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Sex Offender Laws Are Based On Rage and Fear
By Chris Dornin, Retired Statehouse reporter
Published: 03/12/2012

Female-judge-w Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped from her Florida home, raped and buried alive in February 2005. Lawmakers filed the 82-page Jessica Lunsford Act in her memory on April 1. Gov. Jeb Bush signed the new law on May 2. That’s light speed for any legislature. It passed unanimously in both houses.

The most draconian sex offender code in America at the time had a mandatory 25-year minimum sentence for any sex crime against a child under age 12. The bid was life without parole for perpetrators older than 17.

Bill O’Reilly of FOX News urged viewers to push their governors for even tougher laws to protect kids. “This is literally a life-and-death battle to save our youngest and most vulnerable citizens from abuse, torture, and murder,” O’Reilly warned. “I hope you'll do your part.”

New Hampshire and 16 other states had passed versions of Jessica’s Law within a year. That’s how sex offender laws get made. By rage and fear in a hurry.

“People who prey on children are the most dangerous criminals in our state, targeting our most precious and vulnerable citizens,” Gov. John Lynch told the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee. “It is time for us to send a clear message in New Hampshire. If you prey on children, we will send you to prison, and we are going to keep you there for a long time.”

Rep. Peter Batula, prime sponsor of the predator bill, said the state needed to keep from becoming “a haven for sexual predators to move over the borders.”

NH Attorney General Kelley Ayotte told senators about 17 repeat sex offenders who had gotten off too lightly. She testified that the sex offense recidivism rate for pedophiles “is between 90 and 94 percent. Offenders who sexually abuse children have a lifelong problem that is not amendable to treatment.”

Sex offender laws have bred a universal hysteria about sex offenders by branding them all as equally and intolerably dangerous. The Michigan public registry law promises to help the public know about sexual predators living near them “who, by virtue of relatively high recidivism rates among such offenders and the devastating impact that sex crimes have on society, pose a serious threat to society.”

The US Justice Department made the same argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Alaska v John Doe case. The court ruled that the Alaska public registry is not an ex post facto punishment. In their amicus brief, the feds said sex offenders pose a huge threat because of their high recidivism rates and the injury they inflict on children.

New Hampshire State Sen. David Boutin sponsored a bill two years ago to encourage police departments to use active public notice when sex offenders are released into a neighborhood. He filed the legislation to please constituents hoping to drive all the sex offenders from his home town. Joel Dutton, a man on the sex offender registry there, had been charged with a new sex crime. When Dutton made bail, his neighbors started a website against him with these and similar comments:

"You show true restraint by not beating the tar out of this lowlife." Chris Johnson

"I hope you guys get rid of the bastard. What a piece of crap." MTgirl

"This is an incestuous family of whack-jobs and psychopaths, and it makes me feel good to know they are going down." Steve

"Hang'em high and let the sun set on em. Only in a perfect world right? Haha" Josh T

Boutin echoed those feelings in Senate testimony for his legislation. "Late September of 2009 a convicted child sex offender heinously struck again and was charged with felonious sexual assault against a 7 year old Hooksett girl," Boutin told lawmakers. "Quick adoption of this bill and dissemination of notification guidelines to local law enforcement will go a long way towards preventing another sexual assault, with regrettable consequences for the victim, family and community, who all share in the burden of the pain."

Boutin failed to mention that the prosecutor had already dropped the case against Dutton for lack of evidence. A neighbor had accused Dutton of molesting his own niece, who still lives with Dutton, his wife, and his brother in law. The bill died on the Senate floor, even in an election year

A growing body of research calls into question the wisdom of all this crusading against sex offenders. Dr. Karl Hanson, a corrections researcher for the Canadian Department of Public Safety, is a pioneer in the risk assessment of sex offenders. He has also co-authored numerous studies of sex offender recidivism, including several meta-analyses that followed large groups of offenders over many years. One of his projects found a 13.4 percent sex offense recidivism rate after five years. Another reported a 14.3 percent after six years. A third found a 14 percent rate after five years, 20 percent after 10 years and 24 percent after 15 years.

Recent American studies suggest even lower rates. One by Sarah Schelle of the Indiana Department of Corrections, entitled “Juvenile Recidivism, 2010,” said that only two of 71 juvenile sex offenders released in 2007 had committed new sex offense within three years. That’s a 2.8 percent sex offense recidivism rate, although the sample size was small and the tracking period was shorter than Hanson used. The comparable rate for hundreds of adult sex offenders in Indiana the same year was 1.05 percent three years after release.

A report in July 2011 led by Mark Rubin of the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service followed 900 sex offenders released from prison or probation in Maine between 2004 and 2008. Within three years after release 3.8 percent had been convicted of a new sex crime. The study entitled “Sexual Assault Trends and Sex Offender Recidivism in Maine, 2010” can be found online by clicking here.

Rubin told the Portland Press Herald the public still thinks sex offenders have high re-offense rates. “There’s really no data to support that theory,” he told the newspaper.

A report in March 2012 by the State of Connecticut tracked 746 sex offenders for five years after release from prison in 2005. Only 3.6 percent had been charged with a new sex crime, 2.7 percent were convicted, and 1.7 percent had returned to prison for that new crime. The author of the report, Ivan Kuzyk, noted these low rates contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. “The real challenge for public agencies is to determine the level of risk which specific offenders pose (to) the public," Kuzyk said. Here is the full report.

I wrote a piece for Corrections.com a couple of years ago entitled “Facts and Fiction about Sex Offenders ”, which summarized similar low American sex offense recidivism rates in study after study: 1.2 percent after two years in Britain; 3 percent after 4.3 years in Iowa; 8 percent after a decade in Ohio; 5.3 percent after three years in a 15-state federal study; 3 percent after three years in Alaska; 4.7 percent after three years in Tennessee; 2 percent after three years in West Virginia; 3.38 percent after 10 years in California; 7.2 percent after 25 years in Utah; 2.3 percent after three years in Arizona; 3.8 percent after three years in Delaware; 2.4 percent after three years in Illinois; 1.8 percent after three years in New Mexico; 4 percent after three years in South Carolina. My article on this literature is still available elsewhere on corrections.com.

Hanson said the earliest Canadian and American sex offense recidivism studies found unusually high rates because the investigators looked only at high- and medium-risk populations. Most were repeat offenders to begin with. Hanson is familiar with the recent U.S. studies, but questions some of those low numbers because parolees in states like Iowa and Alaska can return to prison after a new sex offense without counting officially as re-offenders.

“I know that first-hand,” Hanson said. “The way they capture their data underestimates the recidivism. And not all repeat offenders go back to prison. Or they might return in a different state.”

In an unlikely alliance, victim advocates have begun standing up for sex offenders in litigation and battles over legislation. Atty. Margie Slagle wrote an amicus brief representing the Cleveland and Texas rape crisis centers in the Williams v Ohio case. They intervened on the side of the plaintiff, a sex offender challenging the public registry law before the Ohio Supreme Court as an ex post facto punishment. Slagle helped Williams to win last summer. Below is a passage from her brief.

While protecting Ohioans from sex offenders is a compelling interest-and indeed, it is the core mission of the amici- none of the changes implemented as part of Ohio's AWA has been proven to achieve that goal. Research shows that the law's more burdensome requirements on law enforcement, the public, and sex offenders can cause higher levels of recidivism and thus pose increased danger to the community. More onerous sex offender registration and community notification laws threaten to harm the very people they are intended to protect and to undermine goals of community safety and treatment of offenders. These laws perpetuate myths and create a false sense of security.

Research demonstrates that victimization can be reduced when sex offenders successfully reenter the community. These changes also put law enforcement agencies, already in budgetary crises, in the position of spending precious dollars on monitoring low risk individuals with a limited impact on public safety. Thus, any argument that Ohio's AWA is simply a remedial law designed to protect children and the public from sexual abuse and sex crimes is seriously flawed. Ohio's AWA is not based on empirical evidence or proven research, but on fear and misinformation.


In an interview, Slagle said prosecutors and other officials pander for votes by playing the sex offender card. “The sad truth is we leave parents and children more vulnerable when lawmakers pass laws based on myth and not facts,” she said. “The public registry makes thing so difficult for them. Part of rehabilitation is getting them accepted back into the community.”

Hanson said the research fails to support claims that the public sex offender registries deter sex crimes or prevent recidivism. “The recidivism rates before and after implementation of registries are essentially the same,” he explained. “When policies are going to affect other people, it is worth collecting data first.”

Chris Dornin is a former New Hampshire State House reporter and the founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform. In the interest of full disclosure, he helped to kill Sen. Boutin’s active notification bill.

Other articles by Dornin


Comments:

  1. blueeyesl4 on 08/26/2014:

    As to CMH's comment on 06/16/2013, Your message seemed to reflect your own personal resentment on the subject rather than an accurate opinion based on facts. You start by saying that the information provided by this page is inaccurate based on people not being caught for sex offenses. If they are not caught, how can you use them as an example since they very well might not even exist. Its not like you have a list of people who have committed sex offenses and have not been caught because, if you did and had the evidence to support it, they would be convicted. Without proof of committing a sex offense, it would be impractical to try and guess at how many non convicted offenders are out there and add them to a study of recidivism. Are there people in the world who commit crimes and are not caught? Yes, I think that's a given, but not just sex offenders and as far as I know, any attempt to calculate the number would be unsubstantial guess work. You say that you doubt that any convicted sex offenders are innocent. I am not sure how that would affect this topic one way or another, but I did notice that you said shorty after that you are aware that there are women who have falsely accused men of such offenses. That seems like quite the contradiction. You do say that a woman falsely accusing a man would give up before a conviction, but wouldn't that depend on the strength of the motive? Being raped ofcourse would be a strong motive for a woman to stick with the process, but what about an unfaithful man? Wouldn't a women who already committed herself to a lie be willing to see it through if she hated the man she used to love for something unthinkable like sleeping with her sister or best friend perhaps. That's just one example, but I'm sure there are plenty of possible motives. The heart of this page I think is to say that once a sex offender, or any criminal for that matter, has completed his or her sentence, should they be allowed to live out the rest of there lives free from persecution? I am hardly impartial as I married an ex-sex offender, but I think the answer should be obvious. Yes, the price has been paid by the established laws. Let these people live out what remains of their lives in peace. Me and my husband have three wonderful kids and he treats me like a queen. His offense happened in 1999 with an underage girl. At that time he lived each day for the next party and the next bottle. he was released in 2006 and hasn't touched a drop of alcohol since. He spends all his free time with me and the kids and we couldn't be happier. The crime happened over 15 years ago. He did his time in prison and came out a better person. At that time he was also sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry which has caused us grief without end. Hateful neighbors and hateful people in general with access to enough information to perpetuate their hatred. To make things worse, he was reclassified and a tier three sex offender and his registration period was extended to life. Without committing a new crime, how can his sentence be extended beyond what the judge set for him? He was forced to sign papers under threat of felony and misdemeanor charges being put against him if he should fail to sign. Why even bother having him sign under duress? Wouldn't the signature be invalid in that situation anyway? I say let him live his life with me and stop persecuting him. Let him finish his 25 year registry if its necessary, but for God's sake let it be over after that and stop increasing his punishment for a crime in which he has already paid for.

  2. CMH on 06/16/2013:

    With all due respect, MadMom and others, you are clearly ignorant to the statistics on rape, reported rape, and convictions. The reason when doing any kind of statistical analysis of sex offender recidivism, given the high number of rapists that get away with the crime due to lack of reporting, intimidation of victims due to lack of sensitivity when reporting to police, police dismissing rape reports/victims due to not being educated in specific reaction or behavior common among sexual assault victims, along with low incident of bring charges due to difficulty of conviction and extremely low conviction rates themselves, it stands to reason counting the numbers reported on past offenders wouldn't yield a high percentage or any accuracy on rates of recidivism. Scientific and psychological studies, as well as many in the law enforcement and justice systems will tell you that crimes of sexual assault, especially those pertaining to rapists and child molesters/rapists are offenders with the highest rates of recidivism. Maybe serial killers equal their numbers or have them beat, but they are high. Some of you are right. The system is broken...for the victims, not the rapists. As a victim of rape, I don't believe there are many, if any innocent rapists in prison. I know there are innocent men and women in prison, but rape is a category within itself in the justice system. Though I can't deny women have made false accusations, which not only wrongs the accused, but the real victims of rape every day. I don't believe these false accusations are common, in fact I would say they are rare, and as some one who found the strength to report it despite the circumstances of the crime, and the hell that I went through as I was harrassed, badgered, intimidated and put in the position of the party that had to defend myself far more so than the rapist, I can tell you I have a very hard time believing anyone would get through that process without giving up if they were falsely accusing some one of rape. Most people believe tha statistic of rapes reported is about 50%, but that is only the statistics reported as they pertain to victims raped by strangers, which actually is only a small percentage of overall rapes, which are primarilly perpetrated by someone the victim knows. In those cases the % of rapes reported is less than 2%. So, faced with the truth of rape reporting, it is fair to say it is a geverous estimation to say 90-95% of rates go UNREPORTED. That right there is 90-95% of rapists getting away with the crime and traumatic impact it has on the victim and can go on to rape again (as sexual assault is at the top of the list when it comes to revidicism/repeat offenders). What happens to the 5 or 10% of victims that report? They are often dismissed by the police, and in many cases due to the ignorance of the officers in what that specific trauma does to the brain, making it difficult to tell the story in a coherent or orderly way, as thoughts are scattered and trauma blocks details, for example. Other times it is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated by the police who then pass it on to a prosecutor for review as to whether charges are filed, and may be dismissed based on lack of evidence in the file alone or if you are 'lucky' enough to get beyond that as I was, you meet with the prosecutor for the main purpose of assessing your story, your credibility as a witness, etc. as rape cases are the HARDEST to get a conviction on. Rape is the only crime where the background, mental health/stability prior to the rape, drug or alcohol problems, history of abuse, ability for articulation, education, and appeal of the victim determine whether a case may be charged, as opposed to making that decision based on the accused or the evidence itself. What most people don't know, partially due to the crime dramas on TV that find DNA in every case, is that in the majority of rapes in the real world there is no discernable DNA evidence, as a matter of fact it is quite rare that there is any at all. This really complicates trials in a world of juries where people assume there must be reasonable doubt if there is no DNA. The first line of defense in a rape case? Drag it out as long as possible, making the victim as miserable as possible to get her (or him) to drop the whole thing, and more often than not this works, and even women brave enough to report and start the process can't bear the repeated violations, delays, depositions with nasty defense attorneys trying to twist the facts and badgering them, putting the innocent victimin a position to defend themselves, not to mention the repeated trauma of having to relive it for each police interview, prosecution meeting, and deposition, not to mention on a stand in front of your rapist if comes to trial. Then there are the extra steps to harrass, where in my case the day after I rejected my rapist's plea offer to plead guilty as charged (to the highest sexual assault charge in the state, aggravated felonious sexual assault), as long as he did no jail time, we had depositions, my sister had one, as she was a witness, and then mine followed hers immediately, as she drove off to pick up her husband for a family funeral. After a stressful deposition with a highly unethical defense attorney, she and her husband (also a witness in the case) arrived at the funeral to find my rapist, Paul Nault of Goffstown, NH and most recently residing in Dunbarton, NH (and currently residing at the State prison for men in Concord, NH), was not only at the funeral, but stood directly in the doorway, while they waited outside for him to move so they could enter. He never did, and they were forced to have to push by him to get inside, though he avoided speaking to them as it would have been a violation of his bail bond, and put him in prison until trial, he followed from a distance and stared at my sister throughout the funeral. I had returned home from a very rough deposition and was exhausted and was receiving frantic texts and upset phone calls regarding the situation. He did that to intimidate us, but it only made me more determined. Also after I rejected his offer to plead guilty as long as he had no jail time, private investigators showed up, but not to talk to people who knew me well. No, they went to people my siblings knew that I had met once at the party, one was a contact my brother had through work, they falsely represented themselves as working for a lawyer representing me, and then asked if they were aware I had accused him of rape, while going on and on about how much money his family had. First of all, they tried to pay me off, "pick a number" they said, earlier in the process, so they had no cause to imply I was extorting him for money, second, as is typical with rape victims, I wasn't telling people. It was so hard. I had to tell my sister, but in the end she had to tell the rest of my family over a month after it happened, as I wouldn't. I couldn't. This was also a tactic to get to me through my family, as they received the phone calls from these acquaintances to ask what was going on, though in both cases, despite the private investigators efforts to make me look like the bad guy and Nault the victim, they both had great sympathy for me and my family and revealed they believed I was raped if I said I was, before even getting a full explanation from my siblings. This man was a person I trusted and considered family and he put something in my drink at a party at my sister and brother-in-law's home (he is married to my brother-in-law's sister whom we all treated like a sister), he raped me in my nephew's bed with his wife asleep in the next room. It was only after this happened to me I found out he had crawled into bed naked with at least two other women after parties and assaulted them and they woke up and managed to force him out of the bed. One of those women came forward when she heard what happened to me and was interviewed by police, and yet that information was not admissible because it was prejudicial to the accused. This shows a pattern of behavior, and I have no doubt I am not the first woman he successfully raped, given he was 42 by the time he raped me, and I don't believe I will be his last. He opted for a bench trial as his lawyer advised him a jury was not in his best interest with me testifying, also the defense attorney was far harder on me in cross examination than he ever could have been without alienating a jury. I am told by advocates, "I am lucky," as convictions for rape are so rare. The statistics are true, hence only 1 or 2% of rapists ever facing consequences for their actions. I don't feel lucky though, as his lawyer and a member of his family managed to continue to drag the ordeal out for me long after he was covicted and in prison a-year-and-a-half ago. I can never find the exact or right words to describe the feelings and experience, as prior to having to live through it myself, I couldn't have even fathomed these feelings existed on the scale of human emotions, and I have truly only given you a glimpse of the difficulty of this whole process and ordeal. There was to be a final hearing last week, but it ended up going all day, which means because we didn't finish, I have to go back and sit in the same room with my rapist again and get back up on the stand to be cross examined by the defense, and I don't even have the date yet. I dread it, but I try to hold onto the idea that once I do that it should finally and truly be all over after nearly three years of my life, so I can finally start my healing process and move on with my life. Though he was convicted, Nault only got 3 years in prison and 3 on parole. Did you know in the state of NH, the maximum sentence for selling cocaine or heroin is double that of the maximum sentence for rape? That is right, in the eyes of the State of NH Legislature, selling drugs is worse than raping someone, stripping them of their power, sense of self, security, and violating them with the violent crime of rape. Selling drugs isn't even a violent crime! I have been imprisoned for nearly three years already, as this has turned my world upside down and drastically impacted every aspect of my life to include my mental and physical health, and have a couple more to go as I work to get better and find myself again. He made a choice. He committed an act against me, and I have paid a price far higher than his jail sentence, and to think, most rapists don't even have to worry about that! I have only shared a small piece of what this has done, made me feel and the ways I was violated again and again throughout the process with no regard for my rights to privacy or integrity, or mental state for that matter. Believe me, even once charges are filed, the majority of women don't follow through to the end given the added stress, lack of ability to heal while it is still going on, and the unethical tactics employed by many defense attorneys to make things as difficult and slow moving as possible for the victim witness, turning it into a never-ending nightmare. After experiencing this personally (and technically it is not over yet and I still have a huge stumbling block ahead), I don't believe anyone would go through the legal process if they weren't really sexually assaulted, nobody would put them selves through this kind of scrutiny, violation of privacy such as medical records (even though NH has a law specifically protecting privilege between victims of sexual and domestic violence and their counselors), the need to put your whole life on hold and be ruled by the court calendar for hearings and depositions and meetings, and the rest of the horror strictly to lie or hurt someone. By the time it gets to this point, and the victim is persevering, I promise you it takes all the energy you have, which isn't much when you are likely suffering from the high anxiety and severe depression that often are results of rape. Based on my experience, and it is more than I ever wanted or needed, there are likely no innocent men convicted of rape in prison, and if there are, it would be very far and few between, and likely be due to them taking a plea of some kind to avoid trial. Given the statistics, a person would have to rape multiple victims,and only when one reports it are they even at risk, but only to be in the small percentage of those that are charged at all, and the even tinier percentage of those convicted, and most don't receive a very long sentence and are out and ready to rape again within a couple of years. And yet, though my rapist is a level III sex offender the highest he can be, based on his conviction of aggravated felonious sexual assault , who likely raped before, and definitively attempted it with at least two other women that I know of won't be registered on a public list when he gets out of his short stay in prison. In NH sexual offenders of victims over 18 need to have TWO convictions before they are published on a public list for the safety of other potential victims. Healing is my first priority when this is over, but changing that law is my second! It is unfortunate that so little is known by the general population about the short and long term effects resulting from the trauma of rape, or that most rapists get away with it over and over again, some never being reported or caught, never mind charged, prosecuted or convicted. I have always been a strong supporter of our justice system, as I can say even today I would far rather see a guilty man go free, than an innocent man be incarcerated, but rape is a whole different story within the justice system. The nature of the crime and effects of the trauma make it likely not to be reported at all, or not until a good deal of time has passed since the rape itself. Victims' rights laws are created for a reason and need to be enforced. The worse the legal ordeal is for victims going through with it and the more they are denied their privacy, medical privilege, and dignity, the less victims will report and chance going through all that in the future. It is a vicious cycle. Nobody wants to see innocent people imprisoned, and I know it happens, but that would be fare more rare if at all given the circumstances, victim impact and statistics when it comes to rape in the justice system. In these cases, the victims are the ones who need the advocacy and support. After I heal and have taken care of myself, I plan to change those laws and make a difference in supporting victims coming forward and having their rights respected. The ordeal of rape and the legal process that follows if you report is hard enough without feeling like you are continuously being violated beyond the rape, and you are not entitled to the protection of the judicial system from unethical behavior, intimidation, harassment and unnecessary delays in the process. As for prosecutorial misconduct, you can't assume all prosecutors have political aspirations and are doing their jobs for that reason alone. There are good and bad lawyers of all kinds. In my case, the prosecutor is a very compassionate man who seems to genuinely want to do good, make a difference and protect people, where as the defense attorney had been so unethical, even going so far as knowingly bold face lying to the judge in open court to manipulate a shorter sentence. All trials are recorded and public record, so when this is over and I file formal complaints to the state disciplinary committee for lawyers, as well as the BAR Association, he could be facing some serious disciplinary measures, as he should. I can assure you all there are far more ignored or abused victims of rape than men being falsely accused of rape and being imprisoned. Please consider the other side. With a rate of 98-99% of rapists getting away with their crimes, I can assure you, they don't need your help or advocacy. Thank you in advance for your time and letting me relay my experience. P.S. I can't sleep and wrote this on touch pad of my iPad at 5 am,so please excuse any typos.

  3. Fred Davis on 05/07/2013:

    Propaganda is a powerful tool. People are waking up to how fast those that have done their time can be punished again with no due process for the "feelings" of the collective based on fear alone.. Now those depending on guns for their security are getting a dose of their own medicine for denying the rights just as former offenders who have been disenfranchised with no due process even after proving the will to do better with the help of GOD.. Fear is the opposite of faith and Fear is not always based in truth by statistics and empirical evidence, Great article.

  4. iheartvsg on 11/09/2012:

    All of the information is very interesting. Three years ago I was investigated concerning an immigration matter having to do with the sponsorship of someone coming to the US to work. All of my computers and storage devices were seized. In looking for documents related to the immigration case (of which I had already provided them the originals) they found one CD in a stack of old CD's that had various files and images of which 3 or 4 were of someone under 18 years that they considered child pornography. The federal agents didn't want to handle the case since it was minor so they left it up to the local prosecutor to decide what to do. So...3 years later I get charged and arrested for a single count of "possession of child sexually explicit material". I had met with the federal agents and state police 3 or 4 time, on my own accord, without an attorney. I told them that if they wanted to charge me with something (either related to the immigration thing or the photos which they finally told me they found) I would turn myself in without any problem. They said that they didn't want to embarass me by sending police to my house and drag me out in cuffs and they would notify me. One day the state police showed up at my new job..which it took me 9 months to find..and arrested me. They drove from my home town 35 miles away to pick me up. They picked me up at 2 in the afternoon instead of waiting until 6:00 p.m. when I would be home AND after they said they would allow me to turn myself in. (I know they can do what they want, but I was honest with them...so I trusted them to be honest with me). I lost my job over being arrested and because of the charges. (I don't blame my former employer, but it could have been handled differently). I wasn't told what I was being arrested for. I wasn't read my rights. I didn't know anything until the next morning when I was arraigned and given a $10,000 bond from the district judge. Luckily I knew a lawyer and he came down the same morning and worked it out for me to get out on my own recognizance along with a tether which I had to pay $120 a week for. Without a job I lasted 2 weeks and because I couldn't pay they arrested me again because I couldn't keep the tether so I sat in Jail for 3 days until my lawyer could get my case moved from the district court (where the judge is known for settting outrages bond amounts and restrictions) to the circuit court and after days of faxing paperwork back and forth (the circuit judge is a travelling judge and it's hard to get stuff to him to review and sign in a timely manner..not his fault) I finally get the bond changed so that I just have to surrender my passport and the other restrictions (not violating the school safety zone, not having contact with any minor, etc.) Ok...so I get the choice of a plea agreement...plead guilty on the 1 count of possession of sexually explicit material and the federal charges go away or fight the federal charges and/or the possession charges and take my chance on a federal prison term if convicted or a local conviction for possession..which is much better than a federal or state conviction on either count.) I did what my lawyer suggested and took the plea. Our small town paper prints court reports every week... so I ended up in the paper for the arresst (1 article one week), being bound over to circuit court (the 2nd article a different week), and that I pled guilty to the 1 count and the date of my sentencing (the 3rd article a different week). So no one in my town, not friends or family or "Joe Blow community member) knows the circumstances but now I've been branded a child molester just because of the way the charges and convictions are listed on the state books which is what went into the paper. I also have to register as a sex offender. NOW WE COME TO MY SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY COMMENTS: I understand the reason for the sex offender registry. I don't condone child abuse, or abuse of anyone-human or animal-for any reason. BUT I feel there is a difference between someon who had some images...not creating the images, purchasing the images, selling the images, trading the images, producing the images, etc... and someone who rapes another person, or touches them inappropriately, etc. Especially since no one knows the reason those photos were on that CD anyway (and I won't get into that). Yes I possessed the images. Yes that is against the law. Yes my lawyer said "we can fight this..the law states you have to KNOWINGLY possess the images (I didn't realize they were on there). But I couldn't fight the charges as I couldn't take the chance of being found guilty on the federal immigration charges and risk a prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines. I did what was best for me and my family and took the plea. I have never harmed anyone in my life. I get disgusted and scared and hurt to the point of crying when I read online about someone killing their kids...someone selling their 7 year old daught for sex so the mom can buy drugs...etc. THERE ARE REAL PROBLEMS IN OUR SOCIETY..SCARY PROBLEMS that seem to all of the sudded be popping up. I'm willing to take my punishment but why should I be branded as a SEX OFFENDER and have to live with that for 25 years or life...hurting my chances at a job or volunteer work or a relationship (I also lost a relationship I had started 4 months earlier..before being arrested..and I don't blame her either she has to protect herself and her 2 kids-they are teenagers, not toddlers). I've lost my family because of their embarassment (murderers on TV have their whole family in the court room to support them..odd). I've lost my job. I've lost my self-esteem. I think the sex registry law in my state (Michigan) need to be revamped. Again, I'll take my punishment, but others like me should be able to have a chance to restart their life. They should be given that chance to rebuild..to be told they did wrong and they need to realize that. Spend some time in jail if necessary. Be on probation for a long period of time. Have them agree to have their computers checked at any time. But give them that chance. If they screw up again then maybe they shouldn't get a second chance..I don't know. If they really have a serious addiction to child pornography then let them get help. People who abuse drugs and alcohol can get a shorter sentence for hurting someone and agreeing to go to counseling, then sex offenders can. I could spend more time in jail for possession of child pornography (again, not producing, selling, or trading..and not possession of thousands of pictures) than someone who murders someone else. Seriously. We need help. We need people to stand up and help those in need. Those individuals who are scared and made a bad choice and realize that. Looking at a photo of a naked child or a child in a sexual situation is considered "violating that child again and again every time the photo is looked at". That is probably true...but does looking at a dead murder victim online mean you are killing them over and over again? Again, I totally agree it's wrong to posess or look at child pornography..I get that..but these people deserve help and don't deserve to be branded as a "child molester" or "pervert" or "pedophile" for life. Hurt, kill, abuse, take a photo of, make a movie of, do ANYTHING to harm a child and you need to pay the price. Yes the people in my community..the people on my street..should and need to know that they have someone living next to them who has sexually abused a child. BUT it shouldn't be used as a witch hunt. Why not list everyone on my street who is convicted of drugs..or who murdered someone? I apologize for the looong rant. But I had to get this off my chest and although I'm afraid of what people may say or ocmment about what I think I look forward to reading them and perhaps learning a bit more about a subject that affects me. Thank you and I hope for the best for those people out there who are going through what I'm going through. When I got out of jail, my lawyer was the first and ONLY one to come up to me and say "I know what you are going through is rough but it's not going to be as bad as you think it's going to be..be strong and you can get trhough this." I say the same to you, whether it's something related to this subject or anything elst that is causing you hurt or worry. Take care.

  5. euda on 11/05/2012:

    I happened onto this site while searching for another topic but I am so intrigued by the comments that I feel compelled to make a comment too. I want to direct my comment particularly to a Micah Allen whose post I read dated 3/13/2012. You stated that you work with sex offenders and have watched (apparently with a sense of pride) them become new people. I can tell you that no amount of experience equips you to judge the honesty emotionally of a committed sex offender. I did notice in all these posts (some unbelievably long) that they are all pro-offender. I don't think I read a single one that voiced concern about the victims - some of which were mentioned as being 5 yrs old - this is disgusting. This is also the reason crimes of this nature are escalating in our country. It should not matter how a child is dressed - you sound as if a scantily dressed child is inviting a sexual assault......I realize that you all think yourselves very sophisticated and I would wager all know someone who is an offender but you need to concentrate a bit more on the victim's continuing life - especially that of a young child. I think you have all lost your pseudo-professorial minds.

  6. snowyowl on 10/11/2012:

    Gandalf, Madmom, and a few others on this thread noted both sides of the sex offender issue (the victim and the accused) and the broken system coupled with the legal morasse of not only dealing with these specific criminal issues but all criminal issues. Now, my wife and I are not in the habit of defending sex offenders just because of the stigma perpetuated by someone knowing that you are seeking the truth (as these controversial issues always create a great deal of prejudice and resistance), nor of prejudging any individual who has been accused of any crime, due to the fact that the legal system is so broken, people in that system are indifferent (I refer to that as the modern day "Molly Macquires"), and all work together to rush to judgement or drag out the legal process to eek out every dime they can. Before you read on, I just want to let everyone know that my wife and I and the accused we're about to talk about are SEEKING THE TRUTH and are still searching for and looking into all of the facts. I found the viewpoints very interesting, but my wife and I are troubled for a friend of ours who was our former upstairs neighbor from where we still currently live and we were in our apartment and home at the time our 65 year old neighbor was falsely accused of molesting his 5 year old grand daughter by a female accuser who had been married SIX times by the age of 37 years of age. He has been incarcerated for about a month now and we have known this man for over 2 years. We have been acquainted briefly with the accuser for just one year. Now remember, my wife and I were both home at the day, date, and time this offense allegedly occurred. We did not hear anything, except for the accuser yell at the girl (the alleged victim) after our neighbor was arrested. He is still in jail with a very high bail amount and he has not been formerly charged with anything- just accused of molestation. The media hype, the rumours, the falsehoods, and some facts were thrown out there for the public in the nearby region to eat up. This is a small town also. There are too many holes in the story that make the story appear ot to be able to hold water. Our neighbor has a public defender who refused to speak to us regarding our facts we had for him about the case in spite of the fact we came forward as witnesses on behalf of our neighbor to declare his innocence. We have also written to the local, county, and state governments to indicate the same and the fact that the public defender did not even want to hear from us some very vital and critical facts about the case. From where I sit, they botched things when they waived this man's preliminary hearing and waited 8 days after his arrest to assign him a public defender, in addition to the excessive bail they charged him and his family (many of the family members believe he is innocent also) an undue burden and hardship. Meanwhile, some demented woman barely married into the family a mere six months and on her six marriage falsely accused a good man who is probably innocent of any accusations (in fact my wife and I are quite certain he is innocent- not guilty of anything criminal). He had never had any trouble with the law before and yet they made him go up on the sex offender registry for the accusation- and this woman who accused him concocted this whole thing so she could have control over the two grandkids and one of our neighbor's younger sons (who married this woman who accused the neighbor). Furthermore, this man got kicked out of his apartment too- evicted 2 days after his arrest. The point of giving you all the back story is that you can take a man who did nothing wrong and thrust him into the legal morasse all because some person of the opposite sex made an accusation that she really cannot substantiate. Yes, my wife and I fully believe that she lied to create trouble for him- and yet, at least for now, she appears to be getting by with that scot-free of any criminal charges herself while the accused is slowly working through the process (as are my wife and I) to make certain that this falsely accused man is cleared of any and all charges. So, how is it that people can falsely accuse others of a crime and get away with that? This woman has ruined this older man's life and has done something to him that will affect him and his reptutation (which she thoroughly besmirched) for quite possibly the rest of his life. The only good that comes out of this is that he is older and does not have much time left on this earth as it is for obvious health reasons. Now, here is a real life prime example of how the system doesn't work very fairly at all because some adult female accuses some older man she herself hates of doing something he did not do. Then they have the gall to arrest him and hold him at length in jail with a high bail amount while the matter is under investigation (and have not formally charged this man)- all because someone opened up the mouth and accused someone else. The system truly is broken hear- to the neighbor and to my wife and I. I cannot even put my faith in the courts or any justice system in small case matters or civil issues. Just to make sure this case had oversight and the public defender did his job, we had to write numerous letters and make numerous phone calls to state government agencies just on this one case on behalf of this man. We just want the system to treat this man fairly and not treat like he has been as "Guilty until Proven Innocent." Had we not gone out on his behalf and force fed facts to the public defender that the public defender did not even want from us and gone to the state overseeing all of these folks, he probably would have been charged and sentenced by now for a crime he probably did not commit by a court system in a county that obviously has bias against him due to the stigma of the accusation. Put yourself in the position of this man and what he is facing. What if this man had his whole life ahead of him (under the same or similar conditions)? This real life example is a situation in which a person is presumd guilty until proven innocent and a situation in which he gets his life ruined because someone accused him when he may very well have not done anything criminal at all. Again, he was not officially charged, vut he was accused, arrested, and incarcerated. The people that truly care have to deal with the rest of it, including holding the state and the local governments accountable for even doing their job, since a man's life is at stake here and no one seems to actually want to do their job, do it properly, and above all, be fair, treat the accused fairly (without stomping on his legal or constitutional rights - as they already have)- in the valiant and truly fervent attempt to seek the truth and waiting for all of the facts to come in to pass judgement. All this was said to really weigh out and consider everything before letting a truly guilty person go free and falsely imprisoning and ruining the life of someone who is truly innocent. These grim realities of what happens when people lie in a broken system and the results made my wife and I take a hard look at ourselves along with some fervent and unceasing prayer before we plunged headlong into the situation to try to help a man wo is truly innocent of some horrible accusation to be proven innocent. What really gets me and my wife also is the fact that all people remember about him is the accusation and they took away his good deeds and his humanity in favor of an accusation and loads of gossip that is more han likely false. It reminds me of that famous quote by Julius Caesar who stated, "The evil that man do are long and well remembered while the good they do are (forgotten and) interred with their bones." We as human being need to look at all crimes with due and great consideration. When we rush through cases like making fast food at a fast food place, then there is something wrong. Yes, we want a speedy trial, but we want a balanced trial with alacrity, in which all things considered, especially the facts are truly carefully weighed and adjudicated.

  7. coloneltom on 09/05/2012:

    My heart bleeds for Jessica Lundsford and her parents, We need somehow to protect all our Children.But killing thousands of our fellow human beings because they made one mistake in their lives is not acceptable in a civilized Society.Why should a man who went to a party where young girls are dressed up to look 20, who happened to touch one of their breasts. A Man that was railroaded 23 years ago, went to prison for his supposed crime and has had to register ever since. Where is the Justice? what about the parents that let their 15 year old girls go to a party aren't they somehow responsible too? My friend who I am talking about is now homeless,and jobless. living in his van pushed from one place to another,hasn't re offended, has become a hermit and is now on the verge of suicide. Even though he has been persecuted and alienated by his own people, he has designed a large, magnificent power plant that will solve Americas dependency on fossil fuels, A plant unlike wind and solar, will be cheap to build,leave no carbon footprint and will not disrupt wildlife jobs will be created because once built,people will come to see this new American Marvel.But no the American people will persecute this marvelous inventor until the day he dies or commits suicide. You need to change the law folks or we are all going to be the looser's.

  8. juswannabeme2 on 08/03/2012:

    long and short of the last 16 yrs... 1yr county 5 yrs prison 10 yrs parole... in that time i have done everything i could to once again be a productive part of society... i got married, had two children workin my way up at a good job, renting a new house, two cars... on my way.. then one day outta the blue... im let go from work..appearantly the conviction that they knew about and hired me with was now unacceptable.. a few weeks later same story.. me, my wife and kids, one 4 one about 9 months, evicted.. and standing at my parents doorstep homeless.. after the truck was repoed my wife had had enough.. took the kids and left...my curfews got shorter, then eventually tethered. i have no violations, ive committed no crimes.. i got up went to work pd my bills took my kids to church.. but because there are those few that wanna recommit crimes.. people like me are payin the price. people say well you had a victim what about the victim, yes and i dont dought that part of her life has been difficult but shes like 33 yrs old now.. she was almost 17 i was 25 and it was consenual.. yes i shoulda known better but i didnt beat her up i didnt have a weapon i didnt promise anything... we hooked up went out afterwards had sex.. point is the after 5yrs in prison and 10 yrs parole and now lifetime registration.. when is enough enough? fortunately i have another job, major pay cut but im workin.. i still dont have my wife and kids but once again im tryin to pick myself back up and start again..ill never give up.. ill never turn to drugs or alcohol.. and ill certainly not reoffend.. but i will continue to pay everyday for the ones that were givin a chance and blew it.. forcing more unneccerary laws and restrictions on those of us that just want to live our life... thank u for ur time..

  9. templar1118 on 06/19/2012:

    Over the past 10 years or so, there has been a mountain of data (research studies)compiled by university clinicians, research fellows, psychologist, psychiatrist, Phd candidates, and even a prosecutor or two on the unconstitutionality and other negative factors of sex offender laws in the US. And, as an RSO, I have climbed this mountain of data to get to the top; and, while I found the information contained in all of this research material SOUNDS real good, e.g., SO laws are a violation of Ex Post Facto clause, low residivism for RSOs, unintended consequences for RSO families and so on and so forth, I can tell you first hand that none of this means a DAMN thing to that soccer mom in the burbs with 9 year old Timmy and 5 year old Sara. And this is the main constetuate of every politians and judge trying to stay in office. When the US Supreme Court ruled sex offender laws did not violate the constitution this argument was over! Sex offenses are the GOLD STANDARD now---the one every politian has been looking. Remember the Drunk Driver scare and the MADD origanization a few years back? Politians got a few miles out of that, passing drunk driver legislation, making themselves look tough on crime during an election cycle but it fizzled out. Now we have sex offenders. And this is good here---it may have longivity to it; keeping those politians who play the sex offender card/scare at election time in office longer. Need I say more? I think you can figure out the rest of t his story. Thanks.

  10. Extremely Disgruntled on 05/15/2012:

    p.s. the Ohio Codes I refer to above, 2907.03, ALSO preclude a corrections employee from the same type of crimes under the -A11 subcode. Not only juveniles, but consensual (even with Administrative Rules compliance of Wardens approval,) adult with adult offenses are illegal solely by statute.

  11. diehard25fl on 04/22/2012:

    There might be 20 or 30 dangerous people in this country as i write this comment. The bad news is that the laws don't give low risk offenders a chance at starting their lives over. The registry needs to come down just like the end of prohibition. The simple reason is that it harms people financially beyond anything ever created in the history of the USA. There are numerous cases of people being falsely charged with this crime. I won't elaborate on that. I would say out of the 740,000 people listed on the registry right now, maybe 1/10 of one percent or less than that will re-offend now. It violates peoples right to start over and move on with their lives. It violates an opporunity for employment, education, an opportunity to meet new people, and opportunity to be financially successful, and opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. not only are the wrong people on the registry but cori and registry prevent normal people from working jobs as simple as packing frozen seafood in a warehouse, to working as a line cook in a kitchen to making beds in a hotel. these people are no longer dangerous. have zero risk for re-offending and can't get a break from anybody in removing their criminal records or taking them off registration. i have to admit from my own experiences that the registry and cori is no different than being ex-communicated by the catholic church in the middle ages for heresy and being classified as a heretic or disbeliever. it would be more humane to be shot to death by a firing squad than have to live the remainder of your life tagged as a sex offender in the land of the free and home of the brave. whatever miniscule crime u committed on another human being has been overceded a million times over by this punishment. i think it would be fair to say since being on the registry as long as i have, i would prefer being raped and beaten every single day of my life than spend one minute on the sex offender registry or have my criminal record on CORI for one minute. i know some people have actually legitimately been victimized by sex offenders in this country, but i know personally they have been adequately punished for their horrendous crimes. the rest of us got a lot more punishment than we asked for and its not necessary. its not required and enough is enough. time to repeal public notification and registry just like prohibition was wisely taken down fifty years ago.

  12. wngatewood on 04/17/2012:

    yes sex offender laws are based on rage and fear, if a person fall againist a child know crime is to hard. i knew men who live that way all of there life, till some one inform them it was wrong. would like to found people who believe people can chance i know because i did!!!!!!!

  13. suetiggers on 03/19/2012:

    Even the man who started it all has learned, i.e. 'The system is broken. It’s overwhelmed and I think the public is starting to realize that. You can’t paint sex offenders with a broad brush.' (John Walsh, father of Adam Walsh) Quantity isn't quality. We need SMARTER sex offender laws, not more ineffective or worse, like the residency laws, ones that actually increase danger. MOST people listed as sex offenders are not dangerous ...BLOATING the registry with these kind of people feeds the lie, panics the public, keeps fear alive and perpetuates these kind of more,more more additions. They are popular with unscrupulous politiicans, drama-driven media but they do not do what the advertising says.

  14. Extremely Disgruntled on 03/17/2012:

    Adding to Gandalf: Go watch the George D. Williams case oral argument out of Ohio: http://www.supremecourtofohiomedialibrary.org/Media.aspx?fileId=129258 , then read the decision here: http://www.supremecourtofohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2011/2011-ohio-3374.pdf They actually used the "renew a drivers license" analogy, and then decided it turned onerous, and thereby is effectively punitive, even though it was not intended to be. Basis on Kennedy-Mendoza criteria. Forty minute video, but well worth the time investment to watch it. Ms. Szudy is anyone's hero who wants the Registry "fixed." The time goes by pretty fast, but Justices Pfeiffer (especially watch from 26:30 on), Stratton (29:39,30:40), and Brown (33:05) really hit all the nails on the heads. Reiterate: A must see. You actually get to see a prosecutor squirm, by being "grilled" by Justices... Ohio was the first to implement AWA on a State scale, and has been and continues to be at the forefront of all legal decisions against it. These can be considered landmark cases, in the effect that they are being ruled against Ohio's own Constitution so that the appeal process stops dead right there. No Federal appeals are allowed from there. The really sad part is that not many of those affected by this decision have been "fixed" out of unlawfully being in the Tier system, since the July, 2011 decision. I would hazard a guess that between 4000 and 8000 people are affected directly by this. All those whose crime dates were before 1/1/08, but sentenced after that effective date. Not one of these particular offenders were adjudicated by a Judge under Megan's Law, so they have nothing to "revert" back to. They all must be brought back before a Judge and told what they are classed to in person (basically a re-sentencing.) Obviously a logistical nightmare for Ohio.

  15. Gandalf on 03/17/2012:

    @Rudy, I must depart from agreement on one point. Convincing a jury is not proof of anything, it is only convincing a group of people that one attorney or the other has a better argument. When there is no evidence, how can there be any "proof"? @Robert, I must quite agree. The Supreme Court in my opinion erred when they made the determination that registry rules are "regulatory and therefore not punitive". While perhaps not regulatory in intent, they are, in fact, punitive in effect. Smith vs. Doe 2003 (I believe).

  16. robert on 03/15/2012:

    When an unconstitutional [ex-post-facto / retroactive] bill passes Congress and is signed by the President, or when it is passed by a state legislature and signed by the Governor, the State or the U.S. Supreme Court is the last line of defense against its enforcement. Their job is to protect all citizens rights equally. When they do, we owe them our gratitude for a job well done. When they don't, our very existence as a liberal democracy is threatened. The Supreme Court has held that, registration for persons charged with a sexual offense whose victim is under 18 to be non-punitive – and in the Supreme Court's words, "restrains [no] activities sex offenders may pursue but leaves them free to travel, change jobs or residences." The occupational debarment of a Judge, Lawyer, doctor, teacher, Congressman, senator, or law enforcement officer would experience, realistically cannot be compared to the sex offender registration, or sanction’s added retroactive each time a child is abducted, sexually assaulted or murdered. A person who suffers the loss due to an occupational debarment is quite free to move unrestricted interstate, intrastate, or into any community, apply for section 8 housing, apply for H.U.D. housing, Have 10 days to renew a drivers license or mail in if save driver, go to any schools, use emergency shelters, seek care in any nursing or retirement community without notifying the community or law-enforcement, or having a felony penalty attached for noncompliance as does the title (Registered Sex Offender). A probationer or parolee can already be barred from travel, along with other restrictions imposed [intrastate banishment] by the sentencing Court and Probation. How then, can someone no longer on probation or parole or completed all the laws requirements at the time of sentencing be barred from foreign, interstate travel or where they can reside without violating the ex post facto, retroactive clause? The freedom of the right to live and travel for citizens of the United States is a constitutionally protected right. The war on sex offenders through registration laws has limited due process rights, changed Ex Post Facto doctrine, and further expanded the federal reach under the Commerce Clause. “The constitutional prohibition against retrospective legislation - the danger that the legislature will usurp the judicial power and will legislate so as to administer justice unfairly against particular individuals. This concern has been at the forefront of our ex post facto jurisprudence.” As Justice Harlan noted.

  17. Gandalf on 03/15/2012:

    @ Rudy, we agree for the most part. You mentioned the McMartin case. That case has fallen apart, as you said, because if was found that the people just flat were not guilty. Yes, cumulative decades in prison, as a result of an overzealous prosecution. Google Wenatchee, Washington and sex scandal. More of the same. What I fear is that we've made the registry and laws so onerous that the offenders now will risk trial rather than a lifetime on the register. I will submit that many do the opposite, take a plea instead of risking decades in jail. The prosecutor's association in Iowa wrote the legislature and the governor in 2006 asking them to modify the registry in Iowa because it was driving offenders underground. They were ignored, which is sad. IMO it's much better to know where an offender is, than it is to make things so onerous that they disappear and stop registering altogether. A victim's testimony need not be corroborated in order to proceed with prosecution. Herein lies a huge quandary. Do we allow prosecution with no evidence? That opens the door to a can of worms. It's two sides of an ugly coin. If a "victim" is convincing enough,and if nothing happened, an innocent person is ruined. If a true victim is not convincing enough, a criminal walks. What's the solution? I haven't figured that out yet.

  18. Rudy101 on 03/14/2012:

    Gandalf: PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt in a sex crimes case means the jury believes the victim beyond a reasonable doubt. This is why sex crimes are so hard to prosecute. The victim's credibility is EVERYTHING. She or he has to withstand cross-examination and re-living the details of the crime all the while still ensuring NONE of the jury thinks the victim is lying. A study in South Carolina studying the registry effects found MORE people going to trial (verses taking a plea agreement AND more not guilty verdicts when a person did go to trial). It is a high stakes game, with lives at stake. But the reason Statutes went to not requiring corroborating testimony was because it is well known that in the vast majority of cases of sexual abuse there is no witnesses and no evidence of a crime and it was CLEAR a crime occurred regardless. Now the U.S. has taken this to the extreme. There are still people (though not many) in prison from the 1980's and the day care sex abuse scandal. MY GOD, the accusations that were leveled. Everthing from ritual cutting, to slaughtering of large animals. No child showed evidence of sexual abuse and later it was learned that the children were coaxed into making the accusations by over-zealous case workers. NOW, when a child is taken in and questioned, usually it is standard operating procedure to film the questioning to ensure no child is being led. But the biggest worry is, that plea agreements are taken by suspects who actually are not guilty because it is too risky to go to trial and face a life sentence. A few children have been known to have such mental issues within themselves that to gain attention they mass accuse people in their community. The registry should ONLY be filled with the proven dangerous. A person completes their sentence, they have a RIGHT to continue on with their lives. The system is too imperfect to regulate and label people according to groups, that may or may not have an actual relationship to being dangerous.

  19. Gandalf on 03/14/2012:

    Some interesting comments. For anyone who thinks that a sex crime must be "proved" in order to obtain a prosecution perhaps it might be interesting to read this little blurb taken from the sex crime statutes in the state of Michigan. [quote] Section 750.520h friendly link Printer Friendly THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 328 of 1931 750.520h Corroboration of victim's testimony not required. Sec. 520h. The testimony of a victim need not be corroborated in prosecutions under sections 520b to 520g.[/quote] Several states have adopted similar language for sex crimes. Following is another good article that addresses the Langevin and Hansen studies. [quote] http://www.corrections.com/articles/24500-facts-and-fiction-about-sex-offenders[/quote]

  20. Micah Allen on 03/14/2012:

    I am sorry MadMom, but I have to disagree with you. Yes, there are innocent people who get convicted of sex crimes, but it is a very, very small percentage. Therefore those who were convicted falsely have a minuscule effect on the numbers. The true reason for the small numbers is much more complicated. One factor is that of all crimes, sex crimes produce the most shame and regret in the offender. But it goes even deeper than that, especially when it comes to child sex offenders. In most cases, the offender, in his own perverted way, thinks his actions are harmless and even helpful to the child. But when he gets caught, he is forced to see himself through the eyes of everyone else. This produces emotional pain for the offender when he has to accept the harm he has done to someone he thought he was showing love to. This in turn produces a resolve to never do it again. You see most children are offended against by family members or close family friends. The offender is usually dealing with situations that cause him in time to see a child in his life as a sexual partner. But once he is taken away from all the factors encouraging the abuse, he seldom finds himself in those kind of circumstance again. Then of course there are the so called sex crimes involving a young man in his late teens or early 20's who has sex with a girl under legal age. When he gets out, he is just very careful to only date someone 18 or older. And of course we have the sex crimes that are actually not crimes at all such as public urination. In these cases, the "offender" just holds it until he gets to a bathroom. Of course these are only a few examples of what keeps the recidivism rate so low, but the main factor is the offender's resolve to never do it again, not the number of false convictions. Now of course there are those who want to re-offend and do, but no amount of new laws will stop them short of life time incarceration.

  21. Extremely Disgruntled on 03/13/2012:

    First, thanks for a truly realistic view on the topic. Rudy and MadMom make wonderful points, but I have to add just a couple of specifics which I am getting actually tired of re-posting around the web. The specific instance is in Ohio. It is the crime law itself. Definitions of sex crime wording denies a (male-in general, but specifically a) step parent or any gendered College teacher from ever becoming a victim of a crime of an adult step-child or adult student. Purely statutory. Only illegal in Ohio kind of law. Some of the "blue" laws still in effect, or misconstrued by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Legislative intent. (Go to "Supreme Court of Ohio dot gov" and search State v. Lowe 2007-ohio-606, noting dissent at 28-32,)which somewhere later at the federal level, a court was quoting something about "not since Cromwell's Roundheads from 1835" has to do with this application of law. This kind of injustice I speak of. These are very common cases out of this state. It IS truly a witch hunt. Yes, most of the offenses codes are valid, but when these two adult on adult cases come into the fray with absolutely no defense allowed or accepted, no justice is served. If you look up the actual Ohio Revised codes (codes dot ohio dot gov slash orc) for the above, which are 2907.03 -A5(step parent) and -A7(teacher), then look at the actual definitions 2907.01-A. This definition by itself does not allow a MALE to be raped except anally. This also denies any charge to a female for raping a male vaginally, even at gunpoint! So if Missy Miss with the Glock decides she wants to have vaginal sex with Mr. Mister at loaded gunpoint, by definitions, it is impossible for him to be the victim. Unless, she sticks something in his rectum, THEN and only then, can he be legally raped by the above definitions. The legal (read - real world) translation of this scenario is that his DNA is present, so she is the victim, no matter what transpired. Simply by definitions. It's the entire topic discussed here that is broken. From the original crime statutes all the way to the implementation of listings. It's about time that someone research the stock returns (read - of the Legislators) of all the companies who implement the listings and also how easy it is to get violated on parole/probation, for now we see in Ohio (with Mikaloff, Bodyke, Gingell, Williams, and the latest Palmer cases) that the Ohio "system" which is based completely on the Federal Act and the first to be implemented at the state level, has been ruled either inapplicable, or unconstitutionally applied to persons in at least FIVE distinct parts of their version of the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act. Not many offenders in the Williams class have been "fixed" to the proper Megan's Law classifications yet, I think only a handful so far of probably 4-8000 offenders in this class. Meanwhile they suck it up in Tier 3, and have been illegally paying for registrations four times a year, instead of more likely 1, sometimes 2, or even not at all if they were judged so under Megan's Law! Truly, something finally has to "give." My 2¢ for now is up.

  22. Micah Allen on 03/13/2012:

    I use to work with Sex offenders And in my time working with them, I saw many men change to such a degree that they were virtually different men. So, it was interesting to me one night, as I sat and watched a news show, on Fox, about a Senator, from California, who was advocating the Death penalty for certain types of sex crimes, even when then victim was not killed. The anchor asked him about therapy for sex offenders. The senator replied that everyone knew therapy did not work for sex offenders. Well, after having spent the past 4 years watching sex offenders change their lives around, and become new men, I was, to say the least, shocked to hear that I had apparently imagined the whole thing. My point is that there are myths about sex offenders that are being presented as fact by our own leaders. How can we possibly educate the public about this issue, when those we are suppose to count on for guidance, are going on national TV and stating these myths as fact?

  23. Rudy101 on 03/13/2012:

    MadMom made a comment that must be put into context. In every part of the country between 50% and 75% of all sex crime accusations are never prosecuted. Madmom is correct when she says the rules of evidence are different for sex crimes than for other crimes. BUT, put into context, it is ALWAYS difficult to secure a conviction when all there is is a he said/she said case. Juries can be fickle and even arbitrary in the decision making when it comes to sex crimes. Jury instructions read, that all they need is to believe the victim to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. How a jury translates that is different for every jury. Prosecutors need to win the vast majority of cases it takes to trial, or they won't be a prosecutor long. This is why many cases never go forward; it is just is too much of a gamble. It is also why many cases that do go forward prosecutors believe they can get a conviction out of a jury, even if someone is actually innocent.

  24. MadMom on 03/12/2012:

    One of the reasons recidivism is low is that this particular type of crime has a high rate of false convictions. The constitution practically goes out the window once someone is accused of a sex crime, and prosecutors will often play every trick in the book to convict someone of this crime, whereas other crimes (even those with less life-destroying consequences) require solid evidence to achieve a conviction. I think it's utterly despicable, and the fact that the convicted were never sex offenders to begin with will certainly affect the recidivism rate.

  25. anothen on 03/12/2012:

    Greetings Corrections.com and thank you for such a well written article laden with sound accurate information. I marvel that it originates from anything related to the "Corrections" industry because many correctional officials have also succumb to the myths and hysteria. With your permission I will pass this article on to those hanging on by a string of hope that someday the insanity will end; for it has effected families and children caught in this web of despair. Had they (Legislators, Journalists, Activists, Lobbyists etc.) remained focused on science and statistics, that the real threats are the "Stranger" and the "Chronic" along with the Anti-social disorders, then and only then would the registry be the effective tool that they keep trying to sell us on. Today, in its current condition it is useless and expensive because it is so diluted with those outside of this " 3% " of the statistics that even those that really are dangerous and hazardous are well camouflaged and deeply hidden within the registry and right under our nose. This article contributes to an indication of a turning point from out of the abyss of trepidation because more of this kind of information is slowly seeping into the ears of our society.

  26. Objective123 on 03/12/2012:

    Thanks for the great article. The biggest problem in our society is that they are spoon-fed myths by the media and politicians who are always seeking new avenues for votes.

  27. Rudy101 on 03/12/2012:

    It really is not an issue of whether certain sex offenders have a high rate of recidivism, but HOW the State decides to deal with the issue. Many many crimes have a high rate of re-offence. Where does the State get the authority to regulate beyond a valid sentence passed by a court of law? That is the real question. Because it doesn't matter if this article is completely and 100% right. Politics is the controlling factor. In the U.S. all it takes is a legislative declaration that a certain criminal group, solely defined by the legislature, is dangerous, and a police state can then be set up. The courts have ruled that it is A-okay by them. In other words, the lesson learned is, that the U.S. is a lot less freer than they think.


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