Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stafford Virginia Teen Faced 350 Years in Prison for Receiving 5 Sext's, But Will Get Life on the VSP Registry

A Letter from the Father of the Teen Sentenced to Life as a “Violent Sexual Offender” for Online Relationship, February 20, 2017

Original Post:

Dear Virginia Governor McAuliffe, Secretary of Public Safety Moran and Virginia Delegates and Senators, 

Good evening. 

I have some issues with the below article, like the State Police stating a  Violent RSO can petition for removal after only 3 years on the VSP Registry is 100% non-sense, if someone from the VSP actually claimed that falsehood in a letter they need to be released of their position immediately. It’s a fact 85% of Violent Registered Sex Offenders are “Lifers” in Virginia, the rest must wait until 25 years has passed before they can petition, but let’s move past that part for the moment. 

Asst. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Frank has prosecuted now 19 year old Zachary for the images he received when he was 17 years old from a 13 year old he never met in person and who was in her underwear, NOT nude. 

Zachary was charged with 20 felonies in Stafford, VA that came with a possible sentence of 350 years in a Virginia prison. 

Asst. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Frank offered Zachary a plea deal of only 2 counts of indecent liberties w/ a minor for which he will become a Violent Registered Sex Offender, for life. 

Zachary has been evaluated by 2 psychologists and there is no evidence he is a danger to society. 

He is sitting in jail at this moment awaiting his sentence on March 9th. 

Speaker Bill Howell has written a letter supporting Zachary and stating registration as a Violent Sex Offender for life is not warranted, I could not agree more.

But then I would ask all of you, whom I have been asking for the last 9 years to make a provision to exclude Teen Sexting from VA’s Child Pornography statutes because every Virginia C.A.’s prosecutorial discretion is not up to par why is this one young mans case worthy of the Speaker of the Houses intervention but all the others haven’t been?

In the defense of MANY truly absurd Bills over the last 9 years I’ve heard many of you say “if it saves just one child, it’s worth it”. Yes, Speaker Howell has taken action over rhetoric but cases like this shouldn’t be piecemealed, there is a glaring problem with Virginia law and it’s finally time to take action. 

1. Zachary does NOT belong on the VSP Sex Offender Registry, period. 

2. All of Asst. Commonwealth Attorney Ryan Frank’s cases and plea deals need to be reviewed by the Stafford County Commonwealth Attorney and if there are any other Teen Sexting cases take them away from Mr. Frank.

3. If someone within the VSP sent a letter claiming after only 3 years on the VSP Registry Zachary would be allowed to petition the court for removal when VA law clearly says otherwise, they need to be disciplined and counseled in VA law this week. 

4. It's time to stop prosecuting  Teen Sexting as a crime in Virginia if no threat, force, intimidation, extortion or mass-publication has occurred.

Mary Devoy

Teen Girl Sent Teen Boy 5 Inappropriate Pictures. He Faced Lifetime Registry as a 'Violent Sex Offender' or 350 Years in Jail.
Welcome to the world of teens, computers, and prosecutors who want to look tough on sex offenders.

Book: Sexual Violence: Evidence Based Policy and Prevention by Elizabeth L. Jeglic & Cynthia Calkins - 95% of US Sex Crimes Last Year, This Year and Next Year Will be by Someone Who is NOT Listed on a Sex Offender Registry

Yesterday when I returned home from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee hearing I decided to start reading a book. I had 2 sitting on my desk and 3 more on order; I chose this one Sexual Violence: Evidence Based Policy and Prevention Edited by Elizabeth L. Jeglic and Cynthia Calkins (http://sorl.org/) with more than 20 contributors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/3319445022/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

How timely it was to pick this book. 

Everything I had been telling and emailing Virginia Delegates and Senators for the last 2 months about Residency Restrictions was in this book, with all the stats to back it up. 

Since December I’ve been opposing a set of Companion Bills (HB1485 / SB1072) that was proposed by the Virginia State Police (VSP) which would retroactively expand the Virginia statues for Registered Sex Offender (RSO) proximity for residency and loitering to out-of-state, federal, military and tribal convictions going as far back as 2000. Not only did the VSP want to expand upon VA’s residency restrictions which all SO researchers have concluded is a failed social experiment but the VSP requested theses two Bills knowing that without including a conviction date of July 1, 2017:

  • The VSP will be applying the new law retroactively which means some current RSO’s residences that are legal today would become a felony on July 1st 2017, actually making some people homeless.
  • The VSP refuses to give advance notice of the change in the loitering law that would take effect on July 1, 2017 so people who are currently legally allowed to drop off their children w/in 100 ft of the school property line or athletic field will be arrested for a felony later this year or next. 
This book supports multiple Legislative proposals I’ve made over the last 9 years including eliminating our residency restrictions, moving towards a risk-based classification system and the State supporting a successful reintegration for RSO’s back into our communities which includes employment, housing and family participation BECAUSE it actually lowers the rate of recidivism meaning “no new victims” and that’s what the Legislature should be striving towards. 

  1. 1 out of 181 males in the U.S. is a Registered Sex Offender.
  2. The recidivism rate of “Sex Offenders” is not the popularly claimed 100%, it’s actually 5%.
  3. Of those Registered Sex Offenders who do recidivate, it’s more often a non-sexual offense, than a sexual one.
  4. The recidivism rate of Registered Sex Offenders declines the longer they are released, after 10 years its cut by half, that would be 2.5%.
  5. Registered Sex Offenders who receive treatment after conviction have a significantly lower rate of recidivism than those RSO who don’t receive treatment.  Upending the popular political claim that “Sex Offenders” can’t be treated. They CAN!
  6. The majority of legislation claimed by lawmakers to prevent sexual violence is aimed at released “Sex Offenders” and reactionary laws are NOT evidence-based.
  7. Sex Offender Registries and laws are targeted at stranger-danger but only 15.6% of sex-crimes are committed by a stranger, 84.4% are committed by an acquaintance.
  8. Of the sex-crimes that will be convicted this year and next year, 95% are by someone who is NOT listed on a Sex Offender Registry.

And that’s just the first quarter of the book. 

This book is expensive but if you’ve waited to read a a book that covers many of the RSO issues that I’ve been raising for years I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This book is going in my Top 15 List. 

I look forward to finishing it and I anticipate a recommendation to all the Virginia Delegates and Senators once the GA session has ended. It certainly won’t be my first recommendation to them. Maybe one day they will take the time to read up on the issue that they all so easy grand-stand upon and they’ll learn that what they’ve been claiming all these years is not only false but is doing more harm than good. 

Mary Devoy