Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Dad Is A Sex Offender (Huffpost Live)

Video Description:
02/20/2013 : Source : Registered sex offenders are forced to live years of public embarrassment and scrutiny, but they aren't the only ones punished. The wives and children pay as well.

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IN - Allen County considers fees for sex offenders

Original Article

02/20/2013

By Kevin Leininger

Money would help pay cost of maintaining registry

Sex offenders living in Allen County could soon pay for their crimes in more ways than one.

The Allen County Commissioners on Friday are expected to consider an ordinance that would require sex offenders to pay an annual $50 registration fee, most of which would be used to offset the cost of maintaining the county's registry of sexual and violent offenders. A $5 fee would also be imposed each time an offender changes address.

Had the fees been in place last year, the county would have received about $21,000, according to Sheriff Ken Fries.

As The News-Sentinel reported in 2009, county police are unable to track the whereabouts of the hundreds of registered sex offenders living here. At the time, there were about 650 such offenders who, because of multiple moves, produced 1,794 addresses. But police were able to verify only 1,127 of those addresses, in part because the number of offenders living in the county had increased 26 percent in the previous three years.

About 440 registered offenders live in Allen County now, Fries said. State law requires police to maintain up-to-date photographs and addresses of registered offenders, which are also included on a registry open to public scrutiny. Offenders whose whereabouts are unknown could pose a threat to the public, police say.

Ninety percent of the money collected under the ordinance would go to the county's sex and violent offender administration fund. The remainder would go to a similar state fund. Offenders who fail to pay could face a fine of $100 plus court costs.

Commissioner Therese Brown said the proposal is also in response to concerns expressed by some County Council members last year that the Sheriff's Department had requested $1.6 million more than originally budgeted but was not doing everything possible to generate additional revenues.

"This should have been done a long time ago. That's why I went to the county attorney (to request it)," Fries said. "Anything that brings in revenue helps." Adoption of local sex-registry fees was authorized by the state four years ago, Brown said.

Although many recently released offenders have little money, Fries said no exceptions will be made for inability to pay the fees. "We might give them a week or two, but they might have to ask their families or others for help," he added.
- No exceptions?  What about those who are homeless and broke due to your unconstitutional laws?  If this is true, then you can expect to see a lot more people winding up back behind bars because they cannot afford the extortion fee.


NY - WOW! - USA Fair fund raiser for litigation against New York's e-STOP law

Yesterday, USA FAIR sent out an email looking to raise $2,500 by March 1st to fund our pending litigation against New York State's eStop law, which restricts law abiding former offenders from accessing social networks.

To our immense excitement and gratitude, in less than 24 hours, as of the sending of this email, we have raised $1,990 - leaving us just $510 short!

If you haven't made a pledge yet, could you step up now and help put us over the top? You can do so by clicking HERE.

The sooner we have the $2,500 retainer the sooner we can file the case. And if we already reached our goal by the time you go online, please still give to help cover the additional expenses such as court filing fees, printing expenses, etc.

We are planning our first major press conference on the day we file and we'll give you advance notice before it happens.

A thousand thanks - or 2,500 thanks to be exact!

Shana Rowan
Executive Director

http://www.usafair.org


MN - Violence Inside State Sex Offender Program Could Mean Prison Transfer

Original Article

02/20/2013

By Nick Winkler

State lawmakers are now looking to punish sex offenders who are convicted of felonies while in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP).

Lawmakers tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS civilly committed sex offenders are assaulting program staff members, sexually assaulting one another, and making terroristic threats.

They also tell us the Department of Human Services referred more than 50 cases at the MSOP Moose Lake facility for criminal prosecution in 2012.

However, public defenders say the problems run even deeper.

Lawmakers say data provided by public defenders reveal MSOP patients are committing between 17-22 felonies each month. Right now, those convicted simply remain at MSOP.

That may soon change though.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, (DFL) Brooklyn Center, is sponsoring a bill that would send civilly committed sex offenders who commit felonies at the MSOP to prison. After offenders complete their prison sentences, the Department of Corrections would send the offender back to the MSOP.
- Come on!  Why is another law needed for this?  A crime is a crime, and if they commit a crime, they should be arrested and sent to jail to await a trial like anybody else who commits a crime, it shouldn't matter if they are in civil commitment, jail or prison!  This, in our opinion, is just a way for a politician to put their name on something to make themselves look "tough!"

Hilstrom says if the bill becomes law it could save taxpayers millions of dollars since it is so much cheaper to house people in state prisons (approximately $85/day) rather than the sex offender program (approximately $350/day).

Hilstrom says several influential republicans support the bill which will be introduced Wednesday.

News of violent felonies being committed at MSOP comes as the state considers whether to release civilly committed sex offenders to less secure facilities around the state.


CANADA - The sex offender in your neighbourhood

Original Article

It's a fact that publishing personal information online is always abused and vigilantism is a major problem with the online sex offender list, but the media continues to ignore it!

02/20/2013

By Dan Dakin

ST. CATHARINES - “It’s not the people on the registry that worry me, it’s the ones we haven’t caught yet,” said Det. Const. Stephen Canton.

That’s his answer to comments from people who say the locations of registered sex offenders in Niagara should be made public.

For the past eight years, Canton has been the man behind the Niagara Regional Police sex offender registry.

There are currently 290 people on the list. Their names, addresses and crimes all remain confidential.

Is there a sex offender living in your subdivision?

Canton said the answer is most likely yes.

I get calls with people asking, ‘Is there a sex offender in my neighbourhood?’ I tell them, ‘They’re in every neighbourhood,’” Canton said.

One of the reasons the list isn’t public is to curtail vigilante justice. But some feel that’s backward thinking.

They shouldn’t worry so much about protecting the offenders as protecting the children,” said a woman whose daughter was the victim of a sex crime at the hands of a previously convicted sex offender.
- The online hit-list doesn't just put the ex-offenders life in danger, it also puts their family and childrens lives in danger.

Christopher’s Law

On April 23, 2001 Christopher’s Law was proclaimed, making Ontario the first province in Canada to have a sex offender registry.

It’s named for Christopher Stephenson, who was 11 years old when he was abducted from a mall in Brampton on Father’s Day weekend in 1988 by a convicted child molester, sexually assaulted and murdered.

A five-month inquest into the boy’s death resulted in the creation of both the provincial and a national sex offender registry. In Niagara, the registry had existed for three years before Canton took over running it in 2004. Since then, he has processed hundreds of convicted sex offenders.

The Awkward Room

When a person is convicted of committing a sex crime, they are automatically placed on Ontario’s Sex Offender Registry, and if they live in Niagara they must report to Canton at NRP headquarters in St. Catharines.

They’re photographed, then interviewed by the 35-year veteran inside a nondescript two-metre by three-metre room in the basement of the NRP building at 68 Church St.

It’s a grim place that Canton calls his office — three chairs, a small desk with a computer and a printer; a shelf with a few books and binders and a single 8.5 x 11 Christopher’s Law poster.

There’s also a well-worn police baton, hanging from a door handle. It dates back to Canton’s days on foot patrol and only adds to the ominous nature of the room.

He calls it the awkward room, because family members who accompany the offenders to the interviews often find out more about the crimes than they realized had happened.

There have been a couple of times where the (relatives) were ‘told everything,’ and by the end it’s obvious they didn’t know everything,” Canton said.

It’s from this room that Canton tracks Niagara’s registered sex offenders.

Every year, they have to come in to have a new photograph taken. When they move, they have to tell him.

It’s also from within this room that Canton sometimes has to play therapist — doing what he can to keep these convicted criminals from reoffending.

We collect as much data as we can, so it’s an excellent investigative tool,” he said.

Among the information collected is what stressers or triggers have led to a particular offender’s crimes in the past.

They know why they’re here and they’re not happy about it, but they know they’re legislated to be here,” he said, adding there’s a 99.6% compliance rate with the registry in Niagara.

Vigilante Justice

When people hear there are nearly 300 registered sex offenders living in Niagara, the first reaction is often to want their locations made public. People want to know if they’re living next door to a criminal.

In Florida, you can enter your address into a database and get a map of all the sex offenders living around you, complete with pictures. You can even join an e-mail list to have updates sent when sex offenders come and go.

I don’t really agree with that,” said Canton. “When you start to identify offenders, you start to get less compliance and it pushes them underground.”

In Ontario, he said, the registry is meant to be more of an investigative tool for police than a way for residents to track criminals.

It’s to maintain the whereabouts of the offender. The registry works the way it’s supposed to,” he said.

Since most sex offenders are known to their victims — they’re typically family members or family friends — identifying the offender could also risk identifying the victim.

Eighty-six percent of children sexually assaulted were assaulted by someone they knew or had a relationship with,” said Donna Christie, public education co-ordinator for the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre. “So you have to be careful about releasing that information.”

And then there’s vigilantism.

As soon as someone hears sex offender, they think pedophile,” said Canton. “You start branding those people and you have the possibility of vigilantes.”

Christie agrees.

I think having it available to the general public can certainly put people in jeopardy,” she said.

In 2006, a 20-year-old from Nova Scotia drove to Maine and murdered two sex offenders whose names he found on the state’s public registry.

Gary Blanton - Killed by law - Due to online public hit-list!

Canton also believes publicizing the location of registered sex offenders would create a “false sense of security.”

There are hundreds of potential candidates that, if the registry had started earlier, they would be on the list,” he said. “You would think you know all the sex offenders in your neighbourhood, but there could be one next door that doesn’t have the requirements.”

Is it enough?

The question of how much information is enough is something Christie struggles with.

The public has a right to know when there is someone living in their community, but I’m not sure how the police would monitor that,” she said.

While Christie believes the list shouldn’t be made entirely public, she does think families of victims should be kept better informed.

I think families that have had something happen should be told when people are going to be released or are in their community, out of respect to them,” she said.

Who’s being protected?

One St. Catharines woman believes that had she known where a sex offender lived, she might have been able to keep her daughter from being victimized.

A known sex offender pleaded guilty to sexual interference involving the woman’s daughter at a St. Catharines apartment that was largely occupied by parents with young children. Unknown to the residents, the man with a criminal past was living in the same complex as them.

I probably wouldn’t have been living here,” the woman said. “Maybe that’s why they don’t do it, because I’m sure they would have a lot of vacancies.”

The woman, who is now fighting to have the registry rules changed, said she thinks the wrong people are being protected by keeping the registry private.

They do a whole lot more to protect sex offenders than innocent children or to try and protect other people from becoming victims,” she said.

Won't somebody please think of the children?