Newsletter - December 2010


Stop Child Predators
Advisory Board

Mark Lunsford
Chairman

Joanna Acocella
Vice President of Federal Relations at Apollo Group, Inc.

Meryl Chertoff
Legislative relations professional, attorney and community volunteer

Viet Dinh
Georgetown University Professor of Law and former Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at U.S. Department of Justice

Brian Jones
Senior Counsel at Dow Lohnes

Roderick R. Paige, Ed.D.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education
(2001-2005)

Executive Team

Cary Katz
Chairman

Stacie Rumenap
President

John Falb
Treasurer & Member of the Board

Amy Thienel
Communications Director

Table of Contents

President's Message
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Holiday season, and thank you for your support and consideration this year. Together, we have fought for our children's safety and we look forward to continuing to protect children against dangers they should never face.
> Read More

California Judge in Jessica's Law Ruling Has Controversial Past
Stop Child Predators has been a consistent proponent of Jessica's Law, in collaboration with it's author Mark Lunsford, after whose daughter it was named. We've been met with consistent success in our efforts to see Jessica's Law passed, although a minor setback was encountered in California in November of 2010. L.A. Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza overturned a provision of Jessica's Law that prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
> Read More

Child safety advocates oppose nomination of Judge Chatigny for the U.S. Court of Appeals, too lenient on sex offenders
SCP joined with Community Voices to oppose the nomination of Judge Chatigny for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Our strong opposition comes from three important factors. First, Judge Chatigny has been consistently and egregiously lenient on sex offenders. Second, he struck down Connecticut's sex offender registry without legitimate cause. Third, he went out of his way, and outside the realm of appropriate behavior, to try to prevent a violent rapist and murderer from being executed.
> Read More

State registries provide same information free of charge as new iPhone app
Stop Child Predators is committed to the creation of a national, uniform sex offender registry, easily searchable and accessible by the public and law enforcement agencies alike. Until such a registry is created, however, the public has access to individual state registries and we encourage you to visit such registries often.
> Read More

In The News
Noteworthy articles in the news.
> Read More





President's Message

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Holiday season, and thank you for your support and consideration this year. Together, we have fought for our children's safety and we look forward to continuing to protect children against dangers they should never face.

In this season of giving, I ask you to consider supporting our efforts to protect kids from sexual predators, from the damaging effects of child pornography and from other online threats, as well as from potential dangers posed by new and emerging Internet technologies.

Looking back on 2010, Stop Child Predators (SCP) made significant strides in protecting the lives of children nationwide. Mark Lunsford and I were in Cheyenne, Wyoming early in the year supporting "Jessica's Law" in the "Cowboy State," a trip that coincided with the five year anniversary of Jessica's abduction, rape and death at the hands of convicted sex offender John Couey. Mark is Jessica's father, and SCP's chairman. Due in large part to our efforts there, we were thrilled to see Wyoming become the 44th state to enact such a law.

Mark and I also took our message to Maryland when lawmakers were in the process of reviewing dozens of sex offender laws in the "Free State," including tripling the minimum prison sentences from five to 15 years for child sex offenders who commit serious sex offenses or rape, and eliminating the possibility of reduced prison sentences for good behavior for violent and repeat sex offenders. The need for changes to Maryland's sex offender laws came in the wake of the death of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell, whose mother Jennifer was also in Annapolis supporting tougher punishments. Sarah's body was found on the Eastern Shore last Christmas. Thomas J. Leggs Jr., a registered sex offender, will stand trial for her kidnapping and murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. We hope our efforts there will help ensure this type of crime is prevented.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also cracked down on sex offenders in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Under his latest proposal, offenders convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct will face a sentence of 25 years in prison, a drastic increase of the previous 12-year sentence.

Mid-way through the year, SCP took our message of safety and awareness to California where we supported Chelsea's Law that allows for "one-strike" lifetime imprisonment for the most violent sex offenders. This was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in September, in a great victory for extended sentencing.

We also had the opportunity in California and in other states to continue promoting online safety. We know predators are savvy in their attempts to lure children using popular websites like Facebook and Craigslist, which is why SCP works to raise public awareness about Internet safety. We focus our educational efforts on lawmakers and parents where we talk about issues like cyberbullying and the horrific effects of child pornography. In California, we supported a bill that requires sex offenders to disclose electronic identifiers, like email addresses, to law enforcement in an effort to block them from reaching out to kids online. We opposed a bill that attempted to address the potential risks that arise when minors expose their home addresses and phone numbers on social networking sites. It's an important issue in child safety, but this particular piece of legislation failed at reaching our shared goal, so we'll be back in California this coming year to work with lawmakers on a solution.

Finally, we took our online safety commitment to Georgia, Nebraska and Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to support legislation that would better protect consumers from inadvertently sharing information stored on their computers, and help eliminate the sharing of illegal materials like child pornography through peer-to-peer applications (commonly referred to as P2P).

We have much more to do in the months ahead. In the coming weeks, you'll hear more from me about our plans to enact Jessica's Law in the six states that have yet to pass the law. Those states include Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Please join in the battle for your children by following us on our website, and Facebook and Twitter pages. It's important to raise awareness about the dangers posed to our children, especially on the Internet, and to give law enforcement and judges the tools they need to protect our families, and bring sex offenders to justice. So please consider donating today. From all of us at Stop Child Predators, thank you for your support and friendship. We wish you a very Happy New Year.

As always, if you have any questions or comments you would like to share, you can reach me at srumenap@stopchildpredators.org.

Sincerely,


Stacie Rumenap

California Judge in Jessica's Law Ruling Has Controversial Past

Stop Child Predators has been a consistent proponent of Jessica's Law, in collaboration with it's author Mark Lunsford, after whose daughter it was named. We've been met with consistent success in our efforts to see Jessica's Law passed, although a minor setback was encountered in California in November of 2010. L.A. Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza overturned a provision of Jessica's Law that prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

A group of sex offenders had recently challenged this provision, citing a difficulty finding housing using those parameters. Judge Espinoza ruled that this measure made huge swaths of the city impossible to live in for registered sex offenders, making it more likely that a larger number of sex offenders would become homeless. Since homeless sex offenders are more difficult to track, Jessica's Law may actually decrease public safety as a result of these housing provisions.

Although the four petitioners, registered sex offenders living in L.A. County, claimed to have had difficulty finding housing, there are still large areas that aren't adjacent to schools or parks. Additionally, it is only a portion of the sex offenders that this law applies to, and restrictions remain in place for so-called "high-risk" offenders, whose crimes were violent or repeated.

While there is still substantial support for the residency restrictions, both from the citizenry and the police department in L.A., it's important to remember that the real focus of Jessica's Law was mandatory sentencing requirements for violent sex offenders, and electronic monitoring upon possible parole. These cornerstones of the referendum have been upheld throughout California and are still in effect there.

In fact, public opinion and legislation have been leaning towards stronger and more effective sentencing with the recent passage of Chelsea's Law in California, which allows for "one-strike," lifetime imprisonment for the most violent sex offenders. SCP president Stacie Rumenap was in California earlier this year in support of Chelsea's law, which was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 9th. The momentum and public feeling in California right now is definitely in favor of a safer society through stricter penalties for violent sex offenders, and Stop Child Predators is continuing to be on the forefront of that fight.



Child safety advocates oppose nomination of Judge Chatigny for the U.S. Court of Appeals, too lenient on sex offenders

SCP joined with Community Voices to oppose the nomination of Judge Chatigny for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Our strong opposition comes from three important factors. First, Judge Chatigny has been consistently and egregiously lenient on sex offenders. Second, he struck down Connecticut's sex offender registry without legitimate cause. Third, he went out of his way, and outside the realm of appropriate behavior, to try to prevent a violent rapist and murderer from being executed.

Letter in Opposition to Judge Chatigny



State registries provide same information free of charge as new iPhone app

Stop Child Predators is committed to the creation of a national, uniform sex offender registry, easily searchable and accessible by the public and law enforcement agencies alike. Until such a registry is created, however, the public has access to individual state registries and we encourage you to visit such registries often.

Popularized during the Summer of 2009, Thin Air Wireless marketed an application that would use your location or any address to locate sex offenders registered nearby. A new and very similar application, The Sex Offender Tracker App, by BeenVerified, lays digital markers over your camera image in what is called "Augmented Reality." This app can be downloaded for $1.99. And although the advertisement, featuring recent Internet sensation Antoine Dodson, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtZfW2z9dw) seems to indicate the app has access to real-time geotagging information of sex-offenders' whereabouts, it actually accesses the same addressing information that is available free of charge on current state registries.

So while we support paying for the convenience of knowing who's lurking nearby, just know you can save yourself a little money by typing in any address into a registry and finding out the same information.



In the News

California Prison Warden Ignores District Attorney Release

Fort Worth Police win federal grants to fight child porn

FBI: Video Barbie Could Hold Evidence in Child Abuse Cases


For more information concerning the initiatives in your state, or if you would like Stop Child Predators' assistance in drafting, testifying for, or supporting legislation in your state, please visit our website at http://www.stopchildpredators.org and/or call us at (202) 234-0090.