PRESS RELEASE: Women Against Registry (W.A.R.), a group of mothers, sisters, wives and other loved ones of those on the sex offender registry, are asking how many, how many more of our young have to feel so distraught and view their future as so hopeless that they take their lives? Will it take your son or daughter getting ensnared before you demand change before legislators and the Justice Department are made to understand this is too much?
On October 2, 2013 Christian Adamek, a 15-year-old from Huntsville, AL, committed suicide after facing expulsion and registration on a sex offender registry for streaking during a high school football game. At the memorial service his mother, Angela, thanked her son’s friends and said they could learn from his life. ‘Remember to smile, don’t be afraid to do something goofy and remember the consequences of those actions, ask for help when you need it, ask for help if you think your friends need it if you don’t know what to do, be quirky, be happy, be smart,’ she said.
April 13, 2013 in Little Rock AR, 18-year-old Jeremy Hannibal was found hanging from his bunk by his bed sheets. Jeremy was 4 months past his 18th birthday. He was in custody awaiting trial for a rape charge from a 14 year old girlfriend.
December 30, 2007, 17 year old David Mercado hung himself in jail. He was being held for having sex with a 14 year old girlfriend.
As published in a study from Human Rights Watch, Raised on the Registry, “Among the 281 youth offenders and family members of 15 additional youth offenders interviewed for this report, 250 people
(84.5 percent) described negative psychological impacts that they attributed to their status as a registrant, such as depression, a sense of isolation, difficulty forming or maintaining relationships, and suicide ideation. 58 people interviewed (19.6 percent) said they had attempted suicide; three of the registrants whose cases we examined did commit suicide.”
Human Rights Watch found that left with little hope of ever leading a normal life, some youth offenders on the registry opted for what they may have viewed as the only remaining route of escape—suicide. One expert told us, “Suicide [among children placed on sex offender registries] is a possibility … even predictable.”
Women Against Registry does not condone inappropriate behaviors; we do believe there should be appropriate punishment. However, a lifetime of being on a public registry, compliance visits, registration office visits for prints and pictures as well as being barred from schools, parks and pools would make someone whose brain is not fully developed feel demoralized.
Research and statistics have proven when laws are written too harshly and juvenile offenders are entrapped in them, the behaviors are likely to become more severe. Available research indicates that registered sex offenders, and particularly people who commit sex offenses as children, are among the least likely to reoffend. One study suggests that juvenile re-offense rates of new sexual crimes are less than 1%.
So where does this leave the families of those mentioned above? These laws are out of control! There has to be a better way, and Women Against Registry is asking legislators in every state to re-evaluate their approach to the one size fits all sex offense laws.
Women Against Registry