The mere words “Sex Offender” are enough to send a surge of chills down one’s spine. You wonder how can I protect my child? Then you rage that the world is full of perverts. When you hear one has moved in next door you do one of two things: You immediately start looking for a new place to live, or you suppress the urge to make his life a living hell. Or you snap and beat the hell out of him anyway. He’s on that registry so he must be a monster.
There is no denying that monsters do exist and many of them are on that list. In such cases, a parent’s fear is justified and justifiable. So is the outrage that a child rapist or a child pornographer is allowed out of jail while a nonviolent drug user is still in. So is the alarm when one has moved into the neighborhood.
It is time for some perspective.
The sex offender registry, while highly comprehensive, is by no means COMPLETE. Many who ought to be on that list continue to slip under the radar of law enforcement. Professions such as teachers, clergy, high school sports coaches, and the like continue to prove at an alarming rate that they have amongst their ranks, predators who should not be working with children.
Among the lists of offenders who are on that registry are people who are guilty of some indiscretion. Among them: people caught urinating in public. People who have had sex with someone underage i.e. a 17 year old male who turns 18 while still fornicating with his 16 year old girlfriend. Men who have had affairs with girls who lie and say they are 18 while providing false documentation when the girl is actually underage. Men who have consensual relationships and the woman turns around and cries “rape”.
It’s no tomfoolery to admit that the justice system is broke. How many times have they executed innocent people and let the guilty off on a technicality. The same thing goes on with the Sex Offender registry.
It’s also no lie to say that once you are on that list, for whatever reason, your life drastically changes.
In many cases, people have had their lives needlessly ruined because of it.
Depending in the laws of the state where a convicted sex offender lives, there are restrictions on where a registrant may live (i.e. banned from living within 1,000 yards of a school or daycare, or anyplace where there are children) The registrant must inform law enforcement of where they reside, where they are employed, their email addresses, their social networking profiles, what car they drive, etc. A level one has to check in every 12 months. A level two every six months and a level three (the highest risk) every 90 days. Level twos and threes have their information publicly available.
Even after time served, these people continue to be stigmatized. Some of them rightfully so. Others, it can be argued, have had to live with a stigma that is undeserved.
We have the absolute right to know when a sex offender has moved into our neighborhood and in the cases of twos and threes we also have access to the information on why they are on that list. But in the end, the sex offender registry isn’t responsible for protecting our kids. We are.
Not everyone on the SO list is a predator. Not every predator makes it onto the SO list. Not everyone on the SO registry actually belongs there. And not everyone who belongs on there is actually on it.
It’s time to address this. We need to review the list of offenses. Rape, child pornography, incest, sexual assault, and molestation definitely belongs in this category.
Pissing in public and high school dating do not.
And the laws were never meant to prevent crime, they are in place to deal with those who commit them.
It probably isn’t wise to trust someone with your children simply because their names are not on a registry.
And its brainless to trust a registry that is overly bloated with names that should never have been added to it in the first place.