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Are We All Sex Offenders? Galen Baughman – TEDxCUNY

Galen works alongside many others in reforming the criminal justice system, but his angle might surprise you. Join him as he shares his crusade for equal justice, which has led him to the courtroom, advocacy, and beyond.

https://youtu.be/pYt-3fai-PI

View on youtube

Join the discussion

  1. Joe

    Everyone should watch this. 20 minutes well spent. This presentation is excellent. This topic is frightening.

    Every parent needs to watch this. Heaven help us all.

    • Janice Bellucci

      I have just watched this video and have tears in my eyes. Galen describes well the insanity of today’s sex offender laws and the hell he experienced within the “justice” system. Thank you, Galen, for showing up, standing up and speaking up! You are a brave man.

  2. HH

    God bless him and his strength to speak out and fight back. It couldn’t have been more well said. I reccomend you all save this link and the next time you are faced with adversity from a colleague, neighbor or community member show this to them. Everyone needs to work together to get these laws changed. Thanks to Janice we have someone to speak up for our families , facing what seems like , a never ending battle.

    I truly believe everyone needs to rally each community , county and state and work to band these 1 million “labeled” citizens together . While you might think this site only helps California , that couldn’t be further from the truth. What happens in CA travels across the states like wild fire.

    Every donate today , reach out to others to donate and become active on this site. For my families sake and all of you , I will begin contacting as many people as I can find to join this fight with us.

  3. Mark Judkins

    This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen. Galen has been through the hell that so many of us and our families have suffered. He explains clearly and concisely the inadequacies of our so-called justice system. I have sent this link to all of my state and federal representatives asking that they watch it. Many, many thanks so Galen for having the courage to stand-up for what is right.

  4. Friend of RSOL

    This is brilliantly done. It covers the horrifying connotations of the term “Sex Offender,” the overbroad laws, the hysteria, the idea of preventing crime through imprisoning people forever, the injustice, the betrayal of the Constitution, the craziness of including teenagers in all of this – AND it puts a human face on the problem.

    This needs to get broader exposure. The key seems to be friends and family – who have Facebook accounts and who sympathize. There are also media outlets that should expose this.

    I am still protecting my anonymity and email address but I suggest someone send this to Boing Boing (blog – huge exposure) and Bill Maher to start. Can someone do this?

  5. Bob

    I have watched so many videos through out the years and read many articles on the topic and word for word this is most likely the best. He left me wanting to hear more. This is exactly by the words in how to describe the insanity. No fancy terms or words, just a straight out monologue from someone who is like all of us. I hope this video goes viral and reaches the millions, especially to those working in the judicial system.

  6. Timmr

    This guy is amazing. I could see a lot of emotion in his face, which may have made others stumble in their words, but he took some deep breaths and did a flawless presentation. Very courageous, intelligent and eloquent speaker.

  7. ab

    Well that’s one powerful TED talk. Facts and understanding through asking difficult questions or discovering the correct difficult questions to ask and researching reality without bias is the only way to address whichever issues (if most are even issues in the first place) exist. Unfortunately as made clear during the talk fear prevents this from happening and nobody benefits.

  8. Jason

    This is a great video and should be a must watch for all Americans.

    But I think he’s a bit misguided. He has an optimism which I don’t think is warranted.

    He gives an impression that he has been “set free”. Yes… he isn’t going to indefinite detention… but he didn’t win. He’s still a sex offender.

    And he makes it sound like we’re turning the corner as a country. No, we aren’t. Sure, there are isolated cases of cities or courts overturning specific ordinances. But overall we are still moving towards harsher treatment of RSOs. Right now the country to gearing up to brand passports and make travel even more difficult than it already is. (I appreciate those fighting hard, and I sent a message to my rep in Congress, but it isn’t going to work. We are losing this one). RSOs can’t get green cards for their spouses. RSOs are banned directly and indirectly from many types of work and housing. And beyond the registry, there is still the consequences of having ANY felony on your record. These policies aren’t changing, and they won’t.

    • Friend of RSOL

      There are two different trends happening – certain elements within the country are advocating harsher treatment of RSOs – these are the same people who are hysterical about immigrants, Muslims, etc. and believe that harsh punishment = righteousness.

      They are able to get away with all this partly because they are doing these things out of the limelight and because RSOs are either unable or too ashamed/scared/depressed to fight back. I believe if people who are not RSOs, such as friends and relatives get more involved, there could be some change. These injustices need to see the light of day, and I applaud this video for its courage and honesty.

      Reasonable people do exist in this country, and we can’t just abandon our rights to irrational, fearmongering, craven politicians without a determined fight.

      Also, if we give in to despair, no good can result from that. Optimism may not be warranted, but perseverance is, and that’s only possible if we have some sort of hope for change.

      • Jason

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/26/civil-commitment-sex-offenders

        This article (second half) contains more of Galen Baughman’s story and what his life is like. While I’m sure his current situation is better than prison, it’s still sounds like a living hell.

        It says his long term plan is to leave for France. Unless there’s more to the story (like he already has dual citizenship or something) it seems highly unlikely he’ll ever succeed in making a life there based on how things are going now, but best of luck to him.

        In his video, he referenced some European countries specifically by name as being less harsh towards sex offenders. However, even these countries aren’t going to let him in with “SEX OFFENDER” branded on his passport, along with the letter from the US stating a dangerous predator is trying to enter the country.

        I appreciate your optimism as well, even if I don’t share in it 🙂 I agree that reasonable people exist, but I don’t think there’s any chance things will ever significantly change through the legislative process. The only meaningful change will come from activist judges.

      • Harry

        The water glass is half empty, however, it is half full, and with that being said, there are a number harsh issues and laws that are being pumped, however, the facts and truth are becoming more clearer, which, supporting our humanism and we now have organizations like CA RSOL and WAR that are impacting the mainstream. I believe the water glass is little fuller.

    • PK

      I didn’t know the part about denial of green cards for your spouse.

  9. Robert

    Galen, awesome. Very inspirational. We will hear much more from him to be sure. There are so many of us who feel every word Galen speaks….

    • Rob

      What a well spoken and thoughtful person he is. Couldn’t have a better representative to speak for us. Watching this video shows me that this man possesses great character, empathy, strength, intellect and passion, isn’t this the kind of person we want in society? I will forward this to people i know.

      Just to point out how absurd the laws are, if the girl who i had a consensual relationship with was 3 months older, i would be allowed to work in a day care and have committed no crime, yet I am a sex offender who is a danger to children. I have to register for 10 years. But if she was 9 months younger then I would have to register for life and be a sexual predator with no hope for rehabilitation. Such a small window of time, that goes by in a blink, yet such varying degrees of consequence in that small time period, absurd.

      • Rob

        Well crap! To say I’m disappointed in the actions of Mr. Baughman is an understatement. He was an inspirational spokesperson for us to the rest of the world. He needed to go above and beyond and behave appropriate as he represented our cause and showed that mistakes happen but we can be reformed. The damage he has done, wether he is convicted or not is already done. So very sad.

    • Notgivingup

      Yes Galen needs help, What a disappointment he is. I have donated to cure in the past, this guy should know better. While he may have not committed a crime he still had rules to go by and why the heck does a 30 something man feel the need to text teenage young males? At least Mr gravens had enough sense to say something. I will NOT support him.

      • PK

        I´m thoroughly confused. Did Galen reoffend recently or am I missing something?

        • D

          Not exactly, but he did violate his probation/parole conditions by communicating with a minor via text messages that seem very much like he was grooming another victim.

          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2016/04/galen_baughman_seemed_like_an_ideal_spokesman_for_sex_offenders_civil_rights.html

        • G

          That article is stronger than the TED talk, principles not personalities, and quit pointing fingers. If someone slips, they take their licks, just like anyone else.

          For a spokesperson, if she is willing, I would suggest Jan Kruska.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCeEMVMtrL8

        • G

          I meant quit pointing fingers in general. Not you specifically.

        • David Kennerly

          He is ACCUSED of violating his terms of probation/parole by communicating with a 16 year old male.

          Question: Did Josh Graven’s tipoff to the parents LEAD to the arrest of Galen?

        • rob

          David,

          I believe in the slate article, that Josh Gravens admits to informing the parents of the relationship.

          Your right he is ACCUSED and should be given any chance to clear his name and lets let the process play out.
          I’m very conflicted with this incident. I’m upset with Galen as he became a spokesperson figure representing our movement. I also have tremendous respect for him and what he has accomplished. I’ve never had the courage to put my name and face out there like he has. I also feel he needs our support as
          His only criminal activity was the probation violation as the age of consent in Minnesota is 16. If he had no probation stipulations then he could have legally had a relationship with the 16 year old.
          Morally should he have been having the conversations he is accused of with someone that young, in light of his history and his position?
          His actions were wrong and inappropriate.
          I read a comment on National RSOL and tend to agree with it. When he gives his TedTalk he talks very fondly and seems to romanticize his relationship with the minor. Again though if this was Europe or Canada a few years back his previous crime wouldn’t have been a crime either, so he is not who needs to be locked up as danger to society but someone who does have impulse control issues who really needs to think hard about what he is doing and get help.

        • David Kennerly

          “When he gives his TedTalk he talks very fondly and seems to romanticize his relationship with the minor. Again though if this was Europe or Canada a few years back his previous crime wouldn’t have been a crime either, so he is not who needs to be locked up as danger to society but someone who does have impulse control issues who really needs to think hard about what he is doing and get help.”

          I don’t think that “impulse control issues” are known, by either you or me, in Galen’s behavior. Nor do I think that “romanticizing a relationship” should be subject to the castigation of those who were not there. Why would we imagine that we can better know a relationship which he and a young man had?

          Would we rather that he hadn’t seen his relationship in loving terms? I certainly wouldn’t.

          There are people who don’t see their relationships positively or affectionately and those are not relationships which should be advantaged over others which do. And yet, that is precisely what we have seen happen over the last several decades.

          The perversity of the group indoctrination to which we are now expected, no, DEMANDED, to adhere are of a part of the greater Orwellian nightmare state which we now inhabit in which non-conforming wants and desires are summarily, and harshly, punished.

          I don’t denigrate individuals who fail to slavishly conform to these fascist expectations. While it may have value in terms of self-preservation and social acceptability, it has no fundamental or intrinsic virtue in the absence of tyranny. Nor is it virtuous to call the cops on someone who committed such non-crimes or, for that matter, to call someone’s parents, which is, of course, tantamount to calling the cops.

          Take a look at the forum which Galen was invited to address. Being a Ted speaker is now one of the most prestigious and plum assignments in liberal society. His words, including his “romanticization” of his relationship, appear to have been well-received by that audience. Indeed, he received enthusiastic applause.

          Perhaps they’re hearing something honest and defensible where you are not. In which case, maybe you need to step back a bit, less reactively and more reflectively, to consider a broader perspective.

          We need to be honest as we fight this war, one declared upon us, and not succumb to our own programmatic impulses to denounce the imperfect others in our movement. To not engage in over-compensating virtue-signalling as a perceived means of gaining legitimacy but from which genuine reason and humanity may be missing.

          Galen may well have screwed-up. He certainly appears to have from both a public relations and self-preservational perspective. If so, then he can be legitimately criticized on that basis.

          But that does not mean that there is anything virtuous in a society which has laid before him the pernicious traps into which he appears to have fallen.

          And we certainly should not be helping the trappers to bag their prey.

          That is certainly the greater offense, if indeed it was committed.

        • David Kennerly

          Rob, on re-reading this, it appears to be taking you, in particular, to task. That is not my intention. My criticism goes well beyond addressing your brief comments and concerns (as I tend to do) and addresses a larger phenomenon within which you may not fall. My apologies for not making that more clear.

        • James

          David, you are obviously a smart guy with a lot to say…and you write really well.

          The situation with Galen is difficult…ratting him out is as problematic as his maybe obsession with teen lads.

          Life really is complex, there are lots of shadings in this or that…people just don’t want to put in the mental effort sorting these things out…and besides, it really is a difficult question.

          Well, heck, my reply is longer than I wanted.

          Be Good, it is always a pleasure to read you.

          Best Wishes, James

        • Timmr

          “Galen may well have screwed-up. He certainly appears to have from both a public relations and self-preservational perspective. If so, then he can be legitimately criticized on that basis.

          But that does not mean that there is anything virtuous in a society which has laid before him the pernicious traps into which he appears to have fallen.

          And we certainly should not be helping the trappers to bag their prey.”

          Well said, David. This guy put himself out there to help everyone understand the real person behind the “sex offender”, we shouldn’t just trash him for this apparently stupid act. He may not have done it, but even if he did, as a real person he is entitled to be flawed. If he is struggling with a self defeating predilection, then we must give him support and encouragement to do better. That is the example we want to portray, not mimic the one that is the status quo. Sexual offenses have been dominated by the penal perspective: identify, isolate, punish, control. We are all fighting to change this focus on punishment, are we not? Maybe we ought to start looking at it more from the recovery angle, for example sort of like as fellow alcoholics treat each other in AA. If one falls off the wagon, for sure everyone is saddened, but the fault is acknowledged and the group encourages the individual to do better next time. Now mind you this is as far as I go in comparing registrants to members of AA, it is just an example of a group that seems to rely on each other, for the betterment of each other. We could be that way, too if we weren’t so afraid of the way the public might view us.

  10. anonymously

    Foley’s indiscretions did not seem to stop the sustainance and expansion of Foley-authored and admitted child rapist and SORNA marketing director John Walsh’s brainchild/’cash cow’ AWA. I have yet to see someone other than me and a few others on here say we need to do a total review and revamp of AWA because of what Foley and Walsh ( and Hastert, now as we know ) did. I was kind of upsetting to read about this. But then, I didn’t know he was parole, which is the time when the under 1% re-offend predominantly. I am not saying Galen re-offended however, even though it seems like a bad idea if this is how his first offense started to happen. Regardless, there is no allegation of a new crime. As the study goes, after 15 years, you are at the same risk of committing a sex crime as someone from the general population. At that point, those who have not reoffended after 15 years need equal protection of the law and to be treated like those in the general public, as well as due process which means to be fair and not foster false information in the form of falsley high re-offense rates. As in Loving v Virginia, due process and equal protection of the law were addressed to overcome the unfair anti-miscengenation laws. Reading the comments on here about Galen, I thought he has done something on par with what SORNA author Mark Foley did. Gladly thats not the case.

  11. Two States East

    To David Kennerly: Your 1.00AM comment this morning scares me. Are you indirectly supporting the national association of Marlin Brando look alikes ? They were in love and we have no right to judge !?

  12. Fedup

    Thought it was gonna be good till he said ‘boy’. Gays used to be killed for being so, yet he seems shocked that they might lock him up for life. Times have changed, but maybe they are still harsher on same sex sex crimes?

    • PK

      They’re not going to lock him up for life for a technical violation. He will however probably loose his nice job at the DC Law firm where I met him.

      Really the dude needs to wake the f*** up.

      He texted: “Since you’ve never answered the question about whether you care about me, it’s pretty clear what the answer is.”

      What 16 year old would want to hook-up with some soft-looking, heavy-set, 30-year-old?
      They don’t do that. If Galen is so longing for “love” he should simply go out in DC and meet someone in a club. Stop the chat rooms, and stop texting period!

      Furthermore, if some 16-year-old tried to approach me online I would immediately report that person to whatever website he came from. Seeing profiles of young teens online just sketches me the f*** out. Police are always in those chat rooms. I would also tell this chatter, that if he ever tried to approach me again online, I would punch him in the f****** mouth.

      • Fedup

        I know they’re not going to, I’m saying he seemed shocked that they WANTED to keep him indefinitely.

        And then he goes and acts like a predator

  13. Fedup

    I also would rather not have a gay or lesbian spokesperson. people already don’t like sex offenders, and if you add homosexuality to it it becomes a whole new beast.

    by reading your comments, I gather that he violated probation by having contact with another male minor which is what the prison was trying to say he was going to do… way to show your rehabilitation

  14. ProvenU Wrong >23yrs

    As a spokesperson,
    I would strongly suggest Brubaker.

  15. Timmr

    Everyone speaks for her or himself or not. We don’t need another hero to lay our hopes upon.

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