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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Maryland Mom’s Petition Misrepresents Registrants

A mother in Maryland has a change.org petition which seeks to overhaul Maryland state guidelines/Bill 320 for “sex offenders” by requiring lifetime supervision. (The full article can be read on the ACSOL website.) The impetus for her zealous petition appears to be a child- abuse situation within her own family, a spouse who allegedly abused one of her children.  In reading her petition, she provides an overview of the emotional drama going on within her particular situation, the financial costs of sexual abuse to her family and her request for information or resources that could help her in her cause.

The problem with passing this petition, as I see it, is that her individual issue, her anger towards the abuser in her situation, is being misdirected at all registrants. While her petition is focused on her own situation, the public and lawmakers are misled when reading it to believe that a majority of registrants are like the registrant she describes in her petition, a child abuser who should require lifetime supervision.

This petition just promotes another bill insinuating all registrants are the same, all a danger to children, all child molesters and predators who need to be supervised forever. It bothers me that her petition contains words like “pedophile” and “predators”. We, the petition readers, don’t know if the abuser in her situation was diagnosed as a pedophile, and if he was, that’s his personal medical business, not something that should be posted on a social media petition.

It reads like a “revenge-posting”. It’s maddening.

I don’t begrudge anyone the right to tell their story or to solicit emotional or financial support or any other resources for their cause. What really ticks me off though is the blatant misrepresentation of an entire group of people, registrants. “Registrant” is not a one-size-fits-all label and bills being brought before our courts which affect registrants, shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all either.

Certainly, as in other offenses, there are those offenders that may require lifetime supervision. With regard to registrants, those are in the minority. Petitions like this are extremely harmful as these are “blanket” bills, once passed, individual cases don’t get taken into consideration, they blanket everyone, and before you know it, they blanket other states as well.

When you’ve served your time, completed your probation/parole, you deserve the right to live without the never-ending interference of “do-gooder” bills designed by people who think they know you because of a label that’s been placed on you. They assume, and want everyone else to also assume that you will “re-offend” and therefore must be watched carefully, forever. They use catchy phrases like “keep our babies safe” or “save the children” in order to garner support.

This mother’s story sounds as though she’s been through a tough time and truly wants to do something to change what she perceives as unfair laws. We can all understand that. We want unfair laws changed too.

But, positive changes to society aren’t made by intentionally misrepresenting and sacrificing an entire group of people in order to further your own agenda. Laws need to be fair, for everyone.

Last year, this petitioner presented an even more restrictive Maryland bill which thankfully never made it to the floor for a vote, hopefully the requested overhaul of Bill 320 will die a quick death as well.

 

Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    First off, I read her petition and my virus protection tells me that there is a tracker on that page following those who read it for whatever that is worth, but anyway, the woman is hysterical. I can see why her last bill never made it to a vote and neither will this one. The person who abused her child was not a prior offender, so nothing would have changed things. And whatever is happening now has been approved by the courts and the CPS. There were many people in my SO treatment group that had shared custody of their children, but they had to earn it and get approval. The father has been with the children numerous times and nothing has happened so it appears he is safe, and it makes no mention of the age of the daughter, she could be a teenager and able to make good choices.

    The woman rants that some predators look like regular people!! Really? And what do the others look like, the Joker from the dark night? Oh wait, he isn’t on the registry either. She says a convicted person might be your child’s soccer coach (not likely–it is more likely that a person not on the registry could be a risk), but that is what the registry is for, she can find out. And she has no understanding that there are some 40 laws that put people on the registry. A man in our group simply was at a bar during the Superbowl and swatted a woman on the rump. She called the police and that was that. hundreds of people on the registry made no contact with anyone, many are kids testing, or couples caught in an awkward age gap.

    Fortunately she rambles on and meanders bringing in all sorts of secondary issues that may or may not be relevant making it sound like a rant . The bottom line is this woman is fiercely angry, and rightly so, somebody abused her child, but it was only one person, and it wasn’t me or any of the other 990,000 registrants in the US that she wants to blame and punish.

    • jm from wi

      Don’t underestimate what one fiercely angry guilty feeling parent can do in the name of their child. Thank god she’s not from Florida.

    • Tim in WI

      Eric,
      Your perception is correct. User tracking has long been in play by internet service providers and web masters. The entire business model of efirms takes express advantage by gaining knowledge of user preferences. There are various techniques used to identify customers and they all attempt to predict future choices.

  2. Facts should matter

    “They use catchy phrases like “keep our babies safe” or “save the children” in order to garner support.”

    And my personal, vomit-inducing favorite: We have to have to “keep tabs” on them so they won’t “slip through the cracks” or “fly under the radar.” Ugh..

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