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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Shame on Richmond Times Dispatch Reporter Ali Rockett! She Used VSP Registry Information that is Immaterial to the Issue to Hype His Story While Also Shaming a Virginia Business Who Hired an RSO


Update Post 08/18/16: 


Around 12 noon
The Daily Progress removed everything Sex Offender related from the online article including the employer but the print version that went out was the full RTD article. Still it's something.

Thank you Daily Progress!

Mary 

5:35AM
The Daily Progress reprinted the RTD article Police: Sex offender led trooper on high-speed chase in Louisa http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/crime/police-sex-offender-led-trooper-on-high-speed-chase-in/article_76d13e0b-92ec-5201-9b0f-d902388a46d0.html so they received the same email from me this morning.
 
Mary

Original Post 08/17/16:

Ms. Ali Rockett, 

I read your article online State police ID motorcyclist who led trooper on high-speed chase in Louisa as sex offender from Surry http://www.richmond.com/news/local/central-virginia/louisa/article_1bbedeb5-18f8-5420-baba-accaf1ebecc0.html early this morning and I’ve stewed about it for 6+ hours. It was Tweeted late last night and Facebooked two hours ago by RTD. 

I know nothing about Justin Eugene Abney. I am not defending him, his past convictions or his recent actions on his motorcycle in Louisa Co. It’s good that he’s been identified so he can be held accountable for his dangerous/reckless driving.

But two parts of your article are really bothering me. 

1. What does his posting on the VSP Registry have to do with being sought for a motorcycle incident? If you were able to determine he had been convicted of an assault, robbery, drug, DUI or even murder back in 2005, would you have felt the need to include that in your recent RTD article? I am actually thinking you wouldn’t have. But because the VSP Registry is right there w/ all the details, you thought what the heck ‘Sex Offender’ in my title will catch more reader’s attention.  

His conviction in 2005 has nothing to do with the on-going issue in Louisa and including it in your piece was pure sensationalism. 

2. Why did you feel the need to post his employers information?  

Did you know that only 6 States in the entire U.S. post the employer/company name and the full address of their RSO’s online and that Virginia is one of those 6?

 


                No Employment Information Publicly Listed:
Arizona
Georgia
Minnesota
North Dakota
Utah
Arkansas
Idaho
Montana
Oklahoma
Vermont
California
Illinois
Nebraska
Oregon
Washington
Colorado**
Iowa
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Wisconsin
Connecticut
Kansas**   **
New Jersey
South Dakota**
Wyoming**
Florida**
Kentucky
North Carolina
Texas**
Utah

 

 

  

                Only Employer City, County and Zip Code Publicly Listed:
Pennsylvania**
West Virginia

 

                Only Employer City and Occupation Publicly Listed:
Alabama**

 

                Only Employer Street Name and Zip Code Publicly Listed:
Hawaii
Nevada**

  

                Only Employer Address Publicly Listed: 
Louisiana**
Massachusetts 
Mississippi** 
New York
South Carolina**
Maryland** 
Michigan** 
Missouri**
Ohio**
Tennessee**

 
 

                Employer Name and Address Publicly Listed:
Alaska
Indiana
New Mexico*
Delaware** 
Maine
Virginia

                        

 
**       -  July 1, 2012 Kansas removed ALL employment information from their public registry
**       -  September 1, 2013 Texas removed ALL employment information from their public registry
**       -  State is Certified Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA compliant by the SMART Office
        -  New Mexico only releases information for registrants who will come into direct contact with children
 

Did you know that the reason the majority of the States don’t post any employer information on their Registered Sex Offenders is so that RSO’s can find and retain stable employment so that they can provide for themselves, their families and successfully reenter society? 

Did you know that most Virginia businesses who hire RSO’s quickly release them not because of their prior conviction but because they don’t want their company’s information plastered on the VSP Registry? 

Did you know that for the last 8 Virginia General Assembly sessions I have worked very hard to get legislation proposed and passed to remove the employer information from the Internet? 
Ø       2010- SB635     (Amended and then passed the Virginia Senate 40-0 to then be stopped in a House Militia, Police and Safety Sub-Committee of 6, Virginia State Police publicly opposed it.)
Ø       2012- HB413    (“Laid on the table” instead of voting by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee of 8, Virginia State Police publicly opposed it.)
Ø       2016- SB11         (Amended and then passed the Virginia Senate 22-17 to then be stopped in House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee of 12) 

Mr. Abney may be wanted by the police but his employment and his employer has nothing to do that. 

By publishing his employer you’ve not only insured Mr. Abney will lose that job but that his employer will probably never hire another RSO again because they don’t want to risk being shamed in the press ever again. 

You took it upon yourself to report unnecessary details today to ‘sweeten’ your story and it’s extremely disappointing. 

I expect this kind of reporting from many of Virginia’s television stations but I hadn’t expected in the Richmond Times Dispatch. 

Mary Devoy