Twitter

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NBC12-Richmond Finds Registered Sex Offender Working at Chesterfield County Virginia Fair and Gets Him Fired

NBC12’s crack investigative reporting is at work again! 

The Chesterfield County Fair is in full swing and when it comes to crimes being committed at a large public event there are pick-pockets and purse snatchers, there are scam games that no one can win, there are vehicle break-ins, there are fights and maybe gang activity and there are drugs being sold and being used. A virtual pot-of-gold for investigative journalists. 

So what does NBC12 uncover? 

A Wisconsin man who entertains spectators with a chainsaw who has a criminal past from 18 years ago, Oh and he's a registered sex offender (see article below). 

The man wasn’t breaking any VA or WI laws, he wasn’t violating any rules of probation, he wasn’t violating any fair policies, there were no complaints against him for “pervy behavior” and his conviction was 18 years ago. 

He wasn’t running a daycare or making cotton-candy to be around children, he’s a lumberjack. 

He found a way to make money with his only skill and NBC12 took it all away for a 3 minute story, they got him fired.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Colonial Heights, Virginia Mother Doesn’t Want Son to Walk to School Past Two Registered Sex Offenders Homes



It’s back-to-school time in the Commonwealth and what does that mean?

What else? Virginia television news stations running stories about Registered Sex Offenders living near school bus stops and RSO’s being on or near the route of students walking to and from school. 

Last week it was WAVY 10 about a Va Beach mothers complaints, today it’s NBC12 Richmond about a Colonial Height’s mother complaints. 

Like most Virginians, the NBC12 mother thinks the Registered Sex Offenders with their residences and employers information all being public are a significant risk to public safety. That is a misnomer. It’s the unknown “sex offenders” who aren’t registered that pose a much, much higher threat to children.

This story as all other similar stores leads viewers to believe that the Registered Sex Offenders who have their residences and employers information available to the public are a significant risk to public safety. This is a misnomer.

It’s the unknown “sex offenders” who aren’t registered that pose an actual threat to children.

The recidivism rate for Registered Sex Offenders is the second LOWEST of ALL crime.

1.       Vehicle Thefts, 78.8%*
2.       Selling stolen property, 77.4%*
3.       Burglary, 74%*
4.       Larceny, 74.6%*
5.       Possessing/Selling stolen weapons, 70.2%*
6.       Robbery, 70.2%*
7.       Domestic Battery, 41%**
8.       Drugs, 27%*
9.       Rape/Sexual Assault 2.5%*
10.     Murder 1.2%

        - 2002 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
**     - 2000 Edward Gondolf, Reassault at 30-Months after Batterer Program Intake, 44 Int'l J. of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
 

Statistically speaking when a new sex crime occurs in the Commonwealth more than 98% will be by someone never convicted of a sex crime before (not by someone on the registry) and 95% will be by an acquaintance like a teacher, a coach or a family member, not a stranger.  

During the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session I publicly opposed Delegate Bob Marshall’s bill HB1369 which was drafted after another angry mother in Fairfax County (not his district) went to a news channel to complain about her child’s bus stop in relation to an RSO in late 2012 and before that there was a similar bill proposed in 2008.

In 2011 an extremely broad bill HB1523 was proposed that would have prohibited an RSO from walking their own children to and from a bus stop, from waiting in inclement weather with their child in their vehicle within 500 ft. of the bus stop or from even driving within 500 ft. a bus stop (leaving your street for work, stopping for the flashing lights, etc). I also publicly opposed this bill pointing out the state can’t make traveling on a public street a felony offense.

And one of the most popular kind of bus stop bills (and unconstitutional), restricting the residences of RSO’s in relation to the stops, in 2010 HB1004 and in 2011 HB1823  BOTH never even made it to committee after I lobbied against them, with facts not fear. The legal counsel to the VSCC and Senate Courts of Justice Committee have both publicly stated that such laws have been ruled unconstitutional across the country and if Virginia attempts to increase the distance or add additional locations to the current prohibition that that action could result in a legal challenge that takes down the entire statute.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Action Alert Reminder for N.J’s Congressman Chris Smith’s International Megan’s Amendment into Federal Bill HR2848 Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014.

 
This is Federal Legislation not State Legislation and some readers get confused about this so I’m going to side step for a minute.  

·        State laws are proposed every January through February (odd years) or March (even years) in Richmond Virginia by State Delegates and State Senators. If the bill passes through both chambers it is then sent to the Governor to be signed into law, amended or vetoed and if it is signed it becomes law only in Virginia on July 1st.

·        Federal laws are proposed year round in Washington D.C. There are 11 Virginia Representatives in the U.S. Congress (House) and 2 Virginia Representatives in the U.S. Senate.  If the bill passes through both chambers it is then sent to the President of the United States to be signed into law, amended or vetoed and if passed it applies to all 50 states.
 
U.S. Congress and Senate Members will be returning to Washington, D.C from their August recess on September 9, 2013.  

Per the 2013 schedule they will only be “in session” (voting) 9 days in the month of September and the 2013 Fiscal Year ends on September 30, 2013 which means HR2848 must be voted on by the full House, by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and by the full Senate all within those 9 days so it can then be signed into law before the FY 2014 begins on October 1st.  

If you have not yet emailed, called or written to your one Virginia House and two Virginia Senate Representatives to share your extreme displeasure with Congressman Smith’s “IML” amendment please, please do 

The first Action Alert about this amendment was on August 3, 2013.  

Then on August 9th separated into two posts I shared all the contact information for every Virginia Representative, every House Foreign Affairs Committee Member and every Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Member with you.  

In a second post on the 9th I shared a copy of the letter I emailed to every Representative listed for you to use in its entirety, partially or as inspiration for your own composition of what to say to the Representatives before they vote on HR2848 in September.  

Because HR2848 is a Budgetary Bill for FY 2014 related to the Security of our Foreign Embassies it is on a fast track to pass and unless Representatives hear from more than a handful of constituents they won’t want to oppose any amendment unless there has been a huge out-cry from citizens.  

For 5 years Smith’s International Megan’s Law has failed to be passed into law but by his latest tactic of inserting it into an Embassy Security Bill at the 11thhour just as it was leaving the House Foreign Affairs Committee he has given IML it's best chance ever and because of his under-handed maneuver we now must make every effort to get it removed before it goes ANY further through the process. 

U.S. Representatives D.C. offices are open during August recess; their staffers are answering the phones, receiving emails and opening mail. They keep running tallies of “yea” and “nay” opinions from citizens and they share that information with the Representatives when they return to the office for session.  

Please take 10 minutes next week before the Labor Day holiday and tell the Representatives to remove or significantly amend the "Smith Amendment" to HR2848.  

Thank you!  

Mary Devoy

Virginia State Crime Commissions Draft Agenda for September 3, 2013 Meeting is Now Available


Back on July 7, 2013 I posted the 2013 Topics/Issues and a link to the Schedule for the Virginia State Crime Commission Public Meetings held in Richmond Virginia. 
 
The first meeting is scheduled for 10:00AM on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at the General Assembly Building in Senate Room A. 
 
Public comment will be heard after each topic.
 
As of August 15th this is the Draft Agenda:  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Front Royal Virginia Wants to Restrict the Employment Opportunities of Registered Sex Offenders

 
Over the last five years of advocating here in Virginia I have always been grateful for one thing, that in Virginia laws governing Registered Sex Offenders are done at a state level and not at a local level (county/city) like in California or Florida. For RSO’s to navigate the invisible lines of counties and cities for them to stay complaint, employed and housed is an unnecessary burden and in my opinion solidifies the governing laws as punitive as opposed to constitutionally approved, administrative.  

One county will want to out-do the next county in chasing out the RSO’s completely, a "not-in my-backyard" mentality takes over from county to county making re-entry, stable employment, stable housing and family support an impossible goal. 

Well it seems Front Royal, Virginia’s Town Council wants to start legislating the employment opportunities for Registered Sex Offenders, per the below article.


At this point it’s just a request for an A.G.’s opinion, but it’s a step that I have not seen taken in my state until today. 

If legislating RSO’s becomes a local issue here in Virginia, I’m ready to deliver the facts, data and opposition to fear-based local ordinances if needed in the Commonwealth. Even though I am very leery that local laws against RSO’s are even allowed in Virginia and if needed perhaps a court will need to decide the legitimacy of such ordinances.
 
Mary Devoy


Front Royal seeks legal opinion on taxi rules, August 20, 2013
By Alex Bridges http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/08/front-royal-seeks-legal-opinion-on-taxi-rules.php

FRONT ROYAL -- Town Council wants to hear from the state attorney general's office before considering stricter rules on taxis.

Most councilmen at a work session Monday agreed that the town should ask for an opinion on any proposed ordinance that would regulate taxi companies in Front Royal. Council and staff, along with representatives of companies operating in Front Royal, continue to discuss the matter.

Town Attorney Douglas Napier will submit a request to the attorney general's office seeking a legal opinion on the limitations Front Royal can enact on taxicab firms. Napier likely will ask the attorney general if Front Royal can prohibit taxi companies from allowing people registered with the state police as convicted sex offenders. Council and staff also have discussed the possibility of restricting anyone convicted of a violent felony from operating a cab.

Mayor Timothy Darr advised council that the matter before it Monday related only to whether or not the town should file a formal request for the opinion.

The state allows jurisdictions to pass ordinances that regulate taxi businesses. Whether Front Royal can take the power further and enact laws that affect a business remains uncertain.

Council would need to hold a public hearing on an ordinance that would regulate taxis.

Councilman Daryl Funk suggested the town seek the attorney general's opinion before members impede on a business.

"How broad a net can we cast?" Funk asked. "I think that's information we should have, again, before we go taking away anybody's job."

Virginia Beach Mother Wants School Bus to Do a Backwards Maneuver to Avoid a Registered Sex Offenders Home

 
This isn’t the first time a Virginia television news program has been contacted by an angry or “concerned” parent about a bus stop location and an RSO's residence and it won’t be the last, see recent article below. 

With this recent article, I foresee a lawmaker proposing a bill in 2014 against RSO’s and bus stops. Now the question is, how broad will it be?

Be sure to see the August 26th Post for more information on past proposals in Virginia against RSO's and school bus stops and residency restrictions.

Mary Devoy


Mom fights school over bus stop location By Stephanie Harris

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A Virginia Beach Mom contacted 10 On Your Side for help when she realized her daughter's school bus stop is located near potentially dangerous people. 

Gina Brannon wants the Virginia Beach School District to move her daughter's bus stop so the 10-year-old doesn't have to walk past a registered sex offender's home. 

"Its like dangling a carrot in front of a hungry animal," she told WAVY.com. 

Brannon asked the her daughter's school to change the stop, but her request was denied. Virginia Beach Public Schools spoke with WAVY.com about the request. 

"[Where the Brannon's want the bus to stop] is a cul de sac and would require a full-sized general education bus to perform a backing maneuver to make the additional stop, which is not in accordance with current policy and practice," said Lauren Wicks, a VB schools spokeswoman. 

But Brannon says she's seen other school buses make the maneuver. 

"There's a special education bus that comes every day and picks up a child, and it’s the same size bus, and it makes it through that cul de sac every time," Brannon said. 
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What Are The Laws Restricting Registered Sex Offenders From Traveling Across the U.S. or Internationally?


This is STILL the #1, most viewed post on this blog 2 years later.

As of mid-September 2015 more than 3,300 views for this one post! 

Update May 2, 2014:  

On April 7, 2014 I made a dedicated page on this topic that I will keep current.  

The page is Traveling as a Registered Sex Offender off to the right side of the screen under Directory.  

Thank you for following this blog!  

Mary Devoy
 

Update September 17, 2013:

Looks like legitimate travel abroad is becoming more impossible.

     Draft law banning pedophiles from entering Russia submitted to Duma, September 16, 2013
    http://rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20130916/268842585.html

     Sex Offenders Will Need To Notify Before Leaving Canada, September 16, 2013
     http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/16/stephen-harper-sex-offenders-canada_n_3935719.html
 

Update September 6, 2013: 

Child molester in Macomb County stopped from leaving country, September 6, 2013
Reese was formally charged Friday in 46th District Court in Southfield with failure to provide the registry of his plan to leave the country at least 21 days prior to departure and failure to provide a copy of his passport. The felonies are punishable by up to four years in prison.
 

Original Post:
Whether it’s traveling for school, work, family or fun, travel restriction inquires for Registered Sex Offenders seem to be the #1 inquiry that I have encountered over the 5 years of being a volunteer advocate for RSO’s and their family members.

With college students leaving home in the next 2 weeks and Labor Day around the corner I decided to compile all the travel information I have accumulated over the years and turn them into a post. 

I want you all to have a safe vacation and stay compliant at the same time. 

Enjoy your time off!

Mary


Traveling While on Probation:

If you are under State or Federal probation Supervision you can not leave the state without prior approval from your Probation Officer and I always recommend you get that approval in writing, not verbally.

If you are NOT on probation and you are legally allowed to leave Virginia for a visit to another state or even another country there is NO Virginia law mandating you must advise your VSP Trooper that you are going out of town for more than 3 days even though back in 2010 some VSP Troopers were telling RSO’s this.

Virginia Law for RSO’s Staying Overnight Elsewhere within the State of Virginia:

As a Virginia RSO you can legally stay at someone else’s (parent, grand-parent, girlfriend, boyfriend, sibling, friend, vacation rental, motel, campground, etc.) place of residence for up to 14 days within a calendar year. Not within a month and not in a row (consecutive days) before you are legally obligated to register their address as a residence to be added to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.

If an RSO is attending a college or university in Virginia they have 3 days (not 3 business days) to notify the Virginia State Police in person of their enrollment or completion of classes at the school.   

               It does not matter if it’s part-time or full-time classes.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tracking Federal Bills in Washington D.C.: Bills That Concern Registered Sex Offenders and Misdemeanor Sexual Convictions but Also the Employment Opportunities, Housing and Food Stamps of Felons Under the Guise of Child Safety

 
Some bills are given catchy titles and some bills just go with the first sentence of the bill content.  

Sometimes bill titles are meant to stir up emotions like the Adam Walsh Act or Megan’s Law, guaranteed to pass because no elected official wants to be that cold-hearted “nay” vote. 

There are bill titles that are intentionally very misleading or vague like the Child Protection Act or Keep Kids Safe Act. And many of these titles get reused over the years so what one “Protection Act” does today is very different from what it did 2 years ago.  

Then there are bills that have nothing to do with registered sex offenders and I would normally not give them a second thought like the Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act FY 2014 or the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 where at the last minute a lawmaker offers up an anti-sex offender amendment right before its ready to be passed out of committee and nobody wants to stop it from moving on so they accept the hateful, misapplied amendment. 

When there is an action alert for a bill I create a post for everyone to act on but I’ve been trying to decide if a dedicated Federal Bill page is needed with links to each bill, the sponsor, co-sponsor(s), text and history. Pages are a bit hidden and require a visitor to select the page so I was waiting to make a decision on how to list Federal bills for you to follow. 

Today I learned on GovTrack.us that each bill has a widget available to load into blogs, so I’ve created a D.C. Bill Track section on the right-side-bar of this blog. Now at-a-glance visitors can see the full list of bills that are too broad, hate-driven instead of fact-driven, that have concerning text or new amendments that have no business in the bill to begin with.

I will continue with action alert posts for bill specific issues and if you aren’t sure who your Federal Representatives are just visit the Federal Representative page of this blog to find that information.  

If someone notices a current Federal bill that is missing from this blog list please send me an email advising me of the bill number and if it is something that needs monitoring I will add it right away. But if the bill is something reasonable like, all school/daycare employees and/or volunteers must submit to a criminal background check, that's a bill not worth tracking or opposing. That is an understandable and reasonable goal and if you disagree ,I’m sorry. 

I hope you’ll scroll down the page to see the new list of Federal Bills (a photo of the U.S. Capitol) and if this works out I won’t need to add a separate page for access to this information. One-stop shopping.

Thank you for being a follower and maybe even a supporter. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Devoy

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wrongly Accused, Convicted & Incarcerated Hanover County, Virginian Marvin Anderson on Katie Couric Show

Part 1

Virginian Marvin Anderson’s story has been told before. 

In December 1982 at the age of 18 years old Marvin was wrongly convicted and incarcerated of rape in Ashland, Virginia (Hanover County) and after 15 years in prison he was released and required to register as a Violent Sex Offender. Then in 2001 the Innocence Project got involved and found DNA from his case, the results confirmed he was not the perpetrator. In 2002 (20 years later) Governor Mark Warner granted Mr. Anderson a full (absolute) pardon, not only clearing his name but eliminating the requirement to register as a sex offender. Partial (simple or conditional) pardons would not have eliminated the registration requirement.   

Innocent and wrongly convicted Virginian’s are not the exception they are much more prevalent than the State will ever admit. Just like in the West of Memphis documentary revealed, Prosecutors and Attorney Generals are more concerned with being re-elected and saving-face when it comes to their conviction record than admitting they made a mistake and need to look for the real perpetrator. 

Thankfully there was DNA to right this terrible wrong, but for many who were convicted by an accusation alone justice will never be served. 

Part 2- http://katiecouric.com/videos/mother-crusade-to-prove-son-innocence/

Part 3http://katiecouric.com/videos/falsely-accused-man-proves-innocence/ 

Part 4- http://katiecouric.com/2013/06/12/wrongly-accused-with-scandal-star-tony-goldwyn/ 

We will never know how many of the registered sex offenders in Virginia were convicted because of our inferior “an accusation is sufficient and no corroboration is required” for sexual assault, sexual battery, sodomy or object sexual penetration.

We only know of a handful of exonerated registered offenders Virginians because they had DNA evidence available, but the fact is more than 80% of criminal cases don’t have DNA.  

In Virginia evidence or the lack of evidence is inconsequential in convicting a sex criminal, consider Thomas Haynesworth, Bennett Barbour, Earl Washington, Arthur Whitfield and the Norfolk 4.  

What abut Jonathan Montgomery; he has no DNA just a false claim that alone was sufficient to send him to prison for 7.5 years in or state. Perhaps if the Commonwealth hadn’t lowered the threshold of proving guilt in a sexual assault accusation years ago Mr. Montgomery wouldn’t have suffered as so many others have and will 

Thankfully there was DNA to right this terrible wrong for Mr. Anderson, but for many who were and will be convicted by an accusation alone, justice will never be served. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

What to Say to Stop or Amend N.J’s Congressman Chris Smith’s International Megan’s Amendment to Federal Bill HR2848- Part Two



Part Two of a Two Part Post. 

I first became aware of this terrible amendment on the morning of Saturday August 3, 2013 and immediately put up a post about it. 

I spent the majority of yesterday getting the correct names for all the appropriate Virginia Representatives, House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee contacts and now I’m sharing the fruit of that labor with you.  

Below is a copy of the message I sent out to every lawmaker in the above three groups.

Feel free to use it as a sample letter/email. Copy as little or as much of it as you like. Or if you prefer compose a brand new message of your own, that’s even better. Just as long as you contact these Federal lawmakers in the month of August before they return from their summer break (in September) when they plan then vote on HR2848.  

I do suggest including in the message to your district’s Virginia Congressman mentioning in the very first sentence that you are a constituent. 

Thank you.

Mary D. Devoy



Dear ______________________________, 

On August 1, 2013 (one day after this bill was filed) New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith submitted an amendment in the House Foreign Affairs Committee to HR2848- Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014 and the amendment and bill were unanimously approved. 

This Smith amendment does NOT belong in HR2848! 

Representative Smith’s maneuver to tack on his 6 year-old International Megan’s Law (IML) Bill as an amendment to an Embassy Security bill is disgusting. Clearly no U.S. Lawmaker would ever vote against a bill that is to enhance or fund the security of our foreign embassies especially after the 2012 Benghazi incident plus this week’s closure of 19 foreign embassies due to a terror-alert. 

HR2848 is obviously on a fast-track and Congressman Smith is capitalizing or perhaps exploiting that fact. 

For 6 years Congressman Smith has unsuccessfully attempted to mandate a restriction and/or revocation of the passports of U.S. Registered Sex Offenders.  

2008:    HR5722
2009:    HR1623
2010:     HR5138
2011:     HR3253 , HR2830 , HR3589
Still pending for 2013 HR898

Not to forget Representative Ted Poe’s similar attempt in 2010 with HR5870 

All of the “IML” bills have failed up to this point for very good reasons. 

Most of the versions have swept up anyone convicted of a sexual offense that is required to register, then there have been iterations where it’s anyone convicted of a “crime against a minor” or my favorite the vague description of “high interest offenders”. Legislation that is left open for interpretation, leads to confusion, high costs and unintended sweeping mandates. Proposed legislation need to be well written, specific, based on facts and proven data and most of all meaningful, this Smith amendment is none of those. 

Back in 2010 the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost the American taxpayers $252 million from 2011-2015 to implement the International Megan’s Law. 
 

Who to Contact to Stop or Amend N.J’s Congressman Chris Smith’s International Megan’s Amendment to Federal Bill HR2848- Part One

 

Part One of a Two Part Post, more details are in the following post.
 
3 lists of contacts 

#1-         Every Federal Virginia Representative, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
 
#2-         The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Members who accepted the Smith Amendment back on August 1, 2013 but they still need to vote on the bill in September along with every House member for it to proceed onto the U.S. Senate.
#3-         The U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Members who will debate the bill IF it passes through the House onto the Senate. In this Committee amendments can be deleted and new amendments added before it goes before the entire U.S. Senate to be voted on.

 

Virginia Representatives
Congress member
Foreign Affairs Assistant
Party
D.C. Main Phone
D.C. Office/ Mailing Address
 
Eric Cantor
joel.katz@mail.house.gov
R
202-225-2815
303 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Gerry Connolly
D
202-225-1492
424 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
J. Randy Forbes
R
202-225-6365
2135 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Bob Goodlatte
R
202-225-5431
2309 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Morgan Griffith
R
202-225-3861
1108 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Robert Hurt
R
202-225-4711
125 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Jim Moran
D
202-225-4376
2252 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Scott Rigell
R
202-225-4215
418 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Bobby Scott
D
202-225-8351
1201 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Robert Wittman
Office Refused to give a name
R
202-225-4261
2454 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Frank Wolf
R
202-225-5136
233 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Senator
Foreign Affairs Assistant
Party
 
 
 
Mark Warner
D
202-224-2023
475 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tim Kaine
D
202-224-4024
388 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510