Sex offender Halloween lock up? Ridiculous, wasted effort says NARSOL

By Antonia Noori Farzan . . . Contrary to the widespread urban myth, there’s no evidence that children are more likely to be targeted by sexual predators on Halloween than any on other night of the year.

But that hasn’t stopped one Georgia mayor from announcing plans to round up all paroled sex offenders in town and hold them at city hall while kids are trick-or-treating.

Gary E. Jones, the mayor of Grovetown, Ga., announced Monday that sex offenders who are on probation — approximately 25 to 30 individuals — would be housed in the city council chambers for three hours on Halloween night.

Initially, Jones’ Facebook post had said that all sex offenders would be housed at city hall on Halloween, which could potentially be considered a form of unlawful detention and grounds for a lawsuit. He later updated the post to clarify that he was only referring to individuals on probation.

Jones, whose office is nonpartisan, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday. But he did elaborate on his plans in exchanges with residents on Facebook. Describing the measure as purely precautionary, he told residents that there had been no previous incidents on Halloween. The state’s probation office has the authority to require that paroled sex offenders report to them at a specific time and place, he added, and the city was simply providing a facility where those offenders would check in.

“This is legal….. good grief!” he wrote.

James Hill, a spokesman for Georgia’s Department of Community Supervision, said in an interview with WFXG that communities do have the option of requiring paroled sex offenders to check into a specific location on Halloween night. “It would be no different than instructing an individual sex offender or otherwise to report to one of our offices,” he told the station on Monday.

Sandy Rozek, the communications director for National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, told The Washington Post that even if the mayor’s plans don’t violate the law, “it’s still a ridiculous, wasted effort.”

In Grovetown, a town of more than 12,000 located near the South Carolina border, the response from residents was mixed. Some thanked the mayor, while others argued that it was parents’ responsibility to keep their children out of harm’s way.

“Did you know you can be put on the sex offender list in Georgia for public urination?” wrote one man. “Also, if you’re going to do this, why stop at sex offenders? Why not include robbers, nonsexual assaulters, kidnappers, and murderers? This is one of those instances where an elected official is just pandering for good press.”

Another community member commented: “Everyone on this post questioning if this is legal sound[s] ignorant. Was what they did to make themselves be labeled as a sex offender legal? I think NOT . This is to protect innocent CHILDREN ! If you have a problem with it then go sit with them from 6-9pm.”

In 2009, a peer-reviewed study in the Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers’ journal, “Sexual Abuse,” looked at more than 67,000 sex crimes involving children under the age of 12 that took place during an eight-year period. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma, Lynn University, Medical University of South Carolina and the Snohomish County Prosecutors Office found no evidence that those crimes spiked on or around Halloween. “These findings raise questions about the wisdom of diverting law enforcement resources to attend to a problem that does not appear to exist,” they concluded.

Programs like Grovetown’s make parents feel good, but they’re not a good use of resources, Rozek said. “Whoever is in there watching guys sit around because they’re on the registry would be much better served out in the community on traffic patrol and doing random checks to see if people have been drinking and driving,” she said.

The National Safety Council reports that “children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” . . .

By singling out sex offenders on Halloween, Jones is inserting himself in the middle of another national debate. The Appeal, an online publication covering criminal justice, reported earlier this month that communities nationwide have enacted Halloween-specific restrictions that target people convicted of sex crimes — from banning them from decorating their homes with Halloween decorations to requiring them to post signs that say, “No candy or treats at this residence.” But some have recently moved to repeal those ordinances rather than face litigation.

Meanwhile, The Appeal reported, advocates have argued that these restrictions can make it harder for former offenders to reintegrate with society. And experts have expressed skepticism about whether they’re actually an effective way of keeping children safe, since the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that 93 percent of juvenile victims of sexual assault knew the perpetrator beforehand.

“It perpetuates the myth of ‘stranger danger,’” Rozek told The Post. “It keeps parents thinking that it’s going to be someone out there lying in wait for my child, when in reality virtually all sexual abuse of children is committed by family members, peers, and authority figures.”

Reprinted with permission; the full piece can be read here at the Washington Post

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Viewing 11 reply threads
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    • #48189 Reply
      NH Registrant

      I thought this was more widespread? Over the years, I’ve read that there is a curfew on Halloween – or Registrants have to put a sign on their lawn warning people away – in some areas.

    • #48194 Reply
      Charles Bowen

      The parole office in Macon, GA up until now had sex offenders come into their office for the hours of trick or treating, but this year they are requiring them to be inside their residences from 5:30pm until their regular curfew is over the next morning. With this Halloween clause they can’t have an exterior light on or decorations and if they smoke out doors they must do it in the rear of their residence….I am surprized that they don’t have to post a sign out front stating that there isn’t any candy there.

    • #48209 Reply

      It’s amazing that our society is still stuck in 1693. “Sex offenders” are the modern day witches. Since they can’t legally burn us, yet, the goal is to heap so many rules and restrictions on us that we go back to prison or kill ourselves. There is no desire to let us reintegrate into society, earn a living, or keep a stable residence. There can be no other reason for these debilitating “civil” laws and ordinances.

    • #48205 Reply
      Concerned Citizen

      The state of our country, the once again accepted discrimination and denial of human rights of a targeted class, is disgusting and shouldn’t be allowed at all. The last class of citizens that had no real rights, could be treated inhumanaly, was blacks. No one really questioned it at first. Then if you started questioning it, you were not a good person questioning horrible acts, you were a “nig*** lover.”

      People need to understand that this isn’t going to be enough, to just petition for change and beg those high up in the law making process to allow the constitution to apply to yet another class target. We have to stand up and force a change.

      Yesterday it was blacks. The day before it was Asians. Today it is sex offenders. Will your class be targeted tomorrow? Protecting another mans freedom ensures you will stay free yourself. So even if your not a sex offender, it could be men in general next. It could be Mexicans that can be treated like this, not deserving of rights. It can be anyone. Fight for the constitution to apply to everyone, or sooner or later it won’t apply to anyone.

    • #48215 Reply

      So how many cases have there been over the years of Sex Offenders going after kids on Halloween? I have found none, so what is the big scare. So now people labeled as Sex Offenders are all boogeymen. Well I am sorry to say Jason, Michael Myers is not real along with all the other things they show around Halloween. It looks to me, like someone must have fabricated this idea, my question is why. Looks like more punishment to me!

    • #48225 Reply
      John S

      A state senator in Arkansas has just announced he’s drawn up a bill for the next regular legislative session (January 2019). If this bill passes, “high risk” registrants will be prohibited from handing out candy, dressing up in costume (such a move would only “entice” potential victims to their doom, you see), or anything else deemed a risk or threat in the bill.
      This appears to be a case of “no step forward, X number of steps backward.”

    • #48227 Reply

      Leave the country while you can, I DID!

      • #48244 Reply
        Tim lawver

        I’ve warned my own sons that reality is available. Before I do so I will again confront a jury of my peers in 2019. It won’t be the first time, or the second. I plan to win.

    • #48228 Reply
      Former Offender

      These kind of draconian laws make me wonder when the pitchforks and nooses will come out (much like JZ alluded to above). There is clearly no evidence of sex offenses spiking on Halloween, yet those who are trying to implement this law are using fear mongering as a tool to apply further punishment. I would like to see someone stand up to the bullies.

    • #48236 Reply
      Tim P

      Many years in Law Enforcement and now retired and people still think they know what the issue is. Well the studies all prove, including the Government’s own studies. Sex offences are committed by people known to the victim in over 93% of the cases. Those on the sex offender registry are not the problem. The problem is that the public is being given the wrong information. And to have Registered Citizens stay in their own home or report to a location set by the government is just a waste of resources and it is wrong on many more levels. Registries are drain on the limited law enforcement resources and our tax dollars.

      • #48243 Reply
        Tim lawver

        @Tim P.,

        The misinformation was purposeful because collateral implications for governmental USE of databases. The machines are purposefully used to monitor the segment easiest applied. Scapegoats for Surveillance Saints. If a state can civilly indenture, for a crime, a man to the machine AND it’s (necessary) maintenance; Then a fed can go how far? This was the question not asked in the DOE cases, purposefully!! SORs like FB are “property”.The truth behind the electronic lists are readily apparent AFFIRMATIVE DISABILITY or RESTRAINT.

        Meanwhile we have a kid missing here in WI, her parents shot dead. Halloween threat of not you can bet trick or treating will be impacted in the community. No doubt area registrants are being needlessly confronted based on past, and unrelated behavior! Just for being listed.

    • #48257 Reply
      Irene Rubio

      These men were given a sentence for what they did or did not do,we are not here to judge,people need to leave the courts be the judge. Georgia mayor is only being so illiterate about sex offenders and people need to always keep their child in their care and dont leave them un attended as people do. I as a grown person have been at a Sex offenders Treatment facility,and alot of them were normal people,and respectful.They all had different cases,but they are not monsters and yet people are given the incorrect information especially during these Elections/ votes. They even have secret prisons for them. These men whom go to therapy and are low risk should be given a chance to Live Life,as a sex offender it will be hard,and move forward. They are people whom made bad decisions.They are being kept in Prison for all their sentence and us Tax payers are paying the bill. Texas Prisons are Full,yet they are kept locked up.Where is the rehabilitation ,reform from Tdcj???

    • #48306 Reply

      Its simple! Just say NO and don’t show up. If they arrest you, sue them for false imprisonment. Its time to stand up. They get away with this because we all say OK I’m on my way. We need to totally overload the corrupt court system with case after case of law suites against this BS system.

    • #48519 Reply
      Randall Bennett

      While I was on a 10 day curfew in Tennessee I got to watch a lot of news and heard something that really touched home. Remember when you could go into a restaurant and smoke a cigarette? Later on they said hey, lets make them go to one side of the restaurant just for smoking, then they said lets make the smokers sit at the bar. Well, they did that so now lets tell them to take it outside. Well they did that, and that wasn’t even enough, so now lets just make them get 100 feet from the store front. The smokers kept putting up with it until they were eventually put out all together. I’ve been doing that with this charge since age 20. I am now almost 40 with gray hair. I was suppose to be over and done with this in 2008 but got picked up on csl. I went to a attorney last week because the TDOC came to my house and searched through my entire house, they even went through my children’s things and my wife’s car, without a warrant or a reason, well not a good reason at least. When asked if they had a reason for the search they said ” Because its a Halloween search”. Needless to say the attorney told me there wasn’t much I could do unless I had up to 300K to fight them. So now I am 100 feet away from the store front and put out.

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