Posts Tagged ‘judges’

Many people have been led to believe that the Sex Offender Registration laws of their state protects children from pedophiles that may be living near their home or their children’s school. This is a common misperception. The SOR law in many states does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children or vulnerable persons. The SOR law can only mandate the offender to register his or her required information at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

In other words, a registered sex offender is able to legally visit and work at schools, playgrounds, children’s museums, daycare centers and other places where vulnerable children may congregate.

First we have to distinguish between the types of sex offenders. All rapists, whether they are violent or not, are criminals. There are also sex offenders (public exposure, unwanted sexual advances) who, while they committed a crime, are not rapists and who are not violent. But when we are talking about keeping children safe, many parents are concerned about pedophiles. But not all sex offenders are pedophiles. So lumping all sex offenders together does not really add any marginal value to keeping our children safe. The person who got drunk and raped a woman is a criminal, but not a pedophile.

Politicians want you to think that registries are effective because politicians have put a lot of political capital and attention into registries. They want you to think that placing sex offenders on the registry is proof that they are keeping your child safe. But simply focusing on the registry, they neglect to focus on that the real threat to a child. The problem is that the politicians aren’t advocating evidence-based approaches, and aren’t focusing on the fact that more than 90 percent of people who commit child sexual abuse is well known to the victim. The majority of the time that child sex abuse is reported, it is committed by someone who is a trusted family member. On top of that, the majority of children never report sexual abuse when it’s happening. They’re often afraid of their parents’ reactions or fear getting into trouble. They also might believe the abuser when they tell them that something bad would happen if they tell.

We always hear about the sex offender who was on the registry and reoffended, but these high profile cases are reported because they make for good stories for the news media. But such recidivism is not representative of what is going on the majority of the time.

A parent might believe that if they check the local sex offender registry it will help to keep their children safe. The question then is: what else have they done in addition to checking the registry? The people that we need to be worried about the most are not the ones we know are on the sex offender registry.

Children need to be taught safety skills

Parents need to realize that the person most likely to sexually abuse their child is someone they know and trust, and someone who has regular contact with their child. This known and trusted person is likely to violate the trust of the family and child. That is why it is important for a child to have the tools needed to protect themselves from these trusted persons, and to know when to speak up when the trust is violated.

It is not only important for parents to educate their children, but schools need to educate their students too. Because sometimes the abuse is happening at home. And parents and educators need to be properly trained how to identify when a child is being victimized.

I am not advocating that we eliminate sex offender registries. Parents and the public should want to know who has committed sex offenses that may be living near them. And since all criminal records are public information, this information should not be suppressed.

My point is that the sex offender registry is about as effective in stopping child sexual abuse as using a BB gun against a home invader—you might get lucky by using it, but it won’t be a very effective deterrent. The public needs to start to understand that sex offender registries don’t keep people safe the way they think because of the nature of how predators operate when building and then violating trust. That is why the real threat is likely to come from someone known and trusted by the family. The statistics are very clear about this.

Warning Signs

Everyone can take steps to prevent the sexual abuse of children. The web site, stopitnow.org provides prevention tip sheets that can help you take action to keep children and youth safe, whether it’s making a family safety plan, finding a safe school or camp, or safety on the internet.

Signs that a child has been abused:

  • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects.
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems.
  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy.
  • Becoming unusually secretive.
  • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings.
  • Regressing to younger behaviors, e.g. bedwetting, thumb sucking.
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people.
  • Outburst of anger.
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
  • Self-harm. (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
  • Not wanting to be alone with a particular person.

Behaviors to watch for when adults are with children:

  • Makes others uncomfortable by ignoring social or physical boundaries.
  • Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits.
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even.
  • when the child does not want this physical contact or attention.
  • Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom.
  • Turns to a child for emotional or physical comfort normally shared with adults.
  • Has secret interactions children.
  • Spends excessive time emailing, text messaging or calling children.
  • Insists on or manages to spend uninterrupted time alone with a child.
  • Frequently babysits children for free; takes children on special outings alone; buys children gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason.

Since the courts, judges and politicians will do little or nothing to protect our children from sexual predators, it is up to adults, parents and teachers to educate ourselves and our children on the dangers of sexual abuse.

You can find more tips at: http://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/warning-signs

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I am a sexually abused child.

I cannot make my own choices.

I cannot speak and be heard.

I cannot vote for change in the court system that is rigged against me.

I cannot control what adults do to my body.

I cannot defend myself against my abuser.

I cannot defend myself against my family when they do not believe me.

I am a sexually abused child. And no one speaks out for me.

1 in 5 children like me are sexually abused in the United States. And 90% of us know who our abuser is—Step-parents, family friends, relatives and babysitters.

I was sexually molested by my step-father when I was only 11 years old. My grandparents let me live with them to protect me from my step-father. I was glad to be away from my step-father, but I missed my mom, my bother and my sister. After two years my step-father was finally brought to trial on charges of felony sexual assault of a minor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to testify and he was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault and was only sentenced to two years probation and required to register as a sex offender. This is not unusual. Approximately 66% of all child sexual abuse charges end in guilty pleas to lesser charges before trial.

Most child molesters are only sentenced to probation and required to register as a sex offender. Many think the Sex Offender Registry law keeps sex offenders away from places where children play, but in many states the Sex Offender Registry law does not prevent a sex offender from visiting schools, playgrounds, children’s museums or even from living with or socializing with other children. The Sex Offender Registry law can only require that the sex offender register their required information at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

The police do their job and arrest these criminals, but then the lawyers and judges allow them to plead to a lesser charge and hand down light sentences or probation—which places vulnerable children like me in danger. Many times there is more severe punishment for someone who abuses animals than there is for someone who abuses children. I don’t think this is right!

I was lucky. I had grandparents and family members who protected me and helped me get therapy. But many children aren’t so lucky. Some end up in foster care and are abused even more. And lots of times no one believes them, so they run away and end up worse.

You can be a voice for kids like me who cannot speak for themselves:

1. You can write to your senators and people in congress and demand that they make laws that hold convicted sex offenders and the courts accountable for their actions concerning child molesters.

2. You can join an organization that helps prevent sexual child abuse and tell others to join too.

3. You can talk to your children’s school about preventing sexual child abuse.

4. Talk to your kids about sexual child abuse and teach them what to watch out for.

The worst thing you can do is stay quiet about sexual child abuse. If you suspect that a child is in danger, say something.

 

 

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Man’s Broken Justice System

When criminals are brought before judges for sentencing, judges should weigh factors including the severity of the crime, public safety, losses to the victim and a defendant’s efforts to change—But all too often judges hand down light sentences to repeat offenders who often go on to commit even more violent crimes.

Judges need to realize the risk that they pose to the public when they give offenders light sentences and be more concerned that the guy they release back on the street will be the next one they read about in the newspaper.

One of the reasons judges give offenders light sentences is because many states are under court orders to reduce its overcrowded prison population, which has led more criminals to be sentenced to probation or be held in local jails—which has also resulted in county jails being filled with a more serious class of criminals.

Consider the case of Jaquinn Ramone Bell.

Bell had already amassed more than a half-dozen warrants for probation violations by the time he pleaded guilty to DUI and hit-and-run charges in August 2014. And yet a judge sentenced him yet again to probation and 10 days in jail.

Two months later, Bell was back behind the wheel, accused of killing three 13-year-old girls in a hit-and-run accident in Santa Ana on Halloween night.

The victims’ family members were outraged.

Marcus Wheeler-Cop Killer

On Wednesday, May 20th Kerrie Orozco, 29, was shot and killed while trying to apprehend 26-year-old Marcus D. Wheeler, who was being served a warrant by the police department’s Fugitive Task Force at 1 p.m. Wheeler was also killed at the scene.

Officer Orozco leaves behind a husband, an 8-year-old stepdaughter and a 6 year old stepson. She was also the mother of a newborn baby who arrived premature on February 17th and was released from the hospital one day after Orozco was shot and killed.

In 2013, Wheeler was charged as an accessory in a June 2007 slaying. Wheeler was also accused of shooting at an inhabited home in March 2013, attempting to cause serious bodily injury to Ashley Bordeaux. Charges in both cases were dismissed.

Then in 2008, Wheeler was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Wheeler got out on supervised release, but that was revoked in 2013. He returned to prison and was released in February 2014.

As disturbing as these cases are, it has become even more common for judges to hand down probation to those convicted of sexual child abuse.

In February 2015, Casey Cline was convicted of sexual assault of a child in Sarpy County, Ne. (A third degree Felony)  Even though a great many pages of documents were submitted to Sarpy County Judge Zastera proving that Cline had been physically and emotionally abusive for more than 10 years before he was arrested, the judge allowed Cline to plead guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor sexual assault and only sentenced him to two years probation and register as a sex offender.

Ten days after Cline was released on probation he was arrested again in Plattsmouth, Ne. on charges of child abuse—after throwing his daughter across a room and into a wall. The children were removed from the home and placed in foster care.

At Cline’s hearing on the child abuse charges Judge John Steinheider of Plattsmouth released Cline on a signature bond and also allowed him to have contact with his children! At his sentencing June 11th, Cline’s pre-sentencing report (PSR) stated that Cline was also charged with child abuse in two different states. In spite of the fact that the PSR revealed that Cline has a 15 year history of abuse, his public defender still recommended that Cline be given probation again and have contact with his children claiming that the children were in no danger!

Fortunately, this time the judge did not agree with the public defender and sentenced Cline to 180 days in the Cass County jail.

Cline is still awaiting sentencing on probation violations in Sarpy County—for being in possession of weapons, drug paraphernalia and pornographic material, and use of alcohol and K-2 Synthetic Marijuana while on probation.

Many communities wonder why individuals with such long histories of law breaking have not received longer and stiffer sentences. One of the reasons given is that sentencing offenders to probation or holding them in local jails is less expensive than sending them to the over-crowded state prisons. But this shift called “realignment” isn’t really saving much money—And public safety is put at risk as a result.

Biblical Criminal Justice

Imprisonment is littered throughout Scripture. As a young man, Joseph was thrown into prison in Egypt. (Gen. 39:20) Samson, after having his eyes put out, was made to work in a grinding mill prison house of the Philistines, (Jdg. 16:21) and Jeremiah spent many of his days in the “court of the prison”. (Jer. 32:2)

Also, throughout the New Testament, men such as Paul, James, John the Baptist, and Peter were incarcerated.

Prisons, however, are not God’s way of dealing with crime. The above examples all occurred in nations not governed by God.

When Israel was led out of Egypt, God gave the nation a civil code of laws that would cause the Gentiles to view Israel as a “great nation” that was both “wise and understanding”. (Deut. 4:6)  God included no provision for prisons. Instead, there were swift and sure punishments for each broken law.

In contrast to America’s current prison system, a broken law generally resulted in a predetermined punishment—with no gray areas. Once a man was sentenced, the punishment was quickly and publicly carried out—often with citizens helping to execute sentences.

In the 21st century, however, what and how long a sentence should be are often determined by how good the defendant’s lawyer is. (And the defendant’s ability to pay the higher cost) For the same offense, one man may receive years in prison, while another only a few months—or even none at all!

United States prisons cannot produce real rehabilitation or change in inmates because modern prison systems are not based upon God’s Law, but rather the ideas of man. Because of this, prisons cannot get to the core problem of crime—human nature!

Establishing a New System

The Bible reveals that all of mankind’s systems of government will one day be wiped away. This will happen at the return of Jesus the Messiah, which is detailed throughout God’s Word.  “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Dan. 2:44)

Unlike our current government system, the kingdom of God will not be “left to another people”— it will not be based upon the ideas of man. This government—the kingdom of God—will be built upon God’s Law, which will be administered perfectly. This newly established kingdom will solve mankind’s most persistent problems, which stem from its flawed systems and governments.

That is our great hope—when the Earth will one day be free from man’s broken system of justice and be replaced with a system ruled by God’s Law.

About 40 million children worldwide suffer abuse every year, with more than 1,500 children dying of abuse in the United States annually.

Often the adults who are designed to protect children refuse to take action because they don’t want to get involved or because the perpetrator is a family member and they fear that doing so will split up the family unit.

Even when a perpetrator of sexual child abuse is convicted, they are often only given probation and required to register as a sex offender for no more than 15 years.

Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law (SOR) does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

It is left up to the judges discretion to prevent an offender from attending certain events or restricting an offender from entering certain facilities where vulnerable children are present. But more often judges will only restrict an offender from living near a daycare center and refrain from using drugs and alcohol. Some offenders are even allowed to live with their own children who are also at risk of being abused.

The greatest myth about the SOR law

I started a petition at https://www.change.org/p/pete-ricketts-change-nebraska-sex-offender-registration-law  to change the SOR law in Nebraska. Sadly, very few people have signed it.

Many opponents of the SOR law claim that the law unfairly targets those who urinate in public as sex offenders. This is one of the biggest sex offender myths propagated by registry opponents. There are only 13 states that could possibly have convicted people of being a sex offender for urinating in public. However, these states do have laws against exposing one’s genitalia to the view of a minor or another person who may be offended. So If you are peeing into a bush and no one can see your genitalia, there is no crime and no requirement for registration. There is not a single state that requires registration for urinating in public. Even if those convicted of urinating in public were charged as sex offenders, this would only account for less than 0.1% of all offenders.

America’s long history of child abuse

Laws regarding “cruelty” were first created for the humane treatment of animals on February 8, 1866. It was not until many years later that children were granted that same consideration. (http://www.childenrichment.org/education/child-abuse-history)

Child labors laws were enacted in 1906, but did not provide protection from other forms of child abuse. Without laws specific to child maltreatment, severely abused children would fall under the animal welfare laws as a member of the animal kingdom. It was not until the 1968, after the book “The Battered Child” was published (authors Dr. C. Henry Kempe and Ray E. Helfer), did Americans acknowledge that parents and caregivers truly could and did physically harm their children.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” (Luke 18:16)

Most of us, when threatened or attacked, will contact law enforcement and report it as a crime. But children often won’t tell you straight out that something has happened to them, because either they’ve been threatened, or they may feel ashamed and they may not feel comfortable talking to you about it. So it’s up to adults to watch for the signs of abuse and act on behalf of the child.

Because no child should have to suffer abuse in silence.

Nearly every child in America now has a smart phone. For many parents, it makes it easier to keep track and stay in contact with their children. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who can track their child’s every move. Technology is also making it easier for strangers to track our children.

Your child’s iPhone has a hidden feature: It tracks and records their location constantly whether you want it to or not. And unless you’re a tech savvy parent, you may think there’s not much you can do about the tracking feature.

But it’s actually quite easy to disable the GPS tracking feature on your child’s iPhone to prevent applications from determining their location. When you disable the GPS, law enforcement officials can still track their device, but other applications, including the Family Locator service offered through both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, cannot.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1

Press the “Home” button on your iPhone. Enter your four-digit passcode, if prompted.

Step 2

Tap “Settings” and “Location Services.” All of the services currently using the GPS feature of your phone are listed in the bottom panel of the screen.

Step 3

Touch the “Location Services” field to disable GPS tracking. The field now shows “Off.”

Step 4

Press the “Home” button to exit to the phone’s home screen.

Could a stranger on the Internet really track my child’s every move?

Yes — and easily — thanks to an app named Creepy.

All they have to do is type in a person’s Twitter or Flickr username, and hit the ‘Geolocate Target’ button. The app will then gather all the geographic information available online, via photos that the ‘target’ has shared online.

The reason the app can gather this information so easily is that whenever someone shares a photo taken with his or her smartphone, services like Flickr, Yfrog and Twitpic automatically record the location where the shot was taken, and store that geo-tag in the image’s EXIF data. Creepy pulls up that data and places it onto maps. If combined with details gleaned from tweets it can reveal information which could easily be abused by someone with evil intent like:

  • Where your child lives
  • Who else lives there
  • Where they attend school
  • Their route to and from school
  • Certain parks or shopping malls they visit on a regular basis

You might be a little nervous about seeing just how revealing an innocently uploaded photo can be, so you want to know: How do I protect my child?

It’s simple. Check the settings of the apps or websites they use to upload photos. Make sure that the geotagging features are turned off. And if you want to be extra safe, use an app to strip photos of geotags before uploading them such as: Geotag Security http://www.geotagsecurity.com

or Exifer http://download.cnet.com/Exifer/3000-2192_4-10142150.html

Many may think I’m taking an alarmist view of the world, but the truth is that we live in a world full of evil people. And given the fact that many judges and politicians do very little to punish those who would do harm to our children because of prison overcrowding, it is up to parents to make sure that our children remain safe.

Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

The serpent is a very sharp sighted, cunning creature, and uses various strategies for its own preservation. So as followers of Christ, we are to make use of all proper methods to preserve ourselves (And our children) from the evils of men, and not expose ourselves or them to unnecessary dangers and to avoid all snares and traps that are laid for us.

Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little better than weakness; but in combination, the wisdom of the serpent will save us from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, the ability to escape without sin.