What happened to news articles about sex offender issues?
ACTION ALERT: Folks that find local articles on sex offender issues,
please forward the link so we can post for other folks. Please send links to eAdvocate@yahoo.com

August 2, 2015

OP-ED: Legislation will help keep Pa. safe from pedophiles

8-2-15 Pennsylvania, West Virginia:

Twelve-year-old Jeremy Bell did not have to die. Especially under such gruesome circumstances — brutally raped and murdered by his elementary school principal in West Virginia. In fact, that pedophile should not have even been at the West Virginia school.

The story begins in the 1970s, at Prospect Park Elementary School in Delaware County, Pa. Child after child, boys 10 to 12, came forward and told the school officials how the fifth-grade science teacher had groped them and performed sexual acts on them — raping at least one boy. The school, shockingly, took the teacher’s side: The principal wrote the teacher a letter of recommendation and helped him land a new job in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

For two decades, that teacher continued to brutalize children in West Virginia, until one night, 12-year-old Jeremy Bell paid the price: He was raped and murdered by the educator.

As fathers, we wish this tragedy was unique. Sadly, we know better. Last year, 459 school employees were arrested across America for sexual misconduct with children — more than one per day of the year. Twenty-six arrests involved Pennsylvania educators. And, just halfway into 2015, we have seen more than 260 arrests, including 16 in Pennsylvania. And these are just the predators that we have caught.
We cannot find any official source which supports the claim that "459 school employees were arrested last year." That claim was also made in Congress when a bill "PROTECTING STUDENTS FROM SEXUAL AND VIOLENT PREDATORS ACT -- (Senate - March 10, 2015)" was introduced. see "Justice eventually caught up with the killer, and he is now serving a life sentence for that murder. But for little Jeremy Bell that justice came too late. And, sadly, Jeremy Bell is not alone. Last year we had 459 school employees across America arrested for sexual misconduct with the very children they are supposed to be protecting and teaching and caring for. That is more than one per day. And those are just the ones where there was enough evidence to actually prosecute, to make an arrest and to pursue charges. How many others were getting away with this? Frankly, 2015 is not off to a much better start. So far we are 69 days into the new year and there have already been 82 school employees arrested across the country for sexual misconduct with the schoolchildren in their care. "

The official source of school crime is found in "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014" which does not support the 459 claim.
The practice of schools helping a child molester land a teaching job at another school is so common, that it has its own moniker —“passing the trash.”

Together, we are fighting to protect our children from this horrific practice. Being from different political parties, we do not always agree on everything. But all parents can agree that we must keep child molesters out of our schools.

One of us, a member of the Pennsylvania state Senate, helped lead the fight to have the state Legislature adopt the S.E.S.A.M.E. Act. The S.E.S.A.M.E. Act banned passing the trash within Pennsylvania, requiring all schools to conduct thorough background checks with each previous employer and barring them from recommending for future employment those accused of sexual abuse.

But state legislation is not enough. Pennsylvania law cannot stop schools in other states from passing their pedophile employees to Pennsylvania schools.

That is where the other one of us, a U.S. senator, has stepped up, taking the fight to Washington, D.C. Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Sen. Toomey’s bipartisan proposal to ban passing the trash nationwide. The passage of this federal legislation is a significant step forward toward protecting our children from child molesters.

These efforts show how state and federal officials, working together, can stop the heinous practice of passing the trash.

Pat Toomey is a Republican U.S. senator for Pennsylvania. Anthony Hardy Williams is a Democratic state senator from Philadelphia who represents the 8th Senatorial District. ..Source.. by The Mercury Columns

Note this comment from another article:

"Even with the good work done by the law enforcement agents and children advocates here, more than 450 teachers and school employees were arrested last year alone on charges of sexual misconduct with children. That's more than one per day," Fitzpatrick said. "What's more appalling is that these are just the cases we were able to catch. According to the Government Accountability Office, the average pedophile teacher preys on and assaults 73 children over a lifetime." No GAO report supports this claim either.

Further research has uncovered this possible source:

More teachers are having sex with their students. Here’s how schools can stop them. 1-20-2015 by Terry Abbott who is chairman of Drive West Communications and a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education.

A 14-year-old student in Florida wrote his cellphone number on a classroom chalkboard because he wanted a classmate he liked to call him. The student indeed was contacted – not by the girl but allegedly by his 32-year-old teacher. Within days, police said, the two were involved in a sexual relationship.

In Pennsylvania, a 33-year-old teacher approached a 17-year-old student at a school dance and began flirting with him, police said. The married teacher then sent the student sexual text messages and photos, along with a video of herself performing lewd acts, according to news reports. The relationship escalated, and the teacher pleaded guilty last month to institutional sexual assault.

Unfortunately, these kinds of stories are becoming more common across the country. In 2014 alone, there were 781 reported cases of teachers and other school employees accused or convicted of sexual relationships with students. My firm, Drive West Communications, has been tracking news reports of sexual misconduct by educators for more than a year. Every week has brought news of 15 young people, on average, who were sexually victimized by the educators entrusted with protecting them. That’s an abhorrent rate and a trend that deserves far more attention from school leaders and policy makers. ..Continued at link above..

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August 1, 2015

Slate Article: The Ridiculous Laws That Put People on the Sex Offender List

Slate published a similar series worth reading, see "Listed for Life" which has links to all of the articles.
8-12-2014 National:

Three maps show states that register people as sex offenders for consensual teenage sex, peeing in public, and prostitution.

On his 18th birthday, Virgil McCranie and his 14-year-old girlfriend of one year, Misty, decided to have sex. Because of their ages, that meant McCranie committed the crime of statutory rape. When Misty told her father months later, after finding out that McCranie had cheated on her, he went to the police. In 1994, McCranie struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading no contest to lewd and lascivious behavior. He avoided prison, but as part of the deal, he had to register as a sex offender.

In time, Virgil and Misty reconciled, eventually got married, and began raising four children together. “It was a mistake, it happened, I’ve been with her since, I’ve loved her before then,” he told a local news channel 14 years later.

At that moment, McCranie was a still a registered sex offender. He says that he lost 17 jobs because of his status. Worse, he couldn’t attend his sons’ games and his daughter’s dance recitals. “I wish I could take it back,” Misty told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Once we got back together I realized how detrimental it was to him.” ..Continue to Maps.. by Chanakya Sethi

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July 30, 2015

Testimony over prison time for sex offender who refuses treatment

7-30-15 Pennsylvania:

By the time Akbar A. Rivera was 17, he'd sexually assaulted two children.

Rivera's most recent victim was a 12-year-old girl whom he forced himself upon repeatedly in 2007 while living in south Bethlehem. Because he had an equivalent offense as a juvenile in New York, he was charged in Northampton County as an adult, where he pleaded guilty and ended up with a 21/2- to five-year prison sentence.

More than seven years have gone by since the now 24-year-old Rivera was charged and later convicted, but he remains imprisoned to this day. That's because he has refused to attend any mandated sex-offender therapy, which the officials supervising him believe is necessary if he is not to be a threat to the community.

Though Rivera has already served the entirety of his original prison term, he remains jailed as a probation violator who has seen just one day on the street since his arrest, according to state prison records.

And because Rivera has continued to spurn counseling, authorities want him to stay behind bars.

"He's refusing to get treatment. He has absolutely no interest in self-rehabilitation," Assistant District Attorney Tatum Wilson said.

Rivera is considered a sexually violent predator, a designation that brings a lifetime of registration as a sex offender and enhanced reporting and counseling requirements. Wilson said it would be "reckless" to allow his release.

On Wednesday, President Judge Stephen Baratta took testimony on authorities' request that Rivera be re-sentenced to further prison time. The hearing came as Rivera has been deemed a probation violator once before — in 2013, when he was sentenced to an additional 30 days to two years behind bars, a term that he completed without release in May.

Wilson wouldn't say how much further prison time she'd like Rivera to face. But Baratta could give him up to another seven years, the total that remains of his probationary term.

State probation officer Tina Kominsky said Rivera attended just one sex-offender treatment class in prison, when he announced his desire to "max out" his sentence and signed himself out of further sessions.

While jailed, Rivera has been cited for misconduct that includes contraband, failing to comply with guards' orders and slashing a fellow Northampton County Prison inmate with a razor in 2009, Kominsky said.

Rivera's public defender, Matthew Goodrich, highlighted that his client does not need to be in prison in order to attend sex offender counseling. Goodrich suggested that last time, Rivera was tripped up by another requirement he faced: that he find a suitable place to live, a difficulty for someone labeled a violent predator.

Goodrich also noted that if Rivera remains in jail for the next seven years, he won't be able to be kept any longer regardless of his behavior.

That's true, Kominsky said, though if Rivera continued to refuse counseling then, he could face arrest for failing to comply with his Megan's Law requirements, a felony.

"The possibility exists to keep this cycle going for the rest of all time?" Goodrich asked.

"Unfortunately, if he chooses not to comply," Kominsky said.

The hearing was recessed without a decision by Baratta, who said he will take further testimony in two weeks.

The delay came amid a kerfuffle involving a psychologist at Rockview State Prison, who was scheduled to testify by video.

The psychologist, Kevin Miskell, initially refused to do so despite a court order, according to Baratta. Eventually Miskell did appear on the video, but his responses brought ire from Baratta, who accused him of being intentionally evasive.

Miskell said he gave Rivera a psychological test under which he was recommended to complete an 18- to 24-month sex offender program. But Miskell, who coordinates sex-offender treatment at Rockview, claimed that he couldn't say whether Rivera would be a danger without the treatment.

Baratta said Miskell was acting as though he did "not know anything" about his job.

"I'm just kind of shocked about that," Baratta said.

"I don't know what to say to you, sir," Miskell stammered, before Baratta ended his testimony. ..Source.. by Riley Yates

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Kentucky man shoots down drone hovering over his backyard

Over his property? Humm, were they casing the place? Were they looking for pics to blackmail him? The point is, over his property -what are his rights-, and it will be interesting to see how the court rules..

See Also: There’s a Drone Flying Over My House. Can I Shoot It?
7-30-15 Kentucky:

The way William Merideth sees it, it’s pretty clear-cut: a drone flying over his backyard was a well-defined invasion of privacy, analogous to a physical trespassing.

Not knowing who owned it, the Kentucky man took out his shotgun and fired three blasts of Number 8 birdshot to take the drone out.

"It was just right there," he told Ars. "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that's not going to work. I know they're neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn’t be flying into people's yards and videotaping."

Minutes later, a car full of four men that he didn’t recognize rolled up, "looking for a fight." "Are you the son of a bitch that shot my drone?" one said, according to Merideth.

His terse reply to the men, while wearing a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip: "If you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there’s going to be another shooting."

The men backed down, retreated to their car, and waited for the police to arrive.

"His only comment was that he hoped I had a big checkbook because his drone cost $1,800," Merideth added.

The Kentuckian was arrested Sunday evening in Hillview, Kentucky, just south of Louisville and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. He was released the following day. The Hillview Police Department did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

A measured approach?

The report of the downed drone comes a month after Ars reported on a similar incident in Modesto, California. But in that case, the drone operator was flying his drone over his parents’ farm, and it was shot down by a neighbor.

Here, Merideth, who operates a local trucking company, said that he had seen "two or three" different drones in his backyard previously over the last year and was disturbed by their presence. "What recourse do we have?" he asked.

The 43-year-old man claimed that law enforcement officials, including the county jailer, told him privately that they agreed with his actions. "The people that own the drones and the people that hate guns are the only ones that disagree with what I did," he said. "Now, if I’d have had a .22 rifle, I should have gone to jail for that. The diameter of those things are going to come down with enough force to hurt somebody. Number 8 birdshot is not. Number 8 is the size of a pinhead. The bottom line is that it's a right to privacy issue and defending my property issue. It would have been no different had he been standing in my backyard. As Americans, we have a right to defend our rights and property."

So what’s next in this bizarre tale?

"We have a lawyer and there's a court date and then there's going to be a hearing," Merideth said. "It's not going to stop with the two charges against me, which I'm confident that we'll get reduced or get dismissed completely."

And what would Merideth like to tell this errant drone operator when he meets him again?

"I would just like [him] to get some education on his toy and learn to respect the rights of the people," he said. "It's fine and dandy, and I think it's cool there's a camera on it, but just take it to a park or something—he's not a responsible drone owner." ..Source.. by Cyrus Farivar

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July 28, 2015

Where is my sex offender now? Notices keep victims informed

This accomplishes what?
7-28-15 Pennsylvania:

A new partnership of state law enforcement and victim advocates will help ensure victims of sexual violence are updated when the status of their offender changes.

The Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate are teaming up to identify and provide thousands of additional and sensitive notifications, said Jennifer Storm, the commonwealth's Victim Advocate.

In a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, Storm said the partnership will increase the office's ability to notify victims when the status of a registered sexual offender changes -- such as release from prison, chance of parole, change of employment, change of address or noncompliance with registration rules.

The Office of Victim Advocate annually issues 20,000 to 30,000 of these notifications by letter, phone or email, and the partnership is expected to increase notifications by 5,000 to 7,000, Storm said.

Storm said every time a victim is notified of an update in his or her case, it can lead to additional trauma and emotions that victim advocates are trained to understand. Counseling and other services are then be available to the notified victim.

Since the collaboration began on May 11, the the office has identified and registered an additional 798 victims to keep updated on the status of their cases and provide supportive services, Storm said.

"That is 798 victims who are now empowered, who are now informed and who now know the status of their offender," she said.

Joyce Lukima, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, said the notifications from the victim advocate group will allow for sensitive notifications that will take into account that stress.

"Survivors of sexual assault are often placed in a no-win situation, wanting to know the whereabouts of the person who has harmed them but also not wanting to constantly think about the crime that they have experienced," she said.

The partnership and additional notifications will be funded through a $143,000 grant from the Commission on Crime and Delinquency Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, said Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, who chairs that commission.

Pennsylvania State Police Captain Scott Price said sex offender information must be updated, but there is no law requiring victim information from being kept on file by law enforcement. So after a convicted sex offender is released after a lengthy prison sentence, local police are notified but there is no guarantee the victim will be notified.

Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed said his office often hears from victims who are worried after they have been notified of a change in their offender's status.

"We can get somebody convicted. We can get them sentenced. We can get them locked up," Freed said. "That doesn't change what happened to the victim."

Freed said he fully supported the partnership for providing more knowledge to victims of sexual violence in the state. ..Source.. by Sam Janesch

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False rape accuser who caused man to be arrested is given 'strong words of advice' by police

7-28-15 National:

A woman claimed she was raped, so the police went into action and did what they normally do when that occurs. They cordoned off the area where the rape occurred, and they arrested a 32-year-old male scapegoat.

One little problem. It turned out there was no rape. An innocent young man had been wrongly arrested.

So, the police went into action and did what they normally do when that occurs. They thanked the public "for their patience" while they conducted inquiries into the incident-that-never-was, and then -- they let the woman go. Not a single charge was lodged against her. Her name wasn't even mentioned in the various news articles about the incident. Her anonymity is in tact, so the next man who's wrongly arrested on her say-so won't have any way of identifying her as a serial false rape accuser.

Oh, but wait, dear reader. Don't think for a minute that that this woman wasn't punished for subjecting a young man to one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. A police spokeswoman said this: “The woman has been given strong words of advice by police for her actions.”

Read it again: "strong words of advice." Yep. Imagine if you read a story about a rapist being given "strong words of advice." What do you think would happen to that police chief? But for false rape accusers, that's as much punishment as they deserve. It's business-as-usual in our "rape culture."

Is it any wonder that rape accusers believe, with justification, they can cry rape with impunity, for any or no reason at all? A female bus driver lied about being gang raped so she could get her hours at work switched. Women have lied about rape to avoid taking the bar exam and to exact revenge on boyfriends who take too long to buy cigarettes and on men who refuse to buy them a beer. One false rape accuser was just "bored." Cab drivers are a favorite target of false accusers looking for a free fare. The list goes on and on. They lie because they are rarely punished, and they know it. As a result, serial false rape accusers aren't just tolerated, they are rewarded for telling successful lies. See here and here. And even when they are caught, their enablers in the sexual grievance industry insist they should not be prosecuted, much less punished. When a 15-year-old girl told a rape lie that got a 14-year-old boy arrested, anti-rape campaigners said "it is awful that a girl so young has been prosecuted in this way." ..Continued.. by COTWA

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July 27, 2015

A look inside sex offender rehab at Juneau’s prison

See below: "of the 52 who’ve completed the program and been released, one is back in prison for a sexual offense." That is a 2% recidivism rate.
7-27-15 Alaska:

Since 2010, sex offenders in Alaska prisons have been able to opt in to an intensive treatment program at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau, but it’s unclear if it reduces recidivism.

A 2012 University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center publication identified a statewide benchmark; of about 240 sex offenders released from Alaska prisons in 2008, 2 percent were reconvicted on sex offenses within two years.

Here’s a look inside the treatment program at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Audio Snip in Original:

Andrew Peabody has served about 27 years in prison for sexual assault. He said he’s scheduled to be released in February. Peabody said he used to feel numb and didn’t want to deal with what he’d done.

During an event at Lemon Creek Correctional Center earlier this year, Peabody said the sex offender treatment program is teaching him empathy “for my victim. You have to write a letter to that person realizing what you’ve become to that person, how you affected that person’s life.”

The letters aren’t actually sent.

Licensed clinical counselor Malcolm Nichols created and runs the sex offender treatment program at the Juneau prison. Nichols has a history of working with high risk populations. Prior to Lemon Creek, he ran a sex offender treatment program in Columbus, Ohio.

The 2-year program is a combination of structured group therapy and individual counseling. Some inmates are also prescribed medication for sexual urges. Nichols says the program is not supposed to be a cure. The goal is for inmates to learn to control and manage risk factors that could lead to sexual assaults.

Another assignment is writing a narrative describing the period of time leading up to their crime.

“It starts a year out from their sexual crime and then takes them 9 months, 6 months, 3 months and then 24 hours before it happened and this can be very difficult and dramatic,” Nichols said.

It’s supposed to be self-revealing. Nichols doesn’t let inmates get away with denying or minimizing what they’ve done. These are tactics, he says, to avoid change. Nichols recounted what happened when one inmate described his offense during a recent group session.

“He was telling it from his own personal position but I always want them to also give the objective, what actually happened, which he didn’t. So when I confronted him, he sort of got extremely dysphoric and broke into some deep sobbing and the whole group [got quiet]. You could hear a pin drop,” Nichols said.

The Lemon Creek Correctional Center program treats 24 men at a time. Inmates enter the program when they’re within 3 years of being released. All have been convicted of at least one sex assault and have admitted to at least one. Nichols says some have a long history of committing many sexual assaults. One even claimed to have committed hundreds.

“Some of the high risk guys have a history of sex offending going way back into their adolescence or even childhood,” Nichols said.

Alaska leads the country for the rate of reported forcible rape, according to FBI crime statistics. There are about 770 sex offenders in the Alaska prison system, which Nichols says represents a fraction of total offenders.

He says it takes a lot of patience to work with sex offenders.
“I don’t see people as necessarily the sum of their parts. I think that people are capable of choice and that I have to not shame them or ostracize them or let them think that they’re not human or they’re not incapable of change,” Nichols said.
The work takes its toll. When Nichols leaves the office he tries to completely disengage with work. To avoid stress, he bikes and exercises regularly.

And there’s a lot at stake when inmates leave the treatment program and are released into the community.

“We all in this field live in dread of one of our guys getting out and committing some kind of horrendous sexual offense,” Nichols said. “And I’ve had some extremely dangerous inmates who, as they were leaving the program, I was keeping my fingers crossed.”

So far, of the 52 who’ve completed the program and been released, one is back in prison for a sexual offense. ..Source.. by By Lisa Phu

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Zachary Anderson: Online Hook-Up Lands Him On Sex Offender List — Victim And Her Parents Plead For His Charges To Be Dropped

7-27-15 Michigan, Indiana:

Zachary Anderson is a 19-year-old computer science major from Elkhart, Indiana. Anderson met a girl from nearby Niles, Michigan, on the Hot or Not app. The two met up for an evening of consensual sex in December 2014. Six months later, Anderson finds himself serving a 90-day jail sentence, five years of probation, and he will be a registered sex offender until he turns 44.

The girl that Anderson hooked up with told him she was 17-years-old at the time. The girl is, in fact, 14-years-old. She has epilepsy, and on the night in question, she left home and failed to tell her mother where she was going. Her mom was worried that she had forgotten to take her medicine, so she called the local police.

According to the Daily Mail, law enforcement was waiting at the girl’s house when she arrived back from her night out with Anderson. Anderson drove back home and promptly went on vacation to Florida with his parents. It was on vacation that he received a text from the girl stating they were “in trouble.” At the time, Anderson still didn’t know the girls age.

At Zachary Anderson’s trial, the girl stated she didn’t want anything to happen to him. Her mother also spoke to the court.
“I don’t want him to be a sex offender because he really is not and I know that there’s an age difference and I realize that (name deleted) was inappropriate that night, we didn’t know. I’m very sorry and I hope you’ll really consider the fact of just dropping the case. I can’t say anything more than that. I hope you really will for all of our families.”
Michigan has a program for first-time sex offender who have yet to reach the age of 21. Judge Dennis Wiley decided not to use it. He gave his reason.
“You went online, to use a fisherman’s expression, trolling for women to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this, whatsoever.”
Zachary Anderson’s parents have taken to Change.org (Now over 100,000 signatures) hoping people will help. Anderson is not allowed to live in a house with an internet connection. He cannot talk to anyone who is under 17-years-old.

What do you feel should be the punishment for Zachary Anderson? Should the feelings of the girl and her mother have any influence on the incident in question? ..Source.. by Inquisitr

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July 26, 2015

Sex offenders who have kids put schools in awkward spot

This reporter ought to check story facts before publishing them. Mary Devoy IS NOT "Executive Director o Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia" a defunct organization. Are other facts correct?
7-26-15 Virginia:

Bayside Middle School administrators banned the father of a student this past school year after learning he had pleaded guilty a decade earlier to having sex with a 14-year-old when he was 21.

State law prohibits violent sex offenders - the father's crime fits the definition - from going on school property without a court order. Even then, the law gives school officials the final say.

The father obtained his court order. He then appealed up the school system's channels, and it eventually signed off on letting him enter the school with restrictions.

His isn't a unique case. Among the division's 82 schools, principals ban about four sex-offender parents per year, usually after other parents alert school officials, Deputy City Attorney Kamala Lannetti said.

A handful of those, like this father, are allowed back on campus with restrictions based on the nature of their crimes, she said. For example, he is not allowed to chaperone field trips or eat lunch with his children.

Because sex-offender bans come at the discretion of individual schools, division officials said they couldn't provide exact figures on bans and appeals.

Still, the process reveals the often tricky balance divisions must strike between parental rights and public safety.

"Ultimately, we're looking to do what's best for the students," said Shirann Lewis, director of elementary schools, one of three division officials who review appeals.

The court order offenders have to obtain removes any sentencing restrictions preventing them from being on school property. Once that happens, the division reviews the case and makes a decision on whether to overturn the ban. Other South Hampton Roads divisions have similar policies.

Dropping the ban means creating terms that allow the parents to do things like attend events, participate in parent-teacher conferences and pick up their children from school; lifting it also entails making sure they're not left alone with other students, officials said.

That was part of what got the Bayside parent, now a father of four, in trouble in November 2004. To avoid identifying his children, The Pilot is not naming him.

He met a 14-year-old cheerleader while he was coaching youth football, according to court records. He took the victim to a motel, prosecutors said.

The parent later pleaded guilty to felony counts of carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of 13 and 15, and he was sentenced to five years in prison.

"Given the seriousness of your conviction and the potential threat you pose to students, you are prohibited from entering all Virginia Beach City Public School properties," Principal Paula Johnson wrote in her Nov. 13 ban letter.

The father's argument to school officials: His crime happened a long time ago, and he wanted to be a responsible father, said his attorney, Kevin Martingayle.

"Everyone wants to focus on the worst-case scenario, and what they don't stop to think about is whether there are unintended consequences of keeping him away from his kids," Martingayle said.

While the Bayside father was allowed on school property, many people have reservations about such a decision. State lawmakers recently made the appeals process trickier.

As of July 1, state law requires that offenders trying to gain access to schools buy an advertisement in a local newspaper alerting the public that they plan to petition the court. Also, members of the public now may submit testimony.

Some say the law will reduce the number of parents petitioning the court to regain access.

"How many parents are going to be willing to humiliate their children by publicizing their situation in the newspaper?" asked Mary Devoy, executive director of Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia.

The law differs slightly from obstacles lawmakers typically throw at sex offenders, said Wesley Jennings, an associate professor of criminology at the University of South Florida.

"It looks to me like something designed to create moral panic and grossly inflate people's concerns," he said.

Sex offenders in the category of the Bayside parent typically experience among the lowest rates of recidivism, perhaps as low as 5 percent, said Jason Rydberg, associate professor of criminology and justice studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

That is part of what schools and courts must consider when deciding whether to allow a sex offender onto school property, he said.

"The major misconception with sex offenders is that they're all cut from the same cloth," he said, "and that just isn't the case." ..Source.. by Matt McKinney

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