"1 in 5" is the magical Goldilocks number people love to use. If you watch when someone says a study is out, this number will almost always pop out. Remember, if you tell a lie often enough, eventually it becomes the "truth!"
To read more on this magical number, go here.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
"1 in 5" is the magical Goldilocks number people love to use. If you watch when someone says a study is out, this number will almost always pop out. Remember, if you tell a lie often enough, eventually it becomes the "truth!"
By Michael D. Abernethy
RALEIGH - A Snow Camp man convicted of sex offenses can’t be placed under lifetime satellite-based monitoring but can be monitored for a given length of time, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
It will be up to a Superior Court judge in Alamance County to decide whether and how long _____, 31, will be required to wear a device that tracks his location.
State law requires satellite-based monitoring for sex offenders convicted of certain types of crimes. It’s separate from the requirement that a defendant register as a sex offender. Some crimes — including violent, aggravated or repeat offenses — require a lifetime of monitoring. In other circumstances, it’s left up to a judge to decide whether a defendant should be placed on satellite-based monitoring and for how long.
In _____’s case, the appeals court ruled that his conviction didn’t classify as an aggravated offense under state law and found that he couldn’t be made to be monitored for life.
_____ pleaded guilty in 2007 to one count of indecent liberties with a minor and one count of second-degree sex offense. He served an active 84- to 110-month prison sentence and was released in December 2012. Satellite-based monitoring wasn’t available at the time of his conviction.
He was serving 30 months’ probation under an additional suspended 19- to 23-month sentence when he received notice April 22 that the state intended to pursue satellite-based monitoring.
At a hearing May 28, Superior Court Judge Wayne Abernathy found that a second-degree sex offense classified as an aggravated offense under state law. Aggravated offenses are defined as those where penetration occurs by the use of force or the threat of physical violence against a victim, or that involve penetration of a victim younger than 12 years old. Abernathy imposed lifetime monitoring.
Court documents also show that Abernathy expressed doubt at that hearing about the necessity of _____’s lifetime monitoring, finding also that he was a moderate- to low-risk offender taking steps to improve himself.
_____’s appellate defender argued three points: that the Superior Court didn’t have jurisdiction to impose lifetime monitoring, that the state couldn't impose the monitoring after his original sentencing, and that second-degree sex offense is not an aggravated offense.
In an unpublished opinion filed Tuesday, a three-judge panel denied attorney Jason Christopher Yoder’s first two claims but held that second-degree sex offenses can’t be classified as aggravated offenses. Second-degree sex offenses don’t include penetration as an element of the crime.
In court documents, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office agreed that second-degree sex offenses aren't aggravated offenses. Cooper’s office argued that the state should be allowed to present evidence for a shorter period of satellite-based monitoring.
The appeals court agreed.
“Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s order requiring defendant to enroll in a satellite-based monitoring program for life and remand for a proper determination of defendant’s eligibility of satellite-based monitoring pursuant to (state law),” N.C. Appeals Court Judge Chris Dillon wrote in the opinion. Chief Judge John C. Martin and Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. concurred.
In recent years North Carolina’s higher courts have made a number of rulings surrounding aggravated offenses and state statutes requiring satellite-based monitoring. Jamie Markham, with the UNC’s School of Government, said Tuesday that’s because state laws often don’t match up well with federal guidelines regarding sex-offender laws.
“That this continues to happen (four or five years after the N.C. Supreme Court ruled on aggravated offenses) demonstrates they are kind of counterintuitive and confusing,” Markham said.
Like usual they make it appear as if all ex-offenders have committed sexual crimes against children which is a flat out lie, but the truth doesn't sell papers, get votes, ratings, etc! This is only one mans story, most do not fit this stereotype!
"Stranger Danger" isn't always the one committing sex crimes against children. Much of the time it's someone you trust in your own home.
By Cydney Baron
PRYOR - A convicted sex offender has sued the district attorney and city of Pryor over housing dispute.
_____ bought a home near Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor before the sex offender law was passed which would prevent him from living within 2,000 feet of the school.
He was convicted of a child sexual offense in 2008. When he was released from prison in 2013, law enforcement told him he could not live in his house because of it’s proximity to a school.
_____’s position is he owned the home before the sex offender law took effect and he believes he should be able to live in the home.
_____, represented by attorney Gerald Lee, filed a petition for a declaratory judgment Feb. 7 listing the defendants as District Attorney Janice Steidley, the City of Pryor Creek and Pryor Police Department.
The petition states that _____, the plaintiff, “acquired his home on Nov. 8, 2000,” and lived there until Jan. 14, 2009.
According to Lee's request, on Aug. 8, 2008, the plaintiff pleaded guilty to possessing “material involving the sexual exploitation of minors/possessing a visual depiction.”
_____ was released from prison Aug. 10, 2013, according to the judgment.
“After Plaintiff's release from custody of the City of Pryor, by and through the Pryor Police Department, told the Plaintiff in August 2013 that his home is within 2,000 feet of Jefferson Elementary School and that he could not reside in his home pursuant to Title 57 O.S. Section 590A.”
The title in question states it is “unlawful for any person registered pursuant to the Sex Offenders Registration Act to reside within 2,000 feet of any public or private school,” and that “it is a penal statute by reason of the statute states any person who violates the residency restriction is subject to imprisonment and fine,” all according to the request. The title became effective in November 2003.
_____ then wrote the district attorney's office, requesting the district attorney agree that _____ could reside in his home.
“The District Attorney's Office has not offered any written response to the Defendant's Attorney's letter. The only response from the District Attorney's Office was a verbal response from the Assistant District Attorney stating that the plaintiff could not reside in his home in reliance on opinion of the Oklahoma Attorney General,” Lee's petition states.
Further , it states that no state shall pass an ex post facto law. That means a law written “after the fact” will not apply.
“The Plaintiff is unable to obtain or purchase another residence due to the fact that Plaintiff is 71 years old, has health problems, he is permanently, physically disabled, and his only income is his state retirement and social security benefits,” the petition states.
Online court records describe this case as a civil case in which relief sought exceeds $10,000, though no monetary amounts were listed in the official request.
In a declaratory judgment, a judge will decide how the law relates to this case. Lee believes the declaratory judgment will be _____ should be allowed to stay in his home.
|Rep. Dane Eagle|
By Marisa Kendall
Florida lawmakers have agreed to make reforming sex offense laws a priority this legislative session, a move spearheaded in part by a Cape Coral representative.
- What else is new? They do this every single year.
Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, jumped on board after a Sun Sentinel investigation suggested the state mishandled hundreds of sex offense cases and allowed convicted offenders to find new victims.
“I’m passionate about it,” Eagle said, “and I’m glad others are taking notice.”
House and Senate panels passed a handful of correlating bills last week that would keep sex offenders behind bars longer, require them to provide more personal information after they are released, notify victims when they are released, and eliminate a loophole that could allow sex offenders to leave prison without serving a period of community supervision. The legislative session begins March 4.
HB 7021, one of two bills sponsored by Eagle, would make it easier to detain sex offenders under Florida’s Jimmy Ryce law. The 1999 law requires the state to evaluate violent sex offenders to determine if they are still a threat to society after completing their prison terms. If they are deemed a threat, the offenders can be confined indefinitely in a treatment program.
Almost 600 offenders evaluated since 1999 were released and later convicted of another sex crime, according to the Sun Sentinel investigation published last year.
“We should at least be able to do our best to keep those kind of people behind bars and under watch,” Eagle said.
Now the decision to commit a sex offender under Jimmy Ryce hinges on a unanimous vote by a Department of Children and Families panel (Isn't that a conflict of interest?), which can range from two to five people. If Eagle’s bill passes, one vote in favor would be enough to commit an offender. And if every member of the DCF panel votes no, the state attorney’s office could override the panel and commit the offender.
- So basically they are going to just start committing everybody?
But Roger Gunder, a Fort Myers sexologist who has worked with sex offenders and victims of sexual abuse, thinks it should be harder, not easier, to imprison someone indefinitely.
“I have never been in favor of locking people up for what you think they might do,” he said, “which is exactly what the Jimmy Ryce act does.”
Eagle’s second sex offender bill, HB 7025, would require sex offenders to disclose more personal information when they are released from prison. The bill updates the current statute, requiring sex offenders to register information including their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
HB 7027 would impose 50-year minimum mandatory sentences for dangerous sexual offenders, eliminate the statute of limitations for sex offenses committed on victims younger than 16, and authorize arrests without warrants in cases of unlawful exposure of sexual organs.
An extended prison sentence would be appropriate for a small percentage of the state’s most violence sex offenders, Gunder said. But most sex offenders need more treatment, not more time in prison.
Gunder said media coverage, such as the Sun Sentinel report, gives the public a distorted view of the recidivism rates of sex offenders. Research shows sex offenders re-offend less often than other types of criminals, he said.
House and Senate leaders, in a show of bipartisanship, have agreed to move forward with the proposed sex offender bills. Eagle is in favor of all of them. He said:
“I’ve already supported them with my votes.”
Every single time someone says "a study says," they almost always throw out the Goldilocks "1 in 5".
By Colleen Henry
MILWAUKEE - Research shows one in five teens are sexting -- the sending of sexually explicit text or email messages.
WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry looks into the problem facing parents, police and prosecutors -- what to do with kids caught sharing these explicit messages.
It's a digital world, which can change as quick as the click of a camera.
"I do think it has desensitized us to what we put out there. We share everything else. Why not share a picture of us?" University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee junior Emma Lundsten said.
UW-Milwaukee's sociology of sexuality class is a hotbed of content and conversation historically considered taboo.
"For me, sexting, it's not even taboo any more," freshman Amanda Storck.
The students don't condone it, but said sexting has become a mainstay of social interaction. Girls do it for attention.
"It's very confusing, especially at a younger age when all the girls are getting attention that are doing this," Lundsten said.
For guys, it's status.
"With their friends, at least, they're like, 'Look at me. Look at me, I'm this guy who's getting a lot of pictures,'" freshman Maggie Smith said.
They've all been asked.
But when the kids in the pictures are under age, the law may see those so-called sexy pictures as child pornography, and the kids who take and share them, child pornographers.
Sexting kids have made headlines all across the Milwaukee area from Franklin to Waukesha to Brown Deer.
Despite the highly publicized sexting investigations, kids continue to swap skin online.
Greenfield Detective Doug Tweedie investigates sex crimes, including underage sexting.
"Even if your parents have blocked your phone to send or receive pictures, you can still take pictures on your phone and send them?" Henry asked.
"And send them via Kick," Tweedie said.
Kids avoid parental roadblocks with applications like Kick and Snapchat, which require just a wireless signal to share pictures and video.
"You're bypassing the system," Tweedie said.
Ironically, if caught sexting, kids face criminal penalties originally intended to protect them from dangerous adults.
"I don't think anybody necessarily wants to make a 13-year-old a felon," Tweedie said.
Wisconsin has no law that addresses sexting, so police and prosecutors can use child pornography statutes that can create some unintended results.
"The person who took picture could also be charged for possession of child pornography and then they sent it to somebody, they could be charged with possession of child pornography, and if they sent it to anybody, it could just go on and on and on," Tweedie said.
Those consequences have some states are dialing back penalties for teen sexters.
New Jersey lets first-time offenders avoid prosecution if they complete an education program.
New Hampshire won't prosecute an unwitting recipient of a sext if the teen reports it, and South Carolina is now considering limiting penalties to kids who forward sext messages without permission.
"Nobody has ever had an adolescence that is completely without moments of awkwardness, or mistakes," UWM sociology Professor Cary Costello said.
Costello said the law here fails to target the real problem.
"Extortion and stealing somebody else's images and exposing somebody without their consent, those are the inappropriate behaviors," Costello said.
Costello sees teen sexting as a digital age version of spin the bottle or truth or dare.
"They are expected to do that socially, and they can't just sort of magically mature without stumbling around and trying," Costello said.
The UW-Milwaukee students have some advice for anxious parents -- have common-sense conversations with your kids about actions and consequences.
WISN 12 News contacted the state Legislative Reference Bureau and learned that, as of yet, no one has introduced legislation to address teen sexting. Prosecutors have discretion in handling these cases. In many instances, kids may be ticketed, or if charged, those charges will expunged if kids stay out of trouble.
There have been cases where teens have been charged with felonies in cases involving deception or extortion, and offenders can end up being named on the state's sex offender registry.
In 2012, Montgomery County police arrested a 47-year-old teacher on charges he engaged in sex with students - but he wasn't prosecuted.
Under Maryland law, because the students were 16 and older, the teacher was a part-time employee and the sex acts didn't occur at the place he coached or taught, no crime had been committed. Child advocates call it "the Saturday- afternoon loophole."
Maryland legislators moved to close that loophole. So Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin crafted a bill to go after teachers and coaches in a variety of settings: Part-time teachers or coaches at public or private schools and gyms would be subject to criminal law if they engaged in sex with a 16- or 17-year-old. (Sex with minors under 16 is a crime in Maryland; this bill covers teens above the age of consent who are under the direction of a teacher or coach.)
But Senate Bill 460 has a loophole of its own: If a teacher or coach is no more than 7 years older than the student they coach or teach, they would not be subject to the law. So a 24-year- old teacher or coach could legally engage in a sexual relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old. While most schools and organizations would find that a fireable offense, it would not be a crime.
Raskin insists the provision is a recognition of how tough it's been to close the existing loophole: "This issue has been around for more than a decade." And while lawmakers argue over cases where teachers and coaches are close in age to their students, older part-time teachers and coaches are getting away with predatory behavior.
Lisae Jordan, executive director and counsel at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, agrees with Raskin: She says she's been fighting to get passage of a bill to tackle this issue since 2003. "If we don't include a bill that has some compromises, it's never going to pass." Jordan and Raskin say the exception in the law doesn't keep a school or organization from firing a teacher or coach who engages in sex with a student. And getting passage of the bill is critical.
Jordan says that in the 10 years she's been fighting for a similar bill to prosecute part-time teachers and coaches who prey on teens, she's seen a steady stream of victims sit in her office and has had to tell them there's no law to help them. "We're simply falling down on the job, we're not protecting those teenagers because we can't reach a compromise."
Raskin and Jordan say that if the bill passes, the provision regarding coaches and teachers who are less than seven years older than their students could be tweaked or eliminated. Raskin says it's a question of "not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good."
By Dave McKinley
Two Different Western New York Communities are taking two different approaches, toward one common goal
BUFFALO - Two separate Western New York communities, are taking two different approaches, toward one common goal; to rid their neighborhoods of sex offenders, placed in group homes by the state, after it closed a secure facility near Rochester late last year.
In Newstead, a group home for persons with developmental disabilities on Rapids Road operated by People Inc. has become the object of attention, after it was discovered that one of its newest residents is a registered sex offender.
At the same time, seven other sex offenders, from the shuttered Rochester area facility, were placed at two adjoining group homes on Leydecker Road in West Seneca.
"We're not a community that is open to places being shut down in far away communities and counties and having those people with criminal records, especially a sex offender, come to our neighborhood," said Newstead Town Councilman Justin Rooney.
Rooney has organized a public meeting set for Wednesday at 7 pm, at the Newstead Town Library, where he says representatives of People Inc. and The NY State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities have agreed to appear and address community concerns.
"They were very responsive (to town officials), we asked them some pointed questions, we're going to go over those questions with the public on Wednesday and hopefully they will continue to be responsive and open to us," Rooney said.
In West Seneca meanwhile, concerns have boiled over into plans for protest marches.
"Personally I'm not stopping until they're gone," said Tony Fischione, who has organized the first of what he promises will be demonstrations every weekend this coming Saturday.
It will begin at Sunshine Park and proceed to where the group homes are located some 600 yards away.
"We're trying to get as many people out here as possible with signs, flags, banners, …whatever we can think of ," said Fischione. "We're sick of it and we're not going to put up with it," he said.
By Carlos E. Medina
A Valentine's Day tryst ended with an Ocala woman in jail, accused of stealing her date's car.
_____, 48, called police Saturday to report that Tammy Hamilton, 47, had stolen his Ford Explorer, according to Ocala Police Department reports.
When officers arrived at Hamilton's home, _____ told them he picked her up Friday and they spent Valentine's Day together. He said she spent the night at his apartment, reports state.
When he awoke on Saturday, _____ said, Hamilton and his Explorer were gone. He called a friend who drove him to Hamilton's residence and a short time later she reportedly drove up in the Explorer._____ said that, when she saw him, Hamilton tried to put the vehicle in reverse but he was able to reach through the passenger side and remove the keys, according to reports.
Hamilton went inside the house while _____ waited outside for police to arrive. When officers spoke to Hamilton, she denied using the vehicle and blurted out that _____ had paid her for sex, reports state.
Hamilton then accused _____ of rape. After further investigation, including a trip to the hospital, Hamilton admitted she made up the rape claim, according to reports.
Hamilton was booked at the Marion County Jail on one count each of grand theft auto and giving a false report to law enforcement. She was being held Monday in lieu of a $5,500 bond.
By BRETT HAMBRIGHT
_____’s newly-found freedom might just be the tip of the iceberg.
_____ was relieved last month from a 6-to-12-year prison sentence due to a flaw in Megan’s Law, a database which includes the registration system for convicted sex offenders.
Now, prosecutors across the state are surveying how many other offenders will benefit from a recent state Supreme Court ruling that deemed part of the registration system “unconstitutional.”
Numerous others could be owed the same relief as _____: dismissal of felony charges.
“I can’t imagine there aren't others out there,” Lancaster County First Assistant District Attorney Christopher Larsen said last week, while perusing local cases.
Not all sex offenders will be getting relief.
The high-court ruling only affects failure to register under Megan’s Law charges, not actual sex crimes.
And only offenders under specific registration requirements that were charged with failure to register between 2005 and December 2012 are eligible.
However, locals say, that could be quite a number of cases.
Larsen estimates “under 50” Lancaster County sex offenders will be eligible for relief, although prosecutors are still sifting through cases for an exact number.
It’s unclear how many of those locals are currently serving prison terms for the charges under review.
“It’s going to be a case-by-case determination,” Larsen said. “If there’s another avenue we can argue [to avoid dropping charges], then we’ll take it.”
That wasn’t an option in _____’s case. Charged in 2010 with two counts of failure to register, the local public defender’s office appealed on _____’s behalf. He was freed on Jan. 27 — and spared of up to 10 more years behind bars.
Lancaster County is home to more than 450 convicted sex offenders who register under Megan’s Law, which is now supplemented by Adam Walsh Act. An estimated 15,700 offenders live in Pennsylvania, according to a state police database.
All are required on at least an annual basis to notify police of their whereabouts.
In December, the state Supreme Court ruled that revisions to Megan’s Law made by lawmakers in 2004 are, essentially, no good. Those revisions included registration rules for certain offenders, the high court ruled.
The opinion opened the door to the review of seven years worth of charges lodged against sex offenders under Megan's Law.
“It can be argued that (Supreme Court decision) creates a complete defense to an ongoing prosecution ... for an (applicable) offense that was committed before December 20, 2012,” Lancaster County Chief Public Defender James Karl said, after his office won the _____ appeal.
It’s unclear what will happen in cases in which an offender has already served a sentence for failure to register between 2005 and 2012.
Prison is often the penalty for those convicted of failing to register. The charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of between 2 and 7 years, depending on the offender’s prior conviction, according to Karen Mansfield, senior prosecutor in the district attorney’s special victims unit.
The high court stayed its ruling to nullify pre-existing Megan’s Law for 90 days, giving police and prosecutors a head start to deal with the affected cases.
_____, convicted in 2003 of aggravated indecent assault of a minor, will still be required to register his whereabouts under the new system.
And so will others affected by the Supreme Court decision, according to State Rep. Bryan Cutler, a Peach Bottom Republican.
“The registration requirements are still in effect,” Cutler said last week.
Mansfield said the charge of failure to register also will remain.
Cutler and State Rep. Ryan Aument, of Landisville, pointed out that HB 1985 — a revision of law that keeps those registration requirements in place — recently unanimously passed the state House.
Both representatives are optimistic the new registration laws will stick.
Meanwhile, potentially hundreds of offenders statewide are getting a chance to capitalize on the state Supreme Court ruling.