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Who Is a Sex Offender?

You are not going to like this article. In fact, unless you are on the sex offender list or someone you care about is being forced to live with this stigma, chances are that you have almost no sympathy for those who have been found guilty of sex crimes. I would like to ask you to think about these people with an open mind. As the father of a daughter, I can tell you that I regularly checked the sex offender web sites to know which of my neighbors to worry about and I have read news articles about child abductions and rape and have felt the rush of adrenaline that would have led me to volunteer to be their executioner. That being said, I am aware that virtually all perpetrators were also victims as children but, clearly, the majority of victims do not grow up to be perpetrators. There is an ethical conversation to be had about pedophiles but that is not the point of this article. Full Article

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  1. Joe123

    Excellent post written by the author. However, the comments are abhorrent. Only the one long comment written at the very bottom explains the reality of such crimes in great detail. These are not just straightforward crimes. Lots of people do not realize that what they are doing online is a serious criminal offense or even understand why it is. It is ridiculous to throw harsh punishments at first time non-contact offenders and throw them into a registry with serial hands-on offenders. Even worse is to claim that any of these people knowingly promote child abuse or human trafficking when they looked at images. It is ridiculous.

  2. kat

    While some perpetrators were victims of a sexual offense as a child, stating that “virtually” all of them were, is over-reaching by any stretch of the imagination.

    • David Kennerly, Still Radioactive After All These Years!

      Agreed! This is an unsubstantiated canard that seems to be enjoying a revival, albeit one in the service of moderation in sex offender policy. Though the intent is laudable, i.e. introducing a note of compassionate concern with the extremes to which the sex offender hysteria has been taken, I disagree with this as well as several other shibboleths advanced by the author including the idea of “porn addiction” which is a subset of the pseudo-science of “sex addiction.”

  3. Joe123

    Response to the article:

    What decent human being with a heart, some life wisdom, and intelligence would disagree with the obvious point that the author is making?

    Unfortunately, in America there has been a big shift in attitude towards “Hate your neighbor/fellow citizen” rather than “we are all brothers and sisters united as one” (you know, how every other country tends to view their fellow peers). Instead of putting ourselves into a situation, we immediately want to kill/castrate and ‘cheer on’ the death of an individual that was locked up in jail, regardless of the reason. It’s sickening, and unfortunately is happening much more often. The hatred between the Democrats and Republicans is a great media example of that these days.

    In the comments section, I am not surprised to find most individuals using their hearts/emotions instead of their brains/intelligence. The remaining few people that aren’t jumping to emotionally-charged conclusions are hesitant about speaking up and agreeing with the author.

    Let me ask you all this:

    At what age did you learn that looking/possessing any pictures makes you a consumer that feeds a market? How old and what grade were you in?

    Did you PAY for those pictures?

    Did you reward the source in some non-monetary way that will signify that you are exchanging one thing for another? (you know, an actual ‘Marketplace’ because that is HOW markets work).

    So how on Earth are you going to know, inherently (like you know that theft and violence is bad) that merely POSESSING a picture creates a ‘marketplace’ that hurts people?

    So why are you expecting young adults to inherently just KNOW that they are ‘consumers’ in a ‘market’? These are the SAME so-called consumers that inherently know that Theft, Violence and Rape is bad, keep that in mind.. you know, these are often productive members of society that are good people without long criminal rap sheets. So you want these decent people, that generally understand Right from Wrong, to somehow know that they are causing so much harm by possessing images? They should JUST know this? They should know it’s a Criminal Felony with serious time and sex offender registration simply because it is made illegal just like many things are illegal in this country?

    Did you know that collecting rainwater is a Felony too? Do you believe people that do it are intentionally wanting to commit a horrible crime?

    You’re expecting people to just be born with this twisted logic?

    Let’s be very honest with ourselves:

    ‘Children’ does not mean prepubescent little kids. It means anyone under age 18. Keep in mind the age of consent in some states has been as low as 14-15. So not ALL viewers were looking for little kids online. They could have easily been looking at legal ‘teen porn’ and then pushed their boundaries out of sheer human curiosity as well as just lack of education (which is non-existent on this topic in schools, unlike drug education that is mandatory).

    Should we CASTRATE these people and hang them now? Let’s throw them in prison for years and take them away from their families, yes?

    Many times, these people are forced to pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars as compensation to the victim in one of the possessed images, yet this person has never even met or knew the victim or even thought of them as a ‘victim’. Is that not enough of a punishment to teach someone a lesson for a first offense?

    Should we take years of their life away and punish their families too?

    How about we place them all on GPS monitoring without any evidence of them being a threat to actual children? Let’s prohibit from traveling out of state for seeing their family, friends, for work. Let’s place a stigma on them because their GPS device will not allow them into some adult establishments now. It will also create an issue for their personal relationships and dating life because most humans associate GPS monitoring with ‘the worst of the worst’, because that only make sense. Try explaining to the average citizen why a GPS monitoring device should be placed on someone that had committed a non-contact offense on their computer. Good luck.

    Do you know that pornography DE-SENSITIZES viewers as it rewires their brains? Do you realize that means that those viewers were not even looking at those images and looking at the ‘Under age 18 minors’ the same way as they view them in real life? Desensitization causes viewers to look at porn and not consider it as being ‘Reality’.

    Can you imagine that someone that was charged with such a underage porn offense can still look at anyone underage age 18 and not think of them as a sex object, or even giving two thoughts about it aside from the innocent kids that these people are?

    Does looking at images of the poor souls losing their lives due to terrorist acts directly create a demand and ‘market’ for terrorism? Yes, we are just talking about the mere Viewing of images that one may possess. Or does terrorism work based on possibly other mechanisms that are not related to merely looking at images of the said acts?

    Are you aware that so many of these Underage Porn charges are based on people simply leaving their music/books/movie downloading programs running? They were downloading porn and some happened to be underage, and while this download happened, a State Police trooper could download this file from the individual now, because by default, whatever you download is automatically being made available to others, even without your consent or any proactive steps taken by you. Do you know this person will now be labeled as an underage porn distributor? Is that the type of person you think of when you imagine someone being charged with underage porn distribution?

    Have you considered the reality that the ‘producer’ of the underage porn could be an adult or could be an underage minor that was just stupid enough to leave these files in their Documents folder that was inevitably shared? Or that they are not making the videos for others as a reward mechanism?

    Have you considered that the person who is in possession of these images may have no idea, or could care less about who is connecting to their file program and downloading any media files from their computer?

    Have you considered that without any PRO-ACTIVE steps taken by the possessor of the files, without any Communications with another individual, without any ‘status’ reward, without any MONETARY compensation at all, that this person will now be charged with distributing child pornography?

    Do you finally understand how mis-understood such laws are because the crimes are not inherently classified as ‘criminal’ in our brains such as violence, theft and rape is?

    So let me ask you this now:

    WHY are we punishing people as if they committed heinous crimes?

    If a person TRULY and pro-actively distributed underage porn for some clear reward or compensation, yes this should be a felony. THIS can be applied to the ‘creating a Marketplace’ argument.

    However, to claim that everyone who possessed underage porn KNOWINGLY created a marketplace and victims, is absurd and goes beyond any human logic.

    How can you commit a serious heinous crime without KNOWING inherently that is it a horrible crime?

    Drugs, Violence, Theft. These are things we have INHERENTLY learned are bad and to avoid.

    Possession of digital files was NEVER explained to anyone in school as to what harm it is causing.

    So please stop passing out of control Laws that punish people as if they all knowingly committed a heinous crime! On top of that, you go on to place these public on a Sex Registry alongside serial rapists and child molesters. So that is what makes intelligent human beings feel safer with common sense feel safer?

    You are punishing people that have had no scientifically established LINK to hands-on offenses. The one study of 155 individuals well over a decade ago that tried to be used for pushing harsher punishments was DE-BUNKED. There is absolutely NO statistical evidence showing a clear link of someone who had come in contact with underage porn that had gone on to commit any hands-on offenses. To the contrary, there was a large study done of two countries which showed quite the opposite link, that digital porn resulted in lower hands-on child offenses. This infamous study is cited in numerous articles online.

    Let me be very clear:

    No human being should ever KNOWINGLY support child abuse, child exploitation, or human trafficking!

    But for anyone to try to ever present a fact-less, baseless, emotionally-driven argument that every underage porn possessor partakers in the above 3 horrible crimes, is Absurd, Un-American, Overzealous and just filled with hatred and zero understanding or compassion for people’s mistakes. The people that make this false link should be ashamed of themselves.

    We the citizens and especially Politicians should not be setting the laws on punishment, as WE are not in the courtrooms hearing every single detail of these cases. Only a Judge should be allowed use their sole discretion to decide the appropriate punishment (sentence, probation, if GPS monitoring is needed, etc) based on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

    Now THAT is the right thing to do, for starters.

    Instead of wasting money by throwing non-production, non-contact convicted citizens in jail, we should use some Common Sense: Invest in educating children from a young age on how to watch out for abuse, exploitation and also learn how serious underage pornography is as far as the effects it will have on them.

    What we should NOT do is waste time treating these people like an immediate threat to society.

    We do Not and should Not seriously punish people for crimes that we THINK they may commit. That is not how criminal justice works on this planet.

    This man should have been placed on probation for 3 Years, monitoring of his online activities and gone through a sex rehabilitation and education program. Why was he being charged with a felony while someone who violently puts their hands on another human being is simply charged with a Misdemeanor? How does this make any sense?

    These non-contact underage porn crimes are a mental health issue. Let’s stop treating them as if they are the same as Rape, Child molestation and other heinous acts. That is doing a disservice to our entire criminal justice system, the public and humanity.

    ALL sex offenders, every type, have a recidivism rate amount 5.3% in the USA according to recent studies. This average includes the ‘worst of the worst’. Let’s stop referring to everyone in this category as a violent, malicious, heinous monster. This is not what America or the world needs. We should be leading by Example by creating laws that are based on facts, statistics, and empirical evidence, not just our emotions.

    Thank you for your time in reading this. We can only hope that now people can look at this topic in a less biased, one-sided way.

    • RS

      I don’t believe that most CP and semi-CP was actually paid for by most of those convicted. All porn was once expensive, but not anymore since the internet became popular. People get these photos from free file sharing programs on anonymous servers. Just like a large number of people download free movies and music files off the internet. I just don’t believe this is some huge money making industry. I think it’s mostly people sharing their picture collections and others downloading them for curiosity or porn addiction without realizing the consequences. I wish they would actually have to prove that someone actually supported the marketplace by paying for these photos. The entire porn industry has changed and moved from big corporate L.A. studios, to people that now cut out the middle-man and publish their own self videos and keep most of the profits.

      • David Kennerly, Still Radioactive After All These Years!

        Yes and, beyond that, it is now widely believed that most CP is now produced by kids, themselves and consists mostly of smartphone and webcam shots exchanged between friends.

        This is pretty impossible to prove, of course, without subjecting oneself to the extreme punishments that viewing this material elicits. It would be extremely foolhardy to embark upon such a venture.

        So we have no sane or self-preserving way of confirming this suspicion short of an actual, and honest, study produced by law enforcement, themselves, something that is very hard to imagine given their self-interested incentives to distort reality in the service of generating hysteria.

        Judith Levine has lamented that child pornography cannot possibly be investigated by journalists, such as herself, and remains both a legal domain and intellectual blackhole impervious to independent scrutiny.

        This should scare everyone with a modicum of concern for civil liberties but appears to bother almost no one.

    • mike t

      Hi Joe123,
      One more thing to add to your rant: “These non-contact underage porn crimes are a mental health issue.”

      Such being the case, how does a person feeling powerless against their addiction to CP seek help? If someone were to disclose this addiction to a psych doctor, than the good doctor is mandated to notify the ‘Authorities’ on the individual. Unfortunately the only treatment offered is to go to prison followed by parole mandated cookie-cutter therapy which is not the same as a psychologically evaluated program personally tailored to the individual. I believe it would be better to keep such individuals as productive members (if they want help) and sponsor their treatment; as opposed to sentencing them to five years mandatory minimum in a federal pen. It seems this would be less tax dollars wasted in the short and long of it.

  4. ab

    The opinion piece contains many good points based in fact. Although saying the subject of child pornography is complicated does not seem like a statement that explains the issue well enough so further conversation and inquiry can be made.

    Throughout the world the concept of a child differs greatly socially and legally even within a single locale or jurisdiction. What constitutes as pornography also various world wide to the degree that two people living next to each other may have different views on what makes something pornographic. Legally it isn’t any better because two judges or prosecutors or investigators can reach contradictory conclusions sometimes in the same jurisdiction. So long as someone with the authority to make the decision that an image or video is pornography and they can use legal text to back their opinion the chances of someone else challenging it are rare.

    While I could provide an overview for the lesser known facts about CP, it’s production, and why what is being done currently has little impact on preventing future offenses, I don’t have time. For now the most important fact to keep in mind is refusing to really understand everything involved or potentially related to child pornography from all perspectives globally will only insure one thing; no positive change.

  5. Lll

    150 years ago the average age at death was 40 years And people frequently married brides at 13 nature needs to catch up, in 200 years we may be living into the 200’s maybe 96 will be the age of majority.

    • ONE DAY AT A TIME

      By age 96 we might be smart enough to find that perfect lifetime spouse.

    • Timmr

      Actually having any sort of sexual desire is becoming problematic, causing social hysteria rather than cohesion. We are not like the bonobos, whom sex makes peaceful, but like the other chimps who use violence to shape the socIal structure. In the future, in the interest of political harmony, sex will be bred out of the population and new generations will be produced in the lab. A substitute for sex, to get people excited in the future, will be purchasing new things.

      • David Kennerly, Still Radioactive After All These Years!

        Well, some of us ARE like Bonobos and others are like Chimps; that’s the problem. This is a clash between cultures, one a passive minority willing to tolerate others and the other dominant and aggressive and on a mission to exterminate those who don’t acquiesce to their dominance.

  6. Timmr

    Sure there needs to be some unpleasant consequenses to first time offenders, but not prison or a lifetime of shaming on the registry. It is seen by the low reoffense rate for porn offenders, that extreme punishments are unnecessary. The penal solution doesn’t work for drug overuse, and they do have a high reoffense rate, why do people think it will work for porn addiction. Take the money and use it for victim services, offender treatment and education. There will be more positive results for all.

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