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Sex offender registries increase sexual assault

By Steve Yoder . . . By now you may have seen the news release about the findings of a new study of the impacts on children of being placed on sex offender registries. (I’d link to it but it doesn’t appear to be online yet.) The results are unsurprising, and chilling.

Kids on registries, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found, are four times as likely as comparable children to attempt suicide. (The average age of those in the study was 15.) They’re five times as likely to be approached by an adult for sex. And yes, they’re twice as likely to actually be sexually assaulted.

That last finding should raise hair on the scalp of every politician not wearing a toupee—sex offender registries increase the rate of sexual violence. It’s just the latest and most direct evidence that publicly posting the names of those convicted of past sexual offenses drives sex-crime rates up, not down. (That registries and related practices raise the number of offenses through other pathways is well documented, as described here.)

Still, findings like those shouldn’t provoke outrage just because children are the targets. We already know a few things about how being placed on these lists affects adults:

-An October story in VICE related the stories of adult woman registrants who are targets of sexual harassment and sexually aggressive correspondence because their names, addresses, and offenses are on state websites.

-About 1 in 7 adults on registries attempts suicide, according to a 2012 study.

-In places like Florida that have restrictions on where registrants can live, registrants are ten times likelier than others to be homeless, according to data from a 2013 study.

-During natural disasters, sex-offense registrants are regularly barred from using storm shelters and are left to fend for themselves.

-Registrants and their families are the targets of threats, violence, and murder. (The advisability of wide access to guns is much debated, but if there’s anyone in America who should have the right to a gun at home, it’s registrants—but those with a felony conviction are usually barred from gun ownership.)

These are a small sample of what happens every day in the real world of registrants and their families. But all of it—registrants killing themselves, their families cowering in their homes in fear of the next car that drives slowly past, vigilantes hunting them down—have become such a regular part of the news cycle that we seem to be losing our revulsion of what they represent. (The Johns Hopkins study has gotten zero media coverage.)

They suggest a society traversing a period of madness during which we’ve lost our moorings. Politicians seek easy villains instead of doing the hard work needed to further cut the number of sex crimes. Real prevention would require them to come up with money to pay for sexual abuse education programs, more and better services to sexual abuse victims, and post-prison reintegration programs for ex-offenders that actually work.

This is not how civilized societies function. Someday we and others may gaze back in wonder and horror at the barbarities we tolerated.

This topic contains 12 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Mark 4 days, 1 hour ago.

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  • #30480 Reply

    Helene Eschete

    This is so sad. Does our country even care or have any compassion at all anymore? I pray each and every day that this registry ends. It is so unfair and unjust.

    • #30485 Reply

      Raj

      “Our country”? This country ceased to be my country ever since my constitutional rights have been taken away from me and made me to live like a fourth class citizen.

      • #31044 Reply

        Registered_N_South

        Doesn’t the Constitution say something about the legal duty of the people to legally replace the current form of government when it ceases to act in the best interests of the people? The government at all levels is vindictive and hostile toward registered citizens. Our elected officials sanction fear, hate, violence, starvation, sickness and death by exposure to the elements whenever registered citizens are concerned. We have no rights as far as all levels of government are concerned. In my state registrants can never vote again. We have no voice, but must pay taxes like everyone else. Has anyone ever heard of “taxation without representation”? Isn’t that part of why we declared independence from and went to war with England? The only ones who even make a token effort to give us a fair shake are the courts, but that’s a rarity.

  • #30482 Reply

    FredAdmin

    The registries generate revenue and government grants. I doubt these findings will raise any eyebrows of our lawmakers.

  • #30484 Reply

    Anthony

    This is another example of the so called politicians creating laws that do more harm than good. The recent revelations of the sexual harassment and sexual assaults committed by state and federal politicians across the USA SHOULD SHOW THE HYPOCRISY OF THE WHOLE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AS A BIG JOKE!

  • #30489 Reply

    James

    Wouldn’t the registry be just as effective for the police if the SOR was for law enforcement only? People would be so much more safe if the public didn’t have access to this sensitive information! The law enforcement will still have the available officers/staff to do their job with the SOR and at the same time keep the nosy people out of the registry and keep people safe. The public part of it doesn’t really effect how well the officer can do their job. If you think it being public helps the police do their jobs then it is not the registry you need to worry about, it is the people behind the scenes who’s job is to monitor the registrants.

    • #30502 Reply

      Facts should matter

      I’m actually for total and complete scuttling of Megan’s law all together for many reasons I won’t go into. However, If they made the info was made LE only, there would be a public outcry and blow-back touting “it defeats the purpose of having community notification!” Hell.. these child safety advocate snowflakes raise cane when Tier One’s are not listed!! So you can just imagine the *hit storm that would take place if it were made LE only like Canada.

      The general public does NOT CARE if our safety, privacy and security is being trivialized.

      All you will ever hear is: “I want to know” / “they should tattoo it on their forehead” echo chamber from the emotionally biased, misguided woman segment of voters.

      Also, It’s a pervasive myth that the public reserves the right to know where sex offenders live and it’s patently false. Megan’s law is not the “will of the people” because to unsuspecting public was duped under false equivalence and subsequently was sold a LIE. There’s less than zero intrinsic value and tangible benefit in knowing where anyone lives in regards to criminal history.of any civilian and private citizen.

      • #30523 Reply

        James

        If the SOR is all about being safe, then they need to think about the safety of the person on the list and their family and friends. Let’s sue the government for our safety, for all those who are involved with someone on the list being family, friends, landlords and employers! It is time to take a stand against the unsafe SOR!

  • #30510 Reply

    Saddles

    While man wants to challange man and we all want to be right and figure out our own problems or complex problems, we can’t. Human nature is human nature. As I have read many of comments on this site, a lot of us can’t even figure out what to wear the next morning. Even women can’t even figure how to to apply their makeup right and will spend hours in front of a mirror trying to figure out how to look good to impress their man or spouse.
    While I’m not here to impress anybody giving opinions are good for us understand how others want to control others. Is a lot of this sex offense controlling others?
    The suidide thing, lets just say.. dont’ say that in front of a probation officer or you will wind up in a stright jacket or they will try and probe your brain and when its all over even they can’t even figure out one is suidical. All that money wasted because some probation officer said he wanted to kill himself. Depression, yes being on the registry is depressing. Homelessness, discrimination, or vigilantism well a lot can be attacked by those issues, but I believe the main thing is man wants to control in some aspect.
    As fred mentioned its a good way to cash in on all this scheme by enforcing man made sin laws if you want to call them that. I told my lawyer one time, they are playing the sin squad in a lot of this. Of course they do not know or take in account the damage it causes to those caught up in all this. They dont’ take into account the suffering of loved ones wrapped up in this. I would say helping others is better than helping yourself, and of course common sense says if one is doing an undercover operation and their is who is over covering and who is undercovering or making up something to cover one’s back. So who’s mind is right on that one?

  • #30733 Reply

    Donna

    My husband and I are ready James, lets begin and not stop til its done. We are the parents and have nothing to loose. Its a hell to be in and quite frankly its barely tolerable another day. A good place to start is to show up to defend the homeless in Miami. That is coming up this month and the liars will be out in force to do their dirty deeds. Please Narsol can we get an update on that here or follow it on Fl Action Committee website? Its a good place to start with peaceful protesting and letter writing at least. There was hardly any support for the proceedings in December and now the vote to arrest the homeless or drive them out completely from the county will take place in January.

  • #30868 Reply

    david

    Putting children on the Registry exposes the hypocrisy of the system and proves that Megan’s Law is actually endangering far more children and vulnerable people than it protects.

    Personally, i’d like to highlight stories of children being put on the registry/charged with questionable sex “crimes”. Rub citizens noses in this unholy mess until the collective lightbulb clicks on.

    I thought i read somewhere that the average age of a new registrant is 14. Does anyone know if that is true?

  • #31414 Reply

    Mark

    I have been on the registry since 2001. I have been off probation since 2003. I received and paid for 2 years of group therapy before I was allowed off probation. My counselors wanted me to participate as a volunteer in group, which I would have gladly done. However the agency in charge determined that I was not fit since I am a RSO.
    I have been threatened, my home was vandalized, my father’s vehicle was damaged and tires slashed.
    I have been denied employment, travel privileges and other basic human needs and civil rights.
    I have not had so much as a traffic ticket in the years since my offence in 2000.
    I had no criminal history AT ALL before my offence.
    Yes, my offence involved a minor.
    I have struggled to put my life together and become a contributing member of society but have met with resistance at every turn.
    It has caused depression and anxiety got me and my family. I live in fear of retribution. My closest friends know my history but every time I meet someone I am afraid of the reaction when the look me up on the net.
    Now I have to have a Scarlet Letter on my passport and will be denied travel based solely on the stamp on my passport and a crime I committed 18 years ago.
    Had I committed murder(s) and don’t my prison time, I would be allowed to come and go freely.
    I was supposed to be let off the SOR but the Governor of NY used the registry as a political tool when his approval rating was abysmal, and now I am a lifetime member rather than the 10 years I was supposed to serve.

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