June 30, 2009

PA- [ Former Perverted Justice ] computer programmer accused of attempting to bring down websites that ridiculed him

6-30-2009 Pennsylvania:

NEWARK -- A computer programmer was charged in federal court today with trying to cripple nine websites, including RollingStone.com, that posted articles about him being duped into meeting a fictitious woman he met online.

Bruce Raisley, 47, of Monaca, Pa., surrendered to FBI agents in Newark and was charged with computer fraud and abuse, authorities said. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, said Erez Lieberman, an assistant U.S. attorney.

Raisley is accused of unleashing months-long attacks against the websites in response to two articles written by reporters for Rolling Stone and Radar Magazine, according to authorities.

The articles, detailed Raisley's feud with the founder of Perverted Justice, a group whose volunteers pose as underage girls in Internet chat rooms to expose sexual predators. Several years ago, the group collaborated with an NBC reality television show, which records adults trying to meet minors for sex on video.

Raisley initially volunteered for Perverted Justice around 2004, but later became a vocal critic of its aggressive tactics, authorities said. In turn, the group's founder, Xavier Von Erck, said he had a volunteer pose as "Holly," an adult woman, to meet Raisley online.

"He fell for her," Von Erck said during a brief telephone interview today.

The articles report that Raisley stood waiting with flowers for "Holly" at an airport while a photographer snapped a picture that Von Erck posted on his website.

The articles that appeared in Radar Magazine in 2006 and The Rolling Stone in July 2007 focused on the tactics of Perverted Justice and mentioned Raisley's feud and the attempted sting.

Neither publication responded for requests seeking comment today.

The articles appeared on several other websites, including the Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey, which says it studies cults and controversial groups. The attacks began as early as September 2007, flooding the websites with enough traffic to slow them to nearly a crawl, authorities said.

With help from the United States Computer Emergency Response Team, the FBI traced the attacks to Raisley, authorities said. When agents searched his home in March, Raisley admitted writing the programs to attack the sites, according to the FBI's Newark office.

Raisley was released on $100,000 bond by U.S. District Magistrate Judge Patty Schwartz.

"In this situation, this type of cyber-bullying was used as a way to try to silence our media and deny them of their constitutional rights to the freedom of press," said Weysan Dun, head of the FBI's Newark office. ..Source.. by Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger

Read More of Article...

Cyberbullying and Sexting Topics of Discussion at Cox’s Annual Teen Summit in DC

Link to Cox Communication's slide presentation:

Cyberbullying Fact Sheet from Cyberbullying.us blog:

6-30-2009 National:

Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When “think before you click” becomes as vital a lesson as “look before you leap,” it is clear that measures must be taken to create a safer cyber world for society’s youth.

For the fifth consecutive year, Cox Communications has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, to inform parents of the potential dangers of the Internet and provide ways they can protect their kids online. Under the auspices of Cox’s Take Charge! program, the partners will present the results of a new survey on the behavior of young people online and their use of wireless devices.

Taking place on June 24th, in Washington, DC, Cox Communications’ Annual National Summit will feature the survey in conjunction with a candid discussion with a teen focus group.

Under the auspices of Cox’s Take Charge! program, the partners are continuing their efforts to help parents and guardians understand the potential dangers of the Internet and how they can help keep their kids safer online though ongoing research and frank discussion at the fourth annual National Summit on Internet Safety which will be held in Washington, DC on June 24th.

Cox Communications’ 4th Annual National Summit on Internet Safety

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
- Teen Summit at 9:00 a.m.
- Virtual Media Conference at 10:45 a.m.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association
25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW – Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001

Woodbridge High School student Nieman Jeffrey of Irvine is one of just 10 teens chosen nationwide to attend the Summit and provide feedback on the dangers of cyberbullying and other risky and often risqué behaviors such as sexting. A staff member at the Boys & Girls Club, Jeffrey is a mentor and friend to many; a position that often places him on the frontlines of the challenges of teenage dynamics.

“While working at the Boys & Girls Club, two girls created a website to make fun of a boy. The website was intended to damage the boy’s self-esteem, which resulted in his becoming deeply depressed and hurt by the situation.” Jeffrey continues, “The staff members resolved the matter, but it was difficult, as the girls didn’t make the website at the Club. It required parents, staff and even the police working together to resolve the problem.”

“I feel that teens should be made more aware of the dangers of the Internet and cell phones, so they don’t have to make their own mistakes in order to learn.” Jeffrey concludes, “I believe that teens who have experienced cyberbullying or the consequences of sexting need to speak at assemblies and meetings in order for others to truly understand that these problems are real.”

At the June 24th Summit, Jeffrey will join other teens from Cox markets across the country in a discussion on cyber-safety and ways that parents, guardians and teen mentors can help children become safer online. Complete results of the survey and information from the teen discussion will be presented immediately following the Summit via virtual media conference; John Walsh and select teens will also be available to answer questions. Jeffrey will join fellow Summit participants to deliver the news directly to Capitol Hill in meetings with members of Congress on June 25th.

Key results from the survey conducted by Harris Interactive include:

-Technology enabled: 91% of teens have an email address and 60% have an instant messenger screen name. 63% of teens have a cell phone and 59% have a digital camera.

-Acceptance of Social Networking: 72% of teens surveyed have online social networking profiles, where many have posted photos of themselves and their friends, along with personal information.

-Conflicted over Safety: 59% of teens say having personal information or photos on a public site is unsafe, supported by 26% saying they know someone who has had a negative experience as a result. Still, 62% of teens post photos of themselves on blogs or social networking sites on which greater than 40% name their school or the city in which they live.

-Prevalent Cyberbullying: More than 33% of teens surveyed have been cyberbullied, perpetrated cyberbullying or know of friends who have experienced or perpetrated it, and 68% think it is a serious problem. An estimated four in five teens believe that bullying online is easier to get away with or to hide from their parents than bullying in person.

-Engaging in Sexting: 19% of teens surveyed have engaged in sexting -- sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos through text message or email. 60% of teens who sent sexts say they send photos to their boyfriend/girlfriend, but 11% say they have sent sexts to someone they do not even know. 81% of teen sexters are under 18.

-Online Wirelessly: 19% of teens surveyed connect online via their cell phone and 19% say their parents are unaware. 80% of teens whose parents know they are online via their cell phone, say they are not given any limits or controls.

About Cox's Take Charge Initiative:

Cox's Take Charge! program was launched in 2004 to educate parents and guardians about the importance of Internet safety and help families gain the most from mass media in the home. It provides scores of resources to help parents and guardians manage their children’s use of the television, Internet and wireless devices. More information on Take Charge! is available at www.Cox.com/TakeCharge.

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online among 655 U.S. teens ages 13-18 within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cox Communications between April 9 and 21, 2009. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available. ..Source.. by COX Communications

Read More of Article...

VT- City loses in sex offender case

6-30-2009 Vermont:

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A judge has blocked the city of Barre from enforcing an ordinance that would have required a convicted sex offender to move.

Twenty-9-year-old Chris Hagan had been ordered by city officials to move under a new ordinance passed last year that blocks convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools or other places children gather.

The preliminary injunction issued by Washington Superior Court Judge Helen Toor blocks the city from forcing Hagan to move at least until the full case is heard in court.

Hagan has been getting help from the American Civil Liberties Union's Vermont Chapter.

Hagan was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct over a contact with a 15-year-old girl that occurred when he was 18. ..Source.. by FOX News44

Read More of Article...

TX- Gov. Rick Perry vetoes bill lifting sex offenders 21, younger from registry

6-30-2009 Texas:

AUSTIN -- Aaron Jernigan had just started college at age 18 and was planning a career as a music teacher when he met a girl at a party and his whole world changed.

Now 25, Jernigan finished a four-year prison sentence instead of a four-year degree.

He is trying to get on with his life, but a year out of prison he still cannot find work and has had to move twice because he will forever carry with him the black mark of a registered sex offender.

"I was pretty much just a regular old kid in high school," he said. "And they kinda threw away the key on me."

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have given people such as Jernigan the chance to try to have their names removed from the Texas sex offender registry. Perry said the measure approved by legislators failed to protect young victims.

For Jernigan and other sex offenders like him, who got involved with young people close to their own age, the veto was a disappointment and a setback.

"We were already ready to get everything settled and get our lives back," Jernigan said.

His life started a downhill trajectory in 2002, when he was attending South Plains College in West Texas, not far from Lubbock.

A girl he met at a party told him she was 16. He said she had a car and driver's license. The two hit it off, one thing led to another, and then the girl's grandmother walked in, Jernigan said.

He learned in court that the girl was actually 14. Had she really been 16, he could have used a legal defense that is available in cases involving consensual sex between young people whose age difference is three years or less.

Jernigan pleaded guilty instead of taking his chances with a jury and risking a long prison term. Still, he knew he would do time and end up on the registry of sex offenders.

"It kind of really messed my world up," Jernigan said.

He had never before been in trouble with the law, he said.

After his encounter with the young girl, his hopes of becoming a teacher were over.

Convicted of sexual assault, he will be required for life to put his name, address, photo and employer on the state sex offender registry.

While in prison, Jernigan met the woman who is now his wife. He has been free for a year, and he said their small family is doing well in North Texas, but he is frustrated that he cannot find work to support his wife and stepdaughter.

It's even been tough for him to return to school, Jernigan said. When he applied for automotive training, he said, the school rejected him because he was a sex offender.

"The only jobs open to offenders such as myself are trucking jobs and night-shift jobs, where you'll never see your family," he said.

This year, Jernigan found out about a bill by state Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, that could have helped him get his name off that offender list.

The measure would have allowed people such as Jernigan, who were 21 or younger and had consensual sex with someone who was at least 14 and not more than four years younger than them, to petition a judge to remove their name from the sex offender registry.

Current law does not provide adult offenders any way to petition a judge to be removed from the list.

Smith said his bill was meant to allow law enforcement to concentrate its energy and resources on dangerous sexual predators on the offender registry by weeding out those who made youthful indiscretions.

"To the extent that list is diluted with nondangerous people, it undermines the purpose," he said.

About 55,000 people statewide are on the sex offender registry. A total of 869 are in El Paso County, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In a response to Perry's veto, Smith wrote that the measure was one of the most "morally compelling" bills he had ever filed.

The bill cleared the House with an overwhelming majority, and was approved unanimously in the Senate.

"I believe teens involved in these relationships have committed a sin, but I don't believe -- in most cases -- that that sin should put them on a list that will literally ruin the rest of their lives," Smith wrote.

Robert Riley, first assistant public defender in El Paso County, said he sees cases such as Jernigan's a lot, and there should be some differentiation for offenders that are put on the registry.

"There really are horrible, heinous people, and there are other people who are young and in love or people who get drunk" and make a mistake, he said.

Unless a person is acquitted or the case is dismissed, he said, those involved in sex offenses are almost certain to end up on the registry. That makes the cases hard to settle, and it clogs the judicial system, Riley said.

"The law is intended to ensure they're not school bus drivers or teachers, but some of these people can't even get jobs as dishwashers because they have that big black mark," Riley said.

State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, was one of 28 lawmakers who voted against the bill. The former assistant district attorney said he agreed with Smith that the current registry was problematic. But, he said, the bill would not have fixed it and might have allowed some predators to slip through the cracks.

Instead of allowing for the exemption of an entire category of sex offenders, Moody said, the law should be changed to make the registration requirement based on the risk of a person committing another sex offense.

"You need to find some middle ground, where those who aren't a future danger can be moved out of the system and those who are a future danger can be watched with a closer eye," he said.

El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza said Perry made the right decision in vetoing the bill.

Many cases involving two young people in a consensual relationship, he said, are resolved without a sex-offense conviction that requires registration.

If the case is not resolved, Esparza said, then usually it involved some type of criminal behavior that would merit the punishment of registration.

"The reality is they were convicted of a sex offense, and the offenses that do require sex offender registration are offenses that I think the community would want to know about," Esparza said.

Smith said he would work again to pass legislation to allow young adults involved in so-called Romeo-and-Juliet cases to eventually have the taint of the sex offender registry removed from their lives, but only if Gov. Perry changes his mind or Texans elect a new governor in 2010.

Jernigan said he hoped lawmakers would do something to help.

"We're all human. We all make mistakes sometimes," he said. "I really hope they pass this bill, so people like me ... we can all just get our lives back and get on with it." ..Source.. by Brandi Grissom / Austin Bureau

Read More of Article...

IA- Parole officers brace for increase in sex offenders being released

6-30-2009 Iowa:

Iowa parole officers are bracing for a dramatic increase in the number of sex offenders who're under supervision after being released from prison. In 2005, the Iowa Legislature voted to require lifetime supervision for the most dangerous sex offenders and ten years of parole for those who commit lesser sex crimes. Four years later, some of those convicted under the 2005 law are being released from prison.

Sally Kreamer is director of the Department of Correctional Services for the Eighth Judicial District in southeast Iowa. She says parole officers will keep closer tabs on these sex offenders "If we don't feel like we know this client very well, we're not going to take the risk and not put them on electronic monitoring or not supervise them at a high level in the beginning...because it's one thing if you have somebody write another bad check," she says.

"It's another thing if you have somebody who goes out and hurts a child." Ron Mullen, superintendent of the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, says it'll mean higher case loads for parole officers, too. "I've told many of them, 'Get braced for the new type of offender you're going to be supervising because the rapist or another individual that may have discharged their sentence in prison and walked away, you're going to have them for the rest of their life,'" he says.

"That is a different type of offender than we're used to." A parole officer typically supervises between seven-hundred and eight-hundred people, but that could jump to 2,400 within five years if the state does not hire more parole officers. Mullen had been assistant director of field services in the Eighth Judicial District in southeast Iowa before his appointment as superintendent of the state prison facility in Mount Pleasant. ..Source.. by O.Kay Henderson

Read More of Article...

Teens Who Think They'll Die Young Take More Risks

6-30-2009 National:

Teenagers tend to wildly overestimate the odds of dying young, and teenagers who think they'll be dead before age 35 are far more likely to abuse drugs, attempt suicide, get arrested, or contract HIV. Scientists have known for quite a while that teenagers tend to think that an early death is much more likely than the infinitesimally small risk it really is. What's recently been discovered, and is intriguing for teens and the people who love them, is that there seems to be a connection between having a fatalistic take on life and behaving in ways that actually make it more likely that you will die—or at least be sick and miserable—instead of blossoming into a healthy young adult.

Here's the back story: When 20,745 teenagers in grades 7 to 12 were asked about their chances of living to age 35, about 15 percent of them said there was at least a fifty-fifty chance that they would not make it. In truth, the odds of dying that young are almost vanishingly small. Interestingly, it seems that death is uniquely confounding as a risk, because teenagers aren't off base when guessing their chances of other life-changing events, including getting pregnant, becoming a parent, being a victim of violence, or being jailed.

I think most of us parents tend to worry, on the contrary, that teenagers have a grandiose sense that they are invulnerable—that teenage "myth of invulnerability." But scientists who study human behavior and risk long ago punctured that myth. Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University who pioneered research on risk and decision making, says that teenagers may feel more strongly than adults do that life is beyond their control.

Given that, it's not hard to see how a fatalistic teenager could decide that risky behavior just isn't worth avoiding. The new data, which came from the University of Minnesota and were published in the July Pediatrics, found that teens who anticipated an early death when first asked in 2005 were more likely to have made a suicide attempt, been injured in a fight, had unsafe sex, or been arrested a year later. They were also more likely to have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in 2001 or 2002. This correlation gives doctors a new way to screen teenagers for the likelihood of coming to harm, the Minnesota researchers say, something that is surprisingly difficult to do. Parents, teachers, and coaches could ask if a child thinks early death is likely, correct the misperception if so, and explain that, since a long life is far more likely, it makes sense to take good care of oneself now.

There's an even sadder subtext to these data: Some fatalistic teenagers were more on target than others. Minority teenagers were far more likely to predict an early death, with 29 percent of Native Americans, 26 percent of blacks, and 21 percent of Hispanics expecting to die young, compared with 10 percent of whites. The fatalistic teens were also more likely to be poor. Minorities and poor people are far more likely to have health problems than someone who is white and well off.

There's been a lot of news lately about teenagers and mental health, including a call for depression screening of all teenagers by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Teenagers do indeed see the world much differently from adults, and I'm fascinated at how the teenage brain can be amazingly powerful, while also making teenagers do really dumb things. Think you know the teen brain? Try this teen brain quiz. ..Source.. by Nancy Shute

Read More of Article...

MA- The heat’s on ice cream truck vendors

6-30-2009 Massachusetts:

Pol proposes background checks to weed out pervs

We all scream for ice cream, but lawmakers want to ensure no one’s yelling about who’s driving the ice cream trucks this summer.

State Sen. Michael R. Knapik is proposing to outlaw convicted sex offenders from manning ice cream trucks - incredibly, a rarity nationwide. But don’t expect a soft serve when the bill comes up for debate tomorrow afternoon.

A dozen other pols have signed on in support of the Westfield Republican’s anti-perv petition, which would mandate anyone applying for or renewing an ice cream truck permit to submit to the state their photograph and fingerprints. Applicants would also be subjected to criminal background checks.

“I think there should be drug and alcohol testing on top of that,” chimed in Dylan Archambault of Lowell-based Dylan and Pete’s Ice Cream, a family fleet hired out principally for special events and run so tight the drivers wear uniforms.

“I don’t see how anyone could be opposed to something like (Knapik’s bill),” Archambault said. “It would clean up the industry. An ice cream man could come in contact with hundreds of kids daily.”

Sex offenders, he said, “give people like me a bad name.”

Any offender caught dealing in fudgsicles would face up to 2 years in jail and heavy fines. Knapik is further asking the state to empower police to arrest dicey drivers lickety split, without first obtaining a warrant.

Peter Christopoulos of Sweet Pete’s Ice Cream said, “It’s a good idea, but fingerprints is kind of crossing the line.”

Christopoulos and his 70-year-old father, Paul, operate two ice cream trucks in Lowell and Dracut. The senior Christopoulos is in his final year of a three-decade journey putting smiles on children’s faces.

In 2005, New York became the first state to ban sex offenders from ice cream trucks after a middle-aged driver for the Mr. Ding-A-Ling fleet was arrested for molesting a 9-year-old. Eduardo Grau was sentenced to two years in prison.

Last month, the Oklahoma Legislature gave popsicle predators the cold shoulder, too. ..Source.. by Laurel J. Sweet

Read More of Article...

OH- Sex offender’s house can be demolished before trial, judge says

It appears he has been charged with arson of his own home. I would love to know whether he was in jail when the fire started, a simple fact ommitted from this and prior stories.

6-30-2009 Ohio:

TROY — What remains of James H. Clay’s home on Troy-Sidney Road can be demolished before the former Troy Christian Schools coach is tried on a felony aggravated arson charge, but not until a photographer for the defense videotapes or takes still photos of the property, a Miami County judge ruled Monday, June 29.

Clay, 42, is serving a five-year sentence in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution on a separate charge of sexual battery. He was convicted by a jury last fall of illegal sexual conduct with a 15-year-old student at Troy Christian.

The fire at his home occurred Dec. 21, 2007, just days after Clay initially was arrested on the sexual battery charge and pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled in September. Clay was in court Monday, but made no comment.

Investigators said Clay told them he and two of his children, ages 7 and 9, fled the house between Troy and Piqua after someone broke in and started a fire. No one was injured.

Investigators found Clay’s car spray-painted with the words “guilty,” “leave” and a racial epithet.

In days following the fire, local ministers and Southern Christian Leadership Conference officials called for investigation of the fire as a possible hate crime. County Prosecutor Gary Nasal said the fire was “fully and thoroughly investigated and fairly presented” to the grand jury, which indicted Clay in March.

Prosecutors earlier this month filed a request seeking the court’s permission to demolish the structure at 5320 Troy-Sidney Road.

Griff Nowicki, Clay’s lawyer, did not oppose the request but asked for time to have the property photographed.

Common Pleas Judge Robert Lindeman said funds will be set aside for the photography or videotaping because Clay is legally indigent. The judge said the taping or photography work should be done by Aug. 1.

Photographs already have been taken by investigators and will be used in the court case against Clay, Jim Bennett, first assistant county prosecutor, said in court papers seeking permission to demolish. He said investigative work is done.

With the court approval, the county health department can begin the process of condemning the property so it can be removed, Nasal said. He said the property is both “an eyesore and a health hazard.”

The house also is in foreclosure, according to county court filings. Clay’s wife, Charity Clay, asked the court in late May to continue the case while the criminal charge was pending. That request was denied by Judge Jeffrey Welbaum. ..Source.. by Nancy Bowman, Staff Writer

Read More of Article...

June 28, 2009

Summary of Bills in 111th Congress - Affecting Sex Offenders

LAST UPDATE: 7-9-2010


This is a summary of all bills in Congress affecting (directly or collaterally) registered sex offenders and/or their families, and is updated as needed (See date last updated above). Clicking on the bill number will take you to a bill analysis and full access to the bill itself and current status.

Generally we do not review appropriation, immigration bills and bills affecting Tribes because they are VERY involved and time consuming.

Should anyone find a bill (in Congress not in a state legislature) that is not addressed in either "Reviewed" -or- "Yet to be Reviewed" and that appears to affect sex offenders please contact eAdvocate by clicking on the RED BAR to the left.


PS: Please remember, the bills appearing here are to advise folks of what the lawmakers propose. Just because a bill is shown does not mean that folks need to be overly concerned, many bills die in Committee. Not every bill requires a full blown campaign on lawmakers in Congress, sometimes the best thing to do is, say nothing lest too many ears get raised. However, with that said, folks should not be complacent either.

Congressional Bills Identified:
U.S. House: HR 288, 382, 414, 434, 440, 731, 780, 781, 789, 840, 911, 1076, 1149, 1319, 1374, 1375, 1388, 1422, 1485, 1612, 1623, 1727, 1750, 1772, 1966, 2177, 2462, 2612, 2674, 3075, 3222, 3287, 3513, 3521, 3528, 4231, 4478, 4614, 4727, 5072, 5138, 5232, 5347.

Added 7-9: HR 5136, 5297, 5492, 5618.

U.S. Senate: S 277, 436, 588, 678, 1047, 1146, 1442, 1586, 1726, 2903, 2925, 2972.

Tribal, Immigration and Appropriations Bills - Not Included: HR 264(A), HR 725(T), HR 1105(A), HR 2847(A), HR 1924(T), HR 3170(A), HR 3288(A), HR 5136(A), S 797(T), S 1432(A), S 2866(A).

Sections Below:
Bills Already Reviewed
Bills Yet to be Reviewed

Added 7-9-2010

HR-5618 "Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010." See review HERE.
HR-5297 "Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010." See review HERE.

Added 6-16-2010

HR-5072 FHA Reform Act of 2010. Note: Last Thursday (6-10-2010) the U.S. House of Representatives was considering a new bill called "the FHA Reform Act of 2010," heavens knows with all the foreclosures something does need to be done.
Yet, something occurred during debate which is very harmful to the sex offender community. Rep. Edwards (TX) presented Amendment 12 which -in essence- makes it a requirement that any applicant for a FHA loan, certify that they have never been convicted of a sex offense against a minor (as defined in SORNA).

Even more troublesome is that when they took a vote on Amendment 12, only four Congressmen voted AGAINST this Amendment: Bob Filner (D)(CA), Ron Paul (R)(TX), Jerrold (D)(NY) and Bobby Scott (D)(VA). The name I expected to see voting AGAINST Amendment 12, but was missing, was Rep. John Conyers (D)(MI). However, Amendment 13 covering "Federal Employees" who misuse their computers during work to view pornography or child pornography, might have swayed many.. See: HERE: This is my quasi-review of the bill...

Added BEFORE 6-16-2010

Bill in Congress - HR-3222, `Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education Act' or the `AWARE Act' The STATED intent of the bill is: To promote Internet safety education and cybercrime prevention initiatives, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR-2612 and S-1146
Sex Offender Registration Tips Program Act of 2009' or the `SORT Act of 2009' The STATED intent of the bill is: To direct the Attorney General to provide grants and access to information and resources for the implementation of the Sex Offender Registration Tips and Crime Victims Center Programs.

Bill in Congress - S-1047
`School And Family Education about the Internet Act of 2009' or the `SAFE Internet Act' The STATED intent of the bill is: A bill to promote Internet safety education and cybercrime prevention initiatives, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 2462
Convicted Child Sex Offender DNA Index System Support Act'. The STATED intent of the bill is: To eliminate the backlog in performing DNA analyses of DNA samples collected from convicted child sex offenders, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 1727 (New registry arsonists / bombers)
Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act of 2009' The STATED intent of the bill is: To establish guidelines and incentives for States to establish criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registries and to require the Attorney General to establish a national criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registry program, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 1374
Elder Abuse Prevention Act' The STATED intent of the bill is: To prevent the abuse and exploitation of older individuals.

Bill in Congress - HR 1375
No Parole for Sex Offenders Act' The STATED intent of the bill is: To ensure that sex offenders and sexually violent predators are not eligible for parole.

Bill in Congress - HR 1750
Tracking Registered And Convicted Known (TRACK) Sex Offenders Act' The stated intent of the bill is: To provide for the use of information in the National Directory of New Hires in enforcing sex offender registration laws.

Bill in Congress HR 1623 -and- HR 5138
'International Megan's Law 2009 and 2010'. The stated intent of the bills are: To protect children from sexual exploitation by mandating reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other sex offenders against minors intending to engage in international travel, providing advance notice of intended travel by high risk sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, preventing entry into the United States by any foreign sex offender against a minor, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 1388 S 277
'Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act' or the `GIVE Act' or the `Serve America Act'. The stated intent of these bills are: To reauthorize and reform the national service laws.

Bill in Congress - HR 414
Camera Phone Predator Alert Act' The stated intent of the bill is: To require mobile phones containing digital cameras to make a sound when a photograph is taken.

Bills in Congress - HR 1149 and HR 1422
Child Protection Reauthorization Act of 2009' and `Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Reauthorization Act of 2009' respectively. The stated intent of the bills are: To reauthorize the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 781
Student Protection Act' The stated intent of bill is: To develop a national system of oversight of States for sexual misconduct in the elementary and secondary school system.

Bill in Congress - HR 780
Student Internet Safety Act of 2009 The stated intent of the bill is: To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to promote the safe use of the Internet by students, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 1076 S 436
Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth (SAFETY) Act of 2009 The stated intent of the bills are: To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect youth from exploitation by adults using the Internet, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 288 -- HR 382
Save Our Children: Stop the Violent Predators Against Children DNA Act of 2009 The stated intent of each is: To create a separate DNA database for violent predators against children, and for other purposes.

Bill in Congress - HR 789
Teen Dating Violence Prevention Act of 2009 The stated intent of the bill is: To reduce and prevent teen dating violence, and for other purposes.


Note: Until reviewed there may be bills shown, unrelated to our purpose, and they may be removed at some point. Further, some times bills are presented which have no chance of making it whatsoever, although a rarity, if we think one is such a bill we may never review it; these do happen.

Added 6-27-2010

S-2972 Title: Arresting Child Predators Act of 2010. (Arresting Child Predators Act of 2010 - Amends the federal criminal code and the federal judicial code to extend the authority for issuing administrative subpoenas in cases involving the sexual exploitation or abuse of children to the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Postal Service (USPS), and the United States Marshals Service. ) Note: Effectively this extends which federal agencies are permitted to get "administrative subpoenas" under certain circumstances. It is not a bill that restricts former offenders in any way, but its purpose is to catch those currently committing crimes.

Added 6-16-2010

HR-1612 Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2010. (To amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to expand the authorization of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior to provide service opportunities for young Americans; help restore the nation's natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources; train a new generation of public land managers and enthusiasts; and promote the value of public service.) Note: VERY DISTURBING: "No adult shall be eligible to receive funds or participate in the Public Lands Service Corps program under this Act or amendments made by this Act, if that person--(3) is registered, or is required to be registered, on a State sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender Registry established under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq.); or (4) has been convicted of murder, as described in section 1111 of title 18, United States Code.".

S-1442 Title: Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009. Note: Same as HR 1612 above.

HR-5232 Sex Crime Re-Entry EvaluatioN (SCREEN) Act of 2010. (To amend title 18, United States Code, to permit a court to sentence an offender who is determined to be sexually dangerous to a term of special confinement for the prevention of sexual predation, and for other purposes.) (Sex Crime Re-Entry EvaluatioN (SCREEN) Act of 2010 - Amends the federal criminal code to allow a court to impose on a defendant who has been convicted of a serious sex crime, including aggravated sexual abuse, sex-related murder, and sexual exploitation of children, a term of special confinement, in addition to the sentence for the underlying crime, to prevent sexual predation. Authorizes the term of such confinement to be the life of the defendant. Allows such defendant the right to one hearing per year after confinement to determine whether such defendant is a sexually dangerous person.) Note: Clearly related to civil commitment.....

HR-4231 Safe Cities Act of 2009. ( Safe Cities Act of 2009 - Amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to: (1) authorize the Attorney General to designate a Violent and Drug Crime Zone (i.e., a metropolitan area with a higher than average rate of homicides, violent felonies, sex offenses, and drug and gang-related crimes) in each state; (2) establish a drug and violent crime intervention team and a Safe Cities Task Force in each Zone, consisting of state and local law enforcement officials, to coordinate the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of criminal activity; (3) require the use of grant funds under such Act to increase the number of prosecutors available to work with drug and violent crime intervention teams; and (4) require the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to award grants to states to establish and maintain a state-wide database to track criminals, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. ) Note: .....

HR-4478 Kids Wish II Act (Kids Wish II Act - Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to: (1) include child care facilities among public or private nonprofit facilities covered by such Act; (2) make a private for-profit child care facility eligible for assistance under the Act to the same extent as a private nonprofit child care facility; and (3) include child care within provisions regarding essential services, critical services, and federal assistance to individuals and households to address necessary expenses from a major disaster.) Note: .....

HR-5347 Force Protection and Readiness Act of 2010. (Force Protection and Readiness Act of 2010 - Grants, in cases arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for communications made between an alleged victim of sexual assault and a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate of the Department of Defense (DOD), to an individual who consulted with such an Advocate, a victim service organization, or a health care professional the privilege of refusing to disclose a confidential communication made by the individual if such communication was made for the purpose of securing advice, counseling, treatment, or assistance in connection with a sexual assault or other sexual misconduct. Allows the privilege to be claimed by the individual's guardian or conservator. Provides exceptions. Requires the Secretary of the military department concerned to provide for the expedited consideration of a request for a permanent change of military station or unit transfer submitted by a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who was a victim of sexual assault or other sexual offense.) Note: .....

HR-440 Small Business Liability Reform Act of 2009. Note: This bill would limit liability for the employer should one of the employees commit a sexual offense at work.

HR-1485 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009. Note: Deals with sex offenses committed on a cruise ship at sea.

HR-1772 Criminal Code Modernization and Simplification Act of 2009. Note: Rep. Sensenbrenner is behind this one. A major bill to reform all criminal law.

HR-2177 Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act of 2009. Note: In essence this bill filters out undesirables from any federal agency who third party contracts for security services to a federal agency. More than sex offenders are filtered out.

HR-2462 Convicted Child Sex Offender DNA Index System Support Act. ( Convicted Child Sex Offender DNA Index System Support Act - Requires the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to develop a plan to assist states in performing DNA analyses of samples collected from convicted child sex offenders, with the objective of eliminating the backlog of samples awaiting analysis in state or local forensic laboratory storage and providing for entry of those analyses into the combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS).) Note: .....

HR-3521 Nicole's Law. ( Nicole's Law - Requires states to have in effect laws and policies to extend protections similar to those afforded to victims of domestic violence to victims of a sex offense who are not in a familiar or dating relationship with the perpetrator of such offense.) Note: .....

S-588 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009. Note: Deals with sex offenses on cruise ships on the high seas.....

S-678 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2009. Note: Very involved, and not likely to pass as we are in the 2nd session of Congress and its about to end..

S-2925 Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2009. (Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Attorney General should implement changes to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) to identify endangered juveniles.) Note: .....

Added BEFORE 6-16-2010

HR-4727 To amend title 18, United States Code, to place limitations on the possession, sale, and other disposition of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses against children. Note: This bill is absolutely ludicrous, nothing in this bill makes any kind of sense. Guns and misdemeanor sex offenses simply do not compute. The obvious purpose of this bill is to make someone LOOK GOOD to their constitutents.

HR-1727 To establish guidelines and incentives for States to establish criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registries and to require the Attorney General to establish a national criminal arsonist and criminal bomber registry program, and for other purposes. Note: While this appears to be like the sex offender registries, there are significant differences, I will be commenting on these differences. Further, S-1684 is supposed to be introduced which covers the same topics, but is not yet available on the Thomas site.

HR-3287 To require a criminal background check for a child care staff member of any child care provider in a State that receives funds from the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, and for other purposes.

HR-3513 To amend title 18, United States Code, to strengthen penalties for child pornography offenses, child sex trafficking offenses, and other sexual offenses committed against children. (Note: The penalties for child pornography are already excessive and judges are complaining, this bill will make them worse.)

HR-3528 To establish a grants program to assist States and units of local governments to establish and expand programs that employ global positioning system technologies as alternative sentencing options, and for other purposes.

HR-2674 To protect children from sex offenders.

HR-434 To amend title 5, United States Code, to permit access to databases maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for purposes of complying with sex offender registry and notification laws, and for other purposes.

HR-731 To amend title 38, United States Code, to exclude individuals who have been convicted of committing certain sex offenses from receiving certain burial-related benefits and funeral honors which are otherwise available to certain veterans, members of the Armed Forces, and related individuals, and for other purposes.

HR-840 To reduce sexual assault and domestic violence involving members of the Armed Forces and their family members and partners through enhanced programs of prevention and deterrence, enhanced programs of victims services, and strengthened provisions for prosecution of assailants, and for other purposes.

HR-1966 To amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to cyberbullying.

HR-1319 To prevent the inadvertent disclosure of information on a computer through the use of certain "peer-to-peer" file sharing software without first providing notice and obtaining consent from the owner or authorized user of the computer.

HR-264 To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to comprehensively reform immigration law, and for other purposes.

S-1586 A bill to require all public school employees and those employed in connection with a public school to receive FBI background checks prior to being hired, and for other purposes.

HR-911 To require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, and for other purposes.

HR-3075 To establish a National Parents Corps Program, and for other purposes.

HR-4478 To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to direct the President to take actions to address the needs of children and families who are victims of a major disaster, and for other purposes.

HR-4614 To amend part E of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide for incentive payments under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program for States to implement minimum and enhanced DNA collection processes.

S-1726 A bill to reauthorize the expiring intelligence tools of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and defend against terrorism through improved classified procedures and criminal law reforms, and for other purposes.

S-2903 A bill to amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to require criminal background check for child care providers.

Read More of Article...

ND- Trailer to house ND homeless sex offenders on parole

6-26-2009 North Dakota:

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Prison officials say a mobile home just east of the state penitentiary in Bismarck will be ready next week for up to seven homeless sex offenders.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Prison officials say a mobile home just east of the state penitentiary in Bismarck will be ready next week for up to seven homeless sex offenders.

Men who are under state supervision for sex offenses will pay $7 a day to live in the trailer until they find permanent homes.

Officials say the trailer has four bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The men living there will have to wear GPS locators and will have curfews.

Corrections officials say the price tag is about $35,000 for the trailer along with water and other services.

Parole and Probation Division Director Leslie "Barney" Tomanek says the corrections department had rented a house in Bismarck for homeless offenders but did not renew its lease after neighbors complained. Two men living in the house were arrested last year after police found a 17-year-old girl with them. ..Source.. by WDAY News6

Read More of Article...

VT- Do Offender Registries Protect the Public?

Registries are nothing more than a psychological tool to make the public feel safe; a political tool. However, given the tons of money spent on them they have to be justified by those who make their money from them.

6-26-2009 Vermont:

Vermont and every other state now offer online sex offender registries that include photos and other information about convicted sex offenders.

The effectiveness of the sites as public protection depends on whom you ask. Sheri Englert runs Vermont's registry and says it can be very effective as a tool.

"How well you use that tool is going to dictate how effective it is. If you pay attention to that website, and you're alert and you're on guard and cautious, it can be a very helpful tool," Englert said.

On October 1 the online registry will expand from 400 offenders to 1,600.

Each listing will include more details about the crimes committed.

The new registry will also be searchable by town, so you can learn about the offenders in your community.

And starting next July, the home addresses of the 500 highest risk offenders will be added.

"If the public wants it they should probably get it," Vermont Defender General Matthew Valerio said. "But they shouldn't be deceived into thinking it's something that's going to significantly increase their public safety."

Valerio points out that most sex offenders victimize friends, family and acquaintances, so the registry offers very little public protection.

"For the minority of people who are attacked by strangers or the like, you know, I don't know that a registry resolves that," Valerio said.

Critics of the registry point to the Brooke Bennett case. Her accused killer-- her uncle Michael Jacques-- was a convicted sex offender on the registry, yet he was permitted to spend time with her alone.

We asked the sex offender registry to provide us with the number of hits they'd had in the site. They said it wasn't readily available but they are working on it.

So we spoke with parents like Katrina McLamb of Burlington-- randomly selected. And nearly all of the people we talked to told us they had used it.

"Helpful knowing that at least somebody is looking at them and it's available online, a little bit concerning because there is not a lot of information on it," McLamb said.

"Just having a little one of my own it's kind of scary to think that it could be your next-door neighbor or whoever," said Karen Blanchard of South Burlington. "I definitely would use it!"

Using a tool intended to protect the public-- hoping it will help. ..Source.. by Brian Joyce - WCAX News

Read More of Article...

IA- Sex offenders look forward to end of exile

6-28-2009 Iowa:

CEDAR RAPIDS — Doug Bruce’s exile will soon be over.

For three years, the convicted sex offender has been living in a room at the Ced-Rel Motel on Highway 30. The low, red-and-white building 4 miles west of Cedar Rapids has become a haven for those convicted of sex crimes in the years since the Iowa Sex Offender Registry was established in 1995.

Iowa law, until July 1, forbids sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day-care center. The rule pushes them into remote places like the Ced-Rel, or campgrounds, rest areas and truck stops.

New legislation, which goes into effect on Wednesday, eliminates the 2,000-foot residency rule for all but violent offenders.

Of the 4,200 convicted sex offenders in Iowa whose victims were minors, more than 3,000 will be free to live in neighborhoods that until now have been off limits.

“The majority of them are going to live wherever they want to,” said Joe Motsinger, a special agent in charge of the sex offender registry for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Bruce, 30, who was convicted of indecent contact with a child in 2006 and wears an ankle bracelet so police can track him, will be allowed to move back to Cedar Rapids.

“I know I’m moving,” he said. “As soon as I figure out what’s what, and what the rules are.”

Bruce has no car. He lives with his mother, and she drives him to the odd jobs he takes to support himself. He wants to be closer to public transportation so he can complete his degree in business.

The change in the sex offender residency law is welcomed not just by Bruce but also by many police departments and sheriff’s offices. It addresses law enforcement complaints that the residency requirement is difficult to enforce, can cause sex offenders to go underground and doesn’t address the real problem: Sex offenders hanging around schoolyards or swimming pools while children are there.

Here we go, now that a law has been made to cover this LONG STANDING myth, now the myth allegedly is a real problem. OK law enforcement, stand up and let the public know how many arrests have been made for RSOs hanging around schoolyards or swimming pools. I'll bet if any were found there, they had purpose for being there and there presence was purposefully misconstrued.

“The residency restriction, while well-intended, was really not on point,” said Ross Loder, a legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. “If they’re living beyond 2,000 feet from the school, you can’t do anything. ... The concern is more about what happens when they’re outside their residence.”

The new legislation tightens restrictions on where sex offenders can go, by establishing safety zones — schools, day cares, libraries, parks, swimming pools — that are off limits without special permission.

Schools and libraries will set up their own procedures for giving this permission, the DCI’s Motsinger said. Election Days will be an exception, when sex offenders will be allowed to enter such properties to vote.

The safety zones include a 300-foot “no loitering” cushion where police can arrest convicted sex offenders on reasonable suspicion they are attempting a sex crime. The law also prohibits sex offenders from working or volunteering at fairs, schools, libraries, beaches or swimming pools.

Sex offenders are sprinkled throughout Linn and Johnson Counties, but the old law put large sections of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City off limits for home addresses. Consequently, sex offenders have clustered in certain places — motels on 33rd Avenue SW, apartments west of Westdale Mall, apartments north of Coral Ridge Mall.

About 260 people are on the registry in Linn County, and about 180 of them will be affected by the law change. As of June 1, 88 offenders were registered in Johnson County, not including the hundreds incarcerated at Oakdale.

Bruce was convicted of a sex crime in 2006 after having a sexually charged argument with a 13-year-old girl. Later, he was aware that a 20-year-old “co-conspirator” was having sex with the girl but did nothing to help her or report what happened, according to court records.

He is worried that even though the residency rules are changing, he might not be able to find a landlord who will rent to him.

“That’s the thing,” he said. “Will the landlords let us live there?” ..Source.. by Adam Belz, The Gazette

Read More of Article...

June 26, 2009

The Haylee Donathan case: Was she in real danger

6-26-2009 National:

Do you remember Haylee Donathan story?

Well, thats the one where a 4-year-old (Haylee) vanished with her mom (Candace Watson) 3 or so weeks ago. Apparently they took a jaunt across the nation to California with a fellow named Robbi Potter who turned out to be a registered sex offender out of Ohio.

Police all over, U.S. Marshals and even John Walsh got into this search for these folks, everyone said little Haylee was in danger because Robbi Potter was a sex offender. Every fact of this story was sensationalized by the media, they had a hayday, then once found in California, the story has subsided.

Apparently Candace fell in love with Robbi and folks did not like that, claiming the risk to Haylee. The jaunt across the nation was very likely to find a place where they could start over, but they made many mistakes, mistakes which will ultimately land them in prison for a long time.

Reality is, this is a story about a family affair, plain and simple..no abduction took place.

OK, who are the players:

Haylee Donathan: 4-year old girl and little sweetheart.

Candace Watson (24): Haylee's mom who is divorced using her maiden name.

Mary Watson (??): Candace's mother or Haylee's grandmother.

Cyle Watson (21): Mary's son and Candace's brother. He is a Ohio registered sex offender. Convicted of rape of a 12 year old girl [served prison time], and attempted rape [received probation].

James Donathan (24): Haylee's biological dad and ex-husband of Candace Watson who now has a girlfriend Nicole.

Nicole Kirkpatrick (20): James Donathan's girlfriend.

Robbi Potter (27): A Ohio registered sex offender and boyfriend of Candace Watson. Robbi Potter's Ohio background which caused everyone to be concerned, and rightfully so, follows From Ohio registry:

10-3-2005 (Sexual Battery 2907.03) Child female (10)
10-3-2005 (Sexual Battery 2907.03) Child Male (11)
10-3-2005 (Interference with Custody)
Dt Unknown: Bank Robbery (Federal Offense)

In Dec. 2006 Robbi was convicted of two counts of sexual battery and sentenced to 3-years in prison, and got probation for the interference with custody charge. (News reports)

Now the sexual battery charges actually occurred when Robbi was 17 years old (1998), but didn't come to light until 2005 when he was 24, then he was convicted. The 10 year old girl (now 19) reported the abuse to her mother in 2005 and things went from there. As to the charge concerning the 11 year old boy, I have not found anything but the conviction. Both sexual battery charges are shown on the Ohio registry. The federal bank robbery charge also cannot be dated but is mentioned many times in news reports. (News reports)

Here is how the story began:

Apparently Cyle Watson and Robbi Potter met while in prison. On Feb 28, 2008 Cyle Watson was released from prison to a half-way house run by the Volunteers of America (VOA) (a secure facility, but folks can sign out for reason) in Mansfield Ohio. Then on April 16 Robbit Potter was also released from prison to the same VOA half-way house.

There is an apartment building next door to the VOA half-way house which is where James Donathan lives.

Cyle gets arrested and is in jail, so he calls his mother (Mary Watson [Haylees' grandmother]), Cyle tells Mary that he and Potter were outside the VOA for recreation and Cyle was talking to James Donathan (I'm guessing Nicole was with him) about a place for Robbi to stay. James then calls Candace (his ex-wife) to get her to help Potter find a place to stay.

Things get a little murky here because we don't know when the above took place exactly, as no dates are mentioned.

Then on May 28 Candace calls her mother (Mary Watson) and tells her she and Haylee are going to a campground. Mary figures it is in Ohio. Apparently Candace told Mary a date when they would return, and when they did not return, Mary reports the incident to the police. The national manhunt is now on!

Potter, Candace and Haylee leave sometime on May 28th for their jaunt across the nation. When Potter doesn't check back in VOA they report same to his Probation officer. The next relevant incident was in Arizona where Potter and Candace stopped and was talking to someone telling them how destitute they were. This person tells them about a Christian Retreat in California (The Morning Star Ranch [apparently it is more than just a retreat but thats not important] in Sandiego).

Potter, Candace and Haylee check into the retreat and are living normally as it were but kept to themselves. Then someone recognizes Haylee from all the media attention and tells the manager of the retreat who then calls the police, and Potter and Candace are arrested, Haylee is taken by Child Protective Services.

Candace Watson is arrested for aiding a fugitive, apparently she told the police she gave Potter money which paid for the trip to California. Her day in court is yet to come, maybe a good attorney will be able to get her off that charge because so far there are no facts proving she knew Potter was not allowed to leave VOA, which until he did, he was not a fugitive. Remember, absolute proof beyond a reasonable doubt is needed for this conviction.

Also arrested are: James Donathan, Nicole Kirkpatrick and Cyle Watson for -get this- aiding and abetting Potter's escape from the VOA. Personally I think the police are really stretching it here, hopefully they will get good attorneys because the police went overboard. They had no way of knowing that Potter was going to leave and not return. The facts show they were trying to get Candace to help Potter find a place to live, not escape. Time will tell.

Now, Robbi Potter, he has a boatload of troubles:

1) Federal escape charge from VOA (thats where he was on probation from the bank robbery charge);
2) Adam Walsh Act violation for crossing state lines and not registering;
3) Probation violations, probably an armful of them likely revoking his probation.

Things I could not find out:

1) Whether Potter when released from the Ohio prison, was he on parole for the sex offenses, or was he released at the maximum of his sentence. (Conditions of Supervision)

2) Whether Potter had any sex offender therapy while in prison, or was he involved in therapy after release.

3) Potter is shown as a Tier III offender on the Ohio registry (likely the result of AWA changes Ohio has made), but I could not find what the judge classified him as in 2005 (before AWA changes).

Things I did find during research:

1) During all this with Potter being the subject of a national manhunt, the Ohio registry shows him as "Compliant" with no "Outstanding Warrants," so much for the value of the Ohio registry.

2) Ohio statute 2907.03 is so involved that no reasonable man or woman could figure out what the actual crime was that he committed. This makes placing it on the registry totally useless.

3) No Amber Alert was issued because there was no abduction, Candace went of her own free will.

Things I believe will happen:

1) Candace will be convicted of aiding and abeting a fugitive based on what she said to police, and how that will be misconstrued by the prosecutor, to get a conviction.

2) James Donathan, Nicole Kirkpatrick and Cyle Watson will not be convicted as they had no idea Potter was going to escape the VOA. The police have gone overboard on these three, unless there is more I haven't found.

3) Robbi Potter will be convicted of everything they throw at him on the state charges. Now the worst thing that will happen to him is, having his federal probation revoked and being sent back to the Bureau of Prisons to serve the remainder of his federal time, and also the Adam Walsh Act violation, causing a federal prison sentence.

Why is that the worst? In the Adam Walsh Act is Sec.4348 which is a civil commitment hearing at the end of his federal prison time. At that hearing there is no doubt in my mind he will be civilly committed because of his sexual history convictions. Civil commitment will be for a lifetime for him.

Now, even if the U.S. Supreme court rules that section of the Adam Walsh Act unconstitutional, then the Bureau of Prisons will transfer him to a state which does have civil commitment. Then upon his release they will hold a STATE civil commitment hearing and again I have no doubt he will be civilly committed for the rest of his life.

4) Haylee will soon be in the custody of her grandmother, and maybe when Candace finishes her prison sentence she will regain custody of Haylee. However, long term Haylee may wind up in foster care because of Cyle Watson's being a RSO who may visit his mother's home.

So was Haylee in real danger? Well, given Potter didn't seem to care about laws I think I'd have to say, YES! And, as to further sexual abuse, thats why I wanted to know if Potter had any sex offender therapy. Further, Potter's MO could very easily have been repeated, study the facts of Potter's 2005 charges, and again he moved a child across state lines. While it is true no one can tell what another will do in the future, but this scenario is not one I would ever support, especially given the lack of respect for all laws.

Of course my opinions are just mine (eAdvocate who is not a lawyer). I am quite sure this didn't end the way that most law enforcement thought it would, and I'm thankful they were wrong. All my facts are gathered from the following news articles:

CA- Ohio woman who fled with daughter will have extradition hearing

OH- Missing Ohio girl found with mom & mom’s sex offender boyfriend

CA- Sex Offender in Amber Alert Appears in Court

OH- Haylee found; mom & Potter busted

OH- 2 helped Mansfield sex offender flee?

OH- Victim's mother fears for 4-year-old's safety

OH- Father, uncle arrested in case of missing Crestline girl

OH- Three arrests made in Haylee Donathan case

OH- Haylee Donathan's uncle says escape of sex offender began as trick

Read More of Article...

June 25, 2009

KY- New Kentucky laws go into effect today

6-25-2009 Kentucky:

HENDERSON, Ky. — More than 100 bills passed by the General Assembly this spring will go into effect today, doing such things as requiring criminal background checks for members of school site-based councils and workers for home health agencies.

Sex offenders and those convicted of violent crimes are also prohibited from frequenting MySpace, Facebook or other social networking sites where minors may have an on-line presence.

Laws normally go into effect 90 days after the session ends, unless they contain an emergency clause that makes them effective immediately. This year's regular session adjourned March 26.

The on-line sex offenders law, House Bill 315, not only bans offenders from social networking sites, it also requires them to register their e-mail addresses, screen names and any other on-line identification with state authorities.

Failing to register is a Class D felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison for a first offense and a Class C felony, punishable by 5 to 10 years, for all subsequent offenses.

That new law also says solicitation to meet a minor via electronic means is evidence of a person's intent to commit a crime, even if the actual meeting did not occur.

HB 315 also tightens up measures to discourage "phishing," or the attempt via electronic means to lure unsuspecting people to disclose financial or personal information that could be used for identity theft.

A couple of other bills aim to prevent crimes by requiring criminal background checks by the Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. One is Senate Bill 22, which requires home health agencies and similar personal service businesses to conduct criminal background checks on their employees and ban anyone convicted of abuse, drug crimes or sex crimes.

The other is SB 148, which prohibits violent offenders and registered sex offenders from serving on school site-based decision-making councils. That ban will be enforced by background checks requiring fingerprints from all citizen council members.

It also prohibits such offenders from entering the property of a school or day care unless they receive permission from school or day care officials. Violators would be subject to a jail term of 90 days to a year. ..Source.. by CourierPress.com

Read More of Article...

MI- Oakland prosecutor sues state over list of felons planned for release

6-25-2009 Michigan:

Pontiac -- The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for a list of state felons scheduled for potential early release this October.

The 27-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Oakland Circuit Court, said the prosecutor's office has been rebuffed several times -- both informally and pursuant to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act -- by the MDOC when it asked for a list of inmates to be interviewed in 2009 by the Parole and Commutation Board for potential early release.

In an MDOC program described as "Rightsizing Prisons," between 3,000 and 5,000 prisoners would be released by October as part of a cost-savings measure. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper described the plan as "cost shifting" in a press release.

"While many individuals may be safely released after serving their minimum sentence, some are too dangerous to be released early," said Cooper. "When an inmate is released who has a high probability of re-offending, MDOC may be saving money out of its budget. However, the community in which the inmate has been released that bears the true costs. There are incalculable costs to a victim, the costs of a police investigation, the costs of another prosecution, the costs associated with the use of the court to obtain a new conviction."

Cooper and prosecutors Kym Worthy of Wayne County and Eric Smith of Macomb County have met with MDOC officials about concerns and their respective need to see a list of those who might be released. Oakland County is appealing the parole of Charles Raymond Feuquay, who was convicted on a no contest plea in February 1997 of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Feuquay, who assaulted, bound, terrorized and sexually abused his wife, according to the complaint, was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison in 1997 but is now eligible for early parole on his 15-year minimum sentence. He was granted parole on June 8.

Cooper said, "It is unfortunate that this office must resort to formal litigation to obtain this information but my duty is to protect the public."

The lawsuit has been assigned to Oakland Circuit Court Judge Nanci J. Grant. ..Source.. by Mike Martindale / The Detroit News

Read More of Article...

AZ- VICTORY! Supreme Court Finds Strip-Search of 13-Year Old Girl Unconstitutional

6-25-2009 Arizona:

The Supreme Court today ruled that school officials violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old Arizona girl when they strip searched her based on a classmate’s uncorroborated accusation that she previously possessed ibuprofen. The ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project represented April Redding, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, whose daughter, Savana Redding, was strip searched by Safford Middle School officials six years ago.

Adam Wolf, an attorney with the ACLU who argued the case before the Court, said today:

We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognized that school officials had no reason to strip search Savana Redding and that the decision to do so was unconstitutional. Today’s ruling affirms that schools are not constitutional dead zones. While we are disappointed with the Court’s conclusion that the law was not clear before today and therefore school officials were not found liable, at least other students will not have to go through what Savana experienced.

We’ll have more soon. In the meantime, please send a message thanking Savana and April for standing up for all students’ rights. ..Source.. by ACLU

Read More of Article...

IN- Jeffersonville offender ordinance could be headed to Indiana Supreme Court

6-25-2009 Indiana:

Councilman Keith Fetz says minor changes in ordinance possible

The Jeffersonville City Council will ask the Indiana Supreme Court to reverse a Court of Appeals decision allowing convicted sex offender Eric Dowdell in city parks.

The council hopes the court will rule on its case simultaneously with a Plainfield case, according to Councilman Keith Fetz.

Plainfield has an ordinance banning sex offenders from its parks, but it has no appeals process and it only applies to people currently required to register as a sex offender.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of that ordinance before the state’s highest court.

Dowdell applied for an exemption to a lifetime ban in Jeffersonville parks to watch his son play sports, but City Court Judge Ken Pierce and former Clark County Circuit Court Judge Abe Navarro denied the request based on Dowdell’s criminal history.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance, and Superior Court No. 1 Judge Vicki Carmichael ruled in favor of the city.

The Court of Appeals reversed that decision, because Dowdell had already been convicted and served his sentence before the ordinance was passed in 2007. He was no longer required to register on the Indiana Sheriffs’ Sex and Violent Offender Registry.

In July 1996, Dowdell was convicted of class D felony sexual battery against a 13-year-old girl and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was required to register on the sex offender list for 10 years.

The council also is looking at adapting its ordinance based on comments made in the Court of Appeals ruling, criticizing the appeals process as “burdensome.”

“We anticipate making a couple of changes — very minor changes,” Fetz said.

He said the council is considering eliminating the appeals process and lifting the ban on those who are no longer required to register as a sex offender. The litigation was discussed in executive session after the last council meeting.

Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said he had not been notified of anything being filed with the Supreme Court in the Dowdell case. ..Source.. by MATT THACKER

Read More of Article...

WI- Out of the Shadows, Part 4: Confronting sex crimes in our community

6-25-2009 Wisconsin:

Age of Consent: Laws on teen relationships contradictory, confusing

With love can come criminal consequences.

In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds are tried as adults in the court system. If a 17-year-old is in a sexual relationship with someone under the age of 16, he or she not only could spend time behind bars but also be labeled as a sex offender for life.

“Those cases are very difficult,” said Fond du Lac County District Attorney Dan Kaminsky. “Certainly, I have a personal opinion on things as well as most of the attorneys have opinions on it. Yes, it seems there are some times where it is fully consensual.”

Kaminsky said if a 17-year-old boy has sex with a 15-year-old girl, he could be charged with a felony even though if the boy were the victim, he would be considered a child.

“The law is inconsistent and needs to be revised,” Kaminsky said. “If you have two 17-year-olds who have sex, both are child victims by definition in the law and both are adult perpetrators at the very same time.”

Kaminsky said attorneys do think about labeling a teenager as a sex offender when a “high school romance” with someone younger than 16 shows no signs of force.

“A lot of people are uncomfortable with that, as am I,” Kaminsky said. “Usually the case has to be charged. We really don’t necessarily have the option to disregard the law. We can offer deferred prosecution agreements in resolving the case. Especially with somebody that is a first offense, they can avoid that label. This is exactly why deferred prosecution agreements are important because it gives us the option to address these circumstances where it really is unfair.”

Kaminsky added that, even though it is unique, there are cases that emerge in which both participants appear mature enough to understand what they are doing.

“The sex offender is the idea that someone is a threat and we need to warn society about them,” Kaminsky said.

Range of offenders

When the age between participants grows, so should the concern, said Nichole Hall, Wisconsin Department of Corrections sex offender registry specialist for Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties.

Hall said there is a “large continuum of sex offenders.” Offenders range from child pedophiles to those that participate in cooperative sexual activities that are not allowed by law.

“As those ages spread further apart, I think so does the seriousness of the offense,” Hall said. “To really lock all those people up and throw away the key — I don’t really know if people are thinking about that sex offenders vary in their crimes, their risk and their danger they present to the public.”

Hall added that courts can remove some people from the registry if the offender is 18 or younger and the victim is 12 or older and there is no force or threat of force and no more than four years between the two.

Linda Selk-Yerges, director of Assist Survivors Treatment Outreach Prevention Inc. (ASTOP), said the potential of labeling someone as a sex offender may hinder investigations.

“It’s such a gray area,” Selk-Yerges said. “Because of that, sometimes I feel it makes law enforcement back off a little bit more because they think about this person will have to be a registered sex offender.”

Wisconsin law allows 16-year-olds to consent to sexual contact. However, teenagers cannot consent to activity that involves insertion of body parts until they turn 18.

Kaminsky said if the child participant is over 16, the sex offender registry is no longer a concern if the sex acts were not forced.

The crime is called sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older. It is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of nine months in jail and a fine up to $10,000.

“That’s only a misdemeanor,” Kaminsky said. “Those get charged almost every time.”

Investigating assaults

Not all reports of potential sexual assault will make it to a district attorney’s desk.

Lt. Bill Flood, head of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department’s detective bureau, said parents or the alleged victim do report, but most cases start with mandatory reporters.

“In the school setting, there are mandatory reporters — teachers, counselors, people of that nature,” Flood said. “… They will report these situations if they feel there is enough reason to believe the two are sexually active.”

Flood said some variables detectives look for are: pregnancy, transmission of diseases, use of force or threats, and incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol.

He noted that most parents are supportive if there is a pregnancy in a relationship that may not be legal by Wisconsin law.

Flood said officers use discretion when handling cases in which the age difference is not great.

“What we do is look at these cases individually. If we have two high school-age people that are sexually active, we feel these are more private matters and perhaps family and parental issues than they are a law enforcement issue,” Flood said.

Flood added that laws are not necessarily looking at the 18-year-old and 16-year-old sophomore and senior. The laws had to have age limitations to structure each degree, he said.

Flood said investigators approach every case seriously, but will back off of some cases involving teenagers.

“If, in fact, we handled every one of those cases that ever get disclosed or we ever see, we would be very, very busy, and you are also running the risk of labeling these kids — if you will — as potential sex offenders that would potentially need to register for the rest of their life,” Flood said. “Is that the spirit in which these laws were constructed? I don’t think so.” ..Source.. by Russ Plummer • The Reporter

Read More of Article...