Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We aren't forgetting about sex offenders--we are forgetting about children

In 1992, a little boy was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old young man who, as far as I can determine, had no previous arrests for sexual offenses. The episode was life altering for the young victim and even more so for his mother, Judy Cornett. She embarked on a personal vendetta to track out-of-compliance registrants and turn them in. She became a very vocal voice, and still is, earning her both praise and criticism from those who recognize that her persecution of those who had sexually offended is contrary to what research shows as most helpful in lowering future risks.

Others who have been through such an experience have used it as an impetus to action and advocacy. However, such an experience also produces tunnel vision. It isn’t sex offenders who have been forgotten, as the title of the Fox news item suggests. Every media source that can throw the term into a headline does so. Every politician who wants to increase his chances for reelection writes a “get tougher on sex offenders” law.

No, it isn’t sex offenders that have been forgotten; it is children who have been forgotten. The vast majority of children who are victims of molestation or any type of abuse are not victims of registered sex offenders; they are victims of those who are close to them in their lives. And they are indeed forgotten and ignored in the mad frenzy to push former offenders further and further from society.

Cornett says, “…sex offenders are coming out of prison every day….We need to get back on track. We need to get out there. We need to start doing the neighborhood notifications. We need to bring this into the schools.”

This is tunnel vision at its worse. How will this focus on former offenders address these facts?

  • According to FBI statistics, less than 1% of abducted children are victims of a registered offender.
  • According to the Office of Juvenile Justice, stranger molestation of children—not even RSOs, just those not known to the child or family—comprise between 2 and 6% of the total with family and acquaintances making up the rest. 
  • According to all sources, sexual abuse of children comprises less than 10% of all abuse, and virtually all other abuse is at the hands of their caregivers, not registered sex offenders. 

Yes, we need to get on track. We need some portion—any portion—of the money and resources dedicated to tracking registered sex offenders diverted to awareness, education, and prevention programs that will help save children’s lives. What we are doing is criminal. What Ms. Cornett is doing is, possibly, well-intentioned, possibly even understandable, but criminal.

We aren’t ignoring sex offenders. We are ignoring virtually every child in America who is being abused and molested.


  1. How about looking at the fact that children take the least damage from *sexual* abuse than from all other forms of abuse? Why have an emphasis at all on sexual abuse? If you want people to learn some facts, start sharing what is true. We need to "get over" the drama about sex involving children to get any further. There are naturally already several studies on this. I don't like the way you try to divert things into the families being the true risks to a child. And a person who stands close to a child is even more likely to also share a loving affection towards them, rather than just using power to take advantage of the child and really abuse them that way. It's too one-dimensional to only think that the sex must be the real evil in a child's world. When it's the most natural thing. So deal with what *abuse* is instead. We'll, again, never get anywhere if we can't separate love from abuse. And truthfully, it's not always abuse just because the child knows the "offender". It's even more so a tragedy if the person so close to the child has to be demonized for doing something they both enjoyed. Intergenerational sexuality is in the human biology and can't be eliminated in any sense, ever.

    I think you need to start thinking about this when you write your articles, or IMO you lose a terrible amount of credibility and insight. I mean, you should be read up on all this, yes?
    Sex doesn't hurt children. It doesn't matter if the so called offender is family, a close friend, or a stranger.

  2. Why the emphasis on sexual abuse? Because that is the topic of this post.

    For the sake of open dialogue, I have published your comment, but I am making it clear that sexual abuse of children, along with every other type of abuse to children--which I did discuss--will perhaps never be eliminated, but it absolutely must not be tolerated. There is never an instance when any sexual activity with a prepubescent child would not be abuse or would ever be excusable. I will not print anything further that you write in an attempt to justify sexual activity with children.

    Thank you, Shelly


No personal attacks, profanity, or obscenities.
Thank you.