Thursday, December 1, 2011

AUSTRALIA - Public sex offender register passes Parliament

Original Article

12/01/2011

By Courtney Trenwith

The public will have access to the details of serious sex offenders after bi-partisan support saw the government's proposed register pass State Parliament's lower house.

The Labor Party agreed to support the bill out of fear it would be branded weak on sex offenders but said it fell short of offering adequate protection for children.
- We have people passing draconian laws that won't work, simply because they don't want to look "soft on crime?"

The online register will include three tiers.

Sex offenders who have gone underground will have their photograph, date of birth, physical description, name and known aliases published in what will be known as tier one.

Tier two would make the public aware of repeat or highly dangerous sex offenders in their area by making photographs available of those living in their postcode and adjoining postcodes.

Offenders will receive 21 days' notice that their image and location will be made available on the website, and can lodge an objection with the police commissioner.

Tier three will allow guardians to request information about a specific person who has access to their child at least three days per year.

Applicants must provide their full details, the identity of the person of interest and the level of contact that person has with the child.

Opposition police spokeswoman Margaret Quirk said Labor still had numerous reservations about the register, most notably that it would send WA sex offenders interstate, while those who committed offences elsewhere would not be subject to the same scrutiny.

"[There's] strong suggestion that other states will no longer share information of offenders moving interstate with us, so potentially you could have sex offenders moving [without knowing]," Ms Quirk said.

"[Instead of] increasing community safety it could in fact compound the existing problem."

Ms Quirk said the notion was not fanciful. When NSW became the first state to introduce similar legislation it saw an exodus of paedophiles to Queensland.
- Once again we have an article talking about sex offenders in general, but Ms. Quirk seems to think all sex offenders are pedophiles.  That would be like me saying, "All Politicians are corrupt, evil, egomaniacs, who would do anything to further their own careers and paycheck," which is of course not true

"The whole system breaks down if that is allowed to occur," she said.

Opposition spokesman on legal affairs John Quigley claimed the register would have minimal effect because it would only apply to 2 per cent of the state's 2500 sex offenders.

He emphasised that Labor viewed the register as only one step in an incremental development of laws to protect children.

Member for Armadale Tony Buti said while he supported the register, increasing the reporting rate would have greater impact.

"Unless we improve the reporting rate this legislation is going to have minimal effect," he said.

"We need to provide comfort to child victims that they will be supported by the state."

Police Minister Rob Johnson has said safeguards, such as records of people accessing the website and strict penalties if information is misused, would be in place to ensure the register was used appropriately.
- I highly doubt that.

The legislation is expected to be passed by the upper house next year.


MI - If the blinds were open, was it a crime to look?

Original Article

12/01/2011

By Brian Dickerson

Can you be a peeping Tom without leaving your own house?

Dr. Howard Weinblatt is about to find out.

Weinblatt is a 65-year-old Ann Arbor pediatrician whose life, until last week, was unblemished by allegations of criminal or ethical wrongdoing of any kind.

But on Tuesday, the Free Press and other news organizations reported that the Washtenaw County prosecuting attorney had accused Weinblatt of watching through a window as a 12-year-old girl undressed.

I happened to be on the phone with my wife when the news of Weinblatt's arrest appeared on my computer screen, and I read her the first couple of paragraphs of the story.

"Creep," she muttered.

And what parent wouldn't second that emotion, armed with the same cursory facts? We have a 10-year-old daughter of our own. And the image that conjured itself in my wife's head, and my own, was of a depraved old man lurking in bushes outside his victim's house, his silhouette invisible against the darkness as she prepared to bathe or go to sleep in her brightly illuminated room.

Except that Weinblatt apparently wasn't in anyone's bushes on the four occasions last month when he is alleged to have "surveilled an unclothed person," a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. He was in his own home looking out his own window and into a window of his neighbor's house.

And if merely looking into somebody's house from somewhere outside the owner's property is a crime, then it's one I (and every other man who ever walked a dog, went for a bike ride, or slipped out for a smoke after dark) have committed, probably more than once.

Where's the beef?

I know what you're thinking: Surely there's more to the Weinblatt case than that. And I and a lot of other dog owners certainly hope you're right.

But neither the Washtenaw prosecutor's office nor the Ann Arbor police are saying much about the case beyond the boilerplate criminal complaint prosecutors issued last week.

On Wednesday, I asked Washtenaw Prosecutor Brian Mackie's spokesman, Steve Hiller, to confirm that Weinblatt was being charged for surveilling that took place from his own home, without the aid of a telescope, binoculars, or a still or video camera.

"We don't want to comment beyond what we say in the complaint," he said.

Well, I continued, where does the complaint say the defendant was standing when he allegedly spied on his neighbor?

"It doesn't," Hiller said. (Mackie didn't respond to my voicemail seeking elucidation of this cryptic response.)

Larry Margolis, an Ann Arbor lawyer retained by Weinblatt, insisted in an e-mail that all the prosecutor's allegations "are limited solely to conduct allegedly occurring within the confines of his personal residence." Nor, he added, has anyone asserted that his client used a scope or camera to spy on his neighbor.

A new frontier?

Neither Margolis nor Mackie's spokesman could cite a previous case in which an alleged peeping Tom was successfully prosecuted for taking in the view from his own house. "We're researching that very question," Margolis said.

Not that any of this matters much: How many people are going to lead their children into the examination room of a pediatrician who has been charged with ogling naked little girls, even if those allegations are ultimately debunked, reduced or abandoned?

Still, it seems preposterous on its face to suggest a man should or could go to prison for watching anything that unfolds in the next door neighbor's window, absent some evidence that he choreographed it himself.

Although, just to be on the safe side, I'm going to talk to the dog about walking herself.


WI - Investigate Grant County Wisconsin D.A. Lisa Riniker


Click the image to view the petition


OH - Mike DeWine cites link between viewing child pornography and molestation cases

Mike DeWine
Original Article

Please see the comments about this article posted by eAdvocate, here.  This man appears to think he's an expert on the issue, well, he's not!  It's just more of the usual show-boating in knee-jerk fashion after a scandal is turned into a circus, like most other things in politics.  We have included the most recent videos about his insanity, at the end of this post.

11/18/2011

There is no category of crimes more revolting to most people than sexual crimes committed against children.

In the wake of the Penn State scandal, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rolled out a new "Crimes Against Children" initiative on Nov. 18 targeting Internet predators who trade child pornography or actually molest or attempt to molest children.

Flanked by police chiefs and prosecutors (in grandstanding fashion), DeWine announced that he was dedicating a new 15-person unit to focus on stopping crimes against children (Like the war on drugs, it won't ever happen). The unit would be part of the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is run by his office. Attempting to demonstrate the prevalence of the crimes in today’s society, DeWine focused on the link between viewers of child pornography and the actual molestation of children.

"At a minimum, 40 percent of those who view child pornography end up molesting children as a result," DeWine said. "At least 40 percent, some estimates as high as 80 percent."
- So, I wonder where he got these "statistics" from?  Or did he make them up and expect everyone to just take him at face value?  I am not saying they are right or wrong, but I'd like to see the actual study, how it was done, etc.

PolitiFact Ohio was struck by the relatively high percentage cited by DeWine and the cause and effect he said exists between viewing child porn and committing physical acts of sexual contact against children. Could four in 10 people who viewed child porn really be committing sexual acts against children?

We turned first to DeWine’s office for some supporting evidence, who quickly e-mailed us a pair of studies said to back up his claim.

The first study, entitled "A Profile of Pedophilia: Definition, Characteristics of Offenders, Recidivism, Treatment Outcomes, and Forensic Issues (PDF)", is from doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

It states that 30 to 80 percent of arrested individuals who viewed child pornography and 76 percent of individuals who were arrested for Internet child pornography had molested a child, according to studies and case reports. The study quotes from a November 2004 article from the American Prosecutors Research Institute called "From Fantasy to Reality: The Link Between Viewing Child Pornography and Molesting Children (PDF)" written by Candice Kim. It also apparently references a 2000 study of sex offender inmates in a Federal Bureau of Prisons program.

Kim’s report cites a U.S. Postal Inspection Service finding that 80 percent of purchasers of child pornography are active abusers and nearly 40 percent of the child pornographers investigated over several years have sexually molested children. A footnote indicates the statement is taken from the 2002 testimony Ernie Allen, director of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, when he appeared before a congressional committee.
- Ernie Allen is not an expert on these issues, as much as he might like to be called.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service made 1,807 child porn arrests from January 1997 to March 2004 which netted 620 "confirmed child molesters," the article states. That is a child molestor rate of 34.3 percent, according to the statistic provided by U.S. Postal Inspection Service Agent Ray Smith during a 2004 interview with Kim.

Other statistics found in the report include a Pennsylvania-based law enforcement task force reporting that 51 percent of individuals arrested for pornography-related offense were also determined to be actively molesting children or to have molested in the past. In Dallas, a similar task force put that figure at 31 percent. The original source of those statements was again Allen’s 2002 congressional testimony.
- Once again, he's not an expert!  This is the same kind of BS others do as well.  One person says something, and others take it as fact and continue to spread the lie.

The other study cited by DeWine’s office is a 2005 study funded by a congressional grant to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In that study of 1,713 people arrested nationwide for child pornography in a one-year period from July 2000 to July 2001, 40 percent were "dual offenders" who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography with both crimes discovered in the same investigation.

So what are all these studies saying?

They are saying there is a link between those arrested by various state and federal law enforcement agencies for child porn possession and acts of molestation of children by this same group of people.

What they do not say, though, is that the link exists for the entire group of people that views child porn and whether those people molest children.

As the 2005 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children report puts it "we do not know if these child porn possessors were representative of all Internet-related child porn possessors."

Furthermore, that report states that there is no known evidence supporting cause and effect -- that simply possessing child pornography encourages or causes child victimization. There has been no study of this issue.

"Knowing a considerable number of dual offenders were discovered during investigations of Internet-related, child-sexual victimization and child porn possession cases does not explain how possessing child pornography is related to child victimization or whether it encourages or causes such victimization," states the report. "We do not have data to determine this."

Later, the report states as to whether the child porn viewing is done before the molesting "we had no information about the sequencing of crimes committed by dual offenders."

Meanwhile, a 2000 study done by psychologists working with prisoners in the Federal Bureau of Prisons sex offender treatment program found that 76 percent of inmates charged with child pornography crimes admitted to having committed contact sex crimes. That study was followed up in 2009 by a similar study which found that 85 percent of 155 convicted sex offenders had committed at least one "hands on sexual offense."

However, a paper prepared by one of the primary authors of both studies, Andres Hernandez, stresses not to apply the statistics of those convicted of child porn possession to the larger "unknown" population of child porn users.

"The number of individuals who are apprehended by law enforcement for committing child porn offenses represents a small proportion of the population of individuals collecting, trading and producing child pornography worldwide," Hernandez writes. "Some individuals have misused the results (of the two studies) to fuel the argument that the majority of child porn offenders are indeed contact sexual offenders and, therefore, dangerous predators. This is simply not supported by the scientific evidence."

Said Hernandez’s paper: "Some individuals in law enforcement are tempted to rely on a biased interpretation of our study...to prove that the majority of child porn offenders are child molestors."

Hernandez’s paper also notes something not reported in this 2009 study — that a 42-person sample of the prisoners were asked questions about when they began possessing child porn compared to when they began committing contact sexual crimes.

"The vast majority of our subjects indicated they committed hands-on abuse prior to seeking child pornography via the Internet," he writes. "The results indicated that in 41 of 42 cases examined hands-on sexual crimes preceded child porn offenses."

So where are we left as we bid this abhorrent subject goodbye?

At a news conference promoting a crackdown on sexual crimes against children, DeWine made statements stating that "at a minimum 40 percent of those who view child pornography end up molesting children as a result."

Molestation crimes are horrific. And while DeWine’s statement is overly broad, it does contain an element of truth: that people who commit acts of child molestation also often view child pornography.

His statements are based on studies which are all of those arrested for child porn offenses and range from a 31 percent child molester rate up to 85 percent, depending on the study.

However, several of the authors of those studies caution that the numbers should not be generalized to the bigger universe of all people who have viewed child porn -- those who have been arrested and those who have not. And that’s exactly what DeWine did.

And researchers caution that there is no evidence that the molesting of children by those possessing child porn takes place as a result of viewing the child porn, a claim made by DeWine. Quite to the contrary, study of this cause-effect relationship we found suggests that nearly all offenders committed acts of molestation prior to looking at child porn.

Those are critical facts that would give a different impression of DeWine’s claim.

On the Truth-O-Meter, his claim rates Mostly False.