How Your Kid Could End Up on the Sex Offender Registry

What’s the difference between a 17-year-old who touches a 13-year-old’s breast and a 34 year old creep who likes little girls?

Nothing. At least, not on the Sex Offender Registry.

The other night I was a guest on the blog radio show, “American’s Reality Check,”a show mostly devoted to sex offender registry issues. A guy called in who is on the list for fondling a 13-year-old when he was 17. Now he’s 34 but next to his name and current age it states his offense: “Indecency with a child.”

As if that’s still what he’s doing today.

So to the casual observer – or freaked out parent — it looks as if there is a middle-aged guy down the street who molests young girls.

Now, obviously: No one is in favor of grown-ups having sex with kids. But right now there are more than 600,000 people on the sex offender registries, many there for the sex they had as teens with other teens!

TO MAKE A PREDATOR

Say it again: People are  on the registry for the sex they had as teens with teens.  So rather than making our kids safe from predators, the registry is turning them into “predators.” It’s labeling them that! It could label your own sweet kid that, if he or she goes and has sex with someone a few years younger. Kids as young as 14 can find themselves on the registry for years – decades — and our rationale? It’s “for the sake of the children.”

But is it? The vast majority of abused children are molested by people they know (relatives, family friends). The need to protect kids from strangers is far less than the need to protect them from those they know and love.

A study just released by David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, found that adding more names to the sex offender list isn’t the best way to keep children safe from abuse. A much better way, his research determined, is to teach them how to identify dangerous situations and summon help.

 Meantime, the chance of a young life being ruined by getting on that registry keeps growing.

CALLING KAFKA

Check out the website freestudents.blogspot.com. You’ll see pimply face after pimply face – all young men now branded as sex offenders for crimes like, well, Ricky’s. Ricky is a kid who was 16 when he had sex twice with a girl he thought was 15. Turns out she was 13. When this came to light, the cops arrested Ricky.

Now he’s on the sex offender registry for life, because he got labeled a “Tier 3 offender” – the most dangerous. His offense was classified as “aggravated and violent” because of the three year difference between him and the girl, not because of any actual violence.

Once you’re a registered sex offender, you can’t live near a school, a park or a day care center. You can’t work with kids. If you have a younger sibling at home, most states will make you move out. Finish your high school? Ha! Usually you’re not even allowed in the building. Get a job? Just try. (And we’re not even talking about the jail time many young “offenders” have to serve.)

THE ALTERNATIVE

So what is the alternative to a registry that’s like a great big dump filled with lots of once-horny teens gone grey and, among them, the occasional rapist?

How about a registry with JUST the rapists? Folks like Phillip Garrido, who allegedly abducted Jaycee Dugard. Maybe if cops didn’t have to keep checking on every guy who had sex as a high school senior with a freshman girlfriend, they could concentrate on the actual criminals out there. That way, all our kids would be safer.

Including the ones who have sex in their teens. — Lenore

For more info, check out this site, the Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network.

199 Responses

  1. Thanks for getting this story out there. My wife and I appreciate those people who stop to listen to the facts and find that reality is a lot different than the news media reports.

    As for getting a job as a ‘registered sex offender’…well…it is possible. But only when I lie about my past and decieve those who decide to employ me. It’s a stressful tightrope. I spoke to one employer who said he had no problem with me working in his data center (IT’S A SECURE DATA CENTER WITH NO PEOPLE). He just didn’t want his company listed on the registry out of fear for the damage this would do to his company. Other companies are being discouraged from hiring sex offenders by their insurance companies, regardless of what the person did to get on the registry or the length of time they have been without criminal activity.

    I called an insurance company recently. It was a group I know to have told an employer not to hire sex offenders. I started asking questions to determine why this requirement was there, but no one could answer the question. I explained that I wanted to make an informed decision about hiring sex offenders, and no one could tell me how much risk was involved. No one knew anything about recidivism. They only could tell me that their company “had made a decision to discourage employment of anyone listed on a sex offender registry.”

    When I cleared a seven-year background check for a large computer company to work in their R&D area as a test engineer, I was denied employment because my name is on the registry. Investigating this with the company that performed the background check, I finally recieved the results of their evaluation. Had I killed someone or sold drugs at 17, I would have had the job since my crime was 15 years ago. But as the paperwork from the background investigations company revealed, I was denied employment solely for appearing on the registry–regardless of length of time or nature of offense. This, I am told, is a decision of this company because they do not want to ‘tarnish their image.’

    Today I am an independent IT consultant struggling to get by. I recently won a contract to install a new server at a local small business and gave a significant discount on MY labor if the company chose any server manufacturer other than the company that denied me employment purely on the grounds of an event 15 years ago.

  2. I’ve noticed over the years that the “sex offender registries” and Megan’s Laws are very often used to label teens as violent rapists for having consensual sex with other teens, or labeling a guy as a child molester because he was walking around naked in his own home and some prude parent caught a glimpse of him through the living room window.

    I have to wonder if perhaps the intent of the registries is not actually to keep kids safer, but to give religious zealots a way to circumvent the Constitution and use the power of the government to persecute people who don’t follow their idea of good conduct.

    One thing that so many of these outrageous abuses of the registry have in common, is that the people that are being forced to register as “sex offenders” were doing things that many people consider harmless (like being naked in their own home or yard, or going behind a tree to pee because the restroom door was locked) or at least tolerable (like teenagers having sex with each other), but are considered heinous you’re-going-to-burn-in-hell offenses by fundamentalist religious zealots.

    The whole point of separating church and state, as our Constitution does, is to prevent one group of people with a particular philosophy from using the government to persecute another group of people with a different philosophy.

    Time and time again, however, things like the sex offender registries, whose purpose is claimed to be keeping us safe from violent rapists, seem to be applied overbroadly to punish people for doing things other than violently raping someone.

    Whether it was intended for this purpose from it’s inception, or whether it is an unintended side-effect of it’s creation, the practice of using the sex offender registry to punish (and yes, it IS a punishment – one that violates the principle of Presumption of Innocence, along with the Fifth and Eighth Amendments at at the least, and can be argued to violate the Third and Fourth as well) with a life-long scarlet letter, people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, and simply behave outside of some religiously defined standard, is reason enough to abolish it.

  3. My brother was arrested at age 18 for having sex (many times) with his 15 yr old girl friend. He had beer and weed when the cops caught him. Not only was he labeled a level 3 offender, he was sentenced to 14 YEARS, because he was also contributing to the delinquency of a minor by having illegal substances and he kept her out after curfew.

  4. (trigger warning)

    Sam Caldwell; obviously recidivism isn’t an issue for you, as what you did was not a crime. That said sexual assault is SO prevalent in this society and so encouraged (I’ll have a story on that in a moment) that it would be shocking if the recidivism rate isn’t incredibly high.

    Two stories: One of my husband’s best friends was feeling depressed and, to quote him, decided one night to be an asshole. So he went to a party, got drunk, and shoved his face into a woman’s breasts. His friends thought this sexual assault was hilarious, and they were backslapping him about it for over a week, until the word got back to me and I had to uninvite him from my wedding. Because on a whim he decided to assault someone, and then was congratulated for it.

    My ex would write blog entries about parties he went to, prostitutes he hired (notice, he’s my ex). At one point at a party there was this passed out girl. Two of his friends were debating carrying her back to a room and both “having sex” with her because “she likes that.” Casual discussion amongst several people as to whether or not to rape a girl. Cuz they felt like it. I don’t know whether they raped her or not that night.

    With how casually this stuff is taken, the recidivism rate has to be incredibly high. Of course it’s hard to get statistics on these things as so few sexual assaults are reported, and even fewer are tried and even fewer are convicted. This is what we call the ‘rape culture.’

    And I say this as someone who could have potentially wound up on the sex offenders list. I was 17, he was 5 months younger than me at 16, and a cop caught us. Luckily nothing happened, but getting threatened by a cop with a statutory rape charge was, shall we say, less than pleasant.

  5. This is a topic I really struggle with. My brother hooked up with a girl almost 6 years ago on New Year’s Eve. He was 25 and she was 21. An hour after they parted ways, she decided to go to the cops and report him for rape. She admitted in court that she never told him no. He is now serving 30-60 years for not being a mind-reader. His life is totally destroyed. I fear that as the economy and our culture collapse that he will die in there because of this girl’s regret for cheating on her boyfriend.

  6. I completely agree that there are definite flaws in the sex offender registry. I believe there are cases where the registry in the U.S. is being misused, and overused. HOWEVER- I have also seen the epic fail that is a registry that is underused, and not mandatory, as is the case in Canada.

    I have seen, personally, the devastation wrought from a registry that fails to do what it’s intended to- and that is to protect children from a chronic re-offender.

    When you have a system that allows someone who has chronically re-offended, have an offense treated as a first-time offense and is given house arrest and/or probation- that is just as much a failure, if not more so than the complaints of offenders who are truly no risk to re-offend, or whose crimes aren’t even truly crimes (as in cases of teen sexual activity).

    I think what the true problem is in both cases, US and Canadian registries, there is NO common sense being used. A teen, having consensual sex with another teen is NOT someone who is a risk to society, and therefore has no place on the registry. A teen who has sex with a four year old IS, and should be treated as such.

  7. I have often brought this up in mama circles only to have it go over like a lead balloon. As if I was defending criminals. But we just have to remember being 15. Who didn’t lie about their age? (you all did, right? right? Not just me???) And when I see my own daughter “try on” age, I can see where the mistake would be made. We just have to remember being a teen and a young adult – in order to have sympathy.

  8. Ashley,

    I am the 34-year-old who was convicted at age 17, about whom Lenore writes. What I did was wrong, and I make no excuses. But if any case proves that registration and alienation increases the probability of relapse, I am that case. The only difference between me then and me now is about 16 years. That is a lot. Young offenders do not have the perspective to stand up against the system and see a long-term hope in changing the system. Many just give up as I did. They become angry, despondent and act out. This is not an excuse for my life or my mistakes; it is a statement of fact proven too many times in our society.

    The tragic fact is that we label, alienate and release people like myself back then to the street without treatment or intervention. While the prison system currently REQUIRES all sex offenders released to parole to complete the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program, a functional and successful program, many Courts release people from jail to probation with no more than a sentence. Then they expect registration to protect the public. This is outrageous, and explains why I no longer believe in the current probation or parole systems for ANY felony offense.

    What I did was based on thinking errors. When I touched that 13-year-old’s breast, my 17-year-old brain was not thinking about her. Had we gone further to have sex, I would not have been concerned for her welfare had she become pregnant. I was a selfish kid. That thinking error was not addressed or corrected by jail time or the later registration system. It was corrected when I learned about thinking errors in the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Hightower unit. I learned about many other thinking errors as well, even thinking errors that apply now more to my career than my past sex crimes. We all have thinking errors, but when applied in a given situation under certain flawed assumptions, our thinking errors can lead to criminal behavior as opposed to the typical mistake.

    Perhaps this will help you to understand those like me a bit more. I once told a Warden at Beto unit to “put me where the guilty people are, ’cause I am sick of all these innocent [explicative].” That is my stance. I am guilty. I accepted responsibility and moved on. I am not like Ricky, who actually had valid and sincere emotions for the girl with whom he was involved. I was a selfish kid looking to “prove my manhood” by being a stud because I didn’t like being the geek I was back then and continue to be today. I did not see value in being a talented computer geek at age 17. I thought that people would appreciate me more if I were some equivalent to Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

    There are many others like me, who are afraid to speak out because they do not want to face the public criticism. I have watched many of them disappear as they have fallen underground–putting themselves at risk of relapse and creating a greater danger to society. I have seen a few of those people show up on arrest reports and court dockets from time to time. If the majority of sex offenders are 14 years old, then one can correctly assume that not all are like Ricky, whose crime was the result of poorly written laws. This means that over the next decade we are going to see a lot of very unemployable, angry young men.

    Your article helps to shine a light on this situation, where few if any other journalists have the objectivity or integrity to stand up and discuss the matter. For that you have my sincere appreciation.

  9. PottyMouthMommy writes

    “I have seen, personally, the devastation wrought from a registry that fails to do what it’s intended to- and that is to protect children from a chronic re-offender.”

    Using a crayon as a doorstop does not work well either. Does that mean you use a bigger crayon? No. It means you stop, research the options and develop a solution appropriate to the problem.

    There is a solution on the books in many states. It is called civil commitment. However, civil commitment is underfunded in most cases because registries are high-profile and expensive.

    Under civil commitment, a person expected to be released from prison, jail, etc. is subject to the review of a civil court and mental health professionals. If the person is proven to have a “behavioral abnormality which makes the person more likely to commit a sexually violent offense” the person can be indefinitely committed to an aggressive program aimed at protecting the public.

    Civil commitment actually protects the public and operates within the framework of our Constitution by affording all parties the due process of law needed to ensure persons are not wrongfully placed under this system.

    However, registration is an automatic net thrown out over anyone except those whose attorneys can negotiate stipulations to a plea agreement which eliminate their registration requirement. That is correct, you read properly. There are convicted sex offenders who are NOT required to register as a result of high-paid attorneys and legal manipulation.

    I have seen civil commitment work in other cases. It is a tough system, including GPS tracking and a wide range of measures that DO protect the public. I know of no Texas case where a person under civil commitment committed another sex crime.

  10. But remember, if the 34 year old (or 44 year old…or..) is a director and an artist, and drugged the 13 year old, then he gets to live in France for 30 years. Not jail.

    That’s for the little people.

  11. Sam Caldwell, on September 29th, 2009 at 11:12 pm Said:

    “..Under civil commitment, a person expected to be released from prison, jail, etc. is subject to the review of a civil court and mental health professionals. If the person is proven to have a “behavioral abnormality which makes the person more likely to commit a sexually violent offense” the person can be indefinitely committed to an aggressive program aimed at protecting the public…”

    That’s more like it!!! As I stated before- the registries in both countries are inherently flawed, and cannot work a s they are, however, in the case I was speaking of, if Canada had a proper registry available to even law enforcement personnel, the offender would have been treated more appropriately as a continuous re-offender and not just someone who made a one-time “judgement error. “

  12. Ashley: “Sam Caldwell; obviously recidivism isn’t an issue for you, as what you did was not a crime”

    We don’t KNOW that. In fact, Sam never said it wasn’t a crime (before he actually did say what he did was a crime). I’m not saying Sam is a bad guy, but I’m saying we don’t know that he’s a good guy either. He’s had a lot of trouble getting work, but based on what’s all he’s written, that’s all we KNOW.

    By saying I don’t know that Sam is a good guy, I’m not saying he’s a bad guy. That’s just the point. We don’t know.

    And I think that’s the problem. People rely on gut rather than facts. Granted, the Registry hides a lot of fact.

  13. I have thought about this before and wondered how they handled teenagers who have consensual sex. It is scary. I have 3 boys that I hope don’t sleep around as teenagers but if they do I really hope the girl’s parents are reasonable.

  14. @Ingrid- Or the boys’ parents, especially if you happen to live in Oklahoma, Kansas or Texas.

  15. Who’d have thunk that part of the “sex talk” you need to have with your teenage children includes the risk they could be taking with regards to winding up on sex offender registries.

  16. Did you know that there is actually a Facebook Application that allows you to look up how many people who live near you are on the registry? And then post that number on your profile wall?!

    I was appalled – not only is it encouraging people to think there is a rapist living on every block, few people realize just how overblown the list is with teenagers having sex with teenagers. *sigh*

  17. Rich, that may just be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I have never heard a Christian ever talk about the sex offender registry being a great way to force our morals on people. Goodness gracious. I can tell you that I, as a conservative Christian, do not agree at all that teens should be listed for having consensual sex with another teen. I think it is a waste of time and resources and it ruins lives for no reason.

    My own brother went through this. He met a girl when he was 18, she said she was 18 and they began a sexual relationship. Months later when he tried to break up with her she revealed that she is only 16 and will report him if he leaves her. Out of fear he stayed with her until she left him, about a year later. My parents knew what she was doing but they were all too afraid that she would be believed over the truth and that he would be arrested. It was a terrible time for all of us. He had this hanging over his head for so long. Stupid laws like this allow for blackmailing and such because who’s gonna take that risk. The “victim” is always going to be believed. (I am speaking only of our case. I believe victims should be taken seriously and I know the majority of victims are telling the truth. Please don’t start getting all sarcastic on me. I think you can all tell what I mean.)

  18. minivanninja, I think part of the talk should definitely include age-appropriateness, and that if you actually get to know someone before having sexual contact you will be able to confident of their age, even if they initially lie to you. That hardly seems unreasonable or an unbearable burden to put on a child, at least I don’t feel the least bit regretful about having had those conversations with my own children.

    I do believe there are people on the sex offender registries unfairly, however I have also worked with juvenile offenders, some shockingly young, and know that just because a person is young, or cute, or pimply faced, or physically small, doesn’t mean they aren’t actually a person who is capable of comitting a sexual assault, or of being violent or coercive.

  19. I agree something needs to be done, I just don’t know where to begin. Like many, I want to make sure the children are protected but want to make sure the children ARE actually protected.

    My husband and I began dating when I was 15 and he was 19-we were BOTH college freshman. Our parents met, everything was amenable and they approved of our relationship. We heard all the time from different “well-meaning” adults how the state could press charges and my parents as well as my boyfriend (now husband) could be jailed. It was the most absurd thing we’d ever heard, but it was a worry for many years until I reached 18 and we married!

    Now with a son approaching 18 and dating an almost 19 year old, we hear nothing. Of course, we don’t take issue with it-but the way the system criminalizes boys/young men for dating younger girls/women creates an egregious imbalance of power. I wonder how many of the registered sex offenders are actually just the boys/young men who pissed off the wrong girls’ parents. And yet, I still have no idea how to help change these laws.

  20. One day I will have to have “the talk” with my son (who is now 3). What makes me sad is that when I discourage him from having sex as a teenager (as I intend to do), I likely won’t get too far into the “traditional” cons (pregnancy, emotional attachment, STIs, etc.), but rather will have to tell him, “Son, all it takes is one phone call from her, or her parents, to the police and the word ‘rape,’ and your life as you know it is over. You don’t even have to actually rape her, just let her accuse you, even once, and your life is over. So just don’t do it.”

  21. Mae Mae, I didn’t draw any connection between Christian or Conservative and sodomy laws. Nor did I intend to. I’m honestly not sure if that’s what you’re talking about, but if it is, I was simply stating that there are other way in which the legal system can be used to, well, you know, ‘mess up someone’s life’.

  22. Seems to me there are a couple of different issues.

    The first is about the sex between under-age (or near-in-age where one is over-age) partners being criminalized. I agree with Rich Demanowski’s comment that a lot of this is about legislating morality rather than protecting children. In my view, a good Romeo and Juliette law would look at the age difference rather than at an absolute cutoff. E.g. minors with an age difference of, say, less than 3 years wouldn’t be automatically prosecuted. This might still treat Sam’s case as a statutory offense. And clearly, non-consensual sex should be prosecuted.

    The second issue is about the permanency of the sex offender registration, which is different from how other types of offenses are treated. I can see having a registry for violent (non-consensual) offenders. But for something like Ricky’s story (or someone streaking in school or, God forbid, taking a leak while hiking in the woods) it makes no sense what so ever. The large number of not-dangerous people on the list drowns out any real benefit from the list. If half the population is on a list, then it becomes a meaningless tool for identifying any real danger.

  23. ” I have to wonder if perhaps the intent of the registries is not actually to keep kids safer, but to give religious zealots a way to circumvent the Constitution and use the power of the government to persecute people who don’t follow their idea of good conduct.”

    This is what I was referring to, Rich, and if I misunderstood then I apologize. Would you mind explaining what you meant please because I obviously don’t get it.

  24. Sorry Mae Mae, I jumped to conclusions on the wrong Rich. You meant Rich Demanowski.

  25. I misspoke and frankly misread the OP. Joys of a screaming baby and all; in my mind it was a 17 year old with a 13 year old girlfriend. I myself dated a 17 year old when I was a few months past 14. I apologize for reading into it and generally being dumb.

    I will admit that I think the registry is a good idea, if poorly implemented in many states. It can be done better. Illinois, for instance, states the age at time of offense if the victim was under the age of consent. For instance one offender in my town committed aggravated criminal sexual abuse to a 13 year old while he was 44. Another is listed as criminal sexual abuse of a 14 year old when he was 27. And those are just the first two I clicked on.

  26. Rich, I think I get it now. Sorry. I personally think it has more to with legislating fear than morality but I think morality probably plays some part.

    I agree with Stepan that the permanency is troubling. Every other criminal gets to serve their time and it’s over. I think it’s prudent to keep tabs on violent and repeat offenders but everyone? I don’t know how to fix it but I think the whole thing needs a major overhaul. Besides, I have always been jealous that guys can just pull up a tree when they need to. That’s actually illegal? I thought it was an advantage to being male.

  27. Ha ha. I didn’t even look at your last name. Well, the other Rich should be good and confused if he comes back to read these comments! I think I understand what he was getting at anyway by Stepans comment.

  28. There’s been an interesting case in the Miami-Dade County area I’ve been following, mostly in the online Miami Herald which I e-subscribe to because I’m a fan of Leonard Pitts. Local lawmakers decided to make the allowed distance for registered offenders from schools, parks, bus stops, etc. so far there was only one place in the entire Miami metro area where they could live – on a strip of land under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. This turned into a ramshackle, unsanitary tent city with at least 70 permanent residents. A makeshift solution to a knotty problem that satisfied no one….

  29. While I agree teenagers should not be registered as sex offenders for engaging in *consensual* sex or sexual activity with other teenagers (and I don’t know whether the 13 year old girl in Sam’s case ASKED to be fondled, as I don’t think he’s ever said), I don’t think parents are necessarily foolish to make use of the sex offender registry for information purposes. One can use the registry with common sense. I’m one of those parents who looks at the registry from time to time, just to be aware of any registered offenders in the neighbourhood. The registry, after all, does tell you WHAT they did, at least it does in my state. You see things like “rape and abuse of a child,” “forcible sodomy of a child,” “indecent liberties with a child BY CUSTODIAN,” “sexual battery,” etc. So you can pretty much tell which ones weren’t just some teenage boy having sex with a teenage girl. Now, you might not know if it just said “taking indecent liberties with children.” Did the guy fondle a couple of 14 year old girlfriends when he was 15? Maybe, but his DOB is 1933, so I’m guessing that’s probably NOT why he ended up on the sex offender’s registry. Common sense can be used. It’s just one source of information. Ultimately, we can none of us protect our children against child molestation other than to (1) teach them to recognize it when it happens and (2) teach them to kick, bite, and scream and get out of the situation if it does, then tell you about it. But I don’t think I’m a prejudiced or silly parent for simply looking at the registry and taking wary note of the fact that the old guy living three blocks away is registered for possession of child pornography and indecent liberties with children by a custodian.

  30. …and I agree that the permanency is an issue. Can I easily look on the internet to see which of my neighbors was convicted for drunk driving once 25 years ago on a “registered DUI offenders list”? No. It doesn’t give people much of a chance to break free of a label, change, and start their lives over again.

  31. Office of Sex Offender Management
    “Myths and Facts”
    Current Research on Managing Sex Offenders
    April 2008

    http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/som_mythsandfacts.htm

    And a three year study by the U.S. Justice Dept.

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/rsorp94pr.htm

    Highlights include the following:

    * Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%),
    burglars (74.0%),
    larcenists (74.6%),
    motor vehicle thieves (78.8%),
    those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).

    * Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape,

    and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.

    So, when you hear Wendy Murphy say that recidivism is high for sex offenders, and they can’t be treated know she is lying through her teeth. Unfortunately, Bill O’Reilly will give his nod of approval as though she is an expert. She isn’t.!

  32. “Besides, I have always been jealous that guys can just pull up a tree when they need to. That’s actually illegal? I thought it was an advantage to being male.”

    Mae Mae, I’m with you on this. I’ve been a few predicaments where being a male would have been a blessing.

    I think a few people are missing the point. The point is not that there are sex offenders out there that are truly sex offenders – repeat offenders and pedophiles. It’s that the Sex Offender Registry is in many cases, not really a Sex Offender Registry. Instead it’s become a sometimes Sex Offenders, and sometimes a Peeing in Public or Teens Having Sex with Other Teens Registry.

    It needs to be reviewed and reworked because it’s ruining lives.

  33. I remember hearing that the recidivism rate is actually pretty low (less than 10% maybe?) but I’m more curious about the “Romeo/Juliet” cases (teens having sex with younger teens who are labeled sex offenders). It seems like every time this sex offender registry issue is brought up, the cry goes out for them; as if the majority of sex offenders are those teen cases. While I do disagree with those cases being included on the registry, I sure don’t think they are the majority! And for sure someone should not be on the list for peeing on a tree.
    But we recently had a case here where a registered Sexual Predator was on a school campus, pretending to be a DEA officer & carrying a weapon. He was recognized by an administrator, who had been looking at the sex offender flyers that were in the office (as well as a parent who also looked up the registry). Was the man looking for his next victim? Possibly. So for me, the registry is a good thing. Changes could be made to make it better, for sure. But tougher penalties for those perverts who actually harm CHILDREN would be even better still.

  34. Parents, warn your children, teens and young adults!! What you may think is normal underage and developmental consensual sexual exploration and learning, which historically was left to parents to correct and teach, is currently grounds for very serious felony sex offender convictions, registration as a sex offender for life as young as 14, and forced sex offender “treatment”!! And these cases are relentlessly prosecuted despite insane judicial outcomes, ruined lives of innocent boys, teens and young men, and ruined families of these innocent boys/teens/men.

    Even the DA in this case stated that the punishment was harsh for consensual teenage sex.

    I am not condoning sexual promiscuity, and I want our children protected from violent and sexually dangerous persons. But current and pending sex offender legislation and laws must be changed so that they can only be used to prosecute violent and sexually dangerous persons.

    Readers, you may find this difficult to believe, I did at first, but there are kids as young as 10 on the sex offender registry for “playing doctor” no violence involved. Kids as young as 12 for pinching another kid on the butt just joking around, and a long list of teens and young men for “consensual sexual activity” as a result of girls who lied about their age and sought out sexual activity. And men for public urination on the golf course; how many men will this one put on the list.

    Again, I am not condoning sexual promiscuity, but what was once ‘petting’ and normal sexual exploration between consenting underage teens is now grounds for “life time registration as a sex offender” as young as 14 both boys and girls. And Government sanctioned Sex Offender “Treatment” Programs, including for juveniles as young as 12, and including cases of consensual sexual activity among peers, are barbaric and abusive!! These programs include the use of:

    Plethysmographs – a metalized ring is strapped around a “male” juvenile’s genitals (there is no such devise for females) and they are forced to listen to/watch pornography including deviant sexual activity such as violent rape! This barbaric and abusive device and recordings are designed to measure any signs of arousal and the juvenile is then forced to try and masturbate afterwards.

    Masturbatory Satiation – juvenile males as young as 12 are forced to masturbate over and over and over while listening to/viewing pornographic images/recordings, including deviant sexual activity such as violent rape.

    Arousal Reconditioning – Originally developed in the early to mid-1900s to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals. Attempts to eliminate sexual feelings by pairing them with boredom, pain, or unpleasantness. In effect, assumes that sexuality can be changed through “punishment” such as electric shock therapy.

    The current legislation, although very well intended, has seriously failed the true victims of violent sexual assault crimes and their families! And, it has resulted in what I believe were unintended consequences for potentially >95% of all youth and young adults who statistically could be convicted as sex offenders.

    Please, join in the growing effort to immediately bring an end to this insanity before an entire generation is lost and registered as sex offenders.

    Legislators, please begin immediate changes to legislation to stop this insanity!

  35. yes – its a way to ruin lives —
    its a way for SOME to have power over others …
    and it a way to divide the classes…

    poor people often cannot defend against such charges as a teen, so the record follows them for life – but if there is enough $$ in the parents bank account – a good lawyer can get the charge broken down to something that doesn’t carry a life long record…

    so much that has to to with the legal system — requires one to have a HUGE pile of money to even participate.

    for example – DHS took my 3 grandsons – and I can do nothing – because I don’t have 15K to hire a lawyer. I’e paid THREE – and they have all backed off when they realized I don’t have thousands of dollars to hand over to them to continue filing papers and motions to get my grandsons out of DHS hands. Its like quicksand – once they have the kids – they are sucked down and down and NEVER get out of that system…..

  36. As the mother of a 7th grader, let me just say that if a 17 year old boy fondled her sexually, you’d damn well better believe that it would be a crime and I’d want it prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. WTF people?

  37. You get no argument from me that the list criteria is unjust.

    I wonder about the legality of continuing to punish people who served their time. Sexual predator crimes are repugnant. We have few systems in place to rehabilitate any criminals, much less these, which are assumed will repeat their crimes. Before I started attending my church, there was a member who had been convicted of a sexual crime who wanted to continue to attend church. This congregation stresses the inherent dignity and worth of all persons. I didn’t hear the whole story, but I understand it didn’t end well. There were a lot of bad feelings and the man left; unable to find community there.

    Right now in our culture, there is rare forgiveness and no forgetting because certain crimes are a breech of trust that can never be redeemed. I do believe that no person is lost forever. I believe that healing is possible. We don’t know how to do it right now. I hope there is a solution in the future.

    I try not to worry about all the various things that could happen to my children. There is no absolute protection in life. How to raise them smart enough to avoid becoming a victim without SCARING them ?!? People who believe the world is a scary place tend to be limited in what they can achieve in life.

  38. LindaLou–And if that 17 yr old was your son and the 7th grader was a girl who pretended to be 15 (and looked that age) and they “fooled around” sexually by mutual consent, I assume you’d still want him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?

  39. LindaLou,

    I do not disagree that a person who violates the law should not be punished. At 18 I went to prison for 10 years for my crime. The COURT sentenced me to TEN years which I served, day for day. AFTER I WAS SENTENCED, Legislature came back and added registration on top of that. THIS is what I disagree with.

    I do think that if a person is proven to be a continued danger, the civil commitment laws are adequate for the public’s protection. Civil committment seems to work.

    However, registration does nothing to proactively protect the public. It only notifies people of partial facts. It does nothing to PREVENT crime and costs a lot of money.

    Now that I have done my time, what do you do with me? I served my sentence in full. I accepted responsibility for my crimes. I completed several great programs the Texas prison system has to offer.

    What do you do with me now?

    Would you rather spend $35,000 to $40,000 per year to house me in a prison indefinitely though I have only a FIVE percent chance of committing a new sex crime?

    I realize this is an emotional discussion. A lot of people advised me not to go public about my past. But people don’t want to move beyond the emotion to look for REAL solutions. We want to scream, yell and pass laws without considering the consequences of the laws we are passing.

    For every reader, I would ask one question: Is there anything you have ever done about which you are ashamed and from which you learned a lesson and decided to change? Did you face a consequence for that mistake? What if the rest of us were to go back to that event and decide that your consequence just wasn’t enough. It’s been years, right? You have moved on, right? Yet we aren’t satisfied. So we tell you that we are extending your punishment as a “protective measure.” Do you now see the problem?

    America is giving up its civil liberties because we are not stopping to think first and enact laws later. We have the laws on the books which we need to keep the public safe.

    Most states have civil commitment laws. If a person’s sentence is ending and the state can show the person is a continued danger to society, then the Courts can indefinitely place the person under civil commitment. But most of these programs are underfunded because we are wasting out money on registration laws that do not work.

    There is a 23 year old female living in Texas I found on the registry recently while performing research. She was 13 at the time of her offense. AGAIN, SHE WAS A 13-YEAR-OLD FEMALE WHEN SHE COMMITTED A SEX OFFENSE. She molested a 7 year old female, was arrested, served her sentence, completed a treatment program and is now struggling to live her life. What do we do with her? She hasn’t been in trouble with the law since her juvenile arrest. What she did was wrong, it was bad, it was HORRIBLE. But she has shown a capacity to change.

    My crime occured when I was a kid. I am now 34. When I am 84 I will still be a sex offender EVEN IF I NEVER COMMIT ANOTHER CRIME IN MY LIFE. Given the 7% per year growth in the registry, by the time I am dead and gone, the majority of America will be registered unless we change the way we think.

    This blog is about living a free life, free of unwarranted fear in pursuit of the freedoms this nation was founded upon. This article is along that same thought pattern. How can we embrace a life of freedom and happiness if we allow a 5% chance of misfortune to dominate our lives?

    I was wrong in 1994. But my greatest crime was not my sex offense. My greatest crime was creating a precedent through my sex offense that would allow the short-term ambitions of politicians and mainstream media to brainwash Americans into thinking that RETROACTIVE laws were a good idea. My greatest crime was contributing to the pandamonium that we must now correct.

  40. One of the root causes for putting these young men (almost all are male on the registry) is that we do not like to talk about sex in America. Oh sure we like to TALK about sex, but do we really like to DISCUSS it? Intelligently? Our kids having sex??? TABOO! Almost as bad as thinking about what MOM and DAD did to make us!

    We do not want to admit that or children are sexual creatures, and when there is an incidence of child on child sexual behavior, it is easier on our psyche to relegate the “offender” to the courts and the offenders list than to deal with it in a rational intelligent manner.

    And if ANYONE touches my daughter…………

  41. Ok, feel free to ignore this, because I have no link to back it up.

    About a year ago I THINK inremember hearing a story about a 12 and 13 yr old that were being put on the sex offender list- for having sex with each other. The ordinance where they lived had a law that under a certain age it didn’t matter if the “perpetrator” was within a year or two of age (eliminating an exception provided for, say a 17 yr old and a 15 yr old). Also because of the young ages, it was considered a violent act rathe than mere statutory.

    Several people spoke out about how ridicois that was, but just as many supported the ruling because they thought it would send a “strong message.”

  42. I agree, a 17 year old molesting a 13 year old is a serious crime and, yes, he should know better. That’s too wide of an age gap.

    Young people need to be held accountable for their actions. As far as the sex offender forever bit, that seems extreme. They should monitor them for a while, and then let them off the list at some point, depending on the severity of the crime. They should use some common sense *gasp* and differentiate based on severity, circumstance, contributing factors, etc…

  43. oh i like this blog

    thanks

  44. I think there should be a separate set of conditions for teens-with-teens “offenders.” If their offense was truly of a violent nature, then perhaps they SHOULD remain on the list for their lifetime. But if it was a girlfriend/boyfriend situation, I think some consideration needs to be given to that. We see too many people (and just a few of their stories are above) whose lives are completely destroyed by a poor choice. Whether they (or we) see it as a poor choice or not is irrelevant, because the LAW says it’s a poor choice.

    Never would I presume to advocate for a true sex offender of ANY age to have lenient treatment–quite the contrary. I would love to see all TRUE OFFENDERS receive the harshest sentencing possible (and mandatory rehab, even though some say it is ineffective–at least give it a chance). But there are too many people who are eking out an existence at a menial job, and are deprived of meaningful relationships because of what they APPEAR to have done in their younger years…

    Part of this “epidemic,” if you will, lies with PARENTS. Parents of teens involved in these situations need to recognize their child’s part in it–did your child lie about his/her age? Is your son or daughter on a self-destructive path that causes him/her to make decisions that are potentially life-threatening? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT–get your child some therapy, and reconnect with your child on a personal level instead of shuttling them off to yet another after-school activity, or wringing your hands while they lock themselves in their room with their computer, TV, and iPhone. DON’T automatically go after the person who “wronged” your child, if your child was a willing participant. People are so quick to think that their child is a victim rather than requiring them to accept responsibility for their own actions…

  45. sueg,

    No one is questioning whether or not a person should face consequences for inappropriate behavior, the least of which is me. I accepted responsibility. I completed the Sex Offender Treatment Program.

    From a problem-solving, analytical mode, I always believe in the lesson of a college instructor from years back: KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid):

    (1) Increasing the complexity of registration makes no sense. That is the result of any scheme whereby we create more rules of who registers, when, where and for how long. Registration does NOT prevent crimes.

    (2) Releasing someone to probation or parole without treatment does not prevent crime. It does not result in justice, as it does not remedy the problem.

    (3) Through civil committment, were it funded, we would not need a registry. The small portion of all sex offenders whom we call “predators” would be addressed through a rational means. Those who are not a continued danger would be allowed (AFTER serving their sentences) to prove themselves.

    ———————————————–
    As for parents with troubled teenagers…. I am not sure what to say. My parents did not have any interest in my long-term success. I was buried away as an embarrassment. That was a large stessor in my life that I could have done without. There was a lot of abuse in my childhood and my parents were too busy fighting with each other to concern themselves with their children. This is not an excuse for my behavior. I made a choice then as I do each day.

    If your child falls from grace do not enable him/her. Allow them to fall and to learn. By all means be consistent. Express your disapproval. But do not forget the human side. It is not the person who is wrong, it was the act. People can change.

    I am now 34 and I will tell you that I spend the first 25 years of my life hating my father. Over time I came around to understand him quite a bit. We are not close, but I have forgiven him for the things he did when I was a kid. Were we closer geographically, we might be closer as father and son. But, I understand my father better now. I forgave him for the violence, instability and chaos I called home. I realize now that in 1990 when he married my current step mother, he had changed. He demonstrated that a person can change.

    I am demonstrating that I can change.

    Registration never changes.

  46. I was molested by a 12 year old when I was 9. Guess I should say a sex offender list would have done f*** all to protect me. I never told anyone and I don’t know whatever happened to him.

    The Canadian Sex offender registry is useless. Event if a guy is on the list considered a danger to women/girls and high risk to reoffend, they still let him out and hope he sees his parole officer. Been a few cases since I moved to my current city. For example, one guy is let go and a few days later back in for breeching conditions, another guy tried to skip town, it’s like DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Oh, yeah. Apparently 4 years for molesting a 4 year old girl on web cam.

  47. Group Issues Report on Sex Offender Registry http://tinyurl.com/ya45vtg

    Parents need to read this

  48. Someone said:
    “Civil commitment actually protects the public and operates within the framework of our Constitution by affording all parties the due process of law needed to ensure persons are not wrongfully placed under this system.”

    Due process?? What makes the poster think that, had these new ex post facto punishments been in place when he committed his offense, he wouldn’t have been sentenced to LIFE in prison?

    When lawmakers make the punishments so much more horrific than the crime itself, why do they expect crime to abate?
    Has this tact EVER worked?
    Do we just continue to do the same things over and over and hope that, the next draconian milepost will be The One to fix everything.

    In New Orleans a few years back they made conviction for armed robbery a life-sentence. Robbers began killing their victims in response. The law was rescinded.

    At best, those who await trial on any sex charge would do well to force the courts to either go through a lengthy and expensive trial, with lots of exposure of the victims to public scrutiny since he or she can pretty much count on being “civilly committed” if they take a plea deal.
    And a promise, even in writing, that the state will not consider civilly committing you in exchange for a guilty plea, is no guarantee they’ll keep their word.

    How many *ex offenders were told they have to register for only 10 years and now how to do so quarterly for life?

  49. It has become common knowledge that sex offender registries are unfair and full of poor Romeos and public urinators. I call bullshit.

    We never hear from victims: only the perps and their families saying how unfair it all is. Well, I am not buying it that someone had totally consensual sex with his 21 year old girlfriend and now is doing 30 years. Sounds like someone lost at trial. I have attended four rape trials and none of them had a conviction; it’s still very difficult to prove rape. Trust me, there is another side to the story- a side a jury believed and a judge deemed worthy of 30 years. And my apologies to the forthright 34 year old, but a 17 year old male molesting a 13 year old female is a terrible thing. When I was 11 a man offered me money for sex, and I learned the scary lesson all girls and women eventually learn about the fear we women always have to live with. You made the world a scary place forever for a 13 year old girl and the shame is rightfully yours forever in my opinion.

    SOR’s are part of plea negotiations. There is a reason why prosecutors decide the crime deserves to be charged a certain way. The Polanski case shows us how raping a 13 year old becomes consensual sex with a 13 year old, and then becomes oh come on now, he made a mistake. As to claims of being on it for peeing- come on! Be a little skeptical, people.

    Too bad boys have to be taught to be extra careful not to be convicted of rape. Try being a girl. Try raising a daughter. Mine’s 10. Before she’s 18, she’ll probably be groped, or flashed whenever she’s all alone or stalked or outright assaulted. There’s not a woman reading this who something like that didn’t happen to.

  50. “Kids as young as 12 for pinching another kid on the butt just joking around”

    Having been the other twelve year old on the receiving end of that ‘joking around’, um, no. It’s still sexual assault, and more people need to treat it as such. From experience and anecdotal evidence, I’d actually suppose that it comes up more often in a bullying context than a ‘flirting’ context.

  51. That should be “flashed when she’s all alone”. I don’t mean to imply girls and women are constantly flashed! Just that it’s scary, not funny at all.

  52. Also, in reference to Elena’s comment just above mine – maybe if the young boys (and girls, to be honest) are taught to not go there for fear of a rape conviction, then they aren’t going to get near to the place that would mean that they’d /deserve/ a rape conviction.

  53. Elena,

    You write “SOR’s are part of plea negotiations. There is a reason why prosecutors decide the crime deserves to be charged a certain way. ” However, when I was convicted there was NO registry. The public sex offender registry was enacted RETROACTIVELY in 1995, after the conviction.

    I do not defend sexual crimes. I know first hand what abuse is like. By age 15 I had experienced every form of abuse possible. I hated society for doing nothing when people complained about the abuse. I hated people for not helping me. I hated people for the hurt I felt as a young man. This is NOT an excuse for my behavior. it does explain that I know both sides of the road. I am not coming forward to say “oh, this is unfair.” I m coming forward to say this is WRONG. This is NOT protecting the public.

    What would you do with me now that I have finished my sentence? Would you prefer I work, pay taxes and live productively and crime free? Would you prefer I not work, live in prison where you can pay $35,000-$40,000 per year for my incarceration? Emotion does not make a solution.

    We have to move forward, we have to start living in the present. There are more than 650,000 like me. What will you do with them? Only 5% will commit a new sex crime. The other 95% will work to survive, commit no further sex crimes.

    What is your ANSWER?

    ———————————————————-

    Tamar Rowe,

    Unwanted sexual attention is wrong. However, rather than label someone a sex offender for life, the 12 year old needs to be educated as to why it is wrong.

  54. Gary raises an interesting point. This quaint little Texas town called Houston I live in recently made the news because we are number 1 in teen pregnacies, especially teens under 15. This causes much hilarity among the teachers at the nearby public middle school where I do some volunteer work, because our school system mandates “ab only” sex ed while we have not just pregnant 15 year olds but 15 year old pregnant moms (!?!?!?) so all the teachers are allowed to say to the kids is “just say no.” It’s anybody’s guess how many of the dads are fellow teens and how many are early-20s and older predators, because local law enforcement has much better things to do (seat belt tickets and the like) than ask a preggers teen who the dad is. Oh well, that’s what granny is for – to change diapers and do flash cards (we hope) – while Mom is busy with 7th-grade math. And Lord help a teacher who gives a kid some real-world sex education -or, God forbid, a purse full of condoms – that would be a quick way to wind up unemployed, if not on the registry for life.

  55. I was arguing against the idea that it’s ‘just joking around’ when a kid sexually assaults another kid. I know so many women who’ve had their sense of boundaries screwed up by it – and the people you report it to, when you’re 12 it’s the whole ‘tell a teacher’ thing, don’t do a damn thing and I’d say that that'[s worse than the original event. (And then, of course, it keeps happening, because these kids aren’t being told that it’s wrong.)

    Though, perhaps there should be a minimum age for registration. Give the offending kid an in depth interview when they hit 18, and decide from that whether they need to go on the list for whatever they did, or whether that would be a waste of potential and everyone’s time.

    I’d a big believer in non-discrimination in employment. If we want people to earn a living wage without relying on benefits/income support, the people getting ‘shunned’ need to become employable, whether that be by changing them or by changing the system. I agree that something that occurred during the teen years really, really shouldn’t make one unemployable for life – perhaps a better solution would be for one’s name being on a register to be inadmissible as a reason for denied employment… But of course that wouldn’t work, because it would be the old thing of ‘it’s really for this reason, but we’re saying this other reason’.

    I don’t like the retroactive registration in your case. If ‘also, you are agreeing to be unemployable for the rest of your life’ isn’t on the table to start with, it shouldn’t be added on later. But now that it does exist, people need to be aware of it. Kids’ caregivers and the people in charge of their education need to make the kids aware of it.

    Maybe if the idea that, if someone isn’t old enough to have an ID card with their age/DOB on it then they aren’t old enough for you to participate in any kind of sexual activity with them, should be spread around more.

  56. I agree, sexual contact with a 13 year old is wrong.

    He said he thought she was 15 because she told him so. Now, I’m not 15 anymore, but I remember 15 pretty well. I remember some of the girls I knew at 15 (and some of the boys). The only way you knew they were 15 and not 13, or 12, or 5 in some cases, what that they had bigger breasts. And some of the 13 year olds could rival them, and some of the 15 year olds were fairly flat. Saying “get to know her” only suggests that he’d have gotten turned off by immaturity, not that he’d have been able to divine a “true age” from that.

    What is more wrong is a 13 year old ruining someone else’s life with a lie and getting told it’s his fault because he didn’t know.

    If any of my children ever tell a lie that ruins another life, their name will be Misery until the fix it or they learn that they never, EVER tell such a horrible lie again. Was “I’m 15″ a horrible lie? Well, kinda depends, doesn’t it? If “I’m 15″ gets you a couple of new friends with more on their mind than the Jonas Brothers, I’d say no. If “I’m 15″ ruins someone’s ability to get and hold a job, then the answer is YES!

    Oh, and I knew a 12 year old with an abortion under her belt . . . from a 12 year old boyfriend. Saying that a 13 year old wouldn’t have wanted to have sex, especially when she lied about her age to snag a 17 year old boyfriend, seems rather blind. I also knew a 15 year old who lied about their age so that she could have sex with 30-mumble year old married men. Again, assuming innocence because someone has had “victim” attached to their name by an unjust system is just stupid.

    Maybe, just maybe, if we didn’t think “girl who deliberately went out to have sex with older man” when we hear “statutory rape” it would be easier to get the real bad guys. Maybe if we didn’t see the one stupid sorority girl feeling bad about cheating on her boyfriend when we hear “accused of rape” real rape victims would be taken more seriously and real rapists would get locked up as they deserved. But so long as people are defending the watering down of the word “rape,” we’re defending the lessening of the perception of evil. I’m not going to do that. Rape is evil. Period.

  57. Sky —

    Unless the registry shows WHEN that crime was also committed, the registrant’s DOB means nothing, especially if the person is on it for life, and that’s an ever-increasing chance as we continue through time.

    Yeah, he was born in 1933, but if he’s a lifer and committed the crime in 1948, then that puts him at 15 and makes it rather likely that that IS what happened, especially if he’s not grandfathered out (since the registry didn’t come into play until significantly more recently).

    Give it a few years, then find someone who was born in, say, 1990 and committed a “aggravated and violent assault of a child” or “gross sexual imposition” and see if you can find the real facts about it. If you find out that the person was charged as such because they were 17 and their girlfriend/consensual partner was 12 (or perhaps she deceived him into thinking she was 16) and the age difference give him an automatic label as a Tier 3 lifer, then you’d see the flaw in the system.

    I can’t speak for other states, but under Ohio law, “gross sexual imposition” is a Tier 3 felony. Wording in the statute includes: “When any of the following applies. [...] The other person, or one of the other persons, is less than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of that person.” and “A victim need not prove physical resistance to the offender in prosecutions under this section.”

    In other words, it’s the situation for a deceptive 12 year old who looks 15 or older to have sex with a 15 or 17 year old after convincing them they’re older, then turn around and get the older one convicted of a Tier 3 sex offense (registry for life), even if the victim admits to deceiving the defendant and not resisting.

    I’ve seen real predators, who repeatedly molest their children and friends of their children and only get caught after doing so for years or after doing so to half a dozen or more kids, and I fully agree that they should have to register for at least some length of time and periodically be evaluated for chance of repeating the offense. However, throwing every person who made a single dumb mistake or who got caught pissing behind a tree in the woods by a family with a child after labeling them with something like “public indecency” and making them register for the next 15, 25, or more years is more than a bit disproportional to some of these peoples’ “crimes.”

    On a side note, I was poking through Ohio’s registry to see what legal names I could find and happened to come across a kid that is my age (I say kid because compared to the others, at 22, he is a kid, and was only 19 at the time of his offense), who appears to have pissed off the wrong girl’s parents. He’s considered a Tier 2 offender, convicted of “Unlawful sexual contact with a minor” which is defined in Ohio as (basically) someone who’s older than 18 having sex with someone that’s between the ages of 13 and 16. The actual degree varies by the age difference. Less than four years difference is a 1st degree misdemeanor, more than four but less than 10 is a 4th degree felony, more than 10 is a third degree felony. Given that he got slapped with a Tier 2 registration entry, my guess is that he slept with his girlfriend, who was probably 14 at the time. He’s listed as being compliant (basically, like Sam — “I screwed up, I’m paying my debt to society.”), but as a Tier 2 offender, that will probably haunt him for the next 25 years he’s on the registry, and most people will simply skim his listing and cry “pedophile” and “child molester”. Unfortunately, not all of Ohio’s entries include the date of the offense, so even reasonable conclusions can’t always be drawn.

  58. jim —

    Isn’t “ab-only sex ed” a state law there, or did they finally repeal that?

  59. Dragonwolf –

    Pretty sure it’s a state law, or at least a Texas State Board of Education regulation. The Texas Board of Ed is pretty much dominiated by “family values” flat-earthers, including a whackjob from Katy out west of Houston who ran for the Board on the platform that public schools violate both the Constitution and Biblical law and got elected. Oh well, as the incredibly dedicated teachers at the middle school I volunteer at have been known to mention “Thank God for Mississippi.” Texas might be 49th in just about every aspect of public education, but at least Houston is Number One in under-15 teen pregnacies. We don’t need no Godless Commie Obama-inspired sex education in our skools cause we got them good-old fashioned family values, and maternity school uniforms (for 7th graders !?!?!?!)to prove it.

  60. Sam: there is no answer. You can’t undo what you did. The law is that you have to register. Youthful mistake or no, nerd or no, horny 17 year olds the world over wouldn’t dream of molesting a younger, weaker human under any circumstances. You did. If I knew you, maybe I’d like you and I even feel sorry for you now. But it’s not an injustice that a 30 year old is being shamed for molesting girls when he was 17. And I hardly think that most goodhearted reasonably moral children are in danger of being on an SOR. Talk about blowing the danger out of proportion!

  61. Elena,

    To address a problem saying “there is no answer” is to say “I have not looked at the problem long enough.”

    You justify the registration as a “shaming,” but shame is not the issue.

    How do you protect the public?

    I served time with a kid from a good family who has a 35 year sentence. He was 18 or 19 when he showed up in prison one day. He was one of your “moral children” who had succumbed to peer pressure to haze a female classmate sexually during a party. He was wrong for his conduct. But before you sit in your glass house and assure yourself that this is an “overreaction” please consider the number of families with whom I have come in contact who thought the same thing before their son or daughter ended up on the registry.

    Consider this. There is a female who at age 16 was considered an honor student and loved daughter. She was curious about sex and experimented with a young man of about 10 or 12 while babysitting. Her family was shocked by what had happened and watched as their daughter entered the system. She now lives in Texas, has completed her sentence and works for a company performing menial tasks. Recently I had lunch with this person as I tried to get her to come forward publicly as I have done. She is hesitant because she has had male coworkers find her on the registry and use the fact that she is a “sex offender” to justify their unwanted sexual advances on her.

    In Texas it is estimated that we add 100 people per week to the registry. Other estimates show that the registry grows by 7% per year. This kind of growth means some of your “moral children” are making mistakes while growing up.

  62. Elena: “And I hardly think that most goodhearted reasonably moral children are in danger of being on an SOR.”

    I agree. And I agree that the point of FRK is that we don’t freak out at every little danger, but I am curious. “Most” is not all, and you seem rather sanguine about the idea that some would be. How many people’s lives are you willing to ruin to retroactively punish bad guys with a 5% recidivism rate?

    I’m not saying Sam is one of those “goodhearted reasonably moral children,” I’m just asking how many of those children you are willing to condemn to continue to punish him. How many innocent victims punished and called “justice” is too many?

    Note, I’m not talking about random circumstance. I think reasonable measures ought to be brought to bear. On ought to ask “what works?” In the case of Jaycee Dugard, for instance, we have learned a valuable lesson in that just being present and watching isn’t enough to protect children from random whackjobs. So, is our solution to realize that most people aren’t random whackjobs, or is it to make sure that we chain ourselves to our children every moment so at least we’re there to fend off said random whackjob the whole time?

    What is the difference between saying “we have to protect the children even if we condemn ourselves in the process!” and “We have to protect the children even if we condemn THEM in the process?” Why is that not only acceptable, but laudable?

  63. 13 and 17 year olds go to school together. It is a freshman dating a senior. The opportunity for this happens every day in schools across the US, and it isn’t that big of an age gap when you are looking at them going to school together and spending 6 hours a day together.

  64. Karen,

    You wrote “I’m not saying Sam is one of those ‘goodhearted reasonably moral children,'” and I can’t help but smile. I was definitely NOT one of the good-hearted moral children. I will admit that quickly.

    I appreciate your objectivity.

    Consider this:

    (1) Registration costs tens of millions of dollars and lacks any measure to ensure information on the registry is accurate.

    (2) Registration does not prevent a ‘predator’ from failing to register, leaving his area of registration and committing a crime elsewhere. We see that all the time.

    (3) If a ‘predator’ is someone with “a behavioral abnormality that makes him/her more likely to commit a fugure sexual crime” then nothing short of institutionalization and possibly intensive counseling will help prevent a new offense.

    (4) The sad part is that we can institutionalize a person following their release through the civil commitment process. However, this process is underfunded because we are more interested in “shaming” a person, as Elena suggests.

    (5) As an IT consultant I am capable of making about $80,000 when I can find work. When added to my wife’s earnings, we could expect to pay 30% income taxes. That is $36,000 per year in taxes paid. Then if you assume we might spend 60% of our combined earnings over the course of the year and take the 8.25% sales tax we would pay on that spending, we are talking another 5,900 in sales taxes per year.

    (6) Rather than contributing more than $40,000 in taxes each year to public coffers, under Elena’s “shaming” strategy, the public is no safer and my income is greatly diminished. I pay about $15,000 in taxes per year (give or take, since my contract consulting efforts fluctuate). That is a cost of $25,000 per year in lost revenue that must be dispersed across all tax payers.

    (7) Assume the other 650,000 sex offenders only have a net loss of $1,000 in tax revenue because of their under-employment or unemployment. That would represent $650,000 in lost tax revenue, which means you must shoulder part of that difference. Based on the sex offenders I know I would put the average at $5,000 per sex offender, making the total shortfall about $3,250,000,000.

  65. I’m impressed that someone could become an IT consultant capable of earning 80K/year after spending 10 years in prison and the rest of the time having a really hard time getting relevant work experience.

    Doesn’t say anything about your character, but does indicate you’re smarter than the average ex-con.

  66. Rich Wilson,

    Prior to 2007 employers were not listed on the Texas registry and were, therefore, more likely to hire registered sex offenders. However, in 2007 when Texas started listing employers on the registry, many companies shied away from hiring sex offenders such as myself.

    How then after 10 years in prison was I able to earn a really good living? Well…I was a disreputable kid. But I am above average when it comes to technical skill. I was a geek before prison. In high school I was capable of programming in BASIC, Pascal and C/C++ as well as some X86 assembly.

    “Geek” is an understatement.

    I learn technical material faster than most people. It comes natural. I also am a workaholic since my past makes me hesitate to have a social life. This means I do not mind holding the on-call pager when it is not my turn. It also means that I work for a love of technology not a love of money.

    I earned my first technical certification during my lunch break one day with only a day or so of studying. My second technical certification was earned because I felt like it one Saturday morning. That is how I could earn more than minimum wage.

    Coming forward publicly about my past is the result of watching the ever-increasing laws. I have no choice but to discuss this situation.

    In high school I was listed on the Who’s Who of American High School Students. My grades were above average, though my morals were not. I had letters of acceptance from many universities, but I did not know how to pay for school since my parents were not interested in being involved.

    These are not excuses. I chose to act. I failed.

    How can I earn money? Well most people who hire me are more interested in the results I deliver than the acts of my youth. One small town police department recently asked me to conduct a site survey of their computer systems (with knowledge of my past) because they heard from someone else that I am good.

    I went to school while I was in prison, read, worked in various clerical jobs and proved that I can solve technical problems. Even in prison I was often asked to work on problems that prison regulations forbid because I could do the job faster and cheaper than an outside vendor.

    I have no tatoos, never did drugs. I show up for work early and work late.

    How can I earn money? How does anyone? I earn money by hardwork, determination and a serious belief that I can learn anything.

  67. Wow, Lenore. I normally love your blog, but not this time. Thanks for giving Sam here a platform express how much he’s been victimized! :::eye roll:::

    Good grief, there’s a reason the law goes out of the way to protect children UNDER THE AGE OF 14. Because they really are still CHILDREN. My seventh grader can act and appear very grown up, but she still sleeps with the same stuffed bunny she’s had since she was 3 months old. This is not in any way a case of 16 and 17 year year old high school sweethearts having consensual sex, so why pretend it is. Truth be told, Sam’s case completely muddies the water.

  68. Linda Lou,

    (1) I never claimed to have been vicimized. I did commit a crime, I served the sentence for that crime.

    (2) The issue at hand is that the laws in place are not long-term solutions. As you say, my case “muddies the water.” But the water has been muddy for 15 years now.

    (3) There are cases of CONSENSUAL sex between chidren on the registry. Those cases include that of Ricky (cited in the article).

    Do you have an answer for the long-term?

  69. Also, I want to point out that the actual article talks about several different cases. Sam’s case is NOT the case where the 13 year old girl lied and said she was 15. That was someone named Ricky. Sam actively molested someone who was in junior high school when he was almost an adult and was convicted and served 10 years in prison for it. I doubt we’re hearing the whole story here.

  70. LindaLou,

    If you would like to investigate the facts surrounding my life, everything is open book. I would invite the dialog, so long as it brings a long-term solution to the problems.

  71. This is why I’m a feminist.

    Teens having consensual sex happens. It is part of growing up. We are all born sexual beings. How many parents have freaked because little baby Johnny has an erection when they go to change the diaper? I realized the other day my toddler was masturbating! I was shocked and then conflicted-how do I react to teach her that its okay what she is doing without repressing her sexually?

    Unwanted sexual advances are another topic. The unwanted ass/tit/crotch grabbing by unknown (or known) men is a problem many (most?) women have experienced. When the 15 yr old grabs the 13 yr old’s breast, he needs to be taught why that is unacceptable behavior. It is unacceptable because he does not have the right to have access to any female he wants. It is unacceptable because that violates the 13 yr old’s personal boundaries/space.

    IMO-the solution to the 15 yr old’s behavior is to have the punishment fit the crime-community work at the women’s shelter, a stern lecture about a woman’s right to determine who they have sex with. A follow up a year down the road to see if they have learned the lesson.

    Putting the 15 yr old on the Sexual Offender ‘s list is not the answer.

    The 21 yr old guy who lines up with the the other guys at the frat party to have their time with the passed out woman in the bedroom? That guy (and the others in line) need to have some jail time for rape. Perhaps be on the Sexual Offender list for 5 yrs and then a follow-up to see where the now 26 yr old man is.

    Sex is a Good Thing as long as it is consensual between age appropriate partners.

  72. No, Sam. My focus in life isn’t solving your problem. Amazing, huh? I think it’s a huge mistake that Lenore’s given you this forum for expressing your woes and trying to defend yourself. Has she chosen to give a forum to someone who had consensual sex with a person close to their own age, I would feel differently. The way it stands, I don’t care about you or what happens to you. I think there’s a huge amount of spin in your story. I know people like you and I have a good nose this type of narcissism. Go get a crappy job someplace that hires convicted felons. I’m sure your parole officer can point you in the right direction. You’re not entitled to a respectable, well paying job just by virtue of being clever.

  73. Sam, I’m not interested in having a *dialogue* with you and after this post, it’ll be over soon after it’s begun. I’m so creeped out that you’ve even been drawn to this website where parents post about their children, you have no idea. I’ll always imagine you lurking here now and it’ll inform what I chose to share and write. I don’t see how anyone here can read your posts and claim they wouldn’t want to know if you were living down the street.

  74. Linda Lou,

    I am not on parole. I have been free of any sentence for several years now.

    I did not ask you to solve my life’s problems, as you say. I asked you to consider long-term alternatives.

    You say things would be different were it someone like Ricky speaking out publicly. I know many people like Ricky. Most of them either do not have the resources to speak out. Most were kids who have been beat down since their time in prison and who have given up.

    Most of the kids I know in Ricky’s situation lack any emotional support system.

    You are correct, however, in saying that I am not “entitled” to a job. No one is entitled to anything. But even day labor companies have started refusing to hire sex offenders. That eliminates your “crappy job” theory.

    My interest is in discussing long-term solutions. There are more than 650,000 people registered as sex offenders. That is a lot of people. Nearly everyone in America knows a registered sex offender–whether or not they are aware of the fact.

  75. urthlvr, I think you’re on the right track. I would add a few things, but not really change anything.

    Anyone underage who does something inappropriate should have their parents involved too. No, it is not their fault, however, discipline of their child is certainly their concern. Why a child commits a crime is something that needs to be addressed. Is it necessarily because the parents abused/neglected/encouraged the child? Certainly not, but something, at very least, failed to teach this child that it is wrong. That needs to get corrected. A good parent would want to be a part of the correcting, and a bad parent needs to be found.

    I don’t think there’s really any need for a sex offender registry. It fails it’s purpose literally by definition. If the purpose of something is to protect us from these people, and it lets people out where they could hurt us, it is failing. The place for people actively dangerous to us is prison. It’s already there, just waiting to do it’s job. Also, Sam mentioned civil commitment for those who have served their punishment but still pose a danger.

    If they’ can be reasonably said to pose little to no danger to us, then the only purpose of this registry is shame, not protection, and the only people who would need to look at it were nasty-minded gossips who delight in ugliness because it gives them something to do with their time.

    From a societal point of view, we must ask ourselves whether any punishment can ever make up for any crime. So far as I know, no punishment of a criminal has ever tangibly helped any victim recover what they have lost. No punishment ever kept anyone safe. What keeps people safe is removing proven hazards (like the habitual child molester or the bottle of bleach under the sink) or fixing hazardous situations. If a person is a criminal, there are two choices I see, imprison him so he cannot harm again, or rehabilitate him so he will not harm again. If he will not harm again imprisonment serves no purpose.

    As for what the victim has to live with, the only punishment worthy of that is that the perpetrator should feel in his deepest soul exactly what he wrought. If he doesn’t care, then a sex offender registry will not stop him from doing it again, and if he does, not registering will not MAKE him do it again. You really can’t have it both ways. Either you’re doing for actual, tangible good, or you are just being vindictive.

  76. Check out Sam’s blog, guys. He compares his situation to the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the Gulag Archipelago. But he’s not a VICTIM or anything. Really, just such crap.

    “In the early days before World War II, German Jews were living under laws similar to sex offender registration. Most people know what the Germans did to the Jewish people. But they forget that the Nazis did not only register, pursue, imprison and exterminate Jews. They had lists of “undesirables,” which included homosexuals, communists, political subversives. Many people who were under this system complied when they were forced to wear public insignia, such as the “Star of David” patches. They complied when they were moved to the ghettos. They complied because they knew the alternative was more violent and painful. Many of these persons believed that things would go no further. No one wanted to imagine the atrocities human beings are capable of…especially in our “modern and civilized” society. They complied until they realized it was too late.

    I remember sitting in prison, reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The most important lesson I learned from his book was the truth “Me today, you tomorrow.” No one in history has ever given up his own civil rights, but rather many have always given up the rights of his/her neighbor. We do not sacrifice our own liberties, but we are quick to find a justification for the sacrifice of the rights of a neighbor to defend the republic. The Germans blamed the Jewish people for their economic problems among other things at the instigation of the Nazi party and others. They formed conspiracy theories and misused the popular press to build sensationalist stories of how the Jews were to blame for the feelings of insecurity in their nation. They did this to gain power more than out of any sincere hatred. Hate follows anger. Anger is rooted in fear. The Germans had a fear of national economic disaster and social upheaval and the Nazi’s merely provided a face and target for that fear as a tool for mobilizing action. What resulted from that fear continues to haunt the German people as a scar on their society. People did not speak out as one and defend the rights of a minority. They quietly continued on, ignoring the events around them and allowing those with ambitions of power and greatness pervert the discipline, order and effectiveness of German industry to an evil and contemptuous undertaking.”

  77. LindaLou,

    Welcome to the blog. For those who would like to read the blog you can find it at http://x684867.blogspot.com.

  78. Reading the excerpt of the above passage I am left to wonder how this shows I am claiming to be a victim.

    This is consistent with my earlier statements that my greatest crime in life was to have enabled retroactive legislation.

  79. Yes, everyone read the blog of the narcissistic sociopath so we can all be clear about who he is and move on. LOL.

  80. LindaLou: “I’ll always imagine you lurking here now and it’ll inform what I chose to share and write.”

    So, wait, on the Free Range Kids blog you are going to always imagine a pedophile lurker and be eternally cautious because he may be out to get you? Why are you here again?

  81. LindaLou, you seem to have gotten a wrong impression here, somewhere. I’m not defending Sam. Without a great deal more knowledge of what he did to whom under what circumstances and how that has affected and continues to affect his victim, I can possibly judge him.

    This isn’t about him. the fact that an axe murderer asks for justice does not make giving him justice wrong. Sam’s point is not invalid simply because he is the one that makes it. This is a logical fallacy.

    We do know that there is at least one person who was convicted of peeing in the woods. We know that there is at least on person who was convicted of having sex with his/her three years younger girl/boyfriend.

    So, I will ask you this: How many of those people is Sam worth? How many innocent victims will you allow an actual wrongdoer to claim? Because, when you sentence them for what he did, you make them his victims, as well as your own. Is he worth two good, but mistaken, people? Three? Ten? A hundred? And what makes those other people worth half, a third, a tenth, a single percent, what he is worth to your mind?

    Personally, I do not think any evil you could name is worth sacrificing innocent victims to. I wonder why you think it is.

  82. “I don’t care about you or what happens to you.”

    “You’re not entitled to a respectable, well paying job ”

    “I don’t see how anyone here can read your posts and claim they wouldn’t want to know if you were living down the street.”

    Obviously LindaLou, you DO care what happens to Sam. Yes, I’m quote mining a bit. I chopped off part of the “job” one. But is Sam entitled to any job under any condition? We’re essentially adding to his sentence because it feels good to beat someone down for a crime we abhor. And I find the crime revolting too. But we either keep him in prison for ever (or kill him) or let him out. If we let him out, then what’s the best way to make sure he doesn’t re-offend? If you really think the current solution works, great. Some of us don’t think it’s working.

  83. LindaLou, I’ve met a narcissistic sociopath in person, and believe me, they would never say outright, “I was wrong, and I will not pretend it is otherwise.” They say “What I did wasn’t so bad once you understand the circumstances. ANYONE would have done what I did. I was a good person when I did it because I had the best interests of someone else at heart.”

    The first rule of the narcissistic sociopath is to deny, blame someone else, and, above all, never admit fault. To do whatever is necessary to preserve their image to the world. If he were truly narcissistic and sociopathic, he would be telling you about how someone else made him do it, probably the victim herself, and he was a completely innocent victim the whole time, and, in fact, should have been the one to press charges.

    I’m not even going to say he’s a good guy now, but, no, he isn’t a narcissistic sociopath. Again, by applying a title to someone who doesn’t deserve it you’re making the people who do deserve it look better.

  84. (1) Some of you found my email address and started emailing me directly. That is okay, since I post everything on my site anyway.

    (2) The majority of the responses on this forum and in my email right now are on target. The important issue is the public safety, not me specifically.

    (3) Most of the concerns expressed appear focused on keeping out loved one’s safe. I can appreciate that. I married a great woman a few years back and realized when her car was keyed that my reaction was not one of “let’s sit down and discuss long-term solutions.”

    Everyone here should commend Lenore for opening this dialogue. She has taken an enormous risk that the other media outlets will not take because they do not believe people have the views expressed thus far (with the exception of one or two).

    What Lenore has done with this blog is objective journalism, a dying art in our free-speech society. There are mothers and fathers whom I know that once expressed some very…er…conservative views of sex offenders and registries until they came to find their son OR daughter had been arrested, convicted and registered.

    What I am about to say should not be taken as an excuse for my negative behavior. I chose to act as I did and I faced the appropriate consequences for my actions. Nevertheless, before I was a sex offender I grew up in a very unstable environment. I was seriously abused. I used to believe that the appropriate judicial response to an offender of any kind would be summary execution on tape on site the same night as the offense. No trials. That was my attitude at age 14 or 15. My attitude came from the hurt I felt, the confusion and the anger I used to cover for these emotions.

    This blog is about protecting children. In this case the goal should be to protect them not only from being victimized but to protect them from becoming a registered sex offender.

    So, this begs the question how did I become who I once was 15 years ago? How did I become a sex offender?

    THAT should be the question on everyone’s mind. My parents didn’t think I would become a sex offender. In fact my father wanted a soldier. My mother wanted a doctor. I wanted my computers and technical problems. Where did things go wrong?

    I was the quiet kid in school, the ‘wierd kid’ people did not understand. Teachers considered me exceptionally bright, but I never applied myself until highschool Adults always considered me a good kid until I turned say 12 or 13. That is when the anger kicked in. That was when I started to lash out. I hated the secrets, the hurt and the confusion. I hated the fact that no other kids understood me and I could not relate to them. I became violent and did non-violent but outlandish things that earned me attention. I shocked people by becoming a dare devil in many cases. Privately I enjoyed my geekish ways. But publicly I did whatever it took to get people to like me. The worst thing you could do in my presence was say “You won’t do….” followed by some act that was not in my best interests. It never failed. I did whatever it was because I didn’t want people to think I was scared. After all, in my view back then men didn’t show fear.

    I did what I thought would make me appear to be more of a man than I saw myself to be. I had no clue what it meant to be a “man.” When my mother went out of town on a business trip, leaving me home alone for a few days I started out coding a small program I was working on. Soon I became bored. I needed a thrill. I left the house and went for a walk. I met to girls whom I took home with me. We went to my mom’s house and things went from there. I failed. I had no interest in the welfare of the girl whose breast I touched that night. I didn’t love her. I only wanted one thing. I wanted excitement and I wanted to find a thrill. I wanted to prove I was a man by “getting laid.”

    If anyone reading this knows a kid who acts like I did, THAT is the kid you will be protecting by reading this. THAT is the kid you or someone needs to sit down with and say “Here’s the deal.” That is the kid that we must find and say being a “man” is not what you think it is.

    I now am content with the person I have become…and If I make a mistake, I am married to a woman who has a high heel shoe she will use upside the back of my head until I understand I have done wrong.

  85. In Michigan, most young sex offenders can be kept off the SOR if they participate in an education program for a certain ammount of time. I suspect other states have similar escape clauses. This fear that your sons will be convicted for having consensual sex with their girlfriends is as overblown as fearing they’ll be kidnapped. Please remember that all of the outrageous stories we’re hearing here are ONE SIDE OF the story. There is no epidemic of teenage boys having their lives ruined by SOR’s. There IS a shitload of sexual assault that runs the gamut from outright violence to scary encounters with flashers and public masturbators.

  86. I never said there was an epidemic, I was asking how many innocents are you (as in whoever is reading this, not anyone specifically) are willing to sacrifice. What is the magic number? When have there been too many teenage children sacrificed for this to be just?

  87. Elena,

    Actually many states DO NOT have such “escape clauses.” In fact, the new Adam Walsh Act passed by the US Congress is retroactively REMOVING any such protections in many states.

    There are a few thousand cases in Texas alone which match the “teenage boys” like ricky. A few of them testified in front of the Texas Legislature this year asking the state of Texas to pass a bill that would protect juveniles who keep their nose clean and allow them off the registry.

    Though the Legislature passed the Act, Governor Perry vetoed the bill.

  88. I don’t have a problem with Lenore posting this. The great thing about a blog is that you don’t have to read and participate in discussions about posts unless you want to.

    As for the person who stated that not one of us can say that we wouldn’t want to know if Sam was living down the road, you’re wrong. I have never once looked up sex offenders in my area. I have taught my children what to do in different scenarios. Pointing out houses for them to stay away from may be a good idea but I hesitate for 2 reasons: 1) I would just make myself paranoid by knowing every single person convicted of anything in my neighborhood and 2) I think it may cause some complacency in my children. So as long as the man/woman doesn’t come out of the 3 houses mom pointed out then they must be ok. I would rather teach them how to respond in any situation and to trust their instincts than to scare all of us when we don’t even know the real story behind all these men and women.

    For the record, I don’t believe Sam has stated he is a victim. I have not gone to his blog nor do I plan to so I am going off his comments here. He is a little wordy though. The long-term solutions he is asking for most likely won’t affect him anyway. They will help future generations. I do believe something needs to be done re: consensual sex between teens and the SOR.

  89. Sam — While I, obviously, don’t approve of your past behavior, I commend you for being so open about it and for admitting that what you did was wrong and you paid for it. It takes a lot for people to admit they’re wrong and even more to be open about their past, especially when when it includes any crime, but especially a sex crime. If your situation is how I understand it (that you ended up on the registry because of a retroactive law), then you have every right to stand up against it (it’s unconstitutional, for starters).

    I agree that the registry doesn’t work, and I think part of the reason that at least some of the people become repeat offenders is because of the registry. Treat a person like a savage for long enough, and that’s what they become.

    LindaLou — I think you’re overreacting in regards to your judgment of Sam. For one, Sam wasn’t saying he was Ricky. Lenore mentioned a person who was convicted at 17 for fondling a younger teen, and he’s now 34. That is Sam, and that’s what Sam said was him.

    Yes, he screwed up. He admitted it and served his time. While I would argue that the offense that landed him in jail was at least in part due to failures in the justice system, he still took responsibility for his crime and spent his years trying to make changes for the better to himself and that very same system, so that those who did just screw up and aren’t sociopaths can get the rehabilitation they need and even a basic support system so that they wouldn’t feel as if the only way they could turn their life around is to go (back) to prison. He paid his debt to society and seems to have made a change for the better.

    Please don’t get me wrong, you have every right to be concerned for the welfare of your children. Every parent should have concern for their children, both to keep them from becoming victims and from becoming offenders. However, I do think your concerns are somewhat misguided here. Sam has first-hand experience with the system as a sex offender, and therefore offers valuable insight into its flaws and how it could be improved.

    Rich Wilson — Last I heard, Kevin Mitnick has a really successful IT Security Consulting Firm.

  90. I’m finding the Texas Sex Offender Registry to be quite useful this evening. You might want to check it out.

  91. LindaLou,

    I didn’t think you were interested in this…

    But since you are, if you start at my first blog posting or find me on the registry you can dig there.

    You could also find my court records in Williamson County, Texas and Travis County Texas.

    You can research my TDCJ ID number (684867).

    Williamson County Cause #93-185-K26.
    I don’t remember the Travis county cause number off hand…but google will tell you that.

    Again. Start with the blog from the August postings. It starts with 1993 and the beginning of my story in full detail….more than a short article here was able to post.

  92. What I’m not interested in is your take on things. I’m interested that the incident with the 13 year old girl was not your first conviction. I’m interested that you sexually assaulted a young women prior to that. I’m interested that your 10 year prison sentence was the direct result of your being a serial offender. I’m interested in whatever else you’ve done, but just didn’t get caught or convicted of. I’m very interested that the state of Texas considers you at HIGH risk to reoffend. Oh, and I’m interested why you don’t seem to think that your potential friends, neighbors, or employers should have the right to that information about you. You know, because being on the sex offender registry is akin to the murders of millions and millions of people.

  93. All information concerning my past is public and all of the painful details are set out in my blog at http://x684867.blogspot.com), where it has been posted for more than a month.

    I am sure I have said this many times, I am the case which proves registration is not working. Yes, at 18 I did relapse. I had no work, was in debt up to my eyeballs and had no support system. I was released from jail after having undergone NO treatment program. There was nothing for me. I saw no way to survive.

    Was I a victim? No. Was I a “serial offender”? No. Serial offenders in Texas are placed under civil committment. I am not under civil commitment because I am not a serial offender.

    I am ranked as a HIGH risk using the Static 99 tool. As you claim to be an expert on this subject, you will note that Static 99 gives me two points automatically due to age: The first risk point is my age at the time of the offense. The second point is the fact that age 17 and 18 I had not had a serious two-year relationship.

    Static 99 is a well documented tool, whose author even suggests it is not a good long term evaluation of risk.

    Those who know me know about my past. My wife knew about my past long before we were married, back when we were just casual acquaintances. The best man and his wife and kids know about my past, as do their parents. Coworkers have known about my past (including one coworker who emailed a large client about my past and ultimately cost the company its contract because she was ‘protecting the public,’ though her actions cost several people their jobs when they were laid off).

    All of this, LindaLou does not change the facts as established by the US Department of Justice. Only 5% of offenders released in 1994 committed a new sex offense.

    This issue is NOT about me personally. There are others on the registry. Would you now like to open that dialog about the registration problems? You have spent all day saying you are not interested in the issues but continue to carry on.

    This is not about me. This is about protecting the public.

    How do I benefit from this? I am guaranteeing that I am going to be harder to employ by going public. I am bringing the attention of people like you to my life. I am putting myself at risk of vigilantism (which we know happens) and I am doing this because it is the right thing to do. I am doing this because I am trying to make things right the best way I can…by effecting positive change.

    I appreciate the adversarial nature of our debate. You have given me exactly what I wanted. I wanted an open discourse on the issues. Thank you. Now let’s move on to the real issues.

  94. Here’s a question from the Devil’s Advocate: how come we don’t have registries for other offences that are likely to re-commit? Don’t get me wrong, rape is very high on the vile scale. But I’d also like to know about the serial DUIs. And the serial Break and Enters to support a meth habit.

    I’m not trying to diminish Sam’s crime in any way. I’m just saying that if the registry is so that I can keep my family safe, then there are other people out there who I think are just as much a risk to my family.

  95. There’s really no *real issue* to debate, IMO. I think most people have made it clear that they think that having public urinators and sexually active teenagers on the registry is stupid and counter productive.

    Stories like yours, however, make me happy we have a registry. If you lived in my neighborhood, I’d want to know so I didn’t befriend you, not knowing that you were a potential risk to my adolescent daughter (Please note that just because you claim you won’t or haven’t reoffended, I don’t necessarily believe that. Much like I didn’t believe that you got a 10 year prison sentence for fonding a 13 year old as minor yourself. It was pretty easy for you to try and let the good posters here who were giving you the benefit of the doubt believe that, wasn’t it? Kind of like it was easy for you to say that you’d paid for your “crime” singular instead of saying “crimes.”)

  96. “I am bringing the attention of people like you to my life. I am putting myself at risk of vigilantism…”

    LOLOLOL. Poor, baby.

  97. LindaLou,

    I am glad to see you have come to agree that “public urinators and sexually active teenagers on the registry is stupid and counter productive.” As I recall, you earlier had no room for any consideration of anything other than the status quo. That is a positive sign.

    I am also glad you found me on the registry. You just showed some of the problems with the registry. If my arrest date was 7/6/1994 and my conviction date was 9/94, perhaps you would like to explain how a second conviction date of 11/94 appears on the record.

    The fact is, the registry does not paint the full details that Court papers demonstrate. The registry mislead you to make assumptions that I am sure you will now go to great lengths to research. I invite you to do so. You will find that what your research uncovers was put in print some time back on my blog.

    I did my time and I paid for my crime. I served my ten year sentence. Ten years. Yes, ten years. How you contest that I am not sure, since it is public information. I served the entire ten years because in Texas during the 1990s a sex offender was not eligible for the Sex Offender Treatment Program until 18 months prior to the end of his/her sentence. But at the same time the person could be considered for parole.

    Should you wish I will sign a release and you can have access to Texas prison records and my sex offender treatment records. Open book. Disprove me. Because once you actually end this focus on me we can move on to the issues.

  98. “I am glad to see you have come to agree that “public urinators and sexually active teenagers on the registry is stupid and counter productive.” As I recall, you earlier had no room for any consideration of anything other than the status quo. That is a positive sign.”

    I said no such thing and I haven’t “come to agree” with you on anything. I’ve held that opinion all along. It’s you and your situation I have a problem with. YOU belong on the registry. That doesn’t mean I believe eveyone does. But hey, the truth isn’t really a consideration when it comes to your rantings, is it?

    I don’t care to do any “research” on you aside from what your sex offender registry shows. Ta ta.

  99. LindaLou. Sam’s argument is that, in too many cases, the registry fails in it’s purpose to show you who actual threats are. You are saying the registry is a good thing because it shows you who real threats are. Public urinators are not threats, yet it shows you those people. Similarly aged teenage fornicators are not threats, and it shows you those people.

    Sam is arguing that the issue is that the registry fails because it gives to much bs along with actual information. Sam is also arguing that there are better ways to deal with risks, such as ACTUALLY REMOVING THE RISK. You are arguing that these are bad ideas. Why do you feel that the bs on public urinators and teenage fornicators are not a problem and why do you feel like letting dangerous people back into society is not a problem? These are the non-issues of which Sam speaks.

  100. Rich: Because emotions don’t run so wild when it comes to such other crimes, most people would recognize registries for them as expenditures of taxpayer money that increase government intrusion into people’s lives.

    For that matter, I strongly suspect that bills to expand the sex offender registries would be a lot less popular if they were accompanied by provisions requiring the state to hire a proportional number of probation/parole officers to monitor the new registrants, rather than simply increasing the workload of an already-overworked group (Jaycee Dugard might have been freed a lot earlier if this were the case).

  101. lindalou,

    If I am such a danger, doe the registry make you feel safer knowing that it only works if I comply?

    Assuming I am such a danger would you not feel afer if I were under civil commitment?

  102. ebohlman: That because whomever would be touting a law to register, say, reckless drivers, isn’t talking about how many CHILDREN ARE KILLED EVERY YEAR BY THIS MENACE. Note the caps indicating that it is Very Serious.

    If there was a campaign started, right now, talking about how reckless drivers are killing sweet and innocent (white) little school children as they’re crossing the school parking lot to get into their mommies scrubbed clean minivans within five years there would be a registry for them. In fact, Texas has already taken the step of adding additional yearly fees to maintain your driver’s license if you get too many points. Points are earned by horribly reckless things like going 66 in a 60 on a sun day with no traffic. Or having the van next to you blow past you at 75 while the cop is aiming at you.

  103. Several people here have excellent points. Separating fact and emotion is critical to any analysis.

    Once the sex offender issue is viewed on its merits, the logic of registration fails. Civil comitment, when carefully and properly applied, becomes a better alternative and a more cost effective alternative, epecially when viewed in light of the five percent recidivism statistics.

  104. As someone pointed out before, 13- and 17-year-olds often go to school together. 13-year-old freshmen and 17-year-old seniors are often in the same buses, classes, sports teams, lunchrooms, marching bands, and school plays. From that perspective, 13 and 17 is hardly an age gap at all.

  105. Peter: Yeah, have you met them? They’re all whiny little brats. The biggest difference between a 13 year old girl and a 17 year old girl is whether they’re swooning over the Jonas Brothers or Linkin Park.

  106. I must apologize that I have not explained civil comitment. As per email request, let me explain civil commitment–

    several states have various civil commitment laws.

    when an offender reaches the end of his or her sentence the offender I reviewed to determine if the person is a continuing danger to society.

    if the person is a danger, then the person I committed indefinitely.

  107. LindaLou — How about we forget about Sam for a few moments.

    What are your thoughts on the Sex Offender Registry itself? Do you think any aspect of it needs changed? If so, what needs changed and why? If not, why do you believe it works just fine as it is?

    Do you think there might be ways to prevent sex offenses from happening in the first place? How about preventing relapses from those who already offended?

    Do you think it’s just that an 18 year old gets put on the list for having consensual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend (or HER 16 year old boyfriend)? Do you think it’s just that a man is put on the list for relieving himself in the woods and getting caught by a family with a child? Why do you feel it is or isn’t just?

  108. LindaLou fwiw I am right there with you. The obsession this site has with giving Sam a platform and minimizing the seriousness of sexual assault undermines any other good points that Leonore might make. It’s creepy, and the arguments are intellectually specious at best.

  109. I’m sorry some of you are having trouble reading. What part of my exact quote “I think most people have made it clear that they think that having public urinators and sexually active teenagers on the registry is stupid and counter productive” is unclear?

    I think the sex offender registry should be saved for people who actually commit sexual offences, particularly those who do it more than once. In other words, people like Sam. I know these people would love to seemlessly reintegrate themselves in to society, but I think our rights trump theirs. I don’t want them volunteering at my childrens’ schools or coaching the soccer team. I don’t want to associate with them so I don’t them working for businesses that I frequent. And if they move in next door, I damn well want to know. The truth is, I think prison sentences should be much, much longer and if it was up to me, Sam would still be in jail.

    We have civil commitment in Washington where I live. It’s only applied to the worst of the worst and it’s questionable whether or not it’s constitutional. If sentences were made appropriately long, particularly those who commit the most horrendous crimes, offenders wouldn’t be getting out jail in just a few years.

  110. mammatiarnat — It’s not that we’re minimizing the seriousness of sexual assault, even Sam’s case. As I’ve said before, what Sam did was a serious crime. He deserved to go to jail for what he did, and he did go to jail for it.

    However, that doesn’t change the fact that he does have good points, which he happens to share with Lenore and other people here — there are serious flaws in the system surrounding sex offenders, particularly with the sex offender registry.

    Remember, too, that victims of sex crimes are more likely to know their attacker. It’s far more likely that it will be a teacher, uncle, parent, or friend than some random stranger three blocks away. So, while you’re busy watching Sam or the guy down the street who pissed off his underage girlfriend’s parents when he was 18, your children might be getting fondled by your husband or your brother or their third grade teacher. Or perhaps it’s your own son that’s doing the molesting.

    Think about that for a moment.

    And before you think “oh, my [husband/son/brother] wouldn’t do that, he’s a good man!” I have a story for you:

    I have a family member. He’s a good man. Quiet, a little nerdy, a loving husband and father. He was raised in a Conservative Christian household, in a conservative area (actually, that’s an understatement, his grandmother was Amish and his mother Mennonite, and he lived in Amish country).

    He pleaded no contest to 20 counts of gross sexual imposition, and 3 counts of rape, with his son’s 12 year old friends.

    His plea bargin put him in prison for 10 years, without parole, and listed as Tier 1 offender for the rest of his life in the state’s registry. He probably won’t be allowed, by the citizens, back into his home county (and probably a couple of surrounding counties), let alone his home town.

    Now, I’m not telling you this to get pity. I don’t want pity. I, personally, don’t need pity, but neither do I pity him. I love the man as a family member, but what he did was sick and wrong, and I have information that suggests that his actions date farther back than what he was charged for (unfortunately, the statute of limitations expired regarding the specific case(s) I know of, so they couldn’t have been used). This tells me that he will probably be at risk of repeating if he doesn’t get some damn good rehabilitation. He deserves to be in prison for longer than what he was sentenced.

    Yet he was a “good man,” raised by great parents, and who had a good life. This further illustrates that sex offenders come from any sort of background and can be anyone, yes, even a member of your own family.

  111. LindaLou — Since you’re referring to me regarding the “having trouble reading,” comment, I do apologize. I read your statement earlier that you “have not come to agreement,” and had somehow missed that that had been your point of view all along. Considering the only two things you have made clear this entire time is a) that you want anyone who’s done just about anything sexually with anyone that’s not 18 (even if the offender isn’t 18, themselves) prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law” and b) your hatred for Sam, I think making a small mistake on something you didn’t make clear to be reasonable.

    However, I asked a handful of other questions that still apply. I know I’d love to hear your answers to them, and I’m sure other people here would like to, as well.

  112. Downplaying things that would be considered sexual assault and grounds for firing and possibly arrest in the workplace as “just kids being kids” when it happens to a girl in her teens IS minimizing sexual assault.

  113. mammatiamat,

    You said “LindaLou fwiw I am right there with you. The obsession this site has with giving Sam a platform and minimizing the seriousness of sexual assault undermines any other good points that Leonore might make. It’s creepy, and the arguments are intellectually specious at best.”

    Who has minimized the seriousness of my crimes. I asked several people to read this blog and tell me where I did this, no one can find where I minimized the severity of my crime.

    Recently you wrote “Downplaying things that would be considered sexual assault and grounds for firing and possibly arrest in the workplace as “just kids being kids” when it happens to a girl in her teens IS minimizing sexual assault.”

    I did not say these words. I did not downplay the seriousness of my offense.

    I have been busy today, but in the back of my mind I have been wondering what it takes to prove that I am NOT minimizing my offense.

    It appears that by the logic of persons such as yourself or LindaLou, the only way I can not minimize my offense is to say nothing and permit you to pass any retroactive law for any reason with unfettered discretion. Historically we call that “outlawry.” It is a dangerous thing. In fact it is so dangerous and aborrent a concept in the law that this nation fought a revolutionary war with the British to escape a government which had practiced such acts.

    I cannot undo my past. But I can spend every day of my life–however long that may be–living within the law to prove you and LindaLou and Florence Shapiro and others wrong. I have told many people that I do not expect registration to be eliminated within my lifetime. There is too much emotion and too little objective discussion on the topic for it to be resolved quickly. Thus, as I told my wife last night, I look forward to revisiting this discussion in–say–25 or 30 years.

  114. I don’t believe Slaute was meaning to minimize sexual assault, and if he did, then no one agreed with him on that (particularly when you’re talking about non-consensual acts).

    Slaute claims that there are people on the registry that were on there from age 10 or 12 for “playing doctor,” then I think the state is overreacting. At that age, kids don’t have the capacity to see what the long-term effects (especially life-long) of their actions are and it’s up to the parents to teach them that their actions are inappropriate. The state shouldn’t be putting them on the registry for the rest of their lives for it.

    Consensual sexual acts are another matter, as well. Human beings are sexual creatures, plain and simple. Parents should be teaching their kids what is and isn’t appropriate and when acts are and aren’t appropriate. A person shouldn’t end up on the registry for life simply because their boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents didn’t like them and decided to raise hell.

    The problem with the registry, too, is that it only has just enough information to cause trouble. A person who was listed because his girlfriend’s parents threw a fit (and it does happen, I’ve had my own mother threaten to call the cops for statutory rape on a guy I was seeing, even though we had never done anything sexual, she just didn’t like him because he was older) gets at least some of the same charges listed as someone who actually decided to rape an underage girl. It provides no gauge for who is actually “dangerous.”

    The issue at hand isn’t that sex crimes are being trivialized or overblown, but rather that the registry is causing more harm than good, especially for those that aren’t a danger to society.

  115. LindaLou said “I don’t [want] them working for businesses that I frequent”

    We can agree to agree or disagree on most of it, but that bit scares me. Let’s try to get past Sam in particular here. It sounds to me like you’re not thinking about safety, you’re just being vindictive. It feels good to kick people who do bad things. Hey, I know the feeling. There are days I’d love to have a DUI convict to kick.

    But let’s try to get past our gut and use our heads. If we marginalize and don’t let ex-cons into society in any way shape or form, we increase the chance that they’ll stop trying to play by the rules of a society that doesn’t want them.

    The way I see it, we have three choices. We keep them in prison for ever, we let them out and try to make sure they stay straight, or we kill them. If we go with option 2, then continually kicking them isn’t very smart. I’m not saying kid gloves, or pity, I’m just saying if you use them as your personal punching bag, at some point their going to hit back.

  116. There’s nothing “vindictive” about expressing your views through boycotting. How absurd. I have every right to decide which business to support with my hard earned money based on my own moral code and that’s what I do. I also don’t see Roman Polanski movies because I don’t want to line his pocket. My boys don’t participate in Boy Scouts because I won’t support homophobia and bigotry. There’s a particular local company that I stopped frequenting based on the fact that the owners won’t hire black people. There are all sorts of choices I make on a daily basis with my money based on my own morals. I don’t want my money to go toward paying the salary of a rapist or pedophile.

    And Dragonwolf,
    Seriously, WTF? Now you’re attributing two more things to me that I never said which are untrue. Just because you type it out doesn’t make it fact.

    “a) that you want anyone who’s done just about anything sexually with anyone that’s not 18 (even if the offender isn’t 18, themselves) prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law””

    I never said this. learn to read. What I said was, “As the mother of a 7th grader, let me just say that if a 17 year old boy fondled her sexually, you’d damn well better believe that it would be a crime and I’d want it prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” And for the THIRD freakin’ time:

    I DON’T BELIEVE THAT PUBLIC URINATORS AND SEXUALLY ACTIVE TEENAGERS (consensual) BELONG ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY.

    ” and b) your hatred for Sam”

    I don’t *hate* Sam. I don’t even know Sam except for what I’ve seen on here and one his blog. I disagree with most everything he stands for, which I’ve made quite clear and I don’t think he’s honest. Tha being said, you don’t get to attribute things I’ve never said or felt to me. Worry about your own self. You sound very young.

  117. LindaLou, what Sam is here standing for is that you shouldn’t put public urinators and consensually sexual teens on a sex offender registry and that actual dangerous sex offeders don’t belong mingling in society.

    It sounds, actually, like you DON’T actually disagree with most of what Sam stands for, you are simply offended by the crimes he’s done and want to distance yourself from him. You want to be able to say, “This person is nothing, NOTHING, like me or anyone I know,” when, in fact, YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS.

    You want the system to differentiate between the dangerous and the misguided, do does he. You want the system to keep the dangerous off the street, so does he. If you disagree, now would be the time for you to point out that I misread, that you really do think public urinators are a public menace, that those kids really should be shamed for life, and that you’re much happier with child molesters moving in down the street than in prison where they belong.

  118. LindaLou — Technically speaking, I said “just about” anything, meaning almost anything, meaning that NOT everything, but all but a few exceptions.

    And no, you didn’t outright say, “I hate you, Sam,” but your attitude toward him across a dozen or so comments says it for you:

    ““I am bringing the attention of people like you to my life. I am putting myself at risk of vigilantism…”

    LOLOLOL. Poor, baby.”

    “Wow, Lenore. I normally love your blog, but not this time. Thanks for giving Sam here a platform express how much he’s been victimized! :::eye roll:::”

    “Go get a crappy job someplace that hires convicted felons. I’m sure your parole officer can point you in the right direction. You’re not entitled to a respectable, well paying job just by virtue of being clever.”

    Everything you’ve said in regards to Sam has been dripping with venom and you appear to be incapable of looking past him and what he did as a juvenile (a paid for) and try to distance yourself from him, even though, like Karen said, you actually agree with him on far more than you’ll admit to.

    The original issue has nothing to do with Sam, but with the flaws of the registry. Now, I ask you again:

    What are your thoughts on the Sex Offender Registry itself? Do you think any aspect of it needs changed? If so, what needs changed and why? If not, why do you believe it works just fine as it is?

    Do you think there might be ways to prevent sex offenses from happening in the first place? How about preventing relapses from those who already offended?

  119. LindaLou: my understanding of a boycott is that it is an attempt to change behavior. You obviously have the right to spend your money where you will, but in the cases you cite, you are changing behavior for the better. Or at least in my opinion you are. In the case of “paying the salary of a rapist or pedophile” you are actually pushing the behavior for the worse. Do keep in mind that if they’re back in prison, you’re still supporting them.

    And I agree with Dragonwolf. You are positively gleeful in pouring abuse on Sam. Which is ok if it makes you feel better. I suspect he’s had much worse than you and probably really doesn’t mind much.

    How about this as a solution. Repeat non-juvenile offenders be required to pay a percentage of their above poverty level gross income to programs that prevent the crime(s) they committed. Would you feel better about supporting a business Sam worked for if you knew that in doing so you were financially supporting anti-rape programs and victim services?

  120. You guys are hilarious. You’re practically fawning all over a sex offender who lied to you (by omission) and tried to convince you that he committed a single offense as a juvenile, when he actually sexually assaulted another young woman as an adult. You know what? Instead of telling me that it’s not “all about Sam”, why don’t you try reading Sam’s blog (if it’s up and running again ~ amazingly, it’s been out of comission since this debate began~ Things that make you go hmmmm.) and tell HIM that it not ALL ABOUT SAM. It really is All. About. Sam. He compares the being on the sex offender registry to being a Jew in Nazi Germany or a prisnor on the Gulag. Seriously, @@. Also, he DOESN’T just want public urinators and sexually active minors taken off the registry. He doesn’t want the registry to exist in any form for anyone.

  121. I have checked the blog…hosted on blogger. it hasn’t been down.

    http://x684867.blogpot.com

    but you are correct to say I believe the registry should be eliminated, since civil commitment has demonstrated success and could be funded with the waste from the registry.

  122. re-reading this thread I realize one fact we have not covered, which I must thank LindaLou for bringing to my attention.

    In texas a 17 year old is and adult under the law.

  123. How can we get this made a national law? My son just turned 13 this week, and I love him more than life. It would kill me if something he did as a teen ruined his life and his future. Even just drawing more attention to this problem (thanks, Lenore, for doing just that) might help overzealous dads see that reporting the boy isn’t just going to result in breaking up the relationship their daughter is having–it’s ruining the boy’s entire future and that of his present and future families. So many people seem to turn to authorities for situations in which they should either walk away (like reporting their own kids for child neglect when the adult kids are simply doing something they disagree with) or handle themselves (like a daughter in a problem relationship).

  124. Tracey R,

    Getting enough people to look at the issue is the first step.

    Second there is a need to write federal law makers and tell them your position.

    Third, at the state level laws mut chenge. When this all began, it was the law of each state that created registries for the states. Then in recent years, federal laws complicated the situation by creating just the kind of tandards we see in georgia and texas and requiring all states to meet the standards or else lose federal funding.

  125. LindaLou — No, he didn’t also talk about the first incident he had in this discussion. For one, it wasn’t what landed him in jail, and for two, it wasn’t what Lenore had talked about. Lenore mentioned only the incident that DID land him in jail and he stated that that was him.

    I have read Sam’s blog and in it, he clearly states what he did BOTH times. If you read his blog, you would see that he states both very clearly. He also talks about a number of other things that he had done that he now regrets, but did because he felt that that was what he had to do to get by (he was a 17 year old on probation, on his own, with no support net of any sort).

    He doesn’t blame anyone else for his mistakes, he never claimed he was innocent, he has taken responsibility for his actions and has served his time in prison.

    Could he be lying about the details? Perhaps. Anyone here could be lying about anything. However, he has been open about everything, including giving out the information needed to look up not only his registry entry, but also his trial, and a good chunk of other information about himself. The registry and court files corroborate his blog entries, so I’m willing to bet that if someone tracked down the dozen or so people that he named that he came in contact with during his prison sentence (inmates, guards, wardens, and police officers), they’d also give corroborating accounts.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not fawning over Sam for any reason. I have no reason to. I won’t, however, stand by and watch you sling venom at him for no rational reason. As I’ve stated already, I abhor what he did as a juvenile and I agree that he deserved to go to prison for what he did. However, he served his time, he paid for his crimeS.

    It seems to me that you’re doing a lot more fawning over Sam than you realize, considering you continually come back to him in your comments. If he were really a narcissist, as you claimed earlier that he was, then you’d know that you’re only feeding into his narcissism by constantly trying to make a stink about him, because by doing so, you’re giving him attention.

    So, to bring the discussion back to the primary issue that Lenore originally brought up:

    What are your thoughts on the Sex Offender Registry itself? Do you think any aspect of it needs changed? If so, what needs changed and why? If not, why do you believe it works just fine as it is?

    Do you think there might be ways to prevent sex offenses from happening in the first place? How about preventing relapses from those who already offended?

    Sam — I don’t know if it’s a WordPress thing, or what, but for some reason, the link to your blog doesn’t seem to want to work and keeps redirecting to a different page. The first time you linked it, it was because a stray character got in the way. This time, I’m not sure why it’s doing it. Here’s my try, since I linked things earlier with no issue:

    http://x684867.blogspot.com/

    To those that would like to read his blog but have been unable to:
    If the link still doesn’t work, his blog can be found by going to Google and typing in “x684867 blogspot”. The very fist link is to Sam’s blog that he’s been trying to link (entitled “Stand Up!”).

  126. Sam — Copying and pasting the URL straight from your address bar works better than typing it.

    You missed an “s” in your last attempt to link it. So you have “blogPot” instead of “blogSpot”. :)

  127. Dragonwolf,

    sorry about the bad URL… I was in the field trying to setup SpamSOAP for a network and haggle with a vendor that didn’t deliver equipment I need at a site while typing a blog entry on a 2″x2″ PDA screen.

    Is it a sign of age when you start complaining about the size of keys on a keypad? ;-)

    An easier to remember URL that has links to my blog would be–

    http://samcaldwell.net

    In fact, as this is my professional site, everyone should know that it also has a link to the StandUp! blog which is syndicated by RSS feed. That means anyone who knows me can read the same things about me that Dragonwolf read.

    The first part of the blog spans the years 1994 to 2004. I have not written about much after prison to protect those who have helped me and supported me through my reintegration. If you ask why I wrote this blog, well….quite honestly I did it because I didn’t want to be accused of lying about my past. But in an age where most people don’t want to read more than a literary equivalent of a sound-bite, it was not practical to provide an indepth profile of my life in Lenore’s article. People just will not read that much.

    The point Lenore is trying to make is made with the facts as presented. Given one incident, one act, and one charge where a 17 year old touches the breast of a 13 year old, whether or not the act was consensual, the crime will result in the offender being a registered sex offender for life. That is established law under the Texas Penal Code and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (Chapter 62) as well as the federal act (SORNA).

    Registration only works where the offender complies with the law. Otherwise it will not protect the public.

    There is an alternative, which has proven itself for almost ten years now. It is called “civil commitment.” Under civil committment, when an offender reaches the end of his sentence the offender is evaluated by professionals to determine if the person is a continued danger to society. If so, the offender is taken before a civil court and subjected to indefinite commitment for his mental illness.

    LindaLou earlier cited Washington’s civil commitment, saying it only incarcerates the “worst of the worst.” In Texas many civil commitment cases which could be pushed through are not as well. This is true. But the problem here is not that civil commitment doesn’t work, it is that we are not funding this program to keep known dangerous offenders off the streets.

    Given that only 5% of all sex offenders reoffend and most sex offenders today are first-time offenders, it does not make sense to register all sex offenders, since the majority will not commit a new offense. It makes more sense to fully fund civil commitment laws and eliminate the waste we call registration.

    Civil commitment is not a matter of an offender’s willingness to comply, as with registration. Under commitment a person has no choice but to comply. In fact, the program is so tough, most in Texas do not survive 18-months before being returned to prison for violating civil commitment orders.

    LindaLou does not appear to agree with civil commitment questioning its constitutionality. However, the US Supreme Court already ruled in the 1997 case of Kansas v. Hendricks that civil commitment is in fact constitutional. However, the Court has agreed to hear yet another case questioning the constitutionality of registration. In fact, this week, Kentucky’s Supreme Court struckdown part of that state’s registration laws, citing constitutional issues.

    Therefore, when we consider how to handle the sex offender issue, I will always fall on the side that is constitutional AND solves a problem. That solution is civil commitment and not registration. Simply puting people on lists does not prevent the serious offenders from reoffending.

  128. “What are your thoughts on the Sex Offender Registry itself? Do you think any aspect of it needs changed? If so, what needs changed and why? If not, why do you believe it works just fine as it is?”

    Continuing to ask me questions I’ve already ansered is really, really stupid and annoying.

  129. “What are your thoughts on the Sex Offender Registry itself? Do you think any aspect of it needs changed? If so, what needs changed and why? If not, why do you believe it works just fine as it is?”

    Is there any particular reason that you continue to ask me questions that I’ve already answered? Do you think it makes you look clever? It’s really, really weird.

    “I won’t, however, stand by and watch you sling venom at him for no rational reason.”

    LOLOL. Yes, because Sam is the poor victim of my evil blog posts. Like he claimed earlier, I’M the one who’s a danger to him for typing out my opinion. Kiddo, give up while you’re ahead. I’m not going to agree with you on this nor am I going to argue with you any more. Nice to meet you, but I’m not impressed.

  130. Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that twice. The first one didn’t show up immediately.

  131. LindaLou,

    I have not said I am a poor victim of your posts. I have said that by publicly speaking out there is a danger involved. The same reasoning is applied to any person who publicly speaks out. Many people who start putting their personal and private information out in front of the public have to acknowlege the danger of doing so.

    That diversion aside, the facts everyone else has been discussing do not change. It does not matter if the facts are presented by me or the purest of saints. Fact stands on its own merit. Those facts include several points–

    (1) According to US Department of Justice statistics, only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returned to prison for another sex offense.

    (2) The 5% of sex offenders who reoffend are not prevented from reoffending as a result of registration. In fact, registration only has any chance of having any minimal positive effect if this 5% comply with the law. That means the remaining 95% who will statistically NOT reoffend are left to be listed on the registry, at a cost to tax payers.

    (3) Consider registration in light of the terrorism problems faced by this nation over the last ten years. Would having terrorists on a registry make them any less dangerous? Not hardly. They are still able to commit their violent acts. The answer to incarceration is to identify a threat and remove the threat.

    (4) In the case of sex offenders, we have the legal means of removing a threat. it is called Civil Commitment, whereby an offender who is proven to be a continued danger to society can be placed under indefinite aggressive monitoring and/or institutionalization. This definitively protects the public.

  132. LindaLou on Octover 2 at 4:16am

    “I think the sex offender registry should be saved for people who actually commit sexual offences, particularly those who do it more than once. In other words, people like Sam. I know these people would love to seemlessly reintegrate themselves in to society, but I think our rights trump theirs. I don’t want them volunteering at my childrens’ schools or coaching the soccer team. I don’t want to associate with them so I don’t them working for businesses that I frequent. And if they move in next door, I damn well want to know. The truth is, I think prison sentences should be much, much longer and if it was up to me, Sam would still be in jail.”

    Is this the response you’re referring to?

    Okay, so it seems you don’t have an issue with the registry, then? (I’m just making sure I’m understanding you correctly.) You’re okay with a good chunk of your tax dollars going to fund this and those who maintain it (as opposed to going somewhere else, such as better education or a better police force)? And you’re okay with it, as is, aside from the public urinators, despite the fact that 95% of the people on that list won’t reoffend? You don’t believe that the registry is unconstitutional?

    You also still didn’t answer my last two questions that I’ve asked:

    Do you think there might be ways to prevent sex offenses from happening in the first place? How about preventing relapses from those who already offended?

    And yes, there is a method to my madness for repeating the questions like a broken record. It’s called derailing your ranting and getting you back on the issue at hand. You can rant about Sam until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not going to change the fact that he’s here and he’s a free man (and I’d venture to guess that unless he does something that Lenore feels warrants it, he’s not leaving anytime soon).

    I am curious, too, Linda, are you a Christian? I’m curious because I can’t help but think — if you are, you certainly don’t act like one.

    Finally, name-calling is unbecoming of anyone, especially you, my friend. Regardless of how old I am, or how old you think I am, I am old enough to have a civil discussion about even touchy subjects as this one. However, in order for us to have a civil discussion, we all must be civil, and in order for us to have a logical, reasonable discussion based on facts (such as whether or not a particular method works), we also must have a head that is clear and in control of our emotions, no matter how heated we get, or how passionate we are about the matter. Otherwise, we don’t do anyone any good and we do nothing but talk in circles.

  133. >>>>And yes, there is a method to my madness for repeating the questions like a broken record. It’s called derailing your ranting and getting you back on the issue at hand.

    Oh, I’d call it something else entirely. Being intentionally obtuse, maybe? Try rereading the entire thread. I’m not playing your stupid little game. ::smiling sweetly::

  134. First, you all have way too much time on your hands. I have read this entire thread and most of it was a waste of time. If you are going to comment on things, then please read everything.

    I have never heard of civil commitment before. But doing a search on Google I found that civil commitment seems to be a lot harder. I don’t care if a blind man says the sky is blue. As long as I step outside and see that it is in fact blue, then the fact cannot be disputed.

    Registration always seemed a good idea because I didn’t see an alternative. Now I have to ask myself why we are doing something that hurts more than it helps.

    Did anyone here read the links Sam posted earlier? I know, he’s a sex offender. But seriously, you people read his blog but how many of you read about some of the other cases reported by the media on this subject?

    I met my wife when she was 13 and I was 17. No, I am not going to tell you we were pure, saintly virgins. That was back in the 1970’s and we did things like teens now do things. The only difference is that our parents didn’t mind. We were married when she turned 18 and have been married since. Am I a sex offender?

    One of the stories Sam cited involves a guy named Frank Rodriguez. Did anyone read that story? Probably not. You all are too busy going back and forth on pointless details.

    The good thing is that after reading all of this, my insomnia is finally cured. I would like to hear more about these sort of cases, as I really want to know if this civil commitment thing is a real alternative to registration.

  135. LindaLou, Sam may or not make it all about Sam, but YOU certainly do. You have chosen to make everything you have to say all about Sam. Many of us have tried to redirect your responses into a not-Sam direction, and yet you keep saying that it is entirely laughable t o make this a discussion about anyone BUT Sam. Great, you have a lovely internet anti-crush. Will you get over it now and concentrate on something else, please? He’s just not that into you.

  136. RDC, yes you are a sex offender, and, yes I feel it is likely offensive to REAL victims to call your wife one.

    I don’t believe you should be called as a sex offender, but, according to current laws you were an adult molesting an innocent, unsuspecting child who could not possibly know what she was agreeing to.

    For the record, I’m in TX. Here, if your 17th birthday is today an your gf’s 17th birthday is tomorrow, having sex yesterday was consensual teenage shenanigans, and having sex today is statutory rape. Even if both happened.

  137. I just don’t buy the fact that one partner over 16 + one partner under 16 automatically = sex offense. I know people don’t like to hear this, but actually, some 13 and 14 year olds DO lie about their age, do actively seek out sex. Why in these cases is the liar considered innocent? Why is the male always the offender and the female always the victim, regardless of circumstance? I am talking about consentual behavior, naturally. But I just don’t get it. It makes no sense. We might as well lock up 5 year olds caught playing doctor. Makes as much sense.

  138. BMS,

    Here are a few articles that will give you insight on the problems. These are cases where kids as young as TEN YEARS OLD are on the registry:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-familyexperts_19met.ART.State.Edition1.4b90e00.html

    Some are not consentual, some are. The point is that these are kids, as in the case of Dale in the following story–

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6628571.html

    The problem is where Texas may soon consider implementing the new federal standards dubbed the “Adam Walsh Act.” Ohio already did this and kids like Dale in that state found that their ten-year registration period was suddenly revisited YET AGAIN to a life-time registration.

    Diane Jennings (Dallas Morning News) write a great article entitled “Justice experts say sex offender registry ruins a juvenile’s 2nd chance” (See

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-familyexperts_19met.ART.State.Edition1.4b90e00.html).

    The problem here are that experts in the criminal justice field are telling America that there is a problem and Americans and political figures are still applying the same failed solution.

    Interestingly many people who have emailed me have expressed shock. People do not seem to have been aware of the problem because very little media coverage has been given to this problem until recent months.

    More interestingly is the trend I am starting to see emerge in my research. Most sex offenders ARE juveniles. Take my experience to heart when I say that you do NOT want these kids growing up angry, feeling like they are not a part of society. Consensual sex or not, the current system will consume them.

    I was fortunate when I went to prison in that I met a group of older convicts who told me to stand up for myself, avoid gangs and a few other good survival lessons. I managed to emerge from all of that with a positive outlook. But I know guys who went in young and did not have the good fortune I experienced. These kids come out really messed up in the head. They hate and they want someone (anyone) to target with that hatred.

    As for your comment “We might as well lock up 5 year olds caught playing doctor. Makes as much sense,” read the following story entitled “Is That 4-Year-Old Really a Sex Offender?” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101901544_2.html).

  139. BMS — In some (if not many) states, if the younger is within a certain age of the older, the level of the crime changes.

    For example, in Ohio, if the older is over 18 and the younger is 16, then the act is a misdemeanor because there’s only a 2 year age difference. However, if the age difference was 4 or more years (so, if the older is 20, for example), then it becomes a Tier 2 felony. More than 10 years’ difference is a Tier 1 felony (and, in my opinion, rightfully so).

    The law is explicit, though (at least with some charges), about how it doesn’t matter if the older knows the younger’s age. I don’t particularly agree with that, because it makes it all too easy for a younger to lie about their age and end up ruining the older’s life. I think cases of active deception should be taken into consideration (for example, a 15 year old going into a club that only allows 18+ in, because they had a fake ID).

  140. I just think about my own experiences. I was 19 and my husband was 30 when we met 20 years ago and started dating. If we had met just a couple years earlier, our obviously loving, stable relationship would be a crime. That makes absolutely no sense.

  141. BMS,

    I hear ya! You really should read the story of Frank Rodriguez.

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=4400537&page=1

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/2005-05-26/news/jailbait/

  142. I am so glad to see that i am not the only one who see the problems in the sex offender registry. I agree that people who commit violent non-concensual sex acts should be punished and we should have a way to protect ourselves from them. My partner is a registed sex offender, he is guilty of the carnal knowledge of a juvanile, that being said it was concensual sex with a girl who was almost 17 and had already been pregnant twice, she was not a child any more. For the rest of his life he has to register and put his picture in the paper and have people look at him like he might rape their 10 year old daughter. I have a friend whose daught just came up pregnant she is 15 the guy who got her that way 21. They are having him arrested and put in jail. I wonder if they have looked at the bigger picture like that had already intervened in this once their daughter chased him and now he has a child with their daughter that is going to need to be supported. Who is going to do that since he will be in jail and will always have a hard time finding a job for the rest of his life not to mention that his child one day will have to hear untold amounts of crap from other kids that his dad is a “sex offender”. I think that people should take more time to teach their children about sexual responsibility and then maybe it would be easier to tell the “true” sex offenders from the false. The truth is that the majority of sex offender laws are just a way of the government enforcing morality issues, something that is the parents jobs not the governments.

  143. lynn, No, I doubt they’re thinking of the big picture. They’re probably thinking of the little, tiny picture that says, “If people will agree that it is his fault it will mean our daughter shouldn’t have to deal with this bad decision,” or, maybe, “If we prosecute everyone will know that we didn’t fail as parents; our daughter was victimized, she’s not a whore.” One of them is less ugly, but both of them are pictures of people desperately trying to evade reality.

  144. I know that a serious sex crime is different than some horny teenagers, but I would be SUPER upset if my 13 year old was sexually active and would be especially cautious if they were hanging out with a 15 year old. I know it’s only two years, but it makes a world of difference at that age when it comes to making hasty decisions. I don’t know…maybe I’m just a little too conservative.

  145. Karen, Megan & Lynn,

    Yesterday I recieved an email from a woman who finally emailed me and said I could post the following concerning her daughter on her behalf:

    ——————Email————————–

    Sam,

    I understand what you are saying about kids on the registry. My daughter is a registered sex offender. She was 19 when she met this young man who was only 15 and they fell in love. My daughter was in college. The 15 year old was too. He had graduated early because he is ahead of his age, really super smart and all. I had been happy to know my daughter had found someone who was going to be so successful, and his parents were happy their son had finally found people he could relate to. But someone turned this in to the authorities and I will never know who. State prosecutors charged my daughter with the highest level of felony they could because they had oral sex. My daughter left college since then and has only a year to go on her probation.

    Because the is labelled a registered sex offender, men now think she is a whore or something. They treat her like she somehow wants to be asked horrible things. But she was in love. Her relationship with the “victim” was broken off because she can’t talk to or communicate with him. Why is this right? How can they do this to people and call it a law?

    ——————Email————————–

    This woman’s email went on but I only have permission to post this portion which does not compromise private details.

    The law must be applied consistently as it is the law. Therefore, when we say the “age of consent” that implies that anything below that age is non-consensual. Thus, a 13-year old in Texas has no ability under the law to “consent” to sex. They may be able to sneak out as I did when I was 13, but they can’t consent. They may be able to think independently enough to walk from Sonora, Texas to Eldorado, Texas, but they can’t consent.

    The justification behind “age of consent” is to protect the children from manipulations by adults who might prey upon them. I can see some of that logic. The problem is that in many states there isn’t an affirmative defense as was recently enacted in Texas. Now, in Texas there has to be an age gap of 3-4 years before a crime is said to occur. The problem is that registration does not inform the public whether the offender’s crime occurred before or after that provision was enacted.

    Under current registration, an offender who committed his otherwise consensual act before the affirmative defense rule was passed, requiring prosecutors to prove a 3-4 year age gap, would appear in light of these new rules to have violated consent.

    It gets convoluted, trust me. I have been working with this issue since 1995, and I get lost at times. Last week I started helping a guy work on his Master’s Thesis studying the registration issue. I was afraid his head would explode after an afternoon of reading through registration law just to understand the evolution of this mess.

    It is real simple, registration does NOT work. If I had a daughter and she were dating a hethen like myself from age 15-17, I would probably let Round Rock Police Department have him too. I know that telling two teenagers they can’t see each other is a virtual guarantee they will go out of their way to do so. We can probably all agree this is true. Convincing him through the fear of God is sometimes a good alternative.

    Now, if someone commits a crime and goes to prison where there are treatment alternatives and chooses NOT to participate, then at release, the person should be evaluated for civil commitment. Even where a person does participate, the person should be evaluated for civil commitment. Why? Because civil commitment will remove the person from society until he/she is no longer a threat to society.

    Registration only works if a sex offender complies with the law. It is expensive and ensnares the wrong people, represents facts inaccurately and does nothing to PROTECT the public. Meanwhile, civil commitment allows a person to be institutionalized to some degree under Court order indefinitely because that person is a CONTINUED DANGER to society.

    What makes you more comfortable? Do you prefer to know where a sex offender lives? Or do you prefer to know that the proven dangerous sex offenders are institutionalized?

  146. Megan: No one (I hope) is suggesting that parents should not take note, but, if you knew that your daughter was deliberately seeking out older boys to have sex with, would you really believe that prosecuting them (any or all) would help her? Would you think “If I just prosecute this one she’ll stop?” Or would you, as a responsible parent, focus your attention on figuring out what the heck was going on in HER head so that she stopped the behavior because it was unhealthy?

  147. YOU CAN’T MAKE UP STUFF LIKE THIS.

    A good friend of mine, single mom, was called down to the local public school recently to answer charges levelled against her 5 year old KINDEGARTEN son.

    The young boy was wrestling, playing with a girl from his class in the school yard.
    During their rambunctious activity he stuck his nose in her armpit.
    The young girl complained to her parents who subsequently filed a written complaint with the school.

    The school has now placed this 5 year old kid on some kind of “potential sexual predator” watch list.
    Which will no doubt follow him for the rest of his education career.
    The kid can’t even SPELL the word sex.

    True story!!
    Like I said, you can’t make this chit up!!!

    Someone… please… stop the madness.

  148. I received a call from (at the time) my daughter’s 4th grade principal one day at work. (A woman whom I knew very well).

    She said that I had to come pickup my daughter, as she was involved in an incident that caused her to be suspended for the day.

    One of the boys in her class was running around the schoolyard lifting up girl’s dresses.
    When this young boy (who is now serving our country in Iraq, I am very proud of him), tried to do it to my daughter, she first warned him that it wouldn’t be the smartest thing he ever did.

    He tried to do it anyway.

    She kicked him where it hurts boys most.

    And he fell to the ground in crumpled agony.

    When the principal told me the story, I did not initially respond, allowing for a “pregnant pause” before answering.
    I finally said “Is there a problem here?”

    The principal said to me, “Somehow I knew that would be your response, please understand that we cannot allow any kind of violence in school”.

    To which I replied “Understood, just know that I am gonna come down and pickup my daughter as you ask. But I am probably gonna take her for an ice cream”.

    Another time I received a call from the same principal about my 1st Grade son.
    Had to go pick him up as well.
    There was a young girl in his class who was offering the boys kisses for 25 cents in the schoolyard.
    She complained to her teacher that my son called her a “PROSTITUTE” in front of everyone. (he was a big fan of the TV show “Cops”).

    Once again, I asked the principal.. “Is there an issue here?”

    She laughed with me….again.

    STOP THE MADNESS!!!!

    Can we please allow kids to be kids again?

  149. Islander505,

    Seriously, I would have been pissed in your case. Your daughter did what was right. Bureaucrats teaching our children that defending themselves is wrong.

    I busted a kid’s nose in elementary school because he hit my sister. He never did it again. Of course, my sister could have held her own. She did the same as your daughter once when I was outnumbered and she came to my aid. I guess the only thing my parents did right was to teach us to standup when necessary.

  150. Standing up for yourself is now unacceptable violence. Our town had a Teen Court, where teens could go for Class C misdemeanors instead of real court, get community service instead of a fine, and keep it off their record. You have to plead guilty or no contest, it only does sentencing. Teens did the prosecuting, the defending, and were jurors.

    Here, fighting isn’t “fighting in school” it is the Class C criminal offense “disruption of classes.” This “disruption of classes” can happen across the street after school hours. And everyone who is involved in the fight is guilty, because it isn’t “fighting.” It also comes with a three day suspension from school.

    We had a girl who was dragged into a circle by her hair and prevented from leaving while she got the crap beaten out of her. The school prosecuted her saying “she should have gone to a teacher.” When asked how you can prevent something like this, students are told that you “always know” when someone is going to beat you up and you have to make three attempts to tell a teacher (or other official) before you can possibly be considered innocent.

    In 8th grade we did have one kid try the non-violent not fighting back against a much, much smaller boy. He was suspended, despite his mother’s THREE HOURS with the principal. There were two dozen witnesses who said he did nothing to fight back. He was guilty of not trying hard enough to get away.

  151. Texas has a law that specifically states that students have the right to protect themselves when attacked. There is a line, they can fight to get away, but if they can leave and seek help they have to.

    Example – I was subbing in a 3rd grade classroom near the bathrooms. I heard a commotion and hell for help outside my door. I pulled the door open and a 6th grade adult sized boy flew by. Literally flew by in the air. I step out in the hall. This 6th grade girl (fit but on the small end of normal) was in a fighting stance – the boy was coming up off the ground and the rest were scattering. The 6th grade teacher came out of the bathroom with 2 more boys holding them apart.

    After an investigation it was found out that
    1. 6th grade boy from the hall had ordered the other 2 boys to get in a fight in the bathroom

    2. 6th grade boy had been making inappropriate passes at the girl

    3. 6th grade girl had just gotten her black belt and boy had tried to get her to play fight with him and she refused.

    4. When the teacher went in the bathroom to break up the fight, boy from the hall had backed girl into a corner and tried to touch her breasts.

    5. Girl had blocked him and moved him back 2 x and he kept coming at her – so she side kicked him.

    The boy was suspended. He wasn’t criminally charged because the girl’s parents declined. Boy’s parents tried to file a complaint against the girl, because “under zero tolerance she should be suspended.” They also played the race card, which was weird because both were listed as the same race/ethnic back ground.

    Cops and school officials told boy’s father the school had a zero tolerance of bullying and fighting – but that defending against an attack was not an offense. He tried to press it and the girl’s father threatened to press criminal charges against the boy. The boy’s family dropped it and he was soon withdrawn from school.

    Several times I’ve seen the victim fight back and not face school discipline.

    Another time one of my students, a boy that save his sisters from abuse and possible starvation, was threatened by bullies when I was out and had a sub. He was on high alert, and reacted blindly when an imp in the class yelled boo behind his back. Imp ended up with a split lip and black eye.

    The imp’s father demanded that the other student NOT be punished and he wasn’t. The incident wasn’t even put in the computer. He did get a reference to his councilor (works with the school but for CPS).

    The bullies were suspended for 2 days for making threats (Had a history of carrying them out). The sub was banned from our campus – there was testimony from multiple kids that he encouraged the bullying and called student a wimp. He also made students climb through the window, when they left their library books in my room.

  152. That my school district was out of bounds doesn’t surprise me. But the fact is that, 10 years ago when I was there, they said “zero-tolerance” meant that anyone involved in a fight or physical altercation was equally guilty. That includes the kid that gets beaten up, and any kids that try to break it up. Maybe they’ve changed, but since the high school I went to has the same principal and the same superintendent, I kinda doubt it.

  153. Karen — I’ve had similar issues as some of the students you’ve mentioned, with mixed results (thanks to being in different schools).

    When I was in third or fourth grade, a boy jumped on my back (uninvited). I responded by kicking. While I had meant to kick his leg, it’s not where it landed and he fell off, nearly crying. He told the recess aid, who had seen the whole thing, and he ended up in trouble and I wasn’t.

    When I was in sixth grade, however, a girl and four or five of her friends cornered me on the playground, a decent ways away from the recess aids. I went to get out and I guess pushed one of them in the process (I don’t remember that, but that’s what they accused me of, and it wouldn’t surprise me, considering they where surrounding me). As I was going to the aids, the girl chased me down and tried to continue the fight. At that point, we were close enough to the aids for one to come over and break it up. We both got in trouble (and what angers me is that we were sat in the main hall of the school, not far from the doors to the playground, so her friends came in “to go to the bathroom” and on the way would congratulate her).

    kherbert — I think that it’s great that Texas has a law that exempts the defending student. I find it completely wrong for the defender to be punished for defending themselves (assuming they didn’t provoke the attack). Now, if only every state had that. (And it kind of saddens me that it’s come to the point that we need such laws.)

  154. My son became a registered sex offender at the age of 16. During a tantrum when she wasn’t allowed to attend a party, his 11 year old cousin claimed he raped her every day for two weeks two year before, when he was 14 and she was 9.

    She was allowed to attend the party, he went to prison.

    Many people learn the hard way, a juvenile is not allowed a jury trial in most states. That means it’s simply a hearing before a Judge.

    Even worse, there are no Constitutional rights when a child under the age of 12 accuses. You are guilty.

    My son’s accuser had accused before, and attended sex abuse therapy. She denied this, and thanks to rape shield laws it was inadmissable.

    She was virginally intact. In child abuse circles hymens are now indestructable. A 9 year old can be violently raped ans still be intact.

    The accuser had a contagious bacterial infection my son would have contracted if he raped her anally as she claimed. She denied the disease, medical confidentiality rendered this inadmissible. His attorney said he would have to prove he didn’t contract the disease anyway. How do you prove you didn’t get a disease tow years ago?

    The family left the state a few days before trial refusing to return to testify. He was told it would ‘retraumatize the victim’ for him to force her to testify.

    He was offered a plea for no jail time because he passed several polygraphs saying he didn’t do it. He was jailed after accepting the plea for passing another polygraph. He was now ‘dangerous’. In denial. I was ‘in denial’ as his mother. He was not allowed to attend church or associate with any of the 30+ people who wrote letters on his behalf. They were ‘aiding in his denial’.
    Three years of sex offender therapy my son was recommended prison time because he cold not pass a confessional polygraph saying he didn’t do it.

    As we all know – Children don’t lie.

    For those who don’t believe something like this can happen to an innocent person, I refer you to this defense attorney’s site.

    Thank you. Lenore, for having the good conscience and decency to explore this horrible topic. – A.

    (http://paulstuckle.com)

    The Elimination of Constitutional Rights

    Prosecutors and the child saving industry have convinced the legislature that merely creating hysteria is not enough to insure conviction for those accused. In addition, rights originally created in our constitution to protect the criminal defendants must be eliminated.
    The Rules to Have Changed to Secure Convictions

    All across our nation, state legislatures have supported child advocacy special interest groups. The following illustrates how constitutional rights have been taken away in child sexual assault trials:
    No Right to Confront Your Accuser:

    Criminal law codes have been rewritten to where in many cases, the child accuser does not have to appear in court and face the accused. Instead, the state can offer the child’s testimony through a video tape made by agents of the prosecution.
    “Hearsay Evidence”:

    Hearsay is defined as “a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). In Layman’s terms, “Hearsay” evidence is when a witness testifies about something they do not personally know, but were told by someone else. Hearsay is considered unreliable and is normally inadmissible as evidence against an accused. In child abuse cases however, hearsay evidence is admitted as evidence of guilt. A so called “outcry” witness can testify as to what a child supposedly said to them regarding the alleged abuse.
    “Syndrome Evidence” Is Admissible Against the Accused:

    In most states, the prosecution can have an expert witness testify that the child is suffering from “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome”(CSAAS). This psychological “mumble jumble” is an unscientific theory of supposed traits of abused children. The psychologist who came up with this syndrome many years ago has since indicated that this theory is not reliable evidence in a court of law. Prosecutors do not care! This junk science makes its appearance in courtrooms across the country daily.
    With Syndrome Evidence, the State Replaces Its Lack of Real Proof with Speculation.

    CSAAS theorizes that because an alleged victim is supposedly demonstrating certain behavioral patterns that he/she must have actually been abused. Unfortunately, a big problem with this and other syndromes is that the character traits offered to show abuse are also common for non-abused children. If the child has been crying, he/she must have been abused. If the child has nightmares, he/she must have been abused. If the child is withdrawn, he/she must have been abused. If the child is outgoing, he/she must have been abused. If the child is happy around the accused, its because the child enjoyed the abuse. The list of factors goes on forever. But to a jury, when an expert witness is connecting typical childhood behavior with indicators of abuse, the testimony is extremely damaging to the falsely accused.
    Convictions Without Physical Evidence:

    Our prisons are full of persons who have been convicted of child molestation without any physical evidence ever introduced against them at trial. In other words, the typical evidence in which the state offers to convict a defendant, such as body fluids, blood, semen, hair, DNA, are not introduced at trial to link the accused to a crime.

    Medical nurses and employees whose livelihoods depend upon their contracts with child advocacy centers will give opinions that a child was abused. Failure to give the right opinion will mean the contract is not renewed. These opinions from medical “experts” will say the findings are “consistent with” sexual abuse. Of course, “consistent with” is not a true medical diagnosis. This testimony, as demonstrated by a competent defense attorney will reveal the findings given as “consistent with abuse” are just as “inconsistent with abuse”.

    Prosecutors Secure Convictions by Manipulating the Juries’ Fear of

    Releasing a Child Molester Back Into the Community.

    Instead of physical and medical evidence, the falsely accused are convicted upon theories, inferences, and speculation. Prosecutors secure convictions by manipulating the juries fear of releasing a child molester back into the community. This fear will be combined with hearsay, expert witness “syndrome evidence”, misleading medical testimony, and the biased opinions of child advocacy investigators.

    To support this speculation, a biased child protective services caseworker will produce a video taped interview of the child. This biased interviewer will use leading, suggestive, and coached questions to easily obtain an “admission” from a child. Many times the child does not make a statement that abuse occurred, but merely agrees with the adult authority figure who informs the child of the abuse.

    After an outcry, it is easy to find witnesses who can place the accused in circumstances in which he was alone with the alleged victim.

  155. The idea of civil comittment scares the holy hell out of me.

    I watched my son put though three years of pit bull arena “sexual abuse group therapy” as an innocent person.

    Innocent people are horrifically brutalized for being ‘non compliant’. How compliant can they be?

    How can you pass a polygraph admitting a crime you did not commit? You can’t. You will go to prison for being ‘non compliant’ if you don’t.

    How can you confess and describe in detail a crime you did not commit?

    How can we convict people on ‘children don’t lie’ evidence only, then punish them further for being ‘non compliant’ or ‘uncooperative’ when they simply CAN’T?

    You are REQUIRED as a part of therapy to confess the crime or go to prison. It’s like being forced to confess to the Lindbergh kidnapping or assasinating Kennedy. You can cry “I DID IT! I DID IT! All day long, but you can’t provide corroborating details or plausible explanations HOW you did it, and that is ALSO required.

    A guilty person can confess, act remorseful, say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done, and they’re home free.

    An innocent person will be forced to endure therapy until the time or money allowance runs out, then they are ‘revoked’ and sent to prison, where they can’t get out until they ‘cooperate’.

    It’s endlessly evil.

    My son was HATED by his ‘therapists’. They complained he didn’t LOOK like a sex offender. He didn’t fit the profile – he was highly social, respected, well liked, came from a stable home, with stable parents. He had no history of violence or sexual misconduct. He passed polygraphs saying he didn’t do it with high truthfulness marks, and failed the required ‘confession’ polygraphs.

    He was the first juvenile in the state to be recommended a prison sentence after three years of therapy that didn’t commit another crime.

    “He failed to make his mother believe his guilt” was the rationale.

    At his revocation hearing I was forced to tell the Judge at his request I now believed he was guilty, or he would have gone to prison for 6 years.

    The potential for abuse and committing innocent people to unending incarceration is just too real for me to condone.

  156. I found your article very useful and interesting. I have bookmarked the site for later usage. Peter

  157. My single biggest problem with “children don’t lie” evidence is that, if you look on any parenting site, you’ll find ways to teach your child not to lie.

    Kids lie. They lie about whether they cleaned their room without shoving it all the bed. They lie about whether or not they really took Jimmy’s bat. They lie about whether they really broke Cindy’s doll.

    Saying “no kids lie about abuse” is like saying “no women lie about rape.” It is untrue.

    That said, the consequences to presuming that EVERY child lies about abuse, or EVERY woman lies about rape are too horrific to imagine. Generally, they don’t lie about abuse. But some do. But most don’t.

    I kinda wonder what ends up happening to the kids who falsely accuse. If they’re willing to ruin someone’s life on a whim, you’ve got to imagine that they are rather screwed up individuals. Do they have happy lives? Do they feel no remorse and go on to victimize others in ways that leave them similarly blameless and protected? Do they eventually leave behind a string of people how have “victimized” them leaving their friends and family to wonder why they continue to attract (and be attracted to) such horrible persons? Do they feel remorse? If they do feel remorse and retract their false accusation, can it even BE retracted? Or does the Child That Does Not Lie suddenly become considered a liar?

    And Rio, you are right. Anything that will keep a person who is no danger locked away forever is probably wrong. Anything that will keep an innocent person locked away forever is evil.

    And we can’t say that this system is unflawed when our far more encumbered regular justice system is also putting innocent people away for life (or death). If the system that would let too many guilty people out is still letting far too many innocent in, they I can only imagine what the system that is supposed to prevent anyone guilty from escaping manages.

  158. My big fear is how easily innocent people can become political prisoners with the system we now have in place. Someone who needs ‘disappearing’ could be easily convicted and locked away forever – with NO recourse.

    My son’s therapist’s HATED him. They were sexual abuse victims themselves, which is common, and working out their own issues at the expense of their ‘clients’.

    When my son asked how he could rape a girl multiple times, yet she remained a virgin, the adult woman answered”You must have a small dick”.

    Even though HE was subject to full open public scrutiny, he was forbidden to talk about what was happening in ‘therapy’ – not even to his parents. (which he did at my insistence).

    I anonymously called the management board to ask if this woman’s remark to my son was appropriate. There was quite a few questionable things like this going on.

    If I confronted them directly, he could be ‘revoked’ and sent to prison for telling me about it.

    The board member I spoke to took the usual stance” all sex offenders are criminal genius conniving manipulating liars not to be believed under any circumstance.

    It was child sexual abuse sanctioned by the court.

    My husband and I were ordered to attend a meeting to observe how ‘uncooperative’ he was. She had been coaching and encouraging the other boys to ‘tear down’ my denial…once I was seated and smiling at them, they ducked their heads and couldn’t go through with it. The therapist kept goading them to confront me, but they just wouldn’t.

    We were told if we didn’t quit encouraging our son’s ‘denial’ he wold be taken from our home and placed in a group home with other offenders who would “break down his denial”.

    My husband, at age 49, went home from that meeting and suffered a heart attack from the stress. I wasn’t far behind him…they later told my son he caused his father’s heart attack because of his criminal behavior.

    (This is an example of juvenile sex offender treatment programs

    http://www.ethicaltreatment.org/arizonarepublic.htm_)

  159. Karen: You’re correct that it’s pretty rare for kids to spontaneously make false allegations of sexual abuse, especially younger kids. But the key here is spontaneously. Things are very different when a kid “discloses” after a lengthy period of leading questions from an authority figure who makes it clear what they want to hear, or when a therapist interprets the kid’s behavior as a sign of sexual abuse. Especially with older kids, there’s the possibility that the kid was in fact abused, but misidentified the person who did it.

    So the issue here isn’t really how often (or seldom) kids lie about sexual abuse; that is indeed pretty rare. The issue is how often they’re correct about it; honesty is not the same thing as inerrancy. It’s just one of the many reasons why for any crime, even one as terrible as child sexual abuse, a mere accusation doesn’t constitute evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore isn’t, and shouldn’t be, enough to convict someone.

  160. I remember being coached as a kid by divorce lawyers and refusing to say anything because…well…I didn’t like either parent’s lawyer. I also remember my sister being coached. It is theoretically possible to coach a child into lying about a crime.

    However, on the reverse side, I have been through intense sex offender therapy. I used to hate the “innocent” people whose story didn’t add up. Sure, there are innocent people. I will admit that in recent years we have seen the release of many innocent people, exonerated by DNA. But from my experience, most of the people claim innocence out of a shame that is attached to their crimes or as a means of dodging consequence. This, for instance, is why one reader early on in this story spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find any chink in my life, etc.

    Even as an ex-con, after ten years in prison, I find myself disbelieving any innocent claim without evidence in support. I recall one case from my treatment days where the offender told this elaborate story about how he was falsely accused. Talking to him, the therapist started pulling court documents and asking deeper questions. The key to breaking through the story was when I asked “Did you like it when she cried?” The initial response, the shock, told everyone in the room what we wanted to know. He was lying. Several VERY LONG weeks later we finally got the truth.

    Yes, there are abuses and excesses in every system. But as a person with a lot of experience dealing with sex offenders (including my own life), I think the issue of innocence versus guilt is best left in the judiciary. The problem of sex offender management should not be included in such a discussion. Any truly innocent person should never plead guilty, regardless of the short-term consequences.

  161. ebohlman: Oh, yes, there is absolutely a difference. Kids are very suggestible, else we’d never convince them to act appropriately.

    I remember one case specifically from the ’80s, I forget what it was called, where kids were “remembering” that it all happened in secret rooms with crazy rituals in a day care center. The child workers were still pushing it even though it was demonstrable that there were no secret rooms and the stories were highly implausible and mutually contradictory. I recall it was the post case for child suggestibility.

  162. Sam: Lost of innocent people plead guilty to lots of things, not for the short-term consequences, but the long term ones. The long term consequences of a jury disregarding what the law actually says in favor of “this guy really should have known better,” or “this guy just looks guilty,” or “we need to teach all [type of people] a lesson (with complete disregard to this person’s guilt or innocence)” is a real and powerful threat.

    Most people, when looking at the person in the defendant’s chair have a first thought of “what’d he do?” That attitude makes “innocent until proven guilty” really really hard.

  163. Karen,

    It sounds like Americans need a lesson in civics.

    People have forgotten that you cannot prove a negative. They have forgotten that politicians are accountable to the PEOPLE not the media.

  164. Sam: people need lessons in logical thinking. “You can’t prove a negative,” and “correlation does not imply causation,” and how to use statistics are among the many, many lessons that that they could learn.

  165. LOL…true, Karen.

  166. Thank you, Karen, who ever you are. You are either an uncommonly wise person, or someone who has inside knowledge of how the system really works.

    Sam – as someone who didn’t go through the system as an innocent person I don’t see how you can effectively weigh in on what an innocent person would or wouldn’t do under the circumstances.

    My son accepted an Alford plea with the advice of not one, but TWO attorneys we hired. We fired the first attorney because she wouldn’t even consider trying to prove his innocence. “You’ll never get an aquittal in Seattle” was her mantra. The plea she arranged was a misdemeanor – we fired her and hired another attorney who said he would fight to the nth degree for our son’s innocence…until the check was cashed.

    The plea he negotiated was a felony. The courts were angry we ‘wasted their time’ and ‘retraumatized the victim’ by attempting to prove his innocence.

    “In the evil climate of today’s courts, your son has no chance of aquittal. He will go to prison for 6 years…”there will be no ‘first date’ for him…no first driver’s license, no prom, no graduation…he will be in prison. It’s a choice of cutting off his hand, or cutting off the entire arm”.

    A group of child abuse advocates and ‘court watchers’ attended his sentencing hearing. These are women who didn’t know him or the case. They were there to make sure the Judge ruled to their liking – his reelection was being evaluated.

    I’m not here to hijack this discussion weighing the merits of my son’s guilt or innocence.

    Reread the Attorney’s web page I posted earlier…this is not about MY individual son’s case – this is what YOU or YOUR child will face if wrongly accused.

    Our civil liberties and Constitutional due process rights have been eroded to nearly non existence.

    Many mothers demand over turning what they perceive as ‘criminal’s rights’ in favor of ‘victim’s rights’ without realizing they are setting their own children – if not themselves – up for injustice.

  167. Rio,

    To the contrary, I watched one innocent man stand up for himself. That was on my mind when I made my statement.

    This person went the distance, refused all plea bargains and recieved three sentences (99 years plus 20 years plus 10 years). He went to prison and continued to fight with the invaluable support of his family. After several years of fighting, this man proved his innocence. His case was overturned and he was released.

    Whenever I hear people taking plea bargains because of what their lawyers told them, I remember this man–a man who at 18-years old became a District Attorney’s cannon fodder. He was 24 when he left prison. The court battles continued for several more years, but last i heard he was a married, professional with a kid.

    He also now knows how important it is to vote.

    I will agree with you that our civil liberties have been eroded. This is because as a society we ( including myself ) have allowed the media and politicians to coax us into a slumber long enough to build a political ponzi scheme that is starting to show signs of weakness.

    Your statement “Many mothers demand over turning what they perceive as ‘criminal’s rights’ in favor of ‘victim’s rights’ without realizing they are setting their own children – if not themselves – up for injustice” is right on target.

  168. Sam, yes, you’re right, some people can manage to get their cases overturned. That said, Project Innocence exists because people die in prison, on death row, wrongfully accused.

    So, it’s all nice to say that one should stand up for oneself, but, if one is in a situation where one knows one cannot win, sometimes it will only kill you.

    Take a child, being abused. There are some things that s/he can confess to and get beaten for. There are some things that s/he can confess to and get cursed at for. If s/he has a choice, s/he’s going to take the cursing rather than a beating. Now put that child in with a new authority figure. This one says that if other people like them decide you did X then you go to jail, but if you just SAY you did Y you don’t. That child has been conditioned from birth that he is guilty, no matter what. So that child, now grown, will say “I did Y.”

    Then, you generalize it. You take something horrifying, like child molestation. *Everyone knows* that children don’t lie, and *everyone knows* that you did it if they arrest you. In fact, before his/her arrest, even the accused would think so! So, when you know that even you (because who here doesn’t consider themselves basically fair-minded?) would believe you were guilty if you didn’t know that you weren’t . . . there just doesn’t seem to be a better option.

    It take uncommon faith in the goodness of others to argue for your innocence, and it takes a certain amount of cynicism to frame arguments that are convincing. The usual innocent person thinks that the facts speak for themselves and all s/he needs to do it present them. This is not true, even when the facts are such that they *ought* to speak for themselves.

  169. Rio, thanks for the compliment, but I don’t really think I’m all that wise. I’ve just seen a lot of BS. ‘Cause I sure don’t have insider knowledge.

  170. Karen,

    I know about adult coercion. I survived 15 years of abuse. I did a lot of things as a kid because I did not want the very painful consequences of not complying.

    That said, I learned something in my life: it is better to stand for what you believe is right than to comply and find the path seems easier at first only to get harder overtime.

    Innocent people do die in prison. There is one guy I remember from Ferguson who had compelling reasons for an appeal. He was denied any appellate rights after his lawyer missed a deadline. He could not appeal his case further because Congress passed the “Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act” of 1996 which limited everyone’s rights to a habeas corpus appeal. That means innocent people cannot get their day in court if their lawyer drops the ball. We, as Americans allowed fear of what happened in Oklahoma City compel us to give away a truly valuable liberty.

  171. Sam, I learned the same lesson. It’s an axiom: Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, there is no change. But, first, the status quo has to get so bad that nearly anything would be preferable. Most people, faced with their lives, find that whatever allows them to keep their life is preferable.

    Depending on the person, that could mean “I’ll take life in prison to murder” or “I’ll take whatever keeps me out of jail” or “I’ll turn in my best friend so I don’t get blamed,” or “I said something in a fit, but I’ll be in so much trouble that I’ll let the other person rot.” It all depends on the person.

  172. So, true, Karen.

    Human nature is kind of scary actually. As for me, it has gotten bad enough that I have no choice but to speak out. The laws continue to get more irrational, so I stand and speak. Surprisingly many people listen. Some even contact me directly, including one legislator who admitted to having done something similar to what I did at 17.

    The common response I get from most legislators is that I do not have a “constituency.” We have long ago given up being a nation based on principle. We are now a nation based on hype, marketing and fear.

    Fear always leads to greater levels of tyranny….or so believed a dead Greek guy named Plato.

  173. Karen – I am humbled. I don’t know what ‘b.s. you’ve seen, I will will say you see through it with laser vision.

    Sam – again, I will make note, YOU did not go through the system as an innocent person. Anyone can say what THEY ‘woulda’ done in any circumstance – I would like to hear from the person who actually did it.

    I’m not buying your “he lived happily ever after” version of the story. Accused sex offenders are in extreme danger in prison. It’s not boy scout camp.

    In the time my son was jailed, he was beaten up. He was in solitary confinement for a week and refused medical treatment for his broken wrist because they claimed he could use the cast as a weapon.

    At the age of 16, my son was small for his age – a very sweet, very innocent and very good looking kid.

    I will never know for sure what years of prison would have done to him. Spending the last years of his youth being raped, beaten and brutalized while waiting for an appeal that may or may not come through might have been the ‘noble route’, but I personally have never regretted sparing him that.

    http://www.ejfi.org/DV/dv-80.htm#accuser

    If you scroll down to the title “Victims as Accusers”, the David Dutt case contains many of the same elements as my son’s case. Mr. Dutt refused a plea bargain, and is still incarcerated in Idaho.

    Karen, btw, the case you referred to was the McMartin Preschool case, but there are legions of others –

  174. Rio,

    You are correct. I went to prison as a guilty person. Excuse the profanity here but I am going to tell you what I experienced my first day on the Charles T. Terrell unit.

    A black inmate approached me in the dayroom and asked me, “What you gonna do white boy? Fight, fuck or bust a sixty?” By saying “bust a sixty” he was referring to $60 in commissary to be paid as protection. I chose the fourth option “none of the above.” When he punched me I stood up. When he punched me again, I stood up again. For half and hour, under the watchful eyes of officers who thought this was entertainment, I allowed someone to beat on me in plain view. Yet I continued to stand back up!

    Please do not tell me what the system is like. I never said those of us who go through the system do not come out with some damage. The greatest damage is the inability to relate what prison is like to those who have never served a day without their freedoms.

    I can tolerate anything from anyone, but I will not allow anyone to tell me what the system is like. It is not what most inmates portray it to be. I remember hearing other convicts give the “poor me” stories to those on the outside. Yet I have no tatoos. I never engaged in the drug trade on the inside. I was not raped. I did not accrue massive disciplinary cases. I had no money. I survived because I made the decision to do things differently in my life.

    You can call me a sex offender. You can insult me in any way possible. But when I say what I will do it is because I spent a decade doing exactly what people continue to tell me was and is impossible.

    The gentleman I spoke of earlier came out of prison as I did with a greater understanding of human nature than you will ever find in the media or any retelling.
    I have seen the story on the Idaho case. It is sad, but remember that prosecutors and Courts are allowed to do what they are doing because we as Americans CHOSE to give them the authority to do this.

    As a nation, we chose to give away our liberties and legal protections out of fear.

  175. And, because I”m sure someone is wondering why this is relevant to the “Free Range Kids” blog . . .

    This “harm anything, harm anyone, do anything just to Save The Children” is exactly the hysteria that makes it impossible for parents to show up to schools whenever they feel like to do spot checks on either the teacher or their child, make it impossible for a 16 year old with a car and note to sign himself out for a dentist appointment, makes it incredibly for you to allow your child to learn anything useful, make whittling with potato peelers seem rational instead of ridiculously silly, and it makes us put innocent people through the hell of prison and everlasting social and professional stigma just so the actually guilty “know we mean business.”

    I’d never want to go back to the point where we hushed this up under the rug, but the reason we can’t get tougher prison sentences for offenders is because we have this registry. What are we going to do, make them pariahs for life? Done! Make it easier to convict them? Done! Take away the rights of the accused? Done! Of course it’s fair, don’t you know what they’ve done?!?!?!?!

    The Salem Witch Trials, with their point, scream, convict ease, were supposed to be impossible under our current system, but I think Jefferson, Madison, et. al. overestimated people yet again.

  176. Karen, no truer words were spoken. When people are shocked and angry at the ‘slap on the wrist’ sentencing of an ‘offender’ they don’t realize this person was probably convicted on nothing but the say so of the accuser. SOMETIMES there is nothing to go on BUT say so, but to send a person to decades of prison on unsubstantiated or even impossible claims is happening every day.

    Elizabeth Loftus was the researcher who, almost single-handedly ended the ‘repressed/recovered memories witch hunt era.

    “It’s shocking to me,” says Loftus. “I feel as if some of these accusers are willing to blow up a 747 full of people because there might be one suspected child molester on board. They dont’t care that they’re ripping the hearts out of families by their absolute insistence that this crime must be true, and that any attempt to cast doubt on that is backlash at best, and at worst the activities of some pedophile protector.”

    The conviction rate of these accusations is in the 90% range – does anyone here truly believe it’s because of skillful prosecution tactics? Or because of Kangaroo Court laws?

    Here are ‘reforms’ being suggested by Robin Sax – most are already in practice. Note the demand for DEFENSE attorneys to be ‘sensitive’ to the accuser. What these ‘reforms’ are honestly suggesting is we do away with the ‘problem’ of trials for accused and simply fast track them into prison…
    We need to realize that sexual assault does exist—in frighteningly huge numbers. And later, victims get re-victimized on the stand, and here, reform is also badly needed. But as we think about reform, let’s first put our attention on the following areas first (For my reasoning and rationale, you will need to read my newest book It Happens Everyday: Inside the Life of A Sex Crimes DA):

    1. There should be mandatory sentencing schemes in all jurisdictions.

    2. We need utilize professional juries in sexual assault cases.

    3. There needs to be better supervision of registered sex offenders.

    4. Money and time should be available to train professionals in this field. This
    includes all the agencies involved, including law enforcement, prosecutors,
    advocates, therapists, judges, probation, and parole officers. Besides being current
    on the latest advances in this area, including the laws, studies show that training
    and resources prevent burnout and inspire and motivate people in this line of
    work.

    5. Specific courts should be designated and designed for child sexual assault (and child
    abuse) cases so they are 100% devoted to the needs and realities of kids who
    testify.

    This system can be modeled after the drug courts. These are in place in many
    jurisdictions where specific courts are devoted to drug addicts and focus on
    treatment as opposed to punishment. The courts work with defendants to address
    their issues and are sensitive to the needs of addicts.

    6. 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.

    7. Closed-circuit TV should be allowed more readily than presently used.

    8. Currently, admissibility of expert testimony requires the prosecutor to jump through a
    number of legal hoops. And even when admitted, the admissibility tends to be for
    extremely limited purposes. Expert testimony should be welcomed and encouraged
    (from both sides) in order to assist jurors in understanding the unique issues of child
    sexual assault.

    9. Defense attorneys should be as sensitive “true believers” about victims as they
    are about their own clients. There must be legislation to stop re-victimizing the victim
    during the court process and to cease casting blame on the victim for being a crime
    victim.

    10. Continuing a child sexual assault case for a prolonged period should be
    discouraged. Currently, the speediest cases are tried in roughly a
    year from the date they were filed (but not necessarily reported). Unlike fine
    wine, an aging case never gets better for the prosecution as time goes by.

    In fact, cases involving children should go to trial as soon as possible and definitely no
    later than six months from the filing. This is not only better for the pleading of the
    case, but is critical to the victim’s healing process.

    11. As an alternative to jail and/or prison there should be live-in/lock-down facilities
    intended specifically for working with, treating and studying sex offenders. Like drug
    rehabilitation, there should be facilities where we can take a low-level sex offender off
    the street to ensure the safety of the public and treat him or her (if possible) or at least
    learn from the offender.

    12. 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. This will apply
    to a range of grave offenses, including those involving serious sexual offenses.

    13. Defendants currently have a right to represent themselves (called pro per).
    There should be a total ban, or at least limitations, on what a child sexual assault
    defendant should be allowed to do in the criminal process. For example, he should
    not be able to personally conduct a direct or cross- examination of the complaining
    child witnesses against him. He should not be able to access all the discovery
    information that a defense attorney (an officer of the court) would normally receive,
    such as the victims’ school records, rape exam photos, and other confidential records.

    14. If a case is appealed after a conviction, it may take two or three years before a court
    determines if the defendant is entitled to a new trial. If the defendant is granted a new
    trial, the prosecution would need to bring the victim in to testify again. The new or old
    testimony could then be used as inconsistencies, thus casting doubt on the victim’s
    credibility. If the cause for appeal has nothing to do with the victim’s testimony, the
    victim should not be made to come to court again and the entire prior testimony
    should be stipulated as accurate and complete.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-sax/did-the-economist-do-sex_b_258282.html

  177. Rio,

    You want “professional juries”? Consider the implications of this statement. A trial by a “jury of peers” is intended to bring the public voice to bear on an issue.

    Who selects the “professional jury?” Who pays them? You will find this logic slides down a slippery slope to the current status quo.

    We have a professional jury…it’s called trial-by-judge.

    Here is another idea: Jury by the people as we have it–without some of the rules that guarantee American Juries are almost always composed of persons who have no clue. That’s right, using voir dire lawyers select juries based on the potential for a positive outcome that favors their position, rather than an impartial jury.

    Improving jury selection would be best benefitted if we allowed a different Court and different set of lawyers determine the jury pool.

    I am also in favor of videotaping trials to prevent lawyers from engaging in tactics they know are objectionable in front of a jury, such as inappropriate comments the jury may be ordered to disregard–but which are nonetheless planted.

    As for specializing the Courts to categories of crime, this is another bad idea. We started down this path with the division of the law into civil and criminal courts, each having a unique set of laws. The last thing we need is MORE complexity.

    The public is already overwhelmed with complexity. Good solutions are the simplest solutions. Your suggestions do not pass that standard.

    No offense, Rio, but in point 12 you want to reduce double-jeopardy! You have been complaining about innocent people in jail, but you want to reduce the protection against double jeopardy. HAVE YOU READ YOUR HISTORY?

  178. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I got the idea that putting “reforms” in the quotes suggested that Rio didn’t think they were legitimate.

  179. Sam –

    The only ‘system’ I’ve described is the legal system through a false accusation of child abuse.

    It’s my personal experience, and one I can back up my statements with facts about.

    With the largest prison population in the world, MOST of us know someone who has been in prison, or have worked in prisons.

    Innocent people accept ‘guilty’ pleas in attempt to salvage what is left of their life all the time. It is not something ANYONE enters into lightly.

    My sister and husband are social workers who have worked in the Arizona prison system. Their advice at the time was to do ANYTHING to avoid prison. ANYTHING.

    My employer hires parolees almost exclusively. I hear prison stories all day long. Have for years.

    The ‘justice’ racket is set up to over charge, terrify the accused into accepting a lesser punishment in exchange for sparing everyone a trial. In the vast majority of cases brought to trial the outcome is dismal.

    This is a legal blog discussing REGULAR cases –

    http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2009/06/local-examination-of-the-realities-of-plea-bargaining.html

    It’s not happenstance that defendants who reject plea deals draw disproportionately harsh sentences upon conviction.

    To the contrary, a systematic, thinly veiled threat of severe retribution (charge stacking leveraged by sentencing guidelines) is the core of the government’s power to imbue trial rights with terrifying risks.

    It’s how states somewhat effortlessly compel confessions.

    It’s how the feds easily compel confessions in upwards of 95 of every 100 cases.

    No, the draconian hammer smashes virtually every citizen who loses after putting the government to the irritation of a trial.

    Traditional protections for accused citizens fall by the wayside, of course, but it’s OK because it makes the process more efficient.

    Think what the reporter might have learned by digging a bit deeper, maybe by interviewing a white-collar defendant forced to choose between the plausible threat of 30 years in prison for technical, regulatory infractions or six-months home detention, probation and a fine.

    She might have learned it costs upwards of $40,000 just to “bargain” with the government and upwards of $200,000 to go to trial?

    Or maybe that jurors sometimes don’t understand complex federal charges, and confused jurors can’t be relied upon not to default in favor of the government?

    Or that vague, sweeping federal laws were designed to make them next to impossible to defend against? (In a trial I covered recently the jury broke from deliberations to ask if it were “possible” to acquit on a conspiracy charge).

    As a retired newspaper editor, I’m often saddened by how much media reporting and opinion copy squares up almost verbatim with self-serving DOJ press releases.

  180. We have gotten so far off track, this is my last response.

    Has anyone stopped to consider the factual basis for these laws or their effects?

    (1) According to US Department of Justice statistics, only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 were returned to prison for a new sex crime.

    (2) Additional research has indicated that most sex crimes are committed by persons known to the victim, NOT BY STRANGERS.

    (3) Research also indicates that most sex offenses are committed by FIRST TIME OFFENDERS and not by repeat offenders…a fact reinforced by the 5% recidivism rate.

    (4) States already have registries, and now the federal government is imposing its legislation on a state matter, threatening to remove 10% of federal funds from non-compliant states. This is more about money than public safety.

    (5) Do you consider your federal government MORE efficient and responsive to the public interest than the states?

    (6) Do you support a national ID card system? There are more than 650,000 people registered as sex offenders today with an annual growth rate of 7%.

    (7) Most are not aware of the increasing number of persons considered to be “sex offenders” or the crimes they have committed, including persons who have simply urinated on the side of the road without knowing a minor was present.

    (8) The largest group of registered sex offenders are 14-year-olds who will more than likely never commit a new crime.

    These laws are a bad idea.

  181. Sam – you missed my statement – those ‘reforms’ are being proposed by prosecutors, many are already in practice.

    This particular set was offered by Robin Sax, the source is sited at the bottom of my post.

    When the attorney you have just handed over your life savings – plus life saving you borrowed from your parents – constantly refers to your accuser as “the victim” – no matter how much you proclaim your innocence – you KNOW your’e reliving the Salem witch trials.

    If you will recall, the Duke LaCrosse players parent’s spent over $5 million dollars to defend their sons – or everyone of them would be in prison this day.

    I correspond with one of the mothers in the Air Force Academy rape scandal – the one featured on Oprah. The joke was ‘lock away your daughter’ when I was a kid. Nowdays, the reverse is true – hide your sons!

    All you hear are ‘advocates’ shrilly declaring the military covered up for the accused men, which didn’t make sense with the intense media focus cast on it.

    I have served in the military as a woman, and I knew it didn’t pass the ‘smell’ test….

    You can read the men’s side of the story here:

    http://www.falserape.net/airforcescandal.html

  182. We’re stepping over each other posting at the same time.

  183. [...] [AP/Google] More on sex offender laws: The Economist (”Unjust and ineffective”); Lenore Skenazy (predicate is often teen misconduct with other teens); Radley Balko, Reason (several Georgia [...]

  184. I recall a fairly recent incident, where a 13 year old boy forcibly raped a 14 year old girl. But forcible rape pre-supposes consent on the part of the rapist, and where the crime occurred, a 13 year old cannot legally give consent. At the time the news article I read about the matter in was published, no charges were filed against the boy. But the girl faced statutory rape charges for the “crime” of being the victim of forcible rape! If convicted, she’d be placed on the sex offender registry, while her rapist would not only not face charges, but would not be registered, at all! “Luckily” for the girl, where she lives, juvenile offenders are only registered for a “mere” ten years. Unless, of course, some legislator decides to extend that after the fact…

  185. Bergman, THAT is downright horrifying.

  186. “”Unless, of course, some legislator decides to extend that after the fact…””

    That’s already a done deal with the Adam Walsh Act. Anyone and everyone EVER convicted of a sex crime will be publicly listed, along with their place of employment.

    My son’s 10 years is just up. It is going to cost $10,000. to petition the court to no longer be publicly listed…the Judge MAY or may not approve. If he turns the request down, it’s more money to appeal.

    Then the Adam Walsh Act (the one Oprah is rallying American Soccer Moms to support) will negate any such deals or promises, and list all ‘offenders’ anyway.

  187. Many good and supportive comments here. Anyone seeking more information on these laws and how they damages families across the nation, are encouraged to regularly read http://www.constitutionalfights.org

  188. This blog doesn’t give me much hope. I am being falsely accused. And from what has been written, I am sure to be convicted. The accuser has lied and changed the story several times. I am afraid. I have been awaiting trail 2 years now. So I am going to fight even though I may not win. It is sad someone can lie and you have to go to jail. Why can’t abuse cases require evidence?Why do people say you can fight a rape case but not a sexual abuse case?

  189. If your accuser is over age 12, you may have a chance. If the accuser is under age 12, they can’t lie.

    If you are male, there is a blog False Rape Society you may find helpful.

    I contacted a group V.O.C.A.L. (Victims Of Child Abuse Laws) that didn’t prevent the inevitable, but helped a lot with coping with the aftermath…

    Good luck, and God help the innocent.

  190. Children do lie. You must not have kids to not know you catch them in lies all the time. People know kids lie but when comes to abuse they think kids could never do that.

  191. @Damen I think you are misreading the tone of the comment by @smackdab (assuming that is who you were responding to). He/she isn’t saying children under the age of 12 never lie. He/she is saying COURTS will assume they never lie.

  192. Damen, I’m a brokenhearted mother with three children, one who is on a sex offender registry from a false accusation. When his cousin wasn’t allowd to attend a party she claimed she had been raped.

    Yes. I know children lie. She had made false rape claims since age 4, and after years of ‘therapy’ knew more about sex than I do,

    But that was rape shielded.

    To read how bad these laws have gotten, I recommend a Texas attorney’s site, Paul Stuckle – he tells it exactly how easy it is to convict an innocent person falsely accused;

    http://www.paulstuckle.com/home/the-elimination-of-constitutional-rights

  193. But remember, if the 34 year old (or 44 year old…or..) is a director and an artist, and drugged the 13 year old, then he gets to live in France for 30 years. Not jail.

    That’s for the little people.

  194. The co-consiprator who pimped her daughter out is not on any sex offender registry, either.

    This particular ‘victim’ refuses to accept the “damaged for life” role now required of all victims. She has asked us all to respect her privacy and mind our own business.

    Since the opportunity to tear down one of the high and mighty supersedes any victim’s wishes, it’s pretty much full steam ahead for all noble “victim advocates”.

    So all in all, aside from making all us ‘little people’ who aren’t rich directors or artists feel morally superior – what good has putting anyone on sex offender registries done?

    It hasn’t “saved” any children. It hasn’t made society better or safer in any identifiable manner.

    It has buried our nation and our innocent children in unfathomable debt. It has created an underclass society of homelessness and hopelessness. The largest growing population of those ‘registered’ are children themselves who’s lives are over before even starting. It’s fostered a state of victimhood where ‘victims’ are assured their lives are forever ruined as well.

    But all will be right with the world once Roman Polanski is brought to “justice”.

    Right?

  195. Danielle L Grant 22, of Las Vegas is a RAPIST, she and another man used a date rape drug on Victom Danielle L Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger, Intestines were hanging out of rectum of victom.She is lite skinned 4 ‘9 to 4’11 and she drives a black ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day. .STOPED her please. Victom is too ashamed to go to police,HER LAST PH # 702-685-9588 Danielle L Grant MUST BE STOPED

  196. Danielle Lovey Grant 23, of Las Vegas is a RAPIST, she and another man used a date rape drug on Victom at 2900 El Camino ave. apt 170, Danielle L Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger, Intestines were hanging out of rectum of victom.She is lite skinned 4 ‘9 to 4’11 and she drives a black ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day. .STOP her please. Victom is too ashamed to go to police, Danielle L Grant MUST BE STOPED her last know ph # 702-685-9588
    El Camino apt 170 Danielle Lovey Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger,Her Discription She is lite skinned mixed women 4 ‘7 to 4”9 and she drives a black ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day.STOP her Please. HER LADanielle L Grant 23, of Las Vegas is a RAPIST, she and another man used a date rape drug on Victom at 2900 El Camino ave. apt 170, Danielle L Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger, Intestines were hanging out of rectum of victom. She is lite skinned 4 ‘9 to 4’11 and she drives a black ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day. Sometimes Las Vegas Escort/ Prostitute .STOP her please. Victum is too ashamed to go to police, Danielle L Grant MUST BE STOPED, Known Drug Addict, and Drug Dealer. her last know ph # 702-685-9588

  197. [...] I’ve written about his story, but never with the same frankness and detail as on the website he and his mom put together, Rickyslife.com .  The story is so outrageous and the mom has been so good at bringing attention to the issue of teens branded as predators for having sex with other teens, that the media have paid attention. Now the mother and son are coming to New York from Oklahoma to tape an episode of John Stossel’s show. It’ll air later in the week. [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,094 other followers

%d bloggers like this: