Sanity Prevails in Alexandria as Residency Restriction Is Rejected

The City fathers in Alexandria, Nebraska, have apparently decided against a residency restriction ordinance.

Kudos to Alexandria.

Alexandria’s leaders are interested in measures that actually make their community more safe. Residency restrictions do not do that.

The Lincoln Journal Star story.

The True Internet Predators Are in the Mug-Shot Extortion Industry

Fortunately, the private sector is proactive where the law fails

A note from Gus:

Being on the sex offender registry isn’t fun. It affects where you can live, ability to get a job, raising a family, and moving past the worst thing you ever did. If being a sex offender isn’t bad enough, most states publicly post the pictures and vital information on sex offenders to their public.

Making matters worse, predatory, spineless vultures have dreamed up a scheme to make money on people’s shame. Websites that publish mugshots and sex offender profiles charge people for their removal, even if that individual was found not guilty, charges were dropped for that crime, or if he/she was removed from sex offender registries.

Sometimes profiles are not removed, even if payment of hundreds of dollars is made. It’s textbook extortion, made legal because this information is public domain via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and protected by the First Amendment.

This makes it nearly impossible for ex-offenders to move past their crime. Lawmakers tow a fine line between charging for extortion and violating First Amendment rights when it comes to public information. However, these predatory sites will punish anybody who questions their motives by sometimes even listing facebook accounts and family information (including addresses) on their front page to invite harassment and even violence.

This article from Forbes, entitled “Payment Providers and Google Will Kill the Mug-Shot Extortion Industry Faster than Lawmakers Can,” details a new move bent on taking this practice off the internets. The article talks of an investigation by New York Times reporter David Segal on the matter (his investigation article is here). Segal spotlighted a few mugshot cases to demonstrate the absurd consequences these mugshot sites have on citizens who deal with them. The ramifications sound very familiar to what registered sex offenders go through, but these people aren’t convicted of crimes and are more palatable to the reader than sex offenders.

Anyway, Segal contacted Google and a bunch of payment processing companies to ask why they supported this type of extortion by providing services to these websites. They’re response was unanimous and against such schemes. All of them have now stopped taking payments for these sites, and Google has implemented an algorithm to tank their web-search SEO. Seems it’s easier to get the private sector to act and cut these sites off at the knees by shutting off funding and burying their queries in the barren wastelands that are past page 1 of Google’s search returns.

Kudos to all involved.

Meet Our Writers: Introducing Gus

FACTS / NU wants to do a better job of engaging the readers of this blog and our other materials. To that end, we have assembled a number of registrants or registrants’ family members who will contribute under pen names. Over the next few days, we will introduce a couple of our new post-writers. Here’s the first:
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From “Gus”:
My name is Gus. Well, not really, but I’m a huge fan of Los Pollos Hermano’s founder so, for the purposes of this blog, I’ll be Gus. This is a blog about issues affecting registered sex offenders in Nebraska. Since I happen to BE a registered sex offender in Nebraska, I’ll be keeping my identity concealed.
While it would be nice to write all my blog posts out in the open, being a sex offender (especially one who speaks openly against the registry) makes me a target for vandalism, harassment, or worse. To avoid more of this unpleasantness, you won’t know who I am.
That said, a little about me: I’m a dad. Yep, I live with and raise kids. Shudder at the thought? Don’t. There are a lot of us in Nebraska who quietly try to move past their offense and raise good ol’ corn-fed, free-range kids.
I work for myself. I could probably get a job if I looked long and hard enough. However, constantly explaining to new people that I’m not a crazy dangerous pedophile-rapist, just a normal guy who made a very stupid decision, gets old. So I don’t do it. I like coming up with ideas, partnering with friends, launching, and moving on. I guess you could say I’m a serial entrepreneur.
Finally, I’m a bona fide expert on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act. I’ve read every word of the law multiple times. I encourage all registrants to dive into the law and read it for themselves, but for those who don’t, I’ll be a resource for tips and tricks to navigating the registry.
Topics I’ll be writing about: parenting tips, travel as a registrants, legal issues affecting registrants, and dealing with law enforcement. If I feel a story is important, I’ll write on that, too, even if it doesn’t fit nicely into one of those categories. Talk to you soon.