Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DOJ - Sex offender registration & notification in the US - Current case law & issues (08-2013)

Highlights

The SMART Office is pleased to announce the release of the 2013 version of Sex Offender Registration and Notification in the United States: Current Case Law and Issues. This edition updates the 2012 version with new cases, issues raised, and corrections where prior case law has been overturned or modified. There were a number of developments in case law, federal legislation, and administrative policies regarding sex offender registration and notification during the last year.

DOJ - Sex offender registration & notification in the US - Current case law & issues (08-2013)
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CO - Hundreds of sex offenders inside schools across Colorado

Juvenile sex offenders
Original Article

11/11/2013

DENVER - Every morning when the school bell rings, kids flood into classrooms thinking about the homework assignment they still need to complete or the test they have to ace.

It’s not about the student sitting next to them, who may be a registered sex offender.

FOX31 Denver asked the state of Colorado how many juveniles were on the state’s sex offender list.

We were told the Colorado Bureau of Investigation doesn’t keep track of those numbers, so we went through hundreds of records and found a little more than 300 offenders, 17 and younger, who were required to register under state law.

The registered teenage sex offenders have been convicted of crimes like rape, incest and sexual assault; the youngest on the list, five 12-year-olds.

Here are kids that commit offenses that fall under the sexual offense category of our criminal justice system,” said George Brauchler, Arapahoe County District Attorney. “They’re not only permitted to go to school, in many cases they are encouraged to return to school as part of the rehabilitation process.”

FOX31 Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock asked 10 metro area school districts how many sex offenders attend classes in those districts. The highest number was in the Adams 12 Five Star School District with 43 in the last school year (2012-2013), followed by Jefferson County schools with 25 and Cherry Creek with 23.

Brauchler said under the law, a juvenile convicted of any crime is allowed a public education, whether it is in the classroom, online study or in-home study. Again, according to Brauchler, the goals are to give the offender as normal of a life and to rehabilitate the juvenile.
- Adults should also be given this opportunity!

The juvenile justice system that we have established in Colorado is not intended to be punitive, in fact, punishment is really the last resort,” said Brauchler.

When a student is accused or convicted of a serious sex crime, the district attorney’s office must notify the district where the child attends school and then the district puts that student on a safety plan.

They’re followed by an administrator in the school district; their behavior is closely monitored,” said John McDonald, Executive Director of Security in Jefferson County Schools.
- So are they going to have a 24/7 officer escort them everywhere?

The safety plan is a set of guidelines for administrators and the student to follow. For example, students on the plan might be prohibited from going near a daycare center located in the school, some must use a private restroom or they might not be able to attend physical education classes.

It is case specific; it is student specific. Safety plans are developed based on what the student’s issues are and what we need to be concerned about,” said McDonald.

The information about the student offender is shared with principals, school resource officers and guidance counselors. Sometimes teachers are alerted but that is on rare occasions.

School districts are prohibited from telling parents and other students of the criminal offense of a student McDonald told FOX31 Denver.

I think we have to be very careful about what information we share and there are so many variations and each case is so different,” McDonald said.
- The same can be said for adult ex-offenders!

If parents want to know the names and addresses of juvenile sex offenders they must pay for the information through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
- And this is what should be done for all ex-felons.  Some states have this already, except for ex-sex offenders of course.

The information on minors is not published online. You can also go to your local police department to get a list, but neither list will tell you the schools the offender attends.
- Then how did this reporter find all the "statistics" in this article if it's not easily accessible?

It’s not surprising that 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds are engaging in any sexual activity,” said Jen Bavender, a mom who has six kids in Douglas County Schools.

FOX31 Denver put together a panel of three moms to discuss juvenile sex offenders in the classroom. All had no idea schools would allow a sex offender in the classroom.

As a parent, do you think you have the right to know who those students are?” asked FOX31 Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock. “That’s a good question Tak, I will have to get back with you on that one,” said Bavender.

After a short discussion, two of the moms, Jennifer Nackerud and Bavender, decided they didn’t want to know which students were registered sex offenders.

I feel like I have just morally, ethically and legal obligation to protect a child, where I don’t an adult,” said Nackerud.

Mother Michelle Media felt she should know. “Personally, I think the greater safety of protecting all students is greater than protecting one.”

If this was a sex offender, whose first crime was as a 22-year-old in college, that’s much different than a 13-year-old who might have been acting out on something he absolutely had no idea of what he was doing,” said Bavender.

While many parents will differ on who should know, all agree it’s a discussion they need to have with their children. “I never thought about telling my kids, ‘Wow, what if another student does this to you? … [Here's] what you need to do,’” said Medina.


FL - Even sex offender ex-cop keeps benefits

To serve and protect? NOT!
Original Article

11/12/2013

By Michael George

TAMPA - The vast majority of police officers serve the public every day and deserve the benefits they receive. But should officers found unfit to wear the badge also receive those same benefits? The I-Team uncovered several cases of your tax dollars going to officers who resigned in disgrace, were fired, and even convicted of crimes.
- And Florida has a ton of sex offender police officers, as can be seen here.

Former Tampa Police officer Paul Federico (Story, Registry) resigned in the midst of a disciplinary hearing on allegations he had sex with a 16-year old girl. He was convicted and he’s now a registered sex offender. But none of that disqualifies him from collecting his taxpayer-funded pension. Since 2004, he’s gotten $461,648 in benefits.
- Hell the benefits are better than the actual employment check!

Former State Senator Mike Bennett says the pension system in place certainly has flaws that should be addressed. Under Florida law and most local policies, officers can only lose their pensions for defrauding the pension system itself or for a felony conviction related to their work as an officer.

I’m certainly not happy about them getting a pension, drawing down $70,000 or $80,000 a year,” Bennett said.

When you’ve got somebody who’s been a severe violator of the law, to have them benefit from the system is a problem,” he added.

Many of the officers who resigned during the Lakeland Police Department scandal (Here & Here) still qualify for their pensions. Former Lakeland Police captain John Thomason resigned in August after admitting to sending nude photos to a co-worker. He is currently receiving $6,289 a month, according to pension records.

Tampa police officers Donna Noblitt, Vince Bush, and David Rochelle (Story) resigned after their department said they were found to be leaving the job early 75-90% of the time. They have all received more than $240,000 each in benefits since their resignations.

Jim Diamond, who represents police officers for the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association, argues benefits shouldn’t be revoked in many of these cases.

One mistake should not take that officer’s future away from him,” Diamond said.
- Well if it would for the average citizen then it should for ex-cops!

Diamond says that many officers who resign in the wake of allegations have served the public and put their lives on the line for years prior to the accusations.

Perhaps they shouldn’t work in the industry any longer, but that doesn’t mean that the benefits they’ve already earned through dedicated service should be taken away,” Diamond said.
- Hmm, I wonder if he's saying this because if they lose their benefits then he doesn't get paid?

Former Tampa police officer Matthew Dolitsky (Story) resigned in the midst of an internal investigation that he traded cocaine for sex and had sex in a police vehicle on duty. According to the Tampa Police Department, Dolitsky pulled a gun on his fellow officers during the investigation and threatened them. Diamond said he didn’t believe Dolitsky should be allowed to keep his pension benefits.

No, I believe when the officer commits such an egregious violation, they’ve forfeited that right at that point in time,” Diamond said.

But under Florida law, Dolitsky will get his pension starting in 2016. He’ll receive $2,172 a month for the rest of his life. He was never charged with a crime in connection with the allegations.
- I'm sure he probably did what he's accused of, but if he wasn't convicted of a crime, then he should be able to keep his job and benefits.

Bennett believes the legislature should look into passing a law to allow a judge or panel to review pension cases in which officers are accused of serious crimes. He says the panel should weigh the severity of the crime, as well as the impact revoking a pension could have on an officer’s family.

Whether you like it or not, no matter how you cut it, that person did work to acquire those benefits. His family is depending on those benefits to feed their children in the future,” Bennett said.

We made attempts to reach out to the officers whose cases we reviewed. None of them would comment on the record.


France - Gripped by mysterious sunken skull inscribed with ‘death to pedophiles’ found off Riviera

Human Skull
Original Article

08/11/2013

By Henry Samuel

France has been gripped by the underwater discovery of a human skull inscribed with a target and the words “death to pedophiles” off a stretch of the Riviera coast.

First spotted by a sea urchin diver near a coastal path off Cap d’Antibes in February, the skull and three other bones were found after a series of dives. They have been identified as belonging to two women and two men.

An inquiry into “murder, sequestration, abduction and hiding corpses” was opened this week. Georges Gutierrez, the prosecutor in Grasse, said the inquiry would try to determine if “these people were deliberately killed.” He said the bones were in the water “for some time.”

DNA tests showed that a humerus, or upper arm bone, belonged to Stephane Hirson, 17, from Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, who vanished 20 years ago.

But so far, police have not been able to identify to whom the other bones belonged. In particular, they cannot explain to whom the skull belonged and why the inscriptions in permanent marker were made. The skull is thought to belong to a 50-year-old man. Attempts to link the skull to a known pedophile were unsuccessful.