The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein



Monday, December 19, 2005

Florida Sex Offender Registry

Reading the news today, I was taken back to see that the Florida Sex Offender registry was being criticized. Having had the chance to look at it previously, I had always found it rather informative, and well organized. The issue that many are having with it now wouldn't be noticed by the occasional browser on the site. Which makes it even worse.
A review of the FSR has found some rather unsettling statistics:
The News-Press analyzed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement database of 36,306 sex offenders and found:

• 9,205 of them are incarcerated

• 7,037 have run away or can't be found

• 824 have been deported; and

• 516 are dead.

Of the 15,573 sex offenders listed as released and not on parole or probation, only 11,355 of those actually live in Florida.
Sex offender registries can only be usefully, and only fully do what they where designed to do when they are updated, maintained and monitored continuously. When you are relying on the SO registries to monitors how safe your child is, what people surround your children's school, or your own home- having not just incomplete but wrong information is dangerous.
The state of Florida has put these regulations and laws into effect for the purpose of monitoring these sickos- and yet they are clearly failing to do that. I understand that nothing is ever going to be perfect- but when 4000 offenders are listed as being in Florida, and they don't even live there- what does that mean for other states these predators may have moved to? Or even worse for Florida- how many are living in the state that they don't know of now?
Whenever I approach the subject of sex offender registries- I always run into that one lone person who likes to disagree, who likes to tell me how wrong they are, how these monsters have served their time, or how it's "just not fair". Oh, and then there is the treatment routine. I get to hear how many of these deviants have completed treatment, and therefore should be allowed to live freely. Well, bite me. These people shouldn't need treatment to know that raping a child is wrong. They shouldn't need treatment to control heinous desires that they have towards children. And if they do, I really don't want them in the community. The victims they have left behind will forever be market- no matter how well they deal with it- because of what these monsters have done. The only fairness would be life in prison. Because, for many that is how they left their victims. Imprisoned by the memory of what they were put through at the hands of predators.

The husband of Joanne Pratt of Brevard County was convicted in 1998 of sexual
molestation.

He went to prison and received therapy before moving to
Florida from New Jersey, Pratt said. But the family is being harassed because
he's on the sex offender registry.

Neighbors ostracized the couple's
9-year-old son, Joanne Pratt said, refusing to let their children play with him.
One resident in their development printed a flier with her husband's photo to
distribute around her children's school.

After her husband served his
time, "we thought we'd get back to normal life," Joanne Pratt said. "But with
the registry it's going on and on."

Sgt. Tracey Booth, who heads the
Sexual Predator and Offender Unit of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, says the
registry is a useful monitoring tool for the public. FULL STORY
I feel for that child- not because of what society is doing as much as because they are being forced into living with what their father has done. How can anyone say that that child is truly safe in that home? And as for the wife- why should her husband be entitled to a normal life after he has stolen one from someone else? She chooses to live with him, no one is forcing her. And if she chooses to live with a pervert- than she deserves no more of a normal life than her husband does.
Maureen Kanka said that she would like all sex offenders listed on the registry.

Kanka's daughter Megan was 7 years old when she was killed by a sex
offender who lived in her New Jersey neighborhood.

As a result of the tragedy, all sex offenders must register their addresses with law enforcement, commonly called "Megan's Law."

"People make choices in their lives," Kanka said in an interview with The News-Press earlier this year.

She
objects to calls to include only high-risk offenders on registries. Kanka said
it's impossible to know who will offend again and who won't.

But some argue that time and money could be better spent putting efforts into preventing the first-time offense or keeping track of predators and repeat offenders.
Kanka is right, we can never really tell who is going to re offend, the chances are that most will. And for as long as they are alive- we as a society have to do what it takes to prevent that from happening. Which is why I fully support life sentences. We can't mark one sex offender as less heinous than other, and we have no way of telling who will take their deviant desires to a much worse level. Someone who starts out fondling children could easily grow to raping them. Is my "life sentence" position harsh? More than likely yes. But is beats the alterternative- more child victimized by a sexual predator we could have stopped.


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Mike Schuler said...

Someday the lawmakers will realize that releasing them is the problem. Once they are behind bars,... for God's sake just leave them there! That will solve all of the problems, and save money too.

Brian Kastel said...

Lost, are you sure that the numbers you cite are indicative of faulty information? (You didn't give a link to the source, so I couldn't check this out myself.) Looking at the Florida registry (http://www3.fdle.state.fl.us/sopu/), you can click on Advanced Options to select inclusion or exclusion of, for example, dead people, or out of state people. If a sex offender in Florida were to move to Ohio, he or she would still be required to comply with Florida law, which means their names will be maintained and updated on the registry, but with an address that is out of state. I'm just wondering if the "problem" you are writing about is different than it appears.

lostinlimaohio said...

The link is up there, indicated as the source of my post. But here it is again.
http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051218/NEWS01/512180417/1002/NEWS01

And yes, accourding to the story the numbers are correct.

Brian Kastel said...

Ok. I read the article. I can tell you this: with the passage of the Jessica Lunsford Act, that list will be spotless very soon. Police are making regular checks and all violators are being punished severly (it is now a category 2 felony). Twice-a-year mandatory registration in person, an annual random mailing that must be returned within 3 weeks, etc. If you think Florida is lightening up, then you've got the wrong idea.

But what about the part of the article that read:

"This seems to be strong evidence that these registration laws are unenforceable and cannot be managed accurately," said John Q. LaFond, editor of the book "Protecting Society from Sexually Dangerous Offenders: Law, Justice, and Therapy."

lostinlimaohio said...

It may be spotless very soon, but as of now- there are issues with it, that need to be corrected.
If they can not keep track of those on the list, how do they expect to keep track of those who should be on there, but are not? I don't think they are lightening up, but they have been slacking.

As for LaFond,s thoughts on the matter- I'll take the source for what it is. He favors treatment rather than prison sentencing. Most of his thoughts seem to be based on studies of reoffense rates. Most studies are done on average of 2- 5 years from release.
This is where I am sure you will not agree with me. But I'll voice my thoughts on that anyway.
Short term studies can be misleading because they are based on whether the offender is convicted of another crime- which is not to say they haven't committed one, only that they weren't caught. The longer the studies, the higher the rates become- even for treated sexual offenders. Yes, I have th comparison of numberous studies to back that up, and if you wait a day till I have time I'll find the link for you.

I can't trust a sexual offender to call me up and confess that they reoffended any more than I could expect a serial killer to call and turn himself in.
In truth, I could meet a sex offender today who has been through treatment, completely turned their life around, and is a respectful member of society, the problems lies with whether or not they will stay that way for the next 50 years of their life.
I'm hesitant to believe they will.

Brian Kastel said...

All I can say is this, to all that: I understand you. It's the same way for people who are just plain abusive and violent, too. I have seen it literally all my life. There will come a point in any perceived interpersonal conflict when that person goes on full offensive, inflicting brutality on another who is perceived as weaker, and if the perception is correct, then the weaker party is the victim of abuse. I fail to understand why this is not equally reviled, except that more people do it and so it is considered normal. I'll tell you one thing; it doesn't feel normal to the weaker party who is always the victim of violent assaults.

I heard on NPR yesterday that a study found that hate crimes are on the rise. Well, there's a surprise. Hate and anger and violence seem to be acceptable, and I distinctly remember being a kid and suffering quite a bit. When I told adults about the abuse, they all said there was nothing they could do and I just had to learn how to stand up for myself and fight back. Parents, school officials, even cops all told me the same thing. Everyone says that sometimes you've just got to get it out, but I've never done it. I have never fought back when assaulted, ever, in my entire life. Through school, through prison, and through life, I have maintained incapacitating passivity when confronted with physical brutality, and have simply had my ass kicked. I am sure I am not the only person who has experienced this. I'm sure there are many who would like to see equal attention given to other very serious dangers children and adults.

Outright violence I think causes far more harm than non-brutal sexual offenses, and it doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Maybe that’s material for another essay, hmm?

lostinlimaohio said...

If you read enough of my posts, you'll see I have an equal disgust for any crime committed against a child. I've started to give catagories to my posts- and although I haven't been able to do all 589 posts, you'll still find a great deal of them under the "abused" section.
My own beliefs are that the sexual abuse of children are often (not always) more about the mental and physical dominance of a child by their abusers than about the actual sexual gratification. That they get off not by the act itself, but by the power they achieve from it. The physical abuse of a child is very much the same thing, a means in which to show their power, to control, to achieve gratification that they are feared by the victim. In most cases, both sexual abusers and physical abusers use their actions to demonstrate that they are the ones with power over the child, they use the abuse as a form of mental torture, leaving the child scared, confused, and often blaming themselved for what the abuser has done.
There is no non brutal form of sexual abuse, while it may lack outright violence, the mental effects it has on a child is very brutal.
http://www.stopcsa.org/cause.cfm
http://www.annafoundation.org/wchac-stats.html
http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats.htm#Impact
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/100/4/600
http://www.apa.org/releases/sexabuse/effects.html

Brian Kastel said...

Paraphrase:

"Well, purple has some blue in it, so I think we should just call it for what it is -- blue."

I couldn't disagree more. You want to redefine words to suit your biases. You make unqualified statements such as , "There is no non brutal form of sexual abuse." It is simply not true, Lost. Your reading of headlines is not going to take you any deeper into the problem. It's like an iceberg, and it spreads pretty far and wide under the surface.

Brian Kastel said...

Look, I don't want to combat you. I am really on the same side as you; you just don't know it yet. If you tell me I am not welcome here, you know that I will go away. If that is what you want, then I accept that, and will move on. If that's not what you want, then you'll have to accept that I won't cease pointing out how vital a role hostility plays in the problems that are hurting us.

lostinlimaohio said...

Headlines? You think that is where I get my feelings, or information about this from? I lived it. I don't need headlines to tell me about the effects it has on children, or to tell me how serious of a problem it is. I don't need studies to tell me how it effects the family structure, or the guilt it puts on innocent people. I know what it is like to walk into a room and see the puddle of blood streaming down from my sisters wrists, because of what some man decided to do. I know what it is like 20 years later when you are terrified that someone could hurt your children, just like someone hurt you. I've seen the depression, the drugs, the failed relationships and the lack of trust for other people. I know the girls who ran away from home all their lives only to marry abusive men, who have no sense of self esteem left, because some man figured it was okay to degrade them as children. I know the boy who spent his life pretending to be someone he wasn't right up until the day he decided putting a bullet in his head was the only way out.
I may write about what's in the headlines today, but don't think that's all I know.

You may want to look up just what brutal is- here I've made it easy for you: http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/brutal;_ylt=AmXFmd7VzIYaTY89jJTGKhmsgMMF
Brutal doesn't have to be violent, it can be cruel, harsh, persitant.
Sexual abuse of a child is crude, it is ruthless. It's not twisting the meaning, it's defining the word.
You may stick around to blame my hostility all you want, I have no issue with that. However- that leaves me free to point out that if adults had basic human decency, they wouldn't be running around molesting children, and I'd have little reason to be hostile towards them.
One makes the bed they must lie in.

Brian Kastel said...

So my first intuition about you was correct, after all. I am truly sorry.

But I know exactly what brutal means, and nothing I have ever done can be considered as such. A large number of sex offenders also fit into this same category. You are unjust to paint everyone with one brush.

lostinlimaohio said...

Don't pat yourself on the back, odds favor that one in every 10 women you met will have been sexually abused at some point in their life.
You still say nothing you have done could be considered brutal. So you don't feel that objectifing a child for your own desires is cruel or harsh? Are you sure that your victims will not grow up to have guilt for what you have done? That not one of them will have issues with trust, depression, or continue the cycle by forming relationships with men that will continue the patteren of abuse that you have taught them? Don't let yourself off so easily. You say you take responsiblity and I offered to show you what happens to children sexually abused, and you wave your hands around saying "not my victims"? Let go of the notion that brutal has to be physically violent, and really own the that what you have done could effect these children well into their later lives.

Brian Kastel said...

I have owned it. I do own it, and I have prayed ceaselessly for my victims, and will continue to do so until my death. You're preaching to the choir on that point.

But let me address all your points: You tell me not to pat myself on the back, and I am not, but simply defending myself against gross mischaracterization. You cite the statistic about the number of women who have been sexually abused (curiously leaving out the statistic for men who were abused as boys), and I know this statistic. I am an adult heterosexual, and the statistic is more than a number to me through the real relationships I have had with women (nearly all of whom remain dear friends to this day). You go on to ask me rhetorically whether or not I feel that objectifying children for sexual pleasure is cruel or harsh. Here's the truth about that: sexually objectifying children is wrong under any and all circumstances. There is nothing that can ever make it right. In no situation is it ever justifiable. It is harmful in insidious ways, causing emotional trauma in a dozen areas. But whether you want to believe it or not, it is not always cruel, harsh, or brutal. Those are the facts, but please don't think that I believe this minimizes the harm. It mitigates it, without minimizing it. I am far from letting myself off easy. Do you really think I would be doing this if I were? I suffer daily inside myself for what I have done. I am not "waving my arms" saying anything that dismisses any of them.

You are still trying to redefine brutal to include any and all offenses, and it's crazy. Brutal is extreme, repeated, calculated, vicious. It entails wanton disregard for the victim. It's not always that way, Lost. Maybe that’s a notion you should let go of.

lostinlimaohio said...

Some reports say that as many as one in ten men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime: http://www.utexas.edu/student/cmhc/booklets/maleassault/menassault.html-- it's one in 3 for women. I really hate when the numbers jump around in my head. http://www.tri-countycouncil.org/sexualassault/facts.html





Again, I am not redefing the word, you can see that for yourself here:
http://www.answers.com/brutal&r=67

Which gives this definition:
bru·tal (brūt'l)
adj.
Extremely ruthless or cruel.
Crude or unfeeling in manner or speech.
Harsh; unrelenting: a brutal winter in the Arctic.
Disagreeably precise or penetrating: spoke with brutal honesty.
bru'tal·ly adv.




Thesaurus
brutal

adjective

Causing sharp, often prolonged discomfort: bitter, hard, harsh, rough, severe. See comfort/discomfort.


I believe that fits every sexual assualt against ANY person. While it may not be a physical discomfort, it is a mental one. You seem to only see brutal as being a physical trait, but it goes beyond that. And it doesn't only effect the victim, therefore, it is even worse.

danny_the_dodger said...

this was posted on brian's blog:

http://lifesentences.blogspot.com/

UPDATE: I have sad news for those of us who love Brian. Brian had his hearing on Tuesday and the Judge revolked his probation because of the positive results of a random drug test. The results were positive for marijuana, Diazepam (Valium) and trace amounts of cocaine. The level of valium in his blood (according to the probation officer who testified at the hearing) indicated that Brain had taken 5 to 10mg's approx. one hour before his schedueled monthly meeting with his probation officer. Brian did not have a prescription for the drug. The officer decided to test him because he said it was obvious he was high on something and he said Brian kept dropping a pencil he was holding and he seemed to avoid direct eye contact. A subsequent search of his apartment also turned up some drug paraphanelia described as "a pipe used to smoke meth or crack cocaine" (no drug residue in pipe), a small bag of seeds and marijuna stems, some rolling papers and "a homemade water pipe used to smoke marijuana". No child pornography was found in his apartment or on his computer hard drive. A police officer testified the drive had recently been formated and no forensics could be done on either his personal computer or what was described as "an older laptop" because the laptop was missing the hard drive. He said they also found several hundred printed pictures of young girls and boys approx. 6 to 10 years old clipped mostly from catalogs and store circulars. He said the children were fully clothed in the pictures or in bathing suits and are not illegal but the probation officer testified that "it demonstates Mr. Kastel's continueing interest in minor childen" and he said it looked like some of the photo's were several years old and a number of them appear to have been folded as if to fit in a wallet. He also said a pair of binoculars and a telescope though not illegal also raises questions about their intended use. There was no mention of this blog by either the judge or the prosecuter. Brian did not testify but his public defender read a short note from a former landlord that basically said Brian was friendly and in the 4 months he rented from him he was always on time with the rent. The lady prosecuter asked to look at the letter. After comparing the dates she said to the judge that Brian's rent was paid for by a check from HRS sent directly to the landlord on the 3rd day of each month and Brian was never late paying the rent because he didn't pay rent, the state paid it for him. She then said all that letter tell's the court is Mr. Kastel is friendly and she said I would smile a lot too if someone was paying my rent every month your honor. The judge then said something like I think we can find a nice apartment for Mr. Kastel. Do you like green Mr. Kastel?. It was funny and even Brian chuckled. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes and despite the seriousness of the matter Brian looked like he was a kid on a field trip. He was dressed in the standard orange jump suit and had both leg and wrist chains on. He smiled a lot and kept looking around the court room for familiar faces and as far as I know only his sister and a family friend were there and neither took the stand or spoke to Brian.

Brian has just over 5 years remaining on his sentence and though it is unlikely he will serve the entire term he will not be eligible for a parole hearing under Florida law for at least 8 months. Don't get your hopes up, a hearing is not a guarentee he will be released it is just a hearing. He is schedueled to be transferred from the Pinellas County Jail early next week and will likely do his time at Stark in North Florida. His good friend Danny said he talked to Brian on the phone and said he is resigned to doing the time and is adjusting well to the idea of returning to prison. He said he will use the time to write a book about his life and feels that what ever time he serves will only help build interest in his book and boost initial sales.

I will post his new address and contact info as soon as i get it. I am working on a way that fans Brian and readers of his blog can donate to Brian's support fund through paypal. more on that when all the details are worked out. I will also try to get a list of items that you are allowed to send to prisoners so those that want to help can send gifts directly to him every month.