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View Full Version : Traveling to Maine, U.S.A. ? Beware of the children!



pvicente
2008-Apr-13, 11:04 PM
Hello everyone, I have a important warning for you.
If you intend to travel to the state of Maine, United States of America, RUN AWAY FROM THE CHILDREN!
Try to avoid areas where they might lurk, like schools for example. And remember, if you have the misfortune of meeting one while walking around, don't stand there, RUN! Run as fast and far as you can, and don't you dare to look back.
Now, you might think that the average child in Maine is some kind of dangerous monstrous cannibal, that's not what's going on, I assure you.
Likewise you might think that I'm some kind of lunatic, no, I'm perfectly sane.
You see I'm typing this warning because, believe it or not, "viewing children in a public place" is about to become a felony in Maine!
Click here if you don't believe me. (http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080406/NEWS/804060343/-1/NEWS01&sfad=1)

Under the bill, if someone is arrested for viewing children in a public place, it would be a Class D felony if the child is between 12 to 14 years old and a Class C felony if the child is under 12, according to Alexander

Moose
2008-Apr-13, 11:07 PM
I won't comment on the merit (or lack thereof) of this story, although I was aware of it. What I will say, however, is that I can't imagine how this might be discussed within the "no-politics" rules.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Apr-13, 11:16 PM
It can if you're all very careful, but know that the thread will be watched.

01101001
2008-Apr-14, 12:07 AM
pvicente, what part of the bill upsets you? How exactly would you change the wording of the bill?

Maine bill H.P. 1465 - An Act To Strengthen the Crime of Visual Sexual Aggression against a Child (LD 2079) (http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/billtexts/LD207902.asp).

Superluminal
2008-Apr-14, 01:59 AM
I can see where this law could be badly abused. How do determine if someone is staring too hard? Let's say your at a JR. high football game. You notice one of the cheerleaders is really hot, she looks 18 but she's 14. Next thing you know your being dragged off in handcuffs. Or an old man sitting on a park bench watching a five year old. Brings back memories of when his kid was that age. Someone calls SWAT.

Van Rijn
2008-Apr-14, 02:07 AM
I can see where this law could be badly abused. How do determine if someone is staring too hard?


Have you read the law from 01101001's link? It requires just a bit more than merely looking at kids to be in violation.

Neverfly
2008-Apr-14, 02:08 AM
A friend out in California oggled a teenage girl. Mind you she was 17 and he was 22.
She walked by him, he turned around and looked at her appreciatively.


That was it.


Some nosey neighbor with their snout to the window saw it and called the cops. They pulled up on him as he was walking along. Sea4rched him, cuffed him and charged him with a "sex offense".

He has 7 years on the sex offender list now. Registered. Over that.

You can imagine how fun it is for him, trying to get an apartment. Or a job.

Van Rijn
2008-Apr-14, 02:13 AM
A friend out in California oggled a teenage girl. Mind you she was 17 and he was 22.
She walked by him, he turned around and looked at her appreciatively.


That was it.


Some nosey neighbor with their snout to the window saw it and called the cops. They pulled up on him as he was walking along. Sea4rched him, cuffed him and charged him with a "sex offense".

He has 7 years on the sex offender list now. Registered. Over that.

You can imagine how fun it is for him, trying to get an apartment. Or a job.

I have a hunch there is more to this story than simply looking at a girl. Do you know what he was charged with specifically?

Neverfly
2008-Apr-14, 02:16 AM
I have a hunch there is more to this story than simply looking at a girl. Do you know what he was charged with specifically?

Yes. And no hunches. That's the whole story- as myself and other witnesses can attest.

The problem was that during questioning, the officer asked him if he had any contact recently or any reason to be feeling "aroused."

He said yes, he had been looking over adult magazines at the friends house that he had just left.

He was charged with "Indecency of a Minor" or something like that.

Musashi
2008-Apr-14, 02:54 AM
I would guess he was probably charged with Lewd and Lascivious combined with a Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Or something similar. Maybe public indecency. Weird though.

Drunk Vegan
2008-Apr-14, 04:06 AM
Unbelievable... way to put a thought crime on the books, Maine.

And congratulations on prosecuting one, California!

http://forums.mystery-axiom.com/images/smilies/suicide.gif

Van Rijn
2008-Apr-14, 04:28 AM
Unbelievable... way to put a thought crime on the books, Maine.


Have you read the law as posted in the link above? Could you explain your complaint about it?

TheHalcyonYear
2008-Apr-14, 04:31 AM
The problem is that there is no way to really codify what constitutes "abnormal viewing".

Van Rijn
2008-Apr-14, 04:34 AM
I would guess he was probably charged with Lewd and Lascivious combined with a Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Or something similar. Maybe public indecency. Weird though.

Yes, it seems odd. In my experience, when things like this come up, there is usually more to the story. One thing is that he apparently said a lot to the officers, which is never a good idea.

Van Rijn
2008-Apr-14, 04:42 AM
The problem is that there is no way to really codify what constitutes "abnormal viewing".

What was unclear about it, as specified here ("family friendly" board warning - the text in the bill is on the edge of what can be discussed on BAUT):

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/billtexts/LD207902.asp

I'm curious if anyone actually has read the text of the bill before commenting.

TheHalcyonYear
2008-Apr-14, 05:04 AM
What was unclear about it, as specified here ("family friendly" board warning - the text in the bill is on the edge of what can be discussed on BAUT):

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/billtexts/LD207902.asp

I'm curious if anyone actually has read the text of the bill before commenting.
Actually I did.



engages in visual surveillance, aided or unaided by mechanical or electronic equipment, of the uncovered breasts, buttocks, genitals, anus or pubic area of another person not the actor's spouse and not having in fact attained 14 years of age, under circumstances in which a reasonable person would expect to be safe from such visual surveillance.

So does one measure "visual surveillance??

Neverfly
2008-Apr-14, 05:06 AM
Ive said my piece, I'll leave it at that.

All you gotta do is tick a cop off and boom. It's hard to refute a vague law- once they've decided to hit you with it.

Anyway... ohh look. Final Fantasy 7... Think I'll go twiddle that for a while...

Maksutov
2008-Apr-14, 07:28 AM
[edit]It's hard to refute a vague law- once they've decided to hit you with it...Well put, Neverfly.

Many laws that are vague and therefore result in inconsistent enforcement produce cases that wind up getting appealed and ultimately thrown out by a higher court. This often results in the law itself being found in violation of the state or US constitution. A few actions by the appropriate watchdog group and this thing hopefully will wither on the vine.

In the meanwhile, fortunately there are many New Hampshire establishments that serve excellent Italian sandwiches.

Neverfly
2008-Apr-14, 07:48 AM
In the meanwhile, fortunately there are many New Hampshire establishments that serve excellent Italian sandwiches.

Just keep your eyes on the sandwich and you'll be fine.

You know, as a plumber- there are rules I must follow when entering a customers house.

One is- NEVER compliment their children in ANY way. Sometimes, I must come across like I don't like kids, or like I'm rude or something because I ignore them. And kids can get awfully persistent when ignored.
But that's just the way it is these days. SOME people can get paranoid and make a mess of things.

Always keep your hands in sight- and stay in sight of the customer. The last thing you want is to leave the job and later get a phone call of accusations when they can't find their digital camera or jewelry they misplaced...

Never admire or compliment their home, vehicles or possessions. And sometimes, that's not easy to not do when they have something like a 69 500 GT Shelby!!

When I am walking down the street... On my own time, in simple clothes., I shouldn't have to keep acting like I do on the job. Or at least I should be able to RELAX.

Now, I prefer older women- true. So I'm not worried about checking out the young girls. BUT it isn't really about if I actually check them out or not.

It's about if Other People Suspect or THINK that I was where a problem comes up.

doghater
2008-Apr-14, 01:28 PM
I don't see how the changes in the law address the situation described in the article. Was the guy watching the kids go in and out of the bathroom wearing clothes? Was he getting the kids to take their clothes off? If not, then it seems like he's OK as far as paragraphs A and B go. As for paragraphs C and D, were the children wearing clothes? If so, then he's OK there as well, and if they're not, as they're entering the bathroom, then they might have a problem with the "under circumstances in which a reasonable person would expect to be safe from such visual surveillance" clause. If you're walking around naked in public, I don't think you have a reasonable expectation of being safe from visual surveillance. And that doesn't even touch the "For the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire" clause; if the guy says he is thinking of forming a new children's community theater and looking for actors, can anyone prove him wrong?

I'm not a lawyer, but my interpretation is that it will remain perfectly legal to watch children go in and out of the public restroom in Maine. Am I missing anything?

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-14, 01:47 PM
I don't see how the changes in the law address the situation described in the article...
It seems to me that the whole problem is the legal definition of "public place". I don't know what the law specifically says, but I would assume that a public bathroom can be considered a "public place" even if you have the expectation of being in a "private place" because it's not in view of the public.
In short, "public" can be used an adjective or a noun.

Although a kid running around nude does seem to be a tricky situation.

sarongsong
2008-Apr-14, 02:59 PM
The problem is that there is no way to really codify what constitutes "abnormal viewing".It's not "abnormal viewing"; it's "visual sexual aggression", as the headline of the OP's linked article AND the proposed statute clearly state. pvicente's rather selective editing doesn't help.

Delvo
2008-Apr-14, 04:00 PM
To pick my new digital camera and learn how they're different from each other and how to use the controls and such, I spent a lot of time hanging around at a digital photography forum. I also ended up reading a bunch of threads about the art: what people take pictures of and how they choose their angles, lighting (if any), framing, and such to make the picture convey a message or make/give an impression. I found out that a major subset of the realm of photography is what they call "street" photography, although most non-photographers might call it "people photography" because it's the photographic version of "people watching": taking pictures of people who are doing something interesting or seem to be projecting an emotional state or aura or such or happen to be in an evocative or interesting location/position relative to their environments.

Obviously, many subjects don't mind or even seem to enjoy it when they find out, or can at least be talked into accepting it once they talk with the photographer, but others (or their parents) are angered and stay that way no matter what. Some hobby photographers have been physically attacked with little or nothing even said to them before the attack began, and many more report having been yelled at with such rage that they thought they were about to be attacked, knew there were lots of people staring at the confrontation, and just wanted to hurry up and get out of there (which has also sometimes resulted in being followed). The odds of such an incident are inversely related to the age of the subject (or even just anyone who happens to be in the frame).

Harassment over photography when there are people anywhere near the picture is a common fear/worry there. Many threads involve trading stories like those and/or talking about how to avoid the problem. For every one person who takes street pictures anyway, there are several who would like to but pass up opportunities for really good pictures just because they don't want to deal with having someone who's hostile enough seeing them taking the picture. Someone once said only half-jokingly that most of the reason to even do street photography at all, especially if the subject is a kid or a kid somehow gets into the frame, is the thrill of danger because of how others tend to react. It's common knowledge among them that, although it's legal everywhere, people who just don't like it assume it's not and can't be convinced, including cops, so you're prone to being hounded for it just the same as if it weren't legal.

As a result of this reality, paranoia can set in, so there are also often threads about some place proposing or passing some new law that they think threatens their hobby or their art. (Usually it's a law intended for stalking.) In such threads, the less-worried point out how the law really wouldn't get plain ordinary photographers like them in trouble, but the fact that it even has to be pointed out at all and argued over shows the mindset of the rest of the participants: anything that even seems to come CLOSE is jumped on as just the latest new threat/harassment/oppression.

And there isn't a word about this over there. How can people who are so convinced that various governments are out to ban photography not be worried about this one? Because it doesn't even come close enough to set off such alarms even for them, the highly (over?)-sensitized. The nudity, which is built right in to the text, is the key. No nudity = no crime under this law, and "street photography" is always of people with clothes covering everything that's supposed to be covered. It's a nice clean simple line that even the paranoid aren't afraid of having anyone get on their case about.

tdvance
2008-Apr-14, 05:09 PM
And here I thought the thread would be about Stephen King stories or something--go to Maine, especially a small town where nothing bad EVER happens, and all kinds of bad things will happen and the children will turn out to be possessed or something!

HenrikOlsen
2008-Apr-19, 08:52 AM
I expect street photographers get such bad reactions because people link them to paparazzi, those loathesome bottomfeeding scum that give photography a bad name.
That and pedophiliacs when the subjects are underage.

And that they feel their personal space to be invaded, plus the knowledge that with the internet and digital photography, there's absolutely no way to protect themselves from getting plastered all over the web.

Infinity Watcher
2008-Apr-19, 10:19 AM
I expect street photographers get such bad reactions because people link them to paparazzi, those loathesome bottomfeeding scum that give photography a bad name.
That and pedophiliacs when the subjects are underage.

And that they feel their personal space to be invaded, plus the knowledge that with the internet and digital photography, there's absolutely no way to protect themselves from getting plastered all over the web.

It's one of the reasons that when I took up photography I got into landscape rather than any other branch, I tried street once but the hassle of knowing the law (which over here is somewhat unclear, there was a thing in the news recently about photgraphers campaigning for clarification)and the risk of someone getting angry just made it not really worth the bother, trees and rocks don't sue, people do and I can neither afford in a material or an emotional or indeed temporal sense the having to fight a lawsuit and given my university course, losing could cause a lot of trouble for me, I try and avoid photographing people (except under studio conditions where the whole consent thing is a lot more obvious) and absolutely never have children in the frame, it just isn't worth it and I have passed up on good (and legal!) photographs because of this, it's a shame but I'm just not willing to take that risk.

geonuc
2008-Apr-19, 11:58 AM
Sad, because street photography can be a wonderfully expressive art.

doghater
2008-Apr-19, 03:44 PM
there's absolutely no way to protect themselves from getting plastered all over the web.

They could try to be unremarkable in every way and horribly boring. This approach works well for me.

Nadme
2008-Apr-19, 04:10 PM
Well...I'm all for protecting kids from sexual and violent predators, but this has a lot of potential for trouble to people who AREN'T.

What if I think that little girl in the sunny-yellow dress is adorable and look at her a moment, wishing she were mine?

What if some guy's watching to make sure two kids don't get in a fight or to see if the kid's choking on a piece of food?

If a child's standing alone in a store crying and lost, do you dare approach him or her?

And how exactly do you determine what is/isn't "visual sexual aggression"?

Some people's facial expressions are indecipherable, others have very expressive faces, some are deadpan, others have quirky expressions.

I'm already LEAVING peoples' kids alone, for quite a while now.

Won't this create anti-social attitudes in kids? "That adult looked at me funny for a second -- predator?!"

I think this is going too far.

The Backroad Astronomer
2008-Apr-19, 06:49 PM
What if the kid is the guys niece or other relative.

Chuck
2008-Apr-19, 08:05 PM
Eventually there will be registered sex offenders on every block. Then people won't know which areas contain convicted rapists and which ones contain only government defined offenders who have never harmed anyone. Registering sex offenders is useless if you register a large a segment of the general population along with them.

Nicholas_Bostaph
2008-Apr-21, 06:31 PM
Have you read the law as posted in the link above? Could you explain your complaint about it?
It appears to be a thought crime, would be my general complaint regardless of whether they clean it up to be more specific. How does the law prevent any kind of harm from being done? No harm; no law is needed. And no, getting a nasty look does not constitute harm. It's these kinds of things that lead to mass fear and anti-social mentalities with negligible benefit:




NEVER compliment their children in ANY way. Sometimes, I must come across like I don't like kids, or like I'm rude or something because I ignore them.
Neverfly was talking about his actions on the job, but I can sympathize with this in my everyday life. These days I come off as extremely rude towards children and have developed an irrational dislike for kids in general, in no small part due to the mentality that spawned this law. If I come off as rude to other people's children, those people will be more likely to be rude to me, which can and has made establishing friendships with neighbors and other new acquaintances more difficult.

I can quite clearly remember a Halloween two or three years back, when I told a little girl in a princess costume she looked beautiful. I was chastised by my fiance for that. Just think about that for a moment; I was made to feel in the wrong and fear impact to my neighbor relations for giving a generic compliment. It's absolutely ludicrous. So guess how I treat children now on Halloween...

The mentality just breeds an atmosphere of distrust and fear. What benefit comes from it?

Neverfly
2008-Apr-21, 06:45 PM
It appears to be a thought crime, would be my general complaint regardless of whether they clean it up to be more specific. How does the law prevent any kind of harm from being done? No harm; no law is needed. And no, getting a nasty look does not constitute harm. It's these kinds of things that lead to mass fear and anti-social mentalities with negligible benefit:




Neverfly was talking about his actions on the job, but I can sympathize with this in my everyday life. These days I come off as extremely rude towards children and have developed an irrational dislike for kids in general, in no small part due to the mentality that spawned this law. If I come off as rude to other people's children, those people will be more likely to be rude to me, which can and has made establishing friendships with neighbors and other new acquaintances more difficult.

I can quite clearly remember a Halloween two or three years back, when I told a little girl in a princess costume she looked beautiful. I was chastised by my fiance for that. Just think about that for a moment; I was made to feel in the wrong and fear impact to my neighbor relations for giving a generic compliment. It's absolutely ludicrous. So guess how I treat children now on Halloween...

The mentality just breeds an atmosphere of distrust and fear. What benefit comes from it?

Excellent post and total agreement.

I, for one, am getting tired of having to walk on eggshells for the sake of paranoia and ridiculousness.

Nicholas Bostaph, I argued with you in the saggy pants thread- But although I think Imade good points, I think you did as well and I have put a lot of thought into the arguments made by all sides:p
So don't be surprised that I'm in full agreement here. These things can happen.

I think what it comes down to is "limits of reason."