What is anti-registry activism?

By Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com . . . I have been an activist fighting so-called “sex offender laws” for over a decade; however, I’ve come to the realization a long time ago that most folks do not even know what I mean by “anti-registry activism.” This piece has been long overdue, but I’m going to explain just what anti-registry activist does and what an anti-registry activist DOES NOT do. This ISN’T a message to those within the movement to “reform” the registry but to outsiders looking in.

First, consider about what Anti-Registry advocates DO NOT do.

The most important point to make is that we aren’t out to “normalize pedophilia” or are “pro-pedophile” in the context used and misused by the American public. To the untrained American eye, these two terms have often come to mean everything that rejects the notion that anyone convicted of a sex crime should be tortured and killed. This is because they think the terms “sex offender” and “pedophile” are interchangeable and many folks still believe everyone on the registry molested a bazillion kids and will not stop until they are tortured and killed (and possible prison raped). And no, that’s not exaggeration or embellishment; just go to any comment section on a registry related story as evidence. To the Anti-Registry Movement, these terms specifically mean those who would advocate for the abolishment of Age of Consent laws. That is not something we strive to do, as we shall explain our reasons in the next paragraph.

The Anti-Registry Movement DOES NOT advocate sexual abuse. Many of those who aren’t a part of our efforts or who identify online as non-offending pedophiles will state they recognize that sexual abuse and rape harms victims. Yes, there are people who identify as “pedophiles” and recognize it is not okay to act on their attractions. [See Virtuous Pedophiles as an example.] You can be a pedophile without being a registered sex offender in the same way you can be a registered sex offender without being a pedophile. Pedophile is a clinical term while sex offender is a legal term. You cannot be CONVICTED (legal term) for PEDOPHILIA (clinical term). Understanding the difference is key to understanding the difference between advocating repeal of the registry and advocating age of consent laws. I support those who don’t have a desire to reoffend, or in the case of the non-offending pedophile, the desire to never offend in the first place. One deficiency people engage in is thinking opposing one thing means you advocate for something else (A=B). But advocating against a public shaming registry is NOT the same as advocating for more child abuse, so A is unequal to B. If one were to say, “I oppose cutting off the hands of those who steal,” but state they should be punished under the proper context of American jurisprudence, we wouldn’t claim that person advocates stealing, would we? (Well, most rational people, I mean.)

The Anti-Registry Movement DOES advocate for fair treatment of those convicted of sex crimes. What do we mean by that? That does not mean absolving someone of wrongdoing; we believe that the justice system has a punishment system in place for a reason. However, punishment should be tempered with fair treatment. Those who committed sex crimes often did so because of poor choices, and these poor choices can be addressed by a variety of treatment methods, such as the Good Lives Model, Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), and other positive support groups willing to hold people accountable the right way. Most people who committed sex offenses are “situational offenders,” and most respond positively to treatment because most recognize they engaged in harmful behavior. That’s why reoffense rates are low. We also support groups like Stop It Now, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (Gundersen), and Safer Society Press, who promote treatment of victims and abuse prevention without using their organizations as platforms for advocating registries and other harmful laws.

It is important to understand the meaning of PUNISHMENT before I get to the next point. Traditionally, incarceration, probation/ parole/ supervised release, and fines are forms of sanctions we call “punishment,” or perhaps you prefer the term “punitive.” Now, do you think the sex offender registry is a form of punishment/ punitive sanctions? f so, I agree with with you and I thank you for proving the United States Supreme Court wrong! In 2003, the Court ruled in Smith v Doe the registry was not “punitive” (punishment) but regulatory in nature. As John Roberts, then chief attorney for the State in the case, the registry was “no more intrusive than applying for a Price Club [Costco] Membership.” But we all know better. It feels like punishment. You can’t be arrested for not paying Costco fees, living too close to a Costco, or failing to update your Costco membership, nor does Costco keep an online membership registry. We all know the Sex Offender Registry, community notification, residency restrictions, fees, and other related sanctions are forms of punishment. But the state insists they aren’t punishment, for now at least. This brings me to the main point:

The Anti-Registry Movement believes PUNISHMENT should remain within the confines of the traditional justice system paradigms of incarceration, probation/ parole/ supervised release and treatment. This means we oppose the registry, community notification, residency restrictions, fees, GPS, and so on. Prison is not a nice place, and oftentimes, it offers no support to those soon to be released. Often, the newly released get a few bucks and a bus ticket to the county of conviction. But then the next wave of punishment begins in the form of these post-release sanctions. These sanctions have one goal in mind– to trap as many registrants as possible back in the net of the “justice” system. In addition, we are ostracized, face discrimination, and even are attacked by those who hate everyone on the registry. Those who harass or attack us are rarely punished because many feel it is justified. That is a primary reason for opposing these sanctions. I am of the belief that if a person has an end of sentence date, then it should really mean end of sentence. There should not be any post-release sanctions once your incarceration/ supervision period is up. Our system isn’t perfect, and these laws were passed due to rare, high profile cases. Most who will live under these laws didn’t commit the kinds of acts that inspired them. Honestly, they do not stop crimes anyway, which brings me to the next important point…

Finally, the Anti-Registry Movement believes that prevention efforts should be based upon a foundation of facts and evidence. To be put in a simplistic terms, we demand proof of effectiveness to justify any program’s existence. We used to believe crazy things like “pray the gay away” or “if I strap myself to a machine that shakes my belly, I’ll lose weight.” We learned over time these techniques did not work. We thought if only we discriminated against people enough, we could force them to stop adhering to whatever beliefs they had that we disliked, and that system was just as faulty when the ancient Romans fed the Christians to the lions. After all, it worked so well that Christianity isn’t a major religion with two billion or so adherents, right? The sex offender registry and other post-release sanctions have never been proven to work; in fact, there is evidence that they decrease public safety and make things worse in general.

Dehumanizing registered persons won’t discourage those struggling with impure thoughts and feelings. The help I offer a registered citizen involves helping them understand the SOR and various laws in which they live by under duress (and if you think these rules are simple, try reading them sometime), helping them find jobs and housing, listening to their stories, giving them the best advice I can offer as a fellow registrant, and referring them to anyone I feel can best serve them. Doing this doesn’t mean I absolve them from whatever they have done, but IT IS NOT MY PLACE to judge those who contact me for services. This separates me from some people and groups seeking to merely “reform” the registry, some of whom only advocate for specific groups or even just one person. I don’t care if you are an R&J (for outsiders, that’s activist lingo for cases of teens landing on the registry for consensual relations with other teens) or the so-called “Pillowcase Rapist,” I want you to not only be offense-free upon your release, I want to to have a chance to become a productive member of society. As much as some of you outside the ARM hate registrants and wish they could all be in prison, raped, mutilated and murdered, we don’t do those things, so many of those convicted of sex offenses WILL be released. The question is, would you rather they work, pay taxes, have a stable location and a support network, all of which are known to reduce the likelihood of recidivism, or you want to continue to reject all these things and increase the likelihood of recidivism. I prefer every registrant succeeds because every success means no more victims.

That’s a lot to digest, but for those who just want the cliff notes version, here’s the shorthand version. I can’t make it any simpler than this, folks.

“The Anti-Registry Movement does not promote sexual abuse of any kind; we do, however, support positive treatment and support for those who offended so that they may live productive and offense free lives. We support evidence-based methods of prevention, education and treatment. We believe the public registry, residency restrictions, community notification, registry fees, GPS monitoring, and other post-release sanctions are NOT evidence-based and are ineffective as methods to achieving an offense-free society. Thus, we will publicly oppose these oppressive sanctions until these sanctions are fully abolished.”

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    • #20496 Reply

      The supervised release of three years or more after someone has served his/her sentence is also unethical and will serve the place of the Registry if the Registry were to be removed.

    • #20584 Reply

      Stop double standards between men and women in the justice system and you will greatly increase the support to end these unconstitutional laws. Lets face it if you are not held to the same standards and punished the same why worry about the laws.

    • #20646 Reply

      After agreeing to plea with the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a (3) year sentence (or risk 10-20 years at trial, negative DNA and negative hospital exam?) a post incarceration supervision period is applied. This, in essence, means a three year sentence is, in effect, an (8) year sentence. This is additional punishment above and beyond the agreed three year plea.

      Public registry is punishment. The registry prevents residency with most property management companies. As one parole officer stated, “no one wants their apartment building/rental property showing up on the registry.” To quote the late great Roger Miller, “treat me like a human, I think the change will do me good.”

      Supervision ends for me 11 October 2017. Since leaving the penitentiary I have completed a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Arts. May be time to allow for a reasonable simulation of life free from fear and punishment, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? My hope is, the public registry is made private and used for its intended purpose, the most heinous of crimes, living restrictions are eliminated and finally, this is what I think most of us want, to be left alone to live our lives in peace.

      • #20682 Reply
        Jeremy from Indiana

        You would think that buying a house might eliminate this problem, but, on top of unconstitutional range restrictions, registrants must also avoid HOAs. Many HOAs have a bylaw that prevents registrants from living in the subdivision. When my fiancé and I started dating, she owned a trailer and rented the lot. The lot agreement said no SOs, so I couldn’t move in. Then we start shopping for a house and have to measure the map and avoid HOAs. Because we aren’t in an HOA, we now have a neighbor with a trashy yard.

        • #20734 Reply

          There is hope!

          Social Media Supreme Court decision.
          Michigan Living Restriction Challenge looks promising (based on what I think I know).
          Colorado Federal Judge decision, public registry is unconstitutional.

          What we need are federal guidelines regarding sex offenses, private registry available only to law enforcement, restrictions removed upon satisfactory completion of sex offender therapy programs, equal opportunity legislation (employment & housing) applied to SOs, and finally a system that does not suggest all sex offenses are created equal.

          Hang in there.

    • #20768 Reply
      Terry Xander

      I agree with all you are trying to do because the system is a failure. Now, my problem is with the ” satisfactory completion of sex offender therapy programs”. As one who had to take a plea (for something i honestly did not do) and to stop the oncoming train wreck that would’ve have been a death sentence for me at my age, I am realizing that these sex offender programs (at least in GA), have no end. I did my time, i have no problem with probation and all other requirements of me because I knew that when i took the plea. But i had to get control of the madness surrounding all aspects of my situation. Now, GA does NOT regulate these so-called S.O. therapy programs at all. In my case, because I won’t admit guilt to this counselor during the program, he may NEVER allow me to complete the program and get on with my life, thus affording him a weekly income until I die. I pass all of my poly’s, i attend and participate in all meetings, but unless I “confess” to this jerk, He will never allow me to successfully complete this program (basically what he said to me in private in so many words).There should be a mandatory completion to these programs, and not be left up to the moron running the business to pretty much forcet his own personal views on my life and finances. i am on a fixed social security income. My wife and family know the truth of my situation and KNOW I was not guilty of the accusations made against me, and stand behind me 100%, but, no matter how much proof i have of my innocence, this person is allowed to keep me in limbo forever and afford him the luxury of a new car and pay his bills aud nauseum at my (and others) expense.. States need to regulate these programs and force them to have a beginning AND an end, so I (and others) can get on with our lives and families. The States should mandate regulations and be the ones to decide when one has successfully completed these therapy programs, and the steps required to complete them, and not base completion on whether you admit to anything to a counselor or not. I took a plea, I did my court mandated time, and i just want to live out my probation & requirements and move on. thank you for listening.

    • #20928 Reply
      Robert Mertz

      NARSOL moderator–———–regarding—

      Terry Xander September 7, 2017 at 8:53 pm #20768 Reply

      My name is Robert Mertz—my son will be leaving FCI Fort Dix in November of this year after serving a 5 year sentence for CP on his computer hadrdrive.

      In his comment Terry states—“As one who had to take a plea (for something i honestly did not do)”. My son also –had to take a plea —for–something he did not do. The FBI planted ( hide) 750 photo files on his computer thru his Gigitribe account. The FBI created two “stories” so they could get a search warrent. In the end he ,also, was forced to sign a plea , however, thru my -detective- work ( long story) we were able to get a 5 year sentence instead of the 20-50 years he could have gotten.

      Now my request—-would it be possible for you to contact Terry and ask him if he would be willing to share some of his experiences associated with his “ forced” plea bargain with me.

      I live in Reading, Pa and my email is————bob12345@ptd.net. I am 81 and –time is an issue —-ha-ha ———— Thank You—-

    • #21404 Reply

      I too was duped into a plea deal with the statement “They will light you up like a Christmas Tree”. I plead to a lewd act and contributing to the deliq. of a minor. I served 3 years in a South Carolina prison and after getting out I have 5 years probation. I was lucky to get an interstate compact to Maryland where my brother lives because if I had stayed in South Carolina I would have had to wear a monitor for life. I now have 1 year left on my probation and am anxious to not have to deal with the monthly reporting and drug testing etc. but now as I consider the future, the SOR is going to be a living hell. I bought a camper this year and a new truck to pull it with the hopes of after getting off of probation of being able to travel the country for weeks at a time and enjoy life again. But as long as SOR is in effect I have to plan months a head to make sure I do not violate other states laws as I travel and camp. I am hoping for the best and am very interested in ARM and am willing to help in any way.


    • #42191 Reply

      I’ve read all comments and my heart goes out to each and everyone one of u Men. Im not in the position u are in… But im a mother of a 19 year old who was just found guilty and is facing registration. Im not protecting my son he made a poor choice and if he needs to face consequences let it be…But a punishment that takes away every human right to live life is sick to my stomach…i agree that there should be certain requirements met but for the law to have control over lives is unbelievable. What is more frustrating are this teen Boys being convicted by making poor choices but what about this young ladies making poor choices..This ladies get to walk away while these boys get jail time prison time and registration. The “victim” in my sons case has put 2 boys in jail…how is this even acceptable with no consequences. If u can give any suggestions or advice please.. It would be much appreciated.

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