Sexual offense registries: “Somewhere along the line, we lost our way.”

By Diane Diamond . . . Those who fight for a more equitable way to keep track of sexual predators won a big victory in Michigan last week. That is a state with some 44,000 names on its sexual offenders registry.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland put his foot down and gave the Michigan legislature 60 days to rewrite its current “unconstitutional” registry statute. Last spring, Cleland set a 90-day deadline for lawmakers to rework the law, but he was ignored. This time, he’s serious.

Everyone agrees we need to keep track of career sex criminals after they are released from prison. Once they’ve been convicted of violent sex crimes, it’s possible they’ll reoffend. A public safety monitoring system makes sense.

But understand that these state registries — there is one in every state — are bloated beyond belief with many names that shouldn’t be there. Registries were mandated by federal law in the mid-’90s to keep watch over ex-convict pedophiles who sexually targeted children. Somewhere along the line, we lost our way.

Included in the registry over the years have been: a 10-year-old female caught “play-acting sex” and then branded with “criminal sexual conduct” charges; a 19-year-old boy caught with his 15-year-old girlfriend; drunks discovered urinating or streaking in public; average citizens unjustly accused of sex crimes during ugly divorces; and men duped into believing that an intimate partner was not a minor when she was. Many of these people, often caught up in a moment of normal human passion, have been forced to register as sex criminals —for the rest of their lives.

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 11 months ago by AvatarCarol Custer.
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    • #68588 Reply

      Someone in my family is on the register and it’s so upsetting he and his girlfriend were young but they are married and have 5 children together but yet having sex with her put him on the register. I’m so sad for him and it’s already been around ten years I believe still together and still has to register. Why????!!!

    • #68586 Reply

      Don’t forget the artist who normally will take a picture of a face or hand position on a tv commercial to use in his painting. He sees a position and lighting that he’d like to use clothed. Many artist see the nude figure not as lustful, but a way to get the muscle tone and bone structure just so. My artist had three images from the internet that were underage. He simply liked the position and lighting. He’s not interested in children in a sexual way. He’s serving ten years with lifetime registry and lifetime supervised probation. He’ll be 60 when he gets out. Who will hire him? Career ruined over three images. Lifetime registry. He just wants to paint, work a little job and go to church. That last one will be tricky as it’s not allowed in most states.

    • #68607 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek

      Cathy, don’t give up on church. Most states do not disallow church attendance by registrants. Most disallowing that is done is, sadly, by churches themselves, and many churches allow it, some with certain conditions in place.

    • #68611 Reply


      “Why?”, you ask? Simple answer; Because your relative’s relationship with the woman he loves and married doesn’t matter. What matters is that the people who made these laws want the world to believe that he’s gonna go kidnap, rape and murder a 7 year old.

      I don’t know what private attorneys and ACLU attorneys who file lawsuits regarding S.O. laws are saying in their arguments but perhaps it’s about time they start REMINDING the powers that be the ORIGINAL REASON why “Megan’s Law” was pushed and enacted. Consenting teenagers (even if not of the particular state’s age of consent) are NOT THE REASON for “Megan’s Law”. Period.

    • #68653 Reply

      The bane of the government is civil rights. A citizen who has no civil rights or less is the goal of government. There was no outcry when they started making these laws they were for people know one cares about. Now there is some outcry thanks to NARSOL and other groups, but there has been laid a foundation, a civil rights destroying machine and every new sex law ensnares more citizens to have their rights removed. There is nothing in it for the lawmakers to stop this destruction machine, but there are many rewards to add fuel to it. This machine if ever stopped will have 1/2 the citizens in the program. By then it will have expanded to cover other crimes of a non sexual nature as well. The only thing to stop this machine is Giant law suites that cost millions of dollars this is the only legal option to stop it.

    • #68871 Reply

      You know I like all these refreshing view’s and comments. In fact I think I will go out and drink a beer. Wait a minute I did that in high school but i never got a dance at a prom or was asked to dance with the prom queen.

      Who is being a bit overzealous or a bit of a greedy/greedy in much of this legalistic view on this subject, or is it the tongue that no one can tame or maybe its this temptation of dancing with a prom queen or does one think she would be offended to find out that boy she is dancing with is an offender.

      Thats right I forgot teenage sex offenders can’t be around teenagers. So who is being legalistic or who sculptures a Venus de Milo and goes to jail or is branded or labeled a sex offender.

      I wonder who gets on the psycharist couch and tells the psychristic’s about this or that problems or does the psychristics have troubles of his own one wonders if he has an agenda. So one wonders ” Somewhere along the line did we lose our way” Sure all this is shocking or a culture shock if one wants to say that.

      Does government know truth or are the scales balanced in their favor. Now I’m not gonna preach but inspiration is a very good thing if one listens. and heeds warnings or who comes like a thief in the night in much of this sex offender ordeal thsat entraps many with this type of snare that is so unfathamable that seems man wants to be an Alexander the Great.

      So what should we all say. No man is an island or show respect when respect is due. I’m sure we have rulers today that could fit that bill. So who can pin point of who is losing their way or where is the common denominator lay.

    • #68880 Reply

      I believe that anybody can change. I do not believe in a lifetime registry. If someone is truly sick in the head, they will reoffend within 5-10 years. I believe that everyone once they reach 10 years should be allowed to be removed from the registry but should be proven in front of a judge that they have done well with moving forward in their life since prison in a positive way. However the files should still be filed with the police only which public should not have any access to including any search engines where registrants pictures and info are plastered on should be mandated to be removed.

    • #68916 Reply
      Carol Custer

      The end is near 🙂
      I am in a similar situation. My husband has been on the registry for me and we are married and have kids together. Our youngest graduates this year and he has missed out in every single school function that exists. I know how it has been for my family and I super sympathize with those who are living with the label of a “baby raper”, when you’re just trying to live your life.
      Stay encouraged! Big changes are coming in Michigan….other states should follow!

      Carol Custer

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