Why Are We Putting Kids as Young as TEN on the Sex Offender Registry for YEARS?!

Folks — As you know, this site believes in safety for children. That includes safety from predators as well as safety from hysteria ABOUT predators. Unfortunately, fear for our children has mestastasized into an ever-expanding Sex Offender Registry that now includes even pre-pubescent children, some of them on the list for LIFE, for crimes ranging from actual rape to consensual sex between children to nudity.

This might make sense if these young people represented a threat to other kids as they got older, but the evidence shows they do not. The registration laws “are based on the assumption that children and adolescents who commit sex offenses are at high risk to commit more. But that isn’t true,” says Elizabeth Letourneau. As director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, her whole job is to — well, prevent child abuse. And she believes that keeping minors on the registry isn’t doing that.

So what IS it doing?

The Registry is ruining the lives of the young people on it. That’s what this Human Rights Watch study, “More Harm than Good,” painfully details. The organization interviewed 281 youth sex offenders whose median age at offense was 15. Here are some quotes from them and their families:

“Once while attempting to register my address, a police officer refused to give me the paperwork and instead stated, ‘We’re just taking your kind out back and shooting them.’” – Maya R., placed on the registry for an offense committed at age 10. Howell, Michigan.

“I have to look at a map before I walk anywhere. I can be arrested if I am walking anywhere near a school or park.” 

Blake G., a registrant for an offense committed at age 15. Citrus, Florida.

“One time a man from one of those cars yelled ‘child molester’ at me.” A week later several bullets were fired from a car driving by. “The bullets went through the living room window as my family and me watched T.V.” – Camilo F., registrant since age 14. Gainesville, Florida.

“Because of sex offender restrictions my family had to be divided up. I could not live with children. My father stayed in our house with my younger brother. My mother and me moved in with my grandparents two hours away.” – Sebastian S., youth sex offender who started registering at age 10. Laredo, Texas.

“Everyone in the community knew he was on the sex offender registry, it didn’t matter to them that he was removed…. [T]he damage was already done. You can’t un-ring the bell.” – Mother of Noah M., who was convicted of a sex offense at 12 and committed suicide at 17, after being removed from the registry in Flint, Michigan. 

MIA CULPA

And here’s a remark by Ray Allen, a former Texas legislator and former chairman of the Texas House Corrections Committee– who once helped push tougher sex offender registration bills into law – admitting that he and his colleagues went too far:

 “We cast the net widely to make sure we got all the sex offenders … it turns out that really only a small percentage of people convicted of sex offenses pose a true danger to the public.”

The registry sounds like it keeps children safe — that’s why politicians keep expanding it. But until it is reformed it is indeed doing more harm than good. – L

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61 Responses to Why Are We Putting Kids as Young as TEN on the Sex Offender Registry for YEARS?!

  1. Violet May 1, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    The registry is child abuse itself.

  2. Mike May 1, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be reformed anytime soon. The attack ads write themselves:

    Just who is candidate X protecting? Because it’s not [b]your children[/b]. He voted to let dangerous child rapists move next to preschools. Vote for candidate Y instead!

    As long as it’s politically advantageous to push registries, politicians will push registries. The only way to stop them is to let politicians know they will lose office unless they trim registries.

    Is that going to happen?

  3. Sid Vicious May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Too many people don’t actually look in to what offenses are placed on registries in different states. They see “sex offender” and assume it’s all rapists and child molesters. In Houston, Texas you can get drunk, leave a bar, walk behind a dumpster where you can’t actually be seen by anyone, relieve yourself and if a cop walking by peeks around the corner you are on the registry! It’s not just children this is harming. It’s a ridiculous mount of offenses, many of which don’t pose a danger to the public. These lists are ridiculous and do little to protect the public at all.

  4. thinkbannedthoughts May 1, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Sounds like it is time to lobby our legislators and ask them to revise and rescind these registry laws.
    I remember the one time I checked “The List” in my old neighborhood. I had a creepy feeling about one of our neighbors and just wanted to see if my suspicions were correct.
    He wasn’t on the list – neither was a man who I knew had molested his daughter and a couple of her friends.
    But there was a man who had engaged in consensual sex with his teen girlfriend (He was only a year or two older than her, but her age made their mutual act a crime.) And another man who had dared to urinate in public *gasp*.
    I was able to look at the charges, but the way they are written – as well as the ability of people to plea to lesser charges makes it nearly impossible to tell what these “offenders” actually did to get on “The List”.
    Because of this list I have friends in many neighborhoods and towns who will not allow their children to walk to school, go trick or treating, etc. because an offender lives along their route. But they won’t knock on the door (without their child) and start a conversation about what really happened.
    Meanwhile the Catholic Church is not required to report their pedophile priests to any secular authorities… Nor did the Boyscouts of America for many decades. Respected colleges and other institutions also hid the true predators allowing them to continue victimizing children while the state punished and ruined the lives of countless youths for expressing normal childhood curiosity and making normal childhood decisions that were perhaps not ideal…
    The list is failed policy and we should do away with it. As you say, it ruins more lives than it saves.

  5. Warren May 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    The registry is one of those systems like CPS, that because of hysteria, irrational fears, and the mentallity of cya, has become bigger and super powerful.

    “With great power comes great responsibility.” Funny how a quote from a comic book series is so applicable.

    The country needs politicians to “grow a set” and do what is right. Both the registry and CPS need to be torn down to their foundations and rebuilt. Rebuilt into agencies that do what they were designed to do, and not allowed to become these super powers of oppression. Rebuilt with the procedures in place to not allow the abuse of power.
    It would be a long and expensive process for both, but in the long run well worth it.
    Sometimes things in life are so far gone, that you need to tear them down, in order to fix them. Anything shy of this is just putting a band-aid on the problem.

  6. Michelle May 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    First, t he whole concept of the list is weird to me. If these are people we’re supposed to be scared of, and need to watch out for, why are they even free to begin with? Shouldn’t the people we need to be aware of still be in jail?

  7. anonymous this time May 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    It kind of breaks my heart to hear these men saying, “I know I did something wrong,” when they recount their actions as children.

    How about, “I know that what I did as a child triggered a lot of pain for other people, and I regret that.”

    Sexual fondling between children is not a case of “right” and “wrong.” Sometimes, it’s an enjoyable exploration for both kids. Sometimes, there is a power imbalance, and one child is very unhappy with what is going on. Sometimes, both kids are fine with what is going on, but when adults find out about it, the adults are not fine with it at all, and become quite triggered.

    Sometimes, seeing these triggered adults, a child who initially was not bothered by the sexual “play” will change course entirely, and say that they have been harmed, in order to align themselves with the adults’ projections.

    Is any of this a case of “right” and “wrong”? Even in the case of a power imbalance between children, can there be a restoration of trust by acknowledging that when power is used in a way that doesn’t work for everyone, that ultimately, it isn’t going to work for the person “overpowering” either? If you take things by force, it’s not nearly as sweet as mutuality, but incarcerating children seems like a rather backward way to bring them into that kind of awareness and make reparations.

    My message to all who “offended” at age 10, 12, 13: Look back at what you did. Connect with what you were after at the time. Was it a sense of power and influence? Excitement? Fun? Connection? Play? To know that you matter? Adventure? A combination of several things? Then look at whether what you did ultimately got you further toward what you were wanting more of. How did that go? Can you mourn the fact that what you did wasn’t supporting your own values? Can you mourn that what you did brought up some distress for others? This kind of mourning is what leads to learning and healing.

    Beating yourself up, and being beaten up by the system, reinforces the idea that we are simply the sum total of what we do, or what was done to us. We are far more than that, and we all deserve a chance to heal, make amends, and move on with our lives.

  8. James May 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    This article has the same fundamental problem as the registry itself: it lumps all “sex offenders” together, regardless of what the offence actually was. A 12-year-old who commits a violent rape or molests little kids probably SHOULDN’T be allowed around other kids unsupervised, but a kid who is caught urinating in public, or having sex with his similar-aged girlfriend, or mooning somebody, isn’t really a problem. But the same is true of adults. The age that a person commits their offence is much less relevant to their dangerousness than the nature of the offence itself. Without knowing what the offences are, I don’t think these cases are a persuasive argument against sex offender registries.

    One of the ongoing themes of this blog is that kids are much more capable than society gives them credit for. Unfortunately, this capability is not reserved to positive actions. An abusive and violent 12-year-old will probably still be abusive and violent when he is 14. I’m not saying that we should brand people for life — many violent 12-year-olds grow into normal adults — but we also shouldn’t give a free pass to 12-year-olds simply due to their age if they are a serious offender.

  9. CLamb May 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    People on the sex offender registry are prohibited from being around schools. How are pre-teens on the registry educated? Do the states have private tutors for all of them?

  10. anonymous this time May 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    James, in the case of a child who rapes another child, what kind of intervention is most likely to support growth and responsibility for the “offender”? Incarcerations and registries, or reparation of some kind?

    I encourage those who see no other way but prisons and registries to research a bit about something called Restorative Justice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorative_justice

  11. Puzzled May 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Michelle – because the legal system assigns penalties for crimes, not open-ended “until we feel better about you” sentences – except in the case of NGBROI pleas.

    I’d argue the opposite. If you have served your sentence, you’re done. No lists, no crap, no job discrimination permitted by law, etc.

  12. Papilio May 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    @James: I don’t think anyone here wants to give serious 12yo offenders a free pass just because of their age. I do think that kids that young need good therapy and a second chance (maybe in an other environment). Maybe you should watch this film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_A_(film) It’ll make you think.

    It seems to me that the American society needs to stop criminalizing sex and nudity, especially when it comes to minors. Teens have sex. Not all of them, not at the same age, but they do – there’s no point in denying or forbidding that. Even if parents do think it’s a problem their child is, well, growing up, it is a problem between them and their kid. And the more sensible thing to do is make sure kids know what they’re doing, do it safe, and make sure it’s consensual. (Still relevant on this topic: http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=amy_schalet )

    As long as no-one is forced to do/allow anything in any way, it’s nothing the law should be involved in. It’s nothing the police should want to be called upon. And it’s certainly not something that should haunt them (practically) forever by means of what’s nothing less than a modern pillory.
    Including the fact that some people end up dead due to angry mobs.

  13. Ann May 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    There are obviously two sides to every story, and this article tells the story of the kids who were most likely exploring their sexuality, which is normal. What about the kids who truly need help and aren’t getting it because of the law? The 8 year old boy who raped and molested two different girls while at school, and who also stabbed and choked a third girl in the classroom in front of the teacher. This is a real child, and legally the cops can’t do anything because he’s under the age of 10, the school won’t kick him out because they are “required to give every child an education,” his parents have refused to take him to therapy, home school him, or give him any kind of help for this behavior, and CPS is just “monitoring” the situation while more victims keep coming forward. Yes, more victims. Does he need to be on the registry at age 8? Maybe not. But does something need to happen in order to help this boy? Yes, and nothing is being done. In the mean time, more families are being traumatized and being told, “there isn’t anything we can do.”

  14. Brian May 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    If you read the 111 page report, pages 33-35 discuss the crimes of the 298 registered juveniles that were studied. Most of the crimes were rape or molestation of very young siblings or neighbors.

    We know that there are children who are registered for “Romeo and Juliet” offenses. However, statistically speaking most of the offenders appear to have committed violent sexual assaults.

    I am generally against these lists, especially the “dumbing down” to public urination, etc. However, I am not sure that it is wrong to say that if you are 15 and you rape a 7 year old by holding him/her down and forcing sex that you should be on a list which prohibits you from working in day care centers and which notifies neighbors who might otherwise hire you to babysit. I think there is a line there somewhere.

  15. Kimberly May 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Kids who are sexually reactive (usually due to sex abuse) are not the same thing as sex offenders. Society can be so ignorant.

  16. Anne-Marie Cox May 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    This one isn’t as black and white to me as your usual posts Lenore… BUT it makes my heart glad to know I can come here and read ^^^ intelligent and thoughtful comments from your readers… they make some very valid points. I think the key here is (like James at 1:02pm said) the lumping together of all “sex offenders”. The nature of the “crimes” is certainly an important factor as to how these young offenders are dealt with…

    I certainly don’t think a child who is sexually assaulting another should be allowed to walk free with no consequences… cases such as James Bulger (sp?) in the UK don’t help the argument that they should be given a second chance… :'(

  17. Anne-Marie Cox May 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    oh and I think Brian is right to… certainly a line…

  18. EricS May 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    As the article states, only a small percentage of registered “sex offenders” are really a danger to society. They should view this registry like they do by-laws or smaller laws that go ignored most times. Like littering, jay-walking, parking violations, even some first time offending shoplifters. Most are all let go with a warning. Does the “crime” fit the punishment. Just because it’s easier for officials to register people convicted of a “sex crime”, doesn’t mean it’s justified in the broader scheme of things. It’s called using common sense.

  19. marie May 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Without knowing what the offences are, I don’t think these cases are a persuasive argument against sex offender registries.

    Are you saying that because we need a registry to keep track of the truly dangerous offenders, that it is acceptable to put the non-dangerous offenders on the list, too?

    I think a list that includes both dangerous and non-dangerous offenders is an argument against the list altogether. It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. I believe that. Our justice system isn’t supposed to make sure all the guilty get punished, it is to make sure that the innocent are protected.

    So, yes, if that means I live next door to a dangerous predator just so that the Romeo/Juliet couples don’t have to register, I am okay with that. Because, for all I know, I am already living next door to a violent felon without knowing it.

  20. mystic_eye_cda May 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    The only people who should be on the list are people are are likely to commit a crime.

    Children are not the same as competent adults, we know that. They have limited understanding, judgement, and self-control -depending on their age or more to the point their development.

    The question is, whether these children will commit a crime again. The 8 year old in Ann’s comment is clearly likely to commit more crimes as a child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will as an adult.

    I’m not an expert, I don’t know one way or the other, but the people who do know should be the ones drafting the laws – not the politicians using rhetoric to get votes. We should also have experts assessing when people should be allowed off the registry on a case-by-case basis. This would not only, hopefully, allow the wrongly listed to get their names cleared earlier, it would also mean truly dangerous people aren’t allowed off just because the time is up. But of course it’s easier to implement one-size-fits all solutions.

  21. marie May 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    mystic, it would be a neat trick if we could reliably predict who would commit crimes. But we can’t. We can “feel” like this one is more likely to or we can have a hunch that one is probably not going to…but we cannot predict. That’s part of the reason crime is so shocking. We cannot believe someone would DO that.

    The community of felons is full of people who we never would have predicted would commit a crime. Likewise, I know other people who sure look suspicious…but aren’t.

    And just because someone is an “expert” doesn’t mean they can predict any better than you or I can. They just sound more confident about it.

  22. Leah May 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m proud to say that my state, Missouri, is currently looking at creating a much more flexible system that actually includes the ability to be removed from the registry after a certain point depending on the nature of the offense. It’s not a perfect solution, by any means, but it’s huge progress.

  23. Donald May 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    It’s incomprehensible that this ‘snuck in’. Fear hysteria supplied fuel to it. Vote chasers jumped on the band wagon. Now we have a law that is similar to public stoning.

    Thank you Lenore for highlighting this barbaric law. You will help make this change and you will have helped save lives of children.

  24. James May 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    Looks like my earlier comment wasn’t exactly clear. I have many of the same problems with sex-offender registries as many people do. The way the registries are implemented, lumping together dangerous rapists, petty offenders, and borderline cases (and there will always be borderline cases) is counterproductive, at best. But it is a good idea to keep certain people away from kids. “John was put on the sex offender registry for streaking through the school” is a good argument against the registry, but “Bob was put on the sex offender registry for an offence committed at age 12″ isn’t. 12-year-olds can do horrible things, and can be a real danger to their classmates or siblings. We should sort out the registry based on dangerousness; the age of the offender may offer some explanation of why the person isn’t dangerous in a specific case, but it’s hardly evidence that the person is safe to be around.

  25. Donald May 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    It’s well know that many people have sex before 16 years old. The news points this out often. On family shows such as Glee or Neighbors, the ‘cool’ kids are the ones in a relationship that has been intimate. Kids grow up with the idea that if you haven’t had sex by age 16 than you’re a late bloomer or worse (something is wrong with you)

    Once you reach 10 years old, one of the priorities is to try to fit in and become part of the ‘in’ crowd. It’s scary to be an outsider. There is safety in numbers. Therefore, peer pressure adds to it. Kids have more than desire to deal with.

    However, making a mistake can get them on the registry for life. They may end up wishing they were never borne!

  26. Emily May 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    First, it’s not a “man” issue – women do it to, unfortunately. Hurrah for gender equality !!!!!
    Second, I have to disagree with the general sentiment of this thread. Sexual exploration between kids CAN BE normal depending on the age gap. Three or more years is considered abnormal/assault. My daughter was assaulted by the son of a family friend. She was 3 and he was 6. You can’t imagine unless you’ve been there – it was a nightmare. The nurse yelling at me for not reporting “him” – she didn’t know HE was a child. They had to drug my daughter to examine her, I had to carry her in my arms to the car – she threw up in my face at the doors. Our friends a talked about it but no one called us. Children’s Aid did NOTHING because the kid wouldn’t admit it. Go figure!!! In the end, I wish I had called the police. We thought we were doing the right thing protecting the other child but bc CAS gave him the all clear his parents took no further action. If we had contacted the police they might have been forced to. I regret not doing so to this day.

  27. Mavent May 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    There’s a whole lot of Stupid going on in this thread. I guess a lot of you feel that you have a lot in common with child molesters.

    Point 1: No, you can’t be put on the sex offender registry for “peeing in public.” That is, unless you do it in front of a child. People love to spread this urban legend, but it’s absolute B.S., as evidenced by the fact that NO ONE has EVER been able to provide documented proof of it happening.

    Point 2: You can’t be put on the sex offender registry for “having sex with your 17 year old girlfriend” either, unless you’re 45, in which case, guess what? You ARE a sex offender. There are “Romeo and Juliet” laws that prevent an 18 year old boy from going on the Registry for sleeping with his 17 year old girlfriend.

    Point 3: If you’re so worried about either situation, try finding a restroom when you pee, and wait till your girlfriend is 18 before you have sex. Problem solved.

    Point 4: Not only is there NO PROOF in this article that the supposed “10 year old” was on the Registry, it’s also interesting that we’re provided no information at all as to what the supposed 10 year old did to get on it. Let’s say he raped an infant. Hell, since we’re just pulling fantasy out of our butts without documentation, let’s say he raped a dozen infants. So it’s the author’s contention that a serial infant-raper shouldn’t go on the Registry?

  28. lihtox May 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    @Mavent: I suggest you bring some proof next time you wander into a thread to call everyone stupid and a bunch of molester-sympathizers. Otherwise you’re not much more than a troll.

  29. GRS May 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    It will be hard to get rid of the registry–or even to give it the serious overhaul it needs! There are too many legislators who get political benefit from it, and there are too many victims who see the registry as a way to make their perpetrators continue to pay for their actions even after they are out of jail.

    However, if the focus is put on CHILDREN that are on the registry, if the results of the studies and research are consistently referred to, and if the families of the children on the registry press the point, it might be considerably easier for a lobbying effort to be successful.

    Unfortunately, the biggest fight might be from parents of some of the victims. Many of these parents will in their own anger and grief DEMAND the nearest thing to a permanent scarlet A that they can get for the offender–only because, in some cases, they can’t get the death sentence that they REALLY want! In their mind (heart?), justice and vengeance are one and the same–and they want to make the person who did the act to their child (and the perpetrator’s parents as well!), no matter what age, PAY and PAY and KEEP ON PAYING.

    And BTW, I agree with Puzzled’s last sentence: “If you have served your sentence, you’re done. No lists, no crap, no job discrimination permitted by law, etc.”–and I’d also add “no barring from the right to vote”.

  30. Donna May 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    “Sexual exploration between kids CAN BE normal depending on the age gap. Three or more years is considered abnormal/assault.”

    Based on what? I might not consider it assault if my daughter was engaged in sexual exploration with a 10 year old (3 years difference). It would depend on the specific children and circumstances.

  31. Donna May 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    (accidentally hit send)

    I also might think it assault if my child was engaged in sexual acts with a child the exact same age. Again, it depends on the specific children and circumstances.

    That is what these registries miss. Judges have no discretion as to whether you are on the registry or not. Statutes state that you must register if you are convicted of X crime. The actual facts of the case, people involved, etc. are completely irrelevant.

    So a 15 year old with the mind of a 7 year old who molests because he is full of urges but has been taught nothing about sex is treated the same as a 15 year old psychopath who molests because he enjoys causing pain, even though the former can usually be taught socially acceptable sexual behavior and the later will never function within the normal range.

  32. John May 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    This just angers me to no end! America has become such a draconian and prudish culture without any sense of civility when it comes to sexual offenses. I’d really like to know who started this mess. Was it one person or a number of vindictive people? Anytime a politician, be it a would be Judge or Govenor or Senator, who runs on the platform that they are going to protect the children while they’re in office, automatically LOSES my vote! Putting 11-year-old kids on sex offender registries for merely playing doctor with the other neighborhood kid does NOT protect them but ruins their lives! Even many adults put on sex offender registries should not be put there based on the nature of their “sex” crime. Goodness gracious, we’re becoming worse than Saudi Arabia and Iran!!!

  33. Emily May 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    @Mavis
    Not to name call, but you’re trolling.

    First, the 3 year age gap was determined while I was researching after my daughter’s experience. Thanks for the compassion!!!! Good for you, glad you could go through that unscathed.

    @GRS – having gone through this I can testify that indeed did NOT want the death sentence for the little creep who hurt my kid. Furthermore, this behaviour is more symptomatic of violence in the home than sex drive or curiousity. On the contrary, we wanted help for him. CAS are useless, it’s an organization I list all respect for long ago. The woman who interviewed the boy was very quick to close the case bc he didn’t admit to it. He’s 6, sitting in a strangers office with his parents who are anxious as well – WTH was the expectation? If not admitting = innocence open the prison doors, the overcrowding prob is about to be solved.

    Should he be on a list? Probably not, but if the police had been involved the outcome for him might be different – such as some help.

    Rather than coldly dismissing the real concerns of patents who’ve been there perhaps you could show some empathy?

  34. John May 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    Mavent……..there are 13 states that will put you on a sex offender registry for peeing in public, even if there was no deliberate attempt to do so in front of a minor. As far as peeing in public? Yes, stupid thing to do that is worthy of punishment BUT in any civil society, the punishment should be in direct proportion to the crime. Placing a person on a sex offender registry for peeing in public is waaaay out of proportion.

    There are also 28 states that will place minors on the sex offender registry for having consensual sex with another minor and yes, a legal adult over the age of 18 can indeed be given sex offender status for having sex with a 17-year-old. In Wisconsin a few years back, an 18-year-old guy was arrested for producing and possessing child pornography because he took nude photos of his 16-year-old FIANCÉE. This is how ridiculous we’ve become in our quest for punishing sex offenses.

  35. J.T. Wenting May 2, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    it gets worse. There’s people running private registries, copying the public ones and not pruning them of entries that are deleted from the public ones under the assumption that “pedophiles are incurable” (which of course assumes anyone who makes it onto the registry is a pedophile as well).
    Even worse, they put their money where their mouth is and organise vigilante campaigns that make life impossible for their victims, often with the quiet consent of city councils and police chiefs.
    Worse still, in many places you can end up on the registry on the mere suspicion or accusation of being a sex offender, especially on those private ones, no conviction or evidence needed, under the assumption that “it’s best to be vigilant and protect kids from the potential threat while we’re investigating”.

    This is turning men (women seem to be immune from such things) into paranoid, scared, creatures who won’t lift a finger to help a woman or child in fear that it’ll be interpreted by someone, somewhere, as being “sexual intimidation” or whatever and them being reported for that, leading to a life of misery that all too often ends in lost jobs, being driven from their homes, and quite frequently death either by suicide or murder for those that don’t have the means to flee the country, change their name, get plastic surgery to change their appearance, and start a new life far away from their tormentors.

  36. Katie May 2, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    I *thoroughly* agree. And I know whereof I speak. I have the misfortune to legally be the first cousin of a wretched animal who’s on TX’s death row- not for the rape I expected it to be. When he was about 14, he messed with a mutual cousin, and that’s left her really messed up. He’d been messed with himself by his adoptive “father” previous to that. And before he was arrested for the murder for which TX levied the death penalty, he was wanted for messing with another child. So…I know there are dangerous creatures out there. Full well. HOWEVER. There is a huge difference between this ugliness and when young people (or older ones) do something foolish, silly, or wrong, like taking off their clothes in public, or having sex underage. Perhaps we should try to lobby for a change that reflects the difference between dangerous and simply wrong.

  37. marie May 2, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Perhaps we should try to lobby for a change that reflects the difference between dangerous and simply wrong.

    I like this idea, if we can apply it to public opinion. Help people understand the difference between dangerous and wrong. Between criminal and morally wrong.

    If you want to apply it to fixing the registry, though, you are on your own. The registry cannot be “fixed.” When someone has done their time, that should be enough. Even for the really bad criminals out there. Once there is a registry, no matter how limited its initial use, it WILL be expanded. This is how we got to where we are now.

  38. Greg May 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Am I the only one who had to pause when they read the story make sure the Letourneau mentioned wasn’t Mary Kay?

  39. Amanda Matthews May 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    “the school won’t kick him out because they are “required to give every child an education,””

    But that’s not true. The PARENTS are legally required to acquire an education for their child, in some way. The school is in no way required to give it. If that child is posing a danger to other students, the school needs to stop relying on that dishonest claim. Kick him out, and if the parents still refuse to homeschool, then THEY are the ones violating the law…

    I actually don’t see how it is possible for a child to rape anyone (using the actual definition of child; someone that has not yet started puberty. Not the new definition where it is used to mean anyone under 18). I can understand how they can molest or assault someone. I can understand how they can have interaction with genitals of another that adults see as wrong and therefore start calling it molestation or assault. But I just don’t understand how they can rape when they can not have sexual intercourse.

    I also do not understand why we do not treat these crimes like any other crime. We don’t have a list of people that stole things and prevent them from living near stores. It’s on their record, which is going to be checked when they apply for a job. A daycare is going to ensure all potential employees don’t have child molestation on their record. It’s not going to help prevent anyone that did it without getting caught from being hired, but the list doesn’t do that either. Just as there is no thief registry, but employers are going to check potential employee’s records for theft before considering them for a job at their store.

    If someone is actually dangerous, whether that be that they are likely to molest children, or likely to mug people with purses, and it is known… they should be in jail, not out but on some registry that keeps them living 5 miles away from schools or places that people with purses frequent. If they have been punished and/or reformed, and therefore released… then there is no need for the list.

  40. Donna May 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    “I actually don’t see how it is possible for a child to rape anyone (using the actual definition of child; someone that has not yet started puberty. … But I just don’t understand how they can rape when they can not have sexual intercourse.”

    Huh? It sounds like you are saying that children who have not reached puberty are not physically capable of having sexual intercourse. Have you never been around a baby boy? They are capable of getting erections from birth. And both girls and boys start playing with themselves pretty much as soon as they are capable of the physical coordination of getting hand to genitals.

    Now if you are saying that it is legally impossible for a person under a certain age to consent to sex so how is it possible for that same person to legally commit a rape, then I agree with you. It seems like if you are considered to young to know what you are doing when it comes to consensual sex that you should also be considered too young to know what you are doing to commit a rape.

    This doesn’t mean that I think rape should not be a crime for children who actually rape. I am opposed to consensual sex ever being a crime, regardless of age (although young age can be used to prove a lack of consent).

  41. Amanda Matthews May 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I have 3 boys. Yes they get erections RANDOMLY but before puberty it is not sexual and there is no way to control it in a way necessary to rape someone. Unless the person doing the rape intends things in a sexual way. Getting a random erection while you assault someone is not rape. Touching someone’s genitals is not rape.

    I don’t see where touching themselves comes in to this at all. Touching yourself is not rape and before puberty is is done because it feels good, not for sexual reasons.

    There are many 8 year olds starting puberty nowadays in the US though. So it is certainly possible for an 8 year old to rape someone, but not for a child to rape someone.

    I do agree that the law has a double standard about rape and consensual sex. but that is not what I was talking about.

  42. Amanda Matthews May 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    *Unless the person doing the rape intends things in a sexual way it is not rape

  43. Sebastian May 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    There are over 700,000 people listed on this “registry”. It’s a joke around the office now, it has little credibility anymore. If they are that dangerous, they should be in jail, if not, they should be removed once they have served their time.

  44. seo sevilla May 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Comienza la jornada con una muy interesante Conferencia de José Manuel Sayago, en el Centro de Visitantes Anastasio Senra, sobre el Águila Pescadora:

    Marismas del Odiel:

    Gran importancia dado que es una zona rodeadas por bastantes industrias
    contaminantes y zona cuya mejor época para ver aves es Agosto, cuando
    los demás humedales suelen estar secos.

    Aguila Pescadora:

    El periodo de invernada es desde Agosto hasta Abril
    El diseño cefálico es único e invariable para cada individuo, es su
    “huella digital”.
    La invernada se realiza en Mauritania y Senegal. Además de España quedan algunos ejemplares en Francia.
    En el Odiel permanecen 27 ejemplares. Siendo muy fieles a su sitio de invernada.

    También son muy fieles a sus posaderos.

    La isla de la Gaviota (frente a Moguer), tiene 9 posaderos con águila pescadora.

    El plumaje juvenil es más oscuro y más uniforme.

    Los adultos tienen un plumaje de color más desgastado por el sol.

    Suelen sacar 3-4 pollos por nidada pero el primer año hay una tasa
    de mortalidad del 60% y el segundo del 40% por lo que superan el segundo año un 24%
    de pollos nacidos.
    Los jóvenes de 1er. año no vuelven a su zona de reproducción.

    En 2012 la población reproductora en el Odiel ha
    sido de tres parejas.

    Solo comen peces Mujil De 35 cm y 250 gr de peso medio.

    Todas las uñas tienen la misma curvatura y mismo tamaño.

    Tienen fuertes escamas en las patas para protegerse de los pinchazos con las aletas de los peces (Las culebreras
    también tienen esas escamas para protegerse de mordiscos de las
    culebras)
    En la marisma del Odiel, caza de 12 h a 14 h aprox. La regularidad se debe a la abundancia de peces.

    My blog seo sevilla

  45. Donna May 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Amanda –

    Kids, even prior to puberty, can cause erections. They simply have to rub their penis. Toddlers do this. It is simply a matter of understanding basic cause and effect – “I pull on this and it changes.” My brother used to do this at about 2, show it to us and laugh. What you can’t do prior to puberty is ejaculate sperm since sperm production has not yet begun.

    And kids prior to puberty have somewhat sexual thoughts. As you say, kids play with themselves from infancy because it feels good. It feels good when a partner touches it too. Sorry, but playing doctor is not all idle curiosity. It is perfectly natural but there is a pleasure stimuli there.

    As far as rape, the kid needs the actual idea to put the penis in the vagina. My 7 year old has absolutely no concept of this whatsoever. Other 7 year olds are not so uninformed. Many young rapists have been molested themselves. Others have watched sexually explicit material or have some in depth knowledge of sex garnered from somewhere.

    I don’t really understand your differentiation between touching someone against their will because it feels good or because it is sexual. Rape isn’t about sex. It is about power and control. Even pre-puberty you can figure that out, especially if you’ve been raped yourself.

  46. Joel May 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    The answer to this is to create a website with your name and story, with the picture of everyone involved with your prosecution. Then purchase a billboard, put up a childhood picture of yourself saying D/A Dingle Berry, and Judge further my career with false conviction statistics convicted me of a sex offence at 12 in 19?? and I’ve been on the register ever since go to http://www.my full story. It’s time to make these thugs look like fools.

  47. Parallel May 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Children can absolutely both achieve erections and have sexual thoughts before puberty. I certainly did, and I know that this is not at all unusual.

    In reply to Papilio…

    I’ve seen the film you mentioned. It made me think, but perhaps not in the way you hoped. That film is based on the real life story of a toddler brutally murdered by two young boys. I’m sorry but I feel no sympathy or empathy for that child’s murderers, nor am I comfortable with their release (especially since one of them has since been caught with child pornography, including scenes of rape.) Notice also that in that film, the victim is never shown being murdered…it just fades to black and implies she is killed. Perhaps you would think differently if it showed her fighting and pleading for her life.

    I agree that the registry is an absolute mess and criminal in and of itself. I disagree that one can ‘pay their debt’ for brutal rape or murder..regardless of the age the act was committed. But then I don’t think anyone convicted of such violent crimes should be released. For those who simply were caught having consensual sex with their slightly underage girlfriend or innocently exploring another child’s body w/o force, I see no reason to ruin their lives.

  48. Papilio May 3, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    @Parallel: Okay, but basically there are two different stories then: the real one (boys kill innocent little toddler), that indeed was horrible, and the story as told in this film (which I referred to!), in which the victim was a girl their age (that they knew and who was rather unfriendly to them) and that (from my memory) had been kissing another boy in a field and gave them a big mouth when it became clear that they’d seen her do that.
    That’s still horrible, but there is a huge difference between killing someone much younger, who is by definition innocent and powerless compared to you, and doing that to someone roughly your own age. Compare it to an adult who kills a child versus an adult who kills another adult with whom he has a fight. Both murder, but vastly different types of murder.
    This film showed both the backgrounds of these troubled boys – neglected Boy A being dragged down by molested Boy B – and the huge struggle of Boy A to make it up to the universe (or whatever) and to become a part of the normal society again, a society that, like you, wasn’t willing to give him a second chance.
    Even though they’re guilty of committing a terrible crime, do you really want to give up on children as young as ten, with the life experience (and what life experience…) and the judgement of a 10yo?

  49. Parallel May 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I…don’t see any difference between the two stories. Honestly. Killing a toddler because you can and killing a teenage girl because she kissed someone else are not fundamentally different in my mind. Both illustrate a remarkable lack of empathy on the part of the perpetrator. And in both cases, I would be extremely uncomfortable having that perpetrator around me. That movie asked us to feel sorry for Boy A because his friends turned away from him when they found out the truth. I would have done the same, and suffered zero guilt over it.

    A ten year old KNOWS that it is grossly wrong to mutilate and torture a toddler. I can see giving much leeway to, say, a five year old who suffocates their baby sibling because they thought the baby made funny noises when a pillow is held over their face. But those boys absolutely knew that they were killing that child, and knew that it was wrong. And again, at least one of them has re-offended and shown that he remains a clear danger to children.

    Does this mean I don’t think any young killer or rapist could ever move on and become a productive member of society? I’m positive it could happen and indeed, very likely has multiple times. But I’m also comfortable with not taking the risk. My right to safety outweighs their right to a second chance, in my opinion.

    I say all of this as a person who has a violent sexual offender in the family. I will not talk to this person or have him at my house. I don’t owe him anything and firmly believe he should never have been released. He offended over the age of eighteen, but my opinion would be the same if the offense had been committed at ten.

    If I had my way, only violent offenders would be in prison…and they would stay there.

  50. Papilio May 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    ” Killing a toddler because you can and killing a teenage girl because she kissed someone else are not fundamentally different in my mind.”

    If the perp had been an adult, I would agree. But I still see a big difference in the dynamics of murdering a younger child versus murdering someone the same age. The first one is about power and I feel this kind of perp would do it again to keep feeling that sense of power. The second is more like a barfight murder: stupid, horrible, but not the kind of perp that will be tempted to do it again (unless he has anger management issues, but that is yet another story).
    That is why, in my opinion, the film and the event it was based upon differ.

    You have every right to not talk to your family member and you’re entitled to your opinion, of course. But I still try to see the other side of the story and I just can’t imagine telling a ten-year-old child, ‘yes we know that you’re neglected by your parents and we know it was not you but your only friend that was so f*ed up by his brother that he started hitting her until she stopped moving, but we still think you should have stopped him and therefore we are going to lock you up for the rest of your life, yes, this will never be over until you die of old age. We just don’t believe you could ever feel enough regret to trust you back in society. Happy birthday for the upcoming 70 years.’
    Even the death penalty would be less cruel.

  51. Parallel May 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    But that’s why I see no difference…both crimes (one fictional, one real) were about power. The girl was punished for not being within their control (specifically, their male control.) A bar fight situation is rather different in that typically, one guy throws a punch. The other responds by punching back and it escalates rapidly. I wager in most such murders, the intent is not to kill, especially not at first. In the movie, the girl doesn’t attack them first (a verbal comment is not anywhere on the same level as slashing someone with a knife.) They then proceed to drag her off to a quieter area to continue the assault. That’s not a bar fight situation where someone takes a right hook, hits their head on the bar and dies…that’s calculation and intent.

    I see no reason why that situation wouldn’t be repeated again by the killers. I’m not saying they WOULD kill again, but anyone who lacks control to that extent has that potential. The window dressing might look different (perhaps they’re fired from their job, or again raped by someone else, and this time it’s a stay at home mother who has the misfortune to cross their path.) I’m not judging them morally…this is about simple safety and the cost of living in society. As social animals, we have both the duty and right to eject those who are destructive to that degree. Murdering another person doesn’t make you a monster or less human, but it should (IMO) mean that you lose the right to participate in society. The same applies to rape and violent assault.

    And in neither the RL story or the movie did one perp stand by and watch without participating. In the movie, ‘Boy A’ actually is left behind by the other as he drags off the girl. He makes the choice to both follow and pick up the knife when he has ample chance to walk away. The movie never states how much either boy participated in the killing.

    In the RL story, both boys participated (and tried to blame the other.) While there is ample room to debate to what degree each boy is responsible, they both threw things at the toddler. One boy may have struck harder or crossed the line from injury into murder, but both were actively engaged in harming the younger child. In this case, both boys had HOURS to make a difference choice and encountered many adults they could have turned the toddler over to.

    Overall, that movie is extremely manipulative. Again, they don’t show the victim’s struggle to the end. Nor do they show her own life and background…she doesn’t exist as an actual character. The film also goes above and beyond to make Boy A not just sympathetic but heroic. I highly doubt most paroled murderers are running about saving children from car crashes and being written up in newspaper articles. It’s just not at all a realistic portrayal of any real case, but that’s because the film maker wasn’t interested in being realistic. They had a clear agenda in mind and it comes through in every shot.

    Being abused is NEVER an excuse to harm others. It may provide insight, and certainly there is room for sympathy for the pain the murderer themselves suffered. But it shouldn’t reduce their sentence (again, IMO) because in the end, someone still wound up dead. I’m not impressed with motive when the end result is the same.

    My family member has his excuses too. He grew up very poor, with a mentally ill mother. He was bullied in high school. That doesn’t make his crime against his victim any less, nor does it make me any less nervous in his company. If such a man MUST be released, I have no issue keeping him on a registry. But I’d rather do away with the registry entirely and just keep such people in jail. Not as punishment, but because social safety comes before the morality of concepts like forgiveness or paid debts. It is horrible that a ten year old boy might live out his life behind bars (I would be open to heavily, heavily supervised conditions outside jail.) But he still knowingly killed (or raped), and actions have consequences.

    I would actually feel differently IF the person in question had not participated in the actual crime at all (though I would still want them in jail for quite some time and heavily supervised on release.) But that doesn’t really apply to either case we’re discussing…and often, it would be very hard to prove. Anyone can claim that the other person did the deed, and most will to save themselves.

  52. lea billings May 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    “Does this mean I don’t think any young killer or rapist could ever move on and become a productive member of society? I’m positive it could happen and indeed, very likely has multiple times. But I’m also comfortable with not taking the risk. My right to safety outweighs their right to a second chance, in my opinion.”

    I think the final sentence in this quote tells it all. Many have indeed become believers in self and nothing else. There is no concern whatsoever for humanity in “my right to safety outweighs their right to a second chance, in my opinion.” There is not even an attempt to mask the issue with the much touted “if it saves one child, it is worth it,” mantra. Total lack of human compassion will be the key to the destruction of our country and ultimately the world.

  53. Papilio May 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Thank you Lea!

    “Being abused is NEVER an excuse to harm others.”

    Just to be clear: I never said that these boys shouldn’t be punished. Of course they should. But making someone pay the rest of his life for what he did when he was a ten-year-old CHILD, because you *believe* he will never change, that he will never be able to be anything else than a 10yo killer, that just goes too far for me.
    No happy normal 10yo with 2 loving parents and good grades and a bunch of friends wakes up one morning thinking, ‘today I’m gonna kill someone!’. There is always more to it, and I do believe that children can change once they’re taken out of the environment / situation / circumstances that messed them up in the first place, and I do believe they deserve at least a second evaluation after jail time and, again, good therapy while in jail (and education, duh). And yes, keeping an eye on them once they’re out is never a bad idea.
    What IS a bad idea IMO is keeping them from ever having a normal, regular life with a family and a job and no hating neighbors in the front yard, and that is what the SOR is doing.

    “I’m not impressed with motive when the end result is the same.”
    I guess you largely disagree with having a court system then?

  54. Parallel May 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Lea- No, there is no attempt to mask it with false concern for the mythical ‘one child.’ It is about me…my right to safety as weighed against a known murderer’s right to a second chance.

    You’re basically saying that my concern for my own well being is selfish. Of course it is! That’s called survival. Humanity would have gone extinct long ago if we didn’t concern ourselves with it. I have no problem being selfish when it comes to matters like this.

    Again, taking my rapist family member as an example…is it selfish of me not to associate with him? To go out of my way to avoid gatherings where he might be present? To not allow him into my house, and to make it clear to other members of the household that this is the case? More importantly…should I care if it is? Is his desire to feel accepted more important than my desire to feel safe?

    I’m sincerely interested in the answer. Because I HAVE been told I’m being selfish. Not just against him, but toward my family and their desire not to make waves. Rejecting him hurts his mother, and her feelings are deemed more important than my own.

    And even if you agree it is selfish, do you really think I should feel guilty about it?

  55. JP May 5, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I think they need to re-define the term somewhat.
    For some people, anything that mixes kids with something sexual, period – is offensive. More of a moral crime, than an actual legal one.
    I don’t know if this reflects the power of a religious right, but I could take a good guess.
    I’ve seen enough examples of adults defining the sensuality of kids as sexual (and often enough, they get it wrong.)
    But the bigger picture shows the obvious: clutter up the list with kids who don’t belong on it, and many who do never show up on the radar.

    I have to question a society that is just pickled with “commercialized” sex – yet at one and the same time remains as morally outraged as a proud Victorian.
    Sort of like the diet industry: fetishize food, but maintain the anorexic ideal.

    The minefields that kids have to walk through as they grow up…….again, proves the point: they would do well if all around them existed tolerance, patience and common sense. But when the laws of the land are skewed, who and what will they trust?

    Warren – I’m in total agreement with your comment. Sadly, we’re going the other way, it seems.

  56. lea billings May 5, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Parallel – The article we are actually dealing with is questioning the fact that children as young as 10 years old being required to be on the public sex offender registry.

    When you take into account the fact that all it takes is the accusation of a sex crime to be considered, and even found guilty and convicted of a sex crime, YES I do consider it selfish to ostracize a person from society. And that is for the simple reason our justice system is severely broken.

    There is no burden of proof, no innocent until proven guilty. Once an accusation is made to law enforcement, very few ever regain a normal life, even if on a slim chance they are actually able to prove that they didn’t commit a crime. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to prove you didn’t do something that didn’t happen??

    If you don’t see the damage that the registry causes, perhaps reading this section of Raised on the Registry, by Human Rights Watch, will help educate you on how far reaching the effects of the registry are, especially for children. http://www.hrw.org/node/115168/section/2

    Knowing how difficult the effects are for a child who really is guilty of a sexual crime, can you possibly stretch your imagination to conceptualize the horror of this for a child who had no idea that what he had done was wrong (i.e. normal curiosity, playing doctor), or worse yet, a child who had done nothing at all, but a playmate insisted that they did?

    It is one thing to keep yourself and your children from a sexual predator whom you know for certain has inflicted damage and quite another to condemn generations of children to the outer reaches of hell.

  57. oncefallendotcom May 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    This was the natural result of the public registry. I have tried to warn people for years and they wouldn’t listen. The sheeple have been trained well. When someone says “sex offender” the sheeple bleat “pedophile.”

    The registry was once a private tool for law enforcement and only for high-risk offenders proven to be a threat.

    One thing that almost never gets mentioned in registry discussions, something called the US Constitution, and we forget that even the least desirable groups in America have certain rights. When a person serves out a state-sanctioned sentence, that should be the end of it. Murderers, gangbangers, and robbers are not on any list.

    The irony is when Maryland proposed an AIDS registry, there was public outrage. Had an AIDS registry been proposed in the 1980s, I bet it would have passed. But today we have more knowledge about AIDS and knowledge has eased public fears. Slowly, our society is realizing the term sex offender is not synonymous with pedophile/rapist, just as we once started to learn more about our other great fears.

  58. oncefallendotcom May 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    No one has bothered to ask what is truly meant by “if it saves one child.”

    Whose child are we saving by adding 9 year olds on the list? Obviously not THAT child.

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