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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reminder of Action Item #2 of 2: Is the VSP Disseminating the New VSP Sex Offender Pamphlet in Your District?


All,

I have heard from many of you in regards to the September 8, 2015 Action Item I posted and I thank you.

But there are still many areas of the State I have not heard from and I REALLY need to hear from as many of you as possible by next Monday September 21st because I am preparing for a meeting later in the week where I will be covering numerous VSP issues that I have raised over the last 7 years and proposing solutions that would benefit everyone and I must have accurate information and NOT just from a few portions of the Commonwealth but from all over. 

So if you have not already emailed me about Action Item #2, please click on the above link to read the original post and take action! 

Help me help you! 

Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy

Reminder of Action Item #1 of 2: Is the VSP Holding a Sex Offender Informational Training Class in Your District in the Next Few Months? If So, Have You Heard About It?


All, 

I have heard from many of you in regards to the September 8, 2015 Action Item I posted and I thank you. 

But there are still many areas of the State I have not heard from and I REALLY need to hear from as many of you as possible by next Monday September 21st because I am preparing for a meeting later in the week where I will be covering numerous VSP issues that I have raised over the last 7 years and proposing solutions that would benefit everyone and I must have accurate information and NOT just from a few portions of the Commonwealth but from all over. 

So if you have not already emailed me about Action Item #1, please click on the above link to read the original post and take action! 

Help me help you! 

Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy

Teen Sexting in America: “If it’s legal to have sex with an individual, it should be legal to consensually share explicit images with them”


The Moral Panic Over Sexting, September 2, 2015
Laws meant to protect young people from sexual predators are instead being used to charge them as felons and put them on sex-offender registries for life.
By Conor Friedersdorf

It is extremely common for American teenagers to text one another naked photographs. Much less frequently, they get caught. If they’re discovered by a parent or teacher, they might get off with a stern lecture or a suspension from school. In an alarming number of cases, however, adult strangers get ahold of the images and proceed to systematically destroy the lives of the young people involved. 

These destroyers are neither child pornographers nor pedophiles nor blackmailers. They are representatives of the criminal-justice system: police officers, prosecutors, and judges, often well-meaning, who prosecute kids as felonious sex-criminals, sometimes putting them on sex-offender registries for life. 

The latest teenagers to face this irrational treatment live in Cumberland County, North Carolina. In October of last year, during an unrelated investigation, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department seized the cell phone of a 17-year-old boy. He had a 17-year-old girlfriend. “While our investigators went through the phone they saw there were photos of himself and another person on the phone," Sergeant Sean Swain told a local news outlet. “Simple possession having it on your cell phone is a charge itself, and if you should send it out to another person that is another charge.” 

Now the boy faces five counts of “sexual exploitation of a minor” and the girl faces unspecified charges. Laws intended to protect kids are being used to prosecute them. 

Had these images gone undiscovered they’d likely have done no harm at all to these young people. But thanks to the authorities, the boy has now had his photograph and name––which I am withholding but is easily found––published in the local newspaper and broadcast on television. He has been suspended from his high school football team. For months, he has had to deal with the intense anxiety stoked by facing charges of this sort and the prospect of life as a registered sex offender. 

The girl has not been named in the local press. Nevertheless, her parents, teachers and classmates surely know her situation. She is probably humiliated and anxious about the legal trouble that she is in. What is Cumberland County Sheriff Earl R. Butler thinking? Why would District Attorney Willian West decline to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a case like this? In other jurisdictions, authorities have exercised discretion in sexting cases. If the young man “is too young to send pictures of his own body, is he not also too young to be made a social pariah?” Robby Soave asks. “The photos were private, and remained that way, until the cops got hold of them. If there’s public humiliation here, police intervention is the cause.” Unless they’ve inexplicably withheld details from the public, law enforcement’s case seems like a clear display of awful judgment. 

These authorities would hardly be the first adults to behave irresponsibly in a similar situation. In Virginia, police secured a warrant to take a 17-year-old to the hospital and forcibly induce an erection in order to see if he sexted a photo of his penis.