Archive for February, 2008

What is a "Sex Offense"

February 2, 2008 Leave a comment

As we push forward with our efforts to stand against this irresponsible Adam Walsh Act legislation and the elected officials who enacted it, it has become clear that many citizens are ignorant of what constitutes a “sex related offense”.

To be clear, the designation of a “sex offense” in Ohio and most of the U.S., includes any crime or offense which is related to sexual conduct. Sex offenses include many crimes other than what you see represented in your local news “scare” reports. Sex offenses include: public indecency, voyeurism, importuning (soliciting a person to engage in sexual activity), child endangering, sexual imposition (sexual contact which is offensive to another person), and also includes the so-called “Romeo & Juliet” offenses (where teenagers of similar age engage in sexual activity before one is of legal age).

False new reporting often leads citizens to see “sex offenders” only as the predatory violent animals associated with the highly publicized news cases, or where a teacher violates a student, or where a child is murdered. This is a false representation of “sex offenses”, as most sex-related crimes are not predatory or violent acts.

Furthermore, even in cases where children are violated, statistics clearly show that the vast majority of victims knew the offender. In such cases, the Adam Walsh Act laws would do little to prevent them from occurring. It is quite uncommon that victims do not know their abusers personally. “Approximately 60% of boys and 80% of girls who are sexually victimized are abused by someone known to the child or the child’s family (Lieb, Quinsey, and Berliner, 1998).”

An additional widespread misconception is sex crime recidivism rates. The U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that sex offenders have a lower rate of recidivism than those involving non-sex offenses. “Of the 9,691 male sex offenders released from prisons in 15 States in 1994, 5.3% were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years of release..”

Conclusion: What you often see represented in news reports is misleading or not accurate. Not all sex offenders are predatory child rapists. Most sex offenders do not repeat sex crimes. And most sex offenders knew their victims before the crime. Therefore, the scare tactics used in implementing the Adam Walsh Act are false. They play on the fears of those who see the rare but highly publicized violent and predatory news reports. They cite false recidivism rates of sex offenders. And they rely on a false assumption that the stranger down the block will break into your home and assault your children, when the facts and statistics show that most offenders personally knew their victims before the crime.