Archive for May 27, 2010

OH: Abduction and Sex Assault was a Hoax

May 27, 2010 Comments off College Student Recants Abduction Report.

Lebanon, Ohio — Police in Lebanon said the abduction and sex assault of a 21-year-old college student has been ruled a hoax. Investigators said Kristen Lamb admitted Thursday during an interview that the alleged abduction and sexual assault was a hoax. They said they attribute Lamb’s actions over her family’s attention to her brother’s recent wedding.

Police said the University of Cincinnati nursing student admitted that she went to the location in a wooded area where she sat for more than 15 hours. She told police that she used zip ties from her father’s toolbox to bound her wrists. Lamb also told police that she used a pillow case from her own room to cover her head. Police said Lamb took officers to the wooded area north of her home, where they found the pillow case and one zip tie.

According to police, Lamb said she had no other help in the alleged abduction and sexual assault. Police are now talking with prosecutors about possible criminal charges against Lamb.

This woman must be charged severely as anyone should be after making a false accusation of sex abuse. Her family should be ashamed of her for her inexcusable actions.

TN: More Sex Offender Compliance Checks Under Way

May 27, 2010 Comments off Sex Offender Compliance Checks Under Way.

See previous posts for important information about this topic.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshal’s Service is in the process of contacting sex offenders to verify the information they provided for the state’s sex offender registry is accurate and up-to-date.

Five teams of two people each consisting of personnel from the BCSO and U.S. Marshal’s Service started Tuesday verifying offenders live at the address where they are registered and are abiding by any applicable restrictions regarding minor children living in the same home.

The Tennessee Sex Offender Act requires offenders report changes in residence, employment, or enrollment in an educational facility within 48 hours. Offenders on registries in other states are required to register in Tennessee within 48 hours after they establish residence.

Two NH Sex Offender Bills Killed

May 27, 2010 Comments off Two NH sex offender bills killed.

The New Hampshire State Senate last week tabled and thus killed HB 1628, a bill to encourage police to actively notify the neighbors whenever a sex offender is released into their midst. A dozen opponents, including several sex offenders, had packed the senate public hearing on the legislation.

In response, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-1 to kill the bill politely by sending it to interim study in an election year. A co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Sheila Roberge (R-Bedford), voted to effectively defeat her own legislation after hearing the evidence against it.

There was no debate on the later Senate floor motion to table. Whatever infighting led to that outcome happened behind closed doors. After the vote, one senator said people were worried about the consequences to the families of sex offenders if neighbors got into the habit of welcoming every sex offender harshly.

I certainly expected an emotional floor fight in the senate chambers. Sen. Robert Letourneau (R-Derry) missed the committee vote, but he co-sponsored the bill and would have voted for it. Close split decisions are rare in senate committees and often lead to donnybrooks on the senate floor. All 24 senators received an email from me the night before the final vote with a copy of an op ed I had just published in the Laconia Citizen. The full text appears at the bottom of this update.

I’m sorry to say the Senate killed HB 1484 the same way, a bill to bar towns from imposing residency restrictions against sex offenders. I heard conflicting reasons from senators and sources close to the governor for the surprising vote to table this fine legislation. It had sailed through the House and left Senate Judiciary Committee with a 5-0 ought-to-pass endorsement. The sponsors tentatively plan to resubmit the bill for next year. (contact your senators !)

Losing this favorable legislation was palatable in an election year. Only five towns have adopted these residency restrictions, and several have chosen not to enforce them in light of a district court decision last August. It shot down the Dover residency restriction against sex offenders as a violation of fundamental property rights.

Shh…Georgia’s Sex Offender Law Changed Last Week

May 27, 2010 Comments off Shh! Georgia’s sex offender law changed last week.

It’s gotten surprisingly little attention, but much of Georgia’s harsh and arguably unconstitutional sex offender law was effectively tossed out last Friday.

That’s when Gov. Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 571, the near-total rewrite of the 2006 state law authored by Christian Coalition head-turned-politician, Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simon’s. HB 571, in turn, was introduced and shepherded through the Legislature by new House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

So, as of Friday, what’s changed ? Well…

* Sex offenders can’t be forced from their homes or apartments if a park or daycare opens nearby.

* Judges now have discretion to exempt some registered sex offenders from restrictions on where they’re allowed to work.

* Sex offenders are no longer be prohibited from taking part in such church activities as choir and Bible study.

* Homeless sex offenders no longer risk going to prison for failing to have a fixed address.

* Folks won’t be added to the sex-offender registry for a misdemeanor.

The new law also — and this is a biggie — allows judges to remove convicted sex offenders from the state registry after they’ve completed their sentence.

Perhaps just as importantly, the new law provides for sex offenders to be evaluated in terms of their relative risk to the public. For the past few years, the only distinction the law made was in the case of “sexual predators” — serial rapists and child molesters. Everyone else was dumped into the same basket, regardless of whether they’d been convicted of stalking or having sex with an underage girlfriend.

Law-enforcement officials, from the GBI to local sheriffs, have long asked legislators to create a mechanism to differentiate between dangerous pervs and folks like Wendy Whitaker, our cover subject from 2006, who has remained on the state registry despite the fact that she was convicted under a law that was subsequently overturned.

Which brings us to the new law’s shortcomings. For one, it doesn’t address the issue of school bus stops. You’ll recall that, under Keen’s law, sex offenders were prohibited from living near a “designated school bus stop.” That provision was enjoined by a federal judge, however, after it was realized that school systems frequently change bus routes and that there’s no official designation process for bus stops. At this point, I can’t imagine the state would continue to fight to salvage a provision that’s never been enforced.

More troublesome is the fact that the new law applies only to sex offenders convicted since July 2008, meaning it still won’t help folks like Whitaker. Those and other improvements to the law will have to be shaped by future lawsuits.

We say, bring ‘em on !

View Georgia General Assembly HB 571 here.
05/20/10 – House Date Signed by Governor

A BILL to be entitled an Act to change and enact provisions of law relating to classification of sexual offenders, sexual offender registration, and restrictions on sexual offenders’ residences, workplaces, and activities; to amend Code Section 5-6-35 of the O.C.G.A., relating to appeals requiring an application for appeal, so as to make such Code section applicable to appeals reviewing a decision of the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board; to amend Article 1 of Chapter 10 of Title 17 of the O.C.G.A., relating to procedures for sentencing in criminal cases, so as to provide that, classification shall be by the sentencing court rather than the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board; to amend Article 2 of Chapter 1 of Title 42 of the O.C.G.A., relating to classification and registration of sexual offenders and regulation of the conduct of such offenders, so as to revise provisions relating to registration; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Readers in states other than Georgia need to pay attention to this report. Only when the people fight these laws will lawmakers back down. If you are not actively participating in the fight against these abusive sex offender laws, then you are part of the problem!

FL: Governor Signs Bill to Criminalize Sex Offender Loitering

May 27, 2010 Comments off Crist signs bill in Orlando strengthening sex offender laws.

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill today that strengthens Florida’s laws against sex offenders and predators.

Crist signed the bill — which makes it illegal for sex offenders and predators to loiter or prowl within 300 feet of a place where children congregate — in front of several-dozen parents, teachers and staff at Timber Lakes Elementary School. (How does a police officer define loitering? It is a subjective determination and is open to abusive application)

The legislation also makes it illegal for sex offenders or predators who were previously convicted of a crime against children, to:

Approach a child in a public park with the intent to engage in sexual conduct or sexual communication
(It is illegal to do that in any place at any time, already)

Be at a child care facility or school without prior notification or approval
(Many people required to register as sex offenders are parents of school children and have every right to be at their child’s school just like any other parent)

The bill also limits sex offenders and predators from participating in activities that would be attractive to children, such as dressing up in costumes like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
(This is just plain ridiculous, unconstitutional and unenforceable in all but public settings)

Crist noted the legislation was passed unanimously.The bill signing prompted applause from the parents and staff who gathered in the school’s media center to see the governor. “Now we get to protect our children more,” Crist said. (He is clearly pandering for political advantage, which is disgraceful and ignorant of the facts that only 2% of child sex offenses are committed by strangers)