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There’s Hope Even for Sex Offenders
By Chris Dornin, Retired Statehouse reporter
Published: 04/09/2012

Fallout-shelter The war on sex offenders makes sense only within a large historical context. My generation grew up practicing air raid drills in classrooms where the teachers made us crawl under our desks in case the real thing took out Cleveland or Buffalo. Neighbors were stocking their bomb shelters with canned goods and ammunition. We lived through the Cuban Missile crisis unsure if hour by hour the human race would survive.

There was a doomsday pressure on everyone. Sen. Joseph McCarthy tapped into it to wield as much power as President Eisenhower for a brief time. His aggressive Senate hearings on Un-American activities blackballed dozens of alleged communists in labor unions and Hollywood. Even a Pulitzer Prize winner like Arthur Miller fell into temporary disgrace.

The Colonists hanged 20 accused witches in Salem in 1692 and crushed another under tons of stone. Consorting with the devil was a sexual offense in those days. The judges and juries were dealing with huge stress from failed crops and the fear of Indian raids.

Now we have reached the depth of a great recession that rivals the one 80 years ago for its high unemployment and social unrest. Joblessness on this scale contributed to the widespread inner city riots in the 1960s and 1970s. The same misery, but worse, fueled the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin a generation earlier. People are scared that way now. They want vengeance and safety.

We have started the second decade of a war on terror that may never end and knows few traditional limits. We watch Iran and North Korea try to join the short list of nations with the unilateral power to trigger the war to end all wars. Every few months some anonymous stranger guns down a dozen strangers. We all feel that carnage in the intimacy of the quarter hourly internet news cycle as if it happened next door. We want to save ourselves from so many threats. We want to lash out at them. The quickest, easiest way to do that is symbolically.

So we register sex offenders as surrogate terrorists and post their personal information as if it were bin Laden’s bio on the Internet for everyone to see. Failure to report to police on a quarterly basis earns a sex offender a new felony charge. We ban them from living near schools, daycare centers and school bus stops with draconian penalties for violations. We civilly commit them when they finish their prison terms. We make sure those are long sentences by stacking charges in multiple consecutive bids. Each image of child on hard drive becomes a separate felony. We give sex offenders special license plates. The police notify the neighbors when a sex offender moves in nearby. The neighbors evict them, or force the landlords to do it for them, sometimes subtly, sometimes with raw violence.

Eight years ago Lawrence Trant stabbed a registered sex offender in Concord, NH, and tried to burn down two apartment buildings that housed seven sex offenders and an equal number of non-offenders. Police found a hit list in the assailant’s apartment he had gleaned from the sex offender public registry. The names of his intended victims were checked off in red.

"I hope I've done a service to the community," Trant told the Boston Globe during an interview from prison. "These guys are sexual terrorists.”

On a hot night three years later a mob chanting, “skinner, skinner,” burned a scarecrow on the wooden porch of registered sex offender Gloria Huot. She was away from her home in Manchester, NH, but her female roommate watched the whole thing with her two teenage sons and an infant she was babysitting in their three-unit apartment building. A few days later a sex offender vigilante website posted these remarks about Huot, still available at http://www.forums.militarystangs.com/archive/index.php/t-6133.html. “pervs deserve to pay the price for the rest of their lifes - whatever that price may be. if its just humiliation and a little bit of harassment, i'd say they should consider themselves lucky” Smokin’Red35th

“wow this is why these fah-kers need to die.” Bobbys97R

Stephen Marshall, a vigilante from Nova Scotia, executed two registered sex offenders in Maine in 2006 before killing himself on a bus in Massachusetts surrounded by police. Like Trant, he found his victims on the Internet registry. One of them, William Elliot, had slept with a girlfriend a few days shy of the legal age of consent in Maine when he was in high school.

Samuel Lane, the former police chief in Pembroke, NH, used to teach sex offender safety workshops for the volunteers in his Neighborhood Watch program. “Sex offenders often have multiple victims,” Lane told a group of scared parents a couple of years ago. “It’s not uncommon for them to have one victim while grooming another and deciding two others are too old now.”

He projected a collage of mug shots of local sex offenders he compiled from images on the State Police website. “Doesn’t that guy in the middle look like a troll?” the chief asked. “We have 21 of these guys in Pembroke right now. It’s near the prison in Concord and two halfway houses. Theyhave a low cure rate and a high recidivism rate. They’re wired wrong.”

Jennifer Frank, a campus police detective at Plymouth State University, has been teaching similar workshops on Internet safety at high schools and middle schools around New England for several years. In 2010 she displayed student Facebook pages in front of the Cawley Middle School in Hooksett, NH, including half a dozen images belonging to the children of registered sex offenders.

Then she posted their fathers' Internet mug pages from the sex offender registry. The students picked up on the linkage right away. Charles Littlefield, the Hooksett superintendent, told me the children of offenders were "traumatized." Steve Harrises, the Cawley principal, said he was "blindsided" by the assembly.

Something worse happened when Frank went to Fall Mountain High School. She outed the victims of local offenders. Steve Fortier, a school parent who is not a sex offender, gave this testimony about the event at a legislative hearing a few months later.

"Many of the sex offenders whose information was shown are family members of teens who were sitting in the audience," Fortier said of Det. Frank in written testimony. "Because most youth sexual abuse is committed by a family member or someone else known by the victim, there was an even more troubling consequence. Many of the victims of the sex offenders were watching the assembly. This re-traumatization, including the stigma associated with being a teen sexual abuse victim, was, in my opinion, not worth whatever gains were made through the assembly."

Other Fall Mountain parents have told me kids ran out crying and stayed away from school for days. When I called Jennifer Frank to get her side of the issue, she said her workshops protect children from the dangers of the Internet. She also said she uses only material readily available to the public. Her boss, Col. Creig Doyle, stood by her work.

There is a far better way to help sex offenders rejoin society and avoid recidivism. The Canadians keep a nonpublic sex offender registry for the police to use in solving crimes. There is no Internet shaming roster. And they do a superb job helping sex offenders find jobs, apartments and a support system.

The Mennonites in Canada arguably lead the way in rehabilitating and mentoring the most dangerous sex offenders. Their program model is called Circles of Support and Accountability, and it serves the kind of people California, Kansas and New Hampshire would civilly commit after they finish their prison terms. It’s the worst of the very worst.

A 2007 study led by Robin J. Wilson of the Humber Institute of Technology found that offenders in the Circles program had a 2.1 percent sex offense recidivism rate after 34 months in the community. A control group of comparable very high risk offenders elsewhere in Canmada had a 12.8 percent sex offense recidivism rate, which is still quite low compared with conventional wisdom.

Eileen Henderson is the Restorative Justice coordinator for the Mennonites in Ontario. She said half a dozen highly trained volunteers meet with a newly released offender, find out what help they need, and stand with them almost constantly in the beginning.

Some offenders eventually reunite with their family members, although that doesn’t always happen. The Circles program helps them understand the immense harm they have created and learn ways to repair that harm. It’s not always directly to their victim. It can be by living safely in the community, by changing the choices they make and by doing community service.

“I believe in the power of redemption,” Henderson said. “I’ve seen people change when they work through their issues of shame. They get a glimmer of themselves as people of value. They’re not garbage.”

Maybe that's hope for a troubled age.

Corrections.com author, Chris Dornin, is a retired State House reporter and the founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform.

Other articles by Dornin


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  3. Marie on 08/25/2014:

    My boyfriend and prior to that, a friend of four years was convicted and served time for a crime he did indeed admit to doing to a minor, inappropriate touching and exposure. (This was over fourteen years ago and he served seven years in a treatment facility) He was old enough to know better but was sexually sodimized at age 12 and never received treatment. Instead, he used alcohol to numb the pain. He has gone through all the treatment programs and is classified as compliant and low risk. He has been sober for thirteen years. He works at a low wage job and has basically worked hard to better his life but this effects our future since he has another five years on parole and already served five years. I know what he did was wrong and he regrets his choices and admits freely to them however the penal system keeps him bound as though he were a murderer when let's face it, in Vermont you can get away with murder. I wonder if the criminal justice system could perhaps have a a level of parole for sex crimes for those who comply and tier their probation system to be less costly for tax payers?

  4. blueeyesforme on 08/02/2014:

    Hi everyone...I am not a sex offender. My problem is I fell in love with one...now dont get me wrong i would never say what he did was ok no way. i met him at my church and knew nothing of his crime we dated a few times we also did many church activities together he is an amazing man so kind gentle and caring. it was about a year after knowing him that he finally opened up to me and told me the aweful crime he commited. He molested his daughterwhen she was about 9 or 10....he went to prison for 6 years, two years of therapy. When he told me I was livid! I hadbeen married to a man that molested my grand daughter previously he was in prison for the exact same thing this wonderful caring man had done!!! Ironic huh? it was like crazy! I was furious at him but that monster he descibed was not the man i saw before me. I never knew him i only knew my sweet caring man that i fell in love with. So this is my my problem......as a christian we are to forgive correct? A person that whole heartedly asks for forgiveness from God He forgives...but we in this society do not. He repented and paid a high price for his actions....but that isnt enough he still has to pay forever.by regestering as an offender everyone knows what this man has done. He will zllways be labled as a preditor. he has never re offended never he takes classes every week he also goes to a recovery program every other week. I dont think its right......

  5. Dave1961 on 07/11/2014:

    We are the new homosexuals! Homosexual bashing has gone on for years. Now they have been determined by the National Board of Psychiatry to be normal, i.e., no more "Gay Bashing Allowed"! The politicians, civic groups, religious fanatics, etc., have a deep rooted need to express their anger, hatred and self-righteousness to the masses! I was homeless and living in the woods. My PO and Judge John Skinner illegally modified my probation requiring me to wear an electronic monitor without a prior VOP, no service, notice or hearing, (which was granted within less than 24 hrs) which would mandate appointment of counsel! I have since appealed, as I sought removal of the device in the trial court where the judge refused to grant relief due to my designation which was not mandated until Sept. 1, 2005, or prior to my conviction. The courts actions have violated my due process, equal protection rights and the double jeopardy and ex post facto clauses of the florida state and United States Constitutions! I have been forced to appear pro se, and now the district court has per curium affirmed me, which amounts to agreeing with the fraudulent, ex parte, and unconstitutional actions of the FDOC and lower court as clearly evidenced by the record! My next step is to appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court and seek a separate Writ of Certiorari! Florida is an Unconstitutional, Corrupt, Judge Roy Bean state!!!

  6. mommyofmany on 05/15/2014:

    I need to be guided I have no idea what to do or where to even start. I am a mom of six children 4 of my own and 2 adopted. I love each and everyone of them the same but some have been on my naught list many many times lol. I have a son who is now going to be 23 this year and when we lived in Texas he was 17 and dated a girl who was under age she was only 15 1/2 claiming to be 17 well I guess we should ask for ID next time. So yes here we are almost 7 years later and he is being convicted of Sexual Assault back when he was 17 and they had relationship she was caught sneaking out and her mom filed a report against my son the police came to the house and they did a report but of course found nothing to convict at the time well then 7 years later it came across the desk of the new DA and they are filing charges now???? We did not have 30,000 to fight we only had 15,000 so he is now being offered to take a deal of 3 years and life time registry and is sitting in jail as we speak. So he is face pretty much with one option and that is take the deal we can not afford to go to trial so if he takes this deal he is now a reg. sex offender for life????? How will he ever get a job???? Where will he live? I need help I do not know what to do I have two kids still at home 15 and 12 and they are my focus but of course in a year I will have to be here to help him and I don't know how to help him. Does anyone know what to do how to find work and how to find a place to live???? Mommy To Many

  7. lovemynonso on 05/08/2014:

    I am common-law married to my NON-Sex Offender for past 10 1'/2 years. Why NON? Because as listed - Distribution of Child Pornography. No he did not pass out pictures of children on the street. Do YOU know what that means, the average person? It means he stupidly had naked pictures of WOMEN and Pictures of Children (under 18 made to look older) OOPS can't spell the word,DRESSED in sexy nighties. After 9/11 he found his then WIFE in bed w/ his best friend, then lost his IT Job of $160, 000 a year Depression, + Computer Geek, (then) Pot-smoker fell into Internet Pornography. Apt. Manager saw pics. on his computer called Police, FBI came. FBI took everything and Him into a holding cell. FBI - There's nothing here!!! Released. Judge says, "If you have a Jury Trial you'll be found not guilty". He called his Deeply rooted Mormon Family for help. NOPE, don't even want to hear details. He did not have $ for a trial, so he was placed on 10 yrs. of Deferred Adjudication. I met him after all this had taken place, well 2 years into his 10 year Probation and 7 years of Sex Offender Group Therapy. OMG! That was a lifetime ago. He did tell me on the 1st date what he was, I call, "branded". His Scarlett Letters SO! I asked him IF he had EVER touched a child, EVER. I saw the answer on his face before he said, NO. He explained what was going on, I thought about it for 1 week. I wanted to see him again. We went slow at 1st. We now have a Beautiful 9 year old daughter! She is as innocent and pure and heart so BIG, that one day she will know and she will take up this cause as I am turning this life, into an advocate for people in similar circumstances. I'm Angry. I am SICK AND TIRED of the BS we have gone through. I've wanted to leave him, I've hated him. This is an awful way to live. I would not wish this life on my worst enemy. Now don't get me wrong, I thought it would be different. BOY was I RIGHT! The kind of different I was not prepared for. He is off Probation. Judge dismissed the charges. But he still must register in the State of Texas. I love Texas and I had worked for Parole for 7 yrs. as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. But I woke up! About WHAT the Prison system really is. A Corporation. I finally got it! Thank God there is place for the bad people, or people who did very bad things. I quit Parole. When a parole officer kept asking me what he did - I kept it to myself. Until I folded and told her - OH GOD, She FREAKED so badly that before asking for a transfer to another office location she told the staff on her way out! I was ostracized by everyone, my boss he was cool, BUT the damage was done. Both personally and Professionally. I am no longer a Counselor, for 2 reasons. I'm skimming as most of you might understand. See details would make a book. I don't want to write a book. I want our family to have the same rights and hopes and friendship's we all deserve to have. Being ostracized by jobs, family, friends, and a frigin' place to live is NOT a LIFE. It's HELL. We are loving people, shirts off our backs to anyone that needs it. I will end it there! But, I forgot to mention, HE my husband was sexually molested by one of his Mother's husband's at age 12. Guess what he lived a much better life (well, on the outside) then we are living now. I hate this, I myself could have made a better choice, I guess. I thought that people could change. After All I did. I too had my time of drinking and drugging a lifetime or 2 ago. 27 years STILL SOBER! WHY? GOD and our Daughter, that's enough for me. He is still uninterested in looking at naked women, and girls in sexy nighties. OMG LOL excuse the meme's. I had to laugh or I am going to cry Again. Hope to learn things here. Thanks, Chris in Texas

  8. sparky on 04/21/2014:

    In life you never know what your going to get, I'm a registered sex offender. I can't believe yet to this day. 30 years later even I remember growing up living on a farm, enough food to have a feast everyday, but my food was little always hungry,malnutrition, I took just to survive, I had some of the poorest grades in school. I was not aloud to be around others in family, neighbors, I was mentally kept from people to learn. Being called the devil, dumbell was a way of life and it was normal. I sometimes think I was the stupidest person the walk the face of this earth , and there is no such person as God. and yet I read the bible, and don't know why. When I left home I went it to the military, My teaching where taught to kill and defend. My time was up, so the army I left. Married a women for the stupid reason to have someone, her mother warned me, but did I listen no. Why would a grown man fall in love with a child, that's what I did mutual but wrong at the time she was the air that I breath.. I have a son. Always loved him protected him. but I really don't want to see him, he's 30 plus years of age, He had a great mother, always putting her daughters into a cold bath top of water holding her head under,Yes that is what she did. I guess there is no crime for that. I'm alive ,but not living, really can't enjoy the wife now that I have, cause my past ways so much on my mind. You only get to be a parent ownes. I not that way anymore I'f grown a thousand fold. But I'm broken in spirit, are justice system can give me death. But that means nothing in this world of hate, and are politicians are a disgrace.

  9. lisalynn226 on 03/10/2014:

    I am not a registered sex offender, however my fiancé is. We have been together for almost 14 years and have 3 children together. This offense has destroyed not only his life, but all our lives. Just to give a little back story He was 17 and the girl was 15. He was living at the girls parents house. While living there he turned 18. One day the parents got mad and told him to move and not to see their daughter again. Well Like all young love, they continued to and the parents went to the cops. They told him he was looking at years behind bars unless he plead to attempted 4th degree. So obviously he took it and spent 6 months behind bars and has to register( he's 31 now). When I met him and found out, I was appalled at how our justice system works, or doesn't for that matter. NO WAY should he have been in jail or been placed on some bull crap registry. But the worse part is throughout our relationship we have had to move many times because landlords would find out his offense and not want us there. Our children aren't allowed to have him on fieldtrips because of his offense, the school wont allow it. Even many of their friends from school are told they cant come to our house because of this. He feels like crap and worthless and began to pretty much give up on life. They've changed his tier a number of times which resulted in him being noncompliant one time. The worst of this happened recently. After many years of living around the same area we got a knock on the door and an officer told us that due to new zoning laws he was no longer able to live at our home. And only gave him 10 days to find some place to live and reregister. He has no family and no friends that don't also live close to a school, so he had no where to go. all this took a toll and I ended up having to have him admitted into the hospital with severe depression. I was afraid this was the final straw with him. He couldn't handle no more.. Our children were balling and hugging him saying " I don't want daddy to have to go!" ( speaking of him having to leave our home) It's just ridiculous!!!! Our family should not have to do this, my children should not have to go through life like this!! It isn't like he raped a child or anything.. In that circumstance Id completely understand and would be all for zoning. He could petition to get off the registry through the new Romeo an Juliet law, however that takes a lawyer and money and he recently lost his job due to it closing it's doors. So here we are, him gone, kids upset, no way for me to move to be back together as a family, and the Stupid police say he can't even come to visit them here!! He's still in the hospital right now but is due to be release probably tomorrow, then I don't know what he will do. He will probably be staying with someone an hour away which makes visiting him limited. This is just ridiculous!!!! Something's got to be done in cases such as his. We live in Michigan and their constantly changing things!! and I'm at a lost as to where to begin with trying to bring this to light.. I just wish there was ONE LAWYER that would care more about people than money once in awhile, and take on cases such as these Pro Bono every now an then!!!! If anyone has any advice, it'd be greatly appreciated.. You could email me at lisalynn226@yahoo.com... Thanks

  10. Reins_in_hand on 02/21/2014:

    Lizzy, I too share the heartsick feeling of watching my son struggle with facing lifetime on the s.o.r My story is almost identical to yours, except my son was 12, but mentally, emotionally, and socially functioned closer to 9-10 years old. My son and the 9 year old neighbor boy were good friends. One day the neighbor boy's very intoxicated grandmother caught the boys in their tree fort touching themselves and joking around about their "boy parts" and masturbation (even though they didn't really know what it was. They just knew it felt strange.). To make a very long story short, my son was arrested, spent almost 3 months in Juvenile Detention, and was threatened/forced to take a guilty plea of attempted aggravated sexual abuse. He also has to register for the rest of his life. He was told by the judge that he would be locked back up for a very long time if he ever went anywhere near his friend (who lived right next door). So, unable to sell our house, and unable to afford to pay for a home we rented and moved to and the home we owned, we had to let our home go into foreclosure. Not only did my son lose what was left of his childhood and all of his dreams he had for his future but we lost the home my grandfather built for his wife and children; the home that had been home to 4 generations of our family; the home where my mom grew up, where I grew up, where I wanted to raise my boys and where my oldest son would've raised his children someday; the home where my first horse is buried; where my boys and I made millions of memories of hot summer days in the pool, atv rides through the farm fields to collect rocks for the beautiful rock garden my boys and I made, roasting marshmallows at the fire in the back horse pasture surrounded by our horses, great danes and the stars. The simple, happy life we loved and enjoyed came to a screeching halt the day the detective drug my crying, confused, and scared 12 year old boy from his bedroom, handcuffed him and took him away. I would've never imagined the so-called justice system could be so cruel and unjust. So, I decided I wasn't going to sit back and do nothing. At 36 years old, I decided the best way I can help my son and fight the broken system is to go to law school. I have a long road ahead of me and sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like being a full-time wife, mom and student is just too much. But then when I look at my son, the wonderful young man he's becoming, think about the challenges he faces from now until... and I hear him say "I don't want to continue living like this," it makes long nights of schoolwork and lack of sleep seem like a very small price to pay for the day when I will have a law degree that will get me another step closer to fighting for my son's freedom from the registry.

  11. sebanipo on 02/07/2014:

    I am a registered sex offender in the state of Michigan. I have not spoke with my victim since i went to prison. She told me before I was arrested that she didn't want me to go to prison. She was 15 and i was 20 when we started our relationship. She came to a Halloween party with a friend of mine. We dated for a while and i turned 21 during our relationship. The real thing is that she accused me of raping her and she was my girlfriend for 10 months. we got into a fight and i guess that was how she was gonna get back at me. Needless to say the state picked up the charges and i went to prison for 1.5 to 5 where i maxed out due to a piss poor attitude. I started out having to register for 25 years and now it is for life. The judge read off that she stated in her police statement, "she lead me to the bedroom by my penis to show her anger with me." before sentencing me to prison. he did give me less time than the prosecutor asked for. I agree I did something wrong... It is wrong to have a relationship with someone that age when you should be an adult. It is different when you run in the same circles and are pretty immature yourself. I went to prison in 1999. I got a G.E.D. while in prison. I went to college and received a degree. I have worked the same job for 10 years. Life is what we make of it. The way we perceive ourselves is key. I had a cocaine problem shortly after I got out and got caught selling it. I relate to the struggles and the astigmatism attached to the sex offender label. I do not think it is going to get better in our life times. The point is that you make the best of what you got and refuse to see yourself the way SOME PEOPLE do. In my grandfathers words,"You can have anything you are willing to put the blood sweat and tears into."

  12. LongArm on 02/03/2014:

    I'm not a sex offender but I understand their plight, take a step back and look at exactly what law enforcement was able to do by scaring the people of this country with the word sex offender, OK, they where able to get the people behind certain laws and get them easily passed, sex offenders have to submit their DNA, fingerprints, home addresses, and in some states, on their automobile License and where they work, (sex offender is the law enforcement dream come true), you actually think cops hate this crime, no way, law enforcement get's to treat many offenders any way they want and nobody cares and they know it. The people of this country who pushed for such (Elephant Man laws), as I call them, they don't realize that such laws are coming to their future also, and their kids futures one day, more such laws will come taking more liberties away, until every man, women and child information is in a database complete with DNA, this is law enforcement's ultimate goal, everyone is a potential criminal except them of course. One thing male sex offenders could start doing is getting a little payback, nothing illegal mind you, but a little legal payback, try this, befriend his wife and start up an affair with her, not illegal at all, I've done it twice so far, it's been a blast and and a banging I might add, cops wives are dying to get it on. The facts are, cops are bigger criminals than any other criminal, because they arrest you for the same things they are guilty of, if you knew the number of police officers who are sex offenders you would be amazed, but they typically can get such things swept under the rug.

  13. Justiceforeverychild on 01/07/2014:

    I have not read all the posts but there is no justice in the United States. Laws are not made to protect society, they are made by politicians who only goal is to remain in power not matter what. If you think I am wrong think of the last time someone in law enforcement actually did you a service? Police are nothing more that tax collectors with a gun and power. I admit that there is a need for police but most are only interested in using their power to humiliate the weak, the poor, the homeless and what the USA calls minorities. After centuries of building bigger, better jails very little progress has been made. Why? Because putting someone in jail is not going to anything to protect society. Haven't we learned? We have learned but no politician is going to fight to provide education to 90% of those in jail so when they get out they actually have new skills and a new outlook and seek employment. Otherwise all you have done is make the "criminal" a more bitter, hopeless person who sees no way to avoid committing another crime. The Sex offender laws are the best example of politicians trying to do anything they can to remain in power. There is no law, that will protect your child if you don't!!! The very few cases of stranger danger that are reported on the news is what is used by politicians to apply to everyone on the SO list. Laws are passed without any thought or research! Who would you rather know about - the young man who had sex at 18 with a 17 year old and is now married to the same women or the husband who beats his wife on a daily basis? The man who downloaded child porn once or the man who robbed a 7-11 at gunpoint? The murderer, the con man who stilled thousands of $$ from older adults? The man or women who doesn't pay child care?. Here is the bottom line I made a mistake (no contact)- was tested, retested and went through 2 years of therapy. At the end of therapy the therapist, approved by the county wrote a support letter stating that I was not a threat, that I had no sexual interest in minors. My tests connected by county approved professionals stated that I am a hard working family man who loves his wife and child. That was I not or ever had been interested in children. Does any of this matter 4 years later - NO. I am not allowed to be on school grounds under any reason - I will never see my daughter in a school play, on a soccer field. My daughter will grow up wondering why her father wasn't there for her. All the politicians don't care about my daughter or hundreds of other children whose parent is punished for life and thus suffer needlessly. A SO is the only one who is punished over and over again for his/her entire life. Is that what America is? Didn't America fight against that exact lack of justice. Talk about double jeopardy - how about 20-30 years of being punished over and over again. Are there dangers to our children - you bet and research says that 90% of all child sex abuse is done by someone known to the child and most likely a family member. There are real monsters yes- you hear about them on the news (penn state, others) but there is little chance the police will find them when they need to worry about hundreds of SO. They simply don't have the time or the motivation. I was and am a law abiding citizen who has paid hundreds of thousands in taxes, cared for my community and believed in our justice system - innocent until proven guilty. I was woken up to the truth when 6 armed officers enter my home and held me at gunpoint while by 4 year old child innocently played with a ball - with one of the officers. I was sat down in my home - forced to look at a laptop full of disgusting child porn and answer questions from a detective. My home was wrecked as they search for something that did not exist. I lost my job, was forced to leave my home, then my family was forced to leave our home, thrown in jail spend a year and $30k with a lawyer who did nothing to help me and convinced to take an "good offer" that I later found out was the same "good offer" everyone else got. Do I want my child to be protected? Of course I do - that is why I never let who go anyway alone and care for her. Can a monster still hurt my child - anything is possible but I am sure of one thing - SO laws provide no protection and in reality are not meant to. They are just a politicians tools to fool all of us and we all eat it up and re-elect the same idiots over and over again. Have a good life everyone -

  14. fm on 12/24/2013:

    The question is what can we do? I only know of one person, who as 21 year, fondled his cousin of 15 who was partly involved, although as a minor I don't hold him accountable . He was an A student in a good college and has 2 more years to serve. What can we do to distinguish the violent crimes from the molestation or crimes committed by young Adults. After all they are given condoms in high school, what do you think they are going to do with them? And someone is always older in the situation? I am against this sort of post prison punishment of a crime that was not violent per se. I am against these types of young adults being put to the adult prisons where they are punished further. But what can we do to reverse the sex registry? WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THIS RIDICULOUS DEFLECTION OF A MORE SERIOUS PROLBEM IN OUR SOCIETY? THANKS

  15. pahart81 on 12/14/2013:

    Just a couple of edits/ add-ons - * I want to create a nationwide network of SO friendly businesses and housing management companies willing to give RSO an opportunity at equal reintegration. *Also because I am an RSO I focused very much on RSO issues, but really anyone with a felony is being treated like a sub-citizen once released, just not to the extent that we as RSO's get to deal with. *I was convicted of both my charges in Michigan where my voting right have been restored, yet here in Arizona I still have to petition for my rights to be restored and it is not something that is common here. @ ComputerPro - Your point regarding the "victimization" of sex offenders is completely valid to a degree. You're confusing a sex offender with a sociopath - they are not one in the same. A SO may also be a sociopath, but that is not an inherent trait of all SOs. The point of this article and many of the responses is not to paint the offender as the victim, nor minimize any harm done. I do have empathy for my 2nd victim - I had no business using a girl as a means to get back at someone else or make myself feel better. I also happen to know that my 2nd victim has long since moved on and does not understand why I am still being punished for something for those two minutes that happened nearly 15 years ago now. I do not have personal contact with her, but we have mutual acquaintances. Having empathy for my victims though does not mean I must continue to fall on my sword and play a martyr. There are clearly levels of inequality built into our society in many areas regarding felons, particularly RSO's. If we did not live in a country that promotes freedom and equality for all yet clearly has designated felons and RSO's in particular as 2nd class citizens then perhaps we would not be so outraged. But we do live in America, and there are injustices being done and rights being trampled on AFTER we have paid our debt to society according to the same letter of the law that convicted us.

  16. pahart81 on 12/14/2013:

    Just came across this post - I too am a registered sex offender, two separates instances from when I was a teen. The first was consensual sex with girlfriend who was 15 going on 16. I had just turned 17 and we had been dating for 9 months. We were each other's first and I had no idea that I could get in trouble before becoming a "legal" adult of 18. I was in HS at at the time and after my conviction was expelled because I could no longer be around anyone 16 and younger. A year into my two year sentence I was struggling with substance abuse issues and my Probation Officer still had not referred to any type of SO treatment, even though I continually asked him about it. I was 18 now, a convicted sex offender for having sex with my first girlfriend who went to same HS as I and moved in the same social circles - yet I was being lumped in with pedophiles and assaultive rapists. To say that I was angry is an understatement - to say that I whatever shred of dignity and self-worth I had left evaporated into thin air is getting closer. I medicated through drugs, alcohol and whatever else I could get my hands on. Nearly a year after my first "crime" - I was at a house party and ended up in bed with a girl who said she was older than she really was. Now I am not totally innocent in this instance, she said she was 15 or 16 which still was not legal but I was buzzed up, angry and in a space where I did not think I could possibly get hit with another sex offense and truthfully I do not even think I thought about it at the time. The party was at her cousin's (female) house who I had been staying with while trying to get my life somewhat together. We were supposed to be hooking up (her mom lived there as well and assured me her daughter was 17) . Sometime during the night, I look over and see this dude with his hands down her pants and he had been introduced to me as her cousin. I got pissed and turned my attention to the younger girl who happened to be his sister (allegedly) and fooled around with her for a couple of minutes. Later that night she lets it slip she is definitely not how old she said she but never revealed her true age. After that weekend I got cops showing up at work saying she accused me of rape, with her brother and cousin less than 15 feet away in the same room. That is the shortened version -I admitted to the messing around I did and told them I had no idea until later she was not how old she said she was. Turns out she was 13 not 15 or 16 and the girl I was staying with was 15 not 17 as her Mom and her told me. My PO knew i was living there, I was registered there - there was clearly something very not right going on with mother and daughter. I ended up with a second CSC this time 3rd degree (first case was 4th) sentenced to 1.5 to 22.5 years in Prison, even though I had been granted a chance to enter Teen Challenge which usually did not take sex offenders but was willing to give me a shot given my lack of treatment for substance abuse or my initial sex crime. 5 years later I get released - that was nearly a decade ago. Those two convictions I have on my record are no longer considered felonies under Michigan's new statues. The first is not even considered criminal and the second based on the age range between my victim and I is now considered a misdemeanor. Yet I will not get relief, no one has come knocking on my door to let me know that I am not longer considered a sexual predator, there has been no explanation why I will forever have a felony conviction on my permanent record that is no longer a felony and another conviction that is no longer a crime. I will be mandated to register until my heart stops beating as things stand at this point. Today I am 32 and finishing my first AA. I am an honors student with a 4.00 GPA and have been a student leader on campus and received the top scholarship my school offers. I still have to register as transient because I cannot find an apartment to rent to me and I do not have the credit to get my own place yet. Trying to find housing as an RSO in spite of all the progress I have made is ridiculous. My job history is based solely on referrals, I have yet to get a job just walking in off the street without knowing anyone. I still have relapses with substance abuse, most recently a 2 month meth binge after 2 1/2 years being clean Guess what, as an RSO I am denied service at nearly every single rehab and sober living environment - I went to a hospital to try and get and help and was told that as an RSO I cannot have the same access to get the help I need no matter how badly I want it. 12 step meetings have been my home for years, but outside help is needed and I know it and I cannot get it on my own. I am lucky to have some very strong supporters, one of which who is paying for my first psychiatrist appointment out of his pocket because I cannot afford it nor do I have access to it like an non SO addict does. But a lot of RSO's cannot even find one supporter. I know there must be a level of accountability with any crime otherwise we would live in a lawless system - but when a person is punished for the rest of their lives in a way that only a minute percentage of the American public will ever be - that is a crime in and of itself. Mass Hysteria and lies fuel this war on sex offenders and it is a war. We are treated like 2nd class citizens, hell, even illegal immigrants have a better chance at a life worth living. My major is Non Profit Leadership and Management or Human Rights. I will be a voice for the RSO who do not have the benefit of an education or an audience to listen to them. I want to create a nationwide of SO friendly corporations and housing management companies who are not afraid to tap the incredible assets in the RSO workforce that everyone has cast aside. See we are not monsters, we are human beings, imperfect human beings like everyone else, and we have paid our debt to society like any other criminal one we are released from supervision. I met men in prison who were good men that made bad choices, just like anyone else. I also met men who I would never want to trust around anyone ever, child or adult - but to punish millions of men and women, label them no worse than monsters and publish their information for any uneducated or misinformed citizen to do with what they will is absurd. We do not shut down all the bars and ban alcohol because drunk drivers kill people, we do not take anyone who has ever been convicted of any assault and track them for the rest of their lives because sometimes assaultive individuals escalate into murderers, nor we do take anyone convicted of fraud charges and make sure they do not live near or step foot into a banking institution, or track their online accounts to make sure they are not trying to get a credit card - yet we do all these things on various levels to anyone convicted of a sex offense because a very small percentage of offenders are pedophiles and assaultive rapists. The recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is so low it would sicken most peoples stomachs if they were able to see the truth. It is lower than almost any other felony in any class - yet the media will make sure that every day there is some story somewhere about a new sex crime involving children or an assaultive rapist and if is someone who reoffends that will be splashed across America's TV's, papers and computer screens for weeks - but we don't do that with Drunk Drivers, even those who cause a loss of life, do we? Why doesn't the newspaper report on the thousands of sex offenders who have been released and never stepped on the wrong side of the law again? Why are there not reports highlighting the blacklisting of an RSO from most jobs? How do you start the process of making someone a second-class citizen? You deny them the same access to basic services, you deny them housing opportunities that are afforded to all, you pass laws and restrictions making it unfavorable and unprofitable for any business to hire them, thus taking away there ability to provide a living for themselves. You deny them the ability to the same medical access as other citizens, including other felons. You separate them from rest of society, you dehumanize them by turning them into a registry of their past actions, which may may or may not be reflective of the man/woman they have grown into since those days - and then you make sure society perpetuates this belief by creating mass hysteria and fear about this certain subset of people - regardless if there is any proof validating such a response. I may not be the perfect voice, I have re-offended, I still struggle with addiction issues and I am not ashamed to admit it. But someone has to speak up, or what has happened in FL, MI, AZ (my current state of residence) will only get worse.

  17. ihateyouall on 08/22/2013:

    The more I encounter how people really feel, the more I weep for humanity. I really love how the article says one of sex offender victims was part of a romeo and Juliet romance. As if the killing was not justified only because the guy wasn't a "real" sex offender. All of you people calling for the deaths of offenders are just as twisted and sick as the worst killers. The only difference is the standards of who is appropriate to kill. I will be a sex offender as of next week, and for the rest of my life. I never touched a child sexually at all, or a woman without consent. I downloaded some computer files, and now will be a sex offender for the rest of my life. I made a mistake, committed the offense of child pornography. I never would touch a child. It would never even cross my mind. By the standard of some people, I deserve to be shot in the head. Hitler had some interesting standards of who did and did not deserve to live. All of you so called Christians are the worst offenders I've ever encountered.

  18. onmyownloner on 08/21/2013:

    Once a sex offender esp. Child molester always a scum bag not worth the air they are allowed to breath. They should be killed by slow torture.there are too many loop holes that keep these assholes from paying for their crimes. How many get out kidnap an innocent child torture them kill them cut them up into little parts as soon as they r released. There is no hope for this kind of EVIL! And they r pure evil sent bythe devil himself

  19. OneBigHappyFamily on 07/25/2013:

    P.S My son was also on a sight Facebook,it said they cant lie or if they use the sight against someone and in the court of law that face book would supposedly step in. However,they didnt,instead they printed out the last 6 months to make my son look like a bad person for speaking to these girls pretending to be older. It is VERY Wrong to prosicute someone call them a stalker of sex offender for being online telling thiere correct age. Nomatter what the parents of the other person should be held liable if this happens and the LAWS need to catch up with the ELECTRONIC s of todays LAWS. I say drop it or go after the other partys kids girls do this knowing they cant get in trouuble then cry to mommy and daddy that they are being stalked or a guy is trying to meet them,,,and then BAMB the guy is automaticvlly the bad guy. Got me. Complain to Congress and Senate about the online sights and under age people pretending to be of legal age and not convicting people if someone lies on the sights its not the persons fault if they are lied to. Its wrong. Someone needs to help complain other then me. And they let the drug dealers off on probation,,make tham all sign a dam Register,,,,not just sex offenders,see how fast they change the Sex offender laws if we compplain and keep it every month....dont stop until they stop going after sex offenderrs caught in the middle of a bunch of internet laws that dont make sense anyway. Go Vote....i am..

  20. OneBigHappyFamily on 07/25/2013:

    ok Im no here to pity any group im upset. That there arent more registers for all the Convicted felons,drg dealers,pimps ect..Why do we just pick on one group call it a crime against nature? Arent they all? Do you want a murderer who got out living next door to you? Drug Dealer,Gundealer? NExt to your play grouund park amusement center,,come on,lets quit labeling these Sex offenders that are trying also to get on with thiere lives annd reform help them get off the list,its PREJUDICE ,,,,children are invloved when a drug dealer makes meth in his home,,is he a Sex offender because he had kids in his house and offended? Pimps get our runaway kids they arent called sex offenders,,,just released and fined? What is wrong with this LAW if we use PREJDICE against SEX offenders? And not the lady down the street that killed someone driving drunk?

  21. havemercy on 06/19/2013:

    it is truly very frustrating.. my step son was convicted of this crime. he was on a dating website which is for an adult only.. for whatever reason, this 14yr old kid went to this website, and out of 30 guys that he seek, unfortunately he targeted our son, he texted him,made arrangment to pick him up..lied about his age..so my son went and agreed, and they met. physically he is 6 ft tall and 200lbs, by the look and appearance does not appear to look like his age. nevertheless, after they met he was asking for$ 200 doolars,,to make the story short, when this kid testified on d court, admitted that he lied and changed his story for 3 times, but since my son admitted from the very beginning that he dated him first time knowing that he is in legal age the court found him guilty bec of his age even his action is beyond the thinking of 14yrs old. My son still served 3 years in prison.. from a decent working normal person, his life turned around upside down. we fought hard on the case..but like what d judge said.. he did not create the law..this kid is not a kid..in some country they are considered as prostitutes... yes america... 14 yrs old are not considered innocent anymore on this generation... when this law was created in 1985? kids before then are totally different now...and yes they do prostitution..fyi... during the trial, he even has a pending case,he even accusing his step father of molesting him..After hearing this kid on how expert he is on lying, i feel sorry for his father..whether the outcome of his case is true or not..nevertheless..my son paid for the price for the untentional act that he committed..he is not after young kid.. he has a low iq, not smart enough to judge people through physical appearance..even us when we were in the court cannot beleive that he is 14 if you will based it on his look and even the judge...anyways..my lawyer said only if my son did not admit that he met him, we will not be in court..bec the kid lied 3 times until he finally told and admitted the truth which tied to the statement of my son when he was arrested..now, after serving his term, he is under parole.. all we want is for him to come home..we are all devastated bec the law prohibits us to do it.. he is living in a group home, which is the only place we can afford to pay, otherwise he will be on the street..we are a willing family who wants to help him but the law crippled us to do it..the law should really evaluate the system..they should really re evaluate the sex offender law..it seemed that they generalized it regardless of d situation..you can be a victim of the circumstances as well..but they will label you as the same with the real criminal..only then when you go through it, which you do not wish to happen to anyone.. then now i understand that the system really design for you to fail...now i understand why people rather commit a crime not bec they want to go back to jail but bec its so frustrating to be back in the society..one honest mistake can ruin your life and the lives of your love one..now, not all sex offenders are sex offender...unfortunately, thats how the law was made..now i dont wonder why prison is over crowded and crimes are still high.. as frustrated as we are..it seemed that there is nothing you can do about it..being them on the street..common sense tells you how safe is our society if they are real criminals? awww..yeah they have a device perhaps that is a solution to the problem? wow...if my son is truly a criminal sex offender and lets say we dont help him..he will be homeless and transient..parole officer they dont care///now how safe is that to the community? wow... this i truly tell you.. Animals has right and shelter.. but offenders dont...my point is they should categorize sex offenders..dont generalize it.. all im praying and hoping is we all hope that he can come home....but the system will not allow you.. they will rather have him on the street than to be with their supporting family...they will let him go to hospital and get a priscription for depression rather than a support from a family,, my son never smoke nor do any drug..but when he was incarcinated, they gave him anti depressant... oh yeah majority pf people in prison are under these medications so that they will calm down...i do understand that there are real sex offenders who are sick.. but for gods sake.. dont generalize and categorize ,and treat all case the same.....Now i am really upset and really saw how screwed up our system.. only when you go through this you will realize why human turned into an animal..society, media, politics, all these contribute to hate not to a solution.. and you wonder why our prison is over crowded? why crime is high? nobody is perfect..you will made mistake in your life,and you will make bad choices..but i still beleive that many are victims of circumstances themselves..and people deserve a second chance...you should give them hope not frustration!!! wake up america!!!

  22. tryn2help on 06/13/2013:

    Have a relative I will call him m , close to 30 yr ago while married had sex with a 14yr old girl that looked in her 20s . I lived in that town and believe me she was like a dog in heat around there , anyway he was convicted did time, divorced , lost his 3 kids . What he done was wrong he knows it. And when you get labeled as sex offender your life is over . He has changed but society wont give a chance . I would like to try to help him by giving him a place to live and help him get a job, but I don't want to be red flagged on my property . anyone have any answers ? thanks for an ear

  23. upsetmother on 05/26/2013:

    I am sorry that those wrongly convicted are having such a rough time, but here in Canada I fight everyday to try and get a public sex offender registry. Sex offenders here can get a maximum sentence of 2 years, the max sentence for child porn is 90 days, a man accused of raping a 9 year every day over the span of 5 years old only received a 22 month sentence, and to top it all off the sex offenders registry is private, most police officers can't even access it. The government here is so concerned about privacy that they don't care that a convicted, re offending child molester lives twenty feet from an elementary school, they simply smack him on the wrist with probation and set him back out into the communities. SEX OFFENDERS SHOULD BE CASTRATED before being sent back into the world, or they should have the decency to off themselves. Their victims are young, innocent, and left feeling ashamed for the rest of their lives. A public sex registry should make people more aware of what can happen if they're not careful where they put their private parts. I get that it's not fair to those that did nothing wrong, but if you don't know someone well enough to know how old they are you best not be sleeping with them. If you are put on the sex registry you did something to get on it, a completely different scenario than drowning witches by the way. Sex offenders are the scum of this earth, they take the innocence of children and they need to pay. So again I am sorry if this offends some people, but you don't know how lucky you are to have a list that allows you to see who to protect your children from, maybe if we had one here a four year old little girl wouldn't be in the ICU after being attacked by her grandfather, who by the way had once served time for doing the exact same thing to his own child. But Hey, give the sex offender some privacy so that no one knows what he is capable of so that he can stalk his next victim in peace. Make sure you help the world understand this poor sad person and help them cope with their "disease". This article makes me sick. Give your head a shake, I would gladly receive a hug from a leper then stand in the same breathing room as a child molester or rapist.

  24. rob on 04/24/2013:

    This is my nightmare. Feb 1989 i was living with my (then) girlfriend. She had 2 kids both girls ages 1 & 4. After a few months went by i could tell that our relationship was going south. So one day she informed me that it wasn't working and i needed to move on,(i had no problem with that) so i moved out. About 3 days later she informed me that she was pregnant and wanted to try to work it out so i agreed. Well now the babys here everythings goin smooth( so i thought) then all of a sudden i'm told to leave. All she could say was that her parents didn't like me, they wouldn't help her out as long as i was around( yes i did have a job) so again i packed my stuff. As i was walking out i told her that i at least wanted to be able to see the baby. I mean after all she was part of me. 2 days later i was arrested and taken to the county jail. The police said she had written a statement saying that her 4 yr old daughter saying that i penatrated her butt and it hurt and was bleeding. Even though i told them i wanted a lawyer i was booked into the county jail. 3 days later i went infront of the judge for arraighnment he read off the charge, and read the statement then ordered the child to see the child avacosy( not spelled right). 2 weeks later the results came back. I just new they were gonna release me because i never ever touched any child like that. As i stood infront of the judge he said the claim of penatration was being droped( i smiled) but the prosacuter was now pressing charges on me for fondeling. i droped to my knees. theres no way that ever happened. Back to jail i go. Now the division of family services was involved. my only witness had children under 16 and had been threatined that if she testafied they would take her kids. All the people i thought were my friends turned their backs on me, now they had the perfect chance to try to be with my ex. So end the end i recieved 5 yrs in prison for a crime i DID NOT commett. So now i'm married with 3 boys that i fear for their safty. I've had people make threats of burning our house down, beating up my boys and even smashing a windshield out of my jeep. Can't even get a cop to even write a report because no one knows who did it. thats my life in a nut shell the last 20+ yrs have been hell. thanks for giving me this oppertunity to get this off my chest.

  25. kay8385 on 03/29/2013:

    I am a 55 year old that was convicted in 2005. My victim was an adult schizophrenic who had a fantasy love relationship with me (I was an RN). His story changed so many times, mine never changed. I had no idea how to go about finding a defense attorney, and u fortunately I picked one who lied to me, and was a fumbling idiot and condescending to the jury in the courtroom. I was offered a plea after all testimony was presented to plead guilty to felony assault, and I would be given no jail time or no probation. I refused to plead to something I didn't do....but if I had only known what my life was about to turn into! I served 2 years for 1 count of CSC 4th, 1.5 years beyond guidelines. My kids and husband also went through hell, and my mom, 82 at the time, was devastated. My husband stood by my side, but when I came home nothing was the same. He had so much anger and resentment that he started having multiple affairs, and became physically abusive to me. I have applied for hundreds of jobs, and almost got hired a couple of times until one last question..."have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. If so, what was the charge?" It makes no difference that mine was a misdemeanor conviction. I was relieved when MI developed a tier system 2 yrs ago, and I was no longer on the public SOR. Unfortunately, there are more and more secondary websites that continue to post your name and photo. These sites require you to pay up to $500 to have your name removed. I've contacted the ACLU, and many lawyers, only to be told there is nothing that can be done about these sites. So, I am stuck in an abusive relationship (I can't even go to a woman's shelter), and unable to find work. I still have gifts and talents, but they are useless. My kids love me, but have moved far away to escape the stigma. I hate to say it, Lizzie, but your son would be better off if he had murdered someone. I'm so ashamed of my situation. I wish I was strong enough to kill myself. All that was worth living for us gone.

  26. nueveocho93 on 11/19/2012:

    First thing, great article. Appreciate the honesty on such a touchy topic that most are afraid to talk or write about or even discuss. Lizzy - Let me say that you are not alone. I have gone through a similar situation as you and your son in the past couple years and it's been a nightmare and it's still hard to face.(I am 19 now but was 16-17 when it occurred and my heart is in pain constantly with worry, fear, uncertainty, and regret and am always on edge with a hard time relaxing, EVER, drugs are the only thing that seem helpful). I am so sorry that it happened to your son and that anyone that young would be judged so severely by such a sinful society. It's not right. Not to mention telling someone so young that they can never be around children at any point in their life, I mean, teens mature and usually don't want kids until later in life, right? As long as everything is figured out by then. I just want you to know that I understand your pain, not exactly but in a similar way. Staying motivated and knowing that a re offense will never occur and assuring yourself that it will never happen again and taking steps to do so will help everyone to feel better, the person who did the 'offense' has to be focused on what they DO and DON'T want their life to become or it could become easy to run off the tracks like some(not all) do. computerpo: "but what about who they victimized?" Um, there is counseling,supportive families, churches, and plenty of organizations and people that are there to help people who have gone through trouble, not to mention every single person you see is on your side, and when you're a sex offender nearly every single person you see is NOT on your side. The victimization is the worst part of the whole thing and I speak from experience as being a victim. Sending all offenders to jail and paying out of your pocket to keep them in there when the good ones(the offenders that don't re offend) are fully capable of holding down a professional position instead of throwing them into a cell and putting them on a devil's list for life. Especially if the offender is not violent and even admits to any wrongdoing. Is their whole life a waste? What if they never offend again? I can tell you that since my situation, my eyes have been completely opened and I see life in a totally different way after deciding that I'm not ever going to offend anyone in the future, even if someone did offend me. Also, what about those who may have been acted inappropriately on in their younger years, I mean, little brothers do what big brothers do. Youth do what parents or role models do. How are you going to blame every offender equally and ruin their whole life in situations where life was not even endangered just because they are acting "inappropriately" which they may not even recognize because of age or inexperience? Canada's definitely got the correct way of dealing with these horrible situations. USA should learn from them. Imagine, if there was more hope of a real life for sex offenders in America there would also come a lot more motivation to do well from the good ones and it would stand out. EVERYONE HAS FLAWS, SOME NOT AS SERIOUS AS OTHERS BUT EVERYONE DOES HAVE FLAWS NO ONE SHOULD FORGET THAT. IT DEPENDS HOW THE FLAWS ARE REACTED TO, PUNISHED, AND DEALT WITH THE WAY THE PEOPLE WILL TURN OUT. Don't turn your back on any person because they can always change.

  27. Lizzy on 10/25/2012:

    I just need some support. Sometimes I feel isolated. I don't personally know anyone that has ever gone through this before. This issue has been heavy on my heart three years now. This is my first time reaching out. When my oldest son was14 years old he was convicted of a sex crime and is now a convicted sex offender and has to register for a lifetime. I know he is not the victim but he struggles with learning disabilities and OCD. He was bullied and tricked into committing sex acts on a nine year old boy. Since we live in mi he is now considered an adult at age 17. He knows what he did was wrong but did not know how to get out of it at the time. Unfortunatly the courts do not take learning disibilies into account.. Even though is was14 . He really functioned at a 10 yr. old level. I'm not trying to make excuses for what he did. He knows now what he did was wrong. I worry everyday for his future. Does he have one. ? Despite the charges he is doing well in school and is managing his OCD . He has friends and enjoys sports and music. He seems to b a regular teenage boy. I just have so much heartache as his mom. Next year he will b in 12th grade. He wants to go to college and major in music production . It's hard as a parent to know that society will forever label him a sex offender when he is clearly not one.

  28. kregallan on 09/17/2012:

    I would like to say I know EXACTLY where you all are coming from. I received my Sex Offender status in 2010 in the state of Hawaii. I was active duty military with 25th ID. A (45 y/o, and extremely over weight)female soldier has a stroke. When the Doctor asks if she has any stresses in her life she says I grabed her chest (over the clothes) 4 months ago and traumatized her. Well my superiors by UCMJ law had to look into the situation. I was in pre-trial confidment for a great while. while officers conducted an investigation. I was appointed military councel... My biggest mistake. He demanded I say "yes I did it" or get 5 years hard labor at fort levenworth military prison. I was told it was staying military, and would NOT follow me into civilian life. I took the plea with an honorable discharge. I was out of the ARMY for a day when I was informed by my home county in Tennessee that I had to reigister as a sex offender. I didn't receive a felony or misdameanor just the horable label of RSO. since then I have been fired from countless jobs. I have ran out of job options. I have been homeless since the day I got out of the ARMY 2 years ago. My family has disowned me because of this. my freinds I have lost contact with over the years (because i was gone to serve my country) do not want anything to do with me either. I have no where to live, no where to work, nothing to eat, ect. While all of this was going on, the only thing i had left was my vehicle and my posessions. Well I was going through a divorce while all of this was going on and my ex-wife drained my bank accounts, and took all my belongings, clothes included. To top it all off my newborn son also. I want my life back. Any input?

  29. kregallan on 09/17/2012:

    I would like to say I know EXACTLY where you all are coming from. I received my Sex Offender status in 2010 in the state of Hawaii. I was active duty military with 25th ID. A (45 y/o, and extremely over weight)female soldier has a stroke. When the Doctor asks if she has any stresses in her life she says I grabed her chest (over the clothes) 4 months ago and traumatized her. Well my superiors by UCMJ law had to look into the situation. I was in pre-trial confidment for a great while. while officers conducted an investigation. I was appointed military councel... My biggest mistake. He demanded I say "yes I did it" or get 5 years hard labor at fort levenworth military prison. I was told it was staying military, and would NOT follow me into civilian life. I took the plea with an honorable discharge. I was out of the ARMY for a day when I was informed by my home county in Tennessee that I had to reigister as a sex offender. I didn't receive a felony or misdameanor just the horable label of RSO. since then I have been fired from countless jobs. I have ran out of job options. I have been homeless since the day I got out of the ARMY 2 years ago. My family has disowned me because of this. my freinds I have lost contact with over the years (because i was gone to serve my country) do not want anything to do with me either. I have no where to live, no where to work, nothing to eat, ect. While all of this was going on, the only thing i had left was my vehicle and my posessions. Well I was going through a divorce while all of this was going on and my ex-wife drained my bank accounts, and took all my belongings, clothes included. To top it all off my newborn son also. I want my life back. Any input?

  30. SOfriendly85 on 07/27/2012:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your kind and understanding words. This is a hot button issue. Many people simply shut down when anyone mentions the plight of individuals who have been labeled as sex offenders. My fiancé has to register as a sexual predator because he had consensual sex with a girl who lied about her age and was a minor. The girl bragged about having sex to a friend at school, who then reported it. When the girl was confronted by her parents, she claimed that she had been raped. My fiancé served 7 years in prison. Now, he has been home for 6 years. He has held a full time job for 5 years. But, we don't know where we will live once we outgrow his father's house. The residency restrictions here in FL are getting worse and worse. I've even read about preliminary legislation that would ban those on the sex offender registry from going to public places like the beach and the movie theater. It's quite shocking and disturbing. All we can do now is keeping hoping that society will see that there is a better way to handle this issue. It is easier to forgive and move on than it is to hold onto the hatred that many feel. I wish anyone dealing with this turmoil (to both the victims and the persecuted) the very best.

  31. compone2 on 07/21/2012:

    computerpo i agree. in some ways. I am a sex offender. i am married and have three sons of my own. a level 4 sex offender moved 3 blocks away and he got that level by re offending with little boys. Now he should be incarcerated for life. Never to see the light of day. BUT. If you knew me and my victim and asked her. she would tell you this. her words and the chief of police would tell you the same thin .... I knew who he was and i wanted him to go to jail. So i told him i was 18.... well i had 4 witnesses to that. But i committed the crime so i had to do the time. as the old saying goes. It turns out she had gotten 6 others put in jail for the same thing. now should i have to register for the rest of my life? no my time was up years ago. i haven't been in trouble since. and that was the only time i had ever gotten into trouble. And because of it i am an outcast a leper as you called it. so you have to look at the big picture. not just a small percentage that keeps getting into trouble. i want to work but no one will hire me because of my past. now you tell me should i be "jailed" for the rest of my life? the laws need to change and need to change now. if someone don't commit a crime for say ten years release his felony let him or her live a normal life

  32. dhwewldthat on 06/07/2012:

    im 20 about to be 21 in a few weeks, i am a sex offender. i was convicted at 12 years old fellony 1. sentenced for 6 months of therapy, 1 year of adult super vision probation and 25 years on megans law. i was molested by many people and family too, i had my virginity taken by a 21 year old women when i was 12. when i was convicted in MI my mom was so poor and had cance, we lived in a one room cabin for 4 years with my little brother and mom. i only seen my appointed lawyer for 5 mins before i was condemmed. i was made to plead guilty... now im a married man and have a baby on the way. i was told i was never gonna make it through high school. well i graduated last october from liclon technical institute majoring welding, and im working as a laborer for a dead company... this life i live and am still living is fucked up i wake up everyday wishing i never plead guilty. but if i never lived through a whole city noing my story and hid in nmy house alone for 3 years cause of death threats i would have never met my wife or have never married my wife. i wish i had an exspongement i wrote the president yet it took 4 months to get a letter back saying bascilly sorry fuck off.... what can i do i need to be able to support my family yet this wall that surounds me is still killing me... if any one can open a door for me heres my email dhweldthat@gmail.com make the topic HELP! thanks

  33. mark on 05/03/2012:

    Mark on 05/03/2112: Chris,I wish to compliment you on your article. You have correctly stated many of the issues facing registered sex offenders. I know; I am one. I am personally thankful for your efforts. There are many other influences, however, which you may not have considered in this context. One: The public has been conditioned by public policy makers to make their political decisions (voting behavior, etc.) on the basis of fear. This became much more common after the 1972 election cycle, when Nixon used fear of crime and fear of continuing the debacle in Viet Nam, should Nixon and his Republican party colleagues not be elected. Fear bypasses the cerebral cortex and decisions are made in more primitive parts of the brain, such as the amygdala; i.e., fear elicits unreasoned responses.(Although unrelated to sex offenders, the Patriot Act comes to mind here.) Two: Incarceration is a major industry, as it is elsewhere in America. In California, where I live, the California, Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) lobbies for increasingly longer sentences. They fund Victims United, a lobbying group, which seeks more draconian sentencing laws. The guard's union has a vested interest in long sentences. Longer sentences mean more prisoners. More prisoners mean more prisons, more guards, more union dues, more political power for the union. And the cycle begins again, ad infinitum. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy has labeled this process, "sick." I believe that law enforcement should be the servants of the state, not its masters. When unions of law enforcement personnel control the levers of power within the state, you have, by definition, a police state. No freedom loving people would tolerate a union of armed forces personnel exerting that level of control over the federal government; Why do the people of California, and other similarly situated states, tolerate prison guards controlling state government? At each level of the criminal justice system, from police to the district attorney's office to the courts, each person is measured by how many man-years of sentencing they can cause. It is time to take back government, and end the political influence of guards', and other law enforcement,unions. Three: Mainstream media is a "for profit" enterprise. They attract readers and viewers by promoting stories that pander to the people's fears. "If it bleeds, it leads." Any story about crime, violence and the most scary of boogeymen, the sex offender, is more likely to be reported than other, less tantalizing stories. The bottom line, here, is the bottom line. Advertising rates are directly tied to the number of readers and viewers. Media corporations have a vested interest in misleading the public (and thereby shaping voting behavior.) My favorite relevant statistic came from an article published in the New York Times Magazine just after the turn of the century. The article stated that FBI statistics showed a nearly 50% decline in homicide rates between 1990 and 2000. During the same period, local television news programs, nationwide, had a 650% increase in the number of homicides being reported. In other words, during a period of dramatic drops in the murder rate, TV was reporting an epidemic of murder. People's voting behavior was certainly modified by the flames of fear fanned by the media in pursuit of increased profits. Let us return to an era where the media are run by journalists, not bean counters! Chris, please continue your work. It is appreciated by some of the most desperate people in America, those who have been accused of sex crimes.

  34. glassmaddy on 04/17/2012:

    Oh, and the guy that heads the sex offender unit in our county has said my son has done his time along time ago but he is not the legal system. He has tried to change laws to focus on violent offenders but gets no where. I have heard from State sex offender heads, prison heads, professors, etc. that these laws have gone out of bounds from what they were meant to be. It puzzles me that this continues and then I see such things as private corporations wanting to take over the prison sytem but only if they can be guaranteed 95% occupancy. And I see they are the ones that are lobbying for tougher laws--my sister just had a visitor from Europe and he said we need to get out of this country--it is becoming totaliarian (police state)--I fear we are.

  35. glassmaddy on 04/17/2012:

    Chris, I agree with Shelly --that this is an important article. I visit my son every week in prison for a consensual teenage realtionship he had 20 years ago. Since he was first charged, retroactive laws came in--he got a DUI charged against him so this counts in the "pinhead" laws view as a sex offense--he lost his job, his apartment and moved in with a family (who knew he was not a "sex offender" as do every single person that knows him)--but they were 50 feet within a residency zone so he stopped registering--this was after he had been on the register for 15 years. The State arrested him --charged with a felony for every day of not registering--another expensive lawyer again who got it down to three felonies--he is now considered a level 3---why??? because of the mass of paperwork and stupid laws--nothing to do with him being a sexual pervert. Anyone on the register that has not done a violent crime (consensual teenage relationships, streaking, peeing in a public place) is turned into a criminal because of these laws-- The interesting thing I have noticed since I have been visiting my son in prison--is all the decent looking prisoners that are there--nobody that makes my skin crawl--I ask what did these people do--most are drug offenses or DUIs--I wonder are we making society safer by our intense laws or are their other ways to punish these people? Prison should be for violent people. The head of a prison told me to read "Race to Incarcerate"--I have been shocked for years at what is going on--but it seems no one listens--I think a poem by a religious person done during Hitler's reign really hit home. something like they came for the Jews, but I was not one, then they came for the??, and I was not one, then they came for?? and I was not one, when they came for me there was no one left to speak for me. I wish I could remember all the words. It is exactely what is happening.

  36. computerpo on 04/16/2012:

    Dare2bMe you bring a lot up. You were victimizied and then victimized someone, which you only indicated was a girl at a birthday party. You left off her age. Curious.. my estimate is she was 3-7 yrs of age, based upon information you provided. In some states, you would have ended up in prison. That said, you got probation for the crime, an indication that someone took into account the circumstances of the crime and your own victimization. Yet you still are on probation, noting you had two violations (but don't indicated what they were). You go on to note that sex offenders have low recividism...yet you had two violations. We can't tell what they were, but being on probation for 15 yrs, they must have had some kind of severity to them. You also are wearing a GPS unit, again an indication, you did something more than what you are telling. You mention completing sex offender treatment, yet in the same vain, you mentioned you touched the victim because you were drunk... which is a rationalization that should have been dealt with in treatment. You also acknowledge you did wrong, which is good, yet leave out those details which indicate exactly what you did. I also am a little concerned that you know quite a bit about your victim, noting she is in college and she forgives you. You don't mention having substance abuse treatment. Yes you deserve a life. I can't really give an informed opinion about how long you should be on probation. However,if you got 15 yrs on probation as opposed to 15 yrs in prison, that I am at a lost at why you are complaining, when you could have gone to prison for 15 yrs. Yet you havn't lived up to your sentence cause you had violation during that period. You need to complete the directives of your probation...without violations. The length you are on is tired to your actions and the original sentence. Why should some let you off probation early when you haven't lived up to the sentence? It is sort of like an inmate getting five years prison time, escaping after two years, and expecting someone to say that is okay. You haven't done your sentence they way it was suppose to be done. If you didn't address the substance abuse aspect than you need to. I wonder why an adult would be drunk at their child's birthday party. I wonder whether substance abuse was the violations you note. Get with your PO, set some goals to work on. Maybe you need to go back to sex offender treatment to work on the rationalization that you only touched a 3-7 yrs female cus you were drunk. What she looked 18 yrs old to you because you were drunk? Sorry, you deserve a life, yes, but you also appear to have some unresolved issues that need work. You are not exactly the poster boy of why sex offender issues need to be reformed...and yet they do need reformed.

  37. Dare2bMe on 04/15/2012:

    In response to computerpo, and please don't think this is an attack, because it isn't. I just feel you should know some things, before you get overly judgemental, which is what all of society does. I was severely abused as a child. From the ages of 12 to 16, I was forced to make child porn movies, along with countless photos. There were many of us who were "stars". I am now a convicted sex offender. In 1996, I touched a young girl during a party my son was having. I was drunk. After 2 violations of probation, I am still dealing with this. Although my crime had a 15 year statutory maximum, I am still on probation due to the violations. I live in a crappy trailer with two roommates (also sex offenders). I cannot find a decent job. I lost my wife and children. I wear a GPS monitor, which humiliates me because everyone knows what it is. I made one, just one mistake. My victim has been through therapy (as I have), and she is now in college and living a good life, which I am happy for. I graduated sex offender therapy two years ago. Do I deserve to suffer the rest of my life? What more can society take from me? I have already lost everything over this...a crime that happened over 15 years ago. I can't even say I have my dignity. Everyone knows what I am, but do you think for one second anyone has tried to see WHO I am? NO! My label of sex offender seems to say it all. Yes, there are some pretty terrible people out there, but if you would look at statistics, sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates. The general public doesn't hear that, what they hear is when the John Couey's strike. We deserve a second chance, and moreso, a chance to live a normal life. I will always hate myself for what I have done, but if my victim has forgiven me, why can't society? Drug dealers have caused more damage than I have, yet they can live a normal life. A man who murders a child's parent (which is lifelong devastation), gets released and can move on. Why shouldn't the sex offender? I am not a monster. Yes, I hurt someone. There is no excuse for what I did. But I deserve to be able to live a normal life.

  38. computerpo on 04/12/2012:

    Question, ShellyStow, regarding this comment: "There is nothing that can be said that justifies the damage done to millions and to society as a whole by the public sex offender registry and all of its attendant horrors." What "millions" are you talking about? The lastest data that I can find puts the number of registered sex offenders at 747,408, see http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/sex-offender-map.pdf. I am not sure how accurate that data is because it was obtained through telphone survey's with each state and there might be dupliction of someone on two states (if they live in one state but work in another), but I would guess it is pretty close. Are you referencing their family/friends too? Gee what about the victims family and friends? What about them? One thing that I do find troubling is that we can't tell from the data, how many of these 747,408, are serious sex offenders or the "the consensual, the stupid, the curious child, the falsely accused, the misdemeanor, the victimless" that you note. Clearly we are not talking "millions" though in that category you mention. Should we have non serious offenders on it? Of course note. But we have to be objective in who gets on it...(the "truly repentant" that you note would be tough to measure). But, I would venture that the numbers are reversed, there are more on the list that should be on there than those who should not be on there. Clearly, there are not a million innoncent offenders on the reg as there aren't even a millon on the reg in the first place.

  39. ShellyStow on 04/12/2012:

    It would seem that some reading this are missing one of the main points, that being that the atmosphere of today regarding this issue, which Mr. Dorin has indeed accurately captured, coupled with the huge cash cow that the sex offender industry has become for many, are working to put everyone who now bears the label "sex offender registrant" into the same boiling pot, lumping the consensual, the stupid, the curious child, the falsely accused, the misdemeanor, the victimless, and the truly repentant with the few who are a danger and punishing them, along with their children and families, equally. Acknowledging that the children who are damaged from sexual abuse are often victimized by their own parents further makes the point, for these individuals are almost without exception not on the registry, and, for the ones who are arrested and registered, once this has happened, they fall into a category whose recidivism rate is in tiny single digits. There is nothing that can be said that justifies the damage done to millions and to society as a whole by the public sex offender registry and all of its attendant horrors.

  40. computerpo on 04/11/2012:

    First let me say I am shocked at some of the examples of stupidity you used to sell your case. There is no excuse for the conduct that was represented. There is no excuse for victimization of anyone. That said, you are doing a great job of sensationalizing the poor plight of the sex offender, comparing it to hanging of witches and McCarthsim. The problem is though that sex offenders victimized someone. Lets mention those victims, a kid oftentimes, their own child, carries those emotional scars for life. The women who were victims and yes even the men that were victimized also deserve noting. You see sex offenders are not “victims”, in any sense of the world. Yes, we do have to bring them into society again, so they can be productive, but to imply that they are innocent scape goats is demeaning to their victims. I also take exception that somehow we are going after sex offenders because of the recession and... “the same thing happened with the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin a generation earlier. People are scared that way now. They want vengeance and safety.” In many ways we have become more lenient towards sex offenders. There was a time when rapist were eligible for the death penalty and were executed, even when the victim did not die. Many sex offenders never even were eligible for probation and many served longer prison sentences. There also was a time that sex offenders never even were prosecuted. Hell, all one has to do is look at the mess in Penn State to see that sex offenders appears to have gotten a pass for sometime. So now we are more aggressive in prosecutions but still most do not get lengthy prison sentences. By the way, the recession you mentioned occurred AFTER the passage of the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, sometime in December of 2007. Society's reaction to sex offenders has come after there have been too many reports of some of them committing the most severe of crimes. It is not because we need a scapegoat to make us feel better. I am not advocating violence towards sex offenders. But they are sex offenders because of their own actions. They were not joining an organization or speaking their mind, or exercising some constitutional right. They do not have a physical condition like leapers. They victimized someone. You are listing their status as sex offenders and the crimes that were committed against them but what about who they victimized? But if you listed their victims that might explain some of the anger towards them...anger that is not connected to the recession, or terrorism, but to the offenders' own actions. Maybe you are sensationalizing the topic to counteract some of the irrationality when it comes to some actions by legislatures with regard to sex offender policy. But maybe just maybe you can accomplish that without trivializing true victims of injustice and distorting history by comparing ill-conceived sex offender policy with extreme injustices of the past. I am sure I will not get hate mail from sex offenders but part of the process in redemption is to acknowledge you did something wrong as oppose to claiming victim status. Be an adocate for change of policy without ignoring the real victims. Yes, some of the issues/policies need tweated but elevating sex offenders above their victims is not the way to do it.

  41. Edie Billings on 04/10/2012:

    Kudos to Mr.Dornin for bringing to light the damage that is caused by having a sex-offender registry that has gone awry. Whatever good this registry is supposed to accomplish, the way it stands now, the negative effects and collateral damage are far worse. Hopefully,the lawmakers will take note of research and articles like this which proves that this system is a knee jerk reaction,created by mass hysteria, which needs to be reformed.

  42. SOS on 04/10/2012:

    Let's not forget the lepers, banned from communities, forced to declare themselves unclean, feared, scorned and reviled by all. Great article. I'm printing it off and saving it. Thanks for your insight to do what's right!

  43. ShellyStow on 04/09/2012:

    Chis, this is a tremendously important article. Your analysis of the historical contexts is spot on. I pray for a day when we look back at our current era with the same dismay and disbelief with which we consider the ages of witch-drownings and McCarthyism. I further pray that that day comes before too many more lives and futures are destroyed by the sex offender hysteria that has this nation firmly in its grip.


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