Thursday, April 11, 2013

UK - Police fear Combria website puts innocent people at risk

Nick Coughlan
Original Article


Police fear innocent people could be in danger and children put at serious risk as sex offenders are exposed on a Facebook group and driven underground.

A leading detective in charge of monitoring paedophiles says offenders in Barrow have already been threatened as a direct result of their details being put on the social networking site.
- Not all sex offenders are pedophiles, and I wish the police, media and politicians would stop using this term as if all sex offenders are pedophiles!  The fact is, true pedophiles, by definition, are the minority.

Detective Inspector Nick Coughlan said there was a real risk of vigilante attacks due to the activities of the three-week old group Communities Against Paedophiles Southlakes, which has so far attracted more than 3,000 members and is planning a public meeting on April 18.
- Of course there is a risk of vigilante attacks, and it's a growing problem in the UK and the USA, just see this post.  And this is exactly why the online registry needs to be taken offline and used by the police only!

He said they had already managed to shut down the group’s initial ‘name and shame’ page as Facebook said it breached its rights and responsibilities statement. He said he was waiting to hear back if CAPS was doing the same.
- Wow Facebook, when the police get involved, then you shut something down?  We've reported many pages, groups, etc and you've done nothing about them, and clearly they are hate pages.

DI Coughlan said there are more than 100 registered sex offenders living in south Cumbria and they were all being monitored closely by the multi-agency MAPPA.

He added that CAPS was putting information on its page that was out of date and could lead to innocent people and possibly the sex offenders’ victims being wrongly targeted.

The detective said: “We are already aware that people have been approached as a direct result of this group. There is a real concern based on experience of other areas of the country that, in situations like this, offenders that we are managing could go underground.”

This will create a greater risk to children and vulnerable people.”

He cited Portsmouth as a place were misinformation and misunderstanding had seen a paediatrician attacked after being mistaken for a paedophile, during seven days of protests after The News of the World named 200 sex offenders in the wake of the murder by known paedophile [name withheld] of eight-year-old school girl Sarah Payne.

The paper launched a ‘Sarah’s Law’ campaign to open up the sex offenders’ register to public scrutiny but the campaign was blamed for inciting a number of vigilante attacks.

DI Coughlan added: “Our fear is that similar incidents could happen here.”

A lot of the publicly available information that is being put on Facebook is also out of date. It is often the last address they lived at. A lot of abuse is in a family setting and the offender may never return but his family and the victim may still live at that address.”

As a result there is a high risk of properties being targeted yet the offender is not there.”

The detective said the Sarah Payne case happened years ago and added: “We manage sex offenders a lot better now. The way sex offenders are managed in the community is not just by us but a multi-agency approach.”

Our concern is that this group could be pushing sex offenders underground and could further increase their risk of offending.”
- Well the fact is, at least in the USA, is that most sex offenders do not re-offend, and that is backed by many studies.

He added that offenders are not put back in the community until all agencies are 100 per cent sure they are no longer a risk.

DI Coughlan added that anyone with concerns about someone who had contact with a child could easily check their background under the Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme.

CAPS spokeswoman, 27-year-old Keilly Devlin said as a result of what the police had said they would be removing addresses from the site.

She added: “In my opinion and in our defence we can’t stop people being annoyed with paedophiles, we can’t police all our members and can’t guarantee they won’t approach a paedophile in the same way the police can’t guarantee the paedophile won’t re-offend.”

I have not heard from any of our members or from people locally of offenders being approached, we don’t condone violence.”

All we are doing is getting our information from the media so if we are driving them underground so are they.”

You would not believe the amount of emails I have received from victims thanking us as a group for giving them closure.”

If the police would like to give me the names of the people approaching the paedophiles we will block them, and we will take addresses of offenders off future posts.”
- Why don't you just go arrest the people harassing ex-offenders and their families, and throw them in jail / prison for harassment?

John Wright, an administrator on CAPS, added: “Who places the children in more danger? CAPS or the public protection monitoring unit?

CAPS names and shames paedophiles so parents know who they are. PPU allows paedophiles to be anonymous so they can shift through the community unnoticed, as long as they visit a police station once a year and a home visit every now and then.”

MN - Sex-offender program changes reviewed by Minnesota House committee

Venus Flytrap
Original Article


By Megan Boldt

A bill that would rehab a program for Minnesota's most dangerous sex offenders got its first hearing Wednesday, April 10, in the Minnesota House.

If passed, the bill would require the state to offer more cost-effective treatment alternatives rather than housing all civilly committed sex offenders at the state's high-security treatment center in Moose Lake.

Almost 700 offenders are in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program at a cost of about $120,000 per patient annually -- three times the average inmate cost. Most already have served prison sentences and were court-committed after their release from prison.

Minnesota has yet to treat and fully discharge a sex offender from the program in two decades, leaving it open to criticism and vulnerable to legal challenges such as a class-action lawsuit filed over the summer by several sex offenders. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that state and federal sex offender civil commitment laws are constitutional, as long as the intent is to treat and rehabilitate.

"It's a really tough issue to crack because of the politics," said Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester. "The signal is loud and clear that if we don't do something ourselves as a Legislature, then the federal court may do that for us and we might not like what the court decides to do."

The House Judiciary Committee took its first look at the bill Wednesday. No votes were taken.

Minnesota is one of 20 states with civil-commitment programs for sex offenders. In 2010, it had the highest number of civilly committed sex offenders per capita, said former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, chairman of a state task force that is examining the issue.

James Rosenbaum, a retired federal judge who also serves as the task force's vice chairman, compared Minnesota's sex-offender program to a Venus flytrap.

"You get into it and you don't get out. And that's the system we have," Rosenbaum said. "It is not sustainable financially, it is not sustainable legally, and it is not sustainable constitutionally."

The bill, which is based on the task force's recommendations, doesn't change the standard for commitment to the sex-offender program. But it does give judges two choices once someone is committed.

An offender would be evaluated within 60 days of being committed to determine whether he or she should be placed on strict and intensive supervision and treatment or placed in a secure treatment facility. The court would make a final decision based on that evaluation within 30 days.

If a person is placed under intensive supervision and treatment, the sex-offender program must come up with a plan within 60 days that ensures "the safety of the public while meeting the treatment needs of the civilly committed patient." If the sex offender violates conditions of the plan, he or she could be placed in a secure facility.

Offenders would be examined every two years by an outside evaluator to determine if they are making progress toward treatment goals and whether they pose a risk to the public. That progress report would be used to determine if a new course of treatment is needed or whether the patient has made enough progress to be released from the program.

The big unanswered questions ahead are whether Minnesota has enough providers to administer the intense supervision and treatment, and how much it will cost.

Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said that his concerns probably are premature but that he worries counties will have to pick up the "lion's share" of the cost unless the state will be reimbursing them for some of the expenses.

Magnuson said the services should be quite a bit less, noting the $120,000 annual cost for each sex offender in Minnesota's secured facilities.

"It's hard to spend more money than the state is spending now," Magnuson said.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said her department already has sent out a request for information to survey how many providers are willing to provide services; 21 public and private providers from across the state expressed interest.

In the next several weeks, the agency will issue requests for proposals to see what type of services providers would be willing to offer and how much they would charge.

"We're confident the providers are there. Now we just have to see what types of services they're willing to provide," Jesson said.

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