Seligman makes plans in advance to protect community

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

State statute requires sex offender to post sign and turn off lights

Halloween is still three months away, but the city of Seligman is already taking measures to plan for children's safety by ensuring residents' and the city's compliance with a state-mandated sex offenders ordinance.

During the popular holiday, parents share the same concern for their children's safety as they go from door-to-door collecting candy, and one way they can keep them safe is by checking the neighborhood for sex offenders, which is a matter of public knowledge.

Currently, Missouri law requires sex offenders to post a sign in their yard to inform the public they are not allowed to hand out candy. They are also required to turn off their porch light.

"There's a state statute for sex offenders which says they must put signs up saying 'no candy available here,' and they're not allowed to have porch lights on that would attract trick-or-treaters, or otherwise advertise they have candy," said Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk. "We just brought it up to the board whether we should adopt the ordinance, and whether we could write a citation so we could enforce it ourselves if offenders didn't comply with the statute. As it stands right now, our officers can do a probable cause statement and submit that to Barry County Prosecutor Amy Boxx to see if she wants to prosecute."

Nichols said the Barry County Sheriff's website has a database of sex offenders registered in Barry County, including an online map, that anyone can access.

He said if an offender doesn't comply with the statute, parents won't know they are an offender unless they take it upon themselves to find out through the databases.

There is a downside to the statute for some offenders, though, Nichols said, in that those seeing the sign often assign a label, without knowing the details.

"The bad thing is, there's more to it than just the label," Nichols said. "An individual could have had consensual sex with a minor, and may not have gone out and committed an intentional crime, but the parents still pressed charges, so he's forever registered as a sex offender.

"Or, if person urinated on side of road and someone drives by and reports you, you can be deemed a sex offender, and even worse if children see you, you are forever labeled a sex offender. There's a lot of cases like that and people don't look at the details but at the label."

Nichols said the point of the ordinance is about taking an extra step to keep children safe.

"It's not a common, everyday thing you think about, and we're just trying to do our job and keep our community safe."

Along with ensuring neighborhoods are safe for children, the city is also already planning for the holiday event.

"We're in the planning stages of getting the community center set up to do the trick-or-treat at city hall where local businesses and kids come out and we pass out candy," Nichols said. "We don't want to get to the last moment and we're scrambling, so we're already looking at what candies are available to start purchasing so we'll be prepared."

The city of Cassville enforces the sex offender ordinance, said Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr.

"Cassville Police Department follows the state statute," Kammerlohr said. "Officers are assigned to check the sex offender roster at the Barry County Sheriff's Office [and check offenders for compliance]. If there is a violation, then a report is made and procedures are followed through state court, not municipal.

"Parents may check the Missouri State Highway Patrol, or the Barry County Sheriff's Office websites to look up registered sex offenders."

Along with checking databases, Kammerlohr cautioned parents to take these extra measures to ensure their children's safety during the holiday.

"Always go over the stranger danger rules," she said. "Be with young children when they go from house-to-house. Costumes should be where children can see and move easily, plus others can see them when it is dark."

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  • Folks please pay attention to the attached study on registered citizen recidivism and less to the fear mongering by this media and law enforcement. Question...since statistics indicate children are hurt or killed by moving vehicles on Halloween why is the emphasis placed on registrants?

    http://extracredit.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2009/09/14/sex-crimes-against-children...

    http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/dead-5-injurd-bronx-crash-article-1.2419...

    Now, according to the NCMEC there are 851,870 men, women and children (young as 8 & 10 in some states) registered across the nation. The "crimes" range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 4 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being murdered, harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant. Academics indicate the three things needed for successful re-integration are ; a job, a place to live and a 'positive' support system.

    According to credible studies the recidivism rate for another "sexual" offense is very low and those who are beginning to educate families are advising that over 95% of sexual offenses come from within the victim's family, friends and those having access to the children and NEVER get reported.

    Let's begin to be proactive in a meaningful way. Ask legislators to pass Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training Programs like Stop It Now with state funding to teach children, teens and parent. One thing parents need to be taught is how to begin and maintain a dialog with their children about their own sexuality.

    The Supreme Court's Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics

    It is very important that you read the abstract below and then the full 12 page essay by Ira Mark and Tara Ellman.

    ABSTRACT

    This brief essay reveals that the sources relied upon by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, a heavily cited constitutional decision on sex offender registries, in fact provide no support at all for the facts about sex offender re-offense rates that the Court treats as central to its constitutional conclusions. This misreading of the social science was abetted in part by the Solicitor General's misrepresentations in the amicus brief it filed in this case. The false "facts" stated in the opinion have since been relied upon repeatedly by other courts in their own constitutional decisions, thus infecting an entire field of law as well as policy making by legislative bodies. Recent decisions by the Pennsylvania and California supreme courts establish principles that would support major judicial reforms of sex offender registries, if they were applied to the actual facts.

    This paper appeared in Constitutional Commentary Fall, 2015.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616429

    Vicki Henry, Women Against Registry

    -- Posted by yellowroselady on Wed, Sep 14, 2016, at 10:44 PM
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