Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Myths and Truths about Sex Offenders
The Myth
The Truth
Published at www.sosen.org
Our children are safer with sex offense registration.
Perhaps the most popular myth, but far from the truth. Despite Megan's Law, the overall number of sex offenses occurring have actually increased since 1994 because it helps people to overlook offenders who are not listed.
All Sex Offenders are violent.
Actually, a good number of those listed as sex offenders committed Non-Violent Crimes such as "Incest", "Prostitution", and "Statutory Rape".
All Offenders are older men.
The youngest person ever to be considered for sex offense registration was 2 and a half years old. Both girls & boys are listed, and a very large portion of the listed sex offenders were convicted between the ages of 10 & 25 -- hardly what most consider old men.
All Sex Offenders have many victims.
Over 75% of sex offenders were convicted of just one offense, strongly indicating they don't have multiple victims. Furthermore, the recidvism rate for a sex offense averages in most states less than 15% without treatment and less than 5% with treatment (that's less than Armed Robbery, Grand Theft Auto, and Drug Charges).
Victims of Sex Offenders are traumatized for life.
In rape cases, date rapes, sexual disease crimes and sex from an adult to someone in the single-digit age category, quite possibly this is true. However, all of the many sex offenders who have been on either side of a consensual adult incest relationship, 15-17 year olds who lie about their age to 18-25 year olds, and sodomy victims are far from traumatized for life. There are many victims who are traumatized more by the listing of the adult as a sex offender because they feel at fault for lying about their age. Most actual victims of consensual crimes involving people over the age of 14 recover from any trauma caused by the offense more quickly than the sex offender does.
Most Sex Offenders were at one time abused as a child themselves.
Again, if the government released the actual statistics about sex offenders, people would know that most "sex offenders" have never been sexually abused. In fact, it is rare to find a sex offender who was sexually abused as a child.
Sex Offenders get revolving door sentences.
Aside from Super-Star sentences (which tend to be light for any crime), sex offenders get more restrictions in their probation or parole conditions than even murderers or convicted armed robbers. Sex offenders are also the only criminal category that has to register after their sentence has long been served (for LIFE in most states) and they can NEVER be a normal person again -- all this for crimes committed by people as young as 9-25 years old, often the crime being consensual sex, incest, sodomy, or any number of other non-violent crimes. Still thinking revolving door? Ask any s.o. about the costs -- it never ends.
Sex Offenders have no trouble getting back on their feet and as soon as they do, they look for more victims.
Again, this goes back to the registration, which causes many sex offenders to be denied employment, become a social pariah, be denied health care, housing, education, church status, and in some cases even services like dental or lawn care. An extremely high percentage of treated sex offenders do not re-offend according to professional scientific studies. Yes, a few high profile rape cases that you hear about make it seem that all sex offenders are incapable of human feeling, but that's because you don't hear about the other sex offenders -- those who never re-offend and are, to the best of their ability, productively contributing to society. Most people choose not to hear both sides and the media reports anything that they think people want to hear. No one wants to hear that they might be wrong about sex offenders until someone they know and dearly love is labeled as one or locked away for it.
Sex Offenders will always be dangerous people.
Most sex offenders are much more cautious about their activities after they have been convicted. This is not so they won't be caught in the future. It is in order to prevent ever having another victim! Few will even consider doing whatever they did again, and most are too young to be as deviant and immoral as people would like to believe.
Megan's Law only affects the offender, and they don't deserve rights anyway.
First off, the constitution strongly opposes that view, and second, when a person is labeled a sex offender, the societal effects often include ridicule and picketing, and the crimes against them as a result of registration include theft, arson, assault, and even murder of the offender. Their FAMILY, EMPLOYER, and, in some rare cases, even the VICTIM are also ostracized and/or punished by the community.
The reason many sex offenders live in clusters is so that they can work together to prey on children.
Actually, the truth of why sex offenders tend to be clustered is because many people deny them housing and they have to live wherever they are allowed to, based on state laws limiting where they can legally reside.
Sex Offenders are not intelligent and can't be productive members of society.
If you honestly think this, you don't know of all the things for which someone can be labeled a sex offender nor the results of Sex Offender Treatment, which reduces the chance of recidivism -- statistically ranging between 65-85% depending on the nature of the offender.
Most Sex Offenders had a criminal record of some sort prior to committing their sex offense(s).
Most sex offenders have no criminal history prior to their first sex offense conviction.
Offenders have no friends/family/support because everyone hates them.
Nope, not true, and that's what sosen.org is helping people to see.
Offenders get loads of government help after their conviction.
Actually, they are denied most government help because of their sex offender status, and in many cases end up homeless and unemployed because of the repertoire that follows their conviction.
Offenders get plenty of time to register with local law enforcement.
Sex offenders are usually given between 24 hours and 10 days (depending on city/state) to register upon moving in, or being employed within the state. Some states even require sex offenders who are just visiting their state to register if they are going to be staying for a certain number of days. These states will deny that this requirement is to pad their federal crime-fighting funds, but, when their registration extends to a lifetime, even for one-time visitors, what justification can they offer for such measures? How is this serving the citizens of their state?
Children can't be sex offenders.
Try telling that to Oklahoma, Texas or Florida! Sex offenders are often juveniles or very young adults, often not even old enough to drink.
Women can't be sex offenders.
Many women are in the sex offense database. Remember -- sex offenses can be anything sexual from prostitution to lewd & lascivious acts. One of the reasons this thing has gotten out of hand is people assume that all sex offenders raped someone or molested a child.
Young adults are given a second chance.
As you can clearly see by looking at any states' database, many offenders are barely 18, many are under 25, and a very large portion are under 30. Sex offenders can be any age, color, size, gender, or sexual orientation. Another problem is that too many things are considered registerable sex offenses and people are kept on the database far too long for the less dangerous crimes, allowing the truly dangerous ones to blend in and have less monitoring due to the unnecessarily large number of offenders tracked.
Megan's Laws are consistant across the United States.
States vary from 10-year registrations (Illinois) to LIFETIME REGISTRATION (Missouri) and include everything in between. In some states, after 10 years you are removed. In others, you can petition after having registered for that amount of time. In Missouri, violent offenders can't even own a computer during probation. In Florida, you must maintain a driver's log. California doesn't allow you to associate with other known ex-felons. Louisiana registers those who were never even convicted -- such as adjudication withholds (sometimes referred to as deferred adjudication)... and it goes on and on. No two states' sex offense laws are the same.
Judges have the power to override sex offense registration for less violent offenders and people who do not need to be on the registry.
No, but they certainly should have that power. Judges have no discretion whatever in the registry length, severity or constitutionality at the time of sentencing in most states. It is mandatory under most states' laws that the offender be required to register and so are many of the other statutes concerning sentencing requirements for sex offenders -- often including things such as "Mandatory Curfews", "Residence Restrictions", "Computer Limitations" and Fines.
The majority of new sex crimes are committed by convicted sex offenders
96% of all new sex crimes are committed by never-before convicted sex offenders (Canadian Solicitor General Report)


Blogger SORecovery.org said...

I disagree with your statement "if the government released the actual statistics about sex offenders, people would know that most 'sex offenders' have never been sexually abused. In fact, it is rare to find a sex offender who was sexually abused as a child."

I would refer you to the Yahoo group AAOR, my own personal story at www.SORecovery.org and any number of real-life SO recovery groups where the opposite is actually true. Most Sex Offenders have early victimization in their childhood. SOme of it is sexual but there are plenty who were emotionaly or physically abused also.

12:34 PM  

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