A Public Defender Discusses the Sex Offender Registry (& Why It’s Almost Worthless)

Hi Readers — This letter below came in as a comment. I wanted to highlight it here because of its startling but spot-on conclusion: The best way to keep kids safe from molestation is to let them know they can tell us about anything sexual that has happened and we won’t be mad.

The Crimes Against Children Research Center did a study that concluded the same thing: Rather than adding more and more names to the sex offender registry and alerting neighbors to a registrant in their midst, a better way to keep kids safe is to teach them what abuse is (no adults should be touching the part of their body a bathing suit covers), and how to refuse an abuser’s approach, and how to summon help. More about that study anon. Meanwhile, on to the comment! — L.

A NOTE FROM A PUBLIC DEFENDER ABOUT SEX CRIMES & KIDS

Dear Free-Range Kids: I work as a public defender and will attest that the vast majority of sex offenders do not have a record (at least of sex offenses).  Out of the 100+ serious sex offenses my office has handled during the last 5 years, only 3 have involved defendants already convicted of a sex offense in the past.  Meaning that (a) sex offenders are not being reconvicted in large numbers, and (b) most sex offenses are committed by people who are not on any registry.

And this lack of recidivism has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of access due to registries.  The average child molester is a master manipulator.  He will be able to convince people that this was all a big mistake and get access to children without much trouble.  And anyone who is going to abduct, rape and kill a child is going to be completely undeterred by a registry.  It’s more likely a result of the fact that most on the registry are there for consensual sex with a slightly underaged person (too underage and it becomes molestation regardless) and they are unlikely to reoffend.  You also mix in people who commit sex crimes against adults who aren’t a threat to children – rape of an adult and rape of a child are VERY different and you almost never see a crossover.  This leaves you with a very small number of registered sex offenders who are likely to re-offend, or likely to commit a crime against a child.

Sex registries have the dual effect of improperly stigmatizing people and lulling people into a false sense of security.  Sure, dad can check out mom’s new boyfriend. But his being on a registry or not has absolutely no bearing whatsoever as to whether he poses a threat to a child.  He could be a molester who has never been caught.  He could be a public urination case that ended up on a registry.  It seems as if the better choice would be to forget the registry all together and teach our children to protect themselves and keep the lines of communication open about sex so that they believe that they can come to us should something uncomfortable occur. — A Public Servant

118 Responses

  1. but—that makes sense! and—it requires us to take responsibility for the education and safety of our children on a very personal level! that’s just too radical a concept for a lot of people in our current culture.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I have seen too many people overburden their children with fear of the boogey man who may snatch their child and molest them. I have received too many forwarded emails from websites that create maps of “potential child molesters” in your neighborhood by extrapolating registry data without verifying the offense(such as public urination or a stupid teen who forwarded a sext message).

    For my own child, he is not afraid of the world. He is more afraid of crazy drivers (a much more real danger in my area). He knows that if he is touched inappropriately to tell me about it. He will say hi to strangers (as appropriate) with me in sight and causes lots of smiles in return. He is learning how to go to the boys room by himself (he doesn’t need to follow mom to the girls room as he gets older-he’s 7 now)

    we joke that he has a better chance of being struck by lightening in the rear than being stolen by a stranger. But he knows what to do if approached. We joke that he can just act like his maniac self and the bad guy will be begging me to take him back (my son is special needs & a handful)

    I don’t want my child growing up afraid of the world. He needs to respect himself & others. Now I wouldn’t let him ride a subway by himself but that is because it’s not our home environment (we live at NJ coastline). But much to my mother’s dismay we do ride the subway when in NYC & nothing bad has happened. In fact he loves telling stories of his visits to “The City”.

  3. OMGsh! Tana is right! Responsibility and sense? No. No no. I need witch hunts. I have my trusty pitchfork and torch ready for such an occasion and doggone it, no one is going to take that from me by making sense.

  4. Yes! I completely agree as well. We have to empower our kids to know all the facts and feel like they can tell responsible adults anything if we’re ever going to reduce the numbers of these horrible crimes. More power to kids and parents!

    -adrienne

    http://wearegoodkin.com/

  5. The problem with this model is that it requires us to make judgements. And, frankly, we’ve gone pretty far in the direction of making no-tolerance rules and policies rather than allowing leeway for common sense or gut instinct.

    This is why I tell my kids things like: “if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and you don’t have to do it”.

    Great idea – if only we’d get people to agree to it. There is apparently no limit to what we’ll put thousands of people through because “if it saves only one child it is worth it” regardless of the wreckage of human lives that it leaves by the wayside.

  6. Thank you sooo much for this, Lenore.

  7. But if we teach kids to use their judgment, we’ll have one less reason to hide them away from the world! Won’t someone pleeeease think of the helicopter parents?

  8. “Sure, dad can check out mom’s new boyfriend. But his being on a registry or not has absolutely no bearing whatsoever as to whether he poses a threat to a child.” This just isn’t true. Obviously it doesn’t “prove” he is or isn’t a threat, but the information is not irrelevant (especially if he has a record), assuming the public registry provides a basic description of the past crime. (The one in our state does.)

    I agree that parents have to be smart about the true risks, whether or not they know a person does or doesn’t have a record. But if we trust parents to have the sense to do that, why can’t we also trust them to have the sense not to misuse the registry?

    I am frustrated by the way folks on this site keep implying that kids almost never get molested while out in the neighborhood. Actually, it happens a lot. True, most of the time they don’t report it, so a lot of perps are not in fact on the registry. However, let’s not be flippant about this real risk. There is nothing funny about a tween being overpowered, groped, or worse. Let’s get serious about finding ways to protect our kids.

    By the way, I don’t lose sleep over the feelings of most of the people on the sex registry. With the exception of a few non-violent offenses (e.g., statutory rape), sex offenders deserve to be treated like the criminals that they are. If they don’t like it, maybe they should have thought about that before they offended. Many of them would still be in jail if it weren’t for liberal parole policies, and frankly, they probably should be.

    We here tend to be against sensationalism, but the exaggerated concern for poor, innocent people on the sex offender list is itself highly sensationalized here. We all heard the story about the teen who had consensual relations with another teen and it ruined his life. Sure, that was a travesty, but the solution should be targeted.

  9. What annoys me the most when I get “That Look” from an overly protective mother just for acknowledging the joy of a small child having fun is that as a partially disabled person on a bike I am about as far removed from being the one that runs off with someones child.

  10. I believe the collective effort to protect children from all things sexual actually hypsersexualizes childhood.

    I lived in France from the ages of eight to eleven. Their standards are different from ours, and I was exposed to a lot of nudity in art, advertising, and television.

    Here in the US, we talk excessively about sex and kids. We don’t want them to know about it, have it, acknowledge it, see suggestive imagery, and we fear sexual predators everywhere.

    I was an Instructional Aide at a local school in 2001, and there was a withdrawn 5th Grade boy who went on general strike while staring out the window day after day. He wasn’t doing any classwork, and falling behind. His teachers were frustrated, hostile, and verbally abusive when they did speak to him.

    I was alarmed for him and connected with him emotionally one day. I then offered to tutor him for free on my own time. The principal denied my request, saying that “people would think you only want to have sex with that child,” presumably in front of my own young child.

    That boy was eleven years old, and went to middle school the next year in an academic deficit. I still feel sad thinking about him.

  11. A sex offender registry can be a wonderful tool if we use it correctly. Namely, using it only to list people who are likely to commit sex-crimes, absolutely not people who urinate in public, not teenagers who send inappriate photos, not statuary rape charges where the participants where close in age and consenting.

    Ideally, we would list violent/dangerous offences, information about the crime, and we would keep in mind that not every offender is listed and teach are children who is allowed to touch them, how to say no, and what actions are generally safe as opposed to whitch actions are not-so-smart.

  12. I agree with Doesnotwishtobenamed that the sex offender registry needs an overhaul to eliminate those who commit minor offences and keep it for those committing violent offences against adults and offences against children.

    Did I read in your book, Leonore, that most sexual offenses against children are commited by “trusted” friends and family members rather than by complete strangers, anyway?

    Teaching kids how to keep themselves safe really seems to be the best idea of all.

  13. Well, as a retired Child abuse investigator, I have to disagree that the registry isnt useful.
    I have investigated many offenses where the registered offender isnt perceived as a threat by the parent and he begins grooming the children to be insensitive to sexual activity and even accept it as the norm. I have also investigated many many cases where the suspect was not on the registry…yet. It is true that most offenders are family or friends or other trusted adults. I even am aware of one case here in California where a respected pediatrician was arrested for attempting to purchase sex from children.

    My other concern is that this “Public Defender” has an interest in protecting his clients. If there is no registry then it will be more difficult to enhance sentences or prosecute re- offenders. When there is a vested interest in defending or protecting your clients, there is an interest in skewing the facts to fit your argument.

    I agree that we as a society are too protective of our children but If we do not use every tool to protect them while allowing freedom and learning we are negligent. Children should be allowed to scrape their knees and bump there heads. We should never discourage adventure and exploration and give them tools to protect themselves as they mature. But I draw the line at unreasonable limits that stifle their creativity and growth.

  14. While I completely agree and understand that a majority of sex offenders will not be found on the list, I will have to disagree that many happen to be boys that had consensual sex with slightly underage minors. I have looked at our states registry and they do list the ages of the victim and type of crime commited. A larger number of actual predators are clearly defined.
    Now that is out of way. A registry does create a false sense of security because in truth there are a lot of sex offenders out there. Most are repeat offenders and most molest family or friends of family. It is our responsibility to teach and secure our children. I can agree with all that.
    At the same time, claiming these sex offender lists are mainly made up of innocent teenage relationships gone wrong also creates false security.

  15. For anyone who really wants to know the best ways to keep your kids safe and what to teach them check out this site:

    http://darkness2light.org/7Steps/7steps.asp

  16. Wow Melanie – that site is awful. At least, one of their main suggestions is.

    Eliminate one-adult/one-child situations? That’s a huge opportunity cost I’m just not prepared to take. That would mean (among many others):

    No babysitters
    No uncle or aunt taking your child to the theme park
    No grandma days
    No chance for a child to have a private talk with their doctor, teacher or therapist
    No individual music lessons

    Also, lots more expense for organizations that serve youth – leading to a lowering of opportunities for all our kids.

    It seems like a really paranoid approach.

  17. I find the focus on sexual offenses to be really strange. Surely it would be just as useful to know about people who are habitual criminals of any crime that targets children?

    Children are more likely to suffer physical abuse than sexual abuse during their childhood, so why don’t we have a register of all violent criminals? Children are more likely to be killed in a car accident than by someone intentionally hurting them so why don’t we have a register of people’s traffic violations?

    It has always seemed to me that a lot (though by no means all) of the push for registries of sexual offenders is more about wanting to continue punishment for these crimes beyond that given by the courts. And that violates so many of the tenets that Western systems of justice are based on that it really worries me that they have been brought in without significant research into their impact.

  18. Another bit from Melanie’s site linked above.

    “Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.”

    So if I’m alone with a child that means I must be sending out the message that I’m an offender. Kids can only be in groups or with their parents. Sure abuse is more likely in one on one settings, but so are a lot of great opportunities for learning and growth.

  19. HappyNat – Exactly! That seems crazy to me. Surely you set a good example by making sure you don’t abuse a child in a 1:1 situation.

    I should point out that I was pretty selective in what I took from that site. There does seem to be some good advice and there is an acknowledgment of the value of 1:1 interactions and suggestions for making them less prone to abuse. But the tone seemed quite paranoid to me (for instance they suggest you “eliminate or reduce” [my emphasis] not simply reduce, or be careful about).

  20. Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.

    Then what do you do about parents who abuse their own children?

  21. I think it is so important to teach children what sexualized touching it, and empower them to get help if someone abuses them. But that would require talking to kids about sex, and a lot of people really hate doing that because they think kids will never figure out what sex is until someone explicitly tells them. Registry lists may have the potential to be slightly useful, but what we really need to do is get over this taboo of talking about sex.

  22. All the studies available say the same thing about the registries.

    As of 3/8/2010, The Oklahoma sex offender Registry lists 6,418 Registered Offenders. 178 are listed as “HABITUAL.” Which gives Oklahoma a recidivist rate of .0277 or SLIGHTLY OVER 1/4 of 1 percent!

    Oklahoma has had a registry since November 1, 1989. That’s 21 years.

    YET the politicians will lie through their teeth and tell you that recidivism is high and therefore, his new proposal is just what you need. And don’t forget, come election time, vote for me!

    Example: http://tinyurl.com/yznlo6e

  23. When it comes to my kids, I’m not interested in the overall rate of “habitual” sex criminals, just those involved in sex crimes against children (other than statutory rape). I understand the recidivism rate for that is higher, and also probably more understated since it’s a lot easier to do that again and again and not get caught. Because kids are such easy victims.

    Of course we need to work on helping kids to be less easy victims. But is that enough? Again, I can’t see how it can hurt to know that the guy in the green house down the street has been convicted of fondling little girls in the past.

  24. “With the exception of a few non-violent offenses (e.g., statutory rape), sex offenders deserve to be treated like the criminals that they are.”

    If you are suspected of committing a crime, you should go to court. In court, you are innocent until proven guilty, you have a right to face your accuser and to be tried by the jury of your peers. If they convict you, you should go to jail. But once you have served out your sentence, you should be free to go.

    Sexual offender registries violate people’s most basic constitutional rights. And this is something we should all be concerned about, even if they are all just a bunch of dirty perverts. Because a government that does not care about the rights of some of its citizens, be they suspected terrorists or other kinds of criminals, will eventually stop caring about its citizens’ rights in general.

  25. I do not think the registry totally useless, as it does list the crime. It is not useless to know that my neighbour two blocks down was convicted of possession of child pornography. That’s a helpful tidbit of information. But it is, as a preivous poster pointed out, a strange thing that we have registries for sex crimes but not for theft or violence or other such crimes. And it is true that it shows a desire to go on punishing these people beyond what the courts sentence them to. Which indicates that sex offenders, in the view of many in society, are being insufficiently punished to begin with, and that is where the change should occur–more sever penalties for sex crimes, especially against children. If, for instance, we excecuted repeat/habitual child molesters and baby rapists, instead of letting them out of jail, we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they were on the registry.

    But here’s a question I don’t see our public defender consider. He says there is very little recidivism among people listed on the sex registry. It’s possible this is because those listed made one-time mistakes. But isn’t it also possible that it’s because the sex registry DETERS some from recidivism?

    One of the greatest tools in detering bad behavior is SHAME, but it’s not a tool our society is much inclined to use, for whatever reason. But we don’t need a sex registry to inflict shame. If you sentence a guy stand in the town square for two hours a day for five days straight wearing a sign that says, “I urinated in public while drunk” or “I got caught with porn featuring 15 year old girls” or “I molested my niece” or “I groped a woman on the subway”…After that, he probably WON’T repeat.

  26. Krolik, I think the pendulum swung way too far past reasonable when it became clear that the interpreted “rights” of convicted violent felons trumped the rights of innocent US citizens, particularly children. Maybe the backlash is a little worse, in some cases, than it would be if the proponents of felons’ “rights” had not pushed way too far.

    The constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. It doesn’t promise that those who serve a sentence (or part of one) will have a carefree life forever after.

    I honestly don’t understand why the rape of a young child by an adult is not punishable by death, or for those against the death penalty, at least life without parole. I can’t think of a more heinous crime or a better reason to deny an individual the right to the pursuit of happiness in my neighborhood.

  27. “If you are suspected of committing a crime, you should go to court. In court, you are innocent until proven guilty, you have a right to face your accuser and to be tried by the jury of your peers. If they convict you, you should go to jail. But once you have served out your sentence, you should be free to go.”

    Well, you have part of that statement right. If you are accused of any time of sex crime you are guilty till proven innocent. Just ask any registered sex offender. You don’t get fair shake in court and most of the time you are forced into taking a plea agreement because you are told it is in the best interest of the victim not to have to testify. You then have decades of prison time held over your head till you take the plea agreement and then when you get out, the real fun begins.

    Online registration, GPS monitoring, probation officers threatening to violate you if you do anything they think is wrong, treatment which is the most brutal type of treatment there is (especially if you really were innocent and they try to tell you are in denial), absolutely no way to get employment ( which is part of your probation) no place to live, constant harassment from neighbors, you car being keyed and broken into….the list goes on and on.

    This is the life of a sex offender. If they get what the public thinks is a light prison sentence, please be assured the real sentence is trying to live with all the restrictions placed upon the offender once he is out. This is what the public clambered for and this is what they got. Keep in mind, sometimes the offender is innocent. Please don’t flame me…just sayin’ that is what it is. Until you are on the other side, you don’t have a clue.

  28. Kate, my point exactly. If it is even half as bad as you describe, we should all be ashamed that, in the name of security, yes, even the security of our children, we have allowed this to happen. SKL, I have no problem with lengthy prison sentences for rapists and child molesters. But I would venture a guess such crimes are already taken very seriously by the courts. Without the registry to fall back on, the judges will no doubt impose even stricter sentences.

  29. SKL – “I honestly don’t understand why the rape of a young child by an adult is not punishable by death”

    That would provide a perverse incentive for murder. If the punishment for rape is the same as the punishment for murder why wouldn’t the criminal kill off the one witness to the crime?

    On the hidden costs of sex offender registries, I think this article:
    http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2006/08/03/55193/Megan39s-Law-does-little-to-increase-safety-in-US.htm gives a good run down of some of the problems.

  30. I dont get this sympathy for convicted sex offenders…I hear “some are forced into taking plea bargains” and how “unfair” the consequences of the conviction are. Of all the convictions I personally have either investigated or monitored as my Police Departments Crimes against Children investigator, I only know of ONE case where the male was having consensual sex with his underage girlfriend and after they broke up her parents DEMANDED that he be prosecuted and the D.A. agreed. (They are now married) I just dont get the sadness for convicts and their tough life in prison or on parole, In prison, their crime rate against the public drops to ZERO. As long as they are behind bars, they can not prey on you and me and our families. Its time we stopped thinking about the criminals and think about the victims!

  31. Krolik, yes it is more than half as bad as I am saying. Just google Witchhunt that Sean Pean narrated last April on MSNBC, I think. Google Wenachee, WA witch hunt. Google Michele Michaels, I think her name is. And the Duke Lacross players. This is just a drop in the bucket of false accusations. Sexual abuse is never going to stop.
    We can’t legislate morality and we need to address why this is happening in the first place. Sex offenders come from someone’s family, including our own. We don’t know why it happens, but finding out why is the first step to stopping it or at least trying to slow it down. But protecting our own children should fall squarely in our own hands. Use common sense. And helenquine….exactly correct. The death penalty didn’t deter murders from happening, but you stated correctly what will happen if this comes to pass.

  32. Sorry, Now Im on my soapbox…..

    Recently California has decided to release “Non Violent Offenders” I can tell you that while these people are currently serving a sentence for a “non violent” crime, they are far froim non violent. I recently had dealings with a “non violent” parolee who has multiple convictions both as an adult and a juvenile for crimes ranging from attempted murder to robbery…. but this time he was put in prison for possession of stolen property. I know this has little to do with protecting our children but if this particular “non violent” felon wanted to steal my child’s lunch money, he would have had NO hesitation in threatening or injuring him to get it.

  33. And Jack, believe me the victims are well taken care of. Sort of. From the families I know, the victims are immediately forgotten about once that conviction is made. AND, the victims also tell me that what they are put through from protective services is worse than the actual incident. And don’t try to minimize the “forced to take a plea agreement”. It happens all of time. You are on one side of the fence and I am on the other. The public doesn’t hear about mine, only yours. I am just trying to put a face on my side of the fence. You don’t know what happens to the offender or their family because you are dealing with the victim. You are only working with your city, I work with families nationwide.

  34. No one is ” Forced”. They are given options of pleading guilty or not. They, along with their lawyer are given the opportunity to evaluate if they the states case is good enough to make a jury agree that there is enough evidence for a conviction or if they will have less time in prison if they take the guilty plea. ALL of those convicted are later “convicted wrongly” and “innocent”

  35. Sorry Jack, you are wrong. However, perhaps in your little corner of the world, it may be true. But, if you didn’t commit the offense, (and yes it does happen), and you have 80 years being held over your head, what do you do? And yes, this really did happen to someone I know. A sex offense is a sure thing for a conviction.

  36. Jack, are you telling me you honestly do not see a problem with ignoring the rights of the accused? Yes, sometimes the protection of these rights results in dangerous criminals going free on a technicality. But personally I am proud to be living in a country that has decided protecting individual rights, even if the individual in question happens to be a criminal, was worth that risk. I am not saying the system is perfect. But did you know that the rate of criminal convictions in Russia is over 98%? I am sure the Russians feel very safe – for as long as they don’t end up on the wrong side of the bench themselves.

  37. Kate – “A sex offense is a sure thing for a conviction.” Given the nature of the crime and the incredibly low conviction rate for rape that statement seems highly unlikely on the face of it. Do you have a source?

  38. If registries worked all that well, shouldn’t we be seeing fewer crimes against children? Shouldn’t we be seeing fewer news stories about sex crimes? Shouldn’t we be seeing some evidence that these stupid things actually prevent crime? Instead, what we see are MORE stories about creepy strangers, MORE ways to house sex offenders anywhere on God’s earth except near children — or, more to the point, near MY children), and MORE increasingly draconian laws against convicted offenders doing anything so much as breathing outside a prison.

    Lenore has said it before (as have many others): There is NO way to keep your kids safe 100% of the time. There is NO way to lock away every single person who might possibly, just maybe, some time in the future, do something dreadful to some child, somewhere.

    If the test for responsible parenting and responsible societal conduct is that nothing bad ever happens, we’re all going to flunk — it’s the nature of life. People will continue to do bad things, people being imperfect.

    I weep for every child who is molested or injured, anywhere, don’t get me wrong. But do you really think all it takes for a determined person NOT to have access to any children is to restrict where that person can live? What’s to prevent them from, say, walking down the street, for Heaven’s sake? What’s to prevent them from dropping by the supermarket at 3:30 to see which kids hang around the candy department? What’s to prevent them from settling down in the Barnes & Noble with a book in the kids’ department?

    The way to prevent sex crimes against kids is to teach kids that their private parts are THEIRS, and that they can tell us parents ANYTHING and we’ll listen. Including stuff that we might dismiss as stupid or overblown the first time around.

  39. I never said I have no respect for their rights. In fact I will absolutely respect all of the rights given them by the Constitution. Our courts have ruled the registry and “Megan’s Law” Constitutional and since the offender has the benefit of counsel and a choice of a trial by jury or an admission of guilt, I have NO problem with the sentence as carried out. I have lost cases due to “technicalities” and blatant violations of those rights by other officers. I wish I could still obtain a conviction for those I believe are guilty but I respect the courts and the juries decision. Now if you are talking about “rights” that aren’t recognized by the Constitution or our courts just because YOU believe those rights should exist then Change the law and Constitution.

  40. [...] freerangekids.wordpress.com: A Public Defender Discusses the Sex Offender Registry (& Why It’s Almost Worthless. [...]

  41. Jack, no, I am not saying we need new constitutional rights. But what I know about sex offender laws does make me wonder how they could possibly be constitutional. Unfortunately, sex offender laws are not the only example of American lawmakers falling victim to fear-mongering. I see the Patriot act as another example. You may disagree. That’s why it is called a free country. :)

    I grew up in Russia and there are many things I miss. I got an excellent education and decent, free, healthcare. Throughout much of my childhood, the crime rate was very low, due, at least in part, to harsh punishments for offenders. But I chose to live in a country one of whose founders said “Those who will trade freedom for security deserve neither.”

  42. Sorry about the lofty tone of the previous message. I did not mean to offend anyone. I am sure those of you who are in the justice system know a lot more about it than I do. Maintaining a balance between the rights of the accused and the rights of the victims and society as a whole to be safe from criminals is never easy. I am just glad that we are having this conversation in the first place, that the topic of suspected criminals’ rights is on people’s radar at all.

  43. I’m glad you’re proud to live in a country where child molesters have rights. I hope you never have any regrets on behalf of your own kids.

    We shoot mad dogs. I guess that’s because the constitution only covers organisms with human DNA.

  44. Ahhhh SKL, you must realize since most offenses happen within the family unit, you may be glad offenders do have rights because when the rights of sex offenders have completely eroded, your rights will be next. No one cares about criminals rights till it happens to their family or someone they know. Again, why aren’t we addressing why offenses are happening in the first place.

  45. Krolik, No offense taken! I just feel that I am proud to have done all that I have in my career in Law Enforcement. I have worked very hard to be as fair as I can to all and feel that I have done the best I could in every case I investigated. I testified against 2 officers who literally beat a confession out of a child abuser… (Yes he confessed and yes he DID commit the cime) but after al was said and done, he went free and the 2 officers went to federal prison (almost the end of my career!)

    I really am glad that Im in a country that allows us to agree or disagree and still be friends. After 2 or 4 or 8 years, if the voters will it, there is an orderly transfer of power from one party to another without violennce. If the people wish it we can even add or subtract from the constitution without threats or violence. all in all, I think we live in a pretty good place and if I have to grudgingly allow a few minor limits on my rights for safetys sake, Im willing to accept it. (No problem if you dont want to do the same!)

  46. Jack – maybe you can explain how sex offenses are the most difficult cases to prove, they have the highest conviction rate of any crime. In the upper 90% range.

    My theory is constitutional rights have been removed, that hysterics and advocates has sucessfully managed to make everyone guilty until proven guilty, and that yes- the majority ARE plea bargained because lack of evidence, lack of physical evidence, admittance of hearsay, and presumption of guilt pretty much FORCE innocent people to agree to them.

    I am sorry I live in a country that no longer recognizes innocent until proven guilty. I am sorry I can no longer trust a corrupt and self serving justice system. I took an oath to defend Constitutional rights against enemies, foreign and domestic.

    I prefer to SAVE children by preserving the rights that keep innocent people from prison and from sex offender lists.

    I DON’T grudginly agree to give up my child’s rights for your career promotion, Jack. I know that people who give up rights for safety end up with neither – just as our founding father did.

    If YOU think it’s OK to send innocent people to prison, Jack, I suggest you step up to the plate and volunteer YOUR rights away “to save chidlren”. If if DOES save just one child, it’s “worth it”, right?

  47. Seriously? We now get to make up a new name for each post? I’ll tell you what I find hard to believe; that someone who claims to be an attorney, and a public defender, at that, doesn’t know what the word “recidivism” means and can’t use it properly in a sentence. Because the examples given of “lack of recdivism” were anything but.

    I totally “get” that most people don’t think every damn thing should qualify for inclusion on the sex offender registry, but I disagree that the solution is to trash the whole thing. I’d want to know if a repeat offender who say, molested teenage girls and was sent to jail for it for 10 years, for example, was moving in next door. Especially one who thinks he can pass himself off as a lawyer. ;).

  48. Oh, and I’d like to see some proof that 90+% of sex crime trials result in a conviction, because SgtMom’s hysterical post isn’t really doing it for me. Thank you in advance to anyone who can actually prove their bizarre claims.

  49. Molestation is relative. I would have said that I was not molested as a child, until relatively recently.
    At the age of 12, I sat beside a guy on a bus who pawed me. I got up and moved. End of story. It did not permanently scar me, and I don’t think the guy should have to pay for that transgression by being on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life. Yet, the crime he committed would be listed as “aggravated sexual assault on a child under 13″ and he would be listed as a violent sex offender due to the age of the victim alone. I went through it, and I don’t think it should happen.
    We have made the term violent mean other things. It means, now, anything that happens to a child. It includes momentary contact through the clothes (and I’ve seen this in the law itself) of the buttocks. This means that anyone pushing a child on a swing can be charged. The charge is as listed above. Read the laws in your state. And don’t believe that the section that says “for purposes of sexual gratification” means that this must be proved. Many prosecutors have said “I don’t have to prove intent. The act is proof enough.”
    Sorry, I’ve seen many young men have their lives ruined permanently because of something that should not have prosecuted, or listed on a public shaming list. They can’t find jobs or housing in many cases. I don’t consider this to be inline with justice.
    In fact, many professionals, including victim advocates, believe that the sex offender registry should be revamped and removed from the public view. You could still find out the information on anyone you found suspicious, just fill out the appropriate paperwork. The way it is right now is bad for everybody. It increases the hysteria and hurts not just the offender but the victim as well.

  50. If you really think these registries will keep your children safe, then go right ahead and live in your fantasy world. Knowing where a person lives or works is useless because no one spends all of their time at home or work. Keeping a person from living near schools and other places doesn’t help either for the same reason. So you know where they live? What happens when they walk out of their front door and go somewhere else? What happens when someone sneaks in to your house when you are sleeping at night.? That could be the person you know about or, most likely, someone you are not aware of. What about the Garrido case where he was in full compliance with the registry, but had a sex slave in the back yard for 18 years? C’mon, folks. This is actually an assault upon the Constitutional rights of everyone in this country. Remember the history of Nazi Germany? They started off by putting restrictions on people the citizens were afraid of, and then eventually clamped down on everyone. I’ve already seen suggestions of registries for other things, including animal abusers. If we don’t put a stop to this soon, we’ll all be stripped of our Constitutional rights.

  51. Brad – I’m not in favor of sex offender registries as they’re implemented in the US for a whole host of reasons. But I don’t really see how publishing publicly accessible information is clearly unconstitutional. We are talking about people convicted of criminal offenses, not the relaying of rumor and inuendo.

  52. @ Jack – Your accusation of my skewing results goes right back at you. You are a cop. Your opinion, results and statistics are skewed on the side of prosecution. Obviously, you would not believe that innocent people plea out to crimes because you should never believe that innocent people are arrested (assuming that you are a decent police officer who didn’t arrest people that you believed to be innocent). I, on the other hand, have absolutely no false illusions of my clients – most are guilty (although not always of what they are charged with) with a random few innocents thrown in to make it fun.

    Many people DO plea to crimes that they didn’t commit because going to trial has consequences. Any defendant who loses to trial in my county WILL GO TO PRISON. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Not only will you go to prison but you will go to prison for at least 2 years more than whatever your last plea offer was, often with no parole since they don’t consider you eligible for parole if you haven’t accepted responsibility for the crime. Combined with the fact that a jury generally believes that you are guilty until proven innocent, there is a HUGE risk to exercising your so-called right to a trial. I know that most will say “I would never plea guilty to something I didn’t do,” but principles only get you so far when you are faced with the possibility of going to prison for several years or definitely going home to your family, albeit on probation, that day. People with families, jobs, homes, etc are often not willing to roll the dice.

    The criminal justice system is like sausage – you really don’t want to know what goes into it. It’s all about what can be proved through sometimes bizarre rules of evidence and court and not about the victim, defendant or justice. On both sides of the courtroom, the choice to go to trial is based just about everything under the sun EXCEPT the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Guilty people are allowed to walk free. Guilty people plea to lesser charges and lesser sentences than should be given. Innocent people plea guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.

    Contray to Jack’s views of public defenders, my job is not to skew society in a way to best get my clients off. I know that most of my clients are guilty. My job is to walk them through the system, get them the best deal possible under the facts of the case and to make sure their rights aren’t violated. Since I live in society as well, I don’t want a bunch fo murders and child molesters walking the streets either. I know very few public defenders who think that everyone should just go free. As long as the State can prove their case and the sentence is not absurd under the facts, we’re happy to have someone plea guilty. It is much harder when you believe that the person who is pleading guilty is actually innocent but ultimately it is his life and his choice and I can’t make the decision for them because at the end of the day, regardless of the jury verdict, I go home to my family.

  53. Well, NOW Im almost offended…
    Sgt Mom, I understand the you may FEEL like we no longer live in a country that doesnt have the presumption of innocence and You say that your “Theory” is that “Constitutional rights have been removed” well Im glad that its a theory…Because its wrong. Just ask people like OJ Simpson….
    You state that “Lack of evidence, lack of physical evidence, admittance of hearsay, and presumption of guilt pretty much FORCE innocent people to agree to them. ” Wait… without evidence a jury should not convict and in a severe case of lack of evidence there are many many appeals that can be made. Unless what the courts and juries consider evidience is not believed because you chose to disbelieve it. In EVERY case I prosecuted there was photographs, film, written documentation, text messages where the suspect told the victim he was sorry for specified acts or witnesses. NEVER have I seen a case filed without some collaborating evidence. You then accuse the entire system of being corrupt and by implication include me and many honest and hard working members if the criminal justice system. And then you attack me personally for “promoting my career” at the expense of children and accuse me of “thinking its ok to send innocent people to prison”…

    Well Im retired from my careeer because I testified against corrupt cops and a corrupt department. The cops went to federal prison for violating those rights that you seem to think no longer exist. It took several years but after that I never was promoted, never was given the good assignments and never had an opportunity to complete my career. one officer who was those officers friend ‘rose to a position of power and made it his project to “get me’ for Being a snitch” …Oh and now he is a convicted felon too for embezzeling from a business he was part of….

    It seems that you, Sgt Mom, have an axe to grind and in general do not like law enforcement. Well in this country, you have that right and thats ok with me. I only recapped my career because of the personal attack and your inability to believe that “innocent people” are capable of criminal activity. Well next time you are a victim of a crime remember that the police and the jusice system are corrupt and dont bother to call. We will just make you a victim all over again. Good luck with that (sarcasm)

  54. Oh and Donna your right, I am skewed towards the prosecution, But mainly through my personal experiences. It sounds as if we are on the same page regarding givng each and every one protection of their rights and the best possible deal. You and I have never met and Ill make the same assumption that you want justice. I personally dont know of any person that was brought before a judge by my work that was not guilty. Most said they were innocent. Its ALWAYS possible that I was wrong on one or more occasions. As you say, at the end of the day, I went home to my family. Sometimes they didnt.

  55. Well, this is getting kind of ugly and people are starting to take extreme positions. Reading this, it almost seems like some of the commenters believe all accusations are fairy tales while others think the devil has a high likelihood of living next door.

    Some of the comments made me wonder, though. How does a child prove a sex crime against her beyond a reasonable doubt? Assuming the she is not vaginally penetrated and he doesn’t take pictures, what evidence would there be? Yet these are the circumstances of most cases. So are we saying that little girls and boys need to suck it up unless they got a sperm sample? Or are we saying there is no such thing as child molestation?

    I’m sure it’s true that there are a few cases of innocent adults being found guilty. (Though surely most of the guilty will claim innocence – who’s going to admit to his mother that he did that?) However, for every case of an innocent convict, there are probably hundreds or thousands of cases of innocent children being victimized. So my sympathy for those who claim innocence is tempered by the very real need to protect the kids.

    I do think it’s a good idea for adults to be smart about what situations they should avoid (to reduce the risk of unfair accusations). You know people are overprotective and suspicious, so you might as well act accordingly. It’s no different from the way a woman has to act a certain way in certian places to avoid looking like a suitable victim. It sucks, but we do it anyway, because we don’t want to deal with the risks.

  56. Whoa, Jack. It appears we CAN’T disagree and still be friends! This makes me sad.

    I formulated my ‘myth’ from this attorney’s site. If he is lying, perhaps you can prosecute him for us.

    I have been the victim of crime, btw, Jack, and no sir. I was not impressed by LE.

    In fact, most of the recent cases fanning the hysteria flames were criminal ABIDING by the laws, with LE not doing their job enforcing them.

    http://www.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.

  57. .Quote SKL: “So my sympathy for those who claim innocence is tempered by the very real need to protect the kids.”

    Everyone’s sympathies are tempered by “protecting the children” – until the day they find themselves wrongly accused.

    Everyone points to OJ as the PERFECT example of Constitutional rights gone wrong – but somehow have a blind spot for the 250 innocent people released by DNA technology advancements that his trial produced. God forbid anyone open the lid on how many innocent people have been executed.

    Do you find the hundreds of victims of McMartin prschool, Fells acres, wee care, Kern county, Wenatchee, Grant Snowden (a fellow police officer, Jack) Bobby Finjie, and countless others to be unworthy of your sympathy, SKL? These were often elderly women brutalized in jail by false accusations – because children are magically incapable of lying. They lost their homes, their savings, their good name and freedom “to save children”.

    Personally, my heart breaks for each and every one of them. And I ask you – what child was saved by these witch hunts?

    For those of you who find convicting innocent people acceptable “If it saves just one child”, I beg of you, PLEASE – go to jail. YOU to jail and save the children! Don’t expect some other innocent person to do it for you.

    Child abuse crime statistics have not changed since these law were enacted. They were already trending down before the hysterics started, and have not changed , in spite of unConstitutional convictions, unConstitutional living restrictions, unConstitutional public shaming.

    Jack will have you believe that giving up “just a few little rights” will save your children. How many people have ended up drowned or burned as witches? How many people were lynched, segregated, and wrongfully imprisoned because the GOOD people believed they didn’t DESERVE those rights? How many people ended up in American internment camps or blacklisted because hysterics at the time proclaimed it would “save the children?”

    I took an oath to uphold the Constitution – against enemies foreign and DOMESTIC. That’s MY background.

    To me, those that suggest we ‘give up a few rights’ ARE the enemy within. I believe too many mistakes are made when we decide those rights that were so horribly suffered and died for are carelessly tossed aside.

    I don’t think Jack is a smarter guy than the founding fathers. I don’t think his intentions are more noble and far reaching than those men who gave us that precious document.

    Watch your children. Protect them against sex offenders, car accidents, lightening strikes, sharks or animal attacks, bee stings and peanut butter, falling off roofs and out of trees, falling into rivers and lakes, playing on railroad tracks, keep them from getting the flu or viruses, don’t let tree or boulders fall on them, or horses throw them. Keep them away from drugs, booze, smoking and bad associates. Don’t let them witness a crime or catch a stray bullet from a gang war. Don’t live near earth quakes, tornadoes or hurricanes. Keep them away from war, famine, getting lost in the woods,and not wearing a bike helmet or seat belt.

    Do whatever you can to circumvent diaster.

    But don’t take away constitutional rights of the innocent while you do it.

  58. @ Jack – But you don’t personally know that every person brought before a judge based on your work was guilty either. Even if every single one of them eventually pled guilty, you don’t know that they were. Victims lie. Victims are mistaken. People plead guilty for reasons that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence. For every innocent person released from prison through the Innocence Project (or similar), there were quality police officers, DAs, victims and juries that believed 100% that that person was guilty and they were completely wrong. Just because you were never proven wrong, does not mean that you weren’t on occasion. I believe that police and DAs are doing what they believe is right – they believe wholeheartedly that the person they are prosecuting is guilty, because, unless you are a complete degenerate, you can’t send someone to prison for the rest of his life unless you believe that a crime has been committed and that this is the right person. However, mistakes are made. Lies are stated that are very hard to retract (and prosecution is threatened for trying). Some “victims” are simply vindictive. I do find it interesting that from a DAs view a victim is ALWAYS telling the truth and a defendant is ALWAYS lying. It’s interesting since 7 times out of 10 they are the same freakin’ people. Crime is a very incestuous thing so most of the victims in our cases are, have been or will be our clients at some point. They cannot possibly be 100% trustworthy one day and 100% untrustworthy the next.

    @ SKL – Actually, most guilty people eventually admit their guilt. Considering the amount of cases that we process in a year, trials are very rare events for most crimes (for some, like murder, the penalty is so high that cases go to trial much more often). Many initially say that they are innocent but eventually give in.

    And your idea that it’s okay for innocent people to go to prison because more children are victimized than innocent people go to prison, not only makes no sense but is also appalling. Sorry, but an innocent person is an innocent person, whether that person is 2, 20 or 120. I love kids but I don’t care more about them then the innocent person who spends the rest of his life in prison wrongfully. An innocent person going to prison doesn’t decrease the suffering of a child; it simply increases the suffering to include another family. What about the rights of that man’s children who now have to live without their father for absolutely no reason? As a matter of fact, an innocent person going to prison INCREASES the victimization of children since that inherently means a guilty person is still walking the streets (if a crime was committed at all). The basis of the legal system is the idea that it is better for 10 guilty men to go free than 1 innocent man go to prison, not that we throw 10 innocent men in prison to get the 1 who is guilty.

  59. Once again you have overstated my comments. Ah well, Im done, I didnt mean to hijack the thread from the bottom line of protecting children and move it on to constitutional arguments. I hope everyone will at least try to find a middle ground and accept that LOTS of cops, attorneys, nurses and doctors are willing to put their licenses and reputations on the line and do their best to protect and serve. Sure there are some that have ulterior motives and yep there are even Cops, Nurses, Pediatricians and even lawyers who both have ulterior motives and even are molesters and criminals themselves. I wish you well Sgt mom…I hope you can at least accept that not all of us are evil just as I accept that not all non cops…black white brown or yellow arent against me. Some are…. Most arent.

    One thing I learned a long time ago. At EVERY call for service I went on as a cop, there was at least one person who did not like what I did or how I handled the situation. Many times it was both or all of the people involved. Even the victims. Yes cops get somewhat callous and treat your (generic your) life changing, traumatic event as another routine call. Remember that to keep our sanity and our ability to respond to the ever changing world, we have to. If I sat every day thinking about the young rape victim that had acid poured on her face and eyes to prevent the suspect from being identified and the 3 children who cried for their mother as they died while the suspect was in another bed shouting “I killed 5 N&^%%…and Im Glad!” I couldnt do what I did. I have to compartmentalize that. I went home after those days and looked in on my kids, thankful that they were safe. But can I on a daily basis express my sympathies to the family and the victims? No. We are humans, with human failings and emotions and we have to protect ourselves and our families from the evil we see on a daily basis.
    Im sorry you werent happy with your response from law enforcement. Wish it would have been better. But dont judge us all on that. Most try very hard and do our best to make reasonable and fair decisions based on the information at hand.

    Anyway, Im done. Ill still read but this has become a conversation rather than a comment blog. Let all do our part and do our best. Thats all we can ask for!

  60. Thanks SgtMom! You said everything that I wanted to!

  61. OK, let’s get real. I never said it was OK to infringe constitutional rights or put innocent people in jail.

    As for the former – I have read the Constitution and it does not prohibit what is being done; we still treat criminals (including child molesters) a lot better than the Founding Fathers could have imagined.

    As for the latter – there will always be cases of people being wrongly convicted of every type of crime, as long as there is a criminal code. However, you would have to do a lot to convince me that a high percentage of people on the list of convicted child sex offenders actually did nothing wrong. And what we are (or were) talking about here is whether I have a right to know whether a person on that list lives next door to me. I just want to know. I know of two registered sex offenders living fairly near my home, and I have no intention of doing anything about it, other than avoiding their vicinities while walking after dark, and sending my kids via a different route if they are ever out walking alone. This in no way harms these people, whether they are guilty or innocent.

    I was a repeat victim of molestation, and many of my close family and friends were as well. I know how common it is. However, we have never accused or been involved in an accusation of these activities, because children normally blame themselves. So I have no doubt that the greatest likelihood is that most people on that list offended repeatedly before they were caught and jailed.

    I have plenty of sympathy for those few who are actually innocent. But you can’t blame me for whatever happened to them. I just want to know who was convicted. Nothing I have suggested would increase the likelihood of an innocent person being convicted.

    Apparently something bad happened to you and yours, but blaming everyone else isn’t going to change that.

  62. Its not going to stop with just sex offenders. Just hope speeding tickets parking tickets is not where we end up.
    Sure sex offenders are horrible but what is the constitution of cruel and unusual punishment worth to everyone. Do we allow these witch hunts of medieval mobs. Haven’t we learned from that era at all?
    I think what needs to be defined is what is incarceration?
    A way back into society or no hope for change in people? Do we allow people to re-enter society as a law abiding person? What are we going to do with all these un -hired/homeless criminals living under bridges really?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/us/18animal.html?src=me

    “Animal abuse is one of the four indicators that the F.B.I. profilers use to asses future violent behavior, so I don’t see why we should not use it too,” said Diana S. Urban, a Democratic state representative in Connecticut who sponsored a bill mandating that animal control workers and child welfare workers cross-report suspected animal, child or domestic abuse.

  63. For those who are opposed to constitutional rights of criminals, especially sex offenders, we must remember that if we deny those rights to one group it becomes easier to deny those rights to other groups,.

    As it is, the fact that the registry is supposedly a civil remedy and not criminal, I wonder why violations of registry laws are treated criminally?

    The registry is loaded with people not likely to offend again, which makes it harder for police agencies tasked with tracking sex offenders. The states that only put the most dangerous on the Internet is keeping the focus on the dangerous ones.

    Adam Walsh Act is requiring states to pollute their registries and make it harder for them to focus on the real dangerous ones.

    I agree with other statements made here that we should have other registries for DUI convictions, Assault and Drug convictions, as well as Child Abuse registries.

    After all, if it is a good practice to register sex offenders then it should be a good practice for other dangerous people also.

  64. When I lived in a small town, the “police beat” in the daily paper reported every arrest and conviction, by name. It was a good deterrent and it never occurred to me to be afraid for my constitutional rights. Again, there is nothing in the constitution that guarantees that crimes will be kept private. Why should they be?

    You want to publish my driving record, etc.? Go for it.

  65. SKL, I was arrested once, years ago. A lawyer I had hired to represent me in a speeding case in another county forgot to show up in court. Next thing I know I am being lead away in handcuffs. The policemen was very nice about and it was all quickly cleared up. But if my local newspaper had reported it, given that all papers are online now, anyone typing my name into a search engine would be able to see it, forever. The cost to my life could have been devastating. Who wants to employ a woman with an arrest record? Who wants to date her? Who wants to risk having their children come to her daughter’s sleepover?

    Now imagine if the accusation had been something more serious. Maybe the mom of a kid I was babysitting freaked out because of something he said, or a crazy old neighbor heard my daughter having a tantrum and thought I was beating her.

    No, the constitution does not guarantee a right to privacy. Arrest records, health records, school records, sexual preferences, addresses and phone numbers, it is all fair game. Why don’t we just put it all up online so anyone can see it? Then none of us will have any secrets, and we will all think twice before doing anything any of our neighbors may possibly consider deviant, and we will all be one happy family, right?

  66. Well, the funny thing is that when it comes to health records, the push is to make it easier and easier to share; soon it will be pretty easy to find out who in your kids’ high school classes have been treated for VD lately, and who in your workplace uses ED drugs. And there is a movement toward more openness regarding sexual identity, teen sex, etc. If there were an overall movement toward more privacy, I could see arguing to extend this to criminal records. But the opposite is true.

    The registries are online and have been for quite some time. Big whoop. I keep hearing rumors of all these terrible witch hunts and witch burnings and lynchings going on, but things seem pretty peaceful everywhere I go. Of all the people I know, I’ve never known a single one having any of these bad things happen to him/her. Not even the people who I know were guilty.

    So as we go on and on about the limited usefulness of the registries, I wonder when anyone will acknowledge that all this uproar over human rights abuses (of the convicted) is hype.

    Our country may be going to hell in a handbasket, but it’s not because of offender lists.

  67. You are not aware of the terrible things that happen to people on registries SKL, because you are not on one.
    It isn’t happening to you, or someone you love – you are oblivious to something that does not concern you.

    The state of Maine removed the sex offender registry for a few months after two men were murdered by a Canadian citizen located their names and addresses on a sex offender registry. One was a 23 year old guy who’s crime was having a 15 year old girlfriend when he was 18. In WA state Two men were gunned down in their home when a man claiming to be FBI forced his way in. A man was sentenced to 40 years in prison in California for threatening a TV news crew with a boxcutter. They showed up on his front porch for a “FILM AT 11″ story, upsettting his elderly mother and others living in the home. A woman was killed when vigilantes set fire to her home – the husband had been accused of having child porn. Sex offenders freeze to death because they are not allowed in homeless shelters. Sex offenders are beaten and murdered all the time – it’s quietly swept under the rug.

    Family members share the glare of public registries. They have been beaten up when mistaken for the offender. Children and siblings are shunned at school – they have to choose between the love of their parent or sibling and social acceptance. What a terrible choice for a child – a child the registries DON’T protect.

    Christopher Barrios was raped and murdered by a sex offender. His father was a sex offender (under aged girlfriend case) forced to live in a trailer park by restrictions. His murderer was recently relocated to the trailer park for the same reason. There are no tears for children with ruined lives or even murdered because of the registry. ‘Saving’ those children isn’t a priority.

    Can you imagine not being allowed to see your child because you were falsely accused of this crime? Of being told “You can’t see your father. He’s a sex offender”? Children blame themselves for that, too.

    Imagine being a kid ‘outted’ at school by a group of ‘concerned moms’ because the parent you love is on a sex offender registry?

    In the ’80’s there was an effort to publicly register AIDs victims. That’s when the term ‘gay bashing’ became popular. Homosexuals were being beaten, harassed and murdered, and then AIDs came along. Can you imagine the bloodbath THAT would have caused?

    Cooler heads prevailed. AIDs was researched and the public was informed how to protect themselves.

    Bear in mind, almost without exception, the last several big news cases involving sex offenders showed the offender IN COMPLIANCE with all the myriad of laws, yet it STILL HAPPENED ANYWAY.

    In very many of the cases, the person asked for HELP before they committed their heinous crime, yet none was given. This was true in the most recent Chelsea King case, it was true in the Polly Klass and Jessica Lunsford cases. It has been shown time after time that therapy DOES help, yet it seems we RICH Americans prefer to spend our vast wealth on the largest prison system known to mankind. Our children will have to contend with the debt and burden of all these ‘saving’ efforts that not only didn’t ‘save’ them, but saddle them with trememdous debt for generations to come.

    I was molested as a child, I have no love for molesters. My son was falsely accused by my sister in law after I threatened to report her as a molester. The same legal system that proclaims children never lie is the same one that refuses to believe women molest.

    There are no ‘slick’ attorneys out there getting ‘perverts’ off. Quite the opposite NO ONE wants to be seen as ‘helping perverts’ . Child abuse trials are hugely expensive. There is little effort to aquit the innocent. It’s a game of cutting one’s losses – you choose between losing a hand, or losing your whole arm. Guilt or innocence isn’t even on the table.

  68. SgtMom, you are doing exactly what this site criticizes overprotective parents of doing. Listing out every rare but horrible thing that has (allegedly) happened. You know I could list an even longer list of horrific child molestation/murders by known offenders, but that would be sensationalizing.

    Sex offenders (along with their families) aren’t the only convicts who are ostracized in our society. Most of what you mention above also happen to other felons and their families. It’s part of deciding to follow that path. (And in rare cases, of getting fingered for what you didn’t do.) And yes, people are a bit more disgusted by child molesters. Gee, I wonder why that is.

    I love the way you have now twisted this into my fault. Because I am not charitable enough to give my hard-earned money for free pedophile prevention counseling, it’s my fault these kids were tortured and murdered. And it’s also my fault that after they got convicted for their crimes, extremists (or the media – you gotta love the media) looked them up and gave them a hard time about it. Well gosh, let me go and pray for forgiveness, I obviously have a lot of bad karma to get rid of.

    Let’s just abolish the criminal code and be done with it. Because deep inside, we are all good people, we’re just misunderstood.

    And parents can make a choice: either accept molestation and rape as just something kids have to deal with, or lock their kids in their homes 24 hours a day. Because God forbid we make a child molester feel bad about the choices he made.

  69. Oh, and Sgt Mom, after all the rants about how misunderstood and harrassed child molesters are, did I hear you say you reported your sister for it?

  70. SKL “And parents can make a choice: either accept molestation and rape as just something kids have to deal with, or lock their kids in their homes 24 hours a day. Because God forbid we make a child molester feel bad about the choices he made.”

    But, to get back to the point of this post – the sex offender registries as currently implemented in the US do nothing to really change the reality of this choice, but they do help stir up panic and hysteria and make parents feel like they *ought* to be doing more.

    Because while you may send your kids a different route to avoid them going past a known offender’s house, all you are actually doing is sending them past a unknown offenders house. And while someone may keep their kids inside and not let them meet a stranger, they’re still keeping them in contact with the people most likely to molest them.

  71. Let’s try to keep one foot in reality, SKL.

    For the past three decades law after law after law has been passed. The more they don’t work, the more we break our own laws and moral codes passing unConstitutional ex post fact draconian laws that again…don’t deliver.

    They. Don’t. Work.

    So what do we do? Pass more laws that don’t work. We GOTTA do something!

    According to the crime numbers not one child is being ‘saved’ by those laws. Not one.

    The reality is, laws are not going to solve the problem. They haven’t solved the Drug problem – drugs are a worse problem now than when they began the War On Drugs.

    Imagine if just half of the BILLIONS of dollars spent putting people in prison had been spent researching mental illness. We might have something to be proud of – something that benefits every citizen of the world.

    Children aren’t being murdered by sex offenders because of a law that ‘good citizens’ passed. Sex offenders ARE, however, being murdered because of ill concieved and poorly thought out laws that can’t even be justified by saying Children are being saved” because as we all know -they aren’t.

    Do you not see the difference, SKL?

    There is not a great mass of sex offenders out there passing unConstitutional laws giving themselves permission to harass, brutalize and murder children.

    This is a sorry time in the history of this country that ‘good’ citizens feel they have the right to do such evil things themselves.

    Nazi Germany began with sex offender registrations. We were supposed to have studied this in school “so it never happens again”…yet, it seems, it’s happening again.

    Don’t tell me the Salem Witch hunts, internment camps for Japanese, McCarthyism , Gay Bashing and Daycare sex abuse witch hunts are just a ‘few’ cases of sensationalism that you can outnumber with stories of dead children.

    I know of no other ‘convicts’ publicly listed for everyone in the WORLD to amuse themselves with. Are Canadians coming to this country to murder drunk drivers? Murderers are free to live next door. Repeat drunk drivers are free to drive. Bank robbers. Trespassers.

    Tell me, SKL – who are these convicts?

    There are 11 year olds on sex offender registries for life. LIFE! I can’t help wondering how my life’s “path’ was chosen at that age.

    I haven’t ‘twisted’ anything to be your fault. I’ve put out the truth as I know it – and can verify.

    You are free to educate yourself, or peer out curtains and spy on your neighbors via internet. Seriously. Who wants to live that way?

    No one has suggested abolishing criminal code but you.

    Our current dismanteling of due process rights that date back to the Magna Carta is abolishing criminal code, SKL .

    I have only defended the Constitutional rights of the accused.

    We are ALL potentially the accused, my friend. It’s YOUR rights I’ve defended.

    (to answer your last question, yes. I did. She was protected by Rape shield laws, it was not only inadmissable, but he was punished for ‘retraumatizing the victim’ by MY trying to bring it up. Accuser’s are automatically victims. The accused is named and shamed publicly just by being accused, while the accuser is shielded. Even when the rare few are aquitted their accusation is still public for all the world to view. There is no such thing as ‘innocent’ for the accused.)

  72. Let’s see if I am understanding your last paragraph, Sgt. Mom, in conjunction with your prior comments about your personal situation. It isn’t very clear but it sounds like your son and sister-in-law had sexual relations. She called it rape (by him) and he called it consensual and hence due to an age difference statutory rape (by her). You took his side. He lost in court. Hmm. But assuming you are right, your other comments suggest that she deserves sympathy and free counseling, not punishment and shame. Maybe when you went over there to confront her, you too were more focused on stopping her from touching a child again, instead of worrying about what would happen to her if she were convicted – falsely or legitimately.

    So now because she (allegedly) took the rare step of turning the accusation around on your son – a step that would not be available to a molester of little children – you are a sworn defender of all convicted sex offenders’ “rights.”

    Please tell me where in the Constitution it says that criminal records will not be made public. As an attorney, I am sure I have never seen such a rule.

  73. Also you have to think of people on the abuse registry who are there because of false accusations that an angry teenager ( or jealous parent ) have created in revenge. Sadly some parents wind up on there because their kids have accused them of abuse when the only thing happened is they had to get tough in discipline with thier child.

    I have a friend who is still on the list as he had lost his temper and spanked his fourteen year old daughter as well as stripping her room bare as a last resort punishment. He had enough of her lying to him about having sex with a seventeen year old guy at church and so eventually got tough on her. The courts thought he went too far with his tough love and she wound up in foster care, and now he is on the sex offender list now for “touching” ( spanking) his daughter inappropriately and being “neglectful ( stripping her room bare except for her bed and clothes).

    Ironically she wound up in foster care in the same home her boyfriend lived in as he was the biological child of the the foster parents-despite him being eighteen by the time she arrived. Now my friend has a hard time keeping a job as he has been labled a “child abuser” despite his other kids testifying for him as his other daughter knew her sister was the one lying.

  74. Just remember this:

    “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.”

    Martin Niemoeller

  75. “First they came for . . . ” the child molesters and I didn’t speak up because a child molester left a big hole in my childhood.

    “Then . . . no one was left to speak up.” Because child molesters just have their neighbors’ best interests at heart. We really need them in our communities. If I ever get in trouble, I know they have my back.

    All these people you folks are quoting to justify expanding pedophiles’ rights / protections? They would throw up if they knew their words were being used to support child molesters.

  76. Sorry, Amber, but your friend DOES sound like a child abuser. Was it the intent of your story to make him NOT sound like one? Wow.

  77. @I’mNotLindaLouIJustSoundLikeHer

    The problem was a parent loosing his temper after doing all he could to protect his child from a guy who was turning eighteen and was a bad influence. As I had talked to his other daughter she told me that their father feared her little sister would get pregnant by a guy who was going to turn eighteen within four months. He was at the end of his rope as she was sneaking out at night and partying, and when she went to church she was caught with the young man doing something inappropriate. I knew what was going on as the minister at our church told him he needs to get tough and she should be grounded to the fullest by being made to earn back privileges and her non essential stuff like her stereo, computers, posters, and other luxuries.

    There are a lot of stories like this as there are parents who get tough on their kids when they need it, and the kid decides to get revenge on the parent for disciplining them.

    I do think he needed anger management classes, but to be labeled a child abuser when he was trying to discipline his kid for something which could have harmed her is ridiculous.

  78. Quote SKL : “All these people you folks are quoting to justify expanding pedophiles’ rights / protections? They would throw up if they knew their words were being used to support child molesters.”
    ————————————————————————-

    There is no such thing as “pedophile rights”, SKL.

    There is no such thing as “pedophile protection”.

    There ARE Constitutional rights and protections every citizen is supposed to be entitled to.

    We have now predictably made the leap from “sex offender” to “pedophile” – and the predictable accusation of “Pedophile Protector”.

    It’s like the good old days when those who supported Civil rights for negroes were called n**** lovers. It was effective at first – only to become absolutely laughable.

    It wasn’t that long ago fine upstanding families shared a lovely Sunday picnic with throngs of other righteous folk , watching an accused negroe being castrated, lynched and burned. Smiling photos of children underneath their charred remains were sent out as postcards to friends and relatives not lucky enough to attend.

    It took about a hundred years and thousands of murdered negroes before anti lynch laws were passed in the early 1960’s. It took an entire century for them to notice all that lynching wasn’t really stopping crime.

    Three decades of sex offender laws have had about the same results.

    It’s obvious the laws aren’t working – We all know they don’t work.

    Quote SKL: ” ” the child molesters and I didn’t speak up because a child molester left a big hole in my childhood.”
    _________________________________

    So a loving parent fills those holes with hatred, paranoia and injustice?

  79. SgtMom, you’ve jumped the shark from “mildly annoying” to “stark raving lunatic” now. How sad that you can’t see how truly freakin’ offensive you’re being at this point.

  80. I am not saying that SgtMom’s post isn’t offensive. There is a big difference between a race or ethnicity and a type of crime one has committed. But she is right about two things:

    1. Sex offender registries do nothing to prevent crime

    2. If we stop caring about someone’s rights just because we are having an emotional reaction because of something someone else did to us when we were little, then justice is not being done and our own children are learning something from us they shouldn’t be.

  81. MADISON, Wis. (AP) ― The Wisconsin Supreme Court says a man convicted of kidnapping a minor must be put on the sex offender registry even though the kidnapping didn’t involve anything sexual.

    The court says in a 5-2 decision Friday that state law is clear in that it requires anyone convicted of kidnapping a minor to be placed on the sex offender registry whether the person was sexually assaulted or not.

    The case involves James W. Smith, who pleaded guilty in 2001 of false imprisonment after forcing a minor to ride in his care in order to collect a drug debt from the minor’s friend. Both were 17-years-old at the time.
    ————————————————————————–

    Nine years ago, two 17 year olds get into it over a dope deal – and now this 26 year old ‘sex offender’ will soon be terrorizing YOUR neighborhood.

    He won’t get any meaningful job. What employer is willing to be on a sex offender registry? He was a 17 year old doper who ‘chose’ his path in life. Who cares?

    He will be required to post a sign in his front yard next Halloween, warning off the kiddies – no child in the history of the United States has EVER been harmed by a convicted sex offender, but we must SAVE them from the remotest possibility. “It COULD happen”.

    He will be publicly listed. His address, his car, his employer. If he is now married and has children – Oh, well. He CHOSE his path in life when he was 17.

    He will not be allowed to attend his children’s school activities. No proud Dad at class plays, or sports events. Not even graduation.

    He may find himself banned from attending church – as a Christian nation we MUST protect our children! We must be ever vigilant and never forgiving.

    As a high risk kidnapper he will register four times a year. He cannot live near schools, churches, parks, swimming pools, daycare centers. He may be forced to wear an ankle monitor (be sure to check out stock investments in GPS – all the “save the kids” politicians are doing it!)

    If he is able to move into your neighborhood, housing prices will go down. Hopefully whoever wants to buy your house doesn’t check the register three times a day.

    True, this is a RARE case. Most 17 year olds don’t do dumb things like not letting someone out of the car…mooning or sexting…or having sex in the back seat of a car.

    One dumb stunt, and his life is basically over.

    Not to worry – it’s not like YOUR child will ever wind up on a registry for some frivilous reason.

  82. “no child in the history of the United States has EVER been harmed by a convicted sex offender, but we must SAVE them from the remotest possibility. “It COULD happen”.

    You mean on Halloween, right? I am not sure even that is entirely true, but on the other hand I agree that the probability of a trick-or-treater getting molested, let alone by someone who had already been convicted, must be incredibly small.

    You may want to check your posts a bit more carefully next time to avoid weakening your own message. I am saying this because I think that you are making an excellent point. This could happen to our sons, and it could happen over something stupid and harmless, and the effect on their lives could be truly devastating. Lenore has posted about several such cases before – teenage boys whose chances of completing high school, holding down a job, living in a nice house or being a parent were destroyed because of this type of conviction.

  83. For the record, the jury is still out regarding whether the registries actually prevent crime. There is no proof they don’t. It is noted that reported crime is trending downward. We also know the majority of these crimes go unreported. We have no proof of what number of crimes (reported and unreported) would have occurred in absence of the sex offender registry.

    The additional laws (sign on Halloween, etc.) are debatable but have no bearing on whether or not the registries work. Further, I said from the very beginning that the only way the registries are meaningful is if they provide sufficient information so people can tell whether the type of crime is pertinent to their children’s safety. The unwise inclusion of crimes and false accusations involving an older teenage victim are areas we agree on, but they are not relevant when it comes to pedophiles.

    Also, I never said I don’t care about people’s constitutional rights. You have yet to show me where in the Constitution there is a guarantee that crimes will never be made public. Someone made it up. Just like some people say AIDS patients have a constitutional right to have sex without telling their partners they have AIDS.

    I am by nature not a very emotional person. I don’t believe my experience of being molested (and knowing this happened to so many kids I know) is clouding my vision, but informing it. There is a trend toward insisting that child molestation by neighbors almost never happens, and that is simply not true. Maybe it is happening less now than when I was a kid – but if so, maybe that’s partly because of the registries.

    Krolik, thanks for your correction of Sgt. Mom’s “fact.” Sgt. Mom, thanks for acknowledging that the situation you want us to be so alarmed about is rare.

  84. Krolik:

    Yes – since I was discussing Halloween I presumed it was obvious I meant….Halloween.

    Did anyone REALLY think otherwise? (Raise of hands, please!)

    I actually made TWO mistakes in that post, but the thread does not allow correction and I didn’t want to post again so soon…I also decided to wait and see if anyone ‘caught’ the other mistake.

    I should had said ” No child has been harmed by a “REGISTERED” sex offender”, rather than “Convicted”, since, indeed a Convicted sex offender DID rape and murder a child -ON HALLOWEEN (Yes, we’re still discussing HALLOWEEN until otherwise notified). In the 1970’s. Just the one. Almost 40 years ago. A few other children were murdered (ON HALLOWEEN) by their parents.

    SKL – surely after 30 years the Jury Isn’t Still Out on whether sex offender registries work or not! The numbers remain the same. 30 years of awareness, paranoia, hysteria and hovering – the numbers remain the same. The ‘trending down, as you well know if you actually researched it, was already trending BEFORE registries – as was ALL reported crimes (yet prison population increased – go figure).

    The numbers are reasonable proof.

    AIDs patients may have a Constitutional right not to tell their partner -but their partner has the right to protect themself from the possibility of infection. Just as I personally do not depend on the government to protect me from AIDs, I dont’ rely on the government to protect my child from molesters.

    Prosecution after the fact really does not restore one’s health, or one’s child’s well being. The damage is done, and can’t be undone.

    Being molested as a child myself did not ‘cloud’ my vision either. I think it served me well. I was very pro active – and successful – about protecting my kids from possible harm by molesters – I never saw the possibility of a false accusation or the injustice that followed coming. I was totally blindsided by it.

    There is not a ‘trend’ of denying molestation happens. It happens when you LEAST suspect it, by the person you think would never do it – friends or family members in the HUGE majority of cases. A mad dog random act is not something a registry will protect any child from . There is nothing a registry will protect you from.

  85. SKL quote:” Also, I never said I don’t care about people’s constitutional rights. You have yet to show me where in the Constitution there is a guarantee that crimes will never be made public. Someone made it up”

    Eighth Amendment – cruel and unusual punishment. Murderers are not registered or subject to further requirements once their sentence is complete, but someone who pee’d behind a tree is. Repeat drunk drivers are not publicly registered, but a 12 year old who moons out a bus window is.

    Cruel and unusual.

  86. SgtMom, You keep mentioning “numbers” but when I ask you for solid, verifiable proof, you just never seem to produce any. I have a little “number” for you. 6 millions Jews killed by Hitler. And you’re comparing it to the American sex offender registry. I call that pure idiocy and a complete lack of any sense of proportion and it completely destroys any point you’re attempting to make.

  87. I agree with this.. It is the parents responsiblity to teach children/ teen agers to let them know, also its our responsiblity to our kids to keep them safe and not put them in situations. The registry has been used phobic people instead. Why don’t we have registries for those that break and enter – so everyone knows that a person is in the public that has or will break and enter in your home again (just in case) or drug addicts or those that sell. God knows drugs are more lethal..

  88. LindaLou, I think this the history that SgtMom was referring to regarding Hilter. Not the fact 6 million Jews were killed by Hilter, but by the fact he became so powerful by starting with sex offenders. Here is a little history I found for you.

    There stands no greater threat to humanity than a ruler who fails to learn from the past. The mistakes and misdeeds of men and monsters have been preserved in literature and in recorded history. Young men and women spend years in school learning about atrocities committed by men with names like Hitler and Goering. Some of these go on to college where they learn even more and yet for some reason once they leave these schools of learning this knowledge fades away. In time some of these people run for political office and once elected they begin to push for laws to control those who elected them. It is an age old problem one that has brought about such sayings as, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
    A history lesson is in order for some of these elected officials regarding sex offenders.

    Germany May 15, 1871 – First Version of Paragraph 175 – Unnatural fornication, whether between persons of the male sex or of humans with beasts, is to be punished by imprisonment; a sentence of loss of civil rights may also be passed.

    In 1935, the Nazis broadened the law so that the courts could pursue any “lewd act” whatsoever, even one involving no physical contact, such as masturbating next to each other, leading to the possibility of punishment for acts as mild as kissing, fondling, or mutual masturbation that previously would not have been considered criminal. This was not merely an aberration of the Nazi era: the courts in the Federal Republic (West Germany) understood the term similarly. Convictions multiplied by a factor of ten to about 8,000 per year. Furthermore, the Gestapo could transport suspected offenders to concentration camps without any legal justification at all (even if they had been acquitted or already served their sentence in jail). Thus, between 5,000 and 15,000 sex offenders were forced into concentration camps, where they were identified by the pink triangle. The majority of them died there.

    According to the official rationale, Paragraph 175 was amended in the interest of the moral health of the Volk – the German people
    This aggravation of the severity of Paragraph 175 in 1935 increased the number of convictions tenfold, to 8,000 annually. Only about half of the prosecutions resulted from police work; about 40 percent resulted from private accusations (Strafanzeige) by non-participating observers, and about 10 percent were denouncements by employers and institutions.

    In contradistinction to normal police, the Gestapo were authorized to take sex offenders into preventive detention (Schutzhaft) of arbitrary duration without an accusation (or even after an acquittal). This was often the fate of so-called “repeat offenders”: at the end of their sentences, they were not freed but sent for additional “reeducation” (Umerziehung) in a concentration camp. Only about 40 percent of these pink triangle prisoners – whose numbers amounted to an estimated 10,000 – survived the camps. Some of them, after their release by the Allied Forces, were placed back in prison, because they had not yet finished court-mandated terms of imprisonment for sexual acts.

  89. So? The Nazi’s turning normal, consensual sex acts in to crimes has what to do with the topic at hand? Oh wait, nothing. As usual.

  90. When teenagers are caught up in this mess with normal, consensual sex acts, then yes, this applies. These kids should not have to live with this atrocity for the rest of their lives. I posted this because of the how the history of sex offender laws started. By one of the most reviled person in history. Amazing…again no one will comment and have any suggestions on how to prevent sexual abuse in the first place. Just punish, punish, punish.

  91. Then you should work to change the laws in regard to teenage sexuality in your juridiction, not pretend like the U.S. sex offender regirstry is any thing like Nazi Germany. That argument proves you have no sense of proportion so you just look silly.

  92. nice blog was interesting to read.
    just keep going.

    greeting

    miss fee

  93. I agree that we need to be more careful with our kids.

    The sex offender registry describes persons who have committed crimes such as indecent exposure or petting someone inappropriately. It may also describe one who has raped, dismembered and murdered.

    Putting a label on someone and forcing them to live under hardship and stress can cause offenders to become mentally unstable and dangerous, capable of committing worse crimes that they would have not done otherwise.

    Remember that the most barbaric societies live under poor and hopeless conditions.

  94. I was wrongly accused of touching a female 6 years ago I have to register, Her and her mom have wrote to the supreme court and both have said I never touched her, I am about to lose the best girlfriend of my life because of the bs and because her soon to be ex husband doesnt want her to be happy or come to grips with reality that she has no sexual feelings toward him he needs to move on with his life and bite the bullet and quit using their two yr old son against her and quit making her feel guilty and realize that some people are not molesters mine was a vicurious charge I never let her touch me nor would I ever touch a child I have two daughters and two sons I had custody of my son and daughter who was brother and sister I get visitation with my oldest and pay support I am tired of people who think they know everything about a person just because its in black and white my situation could happen to anybody all a female has to do is say you touched them even if you didn’t just to get attention that was pretty much my case I had a public defender who didnt want to do anything but plea bargin and DFC who kept saying well if you do this and you do that we will give your son and daughter back to you if you take this plea I never got them back My case was a he said she said bullshit case where now the daughter has wrote a letter to the supreme court to let them know nothing ever happened I am still friends with the family despite the bs but still the registry has caused me more problems than you will ever know so I hope that those who think its a good thing, I hope my situation happens to you FO and have a nice day

  95. Also I guess each parent who baths their kid should be classified as a child molester to. don’t you use a wash cloth or a sponge or something to was your kids private areas if so you should be charged as I have been only difference between that is the girl and I both had clothes on and she didn’t touch me nor did I touch her because she wanted attention she said I touched her as i have said she has now written the supreme court to get my conviction overturned and my name cleared that was a 3 weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything back yet I keep praying for a miriacle , because my gf is on the verge of a break down because she truly loves me but doesn’t want to lose her family over the bs I have been going thru all like I said because her soon to be ex husband wont let her be happy so once again my situation can happen to anyone and I hope it happens to B. M. or William M. so he has an understanding of what I have and am going thru as well as those who might even brush up against a child or slide them down their laps its the same thing is it not then you should be charged accordingly as well as what I have been charged with once again FO and have a nice day

  96. WOW like all subjects pertaining to crime vs safety the opinions are all over the place. Life is not fair and we cannot make everything perfect but being knowledgeable and prepared to protect ourselves and our loved ones is a very good start.

  97. It is important to teach our children I have two daughters and two boys my self even at a young age, they knew the difference and I taught them and let them pick out nicknames for their privates so that they could let me know what was going on in case they didn’t want to say something in front of other people other than their grand parents, I don’t agree with public defenders and I have no faith in our legal system either they gave me a public defender that was only good for medical bill’s and all he wanted to do was plea bargan not only that it was election yr and the prosecuting atty. wanted to make a name for her self and an example of me even knowing that the other girls testimony was fake my atty told me that I never recieved a motion of discovery or anything and didn’t know what was going on till court, now I am branded and it’s ruining my relationship and it’s harder to get a decent job My Gf has talked to the family and knows that they are trying to help but despite the fact she is pissed off at the girl for lying to keep her bro. out of trouble for being with her friend so I was the catch 22., Now I am trying to figure out what else to do other than the girl writing the letter to the Supreme court stating that I didn’t touch or fondle her and she didn’t me she realizes now the hell I have been going through if anyone can suggest something that will help me to get this over turned or thrown out suggestions would be helpful because all it takes in the state of Indiana is for a female to say you touched her even if you didnt

  98. I don’t think it is truly fair to lump all sexual crime based offenders in the same group of perverts. Sometimes someone is confused and they do something that they regret for the rest of their life.

    Take me for example, when I was I believe 14 I touched my sister’s friend while she slept on the breasts, I fondled her. She was not asleep and there was a huge issue. She decided to forgive me for what I did and I still regret what I did every day of my life. Every day I think about it and every day I thank her generosity because she forgave me instead of reporting me to the police.

    Not everyone is a freak, sometimes people make mistakes and that truly want to change. Was it ok for so and so to rape so and so? Of course not, but we have defined specific sentences for it, once it is served this person should suffer no more problems from it, how do you know this person hasn’t changed? HOW CAN YOU BE SURE? Every day I shudder at the thought that I was so close to being in this situation, I would have killed myself.

  99. The real fuck ups are the fake rape criers. Those people are sick and all women too. Completely fucked, someone piss you off? “RAPE! HE RAPED ME!”. He’s toast. This is cruel and unusual but it happens all the time and when the person is caught they typically get let off scott-free.

  100. Yes, and let’s not forget that level 1 registrants (who get softer rules than level 2 and 3, but still can be pinpointed on a registry if you have just a name) must register for twenty years.

    Twenty years being plugged as a “sex offender, not otherwise specified” (and who cares about the specification; they’re on the LIST! *pearl clutch*) for something like public urination.

  101. The Registery is a crock of @#@#@ if you ask me. I was a victim, of Such said He Raped only it was He touched me He touched me, The girl and her mom has written to thew supreme court in my behalf to finally say he didn’t do it, that was two months ago after 6 years of bull @#$% I went thru 9 months of county time and as a 10 year register for something I didn’t do it has cost me more than you know it cost me custody of both my schildren and ever getting a decent job and a really great relationship who’s soon to be ex is using her kid against her and making her feel guilty even when she has talked to the girl that said i touched her and her mom has spoken to her and said no he never did it, and would you believe yes I am still friends with the family desspite all I have been through, so now what do I have to do to get the Supreme court to give me my life back from a corrupted county such as Pulaski county Winamac Indiana even when a prossecuting atty has said it’s nothing you said or did in front of my lawyer and Judge

  102. And the girl who said I touched has even spoken to my GirlFriend and said no it never happened but yet her family and Ex wont listen to it so you tell me what else can I do to clear my name as I have said they have written a letter to the supreme court to prove my innocense

  103. I don’t have anything against men, in fact I’m married but I do think that all men who work with kids should be given penile plethysmograph tests to make sure that they are not attracted to children.

    Mothers, please remember the over 90 percent of child molestation is done by a dad, a brother, an uncle or a grandfather. Family friends should always be monitored closely as well. Never and I mean ever leave their kids in the care of any male.

  104. The sex offender registry will NEVER prevent anything.

    It didnt prevent Jessica Lunsford or Amber Dubois deaths

    The only use of the so called sex offender registry is to have the perpetrators caught quick (if an only if they were registered…what would you do with a man thats not registered and rapes n muder a kid?)

    When a pervert wants to abduct rape and kill a child, he will do it despite a sex offender registry, super tough laws, etc etc.

    Because these guys act by IMPULSE people, try legislating that :)

  105. Intruder, You answered the very question on why its a good thing to have this registry. Your first point is right if you look at it on its face. It, by itself will never prevent an offender from either commiting his first offense or prevent a repeat offender from reoffending.
    Your second statement is also correct.

    “The use of the registry is to allow those who are registered to be caught quickly.” In many cases, the offender has been convicted of prior offenses. (Its another entirely different argument as to why they are back on the streets) But the reality is this. If they are caught quickly, they will not be in the public population and perhaps…. another victim may ne saved. If the guy who killed Amber had been caught after attacking the girl in the same park weeks earlier, he would not have been out to commit crimes. If he had not been in the registry, he might not have been caught yet and he might still be out there looking for another victim.

    The reality is that prison is a complete deterrent. If a burglar is in prison, he is not out butrglarizing your home. His crime rate against the general public is zero. He cant commit a crime against you personally. His friends and associates might but he cannot.

  106. The problem with the registry is that it does not tell you what the offense was. Honestly, only people who are true threats should be on the registry. A guy that peed in public while drunk or got in trouble for sex with his 15 yr old girlfriend when he was 18 because her folks didn’t like him should not be on the registry. Case one should be a simple fine and case two should be covered by Romeo & Juliet laws (which should but don’t exist in every state). A lot of women who were prostitutes also end up on the registry. A woman in an abusive relationship who was forced to walk the streets by a violent boyfriend may end up on that list. To the person who said we need witch hunts:
    No, we do not need “witch hunts.” We need laws that make sense and a system that includes mental health options for pedophiles that remove them from society. They shouldn’t be living out in the open if dangerous, thus eliminating the need for a registry. However, with a witch hunt, most likely the people who get stuck with the pitchfork won’t be the people who deserve it and the ones who do…well, he might be standing right next to you, and you’d never know it. Remember, most of the “witches” in history were innocent victims of hysteria. Just food for thought.

  107. But if we teach kids to use their judgment, we’ll have one less reason to hide them away from the world! Won’t someone pleeeease think of the helicopter parents?

  108. I know this comment is a bit late but felt I needed to post.
    @JackW
    I understand that you think that having the registry will help catch the offenders sooner right? Law enforcement should already have that list (it’s called a prior arrest rap sheet). So where is the benefit of having it publicly on the internet?
    I think everyone needs to take a real hard look at the registry and what it is doing to offenders families (innocent people).

    @everyone
    If you follow the money trail to the registry you will find that the registry is about receiving federal funding. It is not about protecting any children, it is only about money and power. There really is no need for a public list of any crime. The people who need the list is the police and they already have access to that list. The registry is about making money off of class of people who have no advocates and can’t defend themselves. And we’re footing the bill and they’re laughing at us all the way to the bank. They want us scared so that we will continue to pay for the registries (and a lot of information of the registry is not accurate by the way). Follow the money trail.

  109. I used to be very vocal about castrating and/or killing sex offenders until my son was charged with a minor sex crime with horrible lifelong repercussions.

    This has devastated my husband and I and hobbled my once successful son whom I used to feel proud of.

  110. In your intro you write: “The best way to keep kids safe from molestation is to let them know they can tell us about anything sexual that has happened.” That is not protection, that is dealing with the aftermath. The public defender actually writes that the best protection is teaching kids to defend themselves. Ineresting how that got lost in all the comments about registered offender rights. the Darkness to Light site claims that 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused. Is this disputed by this blog? That’s a huge number. OK fine, registered offenders are not the main culprits, people get put on the list for consensual sex or even nonsexual incidents, their lives can be ruined, that’s bad. OK, but what about the 1 in 4 girls? That’s a much worse situation. The overall tone here is if registered offenders are not really a threat, then there is no threat at all, which is not what that stat says. It’s not just hysteria, really, is it? Millions of children are abused, not by registered perverts lurking in parks, but by uncles, coaches, (step)fathers, cousins, priests, neighbors, babysitters, etc. The sex offender registry is a red herring, let’s focus on the obviously bigger problem, beyond blithely recommending that we encourage our kids to talk to us about how they’ve already been abused!

  111. I’m late to this convo too… does everyone similarly realize that if a sex offender is homeless, they aren’t on the registry, and therefore have access to children? The truth is that these crimes are extremely rare, and I too personally know someone who “pleaded out” but didn’t do the deed, and is now sitting in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. We all say “well, he shouldn’t have pled,” but as Donna points out, when you’re sitting in a county jail fearing for your life and looking at YEARS of a legal battle, it starts to look like a good option. People have all kinds of reasons for making up accusations, and the “accuser is always holy” in these trials. My family member was put away without so much as a shred of physical evidence, and in light of the fact that the “victim’s” story changed every time she was asked.

  112. And for the record, I know and work with several murderers….. and they’re allowed to live in the community and go about their business just about the same as you and I. No one is terribly upset about this reality, and guess what? You don’t know who they are!

  113. [...] A Public Defender Discusses the Sex Offender Registry (& Why It’s Almost Worthless), March 17, 2010: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/a-public-defender-discusses-the-sex-offender-registry-… [...]

  114. Can anyone tell me what an innocent man does when the unjustice system accuses him of molesting a child then finds facts that proves he is 100% innocent of the crime but hides everything so they can use him as a fall guy

  115. Reading through about half the replies was interesting, but I remain depressed. I have done everything possible and expected of me since my offense. I made changes to my lifestyle, attended AA, completed therapy and most important, I mended the relationship with my family, including my victim. Their forgiveness and recognition of the changes in my life should be all that matter, but 12 years later I continue to bear the brunt of scorn from strangers, usually people who have not dealt with serious issues in their own life.

    Currently, I am out of work and I do not have any hope left of supporting myself. I am an outcast not because of who I am, but because of something I did over a decade ago. So what, who cares about my character today, my rehabilitation, remorse, or even who I have helped since.

    I am soon giving up. Used to be a list of the 100s who gave up and checked out before me, but I suppose the offender who maintained the page gave up as well. We are all disposable.

  116. I gave my heart… my heart to the girl I loved 12 years ago… now… I really just don’t give a shit. Can’t work, can’t live anywhere, no friends, nothing… just a homeless outcast with an unregistered gun. Cross my path… I have nothing to lose.

  117. This is to Jack W, you stated that you have NEVER seen a case that didn’t have some sort of EVIDENCE proving them guilty? Well then I have a case for you to take a gander at!! There is someone on the registry right now that had NO evidence other than her word against his, no jury trial, public defender didn’t even ask the guy about his case before court, didn’t know anything about it other than it was a sex case, subsequently the guy was convicted by a judge who found him *guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the demeanor of the victim* and it was classified as a misdemeanor!! with no money to pay for a real attorney (sorry to those public defenders that actually DO their job!) since he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and put on the registry, he was not able to even appeal since public defenders will only file an appeal on a felony. Innocent people can and do get convicted with or WITHOUT evidence of any kind! As far as the registry goes…I’m on both sides of the fence here, habitual offenders, while they shouldn’t be out of jail anyways, need to be on a list, as do murderers, drug traffickers etc, not all who are convicted should have to be on it.

  118. [...] Readers — Sometimes I get so fed up with our fearmongering culture, I almost can’t take pen to blog. Or pixel to blog. Or whatever. But here I am. A reader sent in this link to an extremely popular app that not only TRACKS all your family members, it also alerts you to when they are anywhere near a registered sex offender. This might be helpful, were the registry not jammed with folks who pose no threat to kids at all, chiefly teens who had sex with their slightly underage teenage girlfriends.  (More on that here.) [...]

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