Newsletter - November 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
The weather may be cooling down, but things are heating up this month at Stop Child Predators. Read on to hear about the 10th anniversary of the COPA Commission report, one of the first looks in-depth studies on child online safety.
> Read More

SCP Recognizes the 10th Anniversary of the COPA Commission Report
Last month marks the 10-year anniversary of the COPA Commission Report. The COPA Commission was established by the Child Online Protection Act in October 1998 in order to identify methods to prevent minors from accessing harmful online material. After evaluating the effectiveness of various protective technologies and their effects on privacy and First Amendment rights and law enforcement, the COPA Commission released its final report to Congress on October 20, 2000.
> Read More

Chelsea's Law Takes a Road Trip
Earlier this year, Chelsea's Law was enacted in California with wide bi-partisan support across the state. Chelsea's Law, named for 17-year-old Chelsea King who was raped and murdered in San Diego by a convicted sex offender, toughens sex offender laws and restrictions. The law was authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in partnership with the family of Chelsea King.
> Read More

Look Out, Cyberbullies
One of the sad truths of life is that some people are bullies. And while we've all dealt with our own, the Internet has caused the problem to get out of hand. Unlike regular bullying, cyberbullying can reach a much wider audience, and the proof of the attacks lasts forever on the Internet. The anonymity of the Internet has encouraged bullies to be even crueler than ever. This year, there have been several high-profile cases of cyberbullying leading to suicide, such as Phoebe Prince, and more recently, Tyler Clementi. The one silver lining in all the cyberbullying tragedies is that people are starting to take notice and take action.
> Read More

SCP, local leaders awarded "Spirit of Compassion" by Massachusetts Advocacy Group
Stop Child Predators Chairman Mark Lunsford and President Stacie Rumenap were recently awarded the Community VOICES "Spirit of Compassion" Award for their efforts in passing Jessica's Law in Massachusetts. Jessica's Law, which now exists in 44 states, toughens sex offender laws by creating mandatory minimum sentencing for convicted sex offenders who prey on children.
> Read More







PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

The weather may be cooling down, but things are heating up this month at Stop Child Predators.

Read on to hear about the 10th anniversary of the COPA Commission report, one of the first looks in-depth studies on child online safety.

You may recall that in September, Chelsea's Law, a law that will toughen sex offender laws and protect children from violent sexual predators, was enacted in California. This month, you'll learn about the changes being made in Chelsea's Light Foundation and which states may be the next target for Chelsea's Law.

Finally, this year has seen a lot of tragic cases of cyberbullying. Great strides are being made to combat cyberbullies and keep kids safe from Internet tormentors.

Don't forget to check out Stop Child Predators on Facebook and Twitter to find the most up-to-date content in your state.

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter as much as we enjoy sharing the content with you. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at srumenap@stopchildpredators.org.

Together, we are confident that we will STOP CHILD PREDATORS.

Sincerely,


Stacie Rumenap

SCP Recognizes the 10th Anniversary of the COPA Commission Report

Last month marks the 10-year anniversary of the COPA Commission Report. The COPA Commission was established by the Child Online Protection Act in October 1998 in order to identify methods to prevent minors from accessing harmful online material. After evaluating the effectiveness of various protective technologies and their effects on privacy and First Amendment rights and law enforcement, the COPA Commission released its final report to Congress on October 20, 2000.

The COPA Commission Report includes several recommendations for protecting children online such as, public education, responsible adult empowerment and law enforcement involvement. Over the past few years, Stop Child Predators has worked to create a safer Internet for children using each of these routes.

Stop Child Predators has worked diligently on public education on the dangers that lurk on the Internet. SCP has maintained an active presence online, partaken in events related to Internet safety and participated in several industry forums on Internet safety. Earlier this year, SCP president Stacie Rumenap spoke on a panel at IGF-USA. Additionally, SCP has attacked Internet safety from a legislative aspect. The organization has worked with both state and federal governments to promote Internet safety legislation, including the P2P Cyber Protection and Informed Users Act. And SCP has encouraged others to keep working toward a safer online by recognizing legislators, policy makers and community leaders across the country for their work in child Internet safety.

While SCP and other organizations have made fantastic progress in public education and empowerment, there is still work to be done to truly protect children online. According to Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough is Enough and member of the COPA Commission, not all recommendations have been pursued. "Federal and state obscenity laws have not been aggressively enforced. The Government must refocus its efforts to fund, at all levels, prosecutions of existing obscenity laws," she said in a recent statement.

Despite legislative shortcomings, progress has certainly been made in Internet safety. Stop Child Predators will continue to work toward the goal of a safe Internet.



Chelsea's Law Takes a Road Trip

Earlier this year, Chelsea's Law was enacted in California with wide bi-partisan support across the state. Chelsea's Law, named for 17-year-old Chelsea King who was raped and murdered in San Diego by a convicted sex offender, toughens sex offender laws and restrictions. The law was authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in partnership with the family of Chelsea King.

Now, Chelsea's Light Foundation, the organization behind Chelsea's Law has set its sights on bigger goals. In a letter on Facebook, Kelly and Brent King, parents of Chelsea, outlined their plans for the future. Among those plans:

  • A nationwide expansion of Chelsea's Law. The states currently being considered for the next target are: Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Texas.
  • A Sunflower Scholarship Fund offering students financial assistance with college tuition and extracurricular activities.
  • A peer counseling start-up and support program similar to the program Chelsea was involved in at Poway High School. Also small grants will be provided to existing peer counseling programs doing "innovative" work.
  • An outreach and support program for victims of child predators.
  • A school safety curriculum that focuses on keeping children safe from predators.

Chelsea's Light Foundation will make its decision on its next state to target within the next few weeks, currently an exploration committee consisting of Assemblyman Fletcher, Chelsea's family and a private attorney are reviewing the laws of the four states under consideration.



Look Out, Cyberbullies

One of the sad truths of life is that some people are bullies. And while we've all dealt with our own, the Internet has caused the problem to get out of hand. Unlike regular bullying, cyberbullying can reach a much wider audience, and the proof of the attacks lasts forever on the Internet. The anonymity of the Internet has encouraged bullies to be even crueler than ever. This year, there have been several high-profile cases of cyberbullying leading to suicide, such as Phoebe Prince, and more recently, Tyler Clementi. The one silver lining in all the cyberbullying tragedies is that people are starting to take notice and take action.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 44 states currently have anti-bullying legislation, 30 of those directly mention electronic forms of harassment. Additionally, the FCC has taken a firm stand against cyberbullying by recently requiring that schools receiving subsidies for Internet service will have to teach students about the dangers of cyberbullying and the responsible use of social networking sites. Legislative and regulatory changes aren't the only attacks cyberbullies face.

A New York judge recently required Google to reveal the identity of an anonymous YouTube tormenter. This decision sends a clear message that cyberbullies will no longer be able to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

Even Facebook has joined in the fight, creating a new application that connects cyberbullying victims with safety organizations and gives them the ability to report incidents of bullying.

While we still have a long way to go before Internet bullies everywhere are silenced, the past few months have seen a lot of progress in fighting cyberbullying.



SCP, local leaders awarded "Spirit of Compassion" by Massachusetts Advocacy Group

Stop Child Predators Chairman Mark Lunsford and President Stacie Rumenap were recently awarded the Community VOICES "Spirit of Compassion" Award for their efforts in passing Jessica's Law in Massachusetts. Jessica's Law, which now exists in 44 states, toughens sex offender laws by creating mandatory minimum sentencing for convicted sex offenders who prey on children.

Former Middlesex District Attorney Michael Chinman, the first prosecutor in Massachusetts to successfully indict and prosecute a case under Jessica's Law in October 2009, was also awarded.

Community VOICES, a Massachusetts' victims' rights organization, raises awareness of child sexual abuse, missing and exploited children and Internet predators.

Upon receiving the award, Stacie Rumenap expressed gratitude for the work that Community VOICES has done. "Thanks to groups like Community Voices who combat the exploitation of children, and work to ensure public safety, Massachusetts' communities are safer. Mark Lunsford and I are honored to accept the Spirit of Compassion Award. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Community Voices to keep Massachusetts' families safe from child predators."

Community VOICES also honored the Littleton Massachusetts Police Department with the Community VOICES "Jeffrey Curley Dedicated Service" Award for their exemplary performance in 2009 that prevented the abduction of a 12-year old Littleton girl by Daniel O'Brien who traveled to Littleton from Virginia after meeting the young girl on the Internet. O'Brien was convicted of attempted kidnapping and child endangerment in June of 2010.

The award is named in honor of Jeffrey Curley, who was murdered in 1997, and was presented by his father Robert Curley.

The event was attended by U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Massachusetts Senator Richard Ross and Representative Jim Arciero.

SCP congratulates Laurie Myers, President of Community VOICES, Debbie Savoia Vice President and Sandy DiBacco, Treasurer, for all their great work on the event, and for their efforts to keep Massachusetts' families safe from child predators.

The awards were presented during the Community VOICES Awards ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts on October 15.


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.