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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: We’re All in This Together, Or Are We?

Several news articles this week about Tampa Catholic Charities setting up a 100- tent homeless shelter called Hillsboro Hope, brought to mind the old biblical line “what so ever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

Society has always excluded registrants from most homeless shelters. Even during our country’s worst episodes of floods, earthquakes, triple digit and freezing temperatures, registrants have been left to fend for themselves.  So, is it any wonder that once again, registrants are being denied the same basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing that any other human being deserves? The difference this time, it’s occurring during the worst pandemic of our lives and this time by a Catholic Charity.

Tampa’s “Hillsboro Hope” is a recently opened shelter, it’s mission, to take in the homeless during these rough times. The exception of course is when it comes to homeless “sex offenders”. Screening for “sex offender” status takes place prior to admission.

According to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough County is under a “safer at home” order, so those without a home are at higher risk of contracting viruses. “The sooner we start taking care of each other, the sooner we can get through this together” said the mayor.

Well, the Mayor’s statement sounds a bit hollow if you’re a registrant. Are we really “all in this together?”

Exactly why are registrants being excluded? Well, I wanted to hear it for myself.

I called Hillsboro Hope and spoke to a nice case manager who will remain nameless so as not to jeopardize his job, who willingly answered some questions before suggesting I should probably speak with the Director/Maggie Rogers, at the main office.

“Why are registrants being excluded by a charitable organization during a pandemic?” I asked. “Isn’t that sort of the opposite of what charity is supposed to be all about?”

The case manager responded that “sex offenders” are always a difficult group to place during a crisis due to the nature of their offenses.  He also suggested that those who fund the charity are the persons that make the rules regarding exclusions. Whether this case manager truly didn’t know or just wasn’t telling, he couldn’t answer the question as to who the source of Hillsboro Hope’s funding was. I imagine that since Tampa Police Dept. will be providing security for the shelter, city funding is involved somewhere. So, is it the city of Tampa that is excluding some of its citizens? Citizens who although homeless, may work and pay city taxes? I couldn’t seem to get any answer.

“Are homeless registrants being referred to or sheltered at some other facility during this pandemic?” I asked.

I was advised that “the issue hadn’t come up yet” so the case manager wasn’t certain as to what would happen with registrants if they did show up at the shelter, but personally, he didn’t know of any other places to refer them to.

I called the main office of Catholic Charities but the phone just rang and rang. I emailed them with a list of questions about referral sources for registrants, whether any groups other than registrants, people   that had also already served their sentences, were excluded. I asked about their source of funding too.  I’ve asked that they respond in a timely manner so that I could give a fair and accurate account as to why registrants were excluded from receiving shelter by their charitable organization during a pandemic. As of this writing, 5 days since I contacted them, I’ve still received no response.

We keep hearing “we’re all in this together”, from the president, the mayors, the media. It seems to be the “phrase of the day” that’s supposed to help all of us through all this crisis.

Well, someone needs to define the word “we”, because to those homeless registrants that are left out on the streets to face the pandemic alone, “we” doesn’t include them. For them, “we’re all in this together” is a meaningless phrase.

I can’t help but wonder, do you think Catholic Charities would deny shelter to one of their own, a homeless, defrocked, priest, that happened to be a registrant?

 

Join the discussion

  1. Saddles

    One would have to say we agree we all in this together. Is it the “Why” question we all seek today or the “Who” question we all seek is these trying times. Should we all go back to school and learn or just roll with the punches. Should we all blame this on the storm before the calm or as shelter from the elements to gather our strength back or some understanding as to why this whole ordeal happened type cast some as second class as some use on here.
    With Janice’s and Kat’s permission if they would like to put up this link for those to hear this audio. I would hope this link and audio brings some comfort to the many that participate in this offender issue and also to bring some civil understanding to much of this confusion with some rational understanding along with what Kats article is all about.

    Only if Janice, Chance and her team and also Kat agree to this as I’m sure it will be beneficial to all along with other ACSOL materials as well.
    https://letgodbetrue.com/proverbs/index/chapter-4/proverbs-4-7/

  2. RobertGad

    Are you going to divorce yourself or are you already divorced, then I hope that you benefit from my story and my blog or that you can draw something from my Kats Original ‘Facing it’ if you still need more help with this because you can’t get it out and would really like to do it right, then take a look at the following Facebook page: ‘Gezagsdelers’ of Van Aline van de Haar, she can give you very good advice and help you on your way .

  3. Eric

    It seems to me that the root of this problem, and the biggest challenge before us, is re-education of the public. I say re-education because the public has been mentally trained by self-serving politicians and ratings driven media to believe that all people on the registry and all those charged with a sex offense are the same and should be grouped into the same category. The re-education is needed to help the public break out of this mindset, and to relearn that the truth is that most people on the registry did a singe instance offense, often drugs or alchol was involved, often of the 40 plus laws that put people on the registry individuals are caught in a quagmire such as morning after regret, date rape, or “yes means no” laws; and then there are thousands that never touched or contacted anyone, they were caught up on the internet.

    The majority, over 90% of people on the registry were good, productive members of society before the incident happened. The police officer who gets a DUI, the congressperson who takes a bribe, the PTA member who embezzles school funds, the mayor who smokes crack, all make poor life choices, but none are ostracized from life itself as those who make an error around their human sexuality. That is because the shroud of “unable to rehabilitate” that we are falsely cloaked with, wrapped around us by politicians and the media. This is what needs to be shattered. Each of us plays a part by being the best member of society we can and a living example, but that is just not enough, the truth must be shouted form the roof tops.

  4. Saddles

    For what its worth those on the sex registry or others that have offenses seem to be at a lose today. While many offenses may seem degrading were is bible standards or ethics or moral standards of understanding, even distancing laws or other callous punishment endeavors are a bit much. I’m sure we all were not prepared for all this convid-19 pandermic that has come upon us all today.

    Everything is just about at a stand still today and work is stagnated. Even employment for people is up in the air, people lucky to have jobs are imprisoned to work at home today, and relationships seem to be taking panic views. It seems things are turning upside down.

    Everybody believed courts can fix the problem or government can save face. Well their is a reason for everything. Sure their will be a lot of challanges and lawsuits all over to get America and the ecomony back together with true basic standards again. Even those in DC weren’t prepared for this. Sure this can flaw even those on the regstry that are trying to get relief.
    Is the sex offender just caught up in all this government red tape. Voting rights, discrimination rights, labeling to upset others, even sexual rights of relationships are a bit out of balance from biblical or moral standards.

    Were governments really prepared for this act of nature as they don’t really know what they are fighting. Sure they are fighting for people to live and to help those poor, or of lesser value it seems than others. Well nobody is of lesser value.

    Fightening for something is always good and yes the sex offender does have rights. Civil values of Justice are good to help mankind get back on his or her feet again but it doesn’t come overnight. Those that get thru this pandermic or virus ordeal can bless God for what they have and that one’s faith is still intact, or go just go ahead and blame one’s stupidity, or is true justice and values today being deflated in America and all over today. Anyone can see this not ony by the sex registry but all over today in this justice system. Justice can play games on one but mother nature doesnt’ play games.

  5. Will Allen

    Of course we aren’t “all in this together”. That’s just something the self-righteous, self-entitled people are saying to try to comfort themselves and make themselves feel better. They are upset their lives are being impacted. They want to get back to trying to feel superior and harassing.

    I’m certainly not all in this together with Registry Supporters/Terrorists (RS/Ts). I’ll be helping people I know and people who are decent. I won’t be worrying or caring about RS/Ts.

    There have been a lot of people on these forums over the years who talk about helping charities, “giving back”, or whatever. I’ve seen way too much of this “exclude sex offenders” idiocy to care about helping others. I won’t be helping any charity, government, or anything else that might be helping RS/Ts. No way.

    As an aside, I went to a law enforcement agency recently for a forced Registration “check in”. They didn’t seem to care about social distancing or keeping things clean. I didn’t put myself at risk for coronavirus. And I certainly didn’t put my family at risk. But I did put them and their families at risk. They don’t care much apparently.

    This virus is all unfortunate but America needed a good distraction from their usual smug, self-righteous, self-entitled, harassment cycle. Maybe this will help fix RS/Ts slightly. Or it might make them even worse people.

    • Saddles

      Will take a look at yourself sure we all have morals and understanding, values and principals to understand right and wrong at least I hope we all do. I or anybody else are not self righteous are we. This virus we all are in is telling us all something or has it effected your conscious or the many lifes of others conscious. Life is short as it is.

      I dont’ know your ordeal that you are going thru but we all go thru trials in life and yes some involve courts of law but when law is unfair to Americans and equal rights are not dristribed fairly than its up to Janice and her team to seek equal rights for all true liberty. Isn’t that what constutional values are all about.

      Much of this internet stuff is a bunch of hog wash and even some of this who touched who is a bit overrated. Sure we are all in this together but one has to have faith for the better outcome of all this measure we all are striving for. Will in the long run you will eat much of your words and have a different prospective about life or is this registry an imprisionment of the mind.

  6. RunPower

    Are you going to divorce yourself or are you already divorced, then I hope that you benefit from my story and my blog or that you can draw something from my Kats Original ‘Facing it’ if you still need more help with this because you can’t get it out and would really like to do it right, then take a look at the following Facebook page: ‘Gezagsdelers’ of Van Aline van de Haar, she can give you very good advice and help you on your way .

    • Josh

      @All….I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to every spouse, partner, & significant other who is in a relationship with a person forced to register. It takes a incredible person of incredible character to stay & suffer the indignities that are the collateral consequences of the registry. My own wife has endured every ex post facto change for the worse with me over the last 20 years. The way things were when we got married look nothing like they do now. I don’t generally get confronted about my status due to my stature & general disposition. To my shame, more often then not, she has taken the brunt of the public humiliation from the nosy Nellie soccer moms who don’t understand how she could be with one of “those” people or why she would choose stay with one of “those” people. I can’t speak for anybody else but I probably wouldn’t be here writing this now if not for her love & support. The fact that I have a beautiful wife and incredible kids only helps to shield me from much of the persecution & harassment that many of us have experienced. I just wanted to take a moment in these trying times to say thank you to anybody who stays committed to a person forced to register. Thank you for being willing to look past the mistake or lapse in judgement and into the heart of a person!

      • Love, peace, and happiness

        @Josh: You have a wonderful wife!!!!!!!! Thank her for me.

        • Josh

          @Love, peace, & happiness….You just thanked her yourself! She doesn’t contribute in this forum but follows all the developments and discussions on a daily basis. She says you’re welcome! She also agrees with @MLinCA that I’m very fortunate to have her…lol

      • MLinCA

        @Josh
        You’re a fortunate man to have such a wife.

      • Finally Off

        @Josh,

        After reading your post, I have to agree with everything said. I was a registrant in PA for a very long time. Thanks to recent PASC decisions I was finally removed about a year ago, but still follow and support others as its still a constant struggle even AFTER coming off the reg. Like you, when I married my wife, things where much different as ex post facto laws hadn’t snagged me yet, but like you, as the laws changed, and things became worse my wife chose to stand by me. I know first hand it was not easy to endure some of the looks, comments, and the likes. She stood by me in my darkest moments, and many times often wondered to myself how much more she could take, or decide to throw in the towel from all the pressure. I too would not be where I am without this strong woman by my side. so with that, I publicly thank her, and will never forget the sacrifices she endured for me…

  7. ConfusedMan

    Well said, Josh.

  8. Saddles

    I liked that also josh that was real truthful and says a lot about this registry that others think about others that are a bit discriminating to others.

  9. Saddles

    Now I honestly like Janice and her team and many of you on here have approved as well, but many times we are all at a lose of words to say to confort one another. Yes me and my little Gospel views might seem out of place on here but what is truth. Was Ronald Reagan right or how about Martain luther king, or JFK but were are they now. Were they silenced because of their viewpoints by some conspircy or did they strive to stand up and bring some true values in American Justice.
    Was all this Adam Walsh Act some payback start for the lose of one child when many are effected today by this act of nature that holds no particality to any today. Talk about nobody tells me what to do type of behavior. So were is love today, how is mankind showing it to many. Is it in hospital care, a judges decision in fairness, or truth in justice or some, off key inbalance of liberty for all today. Even Noah Webster had a hand in the Decleatoration of Independance and the Constutition.
    Sure is all this registry some man made enactment or a pitfall today. I don’t know about a lot of states but I am sure all governors are different in procedures. I’m sure they care about the offender’s helth and welfare or is that some tyle of callous vain love of this type of ordeal that man has came up with to instill a safety factor on all today. Yes we can all look for a brighter future as none of us want to see people suffer or be oppressed in vain or is that what this ordeal of the sex offender is all about or have governments met their match today in this life threating pandermic ordeal that is effecting all or many.

  10. Saddles

    My friend in my hometown that calls me now and than which isn’t involved in any of this sex offender stuff but know’s I am said to me we all should all pray the blood of Jesus as this whole nation is effected in one way or another. Even prison systems are waking up to this ordeal. One doesn’t even have to be in prison so we all should pray for each other.

    I just hope its not to late for the many as this virus pandemic is effecting many prison systems and jails across the USA . Sure we all hate to say this but seems like those in autority have “blood on their hands” in many ways in this epid that has came upon mankind.

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