By Sandy….part 1 of a 3-part series….
At 15, Luke Heimlich committed a crime; he inappropriately touched a young female relative, age 6. He pled guilty and was sentenced to two years, which was served in a probated term. He successfully completed the probation and a two-year course of sex offender therapy. He is ranked as level 1 – someone the least likely to commit an additional sexual offense. He has had no additional offenses.
Now he is 21, a student at Oregon State University, a member of their men’s baseball team — the number-1 ranked team in college baseball — and their top-ranked pitcher.
A brilliant career in professional baseball lies ahead of him; he’s rated number 43 for the upcoming MLB draft by Baseball America.
He recently failed to renew his sex offender registration within ten days of his birthday, an oversight that was quickly remedied with minimal legal consequences but has the potential for destroying his life in the real world.
The local media, the Oregonian, discovered the charge of failure to register and printed an article about Luke’s status as a registered sex offender.
The school has issued statements speaking of their concern for the safety of all students, the rights of those on the registry to attend college and participate in sports, and the fact that the criminal matter has been previously addressed and satisfied by the judicial system in the state of Washington.
Rumors are flying that he may be refused his right to participate in the MLB draft.
If, at 15, Luke had been seriously addicted to drugs, had gone through rehabilitation, and was now totally drug-free, the evils of drugs would be proclaimed by all, and he would be touted for his courage in overcoming them and possibly asked to speak to high school anti-drug assemblies across the state.
If he had killed someone at age 15, been sentenced, served his sentence, and subsequently been accepted at university and became a baseball star, the wild impetuousness of teenagers would be blamed, and he would be held up as a role model for overcoming his delinquent beginnings with determination and hard work.
But Luke didn’t take drugs. He didn’t kill someone. He didn’t commit armed robbery or set buildings on fire or slaughter puppies and kittens. He touched a child.
And then, because his crime was sexual, he was required to put his name, year after year after year, on a registry, a registry that says to the world, “I am dangerous; I am a threat to your safety and your children’s safety and the safety of everyone who comes within my proximity.”
Editors of the Oregonian, in an attempt to justify their choice to print the story, wrote, “Our society decided long ago that sex offenders should carry the burden of their conviction well after their sentences end – and that juvenile sex crimes should follow offenders into adulthood.”
Has not our society also decided that rehabilitation and re-entering society as productive citizens were the hoped-for outcomes of punishment — and that those who erred, especially juveniles, deserve a second chance?
Statistically, Luke’s risk to commit another sexual offense is the same as someone who has never previously been charged with one. Legally, he has satisfied the court-ordered punishment for his crime. Logically, his efforts and his determination have earned him the respect of his peers and authority figures and the place he holds as a rising star. But realistically, because he is required to put his name on a registry declaring him a sexual criminal, his future is in jeopardy. His ability to pursue his career is in jeopardy. His ability to live his life as a productive member of society is in jeopardy due to the eternal and everlasting punishment that is the sex offender registry.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.
27 Thoughts to “Foul ball! Oregonian drags pitcher through the mud”
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To those dumb assess, the “Editors of the Oregonian” I say “He who is without sin let them cast the first stone at this young man”. This, it seems, you have already done; however, you would be well to note Ephesians 6:12—-For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Editors of the Oregonian, are you among those of the wicked in high places? Minions of Lucifer? Consider this, Ephesians 2:2, “Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the “”the prince (media moguls) of the power (manipulation) of the air (Media), the spirit (evil) that now worketh (control) in the children (people) of disobedience.” To those dumb assess, the “Editors of the Oregonian.
We don’t HAVE to reference the bible in order to simply be moral and forgiving. Not everyone (that includes those who cast the stones) believe in the existence of sky deities. It should just be human nature and thoughtfulness to forgive as great points have been made in this article above about how if he has dabbled in drugs or armed robbery, he’d be forgiven and applauded for his “rehabilitation”.
Which brings me to this piece of advice for members of the NRSOL who sit in front of the legislatures when fighting to change these ridiculous laws and regulations; How about bringing up the FACT that THEY have conditioned society to oust the S.O. while pampering the OTHER types of criminals who ‘turn their lives around’?
How about throwing that one in their faces?
Those of us who reference the Bible do so because it is this Word which establishes the foundation of our thoughts and manner of life. It is certainly understood that not everyone adheres to this. People speak, not from what they know, but from what they are. Knowledge is simply information, and opinions expressed reveal how we process the information. The concept of morality can vary from person to person depending upon that which governs their heart. For me, and others like myself, the Bible is essential in forming a basis for thought and understanding, for we acknowledge God’s Word as the single source of Truth. We reference it in our opinions because that is what governs our heart. However, we refuse to impose it upon others, we are simply sharing our thoughts.
Hey Jim, go read “god’s word” again. I think you missed something. A LOT of somethings.
It’s the most IMMORAL book on the planet along side all the other religious books.
It does NOT take a religious belief to have morals. And if you think it does….wow! Just wow!
He did his time. What about senators and reps who get caught and continue in their careers while making big $$$ in the process.
Common sense needs to be added to this man’s life somehow! A one time indescretion vs habitual crimes needs to be considered!
Whether MLB allows him in the draft is not really the issue. Even if he is allowed to be in the draft pool, he could only realistically be drafted by a national league team because of the fact the Canada is host to the Toronto Blue Jays. This is problematic since Canada denies entry to SO’s.
So this pretty much takes all American League teams out of the running for him because they all have to travel up to Toronto 2 – 3 times per season and there is no way they will pay players to stay back for such a reason. when they are paying them so much money.
And even National league teams may not take a chance because there is inter-league play and once every 3 years they will deal with the same issue because they will have to play the Blue Jays (maybe not as many trips though).
Now lets say by some miracle, the teams and Canadian Govt can work something out to let the kid in to play … . Now the team will have to deal with infamous Obama international Travel requirement .. 3 weeks notice .. itineraries etc etc etc… will a team really want to deal with that?
And lets say we get through all that. … since the young man will be traveling so much, he will have to re-register with ever road trip from city to city every 3 to 4 days potentially .. the only time he really gets to breathe and not worry is when his team is on a nice lengthy home stand. And we all know how quick and easy it is to re-register .. in and out like a flash right?? LOL
Right now as a college player, he is getting a small taste (only on after a week they travel) since they only really travel on the weekends when govt offices are closed in cities he is visiting to play. But even then, he still has to re-register when he comes back to his home from those trips even though he was able to bypass registering in the other city.
Now tell me that this is the land of second chances. YEA RIGHT! I want to hear some legislature or judge tell me that this kid has a chance to succeed in his chosen career with all this on his mind. Try to compete with the best athletes in the world while you have to worry about whether or not there was a problem or oversight that could very easily land you back in jail all in the name of REGULATION .. what a crock!. If you think of what Jackie Robinson had to endure (death threats, harassment, being turned away in hotels and restaurants, alienation by his own team because of racist attitudes) as the very first black baseball player, this poor kid will experience something 1000 times worse.
I am pulling for you Luke … Dont give in, take the high road. I believe you and hope to see you make it young man!
Young offenders who complete their sentences and treatment should be encouraged to continue to do better including getting a great education. Or else, what? Hide? Stay who they were when they committed the crime?
It makes no sense to me that they shouldn’t try to become the best person they can be. Society benefits more when people overcome their problems and don’t repeat their crimes.
I think what gets me is that If he was a robber or assaulted someone and turned his life around everyone would talk about what a success story this is but because it was a sex offense the world has turned on him. It truly breaks my heart, I am praying for Luke Heimlich tonight.
Exactly, John. This hypocritical Puritanical society tries to scare people about Sharia Law while their total intolerance of and any empathy or forgiveness for anyone who has committed a sex offense makes their laws exactly on par with Sharia Law.
I often wonder what is in the closet of the people who push for these severe life-long sentences for any sex offense … especially against someone who did something as a juvenile, has paid for his act, and has since been a model citizen.
Luke Heimlich deserves a chance just like any other juvenile adjudicated for a delinquent act.
I hope the Oregonian goes bankrupt!
Read about the lives of Hastert, Foley, and Weiner for what’s in the closet of those former Congressman who pushed for these laws.
Does Laura Ahearn want to make available Mr. Luke Heimlich’s Level 1 personal details, address and crime details page so the sinners of scociety can staple the fliers to telephone poles? You idiot. Now he doesn’t have much to loose and may be severely depressed. Good going you idiots.
How very sad for this young man . The media is totally at fault for possibly ruining his career over a matter that has been taken care of , legally and morally. Society is so quick to point the finger and condemn anymore. He did the time and paid the price. Now please let him get on with his life. One mistake while a kid — how many young folks have slipped once like that while growing up and it never was a ‘problem’. Plenty, I would guess. He is a non-repeating adult .
There is a certain “meanness” gaining strength in this country that is sure to have a deep impact upon our society as a whole. This appears to be a day in which many take pleasure in bringing shame or hurt upon others, or using the failures of others to exalt themselves. This attack upon Luke ( and it is an attack) is yet another example of how far our society has plummeted. It is disheartening. To cast stones is a serious matter, and such does not miss the notice of the One who occupies the Throne. “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” All people have failures in their lives, nobody escapes that. It is a part of being human, and living in a fallen world. However, to prey upon the failures of others for your own gain or advancement is an evil that has no justification.
Perfectly well said: “There is a certain ‘meanness’ gaining strength in this country… ” unfortunately there is something inherently wrong with the US culture specifically that makes people hate each other, they ‘fear thy neighbor’ and instead look at the government as their do-gooder parents. Instead of accepting their peers/neighbors with their faults, they would rather ‘burn them at the stake’. This horrible way of thinking has perpetuated stupid laws like we have for registered citizens.
Joe, the great sadness of your post is that it is true. In the midst of these difficult days we must remain steadfastly hopeful. One of the benefits of this forum is the opportunity it gives us to encourage one another. Certainly not many in this land give us any thought, at least in a positive way. We simply must determine not to succumb to the “meanness,” but hold our heads up and extend grace to all.
Hate talk radio fans these flames too, Joe. Ever listen to Rush Limbaugh? Do it before you eat lunch or you will lose it!
No, the Oregonian Editors did not have to publish the story of his juvenile conviction or his missed register date since both have been adjudicated and completed. If they were trying to look at it from a campus safety aspect, then it that is different. Nothing negative has ever happened with Luke since he completed his terms as sentenced. Knowing the Oregonian from days gone by, it was a money movement to sell more papers. Had the Oregonian not published it now, then they would be accused of hiding it and being in OSU’s back pocket of support. Chances are any MLB team may have already known this info since they are diligent about their background checks on possible draft picks. Look at what they know about potential draft picks from foreign counties where the info is not as readily available.
No, society has not decided that juvenile convictions must be carried forth into adulthood, but legislative members did (regardless if they had the encouragement of their constituents or not), probably as a show of force and political capital building.
The true come back story here is if Luke is drafted, does well and makes a good MLB name for himself. Heck, he already is a come back story now. Look at what he has accomplished as a young man, baseball player and a person (which you can read in a Seattle Times version of his story since this broke). Will any team take a chance on him now? Hard to tell. It would be a risky idea to complete. Much like a team taking a chance on someone who has a DV conviction, DUI conviction or something else whether it be through the draft or other means to be signed with a team.
This is old news and did not need to be rehashed in print. Not only are they doing a disservice to Luke, but to his family members, the family of the individual and the individual themselves, who is now on the verge of being a teenager if you do the math and probably doing very well with this being in the past through support, etc while not staying in a victim mentality. Being the Oregonian is the only big paper in the Portland metro area of Oregon (stopping at the Columbia River), they can push this and not feel one bit of regret. No wonder Portland is sometimes considered an armpit of the country with their thinking and bewildering ways. Just as Roman Polanski’s victim has asked the court to close his case so she and her family can move on after 40 years, the Oregonian had the same power here for all involved, but chose to not exercise it. Shame on you Oregonian for doing this.
“Nothing negative has ever happened with Luke since he completed his terms as sentenced…”
Right there! That statement right there makes me ask you what “campus safety aspect” was even necessary?
If you watch the SI Wire piece related to this story, you will learn the 6 year old was a family member. This happens to fit the statistical mold many have been saying for how long now about these things and how they fit into the registry?
The Oregonian did not ID the victim as a family member in their piece. Maybe now they should in a story of familiarity of people in these events and it be used in pursuit of dismantling the registry because one more data point substantiates the stats of familiarity related to these events. Oregon is looking at a revamping their SO laws, so this should come into play now.
Still say shame on the Oregonian for publishing this and dragging the family back through the mud when it’s probably well behind them.
The Oregonian editorial staff should certainly be ashamed of what they have done in publishing this story. Obviously their decision reveals that sensationalism and the lure of money from increased sales ( or the hope of such) outweighs the merits of leaving this young man alone, rather than dragging out his past for all to see. The Oregonian has defied the essential basics of fairness and decency. The readers of this paper should be outraged. There is not a single justifiable reason for printing this article.
It seems appropriate to add one final comment to my posts. What this young man did was wrong, dead wrong. This young girl may suffer issues for years because of it, and we must never forget that there are real victims in sex crimes. There is NO excuse for the way the Oregonian handled this whole affair, however, in offering any defense for this young man, or any other offender, we must not fall into the trap of overlooking the offense committed. That being said, this young man (and all the rest of us) deserves the opportunity to turn his life around and make a fresh start, without always being overshadowed by our past.
“This young girl my suffer issues for years because of it”….
Well, for one, she’s not that young anymore and since we don’t know the exact actions which were deemed sexually inappropriate enough to be charged for, I don’t think anyone should jump on there “Look at me! I’m all for those poor victims” bandwagon just to be politically correct to a society that is full of shit as it is.
Hypocritically speaking; if he tapped her on the buttocks, is she forever going to be mentally scarred for being tapped on her butt?
CUT IT OUT!
Thank you for writing this Sandy. You perfectly expressed my own feelings on this matter.
Very sad situation. We the registered citizens are the only ones that pay for our mistakes for a lifetime. As the mlb draft approaches he was listed as a top 50 pick. Now they are reporting that because of the story in the news paper he will more than likely not get picked in the draft. Society will not be happy until they destroy all of his chances to be a productive citizen.
Several news articles about the baseball draft and this young man. He was projected as a top 50 pick but most team say they will not pick him because of his status as a registrant. Bunch of hypocrites they sign guys with criminal records all the time. Sports illustrated article online states that they hope no team picks him because he needs to be punished. I do not excuse his crime at all but he should have the right to pursue his dreams.
DA throws him under the bus…
15 year old in prison? Whatever Oregon
Luke was passed over in the draft yesterday.