Friday, May 11, 2012
By TERI FIGUEROA
Posting photos of sex offenders on the Internet and lumping all of those convicted of the crimes into one category is probably not keeping anyone safer, according to a member of the California board tasked with managing sex offenders.
The question of how California deals with sex offenders was under scrutiny Thursday, as dozens of professionals from social workers to law enforcement officers met in San Diego for an annual conference offered by the California Coalition on Sexual Offending.
Janet Neeley, a member of the California Sex Offender Management Board, told the attendees that she wants to see a rational way to classify sex offenders based on their risk of committing new sex crimes. San Diego County has a similar management council.
California is one of only four states in the nation that doesn't classify convicted sex offenders into tiers based on assessments of future risk, Neeley said. Under the state's laws, many registered sex offenders, whether their crimes were indecent exposure or sexual battery or rape, face tough restrictions on residency, including a significant provision that they not be allowed to live with 2,000 feet of a school or park.
Two attempts - one in 2011, and one earlier this year - to better classify sex offenders died in the Legislature.
Neeley has drafted tough-on-sex-offenders legislation, and her evolution toward a more nuanced approach to how to handle sex offenders was two decades in the making.
Neeley said she was part of the battle to put sex offenders' information online; California posts the names, and in some cases, the photos and addresses of convicted sex offenders on its Megan's Law website.
"We all assumed posting it would make us safer," Neeley said.
The state lists online the names of about 80 percent of the people on California's sex offender registry. But such postings online have led to more vigilantism against sex offenders, she said.
Neeley is an attorney with the state attorney general's office, but her employer has not taken a position on the issues she addressed to the crowd. She said her comments were her own personal views.
Janice Bellucci, the president of the nonprofit group California Reform Sex Offender Laws, said her organization was concerned that the laws, such as keeping sex offenders from parks, don't keep the public safer. The laws are punitive, she said.
"We need to tell people that the emperor has no clothes," Bellucci said. "This is not protecting us."
View the video at the link above. Education is the key to help your child protect themselves online and off, not fear and hysteria!
By Erica Bryant
CHARLOTTE - Last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigated more than 1,200 sex crimes against children.
- So how many of these "crimes" had someone charged and convicted?
Detectives are getting proactive with a program to try to protect kids.
A video called "Julie's Story" warns children about online sexual predators. Detective David Wright shares the lesson in area schools to prevent students from becoming victims.
“It's definitely a big problem,” Wright said.
CMPD’s Special Victims Unit handles more than 90 child sex crime cases per month, which is more than three a day.
Sometimes officers trace the evidence on the Internet. Criminals using fake profile photos, who lie about their age, troll child-friendly websites to chat.
“They are not just talking to one particular child -- they are talking to several children, so they are just hoping to see who takes the bait,” Wright said. “Then they will want to meet them somewhere.”
Wright also warns parents who use dating websites that if your online profile includes photos of your children, someone may pursue you just to get to them.
But he said people would be shocked to know that most predators are not strangers, but someone you know and trust.
“It might be a cousin, neighbor, mom's boyfriend or dad's girlfriend -- the face of the perpetrator changes but the method remains the same,” Wright said.
He urges parents to talk to children at early ages about good and bad touches and to empower them to respond correctly if something happens.
“If you get messages from someone who talks about inappropriate things, asks about personal things, sexuality and sends you attachments that contain explicit photos, you should tell a trusted adult,” Wright said.
To request an Internet safety presentation for your school or community group, contact CMPD Sgt. Evans at 704-336-2418 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Internet safety, log on to www.netsmartz.org/Parents.
We have a major double standard in this country, well pretty much the world. When a male commits a sex crime against a male or female child, they are seen as an evil pedophile predator, but when a woman does it, it's a "right of passage" or okay? This needs to change! Women can be pedophiles and predators as well.
By Anthony Bellano
The bill concerns sex offenders and those who harbor them
Senate bill S-380 (PDF), which concerns sentencing of sex offenders and persons who harbor them, would require electronic monitoring for certain sex offenders and creates child protection zones, goes before a vote by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday, June 4, Galloway resident Anna Jezycki said at the council meeting on Tuesday night, May 8.
“I spoke with Sen. Donald Norcross last week and he told me it would come before a vote June 4,” Jezycki said. “There’s a couple of (bills) out there, but the one we’re standing behind is coming up for a vote.”
A representative from Sen. Norcross’ office confirmed that the bill is being considered.
Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005. Lunsford was from Florida, and many states have enacted “Jessica’s Law” since. New Jersey is one of the few remaining that have not.
There are currently three bills pending before the New Jersey Senate that would establish the Jessica Lunsford Act in the state.
Jezycki and her CUFFS committee was at the forefront of a strong push to get the Jessica Lunsford Act passed into law in the state. She led an effort to get letters mailed to all the state's municipalities urging them to support the act.
She was disappointed when, in 2009, the State Supreme Court invalidated a law that would allow municipalities to ban sex offenders from living within a designated distance of any school, park, playground, public library or daycare center.
Galloway Township previously had laws in place stating sex offenders can’t live within 2,500 feet of those types of areas, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Since then, Jezycki has been trying to get a form of the Jessica Lunsford Act passed to no avail, and was getting frustrated.
Earlier this year, she confronted representatives from the Ninth Legislative District about the issue. Since then, Galloway Council has reissued the letters.
Norcross became the chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee earlier this year, and when the bill first came to his attention, it stuck out as something he was in favor of. His office credits the efforts of Galloway Councilman Dennis Kleiner, who put his office in touch with Jezycki.
Those involved are happy about the possibility of the vote, but they also know anything can happen between now and June 4.
“I signed 840 papers and sent them out to every legislator and every mayor,” Galloway Mayor Don Purdy said. “If it gets to the floor, I believe it will pass. It would be great to know Galloway and the CUFFS had influence.”
Purdy said if he knows the bill will be voted on, he will make the trip to Trenton.
“It means a lot to the committee, and it would be good for the township to be there,” Purdy said.