Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Before I started dating my husband, I never paid attention to the registry and knew very little about it. I basically knew that it existed and that's it. I never looked at it, because I didn't need a list to tell me who to keep my kids away from. When it came down to it, if I didn't know you well, my kids weren't left with you and didn't go near your house. My outlook and lack of knowledge of the registry probably had a lot to do with my nieve outlook of how the registry would affect my custody battle with my kids father. I knew about my husband being on the registry and the details of his crime before we got married. And it didn't change my opinion of him or that he all of the sudden because of that label became an 'outcast' to me. Also, my kids father knew him well too... and had no problems with the kids being around him, BEFORE he found out that he was a rso. From October 2012 to 2 weeks ago I've had 3 'emergency' custody hearings that my kids were in severe danger.... though no accusations were being made and nothing had happened. During these so called hearing, I maintained custody of my kids. However, last week was the final court date.... the day before court the GAL was going to suggest that I keep custody of my 2 boys and my kids father keep custody of my daughter. That morning I got to court and it was discovered that in my state a person married to a sex offender is not allowed to have custody. In fact, the only 'custody' they are to be granted is supervised visitation. But, thankfully, it wasn't pushed that far. However, my kids cannot have any contact at all with my husband now. When he has done NOTHING wrong. I had a lawyer tell me that he would of been 'better off' committing murder. That's the biggest part of how the registry has affected my life, is due to my husband's crime that happened 13 years ago and nothing since then I've lost custody of all 3 of my kids... because some lawyers wanted to cover their rears. The church I had attended for 4 years... and the last year with my husband, after finding out that my husband was a rso they asked him to leave, because their church didn't have a policy for rso members. Needless to say, we no longer go there. My husband isn't allowed to attend my kids school functions before my court hearing, because of school policy. Now when I have my kids with me, I have to leave our house so they won't be around him. We can't do anything together as a whole family now. These are the biggest reasons how the registry has affected my family's life.
I am sure most people are unaware of this. I had to go and do my yearly registering today and got to talking to the P.O. and she informed me that now in Tennessee if you are convicted of statutory rape there is a good chance you may not have to register or you can ask to be removed of the registry at any time without the waiting period. Of course this depends on the conditions of your crime and your past criminal history. She informed me that if the judge did not order you to register you should not have to register or depending on the situation of your crime you can ask to be removed of the registry for statutory rape. So why is it that this has not made the news? Whenever something is changed that may help out a RSO no one wants to talk or report it. But let a new tougher law pass and everyone is reporting about it. So please post this and check with your P.O to see if you are able to be removed from the shame list......
Three girls found 10 years later, and all the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to promote their own agenda? Makes us sick! Mr. Walsh had nothing to do with this recovery, neither did Nancy Disgrace or anybody else, except the man who rescued them.
Let's not forget the fact that Mr. Walsh dated Reve when she was 16 and he was 21.
By Alex Wigglesworth
The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole on Wednesday announced a pilot program to monitor computer usage of sex offenders under court supervision, according to a release from chairman Michael Potteiger.
Through Securus software, parole agents will be able to log into a secure server from any computer and view screenshots of convicts’ emails, as well as review the chat rooms, games, social media sites and websites that have been accessed and keep abreast of the programs that have been installed on offenders’ computers.
“The board is increasing public safety by testing software that will allow parole agents to know when a sex offender may be engaging in inappropriate behavior,” Potteiger said in statement.
“The technology monitors words and phrases, both online and offline, on an offender’s home computer, captures a screen image, creates a log of all websites visited and saves this information on a central server.”
The six-month pilot program out of the board’s Pittsburgh District Office will include 20 to 30 sex offenders.
“The new software is designed to send the board alerts about behavior that may indicate a risk to re-offend,” Potteiger said.
“The software provides for a more effective use of a parole agent’s time through remote access of information that is automatically gathered through electronic means.”
By ROBERT WEISS LCSW, CSAT-S
In two previous posts I’ve written about clinician prejudice toward sex offenders and ways to effectively treat sex offenders. It was satisfying to see these blogs being well received, and it is my sincere hope that this effort has helped in some small way to pull back the covers on a topic that is often avoided, overlooked, and/or flat out ignored by the therapeutic community. This third and final (at least for a while) blog on sexual offending is intended to briefly address a few remaining offender-related topics.
Most members of the general public, in part driven by our (eager to get ratings at any cost) media, tend to view all sex offenders through the same basic lens, universally labeling them as disconnected, violent, odd, sociopathic men who force themselves on unsuspecting women and children. Basically, our overall cultural belief sends a consistent message that “sex offender” = “violent rapist” or “snatch-and-grab child predator.” And while a minority of sex offenders do fit into these categories (and get the most press), the majority do not fit this media-driven stereotype. Other offenders—most, in fact—are men, women, teenagers, and sometimes even younger children who are, for the most part, excepting their sexual disorder, relatively functional human beings.
Below is a brief attempt to address some common myths about sexual offending.
By Shelomith Stow
Chelsea’s Law, signed into California law on September 9, 2010, by then-governor Schwarzenegger scant months after the court sentenced John Gardner to two life sentences without parole for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King is, at the heart of it, a compulsory minimum sentencing law. It allows life without parole sentences for adults who, if while committing a sexual offense against a child, kidnap, drug, bind, torture, or use a weapon. Life terms could apply for both first-time and repeat offenders. It also increases other penalties, including requiring lifetime parole with GPS tracking for those convicted of forcible sex crimes against children under fourteen.
According to available information, 74 individuals have been charged under Chelsea’s Law since its beginning, and eight have had their sentences impacted because of it.
The father of Chelsea, Brian King, and CA legislator Nathan Fletcher, author of Chelsea’s Law, are now lobbying to extend the bill into other states with the goal being a version of the law in all states. Two organizations, Chelsea’s Light Foundation and Chelsea’s Shield, have been formed to further this agenda.
Spoken like a true man of God!
By J. BARRETT LEE
To my fellow Christians in Oneida County: There has been much ado in the headlines about the county’s temporary housing of sex offenders in Utica motels. Private citizens and elected officials alike are raising the voice of protest against this practice. I’ve repeatedly heard complaints about the county using Utica as a “dumping ground” for sex offenders.
The implication behind these statements is that such people amount to human garbage. I find this implication to be spiritually and morally troubling because of what it says about us as a community.
As a survivor of sexual assault, I can testify to the dehumanizing effect that such a violent act has on a person’s sense of self. The perpetrators of such acts necessarily objectify their victims and treat them like garbage, tossing them aside when there is no longer any use for them. I know firsthand what that feels like.
When we as a society compare our sex offenders to garbage, we do the same thing to them that they did to us. In doing so, we stoop to their level and perpetuate the cycle of violence.
American society at large endorses such violence because no one is said to be more despicable than a sex offender. We seem to have made it OK to dehumanize and hate these people because of what they have done to others. We use them as scapegoats and a “dumping ground” for our own rage, frustration, and self-hatred. Again, we do to them what they did to us. We become what we judge.
With this housing crisis, I believe God is presenting us with an opportunity to rise above revenge and break the cycle of dehumanizing violence. We have a chance to stand in solidarity with Jesus, who ate with tax collectors and sinners, the scapegoats and “sex offenders” of his day and age.
Christ’s commitment to a deep theology of grace empowered him to accept the “bad guys” and separate sinner from sin.
There are communities around the continent who have committed themselves to Christ’s path of radical hospitality. I’m thinking primarily of churches like Welcome Inn, a Mennonite church in Hamilton, Ontario. Their church has chosen to welcome sex offenders and surround them with circles of acceptance and accountability. They become a second family for program participants. They meet regularly with released offenders and nurture them into reintegration and active participation in community life. This way, sex offenders are simultaneously cared for and checked up on by people who care enough to love like Jesus.
Is there any reason why churches in the Mohawk Valley could not start similar programs? I can’t think of one.
All I can think of is what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Be blessed and be a blessing,
J. Barrett Lee is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Boonville and a participant in St. James Mission, a progressive, ecumenical, spiritual community in Utica. He also teaches philosophy at Utica College.
By ELIZABETH COOPER
UTICA - Since state and local laws about where they can live were tightened around a decade ago, sex offenders have become more likely to end up homeless.
That’s caused problems for counties across the state, because they are required by law to find housing for anyone who needs shelter within their borders.
Different counties have cobbled together different strategies to deal with the thorny issue, but officials and homeless advocates from several counties said there is no easy answer.
- There are easy answers! It's just something they don't want to hear. Eliminate the residency restrictions and stop letting mass hysteria define laws.
“I don’t know what the solution is,” said Greta Guarton of the advocacy group Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. “We, of course, think everyone needs a place to live, but certainly understand the community’s concerns.”
The issue came to a head in Oneida County in February, after an Observer-Dispatch report found that at least eight Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders had been housed at three North Utica motels in a two-week period. Amid public outcry, two of the motels announced they would stop taking homeless individuals referred by the county, and County Executive Anthony Picente has said he is looking for other options.
“We have to find a solution given the lay of the land here, in terms of the shelters, the neighborhoods and the community,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process and discussion.”
Sex offenders have been required to register with officials where they live since the mid-1990s. The federal government and states across the nation adopted so-called Megan’s Laws after the 1994 murder of Megan Kanka, a New Jersey child who was killed by a released sex offender living near her home.
- Why do we continue to punish everyone with similar crimes due to one bad apple? Are we going to start doing the same for all other crimes? One person commits a crime with a gun and all gun owners are punished? Oh wait, they are already working on that one!
In subsequent years, states and many communities adopted laws regulating where sex offenders are allowed to live. In Oneida County, a 2007 law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of a school, child care facility, playground or park.
Counties in New York must find housing for any individual, regardless of their criminal history, if they come to the Department of Social Services and say they are homeless.
It's not just in Texas, it's across the country.
Just wait until some politicians own child gets caught up in the net, then see what happens to their child.
It's clear that we no longer have any civil or human rights in this country, and it's shown daily on the news. Welcome to the USSA!
By Michael Barajas
When Allen and his girlfriend moved into their Austin-area house, a woman down the street passed out fliers warning neighbors a monster had moved in next door. His front door was egged, their cars broken into, and “people started crossing the street instead of walking in front of my house,” said Allen, who asked that the Current not use his full name.
Allen spent much of his childhood in a Texas Youth Commission facility for inappropriately touching a 7-year-old family member; Allen was 11 at the time. He first registered as a sex offender with the Texas Department of Public Safety at age 20, when he was released from TYC for the offense. If you look him up on the state’s public sex-offender registry, you’ll see the photo of a near-30 year old convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a 7 year old (any sexual assault against a child under 14 is considered aggravated).
Work has been hard to find since he got out of TYC — employers, Allen says, naturally shy away from hiring registered child molesters. When he signed up for classes at Austin Community College, the school displayed his information and photograph around campus as a warning to other students. Housing is difficult to come by, he says.
“It’s a hard thing to explain to someone once they find out,” Allen told the Current. “It’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not really this awful person. I just had a f***** up childhood, I was punished, I’ve tried to deal with it, and I’m doing the best I can with my life.’ No one wants to hear that explanation. … It’s like I’m a leper.”
Texas is one of at least 10 states that put children found guilty in juvenile courts on public sex-offender registries. Texas has no limit on how young children placed on its registry can be. Adults who committed their crimes as children and served their time in juvenile facilities must continually update their address, workplace, and photograph on the public registry. Each year, the age gap between victim and offender widens.
“Kids are getting life-long punishment in juvenile court,” said Nicole Pittman, a Soros Senior Justice Advocacy Fellow with Human Rights Watch, and a leading researcher on juvenile sex offenders. For years, Pittman has investigated what happens when you put child offenders on public sex-offender registries, interviewing nearly 300 youth offenders, many of them in Texas, along with defense attorneys, prosecutors, and even victims of child-on-child sexual assault. Based on her research, Human Rights Watch last week released “Raised on the Registry,” an extensive report that advocates removing children from public sex-offender registries.
Due to residency restrictions — originally meant to keep adult offenders from living near schools, parks, or anywhere else frequented by children — some child offenders can’t finish their education or even live with their families once out of youth lockup. Some families face retaliation and even threats of violence because their address appears on the registry. The list drives some child offenders to suicide, according to the HRW report.