The reason I'm bringing this up now is because a reader posted an article in the comments recently about a situation that should sound quite familiar to anyone who has been following this story. Something that shows the unwillingness of government agencies elsewhere to deal a similar situation. This from OregonLive.com (link):
High-risk sex offender allowed in U.S. from Canada despite warning A high-risk sex offender being sought in Canada was allowed to enter the United States after authorities determined that he was a U.S. citizen and not the subject of an extraditable arrest warrant, a U.S. law enforcement official said Friday.
The federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to address an ongoing law enforcement matter, said U.S. authorities were aware of a warning from Canada that Michael Sean Stanley might try to cross the border. But officials allowed Stanley through the border in Blaine, Wash., after reviewing his information in a biometric records check.
Patrycia Thenu, a spokeswoman for the Edmonton Police Service in Canada, said she couldn't comment on what should or should not have happened at the border. She said authorities are now looking into the extradition process and working with other agencies in Canadian government on that effort.
"The detectives would like to see Mr. Stanley arrested and held accountable," Thenu said.
Stanley has a long history of sexual offenses against women and children and has been missing since Oct. 1, when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet around the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary, according to authorities. Last week, schools in several west-central Saskatchewan communities locked their doors and kept children inside after police got multiple, unconfirmed sightings of the Edmonton man.
Stanley is wanted in Canada on charges of breach of recognizance and mischief and driving offenses. He was released from jail in April 2011 after completing a 32-month sentence for assault and forcible confinement.
Thenu said authorities in Canada are working with several law enforcement agencies in the United States. She said they have leads on Stanley's location, but she declined to discuss those, saying detectives don't want him to further evade police.
Jack Williams, the acting chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service in western Washington, said there is nothing law enforcement here can do about Stanley's case unless there is a provisional arrest warrant for authorities to act on.
The Matheson Return: Did the City Make the Right Call? Recently we posted an article entitled "Has Sierra Madre Prepared for the Return of Bob Matheson?" It turns out that the answer to that question is yes, it did prepare something. At least for itself. However, given the fact that Matheson had been arrested and imprisoned in Canada for possession of a laptop containing 2,820 pictures of naked young boys, along with 285 videos of boys having sex with adult men, the City's conclusions might not be as restrictive or punitive as many in this community would expect.
Apparently what the City of Sierra Madre did was build for itself the case that it had to do nothing. And that Bob Matheson could return to his home and resume life here in whatever way he might wish. A conclusion which, given the characteristic passivity of this City's government in the face of challenges of this magnitude, is not as surprising as it should have been.
The Sierra Madre Weekly reported it this way:
"The Police Department has confirmed at this time Mr. Matheson is under no obligation to register as a sex offender under California law."
The Sierra Madre Patch had heard a similar rhythm coming from the Sierra Madre Police Department:
"Matheson voluntarily came to the to the police station and met with interim Police Chief Larry Giannone. Giannone said, "Mr. Matheson voluntarily came to the police station to advise us that he was back at his residence and simply stated, "There are two sides to every story." The Police Department has confirmed at this time Mr. Matheson is under no obligation to register as a sex offender based on California law."
A similar interpretation was also offered in the Sierra Madre News.net. Though their reporting was pretty much limited to posting the SMPD's press release.
But is this actually true? Is the City's press release a statement that should be accepted at face value? Given the City's past questionable interpretations of the law it might not be a bad idea to at least question the wisdom of their decision. You never know what answers you might come up with.
In the Pasadena Star News these questions are also asked. The article is entitled "Sierra Madre Police: Man convicted of child porn charges in Canada won't be registered as sex offender." Here is what they have to say:
"Sierra Madre Interim Police Chief Larry Giannone said the Los Angeles District Attorney's office told his department that California's sex-registration requirement doesn't apply to Matheson because his conviction occurred outside the United States.
But a former Orange County district attorney who specialized in sex crimes has questioned that interpretation of the law. Matheson was arrested in October after being questioned by authorities at a Canadian airport. According to prosecutors, Matheson gave vague answers to questions about his travel plans.
Matheson, a prominent Sierra Madre resident who was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and assisted with former Mayor Joe Mosca's 2010 campaign, could not be reached for comment.
This does raise some disturbing issues. What if the City's interpretation of the law in this case is faulty? The PSN did attempt to discuss this with the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, but they declined to take the call. And then there is this troubling matter. What if Matheson, because of his social prominence and relationships within Sierra Madre's elite circles, is getting the benefit of the doubt here? What if it was someone of lesser social and political stature who was in Matheson's position? Would the City's reception have been as non-judgemental?
'Michael Fell, a former Orange County deputy district attorney who specialized in sex crimes, said he didn't believe the California Penal Code makes an exception for convictions outside of the country.
He pointed to Senate Bill 622, which was signed into law in September and requires the State Department of Justice to review out-of-state offenders' criminal record to determine if they should be registered as a sex offender.
The bill expanded the list of those required to register as a sex offender to anyone convicted of such a crime "in any other court, including any state, federal or military court."
Fell said has he understands it, sex-crime convictions in another state or country would require sex-offender registration as long as the law in the other state or country is substantially similar to California law.
'As long as it has the elements,' Fell said, "maybe it's not a gray area.'"
So here we have two distinct and clear cut cases where individuals convicted in Canada of sex offenses involving minors have been allowed to wander legally unencumbered in the United States. This despite the concerns of many people, especially the parents of children. You have to ask why it is that those we pay with our taxes to protect us from such individuals would allow this to happen.
Among the questions that must be asked, this one must now be included. Can it be that there are those in California and other similarly governed states who do not find pedophilia to be quite as objectionable as you or I? And that the reasons why certain individuals have been let off the hook is because their crimes aren't seen as being all that objectionable?
A Catholic website that has dealt with such issues is called Fr. Z's Blog, and it recently raised that very question. Here is some information posted there on the topic in April of this year (link).
Pedophilia Is A Sexual Orientation Under CA Bill California Congresswoman, Rep. Jackie Speier CA (D), wants to federalize a state law to prohibit counseling to change a person’s sexual orientation. That doesn’t sound that extreme, but pedophilia is a sexual orientation according to this bill as well.
Under the bill’s language, a mental health counselor could be sanctioned if there was an attempt to get a pedophile or gay individual to change his behavior or speak negatively about their behavior as it relates to sexuality.
The bill calls on states to prohibit efforts to change a minor’s sexual orientation, even if the minor requests it, saying that doing so is “dangerous and harmful.”
The text of the legislation doesn’t specifically ban “gay” conversion therapy. Instead, it prohibits attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation.
“Sexual orientation change efforts’ means any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation,” the bill says.
Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that, “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation.” However, the Democrats defeated the amendment. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law, and accordingly decided that pedophilia is a sexual orientation that should be equally as embraced as homosexuality.
“This language is so broad and vague, it arguably could include all forms of sexual orientation, including pedophilia,” said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute. “It’s not just the orientation that is protected—the conduct associated with the orientation is protected as well.”
Who Cares If Pedophilia Is A Sexual Orientation?
It also means that, if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, [then...] that discrimination laws also apply to pedophiles. That means you cannot block a pedophile from being a preschool teacher or any other high-risk occupation.
Perhaps the reason Bob Matheson got his free pass in Sierra Madre is because those making the call, whoever they might have been, didn't think that what he had been involved in was all that bad?
Just asking. And who knows, given the magnitude of such poor decision making, maybe our local authorities weren't the ones who made this call. It is certainly hard to imagine that our overly cautious town officials would have made a decision like this all on their own.