Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Naked on a Bearskin Rug?

Let’s go back to yesterday—waaaay back for some of us—when our kids were small. Think of all the pics we took—imagine the family album. Have any in there of them butt-naked running through the lawn sprinkler on a hot summer day? Splashing each other in the bathtub with soap in their hair and on the walls—and the floor—and you? Maybe even an honest-to-gosh naked-baby-on-the-bearskin-rug one?

I can close my eyes and see some of those images, but the one I see the clearest is older than those. It is of me at 4 ½, my sister at 2 ½, and our brother at 6 or 7 months. We were standing and sitting in a huge old galvanized washtub, the same one Grandmother did wash in on washday, out in the yard. We were splashing each other and screaming with joy—and we were all as bare as a peeled apple.

My children have the same sorts of pics of their children—although I caution them not to email or text them to anyone. Not to ANYONE. They laughed the first time I gave them that caution, but they weren’t laughing after I emailed them links to a few horror stories that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.

Stories like this one from Minnesota: It is about a former Minnesota State University, Mankato football coach. He is a former coach because he was fired from the position he had held since 2008. He was suspended and then fired after he was arrested for video images found on his cell phone, images of his young children dancing around and playing after getting out of the bathtub.

Although the charges were eventually dropped—a judge ruled that the videos showed only the innocent play of children—his career is in shambles and his life and those of his entire family have been seriously disrupted, or, using the word used by his wife in an interview, a nightmare.

In a statement to the press, she spoke of the responsibility of the police and the district attorney to do a more thorough investigation; she spoke of the abuse of power and the lack of accountability. She said, “…their job is to protect the public, not destroy families.”

Even though his career is over, at least for now, and his reputation will always be questionable in the eyes of some, this story has a happy ending, but there are so many “what-ifs?” What if he had been terrified, as many have been, of the possibility of a prison sentence quite possibly longer than if he had confessed to having sex with a child, so terrified that he took a plea deal? What if he had not had the financial resources to obtain a good attorney? What if his wife had not stood by him, determined to fight? What if he had despaired, again, as many have, over ever being exonerated and had taken his life? What if?

Think about this when you are taking pictures or filming your innocent children at innocent play. There are those who feel that innocence and families and truth are nothing more than collateral damage, expendable and unimportant.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'll Get You Back for That!

What is the worst things you can do to retaliate against someone?

When I was a kid, it was telling our mother that my brother called someone a “son of a gun.” We were strictly forbidden the use of that term. (We would never have gone so far as to accuse each other of actual profanity, of using the Lord’s name inappropriately; that would have been beyond our ability to fathom.)

In early America, it was accusing someone of being a witch.

In Nazi Germany, it was accusing someone of hiding Jews—or of being one.

Each of those things, whether true or not, was almost certain to result in an extremely dangerous situation for the accused person.

Today, with society’s focus on our new bogeyman, a focus given credence by the plethora of laws and regulations and a registry, for crying out loud, for them and for no one else, there is no question that accusing someone of being a sex offender is the worst accusation that can be made.

And how easy it is to do. With the anonymity of the Internet, with the proliferation of information via social media, those chickens may never come home to roost on the false accuser.

And in a society where the lack of personal integrity, the inability to see beyond one’s own desires and concerns, and the total disregard for the plain, old-fashioned virtue of telling the truth are reaching critical mass, we can expect to see more of this deplorable trend.

Lovers scorned, girls trying to get out of a jam they have gotten themselves in, and angry spouses in divorce and custody-battle situations have used the technique for many years. A false accusation of rape or of inappropriate touching of the child being pulled in half has swayed many a situation and caused a decision to fall where it should not have fallen.

But this is a brave new world; why tell just a few people when, with a few clicks, everyone can know.

These headlines from a British source show the horrible extreme to which such a thing can go.
“Steven Rudderham: Dad falsely accused of being paedophile on Facebook found hanged. He was traumatized when his name, address and photograph were published online, with a message calling him a ‘dirty perv.’ ”

Apparently the person who concocted the false accusation took offense at something that Mr. Rudderham had written on a Facebook page.

The motivation behind the false accusations and slandering of Chad Lesko was much more direct. It was created by Lesko’s ex-girlfriend who was out for revenge. She posted on Facebook that he was a rapist and child molester wanted by the police. Before the truth came out, he had been slammed to the ground by officers in an arrest attempt.

Will the situation worsen before it begins to correct itself? Historically, yes, that is the pattern. Will it correct itself? Will society develop a collective sense of integrity and perspective and recognize that false accusations and mass vilification of citizens only detracts from the true and actual situations of wrong-doing, that every time a scared young woman says it was rape when it wasn’t, or an angry ex-wife makes a false accusation of child molestation, or someone fabricates a sexual charge out of spite or anger that it is an insult to the real victims of sexual violence?

The answer must be yes. Otherwise, we are doomed.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sexual Offense Laws--Are They Really for the Children?

Every time a “tough on crime” politician mesmerizes the public with his “doing it to help children” stance, I almost laugh—and then I think about how many lives, including children’s, will be further damaged, even destroyed, and anger replaces the laughter.

Ask the 6-year-old boy who was prosecuted for playing doctor and will, at 18, go on the Wisconsin public registry for what he did at six if he has been helped. Ask the many children ages 9—12 already on registries in dozens of states for age-appropriate play and curiosity. Some of them will take their own lives before many more years have passed. Ask the myriad of children whose parents are registrants how they have been helped. They have suffered massive instability, ridicule, physical assault, and damage to self, home, parents, and property as a result of vigilante action. The horrible offense of some of their parents was that their fathers slept with their mothers before they were married and she was under the age of consent. Ask Gary Blanton’s little sons, growing up in Washington State with no father because a self-appointed vigilante murdered their father for being on the registry for consensual teenage sex, if they feel the love and the help flowing for them.

And then of course there are the children of those wrongly convicted and later exonerated and freed. Some have spent many years in prison before a determined family member, often by getting a wrongful conviction advocacy group such as the Innocence Project involved, pushes until true justice is done. When released, these people will often have lost everything they had in their lives; their parents will have died, as was the case with Michael Arena, exonerated and released in Texas last year; when his mother died, he was not allowed to attend her funeral even though at that point the findings of his innocence were clear. Even more egregious is that their children will have been raised without them. Even though some states pay compensation for each year wrongly imprisoned, no amount of money can compensate for all the milestones missed in a child’s life.

And most of all, ask the victims of child sexual abuse, past, present, and future. Except for the tiniest percentage, they were and are molested by those not on the registry, the greatest number by far those in their lives within their circle of trust. Explain, since every research study shows no correlation between residency and presence restrictions for ex-offenders and less sexual crime against children, how this will keep those children safe. Explain how, because the government chooses to spend many millions monitoring a vast number of ex-offenders who pose little or no risk to them, there is no money left to launch educational or prevention programs that would help them, and there is no money to fund much-needed victims’ services, which would help them.

And please tell all of us when people who have the power to question and to effect change are going to demand that laws be based on facts and research-based evidence rather than myths and obfuscations that work against rather than for public safety. When will we do what really will help children?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Case Against Public Sex Offender Registries

USA FAIR, an organization that advocates for an intelligent sex offender registry, suggests that such a registry would remain public but would limit those subject to public scrutiny. As the executive director of USA FAIR explains, “USA FAIR does not oppose the sex offender registry. We do, however, strongly believe that public notification should be applied only to the truly dangerous…” and “Let’s modernize the public registry by making it smarter, by using the vast body of research to stay true to the Kankas’ founding principle of targeting the truly dangerous….”

While fully agreeing that those accurately assessed to be clearly dangerous warrant stricter scrutiny if and when they are released into the community, Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc.—RSOL—differs with its sister advocacy organization on the concept of a public registry. If the constitutional, civil, and human rights of even a small group of citizens are placed at risk, ALL are at risk of losing those rights. As long as even a small handful of people can be punished by public registration schemes, law and policy makers will continue to press for the inclusion of more people and more offenses.

USA FAIR cites the recently released Human Rights Watch study showing the futility, danger, and negative consequences of registering juveniles publicly, points with which RSOL is in full agreement.

This report, “Raised on the Registry,” (previously blogged about) and even more so their 2007 report, “No Easy Answers,” make it clear that a public sex offender registry is lacking in redemptive value for all offenders, be they juvenile or adult. This is echoed in “Registering Harm,” a report prepared by the Justice Policy Institute. Although this report’s focus is also on juveniles, the report unequivocally condemns the public registration scheme as mandated by the Adam Walsh Act as ill-advised and counter-productive, as shown in this introduction to the report:
Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, a federal law that requires
states to include children as young as age 14 on registries — often
for the rest of their lives — in an attempt to protect our children from
sexual violence. But the Adam Walsh Act won’t keep our children safe.
Instead, this law will consume valuable law enforcement resources,
needlessly target children and families, and undermine the very purpose of the juvenile justice system.
Joining this condemnation are experts, psychologists, researchers, and government agencies. Notable among them is Dr. Jill Levenson of Lynn University and author of a significant number of studies and reports. While various aspects of the negative consequences are focused on, depending on the study and the author, one fact is consistent among everyone who has researched and written on this topic: There is no correlation between public safety and a public registry; there is no discernable impact on recidivism rates or sexual offending rates due to the public registry.

Public registries provide no measurable protection for children or the general public yet endanger the well being of children and family members of registrants. Several states have done before/after studies that show NO statistical change in arrests and convictions. While being a total waste of public resources with no benefit to public safety, public registries do put a great deal of money into the pockets of fear-mongers.

What then is the answer?

RSOL promotes laws and programs limiting registry access strictly to law enforcement agencies and boards of probation and parole. This is based on the belief, strongly supported by research and evidence, that even if public registries are scaled back to publicize only persons convicted of the most heinous offenses, this would only set the expansion process in motion again. In another twenty years, we would again be where we are now, registering even teen sexting and consensual relations between young people.

RSOL has the same goal as USA FAIR and every parent and child-advocacy organization, seeking the highest good for the safety of our children. A public registry does not enhance that good. The only registry RSOL can envision as being in any way useful is one entrusted exclusively to those trained and equipped to deal with it: law enforcement and law-enforcement-related agencies.

An intelligent registry is a registry that accomplishes its purpose. The purpose must be the enhanced safety of all citizens, and that will never be found in a public registry.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Dream

The very first post I wrote for this blog was one I did not intend to publish. It was practice, an exercise set by my blogging mentor while he was teaching me the ins and outs of a blog. I just let my thoughts go free and my fingers go wild and fanciful. I liked the result, but I tucked it away and returned to reality.

Today I read something that changed my mind. A very basic legislative attempt in Minnesota to begin correcting some of the problems with the state's sex offender program there has hit a roadblock.  Described as "modest first steps" by its proponents, the bill is being criticized by the opposition party, and the bill's author laments that "lawmakers who vote for it could be 'spun as being soft on crime and soft on sex offenders.' ” This perception, she fears, will assure its death because even those who believe in it will abstain from going on record as voting for it.

My posting on the comment board had to do with what legislators of integrity would do, and then I remembered my little blog post that was never intended to see the light of day and decided that its time had come. 

There have been times in this nation when legislators of integrity were willing to stand up and right horrible wrongs. Things go in cycles, they say--whoever they are--and maybe that time will come again.

Another Dream

One of our greatest civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., stood in Washington, D.C. many years ago and told the nation that he had a dream. He dreamed of an end to laws and policies, written and unwritten, that ostracized and dehumanized millions of citizens based on nothing but their inclusion in a group that was different from the dominant group.

Fifty years later we are embroiled in another civil rights issue that threatens to rend apart the fabric of our nation. Once again laws and policies exist and are added almost daily that ostracize and dehumanize several million citizens based on their inclusion in a group that is as varied and diverse as were the millions of African Americans whose equality Dr. King dreamed of.

Under the huge umbrella of individuals who are affected by the policies that govern sexual crime today, specifically SORN and the Adam Walsh Act, are those who have nothing else in common. Some committed misdemeanors and some felonies. The acts of some were consensual while others were forced. Some are male and some are female. Some are children as young as nine. Some are men in their nineties who have lived half a century past the commission of a single offense. Some committed no crime; they were falsely accused and wrongly convicted. Some were not even accused; they are the husbands and wives and children and parents of those who were.

Like Dr. King, I too have a dream. I dream that another person, one whose face is unclear in my mind, will stand up in Washington, D.C., in a chamber where SORN is being discussed and debated, and will forcefully denounce the direction that these laws and policies have taken and are continuing to take us. In my dream, I can hear some of the words he will say.

“These laws were not based on facts or evidence. They were enacted hastily in response to a very few heinous crimes. Research has called the effectiveness of some of them into serious question and flatly contradicted others. We have made some serious mistakes. We must not compound those mistakes by continuing down the same path. We must build on what we have learned from our mistakes. We must enact laws based on evidence, on certainties, not on myths and half-truths and vaguely held beliefs. We must start over.”

In my mind the words echo from the Senate floor, through the halls of Congress, out from the windows and porticos, across the rolling lawns and onto the very steps of the Lincoln Memorial where, all those years ago, Dr. King shared his dream, a dream that helped undo generations of injustice and make the concept of equality for all a little closer to reality.

And in my dream, upon his chair of stone, I think I see Lincoln’s lips twitch in a half-smile, and further back, peering from the misty shadows, a handsome, dark face nods approval.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Examining Chelsea's Law, Part II -- Who Will Chelsea's Law Effect?

Chelsea’s Law, signed into California law on September 9, 2010, by then-governor Schwarzenegger scant months after the court sentenced John Gardner to two life sentences without parole for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King is, at the heart of it, a compulsory minimum sentencing law. It allows life without parole sentences for adults who, if while committing a sexual offense against a child, kidnap, drug, bind, torture, or use a weapon. Life terms could apply for both first-time and repeat offenders. It also increases other penalties, including requiring lifetime parole with GPS tracking for those convicted of forcible sex crimes against children under fourteen.

According to available information, 74 individuals have been charged under Chelsea’s Law since its beginning, and eight have had their sentences impacted because of it. 

The father of Chelsea, Brian King, and CA legislator Nathan Fletcher, author of Chelsea’s Law, are now lobbying to extend the bill into other states with the goal being a version of the law in all states. Two organizations, Chelsea’s Light Foundation and Chelsea’s Shield, have been formed to further this agenda.

While agreeing that those who commit heinous acts need lengthy and stiff sentencing and monitoring periods, critics oppose first time offenders falling under the reach of this law. Critics further fear the law will, in application, stray outside reasonably narrow restraints. One critic, on reading the law, commented that, technically, it could apply to someone who pulls a victim a few feet into an alley—kidnapping—and touches him or her over clothing—sexual assault—and then releases him or her.

An attempt to identify those charged under the law, especially the eight who received impacted sentences, yielded skimpy but interesting results.

The first to be charged, when the bill was exactly one week old, was Joseph Cantora, 55, diagnosed mentally disabled in 1981, now accused of lewd acts against two young boys. The acts consisted of exposing himself and touching over clothing. Mr. Cantora had a history of sexual abuse charges involving children. He had spent time in a state institution, and, at a competency hearing, was judged to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was sent to a state mental hospital for people with developmental disabilities. 

A far more worthy candidate for Chelsea’s Law enhancements was found in David Lascelles, 50. Arrested three months after the enactment of the law, Mr. Lascelles, while having no previous charges for a sexual crime, was no stranger to the criminal justice system. He was on parole after serving prison time for a 2005 felony conviction. He was charged with the kidnapping and forcible rape of a 15-year-old girl he knew through a family friend. Under Chelsea’s Law, Lascelles was eligible for a sentence of 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. He pled to the charges without the allegations under Chelsea’s Law and admitted a serious felony prior and strike prior. He was sentenced to 42 years and four months in state prison.  

Unlike Lascelles, Frank Zsemlye, 27, had no prior record of any sort. In July of 2012, he allegedly followed two sisters into a public restroom at a park, shoved the 13-year-old into a stall, and fondled her over her clothing. When she screamed, he ran and was apprehended some blocks away. His bail, initially set at $100,000.00, was requested by prosecutors to be raised to $1,000,000.00. He is eligible for Chelsea’s Law enhancement because of the age of the victim, under fourteen.

One report showed a need for a competency hearing before trial, but research turned up nothing to suggest whether that has been done or, if it has, the result. With no trial yet, the fate of Mr. Zsemlye and application of Chelsea’s Law to his charges are unknown.

What is known is this: Frank Zsemlye is a young, possibly mentally impaired man, a stranger to the criminal justice system. Zsemlye pulled a 13-year-old girl a couple of feet into a bathroom stall and fondled her over her clothing for the few seconds it took her to scream. Disgusting act, yes; no child should be subjected to such violation. No one anywhere would refute that Mr. Zsemlye needs proper assessment and, based on that, proper treatment and punishment.

However, is it for the Frank Zsemlyes that Chelsea’s Law was crafted?  Do his actions, despicable as they are, warrant charges that could quite possibly result in a sentence of life without possibility of parole? If Chelsea’s Law is extended to other states, how many Frank Zsemlyes will face the possibility of life without parole for first-time offenses and for offenses that fall far short of the intended standard? Surely the most urgent question is how long will it be before legislators, as they historically do, add other qualifying offenses, ones that do not rise to the same level of seriousness and that cast a net over a much broader scope and larger scale?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Technology, 1 ; Patience, 0

Sunday, 5/5/13, 4:20 p.m.

I have Part II of “Investigating Chelsea’s Law” ready and should be publishing it now.

I’m not doing that. My DSL connection is down—has been down over 16 hours—and I can’t access my blog. I can’t access anything online. In the past 16 hours, in addition to updating the blog, I have wanted to but been unable to:

  • pay bills through online banking
  • balance my checkbook through same—I don’t get paper statements
  • read or reply to email
  • compare prices for an item that I need to purchase
  • look up an unfamiliar meaning for a word without resorting to Webster’s—which I never use anymore and can't find
  • research a topic that came up at Bible class 
  • locate a hardware store in the area that is open on Sunday
  • retrieve info from an email needed for a report I am writing
  • check the bus schedule for a friend
  • refill a prescription
  • send an e-birthday card to a friend
  • book an appointment for a haircut
  • read some news and opinion articles that I had book-marked for later reading
  • locate the nearest Thai restaurant
  • see if the new book by one of my fave authors is out yet
  • find a recipe for cooked chocolate cake frosting

I believe that everything in life should be a learning experience.

I have learned the truth of what Robert Burns wrote oh so many years ago: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I have learned that I am probably much too dependent on the Internet, or, conversely, how vital the Internet is in my everyday functioning.

I have learned how very polite and accommodating the Internet provider people are on the telephone while telling you that the problem is still being worked on and they have no idea when it will be resolved.

I hope I am learning to be more patient, but that one is still to be determined.

Update: now at hour 33 without Internet. Patience is looking less and less likely.

Update: hour 39; new information: the main outage is back online, but I am not; reason is undetermined; a tech will be dispatched tomorrow morning between eight and noon to “determine and repair” the problem.

Eight tomorrow morning will be hour 57; noon will be hour 61 .

There is no patience. That ship has sailed. I am trying to stave off raging fury and find my way into the port of dull resignation.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Examining Chelsea's Law--Part I

Several months ago, two organizations, Chelsea’s Light Foundation and Chelsea’s Shield, received a flurry of publicity and promotion. Both operate under the auspices of Brian King, father of Chelsea King, a California teenager raped and murdered in 2010 by a registered sex offender. Yesterday, with the announcement that Chris Kelly, a former Facebook executive, has joined with the King family, more publicity on their highly publicized political agenda will be forthcoming.

This will be a two-part series analyzing Chelsea’s Law, the legislation that the organizations and those associated with them, are pushing in every state.

As the two parts that make up the series were originally written as stand-alone pieces, there is some overlap in a few details.

                                    Part I: What Is Chelsea's Law?                                                                                
(originally printed March 12, 2013, at Deerfield Patch)

How It Began: Who is John Albert Gardner?
John Albert Gardner is an inmate in the California prison system for the rest of his life. This is a timeline of the salient points, beginning in 2000 when he was 21 years old.

2000 convicted of child molestation; sentenced to 8 years
2005 released on parole
2008 completed parole
2009 Feb. Amber Dubois, 14, disappeared
2010 Feb. 25 Chelsea King, 17, disappeared
         Feb. 28 Gardner arrested in disappearance of Chelsea
         March 2 Chelsea's body found
         March 6 Amber's body found
         April 16 Gardner entered guilty pleas to both murders
         May 14 sentenced to two life sentences with no parole possibility
         Sept. 9 Chelsea's Law signed into CA law by governor

What Is Chelsea's Law?
"Chelsea's Law allows life without parole sentences for adult predators who kidnap, drug, bind, torture or use a weapon while committing a sex crime against a child. Life terms could be ordered for first-time and repeat offenders. It also increases other penalties for child molesters, including requiring lifetime parole with GPS tracking for people convicted of forcible sex crimes against children under 14." (

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws have a major flaw; as other offenses that may not rise to the same level of seriousness are added to the qualifying offenses, as they historically have been, a court has no power to use its discretion in meting out a different sentence; mandatory minimums remove all sentencing power from judges.

What Have Been the Results of Chelsea’s Law?
Chelsea’s Shield, a non-profit organization formed by Chelsea’s father, Brian King, to lobby for expansion of Chelsea’s Law into other states, has shared this in a report:
They released a report on the impact of Chelsea's Law. The study found that between September 2011 and August 2012, 22 defendants were charged under provisions of Chelsea's Law in San Diego County. The eight cases that have been resolved resulted in longer prison sentences than there would be have been before the law was enacted, the report said.”  (

Chelsea’s Light Foundation, another organization formed by the King family and CA legislator Nathan Fletcher, shows more defendants charged under the law but does not speak to any actual sentences.
The studies have concluded the law's initial impact as positive, with a total of 41 individuals in San Diego County charged under Chelsea’s Law between September 2010 and September 2012, and 33 individuals in Orange County charged since September 2011.” (

What Do These Results Mean?
Using the information available, the summary is this: in the two years since Chelsea’s Law was signed into law, 74 individuals have been charged under the law, and 8 individuals have had their sentences impacted due to it.

What Has Been the Impact on Public Safety?
When then-governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill, he said, “Because of Chelsea, this never has to happen again." Has it never happened again? Have no other children or teens in CA been abducted and murdered by repeat sexual offenders since Sept. 9, 2010? Since this is such an extremely rare occurrence, it is quite possible that it hasn’t. According to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Crimes Against Children Spotlight, August 2011, in cases of children or teens taken and sexually assaulted and/or murdered, “… less than 1 percent of the abductors were RSOs [registered sex offenders.]”

Chelsea’s Light Foundation included this in their recent release: “In California, the circumstances which lead to the tragic death of Chelsea King can never be repeated as a result of [Chelsea’s Law].” The fact is, had Chelsea’s Law been in effect before John Gardner murdered Amber Dubois and Chelsea King, it would not had saved them. Prior to his killing spree, his sexual offense had none of the elements that fall under Chelsea’s Law scrutiny. He would not have been still in prison or being monitored.

Shouldn’t Those Who Commit Heinous Crimes Be Severely Punished?
Of course they should. The real questions are: will this law actually save even one child, and will this law continue to target only those now stated, or will it, as versions of it are suggesting, cast its net over a much broader scope and larger scale? (

Is Expanding Chelsea’s Law to Other States Good Legislation?
The states first being targeted are Texas and Illinois with Utah, Ohio, and Massachusetts soon to follow. Brent King has said, “I want to protect every child in every state….” Nathan Fletcher has said the legislation will target "the worst of the worst" offenders. Will this legislation, targeting the “worst of the worst,” protect “every child in every state”?

The problem with targeting the "worst of the worst" and focusing so intensely on them, even if all versions of the bill stayed within those parameters, is that huge amounts of resources are expended addressing the tiniest fraction of those who sexually harm children, leaving nothing with which to address the far greater issue of child molestation at the hands of those in their lives who have no previous conviction for a sexual crime. All laws currently in place already do what extending "Chelsea's Law" will do; they ignore the plight of untold thousands of children who are molested by those they know and trust, and they do little to nothing to protect even one. Does any state need another law that will do more of the same?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Truth About Public Sex Offender Registries Can No Longer Be Ignored

Yesterday a Human Rights Watch report that has been over a year in the making was released. Titled “Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US"  and 111 pages long, this report is having a tremendous impact across the country. It has been written about, referenced, and blogged about in at least a dozen publications, most likely more, including one by CNN written by Emanuella Grinberg. 

At the top of the CNN piece is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence I have ever seen as to why the millions poured into the sex offender registry and its many tentacles each month by federal, state, and local governments is money that might as well be set on fire and reduced to ashes.

Can anyone look at that and justify pouring all of our resources into the registry and the focus on registrants as an effective means of fighting sexual abuse of children?

It is important to realize that the tiny gray areas representing stranger abuse are not all registered offenders. The percentage of registrants within the stranger pools is even smaller.

And for those who believe that sexual crime against adult victims would paint a far different picture, it doesn’t. The percentages for adult victims do indicate a larger percentage of stranger assault than for children, but those known to the victims still pose the far greater threat.

How long can we continue ignoring, especially in the realm of child sexual assault, what every study, every report, and every statistic tells us? How long will we continue this total focus on those who have committed sexual offenses in the past? How long will we allow the media, the government, and a lucrative, private sex offender industry to tell us that as long as former offenders are registered, identified, monitored, tracked, restricted, contained, ostracized, and marginalized our children will be safe? 

We've done it now for twenty years. Isn't that long enough?