Jeff Lowry, San Bernardino County California Public Defender talks about the costly but largely ineffective SVP laws in place in 20 states.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Keep in mind that Halloween is the safest day of the year for children, from what we've read, and there hasn't been any (maybe one) cases of where a child was sexually harmed by a known or unknown sex offender, it's all hype and hysteria over emotions and nothing else.
By Adolfo Flores
A lawsuit challenges a city of Orange law requiring sex offenders to post signs to discourage trick-or-treaters.
An Orange County city will probably toss out a law requiring registered sex offenders to post a sign in front of their homes on Halloween to discourage trick-or-treaters after it was hit with a federal lawsuit alleging the practice is unconstitutional.
Registered sex offenders in the city of Orange are legally required to post a sign on Halloween, no smaller than 12 by 24 inches, that reads, "No candy or treats at this residence." Violators face a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of an individual identified only as "John Doe," alleges the law violates the 1st Amendment (Wikipedia) rights of registered sex offenders and puts them, and anyone living with them, at risk of physical and emotional harm.
"If you think about it, a lot of older kids go out to trick rather than treat," said Janice Bellucci, an attorney and president of the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group. "All you have to do is look for the house with the sign."
"Instead of protecting the residents of the city of Orange, this ordinance harms hundreds of citizens in that city," said Frank Lindsay, a board member for the group.
Bellucci filed a similar lawsuit last year to strike down a Simi Valley ordinance that also required people convicted of sex crimes to post a sign. That law also banned them from putting up Halloween displays and outside lighting on Oct. 31.
But the day before the Simi Valley law went into effect, federal court Judge Perry Anderson issued a temporary restraining order barring the city from enforcing the sign provision.
The judge let stand provisions of the ordinance that keep sex offenders from turning on outside lights, decorating their homes and answering their doors to trick-or-treaters.
Bellucci estimates there are about 100 registered sex offenders in Orange. The Megan's Law online directory lists 84.
In Orange, no registered sex offenders have been cited since the ordinance was adopted, said City Atty. Wayne Winthers. When the city passed the law in February 2010 officials counted 81 registered sex offenders, with 81% of them having convictions involving minors, according to city records.
There was no need for the group to file the lawsuit, he said, since the city had been in contact with Bellucci and the City Council was expected to discuss the issue next week in closed session.
"I read the district court's [Simi Valley] ruling and I don't see any reason why the court would look at ours any differently," said Winthers, who said he intended to ask the council to remove the sign requirement from the Halloween ordinance.
"Our intent wasn't to bring any unnecessary harm or scrutiny to any particular individual," Winthers said. "We just wanted to protect children."
Josh Gravens talks about how to successfully use the media to make the public understand the wide-spread harm done to registrants and the families of registrants as a result of the laws passed by states to isolate and punish registered sex offenders.
MA - North Brookfield officer (Adam J. Kachadoorian) sentenced for sexually assaulting 15-year-old girl
|Adam J. Kachadoorian|
By Gary V. Murray
WORCESTER - A North Brookfield police officer was sentenced to 3 ½ years in jail Thursday after admitting in court that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl and sent an obscene photo to the victim's cellphone.
Adam J. Kachadoorian, 44, pleaded guilty in Worcester Superior Court to charges of child rape, indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older, distribution of obscene matter and dissemination of matter harmful to a minor. A charge of child rape aggravated by age difference was dismissed as part of a plea agreement in the case.
As recommended by Special Prosecutor Michael V. Caplette and Officer Kachadoorian's lawyer, Timothy M. Burke, Judge James R. Lemire sentenced him to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction on the indecent assault and battery charge and to a consecutive sentence of 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, with one year to be served, on the distribution and dissemination charges.
The balance of the latter sentence was suspended for 5 years with probation.
Mr. Caplette said the sexual assaults occurred Oct. 13, 2011, at the victim's Leicester home. The 15-year-old and her family told police Officer Kachadoorian also sent a photo of male genitalia to the girl's cellphone, texted her to ask if she was going to tell her parents and, after being confronted, said he had engaged in consensual sex with the teen, according to the special prosecutor.
Before the start of the plea hearing, Mr. Caplette asked Judge Lemire to close the courtroom to the public because of the victim's age. The judge denied the request.
A full-time patrolman in North Brookfield since 2004, Officer Kachadoorian was placed on administrative leave after being charged. He was also ordered by the court to surrender all of his weapons as a condition of his release on $1,000 cash bail.
In an impact statement read by Jennie L. Caissie, also a special prosecutor in the case, the victim spoke of the "psychological distress" that she experienced as a result of Officer Kachadoorian's actions.
"It took me awhile to get over the fact that it wasn't my fault. I was a minor and he was a grown man," she said in her statement.
Mr. Burke described his client's crimes as "an aberration" and told the court Officer Kachadoorian was "extremely remorseful for his conduct."
Conditions of probation imposed by Judge Lemire included sex-offender registration, a sex-offender evaluation and any related counseling deemed appropriate and GPS monitoring. Officer Kachadoorian was further ordered to have no contact with the victim.
Mr. Caplette also asked that the officer be required to pay restitution as a condition of probation for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the victim and her family in connection with the case. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution to be paid was scheduled for Oct. 21.
By JULIA LAWRENCE
According to a survey of parents around the world, thanks to the internet, kids are being exposed to adult content at an ever earlier age.
More than 19,000 parents took part in an online study conducted by Bitdefender, an anti-virus company based in Bucharest. In addition to information collected via a survey, the company also incorporated data from its parental control products (PDF), including the list of sites that parents choose to block and which services children access on a regular basis.
Some of the more troubling findings published on the Bitdefender website include that children are beginning to surf for online pornography as early as age 6. By age 12, more than 25% of young people had at least one account on a social networking website – even though many restrict membership before the age of 13. More than 15% were using social media as early as age 10.
Lying is a commonly used technique to bypass age restrictions in place for sites like Twitter and Facebook. In all, on the internet, children’s usage habits differed very little from those of young adults, according to Bitdefender’s Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi.
Bitdefender research also discovered teenagers leave instant messaging to the younger kids, as they prefer to access popular “hate” websites that allow children to post violent or racist messages. These websites also include content that discriminates on the basis of religion or sex, and some belong to terrorist organizations. Over 17 per cent of all children accessing “hate” websites are 14 years old, followed by 15 year-olds (16.52%) and 16 year-olds (12.05%).
The report also showed that windows of maturity tend to correspond with certain kinds of websites. Kids between the ages of 10 and 14 make up the majority of young users on websites that peddle hate or provide computer hacking tips. Although 18-year-olds comprise fewer than 2% of users of Bitdefender-identified hate websites, more than half of their regular under-18 visitors are between the ages of 14 and 16. Eighteen year-olds make up about 3.2% of visitors on websites that discuss ways of bypassing various computer security measures, but nearly one in ten visitors from the under-18 demographic to the same websites are only 12 years old.
“Kids lie about their age to get access to something they want to explore, in this case a social network,” says Jo Webber, CEO of Virtual Piggy, a website that enables kids to manage and spend money within a parent-controlled environment. “It’s no different than my generation lying about age to get cigarettes or into a bar.”
Webber points out that this generation of children were born into an Internet-centric society.
This is the 22-year-old from Co Antrim who lied about being raped.
Ballymena woman Natasha Foster told police she had suffered a serious sexual assault in November 2011.
She was forced to admit to making the entire story up after officers began to investigate her claims.
At Antrim Crown Court on Thursday Foster pleaded guilty to a single charge of perverting the course of justice for knowingly making a false statement to police on November 22, 2011.
Fixing a date for sentencing Judge Desmond Marrinan — who ordered a pre-sentence report into the case — advised Foster to co-operate with probation services.
He said: “I am not going to say anything more until I hear the facts of the case but you have pleaded guilty and that is an important factor here.”
“It means the person you made this allegation against does not have to appear in court.”
Judge Marrinan upheld a previous decision to protect the identity of Foster’s victim.
He added: “What I want to know is what drove you to make this allegation.”
Foster — who appeared in court wearing a black two-piece suit — will be sentenced on November 4.
In 2010 Newtownabbey woman Lindsay Gorman was jailed for nine months after admitting to making a false rape claim which had terrible consequences for an innocent young man.
The 20-year-old had caused widespread panic among students in the Holylands area after claiming she was attacked in Botanic Gardens.
An 18-year-old man was eventually arrested and charged with the 2008 attack.
He was freed on £3,500 bail after being forced to stand handcuffed in the dock while a lawyer publicly accused him of being a sex offender.
A detective even told the court that police had forensic evidence linking the man to a “high-profile stranger rape”.
He was only cleared when Gorman admitted to police she had told them a pack of lies.
In January this year shamed Dromore woman Belinda Potts Sneddon received a suspended jail term for falsely claiming to police she had been raped by a stranger in a local park.
Her ‘cry rape’ tale led to police racing to the scene and sealing off Dromore Park as they hunted for her attacker — but liar Belinda was wasting police time.
It emerged that Potts Sneddon, 22, was so embarrassed about having sex in bushes with an older man that she made up the rape story.
She only admitted her lies after being challenged by her mother, who told police her daughter invented the claims.
The Dromore woman was given a five-month jail sentence suspended for two years and fined £1,000 for wasting police time.
Potts Sneddon had sex with an older man in bushes at Dromore Park last August. She later told cops she went for a evening walk after downing four glasses of cheap alcohol in a friend's house.
She claimed a man attacked her from behind, pulled down her tracksuit bottoms and raped her. Potts Sneddon said she went to a friend's house before going to a fast food restaurant to tell pals about her ordeal.
It was a call from the restaurant that alerted police who quickly closed off Dromore Park in their hunt for the alleged sex attacker.
But when officers spoke to her friends they realised the Dromore woman had told them two different accounts of the attack.
In July a Welsh woman who made five false rape claims against ex-lovers was jailed.
Leanne Black repeatedly cried rape after rowing or breaking up with her former partners.
Some of the allegations dated back to 2006.
The 32 year-old — of Cwmbran, South Wales — was eventually jailed for two years in the summer after owning up to the lies.
Judge William Gaskell sentencing said genuine rape victims would be undermined by her lies.
And last month a woman who made up a false rape allegation against a taxi driver was jailed for 20 months.
Angela England, 42, from Conwy, Wales, made the claim up in an attempt to make her partner “feel guilty”, a court heard.
She claimed the taxi driver had raped her near her home, but his vehicle was fitted with a tracking device which proved she was lying, the court heard.
Last month a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) report found rape victims were being punished because of “damaging myths” about false rape allegations.
The report estimated that around two false rape allegations are made every month in the UK.
Just more of the usual yearly Halloween sex offender hysteria.
By STACY MILLBERG
ORWELL - Village council members tabled a proposed measure, Thursday, that would restrict registered sex offenders from celebrating Halloween.
The measure was on the agenda to be voted on for passage; however, council members had a few more questions for Village Police Chief Chad Fernandez before passing it, said Village Manager Jack Nettis.
“(Council) was not able to speak directly to the police chief because he did not attend the meeting,” he said. “The ordinance was tabled until next month.”
Nettis said the measure will be on October’s agenda and will still give officials plenty of time to enact it for this year’s holiday, should it pass.
“They have the ability to make it go into effect for this year,” he said.
The proposed ordinance would establish a number of restrictions for registered sex offenders on Halloween.
According to the ordinance, the purpose of the legislation is to “protect children from the dangers posed by sex offenders convicted of offenses against minors.”
The ordinance would require any sex offenders to abide by certain restrictions between the hours of midnight and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31 and/or any other night that might be designated as Halloween by the village.
Sex offenders would be required to leave all exterior residential, decorative and ornamental lighting off during the evening hours, beginning at 5 p.m. until midnight; refrain from decorating his or her front yard and exterior of the residence with Halloween decorations; and refrain from answering the door to children who are trick-or-treating, according to the ordinance.
If the ordinance is violated, the person would be charged with a misdemeanor, according to the ordinance.
Council’s next meeting will be Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.
By Georgina Mitchell
Civil liberties groups have expressed alarm at tough new legislation which allows NSW police to conduct spot-checks on the homes of child sex offenders without warning.
The legislation, introduced in the lower house of NSW Parliament last week, gives police the power to inspect homes and computers of known sex offenders without notice once every 12 months and force the offenders to hand over passwords and login information.
If they refuse, they can be jailed for a maximum of five years or be given a $55,000 fine for non-compliance.
"This is a reasonable and balanced amendment, which should make any registered sex offender think twice about not complying with their reporting obligations," NSW Attorney General Greg Smith said when introducing the bill.
But Cameron Murphy, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said although sex offenders should be stopped, lessening police accountability was not the way to go about it. "This is deja vu. Isn't it just last week we had legislation that would allow police to search houses and vehicles of people on the banned firearms register?" Mr Murphy said.
He said the legislation had potential to make search warrants redundant as police had the power to randomly inspect homes of criminals across the state.
"I worry about the accountability - what exactly is going to happen here?" he said.
"Is it limited just to the person who is the sex offender, or other people in the house?"
"Does this mean search warrants will become worthless, because there's hundreds of thousands of people on registers who can be randomly searched?"
The bill also prohibits known sex offenders from working in vocational training, or as a volunteer or self-employed contractor where they may come in contact with children.
Dr Cathy Kezelman, president of advocacy group Adults Surviving Child Abuse, said managing sex offenders in the community was important as the impact of child sexual abuse became more widely recognized.
"It is crucial that anyone registered as a sex offender is prohibited from working in a broader range of roles that may expose them to children," she said.
"The proposed additional amendments, including random inspections of a sex offender's home and computers, should they be passed, will provide some information regarding online predatory behaviour and other activity. However they do not detract from the need for sentencing to be commensurate with the impacts of the crime, additional monitoring considerations and offender programs."
A spokesperson for NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said the penalty of $55,000 or five years in prison would be reserved for the worst offenders.
"This would be for a multiple non-compliance, high-risk offender, someone who was more of a risk to the community," the spokesperson said.
The bill is expected to pass when NSW Parliament sits in October.
Attorney Gilbert Schaffnit traces the congressional development of child pornography and enticement federal sentencing guidelines. It also includes proposals currently before Congress to change various aspects of the law.