Monday, October 31, 2011

CA - Sex offenders: Halloween’s boogeyman

Original Article

10/31/2011

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Registered abusers are being rounded up tonight to protect trick-or-treaters. How real is the threat, though?

As costumed kiddies take to the streets tonight, thousands of sex offenders across the country will be forced to turn off their lights and refuse to answer the door. Some will be required to also post “no candy” signs and refrain from decorating their yards. Some counties round them up for a mandatory movie night or an evening in jail. In some areas with prohibitively strict residency requirements, police will be rounding up several hundred transient sex offenders.

Year after year, new measures are introduced to keep registered sex offenders of all stripes from coming into contact with trick-or-treaters — and yet there is zero evidence to support the legislative trend. In fact, the available data suggest it’s a useless diversion of resources that creates a false sense of security. Just take a look at this absurdly misleading headline from a Fox News affiliate: “Police Work to Keep Halloween Free From Sexual Predators.” (Because all sex offenders faithfully register and offenses are only committed by those with previous records?) Meanwhile, other outlets are playing up the danger: Albuquerque’s KRQE advises readers to “beware of real monsters on Halloween,” and talks to a 12-year-old girl who is “excited to go Trick-or-Treating” — but only because her family has no idea that they live “in a neighborhood full of secrets.” Dun-dun-dun.

It isn’t just law enforcement that is joining in the Halloween paranoia: Tech entrepreneurs are hyping new smartphone apps — including a brand-new one for Facebook — as tools to steer kids clear of sex offenders’ homes and even allow parents to track their kids by GPS, instead of actually accompanying them in person. (Why parent in person when you can do so virtually!)

Here’s the truth: There are no documented cases where a registered sex offender abused a trick-or-treater on Halloween. The truth is that kids are most likely to be abused at home and by adults they know, not strangers — and even less so by strangers handing out mini-Milky Ways. A whopping 90 percent of child victims of sexual abuse are targeted by someone they know; nearly half of those cases involve a relative. It’s also the case that the recidivism rate among sex offenders is roughly 9 percent, according to the Department of Justice.

The urban legend of poisoned candy perfectly illustrates the misplaced and outsize concern: As Benjamin Radford of the Skeptical Enquirer pointed out several years ago, there are only two known instances where children died from tainted Halloween candy, and in both cases the child’s own parent was responsible for the intentional poisoning.

As I’ve written about in the past, a 2009 study (PDF) that looked at nearly a decade of data found “no significant increase in risk for nonfamilial child sexual abuse on or just prior to Halloween.” It’s no surprise then that the data remained unchanged after the emergence of measures to keep sex offenders away from kids on Halloween. The common argument is that all this legal effort is worth it even if it only saves one child from being victimized. But, as the authors of the study noted, these initiatives cost money and take up resources that could be directed toward much greater risks. “For example, a particularly salient threat to children on Halloween comes from motor vehicle accidents,” according to the report. “Children aged 5 to 14 years are four times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian–motor vehicle accident on Halloween than on any other day of the year.”

Karen Franklin, a forensic psychologist who has long railed against the Halloween crackdown, calls it “security theater” and “the Halloween boogeyman.” She says “the scare feeds into a deep-rooted cultural fear of the boogeyman stranger.” Just as with scary movies, this holiday allows us the thrill of confronting our fears in a controlled manner. Similarly, the inevitable spate of stories about stranger danger each October both exploit and assuage parental nightmares. Canny entrepreneurs sell parents ways to protect their kids from “real monsters” – as though safety and control were but an app away — while local politicians and sheriff’s departments circulate press releases to celebrate their own valiant efforts fighting, in the words of the study mentioned above, “a problem that does not appear to exist.” All of which is to say: Kids aren’t the only ones who get caught up in the illusions of the holiday.


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Sex Offenders are everywhere... At the grocery store.... At the Malls... At the Movie Theaters... Their even in your Own Home when your friend invites a "friend". Let's face it. Sexual deviants are all around us and we must find ways to protect our families from this growing menace. Studies show that Sex Offenders on any state's sex offender registry account for about 93% of all news sex crimes and of that 93%, nearly 86% are committed by stranger sexual pedophiles already known to the police. What can be done to protect or families? Must our kids learn to live in abject fear because the likelihood of the next kidnapping, rape and murder could very well be that child? Join radio host, Bill Blathers as he delves into a deep and shocking discussion about America's sexual perverts, predators and pedophiles that live among us and get to know the truth about their terrorizing behavior before it is too late for America's children trying to grow up safe and protected.


Former police officer (Richard Eric McKee) had sex with girl, charges say

Richard Eric McKee
Original Article

10/31/2011

A Chillicothe police officer who retired this year has been charged with sex crimes involving a 15-year-old girl.

Richard Eric McKee, 48, of Chillicothe, surrendered to authorities today after being indicted on multiple charges Friday by a Ross County grand jury.

He is charged with 10 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual imposition and single counts of importuning and unauthorized use of a police computer system. Importuning is soliciting sex from a minor.

Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Nusbaum this morning set McKee’s bail at $10,000, ordered him to have no contact with the girl or her family and instructed him to turn over his firearms to the sheriff’s office.

McKee, who pleaded not guilty, posted bond and was released from jail.

The charges allege that McKee had an improper relationship with the girl between August 2010 and May, said Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt.

McKee served on the Chillicothe police force from 1986 until he retired on March 1. The allegations against him did not arise until after his retirement, Schmidt said. McKee also has been a minister with Liberty Hill Christian Union Church since 2009.

The case was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which was called in to ensure an impartial problem because the allegations involved a longtime police officer, Schmidt said.

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by one to five years in prison. The other charges are lesser felonies and misdemeanors.