Federal Judge in Colorado Rules that the Sex Offender Registry is Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Colorado, Richard Matsch, has agreed with what we have been saying for a while here at Free-Range Kids: The public sex offender registry is not making kids any safer. At the same time, it is cruel and unconstitutional.

The judge ruled in a case filed by three men on the registry. All have been unable to live normal lives as registrants. Remember our story from last week about Adam, the irefznftbd
mentally disabled man on the registry?
He lost his part-time job of wiping tables — a job he loved, as well as the chance to participate in the Special Olympics. He also had to move out of his family’s home. Similarly, reports the Denver Post:

Each of the plaintiffs in the case sufficiently described instances where they were punished outside of the judicial system, Matsch wrote. Millard, for example, said he “suffered the indignity of being unable to find housing despite hundreds of applications.”

Another time, he was forced to move because of a TV news story focusing on sex offenders in apartment housing.

“Other evidence shows that these experiences are not isolated or unusual and that plaintiff’s experiences, fears and anxieties are not exaggerated or imagined,” Matsch wrote….

All this, said the judge, means that it is crazy to pretend that being on the registry is not punishment, although that is what the government has argued all along. It insists that registration is not punishment, it’s just “notifying the public.”

Even that harsh reality might make some sense if it kept kids safer. But the three men’s lawyer, Alison Ruttenberg, argued that there is literally “zero” proof that the registry protects the public. Meantime, added the judge:

“The registry is telling the public — DANGER, STAY AWAY. How is the public to react to this warning? What is expected to be the means by which people are to protect themselves and their children?”

The terrified public freaks out and “generates reactions that are cruel and in disregard of any objective assessment of the individual’s actual proclivity to commit new sex offenses,” Matsch wrote.

Focusing our fear on registrants points us in exactly the wrong direction — stranger danger —  when the vast majority of crimes against kids are committed by someone the family knows.

Now that the registry exists, it may FEEL like we need it. But we don’t. It’s just something we have gotten used to,  like taking off our shoes to go through airport security. With almost a million people registered, it is now more likely that our kids will end up ON the registry than be molested BY someone on it. That’s a terrifying prospect.

“I would characterize this as a landmark case. My goal eventually is to get rid of this sex offender registration altogether, at least as it applies to a public registry that people can pull up on a website,” Ruttenberg said Friday.

Good luck. – L.


The Sex Offender Registry is terrifying parents and ruining lives, while not making kids any safer.


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50 Responses to Federal Judge in Colorado Rules that the Sex Offender Registry is Unconstitutional

  1. Kenny Felder September 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    It’s so rare and wonderful to get good news in this space. Hooray!!!

  2. Kimberly September 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    The interesting thing is that the registry started out as a law enforcement tool, like the fingerprint database. It want meant for public consumption.

  3. Rebel mom September 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm #


  4. Nicole R. September 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    Great news!! I hope this is the beginning of saner things.

  5. HotInLa. September 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    I pray that other judges in other states follow suit. It’s nice to read some good news for a change.

  6. MonicaP September 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    What does this mean functionally?

  7. David N. Brown September 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    The most unfortunate aspect of registration laws is that the actual offenders are better off than those, like myself, who are maliciously targeted with fabricated accusations posted under forged online profiles. The Fed’s could kill two birds with one stone by passing laws that reinforced existing protections for offenders and also gave more options to victims of false accusations (invariably by people we never even met!) The latter should include the repeal of protections previously given to email and social media services under the “Communications Decency Act”, esp where these companies (basically, G**gle ) willfully promote impersonation.

  8. Theresa Hall September 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    Yes the horny teens who hook up are not sightly dangerous . I feel sorry for the mental disabled kids who manipulated into commiting a crime. If someone hadn’t had the bright idea let’s get the disabled kid to do something wrong these kids would be living normal lives. Even the cops will not hesitate to manipulate a disabled kid to get their win. Don’t believe ask Jesse Snodgrass how sweet the cops were to him.

  9. James Pollock September 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    “What does this mean functionally?”

    Well, in the short term, not much. The state of Colorado will appeal to the circuit court, and will ask for a stay of this judgment pending the appeal. That stay is likely granted, and it takes a couple of years before the appeal is heard. If the state wins the appeal, we go back to where we are now. If the state loses the appeal, they very likely ask that an appeal be heard by the United States Supreme Court, and again ask for a stay on enforcing the judgment while that appeal is heard. The USSC doesn’t HAVE to take a case, so they might let the judgment stand if they think it is correct, or they may take it, to set the law for the entire country.

    In the longer term, it depends. The last time the USSC ruled on the subject of sex-offender registries, it found them to be Constitutional, but the specific registry they were looking at at the time was a “notification-only” registry… Being on the registry didn’t carry anything that was like a punishment (States started coming up with those, and tacking them on, later.
    This means that those states that have “notification-only” registries are not affected by this court case at all, unless and until the USSC overrules itself. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Being required to register, and even having that registration public, are not “punishments” under the law, even if mean people do mean things to you when they find out your were convicted.
    Assuming this ruling gets upheld in the appeals court, it becomes applicable law in all the states that appeals court serves, but it ISN’T law in all the states that are served by different appeals courts. It only DIRECTLY applies to Colorado, but registrants in other states will be quick to file lawsuits against their states. People who are in all those other states can still file lawsuits, and point to this ruling, but it isn’t controlling law. They’ll have to convince the other appeals courts by arguing that those other states registries aren’t Constitutional. As I noted before, I think the “notification-only” registries would stand up, and any registry that imposes limits of any kind on registrants beyond simply having to register go down, though this is by no means anything remotely certain. (I don’t know what restrictions are imposed by every one of the states, and I’m not interested enough to go look it up. It’s possible that some of those restrictions survive scrutiny. It’s also possible that some bright lawyer somewhere comes up with a better argument of justification, too, that at least two appeals court judges find persuasive.)

    So… It’s a ruling that is a step in the right direction. But the fight is just beginning. Sometimes court cases turn out in ways not expected… see, for example, Lawrence v. Texas, which caught a lot of people by surprise, or Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS. Sometimes a court case heralds a broad social change is imminent… marriage equality, for example. Sometimes, though, civil-rights fights run on for generations.

  10. maxine September 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    I think the problem is that way too many people are put not the Registered Sex Offenders list. Teens and kids in there 20’s guilty of having consensual sex with their younger peers. Disabled people who have judgment issues. And while have no data on whether or not these registry make our kids safer, I do worry about serial child abusers living near schools or playgrounds, violent sexual predators that are not sufficiently supervised when released form jail, and the target issue that our criminal justice system is about retribution not reconciliation and rehabilitation. I likely agree with this ruling but this is part of a much larger issue in the US.

  11. Alanna Mozzer September 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    I agree with Kenny. Great news!

  12. Donald September 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm #


    You had a part in bringing this judge to make the decision. I have my doubts that this case would have landed on his desk and if it did, I don’t think that he would have made the same decision.

    Thank you!

  13. David N. Brown September 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    The bigger problem is that the “threshold” for who is registered vary by state, and local police and prosecutors can further manipulate the system by pursuing charges based on harsher interpretations of certain acts. In my opinion, the best solution is for the Feds to take over and establish a single national registry. While they’re at it they can regulate the hell out of online postings of “offender”info, which is 99.999% harassment of completely innocent peope.

  14. Marie September 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    Kimberly said: The interesting thing is that the registry started out as a law enforcement tool, like the fingerprint database

    Yes, law enforcement only…and then the internet happened. Because the internet makes it so easy to make this info available to the world, legislators couldn’t help themselves.

    Now that we have all kinds of data to show that the registry…
    * doesn’t reduce sex crime from first-time offenders (almost all registrants are first-timers),
    * doesn’t keep registrants from committing more sex crimes (only a tiny number reoffended even before the registry),
    * doesn’t help law enforcement solve crimes.

    ..and now that we know that the registry harms registrants (who have already served any court-imposed sentence) and their families by…
    * encouraging people to think all sex offenders have committed heinous crimes,
    * encouraging legislators to see sex offenses as the safest way to be tough on crime (because who would stand up for those people ),
    * making it difficult for registrants to find housing,
    * making it difficult to find employment,
    * breaking up families because of registry restrictions,
    * making it impossible for a registrant to leave the past behind
    * and on and on…

    Now we know enough to demand that our legislators abolish the registry.

  15. Donald September 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    The registry started as a law enforcement tool. It then evolved to be a political tool that was great for grandstanding. Websites like this one really destroyed this ‘political tool’.

  16. Theresa Hall September 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    It would be better if the real rapists were only on it. Not the guy who date lied about her age. Not the disabled person who can be manipulated into breaking the law. Not the teens who are boyfriend, girlfriend who hooked up despite the fact that law hates that. Not the guy who used the bathroom outside. And definitely not the the teens who naughty pics of themselves. Spreading them around I’m not sure.

  17. George September 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm #


    The third major cause has been the ‘general decline in unsupervised time and the rise of adult protection’, says Haidt. In the US in the 1980s, there were two high-profile abductions and murders of two young boys, and parents panicked, he says. ‘Now there never was much of a risk of abduction from strangers… But America freaked out and overreacted and stopped letting kids out of their sight.’ By the 1990s there were pictures of missing children everywhere – ‘as if it was an epidemic, but it never was an epidemic’, he adds. At the same time, there was more of an emphasis on anti-bullying, as well as a decline in unsupervised play. ‘Studies of how kids spend their time show that up until the early 1980s kids spent a lot of time outside playing without adult supervision, but by the early 2000s that has almost disappeared, especially for younger kids’, he says.

    Ironically, this over-protection of children may have done more harm than good.

  18. Chris September 3, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    I am so thankful that society is beginning to hear the truth about sex offenses. I committed a sex offense against a female minor over a decade ago. I received a 2 to life sentence for a first time offense. She was a developed female.
    I in no way do I condone my behavior. I clearly took responsibility for it. The criminal charge was sexual assault on a child. Sexual assault in most minds spells rape. They call my offense non-violent and I am not listed as a sexually violent predator. I didn’t rape the victim nor force her. She was a friend of the family. Now the system will tell a person it was forced because she was under age and couldn’t give consent. Yet if this same girl killed someone, she would more likely be charged as an adult. How is that? This is how the state legislators, victim advocates, press, and treatment programs use misrepresentation of facts to sway you the public into believing their lies.

    I was suppose to do 2 years in prison and be released to lifetime supervision (which is technically 10 years parole for a F4 felony. F3’s are 20 years). I was in prison for 4 years before being released to a halfway house. I had no support and I was not eligible for most jobs due to my offense. I was required to disclose my crime to each potential employer, in which was the last I would hear from them. I was sent back to prison after 9 months of job searching. I was sent back for not finding a job. And the system will continually tell people that “it wasn’t just that..there was more to it”. Not in my case. I was released almost three years later to another halfway house..this time with support and found a job in 4 months. During my time in prison I had no contact with my children and would be kicked out of the program if I did (which mean’t not ever getting out of prison). My children had no father for 7 years because of this hate crime sex offense system.

    I live the punishment of my crime daily! I have had 8 years of treatment now…at this point I call it mistreatment. There was a study done in 2012 initiated by the Colorado legislators who originated this hate crime law, to review the SOMB/SOTMP sex offender treatment programs. It is very important that you read the entirety of those reviews as it will give you a comprehensive understanding of how they exposed the failed sex offender program and the abuse people with a sex offense are given. SOMB/SOTMP and the legislators are the ones making it unsafe for our children, because all the resources used to contain registered people with a sex offense is a complete waste of resources! Those monies should be uses on education and prevention. Instead, the tax payers pay over $30,000 a year to house people with a sex offense times thousands (People that are safe and would never in their life commit this offense again). The people that are out of prison costs are roughly $1,000 to $2,000 a month per offender for polygraphs (that are worthless), and treatment. This will go on for at least 20-30 years unless you the people change it! You also pay for housing for the many of us that can’t find or afford it due to the Registry!

    I cannot date a woman without approval from my parole officer and a therapy session with the woman in front of my therapist disclosing my full crime to her. I have to disclose my sexual activity in detail on a form weekly…”so yes I had sex with my girlfriend and this is what we did”…I also have to write a safety plan on engaging is sexual contact with my girlfriend and it must be approved before I can actually have sex. I cannot work in residential areas without massive approval. I cannot go to swimming pools, malls, most places where my son would normally like to go (The crime I committed was in my home, not at a mall, not on the internet or anywhere else). They have no statistical data to back up the many rules they make (they meaning SOMB sex offender management board-mainly run by victim advocates and treatment providers). Most employers won’t hire me, especially if the company has an HR department and a woman is in charge…which is usually the case. I am not biased towards women, just stating my experiences. I have also come across women that are accepting as well. The sex offender therapy and polygraph companies are a racketeering system paid by mostly you the citizens, unaware of the abusive treatment inflicted upon us. If I would have beat my kid to death I wouldn’t have to endure this misconduct. If I sold drugs to your child by a school I would get 5 years and be done in 3. Spell it for what it is! Contributing to the delinquency of a minor in a sexual manner. I could get a job with that criminal description. If they were truthful about the crime in an appropriate descriptive manner, then people would know the severity.

    I have been connected to guys who have taken their life because of this crime, the system controls every aspect of our lives, our internet, phones, locations we can go, places/people we see. Imagine if you got caught for some of the things you have done in the past…and for 10 to 20 years on parole after serving 7 to 15 years in prison,had this on your back, do you think you could endure? Would you be more likely willing to recommit another crime because you see no end in sight? If I get sent back for whatever reason, (many guys get sent back for having adult pornography on their phone, unauthorized relationship-meaning a guy has consensual sex with an adult) I start my 10 year parole over when I am released. We cannot date with ease, and we cannot view adult pornography, how does one release sexual tension? Tell me, does this make it safer when we are blocked in having a normal life?

    My son cannot have his friends over to my house because of my offense. Recently, my son told his friend that he couldn’t be his friend anymore because the child kept wanting to come over to my house; because of my son’s fear of me getting into trouble and my roommate wants to keep my crime low key, he stopped contact. My son is terrified that I will end up back in prison. I am terrified that he will have to endure the repercussions of my crime. “sorry little Joey, you cant play with that boy, his dad is a sex offender”. I am not involved in my step children’s lives because of my offense; I am afraid of affecting their lives with my past. I don’t want to date a woman with children because I don’t want to affect her children(s) lives, not to mention the potential of accusations.

    What this judge did is bring hope to many of us who will NEVER commit this crime again, (which is 95% of registered sex offenders) and would like to move on with our lives (Parole, Treatment, and Registry free).

    Your community will be safer when you put a stop to this hate crime on people with a sex offense.

    -End the sex offender registry in it;’s entirety. With technology today, the police can find us.
    -End the indeterminate sentence, especially for first time offenders; there are very few repeats.
    -Stop calling us sex offenders, were not animals! We make poor choices just like you-except we go caught.
    -Help us, be concerned, care, it will be your part in keeping the community safe.
    -Realize most of us were sexually offended at a young age too, and most of our perpetrators got away with it.
    -Stay clear of sex offender social justice warriors, they tend to manipulate the truth to meet their agendas.
    -If your a business owner hire us, we are intelligent hard workers who will show up to work and create no
    -If your a landlord, rent to us, we will take better care of your property than most. 95% of us are not child
    molesters hiding behind a bush. We stay clear of children like the black plague!
    -Realize most of us are not happy about our past, and we are forced to live it everyday, going through things you
    wouldn’t believe, because you leave this government in charge of itself.
    -Realize we have paid far more than we should have for our crime. It’s paid for! Let us move on!
    -Quit personalizing our crimes as if we harmed your children and think logical on how we can resolve this issue
    together. Remember most of us have endured traumatic experiences due to the injustice of our system, we don’t
    need anymore judgement. We need love.
    -Most of us have empathy for the victims, especially because most of us were victims too.
    -John Walsh, the creator of the sex offender Registry is a self admitted sex offender as well as a sex addict..who never paid for his crime, and dishonest sex offender social justice warrior:

    The way it is headed, someone you love will end up on the registry too.

  19. Ashleigh Dowden September 3, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    I am not only encouraged by the positive news but I am also heartened by the publication response as well. I realize that the demographic of the “public” making comments on this story veries quite a bit depending on the website and its targeted audience. However, even after looking at a wide variety of different sights, am seeing strong evidence that public opinion is finally starting to turn in the right direction. Yes, we have a long way to go before this fight is won, but I’m starting to actually feel hopeful.

  20. NARSOL September 4, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    Lenore, thank you for your support in this and for all that you have done in getting out facts about child sexual offense and about the ineffectiveness of the registry system to address the issue.

    Everyone, please understand this: regardless of whether re-offense is high, low, or unknown (it is low) and regardless of how justified you may be in being concerned about the few who are dangerous, there is nothing in today’s sex offender registry system and all that it has spawned that makes anything better.

  21. Theresa Hall September 4, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    Hey if we only put real rapists on the list so they could have a modern day Scarlet Letter then I be fine but then tend to put every Tom dick and Harry on the list. There is a big difference between a boy who gets into bed with his girlfriend and the guy who find an unconscious person and starts using her for his pleasure.

  22. Silver Fang September 4, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    My problem with the registries is the “mission creep” aspect of them. It went from rapists and pedos to streakers and men peeing against trees in parks.

  23. Emily September 4, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    I have another idea–the Tattletale Registry. From now on, calls to the police and child protection will no longer necessarily be anonymous. If someone calls, and there’s an actual emergency, or a child is actually being abused (physically, emotionally, sexually, or true neglect that isn’t just a symptom of poverty, in which case support would be the answer, not separation), then the authorities step in and deal with the situation, while protecting the caller’s privacy if necessary.

    However, if someone were to call the authorities because, say, a child was playing outside without adult supervision, or a school-aged child was traversing the neighbourhood independently, or two teenagers were in a relationship and having consensual sex–in other words, if their claim amounted to nothing–then the caller’s name would go on the Tattletale Registry, for a certain amount of time. People on the Tattletale Registry could live wherever they want, and participate in life normally; however, their Tattletale status would be widely publicized, so few people would want to have anything to do with them. Also, emergency services would have all the names of the Tattletale Registry offenders on file, and any future calls they make to emergency services would add to their time on the registry, if they were unsubstantiated. The system would be designed, basically, to put the scarlet letter back where it belongs–not on the people who make unpopular decisions, but on the people who think it’s everyone else’s business.

  24. Registry is not needed period September 4, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    Given technology has given people at their fingertips the ability to pull people’s information online, there really is no need for the registry. The registry was a tool in the age when paper and pencil was the way to track someone. Unless you are homeless, you are pretty sure to be listed somewhere online through some database via a utility bill, telephone number, voter registration, marriage, previous marriage, family, etc. So in reality, the registry needs to be done away with because LE can already get the info they want and need without someone having to come in to notify them.

    Taking the registry back behind closed doors is unnecessary and a waste of time and money when there is the aforementioned ability currently in addition to the potential continuing ability to monitor someone who is no longer under the need to be monitored once their sentence is complete. Monitoring someone who has committed a sex offense and is out of incarceration is called parole, which already has a check in requirement. Once a sentence is done, it is done. If there is a need for monitoring outside of parole and a completed sentence, then it is a form of civil commitment without the barb wire, steel fences, concrete buildings and psych treatment because the person is still being monitored, every time they register, which still violates my Constitutional rights.

    So, just doing away with a public registry is not enough, it needs to be done away with completely.

  25. Vicki Henry September 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    This is monumental for our advocacy. Please stand with Women Against Registry to Abolish the registry. There is no empirical reason for punishing our families into eternity.

    On a flight yesterday returning from an event at the Kennedy Center I spoke with the lady next to me for an hour about our advocacy. Guess what, she like so many I have educated, knows someone dealing with the punitive punishment of the registry.

    Anything less than ridding our families of this public shaming and stigma is “unacceptable!”

    By the way, Alison Ruttenberg is an awesome attorney who is very passionate about this and has been for some time.

    Vicki Henry, Women Against Registry

  26. James Pollock September 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    “In my opinion, the best solution is for the Feds to take over and establish a single national registry.”

    There is a national registry. It was established during the second Bush administration. The same federal law that created the national law also mandated that all states create state registries, with minimum requirements, or lose federal law-enforcement grants.

    “While they’re at it they can regulate the hell out of online postings of ‘offender”info'”

    Ever hear of the first amendment?

    “Now we know enough to demand that our legislators abolish the registry.”

    I wouldn’t bet on this outcome. Nor would I bet on the federal judiciary striking down registries, either. I WOULD bet on the federal judiciary forcing states to stop tacking ongoing restrictions on registrants (and I said so, before this ruling came out.).

    The system is inefficient and largely ineffective, but it does address a couple of problems. Those problems could be addressed in other ways, but they are addressed by registry..
    For example, in the past it was not entirely uncommon for some people to abuse a position of trust. Teachers, coaches, clergy… and have the employers just move them to new locations, where they continued to be teachers, coaches, or clergy. This happened often enough that you got two legal reforms out of it: One was mandatory reporting, the other is registration. If I have a daughter who is a top-tier athlete, and I’m considering which coaches and programs can help her develop her talent and skills to their highest level, I want to know about the accomplishments of the various coaches and programs past success in developing athletes. I want to know about lots of details… what are the injury rates (does the coach push too hard on athletes who would be recuperating?) and I definitely want to know if the coach has a history of having sex with athletes under his care. Maybe I decide that’s disqualifying. Maybe I don’t. But would I rather have the information? Yeah, I would.
    (Note that “abuse of trust” offenses in other areas are ALSO handled by registries. People who abuse the trust of public corporations go on a list at the SEC, and they can be barred from taking on any other position of trust in any other public corporation. People who pass bad checks go on another registry… this one managed and maintained by private industry. Embezzlers have one, too. Get caught embezzling money, do your sentence, and then very likely work in the field again, because your conviction for embezzling will follow you forever.

    I think the registry can be effective in limiting “abuse of trust” offenses. If you have someone with a history of abusing the trust of others, then information is a tool others can use to avoid not also falling victim to the same person. Obviously, it won’t help you if the person hasn’t been caught before, but once they DO get caught, it ought to severely limit the trust anyone else puts in that person, which in turn severely limits their ability to abuse that trust. (Note that this does not require telling someone where they can live, where they can work (in most cases), how they spend Halloween, or anything else. The point is NOT continuing to punish them. It’s making sure that people who might put their trust in that person, know everything they need to know before deciding to do so.)

  27. Janice Greening September 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    Great work, Ms. Ruttenberg!! Now, we just have to eliminate or at least change the “sexual violent predator” designation. Most people understand the word “violent” to mean use of severe physical force or injury, as defined in the dictionary, but the CO legislature has changed the dictionary definition to include “manipulation”. This gives the trial court Judge unfettered discretion to call just about anyone an SVP, and there is no recourse, even if the testing shows they are not prone to re-offend! It is grossly unfair in many cases, and many of these people have not yet been released from prison, so we have not even seen the effects of this designation. In February, 2016, a vigilante in WI burned down the house where a soon-to-be-released SVP was going to live. I fear this type of behavior will be fueled by the release of inmates with this designation. Finally, what is the purpose of this designation if not to pile on even more punishment on top of the punishment already heaped upon sex offenders? The point is they have already served their sentences, many languishing in prison due to the horribly unfair (and expensive) indeterminate sentences.

  28. Donna September 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    “There is a national registry. It was established during the second Bush administration. The same federal law that created the national law also mandated that all states create state registries, with minimum requirements, or lose federal law-enforcement grants.”

    Only 17 states have implemented this law so it was not particularly successful legislation and does not impact the majority of the country.

  29. John B. September 4, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

    I don’t know how far this will go but thank God there is a judge out there with common sense! It seems as if anything a parent or person can do nowadays with children, somebody, somewhere will find some aspect of “child endangerment” and the public will accept the accusation and continue to “drink the koolaid”. If a father makes his son bundle-up and walk 3 blocks to school in freezing temperatures (like we used to), he’s accused of committing “child abuse”. If a kid, who is into physical fitness, posts a video of himself on YouTube working out, and I post a comment below his video telling him that he looks very physically fit and to keep up the good work, somebody will accuse me of “child enticement / exploitation”. The modern day witch hunt never ends.

    I’m sure this judge will be crucified in the media as a person “who doesn’t care about children” and you just know that people will accuse him of being a pedophile himself.

  30. Theresa Hall September 4, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

    Most people who are not the parents don’t care if the horny teens hook up with each other enough to put them on the list. When it their kid they want to scream bloody murder. The only times other people care is if it birth control or there’s a baby on the way then it’s hello morality police. PS hooray for a school that quit being the fashion police.

  31. James Pollock September 4, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    “Only 17 states have implemented this law”

    17 states and the federal government. What was I referring to in the comment you quoted from? Oh, yeah, the federal government.

    When the feds passed the Adam Walsh act, it had MINIMUM requirements, and those minimums are a notification-only registry. It didn’t (and couldn’t, and can’t) prohibit states from setting up their registries the way they (i.e., those citizens who can be bothered to vote) want.

    Oregon set up a new statutory registry specifically to meet the requirements of the Adam Walsh Act, including the part with the data sharing in the federal registry. However, Oregon isn’t one of the “17 states” to have implemented the Adam Walsh Act, because the Oregon statutory scheme that was implemented to meet the requirements of the Adam Walsh act allows first-time offenders whose first offense is also their only offense (and some other qualifications) to petition to get off the registry five years early, which means some Oregon registrants are not on the registry as long as the federal Adam Walsh Act requires. So, gee, I guess the Adam Walsh act had no effect here…

  32. Shirley September 4, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

    This is great news. A step in the right direction. The registry was created 25 years ago to be held by authorities to identify serious offenders. When the registry went public, it put millions of family members on the registry along with the registrant. Unfortunately, justice Kennedy falsely based his ruling on an article written in Psychology Today Magazine. The article was written by a clinical psychologist, not a professional and it was not based on studies of any kind. With treatment, the actual rate of re-offense is only around 3%. Lower than any other crime. What was meant to identify and prevent has become an out of control MONSTER…. Literally,,,, placing fear in every home, park, school, neighborhood and Halloween for no good reason.

    So what about the 3%? Better chance of being struck by lightning, but still a chance. Public education, treatment, place to live, acceptance in a community, jobs, and monitoring by local authorities (as it was intended in the first place) not by internet trolls. There will continue be those who will abuse positions of power and trust for the first time. No one really knows who they are yet.. teacher, family member, scout leader, boss, etc. Again, education and awareness are critical for the developing mind of youth and the public.

    The public registry is absolute punishment!!! “WANTED POSTERS” at your finger tips of those who have already served their time. And what about those with “ATTEMPTED” as their crime. What is attempted? It means that nothing really happened, but could, so we need to watch them for 25 years. REALLY? The court appointed psychiatrist can testify it will not happen, but the courts place people on the registry anyway due to false perception. I learned recently the most hardened offender is not a risk past 17 years. Attempted has not even done anything, so 5 years should really be stretching it for them. They all deserve a chance to prove they have learned from their mistake.. It is time to end the length of any registration and especially the public registry.

  33. David N. Brown September 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    James: It’s already established that “free speech” does not protect libel or impersonation. It would definitely be feasible to ban the latter nationwide, and eliminate resistance from private companies with the threat of restored civil liability alone. I would admit that the vast majority of sites and services already have enacted anti-impersonation policies voluntarily. The major exception is gmail, which not only insisted on supporting impersonation after it was banned in other G**gl services but actively lies that they are “unable” to deal with the issue. I suspect this is simply because any g**gle employee with initiative or competence already got reassigned elsewhere.

  34. Lois Marshall September 4, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    Maxine, when the registry was first conceived, it was estimated that only a couple of dozen, certainly less than a hundred NATIONWIDE would qualify for this thing. It was to be “the worst of the worst” offenders! It was unlikely that any time serial child molester would be released once caught and convicted. No one who had raped and then killed someone would be likely to be released either. The case of Jerry Sandusky is such that he will likely never see the light of day again. Charles Manson died in prison a while ago.
    So you see, such extreme cases rarely make it to our local parks, and if they do, it’s likely to be someone who has not been caught yet. Violent rapists (dictionary definition, not legal definition of violent) are quite rare.
    You are quite right that the central issue needs to be rehabilitation, not retribution. We will all be much safer when we start taking that issue seriously.

  35. James Pollock September 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    “James: It’s already established that “free speech” does not protect libel or impersonation. It would definitely be feasible to ban the latter nationwide”

    Really? The United States Supreme Court disagrees with you, or at least, it did in 2012, when it decided on the (un)Constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act. United States v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. 709 (2012) You know, that law that prohibited falsely claiming to have served in the military, or to wear or display unearned military decorations? And that was a case with clear federal authority in the first case. A national prohibition on “impersonation” probably fails on federalism grounds, even if the first amendment weren’t implicated.

  36. James Pollock September 4, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

    “So you see, such extreme cases rarely make it to our local parks, and if they do, it’s likely to be someone who has not been caught yet.”

    Those aren’t really the cases a registry would help with, anyway. Ted Bundy killed a lot of young women, in a lot of places. But that’s because he didn’t get caught.
    The cases where it WOULD help are those that involve a breach of trust. Date rapists, not home-break-in rapists or rapist-murderers. Teachers, daycare workers, athletic coaches, youth program volunteers, clergy… people who are trusted to be in charge of other people’s children… those are the offenders a registry can help you avoid (or get their side of the story, and, possibly, believe that they won’t offend again, or, if you give them a second chance, you maybe put some extra safeguards in place. The point being, whatever decision you make, it’s an informed one.)

  37. Chris September 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    The problem folks, is our system cannot be trusted. They have already proven that they will violate peoples constitutional rights. The registry is out of control and destroying lives by the day. AND YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT! As I have been reading through the comments, what its intent and where it is now are galaxies away. There is nothing wrong with people advocating for a cause. Where it gets out of control is when they don’t consider the effects of their drive, or they don’t care about the people they will adversely affect.

    The Adam Walsh act was instituted on convoluted statistics. This is how social justice warriors usually begin their fight; with lies. From the beginning it was doomed because of the dishonesty to Congress behind it, John Walsh; A modern day Hitler if you will. John Walsh had sex with a 16 year old girl that lied about her age, when John Walsh found out the truth he continued to date her not caring about the legalities of it. That says that he has no regards for the law nor the parents of the sixteen year old gal. He also claims he had a sexual addiction. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has other victims. Feeling guilty, he hides this by the use of projection, namely showing hatred for the group of people that represent who he is or was. This is a prime example of social justice warriors and their causes.

    The people that should administer programs like the Registry and laws, should be people that have no bias towards the group. Clearly the authorities in charge are not capable of administering the register properly, and they surely are not going to change it knowing full well it is wrong. This is why “We The People” need to shut it down. Having a partial list or a secured police list will ultimately end the same way. They can’t be trusted. Social justice warriors wants to make a name for themselves, yet they are generally not around to clean up the messes they create.

  38. Theresa Hall September 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    I know that real rapists even serial ones sometimes aren’t always caught right away so that slows down Justice. Plus idiot judges who give light punishments don’t help anything. It might started as a Scarlet Letter punishment for real criminals but somewhere along the way everyone got added to it.

  39. James Pollock September 4, 2017 at 10:42 pm #

    “This is how social justice warriors usually begin their fight; with lies.”

    Oh, good Lord. This is one of the current, most-obvious ways to tell someone is too blinded by politics to perform good analysis. Just using the term “social justice warrior” is almost always a good indicator that what is to follow is an argument along the line of “everything THEY do is wrong, and WE need to fight THEM tooth and nail Because THEY are to blame for everything…”

    Here’s a hint: “Social Justice Warriors” are people who fight AGAINST the entrenched social and political power to extend rights to people who’ve historically been denied. On the other hand, “Law and Order” types want to keep any kind of disorder from coming about, including the disorder that comes from adjusting for historical wrongs. Thus, the SJW side of the civil rights struggle in the 60s was the black people who wanted to be treated like people, and the L&O side wanted to keep them “in their place”. See, e.g., Bull Connor. In the 90’s, the SJW side was the homosexual people who wanted to be treated like people, while the L&O side wanted to keep treating them as criminals. Today, the SJW side is that transgendered and intersex people should be left alone to pee, while the L&O side is that we need laws to keep them from mixing with the good and decent folk in the “wrong” bathroom. So, when you put John Walsh on the SJW side, it just makes me laugh, metaphorically, directly into your face. Hint: He’s the other side. The SJW side of this debate would be to protect the poor, beaten-down, offenders who’ve paid for their crimes but continue to be oppressed to “protect the children” (even the offenders whose offense had nothing whatsoever to do with children)
    The SJW side is that other people’s sex lives are other people’s business, unless someone is actually being harmed by it, and the fact that 15-year-olds sometimes like to have sex with each other usually doesn’t mean that they’re both incipient sex criminals, although they are, of course, actually sex criminals in WAY too many states. The SJW side are not the ones who want to criminalize all the sex that happens outside of marriage. They DO want to criminalize all the sex that happens without real, meaningful consent of one of the people having it. This means that they are against (surprise!) rich white guys who think that the fact that they have money means they get to, say, “inspect” the dressing rooms of the pageant they run, or they thing that running a cable news network means they can ask the on-air talent if they might like to briefly share a hotel room, or if they’d prefer to work the 3am weekend-anchor slot.
    But, uh, no, the SJW side is NOT the “let’s put everybody on the sex-offender registry!” side. Try again.

  40. Chris September 5, 2017 at 12:23 am #

    James I suggest you read the various definitions of the current meaning of a Social Justice Warrior…

    Social Justice Warrior

    A person or group that goes against people who are socially disliked. They do this for the greater good, even if it is an act that is generally frowned upon by society. Sort of like a social vigilante.
    We are social justice warriors because we teepeed that girls house who everyone hates, even if we risk getting in trouble.
    -Urban dictionary

    I’ll explain how I view it rather than try to define it. They are believers in the social cause they fight for. They don’t simply take a position like most of us do, it’s more of a lifestyle and an identity for them. Normal people look at a situation and align themselves somewhere on the support spectrum. “Warriors” don’t, they always take the extreme position, adopt the “narrative” and will martyr themselves for it. It makes them feel special and in the process it can often narrow their mind to other perspectives. They often cease thinking rationally and will only take the side of the cause they are aligned with. They usually see people with other perspectives as “the enemy” and will become shockingly hateful toward them. “social justice warrior” is derogatory and it should be, it is not a compliment. There is another creature that earns this label but “social justice hipster” is more appropriate. You’ll find this pitiful beast shooting quick tweets or “like and repost” quick little rants they copied from someone else yet take credit for. If you are not identifying with them and are of a certain demographic they’ll recite the classic “check your privilege” ad hominem attack when attempting to debate with them. While some may actually be productive members of society many will be that smug waiter that can’t get your order right or that person on a bar stool with a can of PBR pontificating about society using big words that are unnecessary in a pathetic attempt to appear highly educated and intelligent. If they actually are highly educated they use said words to ego stroke themselves leaving little doubt that the cause they are ranting about is really about that and not the cause itself. Finally there is another, the “social justice opportunist” These people profit from social causes and in some cases actually stir the pot to make things worse for their own personal gain be it monetary or launching themselves into the limelight. They often take the role of “cult leader” feeding their flock of “true believers” piles of bullshit neatly garnished with bits of truth that give what they are saying an illusion of legitimacy. All that said there is nothing wrong with taking up a cause you believe in, that is healthy and should be encouraged but when people cross the sometimes blurry line into warriordom then this ceases to be the case.


    The only reason I depict John Walsh here is because he was the social justice drive for the “Children being sexually assaulted” prior to the Adam Walsh Act. Had he appropriately and honestly depicted the true statistical data, there may not have been a Registry. His drive was his son’s death and the chosen hatred for blaming everyone with a sex offense. He used lies and manipulated Congress into enacting the Sex Offender Registry…our current topic. Your mistaking a “social justice warrior” for a group of people that fight for social injustice; That is a social justice advocate. A “social justice warrior” is a term with a negative connotation used to describe many different situations; there are many different uses all depicted in various dictionaries.

    John Walsh generated a great deal of controversy during a summer press tour in 2006 when he stated to the media he jokingly told senators to implant “exploding” chips in the anuses of sex offenders. He stated, “I said implant it in their anus and if they go outside the radius, explode it, that would send a big message.” Walsh stated this was a “joke,” but that “nobody thought it was funny.”[17] Walsh later suggested implanting GPS chips in such criminals.[18]
    John Walsh also faced criticism when he advised women to never hire a male babysitter, which was seen as a blatantly sexist remark. “It’s not a witch hunt,” he said. “It’s all about minimizing risks. What dog is more likely to bite and hurt you? A Doberman, not a poodle. Who’s more likely to molest a child? A male.”[19]
    In his book Tears of Rage, Walsh openly admits being in a relationship with 16-year-old Revé when Walsh was in his early 20s and aware of the age of consent being 17 in New York.[20] Critics of Adam Walsh Act have pointed out that, had he been convicted, Walsh himself would be subject to sex offender registration under the law which he aggressively promoted.
    Some critics accuse Walsh of creating predator panic by using his publicity.[21] Walsh was heard by Congress on February 2, 1983, where he gave an unsourced claim of 50,000 abducted and 1.5 million missing children annually. He testified that the U.S. is “littered with mutilated, decapitated, raped, strangled children”,[22] when in fact, later Department of Justice study from 1999 found only 115 incidences of stereotypical kidnappings perpetrated by strangers, of which about 50 resulted in death or child not being found.[23] Critics claim that Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, which started without funding in 1981, generated 1.5 million dollars annually following his testimony before the Congress.[22]


  41. Annie Gramson Hill September 5, 2017 at 12:42 am #

    It’s astonishing this registry has been allowed to go on so long, and we can all be thankful for judges courageous enough to act with integrity.

  42. David N. Brown September 5, 2017 at 12:54 am #

    James: The “Stolen Valor” act was never about impersonation, unless by the definition of whatever idiots g**gle appointed to run gmail into the ground. Someone can say they received an honor they never earned without identifying himself by any name but his own. He could even create a name and backstory out of whole cloth, without taking the identity of any other real person. But if he posts in the name of a specific, real person and presents that person’s real info as belonging to the same person as his dirty sock, he is violating California law SB 1411 among others.

  43. James Pollock September 5, 2017 at 5:36 am #

    ” I suggest you read the various definitions of the current meaning of a Social Justice Warrior”
    ” They usually see people with other perspectives as “the enemy” and will become shockingly hateful toward them. ”

    Ah. You are one. This is what you are doing.
    As I said, use of the term is a nearly 100% accurate sign that the person using it is too blinded by political bias to perform rational analysis.

    “The ‘Stolen Valor’ act was never about impersonation”

    The Stolen Valor Act was never about anything else BUT impersonation.

    “Someone can say they received an honor they never earned without identifying himself by any name but his own. He could even create a name and backstory out of whole cloth, without taking the identity of any other real person.”

    Yes, they can do that. They can do that and be guilty of criminal impersonation.
    May I direct you to, as an example, Oregon’s criminal impersonation statute, which can be found at ORS 162.365. Specifically, keep reading until you reach ORS 162.365(2)(a):

    It is no defense to a prosecution for criminal impersonation that:
    (a) The office, position or title that the person pretended to hold did not in fact exist;

    I think you are confusing “impersonation” with “identity theft”.

    (compare the definitions of the crimes, criminal impersonation at ORS 162.365, and identity theft at ORS 162.800)
    (I imagine, with your animosity towards Google, that you can find some other way of searching for information on the Internet about these specific terms.)

    This may be helpful (or it may not… it’s pretty technical)

  44. Donna September 5, 2017 at 8:24 am #

    “17 states and the federal government. What was I referring to in the comment you quoted from? Oh, yeah, the federal government.”

    Yes, and if you had left your statement at the federal government, I would have ignored it. But you didn’t. You went on to pontificate about what it meant for states, but most states have not adopted the Adam Walsh Act so it has no meaning to them.

    “So, gee, I guess the Adam Walsh act had no effect here…”

    Your state may have, like my state, adopted some things put forth under the Adam Walsh Act because they liked the ideas, but unless they planned to adopt the Act in total, the changes were not made in order to comply with the Adam Walsh Act since there is no benefit to partial compliance. In fact, since so few states enacted it in total, there has been limited to no benefit for compliance at all.

  45. James Pollock September 5, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    ” You went on to pontificate about what it meant for states”

    I said

    ” The same federal law that created the national law also mandated that all states create state registries, with minimum requirements, or lose federal law-enforcement grants.”

    Which is true.

    Do you have a different meaning of the word “pontificate” than the usual meaning?

    “Your state may have, like my state, adopted some things put forth under the Adam Walsh Act because they liked the ideas, but unless they planned to adopt the Act in total, the changes were not made in order to comply with the Adam Walsh Act”

    Foolish me, assuming that since the legislative preamble says the statute was enacted specifically to comply with the federal law, I should assume it was enacted specifically to comply with federal law.

    ” In fact, since so few states enacted it in total, there has been limited to no benefit for compliance at all.”

    I’d be surprised if the data interchange provided no benefit at all. There’s a rather substantial savings in IT from standardization.

  46. Willow September 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    I thought that judge’s name sounded familiar – he presided over the trial of Oklahoma City bombing defendants Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols (per Wiki).

  47. he who shall not be named September 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    Good, one of the things that came out on politicians’ desire to be “tough on crime” has damaged way too many lives. Btw, victims right my ass: ” victims’ rights advocates tend to perceive the rights of defendants and the interests of victims as elements in a zero-sum game. Many don’t simply want to increase victim services; they want to decrease defendants’ rights and reorient criminal trials so that the victim, not the defendant, occupies center stage.” (Wendy Kaminer-Victims vs. Suspects, The American Propsect 2001). Kaminer said it best. I say screw the victims’ rights groups at this point.

  48. Allen September 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    Thank you Judge Matsch, But would someone PLEASE draw a distinction between adult SF and children who have inappropriate sexual behavior. YES, INAPPROPRIATE NOT CRIMINAL! Our children that is 17 and under are being penalized for the SAME inappropriate behavior that children in the 50’s – 90’s did. Children’s lives are being ruined by these laws! Statistics have proven strongly that children don’t offend…period! Our many adults today would be in the positions they have now.

    I am certain that if everyone one of you baby boomers (who are now in power) would be honest in your soul, with whatever things you have done in your childhood, that 99.999% of you would be in jail according to today’s laws. This is NOT to say that there is some behavior that warrants counsel and reforming but are system is destroying children lives…not to mention, the mental anguish for not being able to live with there parents, get an education, Jobs and even vote. God is not happy with how you are treating his children.

    Matt 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me

  49. Allen September 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you Judge Matsch, But would someone PLEASE draw a distinction between adult SO and children who have inappropriate sexual behavior. YES, INAPPROPRIATE NOT CRIMINAL! Our children, that is 17 and under are being penalized for the SAME inappropriate behavior that children in the 50’s – 90’s did. Children’s lives are being ruined by these laws! Statistics have proven strongly that children don’t reoffend…period! Obviously, or many adults today would not be in the positions they have now.

    I am certain that if every baby boomers (who are now in power) would be honest in your soul, with whatever things you have done in your childhood, that 99.999% of you would be in jail according to today’s laws. This is NOT to say that there are some behaviors that warrants counsel and reforming but this system is destroying children lives…not to mention, the mental anguish for not being able to live with there parents, getting an education, Jobs and even vote. God is not happy with how you are treating his children.

    Matt 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me

  50. Jason M Leger September 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    I just got done fighting clearly false allegations. Where my ex made them to protect her custody. After she got caught smoking meth. Despite the year long CHIPS case where I never missed a visit. Was the the one responsible for the children’s removal. And was even the first of two callers within a month to notify CPS of potential danger. I was forced to stop my Custody suit in Jan 2015 just to be roped in with my ex and the fathers of her two younger children.
    My custody suit was for deprivation of parenting time because my ex had disappeared with my daughter for what ended up being a year.
    The county doing the removal, despite my phone call to CPS, and the fact that I had lived in the same apartment since before I had established the parenting time order, and since my daughter was mere months old claimed that they could not locate, me. This meant my daughter sat in foster care for a month before anyone even told me she had been removed.
    Also two months prior to being forced into the CHIPS case I had a mediation service locate my ex because it was a requirement to suing for custody. At this mediation when I expressed a desire to be in my daughters life and that if my ex was not prepared to allow this then I had an attorney prepared to sue for custody. “He molested her!!!” she screamed and ended the mediation.
    Again two months later when she was picked up for CHIPS She perjured herself to the judge saying she didn’t have contact with me because we don’t get along. And that she has an OPP against dad number two.
    The county I have come to find out entered my information in their system the day after removal of my daughter and requested transcripts paint mother at the time as being unable do to her drug use to provide my location.
    Yet father number two who had a warrant, had multiple avenues of contact such as two addresses, two phone numbers and email.
    The judge even went so far as to order that mom not contact us fathers but that the county would
    You wonder why this matters. Its because proper notice would have allowed me the ability to advocate a position to the judge and potentially continue my then custody suit while I cared for my daughter. Instead of being months behind when notified and then trying to get back the rights the court gave away to the county prior to notifying me.
    But what truly is the kicker was that when mother was caught she had immediate twice weekly four hour supervised visits. While I was allowed twice weekly phone time for 15 mins on SAT, and SUNs my phone time lasted two months and mothers visits went to unsupervised before I even got to see my daughter they were placed with there maternal Grandfather without even a discussion. After my phone time was so generously moved to Supervised visits this lasted four more months. Twice as long as mothers and 2/3 more punishment for being the reporter.
    But there is more, after never missing a visit, showing up several hours away for every court hearing, and doing everything asked of me and More for over a year. Right when mom was getting her rights back from the count, and my custody suit could resume I was accused of to the best of my knowledge touching my daughters privates over her clothes for a couple seconds, after she ran into a dresser that I don’t own (Walk in closets) and this was deemed sexual assault and due to this I haven’t seen my daughter since Nov, 2015. I spent everything I had just to point out the absurdity of this accusation and have got doctored transcripts from several sources do to this county having the Governors task force Chair at that very time (this county was his seat) bringing out the new guidelines for the state. This is what we have devolved to when are we going to learn that fathers protect children? And Governments don’t, there is no investment on behalf of government, this is not the service we requested, mandated reunification in the face of a fit parent, and to treat them so disparately that we would rather give the unfit (admittedly) parent another go!