While it is a matter of Semantics, as one radio host states, Words have Meaning. Thus our everyday lexicon reinforces the tag we are labeled with… Sex Offender. Unless you are currently offending, you are not a sex offender. You are someone who committed a sexual offense at a point in your life. An episode of misbehavior is exactly that… an episode in (hopefully) a long life… we should not be burdened with a descriptive adjective that is not currently part of our personality.
If 20 years ago, one was picked up for a DUI, does that make them forever a drunk? If two decades ago I performed some construction work, but have changed jobs long ago… would I be described as a construction worker? If you lived in Ohio for a year two decades ago, are you an Ohioan?
Stating that someone is a sex offender brings a past action or behavior into the present as if it is still occurring. This is a distraction and a misrepresentation perpetuated to instill fear upon a clueless public. Official recidivism statistics bear this point out.
A few years ago I saw a report of how the FBI categorizes me…. as a Non-Predator. This same information is likely available for all who have been convicted of a sex offense. Isn’t that determination more informational then just blindly labelling everyone who essentially made a mistake? The Tier system may attempt to achieve that, but it is based more on the actual conviction charge rather than the facts of the case. There are some offenders out there that likely should be on a registry for public safety, but they are the exception not the rule. Further, as long as drug dealers (69% recidivism) and the like are not included on a registry as those who continue to pose a danger to society – then the registry is worthless.