Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One in every 419 U.S. citizens is now a registered sex offender

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Sex Offenders: A flawed law

The rampant criminalization of anything deemed remotely “sexually inappropriate” is taking its grave toll:

Today, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) released the results of its latest survey regarding the number of registered sex offenders located in the U.S. The organization's most recent survey of states found there are 747,408 registered sex offenders in the country today, which represents an increase of 7,555 offenders from the previous survey in June 2011.

NCMEC conducted its first survey in 2006, which showed there were 606,816 registered sex offenders in the U.S. In just five years, an additional 140,592 convicted sex offenders have been added to sex offender registries across the country, an increase of 23.2%. The three states with the largest number of registered sex offenders are California (106,216), Texas (68,529) and Florida (57,896).

You know, I readily consider myself a general cynic when it comes to the human condition, but even I find it extremely difficult to believe that roughly every one-in-419 U.S. citizens is a potential rapist or child molester, and especially, that the American public has increased its sex crime rates by 20% in the last five years alone.

The obvious explanation, as has been made incontrovertibly clear in the last few years alone, is that virtually any behavior that can be considered “inappropriate” – from teens having sex to mere public urination or streaking, not to mention other equally harmless acts such as merely paying another consenting adult for sexual services – is now being labeled a criminal act and prosecuted accordingly.

Of course, none of this will ever change so long as those in charge refuse to get a clue:

"The courts have long held that the requirement that a convicted sex offender register with authorities is not punitive, it is regulatory," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC.

Being forced to register as a convicted sex offender isn’t a punishment, eh?

Edgar Coker Jr.
Edgar Coker Jr.

Tell that to Edgar Coker Jr., who was falsely accused of rape at 15 years old and is now unable to live without being constantly hounded by police because he’s still on the Virginia sex offender registry, despite having been proven innocent.

Tell that to Frank Rodriguez, a married father of four who can’t play with his kids or get any halfway-decent job because he once had fully consensual sex with his then-15-year-old future wife when he was 19.

Tell that to Robert Dipiazza, who loses job after job simply because he once had sex with his then-15-year-old girlfriend when he was 18.

Matthew Freeman
Matthew Freeman

Tell that to Matthew Freeman, who can’t even play basketball in his own driveway because he once made love to his then-15-year-old girlfriend when he was 17.

Then, how about you tell that to the 15-year-old girl in Pennsylvania who was arrested and charged with child molestation and possession and distribution of child porn, thus securing her a spot on any local sex offender registry, simply because she chose to post various sexy pictures of herself on the Internet.

Also, tell that to all the New Orleans prostitutes and their clients who are labeled “sex offenders” because they engaged in oral or anal sex.

Dan Wheeler
Dan Wheeler

Or better yet, tell that to Dan Wheeler, who cannot foster-parent nor get any number of jobs because he once had his identity stolen by a sex offender.

Afterwards, tell that to the registered sex offenders in Georgia who are forced to live in the woods like animals because ridiculously harsh state laws prevent them from living in actual society.

Similarly, tell that to sex offenders in Miami, Florida, whose living situation is so utterly abysmal that even foreign news channels are paying attention.

And finally, why don’t you tell that to the hundreds of children and teenagers who are turned into sex offenders under a broken system that treats anyone who plays “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” as equal to child-molesting rapists.

And those are just some of the cases that I have personally blogged about on this site.

But please, Mr. Allen. Tell us all again how being forced to register as a sex offender doesn’t “punish” anyone.

As has been said before: The idea of sex offender registries as a means of keeping tabs on the genuinely dangerous elements of society is a good one. The problem is entirely in the implementation and execution. And as long as people who cause no actual harm to anyone are both forced into the system and subsequently prevented from clearing their names and rebuilding their lives, the system as it is is intolerably corrupt.

(via The Agitator)