Nebraskans Unafraid, NARSOL, ask Nebraska Legislature for registry reform

By Sandy . . . On September 12, NARSOL was asked to submit written testimony regarding damages done by the sexual offense registry, with emphasis on recommended changes. We were asked to focus on two issues: the harm caused by retroactive application of registry requirements to those who had established stable lives and the importance of providing a clear path off of the registry.

I was honored to co-author the piece, along with Brenda, our executive director. We were pleased, actually proud, of our product, which can be seen here.

The testimony was submitted to Nebraska Senator Steve Lathrop for use in an interim study hearing about Nebraska’s sexual offense registry of the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to be held September 27.

The hearing was held and went very well.

According to the follow up report from Jeanie Mezger with Nebraskans Unafraid, in addition to written testimony mailed and emailed to Sen. Lathrop, thirty people — registrants, family members, and counselors —  showed up in support and to give oral testimony. Additional testimony was given by academic and state officials, and the general consensus of all was in favor or reform.

Mezger reports that Nebraska’s assistant attorney general “. . . said the AG’s office would work with the Judiciary Committee to write legislation.”

JoAnne Young, journalist with the Lincoln Journal Star, wrote an excellent piece giving the details of the hearing.

Several things struck me forcefully from her piece. Possibly the most significant were these brief statements describing the characteristics of the typical registerable situations on the Nebraska registry. “The typical victim was a female acquaintance, age 12 to 17. By far, the most common type of offense was fondling.

The most common classification of offenders was a Level 3, or the most serious.”

As we emphasize in our testimony, the adoption by Nebraska of the Adam Walsh Act’s tiering system in 2009 doubled the number of registrants who were classified as Level 3 and subject to public listing of their registration. The “typical” registrant before that was guilty of fondling and had been registered as a low-level registrant. The only thing that changed was the classification system in 2009 from a risk-based system to an offense-based system.

NARSOL is highly encouraged by the outcome of this hearing and hope that it encourages other states as they experience the destructive negative effects of a publicly listed sexual offense registry.

NARSOL reiterates its adamant opposition to all sexual offense registries and indeed to all registries that serve the purposes, as our vision and our mission state, of shaming, dehumanizing, discriminating, and encouraging unconstitutional laws and practices.

But this is a great beginning. Well done, Nebraska

 

 

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy 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.

This topic contains 24 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Nebgreen 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #60204 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy . . . On September 12, NARSOL was asked to submit written testimony regarding damages done by the sexual offense registry, with emphasis on r
    [See the full post at: NARSOL, Nebraskans Unafraid, ask Nebraska Legislature for registry reform]

  • #60206 Reply
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    Kate

    I sincerely hope this helps get registry laws changed in Nebraska. My husband and I were chased out of the state earlier this year, after years of harassment, stalking, threats and terror. No one who was supposed to help us, would.

  • #60209 Reply
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    Maestro

    From the article by JoAnne Young;

    “”Safety is important,” Lathrop said. “We want to make sure the original purpose of the registry is achieved, without causing all the collateral damage…”

    Then someone at these public hearings should remind the lawmakers that the ORIGINAL PURPOSE of the registry (according to Megan’s Law) was to inform communities about CHILD MOLESTERS, not age of consent issues or urinating in a bush on the highway or experimental teens recording themselves having sex.
    Why doesn’t anyone ever speak up and tell it like it is? This is what it is – Megan Kanka was a 7 yr old child who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by an obvious child molesting psychopath (the man had mental issues. Duh!). Megan’s Law was not about all these OTHER inclusions of what lawmakers determined should be considered sexual offenses. How are we protecting the very children we are quick to charge with sexual offenses just because a child hugged another child or took a picture of their privates for a high school crush?

    And when it comes to the consent issue with teenagers and adults, these lawmakers come from the same era many of us do where young ‘coming of age’ teens had legitimate crushes on OLDER people. How many of these men, back when they were teens themselves, can not say they didn’t have a poster of Farrah Fawcett on their wall? I know I did. It’s TODAY’s youth that find it “icky” to have a crush on someone “old enough to be my mom”. STFU youth of America today! It’s called natural human attraction. Even a study I was read about children in an elementary school paid more respect and attention to the attractive teacher while being disrespectful and disobedient towards the less attractive teacher. This is and should be common sense knowledge. And even though the adult/teen relationships can still be a crime (even if the teens consents) it certainly doesn’t need to be an issue of registration as a “sex offender”.
    Even if no actual “sex” occurs, just the admittance of being in a dating type relationship with someone shy of the legal age is enough to be registered as a sex offender.

    I know many don’t like my analogy of Elvis and Priscilla but let’s keep it real – the man DATED her while she was under age. I don’t care to hear arguments about WHEN he actually got sexual with her. If any one of us courted an under age teen even without the sex part, we’d go from courting to being IN court in no time at all.
    With the abolishment of stature of limitation laws and no need for anyone other than the STATE to take up charges (parents don’t have to press charges anymore), there is no reason why we as a society still continue to honor someone like Elvis Presley while shaming and threatening the lives of us today whose “offense” may be no different than the offense Elvis committed.

    (I just want to make it clear that I am not saying we should tarnish the man’s name and legacy, I am simply making a point that we all KNOW what the man did, we just turn a blind eye on it because he was never arrested or convicted for doing it.)

    • #60225 Reply
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      Christine

      I absolutely agree with what you are saying. We are living in a society now that victimizes everything too much. My son had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 22. They met in a chat room for people 18 and up. My son takes the fall, but the girl is “counselled” into being a victim even though she said yes. If a 15-year-old is considered a child, then why aren’t parents being held negligent. How did Jeffrey Epstein get such young girls? Where were the parents? Common sense and morality have gone out the window. My son was given 15 years, lifetime parole, 10 years on the SOR, no right to appeal or reconsideration. Our Incompetent lawyer said we needed to agree to the plea deal so he wouldn’t be charged with federal offense since his case involved the internet (chat room). We had no idea until after sentencing, our lawyer didn’t deposition the girl or try to suppress my son’s testimony. The day he was arrested he was coming out of classes at a university when he was approached by officers about “raping” a girl. He got in the car with them and said that’s not what happened and told ever detail of the relationship to the officers. No Miranda rights were read. The doors unlocked. He didn’t know he shouldn’t tell the officers any information. He thought he was supposed to tell the truth. The girl didn’t. She said they had sex one time. My son added more charges to himself because of his confession. The sentencing judge was a previous partner at the prosecuting attorney’s office. He retired last year and is again a partner at the same law firm. There is no true justice. Now to face the day he is released and face that sentence. Totally unconstitutional.

  • #60211 Reply
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    Donald M.

    Another part of the law that should be looked at is what determines which level you are placed on. If you are sentenced to one year in prison or more you are placed on the 25 years list. Same offense but probation or less than a year you are placed on the 15 year list. Of course if you are on the 25 year list, you can not request a reduction of the time on the list.

    The determining factor should be threat based, not whether if the judge had a bad day or likes to over sentence.

    • #60219 Reply
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      Chris

      Spot on. As usual, this is another well-written piece about the hysteria surrounding sex offenses. In my view, ill-cconsidered, illogical reactions are occurring throughout the culture because of the hyper-anxiety that is being fueled by demagogues in all types of leadership positions across the political spectrum.

      Whatever happened to common sense? It is definitely no longer common practice. Enter the double standard, where emotions are in the driver’s seat, it is fashionable to carry concealed weapons, and the neighbors we’ve never bothered to meet are considered suspicious and dangerous.

      I consider myself lucky, because although my son’s sentence was excessive because of photos he had on his computer, he at least can get to a point in seven years where he can begin the burdensome process of seeking removal from the registry. But I am very sad that a good chunk of his younger adult life has been stolen from him by a punishment culture run amuk. I’m also ashamed to be living in the state that claims itself educated but can’t stop over-reacting to sex offenses. It has one of the most abusive incarceration and commitment programs in the country. It defies explanation.

      I am sad for others in more problematic situations. Hopefully the pendulum will swing the other way and reason will again prevail; but it won’t come from my (baby boomer) generation and I fear it won’t happen in my lifetime, which means that I have to travel to see my son; he cannot visit me.

      Thanks for the excellent work you do for the common good.

      Chris

  • #60223 Reply
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    Cookie

    I am in Wisconsin and my loved one who had tqtwo CP pictures on his computer is registered for life and wear a GPS because each picture is a separate crime, even if it was part of the same case. I am in therapy and fear to leave the house, and have no friends anymore. We have had no harassment yet, but I pushed my friends and loved ones all away for fear of them finding out. How can we start a similar process in WI? We can leave the state but he will still be on WI’s registry and that will show up on third party sites. We have a better AG now than the militant who made this dumb interpretation of existing recidivist law. I want to organize people who have fallen victim to the registry here.

  • #60234 Reply
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    Saddles

    I am glad Sandy and Brenda had this opportunity. I am sure this study was a wake up call to arms. Challenging nonethless NARSOL makes a lot of good points as well as the others. I have to commend Sandy and Brenda’s actions and those involved. Yes we should all commend them. This written testimony is good and speaking up about all this damage done by the registry to many. Call it a new beginning or a new chapter it is very impressive. That’s what advocacy is all about in this sex registry issue. I’m sure the public support is their also in many of these situations.

    Do we all offend today well sure we do and offenses will come but who is offending who in so many of these registry matter issues and that should be the question. Brenda Jones and the NARSOL team have the right approach in this and thats why speaking out to legistlation is very important. I’m still writting letters to government till someone listens. As one say’s patience is a virture. I wonder who really washes their hands of all this affair in many of these encounters. Even a lifetime on the registry is absurd. Jail time is a bit over the top to in many cases.

    Yes there are times when one thinks that NARSOL is going in circles but even they have a challenging goal just as well as all of us on the registry. So actually its people like all of us that can speak out and make a difference also or is it the authority of pride and greed and deception of many in government today. Inducing in many of these types of registry restriction today is abuse in itself. Actually this panel discussion puts all these types of sex offenses in perspective to give better thought to a lot of this registry in many ways that is long overdue and downcast others. One wonder who abuses to protect today.

  • #60236 Reply
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    JJJJ

    An excellent beginning!

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK!!!!!!!!

  • #60238 Reply
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    David

    People ALSO seem to forget about Jerry Lee Lewis; the controversy surrounding him was more about the fact that she was his cousin — rather than the fact that she was 13.

    People make mistakes. We should be allowed to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and MOVE ON. But the system won’t let us do this.

    There’s no presumption of “they’ve paid their debt to society,” nor any notion of the kind of forgiveness espoused by the Church.

    Instead, we get the “not in my back yard” attitude, “lock ’em up and throw away the key,” lumping ALL sex offenders together as being “pedophiles,” and, of course, the hideous misreading and misapplication of Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, or Luke 17:2.

    It’s long past time that we grew up and started treating ex-felons like human beings, having some compassion for the difficulties they face even WITHOUT the registry, and start giving actual rehabilitation, help, hope, and love.

    Sign me as Disgusted Ex-Offender.

  • #60241 Reply
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    Diane

    It is encouraging that advocacy groups are being asked to give input into discussions on sex offense issues. It’s time that accurate FACTS replace the outdated misinformation that has been accepted as truth by even our Supreme Court.

    All of us that are touched by the effects of the label need to work to educate others and support people who are working to break down the wall of fear and shame that has surrounded us for years. That’s why NARSOL is such an important organization.

    Once upon a time people with addiction issues were shunned and viewed as flawed or worthless. Just as people labeled by a sex offense, they were called demeaning names and blamed for their situation. Now drug and alcohol addiction is looked at as a medical/mental health issue with public recognition of the need for rehabilitation. It’s time that our loved ones get the chance to be looked at as individuals too.

    The change needs to start at the local and state level. That is where we can make the most difference in the shortest time. Chip away at the bias by electing DAs and judges with open minds. Join or start a state affiliate that can work to make this happen. If we don’t get involved how can we expect people who aren’t affected to care?

    By staying silent we can be sure that nothing will change. Even worse, it could have terrible results. In Louisiana, GOP Congressman Ralph Abraham is running for governor now. One of his most important platforms is to make child molestation a death penalty crime. The incumbent Attorney General, Jeff Landry, is running for reelection as well. He wants to bring back hanging, electrocution, firing squads and the gas chamber as methods of execution.
    We can’t wait and hope SOMEONE does something. We have to be that someone.

  • #60240 Reply
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    Paul

    This is all well said!! I appreciate everyone for there efforts but the fact remains it will never help me in this time. It going to take 100 years to undo all that’s been done I really believe that. The government moves very slow. In the mean time I will live out my life the best I can and remember the good times of my early life . I wish everyone well.

  • #60252 Reply
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    WearethePeople

    Thank you Narsol and all involved, Sandy and Brenda keep the stories coming. We all need to hear the good, and the bad, and the ugly of these laws. Thank you for telling our stories. The harm this does to the person as well as the family is ever going. Yes there must have been a victim, what about the victim. It was consensual but the law made it a crime. She did not want to press charges, so the Commonwealth took over and put in something extra that was not true to make it stick. My family and my friends all are effected by this and we all know the truth. It has made us not trust the Government and how things are handled. Someday I will be able to find the right person to bring things to light. I pray for all the victims, this highly includes the man and or young boys involved with the younger person who is now labeled a SO. I hope to see an end to this in my lifetime and that is my goal!

  • #60255 Reply
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    Ed. M

    It comes at a surprise to me, that even though a registant may come off the registry at their own state, that most are unaware that their conviction(s) will still require them to notify most, if not all other states (and the federal government days prior for certain crimes, when traveling abroad) if they stay for more than a few day, or be subject to arrest, incarceration, and registration anew. All under the guise of protecting the public, and since all this is not considered punishment, an individual can be incarcerated multiple time without ever committing a crime

    • #60263 Reply
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      Svejk

      Ed M., what you say is right. Most people are unaware of that fact. Always make sure you check the requirements of where you are going.
      One slight error is that, once you are off the registry and any paper in the state which you reside, you have no further obligation to notify the federal government of any travel plans for international travel. That will change if you move to another state where you are required to register, and you will also re-qualify for the pretty little scarlet letter in the endorsements section of your passport. Best to stay put as far as a home residence is concerned.
      Svejk

  • #60258 Reply
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    CP@TX

    Great news for Nebraska’s RSOs “IF” you can keep “politics” out of it; a place where “logic and reasoning” can find no quarter. I may be wrong, and I hope for Nebraska’s RSOs I am, but I think “politics” will rear its ugly head and crush this attempt at the reform those involved seek. But that’s just me.

  • #60265 Reply
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    Svejk

    Also, insofar as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis are concerned, leave us not forget the three main reasons nothing happened to them: 1.) popularity, 2.) money and 3.) the connections that come with #1/2. Had they been ordinary citizens like you or I, the outcome might have been much, much different and folks today would be tearing their own guts out to prevent their music from being played.
    Svejk

    • #60276 Reply
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      Ed

      Let’s not forget Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin…

      • #60376 Reply
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        Bob

        And let’s not forget Mr. John Walsh himself who admitted to having sex with his wife when they were dating and she was underage.

  • #60264 Reply
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    Svejk

    I hope that Nebraska SO’s will benefit from NARSOL’s input. Maybe if the officials have listened closely, they will understand that what they have been presented with by the organization and others is the truth, and things will change there.
    Svejk

  • #60278 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    At times we can all bit off more than we can chew but this sex registry has a lot to say about punishment and even about government today. I wonder how Clarence Darrow would have handled it. Even the scopes monkey trail was a bit wishy washy and more of a promotional spectacle if one looks at in prospective today. Frankly I’m even wondering how a lawyer would see it today.

    Sure one can have a filthy mouth, be induced to send pictures via this internet, or be provoked in this game of callousness but thats just one aspect to the sex registry. One even wonders if we all stumble or are we all perfect today. Even many of these physical encounters can he sexually henious. Sure mistreating others is no good even arguing is no good either or do married couples mistreat each other at various times. Yes, we all have a good challenge to correct in much of this sexual type of hysterial today to help others.

    People say religion and politic’s don’t mix so where is the true value in this conscience abuse, were’s the equality’ or were’s and equal rights in thy type of authority abuse. Sure we still have gambling, illegal whiskey, prostitution, theif, murder, and even porno instilling the minds in America. I hope we still have some Good Buford Puffer type people in government that do the right things for true American Justice or is the constitution just a piece of paper today. Yes, we all have work to do to get rid of much of this sex registry as we can and these outragious punishments.

  • #60280 Reply
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    aline saunders

    My son played strip poker he was 20 two girls were 14 few days later they would be 15 years of age. It was girls Ideal to play my son went along with it just it was bad call on his part. They all knew each other. Nothing was shown that you don’t see at the beach every day.No touching of any kind between any one.But one of the girls dad was a DR’s daughter. Judge said the girls was not without fault. He was put on sex list.
    But no jail time. That was 21 years ago.
    It has destroyed his life and his family.He was living in another country with his wife and son .
    In 2008 they changed law making any sex offender by our country notified other countries
    Of sex offenders. doing this the country he was living in kicked him out of there country where he lived with his family and worked. He loss his family and job. And had to come back to the USA. And the other country
    Won’t let child or wife come to USA so been three years he has not seen his son or wife.all that and no one so touch.Hope they do something to change laws.

  • #60283 Reply
    Avatar
    Time to revolt

    U.S. of Amnesia has the sex offender registry firm and going strong in every state, even taking away your right to travel out of this insane country. The police and government paid policy makers will keep it that way as long as the brainwashed people support it and the money keeps rolling in,
    The government Cabal in controlled really not interested iny our rights, your family or your dream to be free again.

  • #60319 Reply
    Avatar
    wihzkid

    Advocate. I guess that can describe me. My interest has been to navigate the train ride they’ve created and to try to see the road ahead and maybe write a memoir some day.

    I’ve recognized that the people facing the wrath of this system don’t always have someone to help them on their train ride. I’ve also recognized that the road ahead for such people is full of options that are two-faced, such as probation and sex offender treatment. The system was built to get you to step 20 before you’re able to contest step 1.

    I’ve recognized that despite how MAJOR of a problem this is, it’s kept under the rug REMARKABLY WELL. I’m sure everyone has been met with officials who’d say “there is no conspiracy” or something similar. I think that alone is reason enough to believe there is. This is a world nobody cares to be aware of until it affects them. And it was was built to exploit the ignorance and blind support of The People.

    It all starts with a simple “bill” or “initiative”, briefly summarized on a ballot no one cared to read. One that seeks to patch loopholes through promoting “victim advocacy”. The language is chosen to emphasize “pro-victim” or “clean the streets” politics, but falls short of the actual mechanisms outlined in the full 1500 page version of the legislation.

    Architects of short-term visceral ju$tice at the expense of long-term legislative misery. The snowball has rolled on and the legislators have not a single care for the implications. On the contrary, many see a way to nab another term or benefit from the hysteria. They try to point to statistics and rationalize their case (ironically), while hoping that people react to the presentation emotionally or politically rather than with logic.

    Even with registrants possibly numbering in the millions they’ve ensured that for every person this is a battle of ONE against THE STATE.

  • #60606 Reply
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    Nebgreen

    As a registered offender myself, and as one who has established a law-abiding life for myself, it angers me to know that I’ll be on the registry until I’m 64 due to a non-contact offense, but another person I know—who served actual time for a contact offense—is only on it for 15. Where is the fairness? Is this justice?

    I applaud NARSOL’s work to eliminate these pathetic, useless registries. It is my hope that Nebraska can lead the way in restoring some semblance of sanity to the legal system.

  • #60733 Reply
    Avatar
    mut

    a non-compensated duty in consequence of penal debt arising from conviction, disenfranchisement and ostracism from the social compact invokes a fundamental judicial power that lawmakers are
    wholly without.

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