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TX: Pastor convicted of child porn gets probation, must post sex offender sign at his home

An associate pastor who told police he kept child porn on his computer as part of research for “a possible lesson involving Cupid, love and human trafficking” has been sentenced to eight years’ probation.

____ ____, 79, also was ordered by Judge Mollee B. Westfall to post a sign at his Hurst home that says, “A person on probation for a child sex offense lives here.” Full Article

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  1. Chris F

    I am not usually shocked by what unconstitutional stuff they get away with forcing on sex offenders in Texas…but looking into this and seeing how widespread it is with no successful challenges against it did shock me a bit. How is this not compelled speech and cruel and unusual public shaming that sets him up for vigilante violence or death.

    • AnotherAnon

      He probably agreed to it as part of the plea agreement.

    • AJ

      @Chris F:
      “How is this not compelled speech and cruel and unusual public shaming[?]”
      —–
      IMO, it’s almost assuredly compelled speech, but possibly not. As to the shaming and humiliation, perhaps, but quite probably not. How these things can be acceptable is summed up pretty well in U.S. v. Gementera (https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/379/596/475040/). Note that in the Opinion, it’s pointed out that even some fundamental rights (i.e. 1st Amdt) can be abridged, if done carefully. (And remember, no right is absolute.)

      I’m guessing the sign is no different than the sandwich boards others have had to wear for shoplifting, DUI, etc. That is punishment, yes, but this sign in his yard is part of that punishment and supervision, *not* part of any registration laws or requirements. If he’s required to keep the sign once off paper, it’s a whole different argument.

      It’s a disgusting way for our country to have turned, but the public loves it. The public loves to laugh at and look down on the “idiot/criminal/scum/loser” who’s forced to parade around or display a sign. Such love and forgiveness in our culture.

  2. Eric

    So for some reason unmentioned he doesn’t have to register as an SO, and no ML registry, so the temporary sign is the judges justification, and no custody time. Hm, how amazing. Our justice system is truly up for sale in the U.S. Some people’s lives are forever destroyed, other’s walk and get second chance.

    • Hysteria

      I would take the temporary public shaming over the lifetime registry any day!

      • dph

        Not me, it’s too much of a risk, just ask Frank…oh, we can’t ask the one’s that died due to vigilante actions

  3. CR

    The purpose of the sign is to shame the man. There can be no other explanation, given that this was a child porn arrest, and there is little risk that the man poses any danger to children in his area.

    “… no less than 16 inches high and no less than 32 inches wide. It must be constructed with weather-resistant and reflective material. All lettering must be no less than 2 1/2 inches tall.”

    Surely this is compelled speech.

    • AnotherAnon

      2 1/2 inches tall

      and 1/32 wide. The same color as the background.

      • CR

        Great idea!

      • AJ

        This was exactly my thought, too. Unless it says the lettering must be a certain contrast from the background, I’d make it as faint as possible. Heck, I may even introduce some sort of visual patterns that make it hard to focus on the text.

        • CR

          There is also this: “Regarding the sign, Rankin must contract with a vendor selected by the court.”

          That is probably to ensure that the sign meets with the courts approval.

    • Janice Bellucci

      @CR – I agree that this is compelled speech. We are fortunate to live in CA where judges understand the prohibition against compelled speech, especially the federal judge that granted a Temporary Restraining Order which prevented the City of Simi Valley from requiring registrants to post a sign on their door identifying themselves as a registrant for only one day. Shame on the State of Texas!

    • Anonymous

      @ CR “. . given that this was a child porn arrest, and there is little risk that the man poses any danger to children in his area.“
      My probation officer would completely disagree. Many years on probation and STILL just as short a leash on me. 1 conviction, lots of friends old & NEW. Tons. Great job, wife. No vacations allowed unless it’s practically in the woods in my home county. No travel. No professional sporting events, no car shows. Still mandated “therapy” every week without fail (Group members call it a 2nd probation) Anyone else experiencing this??

  4. TS

    Two other thoughts on this case that should not be forgotten here IMO:

    1) Once again, Best Buy being the cops here: “…after employees at Best Buy alerted police that they had found what they believed was child porn on a computer brought in for repair by Rankin.”

    2) He was a person in a position of trust as an associate pastor (with 50 images for research on a lesson??).

    The second one goes to the perpetrator v recidivism stats people tend to forget when they get up in arms on the topic when who actually is considered a threat vs not.

    • CR

      “The second one goes to the perpetrator v recidivism stats people tend to forget when they get up in arms on the topic when who actually is considered a threat vs not.”
      —–

      Could you try to say that again, differently, TS? My parsing logic is having some difficulty with that sentence.

      Thanks.

      • TS

        @CR

        Stranger Danger, the registry, and who is considered a danger essentially. Who are the ones who fall into the stats of who actually commit crimes such as this, e.g. persons of trust – clergy, coaches, LE, family, etc and those who need to register. This was an associate pastor, a person of trust. Make sense? I apologize for the confusing language.

        • TS

          I also realize it does not say he has to register but it’s also just as applicable to those with residency restrictions in addition to the other items that are applied to registrants.

          It is the sky is falling mentality by the ignorant folks.

  5. totally against public registry

    I sometimes (thankfully) forget we live in such hateful society. This judge’s actions reflect the majority of her state’s mindset! What a shame!

  6. Anonymous

    Those in my group “therapy” with money have gone to court and were granted relief of some probation restrictions but the “therapist” says we’re not allowed to talk about that. But they do anyway, and guys sometimes get sent home. Hey at least I don’t have a sign on my lawn. How big does the font have to be LOL.

  7. mike r

    Man, this is so wrong in so many frigging ways. IDK even know where to begin on this. I think I would start by notifying the judge, probation dept., and anyone that may enforce this law that they will be sued in their personal capacities if any harm “at all” happens because of this unconstitutional act under color of law. Make sure they know it will be coming out of their actual bank accounts. Be sure to include a cease and desist letter as well along with the other notification. I would be sure to send them certified mail with a confirmation when they actually receive the notifications and send them to at least the judge himself, or the court clerk, and the probation dept addressed to the dept head and your individual probation officer. He might take some temporary heat and harassment from the PO but that will just add fodder to the fire….No way in hell would I just take that lying down….

    AJ, I really hope they are not trying that shit with you man or we will have to collaborate on doing something about it…That would be so crazy to have to have that on your property. Not only is compelled speech it is also so many more violations including the big one of “shaming” the individual with a badge of shame basically which the individual is being held up in the public for public shaming every time he exits his home…..I do not know why no one goes that route. Is public shaming in every sense…

  8. mike r

    I cannot believe that no one has brought the shaming issue up like I have in my suit. Not only are you shamed every time someone sees your profile and then goes after you on social media sites but every time you walk out of your home as well as when you are entering your home. The court stated there was no public shaming because there is no where to comment on the registry site, well that is not where the public shaming is occurring so of course if you argue just that then the court is going to shoot it down. You have to be specific when challenging these laws….I guess we will see if a judge agrees with my analysis because I stated it correctly in my suit………..Hell I wont even get a Facebook, or any social media, not because Facebook does not allow us on it but because of that exact reason of others posting my status and or harassing me or my family, so it is also restricting speech as well.

  9. Harry

    “…arrested in March 2017 after employees at Best Buy alerted police that they had found what they believed was child porn on a computer brought in for repair by Rankin.” Do not take computer in for repair, especially the FBI’s Geek Squad.

  10. mike r

    Yeah it states he has to contract the sign from a court appointed manufacturer so I do not see him having any say on what details are actually on the sign either, hell the manufacturer seems to be able to determine exactly what color and and background etc. goes on the sign. this an outrage, I don’t care who or what the person has been convicted of, like the lawyer said, if he is that dangerous then he should not be free, but wait the laws say hes done his time so indefinite detention is out. This is a blatent violation of constitution for an attorney who gave a crap. They say he has to maintain the sign but I would have to see the exact language because what is to prevent him from just laying it down on it face? Of course there has to be stipulations preventing him from doing all these thing that would inhibit the intent of the requirement I am sure. Yep the best advice I would give is what I stated, cease and desist as well as intent to sue letter for any harm arising from the judge’s and probation officer’s act. Go to Sosen and Will Bassler has some great wtite ups on who can be sued and how…

  11. mike r

    And as soon as something bad happens, because it is inevitable, follow thru with an actual suit..

  12. mike r

    I guess as long as you are on paper then allowing forced labor camps like chain gangs (we have those already, it is called work project), marks of shame upon the body while parading thru the streets (we already have that as AJ has pointed out), banishment (once again they already are doing that), taking of property (this will be coming in the form of taking your house or belongings if you commit the crime in your home, just as they already take vehicles and crap that are used in crimes). You people get the point. What the hell is left for these terrorist to do that has been for punishment in the past? Are they going to start flogging, whipping, cutting off hands (we are already basically doing that by the castration laws), blinding (this will be next for viewing child porn)? Barbaric country still……………

  13. mike r

    Oh yeah, don’t forget mob marching and picketing with torches and pitchforks calling for expulsion from the communities (once again, we already have that, they are just using signs and mass media instead), they are also using permanent badges of shame in the form of drivers licenses (which we all have to present on an almost, if not outright, daily basis for anything from buying booze, renting cars, seeing doctors and getting meds, such as I just did, and push notifications, ect……There are so many barbaric punishments still occurring and mostly all aimed at us, the politically powerless and often financially disadvantaged I bet civilized societies, such as Sweden, Norway, even Poland, Ukraine, and Romania (all of whom treat their prisoners like human beings and actually rehabilitate thru humane tactics) are looking at the US as the barbaric country that we are still.

    • Tired of this

      Speaking of licenses, I just renewed mine today. I live in a state that, for whatever idiotic reason, requires registrants to renew their ID or DL annually. Anyone paying attention to the expiration date and issue date on my license will notice that it is only valid for a year, when they’re normally good for 8, so it’s akin to a badge of shame since there’s only one reason for a one-year license here (so far as I know). At the very least, it would raise questions. I’m always hoping my employer never asks about it if any issue ever arises, such as their insurer inquiring again about an updated photocopy (I’m a commercial driver).

      I should also mention that the renewal fee is the same as what everyone else pays every 8 years. So I’m literally paying eight times what a non-registrant pays in the same time period to keep my license valid, a license I depend on for my meager living.

      • Chris F

        That is exactly what they do here in Texas if that is also where you are from.

        They won’t even consider legislation to do away with it because they like the easy money they get from us doing it every year for no reason.

    • E

      True, regarding civilized countries who actually made it through the enlightenment (most of Europe). They look at the US justice system and see it as a barbaric injustice system. That’s why the EU (for now) ignores the warnings on RCs traveling. It’s not ignorance; it’s a value system that says: if someone completed their sentence, they’re done.

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