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Posts Tagged ‘Sex Offenders’

Authorities missed chances to stop a rapist, Sandusky who preyed on children for years…

June 17, 2012 Comments off

Yet evidence and testimony from the trial show there were plenty of people, not just those at the highest levels of Penn State university, who had ample opportunity to stop a man accused of violating 10 boys over 15 years:

A janitor failed to tell authorities he allegedly caught Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a campus shower a dozen years ago.

A district attorney with a reputation for prosecuting cases involving children and sexual abuse victims declined to charge Sandusky over a 1998 molestation allegation even though the detective who investigated thought it was a solid case. The DA, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 and was declared legally dead last year.

School district officials were skeptical of abuse claims brought by the young man known in court papers as Victim 1 because, the accuser testified, Sandusky was considered to have a “heart of gold.” Victim 1’s allegations eventually triggered the state investigation that produced charges.

— One accuser testified he screamed out for help at least once when Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was in the house. He doesn’t know whether she heard his cries.

— And, famously, coaching assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky having what he believed to be anal sex with a young boy in 2001. But his report to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz went nowhere. McQueary’s dad testified that during a conversation, Schultz said he was suspicious of Sandusky, and NBC reported this week that emails between former university President Graham Spanier and Schultz aiming to keep McQueary’s allegation from going further were turned over to the attorney general.

— Others also saw Sandusky engaging in behavior that was at least odd, if not criminal. Longtime assistant coach Tom Bradley walked into the shower when one boy was with Sandusky, the accuser testified, and a wrestling coach told jurors he saw Sandusky and a child rolling on the floor.

— Several accusers said their parents or caregivers failed to grasp what was happening to them. Victim 4 testified that one weekend he did not want to go with Sandusky and told his mother, “I’m pretty sure he’s gay,” but she dismissed the idea. “She said, oh, whatever, this is just one of your lies,” he told jurors. He also said at one point he told his grandmother to tell Sandusky he wasn’t home when he called.

The testimony of eight of the 10 alleged victims named in a grand jury report prompted disgust and revulsion from Penn State alumni and others who took to Twitter last week to express their dismay — and to call for the heads of anyone involved in concealing abuse. “Anyone who knew and didn’t report should burn!” tweeted one.

The sad part is that most children know their abuser. Parents are concerned with letting their children outside to play, fearful that someone will abduct them or worse. But really, they should be concerned with the people their child interacts with on a daily basis. These are the people that abuse children (for the most part).  Our job is to guard against those who would prey on children.

The description — “sickening” of adults using young people to satisfy their sexual fantasies — isn’t harsh enough.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

In part via Associated Press

Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.

Please contact Anny to schedule Children’s of Steward’s training or to arrange a Prevent Now! meeting for your community.

anny@annyjacoby.com

Grand Jury Report on Penn State Child Sexual Abuse/Rape Investigation

November 12, 2011 Comments off

A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue.  A grand jury is so named because it has a greater number of jurors than a trial jury.

The Grand Jury Report below is extremely graphic and detailed accounts from victims and witnesses.  The release of this documentation was due to a computer glinch according to the PA’s governor.  However, legal documentation from investigations is vitally important for the public to clearly understand and gain knowledge of testimony leading to alledged crimes committed and arrests.

Penn State Incident Should Empower All Adults To Better Protect Children

November 10, 2011 Comments off

As individuals and communities, we are all impacted by the horrible allegations of child sexual abuse by a former assistant football coach at Penn Sate.  These reports leave us  wondering how such atrocities could happen when so many well-minded adults were around –– yet none took the necessary action steps to end the abuse and the offender’s access to children.   Further, parents are left wondering how they can best protect their children.

Shock, disbelief and outrage are often the first reactions to such news.  However, this incident can serve as a teachable moment to empower adults to recognize the signs, have the courage to react responsibly and, ultimately, prevent child sexual abuse before it happens in the first place.

The accused did not wear a trench coat and lure a child into a dark alley.  Rather, he was a talented man who was revered by the public as a coach and trusted mentor.  He allegedly used that trust to obtain access to children.  Tragically, this scenario plays out all around us every day.  Hundreds of thousands of children are sexually violated by adults every year, and shockingly, more than 90% of the time, the child is abused by someone the family knows and trusts.

At Darkness to Light, we have spent the last decade educating adults — those who are in a position to protect children — how to prevent abuse and recognize warning signs so communities can react responsibly and with confidence.

Penn State could have benefited from having its staff trained so that witnesses would come forward.  Having policies and procedures in place, and staff empowered to hold others accountable to the policies, would have made all the difference in the lives of the children involved and the reputation of the institution.

There are more than 42 million adults in America who were sexually abused as children. Research shows that between eight to 20 percent of our children are abused every year. The immediate impact to a child is devastating and the long-term impact costs society more than $35 billion annually.  Child sexual abuse is linked to personal dysfunction, mental health issues, teen pregnancy, violent crime, substance abuse, and sex trafficking – among other issues.

Now is the time to finally shine a spotlight on the much avoided subject of child sexual abuse.  We must talk to our kids and our communities about prevention.   Public dialogue about child sexual abuse helps shape better societal beliefs and responsible actions. The more we can talk openly about child sexual abuse signs or perpetrator patterns, the better we are able to recognize behavioral red flags and have the courage to take action.

We should expect our youth-serving organizations to have policies that govern how adults may interact with youth.  Further, these  organizations must offer regular trainings, so that no one is left wondering what their legal or moral obligation is when discovering that a child has been sexually abused.  The youth-serving organizations should hold staff and volunteers accountable, while our communities, parents and students, in turn, should hold the organizations accountable.

We encourage the public to continue the dialogue that has been started and find hope in the fact that there are things we all can do to reduce the risks in our own homes and organizations.  Get involved in your local school, church, youth service organization, youth camp or sports league to ensure that prevention is being addressed and comprehensive policies and training are in place to identify potential problems.

If you believe that your child has been victimized in any way please get immediate help through your local child advocacy center.  In addition, Darkness to Light is here as a resource to any parent or organization who wants to get involved in making their community a safer place for children.

Via d2l.org

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.

Take care and stay safe.

 

 

Sex-abuse case jolts Penn State University

November 7, 2011 Comments off

Jerry Sandusky, 67, allegedly engaged in fondling, oral and anal sex with young boys over a period of more than 10 years, according to an investigative state grand jury’s summary of testimony. He maintains he is innocent.

Also named in the state grand jury report are Penn State Athletic Director Timothy Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business. They face one count of perjury each in connection to an alleged cover-up of the abuse.

“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred,” Paterno said in a statement.

The legendary coach said an assistant coach told him in 2002 about an “incident in the shower of our locker room facility.”

“It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators,” Paterno said.

Sandusky, who served 23 years as defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, faces seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and numerous other charges, including aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

In some cases, Sandusky promised boys gifts or invited them to football games and sleepovers, according to the grand jury.

“One of the most compelling and disturbing pieces of testimony in this investigation came from an eyewitness to a late-night sexual assault that allegedly occurred in March of 2002, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday.

“Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old,” she said.

The assistant reported the incident to head football coach Paterno, who in turn alerted athletic director Curley, said Kelly.

Instead of reporting the incident to authorities, Curley and Schultz banned Sandusky from having children from Second Mile visit the football building, Kelly said.

Sandusky, who retired from coaching in 1999, was founder of the Second Mile, a charitable organization that began as a group foster home “dedicated to helping troubled boys,” the grand jury states. He was arrested and released Saturday on $100,000 unsecured bail.

“If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers,” Paterno said in his statement.

He added: “I understand that people are upset and angry, but let’s be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.”

These children were RAPED!  And, the law in Pennsylvania stipulates MANDATORY REPORTING, which was NOT done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myths About Male Sexual Abuse…

September 7, 2011 Comments off

Myth #1 – Boys and men can’t be victims.

This myth, instilled through masculine gender socialization and sometimes referred to as the “macho image,” declares that males, even young boys, are not supposed to be victims or even vulnerable. We learn very early that males should be able to protect themselves. In truth, boys are children – weaker and more vulnerable than their perpetrators – who cannot really fight back. Why? The perpetrator has greater size, strength, and knowledge. This power is exercised from a position of authority, using resources such as money or other bribes, or outright threats – whatever advantage can be taken to use a child for sexual purposes.

Myth #2 – Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males.

Pedophiles who molest boys are not expressing a homosexual orientation any more than pedophiles who molest girls are practicing heterosexual behaviors. While many child molesters have gender and/or age preferences, of those who seek out boys, the vast majority are not homosexual. They are pedophiles.

Myth #3 – If a boy experiences sexual arousal or orgasm from abuse, this means he was a willing participant or enjoyed it.

In reality, males can respond physically to stimulation (get an erection) even in traumatic or painful sexual situations. Therapists who work with sexual offenders know that one way a perpetrator can maintain secrecy is to label the child’s sexual response as an indication of his willingness to participate. “You liked it, you wanted it,” they’ll say. Many survivors feel guilt and shame because they experienced physical arousal while being abused. Physical (and visual or auditory) stimulation is likely to happen in a sexual situation. It does not mean that the child wanted the experience or understood what it meant at the time.

Myth #4 – Boys are less traumatized by the abuse experience than girls.

While some studies have found males to be less negatively affected, more studies show that long term effects are quite damaging for either sex. Males may be more damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization, and by their resultant belief that they must “tough it out” in silence.

Myth #5 – Boys abused by males are or will become homosexual.

While there are different theories about how the sexual orientation develops, experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation. It is unlikely that someone can make another person a homosexual or heterosexual. Sexual orientation is a complex issue and there is no single answer or theory that explains why someone identifies himself as homosexual, heterosexual or bi-sexual. Whether perpetrated by older males or females, boys’ or girls’ premature sexual experiences are damaging in many ways, including confusion about one’s sexual identity and orientation.

Many boys who have been abused by males erroneously believe that something about them sexually attracts males, and that this may mean they are homosexual or effeminate. Again, not true. Pedophiles who are attracted to boys will admit that the lack of body hair and adult sexual features turns them on. The pedophile’s inability to develop and maintain a healthy adult sexual relationship is the problem – not the physical features of a sexually immature boy.

Myth #6 – The “Vampire Syndrome”?that is, boys who are sexually abused, like the victims of Count Dracula, go on to “bite” or sexually abuse others.

This myth is especially dangerous because it can create a terrible stigma for the child, that he is destined to become an offender. Boys might be treated as potential perpetrators rather than victims who need help. While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators. Research by Jane Gilgun, Judith Becker and John Hunter found a primary difference between perpetrators who were sexually abused and sexually abused males who never perpetrated: non-perpetrators told about the abuse, and were believed and supported by significant people in their lives. Again, the majority of victims do not go on to become adolescent or adult perpetrators; and those who do perpetrate in adolescence usually don’t perpetrate as adults if they get help when they are young.

Myth #7 – If the perpetrator is female, the boy or adolescent should consider himself fortunate to have been initiated into heterosexual activity.

In reality, premature or coerced sex, whether by a mother, aunt, older sister, baby-sitter or other female in a position of power over a boy, causes confusion at best, and rage, depression or other problems in more negative circumstances. To be used as a sexual object by a more powerful person, male or female, is always abusive and often damaging.

Believing these myths is dangerous and damaging.

  • So long as society believes these myths, and teaches them to children from their earliest years, sexually abused males will be unlikely to get the recognition and help they need.
  • So long as society believes these myths, sexually abused males will be more likely join the minority of survivors who perpetuate this suffering by abusing others.
  • So long as boys or men who have been sexually abused believe these myths, they will feel ashamed and angry.
  • And so long as sexually abused males believe these myths they reinforce the power of another devastating myth that all abused children struggle with: that it was their fault. It is never the fault of the child in a sexual situation – though perpetrators can be quite skilled at getting their victims to believe these myths and take on responsibility that is always and only their own.

For any male who has been sexually abused, becoming free of these myths is an essential part of the recovery process.

Adapted from a presentation at the 5th International Conference on Incest and Related Problems, Biel, Switzerland, August 14, 1991.

Via MENWEB and in cooperation with M.A.L.E.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Is Your Child’s Lifeguard, Camp Counselors, Coaches Sex Offenders?

July 20, 2011 Comments off

State laws nationwide prohibit sex offenders from working as school teachers, coaches and school bus drivers, but most laws do not prevent them from sitting in a lifeguard chair, teaching karate, coaching youth, or dance instructors in the private sector.  There is a laundry list of jobs that are not regulated federally that a convicted sex offender can obtain.  This fact is beyond scary and government must take immediate action to stop it.

The current federal law, known as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, leaves it up to states to decide where convicted sex offenders can be employed.

YMCA’s have begun revoking the memberships of registered sex offenders in a move to comb out predators who may come in contact with the thousands of children who use Y’s.

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is proposing legislation that would close what he is calling loopholes in the federal law that currently allow pedophiles to work with children. “Sex offenders are different than just about any other criminal because the percent of recidivism is huge and the chance of rehabilitation is unfortunately small,” Schumer told ABCNews.com.

According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, between 12 and 14 percent of sex offenders are known to have repeated their crimes.  Data does show, however, that many sex crimes go unreported and the statistic could be low.

Ultimately every company should have in place a complete background check of every potential employee (National, State and County). And, periodic checks should be in place.

As parents and guardians it is your J-O-B to be proactive as the safety of your children is in your hands.  There is so much information at our fingertips today.  Do not be afraid to ask questions, do not be nervous about what others may think if you inquire or you feel that something may not seem “right”.  Speak up, be a voice.  You would rather be safe than sorry.  And, you have every right to know what the policy is of the company or organization is that your child is attending or participating in.  Also, ask the organizations if the staff is certified in Stewards of Children, a training prevention program based on Darkness to Light’s 7 Steps to Protecting our Children that teaches adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Common traits of sex offenders should help you raise the red flag on inappropriate relationships between adults and your children.

Be wary, but not paranoid, of adults who have one or several of these behaviors.
These common traits of sex offenders should help you raise the red flag on inappropriate relationships between adults and your children.

  • Adults who seem preoccupied with children
  • Single adults who work or volunteer with children’s clubs/activities and frequently spend their free time doing “special” things with kids
  • Adults who spend time volunteering with youth groups who do not have children in those groups
  • Adults who seem to engage in frequent contact with children, i.e., casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing hair or having children sit on their lap
  • Adults who act like children when with children or who allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things
  • Adults who want to take your children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that would include being alone with your child
  • Adults who do not have children and seem to know too much about the current fads or music popular with children
  • Adults that your children seem to like for reasons you don’t understand
  • Adults who seem able to infiltrate family and social functions or are “always available” to watch your kids

Talking to your kids about abuse and keeping the line of communication open with your kids is key.

  • Use proper or semi-proper names for body parts (penis and vagina), and phrases like: Private parts are “private and special.”
  • Tell your children that if anyone touches or tries to see their private parts; tries to get them to touch or look at another person’s private parts; shows them pictures of or tries to take pictures of their private parts; talks to them about sex; walks in on them in the bathroom; or does anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to tell you or a “support person” as soon as they can.
  • Tell your children that some children and adults have “touching problems.” These people can make “secret touching” look accidental, and they should still tell you even if they think it might have been an accident.
  • Tell your children that touching problems are kind of like stealing or lying, and that the people who have those kinds of problems need special help so they don’t continue to have problems or get into trouble. Don’t describe it as a “sickness.”
  • Tell your children that some people try to trick kids into keeping touching a secret. Tell your children, “We don’t want those kinds of secrets in our family.”
  • Give your children examples of things that someone might use to try to get them to keep a secret: candy, money, special privileges, threats, subtle fear of loss, separation, or punishment.
  • Make sure they have support people they can talk to at home, at school, in their extended family, neighborhood or church. Have them pick out three people and tell you who they are. Put the phone numbers next to your home phone and let them know that, if for any reason they cannot talk to you, they should call or go see another support person.

Resources (Where Do Sex Offenders Live in Your Neighborhood?):

Family Watchdog

NeighborhoodScan.com

National Alert Registry

Download the app, “Find Sex Offenders” for FREE for iPhones and Adroids TODAY!  Not only will it give you exact locations of an offenders address and more it displays the nearest police and fire departments.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.

Please contact Anny to schedule Children’s of Steward’s training or to arrange a Prevent Now! meeting for your community.

anny@annyjacoby.com

919-225-1421

Teens Face More Consequences from Sexting than Congressmen Do!

June 13, 2011 1 comment

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner may not have broken any laws by texting lewd photos of himself to younger women he didn’t know.

Delaware Police are investigating allegations that Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner may have been sexting a 17-year-old girl.

Police on Friday afternoon came to the home of a 17-year-old high school junior to ask her about direct online communications she has had with Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Two officers from the New Castle County Police Department arrived at the girl’s home around 4:30 p.m. and asked to speak with the girl’s mother about the daughter’s contact with Weiner. Another officer appeared at the home a short time later. A FoxNews.com reporter was at the home when the police arrived.

The girl, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, told FoxNews.com, “I’m doing OK.”

The police left the home after about 30 minutes, followed by the daughter and mother, who left in a separate car. It was not clear if the mother and daughter were going to continue the conversation with police at another location.

Sources close the student said the girl followed Weiner on Twitter after seeing him speak during a school trip to Washington on April 1. Weiner, after signing on to follow the girl’s Twitter feed, direct-messaged the girl on April 13, the sources said, though it is not clear what other communication the two may have had between or after those dates.

In many states, however, teens who send pictures of themselves to their own girlfriends or boyfriends can be prosecuted for child pornography.

Allyson Pereira calls that hypocrisy. She should know. She’s spent six years dealing with the consequences of “sexting” one topless image of herself to an ex-boyfriend.

Allyson was 15 at the time, and the boy said he’d date her again if she’d send him the photo. But he was playing her. According to Allyson, he sent the private image to his entire contact list.

For the next three years at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in northern New Jersey, she was bullied and ostracized. Paint cans were thrown in her family’s pool. A tire was rolled down their driveway, smashing a glass door to the house.

“It’s actually made me stronger,” she said in an interview last with JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange), “but there were times when I really was suicidal. If it hadn’t been for my family and one or two friends, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“I can’t even tell you what it was like to live with that,” her mother says. “These kids can be so cruel to each other.”

But Allyson and her family were afraid to report the situation to police because Allyson could have been prosecuted for sending child pornography — of herself.

In an effort to protect children, both Congress and state legislatures have passed tough criminal laws designating the electronic distribution of nude images of teenagers as child pornography and often requiring those convicted of “sexting” to be registered as sex offenders. The problem is that a net thrown by the legal system to catch adults who exploit children is now more effective at ensnaring children.

Most states now require youths who send nude or semi-nude images of minors to be criminally prosecuted. Alabama, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are among those where teenagers as young as 13 have been prosecuted or convicted for sexting.

One of those teens was Phillip Alpert of Orlando, Fla. At 3:28 in the morning after an argument with his 16-year-old girlfriend, Phillip, who had just turned 18, sent a semi-nude image of the girlfriend to her contact list. Her parents reported his actions to the police, who descended on his house with a search warrant.

Phillip faced 72 charges of various sorts, including the possession and distribution of child pornography. He was kicked out of school and, after pleading guilty, placed on probation for three years.

Most troubling of all, he’ll be listed as a sex offender until he’s 43. In Florida, that means he must tell the state when and where he moves; he can’t live near any schools, parks or playgrounds; and his offender’s status will show up on any Internet search of his name.

Allyson, who’s now 21, met Phillip in February 2010, when the two were the focus of an MTV special, “Sexting in America: When Privates Go Public.” After three years of keeping the abuse she was suffering private (and, to be sure, after she graduated from the high school where much of that bullying was centered), the fate of two girls who’d sent pictures of themselves to boys they liked finally motivated Allyson to go public. Just as in Allyson’s case, the two girls’ photos had been forwarded to others, and the two girls became the objects of brutal teasing.

Then, in June 2008, Jesse Logan, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio, hanged herself in her room. And in September 2009, 13-year-old Hope Witsell of Ruskin, Fla., stunned the nation by doing the same.

Since deciding to go public in early 2010, Allyson has spoken regularly to school groups about sexting and has made national media appearances. She’s a member of the “street team” for MTV’s “A Thin Line” cyber-bullying project and is at work on a book about sexting.

Along with other advocates, Allyson wants sexting among minors to be decriminalized. She says any softening of the law should apply to minors who distribute others’ images as well as those who send images of themselves.

“All it takes is for you to press ‘send’ and in a millisecond it’s out there and you can’t take it back,” she says. “[Girls] just impulsively send it. They don’t think of the consequences. And the same with the boys who are passing it on. They don’t think about how it might affect the person who’s pictured.”

Both the teens who send images of themselves and the teens who distribute them to others would benefit from counseling more than they would by being designated sex offenders, she said.

Allyson and her mother are doing everything they can to push for a bill currently before the New Jersey state legislature that would decriminalize the first conviction for sexting. New Jersey Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, the bill’s sponsor, stresses that her legislation requires counseling rather than criminal punishment for first-time offenders.

“This is something that can go viral in seconds, so this could ruin a child’s live, and then on top of that they could be considered sex offenders,” she notes.

Lampitt’s bill has worked its way through the state Assembly, which is the New Jersey legislature’s lower chamber. Today, it’s up for consideration in a Senate committee.

Similar legislation is being considered or already have passed in other states. Lawmakers in Weiner’s home state of New York are considering a bill that would give judges the discretion to divert teen sexters to an “educational reform program.”

In Florida, where so many of the most sensational incidents happen to have occurred, this year’s Legislature passed a bill that will decriminalize the first sexting offense by a minor, making it punishable by up to eight hours of community service and a $60 fine. The second incident would be a misdemeanor.

It’s unclear whether the Florida legislation, which takes affect in October, will save from criminal charges the two latest Florida kids to be charged with sexting.

Last week, in Hernando Beach, Fla., the family of a 15-year-old boy reported to police that their son had been threatened by another student. The 15-year-old boy’s girlfriend had sent an image of herself to him. A second boy saw the girl’s image on the other person’s phone, and threatened the 15-year-old boy, according to an affidavit.

But when the family of the 15-year-old boy reported the threat and provided police with a flash card containing the image, police didn’t charge the boy who allegedly threatened their son. They arrested the 15-year-old and his girlfriend.

That’s the kind of case where Allyson Pereira sees hypocrisy. While adult celebrities cast images of themselves all across the Internet, teenagers who show the same poor judgment can be charged with a crime.

“If you look at Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, they can do these things and get away with it,” Allyson said, referring to two celebrities who’ve boosted their careers by sending out lewd images of themselves. “And kids think they can do it and it’s cool. And then they do it, and they can get arrested.

SIMPLY….. DON’T BE A PART OF SEXTING NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

 

 

Partial Contributor: Ken Edelstein, JJIE

Countdown to Halloween: Keeping Our Kids Safe

October 29, 2010 Comments off

 

Countdown to Halloween: Keeping Our Kids Safe

Kids love Halloween! However, trick-or-treating isn’t what it used to be. It’s not as safe as it use to be to let kids walk the streets alone in groups. Trick-or-treating should be one of the great adventures of Halloween for kids! They can get dressed in scary costumes and go door to door, begging “Trick-or-Treat!” from neighbors or at the local mall. Many towns have a Harvest Festival so kids can Trick-or-Treat safely and from store to store. But going door to door is really the experience of childhood memories! It should be a fun time, without trouble and pain.

Anytime a child has an accident, it’s tragic. The last thing that you want to happen is for your child to be hurt on a holiday, it would forever live in the minds of the child and the family.

There are many ways to keep your child safe at Halloween, when they are more prone to accidents and injuries as well as daily. The excitement of children and adults at this time of year sometimes makes them forget to be careful. Simple common sense can do a lot to stop any tragedies from happening.

The key to staying safe during Halloween is to know where the danger lies. The number one Halloween hazard is kids being hit by cars.  Children are more likely to be struck on Halloween as opposed to any other night between the hours of 4-8pm.

Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.

Tips for Kids

Cross streets safely. Children under 12 should cross streets with an adult. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.

Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.

Pedestrians should try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.

Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.

Parents should remind children to be safe pedestrians around cars. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Children should not be alone at night without adult supervision if they are under the age of 12. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit.

Tips for Drivers

Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Children move in unpredictable ways.

Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Drive more slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.

Parents please visit www.familywatchdog.us immediately to discover any presence of sex offenders are in your city, town, and/or neighborhood.

Teaching your kids basic everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, child safety and awareness, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing when the lights tell you to, enrolling them in a personal safety course will help make them safer not only on Halloween but every day.

Children must understand that a stranger is a person whom you have never met. You may have seen the person before but don’t know anything about him or her. Most strangers are nice, but some are not. You can’t tell if a stranger is nice or not by looking at him or her. But you can tell if a situation is good or bad. Strangers don’t look like monsters, aliens, or the bad guys you see on TV. They look like ordinary people. However, “safety-net” individuals may include uniformed law-enforcement or security officers; a store salesperson with a name tag; the person in an information booth at a mall or other public venue; or a mother with children.

If a child is lost outside children need to be equipped with information as; never wander away from where they first became lost. If they stay put, changes are better that they will be found more quickly. If that place becomes too dangerous because of severe weather or another threatening situation, children should go to the nearest safe spot and wait for rescuers. CHILDREN SHOULD MAKE NOISE EITHER BY YELLING, BLOWING A WHISTLE, OR JUST SIMPLY ATTRACTING ATTENTION. This will help in bringing someone to their rescue.

A really cool and fun event opposed to traditional trick-or-treating is TRUNK-OR-TREATING.  Trunk-or-Treat is a Halloween event that is often church-or community-sponsored.   People gather and park their cars in a large parking lot.  They open their trunks, or the backs of their vehicles, and decorate them.  Then they pass out candy from their trunks.  The event provides a safe family environment for trick-or-treaters.  Decorating your vehicle can be a hoot and fun for the the entire family (using pumpkins, spider webbing, spiders, brooms, bats, cauldrons……scary, cool stuff; just keep in mind the little ones).

Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your kids and they’ll carry on the tradition that you taught them to their own families some day!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

Victim’s Legacy: Tough Sex-Crime Laws

September 2, 2010 1 comment

Victim’s Legacy: Tough Sex-Crime Laws

1 man, 2 murders lead to tough laws for sex crimes against children

(CNN) — Brent King says it still “takes my breath away” to talk about his daughter in the same sentence as the man who killed her.

But he takes comfort in the knowledge that new California legislation named after his daughter, Chelsea King, will help protect other people’s children from sex crimes.

“If this legislation would’ve been in place before, Chelsea would still be with us,” King said, speaking Tuesday about Chelsea’s Law, which he and his wife, Kelly, worked on with state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

Chelsea’s Law is awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature after unanimously passing the Senate and Assembly in a rare display of bipartisanship.

Formally known as AB 1844, the bill creates mandatory sentences of life without parole for violent sexual offenses against children. Another major provision of the 62-page bill is lifetime parole for people who commit certain sex crimes against minors.

Read the complete text of the bill

It’s not the only proposed legislation to arise out of the heinous acts of registered sex offender John Gardner III, who admitted in March to killing 17-year-old Chelsea King.

A few days after her body was found, he led authorities to the remains of 14-year-old Amber Dubois, who had been missing for more than a year. Gardner was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life without parole for the murders and an attack on a jogger.

The deaths of the young girls provided impetus for a flurry of tougher proposed laws aimed at protecting children.

If this legislation would’ve been in place before, Chelsea would still be with us.
–Brent King, father and bill proponent

Dubois’ father is behind three assembly bills concerning law enforcement response to missing children. Among the legislative proposals:

– Creating a rapid response team in the state Attorney General’s Office to help find abducted children.

– Reducing the minimum time for reporting a missing child from four hours to two.

– Enhanced training for police officers who search for missing children.

The four bills are on their way to Schwarzenegger’s desk after being fast-tracked through the Legislature. Chelsea’s Law also has an urgency clause that means it will take effect as soon as Schwarzenegger signs it. The Dubois bills do not have an urgency clause and would take effect in January 2011.

The bills could have a ripple effect as King actively tries to get other states to adopt similar legislation.

Read how Chelsea’s killer targeted others

The speed of passage was rare for the California legislature, but not without precedent from other child safety legislation, said Mark Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to fighting crimes against children.

“California has a history of responding very strongly to vicious sex crimes against kids, especially in an election year,” Klaas said. “When you have the fresh memory of a beautiful young girl murdered by a person who shouldn’t have been out in the first place, they’re going to respond accordingly.”

He cited the passage within months of a three-strikes law named for his daughter, Polly, who was abducted during a sleepover and murdered in 1993. Jessica’s Law, which increased penalties for certain crimes against minors, also passed within months of being introduced, Klaas said.

Klaas said he believes the Dubois bill will have a more immediate effect than Chelsea’s Law.

No matter how slight the offense, everyone in California is included in the same net.
–Anonymous mother of man on sex offender registry

“Sentencing gets a lot of publicity, but they rarely seem to deliver on the promises. Other administrative bills are less colorful and more localized, but they have a possibility of helping shore up infrastructure,” he said.

Gardner was paroled September 26, 2005, after serving five years for two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child younger than 14 and a single count of false imprisonment for attacking a 13-year-old neighbor.

Under Chelsea’s Law, lewd and lascivious acts on a minor will carry a mandatory sentence of life without parole. The “one-strike” provision applies to forcible sex crimes against minors that include aggravating factors, such as the victim’s age or whether the victim was bound or drugged.

“Because of what he’d done previously to the 13-year-old girl, he would have been given life without the possibility of parole,” Brent King said. “He never would’ve been let out, and Chelsea never would’ve been harmed.”

King and other supporters say the bill is the most sweeping reform of its kind in recent California history, touching upon sentencing and parole as well as treatment and funding.

Opponents of Chelsea’s Law call it another feel-good measure that pushes registered sex offenders further to the fringes of society.

“No matter how slight the offense, everyone in California is included in the same net, ridicule, rules and restrictions,” said a San Diego woman whose adult son is on the registry for improperly touching a 16-year-old girl.

He lost custody of his son. As a result of residency restrictions, he had to move in with his parents, she said.

The mother asked that her name be withheld for fear of reprisal against her family.

“Our constitutional rights are violated daily, and no one in this country cares,” she wrote in an e-mail. “This new law is yet another ‘feel good’ law that further damages families of those on the registry, and will no doubt add millions of tax burdens to taxpayers.”

The woman and her son live in the same neighborhood where the Kings lived when Chelsea was alive. After Chelsea disappeared, the King family asked neighbors to tie blue ribbons around trees in her memory. The King family relocated to Illinois a few weeks ago.

A lot of laws regarding child safety just aren’t really implemented. All you have to do is look at John Gardner.
–Mark Klaas, child safety activist

“Every morning, I awaken to blue ribbons tied to the trees across the street. A daily reminder that we are now lepers,” the San Diego woman said in her e-mail. “What happened to Chelsea was an unimaginable tragic event caused by one sick individual.” In response to criticism that the legislation took a “one-size-fits-all” approach to punishing sex offenses and managing paroled sex offenders, Fletcher amended the bill in committee. It now includes criteria for assessing the risk of recidivism and, based on that risk, placing certain paroled sex offenders under greater supervision. The bill also calls for those risk assessment “scores” to be included in the offenders’ online profiles on the Megan’s Law website, California’s version of the sex offender registry. “We will be instituting a dynamic risk assessment, which means it can change on a monthly basis and it will be based on a whole series of factors, not just the crime,” said Fletcher, who introduced the legislation in the state assembly in April. The bill also allows the use of polygraphs in parole supervision. “This legislation provides experts with better tools than the ones available now to assess risk. If you have a sex offender who’s not compliant, their risk assessment level will go up, they’ll get more visits and supervision,” Fletcher said. The amended legislation also addresses funding for changes expected to cost tens of millions of dollars over the next decade, according to a preliminary study by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. The crime of petty theft will be downgraded to a misdemeanor, clearing clogged court dockets and freeing space in jails and prisons. Despite its broad sweep, Brent King says the bill’s cornerstone is the one-strike provision. “It was my and Kelly’s belief that there was no reason that we could find that people who targeted young children violently could ever be reformed, so why give these violent sexual predators an opportunity to strike twice? That was our premise and it grew from there,” he said. King said he has identified four states that are interested in adopting similar legislation but he would not name them. “I think California has taken such a strong step forward that I’m excited about taking Chelsea’s Law across the nation.”

Respectfully Submitted Via:

Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

NC NEWS ALERT: NC Lawmakers Voted and PASSED To Close Sex Offender Loophole

July 7, 2010 Comments off

NC NEWS ALERT:  NC Lawmakers Voted and PASSED To Close Sex Offender Loophole

IN  A TAD BIT OVER A MONTH SINCE UNCOVERED (MAY 27TH) – NC Lawmakers JUMPED on this major threat/issue and rectified it immediately!  Thank you!

RALEIGH (WTVD) — The North Carolina Legislature has passed a bill to close a loophole in North Carolina’s sex offender registry law that was exposed by the ABC11 I-Team.

Last month, ABC11 Eyewitness News discovered sex offenders living in North Carolina, but not registered in North Carolina –32 of them in Wake, Durham and Cumberland counties alone.

The loophole allowed offenders convicted or released from prison before 1996 –who moved to North Carolina before December of 2006– to not register.

After the I-Team exposed the loophole, Representative Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) promised to help close it.

Representative Moore introduced the bill in the Legislature that would fix the legal loophole. House Bill 726 would require sex offender registration for out of state convictions.

“As a parent it terrified me,” Moore said. “Fortunately, with the passage of this law, that loophole is now closed and we can continue to tighten down on these folks.”

The bill is now on its way to Governor Bev Perdue’s desk for her signature.

It’ll become law on Oct.1 and sex offenders will be required to register on that date.

Respectfully submitted from  WTVD-TV/DT

Thank you to the RALEIGH (WTVD), ABC11 I-Team Investigative Reporters  and Representative Moore for all that you have done in your work to make NC more safe.  Residents will now at least have a fighting chance in protecting themselves and their children from predators.  Keep up the great work.


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