What's even creepy to me is the defense attorney being interviewed who's representing the sex offender ! What's with him smiling constantly as he's sticking up for this perv debating with the prosecuting attorney ?? They should lock this guy away too for his trivializing the abuse of children. He must get some vicarious humor out of it - he smiled through the whole interview, while trying to justify himself and the perv. I don't get it
Fox news weighs in on sex offender going to kingdom hall !
The average congregation would be appalled at having this guy among them, geez, just look at the non-stop judging of bonafide members...good standing, bad standing, inactive, hair not-just-right, 2-door cars, not-being-an-active-publisher, and-this-guy-can't, or can he...? Why the HELL would he want to start off meetings and association -- with shunning...???
Published on Concord Monitor (http://www.concordmonitor.com)
High court weighs sex laws, religion
By Annmarie Timmins Created 06/24/2010 - 00:00 Jehovah's Witness once lived in garage
The state Supreme Court took up a case yesterday that could determine how and where sex offenders worship after they're released from prison.
The justices' questions were many, but they boiled down to how to balance an offender's fundamental right to practice religion with the state's duty to protect the public.
At the center of the case is 36-year-old Jonathan Perfetto of Manchester, who served about seven years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing 61 items of child pornography.
Since shortly after his 2008 release, when he briefly lived in a Concord parking garage, Perfetto has wanted to worship with a Manchester congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. But he says he can't, because his supervised release prohibits him from having contact with anyone under 17.
If he has such contact or reoffends or uses the internet, he could go back to prison to serve up to 28 years of his remaining suspended sentence.
Perfetto, initially representing himself, thought he had a solution a year ago when he asked the Hillsborough County Superior Court to let him attend church meetings under the close watch of a church elder. Perfetto said he hoped a chaperone would satisfy concerns of prosecutors.
The Hillsborough County Attorney's Office objected, saying the church is a family-oriented congregation that requires members to attend frequent meetings.
"The likelihood that (Perfetto) will be supervised every minute, of every meeting, every week is not high," wrote Assistant County Attorney Maureen O'Neil.
Four days later, Judge Larry Smukler denied Perfetto's request without a hearing.
Perfetto's appeal went before the state Supreme Court yesterday, with legal representation by Barbara Keshen, staff attorney for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.
Keshen didn't disagree that Perfetto's activities could be restricted while he's on supervised release. The problem, she said, is that Smukler decided the matter without hearing from Perfetto or delving into the facts of his particular situation.
That sort of analysis is required, Keshen said, when the state wants to restrict a fundamental right that is protected in the U.S. and state constitutions.
"Here there probably can be limitations on Mr. Perfetto's right to worship, but they have to be narrowly tailored," she said.
She added, "The court needed a lot more facts than it had when it decided this case. What is his risk to offend now? What is the ratio of children to adults in the congregation? Are (children) always supervised in the sanctuary?"
Justice Carol Ann Conboy noted the state's arguments that Perfetto could worship at home or through a Bible study with other elders from the church. "I'm struggling, frankly, with your contention that this is a restriction on his right to practice his religion," Conboy said.
Chief Justice John Broderick asked how Keshen would handle a client who wasn't allowed to use the internet but claimed he could under his right to free speech. Would a chaperone satisfy the state's concerns and protect the public's safety?
Keshen said she couldn't say without more specifics about such a case.
"I would support the balancing (of interests) that would be involved," she said.
Conboy asked, "Is it reasonable that someone convicted of (61 counts) of child pornography be prohibited from unsupervised contact with kids?"
Yes, Keshen said, "but then the question is how do you craft something that balances his fundamental rights to worship and public safety?"
The justices were equally curious about the state's position.
Conboy and Justice James Duggan wanted to know why Smukler didn't learn the details of Perfetto's situation before denying his request to attend church with a chaperone.
Chief Justice John Broderick asked what should be done if children attend every service at the church. How, Broderick asked, can the state balance Perfetto's right to worship and the public's right to safety?
Nick Cort, who handled the appeal for the state attorney general's office, said the test is reasonableness. Cort said the state is not obligated to set the least restrictive conditions possible when it comes to fundamental rights.
"There is a reasonable relationship between these restrictions and the goals of the corrections system," he said.
I hate Fox News. It would've taken five minutes of on line research for those clowns to learn that the Watchtower has a child sex abuse problem on its own without opening the doors to known, convicted perverts.