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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Restoring Integrity to Virginia Sex Offender Registry Blog.......... is 2 Years Old With More than 92,000 Page Views!

 
Two years ago tomorrow on July 1st 2013 this blog began with a post that summarized my first 5 years of advocacy.  

I said it last year and I’m going to say it again: 

I try to be the voice of reason for those listed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, their spouses, their parents, their siblings, their significant others and their children when new and harsher laws and restrictions are being considered and passed against those who are labeled “Sex Offender”. 

If anyone had  told me in 2006  that I’d become a full-time volunteer advocate for a cause that is so polarizing and insights such hate , fear and anger from the public like that of Sex Offenders and the Registry, I would have told them they had lost their mind.  

You never know where life may take you but you are the one that decides how to use that knowledge and experience you’ve gained and move forward to make a positive difference. 

And it still holds true! 

One year ago this blogs "page views" totaled 30,500 for 12 months (2,541 per month).

12 months later it is now 92,036 that’s an additional 61,536 views (5,128 per month)! 

This blog has become a resource for so many people looking for critical information. Some support my efforts, some oppose them, some are just curious about the platform, some are students working on college papers, some are researchers/professors/doctors, some are media reporters and some are lawmakers. 

This blog has received hits from all over the world, even though its main goal is to keep Virginians up to date on RSO issues. The statistics section of Blogger allows me to track what operating systems and browsers visitors’ use, what countries visitors are viewing from, what other sites direct viewers to this site, what the most popular posts are AND what search phrases lead folks to this site………………. and the Top 2 (overwhelmingly) Web Questions/Searches are:
  • Travel as a Sex Offender (RSO)
  • The Legal Restrictions/Regulations for a Sex Offender (RSO) 
Thank you all for following this blog and for those of you who’ve emailed me in the last year. Your kind words, gratitude, personal stories and words of support keep me going on this uphill fight. I took on this platform not for me or for my loved one but for all of you and your family members. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Davye Devoy

Monday, June 29, 2015

Regulating Sex By Judith Shulevitz - “If There’s No Social Consensus About What the Lines Are,” says Nancy Gertner, a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Law School and a Retired Judge, then Affirmative Consent “Has No Business Being in the Criminal Law.”

Update:

Don’t miss this one!
The Future of Sex Is Terrifying, June 30, 2015
Proposed changes to U.S. sex-crime laws seek to set new sexual norms by criminalizing ordinary behavior.
By Elizabeth Nolan Brown
 
Original Post:

Regulating Sex, June 27, 2015
By Judith Shulevitz

THIS is a strange moment for sex in America. We’ve detached it from pregnancy, matrimony and, in some circles, romance. At least, we no longer assume that intercourse signals the start of a relationship. But the more casual sex becomes, the more we demand that our institutions and government police the line between what’s consensual and what isn’t. And we wonder how to define rape. Is it a violent assault or a violation of personal autonomy? Is a person guilty of sexual misconduct if he fails to get a clear “yes” through every step of seduction and consummation? 

According to the doctrine of affirmative consent — the “yes means yes” rule — the answer is, well, yes, he is. And though most people think of “yes means yes” as strictly for college students, it is actually poised to become the law of the land. 
 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Action Item: Ask Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to write an Executive Order for a Dedicated Commission to Study the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and ALL the Legal Restrictions that Limit Those on It

 
Recently Governor McAuliffe wrote an Executive Order for an independent Commission to look at the last 20 years since Governor Allen abolished parole  (Truth-in-Sentencing). The Governor elaborated in a follow-up radio appearance,It’s time to review whether that makes sense. Is it keeping our citizens safe? Is it a reasonable, good, cost-effective way? Are we rehabilitating folks?” he said. “Are sentences too long for nonviolent offenses? Are we keeping people in prison too long?”. All great questions! 

But almost immediately some State lawmakers spun the Governor’s order into a fear-mongering, the sky-is-falling, political party issue. 

A program that originally claimed it would protect society better has turned 20 years old, we owe it to our citizens to study that 20 years of data to see if the program actually has done what was promised, to see if it is cost effective, to see if justice is in fact being served and to see if reforms are needed. 
 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Newsweek: The Hunt for Child Sex Abusers Is Happening in the Wrong Places By Abigail Jones


First the title on the Newsweek cover is extremely misleading, but the article title is correct. The majority of the article seems to be a PR promotion for Lauren Book, who I have previously posted about as well as her father Ron Book..... they both personally profit from the civil commitment of SVP’s and the privatization of prisons/commitment facilities......then there is the Julia Tuttle Bridge/Causeway Homeless RSO mess that was /is ALL Ron Books doing...….but........ after reading this article twice I decided it had some facts, points and experts input that are totally worth sharing.........so here it is.

Mary Devoy 

The Hunt for Child Sex Abusers Is Happening in the Wrong Places, June 23, 2015
By Abigail Jones

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Oklahoma Disseminates the Legal Do’s and Don’t to Their RSO’s, But 7 Years Later the State of Virginia Still Refuses to Do It!



Virginia not only chooses NOT to disseminate this information but fights any suggestion or attempt by anyone who tries to implement such a process! 

Mary Devoy

 
Sex offenders must register and follow a required set of rules, June 20, 2015

Oklahoma- Every sex offender who registers with the Enid Police Department is read, and then must sign, four pages of rules they are required to follow. 

Enid Police Department Sgt. Dustin Albright is responsible for tracking and registering the more than 50 offenders residing within the city. 

He said each time an offender registers, he collects the information required by state law; such as a criminal history check, fingerprints and photographs. 

Albright then sits with each offender and goes over each point of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act Notice of Duty to Register. 

“I go over the registration form, which contains all the basic information and criminal offenses, a description of their vehicle, their employment, address, etc.,” he said. “Then I go over the Notice of Duty to Register form. I fully explain each rule and read it to them.” 

The form explains it is illegal for any offender required to register “to work with, or provide services to children or to work on school premises, or for any person or business which contracts for work to be performed on school premises.”

It also outlines where those offenders classified as aggravated or habitual are prohibited from residing, or visiting. 

NPR California: For Registered Sex Offenders, An Uphill Civil Rights Battle


For Registered Sex Offenders, An Uphill Civil Rights Battle, June 21, 2015

In 2010, Frank Lindsay came home after running errands and noticed his front door was wide open. When he went inside to investigate, he found a young man in his dining room with two hammers — "one in each hand," he recalls. 

"And he immediately raised the hammer in his right hand and started at me, indicating he wanted to kill me because I was a sick pervert." 

The attacker had found Lindsay's address on California's Sex Offender Registry. 

July 1st in Virginia: New Laws Take Effect!


Update:

New Virginia laws take effect today, July 1, 2015
 
Original Post:  

As most followers of this blog know back in January and February 2015 the Virginia Legislature met in Richmond for the annual General Assembly (Regular Session) and then met for one day in April for the “Veto Session”. 
 
  • To review the history of the bills that I tracked, supported and opposed during the 2015 session, go here
  • To learn how a bill becomes law in Virginia, go here
All bills that passed the Virginia Legislature and were signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe become law on Wednesday July 1, 2015! 

  • To view the full list of all new Virginia laws for 2015, go here or here.
Remember ignorance of a law is NOT an accepted defense in any court! 

As always, to know what Virginia laws apply to Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s), you can go here . Unlike with ANY other newly created law, RSO laws ARE applied retroactively. Per § 9.1-901. Section C unless a specific start date is provided, “all new provisions of the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act shall be applied retroactively”. 
 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Virginia Supreme Court Appeal: Ailing 81-year-old Sex Offender Inmate was on His Way to Geriatric Release Last Year When His Case Disappeared from a State Computer System


Inmate, 81, claims wrongdoing in failed bid for release, June 18, 2015
By Frank Green
 
Lawyers for an imprisoned, ailing 81-year-old sex offender contend he was on his way to geriatric release last year when his case disappeared from a state computer system. 

When it reappeared a few weeks later, the Virginia Parole Board had a new chair and his bid for freedom was turned down. 

An appeal filed in the Virginia Supreme Court last week, supported in part by an affidavit from the former chairman of the parole board, William Muse, accuses the parole board of shenanigans that violated Bonnell Boyd’s rights.

“Boyd was about to receive the necessary number of votes ... when — flagrantly, without authorization and in violation of the Parole Board’s own rules — the voting was improperly manipulated and stopped, then restarted anew weeks after Muse retired,” alleges the 17-page appeal. 

The intent of the computer manipulation, allege Boyd’s lawyers, Jonathan Sheldon of Fairfax and Thomas M. Wolf of Richmond, was to make sure that Muse’s vote would be nullified and Boyd’s release denied.
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The American Law Institute: “Yes Means Yes” (Affirmative Consent) Attempting to Take it Nationwide. A HUGE Mistake!


Has the Federal Government Ever had Sex? June 15, 2015
By Ashley Snowe

The act of sex is not illegal. But if two members of the American Law Institute have their way, it will be — unless you follow their rules. 

Law professors Stephen J. Schulhofer and Erin Murphy are trying to update the criminal code when it comes to sex offenses, believing current definitions of rape and sexual assault are antiquated. The focus of their draft is on what constitutes consent. It adopts the "yes means yes," or "affirmative consent" model that was passed in California last year. 

The California law applies only to college campuses, however. Schulhofer and Murphy aim to take that definition of consent — which says that before every escalation of a sexual encounter, clear and convincing consent must be given — to the state or federal level. No one actually has sex this way, requesting permission and having it granted perhaps a dozen times in a single encounter. 

But the theory that millions of Americans are having sex wrongly has gained currency among campus activists. This new attempt to alter the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, a highly influential document that has been adopted in whole or in part by many states' legislatures, is part of a push to bring authoritarianism into the bedroom.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015 Center for Prosecutor Integrity Summit in Arlington Virginia


Yesterday I traveled to Arlington, VA to attend the first day of the two day Summit held by the Center for Prosecutor Integrity. Last year I attended the second day of the 2014 summit. 

I attended yesterday’s conference for one specific reason to meet and attend Tonya Craft's presentation. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tonya Craft here are some old articles:
·       Tonya Craft's Alleged Victim Reports How She Remembered Abuse: 'My Momma Told Me' April 15, 2010
·       Tonya Craft, Former Georgia Teacher, Acquitted of Molestation Charges May 12, 2010
·       Tonya Craft, Kindergarten Teacher, Not Guilty on 22 Molestation Charges May 12, 2010
·       A New Wave of Prosecutorial Hysteria: The Railroading of Tonya Craft April 2010
·       Saving Tonya Craft: An Integration of Science and Law 2011

Ms. Craft said yesterday that she has written a new book that will be released near the end of this year titled From Prosecuted to the Prosecutor’s Office as she has one year of law school left and is planning on becoming a District Attorney/Prosecutor. I just checked Amazon.com and could not find that soon to be released title but found these two, The Truth Will Set You Free: Surviving My Nightmare of False Accusations and  Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice and the Strength to Forgive .

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 9, 2015 Virginia Primary Day Results


Last month I posted about the June 9th Primary Candidates and the wide open races for certain districts in the State elections this coming November 2015. Plus there were county and city seats as well as Commonwealth Attorney seats on many ballots.  
 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Restoring Integrity to Virginia Registry Goal #2 (Dissemination of Information) of 28 is Being Shelved But NOT Forgotten!


For the last 7 years my main goal has been to hold back the tide of new, harsher legislation based on myth, hate, fear and prejudice from becoming law in Virginia. Some years I’m successful and some years I haven’t been. 

My secondary goal is to keep all RSO’s and their loved ones up to date on what legal restrictions and regulations they must abide by that change every year so you/they do not inadvertently commit a felony offense. 

And my third goal has been to correct existing issues within the current system and environment as listed on the Legislative Goals/ Action Items page, for a total of 28 Goals. 

Today I updated Goal #2 on that page, Written notice of all Legal Restrictions /Regulations that all Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) must abide by in Virginia. As the Commonwealth makes no effort  to advise Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's) of their legal restrictions and regulations that change yearly when new retroactive laws are passed and if the RSO "guesses" incorrectly they face up to 5 years in prison. An extremely high cost paid for by Virginians for an arbitrary felony. 

If a law (that originally required a fiscal impact) is important enough for the Virginia Legislature to pass, is it NOT equally important to inform those citizens it is intended to manage? 

….AND the restrictions imposed upon RSO’s are NOT intuitive or even reasonable sometimes so how are you supposed to know a regular activity that was legal last year or piece of information that was not required to be registered last year….Is NOW restricted or required and any violation is a new Felony!

States like North Carolina, Illinois & Indiana advise their RSO’s of their legal obligations at every re-registration and Illinois & Kentucky notify their RSO's of new changes in law after their Legislature and Governor have passed them. 

All Virginia and all Federal laws should be available in easily understandable terms to our RSO’s, not just a 44 page legal mumbo-jumbo list of statutes , that the majority of folks can not understand and if they don’t have Internet access they don’t know they even exist!
 
At the 2015 General Assembly session this past January and February  the Virginia State Police (VSP) convinced Senator Dave Marsden if they were to ever create and distribute a list of Do’s and Don’ts that RSO’s shouldn’t be able to claim they never received it or it was outdated as a defense for a failure to register. This demand by the VSP confirmed for me that they never planned to actually distribute the laws to every RSO OR to maintain and distribute updated versions when the laws change retroactively every year. The VSP even drafted up two versions of a brochure in an attempt to convince Virginia lawmakers they were ready to disseminate the laws to Virginia’s RSO’s, the 2nd  version (that was extremely similar to my brochure ) was presented to the GA members.
 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sexual Abuse Victims Need Understanding, Not Outrage By Michael Crawford

 
Sexual abuse victims need understanding, not outrage, June 7, 2015
By Michael Crawford
 

The Josh Duggar case continues to unfold and to shock people across the country. News stories, opinions and outrage dissect the Duggar family’s attitudes toward sex, their worldviews and how they contributed both to Josh Duggar’s actions and to shielding him from legal accountability while keeping his victims silent. 

The truth is while the circumstances surrounding Duggar and his victims may have contributed to the abuse, people who commit sex offenses and survivors of sexual abuse don’t need extraordinary factors to keep these crimes hidden. Our collective societal reactions often unintentionally help to do just that. 

In 2002, Duggar’s father, Jim Bob, stated during his run for the U.S. Senate that “rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.” It is easy to hold these views, to label individuals who offend as “predators” and “monsters” while the reality is they are often brothers, fathers, sons and friends. 

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had an obligation to report the abuse that was happening in their home and to ensure that their son did not present an ongoing risk to others. It is difficult to accept that more than 80 percent of people who commit sexual assault are known to the victim. Despite this, most of the current policy is focused on preventing sexual violence committed by strangers. 

We don’t support or acknowledge victims grappling with shame, confusion, love for the perpetrator and guilt.
 
We don’t want to view this through the eyes of children who are afraid they will break up their families if they take action to make the abuse to stop. 

We don’t want to accept the real human actors and emotions that accompany these situations; we seem only capable of labeling them as inhuman crimes committed by inhumane people. 

Society has created an expectation that once someone has committed a sex offense he or she should be hated, but this attitude leaves little room for victims to come forward.
 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Virginia Crime Report 2014: Pornography and Prostitution Arrests Increased for the Second Year in a Row, Juvenile Arrests Dropped and the Number of Male Victims Increased in the Last Year. But 76 of the 1198 Pornography Arrests Were Juveniles (Children), Not Adults that’s 6.3% of the Total!


When the 2013 Virginia Crime Report was released last year I did not do a post on the totals. The last time I posted Virginia Crime Report stats was back in 2013 for the 2012 Report. 

So let’s see what a difference a few years makes.
In 2014:
There were 4,949 victims of the 4,668 forcible sex offenses (up from 2013) reported by the contributing agencies; 85.5% of the victims were female.  

The breakdown of Group A Offenses totals 444,022 crimes (down from 2013) of this group:
  • Forcible Sex Offenses were 1.11% of offenses
  • Non-Forcible Sex Offenses were 0.04% of offenses
  • Pornography* was 0.26% of offenses
  • Prostitution* was 0.29% of offenses 

Friday, June 5, 2015

NPR’s 'On Point' with Tom Ashbrook: Secrets And Realities Of US Child Sex Abuse

 
NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook Podcast 

June 3, 2015 with Elizabeth LeTourneau, associate professor in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins — Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she is also the director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children’s Alliance. 

Secrets And Realities Of US Child Sex Abuse
Beau Biden fought it. Josh Duggar did it. Dennis Hastert allegedly tried to bury it. We'll look at child sex abuse. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Failure of Sex Offender Policy, By Paul Heroux, State Representative, Massachusetts

 
The Failure of Sex Offender Policy, June 3, 2015
By Paul Heroux, State Representative, Massachusetts

The public expects and deserves evidence-based practices when it comes to public safety. This is true for any aspect of public policy but perhaps none so much as sex offender policy. With sex offenders, there is a sense of moral outrage at the depravity of their crimes, and rightly so. Virtually any sex crime makes the news headlines because the public has a very high interest in this crime. Too often politicians not only capitalize on the fear that is caused by sex offenders, but they inadvertently create more of it. 

The manner in which this happens can be seen in sex offender registries and residence restrictions. Using the law to require that someone has to register to be on a registery, politicians are effectively saying that the person who previously offended is someone you need to be afraid of for future re-offending, even though the research says the likelihood is the lowest of the crime categories. Or by requiring through law that sex offenders cannot live in certain places, politicians are saying that if the converse were true, children would not be safe, even though place of residence has virtually nothing to do with who will be victimized.  

Why Do Politicians Use Fear?  

Sometimes they may do it on purpose to boost their popularity in being proactive on important issues. But I think the main reason is that politicians are regular people who got elected but who are not experts in this field and they just don't know what they don't know. Crime policy and the science of correcting criminal behavior is very complicated. We tend to think that what would deter us (the non-criminal population) from committing a crime is the same thing that would deter them (the criminal population) from committing a crime. This is incorrect thinking.
 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cato Institute Series: Civil Commitments and Civil Liberties - First Essay, Questionable Commitments By Galen Baughman


Update:

 Start with the lead essay below. 

Response Essays:
Our Deeply Flawed Civil Commitment System, June 3, 2015
        By David Prescott
The Rise of the Preventative State, June 5, 2015
        By Eric Janus
Let’s Stamp Out Perversion, June 9, 2015
        By Amanda Pustilnik
 

Original Post: 

Lead Essay:
Questionable Commitments, June 1, 2015
There is a young man in Virginia sitting behind tall fences and razor wire, guarded by men with guns, and never allowed to leave. According to the state, he isn’t in prison, and he is not being punished for a crime. Instead, he’s being held because the government says he might commit a crime in the future. 

Against a backdrop of mass incarceration in America and a growing public understanding that the land of the free locks up more people than any other nation in the world, little attention has been paid to the evolving civil mechanisms that allow the state to deprive individuals of their liberty – often forever – under the guise of treatment. These systems represent a growing medicalization of crime, where criminal behavior is supposed to be caused by a mental problem rather than the person’s free will. If we commit crime because we are sick, then it would make sense for society to help make us better. This is dangerous thinking: It opens a door to a world in which we start to punish the criminal instead of the crime; a world in which the government is justified in imprisoning people because of who they are – and what they might do in the future – instead of only punishing crimes that we can prove they have committed beyond a reasonable doubt. In many ways, that world is already here. 

Civil commitment is the legal practice of detaining individuals who are suffering from acute symptoms of severe mental illness so that they can be treated, often in a secured environment. In this model, the state is providing care for individuals who are unable to care for themselves, while protecting the public from individuals who are dangerous due to their psychiatric condition. Sounds reasonable, right? Over the past 25 years, however, new laws have been created, designed to use the traditional model of civil commitment as a way to create secondary prison sentences for people who have already paid their debt to society, dramatically expanding the power of the state and blurring the lines between civil and criminal law.
 

Fact Checker: The False Claim that Human Trafficking is a ‘$9.5 Billion Business’ in the United States. Another 4 Pinocchio’s for a Widely Repeated Sex Crime Claim Meant to Create Fear, Hype and Urgency for Harsher Laws, Longer Sentences, More Funding, Civil Penalties and Life on a Registry!

Fact Checker: The False Claim that Human Trafficking is a ‘$9.5 Billion Business’ in the United States, June 2, 2015
By Glenn Kessler
Ruling: Four Pinocchio’s

It’s estimated that child sex trafficking in the United States alone is a $9.8 billion industry.” –Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), statement, May 19, 2015 

“This [human trafficking] is domestically a $9.5 billion business.” –Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), remarks at a congressional hearing, May 14, 2015 

Readers should always be wary of false precision. The sex trade is an underground industry, so on what basis would the revenues from the trafficking of children–or children and adults–in the United States be calculated so precisely, either as $9.8 billion or $9.5 billion? 

That’s what jumped out at The Fact Checker when we first spotted these figures, uttered by lawmakers as the House of Representatives considered the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.  The figures came from two different sources, but it turns out both were practically invented out of whole cloth. Let’s explore. 

The Facts 

For the $9.8 billion number, Goodlatte’s office originally directed The Fact Checker to an informational graphic posted on the Internet by Shared Hope International, which says it aims to eradicate sex trafficking. The graphic indicated that the statistic concerned all human trafficking in the United States—not just “child sex trafficking” as Goodlatte’s statement said.