Pokemon Go and sex offenders

by Sandy Rozek and Robin Vanderwall . . .

The Pokémon Go craze is sweeping the nation and beyond, sending young people scurrying through the streets, phones in hand, frantically seeking these fictional little creatures.

It also has politicians scurrying to find heavy-handed answers to trumped-up fears.

That’s because it didn’t take long before someone realized that, horror of horrors, with all of these children, teenagers and twenty-somethings scampering about, some of them ran the risk of coming close to one or more registered sex offenders.

Television anchors, like weathermen, have displayed maps of local areas with Pokémon stops — PokéStops is what they’re called — marked in one color and the homes of registered offenders marked in another, pointing out, with horrified faces but barely concealed glee, the places where one is within proximity to the other.

And now, following a report by state Sens. Jeff Klein and Diane Savino, showing Pokémon, PokéStops, and other Pokémon-related items appearing near residences occupied by registered offenders , Gov. Cuomo has made a first-in-the-nation move, ordering the state to make it a parole condition that no sex offender under supervision be allowed to download, access or play the game.

Read the rest of the op-ed at the New York Daily News.

19 comments for “Pokemon Go and sex offenders

  1. August 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I don’t even post anymore as I let you all fight the battle.

  2. Rose Marie Jueden
    August 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    It is so sad that they put crazy posting about this new pokemon law before listening to people that are fighting to have the laws changed. RSOL, keep fighting!
    God Bless each and everyone connected with RSOL.
    Loving Mother

  3. antiestablishmentarianism
    August 5, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I think we as advocates are making a molehill out of a mountain with this law. The only reason New York is in the news for this is because they don’t have the parole restrictions that other states have, such as no internet access at all for sex offender parolees without specific permission. While I was on parole, I was only allowed to access job sites at the unemployment office so this wouldn’t have been an issue. Fighting parole conditions should not even be considered as part of our agenda because parole IS a punishment in lieu of jail or prison. It is effectively part of an offender’s sentence. Parole conditions also have parolees of all crimes staying away from bars and not allowed to drink as well which makes no sense if alcohol wasn’t involved in the crime. Some parole conditions have a curfew. I actually got into an argument with my treatment provider when I told him I did my laundry at a 24 hour laundromat late at night. Since the laundromat also had a tanning salon, he said it could appear that I was “cruising” for sexual encounters. I argued that late at night, patrons likely wouldn’t have kids with them reducing contact with children. Regardless though, the fact is that parole is part of an offender’s sentence and is regarded as a punishment. The alternative is completing the sentence in incarceration.

    What bothers me about this specific case though is the media headlines. Most of the headlines do not mention that the law applies only to parolees. They give the impression that all New York sex offenders are banned from playing Pokemon Go and that’s just false. It’s only the ones on parole and therefore subject to extra stringent provisions as part of their punishment. Only about 3,000 of the 30,000 sex offenders in New York are on parole, so any “sense of safety” that this is supposed to give the community is highly misplaced, especially when most other states restrict the entire internet.

    • Anonymous
      August 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Yes, I understand punishment, however, punishment cannot or at least should not infringe on certain Amendment Rights that parolees have, even if its limited. Things have to be restricted and has to be reasonably related, however, an all out blanket restriction can be challenged. Such as a ban on public library without offering alternatives.
      The ban on ALL internet gaming activities is an outright restriction on First Amendment activities. Your restrictions on the outside should not equal restrictions on the inside.
      I know in time things are lessoned. Anyway, its just the possibility that a law will be proposed to outright BAN all games whether you are on parole or not is troubling.

      BTW – thank the moderators for the posting. I have an outdated mobile that I have little choice in using.

      • antiestablishmentarianism
        August 5, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        Actually, punishment can infringe on rights as long as due process is complete. Most felony charges have parole stipulations for those on parole and many of them don’t make any sense. These stipulations are signed and agreed to before the prisoner is released onto parole. If they don’t agree to them, they can finish their punishment incarcerated. Most states have a parole stipulation that offenders can’t use the internet at all without supervision. That means no games, no social media, nothing. While I was on parole, I was only allowed to search for jobs at the unemployment office. They can also search your home, vehicle, or work space without a warrant while you are on parole. They make you take drug tests and breathalyzers. All of these things are allowed under the supervision of parole because the person is not completely free yet. They are under supervision for a specified time in lieu of incarceration. As far as on parole or not is troubling. When laws like this extend to non-parole SOs, that’s when the constitutional fight really begins because that’s an ex post facto punishment.

        • Fred
          August 5, 2016 at 11:44 pm

          But you said the parole restrictions are agreed to and signed before the person is released on parole. These laws were applied AFTER that agreement was signed. So logically you would conclude that they can be applied only to future parolees as it was not part of the current parole agreement. However I am sure they left themselves the right to modify the agreement at anytime and the parolee has to accept it or return to prison.

    • Maestro
      August 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Whether “parole” or “probation” the point I keep arguing is that these things eventually come to an end and then you’re free to do as you please and that doesn’t change the fact that at one point in time you (we) broke the law.
      Parole is NOT part of your sentence. Parole is either granted or denied while you’re IN prison and hoping to get out early. No one is entitled to parole.

      Probation on the other hand IS part of the sentence. You do 2 yrs and have 10 more suspended with 10 years of probation telling you what you can and cannot do and stupid reason as to why. “Children might be present”. Yeah and? Children might be present anywhere I go AFTER my probation ends and you crazy wastes of tax payer money cannot dictate my life anymore. So then what?

      The end result of all these mental abuse on us is that it makes many of us HATE the site of “children”. When I think “children” I don’t think of the girl that was 1 yr under legal age. I think of little tiny tots barely able to use the toilet on their own still.
      When your offense was with a POST pubescent teenager, how do they justify that you might be attracted to 7 yr olds??? It’s insanity. And their insanity can only last for the duration of time the court put you on probation.

      Bottom line – Probation restrictions make no sense and the entire probation department should be dismantled. Especially when probation can be ended early AND/OR you can take a few more years in prison to not have to do probation. In which case the P.O’s lame excuse of “Probation is here to help keep you and society safe” is a load of crap and they say it to make themselves sound like they’re accomplishing something.

  4. anonymous
    August 5, 2016 at 8:41 am

    hello. The news reported about raiding dozens of rso suspected of pokeman go in Westcheser. Now a lwmaker wants to pass a bill to suspend ALL rso from playing any and all augmented internet type games.

    • sandy
      August 5, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I cannot find a story about a raid in Westchester; could you send a link? Thanks.

      • Anonymous
        August 5, 2016 at 9:39 am

        sorry about that. I was listening to the local NEWS this morning. I will listen more as I do not pay full attention at work. Pls donot hold me to that.. But I knew it would be a matter of time before the other will kick in.

        • anonymous
          August 5, 2016 at 11:12 am

          Here is link westchesterNews12
          Here the news claimed they visited rso and found that pokemon characters appeared in front of these guys homes.

  5. Sam
    August 4, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Here we go again…Those on parole cannot download, access or play Pokeman…and that restriction is solely limited to sex offenders. Tell me, how does that stop the game from putting those cute little creatures in proximity to a sex offender residence? Or that by denying a SO on parole from playing protects a potential victim? This is just another law that does nothing but gives the public a false sense of security.
    Is anyone aware that in the course of day to day living one may be in proximity to a sex offender-and a whole lot closer than from the sidewalk to the SO’s door? Proximity occurs when you are walking down the street, riding a bus or subway car, shopping at the grocery store, standing in line to pay taxes or license a vehicle, waiting with your dog at the vet, having a cup of coffee at the diner, sharing a public bathroom-or in 100 other ways. The public might make eye contact, nod, smile, or say hello to a SO and then go on about their day – safely-without having a clue that they just exchanged passing pleasantries and proximity with a registered sex offender.
    As for the media and lawmakers, if they were so ‘concerned’ about people’s welfare then they should stop being biased and point out all residents of parolees who have been convicted for crimes against person, property of society and ban them too from downloading, accessing or playing Pokeman, too. Pokeman players have been subjected to murder, physical assaults, robberies-and injuries caused by their own inattentiveness. But, then, none of that plays as well as ‘fear the sex offender!’ does it?

    • Anonymous
      August 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Sam, can I have my Lawyer read your perfectly wonderful true fact synopsis to my judge who is overseeing my case while I’m on my sex offender probation for the next 8 years? BTW, My PO sent me to see him because I was outside on 10/31. He didn’t violate me because… well… Being iutside on Halloween doesn’t violate any laws or any of my proba restrictions. But I’ll stay inside every year going forward to avoid the awful hardships that my wife and children went through last year.

      • Sam
        August 5, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        Thank you Anonymous – kind words are always welcome. And if you really need to know-anything I post is free to use -you can even correct the typos if you want. Sometimes, my brain checks out long before my day ends.

        Also, in response though to a post from Antiestablishmentarianism…call me chicken, but I would not give a card to anyone stating they were assisted by a RSO-there are too many people who would find it ‘fun’ to embellish the encounter-and I’m sure it would not be in my favor. Think description, fingerprints, hell and damnation. I’m all for trying to get the truth out there and for advocacy, but not at the unnecessary expense of my behind.

    • antiestablishmentarianism
      August 5, 2016 at 10:29 am

      This post reminded me, I actually came up with an idea to improve our advocacy efforts and I’d like the staff at RSOL to weigh in on this:

      I performed a public service good deed by helping a stranded vehicle out of the middle of the road near a busy intersection the other day and wondered to myself, “What if she knew I was a registered sex offender?” and an idea was born.

      I would like to create a business card campaign with a tagline something like, “Changing public perception one good deed at a time” The business card itself would not mention that the holder of the card was a registered sex offender, but rather would have a website link on it for the recipient to check out at a later time after the offender who did the deed is long gone. Once the recipient of the card visits the website, they would see a bold message that tells them they were helped by a registered sex offender and then go on to provide facts on recidivism and advocacy.

      Basically, after a registered citizen performs a selfless good deed to a member of the community, they would hand the recipient the business card and ask them to check out the site later that day. The cards would be generic with no names on it.

      I feel this would be a good way to slowly start changing public perception of registered citizens. Any input would be greatly appreciated

      • rwvnral
        August 5, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        Sounds promising, Jeremy. Why don’t you put together a project proposal and submit it to Brenda for consideration? -Admin

        • antiestablishmentarianism
          August 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm

          I will do that. Give me a couple of weeks because there’s a lot going on in my life right now. My gf and I are buying a house and we just got the clear to close next week and I’m in my last class in school before I get my Associate’s degree. I’m also on the job hunt right now, which as you know, is a hundred times harder for us than any other job seeker, so I have to go to at least ten times as many interviews to get a job that will accept my past. I have three interviews on Monday, so wish me luck! I emailed a more detailed proposal to Derek Logue of Oncefallen to try to garner his support as well. Thanks.

  6. Inigo Montoya
    August 3, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Great, another needless law brought to you by New York State. This is reminiscent of the infamous Operation “Game Over” where New York banned the online gaming accounts of thousands of sex offenders. Which by the way are easy to monitor…Now the majority of these folks just created prepaid accounts that cannot be monitored! How does Banning a sex offender from simply playing the game stop these randomly generated Pokemon characters from popping up in proximity to their residences? S.O.’s are already restricted from unnaproved contact with minors/children… This makes a new crime out of thin air and does nothing to keep kids safe

  7. Inigo Montoya
    August 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Great, another needless law brought to you by New York State. This is reminiscent of the infamous Operation “Game Over” where New York banned the online gaming accounts of thousands of sex offenders. Which by the way are easy to monitor…Now the majority of these folks just created prepaid accounts that cannot be monitored! How does Banning a sex offender from simply playing the game stop these randomly generated Pokemon characters from popping up in proximity to their residences? S.O.’s are already restricted from unnaproved contact with minors/children… This makes a new crime out of thin air and does nothing to keep kids safe.

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