Friday, March 21, 2014

FL - North Port Police officers (Ricky Urbina & Michelle Turner) arrested for sexual assault

Ricky Urbina & Michelle Turner
Ricky Urbina & Michelle Turner
Original Article

03/21/2014

North Port - A veteran North Port police officer was arrested Thursday night on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment, while a fellow officer took his own life before a warrant for his arrest was served.

Police crews were at the North Port home of the late officer Ricky Urbina well into the night, investigating his death.

The veteran police officer was about to be arrested on the same charges as his fellow officer, Michelle Turner.

The investigation into their misconduct, started in early March.

"I had a feeling he was involved. Only because his police car hadn't been here for the past couple weeks. Crazy anything like this goes on in such a small town," a neighbor on Urbina's street told 10 News.

"He was a nice guy."

In the heavily redacted affidavit, the victim, (who, in accordance to our 10 News Crime Guidelines, will not be named), claims she was handcuffed by Officer Turner and taken into a bedroom at a birthday party.

That's where the alleged sexual assault involving both officers took place. The details are so graphic, 10 News has chosen not to reveal them.

Urbina was on duty at the time of the party, and Turner was not.

In a press conference today, the Sarasota Sheriff's Office explained there was an agreement in place: If either officer would be arrested, they'd be notified ahead of time. Turner complied and was taken into custody.

Urbina had one request. To be arrested at a location separate from his home, but as detectives were en route to the location, there was a shooting at his home. Urbina was found dead.

The North Port Police Chief is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. 10 News will have more information as it becomes available.


CA - Grover Beach expands zones barring child molesters

Buffer zones
Original Article

03/21/2014

By Mike Hodgson

Despite a threatened lawsuit, a resident’s plea and a councilman’s misgivings, Grover Beach effectively blocked any additional child molesters from living in the city.

The City Council voted 4-1, with Councilman Bill Nicolls dissenting, to approve the second reading of an ordinance expanding so-called “protected zones” to 2,000 feet around schools, preschools, day care centers and parks.

Previously, the distance was 1,000 feet.

Individuals convicted of sex crimes against children — younger than 18 — who are required to register as sex offenders are barred from moving into temporary or permanent residences within those zones.

Sex offenders who were already living in the city when they were convicted of crimes against children are “grandfathered in.”

However, it’s not clear in the ordinance whether they would be barred from moving into another protected zone within the city.

The ordinance also requires child sex offenders to obtain written permission before entering a school.

Thirteen schools, preschools, parks and day care centers listed inside Grover Beach result in overlapping protected zones that cover almost the entire city.

Only three small pockets at the far southwestern, northeastern and northwestern ends are not covered by a zone.

One pocket consists of mostly agricultural and industrial land east of South Fourth Street and south of Highland Way to the city limits.

Another pocket is made up of mostly vacant land south of El Camino Real, north of Atlantic City Avenue and east from the Laguna Court dead end across North Oak Park Boulevard to the city limits.

The third and smallest pocket is a triangular residential area near Estuary Way and North Second Street.

While state law already bars child molesters from living within 2,000 feet of schools, preschools, day care centers and parks, Police Chief Jim Copsey said it has no enforcement provisions.

The Grover Beach ordinance provides for a fine of $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year for violations.

Resident Frank Lindsay, a board member of the nonprofit California Reform Sex Offender Laws, asked the council to reconsider expanding the protected zones.

These folks have an incredibly difficult task in front of them in recovery,” he said of registered sex offenders. “We should not make it more complicated.”

He pointed out calling the zones “protected areas” gives community members a false sense of security, believing it makes them safe from sexual predators.

When in fact we know that those that have offended in the past ... their likelihood of reoffense is 1.9 percent,” he said, citing statistics from the California Department of Corrections, adding the FBI puts the rate at almost 5 percent.

He said that is far less than the “hysteria” created by television claims that 100 percent of offenders will reoffend.

He noted the highest rate of new sexual offenses is among family members or those within a “family circle” who are not known as child molesters to law enforcement.

Lawyer Janice Bellucci, also a member of California Reform Sex Offender Laws, said Grover Beach’s revised ordinance may be unconstitutional because it would effectively banish sex offenders from the city.

She said she has sued several cities — including Cypress twice — over similar laws and won, and the cities had to pay her attorney fees.

I strongly support some of the comments that were made,” Copsey responded, but he added he disagreed with others.

He said the expanded zones had been requested by and have strong support from city residents.
- Just because it's supported by residents doesn't mean it's right and constitutional!

Some of it may be driven by fear,” Copsey said. “I don’t dispute that. Some of it is driven by, you know, the fact that they don’t want sex offenders living in their backyard or next-door to them.”
- So what if we don't want a politician living next to us, can we pass a law to prevent that as well?  Ex-felons live everywhere, what about those who are also dangerous to adults and children?

But the fact still remains that there are some cases where offenders do reoffend in their neighborhoods, and that’s what we would like to prevent,” he continued.
- Putting up some magical buffer zone won't prevent anything!  It's just exploitation by politicians looking to better their careers in our opinion.

And if we can prevent that 1.9 percent, that 5 percent or whatever percent it actually is, then we should do that.”

Still, Nicolls was concerned about the threat of a lawsuit.

One of the things that concerns me, if anybody is opening themselves to litigation, by looking at the map, I think Grover Beach is doing so,” Nicolls said.

If you’ll look at the map that was provided with the report, there is virtually no place in Grover Beach that (a child molester) can move or live. ...

I think we’re looking for trouble under those circumstances,” he added. “That bothers me.”

But Martin Koczanowicz, the city attorney, disagreed.

It doesn't preclude residence in Grover Beach,” he said of the ordinance.

Other council members said they could appreciate Nicolls’ position.

But they pointed out the 2,000 feet is in keeping with state law, and there are a few places in the city not within a protected zone.

It’s something residents want,” Councilman Glenn Marshall said.
- Hell residents want public hangings as well!  Are you going to give them that as well?


CANADA - Privacy concerned about database listing sex offenders

Online hit-list
Original Article

03/20/2014

By AARON BESWICK TRURO BUREAU

Canada is getting an online public database of convicted sex offenders, but it’s not being run by the government.

It’s being set up by the Sexual Abuse Network of Canada and was expected to go online Thursday night.

We have about 260 verified names right now for the list and another 400 we are verifying right now,” Dave Mantin, director of the network, said Thursday from Saint John, N.B.

We have contacted a legal team and they have explained to me and given me documentation on how to do this word for word.”

Mantin said the website, is a three-tier system with varying amounts of information on convicted sex offenders available to police, journalists and the public.

The general public will not require a password to access the site and will be able to get the identity and convictions of an offender. They will also be able to access “the general vicinity of where the perpetrator resides,” Mantin said.

His organization will provide log-in information to journalists from what he called “reputable media outlets” that will allow them to access all the information held by the organization except for names of victims.

Police officers will also be provided with their own log-ins that will give them full access to the information.

Mantin said data will be collected from “reputable newspapers” and confirmed with court documentation.

Online registries of convicted sex offenders have resulted in vigilantism.

In 2006, a Cape Breton man used a registry run by the Maine government to access information about two convicted sex offenders who were subsequently murdered. Twenty-year-old Stephen Marshall killed himself on a bus in Boston when he was approached by police regarding the deaths.

David Fraser, a privacy lawyer with the McInnes Cooper law firm in Halifax, said he has “grave concerns” with the registry.

What kind of accountability is there with this database?” Fraser said.

I have grave concerns with the accuracy and where they’re getting their information. If your information is misreported in a government database, you have a right to have that corrected. What mechanisms does this group have?

Fraser said the group could be endangering the reputation and safety of someone with a name similar to a convicted person who lives in the same area.

These things do tend to lead to vigilantism,” he said.

Mantin said such cases were “rare” and had to be balanced against the public’s right to know.
- They do happen and they are increasing (See here).

I’ve spoken to both the RCMP and local police agencies, and they’ve both informed me that if a road officer wants to know if Joe Blow is on the federal sex crime registry, he can’t just go look it up.”

He has to fill out a request form, have it authorized by his sergeant and then have the sergeant take it to the sex crime registry to be searched.”

This claim couldn't be immediately confirmed with police agencies.

Police are obligated to release the names of people deemed to be a high risk to reoffend when they are released into the community after serving their sentences. Mantin said he believes the public should be aware not only of these people but anyone who has committed a sex crime against a minor.

He called the registry “another tool for people to protect their children.”

When asked whether he might be concerned about potential legal action, Mantin said, “We’ve got lawyers.”
- But how much money do you have?


NJ - Legislators Want Sexual Offenders’ Re-offense Risk Determined Prior to Prison Release

Tier levels
Original Article

03/20/2014

To address what they see as a flaw in the state’s current sexual offender laws, Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have reintroduced legislation to require county prosecutors to determine sexual offenders’ risk of re-offense – or tier – prior to their release from incarceration.

Prosecutors classify sex offenders in one of three tiers based on the degree of risk they pose to the public: low risk/tier 1, moderate risk/tier 2, or high risk/tier 3.

Current law prevents sex offenders from being tiered until they have been released into the community because the offender’s residence status is a factor that is considered in determining risk of re-offense,” the three members of the 9th District delegation said in a joint statement. “To address this glaring defect in the current law, our legislation would remove the residency from the factors used in the determination process so that sexual offenders are tiered before they are released into the community.”

The introduction of this legislation, the lawmakers explained, followed conversations with local law enforcement personnel, including county prosecutors, “who warned about the inherent problems created by tiering convicted sex offenders after they have been released from incarceration. Given the transient nature of sexual offenders, it is not uncommon for these individuals to flee before ever being tiered.”

As a consequence, in these situations law enforcement and the public do not have a complete picture as to the offender’s likelihood of re-offending. Tiering classifications determine the level of community notification, which includes such information as an offender’s name, description and photograph, address, place of employment or school if applicable, a description of the offender’s vehicle and license plate number, and a brief description of the offense.”

Throughout the past several legislative sessions, Connors, Rumpf and Gove have called for the state’s existing sexual offender statutes to be strengthened to better protect children and communities.

While there are those that would argue that the residency factor allows for better determination of a sexual offender’s risk of re-offending, we strongly feel that it actually serves to the detriment of public safety and only complicates the responsibilities of law enforcement in tracking persons required to register under Megan’s Law,” they noted.

Upon reintroduction, the measures were referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Both companion measures have bipartisan sponsorship.


MN - Minnesota committee backs bill to expand sex offender registration

Jay McNamar
Jay McNamar
Original Article

03/19/2014

ST. PAUL - A House committee unanimously supported a bill with its roots in western Minnesota that would require any sex offender who is required to register elsewhere to register when he moves to the state.

The bill by Rep. Jay McNamar, D-Elbow Lake, would expand Minnesota law to require registration by any sex offender who must register under federal or tribal law or by another state's law, even if the person did not commit a crime that would have required him to register in Minnesota.

John Kingrey of the Minnesota County Attorneys' Association said the bill stems from a Traverse County case. A North Dakotan convicted of indecent exposure, who was required to register in his home state, moved to the county and authorities did not have the power to make him register in Minnesota.


AUSTRALIA - Provest supports national public sex offender register

Geoff Provest
Geoff Provest
Original Article

There are already laws on the books for murder so why is another useless law named after a dead child needed? Is it just so this man can look like a "savior" of children to help his career?

03/21/2014

By Alina Rylko

Tweed State MP Geoff Provest has supported the call for a national public sex offender register to prevent heinous crimes against children.

The push for the legislation, dubbed Daniel's law, follows the conviction of _____ for murdering 13-year-old Sunshine Coast boy Daniel Morcombe.

_____ was a known sex offender who broke parole numerous times before kidnapping Morcombe from a bus stop.
- If he broke parole numerous times, then that's an issue in your parole system that needs to be fixed, not something more laws will fix.

"In the Tweed, offenders can move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to avoid prosecution, so a national approach is needed," Mr Provest said.

"Therefore I'm very open to an unrestricted list of sex offenders."
- Which will just open them, their families and their own children up to vigilantism, which is a problem all across the world where online registries exist.

"Any parent will want to know if there are sex offenders in their area and if they're safe."
- What about all the other ex-felons who are dangerous?  Sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of all other ex-felons, yet they are singled out?  What about an online registry for every ex-felon?

"You can never get back a child's innocence once they have been sexually assaulted; it's a lifetime sentence for them."

"Therefore it should be a lifetime sentence for the offender, who I believe should loose a lot of their rights."