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Online Sex Offender Database Leads To Murder? 1001

Posted by Zonk
from the just-think-what-open-government-will-lead-to dept.
nem75 writes "The LA Times reports on the story of Michael A. Dodele, a convicted rapist, found murdered in a Lakeport trailer park. He moved there after having been released from prison just 35 days before. A 29-year-old construction worker has been arrested in the attack, and explained that he killed Dodele to protect his son from child molestation. He found out on the internet about Dodele being a sex offender, via the 'Megan's Law' database. The public entry for Dodele in the database was wrong — though he was found guilty of committing crimes against adult women he was not a child molester. Dodele's entry in Megan's Law DB has been removed." Update: 12/11 15:51 GMT by Z : Moved link to non-reg article.
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Online Sex Offender Database Leads To Murder?

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  • Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:45AM (#21656089)
    The whole point of these laws is to make you miserable for the rest of your life. If some whack-job kills you, all the better.

    This is the purpose of creating a society of hate.
    • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Potor (658520) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {1rekraf}> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:59AM (#21656357) Journal

      I was gonna mod you up to save you from obtuse mods, but you're AC. Your point, nevertheless, is right on target.

      Things like the police and civil society were formed to protect us from each other. When you stick something up like a db of criminals and their houses, you effectively remove this protection, and create a society of fear, which becomes a society of hate.

      But to make time for RIAA-orchestrated police raids [google.com], I guess you need to relieve the police of some of their responsibilities.

      • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:31AM (#21656947)
        We should also make searchable databases for all those suspected or convicted of thief, buglary, murder, fraud, and any other felony or misdemeanor, and a list of who their neighbors were at the time, as well as their immediate family. Make it accessible to the public so everyone can see, we'd be so safe then that we wouldn't need the police anymore.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pentavirate (867026)
          We should also make searchable databases for all those suspected or convicted of thief, buglary, murder, fraud, and any other felony or misdemeanor

          Not a bad idea. I think all public records should be easily accessible and searchable.

          and a list of who their neighbors were at the time, as well as their immediate family. Make it accessible to the public so everyone can see, we'd be so safe then that we wouldn't need the police anymore.

          The rest of your post is just nonsense.
          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:49PM (#21658579) Journal

            I think all public records should be easily accessible and searchable.

            Cool! Do I have your permission then to go into your DMV file and obtain your social security number and address?

            The point being of course that even public databases can have reasonable privacy protections in place. I fail to see why someones criminal record should be accessible to all after they have paid their debt to soceity. In the specific case of sex offenders, if they are so dangerous that we have to notify people when they move into the neighborhood, then why the fuck are they being released from prison?

            Either they are that dangerous, in which case lock 'em up and throw away the key, or they aren't, in which case, WTF is up with being punished after you get out of prison?

            I'd tend to be with the lock 'em up and throw away the key crowd as far as child molesters and rapists go.... but other sex "offenders" (teenagers having sex when one or both are under the age of consent) are also finding themselves on these lists. I don't see how any reasonable person can condone that.

      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        Fear leads to anger... anger leads to hate... hate leads to suffering!

        Maybe George Lucas was onto something...

      • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pentavirate (867026) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:10PM (#21657753) Homepage Journal
        The guy who killed Dodele should be prosecuted and thrown in prison. There's no excuse to commit premeditated murder. Nevertheless, that's not to say the db caused the murder. A messed up guy caused the murder for a screwed up reason.

        With repeat offenses so high among sex offenders, We should have the opportunity to have the information necessary to protect our families. I'd like to know before I send my kid to little Johnny's house to play whether Johnny's dad or older brother has a history of molesting kids. I lived in a neighborhood where a recently released child rapist/murderer had moved in with his parents right before we moved into our house. He'd done the crimes while a juvenile so he had a shorter sentence (10 years) and he wasn't in the online db. You can bet it would have affected our decision to buy a house in that neighborhood.

        Police can't protect you. They can only clean up the mess afterwards and hope to be a deterrant. The only way we can protect ourselves and our families is if we have the information at our disposal to do so.

        Doesn't information want to be free, anyways?
        • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Knara (9377) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:39PM (#21658351)

          Take a look at the DOJ statistics for recidivism and sex offenders (easy way to get a good analysis is via the Skeptics magazine from earlier this year, it'll be on their webpage). Contrary to popular belief, sex offenders re-offend at a much lower rate than most other felonies.

          But popular society right now has a lot invested in the idea that there's a pedophile behind every rock, so no one pays attention to the real numbers (since we're out of commies now, and terrorism is all wrapped up by Jack Bauer, this must be the "new thing" to worry about when we're not making PSAs about the "autism epidemic").

          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:29PM (#21659371)

            Take a look at the DOJ statistics for recidivism and sex offenders (easy way to get a good analysis is via the Skeptics magazine from earlier this year, it'll be on their webpage). Contrary to popular belief, sex offenders re-offend at a much lower rate than most other felonies.

            But popular society right now has a lot invested in the idea that there's a pedophile behind every rock, so no one pays attention to the real numbers (since we're out of commies now, and terrorism is all wrapped up by Jack Bauer, this must be the "new thing" to worry about when we're not making PSAs about the "autism epidemic").
            Short term studies put a fairly low ~14-18% number. Long term studies pin it at ~50%.

            meta study [csom.org] ~39% for rapists ~53% for child molesters after 25 years

            3 year study [usdoj.gov] ~5% after 3 years (mixeD)

            Canadian study [ps-sp.gc.ca] ~27% after 15-20 years. (mixed)

            Another Canadian one [johnhoward.ab.ca] ~42% after 15-30 years.

            Variations are due to different criteria for re offenses. Some count only second convictions, others count second arrests. All note that this classification of crime is often under reported. Most of the long term studies point to a coin flip whether a person will do it again.
        • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:01PM (#21658833)
          According to this article, which sites multiple studies [honoluluadvertiser.com] recidivism rate of sex offenders have been estimated between 5.7% and 13.4%. Mind you, many more were rearrested for some non-sex crime (such as drug use or theft I would guess). Also other criminals with no prior history of sex convictions were about as 1/4th as likely as sex offenders to commit a sex crime.

          So here we have an individual who is 86-94% likely not to reoffend. Do you think his chances to stay out of trouble and not cause harm to your child are improved by living under the bridge [cnn.com], not having a decent job, only having other sex offenders as friends and having reasons to hate potential victims (us)? Do you think Jonny's son is likely to grow up an upstanding citizen if his family is hated and he is shunned by everyone in school?

          Police tries to protect society overall by reducing crime rate. By taking justice into your own hands, you are only thinking about yourself at the expense of the rest of your community. Even if your actions are technically legal, you may be actually hurting your and your family's safety due to your lack of experience. Showing hate to someone is sure likely to make you a preferred target of their potential future crimes.
    • by jbeach (852844) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:43AM (#21657213) Homepage Journal
      It's happened already. In Philipsburg NJ, a couple of civic-minded @$$holes broke into a house to beat up a Megan's law listed sex offender - but the guy they beat up had nothing to do with any sex offense ever.

      http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE2D6153AF933A15751C0A963958260 [nytimes.com]

      This was an early case, and the county government screwed up - they took the extra step of delivering flyers to the neighborhood, freaking everyone out and thus whipping up a lynch mob. Nevertheless, the same principle stands. Yes, people have a right to know, but they don't have a right to pre-emptively use violence. Practical as well as moral reasons.

      There's a reason why we give law enforcement to the police. They can make mistakes like anybody else - but who the hell knows what a fired-up, untrained, possibly psychotic random lynch mob can do, to *innocent people*?

  • FYI (Score:4, Informative)

    by nem75 (952737) <jens@bremmekamp.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:46AM (#21656113)
    From TFA:

    Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele (...)
    The suspect admitted attacking the victim and everything so far seems to point to him being the killer, but he has not actually confessed that yet. Which is why this was not claimed in the original story submission.
  • TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:47AM (#21656143)
    Megan's Law listing may have led to slaying
    Lake County Sheriff
    Ivan Garcia Oliver 29, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse.
    Lake County prosecutors have investigated the possibility that information in the Internet database might have been the motive for the killing of a convicted sex offender.
    By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    December 10, 2007
    LAKEPORT, CALIF. -- Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

    Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

    Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.

    Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30.

    In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

    "Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

    Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

    In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

    Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

    "He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

    Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

    A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.

    "He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."

    The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.

    Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.

    Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.

    According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.

    His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach.

    Those were the charges
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:48AM (#21656153) Journal
    I'm conflicted. On the one hand I'm against these databases; once you've served your time you should be a free man in every way.

    On the other hand, the responsiblity for the murder is solely on th eman who committed the murder. Ironically one of the victims of this murder is the very child the murderer was trying to protect, who will grow up without a father.

    On the third hand*, maybe the kid's better off without a violent dumshit like that around.

    -mcgrew [slashdot.org]

    *The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:03AM (#21656451) Journal

      All valid points. What good is a system of state-sponsored punishment if after you've paid your debt, you're still considered guilty? Why would that make any prisoner want to reform, if he/she knew they would be treated the same no matter what? Yes, there is the problem of recidivism, but I think that is exacerbated by this kind of thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RandoX (828285)
        Ask his rape victim if she's back to normal. Her life is changed forever. Why should his be any different?
        • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rycross (836649) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:20AM (#21656759)
          Because the point of a penal system should be reform, not vengeance. Nothing can undue what was done to the victim. If there's a chance to reform the criminal and make him or her a contributing member of society, that should be done. Continuing to punish a reformed criminal because his or her victim has not healed provides less benefit to society than forgiveness.

          Otherwise, why not just put rapists to the death too?

          Your argument is one of emotion, not logic.
    • by redelm (54142) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:22AM (#21656785) Homepage
      What is the matter with the DB? It merely compiles and retrieves data that is public anyways. Why rely on someone with a long memory? I do not understand why _all_ criminal convictions (and why not misdemenors) are not in publicly accessible DBs. Court is and must be public. Not "private".


      People may well be prejudiced. However stupid, that is their right except where limited by law. A bigger problem is differential privacy, where some people can hide things and others cannot. A boss might be less inclined to go after a gay employee if his own divorces and DUIs were equally public. Likewise for the cop.

  • In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:50AM (#21656191)
    Scientists announced today that after extensive research they have decided that murder, unless in direct self defense, is still murder.

    This guy was going to kill someone, somewhere, somehow. The fact that he a rapist living near him means nothing. If he didn't have the database, he'd grab the yellowpages.

  • "Register or log in" (Score:4, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:51AM (#21656209) Journal
    Google is your friend [upi.com].

    -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
  • Megan's Law FTW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spungo (729241) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:51AM (#21656213)
    Another victory for hysterical knee-jerk legislation.
  • Society of Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:51AM (#21656215) Homepage
    The media and the government have worked for the past few decades to make sure that everyone lives in fear of everything all the time. These sex offender databases are part of that. There have been sexual predators for as long as there have been people. Attacks have always been relatively rare, and most people will never be victimized. However, you put these lists and databases out there, people see that a sex offender lives near them, and they freak out.

    We are constantly bombarded with reports of what we should be afraid of this week ("find out about the new threat that could kill your children, tonight on 9 news at 10!"). We have also been conditioned through the use of these databases and sensationalist segments like "To Catch a Predator" to believe that everyone ever convicted (or even accused) of a sex crime of any kind is out to get our children. Given all this, it's not at all surprising that someone would snap and do something like this.
    • Re:Society of Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by superwiz (655733) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:03AM (#21656449) Journal
      A good percentage of the people in that database are "criminals" who committed the statutory rape of having sex while in high school (because the other person was under age). We can laugh it off, but we are talking about these people having to register their entire life for what was essentially an innocent act. The problem here is not computers. It's the legal system. If someone is a threat to society so much so that they cannot live a free person, they must not be allowed out of a prison or hospital. And innocent behavior should not be a crime.
      • Re:Society of Fear (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:38AM (#21657097)
        Changing in public and urination in public have to register too.

        I play rugby, if anyone has been to a Rugby game or been around the Rugby community, you may notice that we're pretty improvisional about most things. Often pitches are just some open field with some 2x4 uprights, etc. Never have I seen a locker room and bathrooms are usually port-a-potties.

        Prior to a 7s tournament (7 vs 7 for 7 minute halves, large tournaments have easily 500 people) someone was changing near the pitch and then kneeled down and peed on a tree.

        Cop who obviously didn't notice the 499 other people doing this, decided to make an example out of this guy. He now has to register on the list.

        Guy was going to be a elementary school teacher (and had just graduated). Although I guess it's better than being dead, right?

        FEAR EVERYTHING AMERICA. THINK OF THE CHILDREN. (on the other hand I grew up around it, both my parents played and I don't think I could see much of anything that doesn't shock me and if I don't like it, I don't sit and stare and cry foul, I turn away.)
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:37PM (#21658321)

          Changing in public and urination in public have to register too.

          As well they should. Unfortunately, the law does not go far enough to protect the children. Did you know that, at this very moment, there are hundreds of millions of people in the US currently in possession of genitalia that could be used to commit any number of sex offenses? These people are allowed to walk around in public right next to children while carrying concealed genitalia. It is time to put a stop to this and make sure that all parents are aware of the threat that these sickos pose to our children.

      • Re:Society of Fear (Score:4, Insightful)

        by computational super (740265) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:39AM (#21657117)

        I've seen this logic posited many times in the past, and I don't get where you're coming from - perhaps you can explain. You seem to be saying that it's not harmful if the other person is also underage, but that it is harmful if the other person is overage. This doesn't make sense - if it's harmful, it's harmful, and that's that. Logically, it's actually more harmful if the other person is underage because the other person is less likely to be responsible about safety/birth control. Right?

    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:09AM (#21656561)
      I don't think molestation is all that rare (not like struck-by-lightning rare, anyway). It just is vastly more likely to occur in the home or that of a relative than by a stranger. But "stepfathers are the most frequent molesters" doesn't have the stranger-as-threat, outsider-as-enemy utility people like so much.

      I was once told by a woman of an ethnic background I'm not going to share with you that she didn't know any women of her ethnic background who hadn't been molested. I'd bet good money that was quite an exaggeration, but the bare fact that she said it, and the matter-of-fact tone she was using, creeped me out. No, I'm not presening anecdotal evidence. It's already well-known that most molestation occurs in the home, and not by marauding gay activists. It was just a weird thing to hear from a friend of my then-wife, who is of the same cultural background.

    • Re:Society of Fear (Score:4, Interesting)

      by orclevegam (940336) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:15AM (#21656681) Journal
      Maybe we should just go that last step and make them wear a big scarlet P, or maybe R on their chests. Is it just me, or does it seem like the media is behind at least 50% of the social problems in America? Between the news channels, the MAFIAA and crooked politicians being themselves it's amazing anything gets done for all the arm waving, knee jerk reactions, and lawsuits.
    • Re:Society of Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:19AM (#21656737) Journal
      Try and speak out "for" the rights of those accused and/or convinced of child molestation. Go ahead and do it in a more public forum, and watch yourself get lynched. "Think of the children" trumps all common sense.

      The irrational fear of this is beyond anything I have ever seen. I hear otherwise normal, educated people say that anyone accused should get the death penalty, or "if they get raped in prison, they deserve it. I hope they die of AIDS" and the like. The total hatred and desire for the accused to suffer a horrible death is pretty frightening in itself.

      Right now in America, if you tried to pass a law that says that everyone 'ACCUSED' of sex crimes against children gets lethal injection without a trial, and put it up to a general vote, it would pass. Thank god we aren't a true democracy.
    • Re:Society of Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:21AM (#21656781) Journal
      What's ironic is that the things the media and government are scaring people with are things that, as you say, are unlikely to ever happen to you, while real danger is unregarded.

      Take terrorism, for example. More Americans died fighting in Iraq than died on 9-11. Fewer than 3,000 people have died this entire century on American soil from terrorism, while half a million Americans die from cancer every year, another half million from heart attacks. The terrorists I'm more scared of are the terrorists who run the fast food and tobacco companies!

      Meanwhile 40,000 Americans die on the highways every year. I'd like to see some of that Homeland Security money go to some guardrails - it would actually save some lives rather than being a political circus.

      But guardrails don't give government officials more power.

      -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
    • The Most Recent Catastrophe
      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/02/09 [penny-arcade.com]
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:52AM (#21656237) Homepage Journal
    There seems to be two groups or two positions at work here: one which holds that all offenders can be reformed, the other that certain types of offenders cannot. Our current law is a mishmash of good intentions with no single theoretical framework holding it together. It takes the 'people can be reformed' position in allowing for the release of rapists ( both those who prefer adults and those who prey on children ), and then takes the opposite position with the creation of lists of people who are 'going to do it again'.

    I don't understand the psychology of rapists, so I can't say which position is correct. But I wish that our criminal justice system would either choose one or the other.
  • by VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:53AM (#21656255)
    Imagine the outrage and press if the database hadn't gotten the offender's entry wrong.

    Oh, right. There wouldn't be any.

    In my opinion, that's sick. Because of a government agency's screwup, it's suddenly not A-OK to murder a released convict? If the man actually HAD been a child molester, you would never have heard of this story. Everyone would have shrugged it off. Eh, the murderer was twisted, but at least he was protecting his kid. The murdered guy was a sick child molester, so he deserved it anyway, right?

    The sex offender list isn't any more wrong because of this. The murder isn't any more wrong because of the list's screwup (and the victim isn't any less of a sick person because of it). All this is is just another example why a sex offender list is stupid and unconstitutional -- it's just that it wouldn't be noticed if somebody hadn't screwed up.
    • by wattrlz (1162603) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:16AM (#21656701)

      ... it's just that it wouldn't be noticed if somebody hadn't screwed up.
      Mr. Google and I would have to disagree...
      • http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/17/national/main1501271.shtml
      • http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002456680_sexoffender30m.html
      • http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/14562826/detail.html
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:33AM (#21656981) Journal
      A Rabbi, a Priest, and a lawyer are on the Titanic having a lively discussion about God and the law when the boat hits an iceberg and starts sinking.

      "Save the children!" the Rabbi exclaims.

      "FUCK the children, the lawyer snarls.

      "No time for that!" says the priest

      -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because of a government agency's screwup, it's suddenly not A-OK to murder a released convict?

      Wait -- when was it ever OK to murder a released convict?

      If the man actually HAD been a child molester, you would never have heard of this story.

      Actually, you would. (Sibling posts have links.)

      Eh, the murderer was twisted, but at least he was protecting his kid. The murdered guy was a sick child molester, so he deserved it anyway, right?

      I hope I never get as cynical about other people as you are right now.

      If

  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:54AM (#21656259)
    Well, at least they have removed his erroneous entry from the database. Hopefully, that will ensure that he is not murdered twice.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:58AM (#21656339) Journal
    Its the old justice vs vengence conflict all over again. Theoretically after their time in the penal system a convict has paid their debt to society, and has been their slate wiped clean. The public tracking websites appeal to a mob-mentality, fear based culture that suggests criminals can't reform, that you're at risk at all times, and that someone is out to get you and your family. Yes a number of child molesters (and other criminals) re-offend upon being released from prison. The question should be whether public tracking databases reduce this likelihood.

    My personal opinion is 'no', in fact they exacerbate the problem by limiting convicts' abilities to reintegrate into society. Once branded with the scarlet letter, they live out their Les Miserables' existence being pursued by law enforcement and vigilantes for the rest of their days.

    Child molesters are the boogeymen of the 2000s, just like drug lords were of the 1980s and 90s, gangs of the 60s and 70s, and communists of the 1950s. They pose a societal threat, but not somuch that you need to legislate around their existence and vastly expand policing powers beyond what already exists.
  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:00AM (#21656387)
    can anyone give a reason why ALL people convicted of ANYTHING aren't in a database? Since privacy is no longer important when it has to compete with safety on any level, why give it even a token protection? I'm all for protecting children from child molesters, but don't you also have a "right" to know if a convicted car thief lives in the neighborhood? Why can't you look up your new neighbor and find out that he shoplifted a package of underwear 12 years ago? Don't you have a right to sleep soundly at night? Why do we need to know that a child molester lives in the area, but not a convicted murderer? How about drug offenses? Shouldn't we just put all criminal records online? Isn't public safety more important than the "privacy" of criminals?
  • Tradeoff... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:01AM (#21656395)
    So the guy "protected" his son from molestation (even though the risk was pretty damned small), and in return gave his son an absentee father, visits to the penitentiary, almost certain divorce (assuming he was married), and a long span of whispers and looks.

    Oh yeah, he made a GREAT choice - a real bargain.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:01AM (#21656415)
    Well the article is for registered users only so I can't read it, but I feel like there's something missing from this story. Some key detail like Dodele hanging around the contrustion worker's trailer constantly or something. Otherwise this killer is just using his son as an excuse for being batshit psycho. What did this guy do, log in to the sex offender registry on occasion to see if any molesters lived near him so he could kill them with a clear conscience or with some feeling of vigilante style justice? With only the summary to go on it sounds like this construction worker was being more than just a proactive father. A proactive person complains to the park management, speak with the police, confronts the guy, talks to his own kids about steering clear, etc. Not up and decides "well there's a molester in the neighborhood, guess I'll have to be the one to *kill* him."

    This of course is completely separate from the discussion of the usefulness, constitutionality, and accuracy of sex offender DBs.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:12AM (#21656633) Homepage Journal
    And this, ladies and gentlemen, geeks and trolls, bots and overlords, is why privacy is important.

    At least, that was my first thought. Then I realized that it doesn't have too much to do with privacy per se. After all, it doesn't matter if the data about the victim of the murder were accurate. It could have been entirely made up. Then, it's not really about privacy anymore, but about what people write about others, and how people react to that.

    I recently moved into a new city. It would be easy for someone to tell the people in my new neigborhood that I am a child molester. If there is a respectable-looking website for posting this kind of information (and I'm sure there is), they could put a post up there for extra credibility. Doing so would be wrong, because I am not a child molester (of course, that's just me saying that, but just accept it for the sake of argument).

    Then, someone might read the aforementioned post and conclude that I am, in fact, a child molester. That would be wrong, because they would have arrived at that conclusion by blindly believing what was written about me, without checking the facts. If they had checked the facts, they would have found that the claim was completely baseless.

    Now let's assume that someone did, in fact, buy the claim that I am a child molester. Remember, they did so without checking the facts, the claim is baseless, and I am actually _not_ a child molester. But they think I am, and kill me to protect their child.

    Mr. Dodele's case could be seen as a privacy case, because the information in the database supposedly was based on things he actually did. But in my (hypothetical) case, the claims were completely fabricated.

    I think the real problem here is not that privacy is being violated, but that people (1) kill, and (2) do so without being sure their victim is actually guilty of the things they kill them for.

    Assuming that the killer really did kill to protect his child, I think he did her a nice disservice - now she will have to live with the fact that her daddy is a murderer and an idiot, and probably an inmate, too.

    The message I would like to send is (1) take everything with a healthy dose of scepsis, and (2) avoid doing things that are irreversible.

    Have a nice day.
  • What do we expect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QCompson (675963) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:19AM (#21656747)
    After the alleged murderer was informed that his neighbor had never molested a child and was in fact on the sex-offender list for crimes against adult women, the suspect replied that (I'm paraphrasing here) "these people can't be cured."

    So, the victim was on the sex offender list for raping adult women, but this psycho was so convinced that sex offenders are dangerous predators that can't be cured, that he actually believed his son was in danger. His own words, referring to the victim looking at his son:

    "It was more than watching," Oliver said. "You could see his eyes. He was fantasizing, plotting. Later on down the line, who knows how many other children he could have hurt."

    So raping adult women = lusting after young boys?

    We shouldn't be surprised by this type of tragedy after the media and politicians have gleefully embarked on a decade long scare campaign designed to convince the public that sex-offenders are pure evil incarnate. That they can't be cured. That they are worse than murderers. That they lurk behind every tree and every bush, waiting to attack children. That all sex offenders=child molesters and all child molesters=baby-butt rapers.

    This alleged murderer may be a low-functioning individual, or he just may be crazy, but nevertheless our society has reinforced his paranoia and justified it. The real tragedy about all of this is that we have allowed our "modern" society to behave like some medieval village.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)
      This alleged murderer may be a low-functioning individual, or he just may be crazy, but nevertheless our society has reinforced his paranoia and justified it. The real tragedy about all of this is that we have allowed our "modern" society to behave like some medieval village.

      It may be convenient to think that this guy is somehow mentally handicaped, but that's a dangerous assumption because it implies that this kind of behavior is only possible from other low-functioning individuals. The quotes you have of
  • Keep in mind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:26AM (#21656851)
    If the guy who murdered him gets released in ten, twenty years he can move anywhere without ending up on a list or being forced to tell his neighbors of his past.
  • by SeeManRun (1040704) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:28AM (#21656899)
    Its just a form of preemptive justice. He killed him before he hurt someone else. I only hope this justice prevails throughout society so no one ever has to be hurt again!
  • by myth_of_sisyphus (818378) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#21656911)
    Barely escaped being labelled a sex offender because he pissed in a park near a school. He was really drunk and it was 2 am but he was going to be charged with (I forget exactly) "Exposing himself within fifty feet of a school." He got a good lawyer and got a lesser charge but his life was nearly ruined for a mistake he didn't even remember making.

    It's hard to have sympathy for molesters and rapists but when you hear of people released from prison whose only option is to live under an overpass because that's the only place not near a child I do feel some sympathy. I mean, shouldn't the government designate an area childfree in each state that these guys can live? If not, just put them back in prison for the rest of their lives. It's more humane than under an overpass.
    • by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:57PM (#21659929) Homepage Journal

      I mean, shouldn't the government designate an area childfree in each state that these guys can live?
      Can I go there even if I'm not a sex offender? Please?

      Also, remember that we will also need a women-free area for the rapists, and a property-free area for the thieves. Also a brain-free area for the fuckwits to come up with these "protect the children by fucking up someone's life so he's sure to not re-integrate into society" ideas.
  • by CodeShark (17400) <ellsworthpc@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#21656917) Homepage
    The point is that "big brother" publishes a list of "bad people". And then there's a progression where it somehow becomes okay for a good people to know how to find and get rid of bad people.

    Seems to me a minor party hack published that it was okay to exterminate folks with a particular ancestry in Europe about 70 years ago, and that Milosovic basically published that it was okay to kill bad folks in Croatia and Bosnia about ten years ago. For those US folks that think "it can't happen here", a governor of a US Midwestern state published in the 1830's that it was ok to exterminate an entire group of people just for what they believed. That order wasn't officially rescinded until 1976.

    Now then, I won't argue whether the convicted man was good or bad -- because most child molestors do not reform -- nor will I argue that folks don't have the right to protect their kids from unreformed molestors. What I will argue is that publishing a list in a manner as easily accessible as the Internet may be the wrong way to go about protecting the neighborhood. Because otherwise mob and/or vigilant justice takes control and can very easily get out of hand. Leading to murder and/or genocide.

  • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:33AM (#21656977) Homepage
    There was a similar case a couple of years ago where some Canadian guy got the lists and killed two people in Maine. One WAS a child predator. The other guy just boinked his underage gf when he was 19 or so. These lists need to be banned altogether until they only contain people convicted of child predation/adult rape, and not contain some schmoe who got caught with his wang out in public peeing drunk one night.

    http://www.guidemag.com/magcontent/invokemagcontent.cfm?ID=BF0FA813-7607-4666-B1F081D6A6C701CC [guidemag.com]

    Prior to that, two more child predators were killed from the same list by someone else. My feelings for child molestors aside, people can be on the list for not so bad things, and end up dead. That's a problem.
  • Could be worse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by archammer2 (1041754) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:48AM (#21657343)
    What are the odds of having two people in an apartment building that happen to have the same name? Well, it happened to me. First, last and middle initial. The other guy is a registered sex offender. Despite the two of us living in different apartments (A5 vs A7), I've had several people coming to my door looking for him. ... Including the local police.
    Yes, even though the database of sex offenders has his address as A7 and has pictures (he looks nothing like me), the police insisted that I was a sex offender until I provided an ID to show we had different birthdates.

    So now I have to worry about whackos trying to kill the other guy and getting me instead? Great.

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