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Archive for the ‘Sex Offenders’ Category

I do like happy endings to terrible stories. Thank goodness for Texas justice!

Warren Jeffs the renowned polygamist leader was sentenced today to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl he took as his bride in what his church cult called a “spiritual marriage.” In addition, he also received a 20-year sentence for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl from his cult church.

Warren Jeffs was the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He claimed his religious rights were being violated. This narcissistic man represented himself after burning through seven high-powered attorneys. As most loser convicts, he routinely interrupted the proceedings and chose to stand silently in front of jurors for nearly half an hour during his closing arguments. He called just one defense witness, a church elder who read from Mormon scripture.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven, has more than 10,000 followers who consider Jeffs to be God’s spokesman on Earth.

As you may remember he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and spent years evading arrest by crisscrossing the country as a fugitive. He was captured in 2006 and has been incarcerated ever since.

During the trial in Texas, several former members of the church testified that Jeffs ruled the group with a heavy and abusive hand.  Jeffs also allegedly excommunicated 60 church members he saw as a threat to his leadership, breaking up 300 families while stripping them of property and “reassigning” wives and children.

Prosecutors suggested that the polygamist leader told the girls they needed to have sex with him  in what Jeffs called “heavenly” or
“celestial” sessions  in order to atone for sins in his community. Several times in his journals, Jeffs wrote of God telling him to take more and more young girls as brides “who can be worked with and easily taught.”

This pedophile will be in jail for a long time. Hopefully young girls from this cult church will be safe from him and/or others who think that this is a religious right. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Jeffs is 55-years-old and will be eligible for parole in 35 years.

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This is the most disgusting story of the year. Seventy-two perverts were charged with participating in an international child pornography network. The good news is that these 72 perverts were charged in the United States with 43 arrested in this country, including two in Colorado and nine abroad. Another 20 are known to authorities only by their Internet names and remain at large. Authorities have arrested people in 13 other countries — Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland, but some of those were arrested on local rather than the U.S. charges.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said a 20-month law enforcement effort called Operation Delego targeted more than 600 Dreamboard members around the world for allegedly participating in the private, members-only Internet club created to promote pedophilia. The abused children endured physical as well as sexual abuse, were videoed and uploaded on the web site. The horror of all of this was that infants were also involved.

Fifteen arrested Dreamboard participants personally created child pornography, according to the Justice Department. Participants on this sick web site were required to continually upload images of child sexual abuse to maintain their membership. Participants who molested children and created new images of child pornography were placed in a “Super VIP” category that gave them access to the entire quantity of child porn on the bulletin board, the court papers stated. Then there was a “Super Hardcore” section of the bulletin board that was limited to posts showing adults having violent sexual intercourse with “very young kids” subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

Napolitano said the amount of child porn swapped by participants in the network was massive, the equivalent to 16,000 DVDs.  Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads Justice’s criminal division, called the criminal enterprise “a living horror.”

All 72 U.S. defendants are charged with conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography, and 50 of them are also charged  with engaging in a child pornography enterprise. Thirteen of the 52 defendants who have been arrested have pleaded guilty in the  conspiracy. Of the four who have been sentenced, the least amount of prison time was 20 years behind bars and the most was 30  years.

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child and Protection and Safety Act. The act was named after John Walsh’s son, Adam. John Walsh is the host of “America’s Most Wanted” TV series. This act established a national sex offender registry, increases punishment for some federal crimes against children and strengthens child pornography protections.

Under federal law, offenders are divided into three tiers based on the crimes they committed and face different registration requirements for each one. The most severe offenders, for instance, would have to renew their registration in person every three months.

However, some states such as Texas are hesitating to enact this act for their state. With states facing budget shortfalls the cost to implement the act may not be feasible. So far only four states, Delaware, Florida, Ohio and South Dakota, have enacted this act.

Texas operates its database differently from the U.S., using risk assessment to categorize offenders instead of the offenses committed that federal law requires. Its law requires sex offenders to register either for 10 years or for life based on offense and risk level.

Texas officials do support the intent of federal program. However some of the standards fall short of those of the Texas sex offender registry, the second largest in the nation with 63,000 names. If Texas and the other states don’t comply by July 27, they will lose 10 percent of their federal funding for assisting crime victims and witnesses through the registry. For Texas, this amounts to about $2.2 million in 2012.

In addition, officials in Texas say that the “one-size-fits-all classification” would place 19-year-olds who had slept with their 15-year-old girlfriends in the same tier as a 48-year-old pedophile. As a result, the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee recommended that the state not comply with the federal law because of a report it issued which found that the change in requirements would “increase greatly” the number of people on the registry.

While the Federal Sex Offender Database Law is a good idea, once again the Federal Government doesn’t give flexibility to the States that may have a better system already in use.

John Rydberg was the worst sex offender who walked the streets in rural Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1975 he broke into a rural Wisconsin home and raped a young couple as their son slept upstairs. Four years later he raped a Minnesota woman at knifepoint in front of her children. In addition, he admitted to counselors that he committed more than 90 sex offenses, mostly involving voyeurism or exposing himself. About 15 involved actual physical contact with his victims.

Because Minnesota is looking at cutting its budget, just like other states, Rydberg may become the first person permanently freed from the state’s civil commitment program for sex offenders. This program started in 1994 has not seen a sex offender permanently freed from the program.

Rydberg, age 68, will try to convince a judicial panel that he is a changed man who deserves release from Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program after nearly two decades. If he gets the provisional discharge he’s seeking, he would be released to a Twin Cities halfway house with a GPS ankle bracelet and a long list of conditions to follow.

The problem many states are facing is the cost of treating growing populations of sex offenders. An Associated Press analysis last year found that the 20 states with civil commitment programs planned to spend nearly $500 million in 2010 to confine and treat 5,200 sex offenders considered too dangerous to release. The annual costs per offender averaged $96,000 a year. As of January 1, the program had 605 inmates. It adds about 50 prisoners a year and the cost is about $67 million to run this year. However, many legislators have said they’re fine with keeping sex offenders locked up, regardless of cost.

Rydberg’s case has advanced the farthest out of the seven men in Minnesota who have reached the final stage of treatment before they can seek provisional discharge. He lives in a house on the grounds of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter — outside the secure perimeter and not locked up. At least one other man’s case could come up later this year.

State and federal courts have ruled that indefinite civil commitments of sex offenders are constitutional if the confinement is meant to provide treatment. But some experts question Minnesota’s sincerity in that goal. Neighboring Wisconsin’s sex-offender treatment program has discharged more than 60 sex offenders since 1995. California has put nearly 200 offenders back into the community. New Jersey has freed more than 120.

However, the lawyer representing the Department of Human Services will aggressively oppose Rydberg’s petition for release because they still feel that he is dangerous and that public safety would be undermined.

In Pittsburgh, PA, forty-three sex offenders are wearing monitoring devise as a condition of their parole. With more than 1,100 registered sex offenders living in Allegheny County, this pilot program is at least a first step to keep track of sex offenders.

Sex offenders have a high recidivism of re-offending because of the psychology of the crime and its criminal activity. As a result, law enforcement has placed these GPS monitors provided by Guardian Protection Service on sex offenders.  As long as the offenders stay in the inclusion area, they are okay, however if they travel into an exclusion area, police are notified immediately.

What are exclusion zones for sex offenders? Exclusion zones are schools, daycares, playgrounds, any type of facilities where children congregate. As a result, these monitors help police to monitor sex offenders and when an offender enters these zones, they are arrested and possibly sent back to prison. The GPS monitor works 24/7, tracks the movements of a sex offender and if you have children, this is really significant for their safety.

A law restricting where sex offenders can live in L.A. has been ruled by a Superior Court Judge as unconstitutional. The judge’s ruling explains that forcing sex offenders to choose between prison and homelessness in L.A. is not fair to sex offenders. The provision of the law restricts how close sex offenders can live from parks or schools.

This came about because four registered sex offenders petitioned the court arguing that the legislation known as Jessica’s Law was unconstitutional. Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza went on to say, “The court is not a ‘potted plant’ and need not sit idly by in the face of immediate, ongoing and significant violations of parolee constitutional rights.”

However, in California, Proposition 83 or Jessica’s Law was overwhelmingly passed by state voters in 2006. This law imposes strict residency requirements on sex offenders that include residing within 2,000 feet of any public or private school or park where children regularly gather.

While the voters of California seem wiser than this Superior Court Judge Espinoza, history has shown that the recidivism rate of sex offenders is very high. Why would good, honest people want a sex offender living next door to them with a chance the offender may commit another crime? Why would a Judge claim it unconstitutional when the welfare of the community should be taken into account?

Last month, the Los Angeles Police Commission that heads a unit responsible for tracking the whereabouts of sex offenders reported that about 5,100 registered sex offenders living in the city. Of those, about 20%, or approximately 1,020 people, are on parole for felony crimes and are prohibited by state law from living near a school or park where children gather.

People of California, at the next election vote this judge out just as the people in Iowa and Colorado did to activist judges. Send this judge a message that even judges must take into account the welfare of a community especially in cases of sex offenders.