Archive for November 24, 2009

Sex Offender Ordinance Results in Only One Arrest

November 24, 2009 Comments off (Tampa) : Investigation – Sex offender ordinance results in only one arrest.

Video report: Sex Offender Ordinance Ineffective.

Hillsborough County, FL – Hillsborough County’s commissioners created a supposedly tough ordinance that would ban sex offenders and predators from parks and playgrounds. But in the 12 months since the county’s sex offender ordinance has gone into affect, how many arrests has the Sheriff’s Department been able to make?
“We’ve made one,” says Captain Alan Hill of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

State Representative Richard Glorioso says the problem with Hillsborough County’s ordinance is that it contains so many exceptions, it is operationally ineffective. “Right now that person can be in that park sitting on a bench next to your kids and the officer has no authority to tell them to leave.” (because that is a violation of a citizen’s constitutional rights)

For instance, while it bans sex offenders and predators from parks and playgrounds, there are exceptions for dropping off their own child, or a friend or relatives child. Or while traveling to and from religious services, and to and from official business.

“Right now that person can be in that park sitting on a bench next to your kids and the officer has no authority to tell them to leave.” says Glorioso.

Which is why Representative Glorioso is now introducing a bill that would create a new, tougher statewide law which would close many of the loopholes in the Hillsborough County ordinance. “We do two things. First of all if you a sexual offender or predator on conditional release or probation you will not be allowed in a park, period. If you’re in the registry we create a circle of safety of 300 feet around the children where you cannot loiter,” says Glorioso. However, even under Glorioso’s bill those in the sex offender registry could still visit parks if they stay more than 300 feet away from children.

State Representative Richard Glorioso’s Bills:
CS/HB 77 – Sexual Offenders and Predators (killed in 2009)
HB 119 – Sexual Offenders and Predators (alive for 2010)

If you live in this man’s district, contact him and tell him what you think (he is your servant).

The Plague of Sex Offender Panic

November 24, 2009 Comments off : Of Myths and Monsters: The Plague of Sex Offender Panic.

If we want to address sex crimes in America, we need an honest approach. We need to seriously consider what truly works, not what simply feeds our anger and fear and makes us “feel good.” We forget sex offenders are also human beings, capable of remorse and redemption. We forget how easily we can fall into our own sins, all of which is the same in the eyes of God.

There are ways to address this issue from a realistic standpoint. We may not be able to stop every tragedy from happening, but we prevent much more sexual abuse by looking at the issue honestly. We must put aside our preconceived notions and our emotions and stick with what works. The right knowledge is power. Prevention and education programs do indeed exist, which addresses sexual abuse from a realistic and rational standpoint (such as the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and Stop It Now!). We need to educate our youth on sexual responsibility and accountability, and not just from a fear mongering perspective. Sex education must include discussions on sex crime laws. We also need to have a balanced and healthy view of sex, meaning we can teach sexual responsibility in a tasteful manner without simply saying, “Don’t have sex or you’ll go to hell or jail.” Remember, we are a culture that needs disclaimers on coffee cups lest we burn our laps. We also need to actually talk about sex; these days when a person is struggling with sexual idolatry, they have almost nowhere to turn. Our society shuns sexual deviancy so much, even mental health professionals who work with sex offenders or deviants are shunned.

Prevention is only part of the solution; proper rehabilitation of the sex offender is a must. Of those who do re-offend, two-thirds of them will do so within the first two years of release. Thus, transitional homes and support networks (such as are keys to reducing already low recidivism rates. Social ostracism and denial of services, housing, employment, and support has already proven disastrous for our society; all those approaches achieve is reinforcing faulty belief systems of those struggling with sexual idolatry and giving ample incentive to disobey the law. A Rand Corporation study has shown every dollar spent on prevention and rehabilitation programs save up seven dollars that would otherwise be spent on running offenders through the justice system [16].

Most importantly, we need to honor victims by helping victims of sex crimes overcome the crimes committed against them. These days, if a victim forgives his or her attacker, many people look at them like they are crazy. What good does keeping victims thinking about what happened to them and the guilt and anger they feel rather than dealing with those feelings? The result is many more lives remain broken rather than healed, making them lifelong victims rather than “Thrivers.”

In our narrow focus on the “Registered Sex Offender,” we tend to forget the big picture. Appeals to emotion rather than reason helped create a legal system of perpetual brokenness for victims, offenders, and the community alike. So has the illusion of “innocence.” Your child is innocent until he is thrust into the criminal justice system for crossing a line he or she never addressed or even knew about. Ignorance is not bliss, nor is it an excuse for breaking the law. McDonald’s will give you a disclaimer for hot coffee in a cup. Yet no one is giving your child disclaimers on our legal system. If you don’t learn to be honest with your children about sexual issues, who will?

GA Supreme Court Rules Against Sex Offender

November 24, 2009 Comments off : GA Supreme Court Rules Against Sex Offender (click here for audio report)

Atlanta, GA (WABE) – A Georgia sex offender has lost his appeal to the state supreme court. State law requires sex offenders to register with the county sheriff within 72 hours of moving.

In January, convicted offender Derrick Todd Dunn temporarily located to a motel in Gordon County in northwest Georgia. Six days later he moved to a permanent home. When Dunn then registered, he was arrested for not registering the motel address.

Dunn appealed, saying registration requirements are vague, and that someone entering the state had more leeway than an offender already living in-state. In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia disagreed.

Christopher Paul was Dunn’s public defender. He says he’s disappointed with the court’s decision and the state’s sex offender law: “It’s at best an inartfully-drafted statute, and there’s lots of problems with the statute the way it’s currently drafted.”

Paul does not know if his client will file an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Derrick Todd Dunn remains in a state prison where he’ll likely stay for several years.

This is not surprising coming from Georgia, as this state has some of the harshest and most draconian sex offender laws in the nation.