Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cleveland 19 featuring Ohio RSOL: State committee to vote on registry changes

Great job by Ohio RSOL in this report.

Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

State committee to vote on sex offender registry changes
Tuesday, November 15th 2016, 10:11 pm EST
Tuesday, November 15th 2016, 10:44 pm EST
Posted by Shelby Miller, Cleveland 19 reporter

Does Ohio's current sex offender registry work? It's a question many people struggle to answer.

"That registry could create a false sense of security. It's not the only way to look at community safety," said Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence Executive Director Katie Hanna.

Just a few years after Ohio altered its sex offender registry, state Criminal Justice Recodification Committee members are set to vote on a new set of guidelines that could potentially allow judges to shorten or remove low risk re-offenders.

The proposal is scheduled to be voted on Thursday.

"What you're talking about is an 18-year-old boy who was a high school senior who had sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend who's on the registry for 25 years," said Ohio Reform Sex Offender Laws Volunteer Barb Wright.

Wright said there are more than 20,000 registered sex offenders in Ohio. 

"The law enforcement can't keep track of all the people," she said. 

Ohio uses a three-tier offender system. People are placed in each tier based on how serious their offense is. 

Tier I offenses include acts such as, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, voyeurism, and child enticement. Tier II offenses include acts such as, compelling prostitution, child endangering, and kidnapping with sexual motivation. Tier III offenses include acts such as, rape, sexual battery, and murder with sexual motivation. 

The Tier classification system requirements are as follows:

Tier I: Sex offenders must register with the County Sheriff at least once annually for a period of 15 years. In addition, must register any change of residential address, place of employment, or enrollment in a school or institution of higher education.
Tier II: Sex offenders must register with the County Sheriff every 180 days for a period of 25 years. In addition, must register any change of residential address, place of employment, or enrollment in a school or institution of higher education.
Tier III: Sex offenders must register with the County Sheriff every 90 days for life. In addition, must register any change of residential address, place of employment, or enrollment in a school or institution of higher education.
Tier III sex offenders are also subject to community notification, which means upon a change of residential address, the County Sheriff will provide notice to a neighborhood within 1,250 feet of the sex offenders residential address. The County Sheriff will also provide notice to schools, registered day-care providers, and law enforcement agencies within the 1,250 ft. radius.

"Right now the registration process is very complicated and we want to make sure it's a system that those high risk offenders aren't falling through the cracks, that they're being monitored," said Hanna. 

Hanna said the coalition hasn't taken a stance on the proposal because they want survivors involved. 

"It isn't just about community safety, which is important to us, it's about survivor safety," she said. "We need to make sure survivors are at the center of this conversation, survivors who've been directly impacted by the violence that they've endured."

The 4,000 page proposal outlines a lot of issues, including whether or not registered sex offenders can live closer to spots, like schools, parks and playgrounds. 

The possible change worries many people, but Wright said the current restrictions don't do much. 

"The offender is out free to walk the streets, so the fact that he lives within 1,000 feet of a school is really irreverent as to if he spends any time there," she said. 

Funding is also an issue with the proposal. Currently, Ohio gets about $8 million in JAG money, or Justice Assistance Grants, because of the Adam Walsh Act. Some victim services worry they'd lose funding with the proposal, but others said the state would be profiting because counties would be paying less overall within the sex offender registry.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Proposed SO registry changes would be based on risk

A nod to Ohio RSOL


Proposed sex offender registry changes would be based on risk

Katie Wedell  Staff Writer
8:00 p.m Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

Eight years after Ohio tightened its sex offender registration laws to comply with federal standards, a state committee is considering changes that could make it easier for sex offenders to get off the registry if they no longer are a threat to society.

Among other changes to Ohio’s criminal laws, the Criminal Justice Recodification Committee will vote Thursday on a set of changes already unanimously approved by the state’s Sentencing Commission, which is made up of county sheriffs, prosecutors, judges, victims advocates and lawmakers.

The proposals include going from an offense-based classification system, in which offenders are assigned to a tier and given registration requirements based on the criminal offense they committed, to a more risk-based system in which judges would have more discretion.

The proposed changes would also allow sex offenders the ability to petition for a change of status after years of good behavior or due to a change in their risk level due to advanced age or illness.

Continued registration requirements for elderly or disabled offenders was one issue this newspaper addressed in an October investigation into sex offenders living in nursing homes.

The investigation found that while some individuals did pose a threat to vulnerable nursing home residents, there were also cases of ex-offenders in need of care being turned away from homes because of the stigma of their registration status.

“A lot of the discussion when we initially presented this was, the person who is clearly no longer a risk,” said Blaise Katter, staff attorney for the committee.

Medical conditions and advanced age would be key components judges could look at when considering whether to release someone from registration requirements, he said.

“We’re trying to bring in some common-sense changes that will hopefully maintain, of course, the community safety, but address other issues to make the registry effective,” said Jill Beeler, appellate services director for the Ohio Public Defenders Office and a member of the committee work group that helped draft the proposed changes.

Hybrid system

Currently, judges sentencing convicted sex offenders must place them into one of three tiers based on their crimes. And based on the tier they are assigned, individuals must register their address with their local sheriff for 15 years to life.

Some states, including Minnesota and Massachusetts, have similar tiered systems, but use risk assessments to determine in which tier an individual belongs. Lower tiers carry fewer restrictions and are reserved for offenders who are not likely to reoffend.

Beeler said the system being proposed in Ohio is a hybrid of the two approaches. The recommended changes will go to the state legislature, where a bill would need to be drafted and approved to make them law.

The current tier system would be retained. Tier I requires annual registration for 15 years; Tier II is semi-annual registration for 25 years, and Tier III is quarterly registration for life.

Tier III offenders would still get mandatory registration for life, but there would be fewer charges labeled Tier III: aggravated rape or rape of a child; kidnapping a minor to engage in sexual activity; aggravated murder or murder with sexual motivation; and repeat offenses if already a Tier II or Tier III classification.

For lower-tier offenses, a judge would have discretion whether to impose registration.

Once placed into a tier, registered sex offenders would have the ability to petition to deregister or move down a tier after a specified number of years — between 5 and 15 depending on the tier. If these changes are adopted, those convicted under previous versions of the law would also have the ability to petition for a change of status.

“I think it’s a good compromise,” said Barb Wright, a member of the Ohio chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws. The group has seen the recommended changes and approves of them, she said.

“I think in some areas it does not go far enough and we’ve expressed our concerns,” Wright said.

She’d like to see more retroactive applications so that someone recently convicted under the current law would have recourse to get their registration status changed.

Another recommendation of the committee is to remove all residency restrictions, such as barring sex offenders from living near schools.

“Empirical data shows there is no evidence to support that residency restrictions impact public safety; conversely, restrictions place significant burdens on offender’s ability to establish a support network and housing in order to become a productive member of society,” according to a summary of the proposed changes provided to this newspaper.

The committee is also calling for the implementation of a statewide offender database system “to replace the patchwork county-by-county system that has significant flaws and gaps.”

This newspaper’s investigation found inconsistencies in the amount of information available to the public on the registry pages maintained by county sheriffs. Some nursing homes said the lack of information made it difficult for them to assess if someone applying to live there posed a risk.

State Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, who previously said he liked the idea of a more risk-based system and would like to see more detailed information available on the public registry, is eager to dig into the committee’s recommendations.

“There are some encouraging aspects such as judges having more discretion and looking at risk,” he said. “There’s a lot of detail that’s going to require a lot of vetting.”

Funds at stake?

When the Adam Walsh Act went into effect in 2006, states were given three years to update their laws to be in compliance.

Any states that missed that deadline and continued to be out of compliance faced an annual 10 percent cut in federal Justice Assistance Grants, used to fund local courts, crime labs, jails and other law enforcement programs.

Ohio was the first state to come into compliance with Senate Bill 10 in 2008. It moved the state from a risk-based system of classifying sex offenders to the current tier system that is based exclusively on the offense committed.

“I think there was a belief that many states would follow because there was a real motivation to move toward this offense-based system,” Beeler said.

Instead, Ohio is one of only 17 states currently in compliance with the federal law.

Beeler said there is a recognition by the committee that the proposed changes could take Ohio out of compliance and lead to a loss of federal funding.

“We feel like the cost of our current registration system is more than the dollars we would lose,” she said.

The money withheld from states that are not in compliance is split between the states that are, and paid in the form of bonus grants.

In fiscal year 2015, Ohio law enforcement agencies received a total allocation of $7.8 million in JAG money, plus a $106,000 bonus.

A loss of 10 percent plus the bonus would be about $880,000 annually, slightly more than the state spends each year on its share of 88 county sheriffs’ salaries.

“Those grants have actually been reduced over time,” Beeler said. “So 10 percent of that grant money is much less than the cost that we’re spending on our current system.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Halloweenitis is now replaced with Electionitis with Mahoning Co. Sex Crimes Persecutor Natasha Natale & Rep. Sean O'Brien

I'd like to see some cases of kids being molested as a result of allowing registered citizens to vote in person. I voted at a school (it was closed for the day), and guess what? NOTHING HAPPENED! The only folks who got screwed is the voters as we had to decide which scumbag was the lesser of two evils.


INVESTIGATION: More than 70 sex offenders are registered to vote at Cleveland schools

Megan Hickey
11:45 PM, Nov 9, 2016

While registered sex offenders in the state of Ohio are prohibited from living with 1,000 feet of a school or daycare facility, they are not prohibited from actually entering schools.

A News 5 investigation revealed that at least 77 Cleveland sex offenders are registered to vote in the city’s elementary and high schools. 

The majority of those offenders were convicted of crimes against children. Most victims were between the ages of 11 and 14, with some victims as young as 5. 

Unless a sex offender is currently under some form of community control, Ohio law is otherwise silent on a sex offender’s ability to enter schools and interact with children. 

While Cleveland schools were closed Tuesday for the election, several parents noted that large groups of children continue to play on school property long after the final bell and on their days off.  

“I really feel like that’s putting more than just kids in danger,” said Cleveland mother Mary Lawrence, whose daughter attends one of the more than 40 elementary and high schools where sex offenders are registered to vote. 

Pat McDonald, Director of the Cuyahoga Co. Board of Elections, acknowledged that the issue has raised concerns from voters and some school superintendents. 

“I would encourage them to vote by mail or come down here and vote in person to alleviate any potential conflicts or any potential issues,” he said.

But McDonald noted that he can’t actually require sex offenders to do so. 

Ohio is one of a handful of states that allows convicted felons to vote, and unlike nearby Indiana and Illinois, does not have such voting requirements. 

Former Mahoning County sex crimes prosecutor Natasha Natale told News 5 she considers it a perfect storm of bad conditions. 

“It just takes a second for something to happen,” Natale said. “And even it if doesn’t happen at the school it could be something where you’re triggering that mechanism in their brain, where they’re going to leave and commit some subsequent act that could harm a child.”

Natalie is teaming up with Rep. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), to draft a bill that would bar sex offenders from entering schools and daycare centers for any reason. 

“It’s just not worth the risk, why put them in that situation?” said O’Brien, who plans to introduce the bill early next year. 

O’Brien stressed that sex offenders would still be allowed to vote by mail or in person at the board of elections.  

Megan Hickey wasn't the only one who wrote such an article, however. Damon Maloney of WKBN 27 wrote the same fearmongering article in 2014. TWO YEARS AGO. Plagiarism, maybe?


Ohio law doesn’t stop sex offenders from voting in schools
By Damon Maloney
Published: November 4, 2014, 12:06 pm  Updated: November 4, 2014, 9:50 pm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Where you vote depends on where you live.

Casting a ballot for a lot of people means going to a precinct located inside a school, during the day, when children are learning.

27 Investigates uncovered startling facts about some of the precincts assigned to registered sex offenders for Election Day. At least one local prosecutor and lawmaker believe the assignments can put children’s safety in jeopardy.

“That’s their turf and that’s where they feel safe,” said Natasha Natale, Mahoning County’s sex crimes prosecutor.

Ohio law doesn’t stop sex offenders from voting in schools. Yet, laws do ban many sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of child day care centers, pre-schools and schools.

Prosecutors say there is too much risk allowing registered sex offenders near or in schools where children are present.

“It’s illogical. It defies logic. I think we need to be pro-active and not wait for a situation where a child is victimized,” Natale said. “There is a recidivism rate that is concerning when it comes to sex offenders.”

Natale has prosecuted some of the most heinous sex crimes involving child victims in Mahoning County. She also has studied the method and operation of sex offenders.

“It can be subtle, slight, psychological… emotionally powerful,” Natale said. “Defendants have stated where it’s something to where it’s even impulsive. It’s something they have difficulty controlling.”

27 Investigates analyzed pages upon pages of Ohio’s sex offender registry and then voter registrations. According to the state’s registry, there are about 179 registered sex offenders in Youngstown. This election cycle, at least nine are registered voters assigned to a school precinct.

In Warren, at least 10 are assigned to a polling place located inside of a school. And In Salem, at least one is assigned to a school precinct.

27 Investigates found that some registered sex offenders have cast in-person ballots in recent years, but not necessarily at the polling place they’re assigned to now. Home addresses can change, which can move a person’s voting location. Precincts also can be dropped or added.

Natale has partnered with State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, to tighten up what they consider to be a loophole in the law.

“We’ve sat down and talked about drafting a new law, which would put sex offenders where they would have to vote at the board of election or vote by absentee ballot,” O’Brien said.

Other states, including Illinois. require sex offenders to vote early or use absentee ballots. Natale and O’Brien said if Ohio followed in similar footsteps, it would protect voter rights and the peace of mind of families when their children leave home bound for a productive day at school.

O’Brien said it will most likely be next year before any type of legislation is introduced.


There is a common factor in both articles-- Natasha Natale, Mahoning County’s sex crimes prosecutor. Who is this idiot? What education is she referring to? I think she's watching too much reruns of SVU, personally. And why is this poduck, backwater hillbilly persecutor even quoted? Does she have AG aspiration in the future once Mike DeSWINE is ousted? What I do know is she is an idiot.

Lets not forget Rep. Sean O'Brien, who has been pimping this bad legislation in both of these articles. Feel free to write him and tell him your thoughts on this issue.

Representative Sean O'Brien
District 63
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-3488
Fax      (614) 719-3965