Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota has been hard at work during his last term as governor. Throughout his term, he has taken steps to increase sentences for sex offenders and to improve Minnesota’s policies in this area.
Recently, Governor Tim Pawlenty announced a proposal to more than double prison time for sex offenders and a new comprehensive Internet education program to help protect children from online predators.
Under the Governor’s proposal, an offender convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct would receive a 25-year sentence, more than doubling the current presumptive sentence. Governor Pawlenty said that while he has led efforts to increase sentencing in the past, he feels that more can be done to protect citizens from dangerous sexual predators. With these changes in the law it will help to keep predators off our streets.
In 2005, Governor Pawlenty led efforts that significantly enhanced sentencing for criminal sexual conduct offenses. Under the law, someone who commits a particularly egregious first offense or is a repeat sex offender could be sentenced to life in prison or until they could prove they were worthy of release. Offenders would have had to commit their first offense with two other statutorily described “heinous elements” before they could be sentenced for life.
However, under current law offenders who are convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct without such “heinous elements” face a maximum sentence of 30 years. Minnesota courts typically impose a presumptive sentence of 12 years. The Governor’s proposals will more than double the 12-year presumptive sentence to 25 years.
Governor Pawlenty also introduced a NetSmartz Internet Safety Education Program that is a comprehensive Internet safety education program that will be made available to every school in the state at no charge. NetSmartz, developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), provides detailed information for students, teachers, parents and law enforcement about the dangers that children can face when they go online.
Children face sexual predators online everyday. This program will provide training and instructional materials that teachers can use to help educate students about the dangers that exist online. The U.S. Department of Education statistics show that more than 1 in 5 children use the Internet by the time they reach nursery school age. One in three children use the Internet by Kindergarten and four in five by high school.
This program will be a partnership between the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. NetSmartz kits are made available through a Department of Justice grant.
In Buffalo, NY, a 100-year-old pedophile has been jailed again after failing to comply with the terms of his parole. This is the second time that Theodore A. Sypnier, who has more than a sixty -year history of sexually molesting children, has been declared in violation of parole. He was convicted in the late 1990’s of attacking two sisters.
His light sentence for this conviction allowed move to a halfway house and into a place of his own last December. He didn’t show up for a counseling session and was re-arrested. His own daughter, who lives in another state, is relieved that he is back in jail. He raped her and another girl years ago.
A Reverend in charge of the half-way house says whether he’s 100 or 101 or 105, the same person that was committing these crimes 10, 25, 30 years ago still exists today and has an unrepentant heart. He is someone that we as parents, as members of the community, any community, really need to fear.
Sypnier’s convictions dated back to 1987, when he was given three years’ probation for sex abuse. He spent a year in prison for sexually abusing a minor in 1994. His neighbors in Tonawanda never knew of Sypnier’s background because he was convicted before laws requiring sex offenders to register with police.
Now he is back in jail. This time the system must not fail to keep him incarcerated until he dies.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if someone commits a sex crime, he will probably do it again. However, lately judges seem to be the only ones who just don’t get it. Take for instance a St. Charles, Minnesota man convicted of multiple sex crimes. Even though he is a convicted criminal, a judge granted him a three-day furlough to move some furniture at his motel and residence in St. Charles. While there he assaulted another woman.
This sex criminal, Aric Vernon Wold age 39 is no stranger to sex crime charges. He was convicted of two sex crimes and is facing charges involving a 15-year-old girl. In addition he is charged in Winona County District Court with second-degree criminal sexual conduct for using force and causing injury during a sexual assault as well as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for using force during a sexual assault. He was also charged with using a minor in a sexual performance or pornographic work. Back in 2004 he was convicted of fifth degree cirminal sexual conduct as well as in 2009 but was on probation for the 2009 conviction.
Why? Obviously, this man has a history of sexual crimes. He should be in jail, and not allowed any type of probation. Sadly, it seems that judges are the only ones who just don’t get it. How many times does it take repeat offenders to commit their crimes before a judge throws them in jail for their rest of their lives?
A recent audit from the Department of Children and Families in Wisconsin found that felons and abusers were living at Wisconsin day care centers. Even though the audit couldn’t verify if they were actually living at the day care centers, just the thought of these criminals taking care of your kids is scary. Some of the cases included seven household members and one employee who either were convicted of felony battery or child abuse and neglect.
These findings show that there are gaps in Wisconsin state’s systems for conducting background checks on childcare operators. But it doesn’t stop there. In Florida, an audit found thousands of people with criminal pasts that included violent felonies, marijuana use and child abuse were also working in daycare centers.
The problem starts with hiring daycare providers. Most daycare providers are paid $8.00 an hour and in Florida, even though the law requires criminal background checks for child care employees, these people are allowed to begin work before screening is complete. Once the results are in, a process that can take months, people barred from working with children because of a criminal record can still qualify by obtaining an exemption finding that they have been rehabilitated.
As a result, many times this opens the door for rapists, pedophiles and even killers to work in childcare. In Florida, a statewide database of background screenings since 1985 showed at least 2,400 people were already employed in childcare before checks turned up their criminal records. Another 2,900 people with criminal pasts were cleared for day care work through exemptions, though some had been found guilty of crimes including child abuse, kidnapping and murder.
People with disqualifying criminal records can never be a public school teacher or even a bail bondsman in Florida. But they can still get jobs in child care, because exemptions are possible for any misdemeanor, regardless of how recent, and felonies committed more than three years earlier. Crimes committed by people granted exemptions include aggravated assault, arson, sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and domestic violence.
The best advice for parents is to do your homework. Ask for references for all childcare centers and check the Internet for pedophiles and sex abusers in your community. Because, maybe one of them may be living with your daycare provider or working as a daycare provider and you don’t want to take the chance that your child may be in danger.
Three years ago, Congress mandated federal standards in monitoring sex offenders. The law creates a national sex offender registry and toughen penalties for those who fail to register. As of today only one state, Ohio, has meet the new stricter federal standards.
Why are the other 49 states waiting to implement these standards? Some of the reasons are the high costs and legal challenges that are hampering implementation of these standards. There are 686,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. Advocates of these federal standards are worried that they are losing sex offenders who cross state lines and not registering as they are suppose to do.
Many of the states are struggling with the cost, which could climb into the millions of dollars.For example, in California, the state’s Sex Offender Management Board estimated last year that adopting the requirements would cost at least $38 million. However, if states don’t comply with the law, they face a loss of 10 percent of their federal crime-prevetion grants. Throw in recent stimulus funding, this could range from several hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million each year, depending on the size of the state.
July of this year was the initial deadline for states to comply but the federal government has extended the deadline to July 2010. However, many states may still be unable to meet this deadline. Estimates show that about 100,000 offenders are not living where they are supposed to be. Also many sex offenders are complaining that registering every 90 days is difficult for them because they have to take off work to register instead of registering once a year. If you are a sex offender, making you register and keeping tabs of you are more imporant than the inconvience of this mandate.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s psychologists were talking about “tough love” for your kids who were unruly and out of control. This method used consequences to actions, sometimes not very pleasant consequences.
Obviously, the Denver Police Department in Colorado took a page out of this book and applied it to a sex offender, Balazs Toth. He plead guilty to criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child.
The police confiscated his 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse, a fine looking car, that he drove to a fast food restaurant where he was planning to have sex with a 14 year old. Just the other day, his fine looking confiscated car was sent to the crusher.
What a public statement to send to sex offenders. The police will confiscate your car and crush it so you won’t use it again. This is legal according to Denver’s Public Nuisance Abatement Unit. The unit filed civil charges against the car in accordance to a 1994 ordinance. This ordinance allows police to target things described as, “any parcel of real property, personal property, or motor vehicle on or in which any of the following illegal activity occurs, or which is used to commit, conduct, promote, facilitate, or aid the commission of or flight from any of the following activities.” Sex offenders were added to the nuisance abatement unit’s list five years ago.
Investigators think this is the first time that police have crushed a car belonging to a sex offender. However, police did comment that there might be more coming in the future.
This is a perfect example on how your taxes are being misspent. A Minnesota sex offender treatment facility bought two dozen new 50 inch plasma TVs for their treatment facility. Each one costs $2,200 – $1,500 for the TV plus $700 for mounting brackets.
The executive director of the sex offender treatment program defended the decision to buy the TVs by saying that the TVs have clinical value. Patients can be watched to see how they respond to what’s on TV and also helps to concentrate patients in one spot, making them easier to monitor at a time when staffing has been reduced.
However, Governor Tim Pawlenty has ordered the removal of the big flat screen TVs calling it “a bonehead decision.” The Governor also said that they could make do with smaller TVs.
Thank goodness, someone has common sense and is watching out for your money.
Polk County, Florida last June arrested 45 men and boys on charges of downloading child pornography. Child pornography has grown quickly on the Internet and law enforcement officials say that police agencies could easily spend every day finding and arresting offenders.
Since 2006, Polk County rounded up four child pornography rings resulting in at least 176 arrests. What makes Polk County good at busting these perverts? The sheriff’s office houses the Internet Crimes Against Children task force for central Florida. The detectives have received the specialized training needed to identify and catch people who download the illegal material from the Internet. Just two or three detectives did much of the legwork in the latest sweep, though more were required when deputies raided suspects’ homes.
The June arrest was aimed at some of the worst offenders. These low-life perverts were the ones trading images or suspected of abusing children. The 45 people arrested had amassed up to 15,000 images.
Other arrests included a 50-year-old car salesman, a 62-year old retired teacher, a 34-year-old pilot, a 43 –year –old truck drive and a 22-year old Sea World employee. Some had long criminal records and some had none. Sadly, there were high school students involved as well.
With so much crime in this country, it is truly inspiring to hear about how ordinary people come to the rescue of those in need. Heroes come in all sizes and shapes but this hero is more than just a hero he just may be an angel in disguise.
According to a report by a local TV station in Denver, Colorado, a man working at a Comcast table in front of a Walmart stopped an alleged child molester from leaving the store.
Kevin Salyers who was allegedly grabbing and molesting a little girl in the store, bolted out of the Walmart but Cameron Aulner tackled him before he could leave. What makes this so amazing is that the man, Cameron Aulner, is a disabled man who is wheel chair bound. He lost the use of his legs when he fell off a roof installing Christmas lights years ago. Nevertheless, that did not stop Mr. Aulner from doing the right thing.
Mr. Aulner kept the alleged child molester pinned on the ground until police arrived. According to the story, police are considering giving Mr. Aulner an official commendation. Mr. Aulner said that he didn’t feel like a hero, he just did what you’re supposed to do – help out.
Outside of Atlanta, Georgia, there is no other place for sex offenders to live but in a wooded area behind an Atlanta office park. Probation officers say it’s a place of last resort for them. Nine sex offenders live in tents surrounding a makeshift fire pit in the trees. They are waiting out their probation sentences as they face numerous living restrictions.
Georgia has one of the nation’s toughest sex offender policies. The law bans the state’s 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, parks and other spots where children gather. These Cobb County sex offenders living in the woods is the only place homeless offenders can stay in order to comply with the law.
Probation officials closely monitor the sex offender camp because public safety is the chief concern. The sex offenders are required to report once a week and a field agent is sent to the camp at least twice a week. When a sex offender lands a job, he can move into permanent housing.
This wooded outpost also illustrates the unique dilemma the law creates for homeless sex offenders, who unlike other homeless people, cannot take shelter in a church or curl up in a park because they are barred from both. South Florida also has a tent city for dozens of homeless sex offenders. They moved under a remote bridge because it was among the few places that complied with local ordinances.