Sunday, March 02, 2008

The "sex offender" madness continues.

Just say the words “sex offender” and the rabid mob called the public starts frothing at the mouth and baying at the moon. The lynch mob mentality lives and third-rate politicians are stoking the fires. The problem is that the term is now almost meaningless.

Politicians have so expanded the category in their hysterical rush toward the pillory that they have passed asinine laws classifying more and more natural human behaviour as a sex crime. The real sex crime is that the parents of these morons ever procreated in the first place.

Say “sex offender” and the brainless mob has images of a violent rape of a small child. But far too often the offender is simply someone caught up in the absurdity of American law driven by sex hysteria. Take these cases as examples.

Ricky was pretty much your typical 16-year-old boy, horny as hell and all too willing to find some consenting sex. He went to a teen club where he meet Amanda. Like Ricky she was 16, or at least she said she was. Ricky didn’t demand two forms of photographic ID to verify her claim. He did what most teens do when they meet other teens -- he believed her when she told him her age. Unfortunately younger teenage girls who want the acceptance of older boys will often lie about their age. And its pretty hard to tell if some teens are 13, 15 or 16.

Ricky and Amanda made out and then went further. He didn’t think much of it until he was arrested. The Los Angeles City Beat now reports that Ricky is a registered sex offender. The state admits the girl had sex voluntarily with him but the state also says she is unable to consent and not responsible for her actions. But Ricky is responsible. Ricky was put on those vicious offenders lists which are trolled by morons and the criminally inclined. And now his life is a living hell. City Beat reports:
Being labelled a sex offender has completely changed Ricky’s life, leading him to be kicked out of high school, thrown out of parks, taunted by neighbors, harassed by strangers, and unable to live within 2,000 feet of a school, day-care center or park. He is prohibited from going to the movies or mall with friends because it would require crossing state borders, which he cannot do without permission from his probation officer. One of Ricky’s neighbors called the cops on him, yelled and cursed at him, and videotaped him every time he stepped outside, Ricky said. “It affects you in every way,” he said. “You’re scared to go out places. You’re on the Internet, so everybody sees your picture.” His mother, Mary, said the entire family has felt the ramifications of Ricky being labelled a sex offender. His younger brother has been ridiculed at school and cannot have friends over to the house; his stepfather has been harassed; the parents’ marriage has been under tremendous pressure; and strangers used to show up at their door to badger the family. One neighbor came to the house and told Mary he wasn’t going to leave them alone until they took their “child rapist” away, so they moved, she said.
One of the stupidest, most vicious, advocates in this campaign has been John Walsh. True the man lost his son in a murder and no one knows who did it. But this man is a sexual Stalinist pushing through legislation that is turning America into a police state. One of the most recent pieces of absurdity is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Under this law young teens can now be publicly listed as sex offenders. Considering that cretins have used this registries to stalk and kill people the idea of exposing children to this is monstrous. And, by the way, almost none of the people killed were guilty of violent attacks on children. But then when “sex crimes” are under discussion shrill hysteria, not reason and facts, is the order of the day.

This new law was pushed through by the Theopublicans and King George couldn’t wait to sign it. He never meet an expansion of state power that he didn’t love. Such is the state of conservatism today. Theopublican Congressman Ken Calvert gets shrill about such things: “the safety of our community and children supersedes the rights of the juvenile” he says. Yet, almost without exception the experts who treat sex offenders say that these laws don’t help but actually make it more likely that the individual will reoffend. In reality these politicians and the anti-sex crowd are making it more likely that children will be attacked not less likely.

Maureen Pacheco has worked as a public defender with young sex offenders and says that the laws are making it impossible for them to put their life together and rehabilitate themselves. “They must disclose these offenses when they apply for school, when they apply for jobs, if they want to get licensed or bonded. In other words, in all the ways the young might seek to become rehabilitated, we shut the door.” Dr. Barbara Bonner helps run a sex offender treatment program for teens. She says these regulations are entirely destructive. They prevent the teens from forming peer relationships, staying in school or being involved in church or social activities. As City Beat reports: “The law is counterproductive because young people are more likely to be rehabilitated and successful in the future if they get involved with social activities like sports, bands, choir, or a job, she said.”

They want to expand these data bases because they can’t find 100,000 of the 600,000 people classified as sex offenders. They can’t find them because the laws are so restrictive that they can’t find a job or home and still comply with the law. They go into hiding because it is the only way they can survive. As one person who knows the system well told me: “The system assumes that everyone will be on welfare for the rest of their life.” He recounted how many of these offenders are told they have to sit in a group session 4 or 5 days per week making employment impossible. In addition zoning laws on sex offenders say they can’t live in areas where children live (even if their offense had nothing to do with children), or near a school, a bus stop, or a playground.

So more and more of them just disappear and fail to register. Instead of making it easy for law enforcement to track such people these regulations have caused more and more of the offenders to vanish from the system -- the last thing you’d want if you wanted to make it easier to investigate real sex crimes. But these laws are not about effectiveness -- they have one purpose only -- to make the public feel they got their vengeance.

Our second case is one that concerns Veronica Rodriquez, 27, of Oregon. Veronica is also a registered sex offender. What was her crime?

She was charged with “first-degree sexual assault” by police. She worked at a youth center and in full view of the people at the center she ran her fingers through a boy’s hair and pulled him to her and gave him a hug. Because the boy’s head came in contact with her covered breasts that made it sexual assault.

Rodriquez was the daughter of migrant farm workers who who went to university, earned straight A’s and then began working at the Boys and Girls Club. Police were in a dispute with the club who had cut back police presence there against the wishes of the police. When someone told the police they found Rodriquez suspicious that was enough. Police charged her with having sex with this boy and with a 17-year-old boy. Both boys say the charges are false and that nothing like that ever happened. Police also claimed that a boy fondled her breast but the jury didn’t find the evidence convincing. But because Rodriquez was seen giving the boy a hug in public that was enough and she was convicted. Of course the dirty-minded cops had lots of other evidence: she helped the boy with his homework! She ate dinner with his family and visited with them regularly! What a monster.

Under Washington state law she was to face a mandatory six year sentence in prison -- all for a hug! The judge in the case was so shocked by the verdict that she refused to give the mandatory sentence and instead sentenced Rodriquez to one year in prison. Now the hysterics who were behind the law are leading a campaign to resentence Rodriquez and send her back to prison for a further five years. Her situation will be going before the courts again.

These are the people being listed as sex offenders. In both cases the “offenders” will be listed with their names, addresses and photographs. Their crime will be described as sexual molestation of a child yet does anyone who reads this blog seriously believe that these two people are child predators? This is madness. Decent people are afraid to speak out lest they be accused of defending child rape. But these laws have gone so far beyond such things that decency and humanity demands a voice.

Photo: That scary looking criminal in the front of the photo is Veronica in a photo with her parents and her boyfriend.

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