The supplemental blogroll of nominees for the Annual Shiitake Awards, which spotlights the dumbest sex offender-related stories of the year. The Shiitake Awards is a project of Once Fallen Productions. For a full description of the Shiitake Awards and its mission, or to learn how to submit a nominee, click on the "About the Shiitake Awards" tab. If you are easily offended and need trigger warnings, you are in the wrong place.
The University of Cincinnati's former Title IX coordinator was forced to resign after she raised concerns about honoring a student who was a registered sex offender, a lawsuit says.
Andrea Goldblum had been UC's Title IX coordinator for nine months when the lawsuit says she was forced to resign in March 2019. Goldblum had started an informal investigation into what officials knew about the student before he was admitted to the university and before he was honored as part of graduation in December 2018, according to the lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Cincinnati.
The action taken against her was directly related to her investigation and reporting of possible Title IX violations by the university, the lawsuit says, "and was designed to punish and intimidate Goldblum from publicly disclosing potential misconduct by UC officials."
Lori Ross, UC's vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, said in a statement that the lawsuit "is without merit."
"We will present the relevant facts and evidence through the established legal proceedings," Ross said.
The case surrounds an article published online by the College of Arts and Sciences, which said the student, 24-year-old William Houston, was honored at graduation for "overcoming major challenges."
Houston was one of several students selected to receive "triumph cords" at graduation, signifying they had overcome adversity. He had been nominated by faculty.
The article did not mention Houston's 2015 conviction in Wood County for sexually assaulting a female student the previous year when he was a sophomore at Bowling Green State University.
Houston pleaded no contest to gross sexual imposition and was sentenced to three years of probation, court records show. He is a registered sex offender in Ohio.
The student who wrote the article and university staff who reviewed it were not aware of Houston's criminal background, university spokeswoman M.B. Reilly told The Enquirer in February.
Reilly said Houston answered questions honestly on his application about his criminal conviction. There was a review by admissions and student affairs officials, she said.
Houston was monitored and mentored throughout his time at UC, Reilly said, which spanned the fall of 2016 to December 2018. UC police were notified of his history and kept tabs on him during his time as a student, she said.
According to the lawsuit, Goldblum was concerned that promoting Houston "fostered the creation of a sexually hostile environment and made female…students vulnerable to sexual assault."
As Title IX coordinator, Goldblum was responsible for overseeing an office that investigates complaints and assists students impacted by sexual violence and harassment.
She wanted to submit a letter to the school newspaper offering resources to students "who may have negative responses to UC giving an award to a convicted sex offender," the lawsuit says.
But Bleuzette Marshall, the university’s vice president for equity, inclusion and community impact, deemed the letter "unsatisfactory," the lawsuit says, and told Goldblum not to send it.
On Feb. 12, a day after the student newspaper published an article about the backlash surrounding the article featuring Houston, Goldblum emailed her letter to the newspaper. The lawsuit says she did that to fulfill her role as Title IX coordinator and to provide resources to anyone affected by the article. It says she notified Marshall in advance.
The letter was never published, and the lawsuit says Marshall was "angry" Goldblum had sent it.
According to the lawsuit, although university officials initially didn't alter the Arts and Sciences profile featuring Houston, the section on him ultimately was removed.
The lawsuit says Goldblum started an informal investigation into what university officials knew about Houston’s background before he was admitted as a student and before he was given the award.
On March 15, the lawsuit says Goldblum was called into a meeting in Marshall's office. Also at the meeting were a human resources representative and a police officer. Goldblum was told to resign or be fired, the lawsuit says.
She resigned, although the lawsuit says she wasn't given a reasonable time to decide what to do.
Goldblum's attorney, Josh Engel, said in an interview that the investigation could have found university officials did nothing wrong, that it was appropriate to admit Houston and give him the award. Under the law, he said, Goldblum can't be punished for looking into it.
"She was terminated because she was asking too many questions, in our view, about this matter," Engel said.
Sexual predators living among us could be sharing the beach with your child
POSTED 12:00 AM, MAY 22, 2019, BY RACHAEL CARDIN, UPDATED AT 10:24AM, MAY 22, 2019
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The Virginia State Police monitors the state’s sex offender registry, which currently has 32,000 violent and non-violent offenders.
Of that number 10,674 are living among us — 3,011 of whom are in Hampton Roads.
The misconception, troopers say, is that every sex offender is a child molester. That is not the case, but of the more than 3,000 registered sex offenders in our area, 75 percent of them are violent offenders: convicted of crimes like rape, molestation or a sexual crime involving a child.
Violent offenders do have stipulations upon their release or end of parole. Many are banned from schools, school buses and day-care centers, or anywhere children might be.
Sex offenders are, however, allowed in public places. That means a sex offender, convicted of a violent or non-violent crime, could be walking next to you at the mall, playing with your dog at the park or laying in the sand next to your family at the beach.
Troopers have 47 officers and 36 civilians assigned to the sex offender unit in the state. These people make sure sex offenders register with the state and they check in to be sure the information in the registry is correct and up to date.
A registered sex offender has to let the state know within three days of any address, name or mailing address changes. They have to be constantly notifying troopers of their whereabouts; where they work, where they go to school and so on. An email or social media change has to be registered with the state within 30 minutes of a change.
Troopers say many sex offenders have served their time and they stay in compliance with all their requirements because they do not want to catch another charge, and possibly go back to jail. There are some, however, who do not like to follow these rules, which is why troopers routinely check in on these offenders.
Parents must be vigilant and aware of their surroundings when it comes to being in a public place with your children. Troopers encourage parents to look up the address of their home, work and their child’s school or day-care so you know where the sex offenders are.
Yes Tim, when you are playing football and it is 4th and 99 and the game is lost anyways, you still punt. Residency restriction laws are unconstitutional. Even you had to admit it. That is why the decision to repeal a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance was made.
Remember when USC was talking all that trash before they played Alabama a couple years back then lost 52-6? Well, your article is a lot like that, Tim.
Our View | Sex Offender Law: Fight or Punt? City Choices Limited
May 19, 2019
By The Signal Editorial Board
Rock. Santa Clarita. Hard Place.
That about sums up the situation the Santa Clarita City Council was in this past week, when council members faced a staff recommendation to repeal a city ordinance restricting the residency of registered sex offenders.
Regrettably, the council members had only two choices: repeal the ordinance, or face a very long, costly and most likely losing legal battle.
What does this mean for you and your family? In a nutshell, it means registered sex offenders can pretty much live wherever they want. There are a few exceptions. For example, the state Department of Corrections can still prohibit a sex offender from living within a half-mile of a school, but only if their victim was a child.
But otherwise, rapists, child molesters and serial flashers in trench coats are free to live wherever they want.
Across the street from a public park, where small children play? Yep. Green light.
Next door to an elementary school? You got it — with, of course, the aforementioned exception. Just make sure you pay the rent on time.
Church? Library? Day care center? Check, check, and check.
Yet, the city didn’t have much choice.
At issue was the city’s ordinance, enacted after the 2006 passage of California’s Proposition 83 — approved by a whopping 70 percent of the voters — that facilitated restrictions on where registered sex offenders could live.
The Santa Clarita ordinance, in short, stipulated that no sex offender could live within 2,000 feet of local parks, schools, libraries or day care centers.
Sounds reasonable, right? However, Prop. 83, known as Jessica’s Law, almost immediately faced legal challenges from attorneys who stood up for the rights of sex offenders versus the safety and security of families like yours.
By 2015, the California Supreme Court had ruled such restrictions unconstitutional. (It bears noting that the Jessica’s Law cases did not impact Megan’s Law, which requires the addresses of registered sex offenders to be made available to the public.)
While we understand that sometimes the courts must apply constitutional principles to protect the rights of the few from the whims of the many, in the case of Prop. 83 the court has protected the few — the sex offenders — while putting the many at risk.
In the aftermath of the 2015 ruling, attorneys like Janice M. Belluci started targeting cities that had imposed residency restrictions on sex offenders. Belluci, who has filed at least 34 such lawsuits, sued Santa Clarita on behalf of an unnamed “John Doe” client.
Belluci told the city she would drop the case, if the city would drop its residency restrictions.
That brought us to Tuesday night. First, we thank the council for pulling the item from the consent calendar. This is the sort of item that should at least get the benefit of a discussion before the council vote. In that discussion, there were two major topics of note:
First, the Sheriff’s Department hasn’t been enforcing Santa Clarita’s sex offender residency restrictions for the past eight years. So, if you thought you were living in a city where sex offenders can’t live within 2,000 feet of your kids’ schools, guess again. They’ve been free to do so since 2011, regardless of what the city ordinance said.
We understand the rationale for non-enforcement. The legal environment clearly pushed in that direction. But boy, if our memory serves correctly, that little bit of non-enforcement sure happened quietly.
And second, as Councilman Cameron Smyth noted in the discussion, the city faced quite a dilemma: You could repeal the ordinance, and avert the lawsuit. Or, you could fight the good fight, perhaps taking appeals as far as possible, spending who knows how many tax dollars on legal fees, and still, most likely, lose.
Sometimes a “good fight” is worth fighting. And sometimes, you punt. Weighing the factors on both sides, we don’t blame the council for punting. We share in their frustration, because this feels like a decision that was not in the best interests of local families.
That’s the California we live in: Sacrificing the will of the voters, local control and the safety of our children, while protecting the rights of sex offenders.
Does it have to be that way? While we understand that the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is taking additional measures to keep local sex offenders honest — like routine residency checks — we also implore our city leaders to explore other potential options.
Here in Santa Clarita, we must devise new measures that can be taken to protect our community’s children — where California won’t.
State Rep. taking action after 25 Investigates report on sex offender name changes
By: Ted Daniel
Updated: May 2, 2019 - 9:50 PM
A State Representative is taking action after a Boston 25 Investigates story shed light on registered sex offenders legally changing their names to hide in plain sight.
Nineteen states limit or restrict registered sex offenders from changing their names, but there are no laws like that in Massachusetts. With a $150 filing fee and a judge's signature, a sex offender can become - on paper at least - a new person.
Brighton inventor Michael Plusch became Michael Stanley in 2013. He was legally able to change his name, despite being a registered level three sex offender who served time for molesting young girls.
It's unclear how many other sex offenders have legally changed their names.
The Sex Offender Registry Board told 25 Investigates that it doesn't specifically track that data.
"It's hard enough to keep track of these guys as it is and they change their names and it makes it that much more difficult," said Bob Curley.
Somerville's Bob Curley is very familiar with this issue. Charles Jaynes, one of the men who raped and murdered his 10-year-old son Jeffrey tried to change his name several years ago. The case went all the way to the state appeals court.
"We had to fight that every step of the way and fortunately he wasn't able to do it... Somebody should step and do something about it," Curley said.
State Representative Shaunna O'Connell of Taunton saw our report and is stepping up. She says she plans to file legislation at the State House.
"I think that's important to have in statute that you may not change your name if you're a sex offender. If you don't want to be on the sex offender registry then you should not commit heinous sex crimes against women and children," said O'Connell.
If the state sex offender registry board learns of a name change or a new alias, it will update its database with the new information and people at home can access that, but ultimately, it's up to the offender to report those changes to the registry.
Okay, so FloriDUH isn't the only state pushing this knee-jerk legislation. It IS, however, the only state with a real life inflatable doll named State Senator Lauren Book to promote this idiotic law.
Surely there are lots of questions as to what constitutes a "child-like doll".
What if a person converts one of those large Barbie dolls or Disney Princess dolls sold in stores into a sex doll? Barbie's 60, and the ages of most of the Disney Princesses are 18 (a few are 16, Jasmine is 15, Snow White is only 14-- who knew?). At any rate, would that count? (Interesting side note, Barbie's original age was 17 but has grown since then and Ken was 2 years younger than her (making him 15), so if they met (and presumably had sex) at their original ages, could Barbie be a sex offender?
What about guys who just like their women, or in this case, their dolls, short? Or with small breasts? Some guys like midgets. Remember the case of the man accused of possessing CP for having images of porn star Lupe Fuentes?
I've written at length about how vague CP laws currently are, and the CP laws are being used as the basis of these sex doll bans. How do you even determine age of the doll, anyways? You can't very well do a Tanner age test on a blowup doll. Do you go by manufacturing date? Do you go by the fictional date of the doll's back story?
I would suggest reading the comment sections at the following link:
A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to prohibited acts in connection with
3 obscene or lewd materials; amending s. 847.011, F.S.;
4 prohibiting a person from knowingly selling, lending,
5 giving away, distributing, transmitting, showing, or
6 transmuting; offering to commit such actions; having
7 in his or her possession, custody, or control with the
8 intent to commit such actions; or advertising in any
9 manner an obscene, child-like sex doll; providing
10 criminal penalties; prohibiting a person from
11 knowingly having in his or her possession, custody, or
12 control an obscene, child-like sex doll without the
13 intent to commit certain actions; providing criminal
14 penalties; reenacting ss. 772.102(1)(a), 847.02,
15 847.03, 847.09(2), 895.02(8)(a), 921.0022(3)(f),
16 933.02, 933.03, and 943.325(2)(g), F.S., relating to
17 the definition of the term “criminal activity,” the
18 confiscation of obscene material, an officer seizing
19 obscene material, legislative intent, the definition
20 of the term “racketeering activity,” level 6 of the
21 offense severity ranking chart, grounds for the
22 issuance of a search warrant, destruction of obscene
23 prints and literature, and the definition of the term
24 “qualifying offender,” respectively, to incorporate
25 the amendment made to s. 847.011, F.S., in references
26 thereto; providing an effective date.
28 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
30 Section 1. Present subsections (5) through (10) of section
31 847.011, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (6)
32 through (11), respectively, and a new subsection (5) is added to
33 that section, to read:
34 847.011 Prohibition of certain acts in connection with
35 obscene, lewd, etc., materials; penalty.—
36 (5)(a) A person may not knowingly sell, lend, give away,
37 distribute, transmit, show, or transmute; offer to sell, lend,
38 give away, distribute, transmit, show, or transmute; have in his
39 or her possession, custody, or control with the intent to sell,
40 lend, give away, distribute, transmit, show, or transmute; or
41 advertise in any manner an obscene, child-like sex doll. A
42 person who violates this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the
43 first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
45 (b) A person who is convicted of violating paragraph (a) a
46 second or subsequent time commits a felony of the third degree,
47 punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
48 (c) A person who knowingly has in his or her possession,
49 custody, or control an obscene, child-like sex doll without
50 intent to sell, lend, give away, distribute, transmit, show,
51 transmute, or advertise the same, commits a misdemeanor of the
52 second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
53 775.083. A person who, after having been convicted of violating
54 this subsection, thereafter violates any of its provisions
55 commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
56 provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. In any prosecution for
57 such possession, it is not necessary to allege or prove the
58 absence of such intent.
Ted Daniel of Boston 25 decided to join into the sweeps week fearmongering by destroying one man's career. His brown journalism is the reason why people on the public registry would want to legally change their names to be able to have jobs.
25 Investigates: No one is tracking how often sex offenders change names
By: Ted Daniel
Updated: May 3, 2019 - 5:35 AM
Registered sex offenders are legally allowed to change their names in Massachusetts and 25 Investigates found the State Sex Offender Registry Board does not track how often this happens. It turns out, neither do probate courts or law enforcement.
In January, Boston 25 News reported on Michael D. Stanley, a Brighton man who has gained national attention for his futuristic idea called Transit X. Transit X used solar-powered pods that travel on a network of thin, elevated tracks 15 feet above the ground. Stanley believes his company could revolutionize public transportation all over the world.
Days after the story aired, an anonymous tipster emailed 25 Investigates with information about Stanley’s past. It turns out Stanley was born Michael D. Plusch. He legally changed his last name in Essex County back in 2013.
Stanley pleaded guilty, in 2010, to four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and served time in prison. When he got out of jail the sex offender registry board classified him as a Level 3 sex offender, considered most likely to re-offend.
In a follow-up interview, Stanley told 25 Investigates he changed his name after he was released from prison because his sex offender status made it difficult for him to find a job. He said it wasn’t to conceal his status, but to avoid search engines like Google.
"Even somebody with my background, education, and self-confidence had enormous difficulty in just doing basic life functions, housing, getting a job. The registry is one of the cruelest forms of shame and punishment that we can possibly have as a society.” Stanley said.
Nineteen states either prohibit or place limitations on sex offender name changes, but not in Massachusetts. In the Commonwealth, anyone can go to probate court and request a legal name change from a judge.
Attorney and victim advocate Wendy Murphy is not surprised a sex offender would want to distance themselves from their crimes.
"This is a special category of crime we're talking about with high recidivism rates, offenders who are notorious for trying to evade compliance with the registry. It's just hard to believe that neither law enforcement nor the sex offender registry board is tracking these name change situations,” Murphy said.
When you search the registry for Michael Stanley both his last names are on the website. His former name Plusch is listed as an alias.
Andy Harris, a professor at UMass Lowell, has been studying sex offender registries across the country. He said the point of the registry is to keep track of where offenders are living and working. Harris says a legal name shouldn’t be a factor if the offender reports it.
"Anybody who is searching for that individual should be able to find that individual regardless of whether or not they changed their name in the system if that old name is appropriately reflected,” Harris said.
But what about offenders who aren't following the rules?
There are nearly 200 Level 3 sex offenders in Massachusetts currently in violation. We found that almost a third of them have multiple aliases.
In a statement from a spokesperson for the Sex Offender Registry Board writes,
"A legal name change won’t allow a registered sex offender to evade detection because the Sex offender Registry Board maintains all offenders’ legal name changes and aliases in the database. This information is available to both law enforcement and the public, regardless of whether they search by a current or former name."
Stanley says he's stepped down as CEO of Transit X and is still hopeful that his vision to change the transportation world will succeed."You can't change what happened. I am so sorry for what had happened. I'm making the best of a second chance" said Stanley "If you're trying to use a second chance to save the world which will help millions of people, I think that's a good use of a second chance."
"When a sex offender changes their name, it defeats the purpose of the sex offender registry,” she said.