Saturday, August 2, 2014

FL - Seminole deputy (David Rodriguez) accused soliciting sex from teen girl on Facebook

David Rodriguez
David Rodriguez
Original Article

07/25/2014

By Desiree Stennett

A Seminole County deputy was arrested Thursday after investigators accused him of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old girl through a series of Facebook messages.

David Rodriguez, a 28-year-old patrol deputy, recently received recognition from Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger for saving a man after a boating accident earlier this year.

Rodriguez now accused of using a computer to solicit sex from a child.

He and the girl both participated in martial arts tournaments. When they met, she was 6 and he was about 17. The two kept in touch over the years, his arrest report stated.

The girl told deputies that she and Rodriguez, who is married and has a newborn, started out with friendly text messages.

Eventually the two became Facebook friends and would send private messages back and forth.

After the girl's 17th birthday, the conversations became sexual, the report stated.

Rodriguez admitted to soliciting sex from the girl but said the two never actually met for sex.

"Rodriguez stated that he was going to keep trying to put off meeting with [the girl] for sex until she was 18 years old," the report stated. The detective "confronted Rodriguez that on several occasions that they arranged to meet for sex, it was [the girl] who had to cancel and Rodriguez did not respond."

The Facebook exchange was discovered because the girl's father saw the messages when she left her social-media profile open on a home computer.

The father did not confront his daughter because he was concerned she would not be cooperative.

When she was interviewed, the girl told officials she had a crush on Rodriguez for years and said when his child was born on July 9, she realized that Rodriguez was trying to take advantage of her.

She said she wanted the sexual conversations to stop but didn't know how to end the relationship.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office is in the process of firing Rodriguez. He had been a patrol deputy since February 2010.

Rodriguez received a Life Saving Award in May from Eslinger. According to the Sheriff's Office, Rodriguez helped save a man who capsized his kayak.

According to investigators, Rodriguez admitted to the crime and turned himself into the Seminole County jail.

He was released late Thursday on $50,000 bail.


Let the Burden Fit the Crime: Extending Proportionality Review to Sex Offenders

Ball & Chain
Original Article (PDF)

03/2014

By Erin Miller

Draconian restrictions on the activities and privacy of convicted sex offenders are a new, and troublesome, trend. In 1994 and 2006, following a national dialogue about crimes against children sparked by several high-profile incidents, Congress passed two laws requiring states to register and regulate sex offenders residing within their borders. States and municipalities soon caught on, and deepened restrictions. In the last five years alone, local governments have forbidden sex offenders to live within 2,000 feet of schools; “be” within 500 feet of parks or movie theaters; enter public libraries; drive buses or taxis; photograph or film minors; and use social networking websites like Facebook. Others have required sex offenders to advertise their status on driver’s licenses or social networking profiles; wear GPS bracelets at their own expense; notify local police when present in any county within the state for longer than ten days; provide notice to all new neighbors within a roughly quarter-mile radius when they move; and pay up to $100 annually to maintain sex offender registries. These burdens typically last for a decade or for life, depending on the jurisdiction and the type of crime committed.


FL - Palm Beach County Commissioners To Vote On Sex Offender Ordinance

Sex offender residency zones
Original Article

07/22/2014

By Thomas Forester

PALM BEACH COUNTY - There are close to one thousand sex offenders living in Palm Beach County alone.

A major vote Tuesday, could allow registered sex offenders to live closer to schools and parks. Later tonight, Palm Beach County Commissioners will debate the heated issue.

According to State law, sexual offenders and predators cannot live within one thousand feet from specified locations where children gather.

In Palm Beach County, the law is 2500 feet, but the county wants to change it to be the same as the state.


TX - We can do better on sex offender laws

Morning paper an coffee
Original Article

07/17/2014

By Steve Blow

Let’s face it, we’re more sympathetic to the plights of some than others.

Lost puppies and sad children rank right up there atop the sympathy scale. And at the bottom.

Well, can you think of a group lower than sex offenders?

It’s a tough sell, but a national conference is meeting this week in Dallas with the goal of making things a little easier for those convicted of sex-related crimes.

Hang on! Don’t stop reading. You may not be brimming with sympathy, but the truth is that the reformers have a point. And this doesn't just affect the sex offenders.

Our laws have become expensive and ineffective. In our zeal to protect against sexual predators, we might even be making things worse.

The national conference of RSOL — Reform Sex Offender Laws — began with a social hour Wednesday night. It gets down to business Thursday through Saturday, meeting at Skillman Church of Christ in East Dallas.

About 125 people are expected. Virtually all of them are like RSOL executive director Brenda Jones. They come because of a personal connection.

I have a family member still serving time,” she said. “One of the things I promised him is that I would make sure he could have a life when he got out.”

The group’s central message is that sex offender registries have become an enormous burden on the individuals required to register, and they yield no safety benefit for the public.

There’s no statistical evidence that it’s doing any good at all,” Jones said. “And there’s growing evidence that it could actually be doing harm.”

Those on sex offender registries often can’t find a job or a place to live. It drives many into hiding. The pressures can make those with sexual addictions more likely to offend, not less.

As with most things, this began with a good idea: Law enforcement should know where convicted child predators live. But in our zeal to protect kids, the movement went overboard.

The list was made public. Registry was required for more and more offenses. The result: Texas has almost 80,000 people on its sex offender registry.

It was sold as a parent having the right to know there’s a predator next door. But the vast majority of the people on that list never touched a child, never had an offense against a child and may not have even had a sexual offense,” Jones said.

Even public urination sometimes ends up as a sex crime requiring registration.

Mary Sue Molnar of San Antonio leads the reform effort in Texas. She is founder of Texas Voices, an affiliate of RSOL.

Several years ago, my son made some really bad choices. He was 22. The girl was 16,” Molnar said. “He would be placed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life. He would never be able to serve his time and move on with his life, like any other offender.”

California has almost 100,000 on its sex offender list. And its oversight board wants to make a change. In a recent policy report, the board said:

Research on sex offender risk and recidivism now has created a body of evidence which offers little justification for continuing the current registration system.”

The California report estimated that local governments spend $24 million a year maintaining the sex offender registry. Yet most people never consult it. And most who do take no action as a result.

Nobody is making excuses here for people who commit crimes of any sort. But if safety is what we’re after, we’re not getting our money’s worth.