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Gingersnap
05-12-2010, 12:25 PM
How Your Son Could End Up on the Sex Offender List
by Lenore Skenazy (Subscribe to Lenore Skenazy's posts) May 11th 2010 11:00AM

Categories: Safety, In The News, Opinions

Let's say your son turns 18. He gets a job at the local carnival, running the ride where the kids lie face down and spin around till they shriek with delight (or puke). Before each ride he has to buckle the kids in so they don't fly out. But then -- tragedy strikes.

Oh, don't worry. Nobody goes flying. They're buckled just fine. But one girl does tell her mother, "He touched my bottom!"

The mom alerts the police.

The police come over and ask, "Is that true?" Your son replies, "Maybe. I have to lock the bar around their waists and between their legs. They squirm. It could have happened."

The next day the police take him in for questioning. They ask him the same thing, this time with the videotape running. He gives them the same answer.

It is considered his confession. He is convicted of "Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child." He goes to jail for nine months. He is put on the Sex Offender Registry -- for life.

Meantime, a few years later, your younger son is now 18. He's at the urinal in the school bathroom during a weekend service project. A girl too young to read bursts in and he yells, "Out out out! Get out!" She starts crying and leaves. Her mom is concerned. The police are called. Was he in the men's room with a girl?

Well, yes. Since everyone agrees the girl was not touched, he is convicted of "Visual Sexual Aggression Against a Child" -- the crime of having a child see his genitals. He does six months in jail. He's placed on the Sex Offender Registry for the next 10 years.

Let us remember this when we look up our local sex offender maps and see two convicts: One who ostensibly exposes himself to children and one who ostensibly assaults them.

We consult those maps because, as parents, we are hardwired to worry about our children. We worry about them getting hurt by strangers. But few of us worry about them getting hurt by strange laws that can put a young man behind bars for touching a child, even accidentally, on the bottom, in public, with everyone's clothes on. Or for having a child, even accidentally, glimpse his private parts.

I spoke to the actual mom of these two young men. She's a fishing net-maker in Maine and she put it pretty succinctly: "We're all just one accusation away from the sex offender registry."

Food for thought.

Parent Dish (http://www.parentdish.com/2010/05/11/how-your-son-could-end-up-on-the-sex-offender-list/)

noonwitch
05-12-2010, 12:53 PM
I told the dirty old man at the pool the last time he tried to feel me up in the jacuzzi that for the moment, he's just on my list, but if he ever touches me again, I'll make sure he gets on the list that keeps trick-or-treaters away from his house. This was after I had previously told him "I can do better than you, I can be alone".


I don't think the list is the problem in this case, the problem is with over-zealous police and prosecutors. The registry is good for tracking the predators.

Gingersnap
05-12-2010, 01:08 PM
I told the dirty old man at the pool the last time he tried to feel me up in the jacuzzi that for the moment, he's just on my list, but if he ever touches me again, I'll make sure he gets on the list that keeps trick-or-treaters away from his house. This was after I had previously told him "I can do better than you, I can be alone".


I don't think the list is the problem in this case, the problem is with over-zealous police and prosecutors. The registry is good for tracking the predators.

The police and prosecutors are bound by the law and the law has zero-tolerance. I don't see what good these lists do when half the people on them are (or were) hapless drunks, high school chums, or public urinators.

FlaGator
05-12-2010, 01:12 PM
R.I.P.
Common Sense
It died long before its time.

noonwitch
05-12-2010, 01:45 PM
The police and prosecutors are bound by the law and the law has zero-tolerance. I don't see what good these lists do when half the people on them are (or were) hapless drunks, high school chums, or public urinators.


In the cases in the article, I see no mention of any defense lawyers. Didn't the guys get a hearing?

These types of accusations get made at any treatment facility for teenage girls, whenever a male staff is involved in restraining a child-well, at least the first type, with the accidental touching. Then the girl will claim it's sexual abuse, and the whole thing has to be investigated by the Bureau of Child Welfare Licensing, or whatever they are calling themselves these days. If they find evidence that supports the girls story, they send their investigation to the local police, who are usually doing a concurrent investigation of the same charges.

Gingersnap
05-12-2010, 03:05 PM
In the cases in the article, I see no mention of any defense lawyers. Didn't the guys get a hearing?

These types of accusations get made at any treatment facility for teenage girls, whenever a male staff is involved in restraining a child-well, at least the first type, with the accidental touching. Then the girl will claim it's sexual abuse, and the whole thing has to be investigated by the Bureau of Child Welfare Licensing, or whatever they are calling themselves these days. If they find evidence that supports the girls story, they send their investigation to the local police, who are usually doing a concurrent investigation of the same charges.

A treatment facility might have some type of procedures to protect guards or caregivers but the rest of the world doesn't. It's the kid's word against the guy.

I just don't see how these lists help anything. Most real sexual abuse is committed by people the child knows very well: relatives, mother's lovers, teachers, or family "friends". Most predators groom their victims over time. How is the guy who got caught banging the 16 year old girl when he was 21 going to be threat to the average 10 year old?

You could actually impact child sexual abuse by making it a crime for single mothers to allow men who aren't the biological father of the child into their homes when the child is present. I'm not saying that's a good idea but it sure would have more of a problem-solving impact than these lists and registries.

KhrushchevsShoe
05-12-2010, 03:37 PM
This is what happens when you let lawyers run your country for so long. Everything is letigated and, like FlaGator pointed out, it becomes about how you can interpret the law instead of how the law was meant to be interpreted.

KAGAN FOR THE SCOTUS!! WHOOO (groan)

PoliCon
05-12-2010, 06:12 PM
If they would just simply lock up the actual monsters and keep them locked up - there wouldn't be an issue. People would not be paranoid about this kind of stuff. But since the left insists that we let them back out on the streets after they've "paid their debt" parents are afraid that every stranger they meet might be someone who wants to molest their little angel. :rolleyes:

noonwitch
05-13-2010, 09:14 AM
A treatment facility might have some type of procedures to protect guards or caregivers but the rest of the world doesn't. It's the kid's word against the guy.

I just don't see how these lists help anything. Most real sexual abuse is committed by people the child knows very well: relatives, mother's lovers, teachers, or family "friends". Most predators groom their victims over time. How is the guy who got caught banging the 16 year old girl when he was 21 going to be threat to the average 10 year old?

You could actually impact child sexual abuse by making it a crime for single mothers to allow men who aren't the biological father of the child into their homes when the child is present. I'm not saying that's a good idea but it sure would have more of a problem-solving impact than these lists and registries.



It does protect the children of single mothers who are dating to some degree. The mother can check out her prospective suitors. I checked my neighborhood out before I bought my house-I found the brother of one of my old college friends on the list! I know people check it before they take their kids out on Halloween. It gives a new criteria for parolees to adhere to, and grounds to send them back to prison if they fail to register or keep their addresses updated. It shouldn't be for those cases of 18 year olds with 16 year old girlfriends. The example of a 21 year old with a 16 year old girlfriend is a different matter, especially if he is providing her with alcohol to "get her in the mood".

I still think the problem in these examples is with the prosecution and police end of things. Questioning children is never an easy thing, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is over zealous adults can put words and ideas into their mouths that weren't there to begin with. The McMartin day care case is an excellent example of that.