Archive for December 28, 2009

Who , Pete Townshend and Sex Offender Registry at Super Bowl

December 28, 2009 Comments off : Groups protest Pete Townshend’s Super Bowl appearance over his sex offender registration.

The Who is scheduled to perform in the Super Bowl half time show this season. But if a pair of watchdog groups have their way, that won’t happen, according to

The groups – Child AbuseWatch and Protect Our Children – are incensed that the NFL invited Pete Townshend’s band to play February’s halftime show, since the guitarist was a registered sex offender in the U.K. between 2003 and 2008. Townshend had to register for that five year period after admitting to breaking the law by searching for child pornography on his computer.

Protect Our Children has not only been protesting the NFL over the Who’s inclusion in the Super Bowl. They’ve also contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Department about the issue. They’re calling on a clause in U.S. immigration law which allows authorities to deny entrance to the country to “aliens convicted of – and those who admit – having committed a crime involving moral turpitude.”

According to the U.K.’s Guardian, the NFL has responded to the groups with a letter stating that Townshend never faced criminal charges in the matter.

Last year, Child AbuseWatch wrote to the organization behind the Kennedy Center Awards protesting their decision to honor Townshend and his band. The honor went through as planned. The Superbowl takes place Feb. 7 in Miami.

Sex Offender Laws Driven by Fear, not Reason

December 28, 2009 Comments off :Sex offender registry laws driven by fear, not reason.

It is heartening to know that Matthew F. (“Pittsfield Twp. man struggles with sex offender label” – Ann, Dec. 15) and others with similar stories are coming forward, and that members of the media are telling of their plight.

Sex offender registries in Michigan and nationwide are growing by leaps and bounds. Sex offender laws implemented in recent years cast a wide net and catch many fish that are awarded equal status with the shark. It’s a system that offers no measurable gain, but creates substantial loss.

Taxpayer dollars are lost to pay for implementation of sex registry laws and oversee compliance. Taxpayer money is lost to fund prosecution, incarceration, or to manage the probation of “offenders.” We’ve lost a controlled and focused sex offender list to a watered-down version that makes it harder to target and prosecute true offenders. We’ve lost rationale and logic to what often amounts to a whipped-up frenzy of fear.

Most sad is the human potential and emotional health lost or diminished when individuals are unfairly demonized and penalized by inclusion on a sex registry. The stigma and restrictions put on anyone who appears on a sex offender list are creating a growing under-society of people who face serious employment, residential and social limitations, and who can do little, if anything, to rise above their circumstances.

Think of the craze to catch “witches” during the Salem Witch Trials. Think of all the “communists” of the McCarthy Era. Sex offenders – regardless of whether they truly are or not – are the latest demons to fear and persecute. One can only hope that more and more “offenders” follow Matthew F.’s example . . . that they step out of the shadows and work to bring understanding and change to the emotional force driving unjust and costly victimization.

Residency Laws May Not Deter Sex Crimes

December 28, 2009 Comments off (WI): Residency laws may not deter sex crimes.

The question surfaced regarding Manitowoc not having residency restrictions placed on convicted sex offenders. Residency restrictions have been enacted in more than 25 states. Most often the legislation prohibits sex offenders from living within close proximity (500 to 2,500 feet) of locations where children congregate (schools, parks, day care centers, etc.). In April 2009 the Manitowoc city council considered, but did not pass, a residency restriction ordinance. The council said the promotion of crime prevention and safe behaviors should be a top priority versus creating safe zones.

Minnesota, which has some local residency restrictions, recently conducted a research study of 3,166 sex offenders released from Minnesota prisons from 1990 to 2002, (Duwe, Donnay, and Tewksbury, 2008). The study indicated that of the released sex offenders, 224 were re-incarcerated for a new sex offense before 2006. The results showed that none of the 224 offenders would likely have been stopped by a restricted residency ordinance.

The study noted that many of the offenders (113 of the 224) gained access to their victims through another adult person. The study concluded that residency restrictions would have, at best, only a marginal effect on sexual recidivism and that sex offenders are more likely to be recognized in their neighborhood. It indicated that most recurring sex offenses happened between 1 and 20 miles away from the offender’s residence. Offenders pick a residence based on what they can afford and generally pick a victim through an acquaintance or victimize children in their own family.

Communities that have enacted residency restrictions on sex offenders have seen the percentage of offenders that are compliant with the registry drop significantly. Noncompliance with the registry means the information the registry contains is out-of-date and misleading to the public and law enforcement.