The 2009 Shiitake Awards
Background: The Shiitake Awards was intended to be an annual awards show hosted by SO Clear Media, but SO Clear Media folded at the end of 2008. OnceFallen had conducted the 2008 Shiitake Awards, the first year of the awards show, which helped form the overall show format. The first show was hosted on OnceFallen’s defunct Talkshoe podcast ReFORM Radio. Voting for the 2009 Shiitake Awards ended on Halloween 2009 and voting ran until the end of 2009.
Video: The 2009 show, released in March 2010, was the first time the idea of the Shiitake Awards show was filmed and placed on Youtube as was intended. The complete voting records for the 2009 Awards was but the winners were announced on the 2009 Youtube Video. This video was intended to be a parody of other popular awards shows, complete with opening jokes and parody songs written to make light of the nominees and “winners” of the awards. The video was filmed in my apartment in Sheffield AL, and my girlfriend at the time helped me make the video and helped on a couple of songs.
Changes from the 2008 Awards: The 2008 Awards only had seven categories. The 2009 edition added a new catch-all category, the “Holy Shiitakes Award.” This category was created to added silly stories that could not easily be categorized elsewhere but worthy of mention. In the 2008 Awards, there was no limit to the time frame for a Shiitake-worthy event, while 2009 awards (and every subsequent year) imposed a limit to just events from the year covered by the awards show. This year was when the awards show really started to take shape.
2009 Shiitake Award Winners and Finalists
2009 Dumbest/ Worst Politico Award
WINNER: Ron Book, Florida Lobbyist:
Background: Notorious for his role in forcing registered citizens to live under the Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami. By 2009, the bridge had gained international notoriety as well as the disdain and hatred from registry reformists. Not much has changed in Miami since this award was given, either.
2009 Dumbest/ Worst Pol Dishonorable Mentions:
- US Senator David Vitter (R-LA): Disgraced in 2007 after his diaper-sex scandal, was somehow still allowed to maintain his office and gained the support of LA Gov. Bobby Jindal; he helped pass funding for the AWA.
- Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox: Cox had performed two sting operations in 2008 and turned over the personal information of an untold number of personal information to the controversial vigilante group Perverted Justice. He also used registered persons as political footballs during his failed bid for governor.
- LA Gov. Bobby Jindal: The 2008 winner involved himself in a battle with the Supreme Court to keep an SO on death row. He lost, so he instead passed bills for indefinite detention and chemical castration.
- Loudoun Commonwealth VA Prosecuting Attorney Jim Plowman: Maliciously prosecuted a school official who investigated allegations of teen sexting in his high school and who followed proper procedure in accordance with the proper guidelines of the school. Thankfully the judge in this case had a BRAIN and dismissed the case.
- Tyson Lynch, MA Sex Offender Registry Board: Had a reputation for lack of fairness and impartiality; also discussed patient assessments publicly on Facebook. “He’s expressing opinions about how these hearings have been conducted, essentially showing that he’s made up his mind before they’re finished,” said attorney Eric Tennen. For example, Lynch wrote on his Facebook account how he gets “great satisfaction” out of denying motions and that: “It’s always a mistake when people testify because they get destroyed in cross examination.” Fellow hearing examiner Mel Maisel used her Facebook account to comment, “But it’s so entertaining.”
- Texas Governor Rick Perry: Vetoed a much-needed Romeo and Juliet bill that had been overwhelmingly passed in House and Senate, claiming it would “not protect children”.
- CA State Sen. George Runner: Took to Op-Ed writing to double-up support of Jessica’s Law after a series of news reports condemned the controversial law, adding, “There is no evidence that sex offenders are facing impossible challenges; just difficulties. This is no reason to throw out a sound law approved by the voters. I believe voters now – as they did in 2006 when they overwhelmingly passed Jessica’s Law – oppose child molesters living across the street from schools.”
- Dewey Bartlett, Tulsa OK Mayoral Candidate: Ran a political smear ad claiming his opponent was “soft on child molesters. His campaign might have helped him win a narrow race, winning by less than 1000 votes.
2009 Worst News Mutt Award
WINNER: Wendy Murphy, part-time legal analyst, MA
Background: The woman most known for her infamous statement of having “never met a false rape claim, my statistics speak to the truth” wrote a puff piece attacking an article in The Economist that questioned sex offender registries; Murphy claimed registries are not connected to vigilante violence against people listed on the registry or the fact registries lead to unemployment. She also claims the reason recidivism rates are low is because of underreporting, suggesting nearly all underreporting is because of repeat offenses. “Even more arrogantly, Harlem dismisses people who claim that 75-90 percent of sex offenders re-offend, claiming, ‘it is not clear where they find such numbers.’ Too bad Harlem couldn’t locate the wealth of research on recidivism laid out in Dr. Anna Salter’s prize-winning work in which she cites studies finding that the average sex offender assaults more than 100 different victims during a lifetime.”
2009 Worst News Mutt Dishonorable Mentions:
- Laurie Jennings of JustNews WLPG 10: Wrote a glowing review of Ron Book’s and the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust’s handling of the Julia Tuttle Bridge homeless registrant crisis, adding, “Thank goodness for the homeless trust, really spearheading this.” Obviously she never went to the camp at that time.
- Robin Sax: Like Murphy, she wrote a fluff piece criticizing The Economist over the registry expose, but unlike Murphy, Sax suggests doing away with the US constitution to make it easier to persecute… oops, “prosecute” the accused. Meaning if someone’s trying to NIFONG YOU, then under her suggestions you have NO recourse! “There should be limits to an attorney’s ability to cross-examine and badger kids. One of the guarantees of our Constitution is that criminal defendants have the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against them. However, it often seems that our criminal justice system offers greater protection to the accused than to the child victim involved in a sexual abuse prosecution…There should be amendments to the rule against double jeopardy (which means you can’t be tried twice for the same offense) to enable the re-opening of proceedings against acquitted defendants where there is compelling new evidence.”
- Jane Velez Mitchell on CNN: Talking about Sandra Cantu case, she said, “So when will a bill be named after this girl and what will it do?” Thankfully no one considered her advice.
- Rick Roberts, 760 KFMB radio, CA: Talk show host and promoter of vigilantes; he attacked a number of registrants on-air and put up personal info though his radio show.
- Kevin Fischer, Franklin Now WI: Before being taken over by the Journal-Sentinel, Franklin Now was the home of this 2008 Shiitake Award winner. Fischer continued to antagonized anti-registry activists by writing articles shaming states for not adopting the Adam Walsh Act, and told activists (“sex offender sympathizers”) he wanted their personal info before he would allow them to “spout off all the pro-pervert nonsense” we wanted.
2009 Dumbest Quote Award
WINNER: Mark Lunsford, infamous victim’s rights advocate
Background: Lunsford abused his position as a friend to John Walsh when his own son faced a child molestation charge. From the RSOL #19 March Digest of March 2009—“This gave me the opportunity to approach Mark Lunsford. Explaining that my husband was on the registry for life for consensual sex as a teen. An ‘offense’ similar to the ‘offense’ his son would have faced if it were not for his intervention. Mr. Lunsford said that his son served ten days, on a plea to a felony offense. He said that he told the prosecuting attorney that he would ‘expose every sex offense case where they gave a lenient sentence to a true sex offender if they treated his son like one of those predators’. Thus, his son avoided registration.”
2009 Dumbest Quote Dishonorable Mentions
- Sylvia Hendon: OH Appellate judge & mother-in-law to Hamilton Co OH prosecutor Joe Deters. She says: [From the Sewell v. Ohio, appellate court ruling, 1st Dist. Ct OH (in Cincinnati)] “By their voluntary acts, sex offenders have surrendered certain protections that arguably are afforded to other citizens. Their conviction of felony offenses puts them into a class that has already been deemed to have no expectation of finality in the consequences of the judgments against them … The fact that Sewell belongs to a class that has voluntarily surrendered certain protections and rights makes the conclusion that Senate Bill 10’s tier-classification and registration requirements are constitutional even more certain.”
- Tulsa Police Sgt. Gary Stansill of the Sex Crimes Unit, OK: Stated he’d “rather work 20 false reports than lose one legitimate case because someone was fearful they wouldn’t be believed” during a news story about a blatant false rape case.
- Lt. Tod Goodyear, head of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Sex Crimes unit: In criticizing a local registrant renting to other registered citizens, Goodyear stated, “He brings in people from out of the county that normally would not be settling in Brevard. I also don’t like that he’s making money off of this because he knows the system as a sex offender.”
- Laurie Myers of Mass. Community Voices: Comment in response to the Mass. Supreme Ct’s ruling against the retroactive punishment of registrants by forcing them to wear GPS; “I think this is an open invitation for any pedophile or sex offender to molest any kid they want in Massachusetts because, you know what, it’s open season. The courts, time and time again, send that message.”
- Allen Co IN Sheriff’s Detective Jeff Shimkus: Claimed forcing the public to pay for the public registry was “immoral” while stating registrants should be forced to pay for the registry. “I think it makes a lot more sense to have these offenders pay $4 per month than to ask the tax payers to figure out how we are going to pay for this program that the state is requiring us to do”
- Contra Costa Co CA Sheriff Warren Rupf: “None of us, particularly law enforcement officers, should believe a word that any of these animals utters,” Rupf said, referring to sex offenders. He died from Leukemia in 2012, BTW.
2009 Hardest Fall Award
WINNER: Mark Lunsford
Background: Lunsford became the first Shiitake Award nominee to win more than one award, and he managed to do it in the same award show. In 2008, he had a feud with Bubba the Love Sponge of all people, who accused him of mismanaging funds. His son was arrested for a sex crime, but Lunsford used his fame as a weapon to get his son off the registry. But 2009 arrived with an expose into Mark Lunsford’s dubious nonprofit, and reported that Lunsford misused roughly $400k from his nonprofit. He spent thousands on a hotel room he destroyed during a fight with a girlfriend. He was investigated by the IRS. It came out he told a coworker “Fuck the
IRS, I’m Mark Lunsford.” Lunsford hocked failed tracking software. Lunsford began working for drug smuggler-turned-data miner Hank Asher. With all the controversies surrounding Lunsford, combined with a growing mistrust of Lunsford by other victim advocates, it is no surprise Lunsford was voted Hardest Fall.
2009 Hardest Fall Dishonorable Mentions
- Chris Ortloff, NY State Board of Parole: Former Republican state assemblyman convicted of soliciting sex from a minor over the internet and collecting CP. “He was always the tough-on-crime guy in the Assembly who wanted to increase the criminal penalties for all kinds of sex crimes,” said a former associate.
- U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent: Resigned from his position and took a guilty plea for obstruction of justice to avoid impeachment and sex charges dropped from his case. He was accused of groping and attempting to force two women to perform sex acts.
- Anthony Cappuccio of the Bucks Co PA Dist Atty Office: Provided teens with pot & had a sexual relationship with one teen; received no jail time (house arrest)
- Contra Costa Co. Sex Crimes Prosecutor Michael Gressett: His office was engaged in number of what was described as a “kinky” sex environment and engaged in deviant sex during the recess of a major sex crime case.
- Dr. Phil: TV Talk Show host sued by a woman who claimed he “trapped” her and grabbed her breasts
2009 Everyday Zeroes Award
WINNER: Dr. Paul H. Sandman, PhD of Winter Haven FL
Background: Owner and operator of Adjustment & Awareness (a counseling program), Sandman tried to extort $2500 from a registered citizen under the guise
of helping the registrant “graduate” his program.
2009 Everyday Zeroes Dishonorable Mentions
- Paul Armstrong of the UK: One of our first international candidates, Armstrong attacked his neighbor after he read a letter stating his neighbor was cleared of a sex crime accusation; Armstrong thought the letter stated his neighbor was guilty of a sex crime. Armstrong then attacked his victim a week later for reporting him to the police.
- Michelle Owen of IN: Tried to set up her boyfriend by claiming he downloaded CP on her computer. Cops could not find CP but they found videos of Owen engaging in bestiality with her pet; she was charged with felony bestiality.
- Richard Lauersdorf of Louisville KY: Engaged in a one-man protest of a registered person working as an ordained minister.
- Cindy Hood of Eustis FL: Everyone who drives by Grove Street near Ward Avenue in Eustis sees what looks like a bloody person hanging from a tree. There is a sign next to the display that reads “Child Molester…What He Deserves.” “I know vigilante justice is not allowed, but this time of year, I think we can get away with it and expressing my opinion and what I really think needs to happen to these predators,” said Hood.
2009 Holy Shiitakes Award
WINNER: Jeff Johnson’s “Noose” Political Cartoon
Background: Johnson drew a political cartoon featured in a number of papers in the Pacific Northwest, most notably the Kirkland Reporter (WA); the cartoon was of a noose with the tagline, “The only legal loophole for level 3 sexual predators.” It drew outrage from numerous anti-registry activists; An official for the Sex Offenders Solutions and Education Network (SOSEN) responded with statistics: the truly dangerous offenders make up less than 5 percent of the total number on the national registry, according to the Department of Justice; and the No. 1 cause of unnatural death among former offenders is vigilantism. The cartoonist’s response was, “All in all, I consider any opinion piece a success when it heightens the awareness of issues in our collective community. Right and/or wrong is not my aim. Getting people to discuss the issues that impact their community is. Mission accomplished.”
2009 Holy Shiitakes Dishonorable Mentions
- ThinAir Wireless CEO Howard J. Wakefield III aka “Trip”: Self-described born-again Baptist and “serial entrepreneur;” published the “POM (Peace Of Mind) Offender Locator,” one of the first smartphone apps that allowed access to a private registry map; his ad campaign claimed not using the app was “playing roulette” and emphasized a need to “turn the tables” to prevent kids from “becoming a statistic.”
- Dr. Phil: Exploiting the registry and fear mongering must mean Dr. Phil’s ratings are slipping. On the Sept. 24, 2009 taping on the Jaycee Dugard case, Dr. Swill claimed every dot on the registry is a serial pedophile with 50 victims on average. He’s been quoted in many news outlets as of late claiming the same thing, using the term “monsters.”
- Rise of the “Busted” Mugshot paper: Busted was among the first “mugshot” magazines to gain notoriety, featuring registered persons as well as local arrests
2009 Dumbest New Law Award
WINNER: Washington State’s HB 1142 – 2009-10, The “Mark of the Beast” Bill
Background: This bill would have allowed implanting microchips inside registered persons to monitor their activity. Specifically, this bill would have allowed registrants to be used as guinea pigs for the implanted RFID chips in the USA. Thankfully, this bill died in committee. Good riddance.
2009 Dumbest New Law Dishonorable Mentions
- Florida HB 115/ SB 430: Made it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, if a registered sex offender failed to provide his home/cell phone numbers when registering with local sheriff’s offices.
- Iowa HF 433: Child care providers or parents who allow children access to pornography would be guilty of child abuse and listed on the state’s child abuse registry, under legislation being considered by lawmakers. Some critics say the bill could be interpreted so broadly that even a child who sneaks a peek at a Playboy Magazine could push parents into legal turmoil.
- North Dakota HB 1572, The Embryo is a Person bill: Some of the interpretations of this bill intended to end abortion is broadly interpreted to the point one report mused: “You see this image? That’s a fertilized human egg. The North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill on Feb 19th 2009 which states that this picture is considered child pornography. The vote now goes to the North Dakota Senate for a vote. If passed, it means that if you post pictures of your ultrasound on Facebook, you run the risk of having to sign up for the sex offender registry.”
2009 Worst State in America (aka the “ICBS National CHUMPionship”) Award
Background: As stated by a commenter on the Shiitake Awards blog: “Florida’s poised for a repeat! Ron Book, the Julia Tuttle Causeway, the opposition to halfway housing for registrants, stating residency laws are backfiring then suggesting the solution is to increase residency restrictions, Valigator, & Gov. Crist. But to their credit, Crist gave a Romeo case a full pardon.”
2009 ICBS National CHUMPionship Dishonorable Mentions
- Missouri, the Blow Me State: As noted by a comment on the blog, “Those brainless politicians keep passing empty feel-good sex offender laws and violating the Constitution. Placing signs on the lawns of former offender at Halloween time, regardless if their crimes never involved rape or if the offenders are young children or the fact not one trick-or-treater has ever been assaulted by a person on the registry (less than 10% re-offend). Now this state’s poor decision-making will cost them plenty. Hope they will enjoy higher taxes and fewer police officers to protect them from real criminals. You will feel safer knowing police are watching that man who urinated in public years ago while that gangster crack-head is meeting up with your kids on Halloween night.
- TexASS: Texas again, as Gov. Perry Vetoed a bill to allow “Romeo and Juliet” cases to be removed from the registry. Texas had over 4000 registrants who were placed on the registry as young as age 10!
- Mi-SHIT-gan: Letting homeless registrant Thomas Pauli die in the cold, and AG Mike Cox using RSOs to promote his sick agenda.