LONDON (AP) -- The British government wants to ban convicted pedophiles from using social networking Web sites such as Facebook, the Home Office said Friday.
The plan involves forcing sex offenders to give any e-mail address they use to police, who will then ask the Web sites to block their access, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said.
Smith said the proposal is aimed at sending out the message that the Internet is ''not a no-go area when it comes to law enforcement.''
''We are changing the law ... so that we have got better control over the way in which child sex offenders are able to use the Internet,'' Smith said on GMTV.
The government wants to prevent pedophiles from using social networking Web sites to groom children to be sexual abuse victims, according to the Home Office.
Under the proposed legislation, it would be a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for a convicted child sex offender to use an e-mail address that has not been registered with police, a Home Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.
However, the government acknowledges it has yet to work out the details of how the plan would work.
The proposal faces many hurdles, including the fact that anyone can instantly create a new e-mail address online and that Facebook, MySpace and most other popular social networking sites are based outside Britain.
In addition to the new proposal, British police already have a range of means to monitor and assess the threat convicted sex offenders pose over the Internet, including obtaining warrants to search convicted pedophiles' home to make a risk assessment, the spokesman said.
The legislation is expected to be put before parliament by the end of the year and will apply to the more than 30,000 sex offenders already on the register as well as any new convictions, the Home Office said. [Ed: Further evidence, as if more is needed, that the United Kingdom is going down the road of hysteria-fueled fascism. See the story below about British vigilantism.]
LONDON (AP) -- The British government wants to ban convicted pedophiles from using social networking Web sites such as Facebook, the Home Office said Friday.
SURREY ADVERTISER (U.K.)
A POPULAR children’s entertainer, who was exposed as a sex offender this week, has fled after his Leatherhead home was trashed by vigilantes.
Kevin Hart, whose stage name is Billy Wand, was arrested by Surrey Police last year after pornographic images of children were found on his computer – for which he was punished with just a caution.
This week, locals took the law into their own hands and vandalised the 49-year-old’s Kingston Road home, smashing his windows with rocks and spray-painting the word “Paedo” in red over his front door and on the side of the house.
Mr Hart, who appeared at the TV programme Blue Peter’s 40th birthday celebration and was signed up to help with the Government’s Sure Start scheme for children under five, was nowhere to be seen this week.
In the past he has worked at events across Surrey as a children’s entertainer and magician and even performed his famous Punch and Judy show in front of dozens of children at Wotton Village fete in August last year – just a month before his arrest.
Police officers raided his home and seized his computer in September after tracking him down though his credit card details.
A Surrey Police spokesman said: “A 49-year-old man from Leatherhead was arrested on September 5, 2007, on suspicion of making indecent images of children.
"On Friday, October 12, 2007, he was cautioned and placed on the sex offenders’ register for two years.
“Taking into account his previous record and the number of pictures found, the CPS found it appropriate to give a caution in this case.”
He would not comment on the number or seriousness of the images found.
The police force would not comment directly about the attack on the magician’s home this week but said its Public Protection Risk Management Unit (PPRMU) was looking into the case as a whole.
A spokesman added: “Surrey Police works with the Probation Service, Prison Service and other agencies under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) to manage the risk posed to the public by sexual and violent offenders who have been rel-eased from prison on licence or are registered sex offenders.
“We cannot discuss the circumstances of individual cases but every person subject to MAPPA receives a full risk assessment, which takes into account the perceived risk to local people and the views of the community."
[Ed: In the midst of a witchhunt even greater in scale than that underway in the U.S., comes this tale from our English neighbors that serves as an additional, chiliing, confirmation of the obvious purposes to which "public shaming" and public registries are being put. It would seem the level of hysteria in the U.K. has overtaken all reason and that the mobs may now give full expression to their most vile instincts. But the U.S. is not far behind...]
Already under pressure to make reforms, the Atascadero facility is now dealing with the death of Lawrence Paul Rael. Another patient has been charged with murder.
By Lee Romney
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 4, 2008
ATASCADERO, CALIF. -- — When Lawrence Paul Rael was involuntarily committed to Atascadero State Hospital 10 years ago, his parents considered the placement appropriate.
Born prematurely and with a severe hearing loss, Rael had been in and out of mental health facilities from the time he was a child, with a tentative diagnosis of autism. At 18, he molested two boys and was sent to prison and then to Atascadero.
"We were comfortable with the fact that he was somewhere where he was watched," said Rael's father, Lorenzo, of Rancho Cucamonga. "He was supposedly in a hospital. We thought at least that he wouldn't get hurt."
But early Sunday morning, the slight 37-year-old man was found dead in his bed with a towel around his neck -- the victim of the first homicide in the Central Coast facility's 54-year history.
On Thursday, fellow patient Richard Earl McKee, 44, was arraigned in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on one count of murder in Rael's death and one count of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an attack on another patient.
The death of Rael, who was well-liked by patients and staff, has deeply shaken the hospital. For the last two years, Atascadero has struggled to transform its approach to patient care under a federal consent judgment that mandated sweeping changes.
The judgment applies to four of the five state mental hospitals and requires them to address issues of patient safety, over-medication and excessive use of restraints. It also calls for changes aimed at more thoroughly involving patients in their own recovery.
In the midst of the transition, Atascadero -- like the state's other mental hospitals -- has had to contend with an exodus of experienced staff members to higher-paying prison jobs. An emergency move to raise salaries has eased recruiting woes in recent months but has brought an influx of staff members inexperienced with the criminal mentally ill who populate Atascadero.
The hospital treats a volatile mix of patients, with hardened predators often housed with more vulnerable residents.
Staff members have repeatedly complained that pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce the use of restraints and antipsychotic medications has contributed to an increase in assaults by patients.
"We can't even protect our patients and that's our job," one psychiatric technician said, adding that one resident greases his face to deflect punches and pads his body by dressing in several shirts and pairs of pants. "They can't exactly get well when they're constantly in fear."
Meanwhile, staff members contend that increased paperwork requirements have detracted from time spent building the kind of relationships with patients that can defuse violence.
The hospital's executive director, Jon DeMorales, called the death "devastating" and said the hospital is planning a "top to bottom analysis" to find ways to enhance patient safety.
He said the hospital is considering patient-operated bedroom door locks that could protect them from predators while they sleep, surveillance video cameras, enhanced training and supervision for novice staff, and night-vision goggles to aid in rounds.
"Our mission is evaluation, treatment and protection," DeMorales said, "and in that last regard we failed."
DeMorales acknowledged an increase in patient violence on the evening shift in recent months and said administrators were studying the causes. Though the transition to a system of more rigorous documentation has been hard on the staff, DeMorales said, he called it the best path to improved patient care and denied that it had detracted from relationship building.
Convicted of molesting two girls, McKee arrived from prison at Atascadero in 2005, categorized as a "mentally disordered offender," meaning he had a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia that contributed directly to his criminal behavior. Court records show that when he stopped his medication in prison he had become hostile.
Last year, a hospital spokesman said, his status was changed to "sexually violent predator." Patients said McKee developed a reputation for abusively threatening patients who he believed to be child molesters or homosexuals.
He was bounced from unit to unit -- housed mostly with other sex offenders, who generally do not suffer from the types of severe mental illness that require intensive psychiatric care.
Last month, McKee lost a legal appeal challenging his confinement, records show. He became increasingly distraught, abusive and paranoid, patients said.
"A lot of guys had expressed concern about him," said Bill Langhorne, 51, a fellow patient with McKee and Rael on Atascadero's Unit 22. "He was talking to himself, making threats, pacing up and down, making lists."
On Saturday, Rael stayed up past midnight watching a vampire movie in the unit's "dayroom" and quietly playing his Game Boy, Langhorne said. About 3 a.m., a staff member heard screams and found McKee assaulting another patient in his bed. McKee was placed in seclusion. But it was not until shortly before 8 a.m. that Rael's battered body was discovered in his room.
DeMorales said logs show that staff members conducted mandatory patient checks every 20 minutes. However, Rael's attorney, San Bernardino deputy public defender Jeff Lowry, questioned how they could have failed to notice Rael's body. More thorough patient checks were in order given McKee's assault on the other patient, he said.
"Staff totally dropped the ball," said a distraught Lowry, who described Rael as "a really nice kid" who had been nicknamed "Shaky" because of a neurological tremor.
Patients and staff described Rael as "kind," "mild-mannered" and "benign." He loved science-fiction and Stephen King novels, his father said, and hospital records show that he tithed a portion of his meager monthly earnings from his canteen job to a North Carolina televangelist.
"He was everybody's kid brother. He was everybody's nephew," said Ron Barrett, 53, a convicted sex offender who was at Atascadero with Rael until February. "I miss that boy so much already. My heart is broken."
By Jon Murray
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit today challenging a new provision of the state sex offender law that will require those who register to agree to searches of their computers.
Passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly, Senate Bill 258, which takes effect July 1, addresses several issues related to sex offenders. One is that when a sex offender begins probation, parole or enrolls in the state's sex offender registry, they must sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. Also, they must agree to install software that monitors Internet usage at their own expense.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says placing the restriction on sex offenders who aren't in probation or still on parole violates the U.S. Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Sex offenders generally must register for 10 years after their release from prison, though some must register for life.
"It seems to be, in our estimation, a pretty clear violation of the fourth amendment when you're not on parole or probation," said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana's legal director.
The ACLU is not challenging the requirement to consent to computer searches as a condition of parole or probation. The lawsuit names the prosecutors and sheriffs of every Indiana county and the Indianapolis mayor, since they are responsible for maintaining the registry and prosecuting violations.
It filed the suit on behalf of a Marion County man using the name "John Doe" and a Scott County man, Steven Morris, 41, who has convictions for child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor. Both are required to register for life as sex offenders and have concerns about the privacy of financial and business information on their computers, the suit says.
BY BRIAN BRUEGGEMANN
A parent suspected that a man attending an Edwardsville school carnival might be a registered sex offender. So the parent left the event, found the man's picture on an Internet registry, and called police, officials said Tuesday.
The parent's actions resulted in Madison County prosecutors on Tuesday charging Michael E. Cox, 40, of East Alton, with unlawful presence in a school zone by a sex offender.
Cox was arrested at 8:50 p.m. Tuesday at his residence, and remains jailed on $20,000 bail. The charge is a felony and carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
School and law-enforcement authorities said Cox attended the Woodland Elementary School carnival Friday with a girlfriend, who has children there. The parent who recognized Cox as possibly being a registered sex offender approached Cox's girlfriend about the matter, Superintendent Ed Hightower said.
By the time the parent had called police, Cox and his girlfriend had left the carnival.
State law prohibits registered sex offenders from being on or near school grounds. But Hightower said school personnel have no way of knowing whether someone attending a school event is a sex offender.
"This individual understands the rules. He shouldn't have been there," Hightower said.
In February 2006, Cox was sentenced to two years in prison for fondling himself in the presence of a minor at an Alton pool.
[Ed: The "Felony" with which this man is being charged dramatically illustrates the sea change which has turned American jurisprudence on its head in recent years, to wit: Acts committed by those thrown into one group of society are now considered, and prosecuted, as "criminal" while others within society are allowed to freely exercise that act as a right".
We have turned a corner: Beware! ]
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
The man suspected of strangling a fellow Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) patient to death with a towel over the weekend was on the losing end of an important, recent California Fourth District Court of Appeal decision upholding the constitutionality of Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law.
The murder and assault occurred as a federal judge in another case was demanding ASH officials show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court in the aftermath of a finding that two employees violated the civil rights of a patient.
In a prior case involving a similar failure to protect a patient, a federal judge ruled that two ASH employees violated one patient’s civil rights and ordered the pair to pay $1,000 to that SVP patient. The judge now wants to know why the ASH employees have not yet done so.
U.S. Central District Judge S. James Sotero ruled in December that employees Melissa A. Roper and Michael C. Groom were found to have made “a substantial departure from professional judgment, practice and standards” and thus were responsible for injuries suffered by patient Theodric Van Smith in assaults on him by other two patients.
To catch a sex offender in schools; Over-Priced Government Program Launched to Forestall the Abduction of THOUSANDS of Kids From Schools Each Year
ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Rock Hill schools have a new system in place to keep unwanted visitors away from students. All 25 schools in district three of York County can check a person’s name against a national sex offender database.
“For a number of years we wanted to have a system in place where we would know who’s in our school and for what purpose,” said Elaine Baker, school district spokesperson.
As technology advances, signing in on a piece of paper wasn’t enough. Now, school visitors have to type their name on a computer.
"If their name shows up and they're not at the school for a good reason, than they have no reason to be there and we quietly say bye, bye,” Baker said.
South Carolina lists 265 registered sex offenders in Rock Hill.
WCNC put the new school security system to the test by using the name of a local sex offender to sign in at Sullivan Middle School.
Instead of printing out a visitor’s badge, a school employee asked to see a picture ID. She wanted to compare the ID with photos of sex offenders that appeared on her computer screen.
"Your last name popped up on our system,” said the school worker.
The district knows the system is not perfect. They're supposed to ask for a picture ID anyway if they don't recognize you.
A parent at Sullivan Middle School was identified as a sex offender. That parent only has access to his child while being escorted.
[Ed: Again, ask yourselves this question: when was the last time that you heard of a sex offender abducting a child from a school? This is a "solution" in search of a problem!]
Bill expands current requirements
A law signed one week ago today by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels aims to make the Internet safer for children.
The law, Senate Bill 258, bans sex offenders from using social-networking sites, instant-messaging programs or chat rooms that the offender knows includes children. The law also requires offenders to register their e-mail and user names with the state each year and makes it a Class D felony if they don’t.
“These e-mail addresses are what’s going to be important when law enforcement authorities are doing investigations related to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace,” Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said March 24 during an appearance in Indianapolis to discuss recently-enacted legislation. Carter also visited Fort Wayne, South Bend, Evansville and West Lafayette to tout the new law.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, approximately one in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 17 experience a sexual solicitation or approach while online.
“We know kids reside on those social networking sites, so we’re going to stop that,” Carter said. “It will create a safer environment.”
The new law expands current registration requirements for the state of Indiana. Presently, sex offenders residing, working or studying in the state must register with the local Sheriff’s office within 72 hours after arriving in that jurisdiction. Offenders must re-register any time they experience a change of address, employment or location of study. Detailed information about all sex offenders registered in the state of Indiana is available online at www.insor.org.
The registry has been available since January 1, 2003, and was enacted as part of Zachary’s Law, named for Zachary Snider of Cloverdale. Snider was murdered by a convicted sex offender in 1993 when he was 10 years old. According to the Indiana Sheriffs’ Sex and Violent Offender Registry Web site, the purpose of the registry is “to inform the general public about the identity, location, and appearance of sex and violent offenders who live, work, or study in Indiana.”
Carter said the explosive growth in Internet usage in recent years made the increased registration requirements necessary.
“Our laws need to change with our technical advances,” he said.
Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, co-sponsored the legislation with Carter. She said expanding current laws to monitor offenders’ Internet usage is an important step towards preventing future crimes.
“Children are extremely vulnerable in these situations,” VanDenburgh said. “It is our responsibility to protect them from those looking to cause harm. Web sites like MySpace are prime breeding grounds for sexual predators to contact children.”
Carter said MySpace is cooperating with the new law, which will take effect July 1.
[Ed: When addressing the question of A.G. Steve Carter's, Shelli VanDenburgh's, and Governor Daniels' intelligence/character, we can arrive at either of several conclusions:
A) They are deeply ignorant, both of the reality of sex offenses, their recurrence, their prevention, their "threat level" relative to other crimes as well as with the simplicity and ease of technological workarounds to laws which mandate the reporting of email addresses and the proscription against social networking (and having much in common with policies implemented in countries like China, North Korea, and Burma).
B) They are cynical and manipulative politicians who pander to the most ignorant of their constituents without regard to either the truth or to essential civil liberties, knowing that the main effect of their law will be to truly victimize society as a whole. They are, quite possibly, evil.
C) They are both of these things and in roughly the same proportion. ]