Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PA - Morrisville rescinds sex offender ordinance

Original Article

11/22/2011

By Gema Duarte

Morrisville has joined the move to rescind local ordinances that restrict where registered sex offenders can live.

On Monday night, the council members voted to repeal the borough's ordinance.

Councilwoman Kathryn Panzitta said the ordinance, enacted in 2006, is unconstitutional, so it needs to be removed from the books.

Morrisville's action follows several communities around the state that have taken similar measures after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in May ruled that Allegheny County's prohibition on where registered sex offenders can live would isolate many in what would amount to "localized penal colonies."

That decision spawned worries that municipalities with such ordinances could be exposed to liability in lawsuits.

In Bucks County, Doylestown, Tullytown, Falls and Yardley have rescinded or started the process of rescinding their ordinances. Bensalem, Middletown, Newtown and Upper Makefield have ordinances that are still in effect.

Penndel does have a sex offender ordinance, which council members have discussed repealing, but have yet to vote on it. Likewise in Lower Southampton, an ordinance was put in place, but it's no longer being enforced and officials plan to discuss repealing the ordinance in the near future, township Manager Ted Taylor said Tuesday.

Bucking the trend is Newtown Township, which had advertised to rescind its ordinance but has postponed action for at least six months because some supervisors are not happy with state laws dealing with sex offenders. Until the supervisors are satisfied with the state's protections, they don't want to repeal the law.

Wrightstown "considered having an ordinance back when it was a point of discussion, but our solicitor advised that he did not feel that kind of ordinance would hold up in court so we never passed one. And it turns out he was right," Supervisor Robert Lloyd said Tuesday.

Upper Southampton never had such an ordinance either.

"It's an issue of pre-emption," township solicitor Michael P. Clarke told the Falls supervisors last month.

"The monitoring of sex offenders is pre-empted by state law," he said. Towns would risk facing legal challenges if they continue to enforce their own local ordinances now that the state court ruling has been handed down, Clarke said.

"It goes way beyond lawsuits. Police who try to enforce the ordinance could lose their livelihoods, too," the solicitor added.

Most local ordinances, enacted a half-dozen years ago, have restricted convicted sex offenders from residing or living within 2,500 feet of any school, park, amusement park, skate park, roller rink, arcade, skating rink, athletic fields, movie theater, playground or child day-care facility.


CANADA - Online predator hunter (Dany Lacerte) threatened with lawsuit

Dany Lacerte
Original Article

11/22/2011

By QMI Agency

MONTREAL — The Quebec City father who tried to expose alleged cyber predators on his Facebook page has received a cease and desist letter from one of the men he claims he tricked.

Dany Lacerte joined a popular online meeting site and created a fake profile of a 13-year-old girl. He said he catches about five men a day and tries to film them over an Internet video chat site.

He uploaded footage to his Facebook page last week of two men he says he chatted with but quickly took it down because their faces weren’t blurred and he feared legal consequences.

It seems he didn’t take the videos down fast enough. Copies of the footage were uploaded to YouTube.

Lacerte told QMI Agency that one of the men he is demanding a public apology or he'll launch a defamation suit.

(The lawyer’s letter) says that it’s illegal to create a fake account and the man thought he was trying to meet an 18-year-old girl,” Lacerte said.

Lacerte wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that he is receiving pro-bono legal assistance. His cyber predator page has over 15,000 “likes.”

Lacerte is also getting attention from the provincial police.

He told QMI Agency that an officer asked to view his footage. Police also want to read the chat transcripts between the men and the fictitious 13-year-old girl, he said.

A spokesperson for Quebec’s provincial police confirmed the force had contacted Lacerte.


PETITION - Tell Congress to Stop Putting Children on Sex Offender Registries


Click the image to view the petition


OH - Undeserved felony due to the AWA

Sent to use via the contact form and posted with their permission.  We are not legal experts and do not offer legal advise, but you can check this link from Google.

By Anonymous:
Because of the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act (July of 2007) my sex offender registration requirements were extended to almost 4 years past there expiration date (August, 2007). I was indicted by the Grand Jury (2008) for a Notice of Change of Address; Registration of Address and charged with a felony (2009) and given 5 years community control sanctions. Then the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in State v. Williams (PDF, July 2011) and ultimately my status was returned to it Megan's Law level. Soon after this the Ohio Attorney Generals office sent a letter to me stating that my duty to register had expired in Ohio. So, technically I was a registered sex offender in 2008. But after the ruling in State v. Williams I was not. So how do I, and others in this predicament, have these charges against us removed? (Please do not recommend the Ohio Public Defenders office,I already received the run around from them, and they will not do anything for me). Are there any support groups out there that have pro bono attorneys that can assist?


Level's

This was sent to us via the contact form and posted with permission. And to answer this user, no, we do not say that, we post articles from other media outfits, they say that.

By Anonymous:
I enjoy reading a keeping current on sex offender issues on your site, however, I have noticed that you frequently describe sex offender level’s as Level 1 (low risk to reoffend), Level 3(high risk to reoffend). This is a perpetuated myth. A person who is arrested for Exposure/Flashing is more likely to reoffend than a rapist. The Levels are designated by the severity of the crime committed and nothing else. The Level never changes! Is a person who committed a rape at 18, is now 88 with no subsequent offenses still at high risk of reoffending? I don’t think so.


Child sexual abuse/Teenage Suicide Awareness

This was sent to us via the contact form, and posted with the persons permission.

10/20/2011

By Tammie "Rain" Hayes:
Sexually Abused Children with PTSD are among the most under treated, misunderstood & in need. I was among the 15% of child under 12 who was sexually abused & my parents never knew. The art video is meant to educate (family, friends, teachers, law enforcement, clergy etc) what it is like TO BE "That Child" who has been abused, is suffering alone & is contemplating suicide. Most often family members do not know when a loved one is considering Suicide. Art helps PTSD and "Hope" separates life from suicide.


CANADA - Any Suggestions?

This was sent to us via the contact form and posted with permission. We are not legal experts and cannot offer legal advised, but maybe a Canadian lawyer will see this and help, if it's not too late?

11/08/2011

By PT:
I'm sorry to bother you. But I only just came across your website tonight.

I'm hoping you or someone there could help a friend of mine and my late husband.

A really basic idea of what the problem is, is as follows.

  1. In 1998 a friend of my late husband was asked to repair a computer, the computer kept being returned to him into Jan 1999 for further repairs or upgrades, I'm not sure which..
  2. In very early 1999 my husbands friend was arrested on child pornography charges. My husbands friend was originally told by police he was being arrested on theft charges (stolen computer equipment).
  3. The computer it was found on was the computer being repaired, it was not owned by my husbands friend. Our friend gave the police and his lawyer the computer owners name etc, but the police claimed that person did not exist.
  4. When he appeared in court for a bail hearing, bail was set at 1500$, but the lawyer assigned to him told his family and friends his bail was set at 15,000$ cash and one of his friends was told it was 150,000$
  5. When our friend was first arrested he was told it was for "stolen" computer equipment, it wasn't until his first court appearance that he found out what he was really charged with.
  6. The lawyer assigned to him told his family and friends they had a video tape of him getting off a bus in Ajax, Ontario and was going to meet someone and have sex with a 5 year old (didn't say male or female). This lawyer also told his mother he planned to rape her and I was told the same thing.
  7. Although my husband and I tried many times to get him a good lawyer, we were not allowed nor was he allowed to change lawyers.
  8. The crown attorney at the time claimed in court to have signed statements from our friends Mother, Father, sister and brothers, as well as friends. (This is impossible.. Our friends Father died in early 1998 and his sister died in late 1998, and none of his family ever gave the police a statement and none of his friends were even asked to give statements).
  9. On the day of his final court appearance he was told by his lawyer that if he pleaded guilty he would received a 6 month suspended sentence and 6 months probation and after he completed the 6 moth probation, everything would be removed from his record. It was also said that the Judge in the case just wanted to get this over with as fast as possible (My late husband was told the same thing by his lawyer.)
  10. As it turned out he received a total of 18 months and 3 years probation and is now required to register every year for life (This part makes no sense whatsoever).

I won't continue from this point except to say, if I send you a more detailed email, will you please read it and tell me what can be done? Currently the Durham Regional Police are threatening to charge him with the murders of his Father and Sister (BTW, they both died of cancer). There is a reason for this, or atleast we think so, but I won't go into that right now. He has also had to put up with random searches of his house, unannounced visits to not only his current house, but to places he had lived at going all the way back about 30 years.

One Durham Regional Police Officer has even setup Deer Stands in the woods on his property and illegally hunts deer etc. He has reported this many times, only to be threatened with jail (This just happened again on Christmas day 2010)

Again, I hope you can help our friend out in someway, because everyone is at a loss as to what to do.

PT


NC - Talking With Your Kids About Sexual Abuse

Original Article

11/15/2011

By Jonathan Rodriguez

GREENVILLE (WNCT) – How can you protect you kids from sexual abuse?

"One in four girls will be sexually abused by the time she's 18. One in 6 boys,” said Elaine Cabinum-foeller.

They’re scary numbers no one wants to hear.

Cabinum-foeller, from the TEDI-BEAR children's advocacy center, works with the treatment, evaluation, and prevention of child sexual abuse.

She says the key to prevention is talking with your children at an early age.

"You need to start talking to them about what are safe and unsafe touches and what are private parts - private parts are the areas of your body covered by your bathing suit,” she said.

Child development and family relations professor Sandra Triebenbacher agrees.

"2, 3 years old is not too young for children to learn that I have ownership and no one has the right to hurt me or touch me in a way I feel uncomfortable with,” said Triebenbacher

But many parents don't know how to go about talking about things.

Doing it in honest developmentally appropriate terms is necessary because we want the info to come from knowledgeable, trusted adults in their lives,” explained Triebenbacher.

If you child starts to talk to you, listen to them. Let them tell you what their worried about,” Cabinum-foeller said.

They also say be aware of who your child is with.

It’s not the person in the trench coat that we have to worry about it's the person that has begun to build a relationship with that child,” said Triebenbacher.

Minimize the opportunity, the majority of children, 85% or more are abused especially in child sex abuse, by someone they know and trust,” said Cabinum-foeller.

And most importantly keep the lines of communication open.

Knowledge is power and that's what we want for all our children,” said Triebenbacher.

It’s all about building that relationship overtime and letting your children understand that they can come to you if they have questions and you're going to help them figure it out, “ explained Cabinum-foeller.

You can find more tips and information from TEDI-BEAR.


IL - Changes in Sex Offender Laws - Notification

Sent in via the contact form, and posted with permission.

By Anonymous:
As a father of a sex offender, I find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the changing laws. We are currently dealing with my son being arrested for a registration violation that we did not even know about. The inclusion of email on registration. This law in IL went into affect 3 years after my son took a plea bargin agreement and conviction. We now understand the ex post facto issue with Sex Offenders which I feel is unfair. However, is there any requirement by states or jurisdictions to inform sex offenders of law changes and how they affect their registrations? My son registers and follows requirements to the letter and this had never come up with the officers when renewing his registration (Son just goes in and states nothing has changed... he signs and goes on his way). Thoughts or other topics already discussed with this issue? How is a sex offender able to identify (or understand) what the laws are from year to year and know how to apply them? Even the detective who checks on his status from time to time admits he doesn't know the rules and cannot give him any answers. Very frustrated with the system. Thank you for your efforts to those who feel helpless.


Erin’s Law would mandate sex abuse education

Original Article

We are behind this 100%, and is something that should've been done a long time ago.

11/20/2011

By Robert Harding

Erin Merryn (Facebook) is an author, social worker and has legislation with her name on it that she hopes all 50 states will pass.

That legislation — Erin’s Law (Facebook) — will be introduced in New York next year by area state Sen. David Valesky and fellow Sen. Jeff Klein. New York would be the third state to pass the legislation (if it does so next year), behind Merryn’s home state of Illinois and Missouri.

The law, if approved, would alter the curriculum for child abduction in schools to include child sex abuse prevention. The goal of the legislation is to help provide age appropriate education to children to not only help prevent sexual abuse, but also assist those who have been abused to come forward and seek help.

Merryn’s experiences as a child brought her to this point in her life. She was sexually abused twice as a child by two people she knew. This is not unique to Merryn’s case, as statistics show that in more than 90 percent of child sex abuse cases, the victims know the person abusing them.

As a child, Merryn told me that she did not tell anyone she was being abused until her younger sister told her she was being abused by their cousin — the same cousin who was one of the two people to abuse Merryn. Until that point, she would keep the abuse she suffered a secret in a diary, which would later turn into her first book, “Stolen Innocence.”

During the interview with Merryn, which was conducted before the Penn State and Syracuse University child sex abuse allegations made headlines, she stressed the importance of passing Erin’s Law in New York and educating children about child sex abuse.

My mission is to get kids to speak up and make the lives of these sexual predators a lot more difficult to get what they’re trying to get done — to stop them in the process of abusing more kids because so many sexual predators can’t stop after one child,” she said.

Merryn said she receives hundreds, if not thousands, of letters. One she mentioned was sent by a Washington man who is being prosecuted for sexually abusing his daughter. He told Merryn that his behavior went too far and he should have sought help, but that he also supports Erin’s Law and hopes that Merryn’s efforts will help educate parents and teachers about how sex offenders keep their child victims silent and the warning signs of child sex abuse.

It was so intriguing that I’m getting advice from a sex offender on how to protect kids. It’s mind boggling, but it goes to show that I’m even getting feedback from sex offenders who are saying I hope you get this law passed in the state of Washington,” she said.

New York won’t be the only state introducing Erin’s Law in 2012. The legislation will be introduced in at least three other states (Indiana, Minnesota and New Mexico) next year and Merryn said more could introduce the bill.

But she won’t stop there. Her goal is to see every state pass Erin’s Law and, down the road, take her campaign to pass Erin’s Law worldwide.

I’m not going to stop until I get this law passed in all 50 states,” she said. “After that, I know I’ll move onto bigger things such as getting it passed internationally, reaching out to other countries."

I will work on this until the day I die. Nothing will stop me from my passion and my purpose of protecting, empowering and educating kids on this.”


NV - The sex offender next door - Vigilante media out stirring up fear, as usual

Darcy Spears
Original Article

You can watch the video at the link above.

11/21/2011

By Darcy Spears

Las Vegas (KTNV) - The sex offender registry is supposed to help keep us safer by telling us who's living in our neighborhoods.
- No, it's not suppose to keep you safe, it never will, it's just suppose to keep you informed, not be used to hunt down and harass ex-offenders, that's the job of the local police, not the media who is hard up for a story. Also, what about all the other, more dangerous criminals that live around you? Like murderers, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, etc?

But how reliable is a system that relies on criminals to tell the truth about where they live?

Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears hit the streets to find out.

"Um... no cameras, please," says the man in the small apartment as he puts his hand up in front of his face.

"No film!" shouts another man as he slams the door.

Why don't these guys want to be on camera?
- Because you idiots continue to harass them, plaster their faces on the news, just for a story.  It's called privacy, which you apparently haven't heard of.

They're convicted sex offenders trying to hide from their crimes and in some cases, trying to hide where they live from law enforcement.
- You make it sound like all sex offenders are trying to hide, which is disinformation, as usual.  Some disobey the laws because they are draconian.  Did you ever asked why do they disobey the rules?  Of course not.  Some may be doing it to commit more crimes, but I'm sure it's a very low percentage.

"A lot of them feel that they're smarter than us. That they can't get caught," says Officer Van Dyke of Nevada's Department of Public Safety.
- I would not say a lot of them, some yes, but a lot?  Come on, it's pure sensationalism!

Like all states, sex offenders in Nevada are required by law to report where they live.
- Once again, more disinformation.  Not all states require this, and once a person is off probation/parole and have done all their time, many can live where they want, and do not have to tell police where they live, if they are off the registry, so instead of reporting facts, the media blows it out of proportion to hype up the story.

So far this year, Metro has arrested 67 offenders for failing to comply with registration requirements.
- This may be true, but it also shows another thing. The media continually says sex offenders have a high recidivism rate.  If so, why weren't most of these 67 arrested for a new sex crime?  I know many count any crime or technicality as recidivism, but that is why things are so skewed.  If you take into account the commission of another related crime, then the recidivism rate is very low, below 10% in most cases.

"There's a reason these laws are in place," says local realtor and downtown resident Steve Franklin. He signed up for e-mail alerts so he knows when a sex offender moves into the downtown area.
- Yeah, so people can exploit fear, sex offenders for news stories, to help their careers, to sell a product, etc.

"Most of them have been accurate, but every now and then one will come across, I'll check the map and see that a sex offender will claim to live right here in a parking lot."

Steve recently got two e-mails showing sex offenders living at bogus addresses. One in a parking lot on Las Vegas Boulevard and another just down the street at an address that doesn't exist. If it did, it would be right between Walgreen's and Wells Fargo at Charleston and the Strip.

"How can they get away with this? How does this happen?" Franklin asks.

We wondered too. So Contact 13 combed through the sex offender registries for Metro, North Las Vegas and Henderson.
- Really, are you folks really this ignorant?  You are relying on people to be honest, and in most cases, they are, but like all other criminals, some will be dishonest.

Out of nearly 2000 names, we randomly selected 25 tier two and three offenders. Then we hit the streets.

"We're just doing a compliance check," says Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears to a convicted rapist. "That's you, you're here, that's all we needed to know."
- And it's not the vigilante medias job to do "compliance" checks either, it's the job of the police.

Ten of the offenders checked out just fine. But it didn't take us long to find some who didn't.

[name withheld] is registered at a Summerlin address in The Vistas, but the guy who answered the door told us he's not living there now.

"He is at this moment in time in Ely," the man said.
- Yeah, did you ask when he moved?  He could have just moved and hasn't went down to re-register yet, or maybe moved to another state, so of course the registry info will be wrong and out dated.

When you think Ely, you think prison, but Contact 13 confirmed [name withheld] is not behind bars.

"Do you know that this is an invalid address provided to law enforcement?" Spears asked the man at the door. "Because it says this is where he lives currently."
- Come on, you went to verify the man lived there, he does not, so move on.

"I am not answering any more questions," he responded, and slammed the door.
- I don't blame him.  He shouldn't have answered ANY questions.

We notified Metro so they could try to track [name withheld] down and went to find [name withheld], who's been convicted of multiple sex crimes against children.

Darcy: "This man does not live here?"

Woman at door: "No."

Darcy: "What do you think about the fact that this address is listed as the address of a convicted sex offender?"

Woman: "It scares me. I have two boys. I'm home all the time by myself and I don't like the way it is."
- You should have asked, "What do you think of the vigilante media going out doing the job of the police!"

We later found [name withheld] lives at another address across town, which was also listed as his in the registry.
- So he is living where he should.

Back in North Las Vegas, we went looking for [name withheld] who's is guilty of a laundry list of sex crimes against children.

At the address where he's supposed to live, we found a vacant home.

Since we first looked [name withheld] up in the database, his status has changed to non-compliant and authorities are investigating whether he moved to California.

When we checked on [name withheld] in southeast Las Vegas...

Woman who answered door: "I'm not saying anything."
- Good for her.

Darcy: "If he doesn't live here, there's a problem. You don't want to say one way or another?"

She didn't. She just closed the door without another word.
- That is how everyone should handle idiotic reporters trying to do the job of the police.

[name withheld]'s was among nine offender addresses we couldn't confirm either because no one was home, no one would talk or the address was too vague.

"What kind of margin of error is acceptable to you?" Spears asked Steve Franklin.

"It's pretty easy to cross-check this stuff, so really, zero is the number."

On our final visit to North Las Vegas, we find yet another bogus address.

[name withheld] is a convicted child molester. According to the database, we should be able to find him at [address withheld]. Problem is, there is no such address. [address withheld] would be in a nine-acre dirt lot, which just so happens to be right in front of an elementary school.

Metro says they don't statistically track bad addresses, but experience shows offenders give them bogus information about 10 to 15-percent of the time.

In North Las Vegas, Sgt. Tim Bedwell says, "It is not an uncommon thing."

We told him in our sample of 25 we found six addresses that were no good. That's more than 25-percent.

"That is disconcerting, and we'd want those addresses," Bedwell said.

We handed them over so they could investigate.

Sgt. Bedwell says part of the problem with the registry is that many sex offenders are transient or homeless.

Because of that, a new law was passed in the last legislative session requiring them to list a location--even if it's just an intersection.

"And I don't know how you do compliance checks on that," he says in frustration.

Failing to register or giving a bogus address is a felony.

Bottom line, Bedwell says, the registry is not the last line of defense.

"Even if they don't have a sex offender registered on their street, it doesn't mean there isn't a sex offender on their street. Because obviously everybody doesn't get caught, everybody doesn't get prosecuted and everybody doesn't end up in the database. So the protection of children is first and foremost a parent's responsibility, family's responsibility. And they shouldn't get complacent by looking at a list and a map."

Remember the offender who listed a dirt lot as his address? North Las Vegas police tracked him to another address in Henderson and are checking to make sure he's really there.

Tier 3 offenders are checked on quarterly. For Tier Twos it's twice a year.

Law enforcement tries to check every new or changed address within a month of receiving it, and the database is updated on a continuing basis as new information comes in.
- Yes, so you can imagine the nightmare.  But leave it up to the media to make it appear as if all sex offenders are out trying to evade the police, when they are not, or make the police look like they are not doing their job, all for a story.