What you need to know about sex offender laws.
Like most of you I thought all Sex offender should be lock up for life but that is not the case. Now that I have learned more about these laws, I have change my mind and I hope to change yours.
I have learned that 95% of the people who are Registered Sex Offenders never touched a child. They committed some sort of no-contact or victimless crime that used to be called public indecency but since the Adam Walsh Act and Megan's Law, these people are being treated the same as rapists.
Why is this so?
The Adam Walsh. Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, is supposed to (and I'm quoting now) “protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crime, to prevent child abuse and child pornography, to promote Internet safety, and to honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child crime victims.”
Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act or SORNA, requires people who commit certain crimes to register as sex offenders and classifies them into three tiers:
Tier 3 offenders (the most serious tier) update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements, Tier 2 offenders do it every six months with 25 years of registration, and Tier 1 offenders must update every year with 15 years of registration.
By this same law, anyone and everyone who commits a 'sex offense' is a ‘‘sex offender’’ and is required to serve time on the registry after they serve time in jail. The crimes that are listed as sex offenses include: sex trafficking, coercion and enticement, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, abusive sexual contact, use of a minor in a sexual performance, solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution, and production or distribution of child pornography.
All sounds good on paper. But the fact is that teenagers who are necking in the back seats of cars and men peeing in bushes or looking at pictures of fully-clothed teenage models on the Internet are being treated the same or worse than if they murdered, raped or sold drugs to a child.
This is nutz!
By calling everything related to sex a 'sex crime' and placing everyone who has ever been convicted of a sex crime on the registry -- whether or not they have ever touched a child -- the Government is making it impossible for parents to identify who is truly a threat and who is not.
Megan's Law is known as the Sexual Offender (Jacob Wetterling) Act of 1994. This is the law that requires law enforcement to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. It requires persons convicted of sex crimes to notify local law enforcement of any change of address or employment after release from custody. Doing all that takes a lot of paperwork and costs a lot of money, but this law has shown NO EFFECT in reducing re-offenses or the number of victims.
And it gets worse.
What this law does is makes us paranoid. We don't let our kids out of our sight. Now we have kids not getting enough exercise because they don't ride their bikes or walk to school. As parents we have become over protective. The crime rate is lower now than it was when we were kids. Just think back to your own childhood. Did you walk to school like I did? Did you ride your bike to the local store on errands for your mother? Did you go out trick-or-treating? Was it fun?
These laws do not help to make things fun. Let me tell you what they have done.
A Sex Offender can be anyone from the age of 4 to 94. Two kids 'playing doctor' – the 4 year old is the victim and the 5 year old is charged. Two teens having consensual sex – both may be charged as being each other’s abuser and victim. You, for taking photos of your granddaughter playing in bubble-bath.
Texas has placed children as young as ten years old onto the registry.
Ten years old!!!
I would not call anyone of these people a Sex Offender. They did not touch or harm a child. So why are they on the list?
Some say it is because the judges, prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs, legislators and other elected officials all want to be re-elected.
They know the best way to do that is to show that they are tough on crime. And, that being tough on sex crime, 'sells'.
They especially don’t want to make the news as being easy on sex offenders. And so they do not talk about these problems. But the problems are even bigger than this.
These sex-offender laws make it so that a person who is registered – even if they have children and a family to support -- can’t get a decent job or live in a family-friendly neighborhood. And remember, this goes for the 95% of the people on the registry who have never harmed anyone.
How is this fair? What good does it do?
People who can't get work end up living on the streets. If a registrant is homeless, it is hard for the law enforcement to find them. This makes them in violation of the registration law, but it is not because they are in hiding, it is because they can’t get a job or find a place to live and they end up on welfare and food stamps, with us taxpayers paying for their subsidized housing as well.
Once a person who has been convicted of a crime does their time in prison, they should be free. They should get a second chance. If they are so great a danger to society that they need to be on a special list and register, maybe they should not be let out of prison at all.
But people who have done stupid or insensitive or immoral things are not criminals and we must stop treating them as such.
The way these laws are right now, fathers can't live at home with their own children, even though the children and wives want them to; children and spouses of registrants are shamed, bullied and humiliated in school; registrants are legally discriminated against, ostracized, shunned and bullied. We need to put a stop to this.. or it could happen to you.