Newsletter - October 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
As October winds remind us that Halloween is just around the corner, it's a good time to talk to your child about staying safe whether they plan to trick-or-treat, collect money for a school fundraiser or just want to spend the remaining fall days outside.
> Read More

Governor Tells Sex Offenders 'Don't Mess With Texas'
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced recently that he intends to make his state's sex offender laws the toughest in the country, and hopes his colleagues in other states will follow his lead.
> Read More

Parents of Child Abuse, Abduction Promote Safety
Last month, SCP wrote about two fathers crossing the country on bicycles in hopes of bringing awareness to the need for tougher penalties for child predators. As members of the Surviving Parents Coalition, Ed Smart and Ahmad Rivazfar left New York on bicycles in late August and traveled through 12 states on their awareness campaign, "Ride for Their Lives." The ride ended last month in Los Angeles. SCP Chairman Mark Lunsford joined them, riding his motorcycle in solidarity for the duration of the trip.
> Read More

Microsoft, Safety Expert Releases New Data on Social Networking Practices Among Children and Parents
It's hard to pick up a newspaper today and not read a story about growing concerns over the risks associated with social networking. Heightened regulatory scrutiny, pressure from public interest advocates for increased transparency and additional accountability, as well as concern among educators, parents and caregivers pushes online safety to new levels. Yet, Internet use has become such a part of our lives, it's sometimes easy to forget to use basic safety precautions when going online.
> Read More







PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

As October winds remind us that Halloween is just around the corner, it's a good time to talk to your child about staying safe whether they plan to trick-or-treat, collect money for a school fundraiser or just want to spend the remaining fall days outside.

You can read in the pages to come how Texas Governor Rick Perry is doing is part to ensure kids in the Lone Star State are safe from predatory behavior. He plans to make Texas sex offender laws some of the toughest in the country, and is challenging his colleagues in other states to follow his lead.

You may recall that last month, SCP wrote about two fathers crossing the country on bicycles in hopes of bringing awareness to the need for tougher penalties for child predators. Read on to hear about their adventure that ended in late September.

Finally, it's hard to pick up a newspaper today and not read a story about growing concerns over the risks associated with social networking. Such concerns caused Microsoft and a leading safety expert to team up to release new data on social networking practices among children and parents. Read on to learn more. I encourage you to share their results through your own social networks.

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

Governor Tells Sex Offenders 'Don't Mess With Texas'

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced recently that he intends to make his state's sex offender laws the toughest in the country, and hopes his colleagues in other states will follow his lead.

Texas currently has a version of Jessica's Law that calls for mandatory sentencing of convicted child sex offenders. Under Gov. Perry's latest proposal, Texas would require repeat sex offenders be sentenced to life without parole. His plan also calls for mandatory electronic monitoring of first-time sex offenders upon their release from prison.

"These steps will help ensure that sexual predators pay the price for their crimes and do not have the freedom to destroy lives again," said the Governor.

The plan includes the following provisions:

  • The Office of the Attorney General, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and local law enforcement will work together to create Sex Offender Parole Violation Apprehension Teams, which will arrest high-risk sex offenders who have violated parole. These teams will coordinate with local law enforcement to conduct additional registration compliance checks on predatory, high-risk sex offenders.
  • A $1.7 million grant from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) to help TDCJ actively monitor all high-risk sex offenders on parole with tracking technology.
  • A pledge to work with lawmakers during the upcoming session to pass legislation allowing prosecutors to seek life without parole for repeat offenders convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.
  • Requiring active monitoring of high-risk sex offenders using tracking technology as part of the sex offender's sentence, and requiring all high-risk registered sex offenders who have served their entire prison sentence be actively monitored for three years upon release from prison.
  • Encouraging governors across the country to enter into reciprocal agreements on sex offender registration to prevent individuals from circumventing sex offender registration laws by moving from one state to another.

"We're after them and we're gonna get 'em," Gov. Perry said of sexual predators. He plans to introduce the new initiative at the start of the legislative session in January 2011.



Parents of Child Abuse, Abduction Promote Safety

Last month, SCP wrote about two fathers crossing the country on bicycles in hopes of bringing awareness to the need for tougher penalties for child predators. As members of the Surviving Parents Coalition, Ed Smart and Ahmad Rivazfar left New York on bicycles in late August and traveled through 12 states on their awareness campaign, "Ride for Their Lives." The ride ended last month in Los Angeles. SCP Chairman Mark Lunsford joined them, riding his motorcycle in solidarity for the duration of the trip.

All three men met while advocating for tougher penalties for crimes committed against children in the wake of their own children's abductions. Other victims, child advocates, law enforcement and supporters rallied behind the fathers at stops within 26 cities.

The men rode on behalf of parents of children who were abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered, recovered or are still missing. They formed the Surviving Parents Coalition with the goal of preventing predatory crimes through awareness, education and legislation. While parent members are the driving force behind the coalition's legislative initiatives, friends and family members are also welcome to join.

The men rode on behalf of parents of children who were abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered, recovered or are still missing. They formed the Surviving Parents Coalition with the goal of preventing predatory crimes through awareness, education and legislation. While parent members are the driving force behind the coalition's legislative initiatives, friends and family members are also welcome to join.

While the group originally formed around the passage of the Adam Walsh Act, the coalition continues to advocate for DNA collection on felony arrests, as well as the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, which provides resources for the investigation of child pornography and exploitation cases. They've also developed "Not ONE More Child," a child safety initiative that educates and empowers children to recognize, avoid, resist and escape dangerous situations and violence, including bullying, assault, abuse and abduction.

"The coalition is determined to cultivate a national movement for child protection, one community and one child at a time," Rivazfar said.

Stop Child Predators is proud to have assisted the Surviving Parents Coalition in securing law enforcement, including speakers from the U.S. Marshals Service, at key stops along the ride.

For more information, visit www.SPCoalition.org.



Microsoft, Safety Expert Releases New Data on Social Networking Practices Among Children and Parents

It's hard to pick up a newspaper today and not read a story about growing concerns over the risks associated with social networking. Heightened regulatory scrutiny, pressure from public interest advocates for increased transparency and additional accountability, as well as concern among educators, parents and caregivers pushes online safety to new levels. Yet, Internet use has become such a part of our lives, it's sometimes easy to forget to use basic safety precautions when going online.

New research released by Microsoft found that 56 percent of parents "friend" their child on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and nearly half—49 percent—log into their child's account. Yet, the research also found that only 10 percent utilize monitoring software. Even more concerning is that some 30 percent of kids open their first social networking account before age 13 and 84 percent of these kids are on Facebook or MySpace in spite of a minimum age requirement for these services.

To address the issue, Microsoft teamed up with online safety advocate and founder of iLOOKBOTHWAYS, Linda Criddle, to create a new calendar application that reminds parents each month to talk to their kids about staying safe online. The program works with Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and provides tips about online privacy and the importance of talking to your children about Internet risks like cyberbullying. The best part about the program? It can be downloaded for free.

Links to the calendar application can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/protect/default.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/protect/resources/addon.aspx


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.