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October 5, 2015

2 local men caught in Chris Hansen child-sex sting in Connecticut

10-5-15 Connecticut:

Two local men were arrested in a "To Catch a Predator"-style police sting over the weekend in Connecticut.

......., a 64-year-old from Brewster, and ...., a 32-year-old from Harrison, were arrested by Fairfield, Connecticut police during a sting run in conjunction with production of TV news reporter Chris Hansen's Kickstarter-funded project Hansen vs. Predator.

..... faces charges of enticing a minor, criminal attempt at second-degree sexual assault and criminal attempt at risk of injury or impairing the morals of a minor. ......... faces charges of criminal attempt at risk of injury or impairing the morals of a minor.

..... and eight others believed they were exchanging messages online with either a 13-year-old boy or a 12-year-old girl, including both sexually-charged messages and nude photos, The Connecticut Post reported. The "children" gave the men the address of a Fairfield home owned by one of Hansen's friends, and when they arrived were arrested.

According to Hansen vs. Predator's Kickstarter page, the former NBC news reporter plans to release episodes online. It says the new project will reflect changes in mobile technology, which allow predators to find children through social media.

..... is being held on $500,000 bond and is next due in Bridgeport Superior Court Oct. 20. .... is being held on $80,000 bond and is due back Oct. 28. ..Source.. by Matt Coyne

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October 4, 2015

This week at the Court

10-4-15 Washington DC:

This is the first week of the Court’s October Term 2015. On Thursday, the Court added thirteen new cases to its merits docket; Lyle Denniston covered the orders for this blog.

We expect additional orders from the September 28 Conference on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. The full list of scheduled arguments for the October sitting is here.

On Friday, the Justices will meet for their October 9 Conference. ..Source.. by SCOTUSblog

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October 2, 2015

Justice awards $417K to Guam

See 2012 Grant $400,000 for same thing? Hey, 161,000 residents live in Guam. There are 898 sex offenders ($400,000 + 147,000 = 547,000 / 898 = $609.00 spent for each registrant). Someone is getting their pockets filled!
10-2-2015 Guam:

uam Del. Madeleine Bordallo Friday announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded Guam $417,510 in federal grants to the Office of the Governor, Guam Judiciary, and the Guam Department of Youth Affairs, according to a written statement from her office.

The funding will be divided as follows:

• Guam Judiciary: $147,604 by the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office to support the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act to administer sex offender management. The grant will enhance efforts to protect the public from sex offenders by developing and enhancing sex offender registration and notification programs.

• Office of the Governor: $144,000 by the Office on Violence Against Women to fund the Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Program. The grant will help GovGuam implement provisions of the Violence Against Women Act and support programs to establish and expand services for victim services throughout the island.

• Office of the Governor: $50,868 by the Office of Violence Against Women to support the Sexual Assault Services Program. The grant will support local rape crisis centers and other organizations that provide assistance for victims of sexual assault.

• Department of Youth Affairs: $75,038 by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program to support several program areas to address juvenile delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system. The programs include after-school programs, Disproportionate Minority Contact, Juvenile Justice System Improvements, Alternatives to Detention, and Planning and Administration.

“These grants will help reduce domestic violence, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency on Guam,” Bordallo stated. “The funds continue the Department of Justice’s efforts to provide federal resources to local agencies to assist in providing solutions to offenses committed against women and children. Our community continues to work toward creating a safer and more secure community for all to live in and these funds will help us reach that goal.” ..Source.. by Pacific Daily News

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October 1, 2015

Washington DC: Congress and Secret Ballots?

10-1-15 Washington DC:

Most folks know I watch everything introduced in Congress. Well this AM the following showed up:
Sep 30, 2015 — Introduced
H.Res. 452: Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require the Clerk of the House to conduct the election of the Speaker of the House by secret ballot.

Sponsor: Rep. Brad Ashford [D-NE2]

This resolution was referred to the House Committee on Rules which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.
I just couldn't resist: I had to let folks know about this, even though it has nothing to do with folks we advocate for.

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Which Halloween Health Hazards Are Factual? Which Are Just Scary Stories?

October 2015:

A Parent Asks
This year my 10-year-old son plans to go trick-or-treating with his friends without my supervision. What Halloween health hazards have been reported? What are some Halloween safety tips?

The Parent Coach Advises

Participating in Halloween is popular among children of all ages. In 2013, the estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters—children aged 5 to 14 years—in the United States was 41.2 million.1 The age at which it is safe for a child to trick-or-treat without supervision should be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the child’s maturity level and the maturity level of the other children in the group. A 2011 national survey found that 12% of children under the age of 5 trick-or-treated without adult chaperones, and only 35% of parents talked to their children annually about Halloween safety concerns.2

Reported Halloween Health Hazards

Pedestrian Injury. While many parents worry about strangers and candy that has been tampered with, the true danger during trick-or-treating is pedestrian injury. Halloween is ranked as the No. 1 day of the year for child-pedestrian accidents and fatalities. One analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System3 found that 115 child-pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween from 1990 to 2010. This average of 5.5 pediatric fatalities per year on Halloween is more than double the average of 2.6 pediatric fatalities on all other days of the year. The group at highest risk is 12- to 18-year-olds, who accounted for 32% of the fatalities, followed by the 5- to 8-year-old age group at 23%. The majority of these fatalities (60%) occurred during the peak trick-or-treating hours between 5 pm and 9 pm. The deadliest hour of trick-or-treating was from 6 pm to 7 pm. The drivers of the vehicles involved in one-third of the accidents were young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years.

Tampered Candy. The fear of candy that has been tampered with is media-driven and is a common concern among parents nationwide. The results of a 2011 Harris Interactive poll showed that 24% of parents with children under the age of 12 years worry about poisoned treats.2 To date, five reported deaths have been linked to Halloween candy: two in the 1970s that eventually were attributed to the direct actions of family members rather than strangers, one when a child ingested heroin that a relative had stashed among the candy, and one when a father murdered his son with cyanide-laced Pixy Stix candy in order to collect on a life insurance policy. Other fatalities in 1978 and 1990 later were determined to be associated with preexisting cardiac disease and natural causes. The 2001 case of a 4-year-old in Vancouver, Canada, who died a day after ingesting trick-or-treat candy was widely reported in the news media. After police ordered children and families across the area to dispose of their Halloween candy, it eventually was determined that the cause of death was streptococcal infection unrelated to Halloween candy. ..Continued..

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September 30, 2015

Missouri Supreme Court weighing adult sex offender registration for youth

See also: Missouri Supreme Court considers child sex registry case
9-30-15 Missouri:

JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday that could have wide-ranging effect on children accused of serious sexual crimes.

The case involves a troubled, developmentally delayed 14-year-old St. Louis boy accused of sexually assaulting his 41-year-old adoptive sister. But it also could challenge the state’s little-known juvenile sex offender registry, and the juvenile court’s ability to place children on the adult registry.

The registry, unlike the adult version, is not public and is maintained by county juvenile offices. Certain individuals on this list no longer have to register when they turn 21. State law requires juveniles age 14 and older convicted of certain very serious crimes to register on the adult list.

Hundreds of juveniles have been adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court of serious sexual crimes that could qualify them for inclusion on the adult list. An adjudication of delinquency is akin to a conviction in adult court.

The teen, identified only by initials, was not certified to stand trial as an adult, but was adjudicated delinquent in August 2014 of a charge of attempted rape in the first degree after an assessment found him competent to proceed in court.

The teen was ordered to register on the juvenile sex offender list. But Patricia Harrison, who represented the teen Wednesday, said he would eventually have to register as an adult under state law because of his age and the nature of his crime. Harrison is a professor and director of the St. Louis University Law School Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic.

If the teen was one day stopped by police and they saw he had an adjudication for attempted rape but was not on the adult registry, Harrison said, he could be charged with a felony.

He “was 14 and adjudicated of attempted rape in the first degree, (so) the statute requires he be placed on that (adult) registry regardless of whether the juvenile judge felt that was appropriate,” Harrison said.

Forcing a teen to register as a sex offender for life violates both the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions, Harrison said, by imposing an adult penalty in a juvenile case, imposing cruel and unusual punishment and removing the juvenile court judge’s discretion.

But Assistant Attorney General Matthew Laudano said the teen was not ordered to register as an adult. Juvenile court judges cannot order him onto the adult list.

The state did not appeal the juvenile court judge’s decision to only require the teen to register on the juvenile registry, but Laudano said the attorney general’s office believes the teen’s crime likely falls under the category that could land him on the adult list.

The teen choked, beat and sexually assaulted his 41-year-old adoptive sister in 2014, according to court files. She is several inches shorter and substantially lighter than the teen.

Through tears in juvenile court, the woman said that it was as if her attacker “was a different person” and “didn’t have a soul that day,” court filings say.

To say that the teen had a troubled youth is an understatement, according to his lawyers’ court filing.

He was exposed to crack cocaine before birth, and was placed in foster care at 10 months. At age 1, tests showed elevated levels of lead in his blood, which can lead to neurological damage, behavioral problems and developmental delays. He was adopted by a woman who was thought to be his grandmother, although it later turned out she was not. He had limited contact with his father, who is currently in prison.

Although he never acted out sexually before the rape, he had been suspended twice from preschool by the age of 4 for “acting in a threatening manner and ‘punching holes in the wall,’” his lawyers’ filing says.

By the eighth grade, he had been in five different schools.

He has a range of developmental delays, an IQ of 61 and a series of diagnoses of mental disorders including ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.

In December 2013, his adoptive mother refused to pick him up from the hospital, and he was returned to foster care. He also needed mental health treatment that his adoptive mother could not provide.

The rape allegation was lodged in March 2014.

He was committed to the Division of Youth Services and ordered to register on the juvenile sex offender list and undergo therapy and treatment. There was a “great” possibility that he could victimize others if housed with them, court filings say.

The judge did not rule on a claim that the registry requirement in the law was unconstitutional for juveniles.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of itself and the Children’s Law Center Inc., made the same cruel-and-unusual punishment argument, saying that courts have long recognized that children “are both less culpable for their crimes and more capable of reform.”

The Supreme Court is not expected to rule on the case for weeks. ..Source.. by Robert Patrick, Alex Stuckey

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CBP Arrests Sex Offender Getting Off Cruise at Port Canaveral

9-29-15 Cape Canaveral, Florida:

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working at Port Canaveral arrested a United States citizen for an outstanding warrant issued for failure to comply with sexual offender guidelines. The passenger was arriving on a cruise from Mexico on Saturday September 26th.

CBP OFO officers verified the validity of the warrant out of Volusia County, Florida. The subject was arrested by CBP and turned over to Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

“CBP is committed to intercepting sex offenders who try to circumvent the laws. Our CBP officers work extremely well with state and local law enforcement partners to protect the American public from dangerous people,” said Port Canaveral Port Director Jean Anderson.

CBP conducts inspection operations and intercepts currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture products or other illicit items, and on average arrests 22 wanted persons a day at U. S. Ports of entry nationwide. View CBP’s enforcement stats ‘On a Typical Day’ at CBP Snapshot.

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section to learn rules, tips and advice to help quickly complete their CBP international arrivals inspection. ..Source.. by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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September 29, 2015

Florida group sues Seminole County, sheriff over sex-offender rules

9-29-15 Florida:

An organization that works to reform sex-offender laws in Florida is suing Seminole County and Sheriff Don Eslinger, alleging that a decade-old county ordinance is so restrictive that it prevents registered sex offenders from traveling to a grocery store, eating out at a restaurant or, in some cases, even leaving their homes.

According to Seminole's ordinance, sexual offenders or predators in most cases are not allowed to "travel through or remain within" 1,000 feet of schools, parks, day care centers or playgrounds.

"That's the problem. You could literally just be shopping at a store, such as Publix, and violate the ordinance if it sits within that 1,000 feet," said attorney Peter Sleasman, a Newberry attorney who is representing the non-profit group Florida Action Committee.

"The law is vague in terms of where a registered sex offender can go…So unless you're driving around town with a survey map, you have no idea where the 1,000-feet line is. Just by driving down the road, you could be violating the ordinance."

The ordinance even prevents a registered sex offender from attending a Seminole commission meeting, Sleasman said, because the county administration building sits adjacent to a private playground and across the street from a park in downtown Sanford.

Sheriff officials declined to comment about the suit, filed Sept. 15 in federal court in Orlando. County attorneys did not return calls.

The organization is not trying throw out the county's entire ordinance, Sleasman said. Rather, it is asking a judge to do away with the section that restricts where registered sex offenders can travel.

Florida Action Committee, based in the Sanford area, has about 650 members across Florida, including roughly 30 in Seminole County, according to the suit. Many of FAC's members are required by state law to register with local law enforcement agencies as sexual offenders or sexual predators.

Organization officials did not return calls to comment on their suit.

According to the group's web site, FAC's mission is to "educate the media, our legislators and the public" about sex-offender issues.

"Our current policies for sex-offender management are failing," according to the web site, floridaactioncommittee.org. "We need to fix our broken system to create a safer Florida."

Seminole's ordinance was enacted in 2005 at a time when governments across Florida were putting in place tough laws restricting sex offenders. Many Central Florida cities have since passed rules that prohibit sex offenders from living within a certain distance of schools, playgrounds, parks, day care centers and, in some cases, school bus stops and churches.

But Seminole's ordinance goes a step further by establishing exclusionary zones around those areas. Sex offenders who are stopped within an exclusionary zone would have to explain to law enforcement as to why they are there, according to the ordinance.

Sleasman cited an example of a sex offender who asked to remain anonymous who has had "a clean record for 20 years. But he can't drive out of his neighborhood without going into an exclusion zone if he were to strictly adhere to the ordinance," he said. "It is basically a form of house arrest."

Still, sex offenders have certain exceptions to travel or "reside" within the 1,000 feet, including attending a church service, receiving care at a medical facility or going to work, according to the ordinance. ..Source.. by Martin E. Comas

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September 28, 2015

City will pay $50,000 to settle sex offender lawsuit

9-28-15 Pennsylvania:

City Council agreed last week to pay $50,000 toward the settlement of a lawsuit which was filed against the city for discriminating against a registered sex offender.

During a meeting on Monday night, March 16, council voted unanimously to make the payment as part of a proposed $60,000 settlement with Leo Conway, Archbald.

City solicitor Atty. Frank Ruggiero noted that Allied World Assurance Co. will pay the remainder of the amount.

“Under the proposed agreement, the city would pay $50,000 and our carrier would cover the other $10,000 as well as our litigation costs,” he related. “Now that council has voted, we should have the agreement signed and executed within the next few weeks.”

Three years ago, Conway and his son Patrick were removed from a residence they shared on Brooklyn St. because it was located across the street from White Bridge Playground and near the Carbondale Area elementary and high school campus.

Their eviction was prompted by Mayor Justin Taylor's discovery that Patrick had been convicted in 2009 of unlawful contact or communication with a minor, and his subsequent listing on the Megan’s Law Registry.

Under a city ordinance which was in effect at that time, registered sex offenders were prohibited from living within 2,500 feet of any facility or area where children might gather, such as a school, park or playground.

In August of 2013, Conway and his son attended a meeting of City Council, where Conway accused the mayor of targeting his son and forcing them both out of the city.

Having served as a magistrate judge in Wyoming County for 25 years before moving to Carbondale, Conway said his family name had been “defamed.” “We were very happy here,” he recounted. “But then the mayor told me, ‘Pat has to go!’ That was it.”

Conway acknowledged that his son “did wrong,” but insisted “he wouldn’t hurt anybody.” He threatened legal action against the city, arguing that a 2011 state Supreme Court ruling had rendered the city’s ordinance unconstitutional.

A month later, in an attempt to avoid litigation, council introduced and later adopted a revised ordinance relaxing the housing restrictions on registered sex offenders like Patrick Conway who are classified as “non-violent.”

Nevertheless, Conway did file a lawsuit against the city just about a year ago, which claimed that Mayor Taylor and the city acted in a “capricious, unreasonable and discriminatory manner” in enforcing the previous ordinance.

In the suit, Conway argued that his son was among 15 sex offenders who were registered under Megan’s Law and living in the city at the time of the eviction, but Patrick was the only one who was forced to move in order to comply with that ordinance.

Conway said he also informed Taylor of the state Supreme Court ruling in an effort to resolve the situation, but the mayor refused to recognize it. ..Source.. by Tom Flannery

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