- Politics and Social Issues»
- Crime & Law Enforcement
Incarceration, castration or execution -- attempts to control the dangerous, violent sex offender
- The rape of the innocents -- child sex abuse
For thirty years I worked in child protection. It became a driving force of my life. Today I share a small part of this experience.
My re-occuring dreams
In the early years of my thirty-year experience as an outreach worker, a first-responder, a foster parent and counselor working with sexually abused or exploited girls, I began to experience re-occurring dreams. At first, the images my sleeping mind conjured-up involved having the perpetrators at my mercy, and I meted out fitting punishment – a beating, clawing at them with my fingernails while hurling verbal abuse -- or worse – scenes that shocked me on waking.
As my experience and expertise in the area grew, and I received referrals to more horrific cases – child victims of sadistic, unspeakable sexual torture; victims of the child sex-slave trade and survivors of long-term infra-familial molestation, these dreams escalated. I’d have a collage of perpetrators parade through my mind, and I’d burst out like Al Pacino in Scarface, (“meet my little friend”) and let loose a deadly barrage, a blood bath. I’d wake up bathed in sweat, screaming, shaking, disturbed to my core at the depth of my rage and hate.
I wasn’t alone in these fantasies. I discussed my distress and concerns relating to my sanity with some of my contacts in law enforcement. Those, like me, on the front line and exposed to the horror; the ones who take the perpetrator away, listen to the sniveling excuses, the babbled rationalizations, sickened by the complete self-absorption that makes it all right to use a child as no more than a thing to gratify a sick libido. And through the entire process of interviews, interrogations and arrest, they are required by law to respect the rights of the degenerate before them, to treat the accused like any other human being and to suppress their emotions, however devastating they may be.
What did they feel? I’ve heard them discuss what they’d like to do – much of it having to do with sharp knives. I’ve seen the toughest of police officers walk out of an interview and into the bathroom to vomit. I’ve watched hard-bitten, long experienced veterans weep. Did they, like me, go home to their own children, sit and watch them sleep and torture themselves with could-be’s and what-if’s?
At some of the child protection conferences I’ve attended, after the dry, professional presentations and discussions, social workers, law enforcement and outreach workers from many lands, many backgrounds, many cultures held informal chats over a drink or a meal, and we shared our inner demons. And over it all lay this constant feeling of guilt, a sense of shame we were not professional enough to stay uninvolved – which is the first rule of this work. Yes, we berated our own humanity.
In spite of our many differences, one thing we all held in common – a question, a riddle, a conundrum – what can be done to control the worst of these scum – the violent, dangerous sex offender, the predator destroying not just mental health, physical well-being, trust, and innocence, but often taking the very life of their victims?
We never did find any solution.
Apparently, society too searches for these answers and flails about, powerless, as to producing a solution as we on the front lines are.
- 52 children recovered, 60 alleged child pimps arrested in crackdown -- but have you heard about it?
Today the FBI announced 52 children recovered during a crack down on the child sex slave industry. Did any of you hear about it? And why not? 100,000 children are trafficked in the U.S.every year.
Who are sex offenders?
Accurate reliable statistics impossible to find
As always, it is impossible to find accurate statistics on the numbers and demographics of sex offenders, as so many sexual crimes – the majority – go unreported. Those studies published often contradict one another.
The term sex offender has become all encompassing
The term sex offenders has become all encompassing, including those who have sex with older minors, knowingly or unknowingly, often in the context of a mutual and consensual (though not in the eyes of the law) relationship. The age of consent varies from one jurisdiction to another, varying from the age of 14 to the age of 18. Many disagree with the branding of ‘sex offender’ to someone involved with a partner of 16 or 17. As one convicted offender said, “I met her in a bar, where she was served alcohol. Why would I think to ask?” So yes, there are those now branded with the term, who should not be. After counseling several worldly, sexually active and mature-looking 15, 16 or 17 year old girls, I would agree.
Sex offender also applies to those whose activities may be
passive – looking at pictures, for example. There are those who say this crime
is without a victim, and therefore labeling such vicarious activities as
sex-offenses is unjust. I strongly disagree. Much of the child-porn is produced
through the child sex slave industry. (For more information on child sex-slave
trafficking, refer to the link to the upper right.) Those that finance this insidious
trade through purchase of its products, are equally guilty for the misery and
suffering of its victims. Secondly, such indulgence feeds those fantasies and
desires that lead to action.Do you have your appetite satisfied by watching a film of someone eating their dinner? No, it only increases your desire to get a dinner for yourself.
Sex offenders fall into two main categories
Sex offenders in the active sense tend to fall into two categories – infra-familial, those who abuse only within their own families, and extra-familial, those who seek victims out in society.
Women as offenders Footnote 1.
For the record, women can and do commit sexual abuse and fall in either of these categories. As far as existing statistics can be trusted, 75% of reported and verified cases of sexual abuse are committed by men, and 25% by women. Female are more likely to abuse their own biological children, or others under their care, primarily under the age of six, or in extra-familial cases, to have sex with teenage partners 15 or more years younger than themselves.. It is interesting that 75% of female offenders are the child’s babysitters.
The true impact of female offenders is found in recently released statistics that show 59% of male offenders targeting girls and women reported sexual abuse or sexually oriented punishments by their mother figures.
99% of violent sex offenders are male Footnote 2
But once we step into the realm of the violent and dangerous sex offender, the predator – females drop to less than 1%.
So for the rest of this article, we will consider the violent and dangerous sex offender as a male.
A sad story
A known sexual predator slips through the cracks and strikes again -- this could have been avoided
In California, the bodies of two teenage girls, 17 year old Chelsea King and 14 year old Amber Dubois were discovered within days of each other. The investigation led law enforcement to arrest John Albert Gardner for the murder of King, whose body was found March 2, buried in a park near her hometown. Gardner was charged with assaulting another woman, in that same park in December. He is also the prime suspect in the case of Dubois, missing since early 2009 when she disappeared while walking to school and her body now discovered on an Indian reservation.
Gardner, 30, served five years in prison and three years of parole after pleading guilty in 2000 to raping, beating and falsely imprisoning a 13-year-old neighbor girl. He was supposedly under the supervision of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Apparently, despite several violations of his parole, including allowing the battery in his monitoring ankle bracelet to run down (four times), changing address, and moving close to a school (2007) and for missing appointments with his parole officer. During his parole, Gardner was required to undergo drug testing, abstain from alcohol and have no contact with anyone under age 18. He was prohibited from possessing pornography, children's games, toys or pets.
His parole was completed September 26, 2008 and he went "off the paper." He allegedly attacked a woman in December. Dubois went missing a few months later.
The truth is, California had ample opportunity to remove
Gardner from the streets. Had he been returned to prison in 2007, under the
newly enacted Jessica’s Law of 2006, he would have been evaluated for
commitment to a state mental hospital as a sexually violent predator and if or when released, he'd wear an electronic tracking device for the rest of
his life. His many violations could have required Gardner to be evaluated under this law.
"It was just an incompetent decision that didn't protect public safety," said state Sen. George Runner, who wrote Jessica's Law, the sex offender law approved by voters in 2006. "And now we have, what, two victims and who knows what else is out there?"
"All the indications were there saying that this was a very serious situation," said Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health."A very serious evaluation would have been followed all the way through."
"There was nothing to indicate then that he would do this, or allegedly do this," said Oscar Hidalgo, spokesman for the Department of Corrections. "I guess one can always look back, but we don't have the luxury."
Runner and former state Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, who chaired a corrections oversight committee, said the department made a practice of not sending violators back to prison in an effort to ease crowding.
Laura Ahearn, executive director of New York-based Parents for Megan's Law and The Crime Victims Center, said parole agents missed a chance to possibly put Gardner away for years. "A technical violation is an opportunity to take sexual predators off the street. Most would be looking for that opportunity," she said. "He could have been confined, and this may never have happened."
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has said that Gardner is eligible for the death penalty but she hasn't decided if she will seek it.
The faces behind the laws
“To control, we need to know where the sexual predators are" -- keeping track of the monsters
Jessica’s Law is only the latest in a series of laws designed to limit the sexual predators proximity to their child targets, and to assist law enforcement and other supervisory agencies in tracking those most likely to reoffend.
The Jacob Wetterling Act -- 1994
The first such legislation came into being in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act when U.S. Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Secually Violent Offenders Registration Act. The Act set forth guidelines for states to establish sex offender registry programs. This, the first such registration legislation, like all the others to follow, took the name of a young victim, Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy abducted at gunpoint and never seen again.
Megan’s Law – 1996
Congress amended the Wetterling Act by Megan’s Law, which now required states to release relevant information on sex-offenders to the public, in order to allow residents to know about and take protective measures regarding sexual predators in their midst. This law bears the name of a seven-year-old girl, Megan Kanka, raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender who invited her into his home to play with his new puppy.
Jessica’s Law – 2005 and 2006
This is the informal name given to a 2005 Florida law, designed to punish sex offenders and reduce their ability to re-offend. In this case, the law was first written in Florida, in response to a particularly brutal crime.
Nine year old Jessica Lunsford was taken from her bedroom late at night, February 24, 2005, by a man living in the neighborhood, a man with a long record of arrests, including a history of sexual misconduct, and indecent exposure to a child of five. When she was found missing, the entire community of Crystal River came together to search for her.
Police officers had no idea that convicted sex offender John Couey lived in the neighborhood.
The search spread out far and wide. Then on March 18, she was found wrapped in two black garbage bags and duct tape, still holding her favorite toy. He had raped her, kept her a prisoner bound and unfed in a closet for days, and finally buried her alive.
The saddest part of the whole story? She was buried behind a dilapidated mobile home only 150 feet from her family home.
The police looked for Couey from the very beginning. Had they known his whereabouts, they may have saved Jessica.
Florida’s state legislation, only 11 days into session when Couey was arrested, quickly passed the Jessica Lunsford act. Among the key provisions of the law are a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts against a victim less than 12 years old. In Florida, sexual battery or rape of a child less than twelve years old is punishable by life imprisonment with no chance of parole. Florida’s laws are not typical of other states, certainly not California.
Over the next 12 months, 42 states enacted their own version, but all are called Jessica’s Law.
The legislation is controversial, as some states allow provisions for civil commitment to mental hospital facilities after prison terms are completed, and mandatory treatment.
Some call the legislation unfair; it is currently challenged in the higher courts in a number of states and others consider it a “slippery slope” allowing persecution after prosecution has completed its process. If we add conditions and further punishments after a convicted sex-offender has fulfilled society’s punishment, are we not, they suggest, opening the door for abuses of due process for all? They call such laws ‘knee jerk reactions.”
Were they to ask me -- my only lament is Couey died of
natural causes in prison instead of long, slow torture. It’s a sad truth, but dreams
don’t come true -- not even the disturbing ones.
Does all of this registering and monitoring work?
Reliable data on recidivism difficult to find
Like everything else to do with sex crimes, information – reliable information on the recidivism rates for sex-offenders is difficult to find, and that which is available is contradictory. One news source states unequivocally, that sex offenders have the highest rate of repeat crimes, a study issued by the U.S. Department of Justice says they have the lowest. The Department of Justice study is based on convicted sex offenders who were released from prison in 1994.
Here are some of the findings from the study:
- Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. If all crimes are included, 43 percent of sex offenders were rearrested for various offenses.
- Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense –– 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders. But sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison –– 5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.
- Footnote 3 Some have problems with this study and the methodology used. See footnotes.
I was, and this is certainly directly opposed to common belief, and the message doled out by the media which labels sex offenders as untreatable and certain to re-offend. But, let’s keep in mind these statistics relate to all registered sex offenders, not only the dangerous, violent predator. Many now bear that stigma who have never hurt anyone, let alone a child. Caught up in the hysteria surrounding high profile cases in the media, some are now listed as such for public urination, mooning or simple exposure. Romeo and Juliet style young lovers where one is beyond the threshold of consent, finds the other labeled a sex offender. The vast majority of those registered are people caught up in the stupidity of a one-time slip.
Does this apply to the violent predatory sex offender?
I can’t find figures that relate to this narrow population of sex offenders and their rate of repeat offenses. So, I contacted a few professionals in the field who work with those deemed “dangerous sex offenders.”
The overwhelming answer I received is the predator, the violent rapist, the serial offender is unlikely to rehabilitate, and more than likely to re-offend. Bear in mind, this statement is not the result of a study, simply the opinions of a few nameless individuals who are involved in treatment programs, parole and supervision or law enforcement.
The sex-offender registry does not work, according to some professionals in the field
“First of all,” says a parole officer in Fort Meyers, Florida who asks his name be withheld. “The registry is now so cluttered with non-dangerous, non sex offenders, that those who need the supervision often get lost in the overwhelming workload. I think this is what happened in California. When a parole officer has 100 or more offenders on his role, there’s no way we can control them all. We try to sort out who we think is likely to be a risk, and concentrate on him, but it’s inevitable someone will slip through the cracks.”
“At any given time,” he admits, “we know there are several on the list we can’t account for.”
“The sex offender registry gives parents a false sense of security,” according to a police spokesperson in Sarasota. “By far the majority of sex crimes are committed by those previously not on our radar.” She adds, “We spend more time protecting those who are registered from public attack than we do chasing down missing offenders.”
A clinical psychologist involved in a sex-offender treatment program in Canada says, “Unlike the U.S., we do not give out information on our registered offenders to the public. One of the factors most likely to cause re-offense is stress, and the restrictions on living locations often takes an offender away from his support base, his family. Schools are dotted throughout our communities and the only places left for them are industrial areas, and some are forced into homelessness. Add to this the public exposure and you now have a mountain of stress.”
The consensus seems to be the sex offenders registries are not only unlikely to reduce sex offenses in general, the wide net used to apply the term sex offender has added so many to the registry who are not true sex-offenders, control of those the laws are meant to restrict has been rendered difficult, if not impossible.
And restrictions applied to sex-offenders in general as to where they can live, is backfiring according to several studies, as once they are rendered homeless, they are impossible to track. There are at present some dozen cases in superior courts challenging the constitutionality of these laws.
Those most closely involved with the treatment and study of sex offenders suggest an arbitrarily applied distance of 2,000 feet from schools, playgrounds or day care facilities is most unlikely to deter any predatory offender. As one worker said, "It's not as if children are restricted to such centers. You can find a child anywhere."
According to a study commissioned by the British government considering the adoption of a Megan's Law for Britain, the registry and accompanied restrictions are more likely to drive sex offenders underground -- leave their home state, set up elsewhere as an unknown and start over, and sheer numbers suggests law enforcement does not have the resources to hunt each and everyone down. Further, according to this study, offenders facing harsher sentences and life-long restrictions and stigma are more likely to kill their victims in an attempt to avoid such consequences. The Commission recommended against adoption of Megan's Law in Britain.
So what is the answer?
Here’s where the title of this article comes in. Incarceration, castration or execution – the only tools left to society if we wish to control/punish sexual predators.
However – we must first be sure we apply such draconian methods to actual dangerous, violent offenders.
In the wake of yet another media feeding frenzy over the current case in California, the public screams for retribution, attention to public safety issues and stricter laws. As we’ve seen, past hysteria has led to the branding of many as sex offenders who are not guilty of anything more than stupidity and bad judgment. Such reactionary responses actually hinder law enforcement efforts to control true dangerous offenders.
The true scope of sex offenses against children
Let us also be aware of the true scope of sex offenses against children, not just the high profile cases, or the ones involving subsequent murder of the victim. As I stated in my article, Rape of the Innocents, child protection workers estimate world-wide figures as 7 out of every ten girls and four out of every ten boys are sexually abused before the age of sixteen.
Florida already has very strict laws regarding punishment for child sex abuse -- mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts against a victim less than 12 years old, and in the case of rape of a child less than twelve years old, life imprisonment with no chance of parole. This law is applied broadly for both infra-familial and extra-familial crimes. Florida has chosen incarceration – and execution as that state’s response.
California, on the other hand, up to this latest case and the adoption of Jessica’s Law had a two strike policy – requiring two victims notched on the offender’s belt prior to labeling him a dangerous offender. And, surprisingly enough, differentiated between offenders who were known to their victims and those who attacked strangers.
Massachusetts is in the process of adopting Jessica’s Law, and increasing minimum sentencing.
Minnesota has, for the first time in history sentenced two sex offenders, who did not kill their victims, to life without any chance of parole.
A Missouri law requires life in prison without parole for child rapists who use force, but in a weird view of the reality of a child’s world, the law doesn't cover statutory rape cases, where a predator grooms a victim and doesn't have to use force. Which begs so many questions, I may have to write a new hub.
And on through the fifty states we could travel, as lawmakers respond to the growing pressure from the public to act, to act now, to act tough. It is interesting that aside from Florida, most states differentiate between familial sex offences and extra-familial – another blind spot that immediately brings a dozen arguments to mind.
Many states have adopted the controversial idea of civil commitment following criminal incarceration as a means of removing dangerous offenders from the streets permanently, but this is likely to be challenged on constitutional issues – as it should be, says a lawyer I spoke with in Florida. But that is grist for yet another article, sometime, somewhere.
Castrating Sex Offenders by hubber foxility
- Castrating Sex Offenders
Bill calls for castrating sex offenders New law would apply to child molesters Published: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at...
As Alabama currently debates physical castration while in prison for violent sex offenders, other states routinely sentence dangerous sex offender to chemical castration.
Rather than deal with this issue here, allow me to direct you to an excellent hub on this subject. Use the link to the right.
One clinical psychologist suggested that more often than not, violent rapists are motivated more by rage than sexual desire. A large percentage of rapes do not include normal penetration, but penetration by proxy -- the use of foreign objects. She suggested that while castration reduces testosterone, therefore aggression to a certain degree, and the erectile ability, it is not a given that castration, physical or chemical will remove an offender's need to rape and control.
The idea that removing the ability to physically penetrate a victim will render a violent offender safe for a return to society is not necessarily true.
Currently, execution is applicable only to those cases in which the victim is killed, as murder one – felony murder (that is murder while in the act of a felony crime such as robbery, kidnapping or car-jacking – or rape.) Sexual offenses, no matter how brutal, how heinous, even involving torture and mutilation are not currently punished by execution.
Should such violent sexual offenses fall under capital offenses? Should recidivists, serial rapists and other repeat offenders be subject to the ultimate punishment? These are questions to be settled by greater minds than mine.
I would like to hear your views in the comment section. Here’s your chance to express your opinions on this subject.
When I posed these questions to those who work with violent sexual offenders, one underlying caution surfaced from all of them.
Considering the results of the sex registry – where many are undeservedly labeled as sex offenders, some as young as sixteen, some for such foolish acts as a drunken streaking incident, or public urination, or for unknowingly having sex with a minor – which has led to an effective banishment from our communities, what dire results may we see in our zeal to control the dangerous offender by life sentences and castration?
If we add the threat of execution to the possible consequences, don’t we then ensure more victims will be killed in an attempt to ‘get away with it?’
Just as the Lindbergh Law, which made kidnapping a capital offense led to the routine killing of kidnap victims, would not such a law lead to the killing of more rape victims? If the perpetrator is to be executed anyway …
New Article -- Oprah presents: Dangerous sex offenders confined to an island
- McNeil Island - facility for dangerous sex offenders -- Oprah April 12 2010 -- response to a request
On April 12, 2010, Oprah presented a documentary by Lisa Ling on the McNeil Island faciility for Level 3 sex offenders. Hubber Sablirab asked me to write a hub giving my opinion on this program, knowing of my history as a child protection worker.
I don’t have those reoccurring dreams of vengeance and retribution as often as I once did.
When I do, it is usually following another media event surrounding a vicious case like the current one in California. I spent many years counseling the survivors, listening to their tales of fear, pain, confusion, humiliation and injury, and the reality behind the news stories is not a simple case of imagination for me.
I can’t help myself. I dwell on the terror of little Jessica Lunsford as she was overpowered, raped – soaking Couey’s bed in her blood, bound and locked in a dark closet without food for who knows how many days, and the final panic that I hope carried her into mind-numbing shock, as the monster wrapped her in a bag and buried her alive in Florida’s sandy earth. I hear her piping, nine-year-old voice as she struggles to put into words the horror of her experience, as I listened to so many before.
I think of those two beautiful teenagers in California, alive, vibrant with their lives ahead of them, suddenly targeted by a beast. How they must have struggled at first, then acquiesced in the hope that surrender would get them out of there alive, and the dread, the unspeakable despair as they realized they would not. I see them before me, faces swollen and black and blue, words faltering, befuddled eyes vacant with confusion and shame, as they recount to me their ordeals – and I hold their hands and listen, as I have hundreds of times.
I know, you see. I was fourteen when it happened to me. I survived.
Footnote 1 (Female sex offenders – patterns) When the victim is male, female perpetrators account for 1 % to 24% of abusers. When the victim is female, female perpetrators account for 6% to 17% of abusers (American Humane Association, 1981; Finkelhor and Russell, 1984; Finkelhor et al., 1990). In the Ontario Incidence Study, 10% of sexual abuse investigations involved female perpetrators (Trocme, 1994). The American Humane Association which was responsible for gathering data from the yearly reports provided by the 50 U.S. states child protective agencies from 1973 through 1987 on child sexual abuse. They found that approximately 20 percent of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse during that time period had been perpetrated by females The Dragget Commission (2002) found in studies involving cases from Canada and all 50 states of the U.S. over a fifteen year period -- less than 1%of all reported and substantiated sex crimes exacerbated by violent felony acts.)
Footnote 2 Theories related to violent sex offenders
All rapists have the potential to be violent. This is the most important consideration when determining how to react to sexual assault.
Some offenders seek to vent their hostility, aggression, frustrations and insecurities on their victims. For these offenders, the act of humiliating and degrading their victims while gaining power and control over them is a major motivating factor. Offenders of this type are often sexual sadists, finding pleasure in physically and/or sexually torturing their victims, whether or not sexual intercourse actually occurs or not. Other offenders can be seemingly emotionless. They may view their victims as objects, rather than people. Their complete lack of empathy makes them unable to care or understand that their actions are damaging to a victim - or, they are so consumed by their own needs that they are un-naturally able to discount their actions from the victims point of view in order to get that which they seek.
Some theorize offenders act out in reaction to low self esteem. They use their violent actions to exercise control and power to enhance their own self image, to feel powerful, and to dominate others thus making them feel better about themselves.
That offenders have excessively high levels of self esteem. Opposite from the above, this theory suggests that people with high self-esteem are likely to respond aggressively when their inflated view of themselves is threatened by criticism or perceived insult or when someone obstructs their need for gratification. Gang members have high self-esteem. So do spouse abusers. On a narcissism scale, violent criminals, long thought to be “acting out” low self-esteem, obtained a higher mean score than people in any other category. In short: the higher one’s self-esteem, the lower one’s self-control or that the higher one thinks of oneself, the less regard one has for others.
Footnote 3 Concerns relating to the methodology of the current study related to recidivism in sex offenders.
There were serious methodological problems with the CA study of parolees mentioned above, which is why, at least in part, it has not been released or published. Any studies reporting rates of 3.5 percent are unusual and, if they even exist, likely followed a highly select group of sex offenders for a very short period, likely no more than 1 year. --- The best research on the issue of DETECTED sexual reoffending by known sex offenders is a meta-analysis from 1996, which analyzed data on over 20,000 sex offenders. That study reported that about 14% of sex offenders were convicted of a new sex offense in a follow-up period that averaged 5 years. Unfortunately, there are no studies that can directly measure ACTUAL recidivism rates because it is well-known that many sex offenses are never even reported to law enforcement. Also, beware of studies with short follow-up periods, as it is not unusual for sex offenders to get caught many years after their last known sex offense. Lastly, the offenders with the lowest rates of detected recidivism are those who have no male victims, have only biologically related victims (incest only), have very short rap sheets, are age 60 or older, have only one sex offense detection in their lifetime, and have lived in the community for the past 5 years or longer without any arrests for a serious, violent, or sexual crime. There is tremendous diversity in sex offenders - avoid assumptions of similarity based largely on a shared label ("sex offender," "sex predator").