Who is Sarah Tofte?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Terri Lynn Winchell

Have you heard of her?
Or has her name been lost and overshadowed
by the name of the man who murdered her.

On January 8, 1981, Michael Morales strangled her with his belt until it broke. He then hit her in the head with a hammer 23 times, dragged her across a road face down and raped her, finishing off his work by stabbing her in the chest 4 times.

Terri was 17 years old.

For this Morales was sentenced to die. But Sarah Tofte, a "researcher" for Human Rights Watch argued that lethal injection was "cruel and unusual" punishment. Sarah as a student and prison activist once argued for reform. "My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender."

I imagine with that mindset she would be very interested in reforming sex offender laws also. She identifies with the offender. She authored No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US
This 146-page report is the first comprehensive study of US sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and the effect they have on former offenders and their families. During two years of investigation for this report, Human Rights Watch researchers conducted over 200 interviews with victims of sexual violence and their relatives, former offenders, law enforcement and government officials, treatment providers, researchers, and child safety advocates.

"Politicians didn't do their homework before enacting these sex offender laws. Instead they have perpetuated myths about sex offenders and failed to deal with the complex realities of sexual violence against children."

"Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable."

Let's look at some of the recommendations made in this report and then we'll look at what kind of "homework" and research Sarah Tofte did in this "report" sponsored by Human Rights Watch.

Here's a sampling of recommendations:

  • Accountability for those who search online databases should be ensured by requiring the database user to specify the purpose for the search, and to provide his or her name and zip code
  • eliminate public access to online registries of sex offenders
  • Congress should eliminate public access to the national sex offender registry
  • Law enforcement officials should eliminate the use of posters, flyers, and other easily replicable materials to alert communities of the presence of a registered sex offender in their neighborhood
  • Access to sex offender registries should be limited to law enforcement
  • Former offenders should not be required to register with their schools or places of employment
  • No offender who was under the age of 18 at the time of his or her offense should be required to register
  • All provisions of the Adam Walsh Act that deal with state registration and community notification requirements should be repealed
  • If Congress does not repeal the Adam Walsh Act requirements as they pertain to state registration and community notification, states should not adopt the Adam Walsh Act provisions to their registration and community notification laws
  • Neither states nor localities should have residency restriction laws that apply to entire classes of former offenders
It sounds just like the petition to free sex offenders from accountability and abolish age of consent laws, doesn't it? We wrote about that here and here and the issue was wiki'd here.
"Human Rights Watch appreciates the sense of concern and urgency that has prompted these laws. They reflect a deep public yearning for safety in a world that seems increasingly threatening. Every child has the right to live free from violence and sexual abuse. Promoting public safety by holding offenders accountable and by instituting effective crime prevention measures is a core governmental obligation.

Unfortunately, our research reveals that sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws are ill-considered, poorly crafted, and may cause more harm than good

The evidence is overwhelming, as detailed in this report, that these laws cause great harm to the people subject to them"
So now let's look at her overwhelming evidence. And where she got it. Some of the people included Zman, Daniel Chenault, Johnny Ray Lee, Butch Brown and of course Linda Pehrson. We know Linda from her previous news interview "Just call me Susie" and her inclusion in the audio portion of Sarah's "report". You see, Linda's husband molested her daughter, after serving time in prison Linda let him come back into the home. Linda aka Amy says
I think my daughter’s very strong. I was a battered women’s counselor, for about eight years, and I’m about the strongest woman you’ll ever meet, so it’s not that I’m a weak woman, and I’m a standing by my man kind of gal, cause I’m not, I want to give my daughter all the tools and techniques she needs to empower her to get on with her life, I don’t want her to be a professional victim the rest of her life. I don’t want this to define her.
So Linda Pehrson is a woman who not only stayed with the man who did this to her child, his step-daughter, but advocates bringing children's abusers back into their home with the jazzed up term 'family reunification'. Is this where Sarah got her information?

We know that she wrote to Linda asking for very specific information. In other words she solicited the responses that she wanted. She asked for people who had been victims of vigilantism, she asked for people who were victims of 'restrictive laws', she asked for people who had notification cards. She focused on the states that had the most strict SOR guidelines. She knew the answers she wanted and that's what she set out to get.

This is not a 'study' this is mere journalism. Spin doctored to suit her purpose. She says that in researching this issue she interviewed "122 sex offenders and 90 of their loved ones......and a number of victims" I would like to know how many victims she interviewed .....that weren't also offenders.

It seems she put a lot of weight on the information she got from Linda Pehrson.
Human Rights Watch Needs You

Here is a message from Human Right Watch PLEASE contact them!! Her email is toftes@...

Hi Linda. My name is Sarah. I am a researcher with Human Rights Watch. I am working on a report on sex offender laws, and how they affect convicted sex offenders and their loved ones. We received your e-mail to Human Rights Watch, and I was hoping I might be able to speak with you by phone about your experiences.

Take care,


Sarah Tofte

Human Rights Watch, U.S. Program

350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor

New York, NY 10118

Ph: 212.377.9408

Fx: 212.736.1300
I also was wondering if you have ever seen any good statistics on how many acts of vigilante violence were committed against sex offenders?
Can anyone help Sarah from Human Rights Watch with the info she needs? She is working hard for us! Linda

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Hi Linda! I have been in touch with a number of individuals in Georgia and Iowa about the effect zoning laws had on their lives. I understand there are sex offender zoning laws in at least 14 states. I was wondering if you have been in touch with others in states outside of Georgia or Iowa that have been affected by zoning laws.

Take care,

Our report is looking less at the propriety of charging juveniles with sex offenses (although we think it is wrong) as much as we are looking at the consequences of sex offender laws
To support our research, we are attempting to locate sex offenders who are struggling to live under restrictive laws. Because Georgia has one of the most exclusive zoning laws in the country, we are focusing on the experiences of sex offenders in Georgia
Your help will be invaluable in our efforts to ensure justice and fair treatment for sex offenders in the U.S. and their families
Re: [roar_4_freedom] Human Rights Organization Begins Investigation of U.S. Sex Offender

The report should be coming out SOON! I was interviewed for this report as well as having a hand behind the scenes helping Sarah Tofte of HRW with the research and contacts. I know of some others here were interviewed as well

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sarah Tofte
Date: Oct 12, 2007 5:51 PM
Subject: Huffington Post post
To: Linda Pehrson

Hi Linda. I know you will distribute far and wide. Urge people to comment.


I have been working with Sarah since last summer.Her report is going to be complete. I know that for a fact because, I sent her contacts for EVERY aspect of this issue. If she needed people, stats, research and news articles, I was more than happy to help every step of the way!

HERE we talked about what distorted statistics these people use. The eadvocate website that takes legitimate statistics and twists them and inserts the results of one question into the answer of another. And lo and behold, who did Sarah Tofte reference as one of her sources for this monstrosity she's trying to pass off as 'legitimate research'? None other than eadvocate. In fact the very page she references is one with nothing but defense of pedophilia, denial of the grooming process, and attempts to deceive regarding pedophiles, child molesters and sex offenders in general. Some of the things the blame gamers have to say about eadvocate include
Cheryl: Harvard, Have you looked at the charts on Eadvocate?

Harvard: I'm looking at the tables on eadvocate and turning those into charts. I'm also culling data from various reports

TimF: Harvard, One of my favorite stats is: "96.5% of *new sex offenses* are committed by someone who has never committed a sex offense before!"
Linda Pehrson and Cheryl Griffith aka 'equaljustice2' hijacked Shirley Lowery's SOSEN organization which created a big stir. Zman aka Michael Gregg got all agitated and Betty Price tried to calm him down. It is here that we learn more about Sarah
"Linda and Cheryl have great connections and talk to reporters, Sarah Tofte communicates with sosen on a regular basis. I could go on and on. Staff is organized. We have a great WORKING staff. And boy do they work. They get the same pay as you and me. Dedicated staff, Zman and this is all coming together

The Ohio Rally, both Linda and Cheryl are speakers, Don't tell anybody, but they have are approaching Sarah Tofte to speak at the Rally. There is a big question as to whether her being associated with sex offender advocacy groups might conflict with her position with HRW. I can see a conflict myself. It might be detrimental to the organization.

I said all that to say this. It is VITAL to all sex offender advocacy groups to get it together. No fighting on line. Getting serious about the work we do and and don't allow for anyone to be divisive. It hurts the cause. Big Time."

Graphics courtesy of Jacey
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