Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Registration Duty Reports In America Amid the Coronovirus Outbreak

Now that America is freaking out over the Coronavirus, the question is how the panic over this virus is impacting that other great panic in our society, namely "Predator Panic." (Unsurprisingly, Predator Panic is still strong despite having a REAL emergency on our hands thanks both to LEOs and the Media.)

Despite how anyone feels about the nation's response to the Coronavirus, it has led to a major disruption in our personal lives. Non-essential business are being shut down, large gatherings are outlawed, and sporting events and other popular venues have canceled. This is even impacting the criminal justice system, as jails have canceled visits and jury trials suspended in many locations. If we ever wanted to know how America would handle a pandemic, we're learning now whether those dystopian movies and novels accurately portray how things would progress.

Among the panic, news stories are popping up to discuss how local police are handling this panic. However, while other police services are suspended, like education or family visits to the jail, fingerprinting for job background checks, and so forth, many police departments are STILL requiring registration. Over the course of this outbreak, I'll be posting any stories I can find where registration is mentioned in news reports concerning the outbreak response. States and territories are listed alphabetically.

COVID-19 panic is not having much impact on Predator Panic. The FBI and victim cult leaders are already exploiting Predator Panic, while the private registry company OffenderWatch is hiring more workers to expand their registry sites. Emergency shelter in Florida and California are denying services to registrants as well.

IF YOU MUST REGISTER DURING THIS TIME, CALL YOUR REGISTRATION OFFICE BEFORE GOING IN TO REGISTER! 

The information listed below has been taken from various press releases and media reports of police stations/ courthouse closures. 

Many registry offices are still conducting registration even as other services are closed, and since interpretation of the laws are so strict, if you anticipate a hospital stay, you may need to register beforehand. (For anyone who thinks I'm joking around, READ THIS ARTICLE, where a registrant on paper was locked up for missing a probation meeting due to sickness.)

I am going to do my best to post all info I can gather but there nearly 18,000 police agencies in this country, 3142 County or equivalent jurisdictions. As of 2018, there are 19,495 incorporated cities, towns and villages in the United States. 14,768 of these have populations below 5,000. Only ten have populations above 1 million and none are above 10 million. 310 cities are considered at least medium cities with populations of 100,000 or more. This means that I have my work cut out for me.

Please send any press releases you find to me at iamthefallen1@yahoo.com, provide links if online or a scanned copy of any letters by mail. This isn't the time to withhold info from one another because we are rival groups, but it seems I'm not going to get cooperation from anyone else. As of 3/20, only FAC is collecting info but only for Florida, and you have to read the comment section rather than the actual article.

(I'm not going to keep up with stories on pre-trial releases but of the news stories discussing releases of low-level offenders from jails, it shouldn't come as a shock but anyone accused/ convicted of a sex offense will not receive any early releases due to the outbreak.)

LAST UPDATED 3pm CST, 4/4/20

Agency Notices (It should be noted some of these are vague, so this could is made as accurate as possible)

No changes to In-Person registration -- 53
Agencies requiring call to make arrangements -- 32
Agencies allowing registration via phone/ internet/ email -- 24
Agencies suspending registration operations -- 11
TOTAL AGENCIES -- 119

ARIZONA

Bullhead City PD: Mohave Valley Daily News, 3/30/30 - "Sex offenders may call 928-763-9200 to comply with registration requirements."

CALIFORNIA

The Alliance For Constitutional Sex Offense laws (ACSOL) has filed TWO lawsuits against in-person registration during the Coronavirus lockdown, one against Murrieta and one against San Diego.

Crescent City PD: Del Norte Triplicate, 3/24/20 - "• Sex offender registrations will continue as scheduled once a week."

Los Angeles PD: From ACSOL, 3/25/20 - "The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has stopped all in-person registration of individuals required to register as a sex offender in that city.  In place of in -person registration, LAPD is allowing individuals to register by telephone." See ACSOL for full list of phone numbers.

Mountain View PD: Los Altos Town Crier, 3/19/20 - " The Mountain View Police Department is also closed to visitors, but essential services like vehicle release and sex offender registration are available with appointments."

Santa Maria PD: KEYT 3, 3/20/20 - "Records staff will be available to the public by appointment only for services such as a vehicle release or sex offender registration. You can reach SMPD's Non-Emergency Line at (805) 928-3781 ext. 2950 or pdrecords@cityofsantamaria.org.

Statewide: Modesto Bee, 3/19/20 -"Police Department lobbies around the county also closed Wednesday except to provide a few select services, including registering sex offenders and providing releases on vehicles that have been towed. Some departments are requesting people first schedule an appointment first."

Solano County: The Daily Republic, 3/20/20 - "• Sex offender registration is still active."

Sutter County: Appeal-Democrat, 3/20/20 - "Sex offender registrants are being asked not to come to the sheriff’s office but to instead call the records department at 822-4393 for instructions."

Yuba City PD: Appeal-Democrat, 3/20/20 - "Sex offender registrations are still being done on Tuesdays from 1-4 p.m. and Thursdays from 8 a.m.-12 p.m."

Yuba County Sheriff: Appeal-Democrat, 3/20/20 - "Registered sex offenders who are due to change information should not come to the office but call 749-5117."

COLORADO

Evans PD: Greeley Tribune, 3/17/20 - For sex offender registrations, people must call ahead at (970) 339-2441 to make an appointment.

Greeley PD: Greeley Tribune, 3/17/20 - All requests for police reports must be handled by phone, by dialing (970) 350-9627, or through the online report request form, which can be accessed at greeleypd.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Records-Request.pdf. The only exceptions will be sex offender registrations or emergency situations.

Weld County: Greeley Tribune, 3/16/20 -  "The administration office’s main lobby (1950 O St., Greeley) will remain open for civil services, fine payment, sex offender registration and processing conceal carry permits. Conceal carry permit holders who need to renew their license before April 8 can receive a 30-day extension."

Windsor PD: Coloradan, 3/16/20 - "All VIN check, fingerprinting and sex offender registration house check services that are beyond what's required by law are temporarily suspended.'

CONNECTICUT

State Police: Hartford Courant, 3/17/20 - "The Connecticut State Police closed its 11 troops to the public except in cases of emergency. Licenses that expire on or after March 1 will be granted a 90-day extension. State police headquarters in Middletown will remain open for limited services — fingerprinting for long-term care providers and for sex offenders and deadly weapon offenders who are required to register with the state."

DELAWARE

SBI Dover Office: DE State Police, 3/20/20 - "Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, our Dover location will change operations from a walk-in facility to appointment only.  Appointments may be scheduled by calling: 302-739-2528. THIS CHANGE DOES NOT APPLY TO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONTINUE TO REPORT AS REQUIRED."

FLORIDA

The Florida Action Committee group is monitoring the registry offices. (They could use some work on keeping the info at the top of their pages, however. You have to read the comment sections to see the updates) According to FAC, Florida laws allow you to register at any registry office in the state even if it is a different county.

Brevard County: Space Coast Daily, 3/21/20 - "BCSO facilities that will remain in operation include the Animal Care Center, the Brevard County Jail Complex, Parkway Complex, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Port Badging Office and the Criminal Investigative Services Sex Offender/Predator lobby. All Brevard County Courthouses will remain open to the public."

Hernando County: Tampa Bay Times, 3/23/20 - "Sex offender and felon registration will continue."

Jackson County: Dothan Eagle, 3/20/20 - "Sexual offender, sexual predator and felony criminal registration will be postponed until April 6. On April 6, registrants need to call the Sheriff’s Office to check in for the registration schedule."

Okaloosa County: FHN Radio/ Destin Log, 3/19/20 - "The OCSO is also suspending all elective fingerprinting, with the exception of statutorily mandated fingerprinting such as arrestees and sexual offender registrations, the release said."

Orange County: OCSO website, Date Unknown - "To minimize unnecessary community contact, our Central Operations Complex and our sector substations will be closed to the general public. If assistance is needed for... Sex Offender Registration, Career Criminal Registration, Please use the West Side entrance facing John Young Parkway."

Sarasota County: Herald Tribune, 3/23/20 - "Sex offenders and sexual predators are no longer required to report to the county’s correctional facility and are instead asked to report to 6010 Cattleridge Blvd. Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for registration. All criminal and career offender registrations will still take place at the Sarasota County Correctional Facility at 2020 Main St. because of legal requirements."

HAWAII

Wailuku PD: Maui News, 3/24/20 - "Those wanting to obtain a copy of a police report or register as a sex offender were told to call 984-4070."

Statewide: West Hawaii Today, 3/30/20 - Hawaii's Gov. issued an executive order, "In addition, the executive order suspends certain state laws to allow counties and state agencies to engage in emergency management functions in regard to firearms registrations, wages and hours for government contractors, charter school rules, controlled substances registrations and dispensing, criminal history record checks, notary publics, sex offender registrations and certain employment and workers compensation laws."

IDAHO

Bannock County: ID State Journal, 3/27/20 - "The Sheriff’s Office administrative office will be closed to the public as well, but will have limited staff available to answer questions by phone Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They can be reached at the following numbers: 208-236-7123 — For questions concerning: concealed weapons, fingerprints, law enforcement reports and sex offender registration."

Bingham County: Post Register, 3/26/20 - "We will not be doing fingerprints for the next 21 days nor will we be doing concealed weapons permits due to the State being closed. We will also not be doing Sex Offender registrations for the next 21 days."

Bonneville County: Local News 8, 3/14/20 - "BONNEVILLE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES will only conduct essential services, including concealed weapon license and sex offender registration by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling the Bonneville County Driver License Office at 208-529-1374 , Concealed Weapon License-Sex Offender Registration at 208-529-1350, extension 1524, or the Bonneville County Motor Vehicle Department at 208-529-1350, extension 1330. During those calls, officials can determine your eligibility and the information you'll need to conduct your business."

Lewis County: Lewis County Free Press, 3/19/20 - "Sex Offender registration can be done via telephone. Signature and prints will be completed by appointment only through the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office." (# is 208-937-2447)

Payette County: Argus Observer, 3/25/20 - "The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has cancelled in-person inmate visitation. The following services will be available by phone: Sex offender registrations..."

ILLINOIS

Warren County: Review Atlas, 3/20/20 - "Sheriff 734-8505. No inmate visiting. No fingerprint services. No evictions. Only persons with specific business are to enter the Sheriff’s Office lobby. No others allowed to accompany. Sex offender registration is still required."

INDIANA

Elkhart County: ABC 57, 3/30/20 - "Questions regarding the Sex and Violent Offender registry can be asked by calling 574-891-2347."

Grant County: Chronicle Tribune, 3/26/20 - "Sex offender homeless registry: Go to the jail side of the complex and call 2112 or 2120 on the black phone on the brown pole."

Kosciusko County: Times Union Online, 3/24/20 - "Registrants for Indiana Sex or Violent Offender Registry requirements should contact Deputy Charlene Johnson at 574-264-2209 for an appointment."

Lake County: KPC News, 3/24/20 - "Public access to the department will continue to be available for law enforcement matters, essential administrative and mandatory reporting requirements, such as sex offender registry."

IOWA

Black Hawk County: The Courier, 3/19/20 - "Sex offender registrations will be handled via telephone. Individuals subject to registration should call (319) 291-2587, ext. 5103, to register over the phone and paperwork will then be mailed. All existing registration and time requirements remain in place."

Bremer County: NE Iowa Community Newspaper Group, 3/17/20 - "Sex Offenders should call the Sheriff’s Office (at  319-352-5400) using prompt 5.

Clinton County: Clinton Herald, 3/25/20 - "Sheriff’s Office (563-242-9211) Persons needing to register for the Sex Offender Registry may call to make an appointment."

Dallas County: Racoon Valley Radio, 3/27/20 - "Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard says his office has changed their methods for policing the area, including encouraging cite and release for lesser crimes. Leonard says it can be difficult for officers and staff to execute proper social distancing on the job, but emphasizes they’re doing what they can. “Well, we did shut the doors for the public. (Admittance) will be on a case-by-case basis depending on what it is they’re needing. Everything that we do here at the Sheriff’s Office can be done online (like) weapons permits (and) there’s different rules for sex offenders checking in."

Dubuque County: Telegraph Herald, 3/17/20 - "Residents also are urged to avoid coming to the lobby of the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center, except for sex offenders checking in on a monthly basis." Telegraph Herald, 3/23/20 - "Sex offenders completing monthly check-ins will be conducted over the phone."

Sioux County: SCSO website, 3/17/20 - "All in-person SOR and SOR related issues are suspended indefinitely. Items that normally required an in-person appearance shall now be handled via phone or email until further notice."

KANSAS

Geary County: Mentioned on NARSOL and doubled checked by me per Facebook private message on 4/4/20, this office is requiring registrants to call first to make an appointment.

Johnson County: Verified report from NARSOL, 4/3/20 - "In-person suspended for April and May; call 913-715-5476 instead."

LOUISIANA

Caddo Parish: Shreveport Times, 3/11/20 - "On-site visits to the Caddo Correctional Center have been suspended in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from entering the facility, the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday. Those who must visit the facility — such as attorneys, vendors or convicted sex offenders — will be required to undergo medical screening before entering the jail...Convicted sex offenders who must visit the correctional center to register or maintain compliance with their registration are allowed to visit the jail but will be required to undergo the medical screening...The screening consists of a temperature check and a response to three brief health-related questions."

Grant Parish: KALB, 3/24/20 - "Any issues with 911 permits, address changes or sex offender registry should be directed to Deputy Eric Carter at 627-2021 or carter@grantso.org."

Rapides Parish: From Town Talk (USA Today Network), 3/16/20 - In-person sex offender registry will be restricted to telephone only... Questions, call Sex Offender Registry — 318-484-5334

Shreveport PD: Ark-La-Tex 3/19/20: "Sex Offender Registration will be suspended until April 15, 2020. Sex Crimes investigators are reaching out to those required to register to notify them of the extension. Those needing to schedule an appointment with a Sex Crimes investigator should follow the instructions above."

MASSACHUSETTS

Berkshire County: WAMC Public Radio, 3/19/20: "Installation of child safety seats, fingerprinting services, firearms licensing, in-person sex offender registration, and medication disposal in the department’s lobby have also been suspended or curtailed." Since they weren't specific, you should contact the police before you register.

Fitchburg PD: Telegram.com, 3/16/20 - "The main lobby of the Police Department will remain open to the public, although the records department lobby will be closed. It will remain staffed, and will handle requests by telephone at 978-345-9643. Sex offender registration will remain available; registrants will submit applications to dispatch and will receive a phone call from the records manager. "

Pittsfield PD: From PPD Website, 3/17/20 - "The following offices/services have either suspended or greatly reduced their availability...In-Person Sex Offender Registration (please call for partial registration)." Phone # 413-448-9700

MICHIGAN

Alpena County: The Alpena News, 3/14/20 - "Changed: The Alpena County Sheriff’s Office is not allowing onsite inmate video visitation or fingerprinting for employment or concealed weapons. Sex offender registrations and purchase permits for handguns will continue in the jail lobby. All inmate religious services, education courses and other programs will stop immediately."

Barry County: Fox 47 News, 3/17/20 - "The Barry County Sheriff's Office also announced Friday that it will be suspending specific functions, in response to the spread of the coronavirus, "that may create potential health hazards effective immediately." The office said the functions are: 1. Daily preliminary breath testing (PBT’s). 2. Weekend urine screening. 3. Inmate visits with the public (professional visits allowed). 4. All fingerprinting services. 5. Sex offender registrations."

Berrien County: Fox 17, 3/18/20 - "The records lobbies in St. Joseph and Niles will be closed to the public through April 6. Obtaining a pistol purchase permit, sex offender registrant updates and fingerprinting will be postponed until the records lobby reopens."

Cheboygan County: Cheboygan Daily Tribune, 3/20/20 - "Effective immediately, the following have been suspended until April 15 — inmate visiting, purchase permits, gun registration, public fingerprinting and in person Sex Offender Registration. These people are to register by phone by calling (231) 627-3155."

Gladstone: Daily Press, 3/20/20 - "Sex offenders required to verify must call Gladstone Public Safety at 428-3131 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, to arrange for verification. Failure to verify will result in non-compliance."

Iosco County: WNEM 5, 3/23/20 - "To schedule an appointment for sex offender registration call (989) 362-6164."

Kalamazoo DPS: M Live, 3/23/20 - "Residents who need to complete sex-offender registrations should contact the Michigan State Police for further information and guidance." WKZO - Sex Offender Registration and Payments: Walk-in sex offender registration and payments will not be available during the closure. Residents who need to register and should contact the Michigan State Police for guidance and available registration locations.

Mackinac County: The Mining Journal, 3/19/20 - "Court-ordered preliminary breath testing and drug tests will continue as will sex offender registration and gun registration."

Marquette County: Noted on TV 6 - "The Marquette Sheriff's Office lobby is closed to the public effective March 13, 2020 at 4:30 p.m... Sex offenders should call (906) 225-8435 to make arrangements with staff to verify. Failure to do so will result in non-compliance."

Otsego County: Gaylord Herald Times, 3/17/20: The Otsego County Sheriff’s Department will be suspending specific functions that may create potential health hazards effective immediately. These include daily preliminary breath testing (PBTs); inmate visits with the public (professional visits allowed); all fingerprinting services; and sex offender registrations.

Sanilac County: The Times Herald reports on 3/16/20 that county courthouse and the registry office has closed to the public until 4/6/20; if you need to call the registry office if you are required to register at this time.

St. Clair County: SCSO website, 3/13/20 - "Citizens will not be able to come into the office for fingerprints, purchase permits, SOR, visitation, or any other services." Sheriff's office number, (810) 987-1700

Wyoming: M-Live, 3/19/20: "Services such as Freedom of Information Act requests, accident reports, sex offender registry registration and firearm permit applications can be accessed by calling the police records line at 616-530-7314. That number is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily."

MISSISSIPPI

Tupelo area: The Daily Journal reported on 3/16/19 that appointments must be made to register; they will not accept walk-ins at this time.

Statewide: Department of Public Safety released that all driver license stations are officially closed to the public except for the 9 MHP District Troop Stations across the state until March 31, 2020. According to WTVA, on 3/14/20, "All Mississippi driver license stations will be closed the rest of this month except for the Highway Patrol district troop stations in Batesville, New Albany and Starkville. The only license services performed there during that time will be sex offender registry transactions and commercial driver license renewals and medical card updates. There will be no testing."

MISSOURI

Barry County: Cassville Democrat, 3/26/20 - "The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is closed to the public until April 6. Anyone wanting to renew a CCW Permit or would like to be issued a New CCW Permit will have to wait until April 6. Penalties for renewal will be waived until July 6. Sex offenders needing to register by the end of March will need to call the office at 417-847-6556 and register by phone. If registration is due in April, contact the office after April 6 and staff will advise whether to register in person or by phone."

Buchanan County: News Press Now, 3/22/20 - "In addition, sex offender registration will be handled over the phone, and any professional meeting with attorneys, probation officers and parole officers within a facility will be over the phone with no direct contact with the inmates."

Jackson County: JCSO website, 3/24/20 - "Sex offenders are still required to register by law. In accordance with efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, effective March 24, 2020, Sex Offender registration in Jackson County will be done by calling 816-881-3849 or email sore@jacksongov.org until at least April 24, 2020."

Nodaway County: Maryville Forum, 3/19/20 - "Strong also announced that concealed carry applications, jail visitations and fingerprinting services will be suspended until April 20, when the situation will be re-evaluated. Sex offender checks will be done by phone until that date as well."

Saline County: KMMO Radio, 4/2/20 - "Sex offenders required to report in the month of April should contact Cathy at (660) 886-5511 Monday through Friday for further instructions prior to their scheduled registration date."

Scott County: Standard Democrat, 3/17/20 - "Also, the business office of the Sheriff’s Office will be closed to the general public. Anyone in need of a Concealed Carry Permit or to complete sex offender registration can call the Sheriff’s Office to make an appointment." M-F, 8am-4:30pm

St. Charles County: Boone Country Connection, 3/24/20 - "County Police Department at 101 Sheriff Dierker Ct. in O’Fallon: The In-House officer is available for questions. Records, concealed carry weapon (CCW) permits, evidence viewing, and property retrieval are closed. Fingerprinting is available only on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. In-person sex offender compliance continues."

St. Louis County: Per SLSO email, 4/4/20 - "The below will be going onto the website in the near future. We have informed citizens of this through social media and on signage as well. Due to the COVID 19 Virus, the St. Louis County Police Department will extend the closure of the Bureau of Central Police Records in the Headquarters building located at 7900 Forsyth Blvd in Clayton to the public until further notice. For further information, click on the citizen resources tab then click the service...SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION - Due to the COVID 19 Virus, all sex offenders registrations will be conducted by telephone, the registration office can be contacted at the following phone numbers: 314-615-3761 or 314-615-3759 during regular business hours.

MONTANA

Flathead County: Daily Inter Lake, 3/17/20 - "Sex offender registrations will continue in accordance with law."

Helena PD: Independent Record, 3/23/20 - "Individuals who need to register as sexual or violent offenders, provide a DNA sample as a requirement of a court judgement, request police or sheriff department records, or contact the records staff are asked to call (406) 447-8469."

Lake County: From Lake Co Sheriff's FB page, 3/16/20: "Dorothy will not be doing fingerprinting or DNA for the sex and violent offender registry until further notice but you must continue to bring her your address verification letters."

Ravalli County: Ravalli Republic, 3/23/20 - "civil process, concealed weapons, offender registration and other paperwork handled by appointment only"

NEBRASKA

In an email from Nebraskans Unafraid, they received a response to their inquiry to the Nebraska legislature essentially stating each sheriff's office is free to make up their own rules, so the only advice for now is to contact your registration office for details.

Cass County: Fremont Tribune, 3/20/20 - "Sex offender registration and/or updates will be conducted in the jail entrance vestibule. For questions please call 402-296-9377 or e-mail ambere@co.cass.ne.us or wludlow@co.cass.ne.us ”

Dawson County: Lexington Clipper-Herald, 3/20/20 - "Appointments will need to be made for VIN Inspections, Sex Offender Registers, Fingerprinting, Handgun Applications or any other business conducted at the Sheriff’s Office. Please call the front desk at 308-324-3011."

Douglas County: WOWT 6, 3/24/20 - "Sex-offender registry is still taking place as scheduled". The DCSO registry portal is at https://www.omahasheriff.org/services/sex-offender-registry and as of 4/4/20, there have still been no closure  made.

Saline County: SCSO website, 3/20/20 - "SOR’s will ONLY be done by appointment. Call 1-402-821-2111 to make an appointment and receive instructions prior to arrival at SCLEC."

NEVADA

Churchill County: Nevada Appeal, 4/1/20 - "The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide law enforcement services at this time with the following exceptions. We will continue to complete statutory required (i.e., sex offender, ex-felon) fingerprints."

Las Vegas PD: LVPD Press Release, 3/18/20: "The following services will be unavailable during the closure: • Work Card Applications • Sex Offender Registration • Convicted Felon Registration"

Nye County: Pahrump Valley Times, 3/20/20 - "Tippetts also noted that sex offenders and other felons who must register during this time must pick up the registration packet in the public lobby, fill it out, and turn it in by sliding the completed packet under the public services window. 'Sex offenders and felons will be notified at a later date to come in for fingerprints and photographs,' he said."

Washoe County (Reno): WCSC website, 3/18/20 - "Additionally, the following services will be provided online or via mail only until further notice... Sex Offender Registration (Mail ONLY) - Click Here for the forms. Mail to: Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Records Section, 911 Parr Blvd, Reno, NV 89512"

NEW MEXICO

Dona Ana County: LC Sun, 3/17/20 - "Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office wishes to remind all sex offenders who have to register that they must report in person to the sex offender registration office. This applies to those required to register or re-register."

San Juan County: Durango Herald, 4/3/20 - "County offices and essential services available by phone or online at www.sjcounty.net, including the Adult Detention Center, Alternative Sentencing, Assessor’s Office, Central Purchasing, Clerk’s Office, Community Development, County Executive Office, Finance, Housing, Human Resources, Parks and Facilities, Public Works, Treasurer and Sheriff’s Office — for all services except sex offender registration."

NEW YORK

State Courts: NY State Courts Press Release, 3/22/20 - "Essential sex offender registration act (SORA) matters" are considered "essential proceedings" by the court and will continue as planned

NORTH CAROLINA

NCRSOL has compiled a list of counties that have revised their policies for registration. As of 3/31/20, only Harnett, Henderson, and Wake Counties have changed their policies, according to this site. Still, I suggest calling the registry office to double-check the info posted on this site. (The info listed here is not added to my overall county as it has not been independently verified.)

Guilford County: WFMY News 2, As of 3/13/20, registry offices are running as normal.

NORTH DAKOTA

Cass County Sheriff: InForum, 3/28/20 - "Meanwhile, the Cass County Sheriff's Office is allowing sex offenders to call in address changes, but deputies still will check in on the registrants, Sheriff Jesse Jahner said. The agency's first-time registrations will be done in person, he said."

Fargo PD: InForum, 3/28/20 - "“If a new registrant who has never registered with Fargo does show up to register at the police department, there is a sign that gives them instructions to call into our records bureau and the registration process would begin from there," Detective Mark Voigtschild said in an email."

Jamestown PD: News Dakota, 3/20/20 - "“Sex offender registration will still occur, but the offender should call and ask to speak to an office so that a meeting time can be scheduled." For more information or to receive services, you can call the Police Department at 701-252-1000.

Moorhead PD: InForum, 3/28/20 - "Moorhead police are also not making any changes to their in-person sex offender registration process."

Statewide: InForum, 3/28/20 - "The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the statewide database for sex offenders, told law enforcement agencies in a March 18 letter the state would accept registration forms not signed by offenders if offices were closed to the public. “The registration forms still need to be completed, but the process can be accomplished over the phone with the offender,” the letter said, adding that agencies can work with offenders to get an updated photo if needed.

West Fargo PD: InForum, 3/28/20 - "West Fargo police are delaying fingerprinting of sex offenders, but in-person registration will continue, Assistant Chief Jerry Boyer said in an email. The agency uses a kiosk and other technology to register offenders. "Any close contact portion of the registration has been suspended, but we will continue, as long as we can, to do what we can to register those individuals required under law to register safely," Boyer said."

OHIO

Belmont County: The Times Leader, 3/13/20: "Lucas said sex offender registration will continue with additional safety protocols in place. For example, any employee dealing with anyone from outside the sheriff’s office is to be wearing gloves. 'Only mission-critical operations will continue during this time,' Lucas states in a news release."

Erie County: Sheriff's office 3/16/20 Press Release:  Sex offenders are required to report for registration purposes as required by law, and will continue to be expected to do so.

Hamilton County: Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/23/20 - "An order expected to be signed Tuesday will restrict public access to the courthouse to those who have specific business, such as those seeking civil protection orders and temporary restraining orders, and sex offenders who are required report."

Huron County: Norwalk Reflector, 3/20/20 - "Sex offenders, arsonists and violent offenders who have a duty to register will still be required to report."

Lake County: The Sheriff's Office stated in a 3/17/20 press release, "“For the health and safety of all we are limiting the influx of people into the Office, as are sheriffs in adjoining counties. However, we are continuing to maintain the registrations and tracking of sex offenders, arsonists, and violent offenders.”

Richland County: Posted at Mansfield Journal, 3/12/20 - "The Richland County Sheriff's Office will limit public access to the records section to Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Services such as concealed weapons permits, background checks, fingerprinting and in-person public records requests will only be processed during those times. Sex offenders, arson offenders and violent offenders should continue to report as currently required."

Scioto County: Portsmouth Daily-Times, 3/19/20 - "Sheriff Donini states that the process of registering of Sex Offenders is NOT being suspended and all sex offenders are still required to register as scheduled. However, modifications have been implemented to the normal method of processing all sex offenders, which will not require them to enter the facility."

Statewide: JDSupra, 3/26/20 - "The Ohio General Assembly has passed emergency legislation in response to the COVID pandemic. The following issues were addressed... It also does not delay any duty an individual has to register as a violent offender, arson offender or sex offender."

Washington County: Marietta Times, 3/24/20 - "The criminal division’s entrance will be locked, and visitors will communicate with dispatch through an intercom. Arson and sex offenders will register by phone."

OKLAHOMA

Statewide: NARSOL, 4/3/20 - Response to email inquiry, "OK: “Our office maintains business as usual as Sex and Violent Offender Registration is determined as essential in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.” Cheri Bolz, Coordinator Sex and Violent Offender Registration, Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Cheri.Bolz@doc.ok.gov "

OREGON

Deschutes County: KTVZ 21, 3/18/20 - The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office will begin limiting access into most Sheriff's Office buildings, substations, and the adult jail administration lobby during business hours starting tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m...There are still certain circumstances where a citizen may need to enter one of our buildings to retrieve property, register as a sex offender, bail out an inmate, etc..  In those situations, office staff will then grant access into the building to accommodate and assist the citizen."

Independence PD: Polk Co Itemizer-Oberserver, 3/20/20 - "We are referring sex offender registrations to the State of Oregon sex offender registration unit and not completing them at City Hall."

Linn County: Corvallis Gazette-Times, 3/25/20 - "We are still doing sex offender registrations.” For all inquiries please call 541-967-3907 for an appointment.

Statewide: Oregon.Gov Press Release, 3/23/20 - SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION COVID-19 OUTBREAK EMERGENCY PROTOCOL: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as of March 23rd, 2020, ALL sex offender reporting for registration will be taken by phone. There will be NO inperson registrations until further notice to ensure the health and safety of registrants and public safety officials. REGISTRANTS SHOULD FIRST CALL THEIR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY TO SEE IF THEY WILL REGISTER BY PHONE If you are UNABLE TO REGISTER WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, and in one of these affected areas, please call the OSP Patrol Office nearest you at of the numbers below to submit your sex offender registration information, on the timelines already established in law. Phone numbers -- McMinnville 503-472-0294; Astoria 503-861-0781; Newport 541-265-5354; Tillamook 503-842-2899; Albany 541-967-2026; Salem 503-934-0319; Baker City 541-523-5867; Bend 541-388-6213; LaGrande 541-963-7175; Ontario 541-889-6469; Pendleton 541-278-4090; The Dalles 541-296-9646; Central Point 541-776-6114, Central Point 541-776-6236; Grants Pass 541-955-6370; Coos Bay 541-888-2677; Gold Beach 541-247-6641; Roseburg 541-440-3334; Klamath Falls 541-883-5713; Springfield 541-726-2536. If you live in the Portland area, the Portland Police Bureau will process sex offender registration by phone. Please call Officer Lara Maul at 503-545-3559 Monday-Thursday from 7am – 5pm.

PENNSYLVANIA

State Police: PA State Police website, 3/30/20 - "***INFORMATION REGARDING REGISTRATIONS DURING THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY*** Due to the COVID-19 Emergency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in-person reporting is being temporarily suspended. In order to allow registrants to remain compliant with registration requirements and to expedite the processing of information, only residential, employment and school address verifications are being required at this time. During the COVID-19 Emergency, if any registered sex offender needs to change or update previously reported information, a paper update form has been developed to be utilized during this timeframe. This form is to be used ONLY for changes to previously reported information. The form must be mailed to the Pennsylvania State Police, Megan’s Law Section, 1800 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110. **NOTE—If an individual is unable to go to work due to the COVID-19 Stay at Home orders, but intends to return when permitted, no employment update is required.** To print a copy of the paper form, CLICK HERE.  If an individual is not able to access the form, the individual must contact the Megan’s Law Section at 866-771-3170. Changes to information must be reported within three business days, in accordance with 42 Pa. C.S. Chapter 97. Failure to report changes as required could lead to criminal penalties under 18 Pa. C.S. §4915.1 or §4915.2. When an individual’s scheduled appearance date nears, correspondence with additional instructions will be mailed to the individual. Any individual who is required to register as a sex offender in accordance with 42 Pa. C.S. Chapter 97 and requires a new registration (i.e. never registered, first time reporting in PA) must contact the Megan’s Law Section at 866-771-3170

SOUTH CAROLINA

Charleston County: WCSC 5, 3/21/20 - "Citizens should continue to call (843) 743-7200 to report a non-emergency or 911 for an emergency. 'The sex offender registry will operate at normal business hours. Deputies will continue to strictly enforce laws regarding the sex offender registry. For the duration of this event, registrations will be conducted through a glass partition,' according to a statement from the sheriff’s office."

Orangeburg County: The Times and Democrat, 3/20/20 - Orangeburg Sheriff, "All sex-offender registrations will be conducted by investigators at the offender’s home."

TEXAS

Austin: KVUE News 3/17/20 - Sex offender check-in operations will be amended as well, police said. Offenders who are newly released to our community will still be processed and registered. “Currently registered offenders who come to APD to conduct their check-in will confirm that the information we have on file is still accurate and be instructed to call and make an appointment to come back at a later date for in-person processing,” police said.

Dallas PD: Dallas PD Press Release 3/18/20 - "DPD will amend its sex offender check-in procedures. Offenders who are newly released to the community will still be processed and registered, so we have their information in our system. Currently registered offenders who come to DPD to conduct their check-in will confirm that the information we have on file is still accurate and be instructed to call and make an appointment to come back at a later date for in-person processing."

Joshua PD: Cleburne Times-Review, 3/20/20 - "Sex offender registration for both check-in and newly released offenders will require an appointment. The assigned investigator will evaluate the need for an in-person visit."

Uvalde PD: Uvalde Leader-News, 3/24/20 - "Sex offenders needing to register or check in are to contact secretary Angelica Camacho by phone at 830-278-9147 to set up a date and time as required by law. UPD asks that they do not arrive at the department without an appointment."

Victoria PD: Victoria Advocate, 3/20/20 - "Sex offender registration will continue as scheduled. Contact Detective James Collins at 361-485-3760 with any questions."

US VIRGIN ISLANDS

From St. Croix Source, 3/24/20 - "Attorney General Denise George advises the public that the Sex Offender Registry, a division of the V.I. Department of Justice, is closed to the public due to COVID19 (corona virus); however, registration requirements remain in place. Sex offenders who are residing, employed or attending school in the territory and need to register or update their information must do so telephonically or via email. Offenders must understand that failure to comply with these obligations will subject them to prosecution for failure to register. To register or update information, please contact Shani Pinney, Territorial Sex Offender Registry Program manager: shani.pinney@doj.vi.gov or 774-5666 ext. 10191/ 714-9645 or or Inais Borque, Territorial Sex Offender Registry coordinator at inais.borque@doj.vi.gov or 773-0295 ext. 20250. This limited service will continue at the VI Department of Justice Sex Offender Registry until further notice."


UTAH

Cedar City PD: ABC 4, 3/23/20 - "Cedar City Police Sgt. Clint Pollock told ABC4 News that the public should contact their office at (435) 586-2956 to schedule an appointment for sex offender registry, collecting property or evidence, and GRAMA requests."

Tooele PD: Gephardt Daily, 3/20/20 - "Office services will be put on hold temporarily, such as fingerprints, sex offender updates, and releasing police reports. If you need to speak with an officer, call Tooele County dispatch at 435-882-5600 #1 ." Note that the police building has suffered damage and not a result of COVID-19 but I felt this was worth noting.

VIRGINIA

Charlottesville PD - The Daily Progress, 3/17/20 - "Sex offender registrations and updates will continue."

State Police: State Police Memo, 3/24/20 - "Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, public safety is of utmost importance; therefore Sex Offender Registration practices are being temporarily amended. During this time, if you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact your assigned Trooper or Compliance Officer. In order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, enclosed in this packet are changes to certain Sex Offender Registration forms. The following forms are being temporarily amended: Employment, School, Address, Vehicle, & Re-registration Letter These forms do not require thumbprints or in-person re-registration with law enforcement. The documents can be viewed and printed from the Virginia State Police, Sex Offender and Crimes
Against Minors Registry website: https://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/index.html . Completed forms may be submitted via email, fax or mail using the following: A. Email: SOR@vsp.virginia.gov B. Fax: Attention SOR (804)-674-8529 C. Mail: Virginia State Police, Attention: SOR, P.O. Box 27472, Richmond, Virginia 23261

Virginia Beach PD: Per their FB page, 3/18/20 - In an effort to support social distancing, in-person services available at Police Headquarters, Building 11, will be modified. The following services will remain available at Building 11: • Sex Offender Registrations • Felony Registrations • Court Mandated Traveling Felon Registrations

WASHINGTON STATE

State DOC, Community Corrections Division: Northern Kittitas Tribune, 3/24/20 - "The Community Corrections Division will focus supervision efforts on those cases deemed highest risk or posing a substantial threat to community safety.  The Department will maintain current standards for the following supervised individuals, including the required number of face-to-face contacts, as long as it is safe to do so: Sexually Violent Predators (SVP), Sex offenders placed in a Least Restrictive Alternative (LRA)... The Division will require one face-to-face contact per month for Community Custody Board cases, Level 3 sex offenders, conditional commutations and those designated as high risk.  For low-risk individuals, or when medically necessary, and where possible, Community Corrections Officers (CCOs) have discretion to use regular telephonic and/or FaceTime contacts at least monthly."

Pierce County: Patch.com, 3/19/20 - "...currently the front desk at our Headquarters remains open for sex offender registrations..."

Rainier PD: The Daily News, 3/23/20 - "Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as Monday, March 23rd, all sex offender reporting for registration in Rainier will be taken by phone. There will be NO in-person registrations until further notice to ensure the health and safety of registrants and public safety officials, according to a Rainier Police bulletin. Rainier Police is available Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., to register call 503-556-3644."

Snohomish County: HeraldNet, 3/22/20 - The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has suspended weekly check-ins for homeless registered sex offenders until April 6 amid coronavirus concerns...When check-ins resume, they will be asked to disclose where they have been staying for the past two weeks. Registered sex offenders who move to the county can still update their address by mail, O’Keefe said. Other enforcement efforts related to registered sex offenders will continue.“The community should know that the Sheriff’s Office takes public safety seriously,” O’Keefe said in an email. “Deputies and detectives are still doing RSO (registered sex offender) address verifications in Snohomish County, still filing failure to register for those who have been non-compliant, and still actively searching for RSOs with warrants for failure to register.” ... All fingerprinting appointments have also been canceled and will be rescheduled. People who normally receive fingerprinting services at the sheriff’s office include registered sex offenders, Concealed Pistol License applicants and employees who are required to do so by their employers.

Yakima County: Yakima Herald, 3/16/20 - they have suspended fingerprinting for business licenses; they will still fingerprint registrants.

WYOMING

Johynson County: Sheridan Media, 3/26/20 - "b. Sex Offender Registration. Please call before reporting for verifications or to make changes." Per Emergency resolution from County Commission

Natrona County: Casper Star-Tribune, 3/24/20 - "Sex Offenders please call to make any updates or changes. Any other questions please call 307-235-9282."

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The 2020 Presidential Candidates and their stance on the Sex Offense Registry

Now that the candidate pool on the Democratic side have narrowed to two people (well, three if you count Tulsi Gabbard but she's a long shot), it is time to see where everyone stands on this issue. However, it is becoming clear that Joe Biden will get the Democratic nomination, especially since establishment Dems (including nearly every former nominee) have all rallied behind Biden.

Why is this important to us? it is important because Presidents appoint federal justices. Right now, SCOTUS has a conservative majority. Who voted in favor of Smith v Doe and Kansas v Hendricks? The conservative justices. In regards to Kavanaugh, if you think him being accused of a sex offense is going to question these laws, Clarence Thomas had been accused by Anita Hill and he still voted in favor of both the registry AND civil commitment.



JOE BIDEN

I don't belive Joe Biden's a "centrist" candidate. Besides, Joe Biden gave us the 1994 Jacob Wetterling Act and the 2006 Adam Walsh Act. Need I say more?

https://votesmart.org/public-statement/196932/hatch-biden-bill-cracking-down-on-sexual-predators-to-be-signed-into-law-today#.Xl9HeqhKjIU

Hatch-Biden Bill Cracking Down on Sexual Predators to be Signed into Law Today
By: Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: July 27, 2006
Location: Washington, DC

Hatch-Biden Bill Cracking Down on Sexual Predators to be Signed into Law Today

WASHINGTON, DC - A hard-fought, bipartisan bill designed to crack down on sexual predators will become law later today in a White House signing ceremony. The "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act," sponsored by Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), will now make it easier for local law enforcement and parents to track sex offenders and to prevent repeat offenses.

"Plain and simple: This legislation will help save children's lives," said Senator Biden, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "Sexual predators must be tracked and parents have a right to know when these criminals are in their neighborhoods."

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are approximately 600,000 sex offenders nationwide, 20% of whom are not accounted for.

"We've done a lot to protect our kids against sex offenders - creating the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1984, enacting the Biden Crime Bill in 1994, and enacting the Amber Alert system in 2003 - but it is not enough. We must do more. The Adam Walsh Act will help prevent these low-life sexual predators from slipping through the cracks."

Specifically, the Hatch-Biden bill tightens existing law by requiring sex offenders to register prior to release from prison. It also adds the "use of the Internet to facilitate or commit a crime against a minor" as an offense that triggers registration.

In addition, child predators will be required to periodically check in personally with the authorities and update their photographs so law enforcement and parents will know what they look like now. And if a registered sex offender fails to comply with any of the law's requirements, he or she faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Adam Walsh Act also fully integrates and expands existing state registration systems so that information will be shared instantly and seamlessly among them.

"States such as Delaware and Florida have worked hard to build comprehensive and effective statewide registration systems," said Senator Biden. "But there are other states that are not as advanced - whose systems are not as sophisticated. We now seek to fully integrate and expand those networks so that communities nationwide will be warned when high-risk offenders come to live among them," said Biden. Senator Biden is the author of the landmark 1994 crime bill that helped create the first state programs to track and register convicted child molesters. Additionally, he is an original member of the bipartisan Senate Caucus on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children which was founded last year. This panel is charged with helping to develop legislation on behalf of missing, exploited, and runaway children, and to work with both national and local child advocacy organizations.

DONALD TRUMP

Any hope conservatives had that Trump would "drain" the Corrections Swamp ended when he signed FOSTA/ SESTA under the guise of preventing human trafficking. Trump has used the Sex Trafficking Moral Panic as a way to win votes.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-made-priority-combat-heinous-crime-human-trafficking/

"ERADICATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING: President Trump has made it a priority to leverage every resource of the Federal Government to end the scourge of human trafficking."

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/anti-human-trafficking-groups-boycotting-ivanka-trumps-white/story?id=68615924

"Human trafficking is worse than it ever has been before," Trump said. "And that's because of the internet."

He outlined initiatives his administration has done thus far, including the Department of Justice shutting down certain websites found to be associated with groups accused of running human trafficking rings.

He added, “My administration is fighting these monsters, persecuting and prosecuting them.”

For what it's worth, Trump and the Repubs haven't renewed the controversial VAWA.

https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2020/01/24/its-a-real-loss-for-survivors-domestic-violence-law-stalled-in-u-s-senate/

"For decades, the Violence Against Women Act was an issue that could transcend partisan politics on Capitol Hill. Not anymore."

And remember when Trump called Ben Carson a Child Molester?

https://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/trump-carson-pathological-215816

"It's in the book that he's got a pathological temper," he said. "That's a big problem because you don't cure that ... as an example: child molesting. You don't cure these people. You don't cure a child molester. There's no cure for it. Pathological, there's no cure for that."

BERNIE SANDERS

Bernie Sanders had an early lead in the primaries but is fading fast. It is too bad because out of the major political candidates, Sanders is the most open to criminal justice reforms. He took criticism for saying prisoners should have the right to vote. He also took criticism for suggesting a registry of corrupt cops and reducing the prison population. He has consistently voted against the PATRIOT Act and opposes the death penalty. He only reluctantly voted for the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill because it included the VAWA, while trying to pass amendments to stop the bad parts of the bill from passing. He also opposed the Iraq War.

Bernie's full stance on criminal justice issues is HERE.

BOTTOM LINE--

Biden and Trump are bad for registered persons. If Bernie isn't in the election come November, I'll once again cast my vote for a Third Party candidate. Hell, I may even write myself for President.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Ohio Sex Offense Registry is Broken Beyond Repair and Should Be Scrapped

On February 28, 2020, I was attacked in a news media article by some victim advocate. I wrote a counterpoint but it seems tis podunk Ohio rag is afraid of the truth. Since Melissa Martin is a coward, as most victim cultists are, I've posted my retort here:

The Ohio Sex Offense Registry is Broken Beyond Repair and Should be Scrapped
By Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

In Melissa Martin’s February 28, 2020 opinion piece (“Ohio Sex Offender Registry needs to stay"), Martin saw fit to demean the registered person featured in a 2018 Dayton Daily News article. I am that man, and as both a registered person and an activist, I am angered and offended that Melissa Martin would attempt to use me to justify this useless, bloated and arbitrary public pillory.

My name is Derek Logue, and I am a Registered Person and an anti-registry activist. Since 2007, I have hosted OnceFallen.com, a website that offers information and support for registered persons and their loved ones. I have been featured on HLN, CNN, Russia Today, and numerous media outlets. I have not shied away from my past. However, I will not allow myself to be used as some kind of poster child for the registry, unless that poster is a discussion of why the registry is useless.

Martin knows nothing about my plight. In the seventeen years since my release from prison, I have endured homelessness, social ostracism, unemployment, and vigilante attacks. I advocate for the abolishment of the sex offense registry because I have experienced firsthand how the registry harms the registrant, their families, and society as a whole.

Martin failed to mention the complexities of Ohio’s confusing registry scheme. When I was released, I moved from Alabama, a state without a classification scheme, to Cincinnati to enter a program. Because Alabama makes every registrant languish on the list for life, I was wrongfully labeled a “Sexual Predator” by the local registry office two years after initially determining I was only a ‘sexually oriented offender.” Alabama never classified me as predatory. Other registrants who moved from Alabama have been given the same label automatically.

In 2008, Ohio switched from a risk-based classification system to an offense-based classification system to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act; this increased the number of those placed in the “high risk” category tripled overnight because of the law. After spending $10 million dollars to defend this controversial law, the state Supreme Court determined the new law is punishment and cannot be applied retroactively. Interestingly, former Attorney General Marc Dann stated the state adopted federal law to collect bonus federal funds promised to those states adopting the Walsh Act; the actual bonus funds Ohio received for adoption of the Walsh Act was zero dollars.

I was forced to move because Ohio decided a GED school for adults qualified as a school for residency restriction law purposes. It took seven months and 131 phone calls to find a new residence. Once I moved, the city of Cincinnati tried passing further restrictions. I fought successfully to save my home on that occasion; the city passed the increased restrictions but added both a grandfather clause and removed parks from the ordinance. Ohio eventually determined that residency restriction laws are punitive and cannot be applied to anyone convicted before July 31, 2003. It was far easier to find housing the last time I needed to move within Ohio; it only took me one month and 34 phone calls to find a new apartment in 2015.

Finding work as a registered citizen is a herculean task. Despite having an undergraduate degree, my only jobs after prison were minimum-wage grocery store positions taken after months of unemployment. I was not hired because of my status. The Target Corporation even sent me a letter from corporate headquarters stating they have policies against hiring “sex offenders.” I’m not alone— based on a survey I conducted with over 300 Registered Persons, registrants were five times more likely to be unemployed, 50% less likely to have full-time employment, nearly twice as likely to collect SSI and food stamps, and nearly 20 times more likely to be homeless than someone not on the registry.

I have also experienced death threats and harassment due to my status, including from those who claim to be against sex offenses who have no problem describing fantasies about seeing me raped, among other nasty comments I have to endure over the years. Martin also believes that registered persons are somehow incapable of suffering from depression or anxiety. If the registry was not a cause for concern for those on it, why would a woman in Utah take a guilty plea to such a silly crime as walking around her own house topless in order to avoid 10 years on the public registry?

In the seventeen years since my release, I have never been accused of a sex offense, so apparently Ohio guessed wrong. Martin did not seem concerned with the amount of resources wasted on maintaining this blacklist. People convicted of sex offenses, even those labeled a “high risk” are far less likely to reoffend than any other crime type, a fact confirmed by numerous state and federal studies over a period of decades that have found rearrest/ reconviction rates below 1% annually. Indeed, most sex crimes are committed inside the home by someone known to the victim.. Most sex crime arrests are of those with no prior sex offense arrests. However, the registry was created with the extremely rare stranger kidnapping in mind.

The sex offense registry has nearly a million names, some as young as age nine. The registry does not discriminate between a prostitute, a man who drunkenly urinated behind a dumpster, a man who grabbed a teenager’s arm to chastise her for running into traffic, a teenager who had mutual relations with fellow teens or made nude pics of themselves, and more serious offenses.

Victim advocates like Martin like to say the registry is worth it if it saves one child, but how much are taxpayers willing to spend for the false sense of security supplied by the registry? Ohio spent $10 million in legal fees defending SB 10. Ohio spends over a half million annually to a private business (Offender Watch) for maintaining the registry. Hamilton County noted in 2008 they were already spending aver a quarter million every three months just on community notification. Then there’s the cost of compliance checks run by the US Marshals to the tune of $60 million annually, three times the amount the SMART Office offers to assist states to implement the Walsh Act. Registered persons and their loved ones are far more likely to be welfare dependent despite having higher education levels than those convicted of other offenses.

The sex offense registry is an expensive, useless, bloated blacklist of nearly a million names, and very few of those are any kind of danger to society. The registry is broken beyond repair and needs to be abolished, and I will gladly take Melissa Martin on in a public debate on this issue. I have nothing to hide; the facts are on my side, after all.

Friday, February 21, 2020

House Subcommittee investigation on “Sex Offenders on Dating Sites” is an exercise in Moral Panic

House Subcommittee investigation on “Sex Offenders on Dating Sites” is an exercise in Moral Panic
By: Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

Derek Logue is an Anti-Registry Activist and founder of oncefallen.com, an informational site for people convicted of sexual offenses.

While America is suffering from arguably the largest political rift in our nation’s history, one subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee of Oversight and Reform banded together on January 30 to for a common threat both political parties can exploit in a show of solidarity. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, announced they are conducting an investigation, but not into political corruption, the scam phone call epidemic, or on any issue you expect a committee that works on business laws to tackle. Instead, they announced they are investigating the use of online dating apps by people accused or convicted of sexual offenses.

This subcommittee relied heavily upon media reports that cited a single 2019 report written by a joint effort of three reporters and credited by ProPublica, Buzzfeed, and Columbia Journalism Investigations. While that may initially sound impressive, none of the three reporters credited with writing this report (Hillary Flynn, Elizabeth Naismith Picciani, and Keith J. Cousins) have any criminal justice experience, and two of the three had no actual reporting experience; both women were recent Columbia University graduates. These reporters also cited Carole Markin, a self-described online dating activist who wrote two books on dating disasters and ran an online organization addressing online dating complaints before claiming she also was assaulted by a registrant she met on a dating app.

The report itself lists around 150 cases of people who were either accused or convicted of sexual offenses committed against someone met through an online dating service. Of the 150 cases, only 10% of those involved anyone previously accused or convicted of a sexual offense, and of that 10%, the article focused on four particular individuals. Despite this report being anecdotal and dubious in nature, the mainstream media has been eager to report these findings without question, and criticism of this report has been routinely ignored. Millions of people use these sites daily without incident, so focusing on a handful of cases is a waste of resources.

Since the announcement, news media outlets across America are covering this story as a pandemic spreading farther than the coronavirus. The likely result is a symbolic bill designed to exclude, or at least humiliate, lonely Registered Persons seeking to meet a future partner online.

This would not the first time that legislators have responded unnecessarily to Internet Predator Panic. In 2008, both Presidential candidates John McCain (known for his computer illiteracy) and Barack Obama sponsored the “Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008”, a bill that required Registered Persons to turn over Internet Identifiers. Congress must have known outright banning Registered Persons from the Internet would be eventually declared unconstitutional, as it was in the Packingham v North Carolina SCOTUS ruling in 2017. Instead, they have circumvented the Constitution by placing the burden of removing registrants from online services on corporations. Facebook, for example, went from protecting the rights of Registered Persons to use their services to excluding them from services; last year, it was reported Facebook had even written exclusions in their terms of service that allowed death threats against people accused or convicted of sex crimes.

Finding ways to increase restrictions of the lives of Registered Persons is truly a bipartisan effort. On many keys issues in the US, the two political wings have similar goals (like balancing the budget) but have vastly different means to achieve them. When it comes to Predator Panic, both main political wings have something to gain from sex offender laws; right-leaning people gain their “tough-on-crime” and sexual morality agendas while left-leaning people gain their perception of “justice” for sex crime victims and punishment for offenders. It is a win-win for politics but not for public policy.

We’ve had over two decades of bad sex offense policy starting with the Jacob Wetterling Act, which itself was fueled by a campaign of misinformation about the number of kidnapped children in the US. John Walsh once stood before Congress proclaiming the country was “littered with mutilated, decapitated, raped, strangled children.” In reality, what we believed about “stereotypical kidnappings” was untrue; in reality, children are more likely to die from choking to death on hot dogs than from being raped and murdered by a stranger previously convicted of a sex crime. We now have a bloated registry nearing a million names, with children as young as age 9 plastered on this government blacklist; even the US Department of Justice admitted in 2009 over 89,000 registrants publicly listed were juveniles.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we have justified the Sex offense Registry on the false belief that “the rate of re-offense is frightening and high,” as Justice Kennedy wrote when SCOTUS upheld the use of the public registry in the 2003 Smith v Doe decision. Despite studies showing that residency restriction laws have no impact on sex crime rates, many states spend millions fighting to keep these bad laws on the books. We continue to exclude people of sexual offenses from being productive members of society. We pass laws dictating where Registered Persons (and their families) can live, work, eat, go on vacation, or even who they can date.

People today still seem oblivious to the fact that most sex crimes occur in the home, by someone already known to the victim, and that most sex crimes are committed by a person with no prior sex offense conviction. Furthermore, few people convicted of sexual offenses commit subsequent sexual offenses. These low re-offense rates have been known for decades, but people choose not to believe dozens of scientific studies conducted by numerous states and the US Department of Justice.

I have been listed on this government blacklist for seventeen years; I have also used free online dating services. I had been on a few dates, too. I was always honest with my dates about my past if we liked each other enough to have more than a couple of dates, and all but one took it well. I had a few casual encounters with consenting adults. I never dated anyone under 30 because I do not feel I can relate to the younger generation. As of today, I’ve been in a relationship for three years with someone I met online, though it was not from a dating site.

This subcommittee action is the latest in a quarter-century of moral panics espoused by a government and fueled by bad media reports and anecdotes accepted by evidence. I have fought back against the myriad of punitive laws because I have not been allowed to become a productive member of society. While Congress has not given a Registered Person like me to testify before them, I still intend to fight any actions taken by this House subcommittee. I have every right to use online services as any other American, and I have no intention of sitting by while this subcommittee seeks to use me as a political football.

Monday, February 3, 2020

WaPo's decision to suspend Sonmez was the right call, and why the Media should pay more attention to labels

WaPo was too afraid to publish this because my message was too harsh. Oh well.

*****

I commend the Washington Post for suspending Felicia Sonmez over her distasteful Twitter posts. While Felicia Sonmez was not the only person to drudge up the rape accusation against Kobe Bryant mere hours after his death, she’s the only one who was reprimanded. This is a good first step, but the media must do more to hold itself accountable more often when talking about someone’s past.

The media has a fixation with naming and shaming people who were accused or convicted of sexual offenses. I have personally faced this struggle as I have been listed on the sex offense registry for seventeen years. I spend my days advocating for abolishing the sex offense registry because I have witnessed firsthand how these laws destroy lives.

Over the years, my advocacy has attracted media attention, including a 2014 article from WaPo; in that article, the reporter referred to me by the derogatory label of “sex offender.” Many of my media appearances have also included this derogatory label as if it is some kind of job title. Since some people sign their names with initials for religious orders or their graduate degrees, some people must assume registered citizens sign their names with the initials RSO. I refuse to live by this label.

In December 2017, the mass media reported that one of three people who died in a train derailment in Seattle was on the public registry. Why was that important information? Did the train derail because people panicked upon learning a registered person was on the train, and everyone moved to one side of the train, causing the train to derail and kill three people? Assuming I live to the average age of an American male, my obituary decades from now will likely add my conviction from when I was a college kid, which would be over half a century prior to my death.

Labels are very powerful, indeed; the amount of hate mail I receive after a media appearance depends in part on the treatment I receive by the media. On a few occasions, a media outlet referred to me by a far worse label, causing the amount of hateful and threatening messages to skyrocket. Some reporters don’t seem to care about how their articles incite the public and potential harm it can cause to those brave souls willing to be interviewed on this sensitive topic. The media has never reported on the death threats I have received over the years.

Kobe Bryant was accused of a rape allegation the same year I was released from prison. Kobe Bryant was not convicted in a court of law, but merely of the court of public opinion. His accuser chose a civil suit over a criminal court and got a settlement, so people assume there was some guilt. Others assume guilt merely because we must believe the accuser; questioning the accuser’s truthfulness in any way brings about accusations of “victim blaming,” or worse, “an apologist for sex offenders.”

Victim advocates minimize the prevalence of false accusations by claiming only 2% of allegations are false, but even if that was true, that still means tens of thousands of people featured on sex offense registries are falsely convicted. Victim advocate Wendy Murphy famously stated during the Duke Lacrosse case that she “never met a false rape claim” and her own statistics speak to that truth. She still stands by her words long after the accused were found innocent.

Victim advocates also espouse a narrative that they are being “silenced” because some people dare to criticize their tactics and rhetoric. Victim advocacy tenets and mantras like “believe the victim always” are treated as religious dogma. People who claim they are abused are called “brave,” lifted to an exalted position and, as Samantha Geimer wrote in her book “The Girl,” “the moniker Sex Victim Girl.”

Everyone who stands accused or convicted of a sexual offense is seen as inherently evil while people who make abuse claims are canonized. There is no balance to this. The real world isn’t so black and white. People can be falsely accused and convicted of sex offenses. People convicted of sex offenses can change their ways.

The media can play a huge role in subverting the dominant paradigm, but will they ever do it? After all, controversy sells. Eventually, Sonmez will return to work, but will she learn from this mistake? Only time will tell. If she does not, then I hope WaPo gives her a more permanent suspension.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Why does the media feel the need to remind us of past sex offense accusations/ convictions?

Yesterday, the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and members of his family in a helicopter crash. I'm not a fan of basketball but have at least heard of Kobe Bryant. Since he's a legend of his sport and did not die from old age but at 41, it means the media has covered Kobe's death extensively. But in doing my daily review of "sex offender" news stories, it was the last place I was expecting to see a news story about Kobe Bryant. 

The Times-Leader, a newspaper covering Northeastern PA, particularly the Wilkes-Barre area, ran a news story about the tragedy, written by Stefanie Dazio of the Associated Press. The article talks about some charity work but ends the article about an accusation made against Kobe almost 20 years ago. 



This is an ongoing problem with the media. Even in death, the media feels the need to shame anyone accused or convicted of a sex offense, even when the story is unrelated to the actual news event. 

In 2017, a number of (mostly conservative) news outlets pointed out one of the three people who died in a train derailment was on the sex offense registry. Why did the media feel the need to point that out?


Of course, live registrants often cannot catch breaks from the media, either. A few months ago, after the Washington Examiner wrote a story exposing Facebook's policy of allowing people to make death threats against registered persons, I wrote a letter to the editor about the vigilante groups proliferating on social media. I was contacted by David Freddoso, who edited my original letter to include details about my offense and requested my permission to publish the edited article. I refused. 



For some reason, the media believes we should wear this label like it is some kind of job title. Educating the public should start with these uninformed media personalities because the media is where nearly every American gets much of their information. Yet, individual reporters often do not write unbiased articles; I should know, since I've dealt with numerous media outlets over the years.  (I'm looking at you, Kyra Phillips. Worst. Interviewer. Ever.) There IS a reason why I have a special category just for reporters on the annual Shiitake Awards. 

Our voices won't be heard as long as we subject ourselves to labels, or let reporters get away with lies about "high re-offense rates" or other myths. Are you doing your part to educate the media?