Friday, December 19, 2014

Links of Interest:

Who knew it? Online services can block illegal images.

December 18, 2014
This article from Business Insider reports that Google is going to use a database of “digital fingerprints” of online images of child pornography to block the content...
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Commissioner Mike Moore: Dangerously Uninformed

December 15, 2014
An article from last week’s Laker/Lutz News highlights just how dangerous an uninformed legislator can be. In the article, Commissioner Moore makes several statements...
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Contacting your Legislator

December 15, 2014
Many of our members write to us regularly and suggest we contact the lawmakers and ask them to do something or to oppose a proposed law or ordinance. Chances are, if it’s...
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First-time child porn sentences too severe

December 14, 2014
Our own Gail Colletta contributed this one:...
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Jessica’s Law promised more than it could deliver

December 14, 2014
Jessica’s Law, the ballot measure to harness sex offenders, began eight years ago with a promise – one that parents whose daughters have disappeared, as well as law enforcement...
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International Megan’s Law

December 14, 2014
International Megan’s Law has been placed on the legislative calendar. Here is the summary: International...
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International Megan’s Law: Misguided and Ineffective Policy

December 12, 2014
International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (HR 4573): Misguided and Ineffective Policy On May 20, 2014, the United States House of Representatives...
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Backlash from Sex Offender Lottery Win

December 11, 2014
As predicted, the rash of backlash and stupid comments following Timothy Poole’s $3MM lottery win are pouring in. Every major news network has reported on it, as if no one...
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ACLU 2015 Priorities Survey

Forwarding so you, too, can have a voice:

Please take just a few minutes now to respond if you haven't already. Your answers are critical to guiding our work moving forward. We want to make sure your feedback is included as we plan our 2015 strategy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Do You Believe in Karma Mike DeForrest?

Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Articles

Just over a month ago, Orlando reporter Mike DeForrest ran a series of reports for WKMG 6 to “out” local registrants who were working in the community.

The registrants were not committing crimes or doing anything illegal, they were simply working to support their families.

After publicly outing the registrants and shaming their employers, the registrants lost their jobs.

One of the registrants named in the story was Lake County’s Timothy Poole.

FAC wrote about the series in this post and concluded by saying, “The real shame should not be on the head of the registrants who were working hard, doing a good job and trying to live a law abiding life to support their families. The shame should not be on the head of the business owners, who were willing to give a human being a second chance… good for them!  The shame should be on vigilante reporter Mike DeForrest and Click Orlando for creating hysteria where it didn’t exist and leaving at least two families without an income tonight.”

Anyhow, in an incredible twist of fate (call it Karma, if you will), Timothy Poole just won three million dollars!!!

That’s right… here’s the same station’s report from today announcing that Timothy Poole had won the lottery!

We sincerely hope that Mr. Poole will take some of his winnings and invest it in challenging some of the draconian laws being passed.

(For response :

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Florida Action Committee Recent Posts

Another FL Police Officer Caught Molesting Children

December 2, 2014
Florida has its fair share of Police Officers and Teachers caught molesting children. This week in Port St. Lucie another police officer was caught having a sexual relationship...
Read More »


16 Men Sentenced in Florida Sex Offender Sting

December 2, 2014
From News4 Jacksonville, which might as well be called the ‘Sex Offender News Network’ – given their vigilance in reporting on sex offender stories, comes the...
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Growing awareness of the limited efficacy of local sex offender residency restrictions

December 2, 2014
This new Wall Street Journal article highlights the new awareness of enduring problems with sex offender residency restrictions.  The lengthy piece is headlined “Cities and...
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Florida corrections secretary is resigning

November 25, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews is resigning at the end of the month. Crews notified Gov. Rick Scott on Monday of his...
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I take care of schizophrenics and sex predators. I’m completely unqualified.

November 24, 2014
This Washington Post article from today, highlights just how little it takes to operate or work in a mental health facility. It also references the Miami Herald’s 2011...
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Local child sex prosecutions at record rate

November 24, 2014
TAMPA — A defense contractor from Riverview is spending 30 years in prison for forcing a 16-year-old girl to have sex with him and using his computer to record their encounter. A...
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Sex Offender Redemption: A story on Miracle Village

November 24, 2014
SEX OFFENDER REDEMPTION A colony of child molesters and sexual predators moved to a small town that didn’t want them. This is the story of what happened when they started showing...
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Almost 150 Registrants STILL Living Homeless by Railroad Tracks

November 21, 2014
Over a year since we reported it and a month since the ACLU lawsuit was filed, there are almost one hundred fifty registered citizens still living homeless by the railroad tracks...
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Florida’s Civil Commitment Center Run by Geo Group is For-Profit

November 21, 2014
That’s correct, the Florida Civil Commitment Center located in Arcadia, Florida is run by Geo Group, Inc./Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit private corporation. This...
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Internet Identifiers – What the California Courts Found and What it Means to Florida

November 20, 2014
In 2012, the state of California added a provision to their Sex Offender registration requirements that provided: sex offenders register “any and all Internet identifiers” within...
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California Can’t Enforce Online Tracking of Sex Offenders

November 19, 2014
California can’t enforce a law to combat sex trafficking because it tramples on free speech rights of sex offenders by requiring them to report online activities, such as their...
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Tampa: 8 On Your Side discovers incorrect, missing sex offender data

November 18, 2014
The following story was reported by Tampa’s WFLA. Apparently the City’s Police Department Website had inaccurate locations for sex offenders. One showed a registered...
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MUST SEE: Does the Sex Offender Registry Protect Children?

November 18, 2014
Of the more than 8,000 people listed on Maryland’s sex offender registry, the vast majority have never been convicted of touching a child or assaulted another person. Instead,...
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Sign ACLU Petition to End Mass Incarceration.

November 17, 2014
Please take a minute to support the ACLUs effort to end mass incarceration and also support an organization that supports FAC. Here is their plea:       While you...
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9 Investigates: Low percentage of those arrested in online sex stings get on sex offender list

November 17, 2014
More exposure for the extortion that was taking place throughout Florida with these “sex offender stings”.   9 Investigates: Low percentage of those arrested in...
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Transient Sex Offenders Continue To Be A Problem

November 17, 2014
News media and the public continue to complain about the transient homeless sex offenders being such a big problem but they ignore the cause… Residency Restrictions....
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Florida lawmakers tighten limits on sex offenders

November 17, 2014
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – Florida Lawmakers have passed numerous laws punishing those convicted of sex crimes and this year added more laws designed to keep the worst of the...
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Miami-Dade pushes Florida to require lifetime GPS for ALL registrants.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

California RSOL fights Proximity Restrictions… WAKE UP BREVARD COUNTY!!!

Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Articles, Featured Articles | 1 comment

Brevard County has an ordinance that not only precludes the residency of sex offenders, but where they can be physically present.

Seriously! The Brevard County Ordinance states, “No sexual offender or sexual predator shall enter into or remain within the 1,000-foot buffer zone surrounding any school, daycare center, park or playground…” The only exceptions are doctors appointments, lawyers appointments, licensed social services interviews, to comply with a court order, go to a criminal justice facility, attend a school as a registered student (like that will ever happen), to fulfill duties of employment, take your kids to and from school, go to an emergency shelter that accepts sex offenders (like that will ever happen), attend church or vote

Several practical issues come to mind…

First, are there circles on the ground that identify the “no enter” zones? Are all playgrounds clearly marked or do offenders need to do an aerial survey of their local Costco to see if there is a playground a block behind the store or behind a fence? Do offenders need to carry a 1000 foot tape measure to ensure that no part of their local Starbucks encroaches 1000 feet of a day care? Are prohibited dry cleaners marked as such or is there a publication of “sex offender accepting” retail stores so registrants will know they are clear?

Second, what’s the availability of “acceptable” establishments or services? Do registrants need to select their service providers (from accountants to barbers) based on their location rather than their professional ability? Are there an equitable amount of “separate but equal” services available to registrants? Are there ANY available golf courses for registrants?

Third, how is this ordinance being enforced? Say, for example; it’s your 50th birthday party and your brother, a registrant, is in attendance. The party is in your home, 800 feet from a school. Do the police show up at the front door checking the registration status of your guests?

Also, Should the burden fall on the family member to find an acceptable “alternative”  venue if they want to include a registrant at an event or be forced to effectively exclude the registrant? What if it’s an elderly parent? Do you need to uproot and relocate your elderly parent so you can check in on them or provide care just because you committed an offense thirty years ago? It’s one thing to punish the registrant, but this also imposes a severe burden on their family and friends.

Registrants in the State of California had the courage to stand up and say enough is enough and is in the process of initiating a lawsuit against the City of South Pasadena for their proximity ordinance. (See more here).  And their ordinance is only 300 feet!!! Brevard County’s is 1000 feet!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE OF BREVARD!!! It’s time to stand up and sue!

If you are a registrant or family member of a registrant in Brevard County, please contact or submit a case consideration form NOW!  We are organizing a challenge and need people willing to stand up.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

August: Links of Interest from Florida Action Committee

Recent Posts


California RSOL fights Proximity Restrictions… WAKE UP BREVARD COUNTY!!! 


September 11, 2014 

Brevard County has an ordinance that not only precludes the residency of sex offenders, but where they can be physically present. Seriously! The Brevard County Ordinance states,...

Read More »


Did Brevard County Schools Have Problems With Sex Offenders

September 11, 2014

Brevard County Public Schools recently issues the following statement: “Sex offender check enhances safety in Florida schools… Administrators at Brevard County Public...

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FDLE Acknowledges Registrants Don’t Understand Requirements, But Refuse to Clarify

September 8, 2014

The Florida Action Committee has sent two letters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) within the past couple of months, asking them to notify us of recent changes...

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Kansas Supreme Court to Rule on Constitutionality of Registry

September 7, 2014

The  Kansas Supreme Court is set to rule on the retroactive lengthening of the time one has to register under their state’s registry. Similar to what Florida has done, the...

Read More »


REMINDER: Member Call Thurs. September 4th

September 2, 2014

We hope you had an enjoyable summer, but it’s back to business! There will be a Member Call this Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM EST. The credentials to access the...

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“Sex Offender” history makes you an easy target.

September 2, 2014

Source SPRING LAKE, N.C. - A registered sex offender accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Spring Lake is expected in court Tuesday afternoon. Nathan Cooley, 28,...

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Pierce County, WA to shift scrutiy to the limited high-risk offenders.

September 2, 2014

This article points out the financial absurdity of keeping tabs on the thousands of sex offenders registered in the county, 3/4 of which are lower risk to re-offend or are a...

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Federal Cybersecurity Director Found Guilty of Child Pornography

August 29, 2014

This week, Wired Magazine put out an interesting article about the former Cybersecurity Director for the US Department of Health and Human Services. As it turns out, this guy who...

Read More »


Miracle Village the subject of play at Indie Theater.

August 26, 2014

What’s this play about? Please give us a brief synopsis (a sentence or two) and also talk about what you believe to be the most important theme(s) in the play. MIRACLE VILLAGE...

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Miracle Village is the subject of a new photoshoot.

August 26, 2014

Photographer Noah Rabinowitz selected Miracle Village, of all places, as the subject for a series of photographs. The images, as well as the story behind the colony of Sex...

Read More »


Banished: A mini-documentary on Miracle Village

August 26, 2014

Watch the video on Miracle Village.  A small community of sex offenders living in a remote village near Pahokee, FL because there is nowhere else for them to...

Read More »


Air Force aiding Florida police in sex stings

August 26, 2014

Source: USA Today CLEARWATER, Fla. – Not only have Central Florida law enforcement officers violated federal rules in conducting “To Catch a Predator”-inspired...

Read More »


Broward Police to Ensure that Sex Offenders are Homeless

August 26, 2014

This past Sunday another Sun-Sentinel Sex Offender story came out. This time the concern is that Broward county sex offenders who are registering as homeless are not truly...

Read More »


There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything

August 25, 2014

On Thursday, Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times reported that “Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison...

Read More »


TX- EDITORIAL: Lonnie Green saga demonstrates need for better judgments, wiser laws

August 25, 2014

If Mart city employee Lonnie Green’s saga of triumph, despair and desperation demonstrates anything, it’s that justice is often blind in how it’s meted out. This can be...

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Federal Judge Questions Child Porn Sentencing

August 25, 2014

Source   Child-porn sentencing questioned   Are federal sentencing guidelines for possessing child pornography too harsh? Calling the guidelines “draconian,” U.S....

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FAC Responds to Ignorant Florida Atlantic University Course Description.

August 24, 2014

A member wrote: In the Lifelong Learing program of FAU, a professor, Laurence Miller, is offering a course on “Bad People: Modern Insights into the Criminal Mind”...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Links of Interest from Florida Action Committee

FDLE Ignores Request from FAC

Over two and a half months ago the FAC send a request to FDLE requesting a comprehensive update of the new laws and requirements they will be enforcing against registrants. The FDLE ignored our request. Today, a second request was sent to the FDLE. We anxiously await their reply. The text of the letter appears below.  August 21, 2014     Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Florida Offender Registration &...

More on the Florida Sex Scams/Stings

August 21, 2014
At the end of this post is a re-post of a post on Lenore Skenazy’s blog; Lenore was the keynote speaker at this year’s RSOL National Convention and I’ve been following her since. Not only are her posts entertaining, but I’m so appreciative that an outsider (someone NOT on the registry or with a family member who is) can observe what’s going on and provide an objective account of how ridiculous...

Man in Michigan Assaulted Because He Was on Registry

Three men assaulted and beat another man simply because he was listed on the sex offender registry. On August 18th police responded to a hospital in Flint, Michigan where a man reported that three men from his neighborhood beat him solely because of his presence on the registry. Source Also this week, an incarcerated registrant was murdered in Kentucky. Source...

Time For A Change

August 18, 2014
The following was a series of posts from Phil Locke on The Wrongful Convictions Blog. The series was very well documented and contained links to a bunch of useful information, so I decided to copy and paste it as-is into our site in order to share the information. The source for these articles can be found here. The History of Sex Offender Registries in the US Sex offender registration in the US all began with the Jacob Wetterling Crimes...

Comments not so one-sided as Dallas considers Sex Offender restrictions.

“Sex offenders can’t change” is the motto of profit.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dallas Considering Residency Restrictions

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Articles

The article below appeared in the Dallas News. Apparently, Dallas will begin studying residency restrictions in preparation of deciding whether or not to pass residency restrictions for registered sex offenders.

The popular but always backfiring sex offender management technique has consistently been proven ineffective or even counterproductive.

Despite the facts, our concern is that Dallas politicians will fold under the political traction they can get by further punishing those labeled “sex offenders” (whether deserving or not) and pass an ordinance regardless.

We strongly encourage you to reach out to Texas Voices ( or 877-215-6688) to find out what you can do to share insight and information with the decision makers.


The Dallas City Council will consider a plan to prohibit sex offenders from living near schools, parks and other places where children gather.

City Council members, meeting Wednesday, said they were interested in looking at ways to further protect children from predators. But nearly all said they need more information on the effectiveness of buffer zones to prevent sex offenders from living in certain areas.
The idea, which has been implemented in other cities, will head to a council committee for further consideration.

“I do support sex offenders being responsible for their actions,” council member Jerry Allen said. 

“But the real questions I end up coming back to are: Will this ordinance increase public protection?”
Mayor Mike Rawlings has been pushing the idea, which would bar those individuals from living within a certain distance of kid-friendly areas. The proposal is also backed by Dallas police.

More than 3,300 registered sex offenders live in Dallas, though officials said those currently living near the areas in question could potentially be grandfathered in.
A couple of Dallas residents spoke out against the proposal.

Josh Gravens, who’s married and has five children, said he’s been on the sex offender registry for 15 years. Though he didn’t get into specifics, the northeast Dallas resident said he was a 13-year-old kid “who made a mistake.”

Gravens said there are many other registered sex offenders who fit his description, and he said the re-conviction rates for sex offenders are quite low. He said an ordinance like the one Dallas is considering would be devastating to him and his family.

“We’re enjoying the great things that Dallas is giving us,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be forced out of this city.”

Ordinance specifics — such as how big the buffer zone would be — haven’t been worked out. In coming weeks, council members will evaluate how other cities have fared with such rules and whether they would make sense in Dallas.

“What I’m hearing from this group is that there’s enough interest that we need to do some more work on it,” Rawlings said.
Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.

Castration as treatment in FL sex offense cases.

The article concerns the denial of an inmate’s request to be physically castrated. However, it discusses the use of chemical castration as a form of sex offender management in Florida.
In Florida, castration is an acceptable form of sex offender management, and that is separate from the punitive sentence imposed.

Florida Judge Denies Sex Offender’s Request to Be Physically Castrated

By Jonathan Kendall Mon., Aug. 4 2014 at 12:50 PM

Lester Leroy Williams is serving ten years in prison for sexually battering a child. Back in 2008, he was also sentenced to 4.5 years of probation. Recently, the 35-year-old Williams made a bizarre request: He wants the state to physically castrate him.In a letter Williams wrote at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, he asked Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Hale Stancil to modify his sentence to include castration at the expense of the state. 

But Stancil denied the unusual request this past Tuesday, stating his court didn’t have jurisdiction to rule over the case.

“In 32 years, I have never had this request before,” said Stancil, who spoke about the case for the first time to New Times. “I know there is chemical castration, but I’ve never had an inmate ask to be physically castrated before. I don’t think I have authority as a judge to order such a thing.”


The story was first reported in the Ocala Star Banner. Florida already allows certain sex offenders to receive medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) treatment as part of their rehabilitation. MPA, an artificial hormone, is normally used to treat symptoms of menopause in women, but when used by men, it decreases testosterone to pre-puberty levels.MPA has been used on sex offenders for years as a way of reducing the chances of recidivism by diminishing the sexual urges of men who have long histories of committing sex crimes.

According to Florida law, courts must sentence repeat offenders of sexual battery to MPA treatment but may choose to administer it to first-time offenders. The treatment does not replace or reduce any other penalty the court could impose, and the courts can order the treatment to last up to life.

The Florida Department of Corrections must begin MPA treatment one week before an incarcerated sex offender is released. The consequences for not going through with the MPA treatment are severe for offenders — a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

The law stipulates though that instead of undergoing the chemical form of castration, sex offenders may — of their own volition– ask a court for physical castration, which is what Williams has done. Though the legal leeway seems to exist, it is rarely chosen — Williams may be the first in Florida to request it even though he isn’t even required to have MPA treatment.

“Sex offenders are wretched,” said Maryam Sweirki, 25, a Miami advocate for victims of sexual assault. “If he can’t handle his penis, then I’m for his decision to take his weapon away.”

However, critics of castration believe it to be a cruel and unusual punishment that violates human and reproductive rights; with other critics arguing the law that allows for MPA castration, though it applies to both genders, is unequal in punishment because it has a greater impact on males. Some of the side-effects related to the drug (besides decreased sexual urges) are: a loss of body hair, hot and cold flashes, impotence, depression, thrombosis, and weight gain.

Though it has been shown to decrease the number of reoffenders, some opponents further argue that castration isn’t a panacea for all sex offenders because some of them are motivated to sexually abuse because of intense feelings of hatred and hostility, rather than sexual desire.

As it stands, the laws regarding castration apply to all convicted sex offenders across the state of Florida. Though Williams will not be physically castrated for the time being, if he keeps requesting it and appeals Stancil’s decision, he may get his wish.

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.

Is Florida Sheriff that arrogant or just ignorant?

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Articles

This past Tuesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd led a press conference proudly announcing the arrest of 132 “Bad Guys”, “Perverts”, “Pedophiles”, “Predators”, etc. The grandstanding Sheriff, flanked by Sheriffs from other counties, stood next to a board showing the mugshots of those arrested as he went on a fear instilling tirade.

What the Sheriff didn’t tell you was that of the 60 charges imposed on the 13 men arrested in his county; 10 were eventually dropped and that several were not even pursued by prosecutors. (see:

What the Sheriff also didn’t tell you was that his office and others are the subject of several news investigations into claims of entrapment and other violation of legal policies. (see:

Sheriff Judd is the same guy who infamously charged  12 and 14 year old girls with felonies after the suicide death of a third girl. After that arrest, he proudly posted their mugshots and descriptions and held another grandstanding press conference. When asked whether it was necessary, he said of the two young girls; “We decided that we can’t leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?”   as if there was some imminent danger to the children in the community. In the end the charges against the girls were dropped because after a month of combing through social media and chat logs, authorities found no evidence of cyberbullying. (see:

With respect to the sex offender stings here, in many cases they find individuals posting ads on Adult websites where you must be 18 years old to participate. They engage the men in sexually stimulating conversation for days or even weeks before disclosing that they (the person they are pretending to be) is underage and then continuing to bait the men and encouraging them to continue along.  Many had no intention of soliciting a minor but were entrapped. (see:

Apparently, based on the number of charges being dropped and individuals not being prosecuted, Prosecutors are agreeing.

All this leads to a more important question; what does this accomplish? The investigation that Sheriff Judd was touting was a three month investigation that spanned several counties. It took the resources of Federal, State, county and local police and ultimately prosecutors. Undoubtedly it took a lot of time and a lot of money to bait and arrest these 132 individuals who “could have” gone for a fictional victim. But aren’t there enough non-fictional victims out there that need resources? And of these 132 people; how many will actually be prosecuted? And how many tens of thousands of people did they have to bait in the three month process to find 132 that warranted arrest?

Could this just be another case of those who scream the loudest? (see:

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.

UNO Researchers Document Harm Done by Nebraska Sex-Offender Law

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Articles

Ground-breaking research into why most former sex offenders do not reoffend concludes that Nebraska’s policy of putting every registered citizen on a public website harms families and might contribute to the very problems that the law was intended to deter.

“ . . .  We have found that sex offenders in this study, representing predatory pedophiles to possessing child pornography, have not re-offended since their initial crime of conviction.  Most attribute this to the informal social relationships they have created or maintained since conviction.  Surprisingly, many have added members of the research team as more formal sources of social support, and attribute our interest in their lives as an added factor in their desistance,” according to a report on the study released today.

“Most importantly, we have found that registrants’ lives change over time, thus affecting their need for social support to continue desistance,” the report said.
Not one of the registered citizens in the study credits harsher laws for desistance from re-offense. In fact, the report said, harassment by law enforcement and others as a result of the law can contribute to conditions that make re-offense more likely.

The ongoing study is being conducted by Lisa Sample, Ph.D., and doctoral candidate Danielle Bailey at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska-Omaha. Two-hundred twenty-one registered Nebraska citizens have come forward to participate in the study. So far, 155 of them have been interviewed.

“The questions asked during these interviews were meant to uncover how these sex offenders had managed to defy media stereotype and live in the community without sexually reoffending.  A common response across all subjects was that their desistance was mostly attributed to the help of family, friends, and/or their faith,” the report said.

"With this in mind, the study was then extended to registrants’ family members and friends to 1) triangulate information provided to us by registrants, and 2) give registrants’ loved ones a chance to voice their thoughts on what it is like living with people who are so socially stigmatized.”

To date, 30 family members of registered citizens have been interviewed. Five-thousand pages of interview material have been transcribed.

The “sex offender” label shadows everyone in the family, in that there is a constant state of paranoia and fear among spouses/partners about being judged, being labeled, or being ill-treated by members of the public,” the report said.

The research shows how misguided law, poor-quality news reporting and knee-jerk policymaking – all based on inaccurate information about former offenders – conspire to damage and destabilize families. In spite of research that shows former sex offenders have low rates of re-offense, news media stereotypes paint every individual on the public website as a predatory danger. Such inaccurate reporting then encourages institutions like churches, gyms and schools to issue blanket bans of former offenders, many of whom are parents and are thus barred from participating in their childrens’ lives, according to the study. Because the study is finding that social networks and strong family ties help former offenders desist from reoffending, current Nebraska law is eroding the factors that help prevent re-offense.

“The stigma of the “sex offender” label put forth on public registries creates single parent households, as responsibilities for child care and employment fall to the spouses/partners of registrants who are not allowed to participate in their own family activities as they did prior to conviction,” the report on the research said.

“Children often react to the prohibition of their registrant parent from their activities with anger, acting-out behaviors, and/or socially isolating themselves.”
The study found that Nebraska’s draconian law, enacted as LB 97 and LB 285 of 2009, has had the effect of creating a strong community of “social refugees” among former offenders in Nebraska. Advocacy groups established after the law’s passage as well as the researchers at UNO have therapeutic value for the registered citizens.
“Registrants and their family members have responded to their ‘refugee’ status by creating their own organizations and advocacy groups that engender a sense of collective identity that thwarts some of the isolation they feel,” the report said.
The study’s conclusions:
  • There are negative consequences socially, professionally, and parentally for being on the public registration website, and these consequences are not only felt by registrants but also by their spouses/partners, parents, and children.
  • To the degree to which these consequences exacerbate the senses of loneliness, anxiety, isolation, and fear associated with sexual offending and disrupt family and friend relationships, public notification may exacerbate the behaviors it is meant to deter.
  • In fact, no registrants mentioned sex offender laws or their prohibitions from public spaces as a motivating factor in their desistance from crime.
  • Sex offender laws have, however, created a sense of a collective identity among those in this sample that helps abate their social isolation and feelings of rejection.
  • In contrast to juvenile delinquency literature, deviant peers among the adults in this sample provide them with social support that helps them avoid behavioral triggers and manage their behaviors as opposed to encouraging them.
  • This study demonstrates the importance of social integration in ending sexual reoffending.
  • Findings also suggest the need for some social support interventions for those living with or related to registered sex offenders who are also experiencing social isolation, rejection, and stigmatization not for a crime they committed but simply because they live with someone who committed one.
  • Changes to child abuse mandatory reporting laws would allow families to seek therapy and counseling without fear of legal reprisals for the thoughts and feelings they share.  In this way, perhaps these changes can be seen as preventative crime control measures to ensure the children of registrants do not grow up to be angry, anxious, and frustrated criminal adults.

Click here to read the full report.

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.

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"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."
~Adlia Stevenson U.S. Vice President (1893–1897) and Congressman (1879–1881)

On a Personal Note

Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts regarding the issue of citizens’ rights, particularly addressing certain sex offenders’ crimes that do not fit the devastating, inequitable and endless punishment given.

As you know, many young men and women lives across the nation are being destroyed by incarceration, life-time registry and restrictive laws that do more harm than good. For those individuals, there is no second chance.

Below is a personal letter to President Obama:
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“Dear President Obama,

I truly agree with your sentiments that individuals, such as ex-felons, should be able to receive a second chance at life. Since we all know that one can veer off that path of life and travel along rough, rocky terrain, sometimes running off and ending up in some ditch. We all have made our fill of mistakes and sometimes those held a costly consequence that changed life forever. So we lived through it, trying harder to make things right with family, friends and those around us, but what about those who aren’t able to make things right even if they tried…because they’re labeled as too dirty, a leper, a person who is rejected from society and home.

But what if they’re a seventeen year old and had sex with a fifteen year old, consensual at that? Or they’re a teen that had gotten so enraged after a breakup that he sent out naked pictures of his girlfriend on his cell phone or email? Or an individual urinates where someone just happens to see them?

All are wrong and a travesty but do they deserve the life of no second chance with a registry that ends all. They are labeled, no jobs, no where to live…they have been deemed a menace to society, a plague. These certain circumstances, and many other situations similar to these, I believe still deserve a second change.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

After my son’s early release and two years of prison, I thought I had handled that fact graciously knowing after serving his time he would be able to get that fresh start, that second chance. He was an exemplary inmate, GED, college courses and vocational classes. Little did I know that a second chance on the outside was the farthest from the truth? He now struggles and lives in a trailer park sharing a trailer with another and surrounded by others in the same rocking boat, one to float endlessly in shark infested waters. I see him little because of probation requirements (he couldn’t live with us because we were 800 feet near a school). My family is afraid of what would happen to them if he lived with them…vigilantism. My son has no other place to stay since others condemn him of his crime that is screamed from the highest rooftop. Sex offender, sex offender!

Not all sex offenders are pedophiles or predators but some are simply young kids that make one stupid and rash decision that eventually changes everything, and they have no idea what they’ve done until their life is never their own. Exactly, where is that second chance for those sex-offenders who are lumped together with pedophiles and predators? Now, it makes me sick to think of my son’s future and many like him that are on the registry and many with no second chance…ever. I am asking you as a mother and as another concerned citizen of the United States that these laws are looked at again and taken into serious consideration in what they are doing to the Constitution of the United States, not for sex offenders in general but the future rights of every citizen, before anymore are put into effect. They unjustly strip an offender of their rights and place them in a guillotine that can be easily set off by anyone and at anytime. Where is the second chance for ex-sex offenders in the present, pending and future laws?”
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What truly saddens me is the weakness and deterioration of what the sex offense issue is doing to our once, great nation. Across Europe, others are seeing the injustice and disregard of rights, but we ignore this problem and it makes me wonder where humanity is heading….

We have become a hysterical society in which our latest witch-hunt is a sex offender--no matter his/her crime.

Below is a email sent from a foreign advocate to a father of a sex offender:
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“The tragic story of your son's death is just so sad that it's difficult to explain how. It was very hard to read your letters. It seems almost unbelievable that this can take place in a democracy! From our point of view, there is no justice in this. Not in any way: not for you, your son, the former girl friend – or even the state.

It is an abusive legal system. It seems barbaric. And we are so very sorry that this takes place. That's why it's so important for us to try to neutralize the debate with this…, hopefully making some changes. ….. to show the every day life of the sex offenders, trying to show how they keep on being punished, even after served prison time…..But we will for sure tell the story of the injustice that your son has been exposed to.”
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I appreciate everyone's commitment and backing to protect everyone's civil rights, plainly as noted in the Constitution of the United States and is presupposed, giving ALL men are “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”