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May 31, 2012

Local restrictions on sex offenders continue to grow and expand

This New York Times article, headlined "Public-Place Laws Tighten Rein on Sex Offenders," documents that we have still not yet reached a tipping point when it comes to post-sentencing restrictions on sex offenders. Here are excerpts:

Convicted sex offenders are barred from surfing at the famous pier in this Orange County city. In nearby Dana Point, they are prohibited from casting a fishing line in the harbor.

And if they wander into a public park in Mission Viejo, they could be shipped back to jail for six months, following the City Council’s vote this year to ban them from a host of places where children congregate. “We need to protect our kids,” the Orange County district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, had told the Mission Viejo City Council. “The danger is very real.”

Orange County finds itself at the enter of a new wave of laws restricting the movement of sex offenders. The county government and a dozen cities here have banned sex offenders from even setting foot in public parks, on beaches and at harbors, rendering almost half the parks in Orange County closed to them. Ten more cities are considering similar legislation.

And Orange County is far from alone. In recent years, communities around the country have gone beyond regulating where sex offenders can live and begun banning them outright from a growing list of public places.

From North Carolina to Washington State, communities have designated swimming pools, parks and school bus stops as “child safety zones,” off limits to some sex offenders. They are barred from libraries in half a dozen Massachusetts cities, and from all public facilities in tiny Huachuca City, Ariz. “Child safety zones are being passed more and more at the city and county level,” said Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s becoming more and more restrictive. They’re not only limiting where sex offenders can live, but they’re limiting their movement as well.”

The proliferation of such restrictions reflects the continued concerns of parents and lawmakers about potential recidivism among sex offenders. But it has also increasingly raised questions about their effectiveness, as well as their fairness.

Opponents have dismissed “child safety zones” as unenforceable, saying they are designed to make politicians look tough on crime and drive sex offenders from the area, not make children safer. “These are cheap laws that can be passed to make people feel good,” said Charles P. Ewing, author of “Justice Perverted: Sex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy.”...

Greg Bird was convicted of indecent exposure in 2001. Since then, Mr. Bird said, he has gotten married and turned his life around. But he now pauses at the idea of having children of his own, because he knows he could not even take them to the park to play catch. “Sometimes I wonder, is there any compassion?” Mr. Bird said. “I know I don’t deserve compassion. I broke the law. I get that. But these laws set people up to fail more.”

In some cities, law enforcement has done very little to enforce child safety zones. In Albuquerque, where some sex offenders have been banned from libraries since 2008, with some exceptions, the police have never even issued a trespass notice, a prerequisite to an arrest. Thus far, the parks bans here have led to just three convictions across the entire county.

Still, Mr. Rackauckas said he was satisfied that the laws were serving as a deterrent. “We’re not going to know how many kids were not molested or groomed for later sexual contact as a result of this law,” he said....

[O]nce one community has enacted “child safety zones,” they often spread quickly to nearby towns, as municipal governments fear becoming local havens for sex offenders. In Lake County, Fla., this year, county commissioners — surrounded by communities with tough laws on sex offenders — responded with some of the most restrictive measures anywhere, including a law prohibiting sex offenders from going within 300 feet of a park, school or playground.

Joe Carchio, a city councilman in Huntington Beach, where a park ban went into effect in December, said he felt bad for lower-level offenders whose convictions many years ago prevent them from taking their children to Little League games. Still, he wishes he could have made the restrictions even broader. “In a lot of ways, it is a feel-good law; it makes people feel safe,” Mr. Carchio said. “You make choices in this world, and I guess the choice that individual made is one that is going to follow him for the rest of his life.”

May 31, 2012 at 08:36 AM | Permalink


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“The danger is very real.”
“We’re not going to know how many kids were not molested or groomed for later sexual contact as a result of this law”

We really need to start requiring politicians to understand basic statistics.

Posted by: NickS | May 31, 2012 9:13:44 AM

We certainly wouldn't want these people, you know, successfully reintegrating and returning to normal lives, now would we? Nevermind that that the DOJ puts the recidivism of sex offenders south of 10%, that restricting the movements of SOs wouldn't actually do anything to prevent recidivism. We must still act in slavish obedience to the irrefutable presumption that anyone labeled a sex offender is merely a ticking time bomb who we can't let into our parks lest they see a child and completely lose control.

All these laws are justified by some empty-headed politician stating "If it saves just one child..." -- what if it ultimately does more harm than good? What if it ends up harming a child? I mean, there's really no way to prove the outcome either way, but it seems to me to be no less sensible to think it further hampers returning to some sense of normality.

I can attest to it. In my city, I'm banned not only from setting foot in a park, but also from loitering within 1,000 feet of any park, playground, daycare, etc. That effectively makes loitering anywhere in the city a crime punishable by jail time. I can't go buy a cup of coffee without breaking the law in my city.

As to the psychological impact of such laws, I'll say they're very effective at making you feel like you're never really done serving your sentence. You're never really reintegrated into society so long as that label is hanging around your neck. Also, try as I might to obey all the laws in the city as I grew up in, it's basically impossible to obey that one. I guess the point is that they're trying to run all sex offenders off to some other place where they don't have social support systems or jobs or any of the things that also help to reduce recidivism.

But then I suspect that politicians don't actually care about what would actually reduce recidivism. It's really about something else altogether...

Posted by: Guy | May 31, 2012 9:20:38 AM

"We really need to start requiring politicians to understand basic statistics"

The politicians are not the problem; the voters are. The vast majority that don't take time to understand the issues. Hell, most people don't even know the name of their elected Congressional representative. While the politician himself might share some blame for saying this horseshit the real fault lies with the voters who pull the lever in the polling place for that guy.

Posted by: Daniel | May 31, 2012 11:31:11 AM

what i loved was this bit of criminal stupidity!

"documents that we have still not yet reached a tipping point when it comes to post-sentencing restrictions on sex offenders."

Sorry but from where myself and 100's of thousands of others sit. Not only have we hit the tipping point...We have FELL OFF THE DAMN CLIFF!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 31, 2012 11:53:48 AM

It's so excruciatingly painful and embarassing to see how supposedly rational individuals elected to public office by an increasingly shrinking, irrational and clueless voting public can continue to exhibit an ever decreasing lack of any common sense.

Posted by: litigant | May 31, 2012 12:39:07 PM

I'll be blunt. If anyone - just one person! - challenges any of these Orange County cities, they will win the suit without a fight. There is no way these laws can be litigated from a constitutional level for a blanket-level enforcement of the law. I predicted it as such to the Orange County Board of Supervisors last year (http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2011/03/21/law-would-ban-sex-offenders-from-county-parks/50283/).

But such a challenge takes money. Most OC attorneys approached have stated that it will take a minimum of $40,000 to file. The ACLU has declined to step in for public relations reasons, so it may take an actual arrest and a demand for public defense to fight it on the cheap, though at the risk of personal liberties.

But once a suit is filed by a competent litigator, this law will not survive, at least under most California courts.

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 31, 2012 1:51:10 PM

litigant (May 31, 2012 12:39:07 PM):

Well said. However, people elected to public office are not rational. I personally believe many or most of them have very deep psychological problems.

The U.S. is devolving. I fully believe that most of its citizens are moronic, self-righteous, disgusting pukes. They tried to hide it but they are getting worse and worse at it. The U.S. is not a representative democracy, it is an idiocracy.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 31, 2012 2:29:05 PM

I would just like to share a comment that was posted about this elsewhere. It was made by someone who I will humbly, yet proudly, call a protege of mine:

The criminal governments behind these "laws" should be sued as often as possible for anything possible. The only good nanny big government is a broke one. The less money they steal, the less crimes they can commit.

Make no mistake about it - these "laws" are nothing but a group of immoral, un-American criminals who are stealing from U.S. citizens. That is all it boils down to. People who are listed on the nanny big government SEX OFFENDER Registries need to understand that these criminals - the Registry Terrorists - are stealing from you, your spouses, and your children every single day. You should do everything possible, as long as it is legal, to do the same to them. You should do whatever you can to lower the quality of their lives. You should do whatever you can to retaliate for the simple existence of the immoral, counterproductive, anti-factual, worse-than-worthless, unnecessarily and negligibly beneficial, anti-religious, often idiotic, often illegal, un-American, nanny big government SEX OFFENDER Registries. Of course that means doing everything the Terrorists would like for you not to do and never, ever interacting with any agents of the criminals governments (except in writing when forced to do so under threat of imprisonment).

Tony Terrorist Rackauckas: Here is a simple question for your simple mind - where are the rest of the Registries? If they are such a glorious tool, where are the rest of them? Further, where are the rest of the people who should be banned from parks, beaches, etc.? For example, how about starting with people who have committed crimes in those locations. You need to get on it. Until you do, you will be just another criminal with no credibility. Are the people of Orange Country stupid enough to keep electing you?

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 31, 2012 2:31:11 PM

FRegistryTerrorist satted: "I fully believe that most of its citizens are moronic, self-righteous, disgusting pukes."

I love reading the brain vomit of liberals. They have no self-awareness at all.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 31, 2012 4:04:00 PM

'I love reading the brain vomit of liberals. They have no self-awareness at all.'

and I love reading the 'honey hole' responses of the right wingnuts that are so self-aware of themselves, to the detriment of everyone else.

Posted by: litigant | May 31, 2012 4:24:18 PM

sorry TarlsQtr in ths case your full of it. The ENTIRE reqistry scheme only passed as even CLOSE to legal in 2002 by a squeeker vote of 5-4 and THAT registry required NOTHING but the RETURN OF A FUCKING POST CARD!

IN FACT and IN LAW in that SAME DECSION they stated quite plainly it was ONLY LEGAL becasue it DID NOT resemble probation/parole

you know

DID NOT require in person updates
DID NOT tell them where they could live
DID NOT tell them where they would work
DID NOT tell them where they could FUCKING WALK


now i would suggest YOU GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!

Or you and the others like you can shortly KISS THE ENTIRE REGISTRY SCHEME GOOD BYE!

Sooner or later the courts will HAVE TO FACE that 2002 decision in REALTIY and AT THAT POINT it's GONE!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 31, 2012 5:10:40 PM

guy: "But then I suspect that politicians don't actually care about what would actually reduce recidivism"

me: like mandatory surgical castration and removal of penis for all male sex offenders??? :)

Posted by: Erika | May 31, 2012 5:13:22 PM

'like mandatory surgical castration and removal of penis for all male sex offenders??? :)'

My goodness woman you are really fixated with mutilated male body appendages, I bet wearing them as neck ornaments might also be apropos in cases like that. Shares real similarities with a fashion statement popular during the Indian Wars, the wearing of scalps on a belt. That's one wild world view you got going on there. Well, I guess one old saying might also be properly applied in this case too 'different strokes for different folks', hey?

Posted by: litigant | May 31, 2012 6:26:47 PM

litigant --

Do you believe that most Americans are "moronic, self-righteous, disgusting pukes?"

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 7:02:51 PM

no Mr. Otis, I believe they only encompass a relatively small, but unfortunately, extremely vocal portion of the the American population and I make all honest efforts to avoid and minimize their affect on my daily life and the loved ones that surround me

Posted by: litigant | May 31, 2012 7:47:43 PM

"We need to make choices...". Well, the choices being made here are those by the municipal authorities. Feel good legislation like this probably just lowers the vigilance at the prime site of sexual offending, the home. Stranger Danger campaigns whip up the hysteria, target something that is statistically insignificant, distract from the real source of threat. Land of the free?

Posted by: Mark Kernich | Jun 1, 2012 1:52:40 AM


Again with the castration. My gf would be very upset if you had your way with my junk (not to mention me!)

I don't honestly know if politicians actually care about what would reduce recidivism, but I can only assume they don't given the continued of support of policies that don't actually appear to be focused on that but more on the sex offenses that exist largely in their own fevered imaginations.

Eric Knight:

I'll be your huckleberry. What constitutional grounds do you think the laws would be challenged on? I'm just not familiar with the law surrounding these sorts of laws, but if I think I can mount an effective challenge where I'm at, I'll do it pro se.


Posted by: Guy | Jun 1, 2012 2:10:45 AM

Empirical research indicates that the overwhelming majority of sex offenses are committed by people who have no prior conviction for one – and therefore, are entirely unscathed by even the harshest restrictions or “safety zones” (“Does a Watched Pot Boil?” Dr. Jeffrey Sandler, 2008). The US Department of Justice, in its 2004 study “Sexual Assault of Children and Youth as Reported to Law Enforcement”, asserts that only 5% of sexually abused children were targeted by strangers.

The same study finds that the other 95% of those children will suffer at the hand of an abusive family member or friend – the very people who bring them to and (hopefully) supervise them at the parks, libraries, and other public facilities that are off-limits to convicted sex offenders.

Rackauckus-esque laws - based on little fact and admitted need for public placation - may very well be well-intentioned. But they do not work.

Posted by: Shana Rowan | Jun 1, 2012 8:49:54 AM

TarlsQtr (May 31, 2012 4:04:00 PM):

What is your point? You should speak a bit more directly so people don't have to infer what you are saying (hint: I'm serious, not sarcastic).

Can the people obsessed with moronic politics please stop talking so much about "liberals" and "conservatives"? Why don't we just talk about people with brains and people without so much? I've never worried much about trying to categorize myself as a liberal or conservative. I'm just a person with a brain who hates big government/spending and thinks we have way too many laws. I'm not sure where that puts me.

What I said is not "brain vomit". People in the U.S. prove the stupidity epidemic every day. The SEX OFFENDER witch hunt is great proof of it. Look at what works in politics - talking to the vast sea of stupid Americans.

You seem to be saying that I have no self-awareness and of course, that is patent ridiculousness. Just because I speak the truth, that is no indication at all of my self-awareness.

I am aware that I don't support the witch hunt of the criminal big governments and that automatically makes me a better person than most Unamericans who do.

Now, please put your rose-colored glasses back on and return to ignoring me and reality. Remember what your criminal governments have told you - the Registries work and they are "keeping tabs" on the people on them. Fools.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 1, 2012 8:50:06 AM


My "point" is that your posts are empty of self-awareness and FULL of the same self-righteousness you claim to despise.

You have not even considered option B, that YOU are the moronic, self-righteous, disgusting puke. Being an overwhelming majority does not make them right. However, it should give you pause. And if you are of superior intellect like you imply, it should be obvious that calling those who disagree with you "moronic, self-righteous, and disgusting pukes" is not going to win anyone to your position.

Your comments remind me of the old joke about someone saying, "My humility is the trait I am most proud of."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 1, 2012 9:25:09 AM

I work as a reader/note-taker at a local community college.

These restrictive laws on people who have already served their time have more in common with Stalinist Russia or the German Third Reich with its "star of David" laws. These laws have absolutely no place in a country that fancies itself as a republic.

Aside from civil liberties issues, these laws could actually undermine law enforcement against even serious real-time crimes like murder, drive-by's, house breaking/entering, etc., by diverting precious law enforcement personnel and financial resources away from dealing with far more serious crimes than that of a former sex offender who either refuses to register or who chooses to defy these restrictive laws. Some sex offenders might finally get the notion to band together to form a political or radical self-defense group like the Black Panthers. Other former sex offenders might decide they have nothing to lose any more by resorting to violence in their resistance against these laws. One could imagine a sex offender who receives an eviction order and who responds by vandalizing his/her own apartment to run up the landlord's bills, by setting a booby trap for the police, or by hunkering inside with a fire arm, etc. as a way of standing up for his or her rights.

No, these laws ENDANGER public safety instead of protect it.

Posted by: william delzell | Jun 1, 2012 10:07:23 AM

Of course I considered "option B". I did that about 10 years ago, eventually rejected it, and since then have found a CONSTANT stream of proof that I am right. Americans are not great people, but most people aren't. Just look at the history of the U.S. and the world. We are all just a bunch of terrible animals. Remember when Americans used to have slaves? Or more recent examples of a majority of them being bad people? Almost all people at their core are fully capable of doing heinous things (i.e. they are "bad" people). I think research has consistently found that to be true.

Also, I think you need to experience the Registry for 5 years or more to get a good appreciation of just how much it makes you hate people. You see, initially I did feel very bad about what I had done. But the Registries helped me get over that. When you live day after day, month after month, year after year with a majority of people telling you that you are a waste of oxygen, should be dead, shouldn't be allowed to live here or there, or go here or there, etc., etc., etc., etc., pretty soon you start to get a bit defensive about it. Then you add to it that half the people telling you such things are actually demonstrably terrible people (e.g. career criminals who have gravely harmed people) and you start to realize that none of it is exactly valid. And when you add the witch hunt on top of it, that absolutely cannot be supported by facts or reality, and you understand what it all really is about.

So, it's a bit hard to be humble when you are attacked and attempted to be beaten down every day. I felt the need to prove that I was better than most people, objectively and subjectively.

I'm not trying to win people over to my position either. I have no pretense or pretending to be nice or cordial to people. I will let other, more level-headed people do that. I just can't bring myself to try to have a legitimate conversation with people like scumbag politicians and act like they deserve respect or they are decent people. I will respond to hysteria and hatred with hysteria and hatred. I feel like the Registries have given me nearly carte blanche to say just about anything I want. My message is not "hey, please listen to me and understand my points". My message is "F you, leave me alone or else."

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 1, 2012 1:38:09 PM

i like this message!

"My message is not "hey, please listen to me and understand my points". My message is "F you, leave me alone or else."

I used something similar back in the late 1970's in the air force when i got asked in one of those "man in the street" interviews about a massave rash of robberties and some twit was trying the usualy "they should be excused becasue they were deprived"

I told the reporter... "Sure they have a right to rob becasue they were poor! As long as I had a right to blow their ass away if they try and rob me and fuck up and give me a SHOT!"

For some reason that one never made it on the air!

i still use that reasoning. Interfere in my LIFE and i have a legal right to REMOVE the interference!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 1, 2012 3:20:37 PM

"My message is "F you, leave me alone or else."

using that response is so pleasing and instantly gratifying when the actions being questioned have no bearing on anyone else or the person advocating the confrontation

Posted by: litigant | Jun 1, 2012 4:52:34 PM

FRegistryTerrorists stated: "Also, I think you need to experience the Registry for 5 years or more to get a good appreciation of just how much it makes you hate people."

Sigh. What you do not realize or understand is that I have met you at least 1,000 times, everyday in the prison classroom where I taught sex offenders.

OK, so it was not specifically you but it was those exactly like you, showing the same deflection, lack of accountability, and scorn for those who do not have your perversions.

What you also apparently do not understand is that you had the same behaviors prior to your time on a sex offender registry. You dehumanized people in order to justify the child porn, rape, molestation, or whatever got you on the registry. You thought "It's a picture, not a person", "(s)he "wanted" it", (s)he deserves it", etc. It is what people like you do and you are no different from the many 100's that I taught daily.

So, you do the same now. You justify using the same hatred that was previously reserved for your conquests of power onto all of us "morons" and "disgusting pukes." Again, we are sub-human, just like your victims. The only way you can justify your bad behavior is to accuse us of worse (a logical fallacy at best and a great look into the sick SO mind at worst).

Well, guess what? I will never spend 5 years on a SOR because I will never look at child porn, molest, or rape another person. Apparently, you chose differently. Your time on the SOR is not the fault of a "moronic" and "disgusting" society, but YOUR "moronic" and "disgusting" behavior. Until you see that, you will always be a threat to society and you justify your inclusion on the registry.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 2, 2012 10:49:15 AM

FRegistryTerrorists stated: "I'm not trying to win people over to my position either."

In other words, you hate the SOR (which you are/were on) but are not trying to "win people over to [your] position." These are the same people who could get rid of the SOR.

That may be the most "moronic" and self-destructive thing I have ever seen.

I have always held the intelligence of the American people in high regard but they are lokking even smarter and smarter after reading your posts.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 2, 2012 11:55:45 AM

nice TarlsQtr! but like FR i consider those who suppose the current ILLEGAL sex offender registry TRAITORS to the ideals and CONSTUITON and LAW of the Real United States of American and as such only thing i want to do with them is REMOVE THEM!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 2, 2012 6:09:09 PM

TarlsQtr (Jun 2, 2012 10:49:15 AM):

So lame. That's a nice, typical little story you tell, complete with all the usual buzzwords and BS. The fact that you try to paste that story on nearly everyone listed on a glorious Registry is exactly what I expect. The problem is, in regard to me, there is not a shred of truth to it. Your story has no connection to reality. I could prove that but do I need to? It's a waste of time. In your defense, I will admit that it is very hard to "diagnose" someone you don't anything about. Further, if you don't think being listed on the glorious Registry changes people, you are quite a fool.

You said, "The only way you can justify your bad behavior is to accuse us of worse ..." So, so lame. You've got your stories and your standard "diagnoses" and all you can do is just repeat them over and over, huh? I'm not trying to justify what I did. At least pick your stories to match what is occurring, okay?

But the best part is your last sentence - "Until you see that, you will always be a threat to society and you justify your inclusion on the registry." Funny, funny stuff. Can't get away from your cliches.

I think if you knew that me being listed on a glorious Registry: 1) has not prevented any crime, 2) has made it much, much more likely that I would commit a crime, 3) has made it much more likely that I would get away with a crime, 4) has led me to purposely engage in behaviors that are conducive to crime, and 5) has generally done far, far more harm than good, then you would believe that nothing justifies my "inclusion on the registry". That leads me to believe that you don't know that and are thus thoroughly clueless. Reality is not a strong point among people who support the Registries. They think people should be listed on the Registry just because it makes them feel good.

Or, I suppose there might be something that justifies my "inclusion on the registry" that I don't understand and you do. But I find that completely unlikely. I think you are bit too stuck on repeating what your criminal nanny big governments told you to "teach" people and you might not be able to think that creatively these days. Regardless, I would advise you to try to examine reality.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 4, 2012 9:10:16 AM

TarlsQtr (Jun 2, 2012 11:55:45 AM):

You said, "That may be the most 'moronic' and self-destructive thing I have ever seen." Man, you need to stop. That is just stupid.

It's "moronic" and "self-destructive" if I don't work to make the Registries go away? Really? Why would that be, genius?

I don't need the Registries to go away. They have very little impact on my life beyond what I allow. They do very greatly, gravely, and immorally impact the lives of many people, but I am not one of those people. On the other hand, I actually owe a great deal to the Registries. They made me strong and very wealthy.

No, I don't need the Registries to go away. The worse thing that could happen with them is that I could get arrested for some BS technicality and then I would have to do something extremely drastic in retaliation. Many people would suffer.

The Registries will stick around. The U.S. as a whole is not smart enough to get rid of them. They are a perfect monument to reflect the vast sea of stupidity and hypocrisy of U.S. citizens.

The question for you is what are YOU doing specifically to help get the rest of the Registries created? What are YOU doing to be able to pay more taxes to pay for your Registries? I am not the one who needs to step up and help dismantle the Registries. You are the one who needs to step up and pay.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 4, 2012 9:16:10 AM

There's more beyond the surface here. Most people don't know how easy it is to get put on the Sex Offender Registry. There has been children on the sex offender registry as young as 9 years old. Punitive measures are added Ex-post facto at the whim of any politician looking to get elected (like that of the DA). Making the registrant their new whipping boy for votes. What about the rights of the registrant's child? Don't they have a right to be with their parent? These laws break more than constitutional law and the God given right (spiritual law) of a parent to be with their child but it also breaks natural law. Even a mother bear is allowed to be with her cubs, but for a registrant and their child these laws dare to break those fundamental God given rights. Really? Where are we in pre-1945 Germany? Oh, about the sheriff giving out passes for registrants to go to parks. Why would a law enforcement agency give out passes for people to break the law? Sometimes Kids get hurt in parks and beaches. Whether by falling from a tree, drowning or choking on a hot-dog. It seems okay to violate the registrant child's safety by disallowing their first line of defense (their parents) to be there. Ladies and gentlemen these kind of laws are not for freedom but tyranny. The numbers and facts don't justify these fear based draconian laws. TRUTH

Posted by: Robert Curtis | May 21, 2014 12:28:32 AM

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