Wednesday, September 21, 2011

OH - Sheriff (Dean Kimpel) indicted on sexual battery charge

Dean Kimpel
Original Article

09/21/2011

By Pam Elliot and David Robinson

CELINA (WDTN) - The Shelby County, Ohio Sheriff was arrested after being indicted Sept. 20 by an Auglaize County grand jury.

Dean Kimpel, 57, was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of sexual battery.

The indictment follows allegations by a former Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Jodi Van Fossen. Van Fossen claimed that on July 24, 2010 Kimpel sexually assaulted her at her home in Auglaize County.

Kimpel was jailed at the Auglaize County Correctional Center on $100,000 bond.


WI - Notification Meeting Set For Sex Offender In Town Of Roxbury (Can you attend?)

Original Article

I would recommend anyone who can, attend this meeting to spread the truth and SOSEN and Sex Offender Issues (And here) material. I know it's not about you, but, it's a perfect place to start educating people, and to also show the public, we are not going to just site there and take it, IMO. We need to support one another!  And if the offender is there, introduce him/her to SOSEN and Sex Offender Issues!

09/21/2011

Sex Offender To Be Released

MADISON - The Dane County Sheriff's Office is encouraging residents in the town of Roxbury to go to a community notification Wednesday night regarding the release of a registered sex offender.

Authorities said [name withheld], 23, will soon live in the community.

[name withheld] was convicted in 2005 for burglary, attempted second-degree sexual assault, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and substantial and aggravated battery.

He was granted a conditional release by the court in August to live in the town of Roxbury. [name withheld] is a lifetime registrant of the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registration Program.

The community notification meeting will be Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Roxbury Town Hall on Kippley Road in Sauk City (MAP).

During the meeting authorities will offer more information about the community notification law. Authorities will also provide citizens with information about protective behaviors and personal safety.

Our Comment Left On The Video:
Nobody wants them? Not all sex offenders are like this man, or child molesting, pedophile predators either. So STOP lumping all offenders into the worst of the worse, that is the problem. If the registry was for only those who are truly a danger, there wouldn't be but maybe 50,000 or less in the entire country, instead of the over 750,000 offenders, not including the families and children who also suffer and are registered along with the ex-offender.



TN - Editorial: Narrowing focus of sex offender ban would make library policy stronger

Original Article

09/21/2011

The Knox County library system (Facebook) has barred anyone on Tennessee's sex offender's registry from entering any of its branches. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (Facebook), in consultation with library officials, came up with the policy after a state law allowing restrictions on sex criminals took effect July 1.

Knox County's library system is the first in the state to adopt a policy under the new law. Anyone on the state's sexual offender's registry who enters a Knox County library branch could face a charge of criminal trespassing. The policy allows sex offenders to check out materials through a proxy and to contact reference librarians by phone or email to get information from other library materials.

The county has a compelling interest in protecting children against sexual predators (but not all ex-sex offenders are child molesters and/or sexual predators), and we applaud Burchett for taking the initiative. However, though the desire to protect the youngest and most vulnerable of our society is important, more needs to be done to make sure the policy can stand up in court (and if a true predator wanted to harm a child in a library, they would, no law or library policy would prevent that). As it's now written, the policy appears overly broad and might not be able to withstand a legal challenge (if the Constitution was still worth anything, then yeah, this would be unconstitutional.  What is next, banning ex-sex offenders from stores to get food, because kids are present?).

The authorizing legislation lists three criteria that must be considered before restricting anyone's access: The policy must consider the likelihood of children being present at any given time, the age of the offender's victim and the possible chilling effect on other patrons if the offender were allowed access to the library.

The Knox County policy, which doesn't call for a review of the age of the offender's victim, falls short of the criteria established by the Legislature.

Federal courts have given libraries a special status as First Amendment forums. Last year a federal judge struck down a similar ban in Albuquerque, N.M., on grounds that it violated the First Amendment rights of those on that state's registry, primarily because the policy was overly broad.

Like the Knox County policy, the Albuquerque policy applied to all sex offenders, not just those convicted of crimes against children (even if the person did commit a crime against a child, it's still unconstitutional.  Like said above, are stores, gas stations, public restrooms, and other places next?). The local policy must be viewed as being equally vulnerable in court. The American Civil Liberties Union, which won the challenge to the Albuquerque law, has sent a letter to Burchett asking that the policy be rescinded.

There's an easy solution short of rescinding the policy, and one that we urge Burchett to adopt. The policy could be modified to ban offenders whose victims were younger than 18 when the crime was committed. That would narrow the ban to offenders who might target children, satisfying the state requirement that age be taken into account while not being too restrictive of First Amendment rights. All officials would have to do is check the court file of any registered sex offender who has a library card (but what if this was a Romeo & Juliet situation, or was many years ago without the person committing another crime?).

Banning from the county's libraries sex offenders who have victimized children is prudent (I disagree), but the policy as written invites costly litigation the county could lose. A narrower policy would be stronger in court and achieve the goal of protecting Knox County's youth.


TX - Courts block 'Condition X' on some parolees - Diluting the registry by labeling people "sex offenders" for non-sex crimes?

Original Article

09/20/2011

By Mike Ward

After years of legal decisions requiring state parole officials to provide hearings before they impose sex-offender restrictions on felons never convicted of a sex crime, two courts have taken the unusual step of blocking the restrictions.
- Why would you impose sex offender restrictions on someone who hasn't committed a sex crime in the first place?  This is like treating someone as a murderer for DUI!

Wave your rights, or else!
The latest decision came Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin approved an injunction blocking state parole officials from enforcing sex-offender restrictions on a Fort Worth parolee who said he has been threatened with being sent back to prison if he doesn't waive his right to a hearing.

Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered the restrictions — officially called Condition X — removed from the parole conditions for a Houston kidnapper because he was not afforded a due-process hearing before they were imposed and because he had not been convicted of a sex crime.

The decisions were the latest setback for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and state corrections officials, who have insisted for years that, to ensure public safety, they could impose the stringent conditions on parolees without a due-process hearing.
- Hell, when people can just decide themselves what they can and cannot do, why even have laws?

Although previous court rulings have required the hearings, the state has not routinely offered them. And parole attorneys say the two recent cases indicate the courts are losing patience.

"However long the rope is that the state has been hanging onto for several years, they're finally reaching the end of it — and this decision shows that," said Richard Gladden, who represented parolee [name withheld] during a five-hour hearing Tuesday before Yeakel.

Huntsville attorney William Habern, who also represents [name withheld], said that in 40 years of parole law work, he had never seen a judge block parole officials from enforcing parole conditions.

"The issue here is someone's liberty, whether they should be prohibited from going to church, being around children, not being able to go to college and many more things, for something they were never convicted of," Gladden said .

For their part, assistant attorneys general and parole officials referred questions to their spokespeople, who declined to comment.

Although Yeakel approved a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of the restrictions on [name withheld], the judge declined to specifically keep the 40-year-old restaurateur from having to undergo a new sex-offender evaluation.

"I am not stopping anyone from going forward" to resolve the legal issues with current state parole policy, Yeakel said, noting he was only stopping enforcement of the conditions against [name withheld].

"The issue is squarely before me, but it does not need to linger long," he added, suggesting that the issue should be resolved quickly — either between attorneys or in a court hearing he plans to schedule soon.

[name withheld] pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2003 in Johnson County, south of Fort Worth, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. While he was initially indicted on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, the suit notes that his sentence order states that "the Sex Offender Registration Requirements (in state law) do not apply to the Defendant. The age of the victim at the time of the offense was not applicable."

Despite that, state records show that when [name withheld] was paroled in the summer of 2007, parole officials required him to register as a sex offender, placed him under the restrictive sex-offender conditions of release and ordered him to participate in a sex-offender treatment program.

[name withheld] never received a hearing in which he could challenge the designation, Gladden said. In fact, until recently he was not provided with many details from his parole file, Gladden said.


VA - Deputy (Matthew Lyons) could face sex crime charges on child pornography allegations

Matthew Lyons
Original Article

I am beginning to think that most people on the sex offender registry are cops. Click the "/Crime-Police" link above to see what I am talking about.

09/20/2011

By Melanie Woodrow

Isle of Wight County Deputy has resigned

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY (WAVY) - Virginia State Police are investigating a former Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Deputy on child pornography allegations.

According to Sheriff Charlie Phelps, Deputy Matthew Lyons resigned Monday, following a year of service with the sheriff's office.

A fellow deputy saw some concerning activity on a shared computer; online conversations in which Lyons allegedly solicited child pornography.

"The deputies are aware of what went on and they know that it's not going to be tolerated if any of them are thinking or participating in it, but I have no reason to believe that anybody else is," Phelps said.

The Virginia State Police High Tech Crimes Unit seized Lyons' personal computer. So far, no arrest has been made.

10 On Your Side went to Lyons' home where a Sheriff Phelps campaign sign remained posted outside, along with a child's toy. No one answered the door.


WI - Fired Milwaukee police officer (Ladmarald Cates) charged in rape case

Ladmarald Cates
Original Article

09/20/2011

By Gina Barton and John Diedrich

He's accused of sexually assaulting woman after she called 911

A fired Milwaukee police officer was charged Tuesday with raping a woman after he responded to her 911 call in July.

Ladmarald Cates faces a maximum possible penalty of life in prison if convicted of the two federal felonies, which include violating the woman's civil rights while acting under the color of law and using a firearm in the commission of an act of violence, the indictment says.

The first count includes enhancers for causing bodily injury and aggravated sexual abuse, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Johnson, who is handling the case.

Attorney Robin Shellow, who represents the victim, called Johnson "my hero."

"With a kind and gentle hand he has made my client's cry in the dark the beam of justice in the future," she said. "On behalf of my client, I want to thank the U.S. attorney's office and those who worked with them for treating her with respect and dignity."

Cates' attorney, Bridget Boyle, said she has been aware for some time that federal prosecutors were considering an indictment. Cates plans to fight the charges, she said.

"Mr. Cates has every intention to proceed to a jury trial to have them decide whether he violated the law," she said.

Shellow's client said Cates raped her and forced her to perform oral sex after he responded to her 911 call about teenagers trying to kick in the door of her north side home.

In an earlier interview with the Journal Sentinel, the woman said numerous officers - on the scene and at the police station - accused her of lying when she begged for help and asked them to take her to the hospital. She spent about 12 hours in jail before being interviewed by internal affairs, the newspaper reported in January. Only after that was she taken to the hospital for treatment and evidence collection.

Cates first denied any sexual activity between them but later admitted to internal affairs investigators they had sex, according to records.

Police Chief Edward Flynn ultimately fired Cates for lying and for "idling and loafing" because having sex on duty is against department rules.

The Journal Sentinel does not name victims of sexual assault.

DA declined to prosecute

The U.S. attorney's office and FBI began investigating Cates after the Milwaukee County district attorney's office declined to charge him.

In a letter to Flynn, Assistant District Attorney Aaron E. Hall said he believed the woman's account but didn't think he would be able to prove a sexual assault case in court.

"While I did find the victim's version of events credible, I did not believe that her testimony would be strong enough to successfully prosecute Officer Cates," Hall wrote in October (PDF).

The district attorney's office also considered, but ultimately rejected, a state charge of misconduct in public office, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said at the time.

On Tuesday, Lovern said his office has prosecuted numerous police officers for various offenses, including Steven Lelinski, a former officer now in prison for on-duty sexual assaults.

"There are cases that could be subject to state jurisdiction that are more appropriate for prosecution by federal authorities," Lovern said. "This (the Cates case) is a case where we were unable to bring state charges, but the U.S. attorney was able to bring federal charges. That is the way the system is supposed to work."

Federal investigators believe the woman's allegations are both true and provable, Johnson said Tuesday.

"It seemed to us from the very beginning to be credible and serious enough to be worth investigating," he said. "We got to the point, after further investigation, where we felt we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."

Cates, 43, was fired in December. No other officers were disciplined in connection with the incident.

In February, a Journal Sentinel investigation revealed Cates had been accused of breaking the law five times before. Three of the previous allegations involved sexual misconduct - two with female prisoners and one with a 16-year-old girl. The incidents date to 2000, three years after he was hired by the department.

Internal investigators referred Cates to the district attorney's office for possible charges in two cases. The district attorney's office did not prosecute Cates on allegations of having sex with the 16-year-old. In the second case, a domestic violence battery in which his then-girlfriend said Cates shoved and choked her, prosecutors offered a diversion agreement.

A conviction on a domestic violence charge would have prevented Cates from carrying a gun under federal law and resulted in his removal from the force. The one-year diversion agreement allowed Cates to avoid charges by refraining from criminal activity, avoiding violent contact with the victim and undergoing counseling.

Flynn, who took over as chief in 2008, acknowledged in February that a computerized early-intervention system designed to identify potentially troubled officers didn't flag Cates.

"It is clear to me looking at this employee's record that from a management point of view an obvious pattern was overlooked," Flynn said at the time. "The department did not see the forest for the trees here."

Department managers now analyze employee behavior the same way they analyze crime, using data to evaluate officer performance. Weekly, they review indicators such as sick time. Quarterly, they delve into issues such as citizen complaints, Flynn said in February.

Shellow said both the Police Department and the district attorney's office should be "ashamed and embarrassed" for failing to protect the public from Cates.

"Each of those agencies knew the officer had committed acts of sexual misconduct with women and did nothing," she said. "Had they done something, my client would not have been raped."

It's a conflict of interest for the Milwaukee Police Department to investigate its own members, Shellow said.

In an email Tuesday, department spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said: "The first time then-Officer Cates came before Chief Flynn for a fireable offense, he was fired."

Cates, who is not in custody, is expected to make his first court appearance Sept. 30, Johnson said.


TN - When Systems Offend: Exploring the Limits of the Sex Offender System

Original Article

09/19/2011

"This story concerns a group of people more loathed and feared than just about any other segment of the population: sex offenders. But rather than join the usual chorus that alienates and ostracizes sex offenders, this story takes a different approach, posing critical questions about the limits of the system that manages them. An undeniably complex issue, this story pushes through the usual hysteria that surrounds it, opting for a closer, more humanizing look at what it means to spend a lifetime on the sex offender registry." - By Lindsey Krinks

When I first met Charles in April 2009, he told me that he had been off his psych meds and was feeling suicidal. Charles had moved to Nashville the previous September to escape the discrimination and harassment he experienced in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. As if he did not face alienation enough for being poor, black, psychiatrically disabled and in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions, Charles was also a registered sex offender. With the cards stacked against him, Charles fled to Nashville in search of a new life, but everywhere he turned for help, he found only closed doors. Living day to day on the streets and being exposed to the elements in his campsite had taken its toll. The house of cards was falling in around him.

More than two years later, Charles, 54 years old, is still living at a campsite in the woods. Despite the havoc that "living rough" has wreaked on his body and spirit-and despite a persistent limp from an ankle injury that he nurses from the outdoors-he remains vibrant and looks much younger than his years and experiences ought to show for. His laugh and smile are contagious, and his brown eyes light up when he talks. A gentle man with a gentle spirit, Charles longs to give back to his community. But giving back is hard for someone like Charles: as a registered sex offender in a system that punishes offenders by way of isolation, his desire to contribute to a community is a desire that will most likely go unrealized. Because of his lifetime sentence on the sex offender registry, the Charles that I know and love, the Charles that I have journeyed with for over two years, will, most often, be viewed as no more than a callous criminal to be feared and avoided.

Charles' story as a sex offender starts in Des Moines, where, in 2002, he was accused and convicted of sexual abuse against a minor. "That's when my whole life fell apart," Charles says. "I had to prove my innocence and I was ignorant of the law. I fought my case as best I could, but I didn't know my rights-I didn't know that I had the right to DNA evidence. But I made a plea and I did the time."

Various public defenders represented Charles throughout his case-public defenders who, because of their heavy caseloads, spent very little time educating or helping Charles fight the accusations against him. During his five years in prison, Charles eventually began to fight his case and work to prove that the DNA evidence presented in court didn't match his. But before he could take his argument any further, he ran out of the money required to pay his lawyer.

When Charles was released from prison in 2007, he moved in as a caretaker with his mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer's and dementia. After he moved in, however, he was forced to move out because of residential restrictions for sex offenders. Since he was accused of an offense against a minor, Charles had to find housing that was at least 1,000 feet away from any school, day care facility, playground or recreation center. Without any other housing options, Charles decided that being homeless in another city was better than being ostracized in his hometown, so he boarded a Greyhound bus and headed for Nashville.

Even though he receives a monthly disability check, there are few affordable and low-income housing facilities in Nashville that will accept Charles. Since I've known him, Charles has received help from the VA (Veterans Affairs) as an honorably discharged veteran and has become a member of Park Center, a mental health agency in Nashville. But he has also cycled in and out of jail, cheap hotels, rehabs, campsites and psych facilities. Without stable and supportive housing, Charles continues in this cycle, despite his best efforts to stay clean and stable. "I believe I have a right to adequate housing," says Charles, "but I just don't know where to turn for help."

Sex Offender Legislation in Tennessee

Certainly, sex offender laws exist to protect victims from further abuse and to protect the public from sexual predators. Without such laws, more innocent people would undoubtedly suffer. But the underside of some of these laws is that rather than contribute to the rehabilitation of the offender, they often impede the progress of those who are sincerely trying to rebuild their lives. For those, like Charles, who are homeless, simply finding transitional and permanent housing is all but impossible. Recent legislation in Tennessee only adds to that difficulty.

In July of last year, Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory) sponsored a bill that would limit the number of sex offenders in Tennessee halfway houses to two per house. The bill was signed and approved by Governor Phil Bredesen. As The Tennessean reports, when asked where, if not in halfway houses, multiple sex offenders should live, Turner responded: "I know sex offenders have to be housed somewhere. It should be away from neighborhoods, maybe in industrialized zones."

"Did I sign that?"
On September 9, 2010, when Governor Bredesen visited the newly renovated Room In The Inn facility in Nashville, complete with 38 housing units for homeless men (two of which Bredesen and his wife personally funded), he was informed by Room In The Inn's director that the bill would have a major affect on their homeless members seeking to rebuild their lives. Bredesen responded: "Did I sign that?"

This year, Turner sponsored another bill specifying that no more than three sex offenders are allowed to "establish a primary or secondary residence in any house, apartment, or other habitation" unless it is a "residential treatment facility" that "complies with the guidelines and standards for the treatment of sexual offenders."

The only problem is that so few halfway houses, apartment complexes and other such "habitations" exist in Nashville. Rather than determining places those on the registry can live, the code simply determines where sex offenders can't live. Once again, while these bills are aimed at protecting the public, they do little to aid the offender in creating a healthier, more stable life wherein the potential for recidivism is diminished.

"The system is not perfect"

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are 739,853 sex offenders in the United States (PDF) and 14,940 in Tennessee. On any given day, there are between 1,200 and 1,700 registered sex offenders in Davidson County. As of August 5th, a day when there were approximately 1,400 offenders on the registry, approximately 140 of Davidson County offenders were homeless and 600 were incarcerated. These numbers remain in constant flux because offenders must notify the registry within 48 hours of a change of address. For homeless offenders who are already required to register monthly, yet continue to cycle in and out of jail, shelters and hotels, this may mean notifying the registry multiple times a week. If an offender fails or is unable to do so, he or she faces fines and jail time-a cycle that can be crippling for people living below the poverty line.

Much of the policy that shaped today's sex offender laws was first put in place in the wake of extreme and horrific cases. Megan's Law, the Adam Walsh Act and numerous other pieces of legislation were named after children who were tragically abused and murdered-in Megan's case by a registered sex offender. Most people are familiar with the tragic, the violent and the haunting when it comes to crimes committed by sex offenders. Indeed, such crimes should not be taken lightly, for they have devastated the lives of countless victims and their families.

But there is another side to the criminal category of the "sex offender" seldom considered in public discourse about the system that manages their punishment.

Consider, for instance, the 28-year-old prostitute in Nashville who was caught sleeping with the 17-year-old boy who hired her. She is now on the registry for the rest of her life. Or there's the 19-year-old high school graduate in Caldwell, Texas who had sex with his girlfriend, who was a sophomore in high school at the time. When her mother found out, she got mad and turned her daughter's boyfriend in, expecting he'd get off with a warning. But now he's on the sex offender registry, and will be until the day he dies. The pair eventually married, and 15 years later, the man can't coach his children's soccer team because he cannot legally be in a place where children gather. And then there's the young man who, in 2004, streaked through a public market, was charged with indecent exposure and is now on the sex offender registry for life.

Or consider my friend "Dennis". Dennis was a regular at our homeless outreach office for months during 2010. At the time, we were in the process of ordering his birth certificate from Germany and helping him obtain his disability benefits. One scorching summer day in 2010, I saw a police officer placing handcuffs on Dennis outside a gas station in East Nashville. After I pulled over and got out of my car, I walked up to the officer, introduced myself, and asked what was going on. Apparently, someone had called the police because they saw a homeless man peeing on the side of the building. I explained to the officer that I knew Dennis and that he was working to pull his life back together-that there weren't any public restrooms nearby and that none of the businesses around would let him in because of his appearance.

I asked if he would allow me take Dennis back to our office and let him off with a warning. "Nope, can't do that," the officer responded. "We have to take these calls seriously so the public knows we're doing our job. You know I could make him a sex offender for this-you should be glad I'm just charging him with public urination." I could only stare at the officer. Dennis didn't say a word. I was speechless. While this police officer's response is certainly not representative of how all (or even most) officers would respond to such a situation, that it happened at all is enough to give us pause when we consider the binding power of sex offense laws.

According to Don Aaron, Public Affairs Manager for the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), and Lt. Preston Brandimore, head of Metro's Sex Crimes Unit, MNPD is doing the best it can to bring about justice in what they admit are often complicated scenarios. "It is this department's position that sex crimes can impact victims (and those who may be falsely accused) for the rest of their lives," they say. "It is the MNPD's mission to investigate such crimes and bring the results of such investigations before prosecutors and the courts for potential advancement in the justice system. The system is not perfect, nor was it when our nation and state were founded hundreds of years ago."

While Lt. Brandimore and others work diligently to see that everyone is treated fairly, both Brandimore and Aaron admit that MNPD is limited in what it can do. "The MNPD is responsible for registering most sex offenders in Davidson County," they say. "Two detectives are assigned this task. It can be daunting at times as they work to update the TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's registry] with accurate information as well as identify those who fail to register and investigate the reason(s) why."

Not only is a small staff a burden for the Sex Crimes Unit, it's also a burden for the Board of Probation and Parole who keep up with all offenders after their release. In her column in The Tennessean on June 29, 2011, Gail Kerr spells out the problem. "To save money, the legislature approved a plan to release 2,000 prison inmates early," she writes. "That will send the caseloads for parole officers to 115. They are supposed to make monthly visits to the parolee's home, check employment, find out if the parolee is staying out of trouble and a list of other tasks. It's impossible."

In the end, while legislation like Megan's Law and others like it work to prevent such tragedies from happening again, they also have the adverse effect of unintentionally penalizing individuals for whom a lifetime of punishment simply does not fit the crime. Because there is so little distinction on the registry between the person charged with indecent exposure and the person who is a predator and violently assaults a minor, individuals who have already served their sentence for more minor crimes and are working toward rehabilitation are left to fall through the cracks of our justice system with a lifetime of limited housing, employment and recreation opportunities.

Conceiving Punishment Alternatively

Across town from Charles' campsite, my friend "Walter" is serving time at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution for a sex charge. With a release date in March of 2013, Walter, unlike many other sex offenders, has a wife, a family and neighbors who will welcome him back home upon his release. Walter will avoid homelessness, but his life on the "outside" will be far from normal.

"When I leave here, I will have served my sentence," says Walter. "But a new punishment will just be starting-one that will be there for a lifetime. My wife and I can't participate in Halloween; we can't decorate or give out candy. We also can't decorate for Christmas because we can't do anything to attract children. We can't go to the park or the lake if it's a holiday because there will be more children there."

According to Walter, what the sex offender system is missing is a sense of distinction. "In America, people are sentenced to jail and prison as punishment-then they are released," he says. "For those of us with sex charges, though, the punishment continues. We're all thrown into the bucket and mixed up. There's no distinction. No one is taken on a case-by-case basis."

While Walter will be reconciled to the closest members of his community on the other side of the prison walls, because of the nature of the system to which he is bound until he dies, he faces a lifetime of hostility and discrimination.

In recent years, a number of different groups have called on legislative bodies to change the way they punish sex offenders. "Demonization is destructive even when applied to truly violent offenders," write the authors and signatories of one group in their official statement Reform Sex Offender Laws Now! "Those who commit sexually violent crimes do not come out of a vacuum. They come out of our communities and families. To view dangerous offenders as totally 'other' than us prevents us from getting at the roots of such crimes. Permanent stigmatization not only makes impossible re-integration into society of those who are rehabilitated, it signals a breakdown in civil society."

Deborah Ingram, a victim of sexual abuse and an activist for restorative justice for sex offenders in Massachusetts, believes that current policy on the issue is misguided. "Punishment that includes public shaming and demonizing may feel good today, but it is short-sighted, and too simplistic for a very complex problem," she says. "I learned that it is treatment of sex offenders, not punishment, that will bring validation, victim empathy, apology and restitution to victims."

In the meantime, sex offenders who are eager and ready to integrate back into communities face an uphill battle against a system that serves its justice, not by way of rehabilitative treatment, but by a lifetime of exclusion.

"To live like everyone else lives"

Back at his campsite, Charles sits on a crate outside his tent, swatting away mosquitoes with an arm bandaged from a recent bike accident. When I ask him what he envisions for his life, he struggles to articulate a response. "It's just like, well, what do I do?" he says. "What do I do?" But Charles does not resign himself to despair. "Do I jump off a bridge?" he says. "No. Turn to crime? No. I keep on living. I'm human and I have feelings just like the next person."

When I get around to asking him what justice might look like for someone like him, he cannot help but imagine, once again, some place other than the place he currently calls home. "I have a right to adequate housing," he says. "I want to live in peace, enjoy the parks with my family, enjoy my days of living, be treated fairly and just to live like everyone else lives. Give me a chance to live, you know? You never know what a person has been through."

But despite his situation, Charles seems strangely unable to give up hope. "The world is a beautiful place," he says, his eyes beaming. "We're all the same-we live and breathe the same air. I'm not a bad person-I'm just hurting in a lot of ways. I just want to be happy again and not be broken."