Lawmakers consider implanted chips for tracking sex offenders

[Ed: Well now, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. One could have predicted this easily enough as the next logical step-if there be any logic about it-in the unfolding holocaust against sex offenders.

An alien race just arriving from a distant galaxy would surely conclude that these "sex offenders" everyone is so obsessively preoccupied with must surely pose a clear and present danger to the immediate survival of the human species and that all other threats are nothing in comparison.

After all, what sane civilization would allocate so unstintingly vast material and emotional
resources to fighting an enemy that is hardly its gravest threat? Surely these humans have rationally identified sex offenders as such and are taking appropriate measures in ensuring the future survival of the human race? ]

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Lawmakers are considering a controversial bill that would outfit sex offenders with a surgically-implanted device that tracks their movement.

The devices would replace the ankle bracelets that are currently used to track offenders. The bracelets have been criticized as a lacking device as offenders have successfully removed them in the past before disappearing off of the radar.

"(The devices would) be a little more difficult to take off," said Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds.

Chase is among a handful of lawmakers are looking into radio chips that can be planted under the skin. Some of the designs are no larger than a grain of rice.

The radio chips would allow police to track an offender from a sex offender using the same technology used at the Tacoma Narrows bridge toll.

"Right now, we get a postcard at home every few weeks saying we have a sex offender moving into the neighborhood. But unless you know where they live and what they look like how are you going to have protection?" said Chase.

The Department of Corrections admits even with the current devices, officers often lose signal. DOC officials also note that no tracking device can prevent crime.

"It certainly is not prevention. It certainly is not 100-percent," said Anna Aylward with the state DOC.

The bill is currently in committee.

If passed, the bill would allow the state to hire the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to determine whether chip implants would be more effective.

Similar technology is used to track criminals in the U.K. and school children in Japan.

Civilly Commited Sex Offenders Denied Conjugal Visits

Ed: It is essential to understand several things in these cases. 

1. "Sexually Violent Predator" does not require actual "violence". In every state using the term (and that's most of them) it means having any kind of sex with someone under the age of 14 or 13 (depends on State). The mere act of having sex with someone under that age is, in the State's definition, "sexual violence". 

2. Civil commitment of a sex offender for an indefinite period of time following the completion of their prison sentence was previously unknown in our society. A decade or more ago, before these civil commitments, they would be back home anyway. To argue that these men (and virtually ALL are men) are less deserving of conjugal visits than state PRISONERS who have not yet completed their prison terms and who ARE currently being punished is demonstrably unjust and gives lie to the conceit that Civil Commitments "are not being punished, but simply being removed from society for its protection". ]

Private nookie time for sexually violent predators in state treatment facilities is a no-no, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled.  [Ed: the writer here, ostensibly a "journalist", is obviously, like most journalists, an ignorant asshole]

The state's policy of banning conjugal visits was challenged by a predator who was committed after being convicted of kidnapping and rape, among other crimes.  Identified in court papers only as R.R., the patient called the policy "excessively restrictive," given that he was involuntarily committed to a rehabilitation and treatment facility instead of sent to prison. 

He requested "new rules" that would allow him some alone time with his wife.  Otherwise, he claimed, he was being denied "the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, privacy, and procreation associated with lawful marriage" under rules that govern prison inmates.  

R.R. already was in the process of being commmitted when he got married in September 2004, court papers show.  After being sent to the unnnamed treatment facility, he asked the state Department of Corrections in May 2005 to grant him "marital privacy and conjugal visitation." 

That request was denied, as were subsequent bids each of the following two years. So he turned to the courts.  The justices agreed with state officials: Violent predators must be treated differently from patients who are, say, mentally ill or suffer from tuberculosis -- if for no other reasons than the safety and security of residents, staff and visitors, they said.  In their decision, published yesterday, the justices cited a previous ruling, in which they said: "Individuals are civilly committed...because they pose a danger to the public health and safety due to their behavior."  

The point of their being there in the first place, the panel added, is because a judge determined they were likely to commit a violent sex crime again and needed to be removed from society for the greater good.  And even though these facilities aren't intended to be run as prisons, the judges noted, state officials are responsible for protecting anyone else who might work in or visit the place.  

"R.R.is not denied other contacts with his spouse," reads the opinion, published yesterday. "During that time, kissing and hugging can occur at the commencement and conclusion of the visit.  "Additionally, hand holding is allowed, and both visitors and residents are permitted to place their arms around the shoulders of others and to place their heads on another's shoulder."  "Clearly," the judges concluded, "the DOC has an interest in monitoring interaction between residents and visitors in order to ensure that contraband is not passed to residents, that safety is maintained, and that treatment goals are not compromised."  Beyond that, they said, none of R.R.'s arguments "warrant further discussion."

Civilly Confined Sex offenders can't have conjugal visits, court rules

Ed: It is essential to understand several things in these cases. 1. Sexually Violent Predator does not require actual "violence". In every state using the term (and that's most of them) it means having any kind of sex with someone under the age of 14 or 13 (depends on State). The mere act of having sex with someone under that age is, in the State's definition, "sexual violence". 2. Civil commitment of a sex offender for an indefinite period of time following the completion of their prison sentence was previously unknown in our society. A decade or more ago, before these civil commitments, they would be back home anyway. To argue that these men (and virtually ALL are men) are less deserving of conjugal visits than state PRISONERS who have not yet completed their prison terms and who ARE currently being punished is demonstrably unjust and gives lie to the conceit that Civil Commitments "are not being punished, but simply being removed from society for its protection". ] Private nookie time for sexually violent predators in state treatment facilities is a no-no, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled. The state's policy of banning conjugal visits was challenged by a predator who was committed after being convicted of kidnapping and rape, among other crimes. Identified in court papers only as R.R., the patient called the policy "excessively restrictive," given that he was involuntarily committed to a rehabilitation and treatment facility instead of sent to prison. He requested "new rules" that would allow him some alone time with his wife. Otherwise, he claimed, he was being denied "the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, privacy, and procreation associated with lawful marriage" under rules that govern prison inmates. R.R. already was in the process of being commmitted when he got married in September 2004, court papers show. After being sent to the unnnamed treatment facility, he asked the state Department of Corrections in May 2005 to grant him "marital privacy and conjugal visitation." That request was denied, as were subsequent bids each of the following two years. So he turned to the courts. The justices agreed with state officials: Violent predators must be treated differently from patients who are, say, mentally ill or suffer from tuberculosis -- if for no other reasons than the safety and security of residents, staff and visitors, they said. In their decision, published yesterday, the justices cited a previous ruling, in which they said: "Individuals are civilly committed...because they pose a danger to the public health and safety due to their behavior." The point of their being there in the first place, the panel added, is because a judge determined they were likely to commit a violent sex crime again and needed to be removed from society for the greater good. And even though these facilities aren't intended to be run as prisons, the judges noted, state officials are responsible for protecting anyone else who might work in or visit the place. "R.R.is not denied other contacts with his spouse," reads the opinion, published yesterday. "During that time, kissing and hugging can occur at the commencement and conclusion of the visit. "Additionally, hand holding is allowed, and both visitors and residents are permitted to place their arms around the shoulders of others and to place their heads on another's shoulder." "Clearly," the judges concluded, "the DOC has an interest in monitoring interaction between residents and visitors in order to ensure that contraband is not passed to residents, that safety is maintained, and that treatment goals are not compromised." Beyond that, they said, none of R.R.'s arguments "warrant further discussion."

Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown

[Ed: Of course it's overblown. It's a "moral panic", "hysteria", and a "witch hunt". But don't you see? That doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that EVERYTHING which has fueled this 30 year hysteria, from the daycare witch hunts, to the "missing kids" hysteria, to the child porn panic to the "cyber threat", is a web of LIES! People believe what they want to believe and what they want to believe is that there are BOOGEYMEN all over the place!. It doesn't matter what the facts are, the facts will have no effect on anything. Our vast, ignorant population is going to continue to fall all over itself to relinquish what little liberty remains in this country. ]

The Internet may not be such a dangerous place for children after all.

A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem.

The findings ran counter to popular perceptions of online dangers as reinforced by depictions in the news media like NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” series. One attorney general was quick to criticize the group’s report.

The panel, the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, was charged with examining the extent of the threats children face on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, amid widespread fears that adults were using these popular Web sites to deceive and prey on children.

But the report concluded that the problem of bullying among children, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.

“This shows that social networks are not these horribly bad neighborhoods on the Internet,” said John Cardillo, chief executive of Sentinel Tech Holding, which maintains a sex offender database and was part of the task force. “Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.”

The 278-page report, released Tuesday, was the result of a year of meetings between dozens of academics, experts in childhood safety and executives of 30 companies, including Yahoo, AOL, MySpace and Facebook.

The task force, led by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, looked at scientific data on online sexual predators and found that children and teenagers were unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems.

Not everyone was happy with the conclusions. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general, who has forcefully pursued the issue and helped to create the task force, said he disagreed with the report. Mr. Blumenthal said it “downplayed the predator threat,” relied on outdated research and failed to provide a specific plan for improving the safety of social networking.

“Children are solicited every day online,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Some fall prey, and the results are tragic. That harsh reality defies the statistical academic research underlying the report.”

In what social networks may view as something of an exoneration after years of pressure from law enforcement, the report said sites like MySpace and Facebook “do not appear to have increased the overall risk of solicitation.”

Attorneys general like Mr. Blumenthal and Roy Cooper of North Carolina publicly accused the social networks of facilitating the activities of pedophiles and pushed them to adopt measures to protect their youngest users. Citing studies that showed tens of thousands of convicted sex offenders were using MySpace, they pressured the networks to purge those people from their membership databases.

The attorneys general also charged the task force with evaluating technologies that might play a role in enhancing safety for children online. An advisory board composed of academic computer scientists and forensics experts was created within the task force to look at technologies and ask companies in the industry to submit their child-protection systems.

Among the systems the technology board looked at included age verification technologies that try to authenticate the identities and ages of children and prevent adults from contacting them. But the board concluded that such systems “do not appear to offer substantial help in protecting minors from sexual solicitation.”

One problem is that it is difficult to verify the ages and identities of children because they do not have driver’s licenses or insurance.

Prosecuted For Taking Pictures Of Fully Clothed Children

[Ed: This is really extraordinary! This guy is being prosecuted for taking pictures of young girls at a public event without their parent's permission. The girls, obviously, were fully clothed and yet the photos were alleged to be "sexually suggestive". Yeah, right. They weren't even posed. The girls were running around being kids. So because someone thought he was suspicious, the police were alerted and he was arrested, prosecuted and will have to register as a sex offender. So apparently, U.S. laws which had previously allowed anyone to photograph anyone or anything else in public without fear of arrest has been thrown out the window. When did this happen? Does anyone give a shit anymore? ]

Ex-LAPD officer who photographed young girls pleads guilty

Ralph Lakin surreptitiously took more than 90 sexually suggestive photos at a Garden Grove festival in 2007. He gets four years' probation and must register as a sex offender.
By Susannah Rosenblatt

1:09 PM PST, January 13, 2009

A former Los Angeles Police Department officer pleaded guilty today in Orange County Superior Court to charges he took sexually suggestive photographs of young girls at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival in 2007.

Ralph Cameron Lakin, 55, of La Palma pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanor counts and was sentenced to four years' probation and 100 hours of community service. He also must register as a sex offender.

According to Orange County prosecutors, Lakin surreptitiously snapped digital pictures of nine girls, ranging in age from about 4 to 13, at the outdoor family carnival on May 26, 2007.

The officer took more than 90 such photos that morning, eventually following a 5-year-old girl to photograph her as she climbed out of a wagon in a dress. A witness alerted the girl's father, who detained Lakin until police arrived.

Authorities found nearly 150 similar photos of little girls on Lakin's home computer, including one image of a nude toddler, prosecutors said.

Lakin retired from the LAPD last February after 10 years. At the time of his arrest, he worked downtown reviewing excessive force cases.

Lottery winner attacked; one man taken into custody

Ed: Usually, the envy one feels when someone other than you wins the lottery does not extend to actual physical assault. But as we know, when that "someone else" is a sex offender, some feel compelled to express both their hatred of sex offenders as well as their jealousy and fury, in a very different way. Never mind that the sex offender bought the lottery ticket and took his chances just like everyone else. Anything he might do, even though it be something that everyone else is free to do, can be used, in this case LITERALLY, as a club against him. Jews in Nazi Germany were attacked with impunity on the streets by resentful "Aryans" who had been thoroughly programmed to despise them and their alleged wealth and power. Prior to the mass deportations to the death camps, Jews were increasingly and systematically excluded from taking part in much of German society. They were barred from schools, parks, buses and trams, universities, government offices, swimming pools, and much more. Without exagerrating, one can say that the sex offender in America today is facing an identical oppression. ]


The winner of the state's first half-million dollar lottery was severely beaten on a downtown street Tuesday afternoon by a man wielding a tire iron or metal pipe, according to Anchorage police.

Police say Alec Ahsoak, 53, was attacked in the 400 block of D Street at about 3:30 p.m. when a man, accompanied by two women, approached him to ask if he was the man who won the $500,000 jackpot.

Whether the attack was motivated by Ahsoak's winning the lottery, which was held to benefit an advocacy group for sexual abuse victims, or the widely distributed reports that Ahsoak is a three-time convicted sex-offender was unclear.

"There was no apparent attempt at robbery," police Lt. Dave Parker said. "He was struck eight to 10 times, and then he threw his Pepsi at the assailant and he ran for Phyllis' Cafe and the assailant ran off."

By Tuesday evening, Ahsoak had been discharged from the hospital. In a show-up, Ahsoak identified the suspect as his attacker, but the man in custody had not yet been charged with a crime, Parker said. Police had also identified one of the two women and were treating her as a witness, Parker said.

Ahsoak told officers he had been stopped by a white man believed to be about 21 and wearing a blue and white checked shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball cap as he entered the 5th Avenue Mall. The stranger asked if he was the lottery winner, and Ahsoak said he was, then went into the mall.

When he walked out minutes later carrying a Pepsi, the man approached him, saying nothing more, and began hitting him on the head with the weapon, police said.

"Oh my God, I was so afraid something was going to happen to him," said Nancy Haag, executive director of Standing Together Against Rape, the nonprofit that benefitted from the lottery. "I'm just very sorry to hear that this has happened. ... Nobody deserves to be a victim of any kind of violence, and that's our stand."

Ahsoak was transported to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, which did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

"There were injuries to his head -- lacerations, that kind of stuff," Parker said. "Nobody knows how bad it is until doctors do their job, but he was talking and able to communicate with the officers."

There were "loads of witnesses" to the attack, but none of them were immediately able to identify the man, Parker said. It did not immediately appear that the attack had been caught on any surveillance cameras, he said.

The lottery, billed as the first of its kind, was conducted under Alaska law that allows games of chance that benefit a charity. The charity must get at least 10 percent of what's left after the prize is paid out, and organizers have estimated STAR stands to get between $2,000 and $20,000.

Ahsoak claimed $350,000 in prize money after taxes, and, the day he came forward, pledged to give $100,000 of it to STAR, the owner of Lucky Times, Abe Spicola, has said. Spicola did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Ahsoak came forward as the lottery winner Saturday, and reports that he is a convicted sex offender were soon publicized by KTUU Channel 2 News and picked up by other outlets, including the Daily News. By Monday, Ahsoak's victims were telling the media they thought Ahsoak should not benefit from the lottery, which was conducted by Lucky Times Pull Tabs to benefit the nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape.

Asked whether the media should have publicized that Asoak was a convicted sex offender, Haag said, "I think it put him, obviously, at greater risk because there are people who like to take justice into their own hands."

Ahsoak was convicted in 1993 of molesting two girls under the age of 13 and sentenced to four years in prison, according to court records.

Police arrested him again in March 2000 for molesting a different young girl he was baby-sitting. He was sentenced to six years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse of a minor in a plea deal that took another sex abuse charge and a charge of failing to register as a sex offender off the table.

Ashoak has finished his time in prison and is now on probation, but he is registered as a sex offender on a state-run public database. He told KTUU on Saturday that he's worked hard to turn his life around and has been in treatment for the past year.

A message left on the cell phone of Ahsoak's attorney was not returned Tuesday.

In reports that began surfacing Monday, some of Ahsoak's victims and their parents expressed an interest in suing him since he won the lottery, saying the money should go to his victims instead of benefitting a convicted sex offender.

One victim, who was molested in the early 1990s while Ahsoak, a family friend, was staying at her home, said Tuesday she thinks Ahsoak should not have gotten the money, especially since the money benefits STAR. But it was out of her hands and she doesn't think she'll sue, said the woman.

"I'm in shock that happened. That's terrible," she said upon hearing of the attack. "I don't wish that on anybody. The only thing I wished for him is that he would get better. ... I just think it's crazy the way that everything happened."

Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589. 

Esther Rantzen: Fear of paedophiles is harming children

'Now people are treating abuse as if it goes on behind every tree.'

Esther Rantzen

Esther Rantzen has admitted she blames herself for raising fears of paedophiles to such a degree that adults are now scared to help crying children.

The veteran broadcaster, who founded the counselling service ChildLine, warned that young people are now being harmed by the widespread suspicion that anyone who has contact with children could be a child abuser.

Her fears were confirmed by an experiment she helped conduct in a busy shopping centre, which found that 99 per cent of adults chose to walk on by rather than going to the assistance of two children who looked lost and distressed.

Even the handful who did stop admitted they were worried that people would assume they were trying to abduct the children.

This comes amid growing concern that in the wake of high-profile cases such as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the Soham murders, all adults are now viewed as paedophiles unless they can prove themselves innocent.

There are now no men under 25 teaching in state-run nurseries, such is the fear of being branded a child molester, while from next year 11.3 million adults will have to have their backgrounds checked by the Independent Safeguarding Authority before they can work or volunteer with under-16s.

Even malicious allegations made against teachers or priests must now be kept on file until they retire, while council officers are questioning the motives of any lone adults who walk through a public park.

Rantzen asked of the results of the test, to be shown on TV tonight: "What does that say about our attitude to children now? Have we unwittingly put up barriers protecting ourselves, but harming them?

"It seems to me that many adults may now actually be putting children at risk, because we are so afraid someone will suspect us of having sinister motives if we help them.

"I blame myself for a lot of this. Thirty years ago most people didn't realise that abuse ever happened, so abusers just got away with it. But in 1986 we made a programme called Childwatch in which we pointed out that abuse is far more common than most people realise, but of course it's a secret crime, it happens mainly in children' homes, within the family.

"Now people are treating abuse as if it goes on behind every tree."

She added: "The tragedy is there are people who hurt children, and we must protect them against pain and abuse. But unless we hang on to our common sense the whole of child protection is going to suffer, so many of these rules and attitudes are designed to keep adults safe, to keep jobs safe, to keep organisations safe, to keep councils safe. Our priority should be to keep children safe."

In the experiment, to be shown on ITV1's Tonight programme, two child actors were left alone in a London shopping mall looking upset while hidden cameras were set up to observe how many people offered them assistance.

A total of 1,817 people walked past the children, a seven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy, but only five did something to help.

Almost 500 people walked past the boy before one of them informed the shopping centre manager about his plight, and more than 100 ignored the girl before one of them stopped to ask if she was OK.

In addition, the five adults who did stop to help all admitted they had been worried their would be seen as suspicious.

Mark Williams Thomas, a child protection expert and former policeman, said: "It does concern me that no member of the public is even asking this child are they OK. They actually had to walk around them."