Saturday, December 15, 2012

IA - Here we go again! A sick individual kills some kids, and the parents want all ex-sex offenders to pay for it?

Original Article

12/13/2012

By Sharyn Jackson

Elizabeth Collins' younger sibling wanted to visited sister in heaven

When Callie Collins learned her big sister Elizabeth had died, the 4-year-old wanted to visit Elizabeth in heaven, the parents of the siblings said today during a news conference.

At first, she thought you go visit heaven,” said Heather Collins, the girls’ mother. “We explained, no, unless you die, you don’t go visit heaven.

So Callie talks to Elizabeth instead, Heather said. “She’ll look up to the sky and just talk.”

Heather and Drew Collins spoke to media before a celebration of life service for Elizabeth, who with her cousin, Lyric Cook-Morrissey, disappeared on July 13. The bodies of Elizabeth, then 8, and Lyric, then 10, were found last week in a secluded area of Seven Bridges Nature Area, a Bremer County park about 25 miles north of from where the girls went missing.

During the 20-minute press conference, the grieving parents discussed how they have handled the disappearance and death of their daughter; how they feel about today’s memorial; and what they will do next.

Since Elizabeth’s disappearance, her siblings have all been in counseling, Heather said. The couple’s 7-year-old daughter, Amber, draws angels. “They’re handling it the best they can,” Heather said.

The Life and Love Celebration today includes a visitation, followed by a service. “I’ve planned a lot of parties,” Heather said. “This is the most important one I’ve ever planned.” She said she started going through Elizabeth’s baby clothes and other memorabilia last week, things she had kept even though Drew told her it was “crazy.”

Looking at relics of Elizabeth’s life broke Heather’s heart, she said. “She’ll never have a chance to walk down the aisle. Never have a family of her own. It’s heartbreaking.”

The celebration will be in place of a funeral, Drew said, adding that the family will hold a private burial at a later date.

This would be the way she would want us to celebrate her life instead of any other way,” Drew said.

On Monday, the couple will head to Des Moines to meet with Gov. Terry Branstad to talk about reinstating the death penalty in Iowa, and to seek stricter punishments for sex offenders.
- I've looked around, but I do not see anything that says who killed this child, and if sex was involved.  This article says the father suspects a sex offender did it, but that is only his opinion and not the facts. It sounds to me like a murder, so why punish ex-sex offenders for murder?  That is like punishing all DUI offenders for someone murdering someone.

Drew Collins told reporters that if there had been a death penalty, perhaps Elizabeth and Lyric's killer would have let them go.

"You get life in prison if you kidnap someone and you get life in prison if you murder someone in Iowa,” Drew said. “There was no reason to let (Elizabeth and Lyric) live.”

The family has stated that they forgive Elizabeth’s killer, but they still want the perpetrator to face punishment.
- I think everybody would like whomever did this to face punishment, but wanting to punish ex-sex offenders just because you "suspect" a known sex offender did it, is absurd!

I can forgive someone and Heather can forgive someone but they still have to meet justice,” Drew Collins said. “One doesn’t have anything to do with the other. They have to be punished for what they’ve done.”

It’s just not fair that they can take a life and they can sit in prison and they can live the rest of their lives out and their families get to go see them. We don’t get to go visit our daughter. She’s gone.”


MO - Former sheriff's detective (Scott Edwards) sentenced in sex abuse case

Original Article

12/14/2012

By Jennifer Mann

ST. LOUIS - A former detective with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department was sentenced Friday to ten years in federal prison for violating the constitutional rights of five women by sexually abusing them while they participated in a drug court program.

Scott Edwards, 50, of Troy, Mo., pleaded guilty in July to three felony counts and two misdemeanor counts in the case, which was brought in federal court in St. Louis.

Edwards had served as a "tracker" for the county's drug court until he resigned in December 2010.

While Edwards was on and off duty, he engaged in sexual acts with five female drug court participants, according to prosecutors. It resulted in bodily injury to some of the victims, and included aggravated sexual abuse and sexual contact.

A lawyer who represented the victims in drug court previously said Edwards would use drug court money to pay to have some of the women stay in hotels so he would have easier access to them, and that he threatened the women with jail time if they did not have sex with him.

The crimes occurred from February 2009 through November 2010, prosecutors said.

Four of the women have since sued Edwards and the county in federal court.


CA - Why We Fight to Keep Registered Sex Offenders Online

Original Article

12/14/2012

By Hanni Fakhoury

Believing that human trafficking is worsened by the internet’s anonymity, the sponsors of California’s Proposition 35 thought they had a simple solution to combatting the problem: require convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders. Then require all individuals on California’s sex offender registry to disclose their online identities and service providers.

The measure passed in the November election with 81 percent voter approval. This isn’t surprising, since Prop. 35 also increases criminal penalties for trafficking, uses criminal fines to fund victim services organizations, and mandates more law-enforcement training on human trafficking. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California sued, challenging the constitutionality of the reporting requirements – and this Monday, a federal court will hear arguments about whether it should continue to block the measure’s implementation.

Because in its zeal to restrict free speech online for some, Prop. 35 actually restricts free speech for all.

In a way, making the legal arguments is going to be the easy part. The harder battle is convincing the hearts and minds of those who aren’t on the California sex offender registry to understand the implications of passing such laws. Especially if people believe that the EFF and ACLU, in fighting this measure, are defending pedophiles.

Challenging Prop. 35 isn’t about defending “pedophiles” – not everyone on the registry is a pedophile, let alone a sex trafficker. More importantly, challenging Prop. 35 is really about defending free speech online.

The government needs to keep its hands off internet speech, allowing the web to remain a place where ideas and expression can flow freely. Anonymous speech is an important First Amendment right, and has always been a way to promote a robust exchange of ideas – allowing people to speak their minds freely without worry about retaliation or societal isolation.


Judge bars Static-99R risk tool from SVP trial

Original Article

12/14/2012

By Karen Franklin

Developers staunchly refused requests to turn over data

For several years now, the developers of the most widely used sex offender risk assessment tool in the world have refused to share their data with independent researchers and statisticians seeking to cross-check the instrument's methodology.

Now, a Wisconsin judge has ordered the influential Static-99R instrument excluded from a sexually violent predator (SVP) trial, on the grounds that failure to release the data violates a respondent's legal right to due process.

The ruling may be the first time that the Static-99R has been excluded altogether from court. At least one prior court, in New Hampshire, barred an experimental method (PDF) that is currently popular among government evaluators, in which Static-99R risk estimates are artificially inflated by comparing sex offenders to a specially selected "high-risk" sub-group, a procedure that has not been empirically validated in any published research.