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Lenore agrees: registry is ineffective

By Lenore Skenazy….

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 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.


This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  W.C._TN 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #20467 Reply


    I couldn’t agree more with this artical. Im originally from Colorado and moved to Pa in 1999, I was convicted in Colorado of a sex crime who was was my girl fiend at the time. It was not rape it was a consensual relationship. Once in Pa I was not required to register until 2002 when the laws changed then I was to register for 10 years I had completed my probation by 1999 with no violations, I would have been off the registry in 2013 but then they inacted SORNA and I was forced to register for 15 more years and went from tier 1 to II with more frequent reporting and more reporting requirements, I have been doing some reading on the supreme courts recent decision on SORNA Punitive which I agree and have sense it all started in 2012. I will be contacting a lawyer tomorrow, I just want off the registry I have dealt with lots of harassment and lost job opportunities as well as lost jobs, I see a lot of people getting lawyers and suing and challenging which I intend to do as well.

    • #20473 Reply

      No need for a registry period

      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.

  • #20483 Reply

    Registry Rage

    The public needs to slowly be weened off the reliance and “need” for community notification. They need to understand that it does not give them “one less thing to worry about” or “peace of mind” because, in reality, it gives them a false sense of relief at the end of the day.

    The Internet was never meant to circumvent privacy, security and safety of an individual just so some errant soccer mom can garner fleeting psychological comfort.

    Also, Megan’s Law circumvents and violates reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s dwelling.

  • #20485 Reply


    If you really want to know the truth about all this a lot of these sex offender ordeals are more punitive than punishment as sandy noted in one of her comments. Now public safety is good I admit to a degree. Say you get drunk and a cop sees you he can either take you in or tell you to go home and sleep it off but nine times out of ten they will take you to jail.
    We are all dealing with the sex offender that have different types of ordeals to face up, than on the other hand, who touched who or who enticed who? Seems one doesn’t have freedom of religion to even go to church without a chaperone. We could all get down on law saying all this is for public safety.
    Lenore mentions about Adam which is abusive in itself and cruel. Are we being a little fear factor nation today? Governments talking about war and nuclear attacks and hydrogen bombs and this and that.. Now that is a fear factor in itself Doesn’t the bible say fear no evil. If you really think about some of this sex offense stuff it is no more than a he said she said or someone duping someone into all this. I don’t even want to touch on the homosexual or the gay community thing that’s going on today. Sure we all stumble at times but when the government abuses its power who is stumbling. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I’ve been saying this from the beginning. Even a lot of these classes one has to take are a bit out of character. Believe it or not these sex classes are just time wasted in a lot of these ordeals.

  • #20490 Reply


    For a while I was on the bandwagon for the idea of the registry being only available to police. But then, even police are crooked and corrupt and it still leaves the door open for them to go around knocking on people’s doors to do their little “compliance checks”. Thankfully, Connecticut does not do this. And what if you’re one of the few SO’s like myself that has a JOB? What if you’re not home when they come knocking?
    So, I’ve decided that the registry should be completely abolished. No public or private registry. What’s the need? We did just fine prior to Megan’s Law, we can do just fine again with out it.
    And why is SEX the big deal in this country? Why is sex more “dangerous” than armed robbery? Gangs? Muggings? DUI?

    Get rid of the registry completely. Because if it even goes private, that still means….what for say….international travel?
    Since when are people flying to England and Italy for child sex trafficking anyway? Those are actual VACATION spots. Maybe….just maybe I could understand a concern for ANY ONE who wants to go on “vacation” to Malaysia or Indonesia. But the European countries? Get real.

    • #20492 Reply


      The registry is designed to be money making scheme. That is the truth behind it, not safety.

    • #20494 Reply


      Maestro I was at work one day when they came to my home for a compliance check, they took a picture of me around
      and asked my neighbors if they know me and do I currently live at my current address. Luckily some of my neighbors know me and about me and contacted my wife stating the police were at my front door and going around asking about me, I also have a home security system with cameras outside due to some other neighbors vandalizing homes in my neighborhood. So I was able to play the recording back and they had said some very disrespectful things. I contacted the police and asked why they came to my home and they stated they were doing a compliance check. They had the color of my vehicle all wrong and I had to explain my wife and I both own the same make a model just different colors. They were local police not the state so apparently there information is different the what the state police have.

  • #20498 Reply


    Fred you know your exactly right. As a matter of fact since Lenore has brought this to our attention and it seems the truth will soon come out on all of this, we also have to remember their is a right way and a wrong way for everything.

    I myself sit down one night, and although I have been keeping diary of events since my encounter 5 yrs. ago, I wrote down a doctrine of these sex sting operations and how they are abusing on us.
    1. They are usurping Gods Authority in these abusive ways 2, Playing the harlot in some of these opportunities 3.They are deceiving for profitable gain under the guise of Public Safety 4. Their inducing public safety in an internet scheme type setting.5. They are inciting or creating an opportunity of a sexual nature with a teenager.6. They are inducting a plan of action that is more harmful in their self-righteous nature. 8. Law enforcement is inducing abusive behavior by this fraudulent error of a carnal weakness all American’s are born with thus traumatizing others with this unjust encounter. We could also say coveting thy neighbor if it needs to go that far but they have their plan of action to dupe those in all this hog wash.
    Now molesting in person or the he said she said story could be a little different. Now my hats off to Brenda Jones for suggesting I contact J.P. Welsh at Safer Virginia a yr. or so ago. While I have never meet him he seems to give some good advice.
    Now you tell me how anyone can protect a fictitious person when one calls one out? Where does the police code of ethic’s come into play in any of this. Being honest is good like being a good boy scout but human nature is human nature. Brenda knows where I’m coming from on this one. So everybody on the registry cheer up, myself included.

  • #20764 Reply

    MARK S

    I just marvel at the fact that society bows, and prays to the state and/or federal government for draconian laws only to realize after a decade or more those laws are a complete flop. Enter sex offender registration. A useless exercise in government trying to prevent a crime with the aid of the media, with pen and paper. So far, the state and federal registrations have prevented nothing, stopped nothing, slowed down nothing except for exposure, consequences beyond job denial, or loss, residence, walking down the street, have a loving relationship with the opposite sex, ad nausea. The only reason the states have enacted these laws was not to lose $$$$$$$$$$ from the Edward Byrne grant acts by threat of such by the feds in the first place ( a very common practice).. The federal agenda was to implement a “national” tracking system that is now fully in place. And do not think the federal government will not or is already using that tracking system for many others. Sex offenders were/are the major test case for interstate, jurisdictional laws to come with a vengeance. The Colorado case has a long road to hoe. It is going to take attorneys with guts, and testicular fortitude to argue in the higher courts and present solid evidence of the fallacy of the sex offender registration acts.

  • #20811 Reply

    Grace Liberty

    The media is the strength of the lawgivers. The more the media makes people believe that all SO’s are extremely dangerous and need to be confined the easier it is for lawgivers to put heavier burdens on SO’s. This is not so much because they care for society but because the money they are making. These laws are so grievous that not many can handle them, and with the registry comes failure to comply because of certain situations that will not excuse anyone from catching yet another felony, or even get threats from people because of all the info in the web that is open to all kinds of people including murderers who think they are better than an SO. If something isn’t done soon these laws are only going to get more grevious and it will be the end of us.

    • #20819 Reply


      We are in a very conflicted time. With things like this happening, there seems little reason for optimism. On the other hand, much is happening that is optimistic. Courts are turning out some good decisions. Media output, while still often negative, has some shining moments that I see increasing almost daily. NARSOL is optimistic. We believe the tide is turning. It is turning slowly, but it is turning. We must remain optimistic.

  • #20873 Reply


    The attorney representing the plaintiff case has already received death threats for helping sex offenders based on this new media broadcast.


    • #21341 Reply


      I hate that the lawyer who represented these offenders is getting death threats. I’m surprised no one has threatened the judge who issued this honest ruling. However, this lawyer’s experience can be documented and submitted as proof-positive of the venomous and vitriolic animosity that drives these laws. If certain members of the public are willing to threaten the attorney, what will they do to known registrants if the registry gets completely overturned? These threats should be evidence that proves the inherent dangers of being an offender subject to the registry. Anyone who threatens these draconian laws ends up being threatened with deadly violence. Let the people act like murderous fools for all to see. That just further proves the point we’ve been trying to get the courts to recognize and legitimize for years now.

      • #28678 Reply

        Frederick Scott

        Well stated!

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