Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dallas Morning News on a Surviving and Thriving Registered Citizen

The Dallas Morning News has a good piece on a registered citizen who is surviving and thriving. Read it here.

REFUGEES USA: Probation Officers, Law Enforcement Have a License to Abuse

For your convenience in sharing our copyrighted series, REFUGEES USA: Families Destroyed by the Registry, we have assembled links to all seven parts of the series on one page. Click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Minnesota Incurs Millions of Dollars in Legal Costs; Misguided Sex-Offender Policies Partly to Blame

The Minnesota Department of Human Services budget has been gutted in part due to millions of dollars in legal costs incurred because of unconstitutional sex-offender laws.

Human Services is the state's largest agency, employing more than 6,000 and serving more than 1 million Minnesotans.

Here's an excerpt from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune story on the situation:
The belt-tightening became necessary to bring the agency back on fiscal track after it racked up more than $4 million in costs from litigation over the treatment of sex offenders and the alleged abuse of people with disabilities, among other costs.
Read the full story here.

REFUGEES USA: Never-Ending Collateral Damage



This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

Some readers will be moved to pass judgment on David and for his decisions. If you are among them, think about this: Here is a guy suffering from chemical addiction, which is as much a disease as cancer. What if, instead of imposing a lifetime of bashing for a terrible mistake when he was 18, we had somehow been able to help David get treatment for his addiction? Ask any recovering addict: Treatment and recovery will free you from fear and vastly improve your decision-making ability.

PART VII: Tears of Joy for a Six-Year Sentence

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
We were both writing desperate letters and just crossing our fingers that no matter what the judge gave him as far as prison time, that they would kill the lifetime probation, which very rarely happens.  In that state, once they get you, they won't let go.

His lawyer worked very hard and somehow, miraculously, David wound up with six years for cutting the bracelet, to run consecutively after two-and-a-half years for each failure to register (FTR) charge.  The FTR charges run concurrently.  (They charged him once for FTR for not giving notification he was moving, and a second charge for not getting an ID with an address).  He had multiple lifetime probations on the table, and the judge knocked them all off!!  Which had me in tears.  Which is pretty messed up.

He gets all that time (and three years standard probation for the drug charges), but I was crying tears of joy that my husband ONLY has to spend six more years in prison.

His parole date as of now is 10/26/2020, and his standard probation will end on our daughter's 10th birthday.  We were both ecstatic that the lifetime probation nightmare is over, but because we have dealt with this, are just waiting to see what other BS we will still have to deal with when he gets out. He will always be on the registry, because that state registers every former sex-offender for life.

So by the time this is said and done, my husband will be 40 and spent about half his life in prison for this.  He missed the birth of our first child because he was afraid of being arrested for not having an updated ID.

In addition, I watched my dad die a slow death in a nursing home without the support of my husband. In the course of events dealing with the nursing home, I discovered that an SO is not allowed to be a guardian, so if I ever find myself in the same position as my dad, my own husband will not be allowed to be named my guardian. It might be some stranger, as was the case with my dad for other reasons, and that didn't go well at all.  My dad died on July 7, 2014, and I didn't have my husband for that either.  All because of fear and the registry and how it destroys.  My daughter and I are absolutely collateral damage of the registry, and I will tell our story to whoever will listen, because this bullshit has got to end.

Recently, my husband called to tell me that he was told by the warden that because they have nowhere else to put him, they are moving him to the Special Management Unit (SMU), where he was nearly murdered in 2006. David already has panic attacks (and I believe PTSD from prison and things that happened in his life as a kid), and for them to want to put him back in a place he was almost murdered is astounding.

An inmate with the same last name as David was murdered in there. He was gutted and had his face bashed in. The next day, a corrections officer asked David for his lotto numbers and told him, "You should be pushing up daisies right now."

Aside from him almost being killed there, David’s victim's father also worked there at the time, and he might still, I don't know for sure.  I don't understand how the hell that isn't a conflict of interest. 

If David is moved to SMU, it will be six years of no-contact visits, and our 2-year-old daughter and I will only be able to see him through glass.

Friday, November 28, 2014

REFUGEES USA: Blatant Insanity, Courtesy of the PO

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

Some readers will be moved to pass judgment on David and for his decisions. If you are among them, think about this: Here is a guy suffering from chemical addiction, which is as much a disease as cancer. What if, instead of imposing a lifetime of bashing for a terrible mistake when he was 18, we had somehow been able to help David get treatment for his addiction? Ask any recovering addict: Treatment and recovery will free you from fear and vastly improve your decision-making ability.

PART VI: PO’s Order – Just Go Sleep in a Field

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
About that same time David was arrested in May 2013, I kept having to go to court for issues with the staff at my dad's nursing home, all without the support of my husband.

David was released -- again with lifetime probation -- in December 2013. The cycle of shady motels and periodic homelessness now was complicated by some additional restrictions from the PO.

David had a 6 p.m. curfew. His PO told him that she needed to be contacted if he had any contact with a minor.  She said that if he went into a store and there happened to be a minor there, he had to leave the store and call her. If she didn’t answer, he was supposed to wait 10 minutes and try again. If that's not blatant insanity . . .

We had pretty much burned all of our bridges for being down on our luck for such a long time. People were just tired of hearing it, not understanding how crazy the registry and restrictions can make you.  They probably were thinking all of our problems were just because of the choices we made. That is true to a point, but the restrictions add craziness. For instance, how are you supposed to never be in the same store as a minor?

By now, David was at least allowed to be around his sister, only because she was no longer a minor. Their relationship is severely strained because she was 5 years old when he first went to prison, and the brother that turned him in has told her several lies about David to amplify that strained relationship. 

After trying to jump through a ton of hoops for the PO, and our relationship hanging on by a thread, and me deciding I just couldn't do it anymore, David was unable to maintain a residence. He is almost completely blind, which makes it doubly difficult to find work. He was denied for disability and SSI based on his identity theft issue in 2008, and again in 2013. I’m not sure why he was denied the second time, because he was rearrested in March 2014 before he could appeal the denial of assistance and apply again.

This arrest stemmed from David’s homelessness, which was imposed in part by his PO. She would not let him live at my former mother-in-law’s address although it had been approved in 2010.  Now, suddenly, a school was too close because it could be seen from her yard.  David located another place to live but she refused to answer the phone to approve it. When she finally did call him back, she told him no, and that he had to go sleep in a field. That’s right – the PO ordered him to just go sleep outside, in a field, in a dangerous area. In that field, he was assaulted and robbed.

When he was arrested, he was hopeless, depressed, suicidal, alone, and I think wanted to be arrested.  He was charged with failure to register, drug possession, and with cutting off his ankle bracelet.  His court date was June 2014. His PO agreed VERBALLY with him and his lawyer that she didn't think he was a good candidate for probation, but in her report (which contradicted itself all over the place, and was so full of lies), she stated that she wanted him to be on probation.  She wanted to give him 13 years, and then leave it up to the judge if he still got the lifetime probation.

TOMORROW: Part VII – “Only” Six More Years

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November Newsletter Focuses on Gratitude, Mutual Support

The November issue of NINETY-FIVE%, our monthly newsletter for donors and friends, is arriving in mailboxes.

In keeping with the season, one article focuses on gratitude: It doesn't matter whether you are a registered citizen or not, you can find something for which to be grateful. Leaving behind the complaint-filled life frees us.

This issue also has a piece about spouses who are finding support by reaching out to one another.

If you would like to donate to help Nebraskans Unafraid continue its public education mission, click here.

REFUGEES USA: U.S. Marshals Bully a Mom and a Baby

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

Some readers will be moved to pass judgment on David and for his decisions. If you are among them, think about this: Here is a guy suffering from chemical addiction, which is as much a disease as cancer. What if, instead of imposing a lifetime of bashing for a terrible mistake when he was 18, we had somehow been able to help David get treatment for his addiction? Ask any recovering addict: Treatment and recovery will free you from fear and vastly improve your decision-making ability. 

PART V: Home Invasion by Law Enforcement

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
David at first was charged with domestic violence but the charge was dropped. Before it was dropped, David was told he could not have any contact with me or with our daughter.

David also was charged with failure to register (FTR), a misdemeanor in Nebraska, and he served 30 days in the Douglas County jail. When he completed that sentence, he was sent back to the state where it all began and where FTR is a Class 4 felony. He was incarcerated again and then released on that lifetime probation in October 2012.

David told authorities many times to just kill the probation and let him serve out his complete sentence because he didn’t think he would be successful on probation. But they kicked him loose, and soon he was “on the run” again. He went to another state to see his family – he had not seen them since his original incarceration in 1999.

Within a week, I had eight to 10 U.S. Marshals come to my house at 5:45 a.m. looking for him. Despite their attempts to bully and intimidate me, I just didn’t tell them anything. They tried telling me “they already knew” stuff, but I remained silent. One of them called our daughter David’s “next victim.”

It took everything in me to not scream at him and tell him to double-check his paperwork regarding my husband's charges.  They escorted me back to work after realizing and accepting David wasn't in my house and I wasn't telling them anything.

David and I were apart for months before we were reunited in Omaha. When David’s younger brother needed help, we bought his bus ticket up here to help him out. We also thought that it would help David to have some family nearby. That was a mistake.

David’s younger brother turned David in, and my husband was again arrested in May 2013, the day after our anniversary. David was held as a fugitive from justice, and again faced an FTR charge.

TOMORROW: Part VI -- Ordered to Sleep in an Open Field

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What If We Treated Cancer the Way We Do Mental Illness?

There is a reason why we call it mental illness. That is because it is an illness, just as much as cancer or pneumonia.

What if we thought that punishment was the proper way to deal with those who suffer from cancer?

We would lock them up. And when the symptoms of their illness got worse for lack of treatment, we would heap more punishment upon them, like solitary confinement for the lung cancer sufferers whose labored breathing is disruptive.

We know that sounds crazy. It is. But it is exactly the way the State of Nebraska deals with those who suffer mental illness. (Lincoln Journal Star coverage is here.)

We have to add that much sexual acting-out is symptomatic of mental illness. Thus a good number of sexual offenses are symptomatic of mental illness. This suggests that sexual offending is as much or more a public health problem than it is anything else.

But fear, ignorance and vengefulness trap us into treating it exclusively as a criminal problem.

And that means that all of the registries, websites and residency restriction laws in the world will do nothing to fix the problem.

REFUGEES USA: A Cruel PO Sows the Seeds of Fear

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

Some readers will be moved to pass judgment on David for his decisions. If you are among them, think about this: Here is a guy suffering from chemical addiction, which is as much a disease as cancer. What if, instead of imposing a lifetime of bashing for a terrible mistake when he was 18, we had somehow been able to help David get treatment for his addiction? Ask any recovering addict: Treatment and recovery will free you from fear and vastly improve your decision-making ability.

PART IV: A Daughter is Born

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
We called his PO (he had a surveillance officer and a probation officer at the time) to tell her we had to move into another seedy motel, one that was preapproved by parole and probation.  She came by to chew him out the next day for not giving her enough notice that we were moving, failing to realize (or care probably) that we were homeless otherwise.  In that hotel, we lived with more prostitutes, next to a crack dealer.

Also, in this neighborhood, I was propositioned multiple times while walking down the street, fully clothed, in broad daylight, because men assumed I was a hooker just for being a female walking there.  One of the men was disabled, so he didn't even say anything, but pointed to me and then pointed to his crotch.

I later saw that guy leaving a room in our hotel and I was frightened that he would see which room I was walking into.  We stayed in that motel for about a month, and then I got arrested on April 22, 2011 for a DUI-drugs.  Not my greatest decision, but David was in the car when we got pulled over and his ID didn't have his correct address on it because we had to move so often.

David wasn't able to come with me to my court date, because he was afraid he would be arrested.  I did have someone come up to me and ask if I had seen someone else, and kept saying are you sure.  I don't know if he mixed up his cases or was just trying to read me.  I did wander around for a while just in case I was being followed, and then back to our next seedy motel, where we heard a helicopter hovering looking for another wanted man, but both of our hearts stopped to hear that, thinking they were coming for David.

There was another instance where cops busted out the window in the room two doors down from ours.  We moved to a neighboring state just so David could get some relief from the constant fear. David has always said there was an opposite dynamic with the two of us. When he was on the run, he felt free, but I felt constantly worried, thinking we were always going to have to look over our shoulders. When he was abiding by the law, I felt safe, and he felt worried that probation was going to come take him away at any time, for anything.

We spent one Christmas in a motel, and I remember just being happy to be able to spend Christmas together, even though my mom was angry at me for not going to dinner at her sister's house.  (David wasn't invited).

David’s unending fear drove him to bounce around to several states before he ended up in a sleeping room in Omaha. I soon joined him and, in 2011, we got pregnant. I did not want to raise a child in the kinds of places we were staying, and we were able to find a house. David was very sweet and supportive, but he could not shake all of the horror stories about ridiculous laws that his PO told him when we got married.

She told him that he would be prohibited from changing diapers when we had kids, that he was not allowed to go to Disney movies, and that they would be able to come in our house like flipping Nazis whenever they felt like.  After our daughter was born, she also told David that it was selfish of him to have a kid because he had a lifetime responsibility to probation!

Her callous attitude planted fear in David’s heart. And mine.

Our daughter was born in March 2012, but David was so terrified of being arrested that he did not come to the hospital. He had come with me to doctor appointments before she was born, but both of us constantly feared for him.

Less than a month after our daughter was born, David and I – new parents with frayed nerves -- got into a fight on the front steps of the house. The neighbors called the police, saying it was domestic violence. No domestic violence charge was ever pursued, because it wasn’t violence – it was an argument.

But when the cops showed up, David flipped out. He jumped out of a second-floor window, broke his ankle, was arrested and booked into the Douglas County Jail.

TOMORROW: Part V -- A Home Invasion by Law Enforcement

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

REFUGEES USA: Seedy Motels, Drugs, Constant Fear and Flight

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

PART III: On the Run

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
We lived in David’s uncle's trailer for a couple of months, which was one of the most depressing places I've ever lived.  His uncle was a meth dealer, and people would come to the trailer at all times of day, and there was always fear of cops coming, or listening, or doing something.

We lived in the dining room area, with a sheet to separate our space off from the rest of the house.  After two months there, we moved in with his mom for a couple of weeks.  While at his mom's house, I finally found a decent job and we found out I was pregnant.  After I got the job, we moved into yet another seedy motel in a crappy area, and lived there for a few weeks, until I had a miscarriage, and subsequently got fired from my job.

David came to the hospital with me when I was having the miscarriage, but he started having panic attacks just seeing security guards, thinking they were cops, so he had to leave.  We were stressing about how to pay our rent. In part because an SO on the run doesn't exactly have any job leads, David was going to try to sell meth to keep a roof over our heads.  Something I almost never would have agreed to, but when you are desperate, you will agree to some things.

Someone wound up cutting the meth, and we lost all of the money we put into it. So over five days, we lost my job, our first baby, every last dime we had, and my best friend stopped talking to me. I found out later it was because she "didn't agree with the choices I was making."  We wound up having my mom wire us money to take a Greyhound to Omaha, where we lived with her for a couple of weeks, and then found an apartment.

We had to move out of that place after a short while, and we went back to my mom's house for about a week. Then she said David couldn't stay anymore, so he took a bus to his brother's house in another state.  We are pretty sure his brother turned him in.

David was arrested. He called me from jail, freaking out, thinking I was going to leave him and not wait any longer.  We knew he only had the nine months left to serve on the original offense, but we also were expecting a failure to register (FTR) charge. We had no idea how much time that could carry.

David was returned to the state where it all started, and I moved back there in March 2010. He was sent back to prison for violating his parole. We were married in a visitation room in May 2010.  Neither of us wanted to get married in there. One of the morbid reasons I chose to do it that way, is because people were trying to kill him in prison, and I wanted to have the legal right to tell the state that they would not bury my husband in a prison cemetery.

We got about 45 minutes of a visit after we got married (they extended it, as it was only supposed to be 20 minutes), and had our wedding cake out of a vending machine, and I went to work that night.  I remember going to visit the next day, and one of the guards said, “Good morning, Mrs. _______ . How's married life?" 

And I said "not much different, he's still in here."  Ha ha.

They were all actually pretty nice and respectful at that prison.  They let him serve his last nine months before bringing him back to county jail to charge him with the FTR.  The prosecutor offered a plea bargain of no prison time with lifetime probation, and, against the advice of every other inmate, and his wife, he signed it so he could get out. I picked him up in October 2010 and we moved into another seedy motel.  We darted from motel to motel based on financial issues and how close we could find super cheap food that we didn't need to refrigerate.

We found an apartment in a neighborhood full of crackheads (one tried to break in our window at 4 a.m. once), and prostitutes.  We were evicted from that apartment because they thought our room wasn’t being kept clean. It was cluttered because of the lifestyle we were forced into. It was not dirty.
David didn't understand why, if we were paying rent, they had any reason to come check up on us.  They somewhat operated like a prison (from what David told me), and it was predominantly SO's at that complex. 


We wound up moving in with my former mother in law (who has actually been one of the MOST supportive people in this, overall).  We lived with her for a few weeks. But when her daughter planned to come visit from another state, she kicked us out. We had nowhere else to go. My ex mother-in-law didn’t want her daughter to be upset about David living there.

TOMORROW: Part IV -- A Daughter Is Born

Monday, November 24, 2014

NebraskaFACTS Blog Surpasses 10,000 Page Views

Within the last few hours, page views on this blog surpassed 10,000. That total does not include the views for the previous (Constitutional Defense) version of our blog.

We are grateful for you, readers. You are making a difference.

REFUGEES USA: Forced Into Homelessness

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

PART II: Where to Live? 

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
We wound up moving to another seedy pay-by-the week motel in an unsafe industrial area, near about five strip clubs. We stayed there for a couple months, and when our things kept getting stolen, we managed to find another apartment. That apartment was actually pretty good.  Although it was in a gang neighborhood, we didn't have too many problems there.

Although when we were searching for apartments, we found another one that was perfect, the landlord was super awesome about the whole situation, and we would've probably gotten that apartment, but it was a duplex, and the tenant on the other side had lived there for a while, so the landlord wanted us to tell her about David's situation, just so she was aware.

When David explained to her that it was consensual sex with his underage girlfriend (the story he chooses, as it sounds slightly better than threesome when discussing such a personal issue with a complete stranger.)  She was pretty closed off, asked David for his DOC #, and very rudely said, "well I'm gonna look you up, and it better match up with what you're telling me."

We didn't rent that apartment, but the one we did rent was a four-plex and the landlord made David go to each door and explain again.  One wasn't home, one was pretty nonchalant about it, and the third was kind of nervous, but didn't seem super worried, and we had no problems when we lived there.

My husband has suffered from chemical dependency issues for his entire life, and his addiction has never been treated. His PO always was more interested in getting him treated for his SO status, not in addressing the drug problem. The addiction is not the result of the registry, but being on the registry does not help someone with chemical dependency.

In addition, David has chronic back pain. He found that smoking weed eased his pain – not an excuse, just the reality. Because good medical care does not exist in prison, his addiction issues never have been addressed. They always seemed to take a backseat to the SO issues. David smoked weed while on parole and failed to show up for an appointment with his parole officer. Frightened that he would be sent back to prison to serve the nine months remaining on his sentence, he fled to another state, where one of his cousins lived.

This was just 10 days before we were supposed to get married.

Soon I made plans to join David. While I was packing up some things in my apartment, I found paperwork from David's grandma that she had somehow acquired. It was paperwork from David's "victim" with contradicting statements.  I had a friend come to pick me up to take one of our cats to the shelter, and when we came back, the landlord had thrown all of those papers out and was in the process of throwing everything else left in the trash, because I was 10 minutes later than she expected me.

The night I got to his cousin's house, one of her friends was told that David was an SO, so we were nervous from that point on that they would turn him in.  We originally had a deal for the amount of rent, but the longer we stayed there, the more it went up, and we kept somehow paying it because we had nowhere else to go. 

One morning, David woke up and reached in his jeans pocket to get his weed, and instead pulled out a piece of paper with this written on it: “Smoke this in prison, bitch.” The weed had been stolen.  We left the next day, on a bus back to the state where he was originally incarcerated. We had no other choice but to prevail upon family members there.

TOMORROW: Part III -- On the Run

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune Shows Integrity, Courage in Corrections Reform Debate

The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah has a great op-ed piece pointing out that corrections reform advocates are (in typical cowardly fashion) paying no attention to the fact that it is stupid to fatten sex-offender websites and cram more non-dangerous people into our prisons.

Points made about Utah apply to Nebraska as well, where the subject of our current REFUGEES USA series is being held on a technicality in prison, away from his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

Here is an excerpt from The Tribune:
Contrary to popular belief, research shows that repeat offenses are less common among people convicted of sex offenses than for those convicted of other crimes. However, we still treat all types of sex offenders as if they will re-offend as soon as they can, regardless of intervention. Operating the system this way results in low-risk offenders consuming limited correction resources, while dangerous offenders get far less correctional attention than we would be wise to provide. It doesn’t help that the State Legislature has not increased funding for prison and community-based treatment for this population since 1996.
Full Salt Lake Tribune op-ed.

REFUGEES USA: Consensual Sex at a New Year's Eve Party a Decade Ago

This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.

PART ONE: Teen-age Sex

Copyright © 2014 Nebraskans Unafraid :: All rights reserved
My husband, David, was an 18-year-old at a New Year’s Party on 12/31/98.  (Offense date is listed as 01/01/99).  He was at a party thrown by his girlfriend’s parents, who supplied all the alcohol for underage teens to consume.  During the course of the evening, he wound up having consensual sex with his girlfriend and her underage sister.

He had a kid with the older girl, and had lived in their house to help raise his son (a son he hasn't seen since his arrest in 1999).  The younger girl did get pregnant from that night, and David stayed with that family for five months after the New Year’s Party, and got in a fight with her dad one day, and in the heat of that fight, told the dad that David was the father of the baby.  They had previously told him it was someone else.  Anyway, the dad turned David in to the state (not Nebraska) for those charges, and although the dad dropped them later, the state still charged him.

He was arrested in October 1999, convicted of having sex with a minor, and sentenced to prison.

In June of 2008, he was released on parole and incredibly hopeful he would be able to start his life again.  The first week he got out, I broke my lease because the apartment complex I was living in would not allow SOs.  (Although my neighbor at the time stabbed someone and had the cops called to his apartment multiple times, he was allowed to stay.)

We moved into the first of many seedy hotels we would be forced to stay in because of the SO label.  It was in an area not known to be safe.  After staying there about a week, we were able to find an apartment. His parole officer looked up the address on the computer and approved it as he did not see any parks, schools, or daycares nearby.

We lived in that apartment for 2 months, until one day, the parole officer finally came to check it out. He discovered that there was a home daycare that was 4 feet inside the permissible distance and we were given 48 hours to move. The parole officer kept saying, “It’s not a big deal. Just move.” The PO obviously had no experience with a registered citizen trying to find a place to live.

A clergyman at the church where David’s mother belonged helped us out with some moving costs. This man had been willing to give David a job as he was upfront with his background. David was, but the clergyman came to our house one day, basically accusing David of lying about all of his charges.

We discovered that David had about five charges under his name, out of Nebraska, strangely enough, with offense dates from when he in prison, so there was no way he could have possibly done them.  They were the result of identity theft, committed by someone using David’s stolen identity. There were cocaine trafficking charges, a transportation violation, and multiple assault charges, and when we went to get help for identity theft, we were just given the run around, and never did get help for any of it.  David called the cops to report it, and they came to our house when I was at work, and David said they pretty much acted like it didn't really matter, probably because he was an SO.


The cops simply refused to fill out a report, and we were left homeless.

TOMORROW: Part II -- Forced Homelessness

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Starting Tomorrow: REFUGEES USA -- Families Destroyed by the Registry

Beginning Sunday, November 23, the NebraskaFACTS blog will begin posting a seven-part series that is a first-person account by the wife of a registered citizen who is incarcerated. More than 10 years ago, when her husband was 18, he had consensual sex with his girlfriend and as a result ended up on the sex offender registry. Now married and the father of a 2-year-old daughter with his wife, this man likely will not be free until his daughter is 10 years old. That is not because of any new sexual offense, but because he was in technical violation of convoluted registration laws. His wife and daughter are refugees in Nebraska, surviving despite a political / law enforcement / criminal justice system that is designed to expose them to public hatred and destroy them. Theirs is one among many similar stories.

The story pulls no punches and makes no excuses – the couple accepts responsibility for their poor decisions. The story also lays bare the destructive conduct of parole and probation officers, law enforcement and others who believe sex-offender laws give them license to destroy more lives. The story asks: “How much longer can we afford sex-offender laws that force people out of homes, make it impossible for them to find work, and provide no protection to our children?”


Refugees USA: Families Destroyed by the Registry begins Sunday, November 23.

Friday, November 21, 2014

She'll Care When You Care

Here is another thoughtful post courtesy of Notes from the Handbasket:

She tells us, "I'll care when you care."

Kate Mest, at Living as a Spouse of an Inmate, talks about current controversies about civil rights -- how to protect citizens from Ebola without violating their right to travel freely, and how to prevent gun deaths without infringing on our Second Amendment right to carry guns.
Do I care that the federal government is stripping away civil rights when it may be prohibiting travelers from entering or leaving our country? ... 
Should I care that the government wants to limit the number of firearms we can carry or possess, or put restrictions on the type of gun and ammunition that can be used? ...
Well, to all you out there screaming right now about the government in your lives, I tell you that I will care about what the government is doing with your civil rights when you wake up and care that right now, today, in this country, our government can legally tell people where they can and cannot live. They can tell people they have to move, or that they can not buy or rent a home in certain places. Never mind the freedom to travel between countries in your free time or to own a small armory in your home, lets talk about the basic right to a place to call home.
When the general population starts to care that the government can regulate where those labeled sex offenders can live, then I will start to care about all those other rights that everyone is so outraged over. The basic right to have a home trumps the freedom to travel in my leisure time or stockpile weapons. [We are t]rying to sell our home because the government says my husband cannot live there because he could look out our windows and see the park.
That is what residency restrictions are all about for registered sex offenders: being told where they cannot live. For a family who wants to live under one roof with a registered citizen, this can mean selling their house and moving to a new neighborhood. Not because they want to sell the house or because the new neighborhood has better schools or is closer to Grandma and Target -- but because residency restrictions force them.

In some areas where real estate is very expensive, it makes more sense for the registrant to be homeless and leave the family to live in the home that they own than to commit certain financial folly by selling the house. 

Other families are stuck paying for two residences -- one where the family can live and one for the registrant -- and sometimes on a single income because the registrant has trouble finding employment.

Residency restrictions are not effective and often make things worse, according to the Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers:
There is no research to support that adult sex offenders’ proximity to schools or parks leads to recidivism. Researchers from the Minnesota Department of Corrections found that not one of 224 recidivistic adult sex offenses would have been prevented by a residential restriction law. In Florida, researchers found that the distance adult sex offenders lived from schools and daycares was not associated with recidivism; recidivists did not live closer to schools and daycares than nonrecidivists (Zandbergen, Hart, & Levenson, 2010). The bottom line is that adult sex offenders do not molest children because they live near schools. Typically they abuse when they are able to establish relationships with children and their families and misuse positions of familiarity, trust, and authority. According to the Justice Department, 93% of sexually abused children are molested by family members, close friends or acquaintances. Children are most likely to be assaulted by people they know, not strangers lurking in schoolyards. Thus, residence restrictions do little to prevent the most common situations in which children are likely to be harmed. 
No wonder Kate Mest is angry. She is being pushed into selling their home in order to keep the family together...and all due to laws that don't accomplish their purpose. Residency restrictions make no one safer.
Research shows that sex offender residence restrictions increase transience, homelessness, and instability. These laws interfere with effective tracking, monitoring, and close probationary supervision, undermining the very purpose of registries. Research also shows that housing instability increases both absconding and criminal recidivism. Residence restrictions are simply not a feasible strategy for preventing child sexual abuse. In fact, across the nation law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and victim advocacy groups have issued public position statements opposing residence restrictions. Laws that foster instability for offenders are not likely to be in the best interest of public safety. [My emphasis.]
Residency restrictions are violations of our constitutional rights. Yes. Those convicted of sex offenses have the right to live where they choose, just as those convicted of assault with a deadly weapon or those convicted of manslaughter can live where they choose. They have the right to live with their families and families have the right to welcome sex offenders back home.

No wonder she's angry. She'll care when you do.

Another (Simpler) Way to Get the 'What You Don't Know . . . ' Brochure

If you don't want to sign up for an ISSUU account, you may find a PDF of the brochure What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should from SOSEN by clicking here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washington Post on Court Victory / Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Horrific Confinement Program

A post at The Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy reinforces a point we made yesterday about the 9th Circuit's ruling against California's attempt to criminalize the internet for registered offenders: Rulings like this one will protect the free anonymous speech of the next group targeted by politicians' fear-mongering.

Here's an excerpt from the post:
Convicted sex offenders are probably one of a very small number of groups that are even more despised than the Jehovah’s Witnesses were in the Thirties and Forties, and they have consequently been singled out for very harsh treatment in the law.  Fighting back, they’re helping to make some good First Amendment precedent, and when the government starts cracking down on other speech by other speakers, or attempting to restrict our ability to use anonymizing tools in our Internet communications – as it will –  we’ll be grateful to them for having done so.
The Volokh Conspiracy: Sex Offenders on the Front Lines Protecting 1st Amendment

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, meanwhile, reports on an expert panel that rips that state's program of long-term confinement of registered citizens. A lawsuit challenging the medieval program, which amounts to a life sentence, is set to begin in federal court in St. Paul next month.

Here's an excerpt from the Star-Tribune story:
A team of court-appointed authorities on sexual behavior, including experts from Florida, New York and Wisconsin, conducted what is considered the most comprehensive review yet into the inner workings of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP). Their 108-page report paints a bleak picture of a program that creates unnecessary obstacles to treatment, sets unrealistic expectations for patient behavior, and leaves both patients and staff beset with feelings of futility.
Expert Report Blasts Confinement of Former Sex Offenders

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New York Times on Counsel for the Accused on Campus

Colleges and universities, in their zeal to extinguish sexual assault on campus, have given rise to a novel legal specialty: Counsel for the accused.

There is nothing defensible about sexual assault. And although counsel for the accused might not seem like a novel idea, it is in these cases.

The unpleasant reality remains that anyone is free to accuse anyone of anything. When the accusation is sexual in nature, many in our society do not wait to hear the facts. Once you are accused of a sexual violation of any kind, by any one, life as you know it is over. Because of an accusation.

The New York Times has a fascinating piece about the attorneys who insist that laws that apply to women and victims also should apply to men and the accused. Read it here.


9th Circuit Court Rules Against California's Attempt to Criminalize Internet Use by Registered Citizens

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the State of California's attempt to criminalize internet use by registered citizens.

The ruling issued Tuesday, November 18, 2014, affirms an earlier district court ruling in Doe v. Harris, a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 2012.

Full Opinion and Related Documents

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf about two years ago stopped Nebraska from attempting to criminalize internet use.  Kopf pulled no punches in expressing his disdain for what the Nebraska Legislature did.

Judge Kopf's 2012 Ruling

Our era is reminiscent of the McCarthyism of the 1950s, with the objects of politician-whipped fear not Communists but registered citizens. Even the politicians who know their facts are wrong are cowards when it comes to standing up and correcting the abuses that are built into registry laws.

Courageous court decisions like the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and that handed down by Kopf remain rare but they are to be noted with hope and optimism. That applies to registered citizens and their loved ones as well as anyone else who one day might find herself or himself labeled "dangerous" and unpopular. That means just about everyone.

"We're pleased the court recognized important First Amendment principles of free and anonymous speech apply to everyone, regardless of what crimes they may have committed in the past," EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury said. "While the law may be well-intentioned, its broad language opened the door for the government to chill free speech. Restrictions targeting sex offenders are often a stepping stone for the expansion of law enforcement power against other classes of unpopular people."

Lawmakers Have an Opportunity to Correct Errors and Weaknesses in Sex Offender Statutes

To the surprise of researchers, the State of Nebraska has written into its law an outdated and wrong opinion.

The incorrect opinion is that all registered citizens are dangerous. University of Nebraska-Omaha researcher Ryan Spohn, Ph.D., in an interview with Nebraskans Unafraid, said "I was struck by what I saw as an opinion being codified into Nebraska state law. That and the fact that it flies in the face of basically every research study to come out over the last 10 years. I just found it odd when I read it and I don't think it's appropriate to have opinion codified like that."

Interview with Ryan Spohn

Nebraska lawmakers now have an opportunity to correct this and other weaknesses in state laws regarding registered citizens. The just released Performance Audit Committee report on disciplinary process, programs and commitment processes makes recommendations to review and change systems of evaluating potential danger to the community as well as community notification processes.

Several of the report's recommendations reference the state's law regarding former sex offenders. For example:
The Legislature should take a closer look at the definitions of “mentally ill and dangerous” and “dangerous sex offender” to ensure that differences between the two statutes are intentional and desired.
Full Performance Audit Committee Report

Additional reforms are needed, especially in light of research that shows Nebraska's current law on registered citizens increases danger to the community. A state-sanctioned hatred website such as that run by the Nebraska State Patrol creates unemployment, homelessness, destroys families and increases the likelihood of re-offense. At the very least, the website should include only those shown to be dangerous through a rigorous scientific method. And even then, questions remain about the efficacy of the public-shaming hate site.

Documenting the Harm Done by the Nebraska Public-Hatred Website

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One Word for Nebraska Department of Corrections Data: UNRELIABLE

Nebraska legislative auditors charged with looking into the state's Department of Corrections mess are having a difficult time because . . . well . . . because of the mess.

The auditors say data from the department are unreliable. We are not surprised. Unreliable information plagues many segments of the Nebraska law enforcement and criminal justice system, and the corrections mess is just one more example.

The public-shaming website that exposes registered citizens to state-sanctioned hatred also is unreliable in several respects: It erroneously says everyone on the site is dangerous, which scientific research has shown to be untrue. Nebraskans Unafraid also has documented cases where information on the website is wrong, not because registered citizens reported wrong information but because law enforcement messed it up while entering it into the system.

Bottom line: Anyone looking at the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website should keep one word uppermost in mind: UNRELIABLE.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Be FEARLESS Tonight: You Are Not Alone

FEARLESS is here to demonstrate that it is possible to survive and thrive, even if you and your family are the targets of Nebraska's state-sanctioned hate website. FEARLESS is here because YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and you should know that.

FEARLESS meets tonight. Join us. Bring along someone else who needs to know that this network exists. Discussion topic tonight is Dealing With Anger.

FEARLESS starts at 7 p.m. at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot located on the east side of the building. Come in through the east entrance, which is just off that lot. We hope you will join us, and we hope you will bring with you someone else who would benefit from being part of our network. FEARLESS is exclusively for registered citizens and family members or friends who wish to accompany them to our meeting. We do not permit law enforcement, therapists, probation/parole officers or other representatives of the sex-offender industry to attend.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to Download 'What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should'

To download the brochure What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, create your own free ISSUU account, open this link,  select "Share" from the links at the bottom of the screen, then select "Download."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

'Bash the Sex Offender" a Failing Election Tactic in Missouri, Too

Nebraska is not the only state where a political candidate went down in flames after playing the "bash sex offender" card.

In Missouri, where mostly Republicans won (like everywhere else), Democrat Jill Schupp defeated her State Senate opponent, Republican Jay Ashcroft. Prior to the November 4 election, Ashcroft ran ads that attempted to portray Schupp as "siding with predators."

The voters elected Schupp, despite Ashcroft's famous last name and that scummy advertising tactic.

In Nebraska, Republican Lee Terry's campaign featured ads that accused his opponent, Democrat Brad Ashford, of being soft on crime and sex offenders. The voters booted Terry from an office he had held for 16 years.

Many former offenders vote, and many have family members and friends. They all have long memories, and they take note when a fear-mongering politician babbles her/his lies about sex offenders.

Friday, November 14, 2014

U.K. Park Looks at Single Adults and Sees Pedophiles

Irrational hysteria over sex offenders does not stop at the borders of Nebraska or even the USA.

In the U.K., Puxton Park will not admit any unaccompanied individual men or women for fear that a pedophile might get in. That's a bit like cooking up a big pot of soup and then tossing it all out for fear (not proof) there's a fly in it. This demonstrates how incredibly out of whack things can get when all sexual offenders are confused erroneously with pedophiles.

Here are the FACTS about pedophilia: There are specific diagnostic criteria for pedophilia, which is a sexual interest in prepubescent children. The Annual Review of Clinical Psychology says that among all sexual offenders, only a very few -- under 5 percent -- are pedophiles. Of offenders whose victims are children, fully one-half do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia and are least likely to reoffend.

More information:

Puxton Park insanity

Daily Beast on what science says

Journalism Center on Children and Families

John Walsh Himself Says Tracking Every Registered Citizen Is a Broken System

FACT: What does John Walsh, father of Adam Walsh, have to say about minutely tracking each and every registered citizen? 
The system is broken. It's overwhelmed and I think the public is starting to realize that. You can't paint sex offenders with a broad brush. -- John Walsh
This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

FEARLESS: Transform Your Anger Into Thriving and Surviving



You committed your offense years ago. Took responsibility. Served a prison term or completed probation. Paid your fines. Took care of restitution. You are trying to rebuild your life when Nebraska politicians pass a law that heaps new punishments upon you and your family. You are driven from your home, fired from your job, barred from participating in your kids' school life, kicked out of your church and severed from your family.

Of course you are angry. Your spouse, your kids, your friends and family are angry. Nothing wrong with being angry. Anger is a neutral fact. What you do with it is not.

What you do with your anger is of paramount importance. It is possible to deal with anger in a constructive way. Or you can deal with it destructively. It is possible that how you deal with your anger will either strengthen or destroy your family.

If any of this resonates with you, and you want to connect with others who have been where you are, who have walked the difficult path you now walk, FEARLESS is for you.

Discussion topic for our Monday, November 17 meeting is Dealing With Anger.

FEARLESS starts at 7 p.m. at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot located on the east side of the building. Come in through the east entrance, which is just off that lot. We hope you will join us, and we hope you will bring with you someone else who would benefit from being part of our network. FEARLESS is exclusively for registered citizens and family members or friends who wish to accompany them to our meeting. We do not permit law enforcement, therapists, probation/parole officers or other representatives of the sex-offender industry to attend.

Patty Wetterling Herself Says Naming and Shaming Will Not Protect Kids From 'Real Threats'

FACT: What does Patty Wetterling, mother of Jacob Wetterling, have to say about public shaming of registered citizens? 
I'm worried that we're focusing so much energy in naming and shaming convicted sex offenders that we're not doing as much as we should to protect our children from other real threats. -- Patty Wetterling
This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Do You Really Think You Are Protecting Your Children?

FACT: Do you think you are protecting your children? What are the chances your child will be abducted and killed by a registered citizen? By comparison, your child is:

  • 1,400 percent more likely to hang him/herself;
  • 1,500 percent more likely to shoot him/herself;
  • 15,300 percent more likely to be killed in an auto accident (of children killed in auto accidents, 68 percent were in vehicles driven by drunken drivers).

This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quantifying the Sex-Offender Industry: Throwing More People Into Prison Proves Massively Profitable

Quantifying the sex-offender industry: Among those who favor ever-more-harsh laws that fatten up sex-offender registries are private prison corporations.

Throwing more people into prison means big bucks for these companies. Recent quarterly earnings reports from two private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, reveal the staggeringly huge stakes these companies have in criminalizing all kinds of things.

CCA beat earnings expectations and its stock soared to a 52-week high before falling back a bit. GEO Group also beat earnings expectations and its stock reached a 52-week high on Friday. [Earnings call transcripts for CCA and GEO].

'Tyrant's Foe' Is a Registered Citizen

The latest "Tyrant's Foe" profiled in the Texas Observer is a registered citizen.

You think sex-offender laws are not tyranny? You think they just protect the public? Think again.

Cali Sex Offenders Management Board: Residency Restrictions Do Not Protect Anyone

FACT: The California Sex Offenders Management Board reports that there is no evidence anywhere that restricting where registered citizens can live will protect children.

This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Have You Seen the Movie Where They Persecute the 'Sense Offenders'?



Sometimes I'm late to the game. Just saw the 2002 movie Equilibrium. It received some deservedly awful reviews when it came out, and that's probably why I had not bothered with it until now. But anyone who has even a vague interest in the topics covered in this blog should see it. Here's what recommends it:
  • It is set in a dystopian future state called Libria, where a false sense of security is forced upon the populace with a drug. (Like we do with things like residency restriction laws and public shaming websites).
  • In Libria, "sense offenders" are feared, hunted down and destroyed. (Do I need to point out what "sense offender" sounds like? Even when they say it in the movie, it's like hearing those we know who blather about sex offenders).
  • It's got Christian Bale, who's cool.
  • In this movie, persecuting "sense offenders" is a bad thing and (spoiler alert!) the persecutors get exactly what they deserve in the end.
I'm not the only person to make the connections I make about this movie. Here's a paragraph from an Australian review of Equilibrium:
On the surface, Equilibrium may seem to to be a far stretch, but there are many authoritative regimes throughout the world, who will do anything to maintain control. What I like about this movie, it gives me a sense of what it is like to live in a country such as North Korea or Singapore. Meanwhile in western countries, there is a crack down on terrorists and sex offenders.
And this from a reviewer here in the U.S.:
Christian Bale plays one of the lead clerics of the theocracy, charged with enforcing the law and executing “sense offenders” (which seems to be a play on the term “sex offenders”).
If you've already seen it and you cannot believe it's taken me 12 years, my apologies. If you have not seen it, it is streaming right now on Netflix. You'll enjoy it.

Dancing for Votes on the Graves of Lost Children

The slimy politicians' trick of naming a law after a crime victim reached low points with "Jacob's Law" and the "Adam Walsh Act."

It is horrible for a parent to lose a child, especially in the ways that Patty Wetterling (mother of Jacob) and John Walsh (father of Adam) lost their children.

But the memory of those kids is not honored by the politicians who danced for votes on their graves by naming sex-offender registry laws after them. And now, even Patty Wetterling and John Walsh denounce what our sex-offender laws have become.

Take some time to educate yourself and others with this fine series from Slate.

Put In Residency Restrictions and Make Your Town More Dangerous

FACT: The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles reports that there is a 25 percent increase in the likelihood of reoffense every time a registered citizen is forced to move.

This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Stick With the FACTS: Free Downloadable Brochure Now Available

FACT: The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that registered citizens have the lowest reoffense rates, 5 percent or less. The rate for registered citizens is lower than that for people convicted of domestic violence, battery, drug offenses, theft, robbery, DUI and assault.

This and other FACTS are included in a downloadable brochure, What You Don't Know About Sex Offenders But Should, provided by SOSEN. Get the brochure here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Humor: Nebraska Politicians Propose Sex-Offender Amendments to the Bible

They're not clear on exactly how they intend to make it happen, but some Nebraska politicians are proposing amendments to the Bible.

We have obtained a copy of some of the proposed changes, which still are in draft form. The politicians are reviewing them to see if they can be made even more harsh.

Here are four of the Nebraska politicians' proposed Biblical amendments (current wording in black, proposed amendment in red):

MARK 11:25

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him (unless he's a sex offender), so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. If he's a sex offender, well, never mind.

EPHESIANS 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other -- except for you sex offenders -- just as in Christ God forgave you, unless you're a sex offender.

MATTHEW 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Then Peter asked, "But what if he's a sex offender?" Jesus answered: "Ummmm, not so much."

CORINTHIANS 2:5-8

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Except for sex offenders, who deserve to be overwhelmed by any pain you can inflict.

Do We Need a Crusade to Rein in Rogue P.O.'s? Yes, We Do

Recently we heard the latest in a long line of stories from registered citizens and their loved ones about the unnecessary damage inflicted by rogue probation and parole officers.

In our society at large, we have decided that it's OK to do anything and everything, including murder, registered citizens. That is why there is so little supervision of those who supervise registered citizens.

We have heard of and personally experienced probation and parole officers who, for their own twisted reasons, feel free to impose devastating family-destroying restrictions on registered citizens. Many of these stories are documented in an ongoing research study that is being conducted at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. (See more info on that here).

We'd like to publish some of your anecdotes here. To prime the pump, here's mine (mild by comparison to what I've heard, but instructive):
When I was on probation, my officer heard second-hand about something favorable someone had said about me in the community. The officer thought that the comment had been prompted by wife. The officer took it upon herself to attempt to restrict what my wife had to say.
I read and re-read in my probation order. It had 11 specific requirements. Nowhere was there any reference to my wife (or anyone else) giving up her free-speech rights. Later, when the P.O. somehow got the idea that she could edit my blog posts, I had to remind her that editing my blog was above her pay grade. The P.O. is there to see to it that the probation requirements required by the court are met. No more. No less.
Some day, perhaps when my book is published, I will relate some of my jaw-dropping experiences in the court-ordered "treatment" program that I successfully completed.

Do we need a crusade to ensure that we have competent, responsible P.O.'s? Perhaps. Share your story with us by email, or contact UNO to make an appointment to participate in the research project. If you already have been interviewed for the research, never hesitate to contact UNO again to update your story.

Nebraska Supreme Court Breathes Some Life Into the Constitution

In upholding an "ex post facto" legal challenge by a former sex offender, the Nebraska Supreme Court is likely to stir some anger. But the high court should be applauded for upholding the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on adding new punishments for previously adjudicated crimes.

Why the anger? The person who won the ruling committed a horrendous crime -- a crime that should be (and has been) punished to the full extent of the law.

It is perfectly natural to feel anger about a horrible crime. In our country, the law provides us with the tools we need to punish crime. But there are sensible limits. The U.S. Constitution says, in effect, that if you pass a law this week you cannot use it to re-punish people whose crimes were committed before your new law went into effect.

Nebraska's attorney general and some courts have a recent history of disregarding the Constitution when it comes to sexual offenses. They and other politicians seem willing to deny Constitutional protections to classes of people we fear or simply don't like. That is why this recent Nebraska Supreme Court ruling is pivotal. It comes down on the side of the Constitution, which in this case also is the side of someone who perpetrated an awful crime. But he's been punished, and we cannot keep on adding punishments just because we don't like him.

The story on the ruling.

AP Reports on Failure of Grandstanding California Politicians' Sex-Offender Laws

A story from The Associated Press:

All of the grandstanding "bash-the-sex-offender" laws promoted by vote-hungry politicians in California just do not work, according to the state's own corrections department inspector general.

And the California Sex Offender Management Board, made up of law enforcement and treatment professionals, says that only high-risk offenders, such as kidnappers and sexually violent predators, should be required to register for life. It says less risky offenders should be allowed to stop registering 10 to 20 years after their offense.

What is causing these bright lights of wisdom to wink on in Cali?

It's because while the cops are busy keeping track of thousands and thousands of registered citizens who pose no threat, they are unable to prevent the few who actually are dangerous from assaulting and killing people.

Read more.

Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/11/05/3496249_sex-offender-gps-no-panacea-for.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stupid Bedford, Indiana, Police

The Bedford, Indiana, Police Department produced a video showing the faces of registered citizens -- a stupid publicity stunt foisted on the community as a Halloween public safety measure.

Why stupid?

Because the video shows the faces of the people in Bedford, Indiana, who are least likely to commit a sex crime against a child or anyone else.

Read the Notes from the Handbasket post here.

Dallas Morning News: $1.4 Million in Taxpayer Dollars Down the Drain While Cop Watches ESPN

The Dallas Morning News reports on that city's annual waste of $1.4 million to keep track of registered citizens who are no threat to anyone. Especially telling is the anecdote that opens the story about the police office packed with former offenders waiting to check in, again, while a detective watches ESPN. Read the story.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

'Bash the Sex Offender' Loses Value as Vote Producer

Thanks to the registered citizen/voters who went to the polls yesterday.

Some post-election observations:

GOP Rep. Lee Terry's slimy ad regarding former offenders and Democrat Brad Ashford did not work. Terry lost the 2nd-District congressional race. U.S. Representative-elect Ashford, as the state Legislature's Judiciary Committee Chair, insisted upon using FACTS, not myth and lies, when dealing with the issue of registered citizens. And he won.

Former Bellevue City Council member Carol Blood championed a silly residency-restriction law in that community. And she lost in her bid for the District 3 Legislative seat.

So Terry and Blood go to the curb to join God's own sex-offender-hammer Jon Bruning.

These are good results. But let's never become complacent. There is so much more work to do.

Politicians might begin to notice that the more they fatten that public-shaming registry website, the more they shoot themselves in the foot. Not only do many registered citizens vote, but they have friends and family who vote.

Oh, yeah. Don't forget: The public-shaming website is a miserable failure as a public safety tool.



Monday, November 3, 2014

Baltimore Sun on Registries

In the wake of a court defeat for Maryland's registry, the Baltimore Sun takes a cool unbiased look at the issue.

An excerpt:
Experts say there's little evidence that the registries help keep the public safe, and can unfairly punish offenders. Some judges around the United States have agreed that the registries amount to unconstitutional punishment in some cases. In Maryland, a prominent defense lawyer is continuing to fight in the courts, seeking to get more names removed from a list that she says stigmatizes too many people.

But the lists are popular among legislators, who see them as an option to keep the public safe and give people a reassuring way of looking up who among their neighbors or colleagues has been convicted of sex offenses.
Read it all.

And here's an excerpt from the Sun editorial on the issue:
. . . 95 percent of such (sex) crimes are committed by people who have no prior history of sex offenses and who do not appear on any public registry or list. Moreover, since most sex crimes, especially those committed against children, are carried out by people known to their victims, reliance on published lists to spot predators can easily mislead families into a false sense of security.
Sun editorial.