Sex Offender List was created and then made public with the goal of keeping kids safe. Not only has it had no effect on child safety whatsoever (see this study, and this article), it has bloated to include all sorts of “offenders” who do not and never did pose a threat to children. Here’s a letter I just got from the wife of one registrant:
My name is Carrie. My husband is on the registry because at age 20 he hooked up with a co-worker that he believed to be 18. After he broke it off with her, her sister called and told him to marry the girl or go to jail. Turns out she was really 15 and an illegal immigrant. They wanted her to be able to gain citizenship by marriage and tried blackmailing in order to do it.
He did not marry her and ended up getting 5 years deferred probation. We now have three children together. I really don’t know how this is going to affect them, because at this point he has to register for life.
I asked Carrie if I could use her name and story as one illustration of how flawed the sex offender registry is.
I would love for you to use our story. The first time it really affected us I was 9 months pregnant with our first child. I found out the house that we put money on we were not allowed to live in two weeks before closing because of Sex Offender residency restrictions. My husband was done with his probation so I’d had no idea there were restrictions on him. Then I found out most cities have residency restrictions in Texas. It was nearly impossible for us to find a place to live. We did find a house and were able to move in six days before I had our daughter. There are other issues that affect us, such as employment for him. He is not currently working.
Do you feel any safer with Carrie’s husband on the registry? Or do you, like me, have the scary feeling that someone you know and love could end up on the sex offender registry for a consensual relationship that he had no idea was a crime? By the way, in another email, Carrie mentioned that her husband has now become a helicopter parent. “He had to attend a therapy group for 5 years and was constantly hearing about bad things happening to children. I am pretty protective too but my husband wants our kids with us all the time. Everything they put him through really screwed him up.”
The sex offender laws need reform. That’s why I am keynoting the RSOL (Reform Sex Offender Laws) Conference in Dallas on Thursday. – L