Tuesday, April 1, 2014

FL - New bill could mean tougher penalties for teachers who have sex with students

Hot for teacher
Original Article

You do not need a law for this. If they have sex with someone who is underage, you have a law for that, if it's consensual, then the school board should deal with it! And what about politicians who have sex with interns (Mark Foley, Bill Clinton, etc)? Are you going to toughen the penalties for that as well? Politicians think they can just make a law and everything will go away, or they do it to help themselves look "tough" on crime while actually doing nothing.

04/01/2014

ORLANDO - Channel 9 has covered many cases of local teachers accused of having sex with students. Now lawmakers in Tallahassee hope to cut down on the behavior by increasing the punishment teachers face.

If the punishments are increased, it would not affect teachers in central Florida who already have pending cases, Channel 9's Kathi Belich learned.

Rep. Jake Raburn said high school student in Hillsborough County asked him to propose tougher penalties because the problem was growing in their area.

_____ was a teacher at Eustis High School when she was accused of having a sexual relationship with not one but two students there.

_____ was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, but she was released after serving a year and eight months. She also had to register as a sex offender.

A bill sponsored by Raburn would make sexual crimes involving educators and students more serious, with the maximum penalties increased.
- Why only stop at teachers?  What about politicians, police, day care workers, etc?

Parents of students at Eustis High School told Channel 9 they support the idea.

Last year, two local teachers were accused of having sexual relationships with students.

Jones High School teacher _____ faces 20 charges and former Lyman math teacher _____ is accused of having sex with two students.

House Bill 485 has passed through all the House committees and one Senate committee.

Raburn's office said there seems to be a lot of support but a vote has not been scheduled yet.


OH - Upper Arlington lawyer (William B. Feldman) suspended after child porn found on his computer

William B. Feldman
William B. Feldman
Original Article

04/01/2014

By Randy Ludlow

The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended the law license of an Upper Arlington lawyer convicted of a child-pornography-related felony.

The justices suspended the inactive license of William B. Feldman, 66, after he pleaded guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to pandering sexually oriented matter involving a juvenile.

Feldman initially was charged with eight counts of pandering after authorities said they discovered child pornography on his computer at his Lyon Drive home.

Judge Charles A. Schneider sentenced Feldman on Jan. 30 to three years of community control, intensive sex-offender supervision and required him to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.

Upper Arlington officials have notified Feldman that he will have to move since he lives near Greensview Elementary School.
- He shouldn't have to just up and sale his home just because he now wears the "sex offender" label!

Certain sex-offenders are not permitted to live within 1,000 feet of schools and other locations which children frequent.

Feldman’s lawyer told ThisWeek Upper Arlington News that he might contest the order that he move because he owned his home prior to the enactment of the law restricting where sex offenders can live.

See Also:


TX - Former Odessa Police Officer (Salvador Becerra) Now Faces Sexual Assault Charge

Salvador Becerra
Salvador Becerra
Original Article

03/31/2014

Odessa (Big 2 News) - "What has occurred is disgusting and it's not tolerated within this department," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur, communications officer for the Odessa Police Department.

Former police officer Salvador Becerra was arrested early in March.

Three different women came forward saying they were touched inappropriate during traffic stops.

"Becerra went through a background check just like every other officer did. He had to take every other test throughout the entire background process," LeSueur said.

Now, three weeks later, Becerra was arrested again after state troopers say two additional victims were identified.

This adds one count of sexual assault to Becerra's list of charges.

"The reality is that this is involving one officer. We have 182 sworn officers here in the Odessa Police Department, this is involving one officer," LeSueur said.

Even with a system to enforce guidelines and rules for officers to follow, Becerra's acts still went unnoticed.

But, police officials say this was a disappointing decision made by one former officer that does not represent the entire police department.

"There's a system in place and as long as you know, that system is followed, then it would work. However these are the actions of one individual who chose to take a certain path," LeSueur said.

According to affidavits obtained by Big 2, Becerra approached the latest victim that came forward claiming he needed to search her motel room after finding an open container of beer in her vehicle.

The affidavit states the victim was afraid if she did not perform sexual acts on Becerra, she would be arrested and taken to jail.

"We work so hard to get the trust of the citizens and Becerra's actions just made it extremely difficult for us to accomplish that," LeSueur said.
- Are you forgetting that everybody is innocent until proven guilty?  You've pretty much thrown him under the bus already!


AUSTRALIA - Sex offender squad faces axe

Ax on a log
Original Article

04/02/2014

A specialist WA Police squad responsible for monitoring thousands of convicted sex predators could be axed as part of a push to shave millions off the police budget's bottom line.
- Not all sex offenders are predators!

A high-level razor gang has been examining the operations of the sex offender management squad, which tracks the movements of more than 3000 rapists and paedophiles living in the community.
- Not all sex offenders are rapists or pedophiles!

The squad also monitors about 20 offenders who are classified as dangerous, such as the recently released serial rapist known only as TJD.

But despite the importance of the work it does, senior police have refused to guarantee the unit's survival.

"All business units in WA Police are being scrutinised as part of the Frontline 2020 Reform Program," Acting Deputy Commissioner Paul Zanetti said.

But Mr Zanetti denied any decision about the future of SOMS - or any other specialist unit - had been made.

The recidivism rate for those monitored by SOMS is less than one per cent, well below other jurisdictions.

Police working in the unit fear any attempt to close them down will lead to that rate going up.
- Which is based on personal feelings (job security), not facts!

If the unit was scrapped, suburban detectives could be forced to pick up the workload.
- So tell me, what is the purpose of probation and parole officers again?

"Any suggestion that there have been proposals put forward or decisions made regarding State crime are completely untrue," Mr Zanetti said.

Hetty Johnston, founder of child protection group Bravehearts, urged WA Police to look elsewhere to find savings.

"Any talk of scaling back in this climate - especially with the Royal Commission running - is just dangerous and irresponsible," Ms Johnston said.

SOMS was formed in 2005 after the establishment of a national sex offender register.

Those on the register have to meet regularly with a case officer - usually an experienced police detective - and disclose any changes to their personal circumstances including travel plans, the car they own, where they live and who they work for. Offenders who are considered dangerous - like TJD - must comply with stricter conditions such as wearing a GPS tracker, night-time curfews and bans on drinking alcohol.

Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts called on Police Minister Liza Harvey to intervene and guarantee the future of SOMS.

"These are crimes that the community find abhorrent and any winding back of this would disturb me greatly," Mrs Roberts said.


MA - Retroactive Application of Sex Offender Law Rejected

Unconstitutional
Original Article

04/01/2014

By Amaris Elliott-Engel

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has declared unconstitutional the retroactive application of the state's amended sex offender registration law. The ruling came in a proposed class action brought by all level-two sex offenders in Massachusetts (Moe v. Sex Offender Registry Board).

State law was amended July 12, 2013, to require the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board to publish in its registry information about defendants given a level-two or level-three classification. Previously, the board was barred from publishing on-line information about level-two offenders—those deemed at moderate risk of reoffending. While legislators intended the change to the registration regime to apply retroactively, the state’s court of last resort said that would violate due process under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
- And if it's unconstitutional for Level 2 & 3, so is it for Level 1's as well.

The practical consequence of the recent amendments is that offenders whose degree of dangerousness, according to SORB, was not so substantial that Internet publication of their information was needed to protect the public safety would now be subject to Internet publication of their registry information,” the court said.

And further, those offenders who did not challenge their level-two classification … because they specifically relied on their accurate understanding that a level-two classification did not carry the consequence of Internet publication of their registry information, would now be subject to exactly that.”

The court remanded the case for an entry of an order certifying the class and permanently enjoining the board from publishing information about any offender finally classified as a level-two sex offender on or before July 12, 2013.

Of the 11,171 sex offenders registered with SORB as of July 12, 2013, registry information is currently available on the Internet only for the 2,422 level-three offenders, a group that comprises approximately 21.7 per cent of registered sex offenders,” the court said. “Were the recent amendments to become effective, the number of offenders whose registry information is publicly available would rise to 8,496, approximately 76.1 per cent of the sex offenders registered with SORB.”


Sex offender therapy: A battle on multiple fronts

TherapistOriginal Article

03/31/2014

By Michael Hubbard

Working with individuals with sex offense convictions is a specialized area of counseling. There are also “specialties within the specialty” when factoring in the different venues for treatment, including programs in prison, in private practice (often with those on postprison supervision or probation) and in mental institutions. The individuals within this population are generally quite different, and the dynamics are made even more complex when considering whether the offenders are adult males, adult females (yes, there are female sex offenders) or juveniles. The research on each population varies considerably. There is a paucity of research on female sex offenders, and research is still somewhat lacking (although growing) on the ever-complex juvenile offenders.

Sex offender therapy is challenging regardless of the nature of the clients, and other factors also come into play. There exists the constant issue of resistance to treatment, particularly when treatment is a condition of probation or parole. Criminogenic thinking pervades the scene, and counselors must be on guard for the often subtle signs of that mind-set. For instance, individuals convicted of sex offenses can be highly manipulative, not only with their therapist but also with others in their therapy groups. Power plays, deflection, grooming and lying are a few examples of the criminal thinking that may be evident. Many offenders will also present with a virtual encyclopedia of thinking errors. Often topping the cognitive distortion list are victim stance (“This label is unfair”), minimization (“All I did was grope her”), justification (“We’d had sex before and she didn’t complain”) and entitlement.

In addition to the cognitive distortions and potential for criminogenic behavior, counselors may also have to contend with other factors such as addictions, co-occurring disorders and, of course, shame, guilt and incredibly demeaning self-talk. The ultimate goal of sex offender therapy is relapse prevention, based first upon accountability and assumption of responsibility for offensive behavior. But when all of these factors are thrown into the mix, the counselor is often faced with denial on several levels: denial of facts (“It wasn’t me”); denial of intent (“I was drunk”); denial of impact (“She didn’t seem to mind”); and denial of the need for treatment.

Research supports the best practice of sex offender therapy being conducted in groups whenever possible. The peer support, which includes challenging denial and other thinking errors, is invaluable in treatment and also lends itself to generally better outcomes. Part of the reason for this is that so many sex offenses are based in secrecy. Bringing offenses out into the open is generally conducive to discussion and to the cognitive elements that are so important to reducing recidivism.

Of course, group therapy adds still other elements for the therapist to consider, including properly populating groups (for example, matching risk factors, genders and ages) and building and maintaining effective group dynamics. Sex offenders don’t want to talk about their “stuff” in front of others. Consequently, providing a safe environment and building trust are staples of effective sex offender therapy groups.

While this represents a formidable enough battlefront on its own, sex offender therapists are faced with another perhaps even more challenging front — that of our society, including our lawmakers.

Society’s perception
When will "tough" be tough enough?
In this discipline, we understand that risk mitigation is a primary concern. After all, society demands and deserves protection, and we all share the goal of ensuring that there will be no more victims of sex offenses. In fact, that is a primary directive.

Yet our society is also responsible for erecting many of the barriers that stand in the way of the recovery that sex offender therapists and our clients strive to achieve. Understandably, victim advocacy is far more palatable than the thought of treating a population that most would prefer to exile. However, the sad fact is that punitive barriers such as limited jobs, housing restrictions and sex offender registration raise significant risk factors for recidivism. These barriers often negate the efforts of sex offender therapists and those clients who possess legitimate desires to recover and return as productive members of society. In fact, our society may be contributing to future victimization — just the opposite of our primary goal.

As we all know, hopelessness is like a vampire to therapy. As our restrictive policies and biases feed that hopelessness, treatment and recovery are undermined, and relapse can become more likely. The short of it is that society’s efforts are based on a significant amount of misinformation and myths about sex offenders, and politicians and law enforcement officials often respond to the public’s demand for protection with tougher and more restrictive laws. Those laws and policies, even when couched as seemingly more sensible restrictions on living locations (as though all sex offenders are child molesters), send a clear message of “not on our block, in our neighborhood or in our town.”

In the meantime, the question of “Who is a sex offender?” is often overlooked. When I describe a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend of two years, some people will respond, “Well, he’s not a sex offender in that case.” Yet I have worked with a number of individuals convicted in similar situations who are now registered as sex offenders for life and required to complete treatment. In fact, there were so many such cases in Oregon that the state finally passed what is referred to as the “Romeo and Juliet law.” Under this law and similar laws in some other states, there is generally no charge of engaging in unlawful sex even if the “victim” is underage and the “offender” is an adult, as long as the age difference is no more than three years and the sexual act was consensual. My point here is that there is no set “profile” for all individuals labeled as sex offenders, yet society and the media frequently attempt to paint one.

Common myths
Fact or myth?
This particular battle is not restricted entirely to public sentiment. In the state institution in which our program operates, the public’s general misconceptions about sex offenders are often shared by some staff members. And I should point out that those in our counseling community are not immune. Some of the common myths about sex offenders are as follows.

Most sex offenders are predators. Reality: The most common sex offender is opportunistic, has one victim and is known to the victim.

Most sex offenders are dirty old men, strangers and pedophiles who will grab children off playgrounds. Reality: First, pedophiles (those sexually attracted to children) are not necessarily child molesters, for most do not commit offenses regardless of their attraction. Most sex offenders and child molesters are relatives or otherwise known to the family; only 2-3 percent of such offenses are committed by strangers. An estimated half of all child molestations are committed by teenagers.

Once a sex offender, always a sex offender (most sex offenders will reoffend). Reality: Study results vary considerably depending on the nature of the crime, whether the offender was previously incarcerated, whether the offender received treatment, what kind of support exists and the time after release and/or treatment completion. Yet contrary to popular belief, studies and statistics (including those from the Bureau of Justice) indicate that recidivism rates for sex offenders are lower than those for the general criminal population. A five-year study from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services noted a rate of recidivism ranging from 6 to 23 percent, depending on the offense (incest had the lowest recidivism rate, while molestation of boy victims had the highest recidivism rate). The Center for Sex Offender Management cites a recidivism rate of 12-24 percent but adds that many such offenses are underreported.
- NOTE: It also depends on how they define recidivism.  If they define it as any new unrelated crime or violation then the statistics are higher, but if they only include new sexual crimes then the stats are a lot lower, below 5%.

Treatment for sex offenders does not work. Reality: This statement has been a source of debate for decades. The effectiveness of treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type of offender, the type of treatment and how much management, supervision and support the offender has. Although the risk of recidivism exists even in the best of cases, most offenders can and will lead productive and offense-free lives after treatment.

Most sex offenders were sexually abused when they were children. Reality: Although sex offenders are more likely to have been sexually abused than nonoffenders, the vast majority of individuals who were sexually abused will not go on to commit sex crimes. A 2001 study by Jan Hindman and James Peters found that 67 percent of sex offenders initially reported sexual abuse in their history. Yet, when subjected to a polygraph, that figure dropped to 29 percent, suggesting that reports of sexual abuse were initially exaggerated to justify or rationalize their offenses.

I recall my former graduate school classmates, and even some of my professors, asking me, “How can you do that kind of work?” Most often the question came from those working with victims of sexual and physical abuse. Others in law enforcement and victim advocacy programs often repeated the question. The implication from some is that a counselor who treats the instigators of sexual abuse cannot also identify with the victims of such abuse. That argument could not be more fallacious.

Other obstacles
Obstacles
In our sex offender treatment program at a state hospital, a primarily forensic mental institution, our first challenge is getting patients with sex offenses into our program. We run an evidence-based program, principally using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), that serves all risk levels and populations that have regular and diminished cognition with a variety of biopsychosocial diagnoses. Most of the patients in our program are in the hospital under a “guilty except for insanity” adjudication and under the jurisdiction of Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB). No matter why they are here, any patient with a history of a sexual offense or who engages in inappropriate sexual activity is referred to our sex offender treatment program.

When referred, a sex offender risk assessment is conducted to evaluate risk and appropriateness for sex offender therapy and to provide recommendations. Participating in sex offender treatment at the hospital is not mandatory, although the PSRB — concerned with risk mitigation — may consider nonparticipation a risk factor when contemplating the patient’s release to a less restrictive facility.

The patients often balk at the thought of living with the “sex offender” designation, fearful they will be subjected to harassment and other abuse. Their fear is warranted; many are labeled with terms such as chimo (child molester), pedophile or predator and become targets for possible physical assault. Staff members are not immune to falling into the judgment trap, sometimes in the form of what we call the “ick factor.” Even if they try not to show it, the patients can read it. Many sex offender patients carry so much shame and guilt that any suggestion of judgment can keep them from engaging in treatment or create a setback. We use a considerable amount of motivational interviewing to facilitate patients’ decisions to engage in the treatment they sorely need to progress through this institution.

Because our team operates in a state institution, we face some challenges not seen as often in private practice or other counseling venues. Our patients have mental illness, with everything from schizophrenia spectrum disorders to various personality disorders. In addition, more than one-third of the members in the groups we facilitate have diminished cognition. This represents another barrier to effective treatment, especially when considering that CBT and adjunct approaches such as dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are the most foundational and evidence-based practices when working with sex offenders. Indeed, the dynamic risk factors between the populations vary considerably.

As stated before, therapists in this field often deal with criminogenic thinking. Although we may expect that with many clients on postprison supervision, it is easy to forget in this hospital, where we are working with those who have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. But the guilty except for insanity plea and accompanying diagnoses do not preclude criminogenic thinking. We witness manipulation, victimization and other criminal activities all too frequently. Given all these factors, providing sex offender therapy in our program is sometimes like looking through a fractured lens and still trying to divine a clear image of each patient and how to work with that patient for engagement and progress.

How might this apply to you?
How does this affect me?
Those of us currently in this field, as well as those counselors who may one day work with sex offenders, must realize that our approach to treatment will be negatively affected should we hold on to the same misconceptions and biases that are so prevalent in society. We are already familiar with the more general bias toward mental illness. Consider how much more that can play out in a charged atmosphere of offenses with the prefix sex. If you are a counselor and saying to yourself, “I have no intention of working with sex offenders,” here’s news for you: Most counselors will work with sex offenders, although perhaps without even knowing it.

Consider that a U.S. Department of Justice report from 2005 said studies suggest that sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes. That same report estimated that 60 percent of rapes go unreported. As a counselor, you may be just as likely to work with a client who has committed a sexual offense, even though the client comes to you for another unrelated reason, as you are to work with a client who eventually discloses that he or she was sexually molested. Given the underreporting of sexual crimes, it is not unthinkable that you may have a client who has offended and is coming to you due in part to the guilt that he or she is experiencing. Or you may have someone well into therapy for a different reason (for example, depression), only to finally have that client confess to sexual offending.

So, how should you prepare? As with any area in counseling, seek out information, research and guidance. There are a number of excellent resources in the field of sex offender therapy, including the Center for Sex Offender Management, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and the New England Adolescent Research Institute. All provide forums for research and to improve the work we do, both in treatment and in support for recovery. ATSA has many organizations under its umbrella on a state level that offer workshops on sex offender therapy and related topics. It also hosts an annual conference with a plethora of research and presentations.

For those inclined to explore or promote advocacy, these organizations (as well as others) produce important educational information. Speaking of which, another misconception exists that if a therapist advocates for a recovery-minded approach in treating sex offenders, that person is precluded from advocating for victims. Some people even view us as “offender defenders.” But most of us have treated, and continue to treat, victims of sexual and other abuse. In doing so, we often treat individuals who are both victims and offenders.

Current research indicates that the most evidence-based therapy for sex offenders, with the best outcomes, is CBT. In addition, a person-centered approach has been demonstrated to be most effective. This is understandable given the shame and suspicion felt by many offenders. An interdisciplinary team that communicates well is another key factor for optimal treatment and supervision. When working with clients on postprison supervision in private practice, this team would include the therapist, the parole officer and other professionals such as polygraphers. In our hospital setting, the communication and cooperation between our sex offender treatment program personnel and the unit psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and other staff such as treatment care plan specialists are essential to crafting and implementing treatment plans, considering and managing outings and other privileges, and working toward the patients’ recovery and eventual transition to other settings such as group homes.

Other programs, such as one begun in Canada called the Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA), have recognized the need to provide ongoing support and guidance as sex offenders leave treatment and attempt to make their way back into society as productive members. Studies involving the original COSA and those established in states such as Minnesota have demonstrated a significant reduction in recidivism — in some cases, in excess of 70 percent. In turn, this has had a positive fiscal impact by reducing prison time due to relapse and reconviction. Most important, that translates to fewer victims.

As stated earlier, group treatment is best practice in the field of sex offender treatment. Of course, many counselors in private practice may not have enough clients to establish a group. When there are enough members, setting up and running sex offender groups presents another level of challenge. First, groups should be set up with homogeneity in risk level, age and gender. In other words, low-risk clients should not be mixed with high-risk clients, genders should not be mixed and juveniles should not be included in groups with adults.

Once established, group dynamics become a focal point. Even though all group members will have committed some form of sex offense, some members will not be above judging others. For instance, a person convicted of raping an adult female may object to being in the same room with someone who molested a child, a relative or a male adult. Although society may not make distinctions between sex offenders, the offenders themselves sometimes have their own hierarchy.

Another challenge, yet to be sorted out by sufficient research, is treatment of offenders who are developmentally delayed. Some therapists have raised valid questions about using CBT with those who have diminished cognition. In addition, there are some risk factor differences between those with regular cognition and those with diminished cognition. Many treatment programs that handle both populations simply modify their regular program for clients who are developmentally delayed. Others have more distinct programs, with the one for developmentally delayed clients focused more on addressing emotional dysregulation and other dynamic risk factors.

Closing thoughts
Final thoughts
Sex offender therapy is a controversial topic. No matter your involvement (or lack of involvement) in working with or advocating for the treatment of this population, you may still experience the battlefront I have outlined. The research and dissemination of findings will be limited as long as there is polarization around sex offender issues and as long as those perceived “sides” are not willing to listen to each other.

As counselors, we all know that listening, and especially reflective listening, involves a number of skills, not the least of which is seeing through the issues without allowing our own emotions to get involved. The public needs to receive an education on these issues. In addition, politicians, government agencies and policymakers must be urged to listen rather than simply striving to establish more “tough on offender” laws that sometimes make little sense and may, in fact, ultimately contribute to additional victims.

As counselors, however, we first focus on caring and applying our skills as best we can. We know that we cannot cure, but we can do our best to prevent future victims. In the process, it’s very likely that you will be faced with the task and frequent frustration of educating others who will not care. In fact, many will suggest that you simply throw away the key rather than provide treatment.


The runaway train needs to be stopped!

Runaway Train
Original Article

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Vicki Henry, President
Women Against Registry
202.630.0345
contact@womenagainstregistry.com

Pedophile—what does it mean and when should it be used?

How does one convey the proper use of a tired and overworked word to those who have the eyes and ears in the state of Texas? Women Against Registry, a national organization of wives, mothers, girlfriends, grand-mothers and other family members of registrants would like to make the media and ultimately the public aware of the effects that this misapplied term has on their families. Our families face many obstacles; Having our homes set on fire, our children beaten, signs placed in our yards, people driving by shouting obscenities, rude gestures, vehicles/property damaged, asked to leave our churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, flyers distributed around our neighborhoods, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant and even murder by self-proclaimed heroes who more accurately are vigilante criminals. The media carries this message to the public who then contact their legislators to protect children from all the “pedophiles”. The uneducated information the media disseminates to the public is driving wedges in society and causing people harm.

What is pedophilia?

Pedophilia is a diagnostic term utilized by the psychiatric community to define a specific type of mental disorder. As such, the term had originally been intended to identify a clinical entity in a way that would both facilitate research and guide treatment. Although in the absence of treatment the condition can predispose illegal behaviors, in and of itself pedophilia is not inevitably associated with criminal misconduct. Nevertheless, nowadays the term has taken on an unintended meaning in society’s collective consciousness—a demonizing pejorative that stigmatizes those manifesting the condition. To many in contemporary society, the term pedophilia connotes a criminal mind-set, rather than a mental disorder. (From the "AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHIATRY, VOLUME 32, ISSUE 2, 2011 / 3" PEDOPHILIA: CRIMINAL MIND-SET OR MENTAL DISORDER? A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW by Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D.)

What does pedophile mean?

A pedophile is a person who has a sustained sexual orientation toward children, generally aged 13 or younger. Not all pedophiles are child molesters (or vice versa). "Child molesters are defined by their acts; pedophiles are defined by their desires," Blanchard says. "Some pedophiles refrain from sexually approaching any child for their entire lives." But it's not clear how common that is. (Ray Blanchard, PhD, adjunct psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto.)

What is a sexual predator?

While the term "sexual predator" is sometimes used to describe anybody who obtains sexual contact via less-than-honest means, the term has a clear legal connotation, as well. Used to refer to both potential sex criminals and those who have a history of committing sexual crimes, the term is sometimes confusing to those outside law enforcement.

Who are the registrants?

According to the NCMEC, as of December 2013 there were 769,402 men, women and children as young as years old on the registry nationally with more are being added at record-breaking rates. The increased growth of registrants is creating the work load of law enforcement to become impossible. The state of Texas makes up 78,869 of the above total registered citizens. The "sexual offenses" across the nation can range from; urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, spiteful students, viewing abusive/ suggestive images of anyone 18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and many others. More and more higher courts are declaring some of the laws unconstitutional. Women Against Registry believes when a person has been convicted, paid their debt to society and are living a law-abiding life they should be allowed to move on and become a contributing, tax-paying citizen.

Kimberly DuBina, W.A.R. Director states, “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics the recidivism (re-offense) rate for a new sexual offense is 5.3% BUT, the conviction rate is 3%.”

Many law enforcement, child abuse task force personnel and even victim’s right advocates are informing the public that 95% of sexual offenses occur within the family, their friends or those close to children which never get reported. Lawmakers have become increasingly fruitful when writing legislation built around a few high profile crimes involving children.

It is clear from this review of recent policies enacted to protect communities from sexual violence that the proliferation of well-intentioned political efforts to curb sexual violence has led to the creation of laws lacking a solid evidence base. Although additional community-based studies are needed, research to date indicates after 15 years, laws have little impact on recidivism rates and the incidence of sexually based crimes. The most significantly noted impact of these laws seems to be the numerous collateral consequences for communities, registered sex offenders (including a potential increased risk for recidivism), and their family members.

Dr. Jill Levenson, in the Collateral Damage - Family of Registered Sex Offender Impact Study said, “In contrast to the guidelines set forth by the Adam Walsh Act, evidence-based sex crime policies which employ empirically validated risk assessment strategies would be more apt to accomplish goals of public safety and successful reintegration.”

W.A.R. has begun “Pushing Back” on laws, restrictions and especially media fear-mongering which is annihilating our families. Vicki Henry, President says, “Each time the media misuses the word pedophile it diminishes a registrant family’s chance of successful reintegration.” She went on to say, “We are concerned about all children and are actively collaborating with other organizations on prevention messages and programs.”

We are at a tipping point where reason must be applied to this run-away train of laws that are demolishing everything in its path.


My Older Brother is Having Trouble

User story
The following was sent to us via the "Contact Us" form and posted with the users permission.

By Sarah:
So, right now I live in KS, but am from upstate NY. A few years ago my older brother got drunk and at the most (as far as I know), touched my younger brother's friend in a sexual way. The friend was only 16. Anyway, that friend's family kept changing the story around, and by the time of the trial, even though my brother's lawyer thought he'd win, he decided to plead guilty.

He had to go to prison, which he finally got out of back in mid December after 2 years, but will also have to be on probation for 10 years, and has to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life. At the moment, he's displaying suicidal behavior, and I don't know what to do. He's been advised by other family members that perhaps he should see about transferring to my city and state so he has more opportunities to get work, he seems afraid to move or anything.

Is there anything I can do to help him? I really don't want him to suffer, and the problem is that he's lonely and feels helpless. Any response or suggestions would be helpful, thank you.


NH - Sex offender housing restrictions do more harm than good

Sex Offenders - A Flawed Law
Original Article

03/31/2014

Of all the constituents that politicians want to help out, sex offenders probably rank at the very bottom of the list. But the New Hampshire Senate should summon the courage to do just that. By helping sex offenders, as strange as it sounds, the Senate will end up making life safer for everyone else.

At issue is legislation that would ban cities and towns from placing broad restrictions on where sex offenders may live. Several communities have attempted such restrictions, and lower-court judges have already struck down two as unconstitutional: one in Franklin and one in Dover. In both cities, local officials wanted to keep convicted sex offenders from living too close to places where children regularly gather: schools, day care centers and playgrounds. Several other communities still have such ordinances on the books, among them Tilton, Sanbornton, Northfield and Boscawen.

The impulse to keep sex offenders away from kids via zoning is completely understandable. But there is strong reason to resist. And there is strong reason to set such policy at the state level, rather than leaving it to individual communities.

A growing body of evidence – gathered not just by civil liberties lawyers, but from law enforcement officers, public officials and child advocacy groups – suggests that residency restrictions are placebo pills at best and counterproductive at worst. Such ordinances give communities a false sense of security while driving sex offenders underground or into rural areas where they can’t access the services that give them the best chance at rehabilitation.

An Iowa study, for instance, showed that sexual-abuse convictions had remained steady since statewide residency restrictions went into effect five years earlier but that the number of sex offenders failing to register their addresses with local police departments, as the law required, had more than doubled.

And a study in the journal Federal Probation draws a clear link between housing instability – an obvious consequence of residency ordinances – and criminal recidivism. Instead, it suggests a strategy of identifying and carefully monitoring the highest risk offenders and creating stable lives for the rest through treatment and access to housing, jobs and services.

In New Hampshire, where most towns are small and housing options that aren’t close to playgrounds and schools are sometimes scarce, such ordinances also have the effect of pushing sex offenders out of one community and into the next in a desperate search for decent housing – hardly fair to them or to those communities.

That’s why state-level legislation makes sense.

The legislation banning communities from enacting or enforcing such residency restrictions has passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro expressed skepticism in an Associated Press interview that it would get through the Senate. “The Senate is going to want to protect kids and other people sexual predators could attack,” Bradley said. “I think getting rid of any kind of residency restrictions – like in proximity of schools and day-care centers – will be a very hard sell for senators, even in the face of a couple of court rulings.”

But the court rulings, which so far do not include the state Supreme Court, are not the best argument to counter Bradley’s fear. More persuasive is that senators who truly want to protect kids and others from attacks from New Hampshire’s 2,500 registered sex offenders, are actually heading in the wrong direction with such restrictions.

When a sex offender has served his sentence, it is in everyone’s interest that he succeed on the outside. Passing this bill would help.