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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Offender Registry and the Law


Sex offenders are a hot topic. They are in the news daily. There is multiple website that you can trace the local sex offenders living in your area. Laws in most states require convicted sex offenders to register with the local law enforcement officials when they move into an area with in a specified amount of time.

Congress has decided the private citizen; John and Susie Q have the legal right know who is living in their neighborhood. State and federal laws now need law enforcement to preserve a sex offender registry. What is a sex offender registry? When a sex offender comes to the Sheriffs office and says I am a convicted sex offender and I need to register a new address the officer takes down predetermined information. That information then uploaded onto the web database and when a citizen wants to check the database, they will see the information.

As long as citizens use the public sex offender registries for personal information, and not to persecute the offender then there is no problem with having the database online. At one time if you wanted the sex offender registry, you had to go down to the local sheriff’s office every time you wished to have a copy. Some offices only allowed you to pick it up on Mondays. There was paperwork you filled out every time you requested the list and you had to show your drivers license for identification purposes. The list updated at best once or twice a month, sometimes even cost a few dollars for the paper and processing fees.

There is much controversy about listing sex offender registries online. The controversy is the offender has served his or her time and paid retribution for the crime and by listing them on a “sex offender registry” violates their right to privacy. Some sex crimes are a onetime crime and the recidivism rate is unlikely. The sex “crime” may be only be illegal on the books, because of a written law. In essence, the sex act was consensual between two people who cared deeply for each other. There was no force involved. Yet, because of the way a law is written the act is illegal.

One example is two teenagers choosing to have sex. One teenager is 18 and the other is fourteen, but tells her boyfriend she is 15. If she is 15 years old, he is not breaking the law, yet if she is fourteen he is committing statutory rape. Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a minor who is under the age of consent or named age the law decides can decide for his or her self-to have sexual intercourse. If he chooses to believe her and has sex with her, he breaks the law, because the age of consent is 15.

If her parents find out about the sexual relationship they may choose to press charges and involve law enforcement. Does it matter that she told him she was 15? No, because in the end it is his responsibility to know all the facts before he acts. If the girl’s parents prosecute and press charges this young man will under most current laws be required to register as a sex offender the rest of his life.

Yet in reality, if he were to move in next door to a young family with children he would not be a threat to their safety. He would not be able to work with or around children. The young man would not be able to live within certain distances of schools, libraries, and parks. Most likely, at some point someone will likely recognize him as a sex offender from the local registry. He may face cruel ridicule. He may be a driven out of town when he is unable to find employment, he will have to answer yes to the question, have you ever been convicted of a felony.

What will he say when a potential employer asks him why was he arrested? Yes, it is illegal for the employer to ask, but we know they do ask anyway. We also know there is always a more experienced candidate that happens to apply for the job shortly afterwards and that this man will never hear back from this company.

Therefore, I will ask each of you to come to the MEC Forum after reading this article and give me your opinion. Does this man deserve the label of a sex offender the rest of his life? Should he have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life? Do you feel he is a threat to society? Please stop by the forum at this thread and let me know what you think! I value your insight.

Now for those of you who want to a link for the National Sex Offender Registry. Another awesome website is Mapsexoffenders.com. You put in your address and it will show a display of arrows sex offenders closest to your house or your children’s school. Finally, there is family watchdog their program will send you an e-mail when a dangerous sex offender moves into your area.

When you visit, the forum let me know if you have used any of the programs I listed. Let us know what you think about them. Also, please let the forum know of any programs you are using to keep your family safe in addition to the ones listed here. By working together as a community, we can keep our children safe online and at home! Until next time, I am ending you angels to keep you safe!
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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