Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TX - Journey of Hope With Rodney Mathers

Rodney Mathers
Rodney Mathers
Original Article

10/07/2013

Welcome.

It sucks being a sex-offender. For most of us it was a stupid, illogical decision that not only created a "victim" ( regardless of the circumstances), but also has cost us family, careers, and our freedom.

As if that wasn't enough, there are the judgmental masses who have been unknowingly force fed stereo typed and skewed thinking by the sensationalizing media. Not all sex offenders re-offend. In fact, most don't. Not all men and women that have a sexual encounter with a minor are full blown pedophiles. There are in fact degrees.

I tried to contact someone from my past recently. Her response was that it made her "feel uncomfortable". What an uninformed, judgmental moron! Here in Houston we have the king of judgemental idiots-Andy Kahn. Kahn was so sure that he was right...about everything, that he thought it would be O.K. to lie at an offenders parole hearing. He is now under investigation by the Houston Police Department. We all know that nothing will happen to that vigilante.

Chin up and chest out, we do everything in our power to move forward despite people like the ones listed above. In fact, we have two long term mantras. 1- Never create another victim. 2- Try to do something in our lives that shows we can contribute in a positive way to society.

My guest this week is Dr. Michael Barta. Dr. Barta is the founder of the Sex Offender Treatment Program in the State of Colorado. Listen in as we discuss sexual addictions on this week's show.

Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?


LA - False rape claim lands Alexandria woman (Vanessa S. Pierce) in jail

Vanessa S. Pierce
Vanessa S. Pierce
Original Article

10/08/2013

An Alexandria woman who accused another person of rape Monday now is facing a charge of filing a false claim, according to police.

Police were called to the 1400 block of Hardtner Street Monday afternoon and found 49-year-old Vanessa S. Pierce, who told officers that she had just been raped. Detectives were called to investigate, and a suspect was detained, according to the Alexandria release.

But as detectives interviewed Pierce, they found that she had given false information regarding her claim. Pierce was arrested, charged with injuriing a public record.

The person who had been detained was let go, according to the release.


Sexual violence common among teens. Feeling responsible isn't

Sexual violence common among teens
Original Article

10/07/2013

By Melissa Healy

Nearly 1 in 10 young Americans between ages 14 and 21 acknowledges having perpetrated an act of sexual violence at least once, and 4% of a nationally representative sample of American kids reported attempting or completing rape, a new study finds.

While those most likely to report initiating unwanted sexual contact in their early to mid-teens were boys, girls were among the perpetrators as the age of respondents increased. Latino and African American youths, and those from low-income families, were less likely to have coerced another person to engage in sex than were whites and those from higher-income families, the study found.

And among perpetrators of sexual violence, consumption of X-rated materials -- specifically those depicting physical harm in the context of sex -- was notably more common than it was among youths who did not report efforts to coerce or force someone else to engage in sex.

The research, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, appears to be first to gauge how widespread sexual violence is among Americans of high-school and college age. It was based on surveys conducted between October 2010 and March 2012 with 1,058 people ages 14 to 21 who participated in a broader longitudinal study called "Growing Up With Media."

Drawing upon the U.S. Justice Department definitions of sexual violence, the authors of the latest research asked participants whether they had ever engaged in a wide range of behaviors, including kissing, touching, making an unwilling partner do something sexual or coercing or forcing someone who did not want to have sex to do so. That range of behavior might range from sexual harassment to rape, but is generally all defined as sexual violence.

In all, 8% of those responding -- 84 of 1,058 respondents -- reported they had kissed, touched or made someone else do something sexual when they knew the person did not want to (characterized as "forced sexual contact"). About 3% reported they had gotten someone else to give in to sex when the perpetrator knew the other person did not want to (characterized as "coercive sex"). Also, 3% acknowledged attempting rape, meaning that he or she had been unable to force someone else to have sex. And 2% -- a total of 18 individuals -- said they had forced another person to have sex when they knew the person did not want to, a completed rape.

Coercive tactics, including arguing, pressuring, getting angry or making someone feel guilty, were most commonly reported by those who acknowledged attempted or completed rape. And the study found that 75% of the cases of sexual violence occurred in the context of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Ten of the respondents -- just under 1% -- acknowledged having threatened or used physical force to get someone to engage in sex.

While vaginal sex was the most common form of forced or coerced sex sought, it was closely followed by oral sex.

The study also found that perpetrators of sexual violence of all types were unlikely to accept responsibility for their acts. One in seven believed that he or she was "not at all responsible for what happened," and almost 4 in 10 said they considered the victim somewhat or completely responsible for the reported incident. And only two of the respondents reported being arrested for the transgression.

The authors said that the rarity with which perpetrators either are caught or assume responsibility for their actions underscores the importance of "bystander" training and intervention in U.S. high schools and colleges. Such training emphasizes the responsibility of peers not only to discourage and prevent negative behavior within their group or community, but also to recognize, stop or report such behavior when they witness it. Widely used in anti-bullying campaigns, bystander intervention is now gaining ground on college campuses as a means of reducing sexual violence.

The study was conducted by Michele L. Ybarra of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, CA, and Kimberly Mitchell of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center.

[For the Record, 5:42 p.m. PDT Oct. 7: An earlier online version of this story said the study was based on survey results from 1,062 people; there were 1,058 people.]


NY - Controversial homeless shelter could house sex offenders

Vacant warehouse
Vacant warehouse
Original Article

10/07/2013

By IRVING DEJOHN

The more they learn, the more they hate it.

Convicted sex offenders could be among the inhabitants of a homeless shelter that’s being proposed in Glendale, and civic leaders have been even more fired up since they made that discovery last week.

The revelation came after Samaritan Village — the Queens-based group that wants to convert a vacant warehouse on Cooper Ave. into a 125-family shelter — outlined their plans in a letter to Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.

[City Department of Homeless Services] has both a mandate and obligation to provide shelter to any eligible homeless person or family, regardless or criminal background,” the group wrote to Hevesi, in response to a question as to whether the population would include felons and sexual deviants. “The Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a sex offender may live.”

The proposed shelter has drawn unanimous opposition among the area’s elected officials and civic leaders — and the details left many of them aghast.

This is frightening,” said Kathy Masi, of the Glendale Civic Association. “It’s walking distance within two schools.”

Samaritan Village said it would maintain 24-hour security, a 9 p.m. curfew and a strict no-visitors policy.

It sounds like they’re anticipating a problem,” said Masi.

Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) told the Daily News that he opposes the plan.

Michael Wilner, who owns the property and is working with Samaritan Village, refused to discuss the residents’ concerns and hung up on a reporter.

Elizabeth Crowley
Elizabeth Crowley
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she introduced two different entrepreneurs to Wilner, but he balked at both of their offers to rent the property.

For them to embark on this project makes no sense,” said Crowley (D-Middle Village).

Crowley predicted that the cost of getting the one-time factory cleaned up — which she said would range in the “tens of millions” — would eventually sink the proposal.

It’s clearly irresponsible, and that’s why it’s not going to happen,” she said.

The city Department of Homeless Services is reviewing the project, but an official declined comment. The agency has the authority to approve or reject the proposal.

Denaul Jenkins II, a manager at the nearby Artistic Stitch Sports Complex, said the plan doesn’t make sense for the quaint Queens neighborhood.

This is a family-oriented neighborhood,” he said. “I feel sorry for the people who have lived in this area for generations, because the homeless shelter will reduce the value of their property.”

See Also:


TX - Former Kent County deputy (Duane Eric West) sentenced to 50 years for sexual assault

Duane Eric West
Duane Eric West
Original Article

10/08/2013

By JOSIE MUSICO

A former Kent County sheriff’s deputy has been convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Duane Eric West, 29, has been on the other side of the law since January, when he was accused of inappropriate activity with a 13-year-old girl.

A jury of six men and six women deliberated just nine minutes before returning a guilty verdict on the first-degree felony charge, which carried a possible sentence range of five to 99 years or life. They spent 35 minutes determining his half-century sentence.

The trial was moved from Kent to Haskell County after 39th District Judge Shane Hadaway granted a defense request for a change of venue.

Luke Griffin, investigator for the district that encompasses Kent, Haskell and two other counties, said the suspect befriended the victim while she was staying in Jayton. He drove her to a remote spot in the Claremont Cemetery where they engaged in sexual activity, Griffin said.

The victim returned to her other home in East Texas. Her mother learned of the abuse and contacted authorities there. They investigated the initial stages of the case, then submitted it to law-enforcement officials in Kent County.

West was arrested Jan. 8 by the Texas Rangers, who along with his former employer had investigated the sexual-assault report.

West worked for the Kent County Sheriff’s Office about four years, Sheriff William Scogin said. His employment was terminated Jan. 8 upon his confession to a felony offense, the sheriff continued.

West, a first-time criminal offender, rejected a plea offer for a 25-year prison sentence. He instead pleaded not guilty, opting to let a jury determine his fate.

Scogin sided with the jury’s guilty verdict and lengthy sentence.

I think it’s fair because of the offense he committed,” he said. “Due to his job, he definitely knew that was the wrong thing to be doing.”

Prosecution argued West’s offense was particularly heinous because his position in law enforcement gave him a sense of authority. The victim should have been able to trust Griffin — not be sexually assaulted by him — Griffin said.

(Law-enforcement officers) are the ones we should be able to go to for help, and they should be held at a higher standard,” he said.

Griffin said evidence presented in the trial included testimony from the victim and other witnesses, as well as West’s recorded statements to investigators and a letter he wrote to another former deputy describing the offense.

He basically admitted to doing it,” Griffin said. “He admitted to everything and went into detail on everything.”

Defense attorney Ernest Scott did not return multiple phone calls from A-J Media as of press time.

The offense met legal criteria for aggravated sexual assault because the victim was under 14.


NY - Counties face challenge of housing sex offenders

Home
Original Article

10/07/2013

By Jeremiah Horrigan

They're destitute, without jobs or much hope of securing one. They're homeless and without much hope of finding one.

They're the people no one wants to employ or live near: level 2 and level 3 sex offenders — men and women who are legally required to report their presence to local authorities for the rest of their lives.

When they're released from prison, or move from another area, it falls to county Social Services departments to place them. Frequently, they wind up in small, family-run motels and boarding houses. And they have to report that address to authorities or face penalties, including arrest.

In the past year alone, 14 sex offenders — including 10 in Liberty in July — have been picked up for failing to register where they live, as required.

Their sometimes-clustered presence in some of the region's motels and boarding homes has prompted fear, anger and lawsuits in communities across the region, the state and the country.

And nowhere in the mid-Hudson has the outcry of late been louder than in the Town of Wawarsing in Ulster County.

Emotional, legal issues tangle
Wawarsing comprises five hamlets and the Village of Ellenville. According to the latest figures available from the state's Public Registry of Sex Offenders, there are currently 29 level 2 and level 3 sex offenders living in those communities. Only the City of Kingston, with 37, has more registered sex offenders in Ulster County.

The tiny and very rural hamlet of Kerhonkson is home to 17 sex offenders, according to the registry. Six of those offenders now reside at the Colonial Motel on Route 209.

To town Supervisor Scott Carlsen, those numbers strongly suggest that something's out of whack with the way indigent sex offenders are housed in the county.

Carlsen is recently retired from a career as an administrator in the state's correctional system, including years as a counselor in several sexual offender programs.

Housing sexual offenders in rural communities like Kerhonkson, he said, isn't good for offenders nor the community.

"They (sexual offenders) don't have cars. In order to get the services they need, they have to bike or hitchhike. Even from a therapeutic model, it makes no sense to me."

And, he says, the situation only gets worse when sex offenders are allowed to congregate.
- Worse how?  Due to new crimes being committed (doubtful) or public hysteria?

"I'm unaware of any study of any treatment that it's a good thing to stick a dozen of these guys together in a single facility."
- And there is no study to show it's a bad thing either!  People think that ex-offenders living together that they are going to devise a mass molestation plan or something, which is so ridiculous.

But there is little legal recourse available. Some, like the Town of Wallkill, or Middletown or Village of Ellenville, have passed laws that limit sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds and parks.

Following the village's lead, the Wawarsing Town Board implemented a statute a couple of years ago that limits to 30 the number of days a person may reside at a town motel. Three of the town's motels, Carlsen said, have abided by the law. But not, he said, the Colonial.

After the motel's compliance became a campaign issue in 2011, with Republican candidates claiming that 12 sex offenders were residing at the Colonial, owner Shahida Rizvi filed suit in federal court contending the statute prevents her from operating her business.
- You'd think people would see politicians for what they are by now.  Fear, children and ex-sex offenders are their scapegoats! They will use and exploit any issue to get elected or to look good to the sheeple of the country.

In a 31-page brief, Rizvi's lawyer Mark Stern argued that the town "fully intends to prevent (Rizvi) from operating her business through the mechanism of fines, criminal charges and criminal penalties."

Carlsen's anger only worsened when a convicted criminal — who was not a registered sex offender — was placed by county Social Services at the Colonial and arrested and charged with raping a woman last August.

Carlsen called the incident "nothing short of an outrage and criminal" on the part of Ulster County Social Services.

He accused the departments of violating the town's statute.

Michael Iapoce, director of the county's Social Services Department, sees the situation very differently.

Homelessness a key problem
Every county in the state must find housing for any individual, regardless of their criminal history, if they say they are homeless.

As far as Iapoce is concerned, that's the bottom line when his Social Services Department deals with homeless people.

And while his department has taken a lot of heat for housing indigent sex offenders, he said there's a public "misperception" that Social Services has more authority and responsibility than it actually does.
- If you stop the insanity then maybe ex-offenders can get a job and live somewhere else, but the very laws the idiotic politicians are passing is what is causing all these problems, not the ex-offenders!

Sex offenders are emerging from a highly structured prison environment, he said; the services they require are determined by the county's Probation Department and state Department of Corrections.

Marijane Knudsen, the department's director of economic support, said that prisoners being released into communities — especially sex offenders — need better discharge plans to guide their re-introduction to society.

She also said there are larger issues, including the need for better housing for anyone who needs it.

"No one deserves to live in a hotel. Everyone should have access to permanent, safe housing," she said.

That need, said Nancy Schmidt, can be a pivotal aspect of what she called "an age-old problem."

Lack of jobs compounds issue
Schmidt is deputy director of the county's probation department. The lack of stable housing and job opportunities for sex offenders, she said, are the two biggest factors affecting the successful integration of an indigent offender into society.

Housing availability are sometimes prohibited by the very laws that are aimed at protecting children from predators, such as laws that restrict sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds and parks.

In a city like Kingston, Schmidt said, that reduces the potential housing choices considerably. Rural, isolated locations like Kerhonkson are at least less likely to pose a threat to children living nearby.

And yes, she said, while Social Services is responsible for housing homeless sex offenders, there are times when the department will allow housing sex offenders in a facility with other offenders.

Sometimes, it's a better choice than having an offender move from "couch to couch" or live in a car or a tent, where supervision is more difficult and the threat of a recurrence could be increased.

"Without employment or stable housing, there's a higher risk of a return," she said.

And with a sigh, she summarized the situation in two words:

"It's tough."
- Not really!  Get rid of the residency restrictions and take the registry offline, then many can integrate back into society, get a job, home and move on with their lives.

See Also:


FL - Experts: Social networking a "playground" for predators

Original Article

10/08/2013

By Isabel Mascarenas

TAMPA - Parents teach children at a young age to not talk to strangers, but it's a lesson that seems lost when it applies to the Internet, a place cyber crimes experts call a playground for predators.
- The term "predator" covers more than just sexual crimes! The Internet is also a "playground" for many other criminals as well, like identity thieves, spammers, hackers, hate groups, etc, but those don't stir up emotions like the sex offender hysteria. Technology is always exploited by people and always will. If someone is intent on committing a crime they will. Parents and schools should be teaching kids common sense and educating them on sexual abuse, privacy, security, etc, not fear mongering BS!

Every time a teenager turns on their smart phone, computer, iPod, Xbox, or any electronic device with Internet access, there are countless of places to travel to and meet people.

"All the bad people in the world have access to you if you have access to them ... With technology, it's becoming a target-rich environment for pedophiles, for people preying on children," says Detective Bill Lindsey with the Cyber Crimes Unit at the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
- Based on the true definition of pedophile, pedophiles are rare and not the norm like the media continually tries to make it seem.  Just because someone molests a child, that doesn't mean they are a pedophile!

Lindsey says one popular site is Meetme.com. It claims to have 90 million members as young as 13 years old. Until last year, users knew it as Myyearbook.com, described on Facebook as "a social networking site for teens." Members have live webcams, where Lindsey says predators solicit videos and pictures.

Lindsey says, "The kinds of adults that are getting on Meetme.com and meeting children are doing that with malicious intent."

Unlike sites such as Facebook that will match one up with mutual friends or interests, sites such as Meetme.com will recommend people based on where one lives. 10 News checked for sexual offenders and predators and found 314 within a 5-mile radius.

Lindsey says, "It's terrifying. Parents don't know how much danger their children are in."
- If the parents and schools were educating their children, then this wouldn't be much of an issue, now would it?

Lindsey says teens often give away too much information online, listing schools, interests, and hangouts, providing predators with a road map to them and to trouble.

"We've had juveniles who have met adults online because they were their suggested friends, and adults take advantage of that online relationship, set up meetings in person, and engage in unlawful sex with minors," says Lindsey.

"In my situation, he wasn't a predator. He was a normal guy who swept me off my feet. I fell in love with him," says 18 year old Alexis Carrascos. Her nightmare began when she is 16 years old. She says, "To think all this started online from me posting a little too much information."

When Alexis met her ex-boyfriend, she thought it was a chance encounter. Later in the relationship, she learned he stalked her on Facebook first through mutual friends and pictures she'd tag online while out with those friends.

Alexis says, "If I could go back and un-tag myself in all those locations I would. It could have saved me a lot of trouble, a lot of heartache, a lot of lessons I think I learned too early in life."
- You can as far as we know.

Alexis says three months into the relationship she learned her 17-year-old boyfriend was really 18, and she says he became aggressive. Alexis says, "He started being very pushy, very jealous, very controlling."

And she says he became very violent, from grabbing her to punching walls. The break up included a restraining order against him. "He would stalk me," she says.

Alexis says she needed therapy plus extra protection. Alexis started carrying a taser and a trained dog for protection. Six months after the relationship ended, she's learning to trust again. "I'm still very alert with who sees my things, who likes my things, who's my friend on Facebook or Instagram or whatever."
- This is how everybody should be.  Don't post personal information at all.

Her advice to teens is to use caution online. She says, "If you don't know them, don't friend them. You don't need to necessarily tell people where you are because it's so easy for a predator, anybody that looks like a normal person, to become a stalker, to become possessive or abusive, lead to something that you don't want."

Meetme.com says it has "zero tolerance for abuse" and has staff to monitor images posted 24/7, Lindsey says, "Meetme.com is the most proactive of the social media online at policing their own website. They make an incredible amount of complaints to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."

Detective Lindsey and Alexis say that doesn't replace parents from keeping an eye on their kids' online activities.

Alexis says, "This generation, we're too friendly. We think no one is going to cause us harm."

Detective Lindsey advises parents to know their child's passwords and frequently review each account with them. Also, make sure each friend is someone they know. And don't stop at Facebook; he suggests checking all their online accounts, including messaging sites such as kik, Twitter and Instagram.


Federal and State Laws Aim to Keep Tabs on Sex Offenders

News paper and coffee
Original Article

10/07/2013

By JANET RAASCH

When it comes to treatment of convicted sex offenders, Americans and the American justice system are very concerned. Sex offenders are seen as targeting the most vulnerable populations, especially women and children. They are often subject to longer prison terms and closer supervision once released than other kinds of offenders.

Currently, there are about 747,500 registered sex offenders in the United States. About one-third of these individuals are currently under close supervision, in prison or jail, in halfway houses or on probation. The rest have returned, unsupervised, to the community.

Low Rate of Recidivism
While in the criminal justice system, convicted sex offenders are required to undergo an array of treatments intended to deter them from re-offending. As a result of incarceration and treatment, only 5.3 percent of all sex offenders re-offend upon release (although those convicted of violent offenses re-offend more often). This rate is much lower than the rate for all other categories of convicts.
- Many more recidivism (re-offense) studies here.

Nonetheless, citizens want to make sure that they and their children are protected against the perceived danger of convicted sex offenders. Offenders who have exited the criminal justice system want to return to a normal life. These goals are starkly opposed.

Sex Offenders Must Register
In the United States, there are a variety of sex offender registration and notification systems. Generally, sex offenders are required to register with law enforcement of any state, locality, territory or tribe within which they reside, work and attend school.

The U.S. Congress in 1994 passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which required all 50 states to maintain a registry of sex offenders’ addresses so that their whereabouts would be known to local law enforcement agencies. Concerned residents can consult these registries.

Registration ranges from 10 years to the convicted sex offender’s lifetime. Recent legislation in some states requires that offenders also reveal their email addresses, chat room IDs and instant-messaging aliases. In some states, offenders must wear ankle bracelets as long as they are registered.

Communities Must Notify
Megan’s Law” in 1996 amended the Wetterling Act to allow for community notification. This mandated that law enforcement personnel proactively disclose registry information to neighborhood residents about sex offenders who live in close proximity. Landlords must include information about how to use the registry in their lease documents.

Some states notify the public only about sex offenders who pose a high risk to the community, but others employ broad notification practices and distribute information about all registered sex offenders. Community notification strategies can include press releases, flyers and door-to-door warnings about the presence of sex offenders.

Recent developments include the mandate that states sponsor Internet websites listing convicted sex offenders and, via the 2007 Adam Walsh Act, the establishment of a national online sex offender registry that allows a search beyond state borders.

Under the Adam Walsh Act, registered sex offenders must avoid by 500 to 2,500 feet all schools, bus stops, gyms, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, swimming pools, libraries, nursing homes and places of worship.


AL - Streaking student facing possible sex offender registry commits suicide

Suicide
Original Article

10/06/2013

By Robert O'Hara

On the evening of Friday, September 27th in the small town of Harvest Alabama, a community of just over 5,000 souls, a fifteen year old boy took off his clothes and ran naked across a football field where the Sparkman High School Senators were playing against a rival teem in front of a large crowd. His friends cheered, old women blushed, young children pointed their fingers and asked “Mommy why is that kid running around naked?” leaving parents flustered while trying to hold back their laughter. Someone had even recorded a video and placed it on Youtube. By the end of the night Christian Adamek had become legend by pulling a prank performed by countless pranksters before him on countless playing fields in front of countless millions in the past.

Last week, on Wednesday October 2nd, Christian hung himself and it was announced Friday morning in AL.com that he had died from his injuries.

Adamek’s suicide followed a public statement made by Sparkman High School Principal Mike Campbell on Tuesday of last week to WHNT News 19, the local Television Station, in which he stated the incident could bring Adamek major repercussions. Adamek had been disciplined by the school district, though details of that discipline were not made public, and he faced legal charges. School administrators recommended that Adamek have a hearing in the Madison County court system to determine if formal charges would be filed, WHNT reported. “There’s the legal complications,” Campbell told the news station. “Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up.”

The “legal complications” Campbell was referring to included having to register as a sex offender.

When asked if this was nothing more than a simple prank Campbell responded: “This situation was totally different, something not related to that at all.”

Adamek’s sister indicated on Twitter that her brother was facing expulsion.

The publicizing of his troubles with the school and the legal system were orchestrated by Campbell before any legal hearings were scheduled and shortly after administrative actions by school officials. It is not known now to what extent the family had been involved in preliminary hearings or to what extent they were even informed at all about the length to which Campbell would take the case before he spoke to the local press.

Campbell is new to the school, having only started work there on July 1st. However, he has been in secondary education for over thirty years with most of that time being spent in Fairfax County, Virginia. He started in athletics coaching basketball, football and girls softball before going into administration. Last year he left Centerville High School, a large school in Northern Virginia given high marks by the Virginia Department of Education. It was the second ranked school in Virginia by Newsweek in 2011.