Congratulations to AFPD Ed Weiss who scored a dismissal of a failure to register prosecution brought under SORNA in the S.D. of W.Va!
Ed argued (among other things) that SORNA did not apply to his client, who had been convicted of state sex offenses in 1995, released in 2005, and indicted for failing to register under SORNA on Nov. 26, 2006. The district court agreed and made a couple of important points that will be useful in other SORNA prosecutions:
1. The court found that the plain language of the statute required the AG to issue regulations before SORNA could be applied retroactively to people convicted of sex offenses before July 27, 2006. Those regulations were not issued until Feb. 28, 2007. Accordingly, the court found that the statute could not be enforced as a matter of law against people (like Ed's client) who were convicted before July 27, 2006 and charged with failing to register before Feb. 28, 2007.
2. The court found that under the plain language of the statute, defendants convicted of sex offenses before SORNA must have specific notice of their obligations to register under SORNA . It is not enough to show knowledge of some other registration obligation. As support for this reading, the court pointed to section IX of the DOJ's newly proposed guidelines, which were published for comment on May 30, 2007, see 72 Fed. Reg. 30210-01. Section IX acknowledges the statute's express notice obligations and gives some examples of how those obligations would be met in cases involving retroactive application of SORNA, including the following (with emphasis added):
Example 2: A sex offender is required to register for life by a jurisdiction based on a rape conviction in 1995 for which he was released from imprisonment in 2005. The sex offender was initially registered prior to his release from imprisonment on the basis of the jurisdiction's existing law, but the information concerning registration duties he was given at the time of release did not include telling him that he would have to appear periodically in person to verify and update the registration information (as required by SORNA § 116), because the jurisdiction did not have such a requirement at the time. So the sex offender will have to be required to appear periodically for verification and will have to be given new instructions about that as part of the jurisdiction's implementation of SORNA.
The court found that because there was no way to notify or register the defendant as required by SORNA at the time alleged in the indictment, the defendant "could not have knowingly violated SORNA, as SORNA did not apply to him. His registration under West Virginia's laws was not sufficient to notify him of any requirement to comply with SORNA."
NOTE that no jurisdiction has yet implemented SORNA (except maybe Ohio). Anyone with a client facing a SORNA prosecution should use this case and its reasoning to support their argument that SORNA cannot be applied to anyone who did not recieve specific notice under SORNA of their registration obligations. ..more.. Judge's Decision by Sara E. Noonan, Research & Writing Specialist, Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders, 408 Atlantic Avenue 3d floor, Boston, MA 02110
September 14, 2007
Congratulations to AFPD Ed Weiss who scored a dismissal of a failure to register prosecution brought under SORNA in the S.D. of W.Va!
Congratulations to AFPD Ed Weiss who scored a dismissal of a failure to register prosecution brought under SORNA in the S.D. of W.Va!
Static-99 (Hanson & Thornton, 2000) is the most commonly used actuarial risk tool for estimating sexual offender recidivism risk. Recent research has suggested that its methods of accounting for the offenders’ ages may be insufficient to capture declines in recidivism risk associated with advanced age. Using data from 8 samples (combined size of 3,425 sexual offenders), the present study found that older offenders had lower Static-99 scores than younger offenders and that Static-99 was moderately accurate in estimating relative recidivism risk in all age groups. Older offenders, however, displayed lower sexual recidivism rates than would be expected based on their Static-99 risk categories. Consequently, evaluators using Static-99 should consider advanced age in their overall estimate of risk. ..more.. by R. Karl Hanson, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
In late 1999, the Sex Offender Assessment Board (SOAB), for its work assessing sexual offenders, both for court ordered and PBPP cases, began use of the RRASOR, Static 99, and MNSOST-R. The PBPP, upon recommendation of the SOAB, adopted the Static 99 as its objective risk assessment instrument to assist in determining the static level of risk to re-offend sexually posed by sex offenders. The Static-99 was first developed by Canadian researchers and includes ten items that take into account the offender’s prior criminal history, incidence of violence, relationship to the victim, and personal characteristics that may influence the decision of the PBPP. These variables have been shown to be statistically associated with recidivism in other jurisdictions. Within the Static- 99, there are four items that compose a condensed risk assessment instrument known as the Rapid Risk Assessment for Sexual Offense Recidivism (RRASOR).
Summary of Research Design and Methodology
In order to measure the reliability of Static-99/RRASOR, two reliability tests were completed. The first consisted of a pilot test of 41 cases that were coded by independent scorers using case file data. A second test was conducted on a larger sample of 220 cases that were drawn for the validation study.
The validation sample consisted of 550 cases that reflected prisoners convicted of sex crimes and were released either between 1994 and 1995 (N=356) or in 2000 (N=194). The characteristics of the 550 cases were compared to the total universe of all released sex offenders. This analysis found the sample to be representative of all sex releases for the two time periods.
Two reliability tests were conducted to ascertain the reliability of three sex offender risk assessment instruments. In addition to the Static-99/RRASOR, the reliability of the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSOST-R) was also assessed. The first test was a limited pilot study that consisted 41 cases, each scored twice on the three instruments. In order for the scoring of the items to be judged reliable, the two raters needed to assign the same score for at least 80 - 90 percent of the cases.
The pilot study revealed that the level of inter-rater reliability was unacceptably low for the MnSOST-R, based in large part on the information collected in the records of both the DOC and PBPP. While, the Static 99/RRASOR had higher levels of reliability, significant staff training and item refinement/clarification was required to improve the scoring of the Static 99/RRASOR; DOC and PBPP records are not a factor for RRASOR/Static 99. ..more.. by James Austin, Ph.D., Johnette Peyton, M.S., Kelly Dedel Johnson, Ph.D.
Static-99 Sex Offender Risk Assessment Course
Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists are frequently called upon to help assess the likelihood that a particular person will commit future acts of sexual violence (Campbell, 2004; Doren, 2002; Witt & Conroy, in press). Three plausible approaches to risk assessment have been described (Hanson, 1998) and to this point research has not shown any of the methods to be empirically superior to the others (see DeClue, 2005, commenting on Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2004). Two of the three approaches, the pure-actuarial and the adjusted-actuarial approaches, employ an actuarial instrument in the prediction process.1 In the pure-actuarial approach, the evaluator considers a predetermined set of risk factors and follows a pre-determined formula for weighing the combination of factors. In the adjusted-actuarial approach, the evaluator begins with an actuarial instrument but then may or may not adjust the estimated risk after considering additional variables not included in the actuarial instrument. ..more.. by Justice Institute of British Columbia
Revised - 2003
How To Use This Manual
In most cases, scoring a STATIC-99 is fairly straightforward for an experienced evaluator. If you are unfamiliar with this instrument we suggest that you turn to the back pages of this manual and find the one-page STATIC-99 Coding Form. You may want to keep a copy of this to one side as you review the manual.
We strongly recommend that you read pages 3 to 21 and the section “Scoring the STATIC-99 and Computing the Risk Estimates” before you score the STATIC-99. These pages explain the nature of the STATIC-99 as a risk assessment instrument; to whom this risk assessment instrument may be applied; the role of self-report; exceptions for juvenile, developmentally delayed, and institutionalized offenders; changes from the last version of the STATIC-99 coding rules; the information required to score the STATIC-99; and important definitions such as “Index Offence”, Category “A” offences versus Category “B” offences, “Index Cluster”, and “Pseudo-recidivism”.
Individual item coding instructions begin at the section entitled “Scoring the Ten Items”. For each of the ten items, the coding instructions begin with three pieces of information: The Basic Principle, Information Required to Score this Item, and The Basic Rule. In most cases, just reading these three small sections will allow you to score that item on the STATIC-99. Should you be unsure of how to score the item you may read further and consider whether any of the special circumstances or exclusions apply to your case. This manual contains much information that is related to specific uses of the STATIC-99 in unusual circumstances and many sections of this manual need only be referred to in exceptional circumstances.
We also suggest that you briefly review the ten appendices as they contain valuable information on adjusting STATIC-99 predictions for time free in the community, a self-test of basic concepts, references, surgical castration, a table for converting raw STATIC-99 scores to risk estimates, the coding forms, a suggested report format for communicating STATIC-99-based risk information, a list of replication studies for the STATIC-99, information on inter-rater reliability and, how to interpret Static -99 scores greater than 6. ..more.. by Andrew Harris, Amy Phenix, R. Karl Hanson, & David Thornton
I find the results of this recidivism study statistically invalid due to the selection process used which only allows high risk offenders into treatment. The state, in 2006, concluded that therapy does not reduce recidivism.
Initially the researchers chose everyone who was willing to participate in therapy. Then they divided that into two groups: A) Those who DID NOT participate in therapy; and, b) Those who DID particpate in therapy. No matter which group the person fell into each had to have a prior sex offense conviction.
Now the catch, in order to particpate in therapy a prescreening process was applied. i.e. risk assessment tools MnSORT-R, RRASOR, and Static 99 were used to chose who could go into therapy. ONLY those who "had a high likelihood to reoffend" were permitted in therapy.
Anyone who DID NOT fit that requirement was pushed into the group of those who DID NOT participate in therapy group. In other words the DID NOT participate group was a mixed group of offenders. It contained folks who were willing to take therapy but did not, and those who fell out of the prescreening process.
Now a review of Exhibit 2 (pg-3) shows the study was not interested in just new sex offenses, instead recidivism means any kind of offense. i.e., the definition of recidivism meant more than just sex offenses. It appears ridiculous to assume that sex offender treatment program (SOTP) is designed to reduce recidivism of all kinds of offenses.
Exhibit 2 shows of those who went through therapy, 12 committed a new sex offense, and only 6 of those in the opposing group committed a new sex offense. Based upon that outcome researchers concluded, that therapy did not reduce recidivism.
What? Remember, the deck is stacked, only high risk of reoffense folks went to therapy, and low or medium risk did not. The outcome was predictible based on the prescreening process.
This is why I feel the study is statistically invalid. Additionally I see a few other things but what I mentioned above was more than enough to go no further.
With that said, the study:
SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: DOES THE PRISON TREATMENT PROGRAM REDUCE RECIDIVISM?
The 2004 Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of current sex offender sentencing policies.1 Because this is an extensive topic, we are publishing a series of reports.
The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has operated a prison-based Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) at the Twin Rivers Corrections Center since 1988. The program has undergone a series of changes since its inception. Since 1996, the program has used a combination of treatment techniques including group therapy, psycho-educational classes, behavioral treatment, and family involvement. The length of treatment has decreased from two years in 1996 to approximately one year currently. Since 2000, sex offenders assessed as having a high likelihood to reoffend, based on their criminal history, are prioritized for program entry.2 (FN2: The SOTP uses three risk for sexual reoffense
assessments: MnSOST-R, RRASOR, and Static 99.)
Offenders selected for the treatment program must meet the following five requirements:
• Sex offense conviction
• Voluntary participation
• Admission of guilt
• One year minimum remaining in prison
• Medium or lower custody classification
This report estimates whether SOTP reduces recidivism by comparing the recidivism rates of sex offenders who were willing but did not participate in SOTP with those who did participate in the program. ..more.. by Washington State Institute for Public Policy
September 12, 2007
Still hasn't proved it can stop reoffenders
Patrick Velez walked into a fast-food restaurant in Pierce County and kidnapped two teenage female employees at knifepoint. He bound their wrists, taped their eyes and mouths shut, drove them to a secluded area. Then he raped one of the victims, who was 17.
Later convicted of the November 1981 crimes, Velez wound up spending eight years in sex-offender treatment, in and out of prison. He kept logs of his fantasies, took polygraph tests, underwent "arousal reconditioning" and learned how to have positive relationships.
By the time Velez left prison in 2000, officials still considered him a high-risk offender, but were encouraged by his progress. He had "done quite well in treatment," a therapist wrote in his prison records, and had demonstrated "good relapse-prevention knowledge."
Last month, prosecutors charged him with trying to strangle a woman after hiding in her car in a Costco parking lot in Tukwila. He had a "rape kit" -- knife, gloves and handcuffs -- along with condoms, lubricant, a douche bag and women's underwear in his car, police said.
While the Velez case is alarming, another treated sex offender, Terapon Adhahn, recently stirred outrage across Washington, prompting calls for a one-strike-you're-out-law. The Tacoma handyman is accused of graduating from incest to kidnapping, child rape and murder.
Velez and Adhahn offer glimpses into the conflicted world of sex-offender therapy. Despite inconsistent research findings on the subject, sex-offender treatment is not only a fixture in criminal justice, but also a burgeoning field, with the number of certified therapists more than doubling statewide in the last 10 years.
And while the overall climate for sex offenders has radically changed -- with longer sentences and more restrictions -- treatment has largely remained static, relying on the same cognitive-behavioral methods introduced in the 1980s.
"It's an ongoing question, there's no two ways about it," said Roxanne Lieb, director of the Washington State Institute of Public Policy, on the effectiveness of treatment. "Certainly, it's not a cure-all," she said.
Last year, Lieb's office released a study that found that Washington's prison treatment program for male sex offenders -- one of the largest in the nation -- had virtually no effect on reducing recidivism rates.
The study echoed a landmark 2005 study, in which researchers found that a California hospital program for confined sex offenders had no significant impact on curbing repeat crimes.
Both studies, however, have detractors who point to other studies showing that treatment works.
"There's pretty good evidence that if you pick out the right kind of people, who feel badly about what they've done, you can alter those patterns," Lieb said. "But if you have someone who's anti-social, who hates women or who is sexually attracted to little kids, no one knows anything about what to do about those three things."
'End goal is not a cure'
When Velez pleaded guilty to first-degree rape in 1982, he was a 19-year-old with entrenched sexual deviancies, court records show. He had peeped on neighbors as a child growing up in Tacoma. He burglarized homes to steal women's underwear.
As a teenager, he cruised for rape victims and once hid in the back seat of a woman's car, he told therapists. He had threatened the woman with scissors, but fled when she screamed and was never caught.
For the assault on the restaurant workers, which one therapist described as "brutal" and "extremely predatory," Velez received a 20-year suspended sentence. That required him to complete a now-defunct program at Western State Hospital for "sexual psychopaths."
Velez flunked out after five years. He got a second chance at treatment and flunked again, after fantasizing about raping his therapist.
He then went to prison in 1989, where he enrolled in the state's Sex Offender Treatment Program, based at the Twin Rivers Unit in the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Despite Lieb's study, prison officials are quick to defend the 200-bed, $1.8 million-a-year program. In fact, they want to expand it, with a second location in Eastern Washington.
"The study says what it says," said Sally Neiland, the treatment program's unit supervisor. "But being here every day, seeing men released, watching them graduate, hearing from them they have successful lives -- they report that wouldn't have happened without treatment."
Neiland could not discuss Velez, but said offenders in general spend about a year in treatment, learning to recognize stressors such as anger or boredom, and to change thought and behavior patterns.
Many undergo a process called "arousal reconditioning," in which a deviant fantasy is paired with a foul odor such as Limburger cheese, rotting meat or skunk urine. (Twin Rivers used to use ammonia capsules, but stopped when they learned the method can be harmful).
Offenders also learn how to manage emotions, develop social skills and empathize with victims, in part by listening to a Holocaust survivor.
"The end goal is not a cure," Neiland said. "It's to assist them in learning what situations lead them to offend and how to create intervention."
By the time Velez left prison, he had married a nurse educator he met at a hospital. He had begun attending Quaker meetings and taking classes in computer programming. He moved into his wife's rural Maple Valley home, where he did well under the terms of his two-year community supervision. It ended in 2002. The next five years are a mystery.
Velez, who is now in the Regional Justice Center jail, did not return a call for comment, nor did his wife.
"I wonder what was going on in his life, and how did he fail to use the tools that he was given?" Neiland said. "How did he unravel?"
Therapists often fooled
In Adhahn's case, treatment meant five years of court-ordered therapy after he pleaded guilty to incest for raping a teenage relative in 1990.
He fulfilled that by going to group therapy, much of it once a week, and submitting himself to polygraph and plethysmograph tests, the latter of which measures penile arousal to sexual material.
Toward the end of treatment, counselor Daniel DeWaelsche lauded Adhahn's progress.
"Terapon has demonstrated that he is using the skills and techniques, gleaned in sex-offender treatment, on a day-to-day basis to avoid recidivism," DeWaelsche wrote in 1997. "It has been a pleasure working with Terapon."
Ten years later, prosecutors say Adhahn kidnapped, raped and killed 12-year-old Zina Linnik, and raped two other girls, one of whom was abducted on her way to school.
DeWaelsche did not return a call for comment.
Experts say it's not uncommon for offenders to fool therapists, and that some people do well in treatment and deteriorate later.
Beyond that, answers become well-oiled bromides. Experts know that a subset of offenders -- psychopaths, predators and extreme deviants -- are more dangerous than others and may not do well in treatment. Of the more than a dozen violent predators released from the state's Special Commitment Center since 2001, more than half have had their releases revoked.
Experts also say most sex offenders rarely reoffend, a notation usually followed by a swift acknowledgement that all sex crimes are traumatic, no matter how rare. Then they say there are no simple answers.
More counselors are combining therapy with anti-depressants and anti-androgens, which reduce testosterone and are sometimes called "chemical castration." But anti-androgens can have severe side effects, and only a few offenders take them.
"The reality is this: Nothing beats intelligence," said Richard Packard, a clinical forensic psychologist on Bainbridge Island and past president of the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
But research and supervision are expensive, he said. "We spend no money on trying to understand how to do it better -- how to evaluate and treat sex offenders better."
Instead, many therapists find themselves cringing at the inevitable clamor that follows high-profile sex crimes.
"It's no big secret treatment doesn't work. You cannot rewire somebody's mind," said state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, a longtime supporter of tougher sentences and decreased funding for treatment.
House Republicans recently proposed GPS tracking for high-risk offenders and up to a year in prison for failing to register. Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a group to study the Adhahn case and propose any legislative changes by Oct. 4.
Spurred by outrage over the Adhahn charges, citizens lobbying for an improbable one-strike-you're-out law for sex offenders have rekindled their efforts.
"What is just? I'm not saying I have an answer, and I'm a psychologist," Packard said. "I mean, you do that to my kid, believe me, I'm going to be really mad."
But many sex offenders benefit from treatment, he said, and few are incarcerated forever. Then he asked the question of the ages: "So, what are we going to do about it?"
..more.. by P-I reporter Vanessa Ho can be reached at 206-448-8003 or email@example.com.
No one could argue that HRW has not covered issues faced by registered sex offenders in the new HRW report and I commend them for doing an excellent job.
However, since I was contacted when the research for this report began, and I did offer the HRW access, more than once, to the news articles about hundreds of cases of vigilantism and acts of violence against, persons previously convicted of sex offenses, and those who are newly accused, but for reasons unknown to this writer the HRW chose to not address those acts of violence, nor even review them. The majority of those news articles are now in blogs and indexed several ways.
Accordingly that portion of their report is severely understated, especially the portion which speaks to the maiming and murders of registered sex offenders and persons newly accused of sex offenses. Statistically this is a growing problem that is not being addressed by any legislation, nor by the Human Rights Report.
Folks will note that I have distinguished between a registered sex offender -and- a person newly accused of a sex offense. I do this because although one would consider them the same there are distinct differences in those groups.
One major difference is the number of suicides by persons newly accused of a sex offense, an extremely high number in the record that I have been keeping. At the present time I am converting my OLD RECORD of suicides to a newly created blog to be able to show other information about those cases and to separate them from murders.
HRW does cite "suicides" on page 81 of their report citing my Master List of Deaths (Suicides and Murders of sex offenders), but gives the wrong URL. They show http://www.geocities.com/eadvocate/issues/topic-pedophiles.html and it should be http://www.geocities.com/voicism/harm-master.html for the Master List.
The URL the Human Rights Report shows has to do with definitions (first created in 2002) and has been moved to The Confusing Words & Phrases in the realm of sex offenders.
These are the records of deaths that I keep:
1) The Master Listing of all deaths: CLICK
2) The blog showing the news story behind a suicide: CLICK
3) The blog showing the news story behind a murder: CLICK
Effectively the blogs are to keep the stories behind a death, whether it be a death of a registered sex offender, or a death of a person accussed of a sex offense, or the death of a person involved with a sex offender (i.e., murder-suicides and some other very odd cases).
Note: Because so many deaths have occurred compiling the news stories has been done on my home disk, and slowly I am getting them entered into the blogs for a permanent record which everyone can access. Accordingly, the blogs are not totally uptodate.
Again, I commend the Human Rights Watch for covering the topic of registered sex offenders. I do wish they would have covered sex offenders as a class with special needs, even though law today does not recognize sex offenders as a class. Registrants are likened to folks who suffer "Hate Crimes" which the government does keep special statistics of.
Special needs due to the laws forcing them to register and causing the harm they suffer today. Politicians claim regulation of a group with a high recidivism rate and refuse to recognize the fallacy of their claim as to former sex offenders. That political claim places former sex offenders in a false light before the public eye.
With that said on to the HRW report:
Human Rights Watch:
The reality is that sex offenders are a great political target, but that doesn’t mean any law under the sun is appropriate.
—Illinois State Representative John Fritchey1
People want a silver bullet that will protect their children, [but] there is no silver bullet. There is no simple cure to the very complex problem of sexual violence.
—Patty Wetterling, child safety advocate whose son was abducted in 1989 and remains missing2
What happened to nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford is every parent’s worst nightmare. In February 2005 she was abducted from her home in Florida, raped, and buried alive by a stranger, a next-door neighbor who had been twice convicted of molesting children. Over the past decade, several horrific crimes like Jessica’s murder have captured massive media attention and fueled widespread fears that children are at high risk of assault by repeat sex offenders. Politicians have responded with a series of laws, including the sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws that are the subject of this report.
Federal law and the laws of all 50 states now require adults and some juveniles convicted of specified crimes that involve sexual conduct to register with law enforcement—regardless of whether the crimes involved children. So-called “Megan’s Laws” establish public access to registry information, primarily by mandating the creation of online registries that provide a former offender’s criminal history, current photograph, current address, and other information such as place of employment. In many states everyone who is required to register is included on the online registry. A growing number of states and municipalities have also prohibited registered offenders from living within a designated distance (typically 500 to 2,500 feet) of places where children gather—for example, schools, playgrounds, and daycare centers.
Human Rights Watch appreciates the sense of concern and urgency that has prompted these laws. They reflect a deep public yearning for safety in a world that seems increasingly threatening. Every child has the right to live free from violence and sexual abuse. Promoting public safety by holding offenders accountable and by instituting effective crime prevention measures is a core governmental obligation.
Unfortunately, our research reveals that sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws are ill-considered, poorly crafted, and may cause more harm than good:
The registration laws are overbroad in scope and overlong in duration, requiring people to register who pose no safety risk;
Under community notification laws, anyone anywhere can access online sex offender registries for purposes that may have nothing to do with public safety. Harassment of and violence against registrants have been the predictable result;
In many cases, residency restrictions have the effect of banishing registrants from entire urban areas and forcing them to live far from their homes and families.
The evidence is overwhelming, as detailed in this report, that these laws cause great harm to the people subject to them. On the other hand, proponents of these laws are not able to point to convincing evidence of public safety gains from them. Even assuming some public safety benefit, however, the laws can be reformed to reduce their adverse effects without compromising that benefit. Registration laws should be narrowed in scope and duration. Publicly accessible online registries should be eliminated, and community notification should be accomplished solely by law enforcement officials. Blanket residency restrictions should be abolished.
For access to the full report: CLICK by the Human Rights Watch
September 10, 2007
It all seems so terribly familiar.
A trusted, even respected or beloved teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.
What used to shock us, but is now much too commonplace, is that the teacher is a woman.
Their names become tabloid headlines: Mary K. Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Diehl-Moore and others.
And now two more cases, both local.
Jennifer Leigh Rice, a 31-year-old former Tacoma teacher, was charged with having sex with a 10-year-old boy who had been in her fourth-grade class. The boy's father says she lavished the boy with attention until she was told not to come to their house anymore.
So she abducted the boy, police say, drove him to a highway rest stop outside Ellensburg and had sex with him. After her arrest in early August, Rice said she'd had sex with the boy four or five times, including once when she sneaked into his house as his parents slept.
Earlier this year, former Tenino math teacher Dawn Welter, 38, was charged with second-degree sexual misconduct after spending the night at a motel with a 16-year-old female student. Her lawyer explained her relationship with the student as "horseplay that became sexual."
The decadelong wave of sexual offenses committed by women — teachers in particular have exposed a cultural double standard: The public is more willing to accept the female abuser's claim that she had a "relationship" with the victim. And in cases in which the male is a teenager, the sexual abuse is more likely to be dismissed as a rite of passage. The questionable, yet overriding assumption, is that women predators are somehow different from men.
"Men are demonized, women are diagnosed. Men are beasts, but women are troubled or mentally ill," said media scholar Matthew Felling in an interview with Fox News. In fact, accounts of women sexual offenders are often more titillating than harsh. Felling calls the news coverage of young, attractive teachers involved with their students "part crime drama, part Penthouse letter."
About 25 percent of women and up to 17 percent of men say they experienced sexual abuse as children, ranging from seeing someone exposing themselves to intercourse. Boys are less likely to report abuse.
Despite the troubling news accounts, the National Education Association says schools are still among the safest places for children to be. The number of cases of sexual abuse by teachers, male and female, is less than 10 percent of all sex crimes against minors.
The current awareness of women predators began with Mary K. Letourneau, a 34-year-old elementary-school teacher and a married mother of four, who in 1996 began a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old former student, Vili Fualaau. Letourneau eventually had two children with him and served more than seven years in prison. She resumed contact with Fualaau, by then an adult, after she was released. While a male offender might have been publicly shunned, Letourneau's 2005 wedding to Fualaau was covered by "Entertainment Tonight."
Female predators' crimes are often attributed to marital problems, depression, loneliness, immaturity or self-esteem issues. Letourneau was reported to have "a loveless marriage" and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Not only do we look at female offenders differently, so do the offenders themselves. Women predators are more likely to see the abuse as a romantic relationship. Letourneau told CNN's Larry King that she and Fualaau had a "deep spiritual oneness" before they were ever sexual, and that she did not consider herself a sexual predator.
Dr. Leigh Baker, a clinical psychologist in Colorado, interviewed hundreds of male and female predators for her book "Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators." All were incarcerated at the time, and their stories help form her theory that there are four types of predators: inadequate, narcissistic, anti-social and pedophile.
An inadequate adult (and predator) has trouble forming attachments with other adults and is most comfortable with children, she says. A narcissist loves him- or herself to the detriment of others; someone who's anti-social doesn't abide by society's rules; and a pedophile is sexually aroused by children.
While some women are pedophiles and some men do profess their love for the children they sexually abuse, women are more likely to "couch it as a relationship," according to Baker. Men are more likely to be serial pedophiles; women seek that "deep spiritual oneness" that Letourneau says she found.
The traits women predators exhibit — seeing themselves as a victim, low self-esteem, a sense of inadequacy, needing to be the center of attention, putting their own need for a connection before common sense — probably place most women predators into two of Baker's four categories.
"My suspicion is if you took a large enough number of female predators, they would fall into all four types. But, we know women are less anti-social than men, and there are fewer female pedophiles, so I think most women are narcissistic or inadequate types of predators."
There are signs of the inadequate, the narcissist and the anti-social predator in Letourneau. She formed an inappropriate bond with a 12-year old, ignoring society's mores and the well-being of her own four children.
While a mental illness may produce hypersexuality, impulsiveness and poor decision-making, such a diagnosis for a sexual predator is rare, according to Baker. They are more likely to have a personality disorder (such as a anti-social, or narcissistic) or to have been sexually abused themselves.
The "Mrs. Robinson Syndrome"
To watch NBC's "To Catch A Predator" you'd think all predators are men. The series uses decoys on the Internet to lure men hoping to hook up with underage teens. Robert Weiss, executive director and founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, who provided his expertise in one of the episodes, says sexual compulsions on the Internet are male-dominated.
But female predators are beginning to use the Internet — not in an anonymous way to find children but to stay in close touch with those they are involved with. Rice, the former Tacoma teacher, communicated online often with the 10-year-old she had sex with, according to court records.
Then there is the ultimate double standard: The wink wink, nudge nudge, of boys getting their sexual initiation from grown women.
"Society sees it as they got 'lucky' " to receive a sexual initiation from a woman, according to Dr. Keith Kaufman, chairman of the department of psychology at Portland State University. "But their brain maturation isn't complete. Boys aren't in a position to give consent to a sexual relationship. Girls see it as abusive much more quickly. Boys won't want to see themselves as a victim."
There is a prevailing sense that boys are not harmed by sexual liaisons with older women. It's called the "Mrs. Robinson Syndrome," after the character in the 1967 film "The Graduate." But Benjamin, Mrs. Robinson's target, wasn't a child; he was in his 20s, had just graduated from college and was contemplating that career in plastics.
"We tend to see the female teacher-male student relationship as less abusive and less harmful psychologically," according to Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, a psychiatrist and director of the Institute for Women's Health and the Mood Disorders Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. "But in fact, a sexual relationship between a female teacher and a male student can be just as harmful and can have both short- and long-term consequences on the child's emotional stability and psychological and sexual development."
Boys who have sex with grown women are anything but "lucky." "It is always abuse," says Dr. Kaufman. ..more.. by Rebecca Morris, Special to The Seattle Times
Rebecca Morris has been a broadcast and print journalist for 33 years. She teaches journalism at Bellevue Community College.
September 9, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 7, 2007
Understanding Sexual Victimization: Using Medical Provider Data to Describe the Nature and Context of Sexual Crime in Massachusetts
This report presents findings related to many aspects of the nature and context of sexual crime in Massachusetts. The following are highlights of these findings.
· Victims of sexual violence tended to be young (the average victim age was 24 years) and female (96% of victims were female).
· Almost all offenders were male (98%) and nearly two-thirds (62%) were known to thevictim.
· As victim age increased, so did the proportion of crimes committed by strangers.
· Victims under the age of 10 were most likely to be victimized by family members (41%)and were least likely to be victimized by strangers (6%).
· Very few victims had restraining orders in place before the assault (1.5%) or after the assault (5.2%).
· Cities experienced a disproportionate share of sexual crime relative to their population. However, the disproportion is smaller for sexual crimes than for other violent crimes - the percent of sexual crime in Massachusetts 10 largest cities as reported in the PSCR (42%) was less than other violent crimes (52% for aggravated assault, 66% for robbery, and 67% for murder/non-negligent manslaughter).
· Sexual crimes impacted more communities than other types of violent crimes. In 2004, 173 cities reported at least one sexual crime compared to 40 communities reporting at least one murder, 137 reporting at least one aggravated assault, and 140 reporting at least one robbery.
· The majority of assaults occurred in a house or apartment (60%).
· 45% of victims sought medical treatment within 12 hours of the assault, 70% sought treatment within 24 hours, and 97% sought treatment within 5 days (120 hours).
· Verbal threats and use of body weight / holding down were the most commonly reported types of force used by the offender (25% and 21% respectively). The use of knives (6%), guns (3%), and blunt objects (2%) was relatively uncommon.
· Victims assaulted by a date, friend, or acquaintance were least likely to report the crime to the police. Victims assaulted by a parent..s live-in partner, spouse, or ex-spouse were most likely to report the crime to the police.
· For victims under the age of 18, 51A child abuse reports were filed in only 43% of cases.
Victimization surveys, police reports, public health surveys, and rape crisis center data all contribute to a better understanding of the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault and rape, but no single source of information can provide a complete and comprehensive picture. Several of these sources of information contain limited information on the specific nature and context of sexual assaults and do not address many important questions. For example, what are the most common victim-offender relationships? Does reporting to the police vary by relationship to the offender? What types of force are most frequently used against victims during an assault? Understanding the answers to these and other questions can help further the state of knowledge about contextual aspects of
sexual assault in Massachusetts.
Under Massachusetts law, all medical professionals who examine a victim of sexual assault or rape are required to fill out a Provider Sexual Crime Report and forward the report to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS), where each case is stored electronically (see Appendix for a sample report).
This report presents information on sexual victimizations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts based on an analysis of Provider Sexual Crime Reports data. A total of 4,066 cases covering the period 2001 through 2004 were reported to EOPS, where each case equates to one incident of sexual crime.
The results presented in this report should not be considered a representative sample of sexual assault in Massachusetts, but merely a reflection of the cases in which a victim sought medical attention and a medical professional forwarded the information to the EOPS. (For more information on the dataset see Data Overview section.) This report does not present information on the incidence or prevalence of sexual victimization in Massachusetts, as the PSCR does not capture crimes of rape or sexual assault where the victim did not seek medical attention, regardless of whether they reported the crime to the police.
Regarding the organization of this report, information on sexual victimization from both a national level and a state level is presented first to provide an overall context. Next, the report provides background on the PSCR and an overview of the dataset. Finally, analyses are presented into four sections:
· Victim characteristics, such as the age, gender, and race of the victim,
· Offender characteristics, such as the gender of the assailant, the relationship (if any) between the offender and victim, and the number of offenders,
· Nature and specifics of the crime, including the city of the assault, the time of assault, the surroundings at the time of the assault, and the types of force used by the offender, and
· Reporting the crime, such as the percent of crimes resulting in a police report, child abuse report, elder abuse report, disabled persons report, or weapon report. ..more.. by Report prepared by: Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS), Research and Policy Analysis Division: Robert Fallon, Policy Analyst, Sarah Lawrence, Director of Research, Shelley Penman, Data Coordinator
September 6, 2007
September 5, 2007
September 4, 2007
Laws and Contacts to Assist Registrants (former sex offenders) in Filing Complaints of Harassement, Stalking, Cyber-Stalking or Property Damages
September 2, 2007
All together the reports below are: PRIMER, HIGHLIGHTS, OVERVIEW, FAMILY ABDUCTIONS, NONFAMILY ABDUCTIONS then RUNAWAYS/THROWAWAYS each represents a report of NISMART-2
September 1, 2007
VIGILANTISM REVISITED: AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE LAW OF EXTRAJUDICIAL SELF-HELP OR WHY CAN’T DICK SHOOT HENRY FOR STEALING JANE’S TRUCK?
August 30, 2007
A few readers have pointed out this new site which purports to review and compare all state registries. Here is their main page: TopTen State Registries
While their main page looks good, in that it compares 10 state registries in detail, but there is no way to get the same review of any state or states that does not appear in their TopTen.
Things get worse when you click on any individual state registry because individually they do not show all the details which they show only for the TopTen registries. Individually you are left with -their opinion- without any supporting information.
What is it they are reviewing:
What to Look for in Your State’s Sex Offender Registry
The laws in each state govern state run sex offender registry websites. These laws regulate how much information is disclosed to the public and who is posted on the registry. However, states are free to design their registries so they are easy to use as well as provide additional tools and information like maps, comprehensive search functions and safety tips.
Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate sex offender registries.
Information Provided – This information varies by state depending on state laws. It may include a photograph, name, home, work and school addresses, physical description, crime location, conviction date, offense committed and basic information about the victim including gender and age.
Search Functions – The search function should be easy to use and produce relevant results. The important search criteria are name, geographical location and type of crime or offender risk level. More in–depth searches filter offenders by gender, physical description, higher education schools, etc.
Additional Site Features – The state sex offender registry sites should provide the community with supplemental information and tools. These may include a mapping function, printer–friendly profiles, legal information, safety tips and additional resources for offenders, victims and involved citizens.
Ease of Use – As with any service, state–run sex offender registries should be user friendly. The website should be accessible from the state’s homepage and through a search engine. The site itself should be easy to navigate and have well labeled buttons and text fields, so anyone can find the information they seek.
Contact Information – The registry websites should have apparent contact information for the agency that oversees the registry. Contact information may include an email address, physical address and phone number.
To read the review on your state’s registry click the “Read Review” button under your state’s name in the table above. Or, find your state in the product list on the left side of the page.
Now, notice that there is no date as to when they reviewed a state registry. How up to date is this review? Laws change daily and with the Adam Walsh Act virtually every state registry will be changing, as states enact their version of AWA.
For a minute take a look at Florida, under "Additional Site Features" where it shows "Number of Entries" 39,525. I presume that means there are 39,525 registered offenders living in Florida communities.
In reality that is not true, Florida includes -in their numbers- folks who have moved out of state, folks who are in prison, folks who have died, folks who have been deported, etc. How do I know this to be true, read this article: "Ghosts in the Machine" by James Carlson, my hats off to that man for uncovering the truth. Now while that shows Florida's number sto be wrong, sadly it is true of all states.
Now, Congress had the opportunity to force the states to post the correct numbers when they were CREATING (behind closed doors) the Adam Walsh Act. In the Senate version was this requirement:
S-1086-ES SEC. 106. PARTICIPATING STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRIES.
(c) Publication of Number of Offenders Registered-
(1) IN GENERAL- Every 6 months, the Attorney General shall collect from each State information on the total number of covered individuals included in the registry maintained by that State.
(2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY AND CONTENTS- The Attorney General shall--
(A) release information under paragraph (1) to the public in a manner consistent with this title; and
(B) include in such a release the number of individuals within each tier and the number of individuals who are in compliance with this title within each tier.
(3) DOUBLE-COUNTING- In reporting information collected under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that offenders are not being double-counted.
That provision was stricken from the final Adam Walsh Act. Why? I can only guess, but haven't you heard the politicians screaming to the high heavens, first, 400,000 then, 500,000 then 550,000 and more recently over 600,000. They simply do not want the truth known because by keeping it hidden they can justify all the balony laws they are passing. They want the public to believe the problem is getting worse day by day.
I could write volumns about why registries are no worth a darn, but I am going to stick to law. Do you see any mention of the the WARNINGS required by the Adam Walsh Act? TopTen Review is only concerned with what the public feels it needs.
Adam Walsh Act Requires: "Sec 118(f) Warning- The site shall include a warning that information on the site should not be used to unlawfully injure, harass, or commit a crime against any individual named in the registry or residing or working at any reported address. The warning shall note that any such action could result in civil or criminal penalties."
"Sec 118(e) Correction of Errors- The site shall include instructions on how to seek correction of information that an individual contends is erroneous."
Reviewers simply do not care about protecting the lives of registrants and their families which, in some cases, includes the children of registrants. Here is a sampling of what is going on with respect to murders and other deaths of registrants. That is my old listing I am releasing a newer one shortly.
The TopTen Review is useless in my opinion, but if someone can find value to it, the link is above.
August 29, 2007
This paper is based on research that both quantitatively and qualitatively examines the effects of sex offender community notification on neighborhood life—specifically on fear of crime, community morale, and the ability of residents and business owners to preserve and restore their neighborhood. The literature hypothesizes that neighborhoods are stable social entities that react to destabilizing events by finding ways to resist unwanted change and bounce back to a semblance of their former selves. This resiliency factor may be problematic in those neighborhoods beset by a variety of social problems. Data for this paper were derived from an in-person interview survey with households and businesses located within an area officially notified about a convicted sex offender living there. The findings suggest that the state practice of targeting an already fragile neighborhood for sex offender placement, while a blow to the neighborhood, may not be of such magnitude as to weaken its ability to recover. ..more.. by Richard G Zevitz, Associate Professor of Criminology and Law Studies, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal (2003))
An updated review of evidence on the impact of community notification as legislated for by Megan's Law in the United States
November 2006 United Kingdom
The NSPCC’s purpose is to end cruelty to children. Children have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse whether within the home or from someone unknown to the child.
Recent public debate has focused on the risks posed by sex offenders to children. The NSPCC believes Government is right to tackle this and is publishing “Megan’s Law: Does it protect children?” as a contribution to this important debate. There is no solid evidence that supports the introduction of Megan’s Law into the UK.
The NSPCC report shows that there is not one Megan’s law but many different variations of community notification. Although the law is popular with parents, there is no evidence that open access to sex offender registers actually enhances child safety. There is no evidence that Megan’s Law reduces reoffending. However, there is some evidence that it may have unintended negative consequences for children.
The NSPCC supports the view that when the police are aware that an offender poses a risk to the public they or the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) should be responsible for informing individuals and the community, as they see fit on a case by case basis. But two things are clear. First, the success, or lack of success, of these arrangements is either not established or, if it has been, has not been well communicated. Secondly, there is significant public concern about arrangements for protecting children from sex offenders in the community.
The NSPCC considers that in the UK there is a danger that public debate is focusing on a small number of high-risk offenders and excluding the many ‘medium-risk’ offenders who also pose a significant risk to children. The NSPCC believes that the current system of monitoring and sharing information about sex offenders under the MAPPA needs to be strengthened. Recent reports suggest that the MAPPAs are overstretched and under resourced. We are concerned that risk assessments are not being consistently carried out, that there are not enough sex offender treatment programmes available, and that multi-agency arrangements are not working consistently.
Measures taken to enhance community safety through the management of registered sex offenders are only one part of keeping children safe. In order for the sexual abuse of children to be addressed effectively, a broad approach is required to ensure that children are supported to talk about abuse, that adults act to stop abuse taking place and that potential abusers themselves are provided with help before they abuse.
Mary Marsh, NSPCC Director and Chief Executive ..more.. by Kate Fitch
August 28, 2007
A reader posted the following comment to the Rhode Island AWA Objection, because it really pertains to the Adam Walsh Act in its entirety I thought it appropriate to address it separately. Reader's Comment:
The Adam Walsh Act appears to impinge several constitutional provisions.
First, it excludes consensual conduct between adults from its application but nowhere defines "consent" leading to arbitrary enforcement. Moreover, "non-consent" is not an element of the listed federal crimes.
Second, the Act calls upon state legislators to determine without a judicial trial who is guilty of crimes comparable to or more severe than cetain federal crimes and impose restrictions on the individuals liberty in consequence of that determination. The Act is, therefore, a prohibited bill of pains and penalties.
Third, the registration laws no doubt impose an affirmative obligation on the individual to labor on behalf of the general public and have been held to not constitute punishment. Involuntary servitude, however, can only be imposed as punishment for a crime. Finally, forced public charity is communism, plain and simple.
The reader's first issue "Adult Consensual Conduct" is a moot point since criminal law does not punish such conduct therefore it would not come under AWA in any way.
The reader's third issue "Labor on Behalf of the General Public" is also a moot point since AWA does not require registrants to perform any form of labor for the public good.
The second issue is rather interesting though, but since AWA does not require legislators to determine guilt-inoccence that portion is incorrect. However, AWA does call for a comparison of sorts to be made and that is what will be addressed.
First the portion of AWA in question:
Sec. 111(8) CONVICTED AS INCLUDING CERTAIN JUVENILE ADJUDICATIONS- The term `convicted' or a variant thereof, used with respect to a sex offense, includes adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for that offense, but only if the offender is 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense and the offense adjudicated was comparable to or more severe than aggravated sexual abuse (as described in section 2241 of title 18, United States Code), or was an attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense.
Now the federal statute in question:
Title 18 § 2241. Aggravated sexual abuse
(a) By Force or Threat.— Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, knowingly causes another person to engage in a sexual act—
(1) by using force against that other person; or
(2) by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.
(b) By Other Means.— Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, knowingly—
(1) renders another person unconscious and thereby engages in a sexual act with that other person; or
(2) administers to another person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby—
(A) substantially impairs the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct; and
(B) engages in a sexual act with that other person;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.
(c) With Children.— Whoever crosses a State line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or knowingly engages in a sexual act under the circumstances described in subsections (a) and (b) with another person who has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years (and is at least 4 years younger than the person so engaging), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both. If the defendant has previously been convicted of another Federal offense under this subsection, or of a State offense that would have been an offense under either such provision had the offense occurred in a Federal prison, unless the death penalty is imposed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life in prison.
(d) State of Mind Proof Requirement.— In a prosecution under subsection (c) of this section, the Government need not prove that the defendant knew that the other person engaging in the sexual act had not attained the age of 12 years.
AWA defines a procedure to be followed, a comparison of the facts of an individual's crime to the elements of a federal criminal statute. While this may seem to be a simple procedure, in reality it is not so, prosecutors take painstaking care when charging someone with a crime. However, under this new AWA procedure anyone could be doing the comparison and the result determines whether the person will have to register under AWA.
Will administrative employees of local police stations have the expertise to perform this procedure? Further, will they have the documentation from the person's original court files, one must consider that in some cases persons registering may have come from other jurisdictions or other states. Cases may be years old, and then there is the retroactive application of AWA to further complicate matters. Will these reviewers set aside personal biases and prejudices? These and many other questions are left unanswered. Further, there does not seem to be any appeal of a local reviewer's decision.
Other problems also become apparent, why should these cases have such a review to establish whether or not they will register, and what Tier Level they will be assigned if they are required to register, and the remainder of the registrants are denied such a searching review before being classified and a Tier Level assigned?
I do recognize that Congress wanted to cull some cases and include others, but the parameters set for these cases exclude all other persons who will have to register. The remainder of those cases have their Tier Levels set by how much time their sentence was for, a completely different system of classifying levels.
Reader's Comment: "Impose restrictions as the result of classification"
While AWA does not restrict a registrant's liberty per se, if registration is coupled with residency laws, then yes it will restrict liberty in some cases. It will depend on how a local residency law is written.
Finally, I agree that AWA is unconstitutional on many levels, especially its retroactivity which destroyes "finality of judgement" between the state and the registrant. Said another way, retroactivity violates "Laches" in this writer's opinion. Further, there is no proof that at some point in the future Congress will again allow the states to make the laws further retroactive into a quasi lifetime sentence.
August 25, 2007
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation's criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's more than 12,800 direct members -- and 94 state, local, and international affiliate organizations with another 35,000 members -- include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America's criminal justice system.
NACDL information on the Adam Walsh Act (Results obtained by searching their site on "Adam Walsh" from their main page)
August 24, 2007
8-24-2007 North Carolina
The Raleigh Police Department is now providing online crime mapping to the public, but some residents are concerned about how much information is being released.
The mapping system uses the GIS system to geo-locate reported incidents along the street centerline GIS database by site address. The data contains all the streets in Wake County along with an address block range for each street segment. When incidents are geo-located, the GIS system interpolates the address and mathematically determines where it would fall along a street block range. The crime incidents are then geo-located as icons on the map to approximate locations along a street segment. The icons may not fall exactly on the property of the reported incident. This GIS could not be used to determine a distance as is required by residency laws.
What Else Can Be Found
On the surface, it appears to be a great tool for anyone in Wake County to track crime in their neighborhood. But Eyewitness News has discovered it also exposes a lot of your personal information.
You can find all kinds of resources at the iMaps (GIS) site - from garbage pick-up to schools and libraries. The latest feature to be added are crime stats.
But if you dig deeper into the site, much of your personal information can be found. Rob Snopkowski noticed just now much information he could find on himself.
No matter what brings you to the iMaps site, you might be surprised to know that you can search for home ownership information on anyone in Wake County.
When Snopkowski entered his name he not only got a picture of his Northwest Raleigh house, the listing also provided his address, his wife's name, the date he bought the house and how much he paid for it.
"You can get a lot of information based on that and take it further. It's kind of scary," Snopkowski said.
Snopkowski says with construction going on just up the street there are a lot of strangers in his neighborhood these days - strangers who Snopkowski feels can check him out online. "A lot of information that anyone can find if you have a name or even an address. Just surprised they don't have pictures inside your house too."
How Crime Mapping Helps
Crime mapping has been used since 1994. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the tool allows law enforcement agencies to understand where crime is occurring and to determine if there is a pattern.
The Raleigh Police Department will use the iMAP crime mapping will provide 30-days of data on crimes of arson, motor vehicle thefts, larcenies, burglaries, aggravated assaults, robberies and homicides. Rape reports will not appear to help protect the identities of rape victims.
Crime Mapping and Your Personal Information
The Vacaville Police Department in Vacaville, California was the first law enforcement agency to put crime maps on the web in 1995. Now 12 years the Raleigh Police Department has joined the many agencies that publish their crime data online.
With such information available at your fingertips, real estate developers and agents feel that public crime data in high crime data will lower housing prices.
As with most debates about web publishing of GIS data, right-to-privacy advocates worry about backlashes towards former felons especially convicted sex offenders and domestic violence criminals. Raleigh Police spokesperson Jim Sughrue stresses unless the average web visitor knows specifics about the crime such a parcel number, detailed information is not released. (What about folks reading the daily newspaper, this is a joke.)
The reality is, according Raleigh Police and the online publication, GIS Lounge, most of this information is public information (check the crime blotter section of your local newspaper) although the ease of crime mapping makes this information more readily available. ..more.. by Eyewitness News
The crime-mapping link is:
August 23, 2007
If the creepy guy next door suddenly stops wearing shorts, he may have an eye in the sky to blame.
Just a few years ago, satellite tracking of convicts was a newfangled alternative to house arrest. Now, the number of American ex-offenders tracked through GPS-equipped ankle bracelets will likely triple to more than 30,000, thanks to the passage of a California ballot measure.
California's Proposition 83, which easily passed Tuesday by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent, requires many convicted sex offenders to be monitored by GPS for life. Only those who committed felonies and served time in prison will be affected.
(On Wednesday, a judge ruled (.pdf) that portions of the ballot measure are probably unconstitutional. The objections revolve around provisions that retroactively set new rules about where prior offenders may live. The electronic monitoring requirements were not immediately challenged, and remain untouched by the court's decision.)
At least 11 other states have recently considered GPS tracking legislation, with some inspired by the 2005 murder of a Florida girl, allegedly by a registered sex offender. Florida's high-profile legislation was named "Jessica's Law" in her honor, and talk-show host Bill O'Reilly has been pushing for passage of similar laws elsewhere.
But there's a hitch: The ankle bracelets -- usually accompanied by digital-pager-size transmitters -- are hardly criminal-proof. Convicts can easily cut the bracelets off and run away as their probation officer gets an alarm and tries to contact the local police. For health reasons, the bracelets aren't designed to be permanent.
"GPS will not prevent a crime," said Steve Chapin, CEO of Pro Tech Monitoring, a manufacturer of GPS tracking devices. "It's a crime deterrent. It has proven to be a good tool, but you can't oversell it -- there's no physical barrier that it creates that can prevent a crime."
Chapin said his Florida-based company tracks about 10,000 people, and he thinks other companies track a few thousand more. Offenders wear an ankle bracelet -- Chapin said it can be hidden under a sock -- and keep the transmitter nearby.
There are an estimated 63,000 to 90,000 sex offenders convicted of felonies and misdemeanors in California. According to Chapin, it's possible that about 20,000 of them will need GPS monitoring under the new law.
Chapin expects the state to adopt "active" monitoring, which tracks offenders in real time and sends out alerts if they go somewhere they're not supposed to, such as a school. The alternative is "passive" tracking, which produces reports about where offenders have been, not where they are right now.
Currently, Pro Tech charges $6 to $8 a day for active monitoring, and $4 to $5 a day for passive monitoring, equipment included. At that rate, California can expect to fork out between $80,000 and $160,000 per day to watch its sex offenders, although the ballot measure allows increases in court fees and other costs that offenders are billed.
GPS tracking technology allows users to create "geofences" to mark forbidden "hot zones." The monitoring systems can even be programmed so that alarms only go off if an offender spends a certain amount of time in an outlawed area instead of, say, simply driving through it at high speed on the way to somewhere else.
GPS tracking has its critics. The American Civil Liberties Union has been skeptical, although at times intrigued by an alternative to incarceration.
Donald Smith, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Virginia, said it's wrong to rely on technology instead of teaching children to be cautious. "People would like alarms to go off when pedophiles go near their children," he said. "The real problem is that the pedophile is likely to be their brother, their uncle, their cousin."
On the other hand, a new study of more than 75,000 Florida convicts found that both GPS monitoring and old-fashioned, house-arrest electronic monitoring (the kind Martha Stewart endured) made convicts more likely to toe the line.
"Our conclusion is that it does help protect public safety, that these offenders are less likely to get in trouble," said study co-author Kathy Padgett of Florida State University.
GPS technology is "pretty reliable," but conventional devices often don't allow tracking inside buildings, said Richard Langley, a professor who studies GPS tracking at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
Conceivably, sex offenders could head to an indoor shopping mall and get into trouble without anyone knowing exactly where they are. But cell phones may help triangulate people's positions inside buildings, even to specific floors, and Pro Tech's Chapin predicted that his company's GPS devices will eventually allow tracking in buildings. For now, though, his goal is to make a "smaller, cheaper, lighter product."
Another company has created an all-in-one GPS tracking device that doesn't require a separate bracelet and transmitter, although it's bulky. And then there's an approach that's positively Maxwell Smart-ian: At least one model is equipped with a speakerphone, allowing overseers to contact offenders via their ankles. ..more.. by Randy Dotinga
August 22, 2007
Offender list requirement not fair for young teens
ISSUE: State law now requires young teens convicted of sex crimes to register as offenders.
A 14-year-old experimenting with sex does not have either the culpability or the awareness of his actions that a 30-year-old convicted of rape does.
And yet, thanks to lawmakers' misguided efforts, both would now find themselves condemned to the same fate: their name inscribed for perpetuity on the state's public registry of sex offenders. For youths, that means a moment of indiscretion, even a lewd prank that speaks more to immaturity than predatory behavior, could follow them around for life, forever limiting their living arrangements, college aspirations and job prospects.
That's the lunacy behind a particularly troublesome state law that went into effect July 1. Passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature, it is required in large measure for compliance under the Adam Walsh Act, especially if the state wants to qualify for millions in federal dollars.
Its provisions require that children 14 and older who engage in genital, anal or oral-genital contact with children younger than 12 be listed on community notification registries, which alert the public to the names, addresses and other identifying information of convicted sex offenders and predators.
Sounds reasonable, in theory. Except that when you're dealing with minors, nothing is as cut and dry as it sounds.
That's why the juvenile court system was created, and why its proceedings and records are kept from public view: It recognizes the maturity level of its clients and their broad propensity for rehabilitation. Those who commit more serious crimes are charged in adult court, subject to adult sentences.
The registry requirement deals a setback to that established hierarchy, essentially mandating an adult sanction on a juvenile crime — one that was prosecuted behind closed doors and without input from a jury. The seriousness of the penalty also may discourage parents from reporting troubling behavior, especially when a registry listing restricts where the whole family can live.
With the law already on the books and in effect, defense attorneys should follow their instincts and challenge its constitutionality. Lawmakers are right to deal seriously with sex crimes, even by minors. But this penalty goes way beyond reason or fairness.
BOTTOM LINE: Challenge its constitutionality.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
Legislators look to toughen sex-offender laws
8-1-2007 Rhode Island:
PROVIDENCE — State leaders have begun to craft a series of laws aimed at dramatically strengthening the state’s sex-offender tracking and notification requirements.
The possible changes — many required by the passage of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act — would in some cases require convicts as young as 14 to register as sex offenders for life, would require the public posting of the offenders’ home and employment addresses, and would be applied retroactively, forcing the registration of hundreds of sex offenders not currently monitored by Rhode Island authorities.
The state may lose as much as $280,000 in federal grants should it fail to implement the federal guidelines in the next two years.
The proposals were discussed at the State House yesterday afternoon by a special commission assembled to study the state’s sex-offender laws and propose changes in the coming General Assembly session. The commission, led by co-chairs Sen. James E. Doyle II, D-Pawtucket, and Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, D-Cranston, consists of a coalition of sex-offender experts, including judges, parole officials, defense attorneys and sexual-abuse education leaders.
“We want everybody on board when we present this legislation,” Doyle said. “The bottom line is to protect the kids. We don’t really care about money. If it’s going to cost, we’re going to find the money to protect kids. And we’ve got the right people to do it.”
Doyle and Palumbo were the prime sponsors of a 2006 law that requires lifetime monitoring of those convicted of first-degree child molestation through the use of an electronic device or global positioning software.
Officials gathered at the State House yesterday noted that the law has yet to be tested, as it only applied to those convicted and released from prison after Jan. 1 of this year. And Doyle acknowledged that the necessary infrastructure isn’t in place to enforce the law.
There are roughly 1,600 registered sex offenders living in Rhode Island. Most are monitored by probation counselors, each of whom is charged with making periodic visits — some by surprise and some by appointment — to as many as 80 offenders.
Most of the offenders do not appear on the state sex-offender Web site ( www.paroleboard.ri.gov). Only those deemed by the Superior Court to have a moderate to high risk of recidivism (135 offenders as of last night) are listed by name. Each posting includes a photo, birth date, physical description, and the specific crime committed.
The sex offender’s community is listed, as is his or her general neighborhood, but the specific home address is not.
“I want to get a lot more aggressive on that,” Palumbo said. “The number-one thing that constituents want, they want to go to a Web site and see where they’re living.”
The federal Adam Walsh Act of 2006 would require states to do just that and more, forcing authorities to publicly post the offenders’ home addresses, their job locations, and their license plate numbers, according to Alan Goulart, chief of the criminal division in the attorney general’s office, who briefed the commission yesterday. The federal act also requires states to collect information from offenders including DNA to be supplied to a national sex-offender registry.
Rhode Island does not have to adopt all the standards outlined in the federal statute.
But any state failing to adopt the provisions by July 2009 would lose 10 percent of its law-enforcement assistance grants, an estimated loss of about $280,000 for Rhode Island. Several commission members expressed a willingness to forgo the federal money to avoid passing the more controversial sections of the federal law.
They include a provision to implement tougher reporting and monitoring requirements retroactively, something that Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Keough warned may open “a floodgate” for the courts from offenders seeking post-conviction relief, having already settled on a specific set of probation requirements.
“I deal with them on a daily basis. I’m offended by what they do. But there are due-process rights,” Keough said.
And several members of the group were bothered by the suggestion that juvenile offenders may be required to have their photos and addresses posted on a public Web site for the rest of their lives.
“The question is not only whether or not the state can accomplish these goals, but whether or not they are the right goals to be accomplished,” said defense attorney Thomas G. Briody, also a member of the commission. “It’s something we need to take a very careful look at. We’re still talking about human beings.”
The federal law also calls on states to require those convicted of sex-related misdemeanors, such as indecent exposure or possession of child pornography, to register as sex offenders. Such people are currently exempt from Rhode Island’s registration laws.
Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, said there’s no need to strengthen the state’s laws. Besides encouraging citizens to go after offenders and impeding their rehabilitation efforts, the stricter reporting requirements would give communities a false sense of security, he said.
“The suggestion is if we know the sex offenders in the neighborhoods, our kids are safe. That’s simply not true,” Brown said. “Despite what prompts these laws, the overwhelming number of crimes are committed by family members.”
He said an ACLU representative would likely attend future meetings of the commission, as the group shapes a specific proposal in the coming months. ..more.. by Steve Peoples
August 19, 2007
As of June 2003, there were a total of 6,139 people on the Sex Offender Registry (SOR). Of these, 1,789 offenders were on the Internet registry. The number of people on the registry changes constantly as new offenders are added and deleted. TCA § 40-39-106 (f) states: For all sexual offenses committed on or after July 1, 1997, the information concerning a registered sexual offender set out in subdivision (f)(1)-(9) shall be considered public information. For all sexual offenses committed on or after October 27, 2002, the information concerning a registered sexual offender set out in subdivision (f)(10) shall be considered public information.
Offenders will be deleted if their offense has been expunged, they move out of the state or if they die. This registry is maintained by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) Tennessee Internet Criminal Information Center (TICIC). TBI is required by TCA § 40-39-104 to mail out Registration/Monitoring forms to all known sex offenders at least once every 90 days. The form requires verification of the offender’s last reported address. If a person who is required to register is re-incarcerated, the monitoring requirements cease until the person is released. If two consecutive monitoring forms are sent back to the TBI marked “Return to Sender”, the offender remains on the registry. However, the offender’s release type code on the registry is changed to “unknown address”. The monitoring forms are not mailed to offenders with “Unknown Address” in the release type code field.
Any offender who knowingly fals ifies a sexual offender’s registration/monitoring form or verification/monitoring form commits a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense, which is punishable by confinement in the county jail for not less than 180 days. ..more.. by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Statistical Analysis Center
This study was compiled using the new Tennessee Crime Online website at: www.tncrimeonline.com The Tennessee Crime Online website has been active since June 2006. The public is able to access the site and can research crime statistics based on their own criteria. The data in this study may be run for a region, county or agency at the website. There is a tutorial available from the main page that will guide the user through running a basic report as well as a second tutorial on the “Public Reports” page.
Agencies report incidents of crime through the TIBRS system. An incident is defined for TIBRS reporting purposes as ““one or more offenses committed by the same offender, or group of offenders acting in concert, at the same time and place.” “Acting in concert” requires that the offenders actually commit or assist in the commission of the crime(s). “Same time and place” means that the time interval between the offenses and the distance between the locations where they occurred were insignificant.”
Sex offense statistics in Tennessee are submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). Data is submitted by sheriff’s departments, municipal police departments, state parks, colleges and universities, drug task forces, other police departments (i.e., airport police departments), and state agencies. The data period covered in the research brief is for the calendar year 2005. ..more.. by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Crime Statistics Unit
August 18, 2007
Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis. For Law-Enforcement Officers Investigating Cases of Child Sexual Exploitation
This booklet provides a behavioral analysis of child molesters. The terms child molesters and pedophiles are defined and distinctions are drawn between the two. The second section develops a law enforcement typology differing from those of mental health professionals, focusing on pre-arrest behavior or pre-identification behavior of child molesters that is of most value to law enforcement. The third section focuses on the law enforcement investigation, including combination offenders, sex rings, incest cases, female offenders, and adolescent offenders. The fourth section focuses on recognizing and identifying the highly predictable sexual behavior patterns of pedophiles or preferential child molesters. The fifth section focuses on collection of pornography and erotica, since pedophiles almost always collect it. The sixth section focuses on behavior of the offender after identification. The seventh section focuses on four major problems that make the investigation of child sexual abuse and exploitation difficult for law enforcement officers and the criminal justice system. A discussion of considerations in obtaining and using expertise search warrants in cases of preferential child molesters is given. A bibliography is included. (ABL) ..more.. by Kenneth V. Lanning,
August 17, 2007
June 30, 2006
Prepared for: Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission
Compared to clinical methods, actuarial risk instruments are a preferred method to discern sex offenders risk for sexual as well as violent recidivism because, unlike clinical practices, they are considered inexpensive, objective and modestly accurate. Scientists argue that risk instruments that employ only static, or historic measures of offender characteristics, rather than dynamic, are certainly sufficient for the purposes of gauging individuals’ likelihood of recidivism. In fact, Harris and Rice (2003:207) contend that dynamic constructs are “unnecessary for anticipating who will recidivate in a given time period”; furthermore they state that “very accurate statements about the likelihood of another…offense can be based upon knowledge of an individual’s lifetime conduct.” In their view, offender risk scales that incorporate only static information are essentially capturing factors that refl ect a person’s underlying antisocial propensity.
Although there are a considerable number of risk instruments available for corrections officials to utilize, far fewer have been rigorously evaluated. Of those that have, Harris and Rice (2003) recommend that the MnSOST-R and the Static-99 are two of the most “promising” scales for predicting sexual recidivism. An emerging body of work also suggests that the SORAG is quite effectual in terms of its predictive accuracy. Additional empirical research is likely to surface which will provide further evidence of the statistical accuracy of sex offender risk instruments.
For the remainder of this paper: by Dr. Beth Huebner (Prepared by: Institute of Public Policy, Truman School of Public Affairs, University of Missouri – Columbia)
April 1998, NCJ-168965
Proceedings of a BJS/SEARCH conference
Americans have become increasingly angry in recent years in response to a series of violent and highly publicized sexual assaults, primarily against children, committed by individuals with extensive prior sexual offense histories. This outrage has been intensified by the perception, justified or not, that systems traditionally used by justice agencies to monitor law-breakers returned to the community do not adequately protect the public from that unique category of individual known as the sex offender.
Seeking to address the public’s concern, the U.S. Congress established three statutes that collectively require States to strengthen the procedures they use to keep track of sex offenders: the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (enacted in 1994), the Federal version of “Megan’s Law” (enacted in 1996), and the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act (also enacted in 1996).
In brief, the statutes require States to establish registration programs so local law enforcement will know the whereabouts of sex offenders released into their jurisdictions, and notification programs so the public can be warned about sex offenders living in the community. (The Lychner Act also requires the creation of a national sex offender registry, and it requires the FBI to handle registration in States that lack “minimally sufficient” programs.) The States were assigned a difficult task. They were given until September 1997 to comply with the Wetterling Act and Megan’s Law, and until October 1999 to comply with the Lychner Act. Those that failed to meet the compliance deadlines risked losing 10 percent of their appropriation from the Federal Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, which provides funding for State and local
crime eradication efforts.
Compliance was complicated by the fact that both Megan’s Law and the Lychner Act amended portions of the Wetterling Act, creating confusion as to whether the requirements of one statute superceded those of another. There were also questions as to whether the registration and notification programs, once implemented, would survive constitutional challenges based on claims of excessive punishment, invasion of privacy and denial of due process. Another hurdle was the growing number of individuals who fell under the statutes’ requirements. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of sex offenders jumped 300 percent between 1980 and 1994. In 1994, there were approximately 234,000 sex offenders under the care, custody or control of corrections agencies — 60 percent under conditional supervision in the community — on any given day.
States experiencing difficulty meeting the compliance deadlines were given the opportunity to request 2-year, “good-faith-effort” extensions. Forty-two of the 56 States and territories required to comply with the statutes requested deadline extensions. It appeared the States needed guidance and clarification to help them comply with the registration and notification statutes.
To assist the States, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, along with SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, cosponsored the National Conference on Sex Offender Registries, held July 16-17, 1997, in Bellevue, Washington. This publication presents the proceedings of that 2-day conference.
The conference featured presentations by Federal officials who explained the requirements of the registration and notification statutes in detail and who answered the questions of State representatives. Representatives from several States presented information on programs that their States had implemented in response to the Federal requirements. Elected officials provided a legislative perspective to the proceedings, and experts updated participants on the status of legal challenges to registration and notification programs.
Many of the problems and issue areas identified in these proceedings were subsequently addressed or ameliorated in Federal legislation and regulations. The issue of sex offending is as sensitive and emotionally charged as any faced by society. The federally required programs are relatively new or redesigned approaches to controlling sex offenders, and a period of time must elapse before quantitative study can be conducted to ascertain whether they are effective. I hope these proceedings serve during this period as a valuable reference tool and also as a contribution to the ongoing debate over the methods used to control sex offenders.
Jan M. Chaiken, Ph.D.