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June 30, 2009

Notable veto by Texas Gov of sex offender registration reforms

This local article from Texas, headlined "Gov. Rick Perry vetoes bill lifting sex offenders 21, younger from registry," spotlights an interesting development in the Lone Star State.  Here is how the piece starts:

Aaron Jernigan had just started college at age 18 and was planning a career as a music teacher when he met a girl at a party and his whole world changed.  Now 25, Jernigan finished a four-year prison sentence instead of a four-year degree.

He is trying to get on with his life, but a year out of prison he still cannot find work and has had to move twice because he will forever carry with him the black mark of a registered sex offender. "I was pretty much just a regular old kid in high school," he said.  "And they kinda threw away the key on me."

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have given people such as Jernigan the chance to try to have their names removed from the Texas sex offender registry.  Perry said the measure approved by legislators failed to protect young victims.

For Jernigan and other sex offenders like him, who got involved with young people close to their own age, the veto was a disappointment and a setback.  "We were already ready to get everything settled and get our lives back," Jernigan said.

June 30, 2009 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Hurray for the veto! The more this type of the BS happens the more people will get pissed and the stronger the inevitable backlash. The stronger the backlash the more children will suffer and the happier people will be.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2009 10:45:45 AM

If you read the article, you'll see that the defendant, a physical and legal adult, raped a 14 year-old child. He pleaded guilty to this charge, understandably not wanting to face a jury. As part of the plea, he knew he would be required to register as a sex offender. Having agreed to it, now he wants out of it. This does not engerder a whole lot of sympathy.

One other notable thing about the article is that, while the rapist is quoted extensively, his victim is nowhere to be heard from.

When I was in college, as this defendant was at the time of his crime, it was universally considered to be bad form, to say the least, to try to seduce (or force yourself on) ninth graders. The answer here is simple: If you don't want to be a registered sex offender, don't commit a sex offense.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 11:07:30 AM

Bill. Legally that may be sound. Scientifically it is not. The fundamental fact of the matter is that it is possible for the mens rea of a 14 year old and an 18 year old to be the same. From a biological perspective, both remain in a state of puberty. From a psychological perspective, both are still well within their teen years of development.

The law may not take those facts into account. If so, the law is in plain error and cannot commend the support of any reasonable person. The idea that an 18 year with a 14 year old is ipso facto "rape" is not a standard to which I can subscribe; it has no basis in any science, merely in social prejudice.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2009 11:21:38 AM

Hooray for Hyperbole! Why people insist on calling "consensual relations with someone under a specified age" RAPE is beyond me. Rape is rape. That's why it's called rape. It takes a completely different person/evil mindset to commit that offense. This kid now has to walk through the rest of his life as someone deemed a rapist, even though he most likely was never even capable of raping anyone. Why?

Posted by: John | Jun 30, 2009 11:40:49 AM

I concur. Rape and consensual intercourse are extremely different situations. To be so objective by having an "over/under" of 18 doesn't make much sense, scientifically or socially, however it is probably just the easiest from a legal standpoint.

Without knowing more facts surrounding the case, its hard to judge this man. Did he force himself on her against her will? Or were they just two kids at a party that got drunk and had sex?

Posted by: bernie | Jun 30, 2009 11:51:53 AM

Honestly, Bill Otis, you demean your profession with such posts. The fact stated in the article, which you are in no position to rebut, is that an 18-year-old had sex with a girl whom he honestly believed was 16. You are correct that there could be other facts, but for now these are the ones we have.

Can you explain why, on those facts, he should be ruined for life? Yes, he pleaded guilty. But that's probably because a smart-ass prosecutor threatened him with 20 years behind bars if he went to trial and lost. Under the circumstances, what option did he have? That doesn't mean that, as a matter of policy, the state did the right thing.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 30, 2009 12:27:35 PM

If society had been this insane, fifty years ago, our family would not even be here. I was engaged at 15, married and pregnant at 17. The marriage lasted 50 years. My mother, my aunts, and both my grandmothers, all married and had a baby when they were 17 yrs old. Sometimes the marriage came first, and sometimes it came after the pregnancy.

I am 72 now, and raising a grandson who is 17. He is dating a girl who is 15 and 1/2 years old. She is not as self disciplined as he is, and she constantly tries to get him into bed. I've told him the consequences if he was to have a weak moment. I pray every second they are together. In my opinion, society has gotten sick. It is so great to be gay, so socially acceptable, but to be a healthy heterosexual man is thought to be evil. How did it get this way? Some of my grown grandchildren are in their late 20's and early 30"s. None of them have married or had children. They say they have to have education and pursue their carreers. But, they also have done other things in their frustration, such as use drugs and alcohol, and other self destructive things. They tell me life is terribly painful and boring from 16 to 30.

Posted by: DLJ | Jun 30, 2009 12:41:56 PM

In Utah, two 14 yr olds, had sex, and the girl got pregnant. The prosecutor prosecuted them both and they are on the sex register. What good could this prosecutor have thought she was doing? Who was the victim? I say the kids were the victims of the prosecutor, and their parents were victims, and society is victims of prosecutors.

Posted by: DLJ | Jun 30, 2009 12:48:37 PM

Reference this opinion by Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit (U.S. v. Mannava, 565 F.3d 412, 7th Cir. 2009), where the Court reversed a conviction because a prosecutor repetedly referred to a proposed consensual encounter as rape. The Court said: "saying that someone intends to rape a person implies that he intends to use force, and there is no evidence of that in this case."

Posted by: Jay | Jun 30, 2009 2:04:24 PM

The problem, Bill, is not that this guy didn't "deserve" punishment. He did (although it's interesting that no one seems to think of him as the white Genarlow). It's that this punishment is going to last a lifetime, and that really doesn't do anyone any good. First of all, any societal resources spent on this guy being on the sex offender registry are resources not spent on dealing with truly dangerous sex offenders. Second of all, is it this guy's lot in life (and his family's) to suffer this scarlet letter for decades?

I am in favor of exceedingly harsh punishments in many many many instances. If it were up to me, death would be the presumptive punishment for most murders and even attempted murder. But I cannot think of a single reason for keeping this guy on a sex offender list much past his 25th birthday--he has been punished, severely, for his crime--probably a lot more severely than most of the people who do this in America. And your "well, he pled guilty" is a little flippant for my taste. The issue is what justice requires, not an unstated "too bad, so sad". He is a fellow human being who deserves more than that.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 30, 2009 2:49:58 PM

Marc Shepherd -- "Honestly, Bill Otis, you demean your profession with such posts."

I didn't know you had been annointed as the Decider of Who Demeans the Profession, but whatever.

"The fact stated in the article, which you are in no position to rebut, is that an 18-year-old had sex with a girl whom he honestly believed was 16."

What the article stated was that he CLAIMED to believe she was 16 -- which, as you could not help knowing, is the oldest lie in the world in cases like this. I suppose you could be this gullible, but I doubt it.

"Can you explain why, on those facts, he should be ruined for life?"

Thousands if not millions of people have overcome worse things than what he's facing. So don't hand me this, "He's ruined for life!" You know no such thing.

"Yes, he pleaded guilty. But that's probably because a smart-ass prosecutor threatened him with 20 years behind bars if he went to trial and lost."

On the other hand, maybe he pleaded guilty because he was guilty. Oh, wait, I must be demeaning the profession again! All sensible people know that the only reason defendants plead guilty is that, though innocent, they're blackjacked into it by the (assumed) "smart-ass prosecutor (where's your factual support for that one?)." Evidence never counts in the plea decision.

Righto.

"Under the circumstances, what option did he have?"

1. Keep it in his pants.
2. Failing that, tell the truth.

"That doesn't mean that, as a matter of policy, the state did the right thing."

As usual, it's the state's fault. The idea that there might be something wrong with college men having sex with ninth graders is invisible in your post.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 6:24:36 PM

federalist --

He can petition for an expungement. Those are rarely given, but in the right case you can get one. I know; when I was an AUSA, I ran across a defendant who had committed an offense (I forget what) when he was 18. He had since led an exemplary life.

I am, as you might guess, generally opposed to expungements, simply because I do not believe in re-writing history or sending things down the memory hole. In this case, I was persuaded that there was no societal benefit from hanging a criminal record around this guy forever. So I recommended to the United States Attorney that we support the petition. He went along with it, as did the judge.

This Texas defendant is free under existing law, so far as I know, to seek the same recourse.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 6:39:07 PM

Jay --

When commenting on an article, it is generally helpful to have read it. This is what it says about the conduct to which the defendant pleaded guilty: "Convicted of sexual assault, he will be required for life to put his name, address, photo and employer on the state sex offender registry."

Do you know what an "assault" is?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 6:46:30 PM

Bill, you forgot to tell Marc to get off your lawn.

I am not sure what you have to contribute to a blog about sentencing policy when your reflexive attitude is, "If you don't want the punishment, then don't do the crime!"

You are of course entitled to this attitude. The sentiment is absolutely, positively true. But perhaps you have noticed that people commit crimes anyway. And people who commit crimes must be punished, raising the question of how and to what extent they should be punished. That's what this blog is about. Your attitude of "He did it, so he shouldn't complain" doesn't really add anything to the discussion.

Posted by: CN | Jun 30, 2009 7:13:39 PM

So Bill, let's simplify it. Since we know no other facts, let's assume the facts claimed in the article are true. I know, I know, sometimes people claim things that are false. But since we don't know that here, let's set it aside for the moment.

Those facts, to review, are that he had consensual sex with a girl he plausibly believed was 16, but who turned out to be 14. Bear with me here: just for the moment, assume those are the facts.

As you probably know, in many jurisdictions, on those facts and no others, an 18-year-old can be sentenced to years in prison, lifetime registration as a sex offender, and all of the other usual collateral consequences of a felony conviction. Which is exactly what happened in this case.

Now explain why this is good public policy. That's what we all want to know.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 30, 2009 8:16:46 PM

CN --


If you dispute anything factual in my response to Marc, you neglected to mention it.

The fact that criminals make choices and are not mere victims of the system (or racism, capitalism, bad schools, too much indulgence, too little indulgence, twinkies, etc., et al.) also should inform the discussion of punishment, but with few exceptions is absent (or affirmatively denied) here. You are quite right that I frequently point it out, to your and others' consternation. It's unfortunate that disagreement with the prevailing criminal defense orthodoxy so distresses you.

I don't know how the analysis of sentencing policy is advanced by the kneejerk refrain that, "He did it, therefore the law must change." After that gets said a thousand times or so, it doesn't really add anything to the discussion.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 8:26:10 PM

"The measure would have allowed people such as Jernigan, who were 21 or younger and had consensual sex with someone who was at least 14 and not more than four years younger than them, to petition a judge to remove their name from the sex offender registry."

Mr. Otis's posts are evidence that the registry is not what the PR claimed. The registry is strictly for Public Safety and gives individuals an opportunity to protect themselves from individuals listed on the registry due to the fact of conviction.

Mr. Otis claims no threat from Mr. Jernigan to himself, his family or to anyone in his vicinity. True, the discussion of Mr. Jernigan is based on a news media report and not based directly on Mr. Jernigan's registry listing, but that only makes the discussion even less reliable, and Mr. Otis makes clear what the registry means in practice rather than theory and he makes clear the registry is not merely a restatement of the fact of conviction of a specific offense, which is all the SCOTUS approved in Doe. Instead, the registry is a giant government sponsored troll. The dissenters were right.

Posted by: George | Jun 30, 2009 8:29:38 PM

Bill, your reference to expungements is disingenuous. The sex offender status is a lot more than an old criminal record, and I think you know it.

You also completely ignore the other issue--allocation of resources. When we add sex offenders like the defendant here to a list that includes dangerous sexual predators, we dilute that list, thereby making it less likely that the maintenance of the list and the supervision that goes with it will accomplish its purpose.

The bottom line is that the sex offender status, absent extraordinary circumstances, will dog this guy for the rest of his life. Is that justice? I think not--especially after he paid a high price for his crime. But even if you think that he somehow deserves this (as opposed to your flippant "well, he pled guilty" statement), if we marginalize people like him for no good reason, we make it more likely that more crimes will be committed. Now, I would NEVER suggest that he would not be responsible for any future crime, but a policy that makes these things more likely, with no benefit whatsoever, seems not just cruel, but stupid. You may not care all that much about his fate, after all, "thousands if not millions of people have overcome worse things than what he's facing." Perhaps so. But is this a justification? What, the sex offender tag isn't so bad?

And do his children deserve this? Your callousness, to be blunt, is jarring. I defer to no one on being "tough on crime", and I have very little sympathy for criminals generally, but there are limits, and making someone pay, forever, for a crime like that after he suffered a significant penalty, seems gratuitously cruel and needlessly harsh.


Posted by: federalist | Jun 30, 2009 8:39:19 PM

Marc Shepherd --

Your most recent post reminds me of the old saying, "If we had eggs, we could have ham and eggs, if we had ham."

And sure enough, if we assume as true (or, as you put it, "simplify" things) everything the defendant said to the newspaper reporter (NB: we conspicuously don't get to hear what he said IN COURT when he pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a minor, nor do we get to hear a single word of the victim's account), a very different picture emerges.

No doubt about that.

Given that as the working assumption, you actually UNDERSTATE the case for this guy. If I recall the article correctly, Texas law provides a defense to the charged crime where the defendant is 18 or younger and the putative victim (1) is acting consensually, and (2) is within three years of the defendant's age.

If my recollection of the law is right, the defendant not only should not be a registered sex offender, he should have been acquitted outright.

Ain't it great when you can make up your own facts!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 8:47:14 PM

federalist --

1. I believe the effect of an expungement is the wiping away of the conviction, meaning that registration as a sex offender would no longer be required.

2. Why is it flipant to say that he pled guilty knowing the consequences of doing so? It's both true and relevant to his subsequently expressed discontent. I expect people to abide by the undertakings they knowingly assume. Don't you?

3. The expense, such as it might be, of maintaining him (or anyone) on the sex offender registry is a matter for the taxapayers of Texas to decide, not you or me.

4. Conviction for ANY felony has serious adverse collateral consequences that follow the convict "forever."

5. Callousness is in the eye of the beholder. You have been called callous and a great deal worse here for supporting the death penalty. I presume it doesn't bother you, because you believe (as I do in that particular) that you are correct on the merits.

I respect your willingness to take heat, and also, for by far the most part, the qualtiy of your arguments. In this instance I respectfully disagree.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2009 9:16:08 PM

3. The expense, such as it might be, of maintaining him (or anyone) on the sex offender registry is a matter for the taxapayers of Texas to decide, not
you or me.

--

Isn't this at least somewhat not true now with the Adam Walsh Act? I seem to recall statements from several states that the federal requirements are forcing at least some states to register people that the state deems safe enough to not track.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 1, 2009 2:03:43 AM

The expense, such as it might be, of maintaining him (or anyone) on the sex offender registry is a matter for the taxapayers of Texas to decide, not you or me.

Bill, the name of this blog is "Sentencing Law and Policy." The implication is that the best policy might, in some cases, not be the one written into law at the moment. Laws change all the time.

You still have not explained why, as a matter of policy, you believe the sanction he faced is an appropriate state response to the known facts.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jul 1, 2009 8:25:43 AM

Soronel Haetir -- I don't have sufficient information to answer your question. In particular, I don't know the text of the Adam Walsh Act; whether Texas is among the states objecting to it; if so, whether the objection is well-founded; whether the Adam Walsh Act requires tracking in addition to registration; and how frequent, intrusive (and therefore expensive) that tracking would be.

As a general matter, however, I agree that the decisions about future dangerousness and related tracking expenses are better left to the state.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 1, 2009 8:32:32 AM

Marc Shepherd --

"Bill, the name of this blog is 'Sentencing Law and Policy.'"

See there. We agree on something.

"The implication is that the best policy might, in some cases, not be the one written into law at the moment. Laws change all the time."

Modesty being a virtue, the changes are best left to those with an actual stake in the matter, i.e., the people who would have to live with them and pay for them.


"You still have not explained why, as a matter of policy, you believe the sanction he faced is an appropriate state response to the known facts."

Actually I did, in the post last night where I took all the facts as you stated them (which is to say, the "facts" gleaned by omitting the defendant's version in court, and the victim's version altogether), and concluded that, on that selective rendition of the "facts," you had actually understated the case for not having the defendant on a registry.

Not that it makes any difference, since, as we both know, you made up your mind about this before you read anything I wrote.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 1, 2009 9:18:01 AM

Bill Otis wrote

"Jay -- When commenting on an article, it is generally helpful to have read it. This is what it says about the conduct to which the defendant pleaded guilty: "Convicted of sexual assault, he will be required for life to put his name, address, photo and employer on the state sex offender registry."

Do you know what an 'assault' is?"

Learn to analyze, Bill. They don't teach that at the DOJ, I guess. It is irrelevant how the article or the law titles the offense. The fact is that, as far as the evidence establishes, it was a consensual encounter.

I'll repeat: In U.S. v. Mannava, 565 F.3d 412, 7th Cir. 2009), the Seventh reversed a conviction because a prosecutor repetedly referred to a proposed consensual encounter between an adult and minor as "rape." The Court said: "[S]aying that someone intends to rape a person implies that he intends to use force, and there is no evidence of that in this case." Neither is there evidence of force in this case. Therefore, according to Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit, it is improper to refer to the encounter in this case as "rape."

As federalist would say, you got clowned Bill Otis.

Posted by: Jay | Jul 1, 2009 10:15:01 AM

Jay --

"Learn to analyze, Bill."

Yes sir, Your Excellency.

"They don't teach that at the DOJ, I guess."

Being snide is a poor substitute for thinking things through. As it happens, you have no idea what they teach at DOJ, and more to the point, you don't care, because your pre-set ideology is just too far gone.

"It is irrelevant how the article or the law titles the offense."

Baloney and you know it.

"The fact is that, as far as the evidence establishes, it was a consensual encounter."

Really? To what "evidence" are you referring? So far as you have given any reason to believe, you have access only to the item all the rest of us have access to, namely, the news article. And that explicitly denominates the offense as "sexual assault." Do you have some other source for the "evidence" you're referring to?

Incidentally, a defendant's unsworn, out-of-court statements while chatting with a sympathetic reporter years after the crime, judgment and sentence are not evidence.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 1, 2009 12:23:32 PM

Bill, I think your argument suffers from a number of flaws.

The most glaring flaw is your casual equation of a plea bargain to a contract. Now I get that courts treat pleas like contracts, but your argument that "a deal's a deal, you cannot complain" really doesn't deal with the issue. If Jernigan took the best deal he thought he could get, he can hardly be criticized for thinking that the best he could do is unjust. Moreover, if the best he could do is unjust, saying "well, you agreed to it" is entirely besides the point.

"The expense, such as it might be, of maintaining him (or anyone) on the sex offender registry is a matter for the taxpayers of Texas to decide, not you or me."

Once again--supremely besides the point. I am not arguing that some hypothetical Emperor Federalist has the right to toss out Texas' judgment expressed through its legislative enactments. Rather, and as I think others have emphasized, the issue is the propriety/morality/wisdom of that judgment. When someone says, gee that was dumb, it's no answer to say, "well, it wasn't for you to decide". In other words, that someone doesn't have the power to change something doesn't mean that they don't have the power to criticize it.

"I believe the effect of an expungement is the wiping away of the conviction, meaning that registration as a sex offender would no longer be required."

True, but besides the point. Yes, there may be a mechanism for dealing with this, but it's extraordinary--Jernigan certainly can believe that he's stuck with this for life, and we can too--and that some extraordinary remedy is theoretically available just doesn't obviate the issues here.

"Conviction for ANY felony has serious adverse collateral consequences that follow the convict 'forever.'"

Perhaps so, but being on the sex offender registry is on top of that--not sure that's argument is actually helpful to your position, unless you want to say the "delta" is minimal.

"Why is it flipant to say that he pled guilty knowing the consequences of doing so? It's both true and relevant to his subsequently expressed discontent. I expect people to abide by the undertakings they knowingly assume. Don't you?"

It is flippant because you don't deal at all with the justice/injustice question. If the best this guy thought he could do was what he got, a "you agreed to it" is utterly dismissive, as it doesn't meet the argument and it presumes that the injustice, if any, is solely the fault of the guy.


Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2009 2:05:33 PM

Bill, I think your argument suffers from a fatal flaw. What the guy "agreed to" was as good as he thought that he was going to get. If as good as what he was going to get was still unjust, his assent doesnt transmogrify injustice into justice.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2009 5:58:26 PM

I was brought to this site courtesy of the Financial Times article on Mr. Berman. May I offer this remark on the former Nasdaq Chairman, now federal felon discussed in the "A sentence both necessary and rare". ::: In the 1973 movie Papillon, Dustin Hoffman plays a character that is sentenced to the remainder of his natural life in the French Penal Colony of French Guinea. His crime: swindeling folks with counterfeit First World War Defense Bonds in Paris. On his arrival in Hell he is greeted by a penal officer who introduces himself as the son of an elderly victim of the counterfeiter, the entire life savings being lost. ::: The common man in the USA kind of wishes that Bernie Madoff's new world would be in similar humid, hot, and disgusting place where he and his ilk could rot to death moving fallen trees in the swamp, and if he were lucky, catching butterflies for their blue ink, even should the penal tour in Hell start at the tender age of 71.

Posted by: James Hansen | Jul 3, 2009 7:05:47 PM

Former naval officer, private citizen, investor in the US stock market, and reader of the Financial Times.

Posted by: James Hansen | Jul 3, 2009 7:07:22 PM

I'm looking for answers to erase my record. When I got in trouble my attorney said theres no prof saying you did or didn't just a 50/50 chance going to prison for ten years. He said that because I have never been in trouble before you will get ten years defferd probation. He said do half of that with no problems and you can get off. I plead gluilty to keep my family out of the court room but now I register for life. I don't mind doing the time but no matter what I do or how hard I try to be a good person I will alway be a monster to people. I want a chance to show people I am good inside. I got one and a half years left of probation but I wish thay had given me death. To be on a list of mild to extream sex offenders is hard. I'm not even welcome in church. welcome no where and to only know hate and discuss from people hurts. I think everyone should half a second chance at life. If I can't have it than there is no point in living any more we are all human and no one is perfect. I will never have a family because it would only hurt them. I write to you to tell you how it feels to be a sex offender. I live in fear never knowing what tomorrow brings. So tired of it all but stuck here. And don't worry I will not kill my self that would just hurt the few people who do care and it would take me straight to hell if that isn't where I'm going already

Posted by: Doug | Jul 17, 2009 3:44:49 PM

I am a sex offender who was convicted at age 18. I am 34 now and the past is still there as if it were fresh news from yesterday. I am married and struggle to keep my past from affecting my life by associating with and buying from those who put who I am before who I was. Companies that do not hire sex offenders, within reason, do not get my business. I test this by applying at grocery stores, etc and by looking for them in the sex offender registry (which I download and search using SQL queries).

To answer the question about why a person might plead guilty, I will only respond that it was my way of accepting responsibility for my actions. Mr. Otis, you sir, are too distant from your own humanity if you lack the perspective to see how your own errors in life could have easily landed you in my shoes. I was wrong, grossly wrong, for my crime in 1994. But nonetheless, I accepted responsibility for my crimes and determined to move forward. I volunteered for the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program, served my ENTIRE sentence without parole and have moved on. Yet i know many others who, like you Mr. Otis, believe themselves to be without sin. Given enough time and mature introspection they will hopefully and eventually come to realize we all make mistakes--some greater, some lesser--which we find requires the forgiveness of those whom we harm.

I find that the need to understand forgiveness requires one to admit his/her own errors then to learn first hand. It often requires the law of averages to complete this process...and Mr. Otis...you and I are just two chimps banging away on our typewriters in hope that we can succeed.

OCCUPATION: QUASI-SELF-EMPLOYED IT PROFESSIONAL AND SEX OFFENDER.

Posted by: x684867 | Aug 16, 2009 10:58:22 PM

well to be truth ful texas laws on sex affenders is not justice for all cause in 1994 i took a bargain plee to stay out of prison and I was around 19 and she was almost 15 and she was my cousin and she had a crush on me and she said i ticled her and we were fully dressed but i still got six years defered probation and a life time of hell for fucking ticleing and the dam rockwall D A even told the judge that it wasnt your tipicle molestation case that i was just ticleing so they didnt recomend counsilin but i still went and i met a lot of real sick people now i am 37 and cant find a job and divorced and having hell with my exe and the only thing she has is I ticled my 15 year old cousin so why dont the idiots we send to austin make laws that make sence cause to be truth full 90 persent of texas could be charged with indenceney with a child if they ever ticled ther kids and they could go to counsilin with guys who rape kids and have to listen to them tell you all the sick shit they done , so what about my defererred probation my name was suppose to be clean

Posted by: ronnie | Aug 20, 2009 4:48:40 AM

True sex offenders are NOT gf and BF that engage in sex. My g'son is charged with statutory rape with his gf. He just turned 20 and has been dating her all summer> She is 16 but had sex before that with someone else. He did NOT force her, or coerce her because she wanted it. she has been in an abusive home, (so she says) , and many young teens who want out use this ploy. She lied about her age to myself and many others until the damage was done. Now he is in jail getting beaten by other inmates, having his food taken and getting threats because of his charge? How is that fair when her parents turned a blind eye and deaf ear to a girl just screaming for help? Wouldn't it be more reasonable to call the guys family and talk before pressing charges that will ruin his life forever if found guilty? Or how bout putting her on bith control? Teens have normal sex drives and way too many parents try to deny this and this denial is what puts people like us in this place of worry, heartsickness and stress over "normal" facts of life! If he had "raped" her (forced her or threatened her) I would tell them to throw away the key, but I have seen them together and they were happy as anyone could be.

Posted by: TxSandylee | Nov 18, 2009 1:49:54 AM

I would liketo know at what age is "EVERYONE" ready for sex? I do believe thaqt each and every person is different. It is a well know fact that girls mature earlier and that boys seem to be after the girl sooner. But why do people think that 16 doesn't reflect a "proper" age to have sexual encounters? If you or anyone has a daughter that is asking questions, seems to be dressing differently or talks about boys or "A" boy constantly , here are the signs! If you have not set down and talked to her , do it NOW!!!!!! Don't wait till you find out she is sexually active then blame the guy everytime. Don't ruin a young guy's life to appease your guilt for ignoring the signs. I didn't and my daughter went on birth control late in her 16th year and when she did get married her first born came 3 years later. Parents --QUIT hiding your head in the sand, this world has changed from your teen years and you are punishing the wrong people for what happens. I am NOT condoning the men who use force, threats, or coersion , I am talking about normaL , RAGING HORMONES OF THE TEENS IN THIS DAY AND AGE.

Posted by: TxSandylee | Nov 20, 2009 10:05:04 PM

I read the comments above, wow. Mr Perry said nothing about rape or the major offenders. he is talking about the ridicolus cases I hear about over and over. The major cases oh yea, great job. They are a menis to society. but come on guys. lets be real here. the minors that were lured into this. There is no seperation by degree. The 1-2-3 staging is crazy. 20 years if your a #1, life if your a 2 or 3. Heres for you. I go out to eat or go to the bank how maney woman do i see exposing them selves. What are the parents of these girls thinking. I have had to litterly throw girls out of the house for comming on to me and I'm 53 years old. You want to adress the problem get with young childrens parents and teach them how to make their kids behave. Find fashions the are appealing not revealing. Bring back value to our children. sex after marrage. This day and age every thing is ok. It's not ok. I am shoched at what is tolerated in the u.s.. Drugs, alcohol, and sex. We have learned to accept abuse in all these area's. As parents we are not doing our jobs. As citizens of this great United States, it's time to change back to the ways that worked.

Posted by: gary ball | Dec 18, 2009 2:34:27 PM

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