Sunday, August 7, 2011

Help us INCLUDE sex offenders in The Second Chance Act of 2011

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TN - Former cop (Richard Chandler) used neighbors, churches, and businesses to access child porn

Richard Chandler
Original Article
Previous Article

This is why you should secure any wireless networks you may have.


By Nate Morabito

CHURCH HILL - Court documents reveal Richard Chandler's neighbors and the people he was paid to protect unknowingly helped the former Kingsport police officer access child pornography.

Chandler is one of 72 people indicted in the investigation involving an internet website known as Dreamboard. Investigators say the site encouraged sexual abuse of very young children, which included infants.

According to a federal search warrant, Chandler made 117 posts to the site and twice accessed the site while he was on-duty. Chandler used two email accounts, a file sharing program, and the Dreamboard website to trade porn, the warrant said.

Although Chandler had internet at his home, special agents said he relied on his neighbors and churches, businesses, and the people of Kingsport to get his fix.

It was also determined that Chandler's residence…is uniquely positioned such that numerous wireless networks from adjacent streets appear to be accessible,” the warrant said. “Special agents, located in the driveway next to Chandler's resident utilizing a laptop with wireless capability, were able to view all the wireless networks that appeared available for connectivity. One of the viewed wireless networks included the name "Chandler," but was a secured network. The other viewed wireless networks were unsecured, and therefore could be accessed by anyone from the location in which the agent attempted to view wireless networks with a computer or other device with wireless access.”

Court documents say Chandler accessed child porn by tapping into those unsecured wireless networks. The warrant names more than 30 locations that Chandler allegedly used to log-in to his accounts. One of those unsecure wireless networks belongs to [name withheld].

"I'd like to knock the living crap out of him," [name withheld] said after finding Chandler allegedly used his network. "To believe that man's in there going online on my account to get on there to do something like that with children and stuff, I hope he rots in jail. That's putting it nicely."

According to the warrant, Chandler tapped into Higher Ground Baptist Church's Wi-Fi as well. The Kingsport church's network is now secure.

"As soon as we found out we took care of it," Wayne Bledsoe, who is in charge of pastoral care, said.

Computer experts hope people learn from this case. Century Link Network Manager Rick Walker hopes it prompts people to make sure their wireless internet is secure.

"It's very easy for anybody with a laptop driving down the road to actually connect to your personal home networks if they're not secure," Walker said. "If they can get into your network, they can get into pictures and files and financial information all set up on your computer that you think is secure."

Century Link Business Account Manager Nathan Cole suggests people make sure their network is password-protected with a unique user name and password. He also says firewalls should be turned on.

"There are many different ways that they can attack your network or utilize your network to cause a bigger storm," Cole said. "Just be aware that there are very resourceful people out there who would seek to gain access to your network for their own reasons."

[name withheld] is now aware of that and intends to secure his internet.

"I don't want nobody on my stuff," Blevins said. "I want it private. I don't want to be associated with people that's not mentally correct like that. It's just mentally not right people."

NY - In sex crimes, the punishment is an offense

Original Article


By Will Doolittle, Twitter

If you associate banishment with "Romeo and Juliet" and believe it went out of fashion with the codpiece, then you aren't familiar with the sex offender residency laws passed by numerous communities in New York.

These laws typically forbid convicted sex offenders from working or living within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate.

So the Washington County law, adopted in 2007, bans sex offenders from living or working near parks and playgrounds, libraries, youth centers and schools.

These oppressive, unfair and ineffective laws need to be repealed and, as municipalities face lawsuits, many of them have been.

Getting convicted of a sex offense can lead to a lifetime of punishment, regardless of how long you stay in jail.

Sex offenders are branded with the shame of their actions through New York's public registry. Required to inform the state where they are living, sex offenders suffer the ignominy of having their names and crimes displayed on the state's website.

Some sex offenders are monsters. Some are not. It makes no sense for us to cut off the possibility of rehabilitation by forcing sex offenders out of the communities where they have a chance to turn their lives in a different direction.

Many practical arguments have been made against the residency laws, which have the effect of pushing sex offenders out of settled areas.

It's easier to keep track of sex offenders in villages like Hudson Falls, where the police and probation departments are nearby. It's easier for sex offenders to get jobs, and keep them, if they live in cities and villages, where they can walk to employment, or use public transportation.

The residency laws impose a burden on local police to keep track of the sex offenders in their jurisdictions and burden the criminal justice system with prosecuting those who fail to register their addresses when they move.

The registry requirements and the restrictions on residency expose sex offenders to potential violations that, because of their previous crimes, can land them back in prison. In this way, through paperwork, society creates career criminals and bears the cost of their incarceration.

Banishment, which is what the residency laws amount to, is impractical. And it's ineffective. Most sex abuse victims are known to the offender, not strangers targeted at playgrounds or parks.

And it's unfair. Once a criminal has served his sentence, he should be given a chance to rejoin society. Laws that force sex offenders out of their communities take that chance away.

The Pscyhology Behind The Crime

Posted with permission from the SOSEN forums.

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PA - Franklin County probation officer spends each day checking on sex offenders

Officer Ed Barrett
Original Article

See the two items highlighted in yellow below. It seems this officer doesn't know what he's talking about. Just repeating the same BS he has heard from others.



FRANKLIN COUNTY -- Probation Officer Ed Barrett's job is to keep tabs on some of the most reviled people in Franklin County, a group that includes child molesters, rapists and kiddie pornographers.

They are the county's convicted sex offenders who are free on parole or probation. Their rap sheets list crimes that evoke disgust by name alone: Incest. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Aggravated indecent assault. Rape.
- He doesn't mention that "Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse" and many other legal terms, also ensnare kids into the large nets of these laws, and ruin them as well. See here for many examples.

"These types of offenses always have a victim. It's headline news, it's front page stuff," Barrett said. "They are the ones the community despises the most."
- Well, not all sex offenders have harmed children either, so stop lumping all into one group. They are not all the same, and you should know that, but instead, you are keeping the mass hysteria and moral panic alive.

After about seven years in his line of work, Barrett has learned that the traditional stereotypes about sex offenders don't always hold up.

This week his caseload included 46 offenders. The youngest is 20, while the oldest is 84. Two are women. All of them are white, with the exception of three Hispanic men. They run the gamut when it comes to socioeconomic status, Barrett said.

"They're not all grungy, dirty-looking people," he said. "Some of them wear suits and go to work every day."

Special attention

Barrett, 38, has been with the Franklin County Adult Probation Department for the past 12 years. Two posters hang on one wall in his office, among various interdepartmental memos and other documents.

One features an image of two teenagers embracing and says, "There's a word for a 17-year-old who has sex with a 13-year-old. Rapist." The other informs the reader that, "The sound a child makes when sexually assaulted is often silence."

Some of Barrett's days are spent in the office, meeting with offenders and working on the paperwork generated as each of them make their way through the system. Others are spent on the road, traveling around the county and visiting his "clients."

"Ed really hustles," said Chief Dan Hoover of the Franklin County Adult Probation Department. "He works days, nights, weekends and holidays. We do unscheduled as well as scheduled visits."

Starting in 2004, Barrett was in charge of supervising all the sex offenders and mental health cases to come through the department. A little over a year ago, his job description changed to include only the sex offenders. Another officer took over the mental health clients, allowing more attention for each individual.

"As all the studies will show, sex offenders pose the highest risk to re-offend," Hoover said. "So we like to have a smaller caseload with a specialized officer to handle those cases."
- This is a lie. Sex offenders have a low recidivism rate (committing another sex crime), and the many studies out there, despite what he is just repeating from what he heard from others, show it's low.

Anyone on probation or parole has to meet a long list of criteria under supervision, but sex offenders face a higher level of scrutiny. Those under the most intense supervision must report to Barrett's office weekly and can expect at least two home visits a month.
- So, are you spending most of your time on the worst of the worse, or are you lumping them all into this scenario?

Making the rounds

Barrett and his partner, Officer Brooke Alleman, headed out Thursday in a Chevrolet Impala to check on several clients. Alleman's own caseload includes more than 120 regular adult probation cases, and Barrett comes along on her home visits as well. Partnering adds security during a potentially dangerous part of the job.

They also wear body armor and carry basically everything a police officer does, including a sidearm, a Taser, pepper spray and handcuffs. State law gives them the power to arrest anyone on supervision, search that person's home without a warrant and seize contraband.
- For those on probation and parole, yes, that is probably true, but those who are not on supervision, it's against the law to search without a warrant.

Barrett agreed to have Public Opinion along for the ride, under the condition that names and addresses of the people he visited would not be published.

Their first stop of the day was to see a middle-aged man who lives alone in a somewhat dilapidated house on a moderately traveled road. He was convicted of statutory sexual assault. The victim was his daughter.

Barrett had to knock several times, because the client was apparently upstairs playing video games when they arrived. He eventually came to the door with five cats at his feet, then led the officers through his house so they could search it.

In addition to illegal drugs, alcohol and weapons, they were looking for pornography of any kind and "anything that leads me to believe there have been little children in the house," Barrett said.
- So this is making it appear that all sex offenders cannot have or live around children, which is not the case.

Toys and similar items intended for children raise immediate concerns, he said. Not only can such things be used to "lure" children, but some sex offenders enjoy playing with toys themselves. While it may be comforting on some level, such behavior could lead down the road to another offense.

In the man's bedroom, where he apparently spends most of his time, a fan was blowing toward the bed and the television was displaying a paused X-Box 360 game, Fallout: New Vegas. Dozens of other games were stacked on a shelf behind the bed.

The officers found nothing during the search that resulted in a violation, but Barrett asked the man to get rid of a non-firing replica of an antique pistol. He said it would eliminate the possibility of an unfortunate misunderstanding during his future visits.

Strict limitations

The first client of the day was unemployed, but Barrett said most of his clients have regular jobs. Everyone on probation is required to be employed, home with a legitimate disability or actively looking for work. The hunt for a job is usually not an easy process.
- So, since I've been monitoring the laws since around 2006, most sex offenders get turned a way from jobs, and many are jobless and homeless. So, are you saying, if they cannot find a job, then they go back to prison, due to no fault of their own, but due to the draconian laws?

"These people have to try harder than the average person to find a job," he said. "The market right now is small enough as it is."

Barrett's clients are also required to attend regular group and one-on-one treatment programs with specialized therapists. Many, but not all of them, must register regularly with Pennsylvania State Police in accordance with Megan's Law. They have curfews, and some are forbidden from ever going places where children congregate.

"Playgrounds, schools, swimming pools, carnivals, libraries. Those are all out," Barrett said. "It's about protecting the community."
- So what about those who are not on probation and/or parole, and those who did not commit a crime against a child?

In some cases, the court determines that extra measures are necessary to enforce this restriction. Hoover said the department uses GPS tracking technology to follow the movements of those offenders. Officers are always on-call to respond immediately if an offender enters a designated "exclusionary zone."

On Thursday Barrett checked on a young man who is required to wear a GPS device on his ankle. He lives with family, in a small bedroom decorated with Harley-Davidson posters and models of motorcycles, a Pittsburgh Steelers flag and a picture of Jesus.

Hand written and typed Bible verses on index cards were taped all over his walls, along with prayers apparently customized to his personal struggles. They spell out his pleas with God, to strengthen his resistance and deliver him from temptation, lust and mental images of children performing sexual acts.

He was convicted of indecent assault for trying to rape a 10-year-old boy, and already on parole when he fell into the habit of lingering around schools. After being caught violating his parole, he was taken before a judge who prescribed the tracking device.

"So far he's doing well. We haven't had any problems since then," Barrett said. "He's really come a long way."

Looking for a home

Not all offenders have a place to stay when they get out of jail or prison. In many cases, the nature of their crime has alienated loved ones and friends.
- But mostly, the laws have done this!

In order to qualify for parole, an inmate has to first have an approved "home plan." Barrett regularly evaluates their proposed plans by visiting the homes and determining whether they are suitable places for convicted sex offenders to live for at least 90 days.
- So what if someone cannot find a home due to the draconian residency restrictions, which is basically where someone sleeps at night? Do they just stay in jail/prison against their will for being homeless? That is against the law as well, I believe, or should be.

During these visits he considers the people the parolee would be living with, the living situation being provided, the proximity to places where children congregate and a number of other factors.

He and Alleman visited a large, elegant home in a development surrounded by equally luxurious, recently built houses. Two expensive vehicles sat in the driveway and a friendly mother with several young children answered the door.

She showed the officers around the spacious house, including a finished basement where she thought her relative might stay if the plan is approved. A play tent decorated with Disney Princesses and a number of toys were down there, along with a pool table and a fold-out sofa.

After speaking with the woman about the requirements of a home plan and the nature of her relative's offense, the officers left. Barrett said he would call her later to discuss the matter further.

He had serious reservations about placing a paroled sex offender in a home with young children. Denial seemed like a strong possibility.

Because of the difficulty some offenders face while trying to get an approved home plan, it is not entirely uncommon for homeowners at the proposed location to be partially or even completely unaware of the parole candidate's crime. In those cases, Barrett informs them completely.

"Protecting the public is the number one priority," he said.

Tripping up

Depending on their crimes, some offenders are not allowed to own computers, Hoover said. Those who do have them are subject to regular hard drive searches. Barrett is equipped with special software on a USB flash drive, and is able to quickly scan any computer for the presence of pornography and past visits to illicit websites.

Several weeks ago he searched a client's computer and found what appeared to be child pornography, Hoover said. The case was referred to the state Attorney General's office, and charges are pending.

Still, Barrett can count on one hand the number of clients who have been charged with committing a new sex crime while on active supervision since 2004. When that happens, the offender goes immediately to jail, he said.
- And you see, here he contradicts himself. If he can count on one hand the number that have committed new sex crimes, then that shows the recidivism rate is low.

A big part of his job is looking for "red flags" that a person is in danger of re-offending. Through regular contact with his clients and communication with their therapist, he has become familiar with specific stressors that may lead to problems for each individual.

Similarly to people with substance abuse problems, sex offenders may be inclined to cope with their troubles "by going back to what they're comfortable doing," Barrett said. For some, it may be problems with money or difficulties at work that could trigger a relapse.

Others may find themselves in a bad mental state after something reminds them of sexual abuse they suffered as children themselves.
- And being without a job and home also adds to this possibility of re-offending, and yet they continue to pass draconian laws forcing people out of jobs and homes. Doesn't make sense.

"I don't know if everyone who commits a sex offense is also a victim, but some are. It's what they grew up with," Barrett said. "It's sad to an extent, but they still have to learn that the behavior is unacceptable and change."

Polygraph tests administered as part of their treatment programs help keep offenders honest. Most take a turn on the "lie detector" in the beginning, Hoover said. Lesser offenders may be required to take a test once or twice a year, while those with more problems could get hooked up to the machine twice a month.

"They might be asked something like, 'Have you viewed child pornography in the last week?'" Hoover said. "If a person fails the polygraph, it doesn't automatically result in a violation, but it will indicate if there's an area we need to investigate further."

The end of the day

While it has its "ups and downs" like anything else in life, Barrett really likes his job. He still finds the nature of his clients' offenses disturbing, but doesn't let it get in the way.

"Some of the crimes they commit are really, really sickening. But it's not something I use to put them down or make them feel awful about," he said. "I don't get any cooperation by judging them."

The difficulty he experiences while dealing with some clients on certain days is made worthwhile when he sees one successfully complete their program and never come back.

"You can't help everyone, but you do the best you can with what you have," he said. "The bottom line is, if someone really wants to change their life for the better, they will."