“Excellent program; this gives me hope for the future”

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NARSOL’s Litigation Summit was a huge success and well received by over 220 viewers.

Thanks to the work of some extraordinary volunteers as well as the participation of our guests, NARSOL Live | Litigation Summit, NARSOL’s second major webcasting event, came off without a hitch. This was the first time NARSOL relied upon its in-house technology team to facilitate a virtual event from start to close. Much appreciation and gratitude are owed to Andy, Brendan, Craig, Fred, Michael, and Tammy for their assistance with technology and promotion.

NARSOL expresses gratitude for the outstanding presentations by a slate of attorneys throughout the nation: Mark Yurachek of Georgia, Erica Dubno of New York, Paul Reingold of Michigan, Adele Nicholas of Illinois, Aaron Marcus of Pennsylvania, as well as NARSOL’s general counsel and chief civil rights attorney, Paul Dubbeling of North Carolina.

The volunteer members of the Conference Operations Committee in cooperation with NARSOL’s Conference Planning Committee helped to plan and execute the live event which was emceed by our capable and gregarious host, Don Thurber, NARSOL’s state contact for South Carolina, along with appearances by NARSOL’s executive director, Brenda Jones,  the president of NARSOL’s foundation, Robin Vander Wall, and NARSOL board member Philip Kaso.

Thank you all! And thank everyone who signed-up to participate in NARSOL’s first litigation summit! Remember that you will have access to the program for 30 days in case you missed a session or want to see some again. You will be receiving information soon about accessing it. Judging from the initial responses of appreciation and adulation, it is very likely the first of many such webcasting events to come.

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Source: https://narsol.org/2020/11/excellent-program-this-gives-me-hope-for-the-future/

Halloween sign challenge suffers setback

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By Larry . . . On September 24, 2019, NARSOL engaged an attorney and filed a lawsuit a suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia challenging the Butts County Sheriff’s Office’s practice of placing warning signs at the residences of registered persons before Halloween. The court granted a request for a preliminary injunction which prevented the Butts County Sheriff’s Office from erecting signs on the property of the plaintiffs during the 2019 Halloween holiday. With Halloween 2020 rapidly approaching, NARSOL’s legal team moved for Summary Judgment (decision without a trial) to permanently enjoin the sheriff’s office from placing signs in front of their homes, or, in the alternative, a new preliminary injunction barring sign placement during 2020 Halloween. Unfortunately, the court denied our motion for summary judgment and resolved the case against us, denying the relief we had sought. In addition, most of the assertions raised in the complaint were dismissed with prejudice meaning they cannot be raised again.

Background

One of the registrants lives with his 6-year-old daughter and his parents, who own the home where they all reside. Shortly before Halloween 2018, two Butts County sheriff’s deputies appeared at his door to inform him that the sheriff’s office would be placing a sign in front of  their home. The sign conveyed a “community safety message” from the sheriff’s office “warning” that there could be no trick-or-treating at the home. The other plaintiffs had similar stories.

As amended, their complaint asserted three claims:

  • That the state compelled speech from the plaintiffs in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • That the state trespassed in violation of state law.
  • That the state committed an unlawful taking of the plaintiffs’ property in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Explanation of Summary Judgment

“Summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is proper ‘if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issues of material fact exist. All facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. The Court’s function at the point of summary judgment is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper question for the factfinder. The Court does not weigh the evidence or determine the truth of the matter. Nor does the Court search the record ‘to establish that it is bereft of a genuine issue of material fact.’ Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1479- 80 (6th Cir. 1989). Thus, ‘the inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is a need for a trial-whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.’ ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

The standards upon which a court evaluates motions for summary judgment do not change when, as here, both parties seek to resolve the case through the vehicle of cross-motions for summary judgment. “The fact that both parties have moved for summary judgment does not mean that the court must grant judgment as a matter of law for one side or the other; summary judgment in favor of either party is not proper if disputes remain as to material facts. Taft Broad. Co. v. United States, 929 F.2d 240, 248 (6th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). Instead, “. . . the court must evaluate each party’s motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences against the party whose motion is under consideration.” Id. For more details, see our article on Does v. Rausch in the August/September Digest.

What is Trespass?

The plaintiffs brought two claims alleging the signs intrude on their property rights.  It is undisputed that two of the plaintiffs did not own the property where each resided at the times the signs were placed. The defendants argue that as a result, neither of them had “standing to assert any claim that turns on a real property interest.” The defendants contended that a third party who is not a property owner cannot maintain a trespass action, and the Court agreed.   , 214 Ga. 149, 151, 103 S.E.2d 557 (1958) (“To maintain an action for trespass or injury to realty, it is essential that the plaintiff show either that he was the true owner or was in possession at the time of the trespass.”) The plaintiffs accused the defendants of “an inaccurate recitation of the law as addressed” and cited contrary ‘authority.’ That authority consisted of three cases.  The court stated, “None remotely supported their argument.” Order at 9.

Quoting from the Order the court stated, “Under Georgia law, “[t]respass is a wrongful interference with the right to the exclusive use and benefit of a property right.” Bishop Eddie Long Ministries, Inc. v. Dillard, 272 Ga. App. 894, 901, 613 S.E.2d 673, 682 (2005) (citing OCGA § 51-9-1). The plaintiffs argue, perplexingly, that “[t]he facts underlying Petitioners’ trespass claims are wholly undisputed by either party[.]” Doc. 50-1 at 29. Among those purportedly undisputed facts, they say, is that “Respondents were entering private property which was closed to the public[.]” Id. at 30.  But that critical issue is, in fact, hotly disputed: The defendants claim they placed the signs in the rights-of-way.  Doc. 51-1 ¶ 4. But as critical as that issue is, the parties have all been unable to find evidence establishing the location and extent of the rights-of-way, if any, on the plaintiffs’ properties.  Nor have they been able to find legal authority that resolves the relative rights of the general public, the abutting landowner, and the sheriff’s office in the rights-of-way. Order at 11-12.

The court stated, “There is no clearly established law that every temporary physical invasion of property constitutes a taking. Further, if even the parties’ counsel have not yet found law establishing the location of the rights-of-way and the relative rights of the parties in the rights-of-way, certainly a reasonable officer would not have known the placement of the signs interfered with the plaintiffs’ property interests. And again, the officers have adduced undisputed evidence that they at least attempted to place the signs in what they believed was the right-of-way. They are entitled to qualified immunity on the takings claim.” Order at 18-19.

Compelled Speech0

The First Amendment “forbids abridgement of the freedom of speech,” and “freedom of speech includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.”  Now, the record is more developed, and there is evidence that the sheriff’s office does not now have a policy of prohibiting or the intention to prohibit competing speech. The plaintiffs dispute this, citing the sheriff’s testimony at the preliminary injunction hearing before last Halloween. They cite no further evidence showing such a policy or intention. On the issue of injunctive relief, the initial question, then, is whether the record provides evidence that the sheriff’s office intends to bar the plaintiffs from placing competing messages. It does not. Whatever the sheriff’s office planned to do in 2019, it is clear now it will not attempt to impinge the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs are free to offer speech competing with the Sheriff’s Office’s views and to disassociate themselves from those views. Order at 21-22.0

Is There Hope?

Yes, because the court was not able to resolve all issues, particularly the issue of whether the signs were on public right-of-way or private property. Quoting from the order, “The Court first makes clear what it is not concluding. The Sheriff’s Office believes it has the right to post the signs in front of the Plaintiffs’ homes as long as the signs are in yet to be defined rights-of-way and that it can prosecute anyone who moves the signs.  The Court doesn’t reach that issue, but as noted, the Defendants have scant authority to support either proposition.  And the Court certainly doesn’t conclude, given the facts here, that putting the signs in the Plaintiffs’ yards makes sense. Rather, the Court only concludes that, for the most part, the relief the Plaintiffs seek is not available.” Order at 28.

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Larry Neely

Larry serves as NARSOL’S treasurer, publisher of the Digest, and co-chair of the conference planning committee. He also hosts the “NARSOL in Action” and “Can They Do That?” webinars and is a regular on the “Registry Matters” podcasts.

Source: https://narsol.org/2020/11/halloween-sign-challenge-suffers-setback/

2 ‘Op End Game’ Defendants Sentenced For Seeking Sex With Minors Online in Georgia

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Two defendants arrested during “Operation End Game,” a multi-agency effort targeting and arresting adult perpetrators in the Athens-area seeking sex with children, were sentenced to prison, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

On Thursday, October 22, U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal sentenced Michael Turner, 48, of Columbus, Mississippi, to 46 months in prison to be followed by ten years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of use of facilities in interstate and foreign commerce to transmit information about a minor. Morgan Kelby Andrews, 28, of Maxeys, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of use of facilities in interstate and foreign commerce to transmit information about a minor. Following their prison terms, both defendants will have to register as a sex offender. There is no parole in the federal system.

“We will never cease working to protect the welfare of Georgia’s children, and we will continue to bring the full force of the law against sexual predators,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Operation End Game is one of many investigations here in Georgia tracking down online predators and bringing them to justice. I want to thank our law enforcement partners both for their work in this operation and for their unyielding efforts to safeguard Georgia’s children.”

“Operation End Game” was a three-day proactive effort centered in Athens, Georgia in July 2019 to arrest adults communicating with children on-line and then traveling to meet them for the purpose of having sex. The cases were investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD), the FBI and the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lyndie Freeman is prosecuting the case for the Government.

AllOnGeorgia

AllOnGeorgia

Source: https://allongeorgia.com/georgia-public-safety/2-op-end-game-defendants-sentenced-for-seeking-sex-with-minors-online-in-georgia/

NARSOL’s litigation summit webcast; sign up now!

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http://narsol.org/

Fresh on the heels of our record-setting summer NARSOL LIVE web event, the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws will soon be hosting a NARSOL LIVE Litigation Summit on November 19 & 21, 2020. This live virtual event will feature dynamic attorney presenters speaking on the hottest topics in registry litigation, giving us updates and insights to the key court cases recently decided or currently in play that could have electrifying implications for the future of the registry.  Members in good-standing are eligible for a 10% discount, and should have received an email with their special coupon code.    Register Now 

  • Paul Dubbeling, Civil Rights Attorney & NARSOL General Counsel
  • Our presenters include:Erica Dubno, Post-Conviction Counsel
  • Aaron Marcus, Civil Rights Attorney
  • Adele Nicholas, Civil Rights Attorney
  • Paul Reingold, Civil Rights Attorney & Law Professor Emeritus
  • Mark Yurachek, Post-Conviction & Appeals Attorney

Program schedule (all times EST):

Thursday: 

  • 6:30 PM opening
  • 6:45 Mark Yurachek – Georgia
  • 7:45 break
  • 8:00 Erica Dubno – Arizona
  • 9:00 closing

Saturday

  • 10:45 AM opening
  • 11:00 Paul Dubbeling
  • 12:00 Aaron Marcus
  • 1:00 Lunch
  • 1:45 Details
  • 2:00 Paul Rinegold
  • 3:00 Adele Nicholas
  • 5:15 closing

We look forward to providing you with this next installment in our series of World-Class Events to educate, energize, and empower our members and supporters nationwide. The path to registry reform/abolishment starts with knowledge, and we know you’ll find the NARSOL LIVE Litigation Summit a great way to provide you with the critical information you need to be better informed and a more effective advocate for criminal justice reform change.

For 30 days after the event, the recordings will be available for viewing, and access can be purchased after November 21 during the 30 days.

Watch the “electric” video trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZLUeN6QdUA

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Source: https://narsol.org/2020/10/https-youtu-be-c4ojnfpsm7g/

Illegal alien sentenced to federal prison for attempting to lure Georgia teen for sex

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A Mexican national who attempted to lure a young teen for sexual activity has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison.

Alvaro Hernandez, 36, of Bristol, Ga., a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, was sentenced to 76 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood after pleading guilty to Attempted Coercion and Enticement, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Herndandez will be required to register as a sex offender and to serve 10 years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Alvaro Hernandez was enjoying his illegal access to the American dream, living and working in rural Georgia, when he tried to pay for sex with someone he believed was a child,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Our law enforcement partners helped protect our community from this predator by intercepting him during the perverted attempt.”

According to court documents and testimony, in March 2019, investigators with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, conducted a joint operation targeting child predators operating near Submarine Base Kings Bay. Hernandez, who responded to an internet message purporting to be from a 14-year-old offering sex for money, was arrested after he drove from his residence in Pierce County, Ga., and arrived at what he believed was the teen’s residence in St. Mary’s, Ga.

“This sentencing should serve as a warning that sexual predators who target vulnerable children will be fully investigated and prosecuted,” said NCIS Southeast Field Office Special Agent in Charge Thomas Cannizzo. “NCIS is grateful to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office for its continued partnership in keeping communities where Navy and Marine Corps families live safe.”

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Semales and Assistant U.S. Attorney and Organized Crime Drug Task Force Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.

AllOnGeorgia

AllOnGeorgia

 

 

Source: https://allongeorgia.com/georgia-public-safety/illegal-alien-sentenced-to-federal-prison-for-attempting-to-lure-georgia-teen-for-sex/

Feds cobbled criminal cases together in missing children operation, creating false perception

Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media misinformation about the breakup of a massive child sex trafficking ring in Georgia. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” went a common Twitter trope.

Shareef faces two misdemeanor charges related to the raid, neither of them sex-related. But his jail booking photo spread around the world under headlines such as “U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children During Massive Sex Trafficking Bust In Georgia — 9 Suspects Arrested.” He and his mother told the AJC that angry people have been pulling up to their house, accusing him of sex trafficking or sexually abusing a 3-year-old. One group brandished guns and challenged Shareef to step outside and fight, he said.

“They’re calling me a sex offender,” Shareef said. “They’re calling me a child molester. It just hurts.”

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Source: https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/feds-cobbled-criminal-cases-together-in-missing-children-operation-creating-false-perception/DKRQC2SVVRBCLNOPQ5DBIVTMHM/

Reason agrees: No red dots marking those on sex offense registry at Halloween

reason-agrees:-no-red-dots-marking-those-on-sex-offense-registry-at-halloween

Originally published 10/1/2020 at Reason; reprinted in full here with permission.

By Jacob Sullum . . . Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities. Ostensibly, this information is aimed at helping parents who worry that their children might be molested while trick-or-treating. But research shows that such fears have no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all. That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence. Like much local journalism, the practice of publishing these maps is ill-informed sensationalism masquerading as a public service.

This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out. Noting the “total lack of evidence that the publication of these addresses at Halloween keeps children safe,” the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety.”

The irrationality of that practice is clear once you understand a few basic facts:

1. Sex offender registries include a wide range of people, many of whom were not convicted of crimes against children.

2. Sex offenders stay on the registry long after they have completed their official punishment, even though they are less likely to commit new offenses of the same type than people convicted of other crimes. According to a 2019 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), less than 8 percent of people who had served sentences for rape or sexual assault were rearrested for a similar crime within nine years after they were released. That report also shows that the annual risk of recidivism falls dramatically over time.

3. The vast majority of sexually abused minors—93 percent, according to a 2000 BJS report—are assaulted by relatives, family friends, or other people they already know.

4. The vast majority of convicted sex offenders—86 percent, according to another BJS report—have no prior convictions for this category of crime, so they would not show up in registries.

5. There is no evidence that children face a higher risk of sexual assault on Halloween than they do the rest of the year. A 2009 analysis of 67,000 cases, reported in the journal Sexual Abuse, found “no increased rate on or just before Halloween.”

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) amplifies that last point: “A heightened risk of being sexually abused is NOT one of the dangers children face at Halloween. The simple fact is that there are no significant increases in sex crimes on or around Halloween. There is no ‘Halloween effect.’ There is no change in the rate of sexual crimes by non-family members during Halloween. That was true both before and after communities enacted laws to restrict the activities of registrants during Halloween.”

In light of this evidence, the NARSOL petition argues, pre-Halloween stories showing the homes of people on the sex offender registry are gratuitous, unethical, and reckless. NARSOL adds that the focus on a nonexistent threat distracts attention from the main perpetrators of sex offenses against children, which are rarely committed by strangers, and from the main danger that kids face on Halloween: traffic accidents. The Washington Post reports that “children are three times more likely to be fatally injured by a car on the holiday, and the risk grows to 10 times for kids 4 to 8.”

The 150 or so signatories include ATSA, activists and journalists (including Reason contributor Lenore Skenazy) who support reform of sex offense laws, and an impressive list of professionals and academics. Among them are Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins University; Jill Levenson, a professor of social work at Barry University; Fred Berlin, director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention, and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; Carleton University psychologist Karl Hanson; Arizona State law professor Ira Ellman; Southwestern Law School professor Catherine Carpenter; and University of Delaware sociologist Chrysanthi Leon.

Might these experts know more about this subject than the editors and writers who insist that parents should “find out where the registered sex offenders are living…before the kids go out trick-or-treating”? Perhaps Patch will consider the possibility.

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Source: https://narsol.org/2020/10/reason-agrees-no-red-dots-marking-those-on-sex-offense-registry-at-halloween/

Halloween, “Sex Offenders,” and Big Red Dots

NARSOL’s Halloween project this year, developed and implemented by NARSOL and Connecticut’s One Standard of Justice, is an open letter in the form of a press release asking for the end to “red-dotting” the homes or listing the names and addresses of those listed on sexual offense registries. This is an insidious practice that has developed over the past ten or so years, a practice that is totally contradicted by research. The open letter is signed by NARSOL, by all of our affiliate organizations and most individual contacts, and by a great many notable organizations and individuals.

The Patch websites are especially prolific in the publishing of these maps and articles. A copy of the open letter was sent to the president of Patch Publications with an appeal to him to engage in a dialogue with NARSOL and with One Standard of Justice. He chose not to respond.

You may  view the press release here, complete with all of the names who signed in support.

The truth behind virtually all child sex trafficking rings: there are no rings

the-truth-behind-virtually-all-child-sex-trafficking-rings:-there-are-no-rings
http://narsol.org/

By Michael Hobbes . . . Human trafficking has been having an eventful summer. In July, internet sleuths accused online retailer Wayfair of selling missing children in overpriced cabinets. In August, QAnon supporters (along with some well-meaning if ill-informed influencers) held nationwide “Save the Children” rallies.

And last week, there was the trailer story.

“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia During ‘Operation Not Forgotten,’” proclaimed the government’s official press release. Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.

The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story. “Missing Children Rescued in Georgia Sex Trafficking Bust” wrote The Associated Press, a headline dutifully repeated in The New York Times. “39 Missing Children Located in Georgia Sex Trafficking Sting Operation” was People magazine’s version. Few media outlets contributed any original reporting; the vast majority of stories were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.

Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet. “Law enforcement officers saved their lives.

How is this not the biggest story in America right now?” . . .

Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia. 

“This is not the big trafficking bust everyone thinks it is,” said Erin Albright, a human trafficking and law enforcement consultant who works with cities to develop anti-trafficking strategies. “Any time a child is being harmed and is connected with meaningful support, that’s good. But at the same time, we have to recognize that these stories are not what they look like at first.” . . .

But What About All Those Kids They Found In The Trailer?

Yeah, there was no trailer.

Federal agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction. Kirby told HuffPost that only two children were recovered together. The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states: South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan. The operation took place over two weeks, not one night.

In other words, the “sex trafficking sting” described in headlines and social media posts was neither a sex trafficking operation nor a sting. . . .

But At Least They Rescued A Bunch Of Kids From Traffickers, Right?

Nope again.

One of the greatest misconceptions about child sex trafficking is that it requires a trafficker. Legally speaking, every time a person under 18 trades sex for anything of value, they have been trafficked. The statutory definition does not require coercion, force or the involvement of a pimp.

In the majority of underage sex trafficking cases, Albright said, the child is homeless, has run away from foster care or has been kicked out by their parents, often due to being queer or transgender. Many of these kids end up trading sex for money, drugs or a place to sleep because it’s their only way to survive. . . .

You’re Not Implying That Child Sex Trafficking Is Fake, Are You? 

No, I’m not a monster. Child sex trafficking is real, and it’s important for America to do something about it.

It’s also important, however, to acknowledge that the actual drivers of underage sex work are far more complicated than airport posters and Liam Neeson movies would have you believe.

First of all, decades of social science research has found that the vast majority of children are abused by someone they know, usually their parents but sometimes other children or figures of authority they trust. “Stranger danger” kidnappings, on the other hand, are extremely rare — the latest estimate is 115 per year in the entire United States.

Read the full story here at the HuffPost.

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Source: https://narsol.org/2020/09/the-truth-behind-virtually-all-child-sex-trafficking-rings-there-are-no-rings/

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

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A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

CLAIM: Law enforcement found 39 missing children in a double-wide trailer in Georgia.

THE FACTS: A law enforcement operation in August did locate 39 children in Georgia over a two week period, but the children were not all found in one trailer or in a single location. On August 27, the U.S, Marshals Service announced the completion of a two-week operation that located 39 children in Macon, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area. During “Operation Not Forgotten,” the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies rescued 26 children and arrested nine people. Law enforcement also located an additional 13 children who had previously been reported missing, and confirmed the children were with the proper custodian. Posts on social media distorted some facts of the operation. “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?” reads a post that has been widely shared and copied on Facebook. But the children were not all found in a double-wide trailer or even in a single location or on a single date, said Dave Oney, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service. “The children were found in a variety places — houses, hotel rooms,” Oney told the AP. Other children were located in apartments and “even on the streets,” according to Darby Kirby, chief inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit. Neither Oney or Darby were able to confirm if any of the children had been located in a trailer. Oney said some of the children had been missing for a few days while others had been missing for a couple of years. “Fifteen of the children were identified as victims of trafficking. The other children were victims of parental kidnappings, children who absconded from the Division of Family and Children Services, Department of Juvenile Justice custody, and were believed to be in danger or critically missing,” reads a statement Oney provided to the AP. While social media posts suggest the story about the children found in the trailer is not getting enough attention, that is because the claim about the trailer is false. Operation Not Forgotten was covered by many media outlets, including The Associated Press, CNN, CBS and others.

— Associated Press writer Jude Joffe-Block reported this item from Phoenix.

———

CLAIM: California just passed SB 145, a bill that would end felonies for child rape and legalize pedophilia in the state.

THE FACTS: SB 145, which has passed the California legislature and awaits the governor’s signature, would not legalize pedophilia. It would only give judges expanded discretion to determine whether an adult must register as a sex offender. Under current law, judges can make that decision in cases of voluntary, but illegal, vaginal sex with a minor age 14 to 17 and an adult within 10 years of the minor’s age. SB 145 would expand that law to include voluntary oral and anal sex within the same age parameters. The bill would not apply to any minor under the age of 14, nor would it apply to any age gap larger than 10 years. It also would not apply if either party claims the sex was involuntary. Advocates say the bill makes existing California law more inclusive for the LGBTQ community. The bill has been widely condemned by social media users falsely claiming it would legalize pedophilia. “PEDOPHILIA is now LEGAL in CALIFORNIA,” read a Facebook post viewed more than 8 million times. “Now a 21 year old can have sex with an 11 year old, and not be listed on the sex registry as a sex offender. This is unbelievable California!” Posts making such claims fundamentally misrepresent what SB 145 does, according to the bill’s authors and outside experts. Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, called the claims “hogwash” in an interview with The Associated Press. “The accusation that it somehow allows pedophilia is simply not true,” Levinson said. Also, contrary to false posts on social media, the bill would not apply when a minor is under the age of 14, when the age gap is larger than 10 years, or when either party says the sex was not consensual. If passed, the bill would “bring much-needed parity” to California sex offender registration law, according to a statement from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who drafted the bill. “This bill allows judges and prosecutors to evaluate cases involving consensual sex acts between young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, on an individual basis,” the statement said. The bill did face opposition in the legislature by some lawmakers, including Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who said she thought the 10-year age gap was too broad. The bill has passed both houses of the California legislature and awaits a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

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Source: https://thebrunswicknews.com/ap/national/not-real-news-a-look-at-what-didnt-happen-this-week/article_c4eeed60-2b74-5f81-b208-77b5d03f853f.html

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