Action Alert: Oppose Court-Ordered Visitation of children to Convicted Sex Offenders

National Organization for Women-NYS Decries Court Ordered Visitation with Convicted Sex Offenders
Take Action!
Click on this link to contact Governor Cuomo & your state legislature.
Court Ordered, Visitation with Convicted Pedophiles/Sex Offenders is dangerous for women and children.
ALBANY, NY 4/20/11 The New York State Appellate Division 3rd Department recently affirmed the outrageous decision of a Saratoga Family Court Judge Courtenay Hall, ordering a five year old girl visitation in a maximum security prison, with her father, a convicted pedophile. Mr. Culver plead guilty to twenty-nine counts of first degree sexual abuse after molesting eight of his first grade students. He was afforded a free attorney to drag his ex wife through the Family Court, forensics and the Appellate Court, all on the taxpayers dime. Though the Appellate Court overturned the lower courts order for the mother to absorb the cost for the child’s 3 hour transportation and escort fees, the child’s mother, who committed no crime, lost her right to decide what is best for her daughter and now they both are court ordered to suffer the consequences of this mans crimes.
In June 2010, Sukhwant Herb of Brooklyn, NY, was sentenced to 50 days in Rikers Island for refusing to allow her 9-year old son to visit with his father who is a convicted serial rapist father in an Arizona prison. She was denied bail, and though technically not charged with a crime, she served 19 days before public outrage and a Daily News article won her an early release. Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares is still a sitting judge though reassigned to Civil Court. The father, Seon Jonas, was able to obtain a visitation order while in jail.
Suffolk County Family Court Judge, Andrew Tarantino, granted overnight visits for children whose father was convicted of third-degree rape of a minor and possessing child pornography. The judge refused to hear expert testimony and stated in his decision, “to consider sinister every activity in which there may be contact may approach paranoia in some circumstances and this court can not render a decision based upon paranoia”. Notably Judge Tarantino was recently censured for taking a teenage litigant to an out of the way beach park for a chat without notifying his attorney or opposing council. The young man has since committed suicide. Judge Tarantino has been reassigned though still a sitting judge.
These orders defy common sense and ignore the laws that are set up to protect citizens and their children. It further exemplifies how judges have been given too much discretion and too little oversight. Judges do not have to detail the reasons for their decisions that are often made on personal preferences rather than legal precedent and suffer little to no consequences for the damage they do. Though commissions were set up to address these matters, we still see no ability for the court to correct itself.
Along with NOW-NYS, urge the NYS Assembly to pass common sense legislation immediately halting all court ordered, forced visitation with pedophiles and sex offenders. We ask that all taxpayer funded programs used for this purpose be cut off immediately and completely. Finally, we ask for a means to remove bad judges. They suffer no consequences for their actions and their actions are often careless and dangerous.
Take Action!
Click on this link to contact Governor Cuomo & your state legislature.
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6 Comments

  1. Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry but I can’t support this. And I think it is anti-feminist to do so.

    Parents should be allowed to visit with their children regardless of their crime, unless perhaps the crime was against the children themselves. It doesn’t matter what the crime is.

    To hold any other position is to open the slippery slope of saying that ANYONE who is convicted of ANY crime should not be allowed to see their children. That is not right.

    (BTW I’m not suggesting completely unsupervised visits, but supervised visits where it is clearly not possible for an offense to be committed).

  2. Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I would also toss in the notion that even without supervision that allowing convicted sex offenders visitation rights can be reasonable in certain circumstances (depending on the severity and nature of any sex crimes, any other criminal history, the time removed from any crimes, and any other factors that would increase or decrease the risk of visitation). You cannot remedy a lack of justice for victims (who are often not taken seriously and have difficulty achieving a conviction or even consideration against their perpetrators) by going overboard against those convicted of sex crimes. The title of this article seems to call for a blanket ban on visitation, and that is a notion I cannot support.

  3. Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    honeybee, what is unfeminist about protecting children from their pedophile fathers? To add insult to injury the mothers are forced to pay for these trips. Many of these women are barely making ends meet they do not not need this extra expense. Not to mention the stress these women and children going to be under at having to see these men who tend to be extremely controlling. Who is going to pay for the therapy these kids are going to need after these visits?

  4. Posted April 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    The problem with pedophiles is that they have one of the highest rate of repeat offenders of any crime. In the Culver case we are addressing, the man plead guilty to 29 counts involving 8 children. Its foolish to believe that a sex offender has another set of rules for their own children, when offenses within families are at an all time high. I know its wonderful for kids to have 2 parents, but at what risk? It certainly does matter what the crime is.

    I know that many men like to use the term anti feminist to gather favor yet no one mentioned how it is so. Actually, there is nothing anti feminist about this, this is a matter of protecting children and respecting the rights of a non offending parent to make decisions that are in the best interests of their own children. Its about a mother who feels that her 5 year old daughter doesn’t need to travel 3 hours, to a maximum security prison to visit with a stranger who hasn’t seen her since she was 18 months old, who molests children. What is anti feminist about that?

    Frankly, this strikes me more as a common sense/human rights issue. When criminals go to jail, they lose rights, this is not new. Nor is not allowing sex offenders access to little children no matter who or where they are.

  5. Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been visiting Feministing since the beginning, and I know that the majority of members are 100% completely in support of what they believe are criminals rights regardless of what crime they have commited, but the fact that the only two people who commented here both support visitation rights for convicted pedophiles is incredibly shocking and disgusting to me. You believe people who have raped and molested children have a right to be around children? REALLY? I don’t support zero visitation rights for all sex offenders, but certainly those convicted for sexual assault, and of course those convicted of sexually assaulting minors. I don’t understand how anyone can think it’s okay for convicted pedophiles to be around children, even if they are their own, no matter how pro-rights they are.

  6. Posted April 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    From Tracy of NOW NY State:

    The problem with pedophiles is that they have one of the highest rate of repeat offenders of any crime. In the Culver case we are addressing, the man plead guilty to 29 counts involving 8 children. Its foolish to believe that a sex offender has another set of rules for their own children, when offenses within families are at an all time high. I know its wonderful for kids to have 2 parents, but at what risk? it certainly does matter what the crime is.

    I know that many men like Matt use the term anti feminist to gather favor yet he fails to say how so. There is nothing anti feminist about this, this is a matter of protecting children and respecting the rights of a non-offending parent to make decisions that are in the best interests of their own children. Its about a mother who feels that her 5 year old daughter doesn’t need to travel 3 hours, to a maximum security prison to visit with a stranger who hasn’t seen her since she was 18 months old, who molests children. What is anti feminist about that?

    Frankly, this strikes me more as a common sense/human rights issue.

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