Who Can We Believe?

By Sandy . . . A democracy works as it should only when the people trust their elected officials. Trust is not a given; it is earned, and the key to earning it is truthfulness, honesty, and candor.

In this age of fake news, claims of fake news, and social media pundits who can spread both at the speed of lightening, how can the public know if their elected officials are being truthful and candid?

The question may be best answered by looking at the opposite.

For example, Orange County, CA, District Attorney Todd Spitzer, angry over the release of inmates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, criticized the release of those with prior sexual convictions, saying, “We do not want these people out on the streets because we all know registered sex offenders have the highest propensity to commit additional offenses.”

This statement may be believed by a certain percentage of the population, but the exact opposite has been known, proven, and reported too often and too long by too many in the way of both governmental and academic studies and reports to be accepted as truth by a large percentage of the population. What many know upon reading Mr. Spitzer’s words is one of two things: Either he is woefully ignorant about a subject on which he should be well informed, or he is lying.

Spitzer was so indignant over the release of seven men with former sexual crime convictions who were incarcerated, not for additional sexual crimes but for violation of their monitoring conditions, that he issued a press release warning the public about these men. Repeating the untruth about high re-offense risk, he said, “These kinds of high-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend. They are doing everything they can to avoid detection by the parole officers assigned to monitor them so they can potentially commit additional sex offenses.”

This type of generalization and assumptions as to the men’s risk, dangerousness, and motives is not the stuff of which candor is made. One of the reporters covering the story was concerned enough about the statements and inferences made by Spitzer that she felt compelled to include this disclaimer in her report: “To be clear, these men have already served their time for their sexual offenses.”

Compounding either his inability to know the truth or his willingness to deliberately obfuscate  it, Spitzer additionally said, “I’m here to tell you: sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated . . .” On a personal level, as one who knows a great many persons on sexual offense registries, persons who committed a single offense, often years ago, accepted responsibility and served their sentences, persons who have since built lives of respect, honor, family commitment, and community service, I am, on their behalf, offended and angered.

On a less subjective level, the low re-offense rates, low single digits for the most part, reported year after year, state after state, once again show how out of touch with reality and the simple truth District Attorney Todd Spitzer is.

People who commit crimes should be held accountable. They should pay their dues in the courts and in the prisons. Those dues should not include risking their lives in virus-ridden penal institutions because ill-informed and dishonest public officials use their ill-informed and dishonest rhetoric in an attempt to sway public opinion against them.

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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 has 27 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 3 months ago by AvatarR.Arens.
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    • #72060 Reply
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      Tom

      An inconvenient reality I think it’s important to point out is that one of the seven offenders released committed another sex offense within a week of being released. I point this out not to say the Orange County DA was right by any means. But there are enough screaming ideologues running around thumping their scripture and ignoring inconsistencies. The cause of ending up with sex offender legislation that makes sense and ACTUALLY prevents sex offenses and re-offenses is too fragile an issue for us to play that game too. If we want to educate people about sex offenders in the real world (and I am one), then we need to unequivocally live in the real world ourselves. It’s an uphill battle, and “everyone else” has the easy job, being able to simply ask, “well what about how one of those seven people reoffended less than a week later?” You can’t respond to that with dogma, or simply saying the same thing again. Personally, I think NARSOL would do well not only to take ownership of the fight to reform sex offender laws, but to at least try to take ownership of the offenses and the offenders themselves. I don’t have the answer for how to do it, but on a personal level, I have earned the trust of many friends and neighbors by making it clear that I live in the real world, and that I live with what I have done–along with firmly believing the way we have written the laws is grossly hypocritical to how we as a society like to think of ourselves. I think an organization can do that on an organization level.

    • #72068 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      Tom, I appreciate what you are saying. Yes, one of the seven has been re-arrested on a public obscenity charge, as is appropriate. I do think that anyone reading the history of that specific person would be hard-pressed not to feel that there must be some mental health issues that are not being addressed, but that is not the point. He was in jail for a supervision violation; he was released; he committed another sexual offense; he was re-arrested. That is the way the system is supposed to work.

      I’m not sure what you mean by our needing to “take ownership” of offenders and their offenses. If you mean acknowledge that those who are convicted — with the obvious exception of those who are actually innocent — did commit crimes and that some will, upon release, continue to commit crimes, we fully acknowledge that. There is nothing in the registry system that will prevent that. Our mission is that everyone receive fair and just treatment pre-conviction, with the presumption of innocence maintained, and that everyone receive fair and just treatment post-conviction, with the opportunities for law-abiding community re-integration not hampered by discriminatory and ineffective laws and policies. And for the few who either cannot or will not alter their behavior, that the process starts all over again.

    • #72072 Reply
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      T & S

      I think I know this story, most of them, were charged with failure to charge their GPS trackers!!!!

      Oh my god!!!

      Isn’t that a death penalty offense in California, failure to charge your cell phone?

    • #72079 Reply
      Avatar
      T & S

      Yes! Found it!
      7 “high risk”
      James: failing to charge GPS monitor
      Rudy: failing to charge GPS monitor
      Calvin: failing to charge GPS monitor
      Kyle: failing to charge GPS
      Jose: failing to charge GPS
      Mario: failing to report to charge GPS monitor

      Orange County District Attorney Toff Spitzer said in a statement. “They are doing everything they can to avoid detection by the parole officers assigned to monitor them so they can potentially commit additional sex offenses. These are not the kind of people who should be getting a break.

      The true answer is, class action lawsuit against OC and Toff for millions dollars each victim for slander & defamation of character. When the tax payers start having to pay off for such bull, then they will grow very tired of this.

      OC / LA didn’t care about beating black people until 3.8 million dollars for Rodney King. Then it stopped or at least slowed down.

    • #72089 Reply
      Avatar
      Daniel

      I have to apologize in advance this article angered me so much

      This so-called attorney who is supposed to fight for and defend truth and justice, depend on misinformation and lies. As much as I hate and I’m ashamed to admit that I am a registered sex offender but I also educated myself on sex offender laws and also learning as much as I can about registry laws and recidivism, they call many of us disgusting when this man as a DA’s knowledge on the subject is what is truly disgusting. He says I as a registered sex offender is more likely to reoffend, My offence occurred more then 8 years ago, I’ve never reoffended and never will. I made a mistake and I’ve paid for that mistake. I truly hope this DA is sued for the lies and slander he is spreading, not to mention his attempt to cause a public panic based on those lies

    • #72090 Reply
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      Perry

      This is one of those kinds of stories I can only speak for Myself: I am an SVP. I was given that designation because of My History of repeated Sexual Offenses over the span of several years, with both Adult Women and Children. I have; and continue to, accept Full Responsibility for those crimes. It is unfortunate that I have committed them, yet, I have completed each and every Incarceration-but one-successfully. When I say ‘Incarceration’ I also mean Parole or Probation as well. I Violated My Parole, Once. So I was re-arrested, and subsequently convicted yet again. Now, have I used Force or a Weapon in All of My crimes? Again, only Once. It was for a Burglary I’d committed when I was still a teenager, and I punched the Homeowner. Did I deserve the sentence I’d gotten from my last conviction? Yes! Should I have been convicted for Life? More than likely-inasmuch as I hate to say it again-Yes. Today, at 62 Years Of Age, I’m on ‘Special Probation’. Meaning if I mess up even Once in My Supervision Contract, they can commit me back to prison For The Rest Of My Life! I have reviewed the entire course of My Life, and found I’ve wasted a great deal of it, in seeking what we call in Treatment:’ The Problem Of Immediate Gratification’. The P.I.G. Today, the result of the entire cumulation of My History of Offenses, prompted the Assistant District Attorney from my last conviction, to seek my being given the Title of SVP. That I deserved Being Given That, I hesitate to say, was appropriate inasmuch as I hate to Admit it. how, it was given me, is Problematic. Here’s Why: As I currently understand it here in Pennsylvania; One is supposed to be given such a Title when convicted and sentenced, not almost a year later! That is what happened to Me. Furthermore; because of the timing of it all, I now live with Lifetime Registration and Quarterly Reporting Requirements. Mine, was the kind of Life, that would support what Many Politicians call for. Yet, what they fail to see is that now, My Life is centered around fully committing to The Goal of NEVER Reoffending Ever Again! What they fail, or desire to see, is how someone like Me is living today! So often, such people only see what One’s Past was like. So they will base their Opinions and Presumptions ON Someone’s Past. Not their Present. That I believe, is what drives such people to say what they do, and persuade as many in the General Populace, as they can despite Established Proven and Overwhelming Evidence to the contrary…with regard to other Offenders who HAVE NOT, Reoffended as I have. My Conclusion is this: The Laws as they are written Today, are meant to be an Overwhelming Dragnet on ALL of Us Registered Citizens, because to compartmentalize Us into Categories and have Differing Laws for each Category, would be even more Expensive than The Registry’s Current Operation. They know this. Also; the propensity to keep Prison Beds filled for the sake of raking in Dollars, is another reason such people desire to see Us treated as we are. ‘Let The Virus Kill Them All Off’. Is what they Not-So-Secretly are saying. Yet, The hypocrisy of The Laws often-and does indeed-come into play when THEY-Judges, D.A.’s, A.D.A.’s, and Some Politicians themselves, are Convicted of the same Types of Crimes as We Are! So then, I have a Theory as to why this is so. It is one shared by many of not only Us, but also by most People not connected in any way whatsoever, to Politics or anything connected even remotely, to it. People with money, can do just about anything and get away with it. Oh you’ll say: ‘Well, R-Kelly didn’t get away with it . Neither did Harvey Weinstein’. They aren’t Politicians. They’re people in the Professional Entertainment Industry. There are others that did and have I’m sorry to say. We know of some of them. Many Victims of Sexual Crime, will gladly take a huge payoff, instead of a Conviction. Oh, there are exceptions. Everyone knows about Bill Cosby. So overall, it comes down to this well known quote from a Famous Book: ‘THE LOVE OF MONEY, is The Root of Evil!’
      And we know Politicians Love That.
      Don’t We?
      Done.

    • #72094 Reply
      Avatar
      Steve

      Thank you Sandy. I appreciate the time you take to write and respond to so much misinformation . To me you are such an inspiration. As the commercial for the census says “don’t just talk about it ,be about it. Thank you from a member who belongs but doesn’t participate. You’ve inspired me to do at least one thing in the next week to be a little more proactive. You are a true hero.

    • #72126 Reply
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      JJJJ

      I emailed the reporter and the Kern County district attorney’s office with the following:

      Hello:
      Contrary to the public statements of Joseph Kinzel, Kern County assistant district attorney, according to official federal government figures, sex offenders have a very low rate of recidivism – the lowest rates of any ex-criminal.

      According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Office of Justice Programs  –  A United States Federal Publication

      Although, sex offenders are more likely than other offenders to commit a sexual crime (obviously), research that has compared the recidivism rates of sex offenders with those of non-sex offenders has consistently found that sex offenders have lower overall recidivism rates than non-sex offenders. The sexual recidivism rates of sex offenders range from about 3 percent after 3 years to approximately 24 percent after 15 years. This is much lower than the recidivism rates of any other type of criminal.

      Another finding was that although sex offender’s have a much lower rate of recidivism than any other former criminal, they are much more likely to recidivate by committing a non-sexual crime rather than committing a new sexual crime.

      Here is a direct quote:”…Research indicates that sex offenders, regardless of their type of sex offense, have higher rates of general recidivism than sexual recidivism. The magnitude of the difference suggests that sex offenders are far more likely to reoffend for a non-sexual crime than a sexual crime, so policies designed to increase public safety should also be concerned with the likelihood of sex offenders reoffending with crimes other than sexual offenses. Research that has compared the recidivism rates of sex offenders with those of non-sex offenders has consistently found that sex offenders have lower overall recidivism rates than non-sex offenders; however, child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders overall are far more likely than non-sex offenders to reoffend with a sexual  [(DUHH??)] crime. The sexual recidivism rates of sex offenders range from about 3 percent after 3 years to approximately 24 percent after 15 years. The highest recidivism rates have been found among child molesters who offend against boys. Comparatively lower recidivism rates have been found for rapists, child molesters who victimize girls, and incest offenders. Female sex offenders have lower rates of recidivism than male sex offenders. Policy implications are drawn for each of the main research findings.”

      Thank you
      PS: (There are numerous government and university studies as well as credible national news sources that will confirm these facts.)

    • #72131 Reply
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      Lacona

      Excellent article, Sandy. Thanks again!

    • #72132 Reply
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      JJJJ

      I had originally included the link to the US Government publication in this post. It has a .gov top-domain address (so anyone can tell immediately that it is an official US Federal publication).
      But I can see that it was redacted. This is Narsol’s policy.
      Personally, I think that this is an unfortunate policy because it hinders the dissemination of information to other members. On the other hand, I can see why this policy would be adopted. But I think that the pros outweigh the cons.
      But, that’s just one member’s opinion.
      Thank you

    • #72135 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      JJJJ, there is a link to that report in my piece. It is the second hyperlink in the piece, the first one in paragraph 5.

    • #72144 Reply
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      CJB

      Good Day

      Also, please remember, this troubled soul, has a wife who is a JUDGE!

      even, more pressure to push!

    • #72137 Reply
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      JJJJ

      I stand corrected.
      By the way, thank you for all that you do!

      Where would we be without all of you who put conscience and integrity and devotion to the principles of liberty and justice “for all” above everything else.

      It would be easy and convenient for you and so many others (like Janice Belucci) to simply get on with your private lives and do nothing.

      Again…Thank you so much, Sandy!!

    • #72151 Reply
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      SupportOurConstitution

      Sandy, once again, (and I find my self saying that a lot) THANK. YOU.

      JJJJ, THANK. YOU.

      And if there are anyone else within this forum anonymously helping our cause as these two are, THANK. YOU., as well.

      I will be visiting my local sheriffs office this coming Tuesday.

      I plan on educating my deputy detective on the local sexual crimes that have occurred since the pandemic started.

      He will see with his own eyes, from a known “sex offender”, that these crimes were NOT perpetrated by me, a “known sex offender”.

      One story, I also included, is about a little girl in our area, who went missing for a while.
      She was later found hiding in an abandoned house in her neighborhood.

      …And she was fine.

      Praise God.

      No one…including me…sexually assaulted her.

      To anyone who would say, “S.O.C., that’s only a detective you’re talking to!”

      To them I would say, “Yes. It is.
      But, he will see reality.

      Not just “statistic numbers” in a report he might have read somewhere.”

      Also, “this detective has contacts. Men and women who enforce this law all the way to those who write this law.

      He will have concrete evidence in his own memory.

      The time that a “sex offender”…proved … that he wasnt..a sex offender.

      He will know that, in the event that he reads the statements this D.A. is speaking, or anyone else for that matter, are in fact, wrong.”

      And lastly, I would say this,
      “At least I’m trying.
      I’m trying to stop this law on behalf of everyone here and not just myself.

      ..Are you?”

    • #72154 Reply
      Avatar
      Rena

      What a great article Sandy. I wish it could be available for others to read., Not only those who belong to this organization. Perhaps the California Governor himself should be sent a copy of the letter. If these types of responses are not circulated somehow to the general public , the myths will continue and beliefs will not change.

    • #72157 Reply
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      TS Rohnevarg

      Owing to his rather strident protestations (and, the DA doth protest too much, me thinks), human nature and experience indicates there is little doubt that Todd Spritzer is clamoring mightily to deflect attention from what, at least his conscience seems to know, is clearly guilt over his own sexual misdoings. Whether he is secretly amassing child pornography, has molested young children in the past, or even been victim himself, it seems painfully evident that he is lashing out at those publicly identified with his own brand of perversion lest he himself be found out. I think it’s time to investigate Mr. Spitzer. If he belongs in jail for offenses against children, hopefully he will remain there the rest of his life, being as such deviants cannot be rehabilitated (by which I mean, those who spew vitriol at others for crimes of which they themselves are guilty).

    • #72169 Reply
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      Greg Welker

      This purposeful misleading public statement goes beyond just slander, but could be insightful for those already committing acts of violence, discrimination, and acts toward those on the registry.

    • #72182 Reply
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      Knife, fork, bottle, cork

      What this wackadoodle politician leaves out of his diatribe is that all these scary men had 6-month sentences and would be released by law anyway in 6 months.

    • #72184 Reply
      Avatar
      Claudia Wulff

      As a mother I am extremely worried about the corona virus in the US prisons. How many of our sons, fathers, brothers will have to die before any changes will be made to our outdated US prison system? How many of them, even if they survive, after spending years in an environment based on punishment rather than education and improvement, will reenter the “real World” a better person? A sex offender released from prison will not only be on the register for years to come, his where about is matter of public information. Do I want a sex offender residing in my neighborhood? Do I need to be concerned about the safety of my children? What about our property values? These are valid questions of the public. On the other hand, how can an ex sex or criminal offender ever become a member of our society? Will he/she be able to find a job? His record follows him no matter where he/she goes.
      Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion. This is the first time I ever heard about NARSOL. How did you get my name and email address?

    • #72188 Reply
      Avatar
      Tim in WI

      HE Rohnevarg,

      This Mr. Spitzer would not be the only DA lawyer type named Spitzer who’s been caught up in sex scandal. There is no cure for self promoting politically connected elitist lawyer types. They should all be treated to a good dose of humility.

    • #72193 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      Claudia, the only way you would have received this is if your email address had been entered into the “subscribe” function in the right-hand sidebar of this website. If you did not enter it yourself, a friend or relative or someone who felt you might benefit from getting our emails must have done it. Welcome to NARSOL; we hope you will explore the website and become even more involved with us.

    • #72196 Reply
      Avatar
      Jacob

      I was horrified to read, above, that one of them re-offended. I assumed that meant that perhaps a child had been abused. But instead, he exposed himself in the parole office. Allegedly. Which is illegal, but not what the public imagines when they see the headline about him. Are we really going to accept that seven people should be punished over one person’s re-offense?

      I accept Tom’s larger point, though. When we start to get someone interested in reforming or abolishing the registry, they also want to know what they’re supposed to to protect society from those few that ARE dangerous.

    • #72194 Reply
      Avatar
      GaReform

      I reached out to Josh Campbell who is the CNN contributor that did a story on this.
      I wrote to let him know that the “dangerous” offenders were serving time for failure to charge their GPS monitoring devices. I also explained how hard it is for some people to charge them if they’re homeless without access to a place where they can connect themselves to an outlet for several hours. And let’s not get started on how they malfunction!
      I did suggest that he reach out to NARSOL as a source for facts whenever he has a story involving a sex offense. There is too much uncontested misinformation out there that is being used by society & the legal system to target people who aren’t any more of a risk to reoffend than many other formerly convicted people.
      Thanks for being the voice of reason & fighting for the truth to be heard.

    • #72210 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      @ Jacob: The same way we protect ourselves from those who are dangerous in other areas of criminal activities.
      Personalized restrictions. Increased supervision and monitoring. Enhanced penalties and conditions. Lengthier prison terms if all else fails. And, for some, all else will fail. Just as it does for those in all areas of criminal activity.

      But when Tom robs a bank at gunpoint for the second time, having served a sentence for the first time, Tom is given a longer sentence. Everyone who has ever committed a robbery is not put on a publicly distributed list and forced to stay 1000 feet from banks, stores, gas stations, and any other place that could possibly be robbed.

    • #72212 Reply
      Avatar
      The Criminalized Man

      This guy is showing he’s just like Ron Book and similar “victim advocate” types who spend their spare time watching “Law and Order: SVU” reruns all day. They get off on it, and it warps their minds to want to harm RSO’s in real life. This TV show needs to be banned from broadcast, and it should be a felony to possess video recordings of it.

      NB, I’m not for censorship of ANY kind, and by writing the above I hold my nose and stoop to the level of these chowderheads. I hope it helps at least one of them think about what they believe, and ask themselves why.

    • #72218 Reply
      Avatar
      WC_TN

      This D.A.’s remarks were intentionally misleading and incendiary if you ask me. This man knows exactly what he was doing and what he was saying. He’s a disgusting hate-monger who, like a child, is squinting his eyes shut and plugging his ears with his fingers.

    • #72409 Reply
      Avatar
      R.Arens

      I still think it’s sad how the system declairs sex offenders as mentally disabled but the principal goal has always been to throw them in prison and lose the key. If it’s a mental issue like they say it is, wouldn’t the more humane and logical thing be to give a offender 5 years in a psychological institution over 5 years imprisonment? I’m just saying from personal experience, prison never did me any favors. It harmed more than it helped. It strips away the last shreds of dignity and humanity a guy has having to fight people just to survive another day all the while listening to the heckling and bs from day to day. God willing, you’d have a good support system when you get out after a decade because starting over is far from easy. I say I got lucky because I had absolutely no social skills what-so-ever when I got out and I was stuck having to make do in a state where I was a non-resident on a lengthy parole. I got a job and made things work. Now I don’t worry so much anymore. I just feel bad for those who are labeled wrong and misunderstood. God help them.

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