Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clark County getting in on the Halloween Hysteria

It is Halloween season, so here comes the annual Predator Panic Halloween specials. I'd like to point out I have covered this issue for many years now:

Now, onto the featured article. Essentially the fluff piece is a whole lot of nothing. Essentially there is no state law prohibiting registered citizens from any Halloween functions, so the next best thing the police can offer is what seems to be a "compliance check."

Clark County Sheriff's Office Has A New Program To Help Keep Track Of Sex Offenders

CLARK COUNTY -- Halloween is just around the corner and the Clark county Sheriff's Office is stepping up its patrol of sex offenders.

Deputies will now be notified by dispatchers if the address their at, is where a registered sex offender lives.

The sheriffs office is in charge of monitoring more than 200 offenders and there's only one deputy in charge of all of them.

But now, with the help of dispatchers, there will be more eyes monitoring them then ever before.

"Oh there ain't never no good neighborhoods any more. So I keep them as close as I can to me. That's the best way," said Krystal Kellison.

"I don't let them go by their self at all," said Tristan Wells.

Springfield parents are already on high alert.

Just in time for trick or treating.

And Clark County deputies ensure they won't let sex offenders pass them by.

"We have one of the most aggressive, check up validation systems in Ohio," said Sheriff Gene Kelly, Clark County Sheriff's Office.

And now they're working harder to make sure your kids are safe.

They started a new program that gives dispatchers access to the address of a registered sex offender.

They then let deputies know if they're called to that home, so the deputy can check up on the offender.

"People need this knowledge it's very easy to get that information and knowledge is power to keep your children safe," said Sheriff Kelly.

Parents are receptive to the new program.

"That's pretty good that they're checking them make sure our kids are safe," said Paul Wells, "Makes you feel a lot safer."

Clark County Deputies also go out on the night kids are trick or treating and make sure offenders are staying away from kids and are where they're supposed to be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We can't trust Mike DeWine to give us the facts on sex offender topics

It is political season, and the Ohio Attorney General's race is heating up. If you are like me, you're not a fan of Mike DeWine (I prefer to call him "DeSwine"). I thought I'd take a few minutes to show a few of DFeWine's controversies. This man is very uneducated on the topic of sex offenders, as most Attorneys General tend to be. However, he is the front runner in this race.

DeWine pushed to add a "reverse phone/internet ID lookup" function to the registry. "With nearly 18,000 registered sex offenders living in Ohio, we believe this is very a useful tool," DeWine said. "Chances are you wouldn't let a stranger in your home. So, parents need to keep communicating with their kids about letting strangers - virtual ones - in their circle of friends. This is also a useful feature for adults as well to know who they are communicating with." The registry is run by Offender Watch, a private business that was collecting about half a million annually to maintain the registry in Ohio.

The second problem is DeWine had pushed the issue of community notification for registered persons in nursing homes. You have to love the "loophole" comment:

"You would not want to live in a nursing home or have a loved one live in a nursing home with a registered sex offender," says Mike DeWine, Ohio's attorney general. But many people do, and a loophole in Ohio law means they don't have to be, and aren't, notified. While the law requires that neighbors of sex offenders are notified by their local sheriff's office when such a felon moves onto their street, the law does not require similar notification for those who actually share the same address."It is a well-intended law. It works many times, but there are certainly some holes in it," DeWine says.

Finally, there is the claim he made of the link between CP viewing and molestation, which includes a reference to the debunked Butner study.

In the wake of the Penn State scandal, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rolled out a new "Crimes Against Children" initiative on Nov. 18 targeting Internet predators who trade child pornography or actually molest or attempt to molest children.

Flanked by police chiefs and prosecutors, DeWine announced that he was dedicating a new 15-person unit to focus on stopping crimes against children. The unit would be part of the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is run by his office. Attempting to demonstrate the prevalence of the crimes in today’s society, DeWine focused on the link between viewers of child pornography and the actual molestation of children.

"At a minimum, 40 percent of those who view child pornography end up molesting children as a result," DeWine said. "At least 40 percent, some estimates as high as 80 percent."

PolitiFact Ohio was struck by the relatively high percentage cited by DeWine and the cause and effect he said exists between viewing child porn and committing physical acts of sexual contact against children. Could four in 10 people who viewed child porn really be committing sexual acts against children?

We turned first to DeWine’s office for some supporting evidence, who quickly e-mailed us a pair of studies said to back up his claim.  

The first study, entitled "A Profile of Pedophilia: Definition, Characteristics of Offenders, Recidivism, Treatment Outcomes, and Forensic Issues, is from doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

It states that 30 to 80 percent of arrested individuals who viewed child pornography and 76 percent of individuals who were arrested for Internet child pornography had molested a child, according to studies and case reports. The study quotes from a November 2004 article from the American Prosecutors Research Institute called "From Fantasy to Reality: The Link Between Viewing Child Pornography and Molesting Children" written by Candice Kim. It also apparently references a 2000 study of sex offender inmates in a Federal Bureau of Prisons program.  

Kim’s report cites a U.S. Postal Inspection Service finding that 80 percent of purchasers of child pornography are active abusers and nearly 40 percent of the child pornographers investigated over several years have sexually molested children. A footnote indicates the statement is taken from the 2002 testimony Ernie Allen, director of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, when he appeared before a  congressional committee.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service made 1,807 child porn arrests from January 1997 to March 2004 which netted 620 "confirmed child molesters," the article states. That is a child molestor rate of 34.3 percent, according to the statistic provided by U.S. Postal Inspection Service Agent Ray Smith during a 2004 interview with Kim.

Other statistics found in the report include a Pennsylvania-based law enforcement task force reporting that 51 percent of individuals arrested for pornography-related offense were also determined to be actively molesting children or to have molested in the past. In Dallas, a similar task force put that figure at 31 percent. The original source of those statements was again Allen’s 2002 congressional testimony.   

The other study cited by DeWine’s office is a 2005 study funded by a congressional grant to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In that study of 1,713 people arrested nationwide for child pornography in a one-year period from July 2000 to July 2001, 40 percent were "dual offenders" who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography with both crimes discovered in the same investigation.

So what are all these studies saying?

They are saying there is a link between those arrested by various state and federal law enforcement agencies for child porn possession and acts of molestation of children by this same group of people.  

What the do not say, though, is that the link exists for the entire group of people that views child porn and whether those people molest children.

As the 2005 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children report puts it "we do not know if these child porn possessors were representative of all Internet-related child porn possessors."   

Furthermore, that report states that there is no known evidence supporting cause and effect -- that simply possessing child pornography encourages or causes child victimization. There has been no study of this issue.  

"Knowing a considerable number of dual offenders were discovered during investigations of Internet-related, child-sexual victimization and child porn possession cases does not explain how possessing child pornography is related to child victimization or whether it encourages or causes such victimization," states the report. "We do not have data to determine this."

Later, the report states as to whether the child porn viewing is done before the molesting "we had no information about the sequencing of crimes committed by dual offenders."  

Meanwhile, a 2000 study done by psychologists working with prisoners in the Federal Bureau of Prisons sex offender treatment program found that 76 percent of inmates charged with child pornography crimes admitted to having committed contact sex crimes. That study was followed up in 2009 by a similar study which found that 85 percent of 155 convicted sex offenders had committed at least one "hands on sexual offense."

However, a paper prepared by one of the primary authors of both studies, Andres Hernandez, stresses not to apply the statistics of those convicted of child porn possession to the larger "unknown" population of child porn users.

"The number of individuals who are apprehended by law enforcement for committing child porn offenses represents a small proportion of the population of individuals collecting, trading and producing child pornography worldwide," Hernandez writes. "Some individuals have misused the results (of the two studies) to fuel the argument that the majority of child porn offenders are indeed contact sexual offenders and, therefore, dangerous predators. This is simply not supported by the scientific evidence."

Said Hernandez’s paper: "Some individuals in law enforcement are tempted to rely on a biased interpretation of our prove that the majority of child porn offenders are child molestors."

Hernandez’s paper also notes something not reported in this 2009 study — that a 42-person sample of the prisoners were asked questions about when they began possessing child porn compared to when they began committing contact sexual crimes.

"The vast majority of our subjects indicated they committed hands-on abuse prior to seeking child pornography via the Internet," he writes. "The results indicated that in 41 of 42 cases examined hands-on sexual crimes preceded child porn offenses."  

So where are we left as we bid this abhorrent subject goodbye?

At a news conference promoting a crackdown on sexual crimes against children, DeWine made statements stating that "at a minimum 40 percent of those who view child pornography end up molesting children as a result."

Molestation crimes are horrific. And while DeWine’s statement is overly broad, it does contain an element of truth: that people who commit acts of child molestation also often view child pornography.

His statements are based on studies which are all of those arrested for child porn offenses and range from a 31 percent child molester rate up to 85 percent, depending on the study.  

However, several of the authors of those studies caution that the numbers should not be generalized to the bigger universe of all people who have viewed child porn -- those who have been arrested and those who have not. And that’s exactly what DeWine did.

And researchers caution that there is no evidence that the molesting of children by those possessing child porn takes place as a result of viewing the child porn, a claim made by DeWine. Quite to the contrary, study of this cause-effect relationship we found suggests that nearly all offenders committed acts of molestation prior to looking at child porn.

Those are critical facts that would give a different impression of DeWine’s claim.

On the Truth-O-Meter, his claim rates Mostly False.

I really hope DeSwine is voted out of office, but if he isn't, I want Ohio activists to be aware of DeSwine and his anti-registrant stance.