RSOL Chair to Mass lawmakers: registration is government-sanctioned prejudice, segregation of citizens

By Katie Lannan, State House News Service . . . A host of bills dealing with sex offender registration encountered pushback Tuesday from advocates and offenders who urged lawmakers to consider whether the measures were meant to prevent recidivism or to serve as additional punishments.

Legislation now before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary includes measures that would establish restrictions on where certain sex offenders can live or spend time, and other proposals that would make more information available about some offenders.

New Start Project founder Tony Smith, whose organization helps people who have been incarcerated, spoke against a bill (H 1407) that would allow victims to request and obtain the home, work and school addresses of the person who committed a sex offense against them.

Smith said that some sex offenders who participate in his program have expressed fears of retaliation by victims’ families. He called on lawmakers to focus on “risk prevention” and on ensuring any new legislation would actually promote public safety.

“How do we provide opportunities for people who come home, whatever classification they have as it relates to sex offenses, how do we create opportunities for them to succeed as well? Many people in our program worked tirelessly hard to reintegrate. Their number one problem is overcoming stigma and shame that follows them after incarceration,” he said.

Lawmakers who sponsored the bills dealing with sex offenders said they were trying to update laws to provide law enforcement with new tools.

Rep. Tackey Chan, a Quincy Democrat, filed a bill that would require sex offenders to include email addresses and social media accounts with their registration (H 1235). He said that Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana have passed similar laws.

“The bill does not create new penalties, the bill does not create new people to include as sex offenders,” Chan said. “It only requires the current application and forms to add one additional piece of information.”

After a homeless Level 3 sex offender began spending time around parks and beaches in Yarmouth last year, Rep. Brian Mannal said he had been shocked to learn that behavior was not illegal. The Barnstable Democrat put forward legislation (H 3445) that would ban certain registered sex offenders from locations including playgrounds, parks, libraries, schools, youth camps, mini golf courses, go-cart tracks, trampoline parks, batting cages.

“Basically, what we’re seeking to do is create child safety zones — which are places where children are known to congregate — and for the specific purpose of not allowing pedophiles, level three sex offenders who have committed acts of abuse towards children, to be able to loiter and engage with people who potentially fit in with their threats,” Mannal said.  (Read full article at lowellsun.com)

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    • #10787 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      More political pandering.

      “After a homeless Level 3 sex offender began spending time around parks and beaches in Yarmouth last year, Rep. Brian Mannal said he had been shocked to learn that behavior was not illegal.”

      is he shocked to learn that this is still supposed to be a Free country? Oh yeah iI forgot. That doesn’t apply to us.

    • #10788 Reply
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      Paul

      No politician every got reelected by being our advocates. Sad but unfortunately not a surprise, Fred.

    • #10789 Reply
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      emil

      Dear Law makers,
      why not pass a law that would banish all current and future sex offenders to a secluded island far away, like they did to lepers during the Middle ages. Perhaps you would at least pass a law to set up internment camps to segregate sex offenders like they did to Japanese Americans during WWII. That would make people very safe. Or may be pass a law to give lethal injection to all sex offenders.

    • #10790 Reply
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      Paul

      RFID implants to identify sex offenders is something I can see happening. GPS devices are the next best thing to an RFID to the government, maybe even more so since they can pinpoint one’s location. Internment camps are not a stretch of the imagination, especially when the Mass Supreme Court compared the registry to them. And Miracle Village is for all practical purposes a “secluded” area nestled away from the bustling city crowds. So “secluded islands” are already happening. And while you may be kidding, Emil, sadly I don’t think what you are saying is actually that far fetched.

    • #10791 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      At the rate the registries are growing registrants and their families will soon make a voting majority.

    • #10792 Reply
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      Rollbacktheregistry

      New York State will be watching this closely. Or should.
      The Mastermind Politician behind NY State’s draconian registry laws since 1995 is presently on trial for corruption.
      Anyone who fails to see a profit motive for politicians in the increasingly punitive (and valueless) laws of this sort is not paying attention.
      The downside of the “No New Taxes” mantra that all these crooks run on (and get reelected for continuously) is that fees, fines, assessment, jail time for minor offenses, and laws of this sort supply the funds to keep their police forces strong and militaristic, and guarantee that all the same do-nothings return to the state houses year after year. At great expense.
      Maybe New Yorkers will wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe not.
      Massachusetts has an opportunity to show some leadership here and break a mold that needs braking. Here’s hoping.

    • #10793 Reply
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      sing

      That would be democracy in a loop.

    • #10794 Reply
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      Kathy

      Knowledge my friend is power??? You could use some. At least half molesters have been molested as children, but back in your day nobody believed them or wanted a family crisis ” secret” come out. The child in return didn’t get help or support. In return we have these children who didn’t know what to do with their feeling, confusion etc. ” well uncle Joey didn’t get in trouble so I guess it’s ok to do this to children” Buck-Up not every child , knows right from wrong because THEY WERENT TAUGHT. From ignorant people like yourself

    • #10795 Reply
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      Mildred

      Unless it hits you or a loved one, people do not feel the pain of being labeled as a sex-offender. Chances to be acquitted in court for a sex offense accusation are slim to none and once convicted, you are punished for life. Even after the person serves his or her time in prison and any subsequent parole, he or she will be a “Registered Sex Offender” for life. Yes, for life. It is a life sentence. Being a registered sex offender means that your name and address is published and available on the Internet. Furthermore, if someone searches your address or an address close to yours, your information as a Sex Offender with your address will pop up. A sex-offense is a serious crime, but after you pay for your crime, you should be able to move on. That does not happen for a sex-offender. He or she will have serious difficulties finding a job and a place to rent. He or she will also find difficulties finding someone to establish a relationship with. Everyone are scared of “sex Offenders”. Murdering someone has much less consequences. Once the murderer serves his or her time, he or she is free and can move on. There is no information on the Internet to let the world know that someone murdered someone. That is only for Sex Offenders. Even for Sex Offenses that are classified as minor offenses or misdemeanors, the person must be on the Registry for life with all the consequences that it brings to the life of the person and his or her relatives and loved ones. There some people out there that would like every sex offender lynched, but that would change in an instant when the pain hits home. And being accused of a sex offense can happen to anyone. No one is immune.

    • #10796 Reply
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      Paul

      What’s also troubling to me are websites like “Homefacts” that post this information for sinister reasons. An RSO’s name shows up on a google search immediately with Homefacts whereas the registry requires a little bit of legwork of the part of the searcher or the person who receives email notifications. So what does Homefacts do when you (the RSO) complain? They and other similar websites will attempt to extort you. Companies like this are actually profiting off of our misery.

    • #10797 Reply
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      Joyce Lowery

      And do the same for people who are as psychologically sick as you are.

    • #10798 Reply
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      Joyce Lowery

      Fred, Isn’t that the truth!

    • #10799 Reply
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      Joyce Lowery

      First of all, sex offender charges have been so lumped together. Those charges need to be separated to effectively make any law. Someone who has looked at pictures should not receive the same charge as someone with hands on. That person is not likely to offend ever again. The Federal Prison looks like a college campus. Full of guys that do not belong there. Some have children and are very needed to be able to participate in their lives at school, parks, wherever their child needs to be. People need to get real about where the danger really is and with whom. The laws need to change in a very fast manner to save a generation of children.

    • #10800 Reply
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      NH Registrant

      It’s amazing to me how easily the politicians get people to follow and believe like sheep when they point fingers of blame. Your taxes are high? It’s people on Welfare! Sex offender in your area? HIDE your children!! I am TOUGH on crime!!

      Yet, these same crooks and liars are often rapists and molesters themselves. Many of them frequent prostitutes, drive drunk, murder people, extort people, and steal from people as well! But, along with the corporate media, they brainwash the public to always be pitted against EACH OTHER instead of seeing them for the criminals they are. Sex offender hysteria, Islamaphobia, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia – all things driven and fed by the media and politicians. Yet, people keep electing these types of people over and over again to feed their particular agendas and their egos. When will the general public wake up from the “American Dream” and realize they’re being had?

    • #10801 Reply
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      NH Registrant

      “Homefacts” and “City-Data” post the Registry data because they want people to believe the nonsense about how a RSO being in the neighborhood lowers ALL the surrounding property values. The RSO doesn’t do that. Paranoia, Ignorance and Hysteria do (fueled by people who profit from it like those two sites, politicians, and the whole media.)

    • #10802 Reply
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      NH Registrant

      I have a “possession” conviction. In my state, I have to register for LIFE for looking at something. The State was very clever when they convicted me. At first they had 1 image. Then, after my Public Defender and I used our ONE TIME ONLY allotment of having the evidence against me examined, they suddenly magically produced thousands more images. I had NO RIGHT to examine any of them and was coerced into pleading guilty for less than 10 of those images – or else I would get 20 years in prison. That was the choice I was given.

      So, the rest of my life I wear this label for 1 image. Sounds fair, doesn’t it? It does in the State’s eyes!

    • #10803 Reply
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      Nh Registrant

      Also wanted to add. I KNOW my “Due Process” rights were violated. I KNOW those images were not mine. BUT, I am too poor to ever fight them. They could easily do worse to me with the State’s bottomless prosecution wallet.

      They also took away my child and told the child how horrible I am. So, I will never have contact with that child ever again.

    • #10804 Reply
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      Paul

      Right! Also, their extorting practices are dubious at best and in my judgment illegal. It’s amazing how they continue to get away with it.

    • #10805 Reply
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      Mike

      Lawmakers refuse to look at statistics showing the largest percentage of crimes against children are performed by family members or close family friends. They also point to recidivism rates that do not take into account the fact an RSO being convicted of a drug possession charge is not a sexual recidivist. Because of that the person who makes a one time mistake is given a life sentence on the sex offender list.

    • #10806 Reply
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      Jeremy

      The idea that home prices are lower due to sex offenders being in the area is complete hogwash. I am a former REALTOR and now a registered sex offender. It’s actually the exact opposite. The sex offenders live in the lower housing cost areas BECAUSE they are unable to find housing elsewhere. Most slum lords don’t have the resources to do background checks, etc. A sex offender is allowed to be homeless and apartment communities are allowed to discriminate. This is true for all convicts no matter the charge, but sex offenses are impossible to hide. The Adam Walsh Act needs to be declared unconstitutional due to the 9th amendment’s clause of cruel and unusual punishment. Anytime you take liberty away from someone, it’s a punishment. Period.

    • #10807 Reply
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      Jeremy

      This thinking is slowly changing, Fred. Many politicians are starting to stand up for what is right regardless of the political consequences and I say it’s about time. If a politician could legitimately explain why reforming these laws would better for all Americans, I think it would get a warm reception. No evidence supports these laws as being effective in preventing new crimes, none! In fact, there is substantial evidence from psychologists and social workers who work with offenders that these laws have the opposite effect. The main issues almost all sex offenders had trouble dealing with that led to their offenses are isolation, shame, and depression. These laws only ADD to these problems making it more likely that an offender will reoffend. Imagine if the government repealed the Adam Walsh Act, removed or at least restricted housing and employment discrimination, and provided mental health care services for free with no fear of retribution how this country would look. The crime rate would drop dramatically because Americans who made mistakes are given a chance to repair their lives. We are still Americans aren’t we? Where is the word “felony” in the constitution?

    • #10808 Reply
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      o durrett

      My son is in Federal prison for having pictures on his computer and being set up by the FBI to share photos, adding a distribution charge to his sentence. I feel that there should be different degrees for sex-offenders. Just like someone commits murder and others may commit a homicide. There is a difference.

    • #10809 Reply
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      Tim Lawver

      No matter how many times I am told about the necessity of the registries to protect the public I do not buy it. RATHER I assert the real reason behind the precedent set Smith V DOE was to promote the right of our Government to use domestic surveillance legally. This is the “something else afoot here” one of the justices noted in dissent. What other possible reason could these laws begin with the child molester/rapist only? Because they needed to sneak one over on the American people. Not an easy feat considering the Orwellian and Machiavellian understanding of publicly educated citizens. In short DOE authorized the gov’t to use a database to monitor -surveil- (offenders/felons/SO’s) citizens domestically. (see story on Eric Snowden) Keep in mind we were not merely put on the registry; we were all indentured to its maintenance as well. we can just imagine what would have happened if they (GOV’T) would have come right out and stated they were going to do so in the mid to late 80’s. Riots would have surely taken place, so they did it little by little with the child molester as the initial scapegoat.

      The fact is social media scares the hell out of the establishment parties both DEM and REPUB, Why? Simple…. money. Each party has had their fingers in the American tax pie forever. They just disagree about how to spend it. Each side filling the pockets of their cronies when its their turn to be in power. How else do you explain a National debt of 20 trillion (wholly unconscionable). Now in 2016 we see the up rise of the anti-establishment candidate for PREZ and social media is their Achilles heal. GOD SAVE THE PEOPLE-FORGIVE THEM the know not what they do.

    • #10810 Reply
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      TheFightFor SOR

      I also had very similar outcome. Heck they did not even try to prosecute me until 5 years later because my case was very low priority, first they said one image then they wanted to nail me with distribution because of software I was using and they wanted me to get 25yr registry instead of 15yrs even after ple-bargain deal was already made. My lawyer scewed me and the laws are so jacked up! I was classified as non-violent by certifide risk assessment board because I had no real-time victims yet I’m being labeled “violent” in my SOR and must register every 90 days. It cost you tax payers $14 every 90 days just to mail me the forms not including overhead cost.., yes thousands of your tax dollars wasted every year just on me because I had 1 image as a first time ever offence. I’m a collage degree professional making over 3 figures a year and yet I’m violent all because I looked at one image that contain a minor. Get a clue people and do something! Not every situation is the same yet we ALL get same outcome as the multi time rapist

    • #10811 Reply
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      TheFightFor SOR

      I would not give homefacts the time of day… I live in a $700k+ house among other homes ranging around that price. I make more money than at least 85% people in my community. I’m a 1st time sex offender for a victimless crime. society can label me all they want but only hurting yourselves. Im now limited on my international travel so I’m loosing millions in potential business which use to be 80% of my job. What wonderful laws we have here. Not only are tax payers wasting money to keep me on a registry but I can’t do my job and loosing out on millions in revenue to my community and country.

    • #10812 Reply
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      Jon

      I’m in Kansas. I viewed images that I genuinely thought were legal. The FBI concluded that out of 200 images, 148 were legal, 47 either were or weren’t (they couldn’t tell…ie mathematical reasonable doubt) and 5 were “clearly” child porn. Those 5 images were for every substantive and moral viewpoint, the same as the other 195. So even someone who didn’t try to break the law gets lifetime registration (it was 10 years when I was convicted, but they changed it to life WHILE I WAS IN PRISON (they can do this because they claim that registration isn’t punitive (so double jeopardy doesn’t apply)…let’s not even talk about the gulag system that is civil commitment. THEN, they put me on lifetime parole (because during the 2 years I possessed the images, there were 6 months that Kansas changed the parole time from 2 years to life. Luckily, I got that reversed again (after I was falsely on parole for 11 months that I shouldn’t have been). People, there are so many injustices, it’s not even funny.

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