Wednesday, April 17, 2013
By AMANDA ZIVE
Laws are always being made and revised when it comes to sexually-charged crimes. It’s a very difficult situation that many feel is preventable. The goal is an understandable one: protect the children.
The methods, on the other hand, are not.
Lumping together all felons, with sexually-charged crimes against them, is the first atrocity. Though classified as differing risk levels, the long term punishment for these crimes are the same. Sexual offenses range from child pornography, sexual battery and assault all the way to molestation and sexual annoyances.
The age of the offender, context of the offense, and even the severity of the action doesn’t deter the judicial system from giving these people lifetime punishments. Those who do properly register, even those with minor offenses, are barred from living in almost any busy city due to restrictions based on school, church and park locations for the rest of their lives.
But If the real aim is to protect children, than the studies done on offenders need to be taken into account.
According to the government-run Megan’s Law website, 90 percent of juvenile victims had known their assailant, while shockingly almost half the time it’s a family member doing the crime.
Barring all labeled a sexual deviants from living near schools is less helpful than banning family reunions for these people.
The reality is there is needed action. While a point can be made that sexually-charged crimes generally carry a lesser sentence than traditional violent crime, a gross stereotyping and lifelong damnation of all offenders isn’t going to help.
The attempt at crime prevention is valiant, but preventing criminals from moving on from their crimes hinders progression. If some of the efforts were shifted from punishment to rehabilitation, some convicts could successfully rejoin society as active members.
Unfortunately these people are rarely seen as mentally ill (which they often are) so they aren’t treated. Instead of identifying and treating the problem, we’ve resorted simply to removing it, seemingly forgetting that these felons are actually human beings.
A distasteful joke, or an inappropriate smack between coworkers could mean a lifetime of registering as a sex offender.
Clearly, something must be done to protect victims of this system: Those wrongfully accused, convicted of single offenses, or minor offenses must be offered forgiveness and a chance to rejoin a community.
In California, one is only awarded a life sentence in custody for murder or attempting it, or kidnapping with special circumstances like ransom. Yet, it is seen as just and fair to essentially imprison sex offenders for life by barring them from living near city buildings.
Sex offenders need to be treated the same as other criminals; a set amount of detention, a set amount of probation and the guarantee that with good behavior they can be forgiven.
Another flaw with these laws is how hard they are to enforce. With life terms, the registry of offenders is only ever going to grow.
Yet as of now, there is a constant increase of sex offenders not properly registering or reporting. When these members stop reporting, or remove GPS tracking anklets, they simply fall off of the grid entirely. With so many cases and such a heavy workload, officers often focus on the offenders they can locate.
Reasons for not reporting could include laziness, but it is a sign that the person is not willing to conform to what society demands of them for retribution. The punishment, if the assailant is located and detained, is generally a six-month sentence that is often reduced due to overcrowding; an empty threat and an unfit punishment.
Finally, these laws give a false sense of security to people with children who live near schools, parks or churches. Many are aware of these laws and feel safer knowing their neighbor isn’t a sexual deviant.
The truth is some offenders don’t report and statistics show offenders rarely abduct random children they don’t know.
These laws and restrictions, though they may be intended as prevention turn out to be nothing more than on-going punishments.
By MICHAEL BRICK
AUSTIN (AP) - Lawmakers are considering raising the penalty for repeat offenders convicted of indecent exposure.
In a hearing before the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving aimed her bill (HB-1628, PDF) squarely at a registered sex offender in her home district with more than 20 convictions.
- So if he had so many convictions, then the system failed! You don't need another useless law to fix this issue, or to just get your name on something to make you look "tough!"
Under current law, each conviction counts as a class B misdemeanor. Her bill would make the second offense a class A misdemeanor and the eighth offense a state jail felony.
Harper-Brown said the man she had in mind has repeatedly knocked on windows to get the attention of children before exposing himself. He has also approached a church and a beauty salon.
- So in some states, this is child molestation, so is this not the same in Texas? Guess not.
Law enforcement officials said repeat offenders abound. Harper-Brown said that "you learn something new every day."
By Michelle Casady
A bill focused on tightening punishments for pimps — those who finance, control or manage prostitutes — and would require some to register as sex offenders, is progressing in the House.
House Bill 32 (PDF), filed in November by state Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, would also hand out stiffer penalties for those convicted of prostituting anyone younger than 17, increasing the charge to a third-degree felony.
- If they are pimping out someone under the age of consent, then it should be treated as any other child sexual abuse conviction.
Second-time or subsequent offenders compelling prostitution, who are currently charged with a Class A misdemeanor, would see that increased to a state-jail felony under the bill, which is punishable by up to two years behind bars and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Opponents believe the bill's requirement for sex offender registration may overwhelm an “overly broad database that includes too many offenders who are not threats to the community,” according to the House Research Organization.
The bill now awaits a third reading. If passed, it would only apply to offenders arrested on or after Sept. 1.
RALEIGH (AP) - The General Assembly has agreed that people convicted in North Carolina of human trafficking should register with local sheriffs as registered sex offenders.
The House unanimously approved legislation (SB-122, HB-221) Tuesday that would add the crime to the list of those requiring the registration if the trafficking involved minors or if it was committed with the intent of sexual servitude. The Senate already approved it last month, so now it heads to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk for his signature.
Such registered offenders must alert sheriffs where they live or if they move. They can't live near schools or day care centers or work in positions where they must interact with minors.
By Kimball Perry
An Elmwood Place police chief who used police computers to try to solicit sex from what he thought was a 15-year-old girl isn’t eligible to get his criminal conviction erased, a Hamilton County judge ruled Tuesday.
Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel ruled Tuesday that Jeremy Alley’s request to have his criminal record erased is misplaced because he isn't eligible.
Alley, now 36, still has to register as a sex offender and is ineligible for the expungement.
While denying Alley’s request, the judge noted that Alley could be eligible to have his record erased in January 2014 when he no longer has to report as a sex offender.
Alley was the Elmwood Place police chief for 11 days when he tried to solicit sex.
An undercover Cincinnati police officer posed as a 15-year-old girl online.
Alley agreed to have sex with her. Instead, he was arrested.
“Alley believed and hoped that his victim was under 18. Had he chanced into someone other than a detective, a child would have been raped in this matter,” Assistant Prosecutor Scott Heenan wrote last year in opposing Alley’s attempt to erase his criminal record.
Alley was convicted in 2003 of five counts of importuning.
Nadel put him behind bars for six months and placed him on probation for five years.