Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NY - Sex offender registry not the way to protect children

Original Article


I live with a good and decent man. He is a loving and caring person and he is my fiancé. He is also a registered sex offender.

I was therefore horrified and heartbroken to read the letter from Cathy DuBois, where she pleads with parents to check the registry so they can see where all the “monsters” live.

I have no doubt that her letter came from a place in her heart that cares deeply for the safety of our children. It is not surprising, considering that all registered sex offenders are frequently painted with the same broad brush of the worst serial pedophiles and child abductors. Those emotional and tragic stories obscure the fact that most registrants have nothing in common with these most heinous offenders.

Ms. Dubois’ letter is rooted in the mistaken belief that registrants will commit a new sex crime. She most likely doesn’t know that sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of all crimes other than murder – typically ranging from 3% to 10% depending on the study.

My fiancée is on the registry for a juvenile offense involving incest, the sub-set of offenders with the lowest recidivism rate of all. As a minor himself, he engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with his half-sister. Years from now, when we have the children we hope for, will they also have to endure the stigma, hatred and fear of reprisal we already feel every day (Video, Video, Video)? Letters like Ms. Dubois’ make me concerned for our future, and terrified for ourselves and the millions of other family members who have a loved one on the registry.

The media’s mischaracterizations of all people on the registry and subsequent public reactions are becoming dangerous hate speech with a growing number of tragic consequences.

In June, a vigilante in Washington killed two registered sex offenders and told police he was going to keep going until he was caught. Having slain people who have been cast as monsters, he thought of himself as a hero. He murdered Jerry Ray, the primary care giver to his elderly father and Gary Blanton, who left behind his wife and two young boys.

There are challenges to loving a registered sex offender, and I do my best to leave those challenges outside and feel safe and secure in the comfort of the home we just bought together. But at times I am jolted in the back of my mind when I wonder if a letter like Ms. DuBois’ will be the tipping point for a sick mind in our town… and bring a true monster to our door.


Shana Rowan
Executive Director

No comments :