Sex offenders; Unlikely Special Interest Group

March 3, 2009

DallasMorningNews : Sex offenders, the unlikely special interest group

Registered sex offenders are an unlikely special interest group. But as lawmakers push legislation to require them to report their e-mail addresses and social networking aliases to the state, they’re becoming more and more visible — strange for a group that is branded with such a stigma.

Today, several of them — using their full names — stood up in front of lawmakers and cameras at the Capitol to tell their stories. Most of them are now in their 30s, and were arrested in their 20s for having consensual sex with underage women. All of them served their time and are now trying to be functioning members of society. Many of them have children — and struggle even to show up at their schools for plays and sporting events. They argue that forcing them to report all of their online networking monikers is yet another hindrance to allowing them to fully re-enter society.

“What more do I have to give in order to earn that second chance?” asked Bruce Siegel, a Plano sex offender who was arrested 15 years ago, at age 24, for having sex with a 16-year-old girl. “Every session we’re faced with new obstacles.”

Get used to it, legislators across the nation. As the population of sex offenders grows and the outrage swells, these groups will be increasingly more outspoken, in any means needed.

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