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Lauren McCluskey Murder: What’s the Point of the Sex Offender Registry?

At approximately 8:20 p.m. on Monday, October 22nd, University of Utah college student Lauren McCluskey, 21, was found shot to death inside a car parked on campus. Only a short time before, the star track-and-field athlete had been on the phone with her mother, Jill McCluskey, who reported hearing her daughter’s last words.

“Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident,” Jill McCluskey said in a statement to press. “That was the last I heard from her.” …

Rowland’s status as a registered sex offender has been highlighted in media coverage of the case, raising questions about how it could have helped prevent this murder. But the case actually underscores how ineffective offense-based registries are at crime prevention, a criticism made by groups like Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, amongst many others. Critics say that sex offender registries fail to make communities safer, and serve primarily as a lifetime punishment that unfairly imposes restrictions on a broad spectrum of people. Full Article

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  1. Joe123

    UNBELIEVABLE! THIS is exactly what I am talking about. These registries are USELESS.

    PLEASE leave a comment on the Rolling Stone page at the bottom. Let your voices be heard.

  2. NY won't let go

    Damn made it into the Rolling Stone on how ineffective it actually is and how it’s more of a lifetime punishment than a crime prevention tool.

  3. NY won't let go

    This also should have highlighted that him being on the registry actually had nothing to do with his actions, although the registry may have been the cause of their breakup and then the murder suicide

    • CR

      If being on the registry “… may have been the cause of their breakup and then the murder suicide” then it doesn’t follow that “being on the registry actually had nothing to do with his actions”.

      Or am I missing something here?

      • AJ

        I get what he’s trying to say. The murder and suicide were not directly due to his being on the registry, but the breakup was. Registry -> breakup -> murder-suicide. There is a cause and effect relationship, but it’s indirect…and seemingly there were other issues that may have had equal or greater influence. After all, how many on here have had a break up due to the registry but have NOT killed?

        • James

          Let us be honest…being on the registry makes all relationships difficult…(there’s nothing like starting a seemingly good dating situation only to receive a call…questioning….What is going on with you?!?)

          Well, having this happen to me several times…I am almost good with it by now…lol…that call is part of my dating process…

          Still, Back on topic…I’d suggest that being on the registry makes people crazy…but there are lots of dynamics happening in all relationships….she was beautiful, he less so, she had lots of options, he less so radically…

          However, being a student of these things, I might note in conclusion that murder of spouses or significant others is nothing unusual in break-ups…with or without a registry component.

          Everyone be good

          Best Wishes, James

      • NY won't let go

        Sorry it wasn’t more clear. AJ got what I was trying to say. Him being on the registry wasn’t the cause of the actual murder suicide but the breakup itself.

        If he wasn’t wasn’t on the registry he could very well have done the same.

        I’ve never killed an ex, honestly never been dumped by an ex due to the registry because they didn’t see it as that big of a deal and we’re more confused why I was on the registry to begin with.

        Currently the only arguments I have with my wife about the registry is whatever is happening in the US has been taking an emotional toll on us as if it affects those of us who no longer live there it could tear us apart.

        We don’t want to be separated even if it’s more less than a day. Every time we travel or do anything I get anxious because of the IML thing and and we argue over that because we don’t want to chance losing each other over a law that makes no sense to begin with.

        If I were to go back to the US sure I would make more money, but then my life would be shit again because she wouldn’t be able to come with me. Life just working to survive and sending back every extra penny I have praying to be together again isn’t a life, it’s a prison.

        I’m lucky I got out when I did, I never wish this on the worst of my enemies. The only saving aspect is the love my wife has for me is true and she will stick with me through all of this bullshit.

        Had I known what the registry would do to the rest of my life I would have never taken my plea agreement and probably ended up doing the 15-45 they tried to offer me the first time if not more. (not saying that all white people in Michigan are racist, but with the jury they picked I would have been crucified)

        If that happened I would have just killed myself though and none of this would have been an issue.

        Anyway I went way off topic.

        The registry does more harm than good. It tears people apart, making completely sane people lose their minds and many cases kill themselves.

        I remember there being one cop in my old town who got caught up in a case. Once he found out he would have to be on the registry he shot himself in the head. They know what it does to people they just refuse to see it until it’s them having to be on it.

        • CR

          There is no way to know for sure, but I think it is at least conceivable that being on the registry is the direct root cause of the murder and suicide.

          The killer had other past offenses, including sexual offenses, and “several stints behind bars”. He was not your typical former sex offender, most of whom do not re-offend. It’s possible, perhaps likely, that he would eventually have committed a tragic crime whether he was on the registry or not.

          But the victim broke up with him because she found out that he was on the registry. That was the trigger for the events that followed.

          So while it is true that “… the case actually underscores how ineffective offense-based registries are at crime prevention, …”, it clearly facilitated one of its alleged public safety purposes in this case. The victim used the registry to become informed about the potential danger posed by her boyfriend, and she took an action (breaking up with him) to protect herself because of it.

          Sadly, her actions to protect herself were ultimately ineffective. One likely contributor is that the university police apparently did not take her harassment complaints seriously enough to investigate the boyfriend. The DOC confirmed that his current address was in their database and on the public registry, but the university police didn’t have the address in their database, and they never contacted the DOC. They were negligent or incompetent, and the registry failed the purpose of preventing the crime.

        • Will Allen

          CR (October 26, 2018):

          I would bet just about anything that this guy was right on the edge precisely because of the Registries. I would be shocked if there are not tens of thousands of people in our country who are not right on the edge.

          I know with 100% certainty of a couple of cases where people were convicted of some BS Registry violation and they directly and quickly retaliated by murdering children. For certain.

          THAT is what the Registries do. They take many people who might not be that stable in the first place, back them into a corner, and then stay there poking them over and over again with “sticks” (i.e. new punishments, new “restrictions”, harassment). Show me one person with an I.Q. over 70 that thinks that is a good idea and for public safety.

          Further, it would not have mattered if the guy were arrested for harassment and imprisoned, even for say 5 years, IF they put him back on the Registry. That would’ve greatly increased his anger. The Registries are THE problem. The guy could’ve gotten out of prison after that and murdered 58 people instead of 1.

          Honestly, I’m very surprised that it doesn’t happen a lot more than it seems to. But who knows what is really going on that no one knows about?

        • AJ

          “[I]t clearly facilitated one of its alleged public safety purposes in this case. The victim used the registry to become informed about the potential danger posed by her boyfriend, and she took an action (breaking up with him) to protect herself because of it.”
          The claimed public safety purpose of the registry is that it’s a way for the public to protect themselves from people who are likely to commit another *sex offense*. That didn’t happen here. To my knowledge, there was nothing to be gleaned from the registry that would indicate the potential danger of murder.

          The bigger story is that once again the registry doesn’t solve anything. A law cannot stop a determined person who doesn’t care about the consequences of his/her actions. It’s only through a person weighing the cost-benefit of complying with a law that it can be effective.

  4. CR

    Another excellent article about the uselessness and unfairness of the registry published in a relatively well-read magazine. This is a good trend.

  5. Will Allen

    I posted the following comment at the article:

    One thing that we can say for certain is that the $EX Offender Registries ($ORs) likely contributed to this crime being committed. Lauren McCluskey could very well be alive today if it were not for the worse-than-merely-worthless $ORs.

    The $ORs do not protect anyone. But I can tell you for sure that they do a very good job of TRANSFORMING the people who are listed on them, and very often their entire families and many, many friends, into people who know that most people who live in the U.S. are simply not good people. “People” who support the $ORs are people for whom good people should have little concern. THAT is one thing that the $ORs do extremely well. They kill empathy and any obligation to be a good citizen.

    The $ORs also make the people who are listed on them want to retaliate and harm people. You can believe that or not, but I guarantee you it is a fact.

    If the $ORs were ONLY used as it was originally lied that they would be used (to “inform” people, in case everyone forgot), AND all of the other Registries that must exist also existed (e.g. a Gun Offender Registry), then, maybe, maybe, possibly, conceivably, the $ORs MIGHT be acceptable to Americans. But as the $ORs exist, that will literally never be possible.

    The $ORs are a problem that will be difficult to destroy. Politicians love them and have no care for the true effects. Most people who support the Registries are too stupid and lazy to know the true effects and too hateful and pathetic to care. So we all need to simply enjoy the hate and division and embrace it. Unfortunately for Ms. McCluskey and the rest to come.

  6. Eric

    The registry clearly caused this violent tragedy. This man had serious issues beyond sexual preoccupation. He had multiple felonies, a lengthy criminal history, and was on probation from his most recent stint of many periods of incarceration. So where was probation? How was he engaging in so many violations of his parole and no probation officer was aware of it? I’ll tell you why, the PO was busy doing paper work and making home visits and filing documents on his of her overflowing caseload of people on the registry who are not a threat to anyone. They have decent people on their case load who made a one time mistake but are now are homeless, can’t find employment, have no medical insurance, who are in crisis because they feel unwanted because they are. People like me who had a one time non-contact offense over a decade ago and am just trying to get my life back together, yet the PO has to come over and approve the place I want to live, He wants to meet the woman I am trying to date, He needs to look in my refrigerator to see what I’m buying, meanwhile this very dangerous man is harassing and stalking and killing a woman, but he doesn’t know because he is trying to monitor 150 people who were once employed, devoted, family men but are now pariahs thanks to this registry. This is the result of the failed SORNA.

  7. AnotherAnon

    An example of the registry doing more harm than good. He was dumped by his girl when she found out and he had nothing to lose, exactly as many studies found.

    • Tim

      What if he loved her and the sorry piece of shiiiiit Government prevented him and divided the couple all in the name of public safety? DUH ! WHAT THE HELLLLL DO YOU THINK HAPPENED, He was jilted by the U.S. and every RC is continuously damaged by ILLEGAL GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES IN THE PERSONAL LIVES OF CITIZENS ! HELLOOOO ! This prevented him from a good life ! Sooooo….Bad comes forth from bad laws !!!…..was he to continue a life of astonishing troubles JUST BECAUSE, AND WHAT IFS AND MAYBE HE COULD…ETC…ETC…?

  8. Dustin

    Rolling Stone posted a followup, talking about the timeline of this crime:

    The good news is that nowhere in all the hindsight did anyone suggest the registry could have prevented this offense. Just the opposite, really. The bad news is that Rowland was apparently very manipulative and will likely be held up as a typical SO by pro-registry types.

  9. Dustin

    Did anyone else have trouble posting on the article. I tried twice and it’s nowhere to be seen. Still listed on my Disqus profile as pending.

    • wonderin

      @ Dustin… Not sure but I believe you must subscribe to 3 forums (pending) before you can actually join Disqus and comment. In the past, you could just sign up and comment.

      • Dustin

        @ wonderin: I don’t think so, unless there have been changes over the past year. I only commented on one story in daily breeze almost a year ago and all comments were posted then. Appreciate the response though.

    • AJ

      I, too, commented via Disqus, but have yet to see my comment posted. I figured it got bounced and failed to check my queue. When I posted, it said it was pending review by RS. Perhaps they don’t review very often.

    • NPS

      I have the same issues posting on that article, too. I’ve been actively using Disqus for a few years, so I don’t think it’s an issue of having a subscription to different forums. I looked at my individual profile, and it still shows “pending” for the Rolling Stone comment.

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