Saturday, February 9, 2013

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NY - CONFLICT OF INTEREST - New sex offender monitoring law approved by county legislature; DSS trailers to be shut down

Original Article



Legislation establishing a new monitoring and enforcement program for Suffolk's registered sex offenders — ending the use of the trailers in Riverside and Westhampton — sailed through the county legislature Tuesday.

The measure won the unanimous approval of legislators present, in a 15-0 by acclamation, despite the reservations of some lawmakers that the bill, which hadn't been delivered to the legislature in final form until 12:30 that afternoon, had not been properly vetted.

Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) who had fought a losing battle with fellow lawmakers and the Levy administration to get the trailers removed, called the new plan "by far the best opportunity we've had to get the trailers closed down since this nightmare began." He said he believed yesterday's action means the trailers will be closed "in a matter of months."

County Executive Steve Bellone, who last May promised to have the trailers closed by the end of 2012, worked very hard to secure support for the new plan in the legislature, Schneiderman said. But the South Fork legislator, whose district encompasses both the Riverside and Westhampton hamlets where the county department of social services trailers are place, did not expect it to be unanimous. His face lit up with a grin as his colleagues seated around the horseshoe in the crowded legislative auditorium one by one expressed support.

"It's very gratifying after all this time to finally have a solution that's not only promising for the whole county but a big win for the East End," Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said after the vote. Fleming, fellow councilman Chris Nuzzi and Southampton Town Supervisor all attended the meeting and spoke in support of the bill at the hearing.

Riverhead assessor Mason Haas, a Jamesport resident who's been an outspoken opponent of the trailer in Riverside since 2006, also spoke in support of the measure at the hearing. Haas said he was speaking as a representative of the Riverhead Town Board, which had its regular semi-monthly meeting that afternoon in Riverhead and did not make the trip to Hauppauge.

A contingent of Riverhead and Southampton residents filled the auditorium. Many spoke in support of the bill, focusing on its language requiring "no more than one hard to place individual shall be placed at any location and to the extent practicable, clustering in any one community should be avoided."

Civic leaders from other parts of Suffolk asked the legislature to slow down and send the bill to committee for deliberation.

Sandra Thomas of Wheatley Heights complained about the lack of community input and said she believed, despite language about avoiding "clustering" of homeless registered sex offenders, it was unavoidable.

"There are not enough single men's shelters" in the county to have one offender per shelter, as has been discussed, Thomas said. Housing multiple offenders in a single shelter is unavoidable, she said. And minority communities are bound to bear a greater burden, she said.

"Minority communities and comminuties of color that already bear a lot of social ills are going to bear even more," Thomas said.

Alice Cone, of West Babylon, president of Belmont Lake Civic Association, said minority communities "are already overwhelmed with group homes, homeless shelters, and halfway houses...and cannot absorb any more."

Bayview Pines resident Carl Iacone said his "diversified" community of Flanders has "just as many homeless shelters and group homes."

"There is a cluster of sex offenders," Iacone said, "and it's in our neighborhood. Nobody on this board wants them. Nobody sitting in this audience wants them. Yet we've had them for six years," Iacone said. "Don't keep the whole burden on the people in the Flanders area."
- Get rid of the residency restrictions and most of the problem will go a way.  The residency laws are what is creating the clustering in the first place.

The "Community Protection Act" was introduced yesterday by County Executive Steve Bellone, accompanied by a certificate of necessity asking the legislative body to consider it immediately, circumventing the normal legislative committee process.

"The Suffolk County Police Department has crafted the most comprehensive sex offender monitoring, verification and enforcement program in the nation in order to protect our families and this program should be implemented without delay," said the certificate of necessity signed by Deputy County Executive Jonathan Schneider.
- Why is he wanting to quickly push this through bypassing the process?  Maybe to save his own reputation since he made promises years ago to shut them down?

Legislators John M. Kennedy (R-Nesconset) and Rick Montano (D-Brentwood) questioned the need for acting on the measure the same day it was introduced, without review, hearing and vote by the public safety committee. Suffolk Police Chief James Burke and Parents for Megan's Law executive director Laura Ahearn presented the plan to the Public Safety Committee on Thursday, but there was no legislation then pending — or, apparently, even drafted — at the time.

Amol Sinha, director fo the Suffolk Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, during a public hearing , faulted the county for "the harried way this law is being pushed through the legislature," which he said was acting without taking adequate time for deliberation, debate and input from experts in sex offender management. Sinha said the new law is "grounded in misinformation about sexual assault and the context in which such crimes take place."
- Well, they've seen this current president and previous presidents bypass congress and hurry to get things pushed through, and we allow that to happen, so this is a slippery slope, and the more it's allowed, the more it will be used!

"The unfortunate reality is that most sexual violence is committed not by strangers, but by acquaintances and family members, most of whom are committing a crime for the first time. According to the Department of Justice, 85 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim," Sinha said. "The New York Office of Sex Offender Management reports on its website that 94 percent of people arrested for sexual offenses in New York State had no prior conviction. That means that the overwhelming majority of people arrested for sexual crimes in New York are not subject to the types of notification and monitoring that the county is proposing, because they are committing a crime for the first time."

Bill O'Leary, a forensic therapist who works with registered sex offenders under contract with law enforcement agencies, including the departments of parole and probation, made the same argument to legislators during the public hearing. He said he also said the same things to the county executive and police chief.

"What is the number of sex crimes in Suffolk County committed by registered offenders?" O'Leary asked. "I can't get an answer to that." O'Leary said he is not an advocate for registered offenders, but wants to see the county take action to prevent sexual crimes by education and strengthening its child protective services unit, which he said has suffered budget cuts. "If there's money to be spent, that's where the county should spend it."

The bill authorizes a new contract with Parents for Megan's Law, a private nonprofit organization, of up to $900,000 per year for three years.
- This is a major conflict of interest.  This is like letting identity thieves guard peoples identities.

Under the terms of the legislation, the group is to enhance its website and email notification system, improve community reporting of violators, develop a smart phone app for community reporting and make home visits to verify, twice a year, the residence addresses listed in the state registry for all of Suffolk County's registered sex offenders. The group will also compile a database of employment addresses for the county's level 3 offenders.

The bill also requires the group to conduct "community outreach and education" for the purpose of preventing sexual crimes.

NJ - Bill aims to protect evacuees from sex offenders following Paulsboro train derailment

Original Article

Wow, these people are crazy. They seem to think ex-sex offenders are just sitting at home, waiting for some disaster, and then "Hey, a train wreck, let's go molest some people!" It's pure fear mongering and hysteria.


By Rebecca Forand

A bill that will require the state Department of Human Services and other agencies be given access to the state’s sex offender registry when placing homeless and displaced families into emergency shelters such as hotels and motels is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The bill, sponsored by Linda Greenstein, D-14 of Plainsboro, and Fred Madden, D-4 of Washington Township, in the state Senate and John Burzichelli, D-3 of Paulsboro, in the Assembly, addresses a problem first reported on by the South Jersey Times following a train derailment and chemical spill in Paulsboro.

Two articles published in December 2012 and January 2013 highlighted the Doran family, who were evacuated from their home following the Nov. 30 accident.

For two weeks, Del and Danielle Doran, and their two daughters, Paige, 15, and Cassie, 12, were put up in Greenwich Township’s Motel 6 while the accident and chemical spill was cleaned up.

However, a man convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl lives in the Motel 6, and the Doran family was not notified of this when they were sent there for refuge.
- And what do you know, not a single crime was committed!  But hey, let's not let a good disaster go to waste, let's pass more laws to punish ex-sex offenders.

The bill was originally introduced by Burzichelli in January 2012 after a homeless family was placed in a Brooklawn hotel with another registered sex offender residing in the room next door.
- And yet nothing happened!

There should be a better coordinated effort,” Burzichelli said. “If you’re going to put people in temporary housing, at least they’ll be aware enough of their circumstances. It’s a legitimate issue. It’s about public awareness and public safety.”
- It doesn't matter what does or doesn't happen, you should always be cautious of your surroundings, that is a fact of life!

Currently there are still about 1,500 families throughout New Jersey living in hotels or motels following Hurricane Sandy.

This new legislation will require access to the state’s sex offender registry be provided to the Department of Human Services and county and municipal welfare agencies before any emergency placements are made.

Families who are already dealing with the hardships of being evacuated from — or even worse, losing — their homes, should not be worried about who is in the motel room next door and whether their children are safe in their newfound environment,” Madden said in a release Friday. “By providing those agencies that are in charge of placing families into temporary housing with the necessary information to ensure that the area is free from sex offenders, we can ensure the continued safety of our kids. This is common-sense legislation that will close a dangerous loophole in the law.”
- So what are you going to do if you need to place a family, and an ex-sex offender lives there legally?  Tell them to leave?  Yeah, I'm sure that is exactly what you'd do.

Neither of the cases resulted in any danger coming to the evacuated or displaced families, but it is a chance state legislators do not want to take if the situation arises again.
- Yeah, like we said, no need to let a good disaster go to waste!

In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea,” Greenwich Township Police Capt. Lee McGill said of the recent Motel 6 occurrence. “Maybe it would head-off problems.”

The Assembly passed the bill Dec. 3, 2012, and the Senate passed it Thursday. It is now headed to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.

Another Suspicious Statistic from Parents for Megan’s Law

Laura Ahern
Original Article


I have written previously about how the organization, Parents for Megan’s Law, has used distorted and misleading statistics. They have been in the news recently about this. I decided to explore another statistic they have referenced: “The average serial child molester has between 360-380 victims in his lifetime.” The source of that statistic seems to be South Carolina Forcible Sex Crimes. (1999). Summary, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, SC. (That reference is listed at the bottom of the page).

That statement and indicated source is all over the Internet. The trouble comes when you actually try to find the source document. One finds that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division does publish an annual Crime in South Carolina Book in which they report the yearly statistics for various categories. The first year for which this annual compilation is available is indeed 1999. The difficulty deepens when one finds that this document does not have a category for “Forcible Sex Crimes.” It does have a category for rape and a category for “Other Forcible Sex Crimes.” When one looks up that section, there is no “Summary” which includes the statement, “The average serial child molester has between 360-380 victims in his lifetime.” There also is no way to compile such a statistic from the data presented.

NY - County votes to close ex-sex offenders only housing and forcing them back on the streets?

See Also:

WI - Sex Offender Ordinance Impact - Council

And here is another expert who claims the recidivism rate of ex-sex offenders is low, less than 2%, but the media, politicians and organizations continue to spread the lie about high recidivism rates.

See Also:

NY - USA FAIR Calls Suffolk County Contract with Parents for Megan’s Law Government-Sanctioned Vigilantism

Original Article

What the hell is this? Allowing Parents for Megan's Law to be paid to monitor sex offenders? That is a conflict of interest! That is like allowing identity thieves to protect your identity!


USA FAIR, Inc., a national organization founded by family members of former sex offenders, today strongly opposed the proposed contract between Suffolk County, New York and Parents for Megan’s Law, a not-for-profit private organization, to provide monitoring of people required to register with the sex offender registry.

Under the contract, Parents for Megan’s Law would be responsible for monitoring registrants in what Suffolk Police chief James Burke called "the toughest monitoring and enforcement program in the nation" for dealing with the county's more than 1,000 registered sex offenders. The organization would be paid $2.7 million over 3 years.

Suffolk County has every right to implement as tough a program as its legislators desire, so long as it is permissible by law. However, the monitoring of sex offenders has traditionally been a law enforcement function throughout the country. To outsource this important task to a private organization with a history of demonizing the very people they are contracted to monitor is unprecedented and unwise. It amounts to government-sanctioned vigilantism,” said USA FAIR Executive Director Shana Rowan.

According to Rowan, “Parents for Megan’s Law and its Executive Director, Laura Ahearn, have promoted the myth of high sex offender recidivism, a falsehood that is contradicted by every major study, including a landmark study by the U.S. Department of Justice that found that sex offenders actually have one of the lowest re-offense rates of any offender group in the criminal justice system.”

Laura Ahearn has shown herself to be a strident ideologue on sex offender issues, not open to a dialog with the former offender community and their family members. USA FAIR has repeatedly tried to get her to take down misleading statistics form her organization’s website and she has failed to even respond to our requests. Our only conclusion is that the “big lie” of high recidivism serves her agenda and her finances.”

USA FAIR raised particular objections to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s (I-Montauk) desire to see this $2.7 million contract hastily approved today by circumventing the normal committee process, which Rowan called a “rush to judgment without due diligence that will undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences and future lawsuits.”

Rowan concluded, “Law enforcement should be performed by objective and well trained professionals - not issue advocacy ideologues.”

FL - Miami-Dade police officer (Prabhainjana Dwivedi) convicted in lewdness case

Prabhainjana Dwivedi
Original Article



A seven-year Miami-Dade police veteran was found guilty on six of seven counts of depriving people of their civil rights.

A Miami-Dade police officer, who routinely stopped women drivers without cause and engaged in lewd conversations, was convicted in federal court Friday.

Prabhainjana Dwivedi, a seven-year veteran, was found guilty on six of seven counts of depriving people of their civil rights. He was found not guilty on the seventh count involving an undercover police officer.

Following the ruling, U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez immediately remanded Dwivedi back into custody pending sentencing scheduled for sometime in April, according to prosecutor Karen Gilbert. The trial began Monday.

Dwivedi faces up to a year in prison for each count.

A grand jury indicted Dwivedi after he was arrested by FBI agents Sept. 5 at Miami-Dade police headquarters.

Dwivedi, 33, was charged after an investigation into complaints filed for stops made in May and June of 2011 in which he detained “numerous women” for “unreasonable” length of time “without probable cause, reasonable suspicion or other lawful authority to conduct a stop,” a criminal complaint said.

None of the questionable stops were ever listed on his daily reports or called into dispatch.

According to the complaint, Dwivedi who worked overnight patrolling an area from Key Biscayne to Jackson Memorial Hospital, stopped a 24-year-old bartender who was driving from South Beach to Broward County on her way home from work at about 5:30 a.m. on June 25, 2011, in the area of the Golden Glades interchange.

The bartender, identified as M.F., was accused by Dwivedi of driving under the influence. Pleading her innocence, she requested to have a sobriety test performed. Her request was refused.

Noticing a child’s safety seat in the back seat, Dwivedi threatened M.F. that she would lose custody of her son if she were to be arrested on DUI charges, the criminal complaint said. Then the conversation turned sexual.

According to the complaint, Dwivedi, began to inquire about her surgically enhanced breasts and asked “if she had any scars or incisions from the surgery.”

Dwivedi then asked to see the scars. M.F. obeyed, lifting her shirt and exposing her breasts.

According to the complaint written by FBI special agent Susan Funk, “M.F. stated that Dwivedi did not touch her breast.”

Dwivedi then allowed her to drive home, but said he would follow her to make sure she got safely home. Once at M.F.’s residence, Dwivedi said he was thirsty and asked for a glass of water. Once inside her home, he lingered for an hour speaking of his personal life.

In the end, Dwivedi left without ever reporting anything to dispatch or making any notes of the stop in his daily reports, the criminal complaint said.

A month earlier, Dwivedi made another questionable stop.

According to the complaint, Dwivedi stopped a19-year-old woman at 2:20 a.m. on May 27, 2011, on her way home from a nightclub with two friends. The woman, identified, as A.R., was informed the traffic stop was a result of a failure to turn on her headlights.

Dwivedi also claimed she was driving under the influence, but A.R. disputed the accusation.

A.R. was instructed to sit in the back seat of his marked cruiser and then Dwivedi “instructed A.R. to lower the zipper on the front of her dress down past her breasts to her mid-stomach” according to the complaint.

An hour and 20 minutes later, A.R. was on her way home without any citation and Dwivedi again made no mention or note of the stop, the complaint said.

IN - Indianapolis family victim of new online scam that freezes computer, demands ransom

Original Article

Just remember folks, the FBI would never lock your computer via virus and demand a ransom.


By Stephen Dean

INDIANAPOLIS - A southeast Indianapolis family has fallen victim to a growing scam that tries to shame people into paying a “fine to unfreeze their computer.

The warning messages are popping up on frozen computer screens around the globe, appearing to be a message from the FBI. The message claims a fine must be paid in order to have the computer unfrozen.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were called to a family’s home on Thursday night near South Shadeland and East Washington when a 42-year-old man got home to find his computer screen locked up and frozen.

The man told officers his 13-year-old step-son had been surfing online while he and his wife were gone.

A message on the disabled computer screen looked like an official warning that the computer was frozen because someone was caught viewing child pornography, police were told.

The man who called police apparently bought it.

As a registered sex offender himself, he was likely afraid that it was real. Many registered sex offenders are required to report their current addresses and certain other events to law enforcement to avoid getting into more trouble.

However, the message was part of a growing scam that has prompted warnings to be issued by real law enforcement agencies worldwide.

The southeast Indianapolis boy told his folks he wasn’t actually looking at child pornography. He said a pop-up message flashed up on his screen as he was logged onto a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) site.

Many of the messages popping up on computers throughout the country look like they’re coming from the FBI. With scammers constantly in search of ways to scare people to click on links that launch viruses or other malicious software, this latest effort uses the subject of child pornography in hopes that fear or shame will prompt the victim to pay up.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has posted a warning on the front page of its official web site , urging people to “click here” if their computer is frozen with a demand for payment of a fine. The FBI calls it yet another attempt at crossing malicious software with a ransom demand, known as “ransomware.”

Similar tactics were reported last week targeting computer users in Germany. The AARP also warned retirees of the same sort of scam back in August.

This week’s Indianapolis family did not report paying any money to unlock their computer.

The latest “ransomware” effort, just like most other malicious software, is launched when a computer user is somehow convinced to click on a link that launches the program. Once that program is launched, the FBI said, the computer is frozen and the ransom message appears.

Scammers have employed countless tactics to fool people into launching malicious software, sometimes embedding it in popular website features or sending an e-mail that claims a certain link is something that it really isn’t.

In this week’s Indianapolis case, the 13-year-old boy said that he clicked on something on a wrestling site and was suddenly redirected to a pornography site. He said he closed it out without seeing much, but that sequence apparently allowed the malicious software to load and freeze his family’s computer with the ransom message.

The FBI warns that this latest effort encourages victims to log on and send money using Ukash or Moneypak, two online payment services that are difficult to trace.

The FBI advises victims to have the viruses removed by a reputable computer repair professional. The warning goes further, saying that once a victim clicks on links associated with the virus, bank account information and other sensitive data could be compromised long after the initial computer freezing event.