- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
PUNISHMENT FOR SEX OFFENDERS
Life Experience, an Eye Opener
After attending church in Madison County, Missouri, I decided to check the Missouri Sex Offender Registry. I'd checked it before, being the proactive parent I am, but someone in the church looked familiar and I didn't know him. So I checked it and yes, he was on there. His wife was my daughter's Sunday School teacher.
I let the pastor know that while I didn't object to the sex offender's wife teaching my child, her husband needed to stay upstairs while the children were downstairs and if they hosted a social for the kids in their home, my daughter would not be going. And while I believe sex offenders should be able to attend church and that God can change anyone, I feel they should not be directly socializing with children if a child was their victim. In this case, it was and she was the exact age of my daughter! Further, the sex offender talked openly to some church members and claimed that he was in his 30s at the time and the victim was 18. Not so. The truth is, he was 50 something and she was 11. I feel a changed man tells the truth but even if he had told the truth, I would not have risked my child's safety in any way.
Being a singer, I visited several other churches in Madison County and I had the list pretty much memorized by then. There was at least one sex offender in each church.
In one particular church I frequented, but was not a member of, I observed a sex offender being quite friendly with numerous small children.
There was a sex offender working on a home he'd purchased next door to my step-son who had two daughters. He didn't live there. He just was there a lot. He seemed to stare at the girls and was always in his yard, raking, metal detecting and staring at them playing. Later, I learned my step-sons brother-in-law, also a registered sex offender, was a babysitter for his daughters. When I confronted my step-son, he stated this time the sex offender was really "innocent".
My own brother-in-law at the time made me uncomfortable. He was not on the sex offender registry and, as far as I know, has never been convicted of a crime. I wasn't around him much, but found out later, his daughter accused him of molesting her and several others when she was a young girl still in the home.
Perhaps the biggest enlightenment I've had as a parent is finding out (quite by accident) that when I sent my daughter to her dad's house between the ages of 5 and 9 for every other weekend visitation, there was a registered sex offender living in the home! Her dad had remarried and one of his four step-sons was a registered sex offender. He is in his 30s and STILL lives in the home today!
At one point, I lived on a county road where three registered offenders lived driving by my house on a daily basis.
Eventually, I moved across the state and learned, once again, there is one across the road from me.
Life experience has taught me to be proactive and know sex offenders are among us and will be. There is no place to live where they are not close by. There is no church or other establishment immune - although most schools do background checks these days. Sex offenders are our neighbors, and though there are statutes regarding their residential status near schools, let me tell you, they are within feet of the schools. All schools, all churches, all daycares, all water parks and places children may go.
According to a Missouri Public Information Page, there have been more than 23,000 victims to sex crimes since the sex offender registry was established in 1994. If math serves me correctly, the registry has been in effect for 18 years, put in effect in 1995, and with 23,000 victims, that's more than 1,200 sex crimes per year.
Let's remember most studies show that perpetrators of sex crimes commit numerous acts before they are caught and not all of them are caught and many of them are not even prosecuted. In Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, a daycare worker was charged with 200 counts over a long period when he was finally charged.
Sixty-seven percent of the crimes are against victims under the age of 18. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 2/3 of the victims are offended by someone they know.
Many victims do not report the crime and often they report it too late to get a conviction. If only half the crimes are reported and convicted, that would mean 2,400 sex crimes per year are committed. If an offender commits only TEN crimes before he is caught, that's 24,000 sex crimes per year. If you multiple that times 49 for additional states, that is more than 100,000 sex crimes in our Country per year.
Many parents have a false sense of security since the law was passed in 2006 that an offender could not live within 1,000 feet of a school. What many don't realize is if the offender lived there before the law was passed, they are exempt from leaving the area.
The following is an excerpt from the Missouri Sex Offender Registry Information Page:
2008 Missouri Supreme Court Ruling
On February 19, 2008 the Missouri Supreme court ruled the 1,000 ft. residential restriction did not apply to offenders who resided at their place of residence on or before the date that the restriction was signed into law - June 5, 2006. This decision was made on the same principle as the above retrospective rulings.
Sex Offender Law Opposition
The following is an excerpt from the Missouri Highway Patrol's Sex Offender Registry Fact Sheet:
Opposition to Sex Offender Laws
With any newly enacted law, there is usually opposition and questions as to whether the laws are constitutional at the State and Federal Level. Some general questions raised are:
- Do the Sex Offender Registry laws violate due process of rights?
- Should the offender's punishment stop after their sentence has been served?
- Do sex offender laws involve possible violations of the Ex Post Facto Clause?
- Do sex offender laws create double jeopardy?
- Do they enact violations of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment?
Because sex offenders were more likely to re-offend (Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 198281, 2003), lawmakers felt this constituted more regulation. However, critics of the law state it adds a penalty to the crime that was not there when the offender was sentenced and the laws inflict degrading and inhumane treatment of the offender.
A Resounding NO
I think the answer to all of the questions above is a resounding "NO".
When a person commits a crime against anyone, they give up their rights we law-abiding citizens have.
Even in death penalty cases, I ask, "Why do they get a "last meal" right?" and, "Why do they get to say their last prayer?" Since these are criminals who have killed someone, did they give that right to the person they killed?
What Will It Take to Declare War on Crime in This Country?
What will it take for us to say we will no longer tolerate crimes against children and sex offense crimes in this Country?
How can we deter sex crimes?
Many have suggested it and not many will write about it, but let me be the Simon Cowell advocate for sex crime justice. It's called castration. You know you wanted to say it, you just don't want to raise eyebrows on media avenues such as Facebook. We are taught to be humane, Christian, forgiving and overlook. Put on the brakes, I'm about to enlighten you further.
Don't give me that convenient argument (because you disagree with me) that because I am a Christian, I have no right to feel this way. In fact, the Lord gave ammunition to kill in the Bible....David slew Goliath. Who gave him the courage and the right?
1 Samuel 17:51
"David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran."
1 Samuel 18:27
"David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage."
David was a favored man of God.
Castration is a great deterrent to sex crimes. If we passed the law to castrate those found guilty of crimes against children, how many men do you think would consider even being alone with a child? I think not many.
Castration has been around for thousands of years both for social and religious reasons. I'm not here to argue those, but I am here to declare war on crimes against children in these United States. If child abuse is "everyone's business" our Government tells us, then why are sex crimes so hard to eliminate?
A sex offender who has been castrated for punishment of a sexual offense does not compare to the life-long conviction of shame, physical and mental anguish a child goes through. I love children more than the criminal. I love children's rights more than the criminal's rights. How about you?