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Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Race to the Bottom: Missouri is the Next State in Line to Lower the Bar of Guilt When it Comes to Sex Crimes, Virginia Did It as of July 1, 2014

 
I foresee this proposed measure passing with the majority of the vote in Missouri, sadly. 

A reminder for readers; I was the ONLY person to oppose the same proposal at the 2013 VSCC meeting and no one (other than Virginia Senate committee members) voiced ANY opposition or concern with the proposal during the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session and yet it still passed both Virginia Chambers January 4, 2014, February 16, 2014, February 24, 2014 and was signed into law by Governor McAuliffe. 
 
Mary Devoy
 

Defense attorney raises concerns about Missouri proposal on evidence in child sex abuse cases, August 27, 2014       By David Lieb

A Missouri ballot measure that would allow allegations of past actions to be used against people facing child sexual abuse charges could lead to more wrongful convictions of the falsely accused, a prominent defense attorney said Wednesday. 

The proposed constitutional amendment is backed by prosecutors, sheriffs and police chiefs' groups. 

It would allow past criminal acts — even alleged crimes that didn't result in convictions — to be used to corroborate victim testimony or demonstrate a defendant's propensity to commit such crimes when people face sex-related charges involving victims younger than 18. 

If approved by Missouri voters in November, Constitutional Amendment 2 could make it more difficult for defendants to persuade juries and judges of their innocence, said Kim Benjamin, a Belton attorney who is the past president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. 

"You're now defending your entire life, your entire reputation, rather than this one act," she said. "It causes a tremendous risk for more people to be wrongly convicted."
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jesse Singal: There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything


Because I’ve fought against 2 “residency restriction” bills (2010-Athey and 2011-Oder) and the 2011-Landes proposal to not just restrict the movement of RSO’s in public places but carrying a felony punishment, I am posting this great article. 

Mary Devoy 

There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything, August 25, 2014
By Jesse Singal
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/08/25/laws_restricting_where_sex_offenders_can_live_don_t_accomplish_anything.html

On Thursday, Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times reported that "Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live." In short, since 2005, sex offenders in the state can't live within 1,000 feet of a school, and a February ruling from the state's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision extended that restriction to homeless shelters. 

Because the onus is on sex offenders to find approved housing before they’re released, Goldstein reported, they’ve been left with very few options, especially in densely-populated New York City, where there are schools everywhere. This has led to an uncomfortable legal limbo and sparked at least one lawsuit (so far) on behalf of an offender who is still in custody even though he was supposed to be out by now. 
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

November 4th 2014 Second Special Virginia Election: State Legislature Senate 16th District Seat, the 2 Candidates are……

 
On July 1st State Senator Henry Marsh of the 16th District retired/resigned from the Virginia Legislature. 

A Special Election to fill the 16th District  seat has been set for Election Day 2014, November 4th when most voters will be selecting their Federal Representatives. 

The 16th District of Virginia includes:
-          Chesterfield County (part)
-          Dinwiddie County (part)
-          Hopewell City (all)
-          Petersburg City (all)
-          Prince George County (part)
-          Richmond City (part) 
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Plans Announcement on Task Force to Combat Sexual Violence at Virginia Colleges

 
Gov. McAuliffe forms task force to combat sexual violence at Virginia colleges, August 21, 2014

A Portion of the article: 

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is forming a task force to combat sexual violence at the state’s colleges and universities, addressing a problem that has commanded attention this year in Washington and on campuses nationwide.

On Thursday in Richmond, McAuliffe (D) plans to announce the task force and release a declaration signed by himself, state Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) and 17 public higher education leaders pledging numerous steps to prevent sexual violence and ensure prompt and fair resolution when cases arise. 

Click on the link above for the full article 

Facts are insignificant in a panic and that’s what the Campus Sexual Assault campaign has become, a moral panic.

I will be monitoring this new Virginia Taskforce closely to know if they are proposing broad sweeping laws that deny due process like The Federal Campus Safety and Accountability Act (CASA)  presuming innocent men (and women) are never falsely accused of sexual misconduct and if accused you’re you MUST be guilty. 

There have been many articles on the Campus campaign going too far and their claim of 1 in 5 females being assaulted as highly questionable.
 

Beth Schwartzapfel: An Oklahoma Program Treats Juvenile Sex Offenders as Kids, Not Criminals

 
An Oklahoma program treats juvenile sex offenders as kids, not criminals, August 21, 2014
Shedding the stigma and reducing recidivism through support, education and therapy —not prison time
By Beth Schwartzapfel
 

OKLAHOMA CITY — Sex offender. The phrase conjures pariahs living under bridges. Adults “grooming” children for devastating abuse. Violent men who take what is not freely given. Broken people. 

And yet, here comes Tyler, bounding down the hall with his dusty blonde Justin Bieber haircut and chunky sneakers. He turned 16 today. He and his family have just come from Chuck E. Cheese. Tyler’s mom smiles as she tells the other parents in her support and education group at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, “Teenagers can regress back to Chuck E. Cheese if they want.” 

“A grown man can regress back to Chuck E. Cheese if they want,” laughs Dr. Michael Gomez, who leads the group.

Under Oklahoma law, Tyler is a sex offender. But here at the University of Oklahoma’s Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, he’s “an adolescent with illegal sexual behavior.” Doctors here teach kids like Tyler that ‘sex offender’ “isn’t their identity,” Tyler’s mom, Amanda, says. “It’s a mistake you made.” A serious mistake requiring treatment, but one that need not define them. “Kids are kids and should be treated as kids,” says Jaclyn Rivera, assistant district attorney in the juvenile division of the Oklahoma County District Attorney Office. Rivera tries many of these cases and, whenever possible, makes treatment here a condition of probation. “You don’t want to be throwing around labels when you’re talking about kids,” she says. 
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

….And the Winners in the August 19, 2014 Special Election for Virginia House 48th and 90th Districts and Senate 38th District Seats Are……

 
Back on July 9, 2014 I posted about the 3 Districts (seats) and the Candidates running for these State Legislature seats that were all vacated in June 2014 to be chosen on August 19th in a Special Election. 

The winners of yesterdays Special Election are:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Judge George Timberlake, Ret.: Juvenile Sex Offender Registries Don’t Make Us Safer

 
OpEd: Juvenile Sex Offender Registries Don’t Make Us Safer, August 18, 2014
By Judge Gorge Timberlake, Ret.

Sex offenders are people, too. 

You probably won’t see that on bumper stickers soon, but it is the sentiment I try to convey when explaining my views of how our society should respond to sexual offenses committed by children. It’s one thing to tell an audience that research studies show young sex offenders respond well to treatment and — when reached with appropriate therapy — are not likely to offend again. But research and data don’t carry the impact of a personal story. 

As part of the follow up to the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission’s recent report on juvenile sex offenses, we have begun interviewing young people who have been adjudicated for a sex offense to see how conviction and registration statutes have changed their lives. We also want to know more about how the victims have been affected. 

What follows is the story of one young male, his sister and their family. Of course, their names, locations and current employments have been disguised. The mother heard some news coverage at the time of our report release and called us to offer help and to tell their story as representative of the harm that can be done by sex offender registries. Let’s call the participants Mike, Mary, Mother and Father.
 

2008 Book Being Revised Later This Year- Mistakes were made (but not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts

 
Back on August 7th I posted a 41 minute video presentation from the 2014 TAM Conference given by Dr. Carol Tavris: Who's Lying, Who's Self-Justifying? Origins of the He Said/She Said Gap in Sexual Allegations that I highly recommend if you haven’t watched it. 

Later that day I emailed with Dr. Tavris and in one of her email’s she recommended a book that she co-wrote titled Mistakes were made (but not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts from 2007/2008 that she and the other author are revising at the end of 2014 adding new chapters.

I ordered the 2007/2008 version and began reading it today. 
 

Phil Locke- Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): TIME-FOR-A-CHANGE


I was so pleased to be asked to assist Phil Locke with his latest Op/Ed over at Wrongful Convictions Blog.com

Nice job Phil! 

Mary Davye Devoy
 

Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): TIME-FOR-A-CHANGE, August 16, 2014
By Phil Locke, Science and Technology Advisor, Ohio Innocence Project and Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic 

The article is in five sections:
  1. The History of Sex Offender Registries in the US
  2. Sex Offender Registries are Manifestly Unjust
  3. Sex Offender Registries Don’t Work
  4. Sex Offender Registries Cost a Lot of Money
  5. Conclusion

Friday, August 15, 2014

Texas Mother Demands an RSO (Who She Doesn’t Know) Be Fired From His Job With the City Public Works Department

 
While searching news stories this morning I came across the below article. 

It is NOT the typical article that I would take the time to “post”; usually it would just get added to the In the News page without a word from me. 

But I was so bothered that a complete stranger who has had no contact with this RSO, would make it her one-woman mission to get him fired from his job with the cities public works department only because he is an RSO. 

This woman is on a pure-hate-campaign against a man who has served his court ordered debit to society that includes a lifetime public label of Registered Sex Offender and now he is just trying to provide for himself and his family doing a job most people would never want, sewer and road work. 

I don’t usually get on my soap-box or say nasty things about other people (a much harder task than you might think as a public advocate encouraging data-driven reform of the registry) but I’m saying this, there is a special place in hell waiting for Kellie Green of Mart, TX. 

Mary Devoy
 

Sex offender at center of Mart employment controversy, August 14, 2014
By Cassie Smith

Seven years in prison taught Lonnie Green to own up to his past and not to be ashamed. So when a Mart resident recently complained to the city council after learning Green — a registered sex offender — is employed by the city’s public works department, Green said he knows that no matter how much he alters his attitude, his sex offender status will always cause problems. 

“You have to know yourself,” he said. “People will always hate on you, but just as many people that talk down on you, there’s another to talk you back up. That’s pretty much how I look at life.” 
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

American Bar Association’s National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction Lists ALL Prohibitions on Benefits and Employment for Registered Sex Offenders Across the U.S.

 
Today is day 4 out of 5 for the Slate.com series on Sex Offender laws with a final summary including recommendations expected tomorrow. 

In today’s brief article there is a 5 Question Quiz on what jobs are legally prohibited for Registered Sex Offenders. 

Anyone who doesn’t want to know the answers to the quiz because you want to take it, stop reading right now! 
 

Polygraphs Don't Work. So Why Do We Still Use Them? By Joseph Stromber

 
Over the many years of advocating for data-driven reform of Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry and laws I have touched on polygraph testing or “lie-detectors” as those who believe they can actually detect a lie usually refer to them.
  • August 5, 2013
  • August 2012         10-25-14: The  RSOL-VA Website is no more, I decided not to renew (pay for) another year of web-hosting I'm sorry!-Mary
  • October 7, 2010   10-25-14: The  RSOL-VA Website is no more, I decided not to renew (pay for) another year of web-hosting I'm sorry!-Mary
  • June 22, 2009     10-25-14: The  RSOL-VA Website is no more, I decided not to renew (pay for) another year of web-hosting I'm sorry!-Mary
Today I came across the below article on polygraphs and decided to share it. 

Mary Davye Devoy
 

Polygraphs don't work. So why do we still use them? August 14, 2014
By Joseph Stromber

The FBI gives a polygraph test to every single person who's considered for a job there. When the DEA, CIA, and other agencies are taken into account, about 70,000 people a year submit to polygraphs while seeking security clearances and jobs with the federal government. 

Polygraphs are also regularly used by law enforcement when interrogating suspects. In some places, they're used to monitor the activities of sex offenders on probation, and some judges have recently permitted plea bargains that hinge on the results of defendants' polygraph tests. 

Here's what makes this all so baffling: the question of whether polygraphs are a good way to figure out whether someone is lying was settled long ago. They aren't. 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Slate.com Series: Sex Offender Laws Have Gone Too Far By Matt Mellema, Chanakya Sethi and Jane Shim

 
Sex Offender Laws Have Gone Too Far
Our draconian policies about sex offenses reflect our ignorance of them.
By Matt Mellema, Chanakya Sethi and Jane Shim        August 11, 2014

On Oct. 22, 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped while biking home from a convenience store. A masked gunman approached him, his brother, and a friend, and ordered the three boys off their bikes. After demanding to know their ages, he ordered Jacob’s brother and the friend to run into some nearby woods and threatened to shoot them if they looked back. The boys ran. By the time they turned around to see what had happened to Jacob, he was gone. Nearly 25 years later, Jacob remains missing, and the identity of his kidnapper is unknown. 

“I was a stay-at-home mom,” Patty Wetterling, Jacob’s mother, recalled over the phone last month. “I knew a lot about parenting, but I knew nothing about sexual abuse of children.” Determined to educate herself, Wetterling became “a sponge, trying to learn anything about this problem.” Soon, one thing stood out: Minnesota, where Jacob had been kidnapped, did not have a database that might help the police identify a list of potential suspects. Other states, such as California, had been keeping sex offender registries for decades. Wetterling also learned that Congress had never tried to craft a national approach to sex offender registration. She was determined to change that. 

The result of her efforts was the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Jacob’s Law used federal dollars to push every state to create a registry. It worked. Today, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have them. Since then, Congress has also passed several related pieces of legislation, including two major statutes. Megan’s Law, enacted in 1996, required that the police give the public access to some sex offender registry data, such as an offender’s name, photograph, and address. In 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act toughened the standards for who must register and for how long, and it upped the consequences of registration by requiring, for example, periodic in-person visits to police. 
 

2014 Report: U.S. Marshal’s Service (USMS) National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC)

 
A reader of this blog sent me a link to a FOIA request/report today that has some interesting tid-bits so I decided to share it here.  

It comes from a website (http://www.governmentattic.org/) that updates every Monday morning that posts a lot of FOIA requests. He hasn’t seen any “Sex Offender” documents so when he saw this one he decided to share it.


I have read through it and most of it is basically a promotion/commercial for the Adam Walsh Act (AWA)/SORNA, the SMART Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Service (USMS) National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC), listing all of their programs, initiatives, training, funding, arrests, prosecutions and over all accomplishments against unregistered and traveling Sex Offenders. 

But I did take away a few new pieces of information: 

Page 2:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is the lead federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating sex offender registration violations and related offenses under AWA, including violations ofl8 U.S.C. § 2250. 

       The USMS has three distinct missions pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act:
1.      Assisting state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant sex offenders;
2.     Investigating violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2250 and related offenses; and
3.     Assisting in the identification and location of sex offenders relocated as a result of a major disaster. 

To assist with the above missions under AWA, USMS established the National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC) in September 2009
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Steve Blow: Research Won’t Support Dallas Proposal that Amounts to Housing Ban for Sex Offenders

 
Research won’t support Dallas proposal that amounts to housing ban for sex offenders
By Steve Blow August 9, 2014

In saner times, what Josh Gravens did would be called “playing doctor” or “adolescent curiosity.” 

General embarrassment and a stern talking-to would have followed. And that would have been the end of it. 

But in this age of hysteria, the childhood misdeed will never end for Josh. 
 

Friday, August 8, 2014

New Book: The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What Every Parent and Professional Needs to Know by Tony Attwood, Isabelle Henault and Nick Dubin

 
I am always looking for new reading material on Sex Offenders, Registries, the Civil Commitment of SVP’s, Juvenile Offending, Moral Panics and our Justice System. I haven’t read a “for fun” book in over 6 or 7 years. The last book that I “posted” about was by a VCU Asst. Professor back in December. 

A topic that I have previously lamented about (exactly one year ago) on this blog was, Are Autistic People More Likely to be Labeled a Sex Offender? 

Today while searching for new books I came across this one, The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know by Tony Attwood, Isabelle Henault and Nick Dubin.   Scheduled release date, August 21, 2014. 

I have pre-ordered this book and am looking forward to reading it! 

For those parents who have reached out to me over the last 6 years because your teenage or young adult child with autism has been wrongly swept up by our overly broad sexual laws that has stigmatized them with the undeserved and life destroying label of Violent Sex Offender, I wanted you to know about this book.

Mary Devoy 

Here is the synopsis from Amazon.com: 

Based on Nick Dubin's own experience, and drawing on the extensive knowledge of Dr Tony Attwood and Dr Isabelle Hénault, this important book addresses the issues surrounding the autism spectrum, sexuality and the law.

The complex world of sex and appropriate sexual behaviour can be extremely challenging for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and, without guidance, many find themselves in vulnerable situations. This book examines how the ASD profile typically affects sexuality and how sexual development differs between the general population and those with ASD. It explains the legalities of sexual behaviour, how laws differ from country to country, and the possibility for adjustment of existing laws as they are applied to the ASD population. With advice on how to help people with autism spectrum disorder gain a better understanding of sexuality and a comprehensive list of resources, the book highlights the need for a more informed societal approach to the psychosexual development of people with ASD.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 TAM Conference Presentation by Dr. Carol Tavris: Who's Lying, Who's Self-Justifying? Origins of the He Said/She Said Gap in Sexual Allegations




I found this video on The Community of the Wrongly Accused site today and after watching the 41 minute presentation I decided to share/post it here.   

It is excellent!

I was so impressed that I sent it to all 136 (4 seats are vacant) Virginia Legislators and the 13 Virginia Federal Legislators suggesting they all watch the entire 41 minute presentation before they consider re-writing or creating one more sexual crime that lowers the bar of guilt while raising the penalty.

My husband watched it and said every jury hearing a sexual assault case should be required to watch this before deliberating!
 


Be aware, she does use some strong and possibly offensive language.

Mary Davye Devoy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Virginia: School Bus Stops and Registered Sex Offenders. What is the Law and is There Really a Risk?


Its back-to-school time in the Commonwealth so what am I preparing for? 

What else? Virginia television news stations will most likely start running stories about Registered Sex Offenders living near school bus stops, schools and/or being on or near the route of students who are walking.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Action Alert: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s S2692 Federal Campus Safety and Accountability Act (CASA) co-sponsored by Virginia Senator Mark Warner and Florida Senator Marco Rubio Assumes All Accusers are Survivors and Anyone Who is Accused is Guilty, Period!



Update:
·       ‘Affirmative Consent’ U (CA), August 11, 2014
                Young Men’s Rights in Peril
·       Campus-rape bill comes under heavy fire, August 10, 2014
                'Will make it difficult to protect a young man from false accusations'
·       The Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA): a flawed response to an exaggerated problem, August 9, 2014
·       RTD Op/Ed: Campus Rape Questions, August 9, 2014:
                Ambrose: Exaggerating campus rape does not provide solutions
        Rampell: End the campus rape numbers game with transparency
·       One-Sided Campus-Rape Bill, August 7, 2014 
                Campus courts are unsafe places for the accused. McCaskill and Co.’s bill does not right the balance.
·       CASA and the presumption of guilt, August 7, 2014
·       The Repeal of Due Process on Campus, August 6, 2014
·       Two More Campus Sexual Assault Bills Introduced, Neither Addresses Due Process, August 5, 2014
                SOS Campus Act introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
                HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Patrick Meehan, R-Pa
·       Campus Sexual Assault Bill Relies on Public Shaming of Colleges, August 1, 2014
·       Bipartisan Senate bill on campus sexual assault seeks to insure that every accusation is tantamount to a finding of guilt, July 31, 2014
·       Campus-assault crackdown provoking expensive backlash, July 5, 2014
                Accused students fighting back against Obama admin's lower evidence standard

Original Post:
Virginia Senator Mark Warner (a co-sponsor of S2692) was one of the 8 Representatives that stood in front of the media last week (before they all left D.C. for the 5-week August Break) to announce Senator Claire McCaskill’s Campus Safety and Accountability Act. The array of articles following this press conference carried catchy titles that no one in their right mind would ever oppose, “Holding Campuses Accountable”, ‘Bipartisan Bill Takes Aim at Campus Sexual Assault” and “Crackdown on Campus Sexual Assaults”. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) 33rd Annual Research and Treatment Conference- Transforming Research Into Practice - October 29th to November 1st 2014 in San Diego, California

 
Update: 

ATSA 33rd Annual Conference – San Diego 2014 (Part 2 of 2), November 16, 2014

ATSA 33rd Annual Conference – San Diego 2014 (Part 1 of 2), November 8, 2014
 

Original Post:
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) is an international, multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to preventing sexual abuse. Through research, education, and shared learning ATSA promotes evidence based practice, public policy and community strategies that lead to the effective assessment, treatment and management of individuals who have sexually abused or are at risk to abuse. 

ATSA is an association of individuals from around the world committed to achieving a high level of professional excellence. ATSA promotes the philosophy that empirically based assessment, practice, management, and policy strategies will: enhance community safety, reduce sexual recidivism, protect victims and vulnerable populations, transform the lives of those caught in the web of sexual violence, and illuminate paths to prevent sexual abuse. 

ATSA’s 33rd Annual Research and Treatment Conference is scheduled for October 29 - November 1, 2014 in San Diego, California, Transforming Research Into Practice. 

Conference Registration Information can be found here. 

The 2014 Brochure includes Schedule, Events, Sessions, Speakers/Presenters and registration form. 

There are ATSA State Chapters; the Virginia Chapter does have a website. 

A small, select number of past ATSA Conference Presentations are available on-line.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Manassas Virginia Teen Sexting Case: Suspended Imposition of Any Ruling for One Year, One Year of Probation, 100 hours of Community Service and Absolutely No Access to Social Media of Any Kind.

 
For anyone who hasn’t been keeping up on this case here are past posts:
·         July, 31, 2014
·         July 25, 2014
·         July 17, 2014
·         July 11, 2014
·         July 9, 2014
·         July 4th   

Well some common sense occurred in Manassas Virginia yesterday. 

Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge George M. DePolo suspended imposition of any ruling against the 17 year old male for one year, gave him one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and absolutely no access to social media of any kind. A hearing for August 2015 was tentatively set and if the defendant complies with everything over the next 12 months the cases will dismissed at that time (see articles below). 

Banning a 17 year old from social media “of any kind” for a 12 month period would seem like a lifetime and most likely be downright impossible for a teenager. I believe this one point of his requirements will be the one that could trip him up at some point over the next 12 months and if he does ignore this requirement he will then be facing the felony charges and a lifetime on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry all over again and he’d most likely be 18 years old by then.