Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lying on your Match.com profile could soon become a prosecutable crime

Original Article

Next we will be required to give our real names on all web sites, which is nothing more than an invasion of privacy.

11/16/2011

By Nina Golgowski

Single men and women may soon be able to release a sigh of relief before web browsing their next eligible date.

The U.S. Department of Justice proposed violations of a websites' terms and conditions as a prosecutable crime Tuesday.

While focused on crimes infringing national security, indirect beneficiaries to the proposal would be users of social media sites like Match.com, which advertises itself as a means of connecting single adult users through other users' profiles.

Often times, users' profiles are fabricated, however, casually disobeying the sites' stated rules of honesty by its users.

The amendments proposed to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by Deputy Section Chief Richard Downing, would mandate users to abide by all website conditions, such as Match.com's which restricts its users to: being at least 18 years of age, single or separated from their spouse and having never been convicted of a felony nor a registered sex offender.

In a statement delivered by Mr Downing to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, he expressed his concern of difficulty or impossibility in deterring and addressing 'serious insider threats through prosecution' without amending the act.

While married men and women browsing dating sites with fabricated profile information wasn't named specifically by Mr Downing as a rational to his arguments Wednesday, single, honest users would still benefit from his proposals, which was generally pitched to decrease abuse by employees and contractors to employer's secure online information.

'Through this ongoing work, it has become clear that our Nation cannot improve its ability to defend against cyber threats unless certain laws that govern cybersecurity activities are updated, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,' Mr Downing said in his statement.

The CFA Act had been previously used by the department in prosecuting a woman in 2008 who created a MySpace account pretending to be a teenage boy.
- Creating the profile wasn't the problem, it was the harassment and defamation, which are already crimes.

She was accused of using this account to fool and harass a 13-year-old girl to the point that she committed suicide.

The woman, Lori Drew, violating the site's terms of service which prohibits impersonation by its users, was found in violation of the act.
- This is just absurd, IMO.  So are we going to start prosecuting children and throwing them in prison for lying when they lie to get into a bar or purchase cigarettes?  Just someone posting something on their web site, doesn't make it a law or "act!"

Her case was thrown out, however, after the judge said that Drew's violation of a social network's terms of service would carry over to anyone else who has ever violated them, proving too broad of a decision.

The amendments to the act would find future violators guilty.


CA - Lake Forest will review sex offender ban

Mayor Peter Herzog
Original Article

11/16/2011

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE

The City Council has placed a review of the proposed ordinance that would prohibit offenders from city parks on its Dec. 6 council agenda.

LAKE FOREST – After listening to impassioned pleas from Erin Runnion, residents and representatives from the District Attorney's Office, the city has placed a review of a proposed ordinance that would ban sex offenders from city parks on its Dec. 6 council agenda.

Councilman Scott Voigts
"I feel safety of the citizens is of utmost importance," City Councilman Scott Voigts (Facebook) said after the item was agendized. "We must protect our children. I'm at parks a lot, and I want to protect our children."

Voigts had asked his colleagues to consider the item for the agenda Oct. 16.

The council action followed public comments from Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Fitzpatrick, who introduced the proposed ordinance that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his office have promoted countywide as a way to protect children from registered sex offenders. The ordinance was co-written by Rackauckas and County Supervisor Shawn Nelson.

Erin Runnion
"This is a pandemic issue," Runnion said, reminding council members of her daughter, Samantha, who was kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered in 2002. She said statistics show that one in four girls and one in seven boys nationwide are sexually assaulted. She added that studies show that sex offenders who have victimized adults have also pursued children.
- Pandemic?  What proof do you have to back that up?  A moral panic and mass hysteria, yes!

"Do not delay in adding this to the agenda in the next meeting," she said.

If passed, the ordinance would bar registered sex offenders from city parks. Violators would be charged with a misdemeanor and could face a $500 fine and jail time of up to six months.
- So tell me, how many kids have been sexually abused or kidnapped from parks?  I am willing to bet less than 1/2 dozen.  Most children are sexually abused in their own homes by their own families, not some stranger at a park, but are we going to go around and take the kids from all their parents who are more likely to abuse them?

Train Wreck
Those speaking during public comments reminded the Lake Forest City Council that many cities in the county have already passed the ordinances. They pointed to Laguna Hills, which last week joined La Habra, Los Alamitos and Westminster in passing the ban. Irvine passed a version of the ban that only applies to sex offenders who target minors. In Huntington Beach, the City Council there passed what officials from the District Attorney's Office termed, "The toughest ordinance in the county," Huntington Beach Councilman Matthew Harper said. Other cities like Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo are working on language for their ordinances, the speakers said.

Kelly Hagins, a Lake Forest resident for 14 years, said she became an advocate for the ban after witnessing a man taking pictures of children when she and her son were at a park.
- What? People take photos of kids and adults all the time.  This is what started it for you?  Hell, I am willing to bet even you have taken photos of someone else's kids before, but that is just an assumption.

"Since April this has been brought to your attention," she said. "There are tons of people here. As Erin said, there are predators that are definitely there. The typical abuser will abuse 30 to 60 children before they are caught. I support the full ordinance. Irvine passed a limited ban – this is not effective."
- So anybody can throw out "statistics," but where is the proof of what has been said?


OH - Ohio Supreme Court to review juvenile sex offender registration in local case

Original Article

11/16/2011

By Jessie Balmert

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court will review whether requiring a boy to register as a sex offender for touching girls’ breasts violated the constitutional protection against avoid cruel and unusual punishment.

The Licking County case joins a number disputing how sex offender registration is applied to juveniles. Justices have heard oral arguments on an Athens County case and will apply their opinion to those that apply.

In July 2010, the 17-year-old boy was found delinquent of sexual imposition and disorderly conduct, both the equivalent of misdemeanor offenses, for grabbing girls’ breasts during the 2009-10 school year, according to a memorandum filed by attorney Todd Barstow.

The boy was expelled from Licking Heights High School for his conduct.

The boy also was required to register as a Tier I sex offender once a year for 15 years, according to the memorandum.

Barstow argued the boy should not be required to register as a sex offender because the practice is cruel and unusual punishment barred by the Eighth Amendment.

Juvenile court proceedings focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment, he wrote.

(P)erhaps one of the most disturbing concerns about the new law is that it is being applied to juveniles in the same way it is to adults — solely based on the offense — thereby conferring adult penalties on juvenile offenders, who are less culpable than their adult counterparts,” Barstow wrote in the memorandum.

If given proper treatment, 90 to 96 percent of juveniles who commit sex offenses won’t do it again, according to the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities.

Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Huston argued sex offender registration is a civil remedy not a criminal punishment, according to her memorandum.
- They may say that is what it is, but why don't you live with the label and laws, then tell me it's not punishment.

A law cannot constitute cruel and unusual punishment if it is not, in fact, punishment,” Huston wrote.

She also wrote the boy should have raised the argument earlier.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in the Athens County case will apply to the Licking County situation without having to rehash the same arguments, Barstow said.

We’ll see what happens,” he said.


GA - Criminals in the classroom: Children charged with sex crimes back in school

Original Article

11/15/2011

By Wendy Saltzman

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - It's a parent's worst nightmare for a sex offender to have access to their children. But what if that sex offender is another child, who day-in, day out sits in class next to your kid?

CBS Atlanta has learned children charged with horrific sex crimes like child molestation and rape are being placed back into Georgia's classrooms. In some cases they are in the same schools, sitting right next to your children.

Only a small number of juveniles are placed on Georgia's Sex Offender Registry when convicted as adults. The teens on Georgia's list have been convicted of everything from aggravated child molestation to sexual battery and rape.

But there are hundreds of other dangerous kids charged as juveniles whose records are sealed and their identities and the details of their sex crimes are hidden.

"There was a kid here who had a sexual battery charge," CBS Atlanta's Wendy Saltzman told a parent who has a child at a DeKalb County school.