Friday, July 25, 2014

You Might Feel Like Scum, But at Least You're Not as Bad as King David

Just finished reading a moving piece of writing by a friend of mine. She is married to a former sex offender, and she wrote about the network of support that surrounds her family. She is fortunate (and enterprising) enough to have lots of people in her life who know about forgiveness and practice compassion.

Of this group, she wrote that it does not view her husband as a terrible person, but as a very good person who committed a terrible act.

That put me in mind of David (the one in the Old Testament). We regard King David with reverence. David. You know David. The guy who was so intent upon sleeping with another man's wife that he arranged things so that her husband would be killed.


Our King David, driven by lust, basically committed murder to satisfy his lust.

Whenever I start to think I am the worst scum in the world for committing a sex crime, I remind myself that at least I'm not as bad as King David, the talented musician and songwriter who wrote the Psalms, slew Goliath and had a city named after him. 


The City of David. 

The Alpha Point on Earth for three great faiths.

Named for a sex-offender/murderer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Safe Space' Results: 12 'Yes,' 3 'No'

A total of 15 people responded to our "safe space" survey. We asked if you would or could use a place where you could meet others who are in similar circumstances and learn information about surviving life on Nebraska's public shaming website.

Twelve respondents said "yes" and three said "no" when asked if they would attend such a meeting.

Twelve respondents are registrants and three are family or friends of registrants. The 12 registrants are not the same 12 who said they would attend. Of those who said they would not attend a "safe space" meeting, two are registrants and one is family/friend.

The Nebraskans Unafraid (NU) team will review these results and the comments that were made and decide whether to move forward with the "safe space" initiative. We will let you know what we decide and why.

Our thanks to those who took the time to respond.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Residency Restrictions Lose Again

The Lompoc, California, City Council has approved a settlement with a registered citizen who filed suit against the city in April challenging loitering and residency restrictions. Full story.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Could -- or Would -- You Use a 'Safe Space'?

Could you and/or your family members use a "safe space"? Would you use it?

A theme that emerged in research by Lisa Sample, Ph.D., is that registered citizens and their family members need a "safe space" where they can simply talk freely about their situations. Many do not even trust therapists because of Nebraska's "mandatory reporting" law. That's the law that requires therapists to turn over to law enforcement some of their patients.

Nebraskans Unafraid is considering a plan to provide a venue for a "safe space" meeting where registrants and their families may meet and learn from others who are in similar circumstances. We are not sure how many people actually would take advantage of such a program. Our society's shunning of former offenders and their families engenders such shame that people simply are unwilling to reach out to others. To use a "safe space" meeting, you would have to overcome that shame. Do you think you could?

Please give us an answer by taking a minute (literally -- it's only four simple questions) to respond to our survey. Find the survey by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Step Toward Destroying the Mugshot Extortion Industry

Quick followup on the multimillion-dollar judgment against offendex:

The Unfounded Fear organization is gathering information and momentum against the mugshot extortion industry. You might want to follow the related blog, found by clicking here.

Based on Residency Restriction Decisions Elsewhere, When Will the Lawsuit Be Filed Against Omaha?

The June issue of our Ninety-Five% newsletter has been distributed. It features, among other things, the illegal Omaha residency restrictions on registered citizens. It is our hope that someone with the resources will challenge the Omaha restrictions in court. It's happening to good effect elsewhere.

The Crime Report, in a recently published article, shows how such residency restrictions increase danger to the public and trigger costly lawsuits in the jurisdictions where they are enacted.

Cited in the article is a Colorado case in which a registrant won a lawsuit against the restrictions. Here's an excerpt:
One finding in the Ryals’ case in Colorado case could resonate in other states.

The judge found compelling a 2009 white paper by Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board concluding that residency bans don’t lower recidivism and could actually increase the risk to the public. According to the paper, that’s because they drive offenders underground or toward homelessness, making them harder for police and probation officers to track.
We recommend the full article to lawmakers and policymakers who might be hoodwinked into considering residency restrictions. Read it here.

Mythbusting: Sexual Offending Rates Drop Despite Increased Reporting

MYTH #3: Rates of sexual offending are higher now than in past decades.

FACT: Lisa Sample, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Omaha expert on sexual offending, says the rates of sexual offending are going down, despite higher rates of reporting such offenses. And the advent of tough sex offender laws cannot be credited. Research shows that tougher laws often result in increased offense rates. Even mandatory reporting laws like the one in Nebraska make matters worse. Because professional therapists and others are required by law to "turn in" those who come to them for help, people at risk of committing sexual offenses do not seek out the professional help they need.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mythbusting: Residency Restrictions Are a Game of 'Let's Pretend' We're Protecting Children

You see them at Judiciary Committee hearings, city council sessions, certain school board meetings and other similar gatherings.

They want to ban sex offenders from parks, from libraries, from schools . . . from just about ANYWHERE. They're pretty self-righteous. They have these huge blind spots. And they really don't know much about the researched facts on sexual offending.

Where they manage to prevail and these restrictions are enacted into law, they think they've made the children safe. And that is a shame, because laws that restrict where registered citizens can sleep and where they can go do not protect anyone.

The pitiable myth (MYTH #2) is that sex crimes are committed in public places.

FACT: Lisa Sample, Ph.D., the criminology expert at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, says the vast majority of sex crimes are committed in residential homes. The national Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers says, "The research that has been completed does not support the hypothesis that sex offenders living in closer proximity to places where children congregate are more likely to reoffend."

So why are these restrictions on registered citizens so popular if they do not protect children or other victims?

It's simple: They make people who push for the restrictions feel better, and they make politicians who vote for the restrictions happy. That the restrictions just don't work as advertised makes little difference to these folk. Which leads us to ask the supporters of restrictions: Are you really concerned about public safety? Or do you prefer to go on pretending that you're concerned?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mythbusting: Your Own Family Poses a Greater Threat Than Some Stranger on the Sex Offender Registry

Lisa Sample, Ph.D., is a criminology professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a nationally recognized expert on sex offenders. She has conducted extensive research on registered citizens in Nebraska.

In an upcoming series of brief posts based upon Dr. Sample's work, we will explode some common myths about sex offending.

MYTH #1: Sex crimes are committed by strangers.

FACT: The overwhelming majority of sex crimes are committed by relatives or acquaintances. "Regarding sexual victimization, you are far more at risk from people you know, and in your own home" than you are from registered citizens, Dr. Sample says. The U.S. Department of Justice says that 34 percent of sex crimes committed against children are perpetrated by family members, 59 percent by acquaintances and 7 percent by strangers.

Retroactive Registration Found Unconstitutional in Maryland

From The Baltimore Sun:

One-fourth of the names on Maryland's sex offender registry could be removed after the state's top court expanded Monday on an earlier ruling that adding offenders from before the list was created violated the state constitution.

The Court of Appeals declared last year that the state could not require the registration of people who committed their crimes before October 1995, when the database was established. State officials removed the one name in question in that case but maintained that federal law required them to keep older cases in the database.
On Monday, the judges ruled in that case and another one that federal law doesn't override the state constitution. Read more