involving a child. These offenders must maintain a 1,000-foot living distance from any state-licensed daycare, public parks and schools.

The sexually violent predator is the highest-level offender. This is a person who has be convicted of A felony or B felony child molest, rape and more serious sexual offenses. Also, those offenders with two wholly separate convictions for sexual offenses of any type automatically fall into this category. In addition to the living restrictions, these offenders must report to the sheriff’s department every 90 days -- four times a year.


DC - Office of Justice Programs Weekly News Brief

Original Article

How much you want to bet, they will just extend the deadline, yet again?

07/29/2011

SORNA Deadline Ends, 24 Jurisdictions Substantially Implement Requirements -Wednesday, July 27, was the deadline for jurisdictions to substantially implement Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). This section of the Adam Walsh Act established a comprehensive national system for offender registration. The Department of Justice's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) is responsible for administering the SORNA requirements. The States of Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Pueblo of Isleta, Tohono O'odham Nation, Upper Skagit Indian Tribe; and the United States territory of Guam have substantially implemented SORNA. More information about SORNA and the SMART Office, including current information about jurisdictions that have substantially implemented SORNA, is at www.smart.gov. Tribal officials may visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/smart/pdfs/SORNA_tribal_guidelines.pdf for more details about implementing SORNA.

BJS Releases Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008 Report - The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008, a report covering about 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. This report presents the results of a census conducted every four years and includes the number of sheriffs' offices, local police departments, state police and highway patrol agencies, special jurisdiction police, and the number of sworn and civilian employees. http://www.bjs.gov

Nomination Period for Medal of Valor Closes Sunday, July 31st at 8p.m. (ET) - Public safety officers risk their lives to protect America's citizens and communities. To honor that sacrifice, Congress passed The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, creating the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The medal is awarded by the President to public safety officers cited by the Attorney General and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board. All applications are limited to acts of valor that occurred between June 1, 2010, and May 31, 2011. Nominations must be submitted through the online Medal of Valor Application System. The nomination period for the 2010 - 2011 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor will close at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 31. More information, including frequently asked questions, eligibility, and how to nominate someone is available at: https://www.medalofvalor.gov/.


UK - Harry Potter and Star Wars actor convicted of indecent exposure

Original Article

07/29/2011

[name withheld], who played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, given suspended sentence for performing sex act in front of teenager

An actor who appeared in the Harry Potter and Star Wars films has been given a suspended 20-week jail term for indecently exposing himself to a teenager on a train.

Former pantomime star [name withheld], who played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, was told by a judge that a suspended sentence would offer the best opportunity for rehabilitation.

[name withheld], of Cheadle, north Staffordshire, was convicted of indecent exposure last month after a 17-year-old girl told Leicester crown court how the actor performed a sex act under the cover of a juggler's hat.

[name withheld] was shown mercy by recorder Richard Bond despite having previous convictions for sexual offences, including an incident in which he climbed into the bed of a stage manager and his girlfriend.

The 40-year-old's previous convictions also included a series of "random" and explicit phone calls made to women from a hotel room as long ago as 1995.

Passing sentence, Bond said: "A relatively short sentence of imprisonment will not help you, and it certainly will not protect the public from your fantasies. I have had to ask myself this question: is this a case where not just you, but more importantly, the public would benefit from you receiving a short custodial sentence? The answer to that is no."

The judge imposed two specific requirements on [name withheld], which will require him to be supervised by the probation service and to undertake a community sex offender group work programme.

[name withheld], who must also pay £500 towards the cost of his prosecution, was arrested last October after "trapping" his victim in a window seat on a train travelling between London and Leicester.

Bond described [name withheld]'s latest offence as chilling, telling him: "It was obvious that she was extremely scared by what you did to her. She was so scared that she couldn't complain immediately for fear that you would touch her."

Offering mitigation, Read's defence barrister, Nigel Hamilton, said his client had been involved with pantomimes since the age of 16, earning a weekly wage of up to £800.

Hamilton told the court: "He will not be able to do that anymore – he has had cancellations left, right and centre."


SCCJR's 4th annual lecture: 'What are Psychopaths for?' delivered by Shadd Maruna (June 2010)

Shadd Maruna is Professor at Queen's University Belfast and Director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice. This SCCJR 4th annual lecture entitled 'What are Psychopaths for?' was delivered at Edinburgh University on the 1st June.

ABSTRACT:
Psychologists inside and outside the criminal justice system spends an inordinate amount of time assessing prisoners and probationers for psychopathy. In this talk, I will ask why. Does the diagnosis merit the attention it is given by practitioners? If not, then what accounts for our obsession with psychopathy? I make a case from a psychological point of view, but one that puts Us (psychology, society, the criminal justice system) on “the couch” rather than the psychopath. I argue that the diagnosis of psychopathy can be seen to serve our interests in numerous ways, even though its alleged instrumental function is badly oversold. We need psychopaths, even if they do not need us.