September 15, 2009

OK- State Lawmakers Look into "Civil Confinement" for Sex Offenders

9-15-2009 Oklahoma:

McALESTER, Oklahoma -- Convicted child rapist David Earls is scheduled to be released from the Pittsburg County jail after serving only one year behind bars, but he may not be free for long.

The Earls' case, with its plea bargain and one-year incarceration, sparked outrage all over the country.

Currently 19 states and the U.S. government allow so-called "civil confinement" for sex offenders to keep them locked up after they finish their prison terms.

"They can come in and say this person, even though he's done his prison time, served his time, paid his debt, is still a threat to society, based upon his propensity to commit future sexual predator acts," said Irven Box, NEWS 9 legal analyst.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson searched Oklahoma statutes to see if the state permitted civil confinement for Earls, but he came up empty-handed. So he convened a Grand Jury that indicted Earls for new sex crimes involving a child.

Meanwhile, Broken Arrow Representative John Trebilcock said he'll introduce a bill to confine sex offenders in mental institutions after their prison terms if a jury finds "clear and convincing" evidence they are likely to reoffend.

The American Civil Liberties Union urges caution with the bill.

"Some of the problems some of the other states have seen over the years are difficulties and, say, arbitrariness in determining who is going to be subject to such civil confinement schemes," said Chuck Thorton, ACLU of Oklahoma.

But Box said he's not concerned Oklahoma will have those problems.

"If they do it based upon the person's propensity to reoffend, where's the stop? DUI? Shoplifters? I don't think we'll go that far," Box said.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of civil confinement laws. ..Source.. by Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

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NC- State v. Wagoner, Satellite-Based Monitoring, and the Ex Post Facto Issue Revisited

9-15-2009 North Carolina:

Last week the North Carolina court of appeals decided State v. Wagoner, its latest case involving satellite-based monitoring (SBM) of sex offenders. Mr. Wagoner, who had previously been convicted of multiple reportable sex crimes in 1996, pled no contest to another one (indecent liberties with a child) in 2005.

He received a suspended sentence for the 2005 conviction, but he violated the conditions of his probation and went to prison to serve his 20-24 month sentence. After he was released from prison, DOC called him to court for a satellite-based monitoring determination hearing under G.S. 14-208.40B - a bring-back hearing.

At the hearing the court found him to be a recidivist and ordered SBM for life. On appeal, Mr. Wagoner argued that the court’s order (1) ran afoul of constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto punishment, (2) violated double jeopardy principles, and (3) amounted to a breach of his plea bargain with the State. The court of appeals disagreed, affirming the trial court.

To the extent that it echoes the court’s prior decision in State v. Bare, Wagoner doesn’t break much new ground. The court concluded - largely through the use of about three pages of blocked quotation from Bare - that the General Assembly did not intend for SBM to be a criminal sanction, and that the regime is not so punitive in purpose or effect to negate the legislature’s intent to deem it civil.

Just as it did in Bare, the court noted a lack of evidence in the record on how SBM plays out in practice. “Indeed,” the court noted in a footnote, “the record does not even reveal the size of the SBM monitoring unit or how it is operated and maintained.” After concluding once again that SBM is a civil regulatory regime, the court rejected Mr. Wagoner’s ex post facto, double jeopardy, and breach-of-plea arguments.

So what’s new? For the first time in a satellite-based monitoring case, there’s a dissent.

Judge Elmore wrote that in this case - unlike Bare - the court did have enough information to determine whether SBM is punitive in purpose and effect. Taking judicial notice of the Division of Community Corrections’ (DCC) interim policy on sex offender management, his opinion works through the seven-factor test from Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144 (1963), concluding that SBM does amount to punishment.

It’s worth noting that some of the conditions cited by the dissent in its analysis of the “affirmative disability or restraint” factor (warrantless searches, curfews, and notification to church officials) are excerpted from the portion of the DCC policy applicable to sex offenders on probation or post-release supervision, not to offenders subject to SBM. Additionally, the restriction on interstate travel does not exist in the current version of the supervision agreement given to unsupervised SBM participants.

Nevertheless, the point remains that SBM participants are subject to certain administrative requirements, and in any event the opinion goes on to find that six of the seven Mendoza-Martinez factors weigh in favor of treating SBM as punitive. Based on that analysis, Judge Elmore wrote that he would hold SBM to be punishment - and thus ex post facto punishment as applied to Mr. Wagoner, who committed his offense before the SBM law was passed.

The existence of a dissent, of course, entitles the defendant to review by Supreme Court. I’ll be anxious to see what happens if it goes up. ..Source.. by School of Government faculty member Jamie Markham

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Violent Crime Fell in 2008, F.B.I. Report Says

9-15-2009 National:

WASHINGTON — A young black man being shot to death by another black man who is an acquaintance continues to be the most “typical” homicide in the United States, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigations report released on Monday that showed an overall drop in violent crime for the second year in a row.

The F.B.I. figures show that nearly as many black people as white were homicide victims in 2008, even though 80 percent of Americans are white, compared with 13 percent who are black, according to Census Bureau figures.

To put it another way, based on census figures for white and black men of all ages, a black man was roughly six times as likely to be a homicide victim as a white man in 2008.

Of the nearly 17,000 homicide victims last year, 6,782 were black and 6,838 were white, the F.B.I. said, with men several times more likely to be victims than women. Several hundred other victims were classified as belonging to other races or as race unknown.

Of the more than 16,000 people arrested for homicide in the United States in 2008, 5,943 were black and 5,334 white, with several thousand other suspects classified as belonging to other races or as race unknown.

For both whites and blacks, men ages 17 to 30 were the most “typical” victims and killers. Over all, men were several times more likely than women to be the victims and the killers.

Justifiable killings by the police or civilians, suicides and deaths due to negligence are not included in the homicide statistics.

While the estimated number of all violent crimes in the nation declined for the second year, property crimes also fell over all in 2008, the sixth straight yearly drop in these offenses.

The information, based on data sent to the F.B.I. from police agencies, is explained in detail in the report, “Crime in the United States,” which is offered with caveats.

Aware of the temptation to rank cities or regions according to how safe they are, the F.B.I. cautioned that “these rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state or region.” The report continued, “Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.”

As Bill Carter, an F.B.I. spokesman, said Monday, the agency does not “cite any specific reasons” for crime rising or falling.

“We leave that up to the academics and the criminologists and the sociologists,” Mr. Carter said.

The F.B.I. data released Monday showed that 23.3 percent of murder victims were slain by family members, and 54.7 percent were killed by acquaintances, while only 22 percent were murdered by strangers. Of last year’s homicides, 9,484 involved firearms, 6,755 of which were handguns, the F.B.I. said.

In each of the four violent crime offenses, the 2008 rates were down from 2007. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter dropped 3.9 percent; aggravated assault declined 2.5 percent; forcible rape declined 1.6 percent; and robbery was down 0.7 percent. The figures are based on offenses per 100,000 people.

Burglaries rose 2 percent in 2008, and larceny-thefts went up three-tenths of 1 percent. But motor vehicle theft dropped 12.7 percent.

The 2008 violent crime rate was 454.5 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants (a 2.7 percent decrease from the 2007 rate), and the property crime rate was 3,212.5 per 100,000 persons (a 1.6 percent decrease from 2007).

Crime statistics can vary, depending on who is doing the counting. Information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which like the F.B.I., is a Justice Department agency, is based on surveys of households and individuals, instead of relying on police data. On Sept. 2, the statistics bureau said its figures showed that violent crime was unchanged in 2008 and that property crime was down slightly.

And the F.B.I. report released on Monday, while packed full of statistics, is based in part on estimates, since some of the more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies that participate in the F.B.I. survey could not or did not provide complete totals for the year. Hence, while 14,180 homicides were documented in 2008, the F.B.I. estimated the actual number at just over 16,700.

While Mr. Carter of the F.B.I. declined to discuss crime trends, he speculated that better medical care in recent years has spared some assault victims from being listed eventually as homicide victims. ..Source.. by DAVID STOUT

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NM- Church denies sex offender is working there

Amazing, the police make the error, and will not admit it, then the only way they will correct it is... Please read, I'm laughing too hard...

9-15-2009 New Mexico:

An Albuquerque church wants to make it clear—a convicted child molester does not work there, despite his claims.

If you look at the state sex offender website, it appears that convicted child molester Gregory Monnin works—in some shape or form—at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in northeast Albuquerque.

Monnin tells the sheriff's department he has volunteered on occasion by handing out fliers after church service. He told Eyewitness News 4 he can provide references and has worked with other religious groups on church property.

"Being that we were using their facilities, we had permission to be on their grounds. Of course there was never a problem," Monnin said.

But church officials say Monnin has never volunteered or worked at the church or at the kindergarten through 8th grade school. They refer to him only as a parishioner.

What bothers the church is the "work" label on the sex offender website. They say concerned parishioners and parents have called about a convicted child molester around. The church says it has contacted authorities over the years to remove the label—without success.

BCSO says it can't find any records of the church calling. Even so, authorities say if church officials write a letter to BCSO indicating they don't want Monnin to volunteer, and he agrees to it, the work label on the website may be dropped.

"May be dropped" this has got to be coming from someone who refuses to admit error. Yup, sounds like the police...

Church officials say they don't have any concerns about Monnin attending mass. ..Source.. by Matthew Kappus

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FL- Arguments for appeal in sex offender bridge case

9-15-2009 Florida:

MIAMI -- A South Florida appeals court is scheduled to hold oral arguments on the state of Florida's request to transfer a lawsuit over a sex offender camp under a Miami bridge to Tallahassee.

A Miami circuit judge ruled last month that the lawsuit should stay in Miami and not be transferred to Tallahassee, as lawyers for the state had argued.

The camp for offenders has grown over the past three years with offenders having a hard time finding affordable housing that doesn't violate Miami-Dade County laws about how close offenders can live to schools and parks. Miami officials say the camp is too close to a small island park accessible only by boat. ..Source.. by AP

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CA- Bail For Phillip Garrido Set At $30 Million

9-15-2009 California:

Bail for Phillip Garrido, a sex offender accused of abducting and raping Jaycee Lee Dugard, was set Monday at $30 million.

But because of a parole hold, he is not eligible for release, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy Garrido, face charges in the 1991 Meyers kidnapping of Dugard, who was found safe last month in the Bay Area.

Phillip Garrido allegedly fathered two children with Dugard, and apparently forced her to live in his Antioch back yard for many years, police said.

A mental evaluation has been requested for both of the Garridos.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido were brought into a Placerville courtroom together on Monday morning for a brief bail hearing. She appeared to be out of breath.

Phillip Garrido appeared in court with a bandage on his nose and a newly grown beard.

Nancy Garrido is being held without bail. Both are due back in court for an Oct. 29 hearing.

Pierson said it is difficult to tell when a trial will begin.

"This is a pretty unusual case," Pierson added. "I don't think anybody has ever handled a case quite like this one."

Outside court, Pierson told a throng of media from around the world that investigators were continuing to pursue other leads in the case.

"As of today, there are no additional charges ... That's not to say there won't be," he said.

He said Dugard and her children were doing exceptionally well under the circumstances after being reunited with Dugard's mother shortly after the Garridos were arrested Aug. 27.

"Basic human decency mandates honoring the family's request for privacy," he said.

He declined to comment on rumors that Dugard, now 29, has agreed to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show and praised the state parole agent who brought the Garridos into custody.

The agent, whom Pierson identified as Eddie Santos, questioned Phillip Garrido after being notified by University of California, Berkeley police employees that the convicted sex offender had arrived on campus with two children while attempting to distribute religious pamphlets.

"This parole agent successfully broke through the elaborate, well-planned cover story that was 18 years in the making," Pierson said. "We all owe him a debt of gratitude."

Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, would not confirm that Santos was the parole agent. But he said Garrido's most recent parole officer had been assigned to the case only since December.

He said the department was reviewing its handling of Garrido's parole but would not release any details because it did not want to interfere with the ongoing criminal case.

Before Monday's hearing, Deputy District Attorney Trish Kelliher filed a declaration seeking higher bail for both suspects, citing the serious nature of the crimes and saying they should be considered flight risks.

She also said in her court filing that a stun gun was used to subdue the victim when she was kidnapped from a school bus stop in 1991.

Both defendants are due back in court for an Oct. 29 hearing. The district attorney's office said it could take a year to 18 months to bring the case to trial. ..Source.. by

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FL- Recent Florida Court Decision Limits Removal From Sex Offender Registry

9-15-2009 Florida:

Florida law requires those convicted of sex offenses to register for life as either a sexual predator or sexual offender, depending on the severity of their violation. In certain circumstances, some offenders who meet statutory requirements may be able to have their information removed from the registry. However, a recent Florida court ruling has made it more difficult for sex offenders to have their names removed from the state's registry.

Florida Requirements for Sex Offender Registry Removal

Under Florida law, only a limited group of sex offenders can file a motion with the court to request that they be removed from the state's sex offender registry. The requirements for eligibility are set out in FSA §943.04354 and include:

(1) The offender must have been or will be convicted, found delinquent or had the adjudication of guilt withheld for committing one of these crimes:

* Sexual battery (FSA §794.011)
* Lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in presence of minor (FSA §800.04)
* Computer pornography; traveling to meet a minor (FSA §847.01345(5))

(2) The offender must have been required to register as a sex offender based solely on one of those convictions

(3) The victim must have been between 14 and 17 years old and the offender must not have been more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the violation

(4) Removal from the registry does not violate federal law

n addition, offenders who have had their sentences fully pardoned or who have had their convictions set aside are also entitled to have their information removed from the sex offender registry.

If an offender meets these requirements, then he or she may file a motion with the court. The state also has the right to challenge the motion and request the offender not be removed from the registry. The court then may grant or deny the motion.

If the court grants the motion, then the offender must file a petition with the court requesting removal. If the court then approves the petition, it will issue a court order that then must be provided to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (DLE). The DLE will then facilitate the removal of the offender's name from the registry.

Miller v State: Sex Act Must Have Been Consensual

A recent decision by the Fifth District Florida Court of Appeal has added a new eligibility requirement that must be met before the court may order information removed from the sex offender registry: the sexual conduct must have been consensual.

In Miller v State, Brian Miller filed a motion requesting his information be removed from the state's sex offender registry. Miller met the statutory requirements for removal: he was convicted of two violations of FSA §800.04, the violations resulted is his mandatory registration and he was less than 4 years older than the 15-year-old victim at the time of the offense.

However, the trial court denied his motion on the grounds that removing his name from the registry would be a violation of federal law because the sexual conduct was not consensual. The appellate court agreed with the trial court's decision and stated that Florida law must be read in conjunction with the federal law, specifically the Adam Walsh Act.

In 2006, the federal government passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (or "Adam Walsh Act"), which sets out requirements for state sex offender registries, including who must be included and length of registration. This federal law includes one exception for whom must be included on the registries. Referred to as the "Romeo and Juliet" exception, the only people eligible for exclusion from the registry are those convicted of an offense that included a consensual sex act where:

* The victim was an adult not under the custodial care of the offender OR
* The victim was at least 13 years old and the offender was not more than 4 years older than the victim

In Miller, the Florida courts interpreted the Adam Walsh Act to add a requirement to Florida's list of conditions sex offenders must meet to be removed from the registry — even though the state statute does not expressly state that the sex act must have been consensual.


The result of the Miller case is that it has become almost impossible for an individual convicted of a sex offense in Florida to be excluded from lifetime sex offender registration. Given that sex offenses are defined liberally under state law, it is more important now than ever before to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a sex crime. ..Source.. by Stella Law Firm, P.A.

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MA- Parents alarmed by sex offender

Interesting here is, that nowhere does this woman even consider personally taking responsibility for her child at the bus stop or walking to the bus stop. Read carefully, its always someone else that is expected to watch out for her child's safety.

UPDATE: In response to viewer comment. Yes I do understand what friends are for and you are mistaken as to what house I live in, many many many miles away. All assumptions come from what the article says, if it is correct but if it fails to show facts its impossible to know them. MY reasons for concern here are due to the recent Garrido case, where Jaycee lived only a block or so from her home when she was kidnapped. Yes, I have deep concerns with any child walking -any distance, block to a mile- to and from schools or school bus stops. And I am a firm believer there is no better protection than a parent hand-in-hand. Finally, the biggest problem kids face today does not come from the known offender down the street, parents need to recognize that: CLICK for thousands of cases of experience as to who the real offenders are (right hand column as to those under 18)! See also: Indicators of School Crime and Safety: All Years see Indicator 3, Prevalence of Victimization at School (“At school” includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to
and from school

9-15-2009 Massachusetts:

WEST BARNSTABLE — Lee Haselton had worries about her eighth-grade daughter's bus stop.

Her daughter would have to walk more than a mile from home to get the bus in the early morning. She worried about her daughter's safety, walking near traffic while it's still dark outside. Since eighth-graders now attend Barnstable High School, she wouldn't know many of the other students at the stop.

So Haselton, a professor at Cape Cod Community College, asked a friend near the Cedar Street and Willow Street bus stop to keep an eye on her 13-year-old daughter. What the neighbor told her left her with a new batch of concerns. A level 3 sex offender lived in a house across the street from the bus stop.

So she started making calls, along with the neighbor, including to town councilor Henry Farnham.

Last night, about 50 concerned residents and parents joined Haselton at the West Barnstable Fire Station to express their concerns and find out more about the sex offender, 60-year-old John Stangl.

No school officials were there, but the crowd soon learned that Stangl is hardly the only high-risk sex offender in town. There are currently 16 level 3 sex offenders working or living in town, Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald said. A level 3 sex offender, designated by the Sex Offender Registry Board, is considered a high risk to re-offend.

Stangl moved into the house at 475 Willow St. in late June after being released from prison in Plymouth, MacDonald said. Notices were sent out to a long list of community groups, and Barnstable schools, MacDonald said.

Stangl had been convicted three times since 1998 on charges of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior. In each case, including one time in Barnstable, Stangl exposed himself in public and committed a lewd act, MacDonald said.

In June, a man who said he's a minister offered to let Stangl temporarily live in his Willow Street home, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said Stangl knows many residents don't want him in the area, but legally, he has a right to live there.

"For now, you have to take due diligence," MacDonald said.

Town officials said any resident can get on the police department's e-mail system that notifies people when a level 3 sex offender moves into town or takes a job in town.

The residences of level 2 sex offenders, considered a "moderate" risk, can be accessed at the Barnstable Police Department.

In Stangl's case, he is not allowed on school property or several other areas such as public libraries, MacDonald said. He has a tether that monitors his location.

Many parents said they worried about their children's safety and peppered the police chief with questions. Could they post Stangl's level 3 sex offender release in public? Yes. Should they call police if they see him on school property? Yes.

But MacDonald said residents couldn't let emotion take them too far. If they confronted or harassed a registered sex offender, they could be arrested.

"You are walking a very fine line here ... you could be charged with a crime," he said.

No school officials were at the meeting to describe how they monitor bus stops that are near sex offenders' homes. After the meeting, Farnham said Barnstable Schools Supt. Patricia Grenier was scheduled to attend but told him she had a meeting that wouldn't allow her to stay for the entire session, which started at 6:30 p.m.

"I thought Patti was going to be there so we would be assured the bus drivers would have a heads-up on this guy," she said.

Grenier could not be reached for comment last night.

Haselton said the school district told her that her daughter's bus route was scheduled to change next week.

"I think this has been very healing," she said about the meeting, but she still had questions about how the school notifies parents of sex offenders. ..Source.. by ROBERT GOLD

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MI- Teen lifers a burden for state's prisons

9-15-2009 Michigan:

Mich. ranks second in number of young killers behind bars

Lansing-- Michigan's high number of teens sentenced to life in prison without parole has child advocates questioning laws that give judges that option.

Behind bars are 346 teens who are serving life without parole for crimes they committed between the ages of 14 and 17, according to the Department of Corrections.

A study by the University of Texas says Michigan has the second most such inmates in the country. The report also says Michigan is among the harshest in the way it treats teens accused of major crimes.

Michigan's laws are unusual in that they allow juvenile judges to impose adult penalties on children too young to be transferred to adult criminal court, according to the report by the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs.

"Children simply aren't as culpable as adults because their brains aren't fully developed yet, and they are much more capable of rehabilitation," said Michele Deitch, an adjunct professor at the University of Texas and principal investigator of the study.

The number of teens sentenced to life in Michigan could climb following a recent rash of crimes in Metro Detroit that police say were committed by teens. In one of the more high-profile incidents, 12-year-old Demarco Harris is charged with shooting a 24-year-old woman to death as she sat in her car on West Outer Drive. His preliminary exam is set for Sept. 25.

Harris was charged as a juvenile, but with "adult designation" -- meaning Judge Leslie Kim Smith, who will oversee his trial in Wayne County Juvenile Court, has wide discretion when it comes to sentencing. If Harris is found guilty, he can be charged as a juvenile or an adult, or the judge can opt to review his conduct at age 19 and resentence him as an adult or juvenile.

If sentenced as an adult, Harris could face life in prison with no chance for parole.

The option to sentence juveniles as adults is "harsh" treatment, the study's authors said. Michigan's guidelines -- unlike most states' -- require a child who is convicted as an adult of first-degree murder to receive the same sentence as an adult: mandatory life in prison without parole.

The report, released this summer, gave Michigan the dubious distinction, along with three other states -- Pennsylvania, Florida and South Carolina -- of having children most likely to end up in adult prisons, because of mandatory sentencing laws and the ease of transferring juveniles into the adult system or imposing adult sentences.

One of the most notorious cases of a juvenile being prosecuted as an adult was that of Nathaniel Abraham of Pontiac, who was 11 in 1997 when he fatally shot Ronnie Greene Jr.

Abraham was convicted of murder as an adult at age 13 under a new sentencing law that allowed the judge to sentence him as an adult or a juvenile. Judge Eugene Athur Moore sentenced him to eight years in a juvenile facility.

Abraham, now 22, was sentenced in January to four to 20 years for drug trafficking.
'Cheapens value of life'

Advocates argue young teen criminals should get a second chance, as Abraham did. But many prosecutors and victims' relatives say some youths' crimes are so horrific that justice can be served only by a life sentence.

Greg King would agree. His daughter, 18-year-old Michigan State University student Karen Ann King, was at home in Saginaw visiting her parents on Jan. 3, 1997, when she was carjacked, kidnapped, raped, tortured and finally strangled by 15-year-old Shytour Williams and his cousin August McKinley Williams, 18, a prison parolee. Both were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.

"Thinking (of freeing them) cheapens the value of my daughter's life," said Greg King. "The murderers get to see their families, talk to their families, receive gifts from their families -- and now we want to let them go. Myself and my family can only visit my daughter Karen at her gravesite."

The Texas study raises policy questions as Michigan is moving to deplete its prison population to reduce costs.

As Michigan faces a $2.8 million deficit for the budget year starting Oct. 1, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has shut prisons and paroled about 3,000 more prisoners than usual to shave $120 million in costs. Granholm has commuted more prison sentences than any other governor since at least 1969 -- 100 in less than seven years, compared with 35 during Gov. John Engler's 12 years in office.
The question becomes 'why'

After 29 years in prison, Henry Hill Jr., 45, claims he has been rehabilitated by the state Department of Corrections. He got life without parole for a shooting in Saginaw's Veterans Memorial Park in 1980, when he was 16.

Though a court-appointed psychologist found Hill to have the educational level of a third-grader when he entered the system, he attained his GED, earned certificates in several skilled trades and has finished several college classes. At Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, which houses 770 adults and 440 youthful offenders in separate wings, he tries to act as a mentor for teenage felons.

Prison Warden Patricia Barnhart said some of those housed at her facility, who as teens were sentenced to life, could safely be released back into the community.

"Absolutely," she said. "The question becomes: Are you scared of them, or are you mad at them? When we're locking up people because we're mad at them, we're compromising our resources."

Mike Thomas, the prosecuting attorney in Saginaw County, said the focus should not be on whether kids should be jailed with adult sentences, but rather why kids are committing the crimes.

"To me, that's much more important to deal with than whether a teen should get life without parole for killing," said Thomas, whose county has put more teens behind bars with no chance of parole than any other in the state.

"The question the Legislature should be dealing with is why are these kids doing this stuff," he said. ..Source.. by Karen Bouffard / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

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September 14, 2009

CA- Sources: Inmates Threatening Nancy Garrido

9-14-2009 California:

Fellow Prisoners Warning They'll Rape, Murder Her; She's Spending Her Time Reading Bible, the Sources Say

(CBS) Other inmates are threatening to rape and kill Nancy Garrido, sources tell CBS News, and she's in isolation for her own protection.

Garrido and her husband, Phillip, are accused of kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and holding her captive for 18 years in the backyard of their Antioch, Calif. home.

They're charged with 29 felonies, including kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment and are slated for a court appearance Monday.

It should be brief, according to CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone, who says the judge is likely to set a date for the preliminary hearing.

Defense attorneys for the Garridos are expected to ask for bail, but analysts it's unlikely bail will be granted, since Phillip Garrido is charged with committing crimes against Jaycee while he was on parole.

And CBS News has learned Phillip Garrido is also being kept in isolation.

Nancy Garrido is "every bit as culpable for all of the crimes that he's been charged with, in every bit the same way," assuming they're convicted, points out CBS News Legal Analyst Trent Copeland.

Sources describe Nancy as "very lonely," and say she spends her time reading the Bible.

The court appearance would be the first time the Garridos have seen each other since their Aug. 28 arraignment.

Fellow prisoners threatening suspects in cases like this, and those suspects being kept isolated from other inmates for their own protection, are common, former San Francisco prosecutor Michael Cardoza told substitute "Early Show" co-anchor Jeff Glor Monday.

"In a prison system," Cardoza said, "there is a certain code of morality, and this type of crime ranks at the very, very bottom. So it doesn't shock me either one of them has been threatened with death or the other type of
thing, the rape, whatever else they've been threatened with.

"The sheriffs in the jail there have to keep them apart from the rest. And even when and if they go to prison, they will have to be kept in isolation, because that will be the big worry, that someone will try to murder them."

Cardoza said investigators who've seen Dugard recently say she's doing "great" and looks "radiant." She's in psychotherapy, Cardoza says.

Blackstone also reports that, 30 years ago, religion was the reason Phillip Garrido gave for not wanting to be transferred from prison to a mental health facility. While serving time for a 1976 rape conviction, he told a psychologist he wanted to stay in the prison to continue his religious studies.

Meanwhile, Blackstone adds, investigators in the case have expanded their search to include people who did business with Phillip Garrido's printing company.

Police removed DVDs, VHS tapes and a computer from the home of Jim and Cheyvonne Molino. "They went through everything," Cheyvonne says "They went through my drawers, my garbage, they went through everything personal."

The Molinos claim they only know the Phillip Garrido through business but, says Blackstone, Jaycee's daughters were photographed at a birthday party for the Molinos' daughter. ..Source.. by CBS News

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FL- Police warn residents of felons living nearby

The more I thought of this the more it upset me. I sat down and thought about what would I think important to ME about people coming into my neighborhood, so that I would want a FLYER about? Then I thought of "Rodney King" and how the police beat him, and other news reports of police and public official criminality and corruption. Yup, I want to know about EVERY COMPLAINT (including Internal Affairs complaints)or CRIMINAL CHARGE against police and public officials, thats what I want to know about. If in an emergency I need help, I want to know who I can rely on to help me. Those in power, thats important to me, so I can vote them out at next election if they are getting complaints, and I want it online with their picture and office they are employees of. Yup, thats what I want.

9-14-2009 Florida:

TAMPA - Cops checking on sex predators is routine now-a-days, in fact, putting out their faces and names and addresses online and elsewhere is actually required by law.

But now we've learned, Hillsborough deputies are moving beyond sex offenders; they're going out telling folks they've got a felon for neighbors.

Here's what two detectives were telling folks in Pinehurst this morning.

"This is a known offender who lives in your neighborhood, we just wanted to provide you with that, so you kinda know what's going on," they said.

"Kinda know whats going on," what is that supposed to imply, he is doing wrong or what? What are you implying?

__-year-old convicted felon ______'s mug shot is the first to go door to door. Says Sargeant Brett Sauders of HCSO,

"If you see him out and about, you might just pay a bit more attention to him than you did the day before now that we've made you aware of his past," said Sergeant Brett Sauders of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Why pay attention to him at all, what is it you are implying? The past is the past, are we going to get to the point of telling folks if someone peed in the pool? Enough is enough, stop harassing these folks. The more these people are harassed, the more of them wind up on welfare, then it comes out of my pocket. Get outta Dodge with this baloney.

___'s family told them he was out looking for a job. They called the flyer harassment, but we couldn't find a neighbor who didn't want one.

"I think its a very good thing, very good. Its nice to see that they're making moves to get bad people off the streets," said Jacquelyn Walker.

Yet this brand new tactic of taking crime to the neighbors, warning them about offenders in the neighborhood, doesn't sit well with the American Civil Liberties Union.

ACLU Florida Board member Mike Pheneger says while the practice is legal, there is a risk.

"This basically invites these people to go and hunt this guy down", Pheneger says, "and who knows what's likely to happen after that?"

"We're not putting their address on the bulletin, and we're certainly not trying to create that, all we're looking for is to put the information out, to create the awareness," Sgt. Saunders said.

Another neighbor who got the flyer, Alba Martinez, says it makes her feel safer. She says they had a motorcycle stolen recently.

Here we go -she feels safer- but now she also thinks "maybe this guy took the motorcycle? Police are subtly planting thoughts in the minds of the public. So much for impartial police lineups.

Dputies say they'll be moving to other neighborhoods soon, going out door to door once a month. ..Source.. by MyFox Tampa Bay

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September 13, 2009

WI- Sex-offender registry not a cure-all, expert says

When the registry is your bread and butter, of course you have to say, its a success! Reality tells us otherwise.

9-13-2009 Wisconsin:

State system has success, but offers no guarantees

Local and state laws may offer people some measure of protection from sexual predators, but the high-profile kidnapping case of Jaycee Dugard is a reminder that safety can't be guaranteed, local experts say.

Dugard was the victim of a kidnapping in 1991 and was imprisoned for 18 years in a compound in California, where she gave birth to two children fathered by her kidnapper, authorities say.

The suspect, Phillip Garrido, 58, is a registered sex offender who managed to maintain his secret even from a police officer sent to his home to investigate a report of a compound of occupied tents in Garrido's backyard.

Local officials only can speculate about what kind of breakdown in the judicial system failed to uncover Garrido's alleged crime.

But it's just one case and doesn't prove that the sex-offender registry isn't effective, said Tom Smith, sex offender registration specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

"When the registry was created, it was to provide an awareness to the public about who the sex offenders are in their communities, as well as allowing for community notification for specific offenders," Smith said. "An aware community is a safer community.

"Is it a cure-all? Absolutely not. But at least you know who the sex offenders are and where they are," Smith said.

That is one of the biggest misunderstandings of the registry. The registry merely indicates an address where the registrant MAY BE sleeping for 6 or so hours a day, one has no idea where registrants are for the remainder of the day/night. As to knowing who they are, would Jaycee know that the person who kidnapped her was a registered sex offender when Garrido kidnapped her? No, because statistics show that, for those who commit another crime, they do not commit it where they live (remember Garrido lived 160 miles away, for both of the crimes he committed). The registry is no more than a glorified telephone book w/pictures.

But the registry system's effectiveness is limited by the degree of compliance. Wisconsin has one of the highest compliance rates in the nation at about 90 percent, Smith said. But that still means 10 percent of the state's sex offenders are failing to keep up on notifying the state of their whereabouts.

The state's combination of sex-offender counseling, parole and the registry help it achieve a less than 1 percent recidivism rate, which means fewer than 1 percent of convicted sex offenders commit another sexual assault while on probation, Smith said.

"That speaks volumes," he said.

Yet, among people already convicted of a sex offense, that still means nearly 1 percent offend again.

The registry focuses its attention on convicted sex offenders and can do nothing to protect citizens from first-time offenders.

The number of forcible rapes statewide has changed very little annually since 1995, according to the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, which tracks crime statistics statewide. They range from a high of 1,242 in 2006 to a low of 1,051 in 1997, the year the registry began in Wisconsin.

New sex offenders join the registry every year at a rate of almost 100 a month, Smith said. The state had 21,016 registered sex offenders as of the end of last week.

"The rates are not going down," Smith said.

In Green Bay, the number of sexual assaults hit a 10-year low last year. No one can say whether the drop may be the result of the May 2007 passage of an ordinance banning convicted sex offenders from moving within 2,000 feet of any gathering place for children within the city.

Smith said he thinks the ordinance actually makes the city less safe. If the city rejects convicted sex offenders, they could end up going underground and becoming noncompliant with the registry, he said.

Smith, who investigates noncompliant sex offenders and refers their cases to the area district attorneys for prosecution, says he has seen compliance "plummeting" in Brown County, which has 495 sex offenders on the registry.

"In 2007, I had 14 referrals for noncompliance," Smith said. "In 2008, I had 31. And at the end of August 2009, I had 27 new referrals for noncompliance. These are guys we've done a thorough investigation on and are unable to locate.

"And I have 30 open investigations. I'm expecting the numbers to almost double again. They're going underground, which undermines the integrity of the registry."

Arthur Taylor, chairman of Green Bay's Sex Offender Residency Board, which considers exceptions to that residency rule, disagrees.

"When they first passed the ordinance, I was fearful that (the offenders) would be going to live under bridges, like they do in Florida," Taylor said. "That's not happening."

But people must not count on a registry or the residency ordinance to keep them safe, Taylor said.

"Their parole officers might always know where they're living, but sex offenders can drive cars, they can go wherever they want," Taylor said.

The best thing that the registry and the ordinance do is keep people focused on the issue, which makes them safer, he said.

"It dials up your awareness," he said.

Green Bay City Council President Chris Wery said the council's intention, when passing the ordinance, was to reduce the number of convicted sex offenders being released into the city.

"We were getting more than our fair share," he said.

When the city failed to persuade the state to place some of those offenders elsewhere, the council passed the residency limit, he said.

Council members understand that sex offenders can still travel into the city to commit more sex crimes, but the ordinance helps prevent clusters of the offenders from living in neighborhoods, he said.

That is, neighborhoods where the ordinance is, not the one in the next county..

"Maybe, too, it does help people become more aware, too, of where they're living," he said. ..Source.. by Paul Srubas

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Titles that sensationalize are always upsetting, but these folks seem to have a valid story. I doubt she was "forced to return" more likely it was explained that they need her to explain what where and when for court proceedings. Yes, it must have been a difficult time for her. Given the poor monitoring of Garrido by the State of California, the state better be taking care of Jaycee and her girls, in every respect, and for a good long time.

9-13-2009 California:

At the request of law enforcement, Jaycee Dugard made a secret nighttime visit to the ramshackle "tent city" in Antioch, California where accused rapist and convicted sex molester Phillip Garrido kept her captive for 18 years.

Struggling for breath, the freed sex slave relived her torment as she toured the ramshackle ruin of filth she called "home" for nearly two decades since her kidnap in 1991.

"Police needed Jaycee to give them detailed information on exactly where everything happened. But they knew if they took her back to Garrido's property while the media was camped outside, the trip would turn into a circus," divulged a source close to the official investigation.

"So they smuggled Jaycee onto the property in the middle of the night when everyone in the neighborhood was sleeping. Unmarked cars slid onto the property, and cops quickly hustled her inside.

"Using flashlights, police had Jaycee show them the sheds and tents where she was held captive, and exactly where her awful experiences took place."

A psychologist was also at Jaycee's side during the visit, said another source close to the shocking case.

"The psychologist is helping Jaycee deal with her confusion over her rescue, the breakup of what she thought was her family, and the challenge of starting a new life," the source explained.

"With the expert's gentle guidance, Jaycee pointed out where Garrido locked her up right after he kidnapped her at age 11, where he raped her just a month later, and where she gave birth to the two children he fathered.

"She broke down in tears at reliving those tortured moments."

Even with the psychologist at her side, Jaycee's visit to the outdoor dungeon of squalid tents and windowless shacks was agonizing, said another source.

"Jaycee literally had to fight for breath as she looked at the makeshift toilet, stained sofa beds, battered chests of drawers and plastic storage units that she used as she struggled to make a normal life for her kids," the source divulged.

"Soiled clothing on the floor and an open package of lice treatment brought home again the sordid desperation of their life.

"Jaycee told the police about her efforts to home school her daughters, showing them the worksheets and children's books stuffed in a cardboard box. She explained that she and her girls like cats, and they collected cat figurines that were carefully displayed on a dresser and shelf.

"Even the psychologist with her had to hold back tears when Jaycee picked up a self-help book advising parents on how to bring out the best in their children. It was titled Self-Esteem: A Family Affair'

Despite her agony, Jaycee provided police with the information they needed, sources say, and the next day authorities condemned the property as uninhabitable. ..Source.. by National Enquirer

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September 12, 2009

Sentences for Possession of Child Porn May Be Too High, Judges Say

9-12-2009 National:

Judges testifying before the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Chicago told the panel that sentences for people convicted of possessing child pornography have become too severe. The commission suggested it will review the relevant guidelines.

Chief Judge James Carr of the Northern District of Ohio and Chief Judge Gerald Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan told the panel on Wednesday that sentencing for possession of child pornography, as opposed to manufacture or commercial distribution, may need to be changed. Many people convicted on the offense are not threats to the community, but rather socially awkward first-time offenders, they said.

"This is an area that requires the commission's close consideration and possible corrective action," Rosen told the panel, adding, "I know it's an awkward area for all of us."

In response, Commissioner Beryl Howell said that the issue "is on our priority list for the coming year." The commission will study what kinds of refinements might be made after reviewing the departures from the sentencing guidelines that judges have made in these cases, she said. Howell also noted that Congress has weighed in heavily in this area over the years.

The commission is holding a series of regional hearings in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act, which established the commission, to get feedback from judges, prosecutors, probation officers, public-interest lawyers, public defenders and others on federal sentencing practices. The Chicago hearing is the commission's fourth, after forums in Atlanta, Stanford, Calif., and New York. Additional hearings will take place in Denver next month; Austin, Texas, in November; and Phoenix in January.

Much of the discussion is centering on the impact of the 2005 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Booker, which made the federal sentencing guidelines advisory as opposed to mandatory.

"I'm of the view that in many instances the sentences are simply too long," Carr said, referring specifically to the guidelines for child pornography possession, gun possession and drug possession.

Rosen emphasized that he doesn't condone possession of child pornography or understand it, but focused on the unfairness of treating one person sitting in his basement receiving videos over the Internet the same as a commercial purveyor of child pornography. In some cases, a person who has watched one video gets a maximum sentence that may be higher than someone sentenced for raping a child repeatedly over many years, he said. The average sentence for possession of child pornography in his district more than doubled, from about 50 months to 109 months, between 2002 and 2007, he said.

Factors that the judges must take into consideration in these cases, such as using a computer or engaging in file-sharing over the Internet, are inappropriately ratcheting up sentences, Rosen said. He suggested that the commission might want to take into account the volume of material in a case while making allowances for technology that may dramatically increase that volume.

7th Circuit Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, who testified with a separate group of appellate judges, agreed that the child pornography possession area might be ripe for review. He said it gives him pause when he sifts through a stack of sentences that includes a bank robber getting a 10-month sentence and a person convicted of downloading child pornography receiving a 480-month sentence.

"One wonders if we aren't facing some unreasonable and unjustifiable disparities," Easterbrook told the panel.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who oversees the Northern District of Illinois, will testify tomorrow that there "seems to be a striking dissonance" between judges and prosecutors in sentencing for child pornography and exploitation cases, according to his prepared remarks.

"Without taking an advocate's view on why it is so, it is plain as day there is a deep disconnect," he said in the remarks, which were distributed early by the sentencing panel. "I respectfully suggest that this is an area of sentencing that warrants further study and further education of all involved."

The Booker decision has "aggravated the situation concerning child pornography," Fitzgerald said in his prepared remarks. While mandatory minimum sentences in that area "are certainly strict," prosecutors may be reluctant to seek lower sentences when they expect, based on past experience, that judges will reduce whatever sentences they recommend, he said. ..Source.. by Lynne Marek

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NV- New means secured to fight child pornography

Given this law is not effective until 10-1-2009 I'll consider it a bill for discussion. AB88 suffers from a few fatal flaws, one on its face.

9-12-2009 Nevada:

During the 2009 Legislative session, an important step was taken to better protect children with the passage of Assembly Bill 88, a bill that makes two significant changes to Nevada law to combat the problem of child pornography.

This legislation was developed by the Technological Crime Advisory Board, which I chair. AB88 addresses the board’s concern with some of the challenges that exist for law enforcement in areas where the Internet is an integral part of the crime of child pornography.

The bill updates Nevada’s criminal statutes to account for evolving technology that has resulted in the widespread dissemination of child pornography over the Internet. AB88 makes it a felony to intentionally use the Internet to control images of child pornography for the specific purpose of viewing such material. This includes conduct such as searching for and locating Web sites with images of child pornography, opening and navigating such sites, and accessing and browsing child pornography online.

The first flaw is in "the searching for and locating." In the bill it requires a prior knowledge that the images sought contain someone under the age of 16. How would anyone know that beforehand? The bill states:
1. Any person who, knowingly, willfully and with the specific intent to view any film, photograph or other visual presentation depicting a person under the age of 16 years engaging in or simulating sexual conduct, uses the Internet to control such a film, photograph or other visual presentation is guilty of:

This is important because modern technology eliminates the need to download a file to a local computer for viewing. The Internet provides the ability to control photographic images or streaming video without actually downloading the material. In effect, child pornography can be “viewed” on the Internet without physically possessing an electronic file that produces video or still images.

While Nevada law provides criminal penalties against the production and promotion of child pornography, it is also important to target the audience for this material. Consumers of child pornography on the Internet share culpability in the victimization of the children involved, and now face criminal penalties for their conduct. Moreover, research indicates that as many as 85 percent of child pornography viewers and collectors eventually commit sexual offenses against children.

Computer technology allows law enforcement agencies to locate Internet sites that suspects visit and computer forensic examiners have the ability to determine where and when a suspect has used a computer to seek out, access and view child pornography online. With this new legislation, law enforcement officials can now bring these offenders to justice.

A second issue addressed by AB88 is the establishment of a civil cause of action for victims of child pornography who have suffered personal or psychological injury. This portion of the bill is based on a provision in federal law known as “Masha’s Law,” giving child pornography victims a right to seek civil damages in federally prosecuted cases. Nevada is just the second state to grant similar rights.

This new civil remedy applies to victims who, while under the age of 16, appeared in any film, photograph or other visual presentation engaging in specifically defined explicit “sexual conduct” and suffered personal or psychological injury as a result. This civil remedy allows victims of child pornography to recover damages against any person who promoted, possessed or used the Internet to view any images of the sexual conduct.

Recognizing that actual damages may be difficult to assess, the bill deems the amount of damages to be at least $150,000, plus attorney fees and costs. As with all causes of action, there are elements that must be proven. If they are all proven by a preponderance of the evidence (the evidentiary burden in civil matters), the defendant may be liable for damages.

While monetary damages cannot fully compensate for the trauma to child pornography victims, they can provide some measure of vindication while serving as a strong deterrent to the continued circulation of their childhood images. Further, in consideration of the significant privacy interests involved, a plaintiff may use a pseudonym in all court proceedings and records related to an action brought before the court. Also, it is not a sufficient defense that the defendant did not know the plaintiff or did not engage in the sexual conduct with the plaintiff.

It is often said that a society is judged by how it protects its most vulnerable members, including its children. Protecting children is a top priority of my administration. AB88 is an important step to better protect children in our state from exploitation and victimization in pornography. ..Source.. by Catherine Cortez Masto who is Nevada’s attorney general.

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Program tackles online 'stranger danger'

9-12-2009 Australia:

Students across the country have been enlisted for the launch of a computer program aimed at protecting children online.

It tells them of the dangers and has been launched to co-incide with National Child Protection Week.

Students at St Mary's College in Adelaide were among those given a mission of saving a friend from an online stranger.

"We've got to figure out who's trying to contact us on the phone 'cause we don't know who this Kel guy is," they explained.

About 500 students from across Australia logged in to try to solve the virtual 'whodunnit'.

Police, schools and the Australian Communications and Media Authority are involved in the safety program and say many children are naive about the risks they can face.

Personal details

Sharon Trotter from the Authority says everyone needs to be wary of giving out personal details.

"When they sign up for things like social networking services often they're encouraged to give a lot of personal information out and they often do that without necessarily realising the consequences of that," she said.

The message sank in after students spent some time on the task they were set.

"Don't trust anyone that you just met on the computer or things like that," said one.

Greg Cox from the SA Education Department says schools are also keen to get parents involved in the safety process.

"I see my own daughter interact with lots of her friends - you know, it's a fabulous medium and we ought to encourage it as best we can but we ought to put some constraints around it as well," he said.

A scenario to teach young people about the dangers of cyber-bullying may be launched next year. ..Source.. by ABC News

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Pervert driven from his home by vigilante mob

9-12-2009 Scotland:

A SEX offender has been hounded out of his Edinburgh home by a vigilante group of locals.
Ex-soldier Douglas McNaught, 61, had to be rushed out of Prestonfield Avenue under police protection and has now been re-homed.

It is thought trouble started when unfounded allegations were made against McNaught, who was jailed in 1993 for sex offences against a young girl.

Last week, his car was vandalised and he was harassed by a baying mob. He was taken away by the police only to be returned a few days later.

Trouble started again and the decision was taken to re-home him elsewhere in the city.

A local source said: "We heard about his history and that he'd recently been kicked out of Wester Hailes.

"Some of the neighbours decided to take action and the police were called to remove McNaught from the house.

"He was brought back to the house by plain-clothes police officers from the sex offenders' unit a few days later, but on Thursday the neighbours came back and started banging on his windows.

"They must have been monitoring him because as soon as the disturbance started, two plain-clothes police officers stepped out of an unmarked car and identified themselves.

"The neighbours continued shouting and the disturbance got so bad that they had call for uniformed back-up.

"The neighbours aren't happy about a sex offender living amongst them.

"Because of what happened on Thursday, he'll definitely not be back at that house."

McNaught was jailed in Aberdeen in 1993 after admitting using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards a young girl.

The court heard the victim had been distressed and initially too frightened to tell anyone.

Upon his release from a six-year sentence, McNaught moved to Wester Hailes, where he reportedly began living with a teenage girl.

Police then placed him under a sexual offences prevention order to prevent him having any further contact with under-age girls.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman confirmed that McNaught was currently the subject of a prevention order.

He has been re-housed and his current whereabouts have not been disclosed.

She said: "Following concerns for the safety of an individual living in the Prestonfield area, and damage to a vehicle, police assisted in re-housing a member of the public.

"Inquiries are ongoing to trace the person responsible for the vandalism.

"Police do not discuss the security arrangements of any individual.

"Because this man is a registered sex offender, he is protected by law and we are not allowed to discuss his circumstances any further." ..Source.. by Mark McLaughlin

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Editorial: The Problem of Sex Offenders

Note: It makes no sense to fund a law (Adam Walsh Act) that will do no more than make current problems worse! eAdvocate

9-12-2009 National:

California’s online sex-offender registry is full of information about Phillip Garrido of 1554 Walnut Ave. in Antioch — a 6-foot-4 white male, born April 5, 1951, with blue eyes, brown hair, a scar on his abdomen and a rape conviction. But in the 18 years that Mr. Garrido dutifully met his obligations as a registered offender — checking in with the state every year — authorities charge that he kidnapped and held Jaycee Dugard, fathering two children with her and imprisoning them all in his backyard.

His case is a reminder that the solutions to sexual predation are not solutions at all, but frustratingly inadequate, and often ethically and legally murky, tools.

Continuing to hold offenders, after their prison sentences are completed, under the guise of “treatment”? This punishes people for crimes they have not committed, awaiting cures that never happen, at huge expense. Following them around forever? All states require offenders to register, but few have the resources to constantly monitor everyone.

In some places, “monitoring” only means an offender has to mail in a yearly postcard. Tens of thousands move away to who knows where. Authorities are often less likely to keep close tabs on offenders whose addresses they know — like in the case of Mr. Garrido.

None of these efforts, of course, address the reality that the overwhelming majority of victims are assaulted by people they know, who never appear in any database.

Meanwhile, an attempt to create a national registry — part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act passed in 2006 — has faltered badly. States fretting about the costs and legal complications all missed the deadline to comply, which was then extended to July 2010. They worry that the registry would create an overwhelming monitoring burden and that it uses crude means of assessing the likelihood that offenders might repeat their crimes. The list of offenders is so large as to be almost useless. It is supposed to include not only rapists and kidnappers but also flashers and teenagers who had consensual sex.

While officials ponder what to do, many states and cities have adopted another flawed and dangerous strategy: severely limiting where offenders may live. The idea is that children in schools, parks, playgrounds or libraries will be safer if offenders are not allowed to live more than a specified number of feet or yards away.

That faith in buffer zones ignores the fact that offenders move around and that zones drive predators into ghettos or homelessness. Sick people living marginal lives, away from the stability that jobs, medication, parole officers can ensure, are more likely to offend again, not less. ..Editorial Source.. New York Times

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TN- Woman Charged in False Kidnapping, Rape Case in Tennessee

9-12-2009 Tennessee:

MEMPHIS, TN – Authorities say a Missouri woman has been charged after she falsely reported that she had been kidnapped and raped.

According to a Federal Complaint, 37-year-old Bridgette Crossland’s car was found by a Sheriff’s deputy at the side of a highway in Fayette County, September 4, 2009. The Complaint states Crossland told the deputy that she had been kidnapped from Missouri, driven to Tennessee and then raped by the kidnappers.

The Complaint says the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department contacted the FBI about the case. The FBI immediately began an investigation. Agents searched the car for evidence and interviewed Crossland for more information about the kidnappers, according to the Complaint.

FBI agents, the Complaint says, determined Crossland lied about being kidnapped and raped.

Bridgette Crossland has been charged for making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ..Source.. by Shane Myers

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NY- Rumors of rape at MVNU untrue

9-12-2009 New York:

MOUNT VERNON — Officials at Mount Vernon Nazarene University said that allegations of a rape on campus last week are completely false.

According to Henry Spaulding, vice president of academic affairs, a female student was approached last Thursday while cleaning a stairwell in Founders Hall. An unknown male subject, believed not to be associated with MVNU, grabbed the woman’s elbow and scared her. According to the student, the man seemed disoriented, but did not assault or attack her.

“A security notice was sent out the next day encouraging students to use the buddy system,” Spaulding said.

That e-mail detailed safety tips in conjunction with September being Campus Safety Awareness Month.

Security cameras are located throughout campus and security officers are on heightened alert, according to Spaulding.

A second e-mail was sent to students, faculty and staff Wednesday as rumors of a rape swelled, on and off campus.

“These actions startled the student, she pulled away quickly, and left the stairwell. She was shaken, but not hurt. Please be aware of your surroundings, even on this very safe campus. There is no reason to believe that the male who approached her poses a threat to anyone else,” the e-mail stated.

No reports were filed with the Mount Vernon Police Department, but MVPD Chief Mike Merrilees said that was not uncommon.

“It depends on the person,” Merillees said. “It could have been a random act, but if they were in fear for their safety or that uncomfortable, we would have taken a report.”

Merillees said MVPD and MVNU security have a long history of successful collaboration.

The advancement of technology, including e-mail, has changed the way colleges and universities communicate with students.

“E-mail is a great feature that allows us to communicate with everyone within five minutes,” Spaulding said.

Currently there is no system in play that includes providing the same information to students’ families. ..Source.. by Samantha Scoles

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VA- Woman charged with filing false rape report after road rage incident

9-12-2009 Virginia:

NEWPORT NEWS — A Newport News woman has been charged with filing a false report after her original complaint sparked a police investigation into an allegation of rape, police say.

Megan McLane, 18, of Dinwiddie Place, initially complained to police that a man tried to choke and rape her. Police later learned she fabricated those statements because she had gotten into a verbal and physical altercation with another driver and she wanted to get the man in trouble, said Newport News police spokesman Lou Thurston.

The misdemeanor charge against McLane carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail, Thurston said.

"Officers met with the victim, who reported that she was stopped along the side of the road in the area of Jouett Drive when a man, unknown to her, opened the car door and attacked her, placing a cord around her neck and began to choke and beat her as he pulled her from the car toward a nearby wooded area," Thurston said.

McLane said the man continued to beat her and hold her on the ground while attempting to remove her clothing, Thurston said. She said once she was able to kick him, the assailant left.

"A large number of detectives, as well as forensic technicians, were sent to the area to begin processing the scene for any possible evidence and to canvass the neighborhood for possible witnesses," Thurston said. When McLane was confronted with the results of the police operation, she admitted to fabricating the story, Thurston said.

McLane was released from the Newport News jail with a summons. ..Source.. by Daily Press

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MD- Accuser recants, but stigma of rape charges remains

9-12-2009 Maryland:

Thomas Charles Bender is a mason by trade.

Until nine months ago, his only brush with the law was for a pair of hunting infractions, including failure to wear a fluorescent orange vest.

Bender's life took a nightmarish turn Jan. 3, when his former fiancée told police he'd raped her.

Driving down Bethel Road, Bender found himself surrounded by 12 to 15 police cars at the intersection of Fox Road.

He later learned his accuser told deputies to consider him armed and dangerous.

"They don't take that too lightly, I found," Bender said Friday as he discussed his struggle to put his life back together since he has had his record cleared.

Bender, 29, spent eight weeks in jail before he was able to raise $25,000, the 10 percent of his $250,000 bail needed to be released.

Then on March 16, his accuser, Samantha Carter-drabczyk, contacted the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office and asked to discuss the case, according to court documents.

She recanted her rape allegations during a meeting that same day with four criminal justice authorities involved in the case: Assistant State's Attorney Lindell K. Angel; Rebecca Littleton, a victim-witness coordinator; Cpl. Jason West, a sheriff's office detective; and Wayne Moffatt, a state's attorney investigator.

According to court documents, Carter-drabczyk told the group she had been angry at Bender when she made the allegations in January. She told them the two had argued and then had consensual sex.

Moffatt asked Carter-drabczyk if she was coming forward to see justice done, according to the documents.

"Yes. For him," Carter-drabczyk told Moffatt. "He was falsely accused," deputies quoted her as saying in documents seeking charges against her.

During the meeting, Moffatt reminded Carter-drabczyk that Bender had been incarcerated awaiting trial because of three statements she made to separate police officers. Taking back her previous statements constituted the false report of a crime.

Carter-drabczyk told Moffatt she would face the consequences, according to the documents.

Now the 29-year-old Thurmont woman is awaiting trial on criminal charges herself: three counts of making a false statement to police, a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for each conviction.

A pretrial conference is set for Sept. 25 in Frederick County Circuit Court.

On Thursday, Carter-drabczyk's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Matthew J. Frawley, declined to comment on the case.

Thursday evening, Carter-drabczyk changed her story again, two weeks before her next court appearance.

"I'm not sorry I took it (the allegations) back," Carter-drabczyk said of her March 16 meeting with criminal justice authorities.

"I did it so my daughter's father wouldn't go to prison and serve 25 years to life," she said.

On Friday, when told of Carter-drabczyk's latest about-face, Bender laughed.

"I think it's pretty obvious that with all the thousands of dollars and all the time police had invested in this case, that if the evidence was there, the state would have picked up the charges against me," Bender said.

For Bender, recovering his life as he knew it before his arrest has been slow.

"It's so frustrating," he said. "I didn't do anything wrong."

On June 16, Bender received a notarized letter from criminal justice authorities telling him the criminal charges against him had been expunged from court records.

When criminal charges against a defendant are expunged, prosecutors and police must destroy all documents related to the case. They cannot even acknowledge the previous existence of a case.

Still, Bender said his arrest has cost him countless jobs and at least $40,000 in legal fees.

Even though his record has been cleared, he's still required to pay about $460 a month on his bail.

The stigma from the allegations has left him humiliated.

Two of the deputies at his arrest were people he knew from attending Thurmont -area schools.

While held on charges of first-degree rape, second-degree assault and false imprisonment, Bender was kept in a cell block with men accused of robbery and attempted murder.

Bender said he plans to file a lawsuit against Carter-drabczyk to recover his financial losses related to the criminal charges.

He's also pursuing custody of their 4-year-old daughter.

Wednesday evening was the first time he'd been allowed to see the child in about a month, he said.

It was their daughter's birthday.

"It was absolutely great," Bender said. "I took her an ice cream cake and lots of nice presents. She loved them. Her Barbie laptop computer was her favorite."

Because Bender was successful in having his record expunged of the rape charges, Maryland court records now show no record of the January allegations against him.

But for Bender, that doesn't go far enough.

"She's ruined my life, but I'm not here to trash her," he said of Carter-drabczyk.

"I've been cleared of the charges, and the public needs to know that. I need to get on with my life." ..Source.. by Kate Leckie, News-Post Staff

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AL- Teen arrested for making false 911 call

9-12-2009 Alabama:

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. - The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said a teenager has been arrested on charges of making a false 911 call, and second degree rape.

Deputies said they received a call of someone shot in the front yard of what the caller said was "Duitt's Place." Deputies checked six roads, but found nothing.

The Office Communications Division noticed who the telephone number came back to, and deputies recognized the name. They went to Lilly Wilson Lane in the Whitehouse Forks Community.

A juvenile female was at the house, with her over-age boyfriend, David Wayne McCarn II.Deputies believe McCarn was the one who made the prank call.

McCarn was found hiding in a closet, while the juvenile was in bed. He was arrested and taken to the Baldwin County Corrections Center. The juvenile was was taken to the DHR building in Robertsdale.

Investigators say McCarn admitted to having sex with the juvenile female, who is under the age of 16. McCarn was charged with rendering a false alarm and second degree rape. ..Source.. by Liz Nelson

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ND- N.D. nets federal funds to deal with sex offenders

Fact: Parents for Megans Law reports that ND has 1,277 registrants in 2008. Therefore, this grant awards ND some 414.00 per registrant to track them. Within the grant is ZERO dollars allocated in PREVENTION money. Accordingly, are they all about PREVENTING crimes, OR, FOLLOWING registrants after they commit crimes?

9-12-2009 North Dakota:

Almost $500,000 in federal money has been set aside to help North Dakota track sex offenders and alert the public to changes in their addresses, the state’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.

Almost $500,000 in federal money has been set aside to help North Dakota track sex offenders and alert the public to changes in their addresses, the state’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.

The North Dakota attorney general’s office will get $300,000 to plan and design electronic sex-offender registration and notification programs. The Spirit Lake Tribe will receive $196,677 to establish a registration and notification program.

The U.S. Department of Justice is distributing the funds that were allocated by Congress. ..Source.. by Archie Ingersoll, Grand Forks Herald

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September 11, 2009

FL- Only one woman confined in Florida under Jimmy Ryce Act

"A child sex abuser can be taught not to do it again, just like an alcoholic is taught not to drink even if they still have urges," he said. "Sex-offender treatment is very effective, if done correctly." See very last sentence of article!

9-11-2009 Florida:

Nearly 700 men held; law allows sexual predators to still be held after their prison terms are up

Nearly 700 Florida men are held in a secure facility, classified as sexually violent predators, despite having completed their prison terms. Just one woman is held in the same situation.

Florida's Jimmy Ryce Act allows for the indefinite civil commitment of sex offenders after they have served their time behind bars. The 1998 law is named for a 9-year-old Miami-Dade boy kidnapped, raped and murdered by a handyman -- 14 years ago on Friday.

A jury convicted his killer, Juan Carlos Chavez, the same year the Legislature signed the Jimmy Ryce Act into law. As a result, Florida sex offenders are spending more time behind bars than ever before.

Judy K. Taylor of Ocala holds the distinction of being Florida's lone woman committed involuntarily and indefinitely to a psychiatric facility, after completing her four-year prison term for having sex with underage boys ranging in age from 13 to 16.

"Men typically abuse because they are sexually aroused by children Ĵ and women typically abuse because they are trying to get emotional needs met," according to Fort Lauderdale forensic psychologist Amy Swan, chairwoman of the Florida Board of Psychology and an evaluator for DCF.

The 45-year-old Taylor is one of just four women nationwide held under sex-offender civil-commitment laws, according to data from the Sex Offender Civil Commitment Programs Network.

The laws, whose constitutionality has been challenged and upheld by the United States Supreme Court, allow the 20 states which have them to hold sex offenders determined by a court as likely to engage in future acts of sexual violence.

As of August 2008, the most recent data available, just more than 3,600 men across the country were civilly committed. One woman each from Illinois, Florida, Minnesota and Washington were held under the same laws.

When the prison term of someone who has committed a sexually motivated crime is nearing completion, DCF reviews the case file. Mental health professionals do face-to-face interviews with about 10 percent of those prisoners and approximately 4 percent of them get recommended to state attorneys for civil commitment, according to Dr. Suzonne„© Kline, director of DCF's Sexually Violent Predator Program.

Only about 1 percent actually gets committed, which requires the offender to be declared a sexually violent predator likely to reoffend. This is done at a civil jury trial -- as in Taylor's case -- or by the offender voluntarily entering into an agreement with the state.

In the10 years since Florida began civilly committing sex offenders, the Department of Children & Families has reviewed more than 35,000 cases, only 435 of which have been women.

Men are housed in a secure facility in Arcadia, which is quickly nearing its 720-person capacity. Taylor is held in a Miami psychiatric facility, where she's separated from the other residents.

Since the commitment is civil in nature, treatment is voluntary. The Arcadia facility has dorms filled with men who are forced to live there but refuse treatment.

DCF would not permit the evaluating psychologist to discuss Taylor's case, but Swan is familiar with the case and said that Taylor has been diagnosed with pedophilia. Taylor also has "significant mental health issues," a common theme with women sex offenders, Swan said.

Scientific literature indicates a "best-guess estimate" that 4 percent of women sexually touch children, compared with 7 percent of men, according to Markus„© Wiegel, an Atlanta psychologist specializing in female sex offender research. Collecting data on women offenders is challenging, he said, because so little research exists.

Whether more women will be snared under civil commitment laws is the subject of debate, though prosecutors and mental-health professionals agree that the number of women likely will increase, though probably not in great numbers.

"I don't think it's an anomaly that there's one woman, but I don't see the numbers growing significantly," said Kristin Kanner, Broward County's Jimmy Ryce prosecutor.

With women only recently -- in the past 10 years or so -- being more aggressively prosecuted for sex crimes, the civil-commitment numbers may begin to increase as their prison sentences near completion, according to Barbara Burns, who prosecutes Palm Beach County's Jimmy Ryce cases.

Sex offenders are a heterogenous group, but there are some general differences between men and women who abuse children.

About half of women who commit sex crimes have had a psychiatric hospitalization and have a history of taking psychotropic medications, she said. Forty percent of sexual abuse perpetrated by women occurs in a day care setting.

Complicating the research is that boys abused by women are far less likely to report it "since our society still views it for a boy as scoring," Swan said.

More than half the time, women abuse children with a man, who will have coerced the woman into participating, according to Wiegel.

There is not enough research to reliably estimate the recidivism -- or reoffending -- rate for women, but it's believed that they reoffend less often than men, perhaps as little as 1 percent, according to some experts. And while much debate exists about whether sex offenders can ever be cured, Wiegel, says they can, indeed, rejoin society.

"A child sex abuser can be taught not to do it again, just like an alcoholic is taught not to drink even if they still have urges," he said. "Sex-offender treatment is very effective, if done correctly." ..Source.. by Missy Diaz South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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