May 15, 2012
"Can a sex-offender ever have a fresh start?"
The question in the title of this post is the headline of this notable commentary by Ronnie Polaneczky appearing in the Philadelphia Daily News. Here is how it begins:
Twenty-seven years ago, Dale Bickerstaff did a horrible thing. He was strung out on crack, so he’s sketchy on the details. But he admits he had sex with a female acquaintance whose apartment he broke into, with a friend, to steal a TV.
Bickerstaff maintains that the sex he had with the acquaintance, who was at home, was consensual. The victim and the court disagreed, and he went to jail in 1985 for rape. He was released from prison in 2001 eager for a fresh start. But a fresh start, he has learned, is often impossible once potential employers learn that you’ve been imprisoned for a sex crime.
“They say, ‘You can’t work here; you’re a rapist,’” says Bickerstaff, 52, who was recently offered good custodial jobs by two employers — including the Philadelphia International Airport — that then canceled the offers once his long-ago conviction came to light. “No one takes the time to know you. They see you on the Internet [sex-offender registry] and they slam the door.”
I won’t lie. When Bickerstaff asked me to tell his story, I flinched. What employer in his right mind, I wondered, would knowingly hire a convicted rapist? If something terrible happened, the employer would be held liable for a negligent hiring. And I can’t imagine many employees would happily work alongside Bickerstaff once they learned of his past.
Then again, the rape was in 1985, Bickerstaff did his time, and he hasn’t had a single infraction since leaving prison 12 years ago. So he has more than paid his debt to society. He has also married a good woman whose five grown children and grandchildren have provided him a level of stability and support he says he has never known.
What more does he need to convince an employer that he’s worth a chance? “Honestly, there’s no easy answer,” says William Hart, director of the city’s Re-Integration Services for Ex-offenders (RISE). The program helps newly released inmates who are most likely to re-offend (overwhelmingly, young men) find community and social supports to prevent them from re-terrorizing the public.
But RISE doesn’t work with either sex offenders or arsonists because the program hasn’t the professional staff to deal with clinical issues specific to those offenders. Still, Hart believes that Bickerstaff’s conviction, as time goes on, will play less and less a role in his employment.
Megan Dade, director of the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, is not so sure. “The problem is that many people still believe that ‘once a sex offender, always a sex offender,’ even though new research shows that for many people that is just not the case,” says Dade, whose board evaluates sex offenders for the courts.
Her organization is working to refine the state’s classification of sex offenders to distinguish those likely to re-offend from those who probably won’t. But she knows that, no matter the classification, sex offenders face huge employment hurdles. “It’s not easy for any former inmate to find work, especially in this economy,” she says. “For a sex offender, it’s doubly hard.”
But this local story, headlined "Registered sex offender wins election in small Texas town," reveals that at least in some places and with some jobs, a registered sex offender can get a second chance. Here are the basics:
Everywhere you look in Skellytown, there are signs of support for Warren "Red" Mills, which is why him winning one of the two open seats should come as no surprise.
But Mills is a registered sex offender with a history that includes jail time for sexual contact without consent and probation for separate allegations of sexual contact with two minors. That made him an unlikely candidate for city office. But according to city officials, Mills is allowed to hold the position because he does not have a felony conviction.
Some residents still don't like it. Some say it was inappropriate for him to run in the first place and even more inappropriate for him to win. Others are disappointed. But his supporters say he is a good man who will do good things for their city.
May 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM | Permalink
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I love this article......Thanks for sharing it Doug!!!
Why not have this man run for office. Couldn't cause any harm at all. And, he's more than likely going to do a better job than most politician's we have seen lately.
I'll bet he can show his Birth Certificate!
I'll bet he can prove he's a U.S. Citizen!
I'll bet he will do everything possible to keep his campaign promises!
His past will only effect his job if his constituents keep putting it in front of his face.
Posted by: Book38 | May 15, 2012 5:56:49 PM
article: "But he admits he had sex with a female acquaintance whose apartment he broke into, with a friend, to steal a TV.
Bickerstaff maintains that the sex he had with the acquaintance, who was at home, was consensual"
me: and this explains why Mr. Bickerstaff should not be allowed to have a fresh start - he is an absolutely unrepentant rapist who continues to maintain an absolutely riduculous defense even after his conviction.
Now I am not against rapists ever getting a second chance - however, there should be signs that they actually have remorse for their actions and have taken steps to prevent them from reoccurring. The burden should be placed on sex offenders to show that they have changed before they receive a second chance. The presumption for rapists and icky pervs should be that they always remain dangerous unless there is reason to suspect that they have made legitimate efforts to change through drug treatment, counseling, and voluntarily receiving surgical castration and removal of their penis.
Posted by: Erika | May 15, 2012 6:06:03 PM
the comments from erica are disturbing. any person regardless of his crime deserves a 2nd chance in this country. the rules and requirements are too difficult to satisfy in order to get off registry or downgraded. better news - in the absence of any proof that Megan's Law, Jessica's Law, Jacob Wetterling Act, Public Notification, and CORI do not prevent future crimes we save the $1.5 billion dollars and let all of these people get another chance in life. The reason our founding fathers fought for independence was so that all people including ones who made a mistake one time deserve freedom, independence, and a home of his own. Consider the thought of allowing 747,000 people an opportunity to get their privacy back, enable them to earn a living and be independent, to live normal lives upon completion of prison/jail. What a concept? Giving people a 2nd chance. Let's look at both alternatives. Current system - everybody is safe and 747,000 people cant work, their families are terrorized by vigilantes, their personal property is vandalised, their children are picked on at school. Let's look at alternative 2 - we repeal all of these criminal laws and give these people a 2nd chance. allow them to work. allow them to live where they choose. allow them a chance to have their own family and spend time with them. allow them to live normal lives again. Interesting concept. How much does the 2nd idea cost? It's free. Just get rid of all this nonsense and give people privacy again. You mean take 747,000 people off of unemployment and SSDI? What an idea? actually allow people to be useful again? How come I never thought of this before? How many kids saved by megans law and all the other garbage? answer - none. please revisit philip garrido case in calif. man was on registry , man was on probation man was on gps. girl raped for 11 yrs. did megans law prevent this crime? ask the victim? its time to kill the laws and save 1.5 billion dollars a a year. Does puttting 12 yr old kids on the registry protect lives? How many lives are saved by having law enforcement taser 8 yr old kids. How many lives are saved by law enforcement beating homeless people to death? its good to see all of our great tax dollars working in a positive fashion. Is it public safety or public nuisance now? i think it's the latter. I opt that we eliminate law enforcement bring back sheriffs and deputies and have people defend themselvees. Put a vote in if youre interested.
Posted by: daniel goichman | May 15, 2012 7:50:53 PM
I'd say it is difficult. I have done about all one can do in terms of making a fresh start: I accepted responsibility, voluntarily sought out treatment, continued to work, went to law school and attained my law degree. Even still, however, I don't have a fresh start. I just received a letter from my state's office of bar admissions stating that they will not allow me to sit for the bar examination because I am a sex offender, even in spite of my efforts at rehabilitation.
I'll go to the state supreme court on the issue, and who knows what they will say, but I'm about to be looking for a job here pretty soon. And it's frankly not going to matter that I've stayed offense-free, that I do volunteer work, that I sponsor other people in the 12-steps group that I attend, that I've gotten my law degree, that I can provide 20 character references, etc.
Because in the end, all I am to someone that doesn't know me is a sex offender, and that's all I'll ever be.
In my case, I'm fortunate. I lived a very different life six years ago, and I've learned since then that I'm much happier living a different way -- and I've always worked for that promise of redemption, as well. Now that I know that's unavailable to me, it doesn't mean that I just go back to the life I led because I know I'm much happier where I'm at today.
But what about the next person? Take that promise of redemption away from them, and that's one less incentive they have to do things differently -- and isn't that the point?
And Erika, girl, you have one strange fixation with castration. I'd hate to be your hubby ;)
Posted by: Guy | May 15, 2012 10:37:41 PM
Erica you've gone off the deep end or you're trolling. I think trolling, otherwise I'd just slap you.
Posted by: Daniel | May 15, 2012 11:48:27 PM
Best of luck to you, sir.
Posted by: Bill Otis | May 16, 2012 8:08:37 AM
Erika (May 15, 2012 6:06:03 PM):
You do realize that a court conviction does not mean a person is guilty, right? It is entirely possible that this person is not guilty. Further, we know that rapists are terrible people for life, right? Do you not also understand that some people are equally terrible in different ways - such as telling complete and total lies about a person even if that means that person will spend a decade in prison? Do you not believe that people can be terrible in that way? Or are there only terrible rapists?
So, get over your "absolutely unrepentant" problem. There is nothing worse than hearing some moron government employee say that a person is "unrepentant" or "shows a lack of remorse". Like they have a clue about anything. Let's face it, people are not very good at accurately saying what happened or how a person feels, so let's all quit guessing, okay? Anyway, who cares about remorse? Do you people still not understand that the Registries destroy remorse? That is one of the things that the Registries actually do well. So why would we worry about remorse?
I pleaded guilty to a crime that is much more serious than what I actually did (a felony instead of misdemeanors). Do you not think that happens? The plea bargain was based on a charge from a person who was not a victim and who told very big lies to law enforcement numerous times. Law enforcement knew this "victim" was lying but there weren't getting the right lies. They didn't think they would be able to use those lies to scare me into taking a plea bargain or convince a jury that they were true. So they kept confronting the "victim" about the lies until they were told some that they liked. Then they wrote a bunch more lies in their reports and went away forever. Later, other government employees offered me a plea bargain based on the lies and made it beyond clear that if I did not accept that "bargain" then they would force me into a jury trial where I might even be convicted based on the lies and at the very least would likely be convicted of what I did. And they made it clear that even though they were offering me 0 days of jail time in the "bargain", if I was convicted at a trial I would be sentenced to years. Their tried and true tactics worked. But taking the plea bargain was a huge mistake (I warn people not to do that these days). Anyway, I have no respect for our governments or law enforcement because I know what they are about. I have no respect for the Registries because I know what they are about.
Lastly, you said, "... Mr. Bickerstaff should not be allowed to have a fresh start ..." What people who are listed on these Registries (i.e. "Registered Citizens", NOT "SEX OFFENDERS") need to understand is that they shouldn't worry about what people say they should be "allowed" to do. They should realize that there is a very large group of criminals/terrorists in the U.S. who have no problem attacking them, their spouses, and their children, harassing them, stealing from them, etc. And they should simply not allow those criminal/terrorists to say what they are "allowed" to do or not. They need to tell them where to shove it every single day and drive what they will be allowed to do themselves.
Registered Citizens: You should not be worried about people who will "not allow" you a "fresh start". F those people. Do it yourself. Don't rely on people to give you a job. Make your own job and deny employment to the criminals/terrorists. Or do what I do - turn their employment into a weapon that is used against them long-term. Get rich and use your resources to drive them into the ground. They are constantly trying to lower the quality of your life so do that to them. The criminals/terrorists who support the Registries are not your fellow U.S. citizens. They are not Americans. Those people don't care about you so don't care about their welfare. This is a war.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 16, 2012 9:28:25 AM
Thank you. I'm hopeful that the supreme court will see things differently than the character and fitness committee. As several of my friends from law school have pointed out, it may be that they are just punting at this point and want to put the responsibility on the supreme court so that when I (at least in their eyes) inevitably crash and burn, they can keep their hands clean of the whole thing.
But we'll see. Even if it doesn't go the way I'm hoping, I'm still grateful for everything that's happened these last several years, up to and including my girlfriend making the hard decision to turn me in to the police.
At any rate, thank you again for your kind words.
Posted by: Guy | May 16, 2012 9:40:24 AM
I represent a 21 year-old male with no prior record. He worked as a computer tech for a large corporation. When he was 20 years old he he was depressed and drinking. He placed an ad on Craig's list looking for some female companionship. A deputy sheriff posing as a girl answered the ad. After some discussion, the deputy sheriff told the client that she was 14 years-old. The client containued the conversation which turned to sex. The client sent a picture of his penis to the deputy sheriff. Ultimately, the client was arrested at his job and subsequently fired. For the next 15 years (SORNA Tier 1 offender)he will be unemployed and known in the neighborhood as "the creep who lives down the street."
He can't get a job.
He can't find a place to live.
He thinks his situation is hopeless.
I hope he doesn't kill himself.
The Tier 1 scarlet letter is extreme in this situation.
Posted by: ? | May 16, 2012 10:09:47 AM
Have you offered to take his case pro bono, give him a job, and share your house while giving him the room next to your daughter's?
It sure is easy to bloviate about what society should do when you are not the one who has to take the chance on a possible predator. Let the people in the poor side of town take that chance, right?
Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 16, 2012 11:21:23 AM
You suck and are a sad example of a human being who should just retreat with your fear and loathing to a spider hole somewhere because you certainly have no skillsets when it comes to judging others
Posted by: Comment for the day | May 16, 2012 12:30:01 PM
? (May 16, 2012 10:09:47 AM):
He should not have done that, of course, but the punishment of Registration is obviously far too harsh. And the real question is, will Registration do anything that is needed? Of course not. It may turn him into a hateful criminal, but that's about it.
TarlsQtr posed a bunch of questions to you like your opinion is invalid if you don't legally adopt this guy. What nonsense. People like your client can be around my children all day and night because I educated and supervised my children, they know what grooming is, they know how to avoid being victims, and they make good choices. That is because I parented them and didn't rely on any nanny big government to tell me about just a handful of people I might be around who might try to harm my children. I taught my children how to handle all people. I would much rather have people like your client around my children than douche bags who support the SEX OFFENDER witch hunt and love nanny big governments.
Just to illustrate the stupidity and immorality of the SEX OFFENDER Registries, if your client had instead been living in the same neighborhood with some 14 year old girl, gone over to her home, pointed a gun at her, and nearly beaten her to death, then he/she would have remained an unmarked, upstanding citizen. But no, he talked to a fake 14 year old about sex. It is absolutely likely that he would only ever have been a "danger" to real 14 year olds who were already much, much older than 14 and already making terrible decisions, without parents. Surely those types of children are protected by Registration. Yeah, right.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 16, 2012 12:33:59 PM
I think you're being a bit unreasonable to insist that one must take every feasible step to help someone before they're allowed to point out the obvious: that SORNA is a well-intentioned idea that falls on its face in the execution because no one bothered to actually think rationally about it in the first place.
Here's a newsflash: everyone is a possible predator, Tarls. You, me, everyone. What registration does is that it provides a huge false sense of security to people because they are under the mistaken impression that the predators are on some list where they can go look at them and that they can only live in certain places.
That's a nice thought, except it doesn't mesh well with reality. In reality, the vast majority of sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders *and* the vast majority of sex offenders never repeat their crimes (as compared with, say, any other type of criminal).
Couple that with the fact that the vast majority of victims know their abuser, and that the vast majority of those cases involve family members, not the prototypical boogeyman hiding in the bushes or the creep down the street.
It would take a hurculean effort of willful ignorance to believe that most or even some of the people listed on the various registries are the "predator" you and so many other people are afraid of.
That's not to say that those people don't exist, they surely do -- but they weren't twenty year old kids sending pictures of themselves to a UC and they aren't the vast majority of people on the registry.
And someone has to take a chance, Tarls. Someone took a chance on me. A judge, a law firm, a school, etc. Someone always has to take a chance, in all our interactions. It may make you feel safe to think that I and every other sex offender is a predator, just as it makes society feel safe. Except that it is borne less of rationality and more of our collective schizophrenic approach to sex and sexuality.
Posted by: Guy | May 16, 2012 12:41:11 PM
A few points.
No, I do not expect "?" to practically adopt the sex offender client.
However, it is telling that the people most likely to come here and claim the moral high ground about how they would treat SO's are those with the least to lose by having that position. I sincerely doubt that ?'s client will live within a zipcode of him. Instead, that client will live among others who will have to take that chance and pay the consequence if the dice roll snake eyes.
I have said it before, some choices are lifelong mistakes. That is one of them and I will not criticize people for deciding not to put their loved ones in a position where they can be victimized, regardless of how large or small the chance. Again, when FRregistryterrorists and comment for the day give clear evidence that they are putting THEIR children in that situation on a daily basis, then they can judge me for not. Until then...
You stated: "Here's a newsflash: everyone is a possible predator, Tarls. You, me, everyone."
Nonsense. Sorry. I am no more likely to rape a small boy than an inanimate object is. Do others know that? Of course not. But to imply that we are all equally likely to do such an act is hogwash.
You stated: "That's a nice thought, except it doesn't mesh well with reality. In reality, the vast majority of sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders *and* the vast majority of sex offenders never repeat their crimes (as compared with, say, any other type of criminal)."
And what about those that are repeat offenders? Again, would you allow your home become a halfway house for a guy who raped a boy with a broom handle? Hey, he was just a first-time offender and is not likely to do it again. Hire him as a babysitter and give him a "fresh start."
You stated: "Couple that with the fact that the vast majority of victims know their abuser, and that the vast majority of those cases involve family members, not the prototypical boogeyman hiding in the bushes or the creep down the street."
Actually, the largest fraction of these cases (in proportion) are not family members, but non-biologically related "parents" (steps). In other words, thank the breakdown of the American family, but I digress. And, again, I am not going to invite the "boogeyman hiding in the bushes" into my house just because some data says he is not likely to molest my child. Are you?
You stated: "It would take a hurculean effort of willful ignorance to believe that most or even some of the people listed on the various registries are the "predator" you and so many other people are afraid of."
Someone who shows his penis to what he believes is a 14 year old girl IS a predator, whether or not you want to go through the herculaean effort of willful ignorance to believe otherwise. Will he follow through? Perhaps, perhaps not. But you take that chance with your children, not mine.
You stated: "That's not to say that those people don't exist, they surely do -- but they weren't twenty year old kids sending pictures of themselves to a UC and they aren't the vast majority of people on the registry."
I sincerely doubt that most people here have sent penis pics to what they believed is a 14 year old girl. Why is that? Because it is predatory behavior and most people are not predators. It is stereotypical "grooming" behavior. That it was sent to a legal age UC is irrelevant. The person INTENDED to send it to an underage girl.
You stated: "And someone has to take a chance, Tarls. Someone took a chance on me. A judge, a law firm, a school, etc. Someone always has to take a chance, in all our interactions."
Yep, and we also make judgments every day about who we do and do not interact with. Do you send your daughter for a walk through the bad side of town? I bet not. Do you judge yourself as harshly as you judge the rest of us for making the same decision about you (on a personal note, I DO have great respect for how you have handled your situation)? And yes, I am sure some took a chance, but what kind? Would the judge allow you to babysit for him? Your law school admissions board?
You stated: "It may make you feel safe to think that I and every other sex offender is a predator, just as it makes society feel safe. Except that it is borne less of rationality and more of our collective schizophrenic approach to sex and sexuality."
I have never said that A) SORs make me feel safe or B)that everyone on it is a predator.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 16, 2012 2:13:00 PM
Comment for the day says: "You suck and are a sad example of a human being who should just retreat with your fear and loathing to a spider hole somewhere because you certainly have no skillsets when it comes to judging others"
It sure is great to see someone so against "judging" people... Irony, anyone?
PS I spent ten years in a prison classroom alone with these very same people and did so without "fear and loathing." I suspect that my experience of actually DOING something for them instead of just being an internet gangster like yourself gives me a far better "skillset" than you.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 16, 2012 2:35:15 PM
"I have said it before, some choices are lifelong mistakes. That is one of them and I will not criticize people for deciding not to put their loved ones in a position where they can be victimized, regardless of how large or small the chance. Again, when FRregistryterrorists and comment for the day give clear evidence that they are putting THEIR children in that situation on a daily basis, then they can judge me for not. Until then..."
It's an ad hominem sort of argument to say that someone's opinion is invalid unless they are willing to put themselves in that position. If you're fine with that, then there's really nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. You're also creating a false dichotomy by saying that you either must essentially beg passersby to molest your children or you have no right to have an opinion.
There is, I would humbly suggest, a middle ground. That is, simply, recognizing that the system that we currently have isn't one that actually protects anyone while at the same time doing tremendous damage in terms of giving first-time offenders any chance whatsoever at redemption.
"Nonsense. Sorry. I am no more likely to rape a small boy than an inanimate object is. Do others know that? Of course not. But to imply that we are all equally likely to do such an act is hogwash."
My point was metaphorical. To put it differently, everyone likes to believe that there is a clearly defined line between "us" and "them" -- between criminals and law-abiding citizens. My experiences, especially working in criminal defense, have illustrated to me that there's not. People tend to think that they would never do any number of terrible things (i.e. murder), but research suggests otherwise: that people can do any number of awful things given the right set of circumstances.
My point is that most offenders are known to the children. Whether or not they are biologic or step parents is immaterial -- they're usually family members or someone close to the family. Not someone for whom living 1,000 feet away from a school (a dubious prophylactic measure) would have any impact, nor would their listing on any sort of a public database.
"Someone who shows his penis to what he believes is a 14 year old girl IS a predator, whether or not you want to go through the herculaean effort of willful ignorance to believe otherwise. Will he follow through? Perhaps, perhaps not. But you take that chance with your children, not mine."
You have an extremely broad definition of the word "predator" -- one that is ultimately just as useless in terms of actually describing behavior as the registries are (and hence, my point).
"And, again, I am not going to invite the "boogeyman hiding in the bushes" into my house just because some data says he is not likely to molest my child. Are you?"
Tarls, I *AM* the boogeyman hiding in the bushes. Therefore, if I did not invite him in then I would have a very strange living arrangement, wouldn't you say?
"I sincerely doubt that most people here have sent penis pics to what they believed is a 14 year old girl. Why is that? Because it is predatory behavior and most people are not predators. It is stereotypical "grooming" behavior. That it was sent to a legal age UC is irrelevant. The person INTENDED to send it to an underage girl."
It's also stereotypical behavior or 90% of kids in high school these days. Are you saying that 90% of kids in high school are predators? Again, it goes to the utter lack of usefulness that such a definition entails. Stupid mistake? Absolutely. But for a 20 year old to send someone who he believed to be a 14 year old girl a picture while he was struggling with co-morbid mental issues to be labeled an irredeemable predator? I think that evinces something other than a rational thought process surrounding sex, sexuality, and technology in the modern era (which, again, is sort of my point).
"Yep, and we also make judgments every day about who we do and do not interact with. Do you send your daughter for a walk through the bad side of town? I bet not. Do you judge yourself as harshly as you judge the rest of us for making the same decision about you (on a personal note, I DO have great respect for how you have handled your situation)? And yes, I am sure some took a chance, but what kind? Would the judge allow you to babysit for him? Your law school admissions board?"
Tarls, I hated myself for a long time for the things that I did. Coming through my arrest and getting involved in therapy and 12-step programs has shown me that there's another way to live and for the first time in my life I'm starting to like who I am, even despite the utter hostility with which I am treated by the rest of society. I don't judge anyone more harshly than I judge myself, and that's traditionally been how I operate ever since I was a toddler.
And as to your other points, I'll reference what I said above about ad hominems and false dichotomies. But in addition, I'm not asking the judge to let me babysit her kids, nor am I asking anyone else to let me babysit.
But -- and this is important -- that's not the measure of what I would consider reintegration or redemption. To be able to live without fear of reprisal from vigilantes, to be able to live where I want and not have to worry about the prospect of a new felony conviction if I can't find a landlord who will rent to me, to be able to move on with my life and try to start putting some of the last several years behind me, to be able to date and not have to worry about what she will think (or, even better, what her family will think because, after all, would you let your daughter date a sex offender? I found that out the hard way...)
I'm not saying that I nor anyone else in my position shouldn't be punished, but this is a lifetime of living in a cell that's constantly getting smaller and smaller as the federal and state legislatures add more and more restrictions that the courts are more than happy to call regulatory and not punitive.
I don't want to babysit. I don't want to teach elementary school. I want the same second chance that's given to every other single criminal defendant. But I'll never get that opportunity. And most people are quite content with that -- they look at what I did, just as you do, and assume that I am a predator. That I'm a monster. The boogeyman in the bushes. Even though I have never harmed nor wanted to harm a child, there is an irrebutable presumption that hangs around my neck which says otherwise. It's not fair, and in my opinion, it does a great deal more harm to society than good as it leads to more crime, more sexual violence, more suicides, more destruction of families, underreporting of abuse, etc etc etc, on and on down the line.
But at least people know who the bad guys are, right?
Posted by: Guy | May 16, 2012 3:00:07 PM
Interesting dissection of Guy's points. I understand where you are coming from but you just don't need Registries and they aren't close to enough. They just don't give you enough that you shouldn't already be getting elsewhere anyway.
You talked about how I put my children in some type of "situation on a daily basis" in a way that implied that it was somehow more dangerous than how you choose to raise your children. But in fact, I expect it is exactly the opposite of that. For example, do you know how I used the Registries to keep "sexual predators" from babysitting my children? I didn't. I didn't need to because I didn't let any males babysit my children and didn't let anyone do it alone at all. I did that up until my children were fully capable and desiring to handle any type of "grooming" behavior and report it to me. You see? That is how I used the Registries - I never needed them.
When my children got older, I still didn't need the Registries. "Grooming" behavior is trivial to handle and deal with. But there are many, many other types of criminals which are not so easy to deal with that we don't even bother Registering. That is who I was worried would harm my children. And these people like "?"'s client? They would never have been a danger to any of my children by the time they were 14.
I have a lot of children who are all adults now. As far as I know, not a single one of them suffered any sexual abuse. They are very well adjusted. They all are or will be college graduates. They are all successful already. Something I find interesting is that because of the Registries they all distrust government and law enforcement. But they are the U.S. of tomorrow and they are doctors, business owners, college professors, etc. Maybe our children will have the sense and courage to undo the travesty that is the Registries.
I personally believe that the people who "need" the Registries the most and are the most vocal about that, are the people who aren't very good parents to start with. That's just a personal belief of mine. The people I have personally seen who are most vocal about "needing" the Registries are uneducated, not bright, and bad parents. In fact, I feel that the more a person is like that, the more a person is likely to support the Registries. It makes themselves feel better. I'm not saying you are like that or everyone is, but that is definitely what I see. And I will advise Registered Citizens all day long that if they want to be left alone and not harassed by idiot neighbors that they should move into the very nicest, most expensive neighborhood they can. I completely believe that the more successful a person is, the less likely it is that he/she supports the Registries or nanny big government.
Lastly, I don't really have an issue with people knowing what their neighbors or acquaintances have done in the past via Registries. But Americans have proven beyond doubt that they simply don't have the sense or morals to have Registries. The current Registries could be made less immoral by:
1) Creating all the other Registries that should exist - at least, ALL people who have committed a crime would be listed.
2) Require the criminal governments to collect ALL information that they put on their Registries. The people listed on the Registries should not be required to submit any information.
3) Impose no requirements on people listed on the Registries. The Registries would exist only to "inform" people. None of the other stupid, worthless BS would be allowed. Politicians would not be allowed to play their games.
If we are going to have Registries, what are the excuses for not doing all that? I really do wonder how Registry supporters excuse it all.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 16, 2012 3:07:38 PM
I am not scared of my client or what he will do in the future. There is no evidence that he is a predator. The point is that a 3-tier registry with 15 years of being on front street at a minimum is greater than necessary in the particular case. There is not relief available.
As an aside, I have a client who loves to employ sex offenders as computer programmers. Why? They will work for less--they are loyal--they can't get a job anywhere else.
Posted by: ? | May 16, 2012 4:24:29 PM
The guy who raped and murdered my aunt in the 1980's is on the SOR now that he's out of prison. Prior to raping and murdering my aunt, the guy raped a 15 year-old girl, served time, got released and a couple years later raped and murdered my aunt. I look him up on the registry about once every month just to check where he's living and working. Not everyone on that list is a romeo/juliet offender, and some are recidivists, like the guy who raped and murdered my aunt.
Posted by: niece | May 16, 2012 10:27:46 PM
that is true niece. Just about every study done in the last 10-15 years say 5-15% of those on the registry need to be there and tracked and watched.
The ones it was MADE FOR in the beginning "Violent and Repeat Offenders"
as for what happend to your aunt. You have my prayers!
Posted by: rodsmith | May 16, 2012 11:23:19 PM
I am sorry for your aunt, and for sure there are people on the registry who are dangerous. But my proposition is really two-fold: first is that most people on the registry aren't dangerous. Most folks think that it's better to err on the side of caution and be overinclusive, and who cares if people who aren't otherwise dangerous pay the price. The flip side of that is just that it makes society, people, less safe because once everyone is on a registry, then you can't really pick out who is and who isn't dangerous.
And the second part of it is just that there's no evidence to suggest that registries do anything to prevent crime (and, in fact, may actually increase rates of recidivism).
It isn't that reforming the registry and enhancing public safety are mutually exclusive -- they're actually one in the same, in my opinion. That is, if we want it to be about public safety. If we want it to be about punishment and shaming, then...well...it seems like we have the system that we want.
Posted by: Guy | May 17, 2012 3:12:32 AM
Guy stated: "It's an ad hominem sort of argument to say that someone's opinion is invalid unless they are willing to put themselves in that position."
Your problem is that I never stated what you claim. Pointing out that most who are here advocating will not have to pay the consequences of their bad decisions is a completely different matter.
You stated: "You're also creating a false dichotomy by saying that you either must essentially beg passersby to molest your children or you have no right to have an opinion."
Again, you said that, not me. Would you rather debate me or straw men? What I DID say was that I will not judge people for not wanting sex offenders around themselves or children. Certain mistakes have lifelong consequences and it is unfair to demand that society give a mulligan for them.
You state: "That is, simply, recognizing that the system that we currently have isn't one that actually protects anyone while at the same time doing tremendous damage in terms of giving first-time offenders any chance whatsoever at redemption."
The typical Alinsky ploy. State that the other side's argument is extreme and then cloak your own more extreme position as the "middle ground." Seriously? NO ONE has been protected by the registry? That is an extreme and completely unsupportable position. And, your "redemption" is not my concern. I do sincerely hope you find it but I am not going to feel guilty about the fact that I would not (nor would most Americans) let you babysit my child.
You stated: "My point was metaphorical. To put it differently, everyone likes to believe that there is a clearly defined line between "us" and "them" -- between criminals and law-abiding citizens. My experiences, especially working in criminal defense, have illustrated to me that there's not. People tend to think that they would never do any number of terrible things (i.e. murder), but research suggests otherwise: that people can do any number of awful things given the right set of circumstances."
An overwhelming majority of people never commit serious crimes or have to kill someone for ANY reason. That this is because of "circumstances" rather than "choices" is not grounded in reality. It is merely a morally repugnant attempt to deflect blame.
You stated: "My point is that most offenders are known to the children. Whether or not they are biologic or step parents is immaterial -- they're usually family members or someone close to the family. Not someone for whom living 1,000 feet away from a school (a dubious prophylactic measure) would have any impact, nor would their listing on any sort of a public database."
Thanks for making my point.
You act as if the data you provide proves something it does not. The anonymous guy on the street corner is the SAME GUY as the family friend because the anonymous (to me) guy on the street corner is SOMEONE's "family friend." Perhaps I want to make sure that I do not let the creepy guy become close to my family? That is wrong?
You stated: "You have an extremely broad definition of the word "predator" -- one that is ultimately just as useless in terms of actually describing behavior as the registries are (and hence, my point)."
My mistake. In our society, this person is only a "predator" if he is a Catholic priest. Question: A 40 year old man sends a pic of his penis to your 14 year old daughter. He is not a predator, correct? So, you would let him come over and spend an evening watching movies with her unsupervised, right?
To imply that sending a penis pic (and all of the sexual language that inevitably goes with it) is not a prelude to performing coitus is preposterous.
You stated: "Tarls, I *AM* the boogeyman hiding in the bushes. Therefore, if I did not invite him in then I would have a very strange living arrangement, wouldn't you say?"
Yikes. I thought it was obvious that I was speaking of bringing in another. Look at my scenario above. Would you invite the man that sent a pic describing what he would "do" to your 14 year old daughter into your house with her unsupervised? If so, I fear for her.
You stated: "It's also stereotypical behavior or 90% of kids in high school these days. Are you saying that 90% of kids in high school are predators? Again, it goes to the utter lack of usefulness that such a definition entails. Stupid mistake? Absolutely."
90%? Seriously? This is what scares me. You completely overinflate the numbers by MULTIPLES in order to make yourself look better. It is more like 15% of teenagers. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-12-15/tech/pew.sexting.survey_1_sexting-teens-cell-phones?_s=PM:TECH
And, yes, a 20 year old sending such a pic to a 14 year old girl IS predatory behavior. High school kids are high school kids. A 20 year old is an adult that knows better by any sane rationale.
You stated: "But for a 20 year old to send someone who he believed to be a 14 year old girl a picture while he was struggling with co-morbid mental issues to be labeled an irredeemable predator? I think that evinces something other than a rational thought process surrounding sex, sexuality, and technology in the modern era (which, again, is sort of my point)."
In other words, "I am not responsible for my actions because my defense psychologist told me so." Hogwash.
As far as the last three paragraphs, you cannot have it both ways. In one breath, you speak about all of these people giving you a second chance, yet, your next breath essentially says your life is a living hell. If it is, you constructed it. Not me or society. That you expect your life to be as easy as it was before your crime is unrealistic. I reject completely the premise that I should feel a degree of guilt for your circumstances. I have compassion for you but no guilt and I will not apologize for that.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 17, 2012 10:32:59 AM
"Your problem is that I never stated what you claim. Pointing out that most who are here advocating will not have to pay the consequences of their bad decisions is a completely different matter."
Except that's not your implication. Your implication is that people's opinions aren't valid unless they're willing to let someone they don't know babysit their children. It's a ridiculous proposition, and, as I said, an ad hominem argument.
Furthermore, you assume that there are "consequences" to "bad decisions" when what we're talking about is reform. You assume from the outset that things can't be better than they are, and that reforming registries to make them more focused means that people are going to get hurt. If that's where you're starting from, then there's really nothing I can say that's going to convince you otherwise.
"Again, you said that, not me. Would you rather debate me or straw men? What I DID say was that I will not judge people for not wanting sex offenders around themselves or children. Certain mistakes have lifelong consequences and it is unfair to demand that society give a mulligan for them."
Actually, that was what your comment a few posts up implied. You did not say "I will not judge people for not wanting sex offenders around themselves or their children." What you said was:
"Have you offered to take his case pro bono, give him a job, and share your house while giving him the room next to your daughter's?
It sure is easy to bloviate about what society should do when you are not the one who has to take the chance on a possible predator. Let the people in the poor side of town take that chance, right?"
That's not simply you saying "I will not judge..." I (and other posters in this thread, and in other threads where you've made similar arguments) take that to be an ad hominem sort of argument against the person who has a different opinion from yours.
"The typical Alinsky ploy. State that the other side's argument is extreme and then cloak your own more extreme position as the "middle ground." Seriously? NO ONE has been protected by the registry? That is an extreme and completely unsupportable position. And, your "redemption" is not my concern. I do sincerely hope you find it but I am not going to feel guilty about the fact that I would not (nor would most Americans) let you babysit my child."
I can't prove a negative, of course -- no one can. My position is not extreme, as you characterize it, but simply that registries do more harm than good -- a position which is supportable.
And Tarls, you seem to have this fixation with babysitting that I don't understand. I am not, nor have I ever asked to babysit anyone's child. I do not want to babysit anyone's child. Nor do I ever hope to be able to be allowed to babysit anyone's child.
Furthermore, I am not asking you or anyone else to feel guilty about my not babysitting someone's child. In fact, I'm not asking you to feel guilty at all. What I ask of you and everyone else is to think, and rationally so, about the subject.
And as I posted before and will post again as it bears repeating as you apparently still think I'm asking people to feel guilty that I'm not allowed to be a school teacher -- babysitting is not my measure of redemption.
"An overwhelming majority of people never commit serious crimes or have to kill someone for ANY reason. That this is because of "circumstances" rather than "choices" is not grounded in reality. It is merely a morally repugnant attempt to deflect blame."
Are you sure about that, Tarls? I'd say that most people who commit crimes are never caught, but then again with the whole proving of the negative thing. Rape, for example, is a notoriously underreported offense, as is child molestation.
It isn't about deflecting blame, Tarls -- it's just about thinking rationally about human behavior. Research indicates that situational factors play a huge role in decision making -- see, for example, the Stanford prison experiment, or any of the derivative experiments that have flowed from that. That does not mean that the person isn't responsible, but how can we hope to try to change behavior without being curious about it?
"Thanks for making my point.
You act as if the data you provide proves something it does not. The anonymous guy on the street corner is the SAME GUY as the family friend because the anonymous (to me) guy on the street corner is SOMEONE's "family friend." Perhaps I want to make sure that I do not let the creepy guy become close to my family? That is wrong?"
I never said that was wrong -- again, my measure of redemption is not that you let me babysit your children, Tarls. I'm not asking you to let me, someone you don't know, into your home. I would suspect that you wouldn't do that REGARDLESS of whether or not I was a felon or a sex offender.
"My mistake. In our society, this person is only a "predator" if he is a Catholic priest. Question: A 40 year old man sends a pic of his penis to your 14 year old daughter. He is not a predator, correct? So, you would let him come over and spend an evening watching movies with her unsupervised, right?"
I didn't say that, did I? I wouldn't also call a 40 year old man who sends a pic of his penis to my or anyone else's daughter a predator without knowing more. And, Tarls, I wouldn't let someone I didn't know babysit my children, irrespective of whether or not they had a criminal record. It's a complete non-sequitur to the issue of whether or not someone who engages in that behavior is a predator.
I think perhaps the most useful definition of the word predator is one that doesn't involve purely electronic behavior. Data suggests that same-sex pedophilic offenders who are unknown to their victims have the highest rates of recidivism -- there's your prototypical predator, and they do have somewhat high rates of reoffense from what I can recall. Problem is, most people aren't that.
"You stated: "It's also stereotypical behavior or 90% of kids in high school these days. Are you saying that 90% of kids in high school are predators? Again, it goes to the utter lack of usefulness that such a definition entails. Stupid mistake? Absolutely."
90%? Seriously? This is what scares me. You completely overinflate the numbers by MULTIPLES in order to make yourself look better. It is more like 15% of teenagers. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-12-15/tech/pew.sexting.survey_1_sexting-teens-cell-phones?_s=PM:TECH
And, yes, a 20 year old sending such a pic to a 14 year old girl IS predatory behavior. High school kids are high school kids. A 20 year old is an adult that knows better by any sane rationale."
I intended my 90% to be hyperbole. I found a published article though that lists the incidence of it at 20% -- so about a fifth of high schoolers. It seeems unreasonable to me to label 1/5 of teenagers predators.
Research also indicates that the brain does not actually finish developing until 25 or so. I know you might think I'm trying to say that means he's blameless -- I'm not. What I am saying is that it doesn't make him an irredeemable predator, especially not when he's got co-morbid mental issues to work on like alcoholism and depression.
"In other words, "I am not responsible for my actions because my defense psychologist told me so." Hogwash.
As far as the last three paragraphs, you cannot have it both ways. In one breath, you speak about all of these people giving you a second chance, yet, your next breath essentially says your life is a living hell. If it is, you constructed it. Not me or society. That you expect your life to be as easy as it was before your crime is unrealistic. I reject completely the premise that I should feel a degree of guilt for your circumstances. I have compassion for you but no guilt and I will not apologize for that."
You're misconstruing what I've said again. I never said "I'm not responsible for my actions because my defense psychologist told me so."
I have NEVER, not once, not here or anywhere else, attempted to blame anyone else but myself for my own actions, Tarls. I have NEVER said that I expected my life to be as easy as it was before, and it is disingenuous for you to assert that I have. I have NEVER asked you or anyone else to feel guilty for me.
All that I'm asking for is fairness, and for that same second chance that is afforded to every other criminal defendant that I work with on a daily basis -- that same second chance which is routinely denied to me and those in my position irrespective of how hard we work to make amends.
If you're all out of second chances Tarls, then I'm still somewhat surprised you call yourself a Christian.
With that, I'm done. Have a nice day.
Posted by: Guy | May 17, 2012 2:34:20 PM
niece (May 16, 2012 10:27:46 PM):
I am very sorry for what happened to your aunt. That is terrible.
But I'm not sure if you are saying anything about the Registries or not. Do you just want to be able to look this murderer up for some reason?
Without doubt, the fact that this person is Registered will do absolutely less than nothing to keep him from re-offending. In fact, as all experts say, the Registries right now, today, are likely helping to drive him toward committing more crimes. As I type this, the Registries are working on this guy and contributing to him probably committing a crime again.
It's possible that the Registries might help keep this guy's neighbors from being murdered but he will simply go a bit further away and do whatever he wants. Perhaps he will go 1,000 feet away or 1,000 miles. But either way, the Registries will have contributed to him murdering. Who knows? They may be the straw that breaks his back. The Registries have always been a terrible idea and always will be.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 17, 2012 4:58:52 PM
TarlsQtr (May 17, 2012 10:32:59 AM):
I believe the Registries have protected some people but they only lead to someone else being victimized instead. They simply shift the crimes. Further, since the Registries are counterproductive, there are more crimes.
I also believe that the group of people who have been "protected" by the Registries is nearly entirely comprised of people who did not need to be protected because they already were doing what they needed to protect themselves. Of course, what I mean by that is if they let this 20 year old "penis picture sender" into their lives and around their 14 year old daughter, nothing would ever happen anyway because their 14 year old daughter knows how to keep 20 year olds from molesting her.
In your last paragraph you said that if Guy's life "is a living hell" then it is he who constructed it, not you or society. That is not true, of course. Guy paid for what he did. Now, years later, if "society" decides that it is going to attack people like Guy, then it is society's fault. Society is responsible for how it chooses to act. What you are saying is the same as saying if society decides now that they want to require all the people who have shoplifted in the past 3 decades to get their hands chopped off, then that problem rests entirely on the shoplifters. You are completely wrong.
And perhaps unlike Guy, I'm not going to ask for a "second chance" or anything else from Unamericans. I will just continue to take it. If the Unamericans stay out of my way and leave me alone, there will be no problems. Otherwise, I will do what I can to lower the quality of their lives. I am a wealthy person and in the U.S., that gives you all the "friends" that you want and people who will support your goals. In other words, people will support me getting wealthier and legally harming anyone who attacks me.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 17, 2012 5:01:52 PM
FRegistryTerrorists & Guy
thanks for your interesting and thought provoking rebuttals/responses...and I still stand by behind my original comment
Posted by: 2nd Comment for the day | May 17, 2012 5:36:16 PM
I know I said I was done -- and I really am, but I came back to say this. I'm sorry about how I closed my post regarding you calling yourself a Christian. I was upset, and it was a rude comment. I know we may disagree, and that's fine, but I try to treat everyone with respect and sometimes fail at that goal. With that in mind, I'm sorry for being disrespectful to you.
Posted by: Guy | May 17, 2012 9:42:24 PM
i dont have time to read all of these comments. if you want to send me a comment of interest email me at [email protected] . the registry now is bullshit. it doesnt pretect anybody its only used by law enforcement to destroy the lives of those people on it. I dont give a rats behind about anything bad that happened to anybody. the laws suck. anyone regardless of their crime is unemployed, homeless, and poor. bottomline. the people who work in legislation have overstepped their boundaries and passed punishment onto people who have already been punished by a judge or jury. "Double punishment is not illegal in this country any more." there are 30 dangerous people out on the loose in the usa. thats it. 30% of all sex offenders get re-arrested for failure to register and other bullshit charges now. It's just a game by some people who get theri jollies off on punishing people that had the stupidty(myself included) to plea guilty to them. once they have you on the registry they play a game of cat and mouse until they punish further. Its legal in this country to pass laws which cause people to freeze to death because "all" sex offenders are punished the safe way by these bullshit laws. Its legal in the USA to deny people employment, money, and an opportunity to be successful if they put your name on that hit list. Its legal to murder people on the registry and vandalize their stuff. i know because i read about it everyday. i wish i had plead guilty to my crime. been raped and murdered in prison and never spent a day of my life free with no absoulutely no power or freedom. the only way we can get things right in this country assuming that people care about whats right is filing lawsuits challenging ever single sex offender law ever passed on the books since 1994. SCOTUS ruled that the registry is remedial and not punishment. i have some questions. is having your house burned down because someone who lived at that address was posted as a sex offender remedial? is making people starve to death because they cant get a job remedial? is getting re-arrested because you are listed on the registry remedial? is not being able to live with your family and close ones remedial? is never being able to get a good job opportunity or go back to school remedial? how many crimes have been prevented by megans law? please tell me so i can feel good in knowing that my life is completely destroyed to save one single child somewhere in this country? i am a sex offender who committed a single offense on 8/19/2001 and my life has been destroyed by these fail safe, no due process, remedial bullshit laws.
Posted by: daniel goichman | May 18, 2012 10:18:53 PM
im going to add a few more things to my post. youre absolutely right people need to feel safe and protected in this country and that is what prisons and jails are for. preventing a person regardless of whatever mistake he made so many years ago from employment, housing, money, opportunities to be successful, feeling good about yourself, having some kind of decent life now they you have paid your debt society is a crime. thats right a crime. people who enforce laws that prevent people from a 2nd job are breaking the law. they are stealing the lives away from people who are automatically thrown into the shitter - aka - sex offender registry and ruining their families and their lives witn "no due process." none. zero. zilch. a few people commit horrible crimes and they get arrested and go to jail. end of story. we dont need to punish people twice. the sex offender registry is illegal and punishes people who arent dangerous or violent twice. please help the cause and sue them so we can get this shit removed for all of us. so we can all feel protected. not by sex predators but by assholes who pass bullshit laws and prosecutors who take sex offense cases with no evidence. its time to write your govt officials and tell them the truth. we dont want any govt/law enforcement/public nuicance officials/ interfering with our lives anymore. we can protect ourselves. we want to see the end of public safety, law enforcement, and anyone involved in protecting the public. we can defend ourselves. we want this entire system taken down and we wont pay for it if it stays up. we will not pay for it. not now. not ever. if u work in public safety i am asking for your resignation by tomorrow. if you work in law enforcement i am asking for you to step down. if you work as a prosecutor or attorney general i am asking for your immediate resignation.
Posted by: daniel goichman | May 18, 2012 10:29:59 PM
Erika: and this explains why Mr. Bickerstaff should not be allowed to have a fresh start - he is an absolutely unrepentant rapist who continues to maintain an absolutely riduculous defense even after his conviction.
As if women don't lie about being raped -- just do a Goggle search.
Guy: I just received a letter from my state's office of bar admissions stating that they will not allow me to sit for the bar examination because I am a sex offender, even in spite of my efforts at rehabilitation.
Wow. Are they worried you will rape Lady Justice or is it they are more concerned you'll use the license to have a positive effect onn SO laws?
FRegistryTerrorists: In your last paragraph you said that if Guy's life "is a living hell" then it is he who constructed it, not you or society. That is not true, of course. Guy paid for what he did. Now, years later, if "society" decides that it is going to attack people like Guy, then it is society's fault. Society is responsible for how it chooses to act. What you are saying is the same as saying if society decides now that they want to require all the people who have shoplifted in the past 3 decades to get their hands chopped off, then that problem rests entirely on the shoplifters. You are completely wrong.
Posted by: Truth | Jun 11, 2012 9:53:24 PM
2 sex offenders have been murdered as a result of these feel safe laws someone please contact the victims to file a wrongfuldeath suit. even if they lose we all still win the madness has to come to an end. punishing people who have already paid their debts to society and have no opportunity to prove they are not dangerous is bullshit. i posted the people who were murdered by our criminal justice system and public safety office. please beg them to file a lawsuit they have one year from date of murder to do it. they are entitled to the money. everybody has a right to be protected and feel safe in this country no matter what they did in the past. thank you god bless you and god loves u all.
1) link: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/05/washington-man-accused-killing-sex-offenders-allegedly-leaves-note-it-had-to-be/
"how many sex offenders have to die or be murdered before these feel good laws are struck down?" did america get enough retribution for their victims yet? when is enough enough? contact me at [email protected] so i can tell you how we will file largest punitive lawsuit in history of mankind to collect for damages to sex offenders by these fucked up laws with no purpose except to do more harm. thank you. daniel goichman
Posted by: daniel goichman | Jun 12, 2012 12:14:47 PM
It saddens me that so much hate and filth is spewed at those that Do deserve a second chance.
I see the arguments, I see the responses, and I have to respect them for what they are, but as per is usual, ignorance is bliss is it not?
So, let me tell you a story. I was in a horrible marriage that produced 2 boys. 9 and a 1/2 years with a paranoid schizophrenic that hurt everyone she came into contact with, but I wanted to be there for my kids. I tried to medicate her, I tried counseling, I tried church groups, but you can't do anything for someone that doesn't want to be helped. As a side night, the oldest boy was born to her just after we met and she claimed to be raped by the boys father. As it turns out now, 18 years after his birth child support did a test and the guy DID NOT rape her, as the child was not his.
Fast forward to my son's 8th year of life. I'm working at a restaurant and this hot little 17 year old comes to work for me in the kitchen. I'm 26. I was in the process of leaving the wife, had an apartment, two cars, lots of friends, and plenty of income. Over the course of 3 months she told me about how she shaves, what color her thong was, and that she masturbates with the shower head every day. I gave in. Got into a year long relationship with her. Met the parents. She moved in.
The crazy ex-wife told the cops I had her (the 17 year old) on the internet. That she was involved in a child sex ring operation, and that I had nude videos of her. The police did a raid on my home. I was arrested and charged with 7 felonies and looking at 98 years in prison.
Now, all of the things my ex said were false. But the police did not follow through and ask questions. They got a warrant based on false information. made my landlord unlock my front door. I fought back, got 6 of the charges dropped based on the false warrant, but they let me sit in jail until they did find something to hit me with. We HAD taken some pictures, of both of us, by both of us and her parents found 1 and gave it to the cops because they were still hearing the lies that the cops were using. So my attorney told me that I was morally innocent, but legally guilty. There has to be criminal intent to be a crime. Really? So I had a 50/50 chance of prevailing at trial, but be warned, if you lose you'll get 23 years in prison. For having a nude photo of a person that was my fiance'.
Fiance'? Yes. Had parents permission, that's why her mom got up on the stand and lied to the court about us having contact during the plea negotiations. Most argue a 17 year old doesn't have the maturity level required. Tell that to the 24 year old she lost her virginity to at the age of 14, or the other 2 guys in legal battles because of her. All unknown to me until I was sitting in jail and my private investigator found out. Tell that to her parents that said they were using me so they would know here she was, or to her, that was using me to get away from her parents.
So I have to register for something I do not feel guilty about, because I love(d) this person. That 12 years later I still feel butterflies for in my stomach, because I gave up my life for her so she could take everything I owned while I sat in jail and take off. Did I break the law? Yes. The definition of the law, but I didn't hurt anybody. I did 2 and a 1/2 years and now I can't get a good job, or a placed to live, or have a normal relationship. Tell me it's not punitive the next time I get a death threat in my mail box. Tell me it's not punitive the next time my daughter is harassed at school. And again tell me it's not punitive the next time I get evicted because I am on the registry. My current marriage is now over, after 7 years, because of flack I am getting regarding how hard it is to "live" because of my past. One more time, tell me it's not punitive, please, tell me IT"S NOT.
I sued the cops. I sued the parents, the girl, and the ex-wife. While sitting in jail I had few resources, so the ex ran, the parents ran, the girl ran. Now the statute of limitations is passed. I know where they all are now and I have found nude photos of her online, which was supposed to be "out of character". Yea, right. I prevailed against the cops. 1 detective losing his job and 25 year pension, and a fresh out of the academy sheriff losing his career. Do I feel better? No. The wrong people paid here. And I still have no chance at life.
It has been hit on the head a couple of times. I despise this country. It's people. And I shouldn't. I just want to feel good about life again and that's all they are attempting to do. But I can't leave, I can't escape. Thank you John McCain. I went $30 thousand in debt for an education I can't use because of my past. Thank you America! Now I am trying to get to my dad's, because I am losing everything and have no money. I'd rather be dead, but I won't kill myself. I have PTSD. I'm on 11 medications. But I can't get SSI. Thank you America! Thank you for letting me move on and provide for myself, and denying me now that I can't.
Posted by: Alan | Aug 14, 2012 4:56:24 PM
I am a convicted sex offender. I did my time and like many others I have struggled since my release. I did finally find a job that would look past my history and let me prove my self now the issue is finding a good place to live that will alow a registerd sex offender to rent from them. I dont understand it I have a verry good job andcan pay rent and am willing to double most security deposits yet nobody will talk to me.
Posted by: Dan | Sep 28, 2012 4:40:54 AM
Everyone has raised good points but one thing nobody seems to care about. There are people on the registry who yes violated the law, yes they had sex with someone UNDER THEIR AGE but also that they were a minor as well, a 15 year old has sex with a 10 year old who started the conversation about sex and the actions as well, he's on the list because he's old enough to know better and know the law and did it anyways and the 10 year old despite asking the 15 year old if they'd "do it" is seen as someone too immature and young to know what they were doing, now lets backtrack, 35 year old woman ask the 17 year old to have sex, 17 year old is now treated as too young to know what they're doing and the 35 YEAR OLD is on the list instead. How bout another round? The 10 year old who "didn't know what they were asking for" has sex with a 6 year old, now the 10 year old MIGHT NOT be on the list...yet...but they have a juvenile record that despite what people tell you IS OPEN in later court cases and can be used against them in something like a divorce or custody battle. I'm sorry the system is flawed, at 13 I knew about pregnancy and stds because despite complaining my mom let me go to sex ed. I knew I wanted to have sex for reasons I won't get into on here. I knew what precautions to take I knew that if you have sex with someone it's supposed to be out of love. But of course if I had sex with someone over the age of 18 at that time they would go to prison and I'd be labeled a victim even though I wanted it. I'm not saying everyone wants it or that the registry and charges shouldn't exist. There are monsters out there that HURT people and KILL people like the poor person whose aunt was raped and killed. But then there are people like me who willingly would have slept with someone over 18, maybe even over 25. It doesn't make the person I had sex with a criminal or a monster because of my age, if they held me down or lied to me or I really didn't know anything about what I was doing then it would have been rape, but not willing consensual sexual activity, that's not rape, that shouldn't be a crime despite age (obviously a 5 year old can't tell a 25 year old they want to have sex, use common sense to make laws, not fear and paranoia)
Posted by: D | Oct 9, 2012 8:07:19 PM
I'm a non legal person asking a question for a dear friend who had girl make up a story, now he is wondering if he'll ever be able to hunt again? So can a non violent sex offender in the state of pa who only has to register for 10 years, who was convicted of corruption of a minor and unlawful contact with a monior only misdaminor offenses ever own a firearm or purchase a firearm for hunting only purposes?
Posted by: Anth | Oct 21, 2012 3:46:11 PM
He broke into a womans house intending to rob her, and you believe she saw her home invasion as an opportunity to "get laid" instead of the nightmarish trauma that every other woman on earth would? And he never admits it...ever. That is not repenting, How can you be reformed of a crime that you refuse to admit to? Ask any alcaholic or drug addict, admitting is the first step to recovery. Now, many offenders go years without incident...or they get arrested and everyone learns that they raped 50 women and children over the years and just never got caught. And the idiot that employed that guy? Who thought he deserved a chance? He's out of business and maybe getting sued by all of his female employees who are irate that they were never informed that they were working alone at night with a convicted rapist. So no, not once a rapist always a rapist, but what crimes have the highest numbers of re-offenders. Drugs and Sex...
Posted by: Maranda | Nov 9, 2012 12:33:57 AM
I am a SO. Can't get hired anywhere! I Want to commit suicide!!!
Posted by: John Doe | Jan 5, 2013 5:26:35 PM
My son is a level one sexual offender but he did not have any sex with any minor child. He intended to rob someones house. He was 21 years of age. Never has been in trouble with the law before. He was drunk the night he robbed this house and took a IPOD and a VCR. there was a 15 year old there. the police officer when he was called, told my son that he said to this 15 year old girl that he was going to stick it in her mouth if she did not shut up but my son does not remember saying that but he agreed with the police officer that he did say that because my son has never had a father in his life of any kind nor did he ever have any role model in his life of any kind and this is the reason he agreed with the police officer that he said that. A fatherless young 21 year old is going to feel like he needs to be absolutely perfect for the police officer and therefore is going to agree with whatever the police officer says trying to be good enough for the father he never knew OR HAD! There was a rape kit done on the 15 year old and nothing was positive that he had any sex with this girl. When he went to court and he read a letter that he wrote to the AND he was very sad and crying but the judge was very mean AND SHOWED NO MERCY. My son had a lousy attorney who did not even show up to the court the first day of my son's trial and did nothing to defend my son and he was paid $10,000.00. My son unknowingly, broke into a police officer's house. and i think that this is the reason my son did not get a proper trial and is now labeled a sex offender. He was a level 2 offender but now he is a level 1 offender because he is in prison now and someone saw that my son is extremely non-violent and so it was lowered to a level 1. but i do not believe he should be labeled a sex offender at all since he did not do anything to anyone underage. He got 8 years of prison time. He is now age 27. it also did not look good when it was mentioned that I am a survivor of rape by my father. My son told his attorney that and his attorney mentioned it in court and i am most offended by this because I am not a rapist but my father is and my son is not a rapist either. I am very upset about all of this and would like some help with all of this some how! I want my son cleared but do not know what I can do?????? HELP!!!!!
Posted by: Donna | Mar 25, 2013 7:51:58 PM
I am the mother of the said son and my son's name is Richard Allen Turner and is at Twin Rivers Correctional facility in Monroe, Washington state. and he has 3 more years to go.
Posted by: Donna | Mar 25, 2013 7:56:27 PM
Yes, I am the mother of Richard Turner now 27 years of age and has been in the TwinRivers Correctional in Monroe, Washington State since he 21 years of age and has not sexually assaulted anyone under age as stated above and please if you can help me know what to do about this huge problem; then please correspond back with me at my email: [email protected]
TY and much appreciate any help or advice from anyone. Donna
Posted by: Donna | Mar 25, 2013 8:05:47 PM
I will not give my name or email. This is because I was convicted of a sex offence. In 1989 I was convicted for something that I did not do. I was sentenced to 15 years. Everytime I came up for parole I was denied, not for being in trouble, but because the parole board is in the habit of dening all sex offenders. I've been out of prison for 10 years, and I am in the process of getting a pardon. However, it hasn't happened yet. I believe that after a person has served their time they should receieve an automatic pardon after ten years. Thanks for caring
Posted by: Jeff | Jun 12, 2013 8:04:09 AM
I am a 31 year old female labeled a Sex offender. My charged happened when I was 18 years old. I have Zero excuses for what I did it was wrong and stupid.
I was a selfish and strong headed young woman who didn't care about myself or anyone else. I was one of the most self destructive people I have ever met. I started using drugs and drinking at the age of 13 and started having sex at the age of 12. At the age of 17 my parents were so overwhelmed with my behavior that they allowed he to marry.
I got married and treated him like crap and when I got pregnant I stopped using drugs and straightened up for a while after I had my son I was doing well but I didn't love myself but I loved my child enough to not loose him. An old friend came into town and i allowed myself to be talked into throwing a party.
All of those old "friends" were invited and another "friend" ask me if she could bring her new step sister with her. I agreed. The party was huge for my one room apartment and we soon ran out of drugs. My previously clean system was now on overload and I was really messed up. The the old friend from out of town asked me to go with him to get some more and i agreed and the girl how was my "friend's" step sister ask to come along.
We went to get some drugs at my old dealers house and it was freely given to me as long as I did what he wanted me to do with him. I did and when I went to the car my old "friend" and the girl were making out. The drug dealer and the old "friend" talked for a while and while they were talking I asked the girl how old she was she said 13 and it was her birthday. Even in my state I told her not to do anything with my "friend" because he was too old for her and she could get him in trouble
On our way home we did some more drugs although i did not give her any and she never asked. Once we got to my house everyone had left including the girl's step sister and and there was a note for her to come home as soon as she got the note. I tried to talk my friend into taking her home as I did not have a car there it was with my husband and he was at work.
He then proceeded to beg me to let them use my bed and eventually I gave in after telling him he was going to get in trouble messing with a girl that young.
I will not go into detail about what happened between the two of them because it disgusts me and I am sure it will disgust anyone reading this. I will sum it up to say that he asked me to commit a sexual act with him because the girl decided he didn't want to do that part of it and then he had sex with her.
I can not tell you how much I regret that night and I blame no one but myself and if I could go back I would never allow it to happen and I am glad I got caught because prison changed my life and I am so very sorry for what I did.
My charge is Lewd or Lucivous Exhibition and I am a registered sex offender. I am not a perv and I do not lust after little kids. I never have and never will. I could not afford an attorney so did what my public defender told me to do and I plead guilty and did 5 years in prison which I deserved.
Since then I have met a wonderful man and we have been together for almost 7 years. We will are getting married in September and I am half way through my degree. We have been saving to buy a house and are now actively looking for one. I have been off all drugs for 12 years and I am not the person I once was and there are many members of my community that stand behind me and know the facts of my charge and know how far I have com as a person.
I am telling you all of this because my charge has lumped me in with the scum of the earth. I am not saying that there are not sick twisted individuals out there or that they should not be watched. I just think that there are sex offenders out there that deserve a second chance. I have a horrible time finding a job and when I do get a job I am soon fired the moment anyone besides the hiring manager finds out and I am the first to go during a lay off. I will have to register for the rest of my life.
Posted by: LabledSO | Aug 21, 2013 2:40:09 PM
Would like to get in touch with Guy and talk
Posted by: homer coleman | Dec 6, 2013 8:16:55 AM
LISTEN UP ALL YOU PEDO LOVERS
ALL PEDOS NEED TO BE EXECUTED!
ONE RECENTLY STARTED ATTENDING MY CHURCH AND I WAS OUTRAGED AND LEFT THE CHURCH AND WILL NEVER RETURN
YOU VIOLATE KIDS IN ANY WAY YOU SHOULD BE KILLED!!!
I WAS TOLD BY CHURCH HE HAS A RIGHT TO BE THERE WHICH IS BULLSHIT!
SEX OFFENDERS HAVE NO RIGHTS!
I THINK ANYONE CAUGHT WITH SEX CRIME SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY ON THE SPOT
NO JURY TRAIL
NO DUE PROCESS
BULLET TO BACK TO THE FUCKING HEAD!
Posted by: pedokilla | Jan 3, 2014 3:38:21 PM
There is a huge ultra logical solution to the Registry problem. I always amazes me to see that nobody ever thinks about it.
1st point to make is the SOR is needed IF correctly set up. Here is how you make people feel safe AND remove people from the registry that should never have been there in the 1st place.
Once someone is charged with any NON-FORCED sex offence against a minor, the court MUST attain an evaluation of the defendant via a QUALIFIED psychiatrist or psychologist. This evaluation is voluntary and will be conducted by the defense and prosecutor. Exactly like determining the ability to stand trail in a case of questioned metal sanity. If the defendant refuses the offer of evaluation, then sorry about your luck, automatic determination of sex offender IF found guilty or plea taken for the sex offence.
This is very important to understand here. Most people charged with an offence are charged for a reason. Yes some are lies and some are totally innocent of said charges. BUT most are sitting in that courtroom for a reason. Most people who know they are guilty don't want to be clinically diagnosed as a sex offender and further embarrassed of their mental illness. So those will not waste the courts time and just by pass the tests.
BUT those who are determined to NOT be a pedophile or 'other' sexually attracted to minors indications shall be deemed to NOT be placed on the Sex Offender Registry if convicted or plea taken. They shall also not be required to take sex offender therapy as well. It is not LEGAL for the court system to determine an individuals metal state without the direct input of a QUALIFIED mental health professional.
By placing someone on the sex offender registry the legal system is inadvertently stating there is a metal illness present. Adults being sexually attracted to minors is a mental illness. If anyone believes it is not a mental disorder your name must be 'Chester'.
For those in Prison/Jail serving time for sex offenses.
Those individuals will receive the same option of evaluations if not offered at the time of their trial.
They will then be placed on the SO registry once released if evaluation deems required OR if they refuse testing.
Individuals not incarcerated who are on probation or only on the registry with no probation will be also given the option of testing. Those deemed to not be a sexual offender or otherwise worded as not a sexual risk to minors shall be REMOVED from the registry immediately. Also those individuals will also be immediately removed from sex offender mandated therapy.
Lastly is those on probation for a sex offense who have ALREADY been tested by the state appointed/mandated therapy center or otherwise been released from sex offender therapy shall be immediately removed from the sex offender registry. This almost never happens as it puts the testing/therapy center very far out on a limb if the individual would to ever re-offend. But it does happen, many have been deemed not a sex offender via therapy centers and removed from therapy, graduated as it is commonly called.
The funny thing is when these people 'graduate' they remain on the sex offender registry. ???? Hmmm that is interesting to me. Professionals deem them to NOT be a sex offender and have signed off on them as not a risk. So how can the state keep them on the registry if professionals say they are not??? Strange indeed.
Now the home run in alll this is the Supreme Court of the US has laid out all the ground work for this in previous rulings. Just read between the lines. SC states registration is not punitive but for protection of society AND protection of the offender from themselves. Limiting opportunities... kinda like Retail Loss Prevention. Yep I am with you. BUT those tested by professionals to NOT be a sex offender have no need for the 'protection' of the registry and nor does society. They are not a risk of sex offence because they have been clinically proven to not fancy minors. They shall be immediately removed from the registration and therapy. If they are left on the registry and clinically proven to not be a risk or a sex offender THEN it has just become PUNITIVE. There is no argument with that logic based on SC interpretations of what is punitive and what is regulatory. You cannot regulate those deemed not in need of regulation. Simple.
Obviously forced rapists are a horse of a different color, has Nothing to do with minors, and they are subject to automatic registration due to the forced manor of sex.
All this is strictly shaped for adults accused/plead/convicted of sex offences with a minor, not rapists.
There is a reason for that. For many many years there have been Tests around to determine if an individual has sexual attractions to minors. They are as accurate as a doctors pregnancy test. IF administered by Qualified professional individuals. They are rather intrusive and not a walk in the park mentally or physically. But there is ZERO questions on the combined tests accuracy. You fancy kids or you don't. Quite simple.
Now EVERYONE is happy. People who need that I want to feel safe feeling that the registry provides them still get what they want. Those who are not sex offenders or have completed required therapy or tested out as someone who has no attraction to minors can shut up because you are removed from registry and therapy. Others still have that great witch hunt feeling of the real sex offenders that remain on the registry.
OBVIOUSLY minors are forced to register for offences related to sex or sexting or whatever idiot law makers say with other minors. Those individuals are given age adjusted tests and parents of the accused minor are the decision makers in acceptance of the tests. I would hope not one single minor would ever have to be submitted to the full testing process. I believe the entire process would do psychological damage to a minor. High school students find other high school students sexually attractive, as they should and is NORMAL. In todays age the same must also be said for middle school students finding their middle school peers attractive. NO MINOR should EVER be charged with a consensual sex act with a peer, EVER. Just use logic, its simple. High school Senior sex or the like with a Sixth Grader... NOT PEERS!
I hope someone runs with my idea.... change is only made by challenging the system and having some BACKBONE!!! This is fair and clinical and most importantly LAWFUL !!! You CAN fix what is broken.
Posted by: Netrusher | Jan 11, 2014 10:35:29 PM
All you people trying to help sex offenders, stop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not that you shouldn't, I am one, and I appreciate the effort; but nothing I've read here helps. in fact, what I've read only hurts my cause. Fuck You, other sex offenders, we got everything we got coming and more. so please stop whining like the bitches you are. We fucked up in the worst possible way, and if any sex offender wants to deny this, then kill yourself and do the rest of us a favor. Sure, I (as does anyone else who has committed crimes against humanity) want a chance at redemption, and, yes, I've made great efforts to improve myself and prevent any other victimization of anyone; but don't pin a medal on me, average people don't do what I did (we did) I'm fighting for some resemblance of normalcy here, and sex offenders crying about how bad we have it isn't helping anyone. now, understand, I'm not saying that those who want to rehabilitate shouldn't have a chance to do so, but so far I haven't heard one of you trying to do so. And FUCK YOU for not showing anykind of remorse or any attempt to do so. Just keep complainining about how bad we sex offenders have it and how we are misrepresented in society and see how far you go with that! I know how hard it is to accept that I could do such a thing, it took a very long time for me to admit it myself, but if you are still in denial of what you have done, then please e-mail me your address so I can kill you myself. When a murderer kills someone, the victmization is over; a sex offender victimizes for a lifetime!
Posted by: Michael | Jan 25, 2014 9:27:14 AM
I'm a 30-something registered citizen myself and what prompted me to post here was the comment from pedokilla dated Jan 3, 2014, quoted below:
"LISTEN UP ALL YOU PEDO LOVERS
ALL PEDOS NEED TO BE EXECUTED!
ONE RECENTLY STARTED ATTENDING MY CHURCH AND I WAS OUTRAGED AND LEFT THE CHURCH AND WILL NEVER RETURN
YOU VIOLATE KIDS IN ANY WAY YOU SHOULD BE KILLED!!!
I WAS TOLD BY CHURCH HE HAS A RIGHT TO BE THERE WHICH IS BULLSHIT!
SEX OFFENDERS HAVE NO RIGHTS!
I THINK ANYONE CAUGHT WITH SEX CRIME SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY ON THE SPOT
NO JURY TRAIL
NO DUE PROCESS
BULLET TO BACK TO THE FUCKING HEAD!
Posted by: pedokilla | Jan 3, 2014 3:38:21 PM"
Hey, troll, what an amazing demonstration of Christ's love and compassion there, Mr. Upstanding Churchgoer. You OBVIOUSLY have not read ANY of the stories above from other registered sex offenders (myself being one too) and you came here just so spew your hateful venom. Go back to the 17th century with that Salem mentality.
And you know, on one hand, I am depressed enough that I might be inclined to run to the front of the line yelling "Me first! Me first! Put a bullet in me first." But on the other hand, I know you're just a spineless coward, a typical keyboard warrior, who would never say any such thing to my face or to that of any other RSO who's posted here, so I don't take you all that seriously. I won't even bother going into the fact that being labeled a "sex offender" doesn't automatically mean someone diddled children because I know I'm just spitting into the wind.
Posted by: A. Powell | Feb 22, 2014 5:33:04 PM