Sunday, August 30, 2015

Madison Iszler: The Big Lie Behind the Campus-Rape Crusade

The big lie behind the campus-rape crusade, August 27, 2015
By Madison Iszler

What happens when the statistical basis for a massive, nationwide legislative push crumbles into dust? Absolutely nothing, if the subject is sexual assault on campus. 

This year, more than half the states in the country considered legislation dealing with sexual assault on college campuses. California and New York enacted affirmative-consent policies, Connecticut and Virginia announced new laws intended to prevent sexual violence on campuses and last year President Obama created a task force designed to deal with what liberal political elites claimed was a startling rise in sexual assault. 

But the very studies these politicians relied on don’t say what they have claimed — yet the “yes means yes” juggernaut rolls on.

Toward Smart Justice Reform, By William Ruger (Charles Koch Institute) and Claire Guthrie Gastanaga (ACLU of Virginia)

Ruger and Gastanaga: Toward smart justice reform, August 30, 2015
By William Ruger and Claire Guthrie Gastanaga

The ACLU of Virginia and the Charles Koch Institute are working together to spur conversation about needed criminal justice reforms in Virginia - reforms that keep communities safe and hold lawbreakers accountable. 

We believe the Commonwealth's Commission on Parole Review, made up of a bipartisan group of legislators, law enforcement officials, and criminal justice experts, represents a unique opportunity to explore how the commonwealth can enhance public safety, cut costs and embrace human dignity by making smarter, more effective choices about how we deal with crime. 

The commission is responsible for investigating the impact of 1990s-era legal changes on public safety, the state's resources, and society at large. 

During its last meeting, on Thursday, the commission heard a presentation about why it should look beyond just the issue of parole and work toward reforms that would improve the lives of all Virginians.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 27, 2015: 2nd Meeting of Virginia Governors Parole Commission – Camille Cooper of PROTECT was Especially Interested in “Sex Offenders” During the Meeting............and She Tossed in a Jeffrey Dahmer Factoid......Nice!

See Update at bottom of this post

Back on July 20, 2015 when the first Parole Commission meeting was held there was media in attendance, a press conference by Virginia Republican Lawmakers and numerous articles before and after the hearing for against its existence.

But this past Thursday August 27, 2015 when the second public meeting was held there was NO media attention and I haven’t found one article on it. 

The agenda was not available online and they ran out of paper copies very quickly so I took a photo of the copy the lady sitting next to me, it’s above. I attended having no idea what or who would be presenting. 

After Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott completed his presentation Camille Cooper of PROTECT said: 

“We hear a lot about risk assessments, risk assessments are not all created equal. With regards to the risk assessments for Sex Offenders you have one very widely used risk assessment called the Static 99 used here in Virginia mandated to determine risk, according to the New York Court of Appeals Jeffrey Dahmer scores low risk on that assessment tool, I don’t know if you knew that I’ll send you that opinion if you want to look at it, it’s a deeply flawed tool unfortunately it’s the only one they have to use, so my concern is when we are talking about low-risk, moderate-risk and high-risk that we really need to use a surgical scalpel and not come in with the artillery and start letting people out we need to be very careful because those risk assessment tool are really incredibly flawed. Our organizations position is that it is not worth the paper it is written on”.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Is the Virginia State Police (VSP) Forcing People Who Should Not Have to Register, to Register (as Sex Offenders) Under § 18.2-67.4?

An RSO who has been emailing me for years recently shared the best news ever! 

The Virginia State Police removed him from the VSP Sex Offender Registry website; he would no longer need to register as a Non-Violent Offender for a 2009 conviction, he received a letter stating this from the VSP after a long drawn out court petition. 

Now, you might be thinking 2009 to 2015 that’s NOT 15 years, the minimum time (per 2008 retroactive change by the VA Legislature) required for a Non-Violent Offender to register before a petition is allowed to be filed in court.  

You would be correct. 

You see this branded man should NEVER have been forced to register as a Non-Violent Sex Offender in the first place.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Collateral Damage: Harsh Sex Offender Laws May Put Whole Families at Risk By Steve Yoder


The Watch: The collateral damage of sex offender laws, August 28, 2015
By Radley Balko

Original Post:

Collateral damage: Harsh sex offender laws may put whole families at risk, August 27, 2015
Research says that registries and residency bans leave children of sex offenders vulnerable to bullying, homelessness
By Steve Yoder (he has a website Life on the List)

When William Quarles, 38, bolts from his desk around 5:30 most weeknights, he’s up against his most important deadline of the day. Quarles is an audiovisual editor and social media manager at a Christian television studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. By the time he gets home, he and Ashley, his wife of nine years, have just over three hours to make dinner for their three children, squeeze in a half-hour of playtime, get the kids bathed and dressed for bed, and read to them for a few minutes. 

At 9:30 sharp, William kisses Ashley, walks out the door and drives his van 12 miles to a spot at the end of a dirt road off Interstate 275. From there he calls her, and they read and pray together from the devotional Our Daily Bread before they fall asleep — Ashley at home and William in the back of the van. Every couple of hours, William wakes up sweating and turns on the engine to run the air conditioner. 

William’s name and photo appear on Florida’s public sex offender registry. A state law bans him and most others on the list from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and child care facilities. The house the family rents lies inside a banned zone, so William can’t stay there between 10 at night and 6 in the morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Study: Why Prosecutors are Likely to Opt for Misdemeanor Charges….and It’s Not as an Act of Grace or Leniency

With a misdemeanor you can not file a Writ of Actual Innocence in Virginia either. 


Study: Why Prosecutors are Likely to Opt for Misdemeanor Charges, August 25, 2015

Prosecutors deciding whether to file a misdemeanor or felony charge in a borderline case are likely to engage in “strategic undercharging,” knowing that a conviction on the misdemeanor carries an expanded set of penalties, according to research forthcoming in the William & Mary Law Review. But while misdemeanor defendants have faced a growing set of penalties since the 1990s, they do not enjoy the same safeguards as felony defendants.

The penalties for misdemeanor offenses, also called “collateral consequences,” could include being required to register as a sex offender, being prohibited from owning a firearm and deportation, Paul Crane, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School writes in a study titled "Charging on the Margin." Although the penalties for felony defendants are still harsher, the procedural safeguards they are entitled to include rights to a grand jury, a preliminary hearing and a jury trial, as well as bargaining chips during the negotiation process.

“A prosecutor engages in strategic undercharging when she charges a lesser offense than she otherwise could, but does so for reasons that advance her own aims—and not as an act of grace or leniency,” Crane writes. “Prosecutors will sometimes exercise their charging prerogative by filing a lesser charge and, in so doing, gain the strategic advantage that comes from significantly reducing a defendant’s procedural entitlements.”

As a result of the expanded penalties increasingly triggered by misdemeanor convictions, Crane writes that the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors is starting to blur. The study is part of the Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper Series.

Read the study here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

As of May 2015 Amherst County Virginia has a New “Moral Turpitude” Conviction Business License Ban and Revocation


Writer: Amherst ordinance allows officials to penalize businesses for hiring ex-cons, September 9, 2015

2:00 Video: Hiring an Ex-con in Amherst County May Put Your Business License At Risk, September 3, 2015

Government officials in Amherst County, Virginia can now require employers to fire any ex-con, August 31, 2015
By Eugene Volokh

Original Post:
Back in May of this year the Amherst County Town Board/Board of Supervisors made a change to local law that appears to have gone unnoticed by most. 

It is Amherst County ordinance #14-151 As of May 2015 basically anyone that has been convicted of any crime (misdemeanor or felony) involving “Moral Turpitude” will have their Amherst County Business License revoked AND any business/company that knowingly employs someone convicted of a crime involving “Moral Turpitude” could have their Amherst County Business License completely revoked. 

What is Moral Turpitude?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Radley Balko: How a Dubious Statistic Convinced U.S. Courts to Approve of Indefinite Detention (Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators)

How a dubious statistic convinced U.S. courts to approve of indefinite detention, August 20, 2015
By Radley Balko

In the 2002 case McKune v. Lile, the Supreme Court upheld a Kansas law that imposed harsher sentences on sex offenders who declined to participate in a prison rehab program. The substance of the Kansas law the court upheld isn’t as important as the language the court used to uphold it. In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy reasoned that they pose “such a frightening and high risk of recidivism” which he wrote “has been estimated to be as high as 80%.” Five year earlier, in Kansas v. Hendricks, the court allowed the states to detain sex offenders found to have a “mental abnormality” can be continued to be held indefinitely under civil commitment laws, even after they’ve served their sentences. The majority justified its decision by explaining that commitment hearings are administrative, not criminal, and the intent of such laws is treatment, not punishment. 

The year after the McKune decision, the court then upheld an Alaska law that puts sex offenders on a public registry, even those who were convicted before the law was passed, which would seem to be a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws. Here too, Justice Kennedy noted that “a conviction for a sex offense provides evidence of substantial risk of recidivism. The legislature’s findings are consistent with grave concerns over the high rate of recidivism among convicted sex offenders and their dangerousness as a class. The risk of recidivism posed by sex offenders is ‘frightening and high.'” 

In a forthcoming article in Constitutional Commentary, Ira Mark Ellman and Tara Ellman note that Kennedy’s magic words about the recidivism rate of sex offenders — frightening and high — have been cited 91 times by courts around the country, most in the course of upholding state laws allowing for severe ex post facto punishments that can last from years, to decades, to a lifetime. They include registration requirements for which compliance can range from burdensome to impossible; residency restrictions that effectively restrict ex-offenders to living in the shadows (or under a bridge); and restrictions that can make it nearly impossible to find a job, forge meaningful relationships, worship, or generally participate in civilized life. 

The scary thing is, as the Ellmans explain, there’s no empirical data to support Kennedy’s oft-cited phrase, and the statistic Kennedy himself cited is paper thin.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Hampshire Prep School ‘Senior Salute’ Case: Was it Rape or Consensual Sex that Turned into 5-Day-Later “Regret”, Text Messages Between the Accuser and the Accused Suggest “Regret”, Not Rape!

August 21, 2015 CBS This Morning Discussion

Has anyone been following the St. Paul Prep School Rape Case also known as the ‘Senior Salute’ Case, I have. 

This is not just a he-said, she-said case with no evidence. 

Why? Because of the text messages that were sent between the accuser and the accused, both before the “rape” and after the “rape”. The text messages following the sexual encounter show no distress, trauma or claim of assault in fact…..they are just the opposite. 

The accuser reported a rape 5 days after the encounter and she originally claimed the encounter was consensual. Only after other students were talking about the sexual encounter did it turn into a “rape”. 

Is she a victim? Or did she change her story about the encounter especially when other students knew about it and regret or self-loathing set in? 

Is he a perpetrator, a rapist? Or did he and a female student have a sexual encounter that was 100% consensual when it was occuring? 

Will he go to prison and become a Registered Sex Offender? 

We’ll have to wait to find out but I know this…….. there will be no “winners” in the end, everyone loses in these situations. 

Mary Devoy

Boarding School Sex Scandal: When Bro Culture Becomes Rape Culture, August 18, 2015
Was the tradition of the ‘Senior Salute’ at St. Paul’s, a top New Hampshire private school, an innocent sexual game, or did it have a much darker side?
By Lizzie Crocker

Did the frenzied hook-up culture of a top private school lead to a 15-year-old female student being raped? 

Owen Labrie, a 19-year-old former student of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, has denied sexually assaulting the female student in May 2014. 

The trial began on Monday, with prosecutors expected to call current and former students to testify about the sexual culture at St. Paul’s School.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Jared Fogle (Subway Spokesman) Sex Abuse Case, Two Articles Worth Reading

There are a ton of articles on the Subway spokesman Jared Fogle’s plea from yesterday, most are condemning him some are asking why. 

I’m not going to get in the debate of his specific case or his plea deal. I am not taking a stand, I am not defending him.  

What I am going to do is post two articles (see below) that make very good sense and are based on facts and avoid the hate, the vengeance, the propaganda of sexual danger being everywhere or the glee that a celebrity has fallen and he has lost his wealth, family and freedom. 

You can read these two articles and come to your own conclusion. 

Mary Devoy

1- The Jared Fogle case: Why we understand so little about child sex abuse, August 20, 2015
By Sarah Kaplan

Reading the news that former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle will plead guilty to possessing hundreds of pornographic images of children and having sex with underage girls, it is hard not to be horrified.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

James Cantor of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto: “This appears to be yet one more hysterical thing that somebody can think of doing because it tickles their moral exhibitionism,” he said About the Notion of Denying ED Treatment to Sex Offenders.

The “No Viagra for Sex Offenders” bandwagon (see Canadian article at the bottom) happened with the U.S. Congress back in 2010 for those of you who weren’t following RSO issues back then. I actually wrote and mailed a huge stack of letters to every U.S. Committee member (House and Senate) telling them to stay out of my bedroom! An action that I NEVER expected I’d ever have to do in my entire life, but there it was a bill to stop my spouse from accessing E.D. medication if he (we) ever needed it. Covering or not covering the cost (Medicaid or Medicare) of an E.D .prescription wasn’t what pissed me off, if was singling out Registered Sex Offenders for a medical condition that a prescription is available to fix and would be covered for anyone else. A past criminal conviction should NEVER have ANYTHING to do with the medical care, treatment options or if something is covered in America!  

In 2005 (before I became a volunteer advocate) Virginia Governor Mark Warner issued an emergency order barring Medicaid from continuing to cover Erectile Dysfunction medication for Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New York Times: Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch

 From Prison to Civil Commitment, Swapping Bars for Barbed Wire

Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch, August 15, 2015
NY Times Editorial Board

The essence of the American criminal justice system is reactive, not predictive: You are punished for the crime you committed. You can’t be punished simply because you might commit one someday. You certainly can’t be held indefinitely to prevent that possibility. 

And yet that is exactly what is happening to about 5,000 people convicted of sex crimes around the country. This population, which nearly doubled in the last decade, has completed prison sentences but remains held in what is deceptively called civil commitment — the practice of keeping someone locked up in an institution for months, years or even decades for the purpose of preventing possible future offenses. 

The authorities have the power to detain people with mental illnesses or disorders who cannot function independently, or who pose a danger to themselves or others. But since the early 1990s, this power has been used increasingly to imprison one distinct group: sex offenders.

Gail Rosenblum: How About Treating Sex Offenders like Humans?

How about treating sex offenders like humans?  August 15, 2015
Many Minnesotans wonder if, finally, it’s safe to dream that a loved one will be released from the embattled Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
By Gail Rosenblum

Dee knows that Gov. Mark Dayton can’t make time to see her son, who’s now in his 30s and has been housed since 2012 in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) at Moose Lake. So she sent the governor a photograph. 

In it, her son wears a dark suit and light pink shirt. His full head of brown hair sweeps to the left with a slight curl. He wears a red tie and a jubilant smile. 

He is 4 years old. 

“I need to make [the governor] say, ‘My God, we need to save this little boy,’” said Dee, who asked that only her first name be used. “He’s not only a perpetrator locked up in Moose Lake. Emotionally, he’s also still a little boy, who was a victim first.” 

Dee is one of many Minnesotans wondering if, finally, it’s safe to dream that a loved one will be released from the embattled program. 

On Monday, more than a dozen Minnesota legislators and other state officials gathered behind closed doors (drawing media protests) to discuss more workable options for treating offenders. Those options include re-evaluating current residents, more frequent assessments of their progress and less restrictive facilities for those deemed no longer a danger. 

Of nearly 700 “clients,” only three have transitioned out of the 21-year-old program. A fourth moves out in September. That Hotel California-esque reality has led to a class-action lawsuit. 

Judge Donovan Frank has made it clear that if stakeholders don’t act within coming months, he will.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Virginia State Police (VSP) Interpretation of Virginia Code has Been Ruled Unconstitutional in Other States

Don't Commit an Inadvertent Felony, Which You Have No Knowledge of!
I sent the below to the current Virginia Legislators who are running for office in November, the Governors office, the ACLU of Virginia and a few Virginia newspapers. 
As my note below states I spoke with 3 different VSP employee today’s about this. 

The second person Supervisor _________ said during my call that "Offenders must take the initiative" and that "the VSP is doing the Offenders a favor even sending them the SP-236-A".  

I have to disagree with both of his statements and I will work to change this mine-field environment, but I do believe his two claims are a perfect reflection of the VSP’s attitude I have been up-against for the last 8 years. 

Ignorance of the law is not an accepted defense but blatantly setting people up for failure is also not acceptable. 

If anyone has been charged for NOT registering a website’s user name that was attached to an email address that WAS registered, please send me an email about the specifics of what happened to you. I’m not an attorney and we can’t undo the damage but having an example of a case where they over-interpreted a vaguely written law might help for other RSO’s in the future. 

Mary Devoy 


Dear Virginia Delegates and Senators, 

So we all know per Virginia Code § 9.1-903Registration and § 9.1-904. ReRegistration 

  1. Sex Offenders must register within 3 days of their conviction OR  move to the Commonwealth:
·         Fingerprints
·         Palm Prints
·         DNA sample
·         To be photographed
·         Legal Name, Nicknames or Aliases
·         Date of Birth
·         Social Security Number
·         Residential Address
                                        Including homelessness
·         Proof of Residency       (Physical Address)
·         Mailing Address           (P.O. Box)
·         Employer and Location
                                        Including self employment OR unemployment
·         Proof of Employment
·         All Vehicles with name on the title
                                        Including Auto, Watercraft and Aircraft AND vehicles without license plates.
·         All Phone Numbers
                                        Home, Work, Cell
·         Enrollment with any high school, technical school, college or university
                                        Proof of Enrollment
  1. Then if ANY of this information changes you have 3 days (not 3 business days) to register the changes.
  2. Sex Offenders must register within 3o minutes any creation or deletion of an electronic email address, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that he uses or intends to use.
I heard from an RSO today……….it seems that the Virginia State Police (VSP) are interpreting Virginia law to go even further and they consider ANY User Name for pretty much any website that you can communicate through as an Internet Identifier. So even though the RSO has registered their email address with the VSP if they haven’t elaborated all their User Names connected to that email address the VSP considers that a Registry violation and will send the information onto the Commonwealth’s Attorney to determine if criminal charges should be pursued. 

So I called the VSP today and spoke to 3 different people about this issue, two confirmed what the RSO told me and 1 refused to take a stand.

Rape Victim Civilly Sues Virginia Wesleyan College for $10 million, so College Demands Sexual History of Victim In Spite of the “Rape-Shield” Law

First I should mention the Washington and Lee University case.

I haven’t posted about the Washington and Lee or this Virginia Wesleyan case (see articles below) for a few reasons but since they are occurring right here in our backyard I feel I should post something….so  I have selected a few of the many, many, many articles about it. 
You can come to your own conclusion.


Virginia Wesleyan says request for sexual history has a valid basis, August 13, 2015

Virginia Wesleyan College Demands Sexual History of Student Rape Victim. Don't Get Outraged Just Yet..., August 12, 2015
Another convoluted campus-rape case out of Virginia highlights the limits of letting school bureaucrats handle assault investigations.

Another sad reason to be skeptical of brutal campus sexual assault allegations, August 12, 2015

When someone's sexual history actually might matter, August 11, 2015

College Demands to See Rape Survivor’s Entire Sexual History, August 11, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) 34th Annual Research and Treatment Conference Will be Held October 14-17 2015 in Montreal Quebec

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers 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 34th Annual Research and Treatment Conference will be held October 14-17 2015 in Montreal Quebec. 

Breaking New Ground: Understanding and Preventing Sexual Abuse
2015 Conference Brochure (48 page) Speakers, Seminars and Work Shops-

Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse 2015 Symposium

Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective
Symposium Hosted by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Baltimore, Maryland - April 17, 2015

24:40 - Zigzagging Toward the Light
SPEAKER - Andrew Harris, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Book! Sexual Predators: Society, Risk and the Law By Robert Prentky, Howard Barbaree and Eric Janus

I have read a lot of books on Registries, Sex Offenders and Civil Commitment of SVP’s over the last 8 years and I’ve posted about some of them ( , , , , ,  ) on this blog. 

There is always a stack of research books haunting me to read and I do my best to get to the bottom of the stack before the annual Virginia General Assembly begins in January.  

I preordered this book Sexual Predators: Society, Risk and the Law back in June and began reading it yesterday. I was worried it was going to be one of those books that would be “too scientific” for a regular person to read as a few others have been, but so far I’m really enjoying it. 

I’ve decided to post some notes I’ve taken about ‘Fear’ from Chapter 1. 

The power of fear has treacherous effects. 

Anger, fear and disgust predicate moral outrage. 

The fear of an immanent threat underlies moral panics. 

Moral panic ultimately degrades our principle of human fairness and our capacity for rational judgment. 

Fear (often whipped up by the media) can distort public policy and sabotage the most constructive laws. 

Fear leads to injustice and irrational laws.  

Instead of identifying root causes and best-practice responses, our public policy has been reactive, driven by fear and the political exploitation of fear. 

When fear trumps science, when it silences good faith discussion of policy, it is prevention that suffers the prevention of sexual violence. 

Too often policy-makers ridicule or ignore science, resulting in countless resources allocated to reactive legislation that is rarely held to account for its effectiveness in preventing sexual violence. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Atlantic: The Crimes of Children By Dylan Walsh

A MUST Read!


The Crimes of Children, August 10, 2015
The juvenile justice system was designed to “hide youthful errors from the full gaze of the public.” But the extra penalties attached to these sentences have ruined many lives.
By Dylan Walsh
Round Rock High School, just north of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, sprawls over 88 acres. It feels like a small liberal-arts college: There is a junior R.O.T.C. Training center. There are basketball courts, a gymnastics facility, a swimming pool, a football field, soccer fields, and a baseball diamond that, along its outfield fence, bears a faded sign commemorating the school’s 1997 state championship victory.
In January 2007, the principal called 17-year-old Jean Karlo Ponzanelli out of first-period history class and down to the office to join a waiting detective who took him to the local station for questioning. A girl he knew had run away from home and the police were curious about her whereabouts. They also suspected domestic abuse. (The girl declined a request for an interview, so her name has been withheld to protect her privacy.)

Ponzanelli had known this girl since the last day of 2005, when he attended a New Year’s Party at her home. “We go to the same high school,” he remembers her telling him in the kitchen.