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December 30, 2007

New sex offender realities in Ohio

The Cincinnati Enquirer has this effective article, headlined "Sex offenders face tougher rules," discussing the realities surrounding a new sex offender law in Ohio.  Here are excerpts:

Ohio’s 25,000 sex offenders got a big surprise earlier this month when the state told them that starting Jan. 1 they will have to register longer than they previously thought, and in many cases they’ll have to register more often.

Nearly one third will go from registering addresses with the sheriff’s office in the county where they live annually for 10 years to having to register every 90 days for life.  Most others will have five years tacked onto their 10-year reporting requirement, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  The tougher requirements — although controversial — are designed to keep better tabs on sex offenders, a group that moves often and frequently crosses state lines. 

The closer scrutiny comes at a price, because registrations will nearly double, creating more work for sheriff’s offices, which are charged with making sure the addresses are correct and tracking down those who don’t register.

In passing the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, state lawmakers say they are making communities safer.  But critics say it’s a false sense of security because most offenders are people the victim already knows.... David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center who works to reform the criminal justice system, said the law is unconstitutional. Amelia Orr, executive director of Community Counseling & Crisis Center in Butler County, which handles that county’s rape crisis program, called the registry a scare tactic that gives people a “superficial sense of security.”...

December 30, 2007 at 08:43 AM | Permalink

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The latest legislative trends in America only serve to demonstrate the bull-headedness of Americans in general. The sex offender registries do NOTHING to protect the public. In fact, it only makes people paranoid of offenders that have paid their debt, and are less likely to re-offend. The offenders to worry about are those that have never been apprehended. Legitimate statistics are showing that sex offenders are among the least likely to re-offend among all other criminal types. The public humiliating and discrimination only undermines their rehabilitation, and may prove at some point to spark some very serious violence from them in the future. What's needed most for offenders of children is to be able to establish age appropriate adult relationships, but the Registration with Public Notification undermines that altogether. The latest trend to restrict residency is another travesty. It's completely unconstitutional, but overlooked as applied to sex offenders. Is Justice for ALL another American fraud?
You may think you're an American for supporting such fascist and hypocritical measures, but believe me, you're not. If your opinions are not based on fact, or even the best available evidence, then you need to get an education! There's quite an article about this on Human Rights Watch. These sensationalized measures are a disgrace to our Government, and to the people of this Country. These laws are indeed ex-post-facto and double jeopardy violations. The Supreme Court can fudge its interpretations of our forefathers intent all they want. The fact is, we're all losing civil rights, one class at a time. I feel bad for victims of sexual abuse. I am one such victim. But this is getting silly if not retarded. I cannot blame anyone but the man that abused me as a child. I don't believe that I have the right to take it out on every offender in the Country. Sex offenders are easy targets. They are weakened by their prison experience, and therefore vulnerable to attacks by a vigilante American Public. Sounds a lot like things Americans fought wars over in the past doesn't it? I guess the new premise for everything in this country is: "two wrongs make a right." The red herrings, slippery slopes, and black and whites being fed to Americans as reliable information is a crime.
Sorry, but I completely disagree with these new laws, and feel that anyone supporting these measures has no respect for Justice at all. Stereotypes, sensationalism and hypocrisy are what we're all about today. It's a damn shame!
Come on people, wake up!

Posted by: Walter | Jan 1, 2008 12:56:11 AM

thank you walter...reading your response gives me hope that not everyone in this country has completely lost their minds....i read this site all the time and am always amazed at the lack of outcry from other readers who one would imagine would be fairly educated with an interest in justice and the law....it is a sad time in america as we legislate our way into oblivion...

Posted by: jamie | Jan 1, 2008 1:31:25 AM

I dont know if I have every heard of anything more crazy than this. I dont like sex offenders. However is this not the united states of america. How can you just add to someones sentence 10 years later, It makes no since. Law makers will do anything to gain votes.

Also as for the comments of Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Megan Shanahan. You can tell that she is just like the rest of the uneducated people out there who like to put every offender in One class. Her comment was "These People" Need to be put on a leash.

I feel we need a new Assistant Prosecutor because of her comments. A Sex offender who had some girl lie about her age and get a boy in trouble when he was 19 years and touch some girls breast should not be in the same class as someone who rapes little kids.

However she showed her ignorance by saying "These People" I am amazed How some of these people have jobs after saying such and uneducated comment like that.

Im sorry but if someone like the guy I know went out on a date to meet some girl and the girl lied about her age and they only thing that happend was he touched her breast then and that person did 30 days in jail and 300 hours of community service and has registered as a sex offender for 9 of his 10 years without getting into any kind of trouble then that person should in no way shape or form have more time added to there sentence for the same crime that happend way long ago.

I move for a common since law to be past that says that once you do your time they cant add to your sentence after the fact. "Oh wait, They already have that" Its called the
ex-post-facto and double jeopardy violations. However when we continue to hire unqualified people for positions like Hamilton County Prosecutor (Megan Shanahan) who is just speaking like every other politician trying to gain popularity with the public by violating peoples right should tell you about the person they are and that there only out there for them self and they dont care about what is actualy right

Posted by: stephanie | Jan 1, 2008 1:53:33 AM

I recently outlined the circumstances of two events. The first was based on the best estimate of a County Attorney as to the charges he believes would be brought by our County prosecutor for a 20 year old man, dating a 14 year old girl (she appeared much older), who resisted his advances, began beating her up forcing her to the ground and breaking her arm.

The outline of the charges and resulting penalties took one paragraph to describe. (attempted assault, open class 6 felony, one year probation, reduced to a misdemeanor and usually dismissed after completing counseling and anger management classes with no additional legal problems)

The second was of the same age young man and girl, who appeared much older, where there was consensual touching on two occasions. (Petting, no sex) After 25 paragraphs describing the charges, resulting penalties, which included one year in jail, lifetime probation, lifetime therapy, lifetime registration as a sex offender, yearly testing requirements (which he pays for), attendance at a weekly group sex class (which he pays for), requirement for being chaperoned by a trained individual (his wife, who had to attend months of the most sexually explicit demeaning classes, which she paid for) so he can go to Church, the movies, a mall or a school, neighborhood notification flyers and internet posting of his name and address with a note that has a moderate to high risk of re-offending, plus the experience his family has had to endure of accusations from police, prosecutors, probation and therapists of their complicity in his "crime" and their unwillingness to accept him as a child molester, a deviant, a predator, I came to this conclusion: RATHER THAN HAVE HAD A LOVING CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIP, HE SHOULD HAVE JUST BEATEN HER AND THIS NOW LIFETIME NIGHTMARE WOULD BE OVER!!!!

Labeling certain inappropriate behavior by many young people as criminal, placing them into the criminal justice system with all the implications wrought by laws passed to "protect the children" is unjust and criminal itself.

In our county the prosecutor, as you can see, is very tough on "sex crimes". What he does not realize is that if he prosecutes several hundred of these type of "sex crimes" a year, there are several thousand unreported. Most of these young people go on to productive lives without the stigma of having been accused of a "sex crime".

As my grandson stated from his experience in his first place of incarceration: of the 90 men he was housed with, he identified within a very short time the 5 or 6 he came to believe were true deviants and potential child molesters.

Labeling every "sex crime" offender as a "sex offender" tends to hide the fact that there are deviants and multiple child molesters in our communities acting out their perversions, but because of the vast numbers labeled as sex offenders, they tend to be hidden as the system, in attempting to deal with every sex offender, cannot and does not focus on those who are most dangerous.

My opinion as a grandfather having watched this process over the last two years. Many are working to modify the laws and the system currently in place, but it is a slow process because legislators generally do not want to be called soft on sex offenders. I could go on, but you can tell from this my frustration with what has and is happening to my grandson.


Posted by: Brent | Jan 2, 2008 3:56:57 PM

My husband is a sex offender and I completely agree that this is unfair to the offenders who have paid there dues. why punish people who have already paid there dues. who are these people to overhand what judges say. if the judge says they should only have to register for 10 years then so be it. I think if they want to make this a law then it should be for the offenders who are just getting out of prison. I don't think that this is fair at all. All of this is double standards. The judge who gives the sentence should be the only one who has the say so. It is stupid stuff like this that helped me decide to study criminal justice. maybe I can help someone else who is innocent like my husband is.

Posted by: Nikki | Jan 4, 2008 9:49:35 PM

These discussions concerning sex offenses are relevant , but the real issue here is Contitutional rights. Our rights as American citizens are slowly being eroded away like so much dirt from the river bank. Sadly , our government has taken on the way of communism , in that you do not have the right to plead your case once you have been convicted and served your time. In fact, the State of Ohio and many other states have violated "due process" in resentencing people without a court hearing , which is a clear violation of The United States Constitution. For the State to sentence anyone without a court trial where the offender is not represented by legal counsel , is in fact according to communist manefesto and is in direct violation of the United states Constitution. Gone are the days of the '60s when people in this country stood up against the powers that be.

Posted by: kevin | Jan 20, 2008 8:17:46 AM

Does anyone know the name of someone of power that is trying to fight this injustice? I guess I'm looking for a really good attorney for the father of my child. He was in a similar scenario as the previous mentioned situations at age 20. Served 9 1/2 years and now age 35 should only have 4 years left to report on an annual basis. This new "law" is now going to make him have to register for the rest of his life. This does not only affect the offenders, but also the family and friends of the offenders. We have an 18 month old daughter together that he isn't allowed to be alone with. Even though we are no longer together (because of his past and I have two other children that are not his) I know he loves his daughter and he is be deprived of his right to be a father. He has to make sure that he has an adult with him just to spend a few hours with her. Not only that, but when she gets older and wants to visit her father she will have to go to his house where he is registered as a sex offender or not be allowed to go there because of the same. This is so upsetting. I was hoping that by the time she was old enough to know anything that he would not have to register anymore and could spend real quality time with his daughter like every good father has the right to have. He loves her and she loves him but his status has been a wedge in their relationship and now this new law will make it almost impossible for them to have a normal father/daughter relationship. My heart breaks for the embarrassment my baby will no doubtly feel someday and for her fathers loss at the chance to really show how much love he has to give her. Please if anyone can help me find the best representation for him it would mean everything to a father and daughters future. Thank you.

Posted by: Kerri | Feb 1, 2008 1:37:26 PM

I'm with the others in being over-classed by the poor education of the State Lawmakers, as is my wife, this is a public outrage, and does nothing but paints a "bulls-eye" on our heads for longer than our Judges already have.
They would have been somewhat educated sounding if they'd said "This new law applies for persons being released after **** date", but, they didn't, they went above and beyond Our sentencing Judges belief, and ruling, and took the law into their own hands, thusforth, obliterating the U.S. constitutional rights.
But....try to find an attorney for this...."Yeah, RIGHT!!" They want an arm, and a leg, and then your very life to TRY to help you. Therefore, I move that ALL felonies be mandated for registration for a minimum of 20 years.
I want to know if there's a robber, drug dealer, or murderer living in my neighborhood !! If they can get eccentric, why can't I?
And as far as us being able to live in peace, forget it! I've had people, NOW GET THIS...(KIDS) paint "Sex Offender" on my newly vinyled house....NOW who's wrong, and who's right?
And yes, it is DOUBLE-JEOPARDY, Breaching Contract, and ex-post facto does apply, but, who's got the $$ to fight these idiots?

Posted by: Stupidly confused | Jan 22, 2009 3:55:49 PM

Myself, and my wife are registered sex offenders...oh, and get this, she's legally blind, and was accused of raping, and ultimately convicted of molesting her daughter, just for wiping her.

Posted by: Stupidly confused | Jan 22, 2009 3:58:11 PM

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