Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chris Smith of NJ is using a backdoor policy to ban registrants from obtaining passports

Chris Smith of New Jersey tried pushing International Megan's Flaw to the populace a couple of years back, but it stalled. Now Smith is trying to attach this bad piece of legislation to a current bill, H.R. 2848. I wonder how deep he dug in his ass to pull this out.


Int’l Megan’s Law Amendment to Protect More Kids 
Smith Provision Made Part of the State Department Bill 

Washington, Aug 1 - A legislative effort by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) to restrict the passports of U.S citizens who have been convicted of sex crimes against children took a leap forward today when it was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    Smith wrote an amendment which is now part of the U.S. State Department authorization bill, H.R. 2848, which is expected to be on the House floor in September. It grants the Secretary of State discretion to limit the valid duration of passports for convicted sex offenders listed on the National Sex Offender Registry, or to revoke the passport of an individual convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a sex offense.

    “The amount of travel by known predators is staggering,” said Smith, who has worked for years with the family of Megan Kanka to promote legislation that would protect children from sex offenders. “A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that nearly 4,500 registered sex offenders apply for U.S. passports each year. Since a passport is valid up to 10 years, some offenders can remain unwatched for years. According to the Protection Project of Johns Hopkins University, sex tourists from the United States who target children make up a significant percentage of child sex tourists around the world.” Click here to read Smith’s statement to the full committee.

    “Authorizing the State Department to restrict the passports of registered sex offenders has the ability to deter and protect,” said Smith, a leader in Congress on human rights issues, including sex trafficking of women and children. “Predators who have been convicted for sexually exploiting children have used long-term passports to evade return to the United States and have moved to a third country where they continue to exploit and abuse children. By requiring child sex offenders to renew their passports, more regularly, we can curtail the current 10-year window of unchecked travel and offer greater protection for vulnerable women and children around the world.”

    Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old from Smith’s district in Hamilton, N.J., was kidnapped, raped, and brutally murdered in 1994. Her assailant was a convicted, repeat sex offender living across the street, unbeknownst to families in Megan’s neighborhood. Due to public outcry in response to the tragedy and to hard work by Megan’s parents, Richard and Maureen Kanka, the New Jersey State Legislature passed the original Megan’s Law (NJSA 2C: 7-1 through 7-II) to require public notification of convicted sex offenders living in the community. Smith supported a federal Megan’s Law which became law in 1996 and other child protection measures.

    “In order to better protect children, this amendment would allow the Secretary of State the discretion to revoke the passport of an individual who has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a sex offense,” Smith said. “It also allows the Secretary the ability to determine the appropriate period of validity of any passport that is issued to a sex offender.”

    Smith authored similar legislation to protect children in 2010 called The International Megan’s Law. That bill would establish a model framework for international law enforcement notifications when convicted child sex offenders pose a danger to children in a destination country. The bill passed the full House in 2010, but the Senate failed to act on the bill.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lynna Lai's lies

Lynna Lai is featured here today because she takes her yellow journalism to the next level. It is bad enough Lai lies to the public by using the perennial buzzword "loophole" to describe a bad law that cannot be applied retroactively. The story is made worse when she targets one registrant and begins showing the man's registry poster to the neighbors for good measure.

There is no "loophole" when the law allows one to reside where he wants.

Cleveland Sucks.


CLEVELAND -- In two weeks, kids will soon fill the sidewalks, heading back to school. Near Cleveland's Rickoff Elementary School, young students will walk by the home of registered sex offender who lives across the street.

Another registered sex offender, whose victim was also a juvenile, lives 2 houses away from the school.

Meanwhile in Columbia Station, in Lorain county, the newest resident on Fremont Drive, is not welcome here.

"Most of the neighbors are concerned. Most of us have young children," said Chris Candella. "He's a convicted sex offender and he's living directly next to a day care."

Joseph Lapinta, convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, is now living right behind a day care -- a violation of the law.

Lapinta was defensive when asked about neighbors' concerns.

"I'm not a bad f------ guy, you know what I mean?" he said.

But Candella and his neighbors want him out of the neighborhood.

"He just keeps slipping through the system, and he's now living next door to us," he said.

Lapinta and other registered sex offenders slipping through a loophole in the law, banning sex offenders from living within 1000-feet of a school or day care. And there's not a thing that sheriff's deputies can do about it.

That's because the Ohio legislature made enforcement of the law -- up to civil courts.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says it's up to neighbors or city officials to sue the sex offender, and ask a judge to order an eviction.

"I don't want anyone to think that there isn't a remedy," said DeWine. "There's teeth in the law in the sense that a lawsuit can be brought, the person can be evicted from that house."

However DeWine agreed that the lack of a criminal penalty for violations makes it easier for sex offenders to ignore the residency law.

Using the online Cuyahoga Sheriff's Office Sex Offender Registry, Channel 3 News analyzed the number of registered sex offenders living near Cleveland public schools. We found that 63 out of 70 pre-K through 8 schools had at least one registered sex offender living within 1000-feet of school property.

A total of 166 registered sex offenders are living very close to the city's elementary and middle schools. Most of them committed their crimes before the ban took effect in 2003, so the restrictions do not apply.

However, we found 28 registered sex offenders are clearly living in violation of the law.

One of them is Radames Gonzalez, who was convicted of gross sexual imposition of a girl under the age of 13. Gonzalez now lives near Cleveland's Orchard-Halle Elementary School on the city's west side.

"Oh, heck no!" exclaimed neighbor Perry Mitchell, a father of 6 girls. "I can tell you my kids won't be going across the street."

Whether in the city or the suburbs, it's up to citizens to be aware -- by using your sheriff's department's sex offender search website.

"We tell the community to use it as an investigative tool, " said Detective Katie Oleksiak from the sex offender unit of the Cuyahoga Sheriff's Office. "Whether it's for your neighborhood, to buying a house, to even dating, or a new neighbor."

Other states with similar residency restrictions for sex offenders are now considering attaching criminal penalties for violations. Such a bill is currently pending in the New York state legislature.