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Saturday, November 29, 2014

When Mob Rule Overwhelms the Rule of Law: The Online Court of Public Opinion on the Sexual Accusations Against Bill Cosby

 
The Cosby Show: Due Process is the victim here, November 29, 2014
This column is not a defense of Cosby but a reminder of our rule of law.
By Kathleen Parker

By now, most Americans probably have formed an opinion about what comedian Bill Cosby did or didn’t do sexually to or with at least 16 women beginning in the 1960s. 

According to several women who have accused him of sexual predations, Cosby’s usual modus operandi was to drug women who were with him voluntarily and then force sexual acts upon them. 

We know these things based mostly on the women’s media interviews. Five revealed their identities and talked openly in The Washington Post’s exhaustive story of the history and allegations. 

Even so, these are accusations rather than confirmable facts as required in a true court of law. Otherwise, there’s no real evidence — no tapes or letters. No rape kits or photographs. One woman once did file charges against Cosby, but that case was settled. 
 

Josh Gravens, Registry Advocate: “This is what I do,” …..“I provide a perspective that no one has provided before”

Josh Gravens and his family in October 2012
This is not the first time I’ve posted an article (see below) about Josh Gravens'. 

Earlier posts:
He is an inspiration for advocacy and every time I read a new article about him, I become more determined to reform the laws, policies, attitudes and processes here in Virginia. 

Josh’s own words (in the title of this post) really hit home because it’s 100% me. 

This is what I do, I provide a perspective that no one [in Virginia] has provided before. 

I have provided a face, a name, a story on what rewriting our laws, redefining our crimes, lowering the burden of proof, extending the time on the Virginia Registry, piling on additional restrictions (retroactively) year after year has really done not just to the one labeled Sex Offender, but to their family members, room-mates, neighbors, employers , parishioners and society as a whole. And it has made a difference over the last 6 years in the Commonwealth. 
 
Facts over Fear and Hate!

Keep up the great work Josh! 

Mary Devoy
 

Inmate rights advocate hopes his story changes minds, November 29, 2014
By Matthew Watkins

Josh Gravens’ résumé is long and scattered: He has herded goats at a farm and repaired wind turbines in West Texas. He has peddled pest control, firewood and Christmas trees. 

But he hasn’t done any of those things for long — it’s hard to keep a job when you’re a registered sex offender.

Now the 28-year-old Dallas resident, who is on the registry for an offense he committed when he was 12, has found a vocation he hopes to keep. For more than a year, he has advocated full-time for prisoners and convicts in Texas. 

In recent months, Gravens has stood before the Dallas City Council urging it to reject a proposal to ban registered sex offenders from areas where children congregate. He has helped organize a rally at the Texas Capitol for hundreds of former inmates and their families. And he has brought journalists to Dallas police headquarters to learn about the sex offender registry. 
 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Teen Sexting and the Law in Virginia

 

Update:
 
Va. crime panel backs cigarette retailer licensing, December 2, 2014
Sexting Decision Too

Original Post:

The Virginia State Crime Commission meets on Tuesday to vote on the consensual Teen Sexting proposal and as usual I will be in attendance to learn what direction (if any) they decide to go in the upcoming 2015 General Assembly session.

I will be sure to post about the VSCC vote here on Tuesday. 

Mary Devoy
 

Teen Sexting: An In-Depth Look at the Trend, November 25, 2014

Young love is leading to teenagers to commit serious crimes, but most of them do not face serious consequences. Boyfriends and girlfriends are sexting each other – sending sexually explicit photos, images, text messages, or emails via cellphone or mobile devices - and every time they do, they break child pornography laws. Those laws can carry hefty prison sentences, but in most cases, police and prosecutors do not charge them. 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Newly Proposed Law in New Jersey: If You Lie to Someone That You are About to Have Consensual Sex With (That’s Right NO Force, Threat or Intimidation AND No Drugs or Alcohol in the Equation) You Could Be Charged, Convicted and Imprisoned for Rape, Don’t Forget Being Labeled a Sex Offender!


I am at a loss for words….. have we really lost all common sense in America?

I believe with this proposal we have.

We need to blame everything and everyone for our own actions and decisions, and the laws that have been rewritten over the last 20+ years pretty much allow us to get away with just that!

Mary
 

New Jersey lawmaker introduces bill to criminalize 'rape by fraud', November 25, 2014

Conniving Casanovas, beware: A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make lying for sex punishable by charges of rape, creating the crime of “sexual assault by fraud.”
 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Prosecutions and Convictions for Receiving, Possessing and Viewing Child Pornography Increasing at Record Rates

 
Convictions for receiving and possessing child pornography aren’t just on the rise in Florida! (See below article) 

As I previously posted back on October 12th   in Virginia in 2013 there were 1,052 convictions up from 714 in 2012. That’s a 47.33% increase in 12 months. Oh, and 37 of the 2013 convictions were juveniles themselves. Children looking at images of children or children taking and sharing photos of themselves with other children.
 
Remember child pornography can be prosecuted by the state, by the fed's or by both!

Here are two past posts about ICAC’s and prosecuting/convicting child porn viewers as harshly or more harshly than the producers, simply because there are many more viewers.
The below article does an excellent job in advising the readers of who is being swept up by these Internet Crimes Against Children Units (ICAC’s), being sentenced to 5, 10, 20, 25, 30, 35 and more years in prison and THEN are labeled/monitored as Violent Sex Offenders for 25 years or life in Florida as well as  in Virginia. As discussed below many of these citizens have no prior convictions AND they have NEVER inappropriately touched a child but yet we’re sending them to prison and monitoring them for life as dangerous sexual predators when they pose no risk to society or public safety. But the article also includes crimes where the offender did physically abuse a child which can make it difficult for the readers to decipher the difference between the two but still an informative piece that I wanted share with all of you. 

It is well worth a read! 

Mary Devoy
 

Local child sex prosecutions at record rate, November 23, 2014

TAMPA — A defense contractor from Riverview is spending 30 years in prison for forcing a 16-year-old girl to have sex with him and using his computer to record their encounter. 

A worship minister from Winter Garden was arrested and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. 

A former American Airlines pilot from St. Petersburg was sentenced to 21 years in prison for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography after he used two minor victims to make sexually explicit videos. 

Federal prosecutors in the Middle District of Florida, which includes Tampa, prosecuted more cases involving child exploitation in the past fiscal year than any year before, according to U.S. attorney’s office records. 

“It’s our most productive year ever,” U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said.
 

2nd Virginia Special Election on the Horizon: For Virginia House of Delegates Seat 34th District Set for January 6, 2015. Seat was Previously Held by Barbara Comstock Who Won the Federal Election in November to Represent Virginia as a US Congress Member this Coming January

  
Update:

Democrat Murphy beats Parisot in House of Delegates race in Northern Virginia, January 6, 2014

Murphy wins, Va. House 34th District shifts blue, January 6, 2014

Murphy, Preston win special elections in 34th, 63rd House of Delegates districts, January 6, 2014

Original Post:

The Virginia House of Delegate candidates for the 34th District (includes parts of Fairfax County and parts of Loudon County) are:
                Craig A. Parisot –     (R)
                Kathleen Murphy (D) 

If you live in this district and are a registered voter, please read up on the two candidates. 

If you have family members who live in this district contact them about the candidates and ask them to vote on January 6th! 

Mary Devoy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Portion of California’s 2012 Proposition 35 (Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act) to Fight Human Trafficking is Ruled Unconstitutional By the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals Because it Tramples on Free And Anonymous Speech of Registered Sex Offenders

 

Update: 

Convicted sex offenders, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the First Amendment, November 19, 2014

Original:


California can't enforce rules tracking sex offenders online, court rules, November 18, 2014
By Karen Gullo

San FranciscoCalifornia can't enforce a law to combat sex trafficking because it tramples on free speech rights of sex offenders by requiring them to report online activities, such as their Twitter, e-mail and chatroom accounts, a U.S. appeals court ruled. 

The San Francisco-based court Tuesday upheld a judge's decision to block enforcement of a voter-approved law that was backed by former Facebook Inc. executive Chris Kelly and garnered support from more than 80 percent of California voters in 2012. 

The measure, known as Proposition 35, isn't clear about what accounts or Internet service providers offenders are required to report and targets online speech that could include blogging about politics and posting comments on news articles, the appeals court's three-judge panel said Tuesday. 

The law also harms sex offenders' ability to engage in anonymous speech because it allegedly allows police to disclose their online identities to the public, the court said. Failure to report on Internet activity can lead to criminal sanctions.

A requirement that registered sex-offenders notify police within 24 hours of using a new Internet identity chills activity protected by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, U.S. Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee wrote in the unanimous ruling.
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting Ready for the 2015 Virginia General Assembly Session: Do You Know Who Your Two Representatives Are? Have You Introduced Yourself to Them? Have You Signed Up to Receive Their Newsletters?

 
The 2015 Virginia General Assembly session begins in just 8 weeks, the second Wednesday of January. 

The annual Virginia General Assembly is where new State laws are proposed, debated, voted on and passed onto the Governor. 

2015 will be a short session (30 calendar days) as opposed to even years (60 calendar days).

Last November, I posted How a Bill Becomes a Law in Virginia it outlines the process of a bill moving through the Virginia Legislature as well as the short and long session differences.

Filing of bills for the 2015 session started early (because it’s a short session) back on July 21st 2014 whereas last year it began in November. As of today there are NO bills against RSO’s........ that will change very quickly! After all, 7 out of the last 10 Virginia General Assemblies the #1 Bill Submissions requiring a Fiscal Impact Statement were “Sex Offender” bills.

In early December I will create a 2015 Virginia General Assembly page (see Directory on right side of screen) this is where I’ll post all relevant bills to this platform and I will update the bills status daily or weekly.
  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sex on College Campuses: When is it Rape and When is it Not?

 
……..well it depends on whether the University, College or the State believes in Affirmative Consent (Yes Means Yes), Preponderance of Evidence (More Likely Than Not) versus Clear and Convincing Evidence (Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt) and what about Due Process for the Accused, most Victims Groups don’t want them to have any. They believe if an accusation has been made it’s valid and the accused is guilty, period! 

The below opinion piece somewhat weighs both sides of the argument. 

Mary
 

Opinion: Mishandling Rape, November 16, 2014
By Jed Rubenfeld

Our strategy for dealing with rape on college campuses has failed abysmally. Female students are raped in appalling numbers, and their rapists almost invariably go free. Forced by the federal government, colleges have now gotten into the business of conducting rape trials, but they are not competent to handle this job. They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding students sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.
 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Manassas City Detective David E. Abbott From July 2014 Teen Sexting Case Where 2 Warrants for Photos of a 17 Year Olds Erect Penis Were Submitted is Now Suing the Teens Lawyer for Defamation......That's Right!

 
Here are earlier Posts about the Manassas, Virginia Sexting case for anyone who is not familiar with it:

Manassas City detective in teen ‘sexting’ case sues teen’s lawyer for defamation, November 13, 2014
By Tom Jackman

The lead detective in a high-profile teen “sexting” case from last summer, in which Prince William County authorities sought to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old teen to compare with the evidence, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the teen’s attorney for making critical comments about the investigation in The Washington Post. 

Media and police experts said they had not heard of a case where a detective sued a defense attorney for defamation, and that he may have a difficult time overcoming the attorney’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. 

Detective David E. Abbott of the Manassas City Police Department filed the suit in Prince William Circuit Court on Oct. 16 against Jessica Harbeson Foster, a Manassas-based defense attorney. Foster represented the 17-year-old Manassas City teen who was facing charges of distributing child pornography, for allegedly texting a sexually explicit video of himself to his 15-year-old girlfriend. 

Foster told The Post, in an article published online on July 9, that her client had already been arrested and his genitals photographed at the county jail. She said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson told her on July 1 that the teen must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant “for pictures of his erect penis,” for comparison to the evidence from the teen’s cell phone. 
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Action Alert: Onesimus Ministries Which Ministers to Inmates and Houses Former Offenders Including RSO’s Here in Virginia is Currently Financially Struggling, But You Could Help!

I met first met Rev. Bill Twine of Onesimus Ministries back in 2009 at his Chesapeake Half-way House. He runs some of the only Half-way Houses that accept Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia. 

When the RSOL of Virginia dissolved back in November 2012 and we were required by law as a 501(c)(4) to donate all assets and money to another non-profit there was no doubt who would be the recipient of the RSOL-VA funds, but Onesimus Ministries for their work and outreach to Registered Sex Offenders. 

I’ve seen Bill 3 or 4 times over the last few years including last Saturday at the Virginia CURE annual conference  and he mentioned recent financial difficulties for the ministry. Due to the large number of their residents who are unemployed, under employed and sporadically employed. As of November 2014 they house 14 ex-offenders in their Chesapeake House, half of that number is on the VSP Registry. 

They also have other homes in Norfolk and Chesapeake with a total number of 9 residents, 7 of whom are on the VSP Registry.
 
The men on the registry have the hardest time finding employment and struggle with paying program fees. 

Onesimus’ current challenges  also include raising money to replace the Chesapeake House roof; repairing interior walls and floors and repairing ministry vehicles. 

Bill is an amazing man and the one way I can help him is to advise all of you that his ministry needs funds to continue to help the current residents and to hopefully graduate those men out of the program and to take in additional newly released men who would be homeless without Onesimus Ministries. 

I hear from many of you asking if you can send me money and I always decline your generous and kind offers to assist my advocacy. I’ve taken on this role and as long as we can cover our expenses we will. But you could and I hope you will help Rev. Bill Twine and Onesimus Ministries. 
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Special Election for Virginia House of Delegates Seat 4th District Set for December 9, 2014. Seat was Briefly Held by Ben Chafin, Who Became a Senator in August Special Election

 
Update: 

Pillion wins Virginia 4th District House special election, December 9, 2014

Pillion wins 4th District election for Virginia House of Delegates seat, December 9, 2014

Special election set in SW Va. delegate district, December 9, 2014

Original Post:

The Virginia House of Delegate candidates for the 4th District (includes Washington County, Russell County, Dickenson County and Wise County) are:
                Todd E. Pillion  (R)
                Donnie W. Rife(D) 
 

McLean Virginia Teens Plead Guilty to Creating Cache of Nude Photos of Students

 
Virginia teens plead guilty to creating cache of nude photos of students, November 10, 2014
By Justin Jouvenal

Compromising photos of 56 McLean High School girls were carefully organized into folders under each of their names on an online file-sharing account maintained by two of their fellow students, the Fairfax County prosecutor’s office said Monday. 

The teenagers, ages 16 and 17, also created elaborate rules for the Dropbox page, which was passed around among teens at the school so they could upload images via a link, the prosecutor said. But in May, a sophomore at the school received the link, and she alerted school officials about the account. Soon, Fairfax police officers were investigating.  
 

Virginia Department of Corrections Halloween Programs are Myth-Based.......and They Know It!

 

Halloween was a week and a half ago and I had no plans on another post about the holiday, but then I attended the Virginia CURE annual conference this past Saturday. (You can see photos of the first half of the event on Virginia CURE’s Facebook page).

One of the invited speakers was Ms. Scott Richeson, Director of Reentry Programs for the Virginia Department of Corrections.
 
After each speaker completes their presentation questions from the audience are taken and I had decided to ask  how the DOC can claim they support and provide former offenders with opportunities for successful reentry back into our communities removing unnecessary barriers but yet EVERY year the VADOC regurgitates the same Press Release (see below) to every media outlet in the Commonwealth on the Halloween programs Operation Trick-Not-Treat AND Operation Porch-Lights-Out for those Registered Sex Offenders under DOC Probation. These programs and the Press Releases announcing them as successful are in fact “barriers” for the successful reentry of former offenders who are also Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) running contrary to the message the VADOC was sending at the Virginia CURE conference. 

I said, 
 

Question and Answer with Josh Gravens who was Convicted and Labeled a Sex Offender at age 13 for Touching His Sister (Similar to Celebrity Lena Dunham) but Josh Wasn’t So Lucky

 
Man who went to prison as a juvenile sex offender: Lena Dunham is lucky, November 10, 2014
Unlike Lena Dunham, inappropriately touching his sister landed Josh Gravens on the sex offender list
By Tracy Clark-Flory

As so many have done recently, Josh Gravens wrote an open letter to Lena Dunham. It read, “Many children around the country did the same thing you did.” But this was not just another defense of Dunham’s childhood behavior as innocent exploration. The letter continued, “A 9-year-old in South Carolina is now on the sex offender registry for life, and he also must wear a GPS monitor everywhere he goes. In fact, many states have no minimum age to be placed on the sex offender registry,” he wrote. “I myself was placed on the Texas Sex Offender Registry for a choice made when I was 12 years old. I touched my 8-year-old sister twice.” 

You see, Gravens had a point to make beyond the normalcy of childhood sexual play: ”I am glad you were able to live your childhood without being labeled a sex offender,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, many people live on the registry today for doing the same type of thing you describe in your book.” In fact, Gravens only recently, at the age of 25, was removed from the public sex offender registry after being the subject of an excellent Texas Observer article and petitioning a judge. The father of four still has a felony conviction on his adult record as a result of spending time on the registry. Not only was Gravens put on the registry, but he was imprisoned for three-and-a-half years starting at age 13 and put on parole for four years. Now Gravens, who spent many years struggling to find work as a sex offender registrant, is an activist campaigning against putting children on the sex offender registry. 

I spoke with the Texan about his time in prison, life off the list and the difficult task of telling his kids about his past.

Let’s start out with the most difficult question: Can you tell me about what happened between you and your sister?
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Celebrity Lena Dunham Who Loosely Threw Around the Term "Sex Offender" Two Months Ago is Now Being Called Just that for her “Sexual Curiosity” When She was a Child. Is She? According to Most States Criminal Statutes She Would Be and That’s the Problem!

 
Update:

INVESTIGATION: Lena Dunham ‘Raped by a Republican’ Story in Bestseller Collapses Under Scrutiny, December 4, 2014

Could ‘Barry’ sue Lena Dunham over her memoirs?  December 4, 2014

Original Post:

Tabloid news……celebrity’s sexual goings-on’s…….. and athletes accused or convicted of sex crimes are NOT issues you’ve found on this blog…..until today. 

So why all of a sudden have I decided to write a post with a string of articles about actress and writer Lena Dunham? 

Well first let’s go back to September 2014 when the big celebrity phone hacking scandal of nude-selfies being leaked on-line was going on. 

Lena Dunham one of the many celebrities whose phone/cloud/storage system was “hacked” and she broadly threw about the term “Sex Offender” when speaking about the person or persons who hacked into her files and stole her naked selfies.
and actress Jennifer Lawrence also claimed the photo-hacking spree was “a sex crime
so Ms. Dunham wasn’t the only one to make this clam but she was the one who repeated the term “Sex Offender” over and over again. 

Now….. Fast-forward 2 months to This week…………… Lena Dunham started her book tour for her new memoir Not That Kind of Girl . 

In the book Ms. Dunham reminisces that:
    1. When she was 7 years old, she once examined her 1 year old sister's vagina
    2. That she occasionally masturbated while her 6 year old sister slept in the same bed (they slept together until Lena was 17 years old)
    3. That she would bribe her little sister for her time and affection," offering coins, candy and choice of TV channel to get the younger girl to allow Lena to do her makeup, "kiss her on the lips for five seconds" or have her "relax on me" during TV viewing.
These passages from her own book have resulted in questions, concerns and accusations from many people that Lena Dunham sexually abused her younger sister and is a “Sex Offender” herself. See articles below. 
 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Who Won and Who Lost in Yesterday's Election? Do You Have a New Representative? Find Out!

 
Yesterday was Election Day and here are the results. 

First in the Special Election to fill Virginia State Senate seat (formally Senator Henry Marsh) of the 16th District the winner as expected was State Delegate Rosalyn Dance –D.  As this was officially a Special Election she will be sworn in as a State Senator in the very near future. Her House/Delegate seat for the 63rd District (including Chesterfield County /part, Dinwiddie County/part, Prince George County/part, Hopewell/part and Petersburg) will now require a Special Election. Stay tuned for a list of candidates and the selected date for this upcoming Special Election in Virginia. 

Now onto the Federal seats (in Washington, D.C.) that were up for election in Virginia. 

U.S. Congress: 

1st District :
            Robert Wittman-R                     Incumbent 

                Scott Rigell-R                              Incumbent

                Bobby Scott-D                             Incumbent 

4th District :
                J. Randy Forbes-R                    Incumbent 

5th District :
                Robert Hurt-R                           Incumbent 

6th District :
                Bob Goodlatte-R                       Incumbent 

7th District :
                David A. BratR                     Newly Elected
This election was declared a Special Election by Governor McAuliffe because former Representative Eric Cantor stepped down back in August. That means David Brat will be sworn in as a U.S. Congressman in the very near future and go to Washington, D.C to finish the 2014 term instead of waiting until mid-January 2015 like the other newly elected Virginia Representatives.