Newsletter - January 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

Lizette B. Herraiz
Counsel

John Falb
Treasurer & Member of the Board

Table of Contents

President's Message
This January marks a very exciting month at Stop Child Predators. This past fall, Amy Thienel joined Stop Child Predators as communications director. Amy is enthusiastic, and brings with her the creativity our halls have needed, as well as excellent writing experience and a dedication to promoting child safety at every possible turn. Be on the lookout for Amy's blog postings, Facebook and newsletter updates and guest commentaries.
> Read More

In Search of the New "World's Greatest Rock Band"
The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched broadcasts on American television each year, with an estimate of over 100 million viewers tuning in for at least some of the game. If you're anything like me, the halftime show is the highlight of the game. In recent years, they've become increasing elaborate and featured the biggest musical stars. In 2002, the halftime show starring U2 honored victims of the September 11th attacks. Mostly, the NFL gets it right when scheduling performers, even if there is an occasional "wardrobe malfunction" like in 2006. Which is why it's shocking that the 2010 halftime show delivers a slap in the face to child victims of sex crimes.
> Read More

Judge Asks Prosecutors Why No Restitution in Child Porn Case Was Sought
Thanks to our partnering organization National Law Center for Children and Families, Stop Child Predators was alerted that a federal judge in Minnesota wants prosecutors to explain why they have not pursued restitution in a child pornography case even when one of the victims requested it.
> Read More

Luncheon With Chris Hansen of "To Catch a Predator" on January 28
Washington, DC - Join SCP and Carol Joynt at Joynt's monthly Q&A Café on Thursday,January 28th to hear from NBC's Chris Hansen, host of the acclaimed "To Catch A Predator" series on Dateline. The location is the Georgetown Ritz Carlton at 3100 South Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007. Seating begins at noon. The cost is $50, all inclusive. Valet parking is available for a discounted $10. Please make your reservation by calling (202) 912-4110.
> Read More

Child Advocates Push to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Reporting Child Sexual Assault in "America's Dairyland"
The Wisconsin State Assembly recently introduced legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations for reporting child sexual assault. Under Assembly Bill 453, the civil statute of limitations for reporting child sexual assault cases would be lifted, allowing a victim barred under current law to file a civil suit regardless of the amount of time passed since the abuse.
> Read More

Parents Tech Corner: Monitoring 101
Ellen Ohlenbusch President, McGruff SafeGuard
In any community, children confront dangers every day that parents are careful to protect against. Many parents can identify the troublemakers, the bad influencers, the bullies and possibly the predators to look out for. But, there is another community where children play that involves many more dangers and risks. This community is the Internet, and 74 percent of children ages 8 to 18 explore it without ever leaving home.
> Read More

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

presidentThis January marks a very exciting month at Stop Child Predators.

This past fall, Amy Thienel joined Stop Child Predators as communications director. Amy is enthusiastic, and brings with her the creativity our halls have needed, as well as excellent writing experience and a dedication to promoting child safety at every possible turn. Be on the lookout for Amy's blog postings, Facebook and newsletter updates and guest commentaries.

You can also follow Stop Child Predators on Twitter. We will be posting events and updates to these pages throughout the year so please check back often.

Another change is our newsletter: we are going monthly! Included in our new look is photographs, shorter articles with links to longer versions, monthly columns and much more.

In this inaugural issue, you will see our newest feature Parents Tech Corner that is written by one of our partnering organizations McGruff Safeguard. Together, we have come up with some of the easiest ways for parents to keep their kids safe online.

As always, if you have any questions or comments you would like to share, you can reach me at srumenap@stopchildpredators.org. As we welcome in the New Year, everyone at Stop Child Predators thanks you for your continued support and looks forward to bringing you the latest information in child safety. We are confident that together we will end the exploitation of children. Please continue to visit Stop Child Predators often.

Stacie Rumenap


IN SEARCH OF THE NEW "WORLD'S GREATEST ROCK BAND"

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched broadcasts on American television each year, with an estimate of over 100 million viewers tuning in for at least some of the game.

If you're anything like me, the halftime show is the highlight of the game. In recent years, they've become increasing elaborate and featured the biggest musical stars. In 2002, the halftime show starring U2 honored victims of the September 11th attacks. Mostly, the NFL gets it right when scheduling performers, even if there is an occasional "wardrobe malfunction" like in 2006. Which is why it's shocking that the 2010 halftime show delivers a slap in the face to child victims of sex crimes.

Pete Townshend, famous for being a guitarist in The Who, and infamous for a child pornography scandal, will be playing at Super Bowl XLIV. Townshend was arrested in 2003 after he was caught viewing and purchasing a photograph of an adult raping a two-year-old boy on a website advertising child pornography. He admitted to the crime and was placed on Britain's sex offender registry for five years. Townshend claimed he was researching the issue; Scotland Yard thought otherwise and publicly said that research is never a defense for accessing child pornography. Interestingly, the FBI says that "research" is one of the most common excuses given by alleged pedophiles when caught.

Fast-forward to 2006 and Townshend once again caused uproar for writing a graphic sex story on his blog about underage teens. Upon negative public reception - not to mention complaints from European child advocacy groups - Townshend retracted the story admitting it was "ill advised" to write.

While Townshend may no longer be on the sex offender registry, the NFL shows a lack of respect for the severity of child pornography by providing him an avenue to perform. The fact remains that Townshend knowingly paid to view a child pornography website. By doing so, he drove up the demand for more to be produced.

The victims of child pornography are affected by this abuse their entire lives. Aside from the physical and psychological damage they face from the abuse itself, they face having photographs memorializing their exploitation on the Internet for anyone to see - over and over and over. So while Townshend is free to live out a rock star's dream to perform at the Super Bowl, the children exploited on the website he visited will continue to real the long term effects of their abuse.

Equally baffling is that Townshend was granted a visa by the United States. The US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) lists numerous grounds for which someone can be denied a visa. Amy Winehouse was denied a visa and therefore unable to perform at the Grammys in 2008 due to an ongoing drug problem. In 2007, British singer Lilly Allen was turned away at the border and had her visa revoked after an interrogation about her arrest for assaulting a photographer months earlier.


JUDGE ASKS PROSECUTORS WHY NO RESTITUTION IN CHILD CASE WAS SOUGHT

Thanks to our partnering organization National Law Center for Children and Families, Stop Child Predators was alerted that a federal judge in Minnesota wants prosecutors to explain why they have not pursued restitution in a child pornography case even when one of the victims requested it.

"The order, for which the judge gave prosecutors a Jan. 29 deadline, cited federal statute saying district courts are required to order restitution in the full amount of a victim's losses in cases that include possession of child pornography," according to Minnesota Public Radio.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz told prosecutors that they will have to give some explanation if they decline to seek restitution in the future.

U.S. Attorneys across the country are considering how best to handle restitution in child pornography cases, as identifying victims and determining a dollar amount for damages can often be challenging.

You can read the entire story at Minnesota Public Radio.


LUNCHEON WITH CHRIS HANSEN OF "TO CATCH A PREDATOR" ON JANUARY 28

Washington, DC - Join SCP and Carol Joynt at Joynt's monthly Q&A Café on Thursday, January 28th to hear from NBC's Chris Hansen, host of the acclaimed "To Catch A Predator" series on Dateline. The location is the Georgetown Ritz Carlton at 3100 South Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007. Seating begins at noon. The cost is $50, all inclusive. Valet parking is available for a discounted $10. Please make your reservation by calling (202) 912-4110.

Read more about Chris Hanson here.


CHILD ADVOCATES PUSH TO ELIMINATE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR REPORTING CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT IN "AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND"

The Wisconsin State Assembly recently introduced legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations for reporting child sexual assault. Under Assembly Bill 453, the civil statute of limitations for reporting child sexual assault cases would be lifted, allowing a victim barred under current law to file a civil suit regardless of the amount of time passed since the abuse.

Stop Child Predators (SCP) joins the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children and other advocacy groups in supporting this legislation. In January 2008, SCP's Stacie Rumenap testified in support of a similar measure before the Wisconsin Senate Judiciary Committee telling lawmakers that the statute of limitations for crimes involving child sexual assault not only impede the protection of past victims but they also reduce the deterrent for future crimes. Rumenap also pointed out that the effects of child sexual assault are profound and long-lasting and should not be subjected to an expiration date

In recent years, other states passed similar legislation with great success. Lawmakers in California, Delaware and Maine eliminated their statutes of limitation for reporting child sexual assault. California has put hundreds of abusers behind bars since passing their legislation in 2003.

Wisconsin is traditionally tough on sex offenders, and was one of the first states to pass Jessica's Law (mandatory sentences and electronic monitoring of sex offenders). But such tough-on-crime laws are only enforceable if victims are able to come forward to tell their stories and prosecute their abusers.

SCP will be in Madison, WI at the end of the month to show our support for this important piece of legislation. We urge you to contact your state senator to express your support for Wisconsin's children and families. For more information on this issue, see SCP's February 2008 white paper, "Wisconsin Window Legislation is Constitutional."


mcgruff

PARENTS TECH CORNER: MONITORING 101

Why Should I Monitor?
In any community, children confront dangers every day that parents are careful to protect against. Many parents can identify the troublemakers, the bad influencers, the bullies and possibly the predators to look out for. But, there is another community where children play that involves many more dangers and risks. This community is the Internet, and 74 percent of children ages 8 to 18 explore it without ever leaving home.[1]

What is Monitoring?
Parents want to know where their toddler is in the house. They want to know where their child is in the yard. They want to know where their teen is on a Friday night. In the same way, they should know what Web sites their children are visiting, who they are corresponding with and what they are doing online. Monitoring can help parents keep tabs on their children's Internet activity.

Have you ever been concerned your child was hanging out with the wrong crowd or that they were unsupervised at a sleepover? The same dangers that can develop from these situations also exist on the internet - and to an even greater degree.

What Features are Important in Monitoring Software?
Effective monitoring software will do more than track destinations and content viewed. There are several programs that “filter” content for profanity, pornography and illicit activity. While these measures are useful, they lack some crucial components. Parents not only want to know where their children are, but also what they are doing. Effective monitoring software should screen for potentially harmful behavior—either exhibited by the individual child or from others—in the interactive content on sites such as social media, email and chat.

With the advent of social media, kids can not only view content online but also, literally, become “friends” with others online. Even in online destinations considered “safe” by filtering software, unsafe activities can still take place. For instance, predators can befriend children on social websites, and behaviors normally prohibited in the home can be carried out online. Monitoring software should identify both the predatory behavior of others as well as the dangerous behaviors of children in order to give parents the tools needed to protect them online.

But not every family is the same, and not every parent enforces the same rules. The software should be flexible and easy-to-use, allowing each parent to monitor their own children as they personally see fit—according to their own ideals and standards. The monitoring software you choose should allow parents to create their own household rules regarding the times when their children may use the Internet and regarding the types of behaviors that they believe are appropriate or not.

Monitoring is all about putting power in the parents’ hands.  In addition to monitoring, parents need to be empowered to understand their children’s online activities. Communication in the Internet age, surprisingly, can require translation.  Slang, acronyms and creative forms of shorthand are pervasive in today’s electronic communication. Effective monitoring software will be able to interpret and relay this information in plain English, or provide dictionaries to assist parents in understanding their child’s online language.

The best monitoring software provide parents access to real-time reports remotely—at work, at home or on the road. Advanced software will even provide the ability to receive instant alerts, such as a text message to a mobile phone, when particularly alarming activity occurs.

Is Monitoring Controversial?
When presented with the concept of internet monitoring, many parents question the integrity of such a practice. It is important to understand what monitoring is, and what monitoring is not. To use monitoring software effectively and respectfully, parents must do so with proper motive.

Monitoring is not a measure of spying—watching a child’s every move with an eager hope to catch them breaking a rule. But, when we acknowledge that some rules are designed for the child’s safety, we can appreciate monitoring as a means to guard that safety. Monitoring software should be used to keep a child safe, which actually begins with simple communication.   Once parents discuss rules with their children and the protective reasoning behind Internet monitoring this helpful software can be utilized as a means of protection, while enabling children to enjoy the Internet and while reducing fear of endangerment amongst their parents.

Parents interested in implementing these ideas may benefit from monitoring software such as McGruff Safeguard.  McGruff Safeguard offers parents the ability to filter Internet content to age-appropriate levels for their children. In addition, parents can monitor their children online by accessing real-time activity reports remotely, receiving daily activity reports, and even receiving instant alerts of dangerous activity via text messaging.  Through great partnerships, McGruff SafeGuard is available FREE to all parents and caregivers at www.gomcgruff.com.


[1] Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds - Kaiser Family Foundation (www.kff.org)

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.