Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NY - Letter: Focus on the facts about sex offenders

Original Article


By Shana Rowan (Blog, Facebook)

I am the fiancee to a sex offender (crime committed at age 12) and registry reform advocate — and am still attempting to understand why a registrant providing an incorrect address is considered “news.” Particularly when it has yet to be determined whether or not the mistake was intentional, it sounds much more likely that Councilwoman (Rose Mary) Christian was eagerly awaiting an opportunity to get her name in the paper. (“Christian: Sex offender picked the wrong address,” story, Sept. 11.)

Instead of giving a politician with a clear, admitted bias a platform from which to crow her bigotry, why not use this as an opportunity to enlighten readers about some of the lesser-known facts regarding sex offenders and sex crime?

Christian openly admits that she won’t give sex offenders a second chance. Other than crying to the paper, making sure to highlight her personal disdain for registrants, where is her solution? It might feel good to make life difficult for registrants, but as public policy, it is disastrous. Doesn’t she know that homelessness, lack of access to treatment and support systems, and inability to support ones’ self have all been proven to be factors in increasing recidivism? These things have all been clearly documented, and it would have been prudent to include this in your article.

Many sex offenders have not victimized children and are not (have never been) violent. Children themselves make up over a third of all perpetrators of sex crimes against other children. Are we to throw them under the bus as well? Many registrants have families and children of their own, whose safety is put at risk every day due to the ignorance and selfishness of people like Councilwoman Christian. We don’t often hear from them, since for the most part, they are bullied into silence. Recidivism rates for sex offenders are in the single digits and have been since before the registry. New York-based researcher Dr. Jeffrey Sandler found that 96 percent of sex crimes are committed by someone not on the registry — and just as many are perpetrated by family or an acquaintance known to the victim, not a stranger.

What good can it possibly do for our communities if our elected officials repeatedly insist on using anecdote and emotion, rather than empirical research, as the premise for legislation?

Shana Rowan



kiokwus said...

Politicians do not want empirical data. Rather, they do want to create the almighty fear factor so they can show the sheeple public they are doing something worthwhile, while in fact, does the direct opposite. Why should this hate filled person desire to do the right thing when it is so much easier to do the wrong?

Tacami said...

I register sex offenders in NC. I can tell you more than 1/2 are what I call "The Lusty Boys" ...girlfriend too young...parents find out....Poof...on the registry for life. Not everyone is under the same umbrella!

Craig Elder said...

Your article was published in The New York Daily News! You’re my hero. KUDOS!!! I call this "hitting the nail on the head." Thank you for lessening the ignorance.

James McLoving said...

Her partner was a 12 year old boy when he committed his sex offense. His life is ruined. Rose Mary Christian should take into account that this could happen to any 12yo boy. I heard of a 20yo guy whose neighbors are alerted to the fact he molested a 10yo girl... what they are not told is that it happened 10 years prior (he was 10 also) and they were playing doctor.

It's so sad to see lives ruined. Bad enough if a real molester does their time and then has to wear it forever, but these cases are just sheer misery.