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PUNISHMENT FOR SEX OFFENDERS

Updated on July 25, 2013
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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.

Statistics

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

SC88644

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?



TAKE THE CASTRATION POLL

Do you believe castration is the correct punishment for sex offenders?

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    • BuffaloGal1960 profile image
      Author

      T. Clifton 4 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

      You didn't. Honest. No offense taken.

    • samowhamo profile image

      samowhamo 4 years ago

      Also I hope I didn't say anything offensive in my comment and if I did I am truly sorry I did not mean to say anything offensive.

    • samowhamo profile image

      samowhamo 4 years ago

      I have actually written an article (titled why are human so ignorant) and one of the topics that I discuss in it is why child molesters are so evil. Personally I think anyone who murders children should be put to death. Murdering an adult is bad enough but murdering a child is the work of Satan in my book.

    • BuffaloGal1960 profile image
      Author

      T. Clifton 4 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

      Samow: I know what you are saying. That's why I put it in the article.

      Of course, I do not want father's to fear loving their children. Hopefully no one does.

      It is a difficult call as to what the answer is. I just know that if it is proven that X molests Y for three years and gets six months in jail, that is not just. If a teacher, a bus driver, a policeman, a boy scout leader, or someone else in authority abuses that authority, castration needs to be considered.

      I wrote this article to shed light on this subject that too many are going with minimal punishment. A slap on the hand, a 1 year sentence for ruining a child for 4 years or 8 years is not enough!

      The ones that kidnap and rape, it's proven, it's videotaped, there is DNA - castration is much too kind!

    • samowhamo profile image

      samowhamo 4 years ago

      Just out of curiosity now we both agree that child molesters should indeed be castrated but what is your opinion about what I said in my previous comment about how do we punish such people without good men (who would never molest children) being afraid of being alone with a child (I ask this because in your article you said if we castrate sex offenders it could make many men not want to even be alone with children but there are going to be times when men are going to have to be alone with children). We want to punish child molesters certainly but we don't want to instill fear in fathers and their children we don't want to make them afraid and distrusting of each other (and I am sure you don't want to do that either BuffaloGal I have not known you for very long but so far my impression of you is that you are a good person who just wants to do the right thing I am a very honest person I don't just tell people things like that). What is your opinion.

    • samowhamo profile image

      samowhamo 4 years ago

      I do agree that a person who molests children should be castrated but at the same time I am also concerned about good men (who would never dare molest children) on if they would be too scared to be alone with their children. I mean what if they needed to talk to their children alone about problems that the child might be facing the father might be too scared to be alone with his child. I do agree that child molesters should be castrated but how can we make it so that good men (who would never molest children) will not be afraid to be alone with their children.

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 4 years ago from Corona, California.

      hi again BG, I didn't realize I would enjoy writing as much as I do. I just wish I could type better. Greg

    • BuffaloGal1960 profile image
      Author

      T. Clifton 4 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

      Gregas: I guess I don't do it for money either. I think writing is either a passion or it isn't. Anxious to see if they publish TWO SETS OF SHOES or not. The ones I think they'll scratch because maybe they are just too heartfelt are sometimes the one that surprises me. Thanks for your inputs. I'm learning from your writing.

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 4 years ago from Corona, California.

      BG, I have been on here for over 2 years and 74 hubs and I haven't received a penny yet. I don't do it for the money. I just like the fact that I can share my thoughts and views and get comments back from other peoples feelings. And yes, it is a heart wrenching subject. Greg

    • BuffaloGal1960 profile image
      Author

      T. Clifton 4 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

      Thank you so much to each of you for your comments. While it seems everyone is afraid to use the word or talk about the issue, it is an issue screaming to be addressed. I hope at least I opened the door for the discussion. Something has to be done.

      Even though this is a disqualification from advertising, I'm new and haven't made money yet anyway with nearly 1,000 page views. I don't think I have any of that active yet. But nearly half of all children will be abused and most will come in contact with an abuser. That just breaks my heart.

      To that I say, Congress, hear our heart-cries and do something. This cannot continue. Enough is enough.

      And sometimes if you ask for "alot" you might get met halfway.

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 4 years ago from Corona, California.

      Hi BG, this is a very touchy subject because everyone wants to see anyone that abuses a child in any way punished to the fullest extent of the law. I have a hub on the same subject about a family member and the punishments, or different levels there actually should be. As for women, there are probably a lot more that ever get reported. Look at how many have been in the news lately. A lot of young boys don't consider it abuse as much as they da a "thrill". Anyway, I like that you brought up this subject and enjoyed the read. You may want to give my hub a read too. Greg

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is a complex issue that you have covered. In the tiny town in which I live there are 34 registered sex offenders...how many out there are not registered? I admit that I am not unbiased when it comes to this type of offender because in my classroom there were children who were sexually abused (during the 40 years that I taught) and I have grandchildren who could fall prey to such abusers.

      How to deal with them is another difficult question as it seems nothing has been the solution to date. I am not sure that castration would be an answer because it would not take away the mental desire that exists within the man or woman who is the offender.

      I do applaud you for writing about this topic and reminding us that often they walk among us hiding in plain sight.

      Angels are on the way p s

    • BuffaloGal1960 profile image
      Author

      T. Clifton 4 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

      Mentally exhausted from hearing about the crimes daily. If that makes me mental so-be-it. Yes, men are the majority. But, according to Wikipedia, there is castration for women and I've seen only one or two women on the registry compared to thousands of men. And for them, an oopherectomy would be in order as well, so I'm not sexist at all - I just wrote on the majority. Just because we give serial killers their last "rites" doesn't mean it's right. In my opinion, we do need deterrent laws and whether or not I understand laws is not the point. I understand the victims and that's what matters. In some countries, for example, they cane for graffiti and have rare crime. I consider caning extreme for graffiti, but hey whatever works. Thank you for your comment, even though we disagree.

    • Dan Genesis profile image

      Dan Genesis 4 years ago from Brighton, Colorado

      You seem to be completely mental. For one, you appear to be a little sexist. Not all sex crimes are committed by men. The majority? Surely. But not all of them. What would you do for female sex offenders? You obviously can't castrate them. Yes, child molestation is a terrible thing. It shouldn't happen. But it does. However, just because someone commits a crime against another human does not make them inhuman and undeserving of rights. Hell, we still give humane treatment to serial killers, regardless of how horrific or depraved their M.O. is. Second, you obviously don't understand how laws work. Laws aren't implemented as a deterrent from committing crimes. Save for people with serious mental issues, pretty much everyone understands right and wrong - they know not to do things. People still commit crimes as a result of desperation or by choosing to ignore right and wrong. And this happens regardless of any laws that may be in place. Laws aren't there for deterrent, but for conviction purposes so that we can punish those who choose to do wrong.