Notation: I would normally provide a link to the headlines and publications I reference, but to do so would continue displaying the abhorrent lists of registrants’ names and addresses on Patch, and so I am not providing links.
By Sandy . . . It was 2017 when NARSOL launched a formal protest against Patch for their practice of printing “red-dot” maps giving names and addresses, and sometimes photographs, of persons on the sex offense registry in the way of “safety warnings” to parents before their children go trick-or treating at Halloween.
It is now 2020. Are things better? Yes, they are.
Some articles give the actual facts about the risk of those on the registry, making it clear that they are highly unlikely to assault a random child – but that is farther down in the article, far below the lede and the opening paragraphs that imply otherwise.
Some carry a link to our 2017 press release – labeled “Sex Offender Advocates Object To Local Mapping Of Registered Sex Criminals.” Wow. We do not advocate for “sex offenders.” We advocate for laws based on facts and evidence, for policies that support successful rehabilitation, restoration, and reintegration, and for the civil rights of persons required to register. And with few exceptions, the men, women, and children on those registries are not criminals. They are living law-abiding lives, taking care of their families, doing their best to contribute to their society.
Fewer states print these types of articles, and this year, for the first time and after an early press release signed by over 200 researchers, academics, treatment providers, including ATSA, and many others, some states have disassociated their maps and articles from Halloween.
Instead, they are, in Connecticut under a large heading giving the number of registrants in the town, announcing “Autumn is a good time to take inventory of who is living in your neighborhood. Here is an updated list of sex offenders living in Newtown.”
Massachusetts, rather than labeling their articles “Halloween safety maps,” call them instead “2020 safety maps” and use the number of registrants in the town in the same headline.
And Illinois – ah, Illinois. Illinois, in spite of the press release, in spite of the plethora of research and documentation showing no connection between sexual offending and Halloween, has chosen to continue the maps and articles under the guise of Halloween safety. If they don’t do it in the lede – “Find out where registered sex offenders are living in Glenview before the kids go out trick or treating” – they bring it up somewhere in the article, often the first paragraph.
I have written individual Patch writers and editors. One nice man wrote back, telling me I would need to contact the “higher-ups” as they were told to run the articles.
I was already in the process of emailing those “higher-ups,” and I have also contacted regional editors for the three states that are thus far running the stories.
Except for the one nice man, they won’t answer me.
So . . . I am giving you their names and email addresses. If you live in any one of the three named states, email the editor or editors for that state. Anyone can email the chief executives. Be nice; be polite; explain how this affects you and your family.
Tweet it out for others in those states to see. Share it on Facebook.
Let Patch hear from hundreds, thousands of us.
Dennis Robaugh email@example.com
Todd Richissin firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Hale email@example.com
If anyone can find the email for CEO Warren St. John, please share it.
CT editor: Chris Dehnel – Chris is the only CN editor’s email I have, and I am removing his as he has published pieces that are all facts and quotes from my letter to him. He still prints a list of registrants — bad! — but he is paying attention to us.
Amie Schaenzer firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric DeGrechie email@example.com
MA editor: Dave Copeland firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, you can go to any of the Patch articles about this and place comments.
Also, additionally, I will be adding other states and their editors as they join in. New Hampshire and New Jersey just did, but I will give them the opportunity to reply to me.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, 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.