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National

ME: Sex offender’s art removed from Lewiston exhibit

[UPDATE LINKS 5/7/18]

The University of Southern Maine has removed three works by a highly regarded oil painter from a gallery on its Lewiston-Auburn campus after learning that the artist is a sex offender, a decision that has prompted objections from the show’s curator and the Union of Maine Visual Artists. Full Article

Related Articles

 

Arts pieces by Pelican Bay inmates on display at courthouse [triplicate.com 4/25/17 – non-sex-offender art displayed]

So we can’t have out art exhibits shown in public, either? Whoever decided this can Van Gogh to hell  [shiitakeweekly.blogspot.com 5/7/18]

 

Join the discussion

  1. Counting the days

    I feel it my duty as a human being to contact these people that do such rediculious things and point out to them that they are not so pure as to judge others. Though I try not to sound biblical or “preachy”.
    I often will get responses to my emails, which tells me that I have hopefully planted a seed that will take root.

    • Tim Moore

      That is a good habit to make. There are some really good things said here, but it could be more effective if people outside could hear them. I was reading these comments and asking myself the same thing. What good am I doing?

  2. New Person

    Ample proof to support Colorado Judge Matsch’s judgement that the registry is cruel and unusual punishment enforced by the public.

  3. Sunny

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. I attended USM in 2010 as a student completing my degree. In 2008 I was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of statutory rape based on the allegation that I had sex with a boy who was 6 weeks from the age of consent. I served 7 weeks in county jail and required to register in Maine for 10 years. The Dean of USM required me to meet with him, several campus officials, and there were also police in uniform present for the meeting to determine whether I would be allowed to continue to live on campus at the dorms in Gorham, Maine. Their attorney asked me several humiliating and explicit questions about my sexual behavior and private (and legal) sexual history. They made a big deal about the fact that there were young male children (K-8) staying in the dorms during the Summer semester I was there. They forced me to enter into a contract with the university which described all the things I could and could not do. Basically it said I could not use any campus facilities, could not leave my dorm except to go directly to my car to go to and from campus, and I was not even allowed to leave my room to go to other parts of the building. They allowed me to stay but after some time of living in this almost impossible situation, I decided to get an apartment in Portland and my professors let me complete my Bachelor of Biology degree online. My professors were aware of the situation and thought it was all ridiculous. I brought a suit against the UMaine system in 2013 but it was dismissed because municipal entities are automatically immune from lawsuit in Maine. The UMaine system is operating in an archaic fashion primarily based on fears surrounding past allegations of frat house rapes. The removal of these paintings is petty. I hope the artist sees this as an opportunity to use his art to communicate the injustices against him.

    • Sunny

      I should note that I was 21 at the time of the allegation and that the age of consent in Maine is 16, but can be as low as 14 if there is less than a 5 year age difference. The boy alleged that he had sex with me when he was 6 weeks from legal consent (6 weeks from age 16). Likewise if I had been 8 months younger (less than 5 years older than the boy), no criminal act could have been alleged. USM ultimately refunded all my campus housing fees.

      • steve

        The problem is, because of the very public registry, and that the campus knew about your situation they are FORCED to take actions so they aren’t sued later for something you MIGHT do.. Just think if everyone’s record was that easily accessible people with DUI’s wouldn’t be allowed to drive on campus. People with a theft conviction wouldn’t be allowed to shop at the campus store etc..a bunch of BS.

        • CR

          “… they are FORCED to take actions so they aren’t sued later for something you MIGHT do.. ”

          Though it hardly seems possible, Sunny said USM is immune to suit. Maybe certain types?

        • Sunny

          The University of Maine cites “State Sovereign Immunity” whenever they are sued because they are an agent of the State (public university). There is a 2012 case against UMaine in which the matter was dismissed due to this immunity, which is continually cited in the judgement:

          http://www.med.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Woodcock/2012/JAW_04242012_2-11cv183_BENSON_V_UNIVERSITY.pdf

          I reference this to make other people aware of the immunities given to state agencies. Each state is different. I’m not an attorney but there are some exceptions to state sovereign immunity, often cited as the 11th Amendment. I believe you have to show the state agency violated federal law or committed a criminal offense, for example. If they violate state law or civil law, it can be very difficult to sue.

  4. Nicholas Maietta

    Meanwhile, prisoners at places like Pelican Bay State Prison, california WORST and TOUGHEST prison for the most hardened criminals are freely able to display their artwork at the local courthouse:

    http://www.triplicate.com/features/5256399-151/arts-pieces-by-pelican-bay-inmates-on-display.

    • TS

      But do they list their crimes as they hang their artwork? I can imagine if they listed their crimes then there might be some heartburn depending on what was listed by those who did artwork for the hallways.

  5. CR

    The comments following the related article https://www.pressherald.com/2018/05/06/sex-offenders-artwork-pulled-from-usm-show-at-lewiston-auburn-gallery/ are interesting. One commenter is trying to make the case that once a sex offender, always a sex offender. “He IS a convicted sex offender. Present tense.” He is also pushing the high recidivism lie. “As for criminal justice as a whole I absolutely believe in rehabilitation and reintegration. It has to be done with public safety as priority number one. Unfortunately recidivism rates are high particularly with certain types of criminals.” The implication seems to be that “sex offenders” shouldn’t be allowed the same opportunities for reintegration as other offenders.

  6. Sunny

    I’m wondering how many other artists would disappear from our art museums and historical centers if we undertook the work to uncover all past allegations against prominent artists. Certainly Oscar Wilde’s work would all have to be removed. Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Benvenuto Cellini and Giovanni Antonio Bazzi – all of their artwork stripped from the walls, from literature, from history. And what cultural standards should be used for such censorship? The US is one of only a small handful of nations that even have a registry, meaning only American artists will be censored, despite the fact that many other nations have very different definitions of sexual assault. Is there any standard or process, any appeal rights, or is this entirely subject to arbitrary individual whim and bias? Ironically the art itself is the least abstract matter here.

  7. Facts should matter

    This is nothing but pure and unadulterated spite-work.

  8. JW

    I’m flabbergasted. Was the art itself sexually offensive? Was the artist hanging around and luring people into sexual situations? I mean really? I might accidentally appreciate some art that was created by someone with a sordid past? Isn’t that expected?

    Can sex offenders donate blood? How can we assure an offender’s blood doesn’t end up in a CHILD?

    Can sex offenders donate their bodies after death? OMG, those EYES might have viewed CP in the former body!

    Are sex offenders allowed to buy shoes? My god, you know about foot fetishes!

    Is a sex offender allowed to lick the stamp on the letter he sends to his probation officer? They should be required to USE SPONGES.

    Are sex offenders allowed to shower? Don’t they do that NUDE?? They shouldn’t be allowed to be nude EVER!

    If a sex offender came to an unconscious car crash victim, are they allowed to perform CPR????

    Are sex offenders allowed to BUY GROCERIES??? There might be CHILDREN in the store!! They shouldn’t be allowed to live 2500′ near a grocery store because children often eat food.

    Can a sex offender tell someone to “have a nice day”?

    Are they able to play the lotto?

    Can they look at the sky and ponder life’s mysteries?

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