Monday, December 15, 2014

Action Alert for Federal Bill HR4573 International Megan’s Law to be Voted on by US Senate VERY SOON - Contact Virginia Senators Kaine and Warner Today!

Remember the International Megan’s Law HR4573- patroned by New Jersey Representative Chris Smith that passed the U.S. Congress back in May under the guise of Human Trafficking? 

Past Posts:
Well it’s on the move right now through the U.S. Senate! 

The current version of the IML bill would:

  1. Make passports for most Registered Sex Offenders valid for 1 year, instead of 10 years.
  2. All denial of a passport application or renewal to Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), simply because of a past sexual conviction against a minor. What if the RSO was a minor at the time?
  3. This bill would require most RSO’s to report their travel itinerary directly to the Federal Department responsible 21 days prior to international travel.
  4. Failure to report your travel itinerary 21 days ahead would lead to prosecuted for “failure to register,” a felony (even if the original crime that placed them on the Virginia Registry was a misdemeanor)
  5. This bill would apply to ALL RSO’s, regardless of whether their state requires them to submit travel information or not. An INTERPOL alert will be put on the passport warning the destination country that the registrant is likely there to commit a new crime.  More often than not the destination country will turn the RSO back at the airport and deny them access to their country. Wasting all money spent on airfare, hotel reservations and prepaid plans made by the RSO and traveling companions.
  6. This bill has nothing to do with the specifics of the criminal case or conviction of each RSO.
  7. This bill has nothing to do with individual risk factors of each RSO.
  8. This bill has nothing to do with actual recidivism (re-offense) rates of RSO’s (which are the second lowest in the country).
  9. This bill has nothing to do with how long ago a conviction was handed down or the rehabilitation and/or therapy a RSO has participated in over the years.
  10. This bill has nothing to do with preventing future Human Trafficking convictions even though that’s how it’s been sold to the public and in the media.
It's a one-size-fits-all, claiming it stops the Human Trafficking of children when there haven't been any cases of an RSO traveling abroad to sexually abuse or traffic children, grandstanding BILL to look tough on those despicable "Sexual Predators"! Who would dare question or oppose such a  proposal, no matter what it costs the taxpayers?????
ICE and US Marshals have already been implementing some of these policies (Angel Watch Center) against traveling Registered Sex Offenders; they are doing so under an administrative directive less stringent than this proposed International Meagan’s Law. 

HR4573 was referred to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 11, 2014. 

On the SAME day (December 11th)…..from the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations HR4573 was reported by Senator Menendez without amendment AND without written report

Now the International Megan’s Law has been placed on the US Senate Legislative Calendar- 
I am asking all of you to send an email or make a phone call to our two Virginia Senators (see contact info below) TODAY! 

Here is a template letter for those of you who are unsure of what to say or what to ask for: 

Dear Virginia U.S. Senators Warner and Kaine,  

I am contacting you today about my concerns with HR4573 aka International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking. 

As currently written any Registered Sex Offender in America (including a minor) convicted of a sex crime with a minor is included in HR4573. 

HR4573 will capture the 18, 19 and 20 year old boyfriends and girlfriends who had consensual sexual contact with their 15, 16 and 17 year old partner and were convicted for violating the states criminal code. It will also capture the 15, 16 and 17 year olds who “sext” images of themselves to others and it will capture whoever received those images even if they did not solicit them. 

Attempting to apply this list of “criminal offenses” through Federal legislation upon 50 States and multiple jurisdictions that have their own criminal codes that may or may not require registration for the list of crimes or it may be a misdemeanor instead of a felony make no sense. 

The Federal Adam Walsh Act compliance deadline was 3 years ago and only 17 out of 50 states have met Congress’ requirements (or demands of the Act) because each State writes its own criminal codes and manages its own Sex Offender Registry. There is no consistency among the 50 states but HR4573 assumes there is. 

Do you know that in Virginia for example, the Virginia State Police (the monitor and manager of the 21,000+ RSO’s) can not advise offenders of their legal responsibilities to travel state-to-state or the process to travel internationally? They have no idea what they are required by Federal law or the other within the other 49 States to do ahead of time or during their travels if they leave Virginia. They could be inadvertently committing a felony but no one will assist them or advise them because that’s how the system has been intentionally implemented, an inevitable trap with countless unknown hoops and hurdles and ignorance of the law is no defense. 

If an RSO needs to travel for work, school, family emergencies or vacation they may know 21 days in advance or they may not. What type of additional burden, delay or loss of money will this proposed Angel Watch Center with country notification place on these Americans? How many will be turned back at the airport upon arrival? Unable to attend the conference that they are expected at, denied the chance to attend the funeral of their parents or refused to enjoy the first vacation they’ve been able to afford in 15 years? 

HR4573 is being claimed to reduce/eliminate the International Sexual Trafficking of Minors but in reality it will waste millions of dollars of Government resources while violating the travel rights of US citizens who are NOT under Probation supervision. 

HR4573 completely ignores the last 20 years of data of who is sexually abusing children in the U.S. and abroad.

·         National recidivism rate for all registered sex offenders committing a new sexual offense within 3 years is 2.5-5.3%*the 2nd lowest of all crimes.
·         90% (9 out of 10) sexual assaults are perpetrated by a family member or acquaintance of the victim, neither by a stranger nor by someone on a registry.
*Bureau of Justice Services

The inclusion of ALL offenders convicted of a sex crime against a minor in HR4573 is political posturing and fear-mongering to keep America’s parents deceived about where the real dangers lie. Among family, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who are not listed on the Sex Offender registries. 

The U.S. needs to stop wasting millions of dollars establishing Committees, Commissions, Units, Departments, Task Forces and Ad Campaigns for these one-size-fits-all proposals that are NOT based on facts. 

HR4573 continues to perpetuate the inaccurate boogeyman concept that does nothing to protect America’s children but instead promotes the statistically anomalous dangers. 

HR4573 must be amended BEFORE the US Senate votes on it, it should only apply to those convicted of:
1.       Prostitution of a Minor
2.      Human Trafficking
3.      Transporting a Minor across States-lines
4.      Traveling to meet a Minor that they met on-line
5.      Sex Crimes Against Children Abroad/Internationally  

These are the people who might travel abroad to sexually abuse children, not every Registered Sex Offender in America. 

This bill is NOT solving a current problem, there has NOT been a issue of US RSO’s traveling abroad to abuse children. The stories that have made the news of Americans traveling abroad to sexually abuse children have NOT been Registered Sex Offenders. 

HR4573 is a “red-herring” and a “resume bill”. 

Smarter policies that are directed towards those who have been convicted of a Human Trafficking crime or traveling for sex with a minor are what Americans deserve not bills hyped to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. 

If it is too late to amend the bill, please vote “no” on it and propose a new version with the above changes be submitted at the beginning of the new session in January 2015. 


                Add you name and contact information here!


Virginia U.S Senator (and former Virginia Governor) Mark Warner- D                202-224-2023

Virginia U.S Senator (and former Virginia Governor) Tim Kaine- D        202-224-4024                                                                       

I hope you will take 10-30 minutes out of your day to send an email or make a phone call about this bill. 

Thank you! 

Mary Devoy