We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Alarming stats from Harvard: One-in-five rape claims determined to be false or baseless--and the real number is almost certainly much, much higher

10-6-15 National:

At Harvard, more than 18 percent of rape claims were false or baseless last year--at least. That's only the percentage that campus police have definitively determined were "false or baseless"--that's how the report itself defines "unfounded." Of the remaining rape claims, it is certain that a sizable percentage can't be classified one way or the other (that's true of every population of rape claims), and it is safe to assume that a significant percentage of those are also false or baseless. It would not be surprising if the total number of false or baseless rape claims approximated Prof. Kanin's much reviled 40 or 50 percent.

Shocked? Feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry who has done more to shape colleges' sexual misconduct policies than anyone in America, last year wrote that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims [sic] . . . believe something has happened to them" even though "overwhelming proof" shows it did not. Mr. Sokolow suggested mental health issues may play an important factor in these false accusations.

A Breakdown of Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct

October 2015 Michigan:

Our guest post today is from Michigan attorney James W. Burdick. Mr. Burdick specializes in complex criminal litigation, and in defending health care professionals in criminal, licensing, discipline and other administrative matters. He is widely regarded as a preeminent expert in trials, forfeiture litigation and post-conviction proceedings. You can visit his website at www.extraordinarylaw.com

Criminal sexual conduct laws in the State of Michigan are unnecessarily complex and violate every concept of legislative integrity. The statute is divided into several sections, including; criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, second degree and third degree, which are felonies. Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree (mere “touching”) is a misdemeanor. The consequences for being accused of a Michigan criminal sexual conduct charge are literally life-altering and life consuming. Anyone charged with criminal sexual conduct in Michigan must therefore make certain that he or she has a lawyer who is a true expert in this field, not someone who “dabbles” in this type of case.

In addition, the Michigan legislature has sadly made certain that criminal sexual conduct charges, once made, are there for all to see, and forever. Even in cases where an individual charged has the same or similar name as the accused, the case is dismissal, or there is an acquittal, unlike for any other kind of criminal charge in Michigan, sex crime charges can never be wiped off public access. This is because, unlike virtually any other criminal charge in the State of Michigan, the law has no provision to allow the return of arrest records to the former defendant. For any other charge in Michigan, however, an erroneous prosecution or one which results in an acquittal (whether erroneous or not) allows the individual the absolute right to obtain return of all arrest and even fingerprint records, leaving only a “non-public” record in the archives of the Michigan State Police. In a CSC prosecution, however, there is no return or suppression of arrest and fingerprint records. They are public record for the whole world to see forever.

The legislature has also made certain that anyone convicted of a CSC crime will remain on the Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”) list forever (except in the case of a misdemeanor – then “only” for 25 years.

Thus, one of the most critical reasons a suspect needs a true expert criminal sexual conduct defense attorney, such as Shannon Marie Smith among only a very few others who limit their practice to these types of matters, is her vigorous involvement at the investigatory stage. In Michigan, the investigation process varies widely from police department to department, and from prosecutor’s office to prosecutor’s office – some good and some horrible. The expertise of a criminal sexual conduct practitioner is essential long before there is an actual prosecution, in order to investigate objectively and be able to demonstrate to the authorities that there is no legitimate basis to bring a charge. ..Continued..

This Program Offers Sex Offenders Second Chances -- And It's Working

October 2015 Hawaii:

Of the state program’s 800-plus “graduates,” only 20 have returned to prison after committing a new sex crime.

One day back in 2003, DeMont Conner sat in a room at the Kulani Correctional Facility, listening to a recording of a frantic 911 call.

A woman was on the line, clearly in distress: Her house was being broken into. Terrified, she was hiding in a closet and begging for help — but to no avail. A man soon broke in, raped the woman and killed her.

Conner, who had been locked up for seven life sentences — including one for a rape conviction — says listening to the recording was "torture." "It hit me really hard. It broke me down. I cried profusely," he said.

The exercise was designed to be a step on Conner’s road to redemption.

There's a Reliable Therapy for Sex Offenders -- But Nobody Wants Them to Get It


10-1-15 National:

In June of 1994, a convicted child molester named Charlie Taylor moved into a small apartment in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, across the street from a community center. He had no family. He had no parole officer. At the time, sex offenders deemed too dangerous to be let out of prison early were, paradoxically, released at the end of their sentences with no ongoing oversight or treatment from the Correctional Services of Canada.

What he did have was a friend. Harry Nigh, a Mennonite pastor at The Welcome Inn church had invited Charlie Taylor to town. Without knowing Taylor personally, without any real training in dealing with sex offenders, Nigh welcomed Taylor and brought him home for supper. Nigh’s son, then a third grader, would later recognize Taylor’s face on warning fliers handed out in the local school. Meanwhile, Nigh lived in fear – not of Taylor, but of his own furious neighbors. “I thought I was going to get run out of town,” he says.

Most of us would probably sympathize with the people carrying torches and pitchforks. In fact, laws in the U.S. and Canada are increasingly designed to exclude sex offenders from society, with residency restrictions, monitoring programs, community notification programs, and civil commitments that effectively keep people locked up forever, even after they’ve served their term in prison.

The plan Nigh came up with for Charlie Taylor was the opposite of all that. Since then, it’s come to be known as Circles of Support and Accountability, or CoSA. The model is used internationally to reduce the chances that freed sex offenders will fall back into their old crimes. Two decades of research suggests it can be effective — more so, at any rate, than knee-jerk safety measures like notifying the public about sex offenders in their midst, which can actually increase the risk of reoffense.

Which Halloween Health Hazards Are Factual? Which Are Just Scary Stories?

October 2015:

A Parent Asks
This year my 10-year-old son plans to go trick-or-treating with his friends without my supervision. What Halloween health hazards have been reported? What are some Halloween safety tips?

The Parent Coach Advises

Participating in Halloween is popular among children of all ages. In 2013, the estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters—children aged 5 to 14 years—in the United States was 41.2 million.1 The age at which it is safe for a child to trick-or-treat without supervision should be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the child’s maturity level and the maturity level of the other children in the group. A 2011 national survey found that 12% of children under the age of 5 trick-or-treated without adult chaperones, and only 35% of parents talked to their children annually about Halloween safety concerns.2

Reported Halloween Health Hazards

Pedestrian Injury. While many parents worry about strangers and candy that has been tampered with, the true danger during trick-or-treating is pedestrian injury. Halloween is ranked as the No. 1 day of the year for child-pedestrian accidents and fatalities. One analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System3 found that 115 child-pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween from 1990 to 2010. This average of 5.5 pediatric fatalities per year on Halloween is more than double the average of 2.6 pediatric fatalities on all other days of the year. The group at highest risk is 12- to 18-year-olds, who accounted for 32% of the fatalities, followed by the 5- to 8-year-old age group at 23%. The majority of these fatalities (60%) occurred during the peak trick-or-treating hours between 5 pm and 9 pm. The deadliest hour of trick-or-treating was from 6 pm to 7 pm. The drivers of the vehicles involved in one-third of the accidents were young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years.

Tampered Candy. The fear of candy that has been tampered with is media-driven and is a common concern among parents nationwide. The results of a 2011 Harris Interactive poll showed that 24% of parents with children under the age of 12 years worry about poisoned treats.2 To date, five reported deaths have been linked to Halloween candy: two in the 1970s that eventually were attributed to the direct actions of family members rather than strangers, one when a child ingested heroin that a relative had stashed among the candy, and one when a father murdered his son with cyanide-laced Pixy Stix candy in order to collect on a life insurance policy. Other fatalities in 1978 and 1990 later were determined to be associated with preexisting cardiac disease and natural causes. The 2001 case of a 4-year-old in Vancouver, Canada, who died a day after ingesting trick-or-treat candy was widely reported in the news media. After police ordered children and families across the area to dispose of their Halloween candy, it eventually was determined that the cause of death was streptococcal infection unrelated to Halloween candy.

Nevertheless, some incidents of Halloween candy tampering have been reported. In 2000, trick-or-treaters in Hercules, California, found marijuana-packed Snickers bars in their Halloween candy.5 A police investigation found that a worker in the Hercules post office had found the candy bars among the undeliverable mail and took them home to distribute to trick-or-treaters. The tainted candy was the result of an unknown person’s failed attempt to mail 5 ounces of marijuana to San Francisco. Still, while the threat of encountering poisoned Halloween candy is a possibility, the likelihood remains very low.

Another fear is the placing of sharp objects such as needles, glass, or razors into Halloween treats. Approximately 80 such cases have been reported since 1959.6 The large majority of these cases have been determined to be hoaxes. A needle stick injury was reported in 2000 when a teenager bit into a tainted candy bar; however, no long-term complications were associated with the incident. A 49-year-old man eventually was criminally charged after investigations found that he had hidden needles in chocolate bars and had given them to trick-or-treaters.

Physical Assaults. Parents also may fear that their children may be vulnerable to physical harm from other children or adults while trick-or-treating without supervision. In 2009, a group of researchers studied the threat of strangers and child sex-crime rates associated with Halloween activity.7 The authors concluded that there was no increase in the rates of sex crimes against children aged 12 years and younger around Halloween.

Other Health Hazards. In the United States, more than $2.4 billion is spent on Halloween confections each year, exceeding the number of sweets purchased for Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.8 Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to obesity and dental decay. Increased hospital visits related to abdominal pain and/or diarrhea secondary to ingestion of large amounts of sorbitol on Halloween also have been reported.9

Halloween Health Tips

The accompanying Table lists other practical Halloween health tips compiled from various resources.

Halloween can be an enjoyable way for families to spend time together and for pediatricians to promote healthy lifestyle practices. This yearly celebration is another opportunity to discuss the importance of proper food choices and dental hygiene. Although the suggested recommended age to allow children to trick-or-treat without adult accompaniment varies depending on the children’s maturity level, parents should consider supervising children younger than 12 years of age.

Some parents might ask about the value of X-raying their children’s Halloween candy. A study involving three hospitals that offered candy X-raying found that the 394 radiographs cost $1,625, with no positive results. The authors estimated that nationwide, Halloween candy X-raying could cost as much as $1.4 million and provide no proven benefit. ..Source.. by Bryce M. J. Harvey, MD, is a pediatric resident at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia. --and-- Linda S. Nield, MD—Series Editor, is a professor of pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia.

1. Halloween, Oct. 31, 2014 [press release]. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau; September 23, 2014. http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/facts-for-features/201.... Accessed August 20, 2015.

2. Mickalide AD, Rosenthal KM, Donahue MP. Halloween Safety: A National Survey of Parents’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors. Washington, DC: Safe Kids Worldwide; 2011. http://issuu.com/safekids/docs/halloween_safety_researchreport2012/1?e=4.... Accessed August 20, 2015.

3. Halloween is ‘deadliest day’ of the year for child pedestrian fatalities [press release]. Bloomington, IL: State Farm; October 23, 2012. http://www.multivu.com/mnr/56790-state-farm-halloween-pedestrian-child-s.... Accessed August 20, 2015.

4. Best J. Halloween sadism: the evidence. http://udspace.udel.edu/handle/19716/726. Published 2008. Accessed August 20, 2015.

5. Squatriglia C. Source traced for Halloween pot treats: postal worker got candy from dead-letter office. San Francisco Chronicle. November 3, 2000. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Source-Traced-For-Halloween-Pot-Tr.... Accessed August 20, 2015.

6. Mikkelson B. Pins and needles. Snopes.com. http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/needles.asp. Updated October 18, 2013. Accessed August 20, 2015.

7. Chaffin M, Levenson J, Letourneau E, Stern P. How safe are trick-or-treaters? An analysis of child sex crime rates on Halloween. Sex Abuse. 2009;21(3):363-374.

8. Honeyman S. Trick or treat? Halloween lore, passive consumerism, and the candy industry. The Lion and the Unicorn. 2008;32(1):82-108. https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/lion_and_th.... Accessed August 20, 2015.

9. Breitenbach RA. “Halloween diarrhea.” An unexpected trick of sorbitol-containing candy. Postgrad Med. 1992;92(5):63-66.

10. Calvanese J. Should we X-ray Halloween candy? Revisited. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1988;30(2):165-169.

11. Bannatyne LP. Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co; 1998.

12. Eveleth R. The history of trick or treating is weirder than you thought. Smithsonian.com. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-history-of-trick-or-treatin.... Published October 18, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2015.

13. Halloween safety tips. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and.... Published 2014. Accessed July 31, 2015.

14. AAPD offers tips to scare away cavities, and promote a healthy holiday. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/aapd_offers_tips_that_scare_away_cavitie.... Accessed August 20, 2015.