Sunday, June 24, 2012

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt doesn't follow real federal decisions while upholding facebook blanket ban

How did this numbnut even get her job? Hopefully the Indy ACLU will continue the fight beyond this ignorant excuse of a judge.

Judge upholds sex offender Facebook ban
Updated: Sunday, 24 Jun 2012, 2:24 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 24 Jun 2012, 2:24 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A federal judge has upheld an Indiana law banning registered sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social networking sites used by children. 

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said in an order Friday that the state has a strong interest in protecting children, and that the rest of the Internet remains open to those who have been convicted. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the class-action suit on behalf of a man who served three years for child exploitation, along with other sex offenders who are restricted by the ban even though they are no longer on probation. 

Federal judges have barred similar laws in Nebraska and Louisiana. 

ACLU legal director Ken Falk says he's disappointed by Pratt's ruling and is considering an appeal.

Church Mutual says registered citizens are a "liability"

I'm not surprised but of all the places to ban registrants about money woes, it is a church. The company involved is Church Mutual.

Insurer to Pastor: Disclose Sex Offenders To Congregation
By Sanne Specht, Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore.
McClatchy-Tribune Information ServicesJune 24--Officials of a local church are battling their insurance company over demands that sex offenders who come to worship be treated as if they had come to prey, rather than pray.

Chad McComas, pastor at Set Free Christian Fellowship in Medford, said his church disclosed to its insurance company that there were known sex offenders within its congregation. That honesty may spell the end of Set Free, a church he started in 1997.

On May 1, the insurance company, Church Mutual, sent a letter requiring McComas to disclose to his congregation the identity of any and all sex offenders, allow those offenders to attend only one predetermined service each week where they must report in and be assigned an escort who will accompany them at all times, and bar them from participating in any child or youth programs.

"Please respond by June 15, 2012. We will review your procedures. If you have not met all the requirements, we may no longer be able to continue your coverage," the letter states.

McComas is challenging the insurance company rules, which he said will have a chilling effect on disclosure, encourage abusers to go underground, and are the same for an 18-year-old boy who is convicted of sex abuse for having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend.

"Where does that line go? They're throwing everyone in the same boat," McComas said.

Dave Schmidt, a 66-year-old convicted sex offender who attends Set Free, said he is a devout Christian who attends services to worship God, not to prey on youths.

"Certainly there are people who have not accepted the Lord who come to church (with evil intent)," Schmidt said. "That's not why I'm here."

Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing for Church Mutual, declined to discuss the specifics of his company's interaction with Set Free. Church Mutual insures more than 100,000 religious organizations. It has covered close to 5,000 sex-related claims since 1984.

The rules, developed by outside legal counsel, are designed not only to protect the organization from the "legal hot water" of sexual misconduct and molestation claims but also to protect potential victims, Moreland said.

"Our No. 1 goal is to protect our churches and our children," Moreland said.

Schmidt abused drugs and alcohol and had a long history of sexually abusing children prior to becoming a Christian, he said, adding he pleaded guilty to first-degree sex abuse and sodomy in 1993 after he succumbed "to temptation" one last time.

Two days after Schmidt was arrested on those charges, he was released on his own recognizance and confessed his crimes to McComas, who was then an assistant pastor at another church.

Schmidt said he tendered his guilty plea in Jackson County Circuit Court to spare the child victim from having to testify. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation and treatment, he said.

"I didn't put the blame on anyone but me," Schmidt said. "I didn't want the minor to have to testify."

McComas is loathe to have his church, which has about 100 members, identified as "the sex-offender church." But this issue is a matter of principle and practicality, he said.

"We deal with a lot of members who have addiction backgrounds. That's part of who we serve. But that's not all of who we serve," McComas said. "We know who our members are. We are being careful and diligent. But how often are we going to have to tell the congregation that someone is a sex offender? The congregation changes all the time."

Sex-based claims and crimes occur in cities big and small, in rural areas and in any denomination, Moreland said. Set Free received the same letter that Church Mutual would send to any church, camp or school that disclosed it had a sex offender in attendance, he said.

"What if you have a known offender who offends again? What's a jury going to say?" Moreland said.

Ashland resident Randy Ellison, board president of Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. Ellison was 15 when a charismatic youth minister at a popular Portland church began sexually abusing him.

For more than 40 years, Ellison remained silent about the devastation wrought by the trusted leader in his community. Now he is a vocal advocate in the fight to end child sex abuse.

The church and the community at large have a responsibility to protect children, Ellison said. Disclosure to the congregation and restricting offenders from being alone with a child are realistic and necessary provisions, he said.

"If there is a sex offender in my church with my children, I want to know about it," Ellison said.

But the insurance company overreached by requiring Set Free to assign an offender a constant escort and limiting his attendance at worship, Ellison added.

"As a man of faith, I have to say, wouldn't you rather have this person in church?" Ellison said.

Offenders must take responsibility and be accountable for their acts. Church services, addiction recovery meetings and other cognitive and behavioral programs are vital to "rewiring brains," he said.

"We're better off as a society having him go to church with an agreement about what can and cannot happen," Ellison said. "We want them there safely. But we want them there as often as we can get them to go."

As heinous as their crimes are, sex offenders are a part of the community's collective family. In fact, 40 percent of perpetrators are within the victim's immediate family, he said.

"Perpetrators aren't devils in trench coats," Ellison said. "Look at any family photo. Perpetrators look like your father, uncle or grandpa. And that, in fact, is who they are."

If society isolates and excludes perpetrators once they are out of prison, it becomes impossible for them to be a part of a community in a positive way. And the odds of recidivism increase dramatically, Ellison said.

"Humans need to be in relationships," Ellison said. "But we're going to watch and make sure it's a safe and positive relationship."

Schmidt gave up the right to be alone with a child when he molested his first one, Ellison said.

"His past behavior has burned that bridge," Ellison said. "But that doesn't mean that we don't worship with him."

There is no safety in numbers when it comes to these kinds of dangers, McComas said. If offenders have ill intent, they are much more likely to go to a church with a large congregation.

"That's where they want to go, because they can hide and groom these kids," McComas said.

Ellison's minister is the Rev. Pam Shepherd of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ashland. Shepherd agrees with Ellison that churches have a responsibility to keep children and youth safe. UCC is insured and performs background checks on all Bible school teachers, youth ministers and others who are in positions to deal with minors.

But Shepherd said she has never seen a letter like the one McComas received from Church Mutual. And no one in their membership has disclosed any sex crimes, she said.

"There are no known sex offenders coming to our church," Shepherd said. "But if all sex offenders glowed orange, people might be surprised to see who they are sitting next to."

Schmidt said he has been labeled as a "predatory" child sex abuser. He served additional time in prison during his 10-year probationary period for failing two of six polygraph tests and refusing to participate in therapies he deemed counter to his religious beliefs, he said.

"I was convicted of one offense with one minor," Schmidt said. "But I was open and I disclosed my history of molestation with minors."

Schmidt doesn't believe in "self help," he said. Prayer helps him stay focused on God and not on sin. In addition to attending worship services, Schmidt works in food pantries at Set Free and at his old church, he said.

"We're here to love one another. Not lust after one another, and I was guilty of that," Schmidt said.

Schmidt must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He is used to being watched. Just last week, Oregon State Police were at his door, where he lives with three other men who have been convicted of sex crimes, after a young developmentally challenged man went missing.

"They searched the house, didn't find anything and thanked me for cooperating," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said if he gets driven out of Set Free by Church Mutual's policies, he will simply go to another church, then another. One week at a time, if necessary, he said.

Schmidt was one of seven known sex offenders at a larger church in Medford. Schmidt said policies were put in place and an elder was assigned to watch him. The man sat a few rows behind Schmidt at services. One day he didn't realize Schmidt had gone to the restroom. When the man realized Schmidt was not in his seat, "he got up and he had a look of panic on his face," Schmidt said.

Schmidt was later asked to sign a contract promising not to molest anyone. He opted to leave that church and began attending Set Free, he said.

"You know who I am. If you want to watch me, watch me. But don't ask me to participate in it," Schmidt said. "There are murderers coming into churches. You don't ask them to sign a contract not to kill anyone."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Louisiana: If at first you don't succeed

If at first you don't succeed, pass a new law. Jindal reinstates the RSO FB ban under a new guise. Pay CLOSE attention to what is said.

New LA law requires sex offender status on Facebook

Posted: Jun 18, 2012 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: June 19, 2012 03:24 AM CDT
By Fred Childers - bio | email

Registered sex offenders in Louisiana now have to share their sex offender status on social website like Facebook. 

The author of the bill is Representative Jeff Thompson from Bossier City.

He says it's designed to create more accountability for the people who come into your home through your computer.

This law is the latest attempt by legislators to crack down on child sex predators online. But prosecutors say it's purpose is not to prevent those sex crimes, but to prosecute those who commit them and fail to register.

"This is one of those deals that requires a person to say their a sex offender on Facebook, so what can we do if they don't? Same thing we do if they don't have their sex offender id car, we arrest them and prosecute them for it," said Caddo Assistant DA, Hugo Holland.

Holland says Thompson consulted with the DA's Office while crafting the bill, and the DA's Office through offered support. 

A law that prohibited sex offenders from using social websites completely was recently struck down by the courts and deemed unconstitutional. Thompson believes his legislation can easily stand up to constitutional scrutiny because it's only requiring those who already register to share that information on social websites.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Smoking Gun REALLY needs to fix their banner ads. Really.

So I've been having a fun time laughing at a neighbor caught "stuffing" a teddy bear downtown Cincinnati. That story begs for lots of jokes already. However, when you go to the Smoking Gun website, it sometimes includes a banner ad for the movie "Ted," that talking teddy bear. Sometimes you can't make this crap up.

Here's the link to the article:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Girl lies about rape, RSO still held on $150,000 bond

So this girl lies, claiming this homeless registrant raped her. Then she took it back and now says he only told her he wanted to fuck her. So he's being held on a $150,000 bond on the basis of a statement from someone who admitted to lying. Washington should be renamed Hogwashington, a lot of people in this state are full of it.

LPD: Transient sex offender approached young girl at Lake Sacajawea
By Tony Lystra / The Daily News | Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:30 pm | No Comments Posted

Authorities on Tuesday arrested a registered sex offender suspected of trying to persuade a 14-year-old Kelso girl to have sex with him at Lake Sacajawea in May.
A Kelso girl told police in May that she was at Lake Sacajawea in Longview on May 1 when a man began speaking to her inappropriately, according to an affidavit.
The girl told authorities in two separate interviews that the man, later identified as a 42-year-old transient, told her that he "did not see anything wrong with younger girls having sex with older men," according to an affidavit filed Wednesday in Cowlitz Superior Court.
Among other inappropriate comments, the man also said he was dying of cancer and "wanted to have sex with a young girl like her."
The girl initially told a Longview police officer that the man raped her in a bathroom at the park, but later recanted, saying she lied to the officer, according to the affidavit.
The Daily News usually withholds the name of sex crime suspects until they are formally charged.
The suspect is being held in the Cowlitz County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail on suspicion of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Police said he was convicted of first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation in 1997.

New Jersey wants to be the next Miami- Julia Tuttle colony

Here is the backstory-- A few years ago, New Jersey Supreme Court struck down a number of local residency law ordinances as unconstitutional. So now the idiots at Jersey Shore (the legislature, not the reality show) want to pull a Miami and pass 2500 foot residency restrictions. Maybe New Jersey has geographical penis envy? They should look at Iowa instead.

West Milford’s town council backs proposed bill that would restore residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders

Township officials are backing proposed state legislation that would restore a local law deemed illegal by the state Supreme Court in 2009.

The legislation, state Senate Bill 380 (S380), would make it illegal for convicted sex offenders with a high risk of re-offense to reside within 2,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school, playground, or child care center. Modeled after legislation recently enacted by the State of Florida, S380 was named for Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida resident who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a convicted sex offender in 2005.

West Milford officials adopted municipal ordinance 2005-021 later that year. The local law restricted convicted sex offenders (who are four times more likely to be arrested for a new sex crime than released non-sex offenders, according to the federal Bureau of Justice) from residing within 2,500 feet of any school, park, playground, or day-care center in the 80.4-square-mile exurban community until it was repealed begrudgingly by township representatives in the fall of 2009.

Months earlier, in May 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that state municipalities cannot restrict convicted sex offenders' residency rights by barring them from living near libraries, parks, playgrounds, day-care centers, and schools.

As noted by Mayor Bettina Bieri, the state is now just one of eight without residency restrictions for registered sex offenders. Bieri said she is in full support of state legislators crossing New Jersey off that list. Eight registered sex offenders have West Milford addresses, according to the New Jersey State Police database.

While some representatives wanted to keep ordinance 2005-021 on the books in 2009, the threat of potential lawsuits and the loss of liability insurance coverage ultimately led to the ordinance's elimination. Township officials initially refused to support proposed legislation that would create new residency proximity standards for convicted sex offenders, claiming the 500-foot restriction for sex offenders more than 21 years old was too permissive. The council had inquired about drafting its own proposed legislation to deal with its objections. However, Township Attorney Fred Semrau recommended allowing state representatives to take the lead given the legal intricacies and potential expense involved.

In addition to the 2,500-foot limit that has exemptions for those residing in correctional institutions, mental health facilities, or existing residences prior to the construction of a school, playground, or child care center, S380 would increase penalties for harboring or concealing a sex offender and committing sex crimes against minors. The latter would include the requirement to be electronically monitored by the state via global positioning system technology.


I shudder to think what the NJ Bookville will look like.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn sees pic of kid in dirty bathtub and immediately thinks sex, accuses opponent of showing CP

So this guy is Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican who supports the coal industry. So when he's forced to see a presentation from award-winning West Virginia anti-coal activist Maria Gunnoe on the dangers of coal mining on the environment and on the people who live near coal mines, Lamborn found one way to discredit his opponent-- he accused her of disseminating child pornography. An he's not very apologetic about it, either, unlike that time he called President Obama a racial slur. Well, in the interest of fairness, I make no apologies about who I nominate for Shiitake Awards either:

Lamborn says no apology needed in child-porn interrogation of activist
POSTED:   06/07/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
UPDATED:   06/07/2012 10:19:17 AM MDT
By Allison Sherry
The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said Wednesday that he did not believe he or anyone should apologize to an activist who went through almost an hour of police questioning about child pornography after she brought a professional photo of a child taking a bath in polluted water to a congressional hearing.

"I'm not going to issue an apology, and I don't think the staff members involved are going to issue an apology," said Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican. "I think this woman should consider what type of materials she brings to hearings. Maybe that's something she wants to consider. That's for her to think about."

Maria Gunnoe, a West Virginia mountaintop-removal activist who has garnered awards for speaking out on behalf of southern Appalachia, wanted members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources to see a photo last week of a 5-year-old taking a bath in dirty orange water.

Lamborn is chairman of that subcommittee, which is under the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

Gunnoe, who has testified at Lam born's request one other time last fall, said she submitted the photo via e-mail about two hours before the hearing started Friday morning. She believes the photo helps illustrate environmental damage caused by mountaintop-removal coal mining.

U.S. Capitol Police who questioned Gunnoe found no criminal wrongdoing.

Lamborn is in charge of the witnesses and all the proceedings of his committee and said he heard from staffers right before the hearing started that they believed the photo was inappropriate.

He said he decided to pull the photo, though he never saw it and still hasn't seen it. He says he has no desire to view the photograph, shot by a California-based photojournalist.

"I was going by what staff recommended to me," he said Wednesday. "They had a serious question about whether this is appropriate or not, and based on that, the police based in any state ... will be very cautious and they will want to do due diligence to make sure there isn't some problem."

But Lamborn said he was not involved in the Capitol Police's questioning Gunnoe on whether she was a child pornographer.

"That was an attempted assassination on my character," Gunnoe said Wednesday. "I work with families of children often, and many of these children love me. I will not let this define my work in any way."

An apology would certainly help settle that, Gunnoe said.

It isn't the first time a congressional witness has been censored at a hearing, but it is exceedingly rare, Capitol Hill staffers with decades of experience said Wednesday.

In the mid-1980s, Congress, in attempting to define what was "obscene" music, played songs laced with four-letter words and watched racy music videos during a hearing debating the virtues of requiring record labels to print lyrics for parents.

Last Friday's Energy and Mineral Resources hearing was about an Environmental Protection Agency decision to revoke a years-old permit to reopen the Spruce Mines in West Virginia.

Lamborn, with other House Republicans, said the decision cripples the creation of jobs. Gunnoe was testifying that coal jobs are up in West Virginia and that the kind of mining involved pollutes the water supply.

Gunnoe said she would welcome the opportunity to go back to members of Congress to talk again. Lamborn, too, said he would invite Gunnoe again to hear her voice on mountaintop-removal mining.