Sex offenders struggle to follow Jessica's Law: When transience is the best option


SAN PABLO -- S.T. is a registered sex offender with a wife, three children and a cozy apartment near Hilltop mall. But every night he roams the dark streets in a pea coat, a wool cap and a Global Positioning System tracker strapped to his left ankle.

He would rather stay home. But that could mean running afoul of Jessica's Law -- and a return trip to prison.

So at 10 p.m. he slips on the soft prison shoes he wore out of San Quentin State Prison last month and walks to his favorite bus stop shelter. He sits and chats with the drivers. He circles the mall. Then he treks down near the Richmond BART station to watch the hookers and drug dealers and to lie on a sheet of cardboard plucked from behind a KFC restaurant.

When light breaks, he shakes off the chill and heads home -- but never before 7 a.m., because that is when his parole officer says it is OK, said S.T., who asked to remain anonymous, saying he fears upsetting his parole agent.

"My hands get so cold they turn actually red and get numb," he said on a recent night out. "Mentally and psychologically, I'm fighting."

S.T. lives under a kind of reverse-curfew that owes to the state's enforcement of Proposition 83, the 2006 ballot measure that bans newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

He is not alone. State corrections figures show a big increase in parolee sex offenders who, like him, are registering as transient -- homeless or bouncing from bed to bed, doing anything to comply with the 2,000-foot rule.

The surge started in August, when parole agents began to enforce a law that was billed as a way to ease safety fears over children. Yet concern is mounting among state officials, parole agents, victims' advocates and even the law's author, that this is not the way.

Of the 3,952 parolees who now fall under the ban, nearly one in five were registered as transient last week, up from very few before the law, officials said. In the parole region that runs along the coast from Ventura north to the Oregon border and includes the Bay Area, more than a third of the 859 sex offender parolees who fall under Jessica's Law are officially transient.

The situation is most acute in urban areas, where the 2,000-foot rule leaves few places for newly released offenders to live.

Prop. 83, or Jessica's Law, added several get-tough measures against sex offenders. The most controversial is the ban on newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet -- about four-tenths of a mile -- of a school or park where children "regularly gather."

As judges and policymakers sort out the legal and practical implications, what has emerged is a makeshift -- some say slipshod -- system of enforcement.

Parole agents measure off the 2,000 feet "as the crow flies," under state policy. But they have leeway over what it means to live somewhere. For S.T. and others, it is where they spend the night.

The rise in transients is a concern, said Gareth Lacy, spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office keeps the state sex offender registry.

"It's much harder to track and manage offenders who are moving around and not in one location," he said.

Most of the transients are fitted with GPS anklets. They also must report daily to their parole agents, instead of weekly. But the tracking is no cure-all, said Mark McCarthy, a parole agent who oversees sex offenders.

"The big fallacy with GPS is that it's going to curtail crimes. It isn't going to make them not molest kids or rape women. We'll just know if they did it or not," he said. "For public safety purposes, I'd rather know where a guy's at -- at home -- than have him transient, out in the streets somewhere."

A state corrections official denied there is any policy for parole agents to tell people such as S.T. to go transient. Some agents, though, say it is written between the lines of an Aug. 17 memo detailing the agency's policy on the law.

The choices are few in some counties. In San Francisco, where state maps show virtually no compliant housing, 31 of the city's 97 Jessica's Law parolees are now registered transient.

"We had an obligation to make sure parolees knew their options under the law," state corrections spokesman Bill Sessa said. "We weren't directing them. We were simply saying, you either have to find a compliant address or register as transient."

A third option: a parole violation and possible return to prison.

As many as 700 sex offenders are paroled each month. They all fall under the 2,000-foot rule for life unless a court rules otherwise. The state Supreme Court is expected to rule in the spring on a challenge to the restriction.

"The continuing issue is there have to be places for people to live," Sessa said. "The number of sex offenders covered by the law will be constantly expanding."

Transients cannot set up anywhere, Sessa said. They cannot sleep, for instance, under a bridge for several nights if it is too close to a school or park, he said. However, parole agents have discretion.

"There's a common-sense perspective of what it means to live somewhere," he said. "There is a balancing act here, because all the research shows that having a stable environment is the biggest key to rehabilitation, and so agents are always trying to strike a balance." ...

His wife often joins him early on his nightly journey. They hold hands and circle the mall. Then he walks her home, across from a church school.

"This is for me to feel what he's going through," she said as they walk. "He has a place to come to. He has a family. We have children. It is so weird. He just can't be home."

S.T. said that his parole officer told him: "Wherever you go, just keep it moving." That usually is what he does, if only to keep warm.

"I'm really -- how would you say? -- traumatized," he said. "Being in the cold, being tired, walking in the rain. ... What if I have to use the bathroom? It is very degrading."

The author of Jessica's Law now says that the state is misguided in its early enforcement of the law and that policymakers need to be more "creative."

Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, described S.T.'s case as "a very tortured interpretation, obviously. Somebody in corrections has decided it was easier to go let somebody be transient than to insist that they follow the law."

Still, Runner said that he never meant the law for people such as S.T. who fall under Jessica's Law only because of nonsex convictions. That borders on being retroactive, he said. [Ed: What disingenuous nonsense! Apparently, Runner feels that he can write any piece of crap law and those obligated to enforce it are supposed to know (and have the authority to CHOOSE) which elements to enforce and when and with whom. In other words, they are supposed to realize that they are to enforce it capriciously! George Runner and his Legislator wife should be chased out of office and, what the hell, maybe their home, too!]

He also disagrees with how the state strictly measures 2,000 feet, when in some cases freeways split a home from a school or park. He said he thinks cities can better define parks. Should all of Golden Gate Park count, or only areas that children frequent?

"We're always concerned if there are issues that make something impossible to implement," he said. "We believe there's a big difference between impossible and hard. The bottom line is it's going to work."

Critics blame Runner for writing a vaguely worded law that was ripe for trouble. Corrections officials say they merely are enforcing the letter of a law that 70 percent of voters passed.

The California Sex Offender Management Board, formed under Jessica's Law, is studying the fallout and possible repairs, including the idea of "cluster housing" for sex offenders

"It's really about keeping sex offenders from living in a place where they have easy access to children," said Nancy O'Malley, chief assistant district attorney in Alameda County.

She could not grasp the purpose of S.T. wandering the streets at night.

"That's not good," she said. "What does that do?" Full Story

Reach John Simerman at 925-943-8072 or jsimerman@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Michigan Lawmaker, A Convicted Drunk-Driver, Wants To Escalate Sex Offender Registration

[Editor: In 2005, a total of 414 fatalities among children age 14 and younger occurred in crashes involving alcohol. (source: stopthemaddness.org). Now, a Michigan State Legislator, David Law, also convicted in 2005 of drunk driving, wants to expand Michigan's Sex Offender Registry to include those convicted of sex crimes before 1995 in the interest of "child safety". Apparently, he accords greater danger to those (now adult) men who, when 18 years old, were convicted of having sex with 17 year olds sometime before 1995, than he does to himself.

However, statistics are clearly not on his side. Fewer than 40 children are murdered by a sex offender every year (source: U.S. Department of Justice) while, as cited above, many hundreds of children are killed every year by drunk drivers. If David Law wanted to make a contribution to reducing childhood victims of violent crime, then perhaps he should try implementing a public registry of drunk drivers or (to be more commensurate with sanctions taken against sex offenders) have their driver's licenses revoked for life. At a minimum, assign them orange license plates with the words "DRUNK DRIVER" appearing in place of "GREAT LAKES" ]
___________________________________________________________________________
Lansing State Journal

One state legislator is trying to debunk the theory that Michigan's sex offender registry is a comprehensive list of dangerous predators.


Offenders convicted before 1995 aren't required to register.

State Rep. David Law, R-Commerce Township, wants to change that.

He said sex crimes against minors left an imprint on him during his time working at the Oakland County prosecutor's office.

Law's bill would require some individuals convicted on or before Oct. 1, 1995 to register. It would cover offenders who were 17 or older when they sexually assaulted a child under 13.

"This bill is not about further punishing sex offenders - this is a matter of public safety," Law said. "The recidivism statistics of the most heinous sex offenders pose a significant threat to public safety and our children."

According to the Michigan State Police, the intent of the registry is "to better assist the public in preventing and protecting against the commission of future criminal sexual acts by convicted sex offenders."

Offenders are required to register if they reside, work or live in the state and have been convicted of specific sex crimes. The registry is a public record and includes the individual's name, photo, crime, physical description, last known address and aliases.

Elizabeth Arnovits, executive director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, said sex offender reporting laws may make people feel more secure, but accomplish little and make people less vigilant because they're lulled into a false sense of security.

Arnovits predicts the bill will pass.

Patricia Caruso, director of the Department of Corrections, said the recidivism rates for sex offenders are extremely low, but because sexual assault is such an emotional issue, the facts often are ignored.

According to Caruso, laws that require offenders to stay a minimum distance from playgrounds and other areas with children are "meaningless and ineffective" because less than 1 percent of sex crimes against minors are committed by strangers."

_______________________________________________
Previous Reports On David Law's Drunk Driving:

Gregory Herbert is a writer with the Capitol News Service.

Michigan state representative gets fine, probation for drunken driving

October 28, 2005, 7:58 AM

BERKLEY, Mich. (AP) -- The trip home after Major League Baseball's All-Star game in Detroit will cost a state lawmaker and former prosecutor $986 and six months of probation.

Rep. David Law was sentenced Thursday in Berkley District Court after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired.

Law was charged July 13 with drunken driving after Berkley police stopped him for speeding on Woodward Avenue. Police measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.13 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The Republican from Oakland County's Commerce Township told Judge William Sauer that he was embarrassed to be standing in the courtroom and that such an offense would never happen again.

Sauer also assessed fines and fees, prohibited Law from buying or possessing alcohol and ordered him to enter an intervention program.

------

Information from: The Oakland Press, http://www.theoaklandpress.com


http://stopthemaddness.org/cached1/20050285.html
Michigan state representative gets fine, probation for drunken driving

BERKLEY, Mich. The trip home after Major League Baseball's All-Star game in Detroit is costing a state lawmaker and former prosecutor 986 dollars and six months of probation.
Representative David Law -- a Republican from Oakland County's Commerce Township -- was sentenced yesterday in Berkley District Court. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired.

Law told the court that he was embarrassed to be standing in the courtroom and that such an offense would never happen again.

Law was charged July 13th with drunken driving after Berkley police stopped him for speeding on Woodward Avenue.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071229/NEWS04/712290334/1005/news

Published December 29, 2007
More registers
• The bill proposed by state Rep. David Law, R-Commerce Township, would require some individuals convicted of sex offenses on or before Oct. 1, 1995 to register with authorities. It would cover offenders who were 17 or older when they sexually assaulted a child under 13.
• Right now, sex offenders convicted before 1995 aren't required to register.

• The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
More sex offenders required to register under bill

Gregory Herbert
Special to the State Journal

Sex Offender Won't Pay School Tax

Hernando Today, KYLE MARTIN

SPRING HILL - When Stephen St. Laurent went to re-register as a sex offender Thursday, an informal chat at the sheriff's office set his mind to thinking.First he mulled over the growing restrictions against his kind: the limited jobs he can take, the bi-annual registration, the new stamp he'll get on his driver's license in February.The penalty for breaking some of the conditions means immediate imprisonment.Then it dawned on him. For the past nine years, almost half of his property tax bill has been dedicated towards the county's schools. If he can't have anything to do with children, does this violate state statute?

"They're trying every way they can to entrap a sex offender," St. Laurent said Friday.The answer was clear to him.When he sent in his $1,100 tax bill this week, it was $400 short. A clerk at the tax collector's office was quick to respond and phoned to say the check would be returned if he didn't pay the school tax.St. Laurent, 65, expects that. When the check shows up in the mail, he will march down to the courthouse and file a lawsuit against the county and state for fraud and discrimination.

He's prepared to take his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.Tax Collector Juanita Sikes said roughly 5,000 people out of the 112,000 property owners in the county refuse to pay their taxes each year."It's a small percentage," she said.A lien is placed on the property if taxes aren't paid by the deadline, but citizens have about a two-year window to pony up.If the accrued interest and past taxes aren't paid in that time, the house is put on the auction block.St. Laurent has been a faithful taxpayer up until this point, Sikes noted.Occasionally, people will gripe about the school tax because they don't have any children attending classes.

St. Laurent said that's not the point.Those people can still visit the schools and see their taxpayer dollars at work. St. Laurent can't.The school district's safety and security director, Barry Crowley, confirms as much.Any sex offender who steps on a campus is trespassing. Parents who are sex offenders are given limited access to their children. For example, they can pick up their kids after school and attend parent/teacher conferences.

But even that access is closely guarded and if the parent's offense was a sexually violent crime against a child, permission to step onto school grounds is denied.St. Laurent was convicted of committing a lewd act in front of children when a pair of teenagers looked through his window and saw him masturbating. Like other sex offenders without children in school, St. Laurent is explicitly banned."There are no special allowances," Crowley said.The school tax portion of the bill is applied towards debt, the general fund and capital outlay. That includes operating costs, teacher's salaries, construction projects and textbooks.

St. Laurent has authored an autobiography about the isolation and treatment he has received with the label of sex offender. He sees the growing restrictions on sex offenders as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which protects citizens against cruel and unusual punishment.The knee-jerk legislation and rules "have got to come to an end and maybe this is the way to do it," St. Laurent said of his protest. Full Story

Constitutionality of Sex Offender Law Challenged

TROY, OH, Dayton Daily News — Ohio's new Adam Walsh Act was challenged Friday in a Miami County court by lawyers arguing the law's reclassification of previously convicted sex offenders and new registration requirements for those offenders are unconstitutional.

Troy lawyer Jose Lopez filed injunction requests on behalf of six people in county Common Pleas Court and said he plans to file similar complaints for others Monday in Shelby and Auglaize counties.

The challenges are believed to be the first in Ohio against the law passed this summer by the Ohio General Assembly. ...

Previously, judges determined classification — sexually oriented offender, predator, etc. — after looking at a number of factors.

Lopez said he sees two "chief problems" with the new law. He said making the law retroactive changes the penalty for crimes that occurred years ago. Full Story

California Prison Budget Up By 79 Percent

Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer

Sacramento, CA (AHN) - California's budget for prison maintenance is expected to go beyond $10 billion in 2008. The 79 percent hike compared to 2003's $8.5 billion allocation, is caused by an 8 percent rise in prison population, now more than 173,000.

Prison spending tops the state's budget allocation for any other major program, except public schools and healthcare for the poor. The budget hike for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is not expected to slow down. According to the Legislative analyst's office, California will have to adjust upward its prison spending by 6 percent per annum for the next 5 years due to the construction of new prisons. ...

New state law, such as the Jessica's law, which restricts residential choice of released sex offenders and requires tracking by satellite for life, also contribute to the higher spending on prisons. ...

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing over 200,000 non-sex offenders who are on their last months of serving sentence to reduce the state budget deficit.
Full Story

Children's rape case puzzling

'A problem most don't know about'

CHRISTIAN BOONE, Atlanta Journal Constitution

After announcing the rape charges leveled against three boys, ages 8 and 9, Acworth Police Capt. Wayne Dennard said he had "never seen anything like this."

And he's a seasoned cop.

The details are shocking enough. So are the potential repercussions, for the alleged victim — an 11-year-old playmate of the boys — and the accused.

Most startling of all: Sexual assaults committed by children, against children, are not as uncommon as parents want to believe, though some experts question whether boys as young as 8 are capable of rape.

"In my counseling center, we see lots of sexually aggressive children" said Dr. Julie Medlin, director of the Medlin Treatment Center, which treats both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse of all ages. "I can't tell you how common it is."

"This is a problem most people don't know about."

Sally Thigpen, statewide coordinator for Stop It Now! Georgia, a public health campaign targeting child sexual abuse, agrees the problem is a growing one. There's no single cause, she said. Some children may be repeating behavior they've experienced. Others may be influenced by repeated exposure to pornography. [Ed: This is a "boiler plate" explanation from abuse industry experts who've invested so much into the idea that children are asexual unless they have been "sexualized" by abuse or pornography, in defiance of both scientific evidence and common sense. They prefer to redefine childhood by enforcing their bizarre mass-amnesia on anyone who was once a normal child]. ...

A 1989 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found rates of false allegations made by children range between 2 percent and 8 percent. ...

Regardless of whether the accusations in the Acworth case are valid, Medlin said the problem of child-on-child sexual abuse is only getting worse.

"Porn is becoming more and more accessible, and children are like clay," she said. "At that young age, if they hadn't seen it, they may have never thought about it." [Ed: Of course! Being asexual and all...]

Intervention is key
[Ed: I would argue that intervention is, more often than not, DISASTER!]


"When you see this happening, you need to do something," Medlin said. "It's much, much easier to treat a younger child than a teenager or adult." [Ed: It's also much easier to screw them up permanently, a talent for which you therapists are most accomplished]. Full Story

Sex offenders getting younger, more violent

Kim Curtis, Associated Press

STOCKTON -- Courts have seen the number of sex offense cases involving juvenile offenders rise dramatically in recent years, an Associated Press review of national statistics found, and treatment professionals say the offenders are getting younger and the crimes more violent. ...

Robert Prentky, a psychologist and nationally renowned expert on sex offenders in Bridgewater, Mass., thinks the statistics are misleading.

"There aren't more kids, there are more laws," he said. "We now have fairly draconian laws with very harsh sanctions that apply to juveniles." ... Full Article

Jessica's Flaw

Daily Breeze

There are, as of last count, about 660 convicted sex offenders wandering free around California, not wearing the monitoring devices that Jessica's Law requires. And state officials say there's nothing they can do about it.

That ought to come as a shock to California voters, who overwhelmingly approved Jessica's Law at the polls last year - under the promise that the state would finally get tough on child predators.

Turns out we were had, again. Full Story

Ohio Gets More Draconian, Must Disclose Email Address

Register-Herald

Tier 3 offenses include:


•Rape

•Sexual battery

•Aggravated murder with sexual motivation

•Murder with sexual motivation

•Unlawful death or termination of pregnancy as a result of committing or attempt to commit a felony with sexual motivation

•Kidnapping of minor, not by parent

•New section of Gross Sexual Imposition

•Felonious assault with sexual motivation

•Pre-AWA predators unless reclassified after hearing under ORC

•Any sexual offense that occurs after the offender is classified as Tier 2 or 3

•Automatic classification after SVP specification

•Includes an attempt, complicity or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2008, Ohio's sex offender law will be changed to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act.

"Where we used to have sexually oriented offenders and sexual predators, they are now going into three groups. These tiers will be based on what they are convicted or found guilty of," Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson said.

Tier 3, which is the most serious offenders, are required to check in every 90 days for the rest of their life.

Tier 2 offenders must check in every 180 days for 25 years.

Tier 1 offenders are required to check in once per year.

"Tier 3 is the one subject to area notification. We have to notify everybody within 1,000 feet of where they are living," Simpson said.

According to Simpson, there are a total of 54 sex offenders in Preble County and beginning the first of the year, 22 people in the county will be classified in the most serious category. That number is up 12 from the old law.

"We've got some people based on what they are convicted of that are going from oriented offenders with no community notification and were probably going to drop off (the list) in 10 years, to Tier 3, every 90 days for life," Simpson said.

Simpson said there are going to be 21 people in the Tier 2 category and 11 who fall into Tier 1.

According to Simpson, what used to take his office about 40 mintues to register a sex offended will now take closer to an hour.

"It will definitely increase our workload a little bit," Simpson said. "But, if all these offenders register like they're supposed to, it will increase our ability to keep track of them. It's going to create (workload) more so if they don't, because you don't know where that sex offender is, which isn't good."

And, if the offender works in another county, that individual will have to register in that county as well, according to Simpson.

Simpson said the offender is required to give all his/her information to his office, which includes physical description, tattoos, birthmarks, vehicles, address, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, if they volunteer anywhere.

"If they have an e-mail address, a MySpace account, anything they are supposed to tell us," Simpson said. "Because, if they fail to tell us, that's considered failure to register because they left out information."

Simpson said all the sex offenders received letters from the Attorney General's office notifying them of the change in the law and what their new classification will be beginning Jan. 1.

"If they live in Preble (County) and also work in Montgomery, they also have to register there to let that sheriff know they are working in that county," Simpson said."They have an obligation and a duty to notify the sheriff where they work."

According to Simpson, each of the offenders who have had his/her classification changed will have the right to challenge the new classification.

"They had 60 days after they received this letter to file a petition in Common Pleas Court in the county where they reside," Simpson said. "It's a civil action, meaning they are not entitled to an attorney. They have to hire their own attorney, they have to pay the fee to file the petition in the clerk's office. And if they don't file within that 60-day period, they waive their right to contest."

Simpson noted Ohio is one of the few states in the county to adopt this new law.

"Ohio's on the front end of it. Really, Ohio's system of eSORN, the e-mail notification, we are way ahead of the game in Ohio as opposed to other states," Simpson said.

Simpson said he encourages people to vist his website and register for an e-mail. The site address is preblecountysheriff.org.

"If a sex offender moves within a mile of your house, you are going to get an automatic notification," he said.

Simpson said people can register multiple addresses, such as other relatives' homes or child day cares, for example.

Facts about the Adam Walsh Act

•The Adam Walsh Act was signed into law on July 27, 2006. At the time of passage, at least 100,000 of more than a half million sex offenders in the United States and the District of Columbia were "missing" and unregistered.

•The act was signed on the 25th anniversary of the abduction of Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in Florida. Walsh was found murdered 16 days after his abduction and the perpetrator of the crime has yet to be found.

•Expands the National Sex Offender Registry.

•Strengthens Federal Penalties for Crimes Against Children.

•Makes it harder for sex predators to reach children on the Internet.

About eSORN

According to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, eSORN is one of the most important programs in the Attorney General's office. The database is connected to all 88 counties in Ohio.

The eSORN is a state-of-the-art electronic sex offender registration and notification website to help Ohioans protect their families and communities. This website marks the first time the public and law enforcement have electronic access to a list of all registered sex offenders in the state in one location.

Providing easy access to this website gives more information to the public and helps make our communities safer. The enhanced database provides a secure link for the exclusive use of law enforcement.

Users will find the name, address, type of offense and photo of each convicted sex offender the Attorney General's Office is permitted by law to include. The website is searchable by offender name, county, ZIP code and school district. It also provides links to county sheriffs offices' websites. By law, the eSORN public website may only contain information on offenders who have been convicted in adult criminal court.

State law requires county sheriffs to provide information for the eSORN database. Many, but not all county sheriffs, have a local convicted sex offender database. The website and enhanced database supplies a critical link between local and state databases to share information.

The Attorney General's Office furnishes technical assistance to sheriffs' offices interested in creating their own sex offender website.

In addition to the public website, there is secure access, for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, to more detailed information on all convicted sex offenders, including victim preference, release date and fingerprints.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation updates the database with relevant information pursuant to Ohio's SORN law. This section of the database is designed to increase communication among law enforcement agencies. A new mapping function is now operational, allowing both the public and law enforcement agencies to determine if sex offenders live within a certain radius of his or her residence.

With few alternatives, sex offenders sent to live in homeless camp

By SARA KIESLER
Staff Writer
ORLANDO -- Walk along the snaking trail past abandoned tires, the huddled tents and old yellow strands of police crime tape, and you'll find a small group of homeless sex offenders awaiting the end of their probation.

They don't want to be in the woods off John Young Parkway and W.D. Judge Road. There's no running water. No sanitation. No electricity.

They found out about the camp from officials of the state Department of Corrections, who say they have nowhere else to send them. Full Story

The Sex Offender as Scapegoat: Vigilante Violence and a Faith Community Response

Hugh Kirkegaard & Wayne Northey, Emory University

Excerpt: "René Girard argues that the founding moment of culture is in fact violence, which then scapegoats in order to bring social cohesion. A "scapegoat mechanism" as described earlier arises to siphon the violence away from the community, thereby creating peace for a time within the society. In religious cultures, this kind of violence invariably took the form of myths, rituals, and prohibitions legitimizing the violence against the victim or victims. In the secular West, the ultimate non-religious instance of the same dynamic is the Holocaust."

The Sex Offender as Scapegoat: Vigilante Violence and a Faith Community Response

The Politics Of A Paedophile Panic

By Mick Hume, "Spiked" (U.K.)

It used to be said that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. In politics today, their last resort is more likely to be a paedophile panic. ...

The numbers of child murders in Britain remain as low as ever, and there is no evidence that any number of new anti-paedophile laws or PR campaigns reduces the minimal risk to children. But then, the current furore is not really about paedophiles. It is about politics. ...

It is against this background that Reid has seized upon the paedophile issue in a desperate attempt to ‘connect’ with a constituency, to show that New Labour shares the public’s concerns on one issue where everybody agrees there is a clear line between Good and Evil. Playing the populist card against an imaginary army of sex offenders at the school gates is a rare opportunity for a politician like Reid to pose as a man of the people, and have a swipe at the bewigged judges while he is at it. ...

It is not often we on spiked find ourselves agreeing with much that a chief police constable has to say. But Chief Constable Terry Grange of Dyfed-Powys, the child protection spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, had a point when he suggested this week that the government had ‘surrendered’ policy on child sex offenders to tabloid newspapers. ‘It is impossible to work consistently, coherently when every month or every six months there is a policy change or reaction brought about by pressure from the media…. The only people with any real strategic intent and understanding of where they want to go and the will to be ruthless in getting there is the News of the World.’ ...

In the process these legal gestures also risk sweeping away important principles of criminal justice, such as the notion that people are punished for what they do, not what they might do or even fantasise about doing in the future; or that criminals who have served their time are considered to have, in the traditional phrase, ‘paid their debt to society’. If these principles are no longer to apply to those convicted of sex offences, what about others? Why not a public register of convicted murderers, drug dealers, drunk drivers or wife beaters in our communities?

As I have argued before on spiked, after the conviction of Sarah Payne’s murderer in 2001 put the campaign in the headlines, ‘Sarah’s Law can’t protect us from fear’. Nor could a law protect us from politicians and others prepared to stoop so low to exploit our most basic concerns....

There will be no winners from this messy, tired panic. Every time the government introduces a new crackdown on child sex offenders, it will only give rise to demands for yet more, fronted by a haunted victim’s mother. Yet there are likely to be plenty of losers. Paedophile panics risk damaging everything they touch, from the criminal justice system to public trust and intelligent debate. Nor do they offer any respite to the relatively small numbers of real victims, whose ordeal can only be made worse by endless public scrutiny and pronouncements that their lives have been ruined. As for the millions of children who will never experience this sort of abuse, the current climate risks sentencing them all to a life of mistrust and insecurity.

We are witnessing the politics of the jailhouse, where everybody seeks to demonstrate that, whatever else they might have done, they are on the side of Good against the threat posed by Evil perverts. Some of us have argued since the morbid obsession with child abuse escalated almost 20 years ago that fear itself is the greatest threat to our children’s future in a free society. This is no time to be put off that argument by the emotive words of a young victim’s mother, or those who would use her as a human shield.

Civil Commitment Upheld, Allegedly Stared at Young Boys

Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota’s Supreme Court upheld a Grand Forks man's commitment to the state mental hospital for treatment as a sexual predator.

The court's decision Thursday was split. Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner says there isn’t enough evidence to conclude Christopher Midgett was a predator.

When psychologists decided to put Midgett into the hospital, they cited two instances where Midgett allegedly stared at young boys. Kapsner says that isn’t enough evidence to lock someone up indefinitely for treatment.

Midgett was confined as a juvenile in Texas for molesting a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. Court records say he was 13 when he was confined. He’s now 25 years old.

Midgett’s attorney says he should have been allowed to question the witnesses who accused him of staring at boys. The Supreme Court’s justices agree that Midgett’s right to confront his accusers doesn’t apply during civil commitment proceedings. [Ed: This is reminiscent of the so-called "rape stare" allegation Atascadero (CA) female staff employ to sabotage patient's records. The scary thing is, there is nothing surprising or out of the ordinary in a man being civilly committed for life on the basis of "staring" in our country today. Indeed, it is now commonplace. The other important point here is that, despite the fact that the defendant is in the process of losing his freedom completely, civil commitment procedures accord the defendant far fewer rights than they would have in a criminal proceeding. This is all predicated on the conceit that he is "not being punished" by being civilly confined but rather he is "undergoing treatment" and "society is being safeguarded". Please, dear Lord, save us from our protectors!]

Lakeport murder brings national attention

By Elizabeth Wilson--Record-Bee staff

LAKEPORT -- Michael A. Dodele, 67, was murdered last month, just two months after he was released from 20 years in prison for sexual assault of a 37-year-old Santa Rosa woman.

The story is unfolding as one with nation-wide interest as Dr. Phil and National Public Radio, among others, peer into the county in hopes of finding out what, exactly, led to Dodele's death just 20 days after he moved to a lake-side mobile home park.

Dodele was likely sought out by the killer due to a confusing list of his sex offenses on Megan's Law a Web registry for sex offenders that led people to believe he was a child molester, although his convictions were for sexual assault on adult women.

The suspect in Dodele's murder is 29-year-old Ivan Garcia Oliver, construction worker and father of a young boy. The child's mother, Oliver, and their son lived together at the mobile home park for about three months. Dodele had moved into the park on Nov. 1, just across the driveway from Oliver's home, about 75 feet away.

According to witnesses and resident manager of the Western Hills Mobile Home Park, Lacey Kou, Oliver had been concerned for the safety of his son the week before the Nov. 20 murder. His son had been molested in the past, he told the L.A. Times during a jail-house interview last week.

According to Kou, incidents leading up to the Tuesday murder of Dodele unfolded the Friday and weekend prior. Like the movie, "Sliding Doors," if even one of the chinks in the chain of unfortunate events had happened differently, Dodele might not be dead.

Oliver's son was playing in the mobile home park by the side of the road, Kou said. Oliver went out to get him, and a suspicious-looking car that was parked on the side of the road sped off. Oliver went to speak to Kou about the incident on Friday, Nov. 16.

"He said, anyone could drive in here and hurt a child,' and I agreed with him I'm a pre-school teacher and so I know about Megan's Law. I worked at a pre-school that Ivan's son went to. I know that you can go online and it shows little red dots on the map around the lake where sex offenders live," said Kou.

She said she mentioned to Oliver that she had heard there were some sex offender registrants living in the area. Together, they looked up the area on the Web site on Kou's computer. She said they weren't searching for anyone living in the park, but when Dodele's listing popped up, they recognized his photo.

She said the address was incorrect on the Web site, listing it as "3535" instead of the correct address of 3555 Lakeshore Blvd, Lakeport, CA.

A representative with the California Department of Justice, Gareth Lacy, said that in Dodele's case, his Megan's Law listing was removed on the day of his murder because he was deceased.

"That is one of several reasons; others being that the person is deported or is no longer required to register. In this case, yes, the individual is deceased so their record is no longer on the Web site," Lacy said.

Megan's Law listed Dodele's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force." Because of that wording, it appeared to Oliver and others that Dodele was a child molester. The second conviction blends two distinctions, and Dodele's conviction was for the "or by force" part of the state criminal code. None of his crimes were against a person under 14, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who is prosecuting the case.

Oliver's immediate reaction upon seeing Dodele's convictions was very strong, Kou said. "I felt something might have happened to him in the past because of his reaction," Kou said. "He said something has to be done,' and that he didn't think he (Dodele) should be allowed to be there. I didn't know exactly what had happened with what he'd been charged with. It was kind of creepy. We were really shocked because that man just moved in." Kou asked her mother for advice, because she wasn't sure if legally Dodele should be allowed to live at the park. They called the Lake County Sheriff's Department (LCSD) as Oliver stood by. "My mom said, we should call and ask the Sheriff what your responsibility is to the residents of the park, as well as to protect Dodele.'"

A message was left that Friday afternoon with LCSD Detective Mike Curran. But the phone call was not returned. Kou and her mother still want to know why, saying it may have prevented the murder. "I think the fact that there was no phone call back frustrated him. He kept saying, something needs to be done,'" Kou's mother said.

Lake County Sheriff Rodney Mitchell told the Record-Bee yesterday afternoon that Det. Curran received the message when he returned to work on Monday, Nov. 19. "He added it to his lengthy task list for the week. Mr. Dodele was murdered the following morning," Mitchell said.

That Friday, Oliver went around the mobile home park showing residents the photo print-out of Dodele's Megan's Law registration, vocally expressing his disdain now a known-misunderstanding that Dodele was a child molester.

Kou said she told Oliver to "hold back and we'll do this the right way."

"I really thought he might confront him, but I didn't think he'd go that far," Kou said. She contacted the owners of the mobile home park, Barry and Sharon McKeehan of Redwood Valley, who made plans to meet with Dodele on Tuesday evening to talk to him about his convictions and their concerns.

"They were going to come down and speak with him and let him know that they felt all the other tenants should know, and also to find out what happened exactly. He was a convicted rapist and we have some single women living in the park, which was a concern...They were going to tell him if he wanted to relocate they would give him his [prior rent] money back," Kou said.

Oliver is being held without bail at the Lake County jail on murder, burglary and elder abuse charges. He is also under federal indictment in San Diego County for allegedly dumping five 55-gallon drums of paint containing the toxic chemical Toluene into Slaughterhouse Canyon Creek in El Cajon in March 2005. He was indicted a week after his arrest in connection to Dodele's death. Oliver's next court date in Lake County is Jan. 7, 2008, when a preliminary hearing is expected to be scheduled. Kou's mother, who had breakfast the morning of the murder in Kou's residence, said they heard no fighting or arguments, and as she was about to leave, they saw a Sheriff's car and ambulance.

"I knew instantly something had happened, then someone said he was dead .I had told Ivan on the phone that Friday to sit tight, and we'd find out what the legalities are, but there was no call back. If it had been straightened out beforehand, this might not have happened This is going to push Megan's Law to be more clear, and it should," said Kou's mother via phone on Wednesday, who wished to remain anonymous.

Kou said, "I told them [LCSD] when they took my statement, we tried to tell you about this ahead of time,' but I'm sure that statement's tossed out. Maybe I should have pushed harder [to contact authorities] I can't believe it happened. It's horrible."

Editorial: 'Jessica's Law' one year later: Empty promises

Initiative aimed at protecting children is prohibitively expensive, unenforceable
Sacramento Bee

A little more than a year ago, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 83, popularly known as Jessica's Law. That initiative, aimed at monitoring and controlling sex offenders, now is collapsing under its own excess. Virtually no local government is enforcing the law because its sweeping provisions are both unenforceable and prohibitively expensive. ...

The measure requires lifetime monitoring for sex offenders – not just those charged with child sexual abuse and rapists whose victims were adults, but also those convicted of consensual sex with a teenager and even misdemeanor indecent exposure. It also bars offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. ...

So for now at least, the law is not being enforced, and there is a real question whether it ever will or even can be. ...

State corrections officials predicted the residency restrictions in the law would drive sex offenders underground and make our communities less safe. Now it also turns out that the measure would bankrupt local governments if it is enforced as written. California will be wrestling with this mess for years to come. Full Story

During evacuations, Texas plan to weed out sex offenders

Houston Chronicle AUSTIN —

Texans who board evacuation buses during hurricanes or other emergencies must first submit to criminal background checks, the state's emergency management director said.
The policy is an attempt to keep sex offenders and fugitives from boarding evacuation buses with children, the elderly and the disabled, said Jack Colley, the chief of the state's Division of Emergency Management.

...
"We're all entitled to privacy, but we're not entitled to anonymity," Colley said. Full Story

Lake County D.A. Explains Why Murdering Someone On Megan's List Is Probably A Bad Idea

Michael Dodele never molested a child, he was convicted of raping an adult. But that didn't keep Ivan Garcia Oliver from misinterpreting Megan's Law website and doing his "moral" duty by slaughtering Dodele with a knife like a farm animal on November 20th.

We waited for Dodele's murder to be revealed by local authorities as the hate-crime it appeared to be but heard nothing for weeks, leading some of us to speculate that the police and D.A. were actively trying to suppress Oliver's motivation in the murder as a means of keeping Megan's website in California from coming under attack. It was not until several confidential sources took their concerns to the Los Angeles Times who then investigated and corroborated their suspicions in a page one story earlier this week, that we began to hear some acknowledgment from Lake County officials confirming "Megan's" role in the slaying.

Today, KCBS-TV (San Francisco) aired a piece on this story, interviewing local people in Lakeport as well as
Lake County Chief Deputy District Attorney, Richard Hinchcliff. He stated, "If people don't know what they're looking at, they might assume somebody has been convicted of a particular crime they haven't been convicted of and people can't take the law into their own hands because they might make a mistake."

Wait a minute, Mr. Hinchcliff. Surely you're not suggesting either:

a) Taking the law into your own hands can be justified if you're not mistaken?
or
b) It would be alright to kill a child molester
if you could be sure that is a molester?

I might be more inclined to let his remark go as a slip of the tongue had it not been for a well-grounded suspicion that his office was not intending to prosecute the case as "Megan-motivated".

KCBS further reports that "People in Lakeport agree the Megan's Law website is for information, not a map to kill."

Do they? I'm afraid I'm not buying that entirely, either. Having read the vicious comments by readers to the various local newspapers supporting Oliver's actions and cheering-on any revenge killing of "molesters" and having my own comments removed not just once, but twice, by the "
Santa Rosa Press Democrat", I think KCBS may be entirely too charitable to the "people of Lakeport". Here's the comment I wrote, not just once, but twice. Both times it was promptly removed by someone at the Press-Democrat:

"This reminds me of how, once whipped-up into a frenzy of anti-Jewish hatred, many Germans felt fully justified in inflicting violent revenge against any Jew at any moment of their choosing and did so with impunity. It is especially disturbing when this sort of blood-thirsty response becomes commonplace and goes unprotested."

Now here are a few of the other comments which the Press-Democrat did not feel compelled to remove and which remain on their website to this day:

"
By saunterelle | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 06:47P
Thank you to this latino for taking care of business.

By orvicehole | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 06:34P
tIME TO DIE LOSER.

By robert5523 | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 04:20P
Why do I suspect nobody cares that the troublemaker got himself murdered? And, who wants to bet that, yes, he goosed the wrong guy & thats what started it.

By saunterelle | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 03:58P
Good. One less pederass.
"
Interesting, isn't it? Apparently, the Press Democrat only accepts reader comments if they advocate acts of violence and the abolition of the U.S. Constitution (although I doubt they would like it if "freedom of the press" were also abolished).

I think that this is very telling and extremely disturbing.

Megan's Law of unintended consequences

The recent killing of sex offender shows dangers of legislating punishment by ballot box
Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times

So now two more lives are ruined.

Michael Dodele is rotting in a grave, and his neighbor, Ivan Garcia Oliver, is rotting in a Lake County jail cell; soon, by his own accounting, Oliver expects to be spending "a numerous amount of years" in a California slammer.

Dodele was a convicted rapist, a 67-year-old registered sex offender who had been living in a Lakeport trailer park for about a month when someone stabbed him to death just before Thanksgiving. Oliver is his accused killer, a 29-year-old construction worker who lived in the same trailer park. He was arrested with more blood on him than Lady Macbeth.

Dodele had spent two decades in prison or a state hospital for raping women, at least one time at knifepoint. The Megan's Law sex offender website -- which tracks most sex offenders, not just child molesters -- described his offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

Such a small word, "or." So easy to go right past it, especially when the scarlet phrase "oral copulation with a person under 14" sizzles off the screen. "Or"? Who cares about "or"?

Is anyone surprised that this death happened? Or just surprised that it didn't happen sooner, as it has in other states amid the froth of undifferentiated public and political fury about all sex offenders, from pathetic flashers to bona fide monsters who hurt children?

To get onto the Megan's Law website, I had to acknowledge a disclaimer saying that the state doesn't guarantee that the information is complete or accurate.

Not accurate or complete? Who should that alarm more -- the public or the 65,000 people listed? Some information may be rendered in hard-to-decipher legalese -- as appears to have been the case with that fatal "or." Some of it is flat-out wrong. I interviewed LAPD detective Diane Webb about it on KPCC radio this week. She's the coordinator of the LAPD's REACT -- registration, enforcement and compliance teams for sex offenders and Megan's Law.

Website mistakes, she told me, are sometimes as "mundane" as a "misplaced parenthesis in a code section," which can completely change the description of the conviction. Or they could come down to something as simple as the "capitalization of a letter" in the code, which would make a crime against an adult "show [up as] an offense against a child."

Who usually spots the mistake? The sex offender. "They oftentimes say, 'I'm not a child molester, this was an offense at an adult,' " Webb told me. Police verify it and let the state know the listing needs fixing.

There was evidently no mistake in Dodele's listing. But as Webb said, the penal code section for forcible oral copulation "is very similar to that of child molestation. They're oftentimes misinterpreted."

No politician ever lost votes by crusading against sex offenders. But voters don't always reckon on what happens after the votes are counted. Some of the same law enforcement leaders who persuaded 70% of us to vote for Proposition 83, which among other things mandates the tracking of tens of thousands of sex offenders with GPS for the rest of their lives, now worry that it's unenforceable. The law doesn't spell out who'll run the program or who'll pay for it. California is $14 billion short of this year's budget ante. Maybe we could all send in the money from our Monopoly games -- fantasy dough to pay for a fantasy law.

The Lakeport killing could shake some thinking about such laws. Suzanne Brown-McBride chairs the California Sex Offender Management Board, and she told me that the Megan's Law website is a useful community tool -- but it's only one tool. The point is "not to create vigilantism," she said, or to "have people then act out ... in a way that may put offenders and quite honestly themselves at risk." Vigilantism could make offenders "less stable." Oliver told The Times' Maria LaGanga that he had to take "evasive action ... any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different." He'd seen Dodele watching his son, he declared, "fantasizing, plotting." When LaGanga told him that Dodele's rape victims were adult women -- not little girls or little boys -- Oliver said it didn't matter. "There is no curing the people that do it."

Is there any curing us? Do we have the judgment to take serious crimes seriously without plunging ourselves into policy hysteria? Can we acknowledge that no protection, no punishment, is foolproof? Can anyone suggest that we fine-tune Megan's Law, or conclude that Proposition 83 is goofy, without being labeled a friend of child molesters?

Dodele's name and crimes were listed on the state's Megan's Law sex offender public website; Oliver found them on a computer. Oliver was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, but his name and crime were not on any such public website.

But just wait long enough. We may get around to voting for a website listing that too. Hey -- we can call it Oliver's Law. Like that?

Neighbor convicted of stalking sex offender

By Beacon Journal staff report

POSTED: 05:04 p.m. EST, Dec 13, 2007

A Springfield Township neighbor who placed large signs with red letters announcing a convicted child molester lives next door has been convicted of stalking the man.

James Z. Cody, 50, was sentenced to 30 days in jail Thursday by Akron Municipal Court Judge Kathryn Michael. The jail sentence came, court officials said, after Cody declined to be placed on probation for six months.

Cody was acquitted by a jury of charges of violating a protection order, aggravating menacing and resisting arrest. He is set to begin his jail stay on Jan. 3.

Assistant Akron prosecutor Gerald Larson said Cody engaged in a personal crusade against Michael Harig, 45, who spent nearly a year in prison for fondling three boys, ages 12, 13 and 14 in 2004. Harig is registered as a sexually oriented offender and lives next door to Cody on Gregory Drive.

Larson said the stalking charge involved an on-going series of events perpetrated by Cody against Harig that included death threats, the placement of several signs outside his home and Cody bursting inside Harig's home and threatening him.

Harig said that he has been harassed, spotlights have been pointed into his bedroom window, a radio has been blared toward his home and physical threats have been made against him.

Hall was charged in August with criminal trespassing for entering Harig's home, but the case was eventually dropped. Full Story

Police monitor Santa's village for registered sex offenders

Linda Strowbridge, Owings Mills Times

Plain clothes officers from the Baltimore County Police Department are wandering among the holiday crowds at shopping centers this month, searching for a hazard that might be lurking near Santa's village, food courts or stores. Specifically, the officers are looking for registered sex offenders who have been prohibited from being near children.

The operation "seemed like a chance to find out if registered sex offenders are using the holidays as an opportunity to be around children when they shouldn't," said Bill Toohey, a police spokesman. "Just being in a place with kids might not be a violation. But if they're circling and watching, that could be."

Toohey declined to comment on the number of officers assigned to the detail or the project's budget. The initiative was funded through a $110,000 grant from the state Sex Offenders Compliance Enforcement in Maryland program, called SOCEM by law enforcement officials.

About 570 registered sex offenders live in Baltimore County. More than two-thirds are child sex offenders. So far this year, Baltimore County police have issued warrants on 40 sex offenders for either failing to sign onto the sex offender registry or failing to notify officials that they had moved.

"We don't know what we'll find" over the holidays, Toohey said.The county has not detected problems with sex offenders casing holiday crowds previously, he said.

Neither Baltimore County nor any other Maryland jurisdiction has previously sent undercover officers to watch for sex offenders in those crowds, said Elizabeth Bartholomew, a spokeswoman for Maryland's Division of Probation and Parole. The agency is working with Baltimore County police in piloting the surveillance program.

"I think Baltimore County will be a trendsetter in this area," she said. "They're trying to aid (offenders') attempts to become law-abiding citizens."

The division has already sent letters to local child sex offenders, alerting them to the surveillance program and reminding them to stay away from malls during high-traffic hours and to stay away from places where children might gather, such as food courts, game rooms and Santa displays, Bartholomew said. Full Story [Ed: Too loopy even to comment upon except to say that, it's great that the police have such prodigious resources that they're able to take care of real threats and do this too! (but oh, what a dangerous assignment!) ]

Murder of Sex Offender Facilitated By the State of California


Monday, 03 December 2007 The cellmate of a prisoner found dead at DVI is now a homicide suspect. Rick Henry Kase, 39, left [Ed: the one who looks like, and is, a sociopath], is suspected of killing Randy James Rabelos, 28.

Officials at Deuel Vocational Institution are investigating the possibility that a man found dead at the prison Saturday was killed by his cellmate.


Lt. Ray Munoz, spokesman for the prison, said the California Department of Corrections has treated the death of Randy James Rabelos, 28, of Tuolumne County, as a homicide. Munoz said the San Joaquin County Coroner reported that Rabelos suffocated because of “blunt force” to his throat.
Investigators have not released the likely cause of the injury, but Munoz said Rabelos’ cellmate, Rick Henry Kase, 39, of Santa Clara County, has been charged with homicide under the prison’s administrative regulations. He has yet to be charged with any crime by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office.

Munoz said the prison’s nursing staff discovered Rabelos dead at 7:20 a.m. Saturday in the lower bunk of a two-man cell. The nursing staff checked in the cell during its morning rounds of the cell block, when it gives medication to those prisoners who require it.
Both men were in the prison’s special processing unit, a sort of protective custody separate from the general population for new arrivals, some sex offenders, ex-gang members, ex-police officers and some notorious criminals. Rabelos arrived at the prison Sept. 7. He had just started serving a three-year term after he was convicted Sept. 4 in Tuolumne County of one count of lewd acts with a child.

Kase is serving 11 years for felony assault and weapons-possession convictions. Munoz said he was in the special processing unit because he has been threatened by gang members.
Eric Hovatter, the deputy district attorney from Tuolumne County who prosecuted Rabelos’ case, said Rabelos was convicted of committing a lewd act with a minor after he touched a 10-year-old girl’s chest. He said the girl was a friend of Rabelos’ girlfriend’s daughter and was at the house for a sleepover when Rabelos reportedly got the girls drunk while the mother was at work. Hovatter said the case went to trial in June and initially ended up with a 9-3 hung jury. Rabelos agreed in July to a plea deal on the one count of lewd acts with a child. Full Story
[Ed: Where to begin? The California Department of Corrections doesn't give two shits for the lives of sex offenders they imprison. "Molesters" are routinely housed with some of the most dangerous psychopaths one could imagine, even when being placed into protective custody (wink, wink). Those brutal animals wear a killing or maiming of a "molester" like a badge of honor in their advancement up the prisoner ranks. The "cops" (as they're called in prison, never "guards") make great sport of setting up a child sex offender by tipping off one of the animals who are allowed to openly prey upon and dominate and exploit weaker prisoners. That way, their (the cop's) hands are clean and they get to give full expression to their own perverse appetites. There are some employees in the C.D.C who are the equals of any sociopath imprisoned within its prisons. And I'm not convinced that it's uppermost administrators are not similarly motivated. Now follow the link provided above and look at the reader comments written to the Tracy newspaper where this story appeared. What you will find are some of the most vicious and vile appeals to violence against sex offenders imaginable, despite the fact that Rabelo's high crime was being accused of touching a girl on the chest (and there is grave concern that even this was a false accusation). And then ask yourself this question: are we not in the middle of a witch hunt?

Megan Needs an Editor

Reason Magazine, Matt Welch

Convicted rapist Michael Dodele was freed Oct. 16 after serving two decades in jail. By law ("Megan's Law," to be specific), his name was put on a public database of convicted sex offenders. Thirty-five days later, Dodele was stabbed to death in his mobile home.

Police arrested his next-door neighbor, 29-year-old Ivan Garcia Oliver, who gave the L.A. Times a jailhouse interview:

Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.
"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

There was a crucial flaw in Oliver's logic.

In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

Story here. Brian Doherty warned us about "Megan's Flaws" a decade ago.

Did Megan’s Law Website Target Rapist for Murder?

ABA Journal, Martha Neil

One common argument against publicly listing home addresses and other identifying information for convicted sex criminals is that it might put them in danger. But proving such cause and effect in real-life cases is difficult, to say the least.

Now, however, officials in California say they might have the first-ever murder of a convicted sex criminal by a neighbor alerted to his presence by an Internet listing implemented by Megan's Law. Ironically, although the website implied that murder victim Michael Dodele, 67, was a child molester, in fact all of the convicted rapist's crimes were committed against adult women, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The man charged with Dodele's murder, a 29-year-old construction worker named Ivan Garcia Oliver, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse. However, he said in a jailhouse interview last week that he has a son who had been previously molested, and hence took unspecified action to protect the boy.

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

The Megan's Law website in California gives home addresses for some but not all persons listed.

As the website, which is maintained by the California attorney general's office, explains: "Megan's Law is named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have a form of Megan's Law."

Megan's Law listing may have led to slaying

Los Angeles Times
By Maria L. La Ganga

Lake County prosecutors have investigated the possibility that information in the Internet database might have been the motive for the killing of a convicted sex offender.

LAKEPORT, CALIF. — Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.

Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30.

In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.

"He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."

The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.

Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.

Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.

According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.

His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach.

Those were the charges that were listed on the Megan's Law website.

"I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet," said Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele on behalf of the defense in two 2007 trials about whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero.

Both ended in hung juries. Dodele was freed Oct. 16 and was hoping to start over in the crowded little mobile home park, where neighbors described him as open and friendly.

"The family is just sick," Steen said. "They finally got him back. They all thought he had made such great progress, and then this happened. It's pretty bad."

At 10:14 a.m. Nov. 20, an anonymous woman called 911 to report that a man was bleeding from his hands and directed medical personnel to Dodele's space at the mobile home park, according to a written statement from the Sheriff's Department.

When deputies arrived, they found Dodele's body.

The dead man's "immediate neighbors and other residents" sent the deputies to Oliver's home, the statement said, because "he had been seen recently leaving Dodele's residence with what appeared to be blood on his hands and clothing."

There was blood on a car in front of Oliver's house and at the front door of the concrete-block duplex. Inside, deputies reportedly found Oliver with blood on his hands and clothing and "injuries to his hands, consistent with having been in a physical altercation."

Authorities will not divulge exactly what Oliver said when he was arrested.

Steen wrote a letter to a local paper decrying Dodele's death "simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry."

Shortly after the letter was published, Steen said, a woman describing herself as Oliver's wife called to complain.

"She said, 'We have a child who was molested, and my husband is very upset to have a child molester living nearby'," Steen recounted, noting the irony that Dodele's crimes all involved adult women.

Steen said she had not talked to police about the phone call. Oliver said that the woman with whom he lived in the trailer park was his girlfriend, and the two were not married.

Attempts to reach the woman failed. One neighbor said she had moved away after the slaying.

Oliver is being held without bail, a police statement said, because he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego and was on parole when Dodele was killed.

Speaking from behind a thick glass divider in the visiting area of the Lake County Correctional Facility, Oliver said his son had been molested, but he declined to give the details of his son's assault or to give the child's name.

Although he spoke of "the action I took," he would not describe what happened in the aging mobile home the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.

Oliver would not comment on whether Dodele had ever approached his son.

But Oliver said he saw the older man looking at the boy.

"It was more than watching," Oliver said. "You could see his eyes. He was fantasizing, plotting. Later on down the line, who knows how many other children he could have hurt."

Research indicates that, in general, the older rapists get, the lower their risk of re-offending, said L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, chairwoman of the California Coalition on Sex Offenders, a group of treatment providers, probation and parole officers.

In addition, she said, sex offenders who target grown women over the course of many years are unlikely to victimize children.

But when told that Dodele's victims were women and not children, Oliver seemed unfazed. "There is no curing the people that do it," he said.

Oliver's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7.

Asked about what he thinks will happen to him, he said, "It's hard to tell at this point. There's no doubt I'm looking at a numerous amount of years. I'm not a lawyer. We haven't gone over the evidence."

But he also said that he "would never change who I am or what I do because of what society thinks is right or not right. I have always been who I am and always will be." Full Story

County Approves Sex Offender Tracking Van

KESQ.com news services

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the purchase of a $109,000 surveillance van for Riverside County law enforcement agencies to use during compliance checks of registered sex offenders.

The district attorney's office requested the high-tech vehicle for future operations by the county's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team, which includes investigators from the D.A.'s office, sheriff's department and several municipal police agencies.

The van will be outfitted with remote-controlled cameras connected to a 900 Megahertz "integrated radio and control system" that will allow an investigator to operate cameras on the vehicle while seated at a desk, potentially miles away, according to the district attorney's office.

The county will cover the cost of the vehicle through funds left over from a $731,950 grant issued by the governor's Office of Emergency Services in May. The grant was intended specifically for SAFE team operations. [Ed: And this is for what "Emergency"? Does the van follow "predators" around as they run errands?] Full Story