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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Action Item: Virginia Legislation Needed to Automatically Remove Compliant Non-Violent RSO’s from the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry on their 15th (Year) Anniversary


Back on May 19th I posted that over the following weeks I would post action items taken from my 28 Legislative Fixes (or Goals). 

So far I have posted five times about 6 separate goals and I’m planning 5 more posts about 6 other goals. 

Today’s post is about #8 from my 28 Legislative Fixes (or Goals) which is to automatically remove completely compliant Non-Violent Offenders from the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry on their 15th (year) anniversary with the filing of one form, instead of being required to petition the Courts and most likely being denied.

Some background on Non-Violent / Violent RSO’s in VA:
  • Approximately 17% (per a 2010 FOIA) of Virginia’s RSO’s are classified as Non-Violent; the rest (approximately 83%) are classified as Violent. But don’t forget in 2006 and 2008 the Virginia Legislature took some sexual misdemeanors and elevated them to felonies and because the Legislature did not include a start date the Virginia State Police took that as instruction/direction to retroactively increase thousands (2006- number unknown, 2008-1,492)  of Non-Violent Offenders to Violent, making them “Lifers” and increasing their re-registrations from once per year to every 90 days, without any due process.
  • Before July 1, 2008 Virginia’s Non-Violent RSO’s were required to remain on the VSP Registry for 10 years BEFORE they could petition the court for removal but then the 2008 Virginia Legislature increased it to 15 years and because the Legislature did not include a start date  the Virginia State Police took that as instruction/direction to retroactively apply it to all existing Non-Violent RSO’s AND towards ALL previously removed Non-Violent RSO’s. The VSP tracked down everyone who had successfully petitioned the courts and they slapped them back on the VSP Registry for 5 additional years, without any due process.
OK.

Petitioning Virginia Courts for removal from the VSP Registry requires the petitioner to hire an attorney and to pay for two psychiatrists to evaluate them and then come to court to state the RSO is not a threat to public safety. The Commonwealth Attorney will fight the petition allowing witnesses to come and speak and the Virginia State Police will also testify against the removal. Then it’s up to the judge to decide if removal should occur or not knowing that when the General Assembly is considering them for reappointment that their sign-off on removing an RSO from their requirement to register as a public Sex Offender could be used against them. If the judge refuses to grant the petition the RSO must wait 2 years before trying again. This entire process can cost the petitioner $8,000 to $12,000 and more than a year of their time even if the petitioner has registered on time for 15 years straight and has never had any investigations or charges filed against them but yet they could be stuck on the VSP Registry for life alongside the 83% Violent RSO’s. 

This keeps the VSP Registry overburdened and dilute with those who have not re-offended in 15 years, it adds additional cost to the courts and it wastes already sparse State Police re-registration and residential compliance resources. 

Plus a misdemeanor conviction is not supposed to follow our citizens for decades or even life. In theory a misdemeanor conviction is supposed to be insignificant, but in Virginia sexual misdemeanors can require 15 years to life as a Registered Sex Offender. 

If a Non-Violent RSO has served their mandated time (15 years) on the VSP Registry with exemplary behavior (no new charges, no failures to register) their removal from the VSP Registry should be automatic on their 15th anniversary.  
 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In Virginia July 1st is When New Laws Go into Effect……So What Laws Have Changed for Virginia’s Current and Future Registered Sex Offenders?


Virginia news outlets are starting to write about the new laws that take effect in Virginia this Friday, July 1st. 

Hundreds of new laws set to take effect Friday, June 26, 2016

A raft of new state laws take effect Friday, June 26, 2016

They usually pick the most controversial ones or the widest-net ones to write about, they can’t cover every-single new law. And since ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense and mens rea (criminal intent) isn’t a required factor in the commission of a crime, especially a sex crime or in a failure to register for RSO’s, I am going to repost my May 1st list of new laws for RSO’s in Virginia in case anyone missed it the first time around. 

Mary Devoy
 

May 1, 2016 Re-Post:
 
The 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session began on Wednesday January 13th 2016 and it adjourned on Friday March 11th 2016. 

This morning I finally I finalized the 2016 General Assembly Legislation page so that all the details on what Bills failed and what Bills passed are in one location. That page will remain up until November and then it will be replaced with a new 2017 GA Legislation page in anticipation of the next GA session. 

As for the 2016 General Assembly Committee page I will probably delete that in the next month or so then in December or January a new 2017 list will appear. 

I posted back on April 4th how many RSO Bills were filed during the entire 2016 session. 

So now that’s all over…………. what new laws begin on July 1, 2016 that will affect Virginias current Registered Sex Offenders? Is there anything significant that you need to know about or to avoid or are now required to do?  No, there isn’t. 

Changes that will occur on July 1st:
 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What Countries are Turning Away Registered Sex Offenders at Their Airports /Points of Entry? See RTAG’s International Travel Matrix for RSO’s


I don’t know how accurate the below information is and I don’t know anything about RTAG. 

But one of the most reoccurring email questions I receive is about International Travel for RSO’s so I wanted to share this brand new information with everyone. 

If you have questions about the below information or know something is incorrect based on a personal experience, I suggest you contact RTAG as it’s their data. 

Mary Devoy
 

RTAG’s International Travel Matrix, June 21, 2016

Registrant Travel Action Group (RTAG – www.registranttag.org), an RSOL affiliate organized to protect the international travel rights for lawful travel of registrants, is putting together a travel matrix, to serve as a snapshot guide to warn which countries you may have difficulty traveling to.

Since the US is now sending out travel alerts whenever a registered citizen travels, you need to be mindful of issues you may have at certain borders.

The below matrix is a work-in-progress and if you have traveled internationally as a registered citizen, we ask that you share your experience with RTAG (good or bad), so that information can be shared.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Connecticut Is Rethinking Its Policies Toward Jobs and Housing for Sex Offenders Because Shunning and Shaming Leads to New Crimes but Stability and Support Leads to Successful Re-entries Which Means No New Victims


Remember I previously posted about Connecticut taking 2.5 years to study their Sex Offender Registry? 

Well they have already figured out some basic concepts (see the below article) and solutions after only 10 months. 

Nice job ConnecticutNow if Virginia would just study the last 20 years of our Registry, laws and restrictions perhaps we’d move towards a smarter system too. 

Mary Devoy 

 

Connecticut Is Rethinking Its Policies Toward Jobs and Housing for Sex Offenders, June 21, 2016
By Susan Campbell
 

Before she started work at New Haven’s Columbus House as senior manager of housing services, Cathleen Meaden’s job was housing people whose crimes were seemingly unforgivable. 

Her charges were people on the state’s sex offender registry, and when she’d talk to people about her job, the reaction was often not-very-hidden disgust that she worked in close proximity with people who’d committed such heinous crimes.

“There’s an ick factor,” said Meaden. “I have always said I don’t have a warm spot in my heart for sex offenders,” but as Connecticut continues to chip away at the pernicious problem of homelessness, this particular cohort – people who’ve committed crimes that put them on the state’s sex offender registry -- presents a unique challenge. 

Research has shown that the current system – shunning and shaming -- creates precisely the environment least conducive for the prevention of future offenses. 

“The label is the most repulsive, alienating label we have,” said Laurie Guidry, a Massachusetts-based licensed clinical and consulting psychologist who focuses on the treatment of sex offenders, and the prevention of sexual violence. “These are effectively the lepers of our time. The larger concern should be on preventing this from happening in the first place.” 

Appearance on the registry usually means reduced opportunities for jobs and housing, but the population of sex offenders is immensely diverse. Guidry said that a small percentage of offenders commit the horrific stranger-abduction crimes that make the news. 

Of the 5,600 or so people on the state’s registry, no more than 300 could be considered high-risk, said Thomas Ullmann, public defender in New Haven, and co-chair of a 12-member subcommittee that is studying the sentencing of sex offenders in the state. 

Responding to a slew of federal and state initiatives, Connecticut created a sex offender registry in 1998. People who explore the online registry can find people who’ve been convicted of sex offenses by their name, their home town, and the like. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, a Connecticut offender must register for ten years, or for life.
 

What It's Like to Be a Teenage Sex Offender By Jenny Kutner


What It's Like to Be a Teenage Sex Offender, June 20, 2016
By Jenny Kutner

When Ken Thornsberry was in high school, he did something a lot of high school students do: He had sex with his teenage girlfriend. As a result, he spent the bulk of his early adulthood behind bars. 

Thornsberry was an 18-year-old senior when he met his high school girlfriend, Emily Lester, who was a 14-year-old freshman at the time. The pair quickly fell in love and began sleeping together about a month into their relationship. For the following year, they kept their sexual activity a secret from their parents because Lester didn't want to get in trouble with her father. But it was also because they could get in trouble with the law.  

In Michigan, where Thornsberry and Lester both still live, the age of consent is 16. So although Lester maintained she consented to sex with Thornsberry, legally it didn't matter. Technically, every time the couple had sex, Thornsberry was committing a sex crime — one that could land him in prison or on a sex offender registry. Of course, that wasn't something either adolescent considered too carefully at the time. 

 

Public Housing (HUD) Off-Limits to Many of the 600,000 People Returning From Prison Each Year


For Registered Sex Offenders it’s not just HUD Housing as a Federal ban, its SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits, Small Business Loans and earned Veteran’s Benefits. Oh…..and in Virginia Medicare won’t cover Viagra for RSO’s but it will for all other Medicare members. 

Mary
 

Opinion: A Home After Prison, June 21, 2016
By Nicholas Turner, President of the Vera Institute of Justice.

FOR nearly 10 years, Marcus lived in a tiny cell in Sing Sing prison. His wife and children were eager for him to return to their home in public housing in Harlem. After he completed his sentence for attempted armed robbery and possession of stolen property, his parole board said he was ready to rejoin society. But the city’s public housing authority disagreed: Because Marcus — a pseudonym — had a criminal record, he was ineligible to live with his family. 

Nationwide, more than 600,000 people return from prison each year and try to rebuild their lives. The only viable option for many of them is public housing. But local housing authorities across the country write their own rules. And they routinely bar applicants with criminal convictions — and often people with mere arrest records. That means these policies can affect the nearly one in three Americans who have some kind of criminal record. 

Some people are excluded by federal law, specifically certain sex offenders and people who have been convicted of making methamphetamine in public housing. Otherwise, administrators from the nation’s 3,300 public housing authorities, which serve 1.2 million households, are supposed to balance family unity against a person’s potential risk to society as they consider applications. But far too often, they divide families without cause.

 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Virginia Pulls 132 Confined Sex Offenders from List of Eligible Voters By Laura Vozzella



Virginia pulls 132 confined sex offenders from list of eligible voters, June 18, 2016
By Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — State officials abruptly removed 132 sex offenders from Virginia’s list of eligible voters last week, reacting to the latest problem emerging from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s sweeping move to restore voting rights to felons who had served out their sentences. 

A spokesman for McAuliffe (D) said that the offenders, who are confined in a treatment facility under a form of civil commitment, had appeared on the list of eligible voters by mistake.  
 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sex Offenders Who are Still Locked Up (Civilly Committed SVP’s) May Have Won Right to Vote Again in Virginia


OMG! 

A recent Texas decision regarding civilly committed SVP’s in Texas voting in elections because they are NOT incarcerated and they are NOT under DOC supervision. State approves mail-in ballots for civilly committed sex offenders in Littlefield, June 9, 2016 http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/sarah-rafique/2016-06-09/state-approves-mail-ballots-civilly-committed-sex 

The Virginia SVP’s who are confined at the VCBR aren’t going to be serving on any juries and they should be able to qualify for an absentee ballot. If the recent Governors Order did in fact restore SVP’s voting rights it’s not the end of the world, the sky is not falling. In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically gain the right to vote upon the completion of their sentence. And in two states incarcerated prisoners can vote. 

Mary

 

Sex offenders who are still locked up may have won right to vote again in Va., June 16, 2016
By Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s sweeping order to restore voting rights to ex-felons may have had another unintended consequence: giving the right to vote to at least 132 sex offenders who have finished their sentences but remain locked up because they have been deemed too dangerous to release. 

In Virginia, such individuals can be sent through a civil court proceeding to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Nottoway County, southwest of Richmond. 
 

Sex Offender Registration: Driven by Fear or Real Risk? By Jessica DaSilva


Sex Offender Registration: Driven by Fear or Real Risk? June 14, 2016
By Jessica DaSilva

June 7 — Sa-id Abdullah, 59, doesn't deny that he committed a low-level sex offense when he was addicted to drugs in 1987. Yet when he pled guilty in 1991 in connection with an acrimonious divorce proceeding, he said he never envisioned the charge would brand him for almost 30 years.  

Six months away from completing his five years of probation in 1996, the New York Legislature passed a bill creating an online database of convicted sex offenders, including anyone previously convicted still serving probation like Adbullah.  

Abdullah's hand shook while he told Bloomberg BNA about how for the next two decades he faced criminal and civil legal battles, insecure employment, and alienation despite getting clean, returning to school, remarrying, and becoming a substance abuse counselor. Abdullah's name was finally removed from the list in May 2016.  

Such a struggle highlights the shortcomings of a system that attorneys working in that area of criminal law say is ineffective, illogical, and fails to protect communities.  

“The fact is that we have no idea of who is going to offend or re-offend,” said Professor Heather Ellis Cucolo—an attorney, adjunct professor, and director of New York Law School’s Online Mental Disability Law Program. “The ironic part of all this is that some of the factors that might potentially lead to a greater risk [of re-offense] are the factors that are imposed as a result of registration and notification.”  

Fear and Legislation 

New York's registration and notification system was enacted in response to the high-profile rape and murder of 7-year-old Megan Kanka, Cucolo explained. However, she said that type of crime is incredibly rare.  

Sex offenses make up only about 5 percent of crime in general, Cucolo said. Of all sex offenses, those committed by strangers who kidnap children only make up 10 percent, she added. Children are overwhelmingly at risk from someone they know like a relative or other close adult, she said.  

Despite those numbers, the New York Legislature created the entire registration and notification scheme based on a rare occurrence, she said.  

“The panic and the fear that is evoked by these types of crimes necessitates this type of reaction from the public and thus from the politicians and the legislators,” she said. “But the large majority of individuals on the registry do not need to be on the registry.”  

Measuring Risk 

When convicted of a sex offense, defendants receive a risk level based on a 15-category list that determines how long their names must stay on the registry, said Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, a New York City criminal defense attorney and Abdullah's lawyer.

 However, that list usually yields “ridiculous” or “unfair” results, such as lower risk levels for possessing child pornography featuring a victim that the defendant knows, Margulis-Ohnuma said.  

That's because the risk factors are not based on the likelihood of re-offending or riskiness, but victim impact and fear, Cucolo said.  
 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Virginia ACLU issues report on Commonwealth's Attorneys Unparalleled Power… No Surprise the President of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys Disagrees


In 2007 the Hanover Count Asst. CA told my husband’s attorney he had 5 minutes to take the Alford plea deal or they'd release his photograph, name, address and list of charges to the local 6'oclock news at the second preliminary hearing (in late October) because they weren’t prepared at the first one (early September) which was more than 2.5 months after Hanover filed charges based on an accusation alone. This is all before a Grand Jury is convened about the case. http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/sex-offender-registry-result-legislative-predator-hysteria AND in Virginia there is no Discovery for the Defense it’s called “Trial By Ambush” so when you’re taking an Alford Plea you actually have no idea what they do or don’t have and if it’s a sexual accusation, that IS the evidence entered into the court record.

So………… do Virginia’s Commonwealth Attorney’s and Assistant CA’s hold all the cards, weald too much power and strive for a perfect conviction rate over seeking justice or the truth? 

I believe they do! 

Nice work ACLU of VA, these serious problems should have been highlighted years ago.

Mary Devoy 
 

ACLU issues report on commonwealth's attorneys, June 15, 2016
By Frank Green

A report issued by the ACLU of Virginia today seeks to educate voters about what it says is the undue power of commonwealth's attorneys and to encourage more candidates to seek the office. 

“Unparalleled Power," a 32-page report, says that commonwealth’s attorneys - the top prosecutor in 120 Virginia localities - ran uncontested for office in 72 percent of elections from 2005 to 2015. Forty percent of the offices did not have a single contested race during that period, the study found. 

"Local, elected prosecutors in Virginia hold tremendous influence over the criminal justice system but face few challenges to their authority," according to the ACLU. 

The powers of commonwealth's attorneys include deciding whether a case will go to trial and, if so, as a misdemeanor or felony; insisting a defendant be kept in jail before trial without bail; require a jury trial over the objection of the defendant; and withhold information such as police reports and witness statements about a case from the defendant. 

"For years, commonwealth's attorneys have opposed commonsense reforms to Virginia's criminal justice system," the ACLU report alleges. "Instead, Virginia's prosecutors have lobbied the General Assembly to ramp up the failed War on Drugs." 
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Virginia State Police and Virginia Administration Allow US Marshall’s to Take Over Routine RSO Residency Checks That Create Public Spectacle


…and yet again (April 28th) US Marshal’s are knocking on the doors of compliant Virginia Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), instead of the Virginia State Police who is the official monitor and manager of our RSO’s. 

The RSO’s are NOT wanted, they aren’t absconded, they aren’t under investigation for non-compliance AND worse of all they weren’t all Federally prosecuted. These are Virginians, most likely convicted in Virginia with a few out-of-state exceptions.  

Per Virginia law the Virginia State Police is obligated to do two residence checks per year for Virginia’s RSO’s. 

US Marshal’s have NO BUSINESS doing Virginia Residency checks! They should be done by the VSP Trooper or VSP Compliance Officer who is assigned to the RSO, that the RSO already knows.  

Any RSO who is Non-Compliant, Wanted or Missing/Absconded deserves US Marshal involvement, but RSO's who are simply under VSP and VA-DOC supervision, do NOT! 

For US Marshal’s to jump in and do spot checks on compliant RSO's is a waste of Federal resources and every time they do these "sweeps" they send out a media report (like the below one) to hype up the fact that RSO's are in our communities and we should fear them all.  

Virginia is NOT Federal Adam Walsh Act compliant it would cost millions of dollars (in 2012 the estimate by VSCC was $13 Mil) to only save $100,000-$250,000 (10% of Federal Byrne Grant) to be AWA certified and yet the US Marshal’s toss around the Adam Walsh Act in their press releases. 

These intimating and unnecessary displays of force by Federal US Marshal’s against Virginians who are NOT wanted or absconded keeps these citizens from ever being able to successfully become contributing members of society because their neighbors, family, co-workers and employers see such a public operation and add more distance because they are embarrassed and their fear has been re-elevated, for no justified reason. 

But who cares, they’re just Sex Offenders! 

Shame on you Virginia State Police and the Virginia Administration for allowing the US Marshal’s to commander the States duty and create more barriers for former-offenders who are just trying to successfully re-enter society and provide for their families. 

Mary Devoy 
 

Operation “Caretaker” – Sex Offender Compliance

Alexandria, VA - U.S. Marshal Robert Mathieson announces the results from Operation “Caretaker,” an operation targeting sex offender registry compliance in Fairfax County. The U.S. Marshals Service in partnership with the Virginia State Police (VSP) began the operation early Saturday morning.

Action Item: Eliminate Virginia’s 21-Day (to Recant) Rule AND Add Sexual Misdemeanors to Virginia’s Writs of Actual Innocence

Convicted but innocent...in Virginia too bad
It's called the 21-Day Rule

#11 of my 28 Legislative Fixes (or Goals) has always been to eliminate Virginia’s 21- Day (To Recant) Rule and #16 has always been to add sexual misdemeanor convictions to Virginia’s Writ of Actual Innocence. 

These two goals are closely related, they are both unnecessary barriers that the Virginia Legislature and Administrations have willfully ignored so that justice can NEVER be served for innocent people in the Commonwealth. 

What is Virginia’s 21-Day Rule? 
 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 10th Deadline - Johns Hopkins Moore Center Action Item: We Must Remove Children from Sex Offender Registries



The Deadline is tomorrow! 

I just left my comment; please take 10 minutes to leave a comment against Juvenile Sex Offender registration with the Dept o Justice/SMART Office for the SORNA guideline. 

Mary Davye Devoy 
 
 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Retribution is Easier to Sell to Legislatures than Prevention or Rehabilitation


What’s Wrong With the Brock Turner Sentence, June 7, 2016
It reveals our broken system for punishing sexual assault.
By Christina Cauterucci

Six months in county jail, maybe less with good behavior. That’s the punishment Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky saw fit for Brock Turner’s crime of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a Stanford frat party. Turner, 19 at the time of the assault, was found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault and was eligible to face 14 years in state prison; county prosecutors had asked for six years. 

Turner’s victim wrote a devastating statement arguing that the sentence was too lenient; in a letter that perfectly exemplified the rape culture that enabled the light sentence, Turner’s father requested no jail time at all. Persky decided six months was enough—any more than that, he said, would have a “severe impact” on Turner. 

Of course, when it comes to criminal punishment for sexual assault, imposing a severe impact should be the point. A short stint in jail will be a blip in the lifetime of a 20-year-old man. The more severe impact will come later, when Turner leaves jail and becomes a lifetime member of the sex offender registry. 

Punishments for sex offenses are levied for three interconnected purposes: protecting a community from harm; sending a message to potential criminals about the consequences that await them; and rehabilitating offenders. Sex offender registries are databases of people who’ve commit sex-related crimes, which can range from public urination and indecent exposure to child pornography possession and rape. They are often publicly searchable and, depending on the state, can prevent registrants from living within certain distances of schools, churches, malls, parks, or airports; bar them from certain jobs; and require them to notify their neighbors that they once committed a sex crime.  
 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Action Item: Virginia Code Needs to be Amended so RSO’s Can Legally Attend Church in Virginia Because as of Today the State Won’t Say if It’s Legal or Not


Back on May 25th I posted about the Virginia AG Opinion that the AG’s Office decided to decline/ignore. 


Can Virginia’s 22,500+ Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) can attend church if there is a daycare and/or school on the property? 

The two Virginia statutes in question in this matter are:
§ 18.2-370.5. - Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property
§ 18.2-370.2. - Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children on School and Daycare Property 

So I contacted a former VA Attorney General to ask if I have any options to get an answer and I was told that the VA statute say the AG ‘shall’ give his advice, NOT ‘may’. But if the AG’s office convinces the submitter of the AG Opinion not to ‘push’ for an answer or as I like to say “not to rock the boat because the answer could be legally detrimental to the State” then the submission just disappears. 

Well it turns out there were two submitters of this AG Opinion a Delegate in July 2015 (who never told me he submitted it or that it was declined) and the Senator I’ve been tracking from August. After mu conversation with the former VA AG, I asked them both last Thursday via voicemail or email if they are willing to push the V AG for an answer, neither has responded to me. 

Remember per Virginia law § 2.2-505 , citizens can not submit requests for an A.G. Opinion but Virginia Legislators, the Governor, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency can. 

Virginia Legislators wrote the two statutes above, did they intend to prohibit RSO’s from worshiping or not? 

The Virginia State Police enforces the two statutes above, will they arrest an RSO for attending church or not? When RSO’s ask them about it they’ve told the RSO’s “to go read the statute” and they’ve told me “the VSP doesn’t give legal advice” 

So I went to the Virginia Attorney General through the only avenue I have an AG Opinion. The Virginia Attorney General is the legal adviser of our laws with the responsibility to interpret existing law for law enforcement and our Commonwealths’ Attorneys (Prosecutors) and they refuse to state if an RSO attending church is a violation of Virginia law or not 

Virginia has 2 laws on their books that not only….could be denying some of our citizens their freedom to worship but could result in a felony conviction, that’s a problem 

Everyone who has the ability to answer this question has willfully ignored it, that’s a problem. 

So what can be done? 

Virginia law MUST be amended. 

§ 18.2-370.5. and § 18.2-370.2. both need an exemption for places of worship and it needs to be done at the next Virginia General Assembly session in January 2017. 

Please contact:
  1. The Virginia AG’s Office, ask them to do their job and answer the August 18, 2015 AG Opinion submission, Can RSO’s worship if there is a daycare and/or school on the property?
  2. The Virginia ACLU and ask them to step in with their resources to find out if Virginia’s RSO’s can legally worship (or not) in Virginia.
  3. Your one Virginia Delegate and one Senator and ask them to patron legislation at the next 2017 Virginia General Assembly session adding text to the two Virginia statutes in question with an exemption for all places of worship.
Mary Devoy

Friday, June 3, 2016

Action Item: It’s Time for Virginia to Stop Arresting and Prosecuting Consensual Teen “Sexters” as Child Pornographers Under the Threat of Incarceration and a Lifetime as a Violent Sex Offender…… Virginia Law MUST be Amended


There have been many, many examples of young lives being threatened with felonies, incarceration, lengthy probation and life on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender as a Violent Offender for "Sexting" in the news over the last 10 years. 

One of the most notable cases has turned into a civil case recently:
·     Teen in Va. 'sexting' case sues prosecutor, detective for civil rights violations, May 29, 2016 http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/article_71af5148-0733-5a6f-936d-f8cb189741c6.html
Back in the Summer & Autumn of 2009 the Virginia State Crime Commission met to study Teen Sexting and charging them under Virginia Child Pornography Statutes, no recommendations were made by the Commission.
·       Crime Panel Refuses to Call for Measure to Curb Sexting, December 16, 2009   http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/16/crime-panel-refuses-to-call-for-measure-to-curb-se/print/ 

Then again in the Summer & Autumn of 2014 the Virginia State Crime Commission met to study Teen Sexting and charging them under Virginia Child Pornography Statutes, and again no recommendations were made by the Commission.
·       Va. crime panel backs cigarette retailer licensing, December 2, 2014 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/2/searches-cigarettes-sexting-top-panels-agenda/

2015 Virginia Crime Report by Virginia State Police is Now Available, Sex Crimes were Up but They Were 1.08% of the Total


The Virginia State Police have posted the latest Crime Report, 2015. There is a break down of sex crime from 2015-2011 below. 

Last 5 Years of Sex Crimes at-a-Glance:
  • 2015 -   Group A Offense  441,355 crimes of those 4,787 were forcible sex offenses, that’s  1.08%
  • 2014 -   Group A Offense 444,022 crimes of those 4,668 were forcible sex offenses, that’s 1.05%
  • 2013 -   Group A Offense 456,160 crimes of those  4,590 were forcible sex offenses, that’s 1.00%
  • 2012 -   Group A Offense 472,836 crimes of those  4,771 were forcible sex offenses, that’s   1.11%
  • 2011 -    Group A Offense 479,582 crimes of those  4,768 were forcible sex offenses, that’s 0.99% 
Less than 1.15% of violent crime in Virginia is Sexual, but 11 of the last 12 years “Sex Offender Bills  have been in the Top 3 Bill submissions by Virginia Legislators.