This blog holds various articles and research referenced by other blogs and articles. This blog is likened to a Topical Personal Archive. Article dates will be original date of news or research. Blog also contains "Informational" posts.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Grandma Reflects on Sex Offender Laws: “My Husband Would Have Gone to Jail”

8-7-15 Anywhere USA:

Following up on the Zach Anderson case — the 19 year old on the Sex Offender Registry for 25 years for having consensual sex with a girl who said she was 17 (but was really 14) — comes this grandma’s letter. The Sex Offender Registry is a Free-Range issue because it grows out of the belief our kids are in constant danger and it perpetuates that belief, by making many non-threatening people like Zach into scary dots on the “maps of local sex offenders.” These are the maps many parents consult when deciding if they can let their kids walk outside or wait at the bus stop, or really have any unsupervised time at all. It is hard to let your kids roam the neighborhood if you are convinced it is an off-site wing of Sing-Sing.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I hope this young man gets a reprieve from this unjust law. Unfortunately, there are hundreds if not thousands in his and his families situation. I live in California, and while there are laws that restrict those whose age difference is only three years apart, the age of consent is 18, So if the girl is 17 (but looks 25, and has a fake ID) , and the male is 20/21, he is considered a sex offender. It doesn’t even have to involve sex, a touch (hug/kiss) is considered lewd conduct. Yes, our friends son spent time in prison for this! His life is over.

Our registry is life time. Forever. Most go to prison, not jail. We have over 100,000 on our registry. So, there is no way to know who is possibly a danger, because it is saturated, and some pictures may look like it was a dirty old man, but the offense may have been committed 30 or 40 years ago when the now old-looking man was 19 or 20.

And our tax dollars are being used to support these laws. No one can even tell us how much this is costing the tax payer, while our education system, infrastructure, water systems, etc. decay.

They can’t find housing (no one will rent to them), they can’t get jobs (no one will hire them), they are shunned by society. And yet it’s become the best way for politicians to get votes, by using them as pawns.

The general public has no idea what is happening, nor do they care if it happens to be someone who committed a sexual offense, but they ought to be concerned because someday it might be their son and their family torn apart over what a few decades ago was considered normal behavior.

I was just 16 when I met my husband of 21. Today, he would be considered a sex offender. I wonder what would have become of us if we had these laws back then. We have been successful, happily married for well over 40 years with children and grand-children. My grandfather is in a Hall of Fame, yet he married my grandmother while she was just 15, he being 20! People say, “Well that was different back then”. Really? I don’t believe that human behavior changes just because we are in a different century.

Yes, we need to protect the innocent, but let’s do that by ensuring only those that truly are a risk to our safety are prosecuted. This has become the biggest cash cow of our century.

– Jill

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Elkhart teen Zach Anderson’s sex offender status changes his daily life, raises broader questions about registry

7-31-15 Indiana, Michigan:

Zach Anderson can’t be near a computer anymore. He can’t own or use a smartphone, and his family had to use a screwdriver to knock the camera off his new flip phone.

The Elkhart 19-year-old can’t use the Internet for five years, but his legally required web presence on the sex offender registry will affect the rest of his life.

Anderson must register as a sex offender for the next 25 years after being convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Michigan — a misdemeanor offense that will be public record at least as long as he has to register.

In December, Anderson had sex with a 14-year-old girl who told him she was 17 and whom he met through a dating app. Both teens say the encounter was consensual. A judge in Berrien County, Mich., sentenced Anderson to 90 days in prison, five years on probation and 25 years on the sex offender registry.

Anderson served 90 days in Berrien County Jail and was released Thursday, July 9. By the following Saturday, he was a registered sex offender in Indiana.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Myths and research on sex offender registries

5-16-15 National:

Studies show that while public sex offender registries sound like a good way to keep a community safe, the numbers tell a different story. And widely held beliefs turn out to be myths — among the more prevalent is that most sex offenders are pedophiles who might snatch a child from a park or bus stop.

Here are the myths, and the research that debunks them.

■ Sex offenders are among criminals most likely to re-offend.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics examined 9,691 sex offenders from 15 states and found that 5.3% were arrested within three years of being released from prison, compared with 73.8% of those who committed property crimes and 66.7% of those convicted of drug offenses. The number drops even lower with the passage of time, with the majority of the new crimes committed within five years of release.

■ Most sexual assaults are committed by a stranger.

"Stranger danger" is rare. Studies show about 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their assailant, about 34.3% are family members, and 58.7% friends or acquaintances, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Think All Pedophiles Need to Register as Sex Offenders? You're Wrong

7-8-15 National:

How can someone who had consensual sex with a person who misrepresented her age end up on the sex offender registry for life? The case of Zachery Anderson has many asking if sex offender registries are fair. In the New York Times William Buhl said, "The whole registry is a horrible mistake. I think it is utterly ridiculous to take teenage sex and make it a felony. This guy is obviously not a pedophile."

There is a scenario even more troubling than Anderson's. Can someone who committed a sexual crime against a child not have to register as a sex offender? Yes, and it happens every day in Maryland where people who committed sex crimes before 1996 do not need to register regardless of when they were sentenced or released from prison.

I became aware of this troubling reality in September 2014 at the sentencing of my perpetrator, Christopher Huott, who sexually abused me for years starting when I was seven. Since the crimes took place in the 1980s my perpetrator was sentenced under those guidelines, which were more lenient than today's statutes. There was also no sex offender registry in place when he was sexually abusing me. So, when Mr. Huott is released from prison -- in as little as two years -- he will not have to register as an offender.