Monday, March 27, 2006

Kennedy Teams Up With Anti-Gay Bigot To Bar Sex Offenders From City Parks

In a move not likely to win her favor with Indianapolis’ GLBT community, Democratic prosecutorial candidate Melina Kennedy joined one of the leading anti-gay bigoted members of the city-county council, Mary Moriarty Adams, at a press conference this morning to support a new ordinance barring registered sex offenders from using the city’s public parks. Adams is one of only two Democratic members of the city-county council to vote twice against the passage of the Human Rights Ordinance barring discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender persons.

The Star’s Brenden O’Shaughnessy reports:


Sex offenders who have committed crimes against children would be banned from public parks and other gathering places under an ordinance that will be introduced in a City-County Council meeting tonight.

The ban would require anyone registered as a sexually violent predator on the Indiana State Sex Offender Registry to stay at least 1,000 feet from a public playground, recreation center, swimming pool, beach or sports facility when children are present. The ordinance adds civil penalty fines of $300, $500 or $2,500 to existing criminal penalties for violations.

Mary Moriarty Adams, a council member, and Melina Kennedy, a candidate for county prosecutor, held a press conference this morning at a Near-Northside playground to announce the proposal. Adams said a constituent had complained about a problem with a registered sex offender living across the street from a Catholic school playground.


Some might view this effort as a little over-kill. Governor Daniels recently signed into law SEA 246, which severely limits registered sex offenders proximity to places like public parks. It prohibits a sexually violent predator from working or volunteering on school property or at a public park or youth program. It further prohibits sex offenders from residing within 1, 000 feet of a school, public park, or youth center, or within a mile of their victim’s home.

While Kennedy may have the best of intentions in her support of the proposal, many in the GLBT community will wonder why she chose such an anti-gay bigot as Adams to team up with on this effort. Adam’s motivation in supporting this proposal is probably different from Kennedy’s.

Her Republican opponent, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, won applause from the GLBT community last year when he enacted a non-discrimination ordinance for his own office prior to the enactment of the HRO. He was condemned by religious right groups, such as Advance America and the American Family Association for protecting gay employees of his office from discrimination.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union fought a legal battle for a convicted child molester a couple of years ago, who was barred from entering Lafayette’s public parks. The ICLU argued that the ban violated the man’s First Amendment rights. A divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision upheld the city’s ban on a vote of 8-3. The Indiana Law Blog also reports that the ICLU is challenging a similar ordinance enacted by Plainfield.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melina Kennedy is not anti-gay. Furthermore, the Democratic Party does not sanction discrimination against LGBT citizens—unlike the Republican Party.

Advance Indiana said...

No one is suggesting Melina Kennedy is anti-gay. But she should be sensitive to how members of the GLBT community feel about Ms. Adams before joining her at a perv bashing fest.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what they are doing. I'm not a fan of Adams but I believe that this should be passed.

paula said...

"No one is suggesting Melina Kennedy is anti-gay"

Sorry, Gary, I'm not usually slow on the uptake, but I had to read your opening paragraph twice. The first time through I thought you meant that LGBT people would be upset that they were barring REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS from the park. I was all ready to get upset about the linking of the two ideas that most usually come to the conclusion of Gay=pervert on a right wing site, then I remembered that you are generally on our side on GLBT issues, so I reread it.

I'm not quite sure what is going on with you lately. It seems like more and more of your posts have a slight kool-aid stain on them.

Advance Indiana said...

Paula,

What would your reaction be to Carl Brizzi if he stood up at a press conference with Eric Miller or Micah Clark arguing for the same ordinance. The facts is we just enacted a statewide law that imposes a lot of new restrictions on where they can work and live. The ordinance doesn't cover someone who stabbed or shot someone while committing a burglary--only sex offenders or other similar heinous crimes. I guess we're saying we don't care if gang-bangers hang out in our parks, just the pervs.

paula said...

point taken. but i have a huge problem with sex offender statutes anyway.
1. people listed on the sex offender web site (required by law) also include offenders that were convicted of statutory rape. Just because somebody's parents got all p*off about their kid's 18 year old boy/girlfriend isn't a good reason to label the "adult" for the rest of their lives.
2. as soon as someone becomes accused of a sex crime, their name is plastered all over the paper PRIOR to their initial court date. this has the potential of becoming our generations salem witch trials. p*off a kid, they turn you in, and your reputation is ruined regardless of the outcome of your trial. (Granted, I live in Boone County, so maybe the paper here has less "cool" news to publish, so they run with this kind of stuff).
3. i'm no lawyer, so i don't pretend to understand the nuances of all this stuff, but i do recall reading somewhere that it is against state law to be punitive in criminal punishment - our goal is to rehabilitate. how can this be accomplished when the criminal gets two sentences, one to repay society, the other for a lifetime regardless of what the criminal does to change.

I've seen both sides of the equation. My partner was sexually abused starting at 5 years old on both sides of her family. We are now dealing with a distant relative that has been charged with molesting (that actual experience is the basis for my concern about papers running with the story before the accused is even arraigned - so much for innocent until proven guilty).

It is an ugly, ugly problem. It is NOT one that ANY politician should be grandstanding on. There isn't an easy, black and white answer. It won't fit in a sound-bite or press conference. But it sure does play with the voters to be "tough" on it, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I wonder where all this is going to wind up. I really don't want to defend sex offenders, but it seems like once they do the time for their crime, we shouldn't keep coming up with new ways to punish them and prevent them from working, recreating and carry on their lives as any other free person is allowed to do. I guess it's probably a smart thing for her to do politically. I'm just glad to see the ICLU is looking out for these folks interests since the politicians can't be trusted to do it. It seems like that someone always has to be the boogy man--if not the gays or some other minority, then we pick on convicted sex offenders because we can.

Brody Murphy said...

Without having read the ordinance, I think Melina is on to something, it seems prudent to ban pedophiles from parks (where children should be free to play, not be played). As for Ms. Adams vote on a seperate issue, it is just that, a seperate issue. Melina Kennedy is by no means anti-gay. However, Carl Brizzi might not be anti-perv. I seem to remember a few too many scandals in his office

Advance Indiana said...

Paula and anonymous--very well said. I think you both sum up the problem well--we are singling out sex offenders to be punished over and over again, while treating other more violent criminal offenders differently. The famous boxing promoter Don King actually served time in prison for manslaughter--killling someone is a pretty serious offense. After serving time, he managed to pull his act together and become a huge success. Can you imagine how he could have done it if he had all of the obstacles placed in front of him that sexual offenders are confronted with today in trying to get their lives together after serving their sentences?

Advance Indiana said...

Article I, Section 18 of the Indiana Constitution reads: "The penal code shall be founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice."

Brody Murphy said...

does Advance Indiana want to go on record for Carl Brizzi defending sexual predators?

Advance Indiana said...

As an aside, when the state first put up the sex offender website with photos, I looked to see if there were any living in my neighborhood--there were several--including one guy who lives in a townhouse right next to my building in Lockerbie, which is a nice neighborhood. I would have never known he was a sex offender but for that website. When President Bush drove past our neighborhood when he was in town for the Sodrel fundraiser, that neighbor was standing along the street waving at the President's motorcade. I mentioned to one of my neighbors that he was on the sex offender registry list (which in hindsight I probably shouldn't have done), and my neighbor was surprised to learn it. He had always thought of him as a harmless old guy--I'm guessing the guy is in his 70s. I don't know the specifics of his crime, but I am a lot less threatened having him as a neighbor than a lot of other people I can think of.

Advance Indiana said...

Brody--I don't speak for Carl Brizzi on anything. You should address that question to him.

Anonymous said...

Do you have children? You might be more concerned about a sex offender living next to you if you did.

Kevin said...

I'm no legal expert, but doesn't the term "sex offender" cut a wide swath? In other words we shouldn't always jump to conclusions that all of these people are rapists and pedophiles. If someone is arrested for indecent exposure (a la pee wee herman at the adult video store) don't they then have to register as "sex offenders"? For that matter, an officer with an ax to grind could arrest any number of young men in Broad Ripple taking a leak in public as they so often do.

Advance Indiana said...

Kevin--generally, the category you refer to aren't required to register, even though they are considered sex offenders. However, those offenses can become aggravated and elevated to a felony if you have priors, such as in soliciting prostitution, voyeurism, etc.

Advance Indiana said...

Here's the laundry list of sexual offenders required to register in Indiana:

Sec. 4. (a) As used in this chapter, "offender" means a person convicted of any of the following sex and violent offenses:
(1) Rape (IC 35-42-4-1).
(2) Criminal deviate conduct (IC 35-42-4-2).
(3) Child molesting (IC 35-42-4-3).
(4) Child exploitation (IC 35-42-4-4(b)).
(5) Vicarious sexual gratification (IC 35-42-4-5).
(6) Child solicitation (IC 35-42-4-6).
(7) Child seduction (IC 35-42-4-7).
(8) Sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class A, Class B, or Class C felony (IC 35-42-4-9).
(9) Incest (IC 35-46-1-3).
(10) Sexual battery (IC 35-42-4-8).
(11) Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2), if the victim is less than eighteen (18) years of age.
(12) Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3), if the victim is less

than eighteen (18) years of age.
(13) Possession of child pornography (IC 35-42-4-4(c)) if the person has a prior unrelated conviction for possession of child pornography (IC 35-42-4-4(c)).
(14) An attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime listed in subdivisions (1) through (13).
(15) A crime under the laws of another jurisdiction, including a military court, that is substantially equivalent to any of the offenses listed in subdivisions (1) through (14).
(b) The term includes a child who has committed a delinquent act and who:
(1) is at least fourteen (14) years of age;
(2) is on probation, is on parole, is discharged from a facility by the department of correction, is discharged from a secure private facility (as defined in IC 31-9-2-115), or is discharged from a juvenile detention facility as a result of an adjudication as a delinquent child for an act that would be an offense described in subsection (a) if committed by an adult; and
(3) is found by a court by clear and convincing evidence to be likely to repeat an act that would be an offense described in subsection (a) if committed by an adult.

paula said...

"it seems prudent to ban pedophiles from parks "

but apparently not the priesthood, just shuffle them off to another parish. (What's with all the P's? I feel like I'm trapped in some warped Dr. Suess book :)

"Do you have children? You might be more concerned about a sex offender living next to you if you did."

No, I don't have kids. I DO believe if I had kids, they would be my responsibility. By that I mean it is my job to keep an eye on them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

If they don't understand "good touch - bad touch", if they don't know what it means to look both ways before crossing the street, if they don't know how to say no to drugs, it is MY job to teach them. It is my job to give them freedoms as they understand these things, but still "keep an eye out" to make sure they apply what they have learned.

That means talking to them about what they are doing, taking an active role in their lives, etc. We can't just expect to turn them loose and have society take care of everything for them.

The problem with the sex offender laws is that there is a HUGE difference between statutory rape or even peeping tom/pee wee herman types and the person that sits across the street from the school watching the kids get on the bus and planning which one they are going to abduct, rape, and possibly kill.

If we register them all, and ban them all from parks (btw, why just parks? Kids are everywhere) how would anyone know which ones are actually dangerous? What about the ones that have never been caught? They can still go to the park.

I've already said I'm no lawyer, and I'm not a psych person either, but I believe I read somewhere that this is more about power and control than anything. If we say to the offender "you have a lifetime sentence - always have this GPS thing, no parks, etc" I'm thinking that could make them feel out of control and therefore increase their need to control something. Just a guess.

brodymurphy said...

actually, the prosecutors should file charges agianst priests, but perhaps they were taking lessons from Carl Brizzi, giving weak pleas and allowing his failed policies to let crime escalate...

Marti said...

IMO, I think the registry, and the park ordinance are bs attacks on a personal freedom. I'm of the opinion that if you think these crimes are of such a serious nature... give them long sentences. Life? I'd be ok with that. Either they've paid their dues to society or they haven't.

Advance Indiana said...

Carl Brizzi spoke for himself today on this matter. The Star writes:

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, a Republican who testified on behalf of the state law, said the high rate of repeat offenses among sex offenders necessitated the registry and further restrictions.

"I think it's hard to pile on a crime that's so vile, where the victim is so young," Brizzi said. "I want to throw the book at them, and when they come out of jail, I want to know where they are."

See the updated story at: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060328/NEWS02/603280434

Advance Indiana said...

Ken Falk of the ICLU has this to say about the proposal:

The city proposal, however, has flaws, said Ken Falk, the legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. Although narrower than the restriction in Plainfield, the ordinance is still not "qualitatively different."

One problem with both, he said, is the attempt to take away a person's right to use a public space without direct cause, such as drinking or lewd behavior.

He said adding a civil punishment to a past crime is another problem.
Such restrictions can be counterproductive, Falk said, if offenders are given no options to reintegrate into society.

"Where does it end?" he said. "Ultimately, that's not helpful to the offender or society. We'll end up in urban areas with sex offender ghettos."

brodymurphy said...

I'm curious, when Carl says that he want to know where they are "when they come out of jail," does he mean escape, when he doesn't then press charges, giving a free pass, agian being weak on crime?

Anonymous said...

It must feel good (though definitely hypocritical) to viciously attack people who vote their conscience.

The human rights ordinance was put up for a vote only because Moriarty-Adams voted with the majority to actually bring the vote to the floor of the council.

This kind of attack is mean, nasty, and exactly the kind of thing one would expect the GLBT community to stand against.

Advance Indiana said...

Yes--Adams voted her conscience all right when it came to the HRO, just like all those Southern Democrats in Congress did to block passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Her bigotry towards gays and lesbians is what's "mean and nasty."

Anonymous said...

So, advance indiana, what your saying is that if ANYBODY for reasons of conscience disagree with any part of GLBT agenda, they are as a result bigots. Guess that means that the over 50% of Americans who oppose gay marriage are bigots.

Advance Indiana said...

If you believe you should be able to discriminate against a person in housing, employment and public accomodations because of their sexual orientation, as does Adams, yes, I believe you are a bigot-no different than if you favored the same king of discrimination because of someone's skin color, ethnicity or religion. I believe that a person might in good conscience oppose gay marriage but otherwise support equal rights for gays--in which case I would not desribe them as a bigot. But that would depend on how they used that opposition. So many politicians use the gay marriage issue as a wedge issue to play on people's hatred towards gays rather than as a matter of good conscience.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS WHY WE ONLY HAVE A ONE SEAT MAJORITY ON THE COUNCIL. BECAUSE LEFTIST/WEAK-ASSES LIKE ADVANCE INDIANA PUSH AN AGENDA THAT IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE MAJORITY OF HOOSIERS.

P.S.: ITS ALSO WHY GEORGE BUSH IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND JOHN KERRY IS NOT.

So, thanks Gary. I really appreciate all that you've done to help Democrats who actually want to win, like myself, lose.

Anonymous said...

I am gay, and I would never consider voting for Carl Brizzi. It has nothing to do with his stance on glbt issues or how he has passed whatever policies in his office. I am not voting for Carl Brizzi because he's been a poor prosecutor. He wants to blame everyone else for his office's problems when they are his own completely.

Therefore, I will not vote for Carl Brizzi. I will vote for Melina Kennedy. I also don't think Mary Moriarty-Adams is necessarily an anti-gay bigot just because she didn't vote for the Human Rights Ordinance.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that President Bush had taken a stand on this issue. He's the anti-gay bigot you're talking about, right?

KIMBERLTY said...

We wouls like to post your signs.

Anonymous said...

I have a degree in criminal justice and if we want sex offenders to stop offending then we have to let them have that rehab opportunity without lifelong rehab. If their punishment lasts forever in anyway, then they wont value the freedom they have and may continue to offend. This is close to my heart because I have been offended against and my husband has been accused and found guilty of offending when he is innocent. The witnesses all lied in their own testimonies on the stand. Not only did they contradict themselves but they contradicted each other, the mom of a witness got on the stand and was impeached by my husbands lawyer, And the jury still found him guilty. Things that are obviously made up were accepted. For instance these are 4 girls, all said my husband took them to the park and asked them to do cartwheels with thier pants down. Some said 1 girl did it some said none, some said 2 did. How would you not know the right number if that really happened. Secondly, you try doing a cartwheel with your pants at your ankles and see how successful you are. Get real! Believe me we will be appealing this and make a laughing stock of the prosecutors office on national news. We are still waiting for the sentencing but this tells you how many innocent men are found guilty when they are not.