WBEZ | sex offenders http://www.wbez.org/tags/sex-offenders Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Crowded Chicago Police office forces sex offenders to violate parole http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 <p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department forces sex offenders to violate their parole. I know that sounds crazy. I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it, but I&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks with sex offenders waiting -- for hours and hours -- outside police headquarters and watching a Kafkaesque process play out.</p><p dir="ltr">Every morning sex offenders start lining up at 6, while it&rsquo;s still dark out, sometimes even earlier than that, and I probably don&rsquo;t have to remind you how cold it&rsquo;s been this winter. Tracy Wright was one of a couple dozen men on a recent morning.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s freezing out here,&rdquo; said Wright. &ldquo;Man, I had frost bites today. Somebody gave me some gloves to put on my hands.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s often like this, with the men stomping their feet on the cold concrete, trying to stay warm. For some reason, there&rsquo;s no waiting room. A small vestibule acts as a makeshift waiting room but there are 20 guys stuck outside. By 10:30 a.m. all of the men are cold and frustrated. &ldquo;I been here since 7 o&rsquo;clock waiting in line trying to see these people to keep me from being locked up,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><strong>Ambulance needed</strong></p><p dir="ltr">On this morning an ambulance was called for one of the men because he had numbness in his feet. After that, the men were allowed to wait in the main lobby of police headquarters but that&rsquo;s the exception to the rule.</p><p>People convicted as sex offenders have to register once a year. It basically means they have to go to the police department registration office and update their personal info and show proof of their current address. And if they move, they have to go back to re-register within three days. If they enroll in school they have to re-register within three days. If they change jobs they have to re-register within three days.</p><p>There are a lot of requirements and in Chicago, and they can be nearly impossible to meet, not because the offenders don&rsquo;t want to meet them but because of the way the Chicago Police Department runs the registration office.</p><p>When I met Wright in line it was his third time trying to get in the office to register. &ldquo;Every time we come here they have us standing in this line out here in this cold,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Wright was turned away the other two days because the office doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to process all the sex offenders who show up to register, and Wright&rsquo;s worried the same thing is going to happen again. &ldquo;At 12 o&rsquo;clock they&rsquo;ll cut the line, they&rsquo;ll stop the line and tell us to come back tomorrow but I been standing out here already four to five hours,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><b>Go home, but you can still be arrested</b></p><p dir="ltr">Sure enough, an hour later, at 11:45 a.m., &nbsp;a man comes out of the registry office and tells Wright and the two dozen other men who have been waiting in the cold all morning, that they won&rsquo;t be able to register today. But then it gets weirder. The police department employee tells the men they can sign a list that will prove they showed up today to register but then he tells them that even if they&rsquo;re on the list, they can still be arrested for failing to register.</p><p>In a written statement, Adam Collins, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, said the list is collected and the department &ldquo;proactively sends their names to Illinois State Police &hellip; to minimize any potential criminal registration problems for the individuals.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course letting the men actually register would be an even more effective way to minimize registration problems. For clarity, I asked Collins several times, aren&rsquo;t the men at risk of being arrested? He simply resent a portion of his written statement.</p><p>For the offenders being turned away every day -- sometimes 10, 20, or even more of them -- the message they&rsquo;re getting is that the department prefers to risk their arrest rather than process this paperwork more quickly.</p><p><strong>Violating registration rules can mean prison</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The men are nervous and they have good reason. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections there are currently 841 people in prison for violating registration requirements.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I think we&rsquo;re caught up in the machine,&rdquo; said Terry as he walked away from police headquarters after being told he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to register. Terry didn&rsquo;t want to give his last name. He says he&rsquo;s trying to fulfill the registration requirements and get on with his life, which includes a job in sales that he&rsquo;s missing so he can stand in line. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We&rsquo;re showing up here, we&rsquo;re trying to do the right thing we&rsquo;re trying to follow the law to the letter of what&rsquo;s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>After most of the men have left William White is still sitting in his wheel chair outside the registry office. I saw him arrive before noon but that was too late and now he&rsquo;s locked outside in the cold in a T-shirt and a light jacket. He has one leg. Because of that he had to get a ride from his brother Reggie and he&rsquo;s waiting for his brother to pick him up. When Reggie shows up he can&rsquo;t believe his brother couldn&rsquo;t register because there&rsquo;s a sign on the locked door that says the office is open till 3.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not even one o&rsquo;clock yet! Five minutes to one,&rdquo; said White.</p><p>&ldquo;This is horrible. It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail. You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that. And they came out, they didn&rsquo;t even have any sympathy, his limb is missing. They didn&rsquo;t even care, you know? So they won&rsquo;t even see you or anything, won&rsquo;t register you or nothing. They told him to come back Tuesday but I have to work and I won&rsquo;t be able to bring him Tuesday,&rdquo; said White.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sex Registry Sign.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="CPD spokesman Adam Collins says the criminal registry office is open standard business hours, but a sign on the door tells a different story. Sex offenders who show up when they’re supposed to show up often find the door locked. They end up leaving angry and confused and concerned that they’ll be arrested for failing to register. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>In a written statement police spokesman Adam Collins insisted the office is open standard business hours. That&rsquo;s not what I saw. In fact while I talk to Reggie White and his brother a young man walks up and pulls on the locked door. White shouts over to him, &ldquo;They not taking anybody else.&rdquo;</p><p>After a short conversation the young man walks away mystified and angry. I saw a lot of men arrive in the afternoon, when the office is advertised as being open. They all found a locked door and got no explanation.</p><p><strong>Increased registration, says CPD</strong></p><p>CPD spokesman Collins says there&rsquo;s been an increase in registrations in the last two years. He says they&rsquo;ve detailed additional officers to the criminal registration section and they are in the planning stage of an expansion of the office to accommodate additional personnel, but he didn&rsquo;t provide any details about a timeline despite our request. He also didn&rsquo;t answer questions on whether there are plans for a waiting room.</p><p>The whole process is especially frustrating for men who have jobs and are trying to keep their lives on track, like Byron Williams. He says he&rsquo;s shown up to this office 8 or 9 times in the last couple weeks, a not uncommon story. Williams is a security guard and his boss is letting him work the night shift right now so he can stand in line during the day, but he doesn&rsquo;t get off the night shift till 6 a.m. so he&rsquo;s not getting in line early enough. He hasn&rsquo;t been able to register.</p><p>&ldquo;My boss is like, okay you need to make something happen, but every time I get up to close by they cut it off and say we can&rsquo;t register, you got to come back the next day. I&rsquo;m explaining that to my boss and he&rsquo;s understanding but he&rsquo;s not understanding and I&rsquo;m at risk of losing my job and you know how hard it is for a sex offender to find a job?&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>Given the weather at the end of last week, Williams decided he wasn&rsquo;t going to stand out in the cold again and waste his time. However, Monday is his last day to register before he&rsquo;s in violation. He says he&rsquo;ll be in line again, to give it another try.</p></p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 Court: Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional http://www.wbez.org/news/court-sex-offender-facebook-ban-unconstitutional-105102 <p><p>INDIANAPOLIS &mdash; An Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from using Facebook and other social networking sites that can be accessed by children is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.</p><p>The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago overturned a federal judge&#39;s decision upholding the law, saying the state was justified in trying to protect children but that the &quot;blanket ban&quot; went too far by restricting free speech.</p><p>The 2008 law &quot;broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors,&quot; the judges wrote.</p><p>&quot;The goal of deterrence does not license the state to restrict far more speech than necessary to target the prospective harm,&quot; they said in a 20-page decision.</p><p>The judges noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has also struck down laws that restricted the constitutional right to freedom of expression, such as one that sought to ban leafleting on the premise that it would prevent the dropping of litter.</p><p>U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in June that the state has a strong interest in protecting children and found that social networking had created a &quot;virtual playground for sexual predators to lurk.&quot; She noted that everything else on the Internet remained open to those who have been convicted of sex offenses.</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the class-action suit on behalf of a man who served three years for child exploitation and other sex offenders who are restricted by the ban even though they are no longer on probation.</p><p>Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences, controlling where many live and work and requiring them to register with police. But the ACLU contended that even though the Indiana law is only intended to protect children from online sexual predators, social media websites are virtually indispensable. The group said the ban prevents sex offenders from using the websites for legitimate political, business and religious purposes.</p><p>The ACLU applauded the decision.</p><p>&quot;Indiana already has a law on the books that prohibits inappropriate sexual contacts with children,&quot; including penalties for online activities, ACLU legal director Ken Falk said. &quot;This law sought to criminalize completely innocent conduct that has nothing to do with children.&quot;</p><p>Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office would review the ruling before deciding on the next step.</p><p>Federal judges have barred similar laws in Nebraska and Louisiana. Louisiana legislators passed a new, narrower law last year that requires sex offenders to identify themselves on Facebook and similar sites. A federal judge struck down part of Nebraska&#39;s law last October.</p></p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 11:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/court-sex-offender-facebook-ban-unconstitutional-105102 Sex offenders sue over $100 registration fee http://www.wbez.org/news/sex-offenders-sue-over-100-registration-fee-103745 <p><p>A lawsuit accuses the city of Chicago of unfairly refusing to waive a $100 registration fee for sex offenders who are too poor to pay.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/VV1AOR">The Chicago <em>Sun-Times </em>reports</a> that the federal lawsuit seeks class-action status and an injunction to prevent the city from denying registration to sex offenders who ask for a waiver.</p><p>Sex offenders can be jailed if they don&#39;t pay the fee, but authorities may waive it for anyone deemed indigent.</p><p>In court papers, one plaintiff says he&#39;s in jail for not registering because he couldn&#39;t pay. The city, however, contends he couldn&#39;t register because he didn&#39;t present proper identification.</p><p>City officials say the state law requiring the fee has been found constitutional and Chicago has a system in place to evaluate offenders&#39; ability to pay.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 09:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sex-offenders-sue-over-100-registration-fee-103745 Defrocked Chicago priest gets path to freedom http://www.wbez.org/story/defrocked-chicago-priest-gets-path-freedom-96418 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-15/Sand Ridge.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A court-approved agreement that classifies a defiant former Chicago priest as “sexually violent” could lead to his release from a Wisconsin treatment facility as early as November.</p><p>Norbert Maday, convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting Chicago-area children, avoided a Wisconsin jury trial that would have begun Tuesday. Under the deal, prosecutors in Winnebago County won’t contest a supervised release of Maday, 73, if a state evaluation determines the defrocked priest is ready for that freedom. The agreement, approved by Circuit Court Judge Daniel J. Bissett, requires the evaluation to take place in nine months. If Maday remains in custody from there, re-evaluations will occur annually.</p><p>Kevin Greene, the case’s special prosecutor, said his team also wanted to avoid a jury trial.</p><p>“If you lose, he walks away with less supervision,” said Greene, an assistant district attorney in Brown County. The agreement “allows the closest supervision in the community that we can get” if the evaluation backs Maday’s release, he said.</p><p>In 1992, Winnebago County prosecutors charged Maday with molesting two boys, ages 13 and 14, from a Chicago Ridge parish at a 1986 religious retreat in Oshkosh. The court convicted him on three counts of sexual assault and one count of intimidating a witness and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.</p><p>In 2007, as Maday completed the prison term, Wisconsin sought his confinement under a statute that puts “sexually violent persons” under control of the state Department of Health Services. As that case dragged on, Maday remained in the department’s Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, a town in central Wisconsin. Tuesday’s agreement will keep Maday there as the department provides him treatment.</p><p>Maday’s attorney, Ralph Sczygelski of Manitowoc, told WBEZ the former priest “has denied he is a sexually violent person” and “continues to vehemently deny that anything bad happened” during the Oshkosh retreat. Maday did admit that there was “potentially sufficient evidence for a jury to find him to be a sexually violent person,” Sczygelski said.</p><p>Maday’s possible release could become embarrassing to Cardinal Francis George, head of the Chicago archdiocese, which employed Maday for almost three decades and paid him a stipend in prison. In 2000, George wrote letters of support to Maday as other top archdiocese officials pushed for early release. At another point, the church won Wisconsin permission for the body of Maday’s deceased mother to be brought to his prison. A letter from George thanked then-Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson for that “exceptional act of charity.”</p><p>In a court deposition, George said his view of Maday changed in the early 2000s after the archdiocese received more accusations about the priest. In 2007, George wrote to the Wisconsin Parole Commission, saying the archdiocese no longer was “capable of receiving him back into our system.” The archdiocese says the church laicized Maday that year.</p><p>A leading victim advocate said Tuesday’s agreement could lead to more sexual abuse.</p><p>“Given the fact that Father Maday has been given special treatment in the past, we fear that that will cause him to be potentially released sooner than he should be and we fear that that will put children at risk,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a Chicago-based group known as SNAP.</p><p>But Sczygelski said a supervised release would land Maday in an apartment far from children, schools and parks. “The electronic monitoring these days — the science, the technology, basically — enhances safety tremendously,” Sczygelski said. “The neighborhood is told about it. They’re given pictures and everything. And if they see him stepping out of line, believe me, they’re calling 911.”</p><p>The archdiocese, asked whether it will help monitor Maday if Wisconsin releases him, noted that his church status has changed. “As a laicized priest, the archdiocese has no relationship with Mr. Maday,” spokeswoman Susan Burritt said in a written statement.</p><p>The archdiocese declined to say how many Maday victims have come forward or how many have received church compensation. “The archdiocese does not discuss individual claims or settlements,” the statement said.</p><p>Blaine said Maday has been accused of abusing “three to four dozen children.”</p><p>The archdiocese said Maday was associate pastor at six area parishes: St. John of God in Chicago from 1964 to 1966, St. Leo in Chicago from 1966 to 1969, St. Louis de Montfort in Oak Lawn from 1969 to 1977, St. Bede the Venerable in Chicago from 1977 to 1983, Our Lady of the Ridge in Chicago Ridge from 1983 to 1989, and St. Jude the Apostle in South Holland from 1989 to 1992.</p><p>“The archdiocese extends its prayers for God’s healing and peace to all those affected by child sexual abuse,” Burritt’s statement said.</p></p> Wed, 15 Feb 2012 11:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/defrocked-chicago-priest-gets-path-freedom-96418 Ask Me Why: To forgive, but not forget http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/ask-me-why-forgive-not-forget-83884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-17/shadow face photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This next installment of <a href="../../../../../../series/ask-me-why">Ask Me Why</a> tackles a painful, hot-button topic: Should convicted sex offenders stay on a permanent registry that documents their offenses? Or, should they be removed from the list after some period of time?</p><p>Helena Carnes-Jeffries, 36, picked the topic. You may have heard her on our airwaves last month talking about <a href="../../../../../../story/budget-cuts/dear-chicago-don%E2%80%99t-forget-mentally-ill">her struggles with mental illness</a> that stem from the childhood sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. When she learned that her father had abused other victims, she felt like the system had failed to protect others, just as it failed to protect her.</p><p>Carnes-Jeffries&rsquo; conversation partner was friend and fellow writer Betsy Benefield, who is in her early 50s. Inspired in part by her Christian faith, Benefield felt strongly that even people who have committed the most heinous of crimes deserve a shot at redemption.</p><p>When Benefield revealed her own personal stake in this topic, the exchange turned into a meditation on forgiveness. How do you know when it&rsquo;s time to forgive? And how can you make sure someone has really changed? You can hear an edited version of their conversation in the audio posted above.</p><p><a href="../../../../../../series/ask-me-why">Ask Me Why</a> is produced in collaboration with the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prairie.org/">Illinois Humanities Council</a>, and was made possible by a grant from The Boeing Company. If you and someone you know are interested in participating in this series, you can download the application form <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prairie.org/ask-me-why">here</a>.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 22:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/ask-me-why-forgive-not-forget-83884