Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WI - Green Bay's Sex Offender Ordinance: The 5 Year Review

Original Article


By Matt Smith

Green Bay - In 2007 the Green Bay City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within a vast majority of the city unless approved by the Sex Offender Residence Board.

Meeting monthly, the five-member board determines on a case-by-case basis whether convicted sex offenders should be allowed to live within city limits.

Five years later the effectiveness of that ordinance is being questioned.

"It's not making it any easier on police to find people," Green Bay Police Chief Jim Arts said. "It's not making it any easier on Department of Corrections who's supposed to be supervising for them to supervise their folks, and it's not making it any easier for the community not knowing where these folks are."

The law prohibits sex offenders from freely living within 2,000 of where kids gather -- like schools, parks, or churches -- which encompasses nearly the entire city.

Since offenders must be released in the county where their crime was committed, proponents of the ordinance back when it passed argued the city had become a haven for offenders to live.

"The idea was the State of Wisconsin needed to do something and they weren't," said Brad Hopp, chairman of the board at its inception. "At first we had our learning curves. You have to remember, we were the first city to ever have a board of this type."

According to data from the city, 357 appeals have been heard by the board -- some from offenders appearing multiple times. Of those, the board has approved 225 to live within the city -- 70 of those to a Department of Corrections-run transitional home -- while 132 have been denied.

"There's various reasons why we approve," current chairman Dean Gerondale said. "Whether it's a Romeo and Juliet situation, they've lived in our community for 20 years and have a family and decided to move to a different residence."

Now Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker is reviewing the data and says change could happen very soon -- not because of the offenders who are appearing before the board but those who aren't.

Numbers from the Department of Corrections show a jump in referrals to the Brown County District Attorney's Office for sex offenders who no longer report where they live.

  • 2006: 11 referrals
  • 2007: 14 referrals
  • 2008: 38 referrals
  • 2009: 41 referrals
  • 2010: 43 referrals
  • 2011: 41 referrals

"The major issue is that our office is facing is somehow getting an ordinance in place that the DOC can comply with, that offenders can comply with, that the landlords can comply with," Decker said.

But critics point to the Department of Corrections, accusing the agency of not doing everything to comply with the city's ordinance.

"This is where the issue has come," Gerondale said. "We've denied several people and the DOC officers then are having problems finding a place for them to live, and unfortunately they've gone out and found a place for them to live and approved them in the city of Green Bay and not told us."

Both in statements and interviews to Action 2 News, the Department of Corrections maintains it's "committed" to following all local regulations, adding in a statement that "DOC agents are in a catch-22 situation: allow sex offenders to go homeless and roam in or out of a city, or keep the offenders in stable housing as they pursue ordinance approval so they can be properly tracked and supervised and the public can be protected."

"Are we aware of people that have not been approved?" Department of Corrections Field Supervisor Jed Neuman said. "It has happened, but our responsibility is to instruct them and tell them to get in compliance, and that's what we have done."

A proposal, which will go before the city's Protection and Welfare Committee, is expected at the end of March.

FL - New accusations against former cop (Alysia Flynn) accused of having sex with teen

Alysia Flynn
Original Article


VIERA - The Brevard County Sheriff's Office released a new report on Monday detailing the timeline of 32-year-old Alysia Flynn's arrest for having sex with a teenage boy.

Flynn, a former police officer and mother, faces nearly 100 charges of having sex with the teen, according to the report.

The report showed Flynn thought she was pregnant with the teen's child. It also states that two Viera High School coaches and staff members became suspicious of the relationship months before investigators were contacted.

WFTV uncovered details showing the teen's parents were aware of the relationship for at least one year.

A school parent and two coaches approached investigators with details of the relationship.

"We both talked to people," said the wife of one of the coaches who did not want to be identified. "No, we talked to people at the school."

The coaches claim they informed school officials about the inappropriate relationship last year.

According to the arrest affidavit, one of the school's coaches overheard students discussing Flynn's sexual relationships with members of the football team.

WFTV asked the wife of one of the coaches how the school responded.

"I don't know, I don't know what happened after that," she said.

The Brevard County School District said it immediately contacted law enforcement officers with the information, but that is not mentioned in the arrest affidavit.

The teenager's parents handed the teen's mobile phone over to investigators after Flynn claimed she was pregnant with his baby.

The report shows Flynn's mobile phone contained naked pictures of the teenager. Flynn could also face child pornography charges because of the mobile phone pictures.

FL - Residents voice concern over sex offenders on street

Original Article

Well, they are on the street because the laws passed by the state legislature make it almost impossible to find any place to stay, so this is what you get. If you don't like it, then maybe the residency laws should be deleted?


MIAMI (WSVN) -- Residents of a South Florida neighborhood are expressing their concern in a public forum about the growing number of sex offenders sleeping near their homes.

For the first time, a public forum is discussing the issue of the more than 24 homeless sex offenders living on the streets in vacant lots off of Northeast 79th Street and 10th Avenue.

The meeting at the Steven P. Clark Center in Downtown Miami, Tuesday, allowed residents to publicly voice those concerns.

The noted area is one of the few places in Miami-Dade County where a sex offender can legally reside because it falls under residency restrictions. Sex offenders must be at least 25 feet from locations where children congregate, such as schools, playgrounds and daycares.
- Correction, that is 2,500 feet.

Residents fear the location will turn into a situation similar to that under the Julia Tuttle Causeway two years ago. More than 100 sex offenders used to live under the causeway, most of them in tents without bathroom facilities.
- And it's all due to laws passed on emotions instead of facts.  This will continue to happen until the residency laws are put back to 1,000 feet or removed all together.

The Homeless Trust assisted in moving the sex offenders from under the causeway, only later discovering the new location as a legal place for sex offenders to stay.
- Ron Book used tax payer / grant money to move these people a way from the bridge and into motels / hotels or in other neighborhoods.  And like expected, a month or so later, they were all homeless again, once the fires died down.

Residents in the direct neighborhood want the individuals to move out. "They have grouped together, they just dominate," said resident Pamela O'Riley. "The police are on this street, present everyday."
- And they group together due to the very laws being passed forcing them into certain places around the state that are legal.  Like we said, remove the residency restrictions and most, if not all, of this will go a way.

A solution to the issue has yet to materialize from those who help these people. "The fact of the matter is a lot of people that we placed thought they were going to continue to receive rent subsidies or rental payments forever or for an extended period of time," said Ron Book, Chairman of the Homeless Trust. "We don't do that folks, for anybody."
- I have a solution, which I mentioned above, remove the residency restrictions!

One of the big struggles that the area faces is word-of-mouth from the homeless sex offenders living on the streets, so sex offenders know that it is a place they can legally stay.

The Homeless Trust plans to meet with County commissioners later this month to discuss possible solutions.

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NJ - Need to pass just one sex offender bill

Original Article

It will cost more to enforce the draconian laws then to accept the lose of grants and implement something more fair for everyone.


By Joan Quigley

The first statistic is so heart-stopping that many of us never absorb the second one, even though it is worse. One, 70 percent of forcible sex assaults are against children. Two, almost 95 percent were assaulted by relatives, baby-sitters, teachers, or persons in their own household.

Yet parents most fear the sinister stranger. We nag youngsters to beware the unknown guy offering a ride or promising to show the cute puppy in the basement.

Those fears are not unreasonable. Abductions like those of Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart are seared into our collective consciousness. And the sad tale of Megan Kanka, who was lured, raped and killed by a neighbor, makes everyone want to do something, anything, to keep evil people from harming our kids.

Thus it is not surprising there are 29 bills in the Legislature designed to make sure sex offenders can't get close to them.

Despite the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling in 2009 that residency restrictions are not permitted under Megan's Law, new bills would mandate that sex offenders could not live near schools, child care centers, playgrounds, or school bus stops and could not get certain jobs, including selling ice cream from a truck.

Although well intended, these bills would deny sex offenders the right to return home to their families, attend school, and engage in normal social behavior. Rigid redlining of areas near schools, community centers and churches is meant to force them into isolated areas.

The bills' sponsors are engaging in a bit of wishful thinking, ignoring the fact that sex offenders own cars, take buses, eat in fast-food joints, and move around wherever they want. We should learn from the experience of creating drug-free school zones, which may have seemed comforting but certainly did not end drug dealing near schools.

Now don't get me wrong. I do not favor allowing sex offenders' unrestricted access to anything. I believe they should be severely punished and then monitored by law enforcement, avoided by neighbors, and kept on a very short leash by friends and family. And I believe the Legislature should quickly pass Assembly Bill 764 (PDF), the Adam Walsh Act, to bring New Jersey into line with federal sex offender regulations.

Although New Jersey created the first sex-offender registry, other states enacted slightly different laws, unintentionally enabling offenders to slip through the cracks. So in 2001 Congress set up a federal registry and uniform rules.

Megan's Law was not designed to supervise freed sex offenders, only to tell us their whereabouts. Offenders are tiered according to estimated risk. Some are considered so dangerous they must be kept confined. Others who are paroled must report regularly to supervisors, but some are simply released when they have served their time.

Risk assessment in New Jersey takes into consideration 13 different items, some quite subjective. The federal ranking system is simpler, works faster and is harsher. It adds more sex crimes and tiers offenders at the time of conviction by the kind of crime committed. It provides for Internet and email notifications, quicker and cheaper than postal and in-person notifications. It requires more frequent check-ins by offenders and increases penalties for not reporting regularly.

If our state does not adopt A764 and its Senate companion, we risk losing Byrne grant funding, so we must act soon. Meanwhile, the State Police maintain a website listing all sex offenders in New Jersey who are considered dangerous to some degree. Check it out, but remember the creepy stranger may not be the biggest threat to your child's safety.

LA - Sex claims against ex-Louisiana trooper (Jay Sandifer) aired in Alexandria courtroom

Jay Sandifer
Original Article


By Billy Gunn

State and parish investigators said Thursday that Jay Sandifer lay in bed naked with a clothed 5-year-old girl who touched his private parts, just a slice of testimony in a federal court hearing in which prosecutors are trying to increase the prison sentence for the ex-Louisiana State Police trooper.

Sandifer pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria in October to one count of receiving Internet child pornography, which was found on his personal and work computers.

The hearing was a prelude to federal Judge Dee Drell meting out a sentence that maxes out at 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. But federal sentencing guidelines for the Internet crime would be far less than 20 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Campbell said the testimony, all from parish-level investigations in LaSalle and Concordia, was presented to "establish a pattern of exploitation" of young girls by Sandifer to increase the sentence.

Sandifer is scheduled to take the witness stand today before Drell rules on how long he will be in prison.

Sandifer, 41, still faces state charges in LaSalle, Concordia and Franklin parishes. From 1998 until he was indicted in 2010, Sandifer is alleged to have had inappropriate contact with at least three girls ages 5 to 13 and had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female.

Besides being in bed with an unclothed Sandifer, the 5-year-old girl from LaSalle Parish told sheriff's Detective Connie Zeagler that Sandifer also took a bath with the girl, Zeagler said.

"She sat on his legs", Zeagler said. "She described that they were facing each other."

Medical examination of the girl showed there had been no intercourse, Zeagler said.

Zeagler said the girl told her that she and Sandifer had a name for his genitals -- "a goober."

Sandifer also had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who baby-sat for Sandifer, who told the teen that "he would be gentle" for her first sexual experience, Zeagler testified.

"She said they had sex three or four, four or five times," Zeagler said.

Sandifer still faces three state charges in LaSalle -- indecent behavior with a minor in the alleged contact with the 5-year-old, and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in the case of the 16-year-old. Zeagler also said there is an "open investigation" dating to the late 1990s in which Sandifer allegedly had inappropriate contact with a girl when she was 11 to 13 years old.

George Higgins, who is Sandifer's attorney, noted that the girl told investigators that Sandifer was asleep when she touched him.

Zeagler also acknowledged that at one interview, the 5-year-old denied what she'd told investigators in earlier interviews.

State Police investigator Melissa Welch, who investigates sex crimes against children, said Sandifer displayed a pattern with young girls.

"One of the things that stood out was (Sandifer's) 'accidental showing' of his penis" to girls while he was alone with them, Welch said, and he often did stretching exercises in loose-fitting shorts or boxer drawers when alone with one.

Other patterns: "The ages of the victims decreased in age" over the years, and Sandifer was friends with the girls' families, Welch said.

When the news of Sandifer's arrest and indictment was reported by newspapers and television stations, Welch said, for a while she received two to three calls a week from people who claimed to have information or claims of further crimes.

"It opened a can of worms," Welch said.

Higgins called eight witnesses in Sandifer's defense, including two sisters who had sexual relationships with Sandifer, who is married and has several ex-wives.

One witness, a 14-year-old girl, denied allegations that Sandifer exposed himself to her while on a boating trip with others.

"He didn't do nothing," she said.