Lenore Skenazy . . . Sunday morning at 10 found me slicing the tomatoes and arranging the cheese platter. My husband was setting up the chairs. At 11, the doorbell rang. And so began my very first sex offender brunch.
What exactly is that? It’s a brunch where I invited my friends in the press to meet my friends on the sex offender registry: Josh Gravens, 28, and Galen Baughman, 31. I’ll tell you their crimes in a sec, but first let me explain why this issue interests me.
As founder of the book, blog and movement Free-Range Kids, I am always trying to figure out, as the subtitle of my book says, “How to raise safe, self-reliant children without going nuts with worry.”
I like programs that actually help kids avoid abuse, such as teaching them the three R’s: Recognize (that no one can touch where your bathing suit covers), Resist (kick, scream, run) and Report (tell me if anyone is making you uncomfortable, and I promise I won’t be mad at you).
The three R’s make kids safer and take away an abuser’s biggest asset: a child’s silence.
What I learned through my research, though, is that one thing not making kids safer is the public sex offender registry. Study after study keeps showing two things: First, that “stranger danger” is a myth. The vast majority of crimes against kids are committed by people they know.
Second: In New York State, as elsewhere, there’s been no difference in the number of sex offense arrests before and after implementing the public sex offender registry. And yet, it is very scary to send your kids outside once you see a red dot locating a sex offender on your neighborhood map. (Read the full article at New York Daily News)