Trinidad and Tobago: Senator objects to public naming of sex convicts

[ – 2/5/19]

At least one In­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor is not in sup­port of the names of sex­u­al of­fend­ers go­ing pub­lic.

Sophia Chote, SC, said that this has the po­ten­tial of open­ing the flood­gates for vig­i­lante jus­tice in T&T.

Chote made the com­ment in the Sen­ate on Tues­day dur­ing her con­tri­bu­tion on the Sex­u­al Of­fences (Amend­ment) Bill to cre­ate a sex­u­al of­fend­ers reg­istry.

She said mak­ing the names of sex­u­al of­fend­ers pub­lic will al­so stig­ma­tise the name of the con­vict­ed per­son.

“So if the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice has a list of sex­u­al of­fend­ers, then, cer­tain­ly that is go­ing to help them iden­ti­fy who may have per­pe­trat­ed a par­tic­u­lar crime and bring that per­son to jus­tice. To me, that is more in the pub­lic’s in­ter­est than putting some­thing up on the web in a po­lice sta­tion.”

She cit­ed a 2007 US ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled a “com­par­i­son of sex­u­al of­fend­ers and the non-of­fend­ing pub­lic” which showed that half of the sex of­fend­ers who were in­ter­viewed claimed they re­ceived “threats, had their prop­er­ty dam­aged and had been phys­i­cal­ly as­sault­ed and ran out of town ba­si­cal­ly as a re­sult of pub­lic dis­clo­sure.”

Chote said it meant that if vig­i­lantes know some­one had com­mit­ted a sex­u­al of­fence which goes pub­lic, they would not have any guilt of ad­min­is­ter­ing their own jus­tice.

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“She said mak­ing the names of sex­u­al of­fend­ers pub­lic will al­so stig­ma­tize the name of the con­vict­ed per­son.”

Why doesn’t any lawmaker in America present this factual argument? We already know they answer – they’re all two-faced cowards that continue to lie, distort and mislead to prop up Megan’s Law as “valuable” public safety tool.

This is what I sent to the editor of the paper – (could not comment under the article 🙁 without registering which is a fee or fb might be without a fee, but not going there. ) I also sent it to the parliament ( as I could not find a direct email to Ms. Chote. Whenever possible I will send emails to articles such as this. We must try when our busy lives allow us a few extra minutes. Those who are willing to speak out and up, like this site, this Senator, should be acknowledged. Even if all you say is Thank you.

Ms. Chote, Thank you for being the voice of reason. All “sex offenses” are not the same. Not all “offenders” are the same. The stigma that comes from the public branding of person is not a society moving forward, but backwards. Let law enforcement do their jobs without the impediment of spending time going after vigilante justice which can end not only potential loss of life or property to the person/family so stigmatized but then to the vigilante who ends up in jail ruining his life and his families. Have any of the crimes, from sexual contact with a child, to exposing oneself or getting caught up in child pornography because you have PSTD or a 20 year old having consensual sex with a 16 year old been prevented by a public registry? Spend the money on out reach programs, let people know there is help….before they commit the crime. No one wants a child hurt, no one is saying there are not consequences for your actions. I don’t want to live in a world where there isn’t. But there has to be a balanced approach. Purposefully setting out to publicly hate on a group of people, to almost assure they become homeless, that their families and children are harassed and shamed says more about those who promote this than it does about the registrant. Many of who have been victims of assault themselves. So now instead of outreach to break the cycle after they have most likely served prison time, the government tells you, you are forever a worthless person, not redeemable….and the whole world gets permission to do the same.

To the paper I started with this –
I would like to say…. (I would happily post this on your site but I will not post via facebook) Perhaps your paper will consider reaching out to organizations who have facts and statistics and more proven, reasonable approaches on this subject matter.

Here is the study from 2007 referenced by Senator Chote that highlighted the consequences of the registry (PDF link):