Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sex Offender Compliance Checks (Oink Oink! Pigs are here!)

Today, the Hamilton County OH Sheriff's office released the results of a four-day long compliance check of those being forced to register on the public registry. According to one of my local news stations, 72 of 1350 were found non-compliant.

The task force checked on 1,114 addresses of the 1,350 registered sex offenders in the county and here are the results:
       720 lived where they said they did;
         72 were out of compliance;
         50 warrants were signed;
         20 warrants are pending;
       237 notices were left on doors where offenders registered;
         19 are homeless;
         66 require additional investigation.

I have been free for just over a decade now, and while this is not my first compliance verification, this is the first time I have had to deal with the US Marshals. It was a very unnerving experience. Imagine you are just finishing fixing dinner and you hear a loud bang on the door. Not a nice little knock, but the kind of knock that sends wall hangings tumbling to the floor and give heart attacks to easily startled individuals. Then you open the door and see this sight:

Just like these pricks, only half as many
The two "officers" at my door never really bothered to identify themselves, but the first thing that came out of their mouths was "May I come in?" My response: "Hell no! No warrant, no entry." They then demanded I step outside. I said, "Hell No!" I made it crystal clear to them I did not appreciate them coming to my door in the manner in which they arrived. The US Marshal fed me a line of BS about how he can't verify my address by simply seeing me open my own door. The Marshal claimed I could have just been "visiting." I guess Ohioans make it a point to visit friends while wearing sleep clothes and house slippers. I signed their stupid form and the Marshal (the Mutt in this Mutt and Jeff duo) said he'll "be back next week." I told him he can come every day of the week and still not get in my house without a warrant.

But these cops were not done. As I stepped outside my apartment, I noticed the two thugs in blue sitting outside my apartment watching me. I took down their car tags and the stepped out and approached me. I'm still in my night clothes, but what the hey, they feel that is appropriate attire for a night on the town. I gave them a piece of my mind. (You can catch the latter part of our "discussion" by CLICKING HERE; it is on my old ReFORM Radio page if the other link doesn't work).

I stood my ground and upheld my rights. Am I hiding anything? No. However, you have the right to say NO to a cop. If a person is not on probation or parole, and the police do not have a search warrant, then they have no right to enter your home.

In this video of a compliance check in Wayne Co. OH, notice the police ask the man if they can enter his house and "see' his "bedroom" to verify his residence. They have no need to go inside to "verify" your residence. Did you notice they asked the man if they can come inside? That is because they don't have the authority to come inside UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM that authority. You have a constitutional right to refuse. You see, once they are inside, they can search your house. If you have a computer, they want to see it. Now they are looking for any way to lock you up. That is how people get arrested in "compliance checks."

I had already created a page on my main website about this issue. In addition, there is free software allowing you to encrypt your entire computer and surf the web anonymously, tested and approved by fellow activists.
Remember these important steps and follow them in any compliance check.

  • DO NOT sign anything, ever, at your door! No matter how "innocent" it seems. Politely refuse, unless you can speak to your lawyer first. (NOTE: If you do not have an attorney, be sure to read anything you sign if you feel compelled to do so. Standing up to a cop is scary, indeed, but they know you have to give up your rights willingly in order for them to proceed)
  • DO NOT answer any questions beyond confirming that you are you, and required registration info. Anything else could be used (or twisted) to incriminate you.
  • DO invoke the 5th amendment if necessary. But be prepared to be peppered with more questions (What are you hiding? Eh?), and reply only that you want your lawyer present first.
  • DO NOT let anyone into your home without a warrant, unless you are still "on paper" (i.e., probation/ parole) and it is required. "Uncle LEO" has no right whatsoever to enter a person's home without a warrant, UNLESS you give them permission to enter. Don't fall for the old "can we come inside to confirm you live there" trick. Once inside they are looking for any reason to lock you up. Depending on the state, having toys or other items they consider "paraphernalia" may subject you to arrest or investigation.
  • DO NOT leave your home while LE is still at your door. You have strong protections in your home, but practically none once you are out on the street.
  • If you have easy access to a camera (cell phone in pocket), take a picture of the group on your porch, or better yet record the whole thing. Many cell phones have a "record" feature for you to talk into. Turn it on and keep it aimed at everyone speaking. The last one is highly important, in my opinion. HOWEVER, it may It may be illegal depending on the circumstances and where you live. For more info on police recording laws for your individual state you can visit the following website: http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html
In regards to videotaping police, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a federal appeals court decision finding it unconstitutional to enforce an Illinois state law that makes it a felony to videotape police officers working in public if a microphone is turned on. The case in the US Appeals Court decision is ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F. 3d 583. (7th Cir. 2012).

More general tips at my main website HERE.

Monday, May 27, 2013

If we truly want equality, then REGISTER Kaitlyn Hunt, not 'free" her

Kaitlyn Hunt's Mugshot
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” -- Abraham Lincoln

I have been thinking about this subject all weekend, and I am going to say something rather controversial and spoken from a completely selfish prospective.

I say prosecute Kaitlyn Hunt to the fullest extent of the law. Sentence her to prison time, then add her cute, white, blonde face to America's sex offender registry. Sacrifice one of our exalted pretty white girls to the false idol of the sex offender registry.

Let Kaitlyn Hunt live the life I have had to live for over a decade. Have a dozen US Marshals bang on her door at dinner time in their SWAT attire just to have her sign a piece of paper stating she lives at her residence. Kick her out of one home by proclaiming it is one yard too close to a place where children congregate. Deny her housing and employment, forcing her to live off the good of charities and the government. Bye bye nursing job dreams, Kate! Notify the neighbors. Send fliers in the mail, or go door-to-door. Plaster her in a mugshot magazine. Create an anti-Kate webpage and harass her. After all, this is an "equality" issue, right?

Lets get something straight here. I would not wish life on "The List" on anyone. Do I really want Kaitlyn Hunt on the registry, suffering as I have suffered? Not really. HOWEVER, maybe that is what it will take to get people to realize the horrors of the public registry.

All these "Free Kate" sycophants weren't around when thousands of teens and barely-18 adults were being added to the Megan's fLaw Registry all across the USA. They weren't around to protest when a nine-year-old kid was added to Delaware's sex offender registry.

Yet, the homosexual activists have claimed this case as their own. "Stop the Hate, Free Kate," they say. The media will likely pressure the DA to get Kate off. Quite frankly, I don't think the prosecutor will go through with it. But the pro-gay movement is barking up the wrong tree. Kate is an anomaly. There are thousands of heterosexuals on the list for consensual sex, but you don't hear the gay activists mention that fact.

In 1692, we killed 19 people in Salem after accusing them of "witchcraft." The infamous Salem Witch Trials were only stopped after the daughter of the Governor of Massachusetts was accused of witchcraft. It seems the rich only care when it is one of their own facing the accusations. What will it take to end the modern Witch Hunt called the public sex offender registry? This could be the case.

Anyone else see the irony in this statement?
A series of rare but high-profile sex crime and missing person cases, most notably involving young, cute,
preferably blonde females (hence the term "Missing White Girl" syndrome) has been the catalyst for America's obsession with sex offender laws. For years, laws have passed without one iota of thought to the consequences. Now, one of America's exalted children is facing the very laws designed to exalt her. Florida's "Romeo and Juliet" statute is woefully inadequate and does not cover this case. The moral panic caused by the sex offender registry has led to the ever-expanding list requiring more names and faces.

Kaitlyn Hunt has become collateral damage in the "War on Sex Offenders."

The only solution to end this war is to end the public registry. Simply reforming the registry is not enough. It would only take one "R&J" offender committing a subsequent sex crime in life to undo any mere reforms of the registry. Abolishing the registry is the only way to ensure there will be no more Kates. Think this is a "gay rights" issue? Think again.

It is not about homosexual rights.

Here is an article that breaks down the Kaitlyn Hunt case apart from the things told to us by the parents:


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Kaitlyn Hunt saga is not just about gays, it is about the sex offender registry

Over the weekend, the Internet has been abuzz last the story of Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18-year-old Florida girl arrested and charged with “felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child between 12 and 16” for having a consensual relationship with a girl three years younger than her. So far, the news media has made it a point to stress this girl’s sexuality. However, this tragic story is not about discrimination against gays, but our growing obsession with Predator Panic.

[CLICK HERE for one of the many articles on the Kaitlyn Hunt case]

Across the USA, children as young as age 9 found themselves listed on public sex offender registries. Behavior that may have been seen as nuisance behavior is now criminalized by an ever-growing industry whose sole mission is to place as many people on a public registry as possible. The sex offender registry was originally intended to be a private list for law-enforcement, with only those proven to be a high risk of re-offense listed in the event of a rare stranger abduction. Today, the registry has over 700,000 names, including thousands of kids under the age of 18 who have engaged in consensual relations with each other or sexting. 

The state of Florida does indeed have what is called a “Romeo and Juliet” provision, which allows individuals convicted of certain sex crimes, consensual sexual contact between minors and someone less than four years of age older or younger, granted the “victim” is at least 13 years old. If, by some chance, this girl is convicted, she would qualify for the Romeo and Juliet provision. However, the law is written in such a way that Kate would have to actively petition the court to be removed from the registry.

[CLICK HERE to review Florida's Romeo and Juliet Law]

We have proven that having a publicly accessible registry does nothing beneficial to society. This girl is charged with “sexual battery” for an obvious mutual sexual relationship. To use that term implies sexual violence. The registry does not differentiate between a case like this and somebody who has committed a real sexual offense. Florida is one of the worst states for the treatment of those on the registry, putting signs in yards, forcing registrants to live under bridges, and allowing a number of violent vigilante groups to exist. 

This case is only one of many across country. No doubt it is somewhat unique because of the angle, but we have kids as young as 10 years old on the public registry in Texas. Over the years, there've been a number of high profile cases, from the 12-year-olds convicted in Utah of having consensual relations with one another to Ricky's story, which brought the issue of criminalizing teen sex to national prominence.
It is sad that after all these years there are still a number of people supporting the notion of adding kids to a registry. Even sites devoted to support for Kate have been attacked by trolls demanding she except her punishment.

[CLICK HERE to see more criminalized teen sex stories]

To me, there is only one common sense solution that will prevent cases like this from occurring in the future. We must abolish the public aspect of the sex offender registry. I hope that this is the case that becomes the proverbial straw breaking the back of the camel. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Repeal or reform: Should the registry exist in any form?

Over the years, there has been a rather large divide within the grassroots campaign to reform sex offender laws, regarding the registry itself. Some people believe that the sex offender registry should merely be reformed to reflect only those registrants deemed a high risk to society, while others, like myself, believe the registry should not exist in any form. Sometimes the argument can be a rather heated, sometimes to the point that activists have left the movement altogether.

I have told my story many times over the years and I have confessed on numerous occasions that joining the grassroots campaign to end the sex offender registry was not my first choice of careers. When I first got out of prison back in 2003, my only goals were to find my own residence and a job, keep a low profile, and not "rock the boat." In two years since my release, I had achieved what I set out to do, and things were starting to look up. In 2005, all that changed – I was targeted by local politicians who believed the city of Cincinnati was becoming a sex offender Mecca. The city reclassified individuals from out-of-state as sexual predators. With my reclassification team a civil suit to force me out of a residence that was pre-approved by the Sheriff's office. That was when I decided to fight back.

I got my start in 2004 on my now-defunct website called "sex criminals," a site that debated the need for sex offender laws, and even that long ago, the subject was hotly contested. It was barely a year removed from the US Supreme Court decisions of Smith v. Doe and Doe v. Connecticut Department of Public Safety. In both cases, the registry was upheld. 

It is a bit ironic that my first year of college began in 1994, the same year the Jacob Wetterling Act created the first national sex offender registry in existence. The Wetterling Act created a private registry for law-enforcement officials and a select number of other individuals to access in the event of a missing child. While the concept of a sex offender registry dates back to the 1930s, the modern era of predator panic coupled with the containment model of justice helped morph and expand the sex offender registry to its current monstrocity.

In 1996, just two years after the Wetterling Act, Megan's Law made the registry public. As the result of one high-profile case, the registry has been expanded. Over the years, this scenario has written repeated time and time again. Whereas the Wetterling Act was limited to those deemed high-risk, such as repeat or extremely violent offenders, the public registry has expanded to include a number of minor or nuisance offenders, such as people who urinate in public, teens who have had consensual relations with one another or have sent naked pictures of themselves to others, and in some cases, people who have not even committed sex crimes. With the passage of the Adam Walsh Act in 2006, legislators ensured that even more people would be ensnared in lifelong registration schemes.

The registry has expanded many times over the years, and often is justified by a number of myths and a few rare but tragic high-profile cases. Currently, Massachusetts and Oregon, two states that if only previously listed high-level offenders on their public registries, are considering expanding the public registry. This news story from Massachusetts is typical of the mentality to ever expand the registry:

"State lawmakers from both political parties are lining up behind bills to allow limited public access to information on Level 1 sex offenders and give the state Sex Offender Registry Board new power to update risk levels assigned to such convicts. The proposed changes are driven by the case of John Burbine, a Wakefield man and Level 1 sex offender who was charged late last year with sexually abusing more than a dozen children at his wife’s unlicensed day care business."

The situation in Massachusetts serves as a reminder that it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. If we merely reform the registry rather than repeal it, then we're only one high profile case away from a return to the full-scale registry. In recent memory, we have witnessed the same pattern with other laws, such as gun control. After a rash of school shootings such as Littleton or Columbine in the 1990s, a number of restrictions severely limiting gun rights were passed. As the years passed, these laws fell out of favor, but in the wake of more recent shootings such as Sandy Hook and the "Batman movie" shooting in Colorado, there is a renewed push for further restrictions.

In Oregon, the public registry is being expanded while at the same time providing an opportunity for high-risk offenders to come off the registry sooner. On the surface, it sounds like a feasible option:

"It's a bill that would add about 400 sex offenders to the 800 currently listed on Oregon's public website. That's out of the 18,000 sex offenders required to register with the state...The crimes include first-degree rape, sodomy, sex abuse, sexual penetration, child pornography, encouraging child sex abuse, compelling prostitution and kidnapping.  If House Bill 2549 passes, the offenders convicted of those crimes can ask to be taken off the state's registry within as few as five years after they're done with probation or parole."

Personally, I feel as if the Oregon bill should pass without expanding the registry whatsoever. Some people may ask, "What is a mere 400 people if it benefits all registrants in the long run?" If you are one of the 400 people that the law potentially impacts, then you already know the answer. Social ostracism, denial of housing and employment, and vigilante violence are all directly linked to public disclosure on a sex offender registry.

Since sex offender registries are expanded by rare high-profile tragic cases, the what is to stop us from contracting the registry as a result of high profile vigilante crimes, such as the double murder in Port Angeles, Washington of two guys on the sex offender registry? Where is "Gary's Law?"

It is often said a picture is worth 1000 words. Perhaps the following better illustrates my point better than any of my words could. Allowing the sex offender registry to exist has led to the monster it has become today.allowing the sex offender registry has led to this:

Wapello, Iowa

And this:

Bradford County, FL

And this:

Portland, OR
And this:

And this:


And this:

And this:

And this:

Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender camp: Miami, FL 2009
And this:

Port Angeles, WA
Get the picture?

A few activists have tried justifying simple reform over repeal by looking at the few who re-offend. It is an established fact that sex offenders have an extremely low rate of re-offense. One thing the reformists tend to forget it is we are a long way from perfecting the art of determining who is a high risk and who is not. Even the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art actuarial risk assessment tests can predict who is going to re-offend about as accurately as a coin flip. In Massachusetts, the push to expand the public registry is the result of a Tier 1/ Low Risk registrant committing a series of crimes. Ultimately, trying to argue which registrants deserve to be on a public list is about like asking the individuals who rely on the "if it saves just one child" mantra which child deserves to be saved.

Since 2005, I have been a living example of how an individual can be wrongfully classified. The basis for bumping my tier level up from 1 to 3 was on the basis of coming from a state with lifetime reporting requirements for all registrants, whereas Ohio had a three-tiered risk assessment. In 2008, risk assessment tests were abolished in favor of the Adam Walsh Act, which places people in one of three tiers based upon the offense alone. As a result, the number of individuals on the highest here in Ohio more than doubled.

Because sex offenders are not a homogeneous group, there is no simple way to weed out the chaff from the wheat. There are fixated offenders, and there are situational offenders. There are people who have committed rape or sexual abuse; there are people who have engaged in conduct with a willing but underage participant; there have been people who have flashed others; there have been people caught urinating in a secluded the public area; others who had consensual adult relations in secluded but public areas; there have been teens who have taken pictures of themselves; there have been teens who have had consensual relations with each other; there are individuals placed on the public registry for crimes that were not of a sexual nature. Only a very small portion are clinically diagnosed with pedophilia, and not everybody who is a pedophile commits sexual offenses.

Some people feel we should merely fight to reform rather than repeal because they do not believe the registry will never disappear. I do not believe that argument. The main reason that these laws have passed in the manner they have was mainly because nobody was speaking up against them. In the past few years, the movement to reform sex offender laws has indeed succeeded in raising awareness and slowing down the momentum, and in some cases stopping, the myriad of tough on crime sex offender laws. We have encouraged a growing number of individuals to take a second look at these laws and understand the harm they are causing.

I have lived under the public registry for a decade. I have experienced firsthand the effects of social ostracism, denial of housing and employment, and vigilante violence in my own life. Because I have this label, everything I do is considered suspect. The masses say is part of the punishment, the legislators claim it is not punishment. It certainly feels like punishment. The registry is unconstitutional, unethical, and causes social harm. Allowing it to exist is merely cutting one head from a hydra. Anything less than repealing the registry is not acceptable.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"You wouldn't put an A.A. next to a bar, so why let a sex offender live/ work/ do anything where there are children?"

"You wouldn't put an A.A. next to a bar, so why let a sex offender live/ work/ do anything where there are children?"

You have probably seen this line of thought to justify residency restrictions and other segregation-style laws over the years. The implication of my title suggests that all sex offenders have an illness that is beyond their ability to control. It is an extension of the old "sex offenders cannot be cured" mantra.

This statement is based on a few assumptions. The primary assumption is all people on the list are "uncontrollable pedophiles." There is a clinical definition of pedophilia, which includes a long-term period of sexual attraction to prepubescent girls (usually under age 12). The popular usage is an improper usage, much like when we used to say, "that's bad" when we mean something was good. (I already discussed why there is no such thing as a "convicted pedophile.")

There is a difference between a pedophile and a sex offender. A pedophile can have inclinations but never act on them. By contrast, a sex offender is anyone convicted of any sex crime. While we immediately think "child molester" or "rapist," this category runs the gamut of activity to include even non-sex offenses or offenses marginally sexual at best. We have included teens on the list as young as 10 years old.

Between actual sex offenders, there is a difference between "situational/ regressed" offenders and "fixated/ preferential" offenders. The vast majority of sex offenders are the former type. Situational offenders are less likely to reoffend, not attracted to children, and more likely to respond to treatment. As you can expect, Preferential offenders are more likely to offend, are attracted to children, and are more likely to reoffend.

There is also sexual addiction. You can be a sex addict without being a sex offender or  pedophile. You can be a sex offender without being a sex addict.

The bottom line is the legal term "sex offender" is broad and the term is not mutually exclusive with other terms such as "pedophile" or "sex addict." Committing a solitary sex crime does not necessarily make someone a pedophile or sex addict. That makes comparing a registered citizen to an "alcoholic" comparing apples and oranges.

Alcoholism is a very narrow definition-- addiction to alcoholic beverages. Alcoholism is a persistent condition. You can't be considered an alcoholic by getting drunk one time. However, you can be labeled a sex offender by a one-time event. Sex offender is a legal term, sex addiction and alcoholism are clinical terms. Sex Offenders are a heterogeneous group. Alcoholics are a homogeneous group. Comparing sex offenders to alcoholics is comparing apples and oranges. Sex offenses are not dictated by geography but by relationships. It is indeed a semantic argument, but an important one.

Sex offender laws dictating where a registrant can live, work, or play (and even where to go for counseling) is the result of our faulty assumption that all sex offenders are both "sex addicts" and "pedophiles." While a small number of sex offenders are fixated pedophiles (Montana claims 4% of the prison sex offender population are pedophiles), most on the list are not attracted to children or even addicted to sex.

"You wouldn't put an A.A. next to a bar, so why let a sex offender live/ work/ do anything where there are children?"

It is a rather irrational argument when you think about it. Studies have failed to provide links between geography and sexual offending. Even the comparison to AA at a bar is silly. In an urban area, there are plenty of bars, pony kegs, and beer joints, beer ads are on TV, and grocery stores sell it (unless you are in a "dry" county). So, does AA ever move its services to locations far from civilization? No!

This argument fails miserably because it is based on false assumptions and generalizations. It is time to put this tired argument to rest.