Sunday, April 18, 2021

killer of registrant pleads no contest to second degree murder

James Fairbanks, who crowed loud and long that he had killed Mattieo Condoluci in May 2020 because Condoluci was on the sex offense registry, has pleaded no contest to second degree murder.

Todd Cooper writes in the Omaha World-Herald:

...Fairbanks and his attorney, Steve Lefler, contemplated a self-defense claim up until minutes before the 44-year-old Omaha man pleaded no contest Thursday to second-degree murder and a gun charge. They said Condoluci had charged the armed Fairbanks after he showed up at Condoluci’s house to warn him to stay away from kids.

Prosecutor Brenda Beadle, the chief deputy Douglas County attorney, called the self-defense assertion “comical.” She noted that Condoluci had no idea that a gunman would come to his door the night of May 14 and had not had any prior contact nor conflict with Fairbanks. Beadle and fellow prosecutor Ryan Lindberg suggested that Fairbanks was hunting sex offenders with the rifle he had bought earlier that year.

Before the killing, prosecutors say, Fairbanks:

Googled whether Nebraska’s death row offers a commissary. He researched stories of other men who had killed sex offenders and what their penalties were.

Sought to find out whether a gunshot alert system — Shotspotter — could detect the sounds of shots from inside a home. And he researched legal definitions of second-degree murder vs. self-defense.

Mapped out a path to the home of another sex offender.

The only thing "comical" about this case, is the idea that Fairbanks was defending himself. He announced that he had intended to kill Condoluci in an email to media outlets. You can read the details of the case in my May 19, 2020 blog post, Omaha registrant murdered.

In jailhouse interviews with the press during the spring of 2020, probably after conversations with his defense attorney, Fairbanks tried to turn his story into one of self defense. 

Cooper continues:

Beadle said the killing was planned. She said Omaha police detectives found evidence that Fairbanks had searched for another sex offender, even mapping out a route to his house, before homing in on Condoluci.

Beadle acknowledged that Condoluci, with his prior convictions and his history as an enforcer in motorcycle gangs, was “not the most sympathetic victim.”

“But (Fairbanks) doesn’t get to be the judge, jury and executioner,” she said. “There are a lot of criminals in the world. You don’t get to confront them and then try to claim self-defense. Especially when you do all this research on someone a week before you murder them.”

Fairbanks was able to avoid a possible death penalty by pleading to second degree murder. 

Beadle said the plea bargain eliminates any appeals — and any risk that a jury or juror would vote to acquit Fairbanks. It also gives an ample range of possible prison time — 21 years to life — when the judge sentences Fairbanks in July, Beadle said. 

Shuffling out of the courtroom in leg irons, Fairbanks told a World-Herald reporter that he regrets “what he put his family through.” Fairbanks has two young sons, and had worked as a paraprofessional in the Omaha Public Schools.

“I have many regrets,” he said.

Does he regret killing Condoluci?

“I do,” he said.

Asked if it was because he had abandoned his own children or because he killed a man, Fairbanks said, “I’ll have to think about it.”

Nebraska legislators carry a large share of the blame for Condoluci's murder because the Legislature is the body that put the registry in place. In 2009, they voted to make names, faces, and addresses easily available to the public--easily available to someone like Fairbanks who wants to hunt for registrants.

The killing of Mattieo Condoluci made it abundantly clear that registrants have been telling the truth: the registry puts registrants and their families at risk.

Does the Legislature regret making it easy for Fairbanks to target his victim? 

Given their lack of action in the 2021 legislative session to mitigate the effects of the registry, the answer seems to be clear.

As clear as Fairbanks' lack of remorse.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

drumming up fear in Nebraska

A story from KHGI in Nebraska shows what happens when we put people on a registry. People begin to believe that registrants are likely to do the unthinkable.

GENOA, Neb. — Twin River Public Schools was briefly placed in “lock out” Tuesday while the Nance County Sheriff’s Office measured the distance between the residence of a recently-registered sex offender and the school.

The school was locked out to protect kids from...tape measures?

In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said 27-year-old George Kelly registered at the Nebraska State Patrol office in Norfolk and listed a Genoa address. NSP explained to Kelly that he could not live within 500 feet of a school or childcare facility per Nebraska statute.

The Nebraska statute does not say that. Instead, it puts a limit on the residence restrictions cities, towns, and villages can apply. The restrictions can be no more than 500 feet from a school or child care facility and can apply only to those who fit the statutory definition of a sexual predator. Each city has to have its own ordinance if it wants residence restrictions for people on the registry.

The Genoa city ordinances are not available online.

In comments on the Nance County Sheriff's Office Facebook post about this story, the city clerk said it was ordinance 3-502. When asked, the librarian at the Genoa Public Library provided the same ordinance number but said, "...we were not able to get a physical copy of the ordinance..." 

Maybe there is an ordinance, maybe there isn't.

If the ordinances are not available online and if a physical copy cannot be easily obtained even by the city librarian and if the Nebraska State Patrol provides incorrect information, how can George Kelly be held responsible for not knowing?

Even when there is an ordinance, its validity may not be clear. Nebraska changed from a risk-based registry in 2010 to one based on which crime was committed. If a city ordinance is still based on those pre-2010 risk levels, the ordinance may be void. 

Back to the KHGI story and those terrifying tape measures:

Due to the proximity of the residence to the school, it was agreed upon to put the school in a "lock out" status, which kept students inside the building and kept outside visitors out of the building.

The Sheriff's Department measured the distance between the two properties and discovered that the distance was 237 feet, well within the 500 feet limit. Kelly agreed to immediately leave the property and register in another county. Kelly left, and the school returned to normal status.

There was no need to put the school in "lock out" and yet the decision was made to do that. The very fact that there is a registry encourages the idea that registrants are dangerous. Why would those people have to register if they are not dangerous??

Why, indeed.

Paying attention to news stories about arrests for sex crimes is educational. There are far, far more news stories about first-time offenders being arrested than about people on the registry being arrested.

Locking the kids inside with other teenagers puts them in arguably more danger of sexual assault than letting them outside where a man who just completed his prison sentence for his crimes is waiting to see if he is allowed to be there. About a third of sex offenses against minors are committed by minors. 

Instead, officials agreed to pretend that there was a danger outside, and the news reporter went along with that pretense.

Perpetuating the belief that registrants are dangerous is not inconsequential. Ask the family whose house is vandalized because their address is on the registry. Ask any number of registrants who have been attacked because their addresses are on the registry. If only we could ask those who have been murdered--including Nebraska's own Mattieo Conduluci--because their addresses were on the registry.

The next arrest for a sex offense in your community is most likely to be of someone not on the registry. Drumming up fear of registrants will not change that. 

Neither will making them homeless.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

ATSA is sympathetic but recommends more of the same for registrants

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) recently published recommendations that registry laws be based on current research. The registry community is rightly excited to hear that because we know that the data are on our side: the registry makes no one safer. We know that the incidence of sexual offenses has neither stopped nor slowed since the introduction of publishing registries online.

Under Conclusions and Recommendations, ATSA tells us what we already know:

The research to date on SORN has not identified significant reductions in the incidence of sexual abuse or sexual offense recidivism as a result of this policy. This fact leads to the conclusion that SORN, as currently implemented within the United States, does not achieve the intended goals of preventing sexual abuse, protecting society, or effectively managing the risk of individuals convicted of sexual crimes. Current practices additionally have numerous unintended consequences which actually potentially increase, rather than decrease, risk factors for individuals required to register. If the goals of these laws are the prevention of sexual abuse and reducing recidivism risk, meaningful legislative reforms will be required.

If ATSA is paying attention to current research, that has to be good. If only they had stopped there but ATSA continues:

Based upon current knowledge and research, ATSA offers the following recommendations for evidence-based registration reforms:

• Discontinue one-size-fits all approaches for the registration and notification of individuals convicted of sexual crimes;

• Individualize registration and notification requirements based upon empirically validated risk assessment tools and similar methods;

They are correct that one size fits all is not a good approach. Swapping that practice for individual assessments, though, is going to open the door to peddlers of assessment tools and to law enforcement adopting a single assessment tool to evaluate all registrants. Assessments will be used to put people on the registry, not to release them. Am I jumping to conclusions here? Yes, but prove me wrong. In states that use individual assessments, how many people are released from the registry based on those assessments? 

• Develop avenues and criteria for relief from registration which incorporates the desistance literature and recognizes the importance of treatment and supervision interventions for reducing recidivism risk, facilitating desistance and strengthening protective factors;

ATSA notes that housing, employment, and relationships all help with desistance. So why is ATSA not recommending that sex offense registries--the reason registrants have trouble finding housing, employment and building relationships--be ended altogether?

• Limit public community notification practices to the highest risk registrants, decrease broad-based dissemination of registrant information and/or re-establish law enforcement only registration practices coupled with allowing public inquiry about specific individuals;

How do we identify the highest risk registrants? The study used in the ATSA document used the Static 99R to pick them out. This is the same Static 99R that has come under heavy criticism for inadequacies in predicting future risk of an individual and for scoring that doesn't reflect how a person has changed, among other concerns. No matter which assessment tool is used, there is a risk in getting it wrong. When getting it wrong affects a person's liberty interest--will he be stuck on the registry for 15 years or for life?--an inadequate assessment tool cannot be trusted. 

• Remove adjunct policies, such as residence restrictions, from SORN laws as they do not work and are one of the primary drivers for legal challenges. Adjunct policies also undermine protective factors and create unnecessary barriers for community reintegration;

If only the rest of the recommendations were so clearly spoken, right? But if residence restrictions create unnecessary barriers for community reintegration, what does ATSA think the registry itself does? Is there such a thing as necessary barriers to reentry?

• Recognize that a national one-size-fits all approach to SORN laws does not work within the U.S. and allow states to make adjustments to their registries based on individual needs without incurring any financial penalty;

This is a solid recommendation. 

• Utilize registration as part of a larger management scheme for adults convicted of sexual crimes, with greater collaboration and focus on rehabilitative and reintegration efforts;

And we're back to looking at this group of people--those convicted of sex crimes--as people who need management. The group with a very low rate of re-offense is not a group that needs management.

• Enhance SORN information for law enforcement purposes, including steps to ensure the accuracy of the information and strengthening tracking of registrants moving between jurisdictions; and 

Why? Does research show that registrants who move between jurisdictions commit more sex offenses? Ensuring the accuracy of information on a registry will not make it better. If ensuring accuracy means more people are arrested for registry violations, that is not an improvement.

• Strengthen partnerships between law enforcement and sexual offense specific management professionals, including treatment professionals.

Treatment professionals who have strong partnerships with law enforcement are likely to find themselves distrusted by the very group they hope to...to what? What does ATSA hope for? 

Does it want to keep registrants coming back for therapy? Good therapy would be the answer for that, not keeping registrants subject to a regime that mandates therapy provided by therapists (ATSA members?) answerable to probation or parole instead of to the registrants themselves. 

Does ATSA want to keep registrants under the thumb of law enforcement even though re-offense rates are very low? The registry keeps registrants vulnerable to arrest for violating laws that apply only to those on the registry. Does ATSA hope that more registrants will return to prison for forgetting to notify law enforcement that, for example, they bought or sold a car?

Does it want to keep that group under the thumb of law enforcement even though re-offense rates are very low and were very low even before we had registries?

Remember that ATSA said, 

The research to date on SORN has not identified significant reductions in the incidence of sexual abuse or sexual offense recidivism as a result of this policy. This fact leads to the conclusion that SORN, as currently implemented within the United States, does not achieve the intended goals of preventing sexual abuse, protecting society, or effectively managing the risk of individuals convicted of sexual crimes. Current practices additionally have numerous unintended consequences which actually potentially increase, rather than decrease, risk factors for individuals required to register. If the goals of these laws are the prevention of sexual abuse and reducing recidivism risk, meaningful legislative reforms will be required. 

...and yet ATSA wants to keep the registry in place. Why?

ATSA needs courage to do what it recommends: Heed the current research. Keeping the registry in place is not meaningful legislative reform.

Abolish the registry.


In 2013, I wrote about protecting the integrity of psychiatry.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

suggestions for comments on the SORNA rule changes

Go here to comment on the changes to the SORNA rules proposed by Attorney General Barr. Comments can be submitted until midnight ET, October 13, 2020. See my earlier analysis of the changes here.

When composing your comments, address the proposed changes specifically. Consider the suggestions below.

1. States vs. Federal Government
The changes will be used to push states into full compliance with SORNA. In our comments, we can respond to the suggestion to bypass state legislatures in the push to increase federal involvement in registry violations. Federal bureaucrats, accountable to no one, should not be able to foist changes on state laws, especially when the new regulations create new ways to deprive people of their liberty.

2. Public Safety
Because the proposal pretends to be concerned about public safety, respond to that. What do these changes have to do with public safety? If the Attorney General used evidence-based studies about the behavior of registrants when writing the new rules, the studies are not mentioned in 93-page document. 

3. Additional Reporting Requirements
The changes would add to the list of items SORNA requires to be reported within three days (remote communication identifiers, temporary lodging--being away from your registered home address for more than seven days, vehicle sale/purchase), so we can respond to that. Remember that for many, if not most, registrants, traveling to the registry office requires taking time off work. If current reporting requirements cause problems for registrants, additional requirements will not help. If current reporting requirements have no effect on public safety and no effect on the incidence of sex crimes, additional requirements will not help.

72.7(e) Reporting of changes in information relating to remote communication identifiers, temporary lodging, and vehicles. A sex offender must report within three business days to his residence jurisdiction (by whatever means the jurisdiction allows) any change in remote communication identifier information, as described in § 72.6(b), temporary lodging information, as described in § 72.6(c)(2), and any change in vehicle information, as described in § 72.6(f).

Reporting those additional items--in any time frame--have nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with controlling a group of people who lead law-abiding lives. 

4. Reasons behind Changing the Rules
Target the reasons for the changes. The reasons come down to because sex offenders might do something (use telephones to lure victims, for example), not because they have evidence that this is something that happens with any frequency. 

The rule governing International Megan's Law uses despicable reasoning like this to justify the DOJ reporting a person's international travel plans to INTERPOL and to other foreign law enforcement agencies: 

... for a sex offender disposed to reoffend, it may be attractive to travel to foreign countries where law enforcement is weaker (or perceived to be weaker), where sexually trafficked children or other vulnerable victims may be more readily available

It is unacceptable for the US government to put US citizens in danger by identifying them as suspect individuals to foreign governments when wild imagination is the only reason to suspect an intended crime. Comment on the awfulness of IML if you'd like but a more effective comment will focus on the specious reasoning throughout the proposed rules change document.

Imagining that people on the registry are plotting to commit more sex crimes does not make it true.

The document is weighted down with paragraph after paragraph explaining why the AG has the authority to impose these rules. Those explanations can be summed up as "we are doing this because we can." Because this court decision said it isn't punishment, the government can do what it wants. Because another court decision said it isn't bad to require email addresses, the government can do what it wants. There is nothing in the proposed rule document that refers to research on the effectiveness of registration. No research was used in building that document other than finding court cases that say the government can do this. 

Watching this process underlines how easily the government can devise new ways to put our liberty at risk. Remember that the next time you think we should put the government in charge of something.


More analysis of the proposed changes:

Saturday, September 19, 2020

changes proposed for SORNA rules

On Twitter, @CrimeADay estimates that it will take hundreds of years to tweet one federal crime each day. That estimate does not include any additional crimes that are being added and will continue to be added to the federal code.
Federal government bureaucracies are the powerful but quiet engine behind federal laws. Those bureaucracies can--and do--create laws without going through the arduous legislative process in which our elected Senators and Congressmen serve as our voice. We have no voice in the bureaucratic process except for an opportunity to comment on proposed changes.

You can comment on the proposed SORNA rules changes until midnight ET October 13, 2020. Instructions on that webpage (starting here) provide information about the comment process. It is important to read those instructions before leaving a comment. 

At the time this blogpost was written, only 370 comments had been submitted. Given the nearly million people on sex offense registries across the country and the serious effect these federal rules may have on their states, more comments are necessary. To see the proposed rules as well as current laws, rules and guidelines, the links to resources at the bottom of this post may be helpful.

Registry laws vary from state to state and none of the state laws match SORNA exactly. Some of the registry laws in your state may be better or worse than what SORNA laid out for us but your state laws are still the laws that you need to follow. 

The proposed changes raise questions about why the Attorney General thought it necessary to expand federal rules expressed in 400 words to a much more detailed 3000 words, especially since those federal rules don't apply in the states. 

What problem is the AG trying to solve? Have registrants across the country been committing the lion's share of sex offenses? No. The vast majority of sex offenses are still, as always, committed by people not on the registry. The Attorney General and the Department of Justice know this fact as well as we do, even if they prefer to ignore it and drum up fear of registrants.

To drum up unreasoning fear, proposed changes include crazy talk based on the idea that registrants are some kind of otherworldly monsters:
...because sex offenders may, for example, provide false date of birth information in seeking employment that would provide access to children or other potential victims. (link)

...because sex offenders may, for example, attempt to use false Social Security numbers in seeking employment that would provide access to children or other potential victims. (link)

...addressing the potential use of telephonic communication by sex offenders in efforts to contact or lure potential victims (link)

...because sex offenders may reoffend at locations away from the places in which they have a permanent or long-term presence... (link)

The phrase "public safety" appears 13 times in the 93-page proposal document. If that sounds like the AG is focusing on public safety, consider that the word "authority" appears 77 times.

The phrase "Attorney General" appears 134 times. 

This makes it clear that public safety is but an afterthought. That has always been the case with registry laws. The data show that registration has no effect on public safety, no effect on reducing the incidence of sex crimes, and yet here we are with an AG trying to make registration requirements even more onerous for people who are unlikely to commit another sex offense.

Is the AG trying to encourage states to come into full compliance with SORNA? From the proposed rule changes:
For example, SORNA requires registration based on conviction for child pornography possession offenses, see 34 U.S.C. 20911(7)(G), but some states that have not fully implemented SORNA's requirements in their registration programs may be unwilling to register a sex offender on the basis of such an offense. Section 2250(c)'s excuse of the failure to register terminates if the state subsequently becomes willing to register the sex offender, because the circumstance preventing compliance with SORNA no longer exists. 

In this passage, notice the sly suggestion that a state can become willing to register someone for a SORNA requirement even if the state doesn't have the same requirement. If that sounds underhanded to you, that's because it is. Providing a 'roundabout way to lay failure-to-register traps for registrants who are unaware of federal requirements is not a plan that comes from concern for public safety. Failure to register laws have nothing to do with public safety.

Is the AG trying to lay out a plan for larger federal involvement in failure-to-register cases? From the proposed rule changes:
The rule will facilitate enforcement of SORNA's registration requirements through prosecution of non-compliant sex offenders under 18 U.S.C. 2250.

See the list of qualifying convictions according to the 2017 Legal Analysis of 18 U.S.C. §2250 (Failure to Register as a Sex Offender) provided by the Congressional Research Service.

Is the AG outlining a defense against future legal challenges to registry law? The proposed rules are veritably stuffed with explanations about how the AG has the authority to make and change the rules.

What kind of comment will be useful? Comments that demand the registry be shut down (a sensible demand for another day) will be ignored because the proposed rule changes do not control the existence of the registry. Comments that include specifics about a person's case and complaints of unfairness will be ignored because they are not requesting information about case details.

Starting on page 62 of the current SORNA Guidelines, you can read a summary of comments that were submitted in 2008 before those Guidelines were published. As you read that summary, you will start to see how comments are understood and why some are ignored and some result in change. To give you an idea of what will be needed for them to understand reasonable objections to the proposed changes, read the beginning of the summary:
Approximately 275 comments were received on the proposed guidelines. The Department of Justice appreciates the interest and insight reflected in the many submissions and communications, and has considered them carefully. In general, the comments did not show a need to change the overall character of the guidelines, but in some areas the commenters provided persuasive reasons to change the proposed guidelines’ treatment of significant issues, or pointed to a need to provide further clarification about them. 
The initial portion of this summary reviews the most significant and most common issues raised in the comments, and identifies changes made in the final guidelines relating to these issues. The remainder of the summary thereafter runs through the provisions of the guidelines in the order in which they appear, and discusses in greater detail the comments on each topical area in the guidelines and changes made (or not made) on the basis of public comments
They will pay attention to persuasive reasons related to the changes the Attorney General wants to make. We need to show a need
The rules open the door to new reporting requirements for people who consistently demonstrate they are unlikely to commit a new sex offense. Why the Attorney General wants to flex his muscles to make life more difficult for law-abiding people is a mystery.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty is a quote often (wrongly?) attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

When it comes to life on the registry, eternal vigilance is exactly what is necessary, especially when Congress routinely turns regulatory authority over to bureaucrats who answer to no one. Bureaucrats thrive on power.

Your comment on the proposed rule changes is vital. 


Resources to help you sort out what the changes will do:


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Christianity Today wonders if churches should welcome registrants

Megan Fowler, in a Christianity Today article titled, Sex Offenders Can Find Hope in Christ But Not Necessarily a Place at Church, begins: 
Churches that suspended in-person gatherings during the pandemic have pledged not to welcome their congregations back until they’re sure they can be safe.
The pandemic is on the minds of everyone who wants to return to in-person worship but that is not what she wants to talk about. Not at all.
While the risk of coronavirus spread is the major concern right now, LifeWay Christian Resources is urging leaders to use their reopening plans as a chance to also revisit their policies to prevent sexual abuse.  
Who is LifeWay Christian Resources? Why do they want churches to look again at sexual abuse policies? Why now? Good questions.

Fowler tells the story of a church that makes sure to "pay attention to new faces." That sounds friendly, doesn't it? They noticed a new face, learned his name, looked him up and found him on the registry.
The church had a plan in place for cases like his, developed based on conversations with the local alderman, police officials, and other church leaders. Tony Silker, an associate pastor at the Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation, had a conversation with the man on his next visit, explaining what they found. Silker said he could not return; if he did, the staff would call the police. [My emphasis...but the church seems happy to emphasize this, too.]
So much for "friendly." 
Silker gave the man information about another church in the neighborhood that ministers to people struggling with sexual addiction and urged him to get the support he needed.

The staff at Family Empowerment Center are trained to interact with registered sex offenders because they expect sex offenders to enter their church.
Remember that interact with means to tell them not to come back to church. 
The church works with the homeless and other vulnerable populations in the high-crime crevices of the neighborhood.
Does the church leadership ever wonder why they regularly find registrants among the homeless? Do they realize that government statutes and ordinances are what drive registrants into homelessness? Do they care enough to demand changes so that this vulnerable population--a population they seem to pay attention to--can find decent housing? 

Fowler writes:
Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and the founder of Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (GRACE), suggests obtaining the offender’s court file, talking to the parole officer assigned to the case, and verifying whatever the sex offender tells the church leadership.
Not just a lawyer; a former prosecutor. (I wrote about him and his advice here.) 

The Godly Response not to Abuse in a Christian Environment but to someone who wants to attend church is to obtain the court file...just like Jesus always did?
Tchividjian said the way sex offenders talk about the crimes they committed can reveal the state of their heart and if they are ready to participate in worship or ministry.

“If they marginalize and minimize their behavior, [the sex offender is] not in a position to even be served,” he said.
Not even to be served? Oh, my God. They know not what they do.
“If you get to the point where the person is sorry and an open book, that’s a different story. They are teachable.”
They are teachable...as long as they talk about their past in a way that is acceptable to someone who insists on ignoring all the evidence that people on the registry rarely reoffend with another sex offense.

The Christianity Today article has more stories about churches who turn away registrants. Fowler quotes Rob Showers, a church law advisor for a different CT publication:
“Only the churches that can delve in and get good legal counsel that walks through this should undertake it,” Showers said. “It’s a wonderful ministry that can go wrong in so many ways.”
Boy, isn't that the truth? Reaching out to people yearning for connection with church is a wonderful ministry. The part that goes wrong in so many ways is the refusal of churches to look at the wealth of research available that could help them welcome people to their congregation.

If Megan Fowler had done just the tiniest bit of research, she would have found that people on the registry are not the ones committing sex crimes in churches. No, those crimes are committed by people who are not on the registry. Are there exceptions? Of course. Those are the stories that make the big headlines precisely because they are so rare.

The other part that goes wrong in so many ways is illustrated by Fowler's article: lots and lots of talk about keeping registrants away from church but not a word about preventing sexual abuse.

By focusing on registrants, attention is taken away from those people who are molesting or assaulting people. 

Oh, yes...those questions about LifeWay. Who are they and what is their interest?

LifeWay sells background checks. They sell a lot of background checks, according to their own website:
From 2009 to 2019, more than 20,000 customers have conducted more than 416,000 screenings through the program, according to Jennie Morris of LifeWay. “On average, we add 150 customers a month,” she said.
Businesses across the country are permanently closing because the pandemic has reduced their business so drastically. The pandemic probably has a similar effect on a business that sells background checks to churches at a time when churches are no longer meeting in person.

A good guess is that LifeWay is tired of losing business and is spreading fear of people sexually abusing kids at church, now that churches are beginning to open up again. 

While child sexual abuse at churches and schools has certainly been reduced by eliminating in-person activities, sexual abuse is still occurring where it has always occurred most often: in the home. 




__________

I have written previously about how churches treat people on the sex offender registry:





Tuesday, July 14, 2020

added--a list of resources

Notes from the Handbasket now offers a list of resources that may be useful to those traversing the rough territory of the registry. On your mobile device, click the arrow to the right of Home and select NEW! Resources, an Incomplete List. On your computer, under Pages to the right, click the Resources link.

As the page title says, this is an incomplete list. You are welcome to add other resources in the comments below or in the comments for the Resources page.