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Commentary

Publishing Registered Sex Offenders’ Home Addresses Before Halloween Is Gratuitous, Unethical, and Reckless

[reason.com – 10/10/20]

Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities. Ostensibly, this information is aimed at helping parents who worry that their children might be molested while trick-or-treating. But research shows that such fears have no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all. That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence. Like much local journalism, the practice of publishing these maps is ill-informed sensationalism masquerading as a public service.

This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out. Noting the “total lack of evidence that the publication of these addresses at Halloween keeps children safe,” the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety.”

The irrationality of that practice is clear once you understand a few basic facts:

1. Sex offender registries include a wide range of people, many of whom were not convicted of crimes against children.

2. Sex offenders stay on the registry long after they have completed their official punishment, even though they are less likely to commit new offenses of the same type than people convicted of other crimes. According to a 2019 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), less than 8 percent of people who had served sentences for rape or sexual assault were rearrested for a similar crime within nine years after they were released. That report also shows that the annual risk of recidivism falls dramatically over time.

3. The vast majority of sexually abused minors—93 percent, according to a 2000 BJS report—are assaulted by relatives, family friends, or other people they already know.

Read the full article

 

Join the discussion

  1. NorthEastPENN

    Let’s see – this organization publishes addresses of us on the registry to “so call” protect the “kiddies”.

    Well I think a more productive “registry” to protect kiddies during halloween would be a registry showing addresses of someone convicted of dealing drugs (wouldn’t want kiddies getting candy with drugs stuck in them). Publish addresses of those who have had convictions of assault – (would not want your kid hit by someone they go to collect candy from). Chances are these would happen before a child is harmed by a registered SO. And of course let us not forget how many kids each year are hurt/killed by drivers while trick or treating.

    Quite honestly back in the early 1960s when I went trick or treating I had a blast. My parents never went out with me. I went with a bunch of friends from door to door and I happened to live in Bronx New York at the time.

    Now I see how the kiddies of today have to trick or treat just due to fear that is not reality. Towns having special trick or treating where a street is closed off and people sit on chairs on the side walk and the kids come up to them and get their little treats and then the kiddies walk 5 more feet to the next person and the same boring old stuff happens all over again. All of this in the name of fear for the kiddies. I have heard from a few young kids that they don’t even bother to go trick or treating because there is no fun in it.

    Oh, let’s not forget why all these special conditions are set on registrants – normally some type of politician running for re=election who has done squat during their time in office and by doing this gets their name in the paper for “protecting the kiddies” – the sad part is that people fall for this crap.

  2. Agamemnon

    But… the profits- I mean, er, the children!

  3. James

    If any of the yard sign challenges fail and the signs must stay, it would be great to have rebuttal signs ready to post alongside with messages like “Don’t give in to fear. Know the facts” or perhaps “Neighbor Vs. Neighbor. Everything that is wrong with this country.” or even “Don’t believe everything they tell you.”

    I’m tempted to add “…and don’t drink their look-aid either.” to the last one.

    I’m mean, if my community was looking to publicly harass me, I’d at least get some mileage out of the moment and spread some truth. Perhaps even have friends over and have a great time, just to show that they can’t take away our self-worth and dignity because it comes from a much higher authority.

  4. Brandon

    What about signs and dots of the real danger to children on Halloween? The local drunks and careless people who hit children and pedestrians on Halloween. Oh wait that’s not scary as the people our government has told us to fear. American government officials song is “Money talks”by AC/DC and the citizens love “Tell Me Lies” by FleetwoodMac.

  5. Tim in WI

    American adults have hijacked Halloween from American children!

  6. AERO1

    I think its funny how people are like cattle just following the herd wherever it goes they’ll even follow each other over a cliff their lame they have no common sense.
    People really believe that placing people on the internet is keeping their children safe from people willing to do them harm how sad pathetic and lazy Americans have become instead of watching their children and listening to their kids and paying really close attention to people who interact with their kids they rather just go on Megan’s Law website and look up their local sexofenders in the area to feel safe wow the media has really brainwashed society and taken the fun out of Halloween

    Good luck

    • Tim in WI

      @AERO1,
      They do.
      That fact displays the advantage wrought via control of the messaging upon the database driven infrastructure \ internet. Their could be a group of registrants on FB etc. aggressively explaining the egregious nature of th plain indentured servitude as SOR IS! INSTEAD it is the victimites message that is constantly being reinforced by ambulance chasing shysterism.

      WERE YOU ABUSED IN A BOY-SCOUTS???? Call us now …theres a buck in it for you!
      – a covert attack on the Catholic churches good doing.
      WHEN IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE!, It more like a dozen half naked 11-14 yr. olds snapping the shit out of each other with wet towels!! Talk about HURT! In them days group showers was the norm in team situations. I wasn’t Catholic but naturally my school had and I made friends. The outcamp experience was overwhelming a blast to do! IMO experience trying to catch a ten year old boy in a large team shower would be nearly impossible for any old man like Coach Sandusky from Penn State.

      Control the machines output, control the message! There is also the topic of domestic electronic surveillance programs presumably deemed civil. The Trump administration & the highest courts have already acknowledged misuse in FISA context.

      All because of the electronic infrastructure.

  7. w

    I fail to see the logic of these politicians trying to link RSOs to an increased risk during holidays. Someone stupid enough to commit child sex crimes on Halloween or any other holiday won’t be home for the next one. Yeah, so they did their time and are absolutely looking for reasons to get back in again, right? No, this has always been about pushing the narrative. They have to show the public what they have been programmed to believe. Once this elaborate illusion is threatened they go into full defense mode in order to prevent the truth from getting out, that’s what the new SORNA regulations are about essentially. They’ve been playing goalie to keep their slimey green blob from leaking out, even though now it’s grown almost to the size of King Kong and Kamala’s bag of lies combined!

    Almost.

    • Dustin

      Actually, I’m willing to bet the new SORNA proposal is in response to the federal judge in Michigan who (effectively) de-registered those whose crimes were committed before 2011 and pre-empted any enforcement against those remaining until the Coronavirus thing is over. Ironic that their own proposal also states they won’t prosecute anyone for federal failure to register if the state refuses or declines to register them.

      • Tim in WI

        Dustin,
        Right on!
        The non prosecution doctrine you describe is a direct revolt by a state struggling with their own sovereignty against the overwhelming power of the fed. There will be no Byrne grant loss threats either in the mix!

        Whats is stupid is FREEMAN & LONGO treatment specialists helped pave the way for the impetus for SOR legislation in the first place! Now just what does that bunch do? Say it doesn’t meet ” their goals. “

  8. Eric

    I don’t know about the rest of the country, but as far as California goes, I do not believe there is a single recorded case of a trick-or-treater being accosted on Halloween by a person on the registry.

    • Dustin

      @ Eric:

      The only case of sexual assault of a trick-or-treater on Halloween was the rape and murder of Lisa Marie French by Gerald Turner on Halloween, 1973 in Fon du Loc, Wisconsin. Victim advocates often cite THAT part of this case to justify Halloween restrictions, while deliberately overlooking:

      1. Gerald Turner had no priors before that night and wouldn’t have been subject to such restrictions had they existed at the time.

      2. The victim went to Turner’s house in costume at roughly 11:00 that night, begging the question why she (11 years old at the time) was still out, alone, trick-or-treating so late.

      3. Not one single child sex crime – Halloween related or otherwise – was reported in the 30+ Halloweens that have passed between that night and the imposition of the first Halloween restrictions imposed on registrants.

      Said before and I’ll say again, if you think trick-or-treating is so dangerous, DON’T DO IT. Find another way to celebrate Halloween (or don’t celebrate it at all) that doesn’t piss all over anyone else’s rights.

  9. FinallyOffTheReg

    From a former Registrant:

    someone killed my Son. I spoke to him at 8AM, apparently by noon he and his GF were dead from a massive overdose, an unrevivable overdose on the same day. Grief? It comes in Hurricanes.

    Who Killed Nikki and Peter at 75 Oxford Street in Hartford two weeks ago? Both of them succumbed to a massive fentanyl overdose. They both were dead in moments. Listen to our family “dopeman”. We will exhaust every resource to find you. The one that sold to our loved ones what caused their death. There is no hiding spot for you. You Scum…you killed our loved ones. Their bodies were not found for five days
    .
    And all you got from it was another “bindle” sold. Smell that? That was how their bodies decayed. That is us as we buried a Son and another family buried a Daughter. We had to! And now your time is coming.

    Run and hide dopeman. That’s what you do best. Nikki and Peter died within moments. And what did you derive from their death? Pennies on the dollar. Dopeman, we know how you smell too.

    All Law Connecticut State and Federal Law Enforcement is coming to find you. And when you stand in front of a Judge, may you serve a life sentence as we all now do.

    Shout out to Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division, United States Attorney Office Connecticut, United States Probation Office, Connecticut, VICAP and the US Marshals Connecticut and all who have lost a loved one to the scumbag street corner “dope dealer”

  10. JUST THE FACTS

    When it comes to this WHOLE Topic regarding “Sex Offenders” …. meaning everything and anything from just that Title and the Stigmatized Labeling; the fear and hysteria that Media sensationalizes; movies and tv shows that promote more fear (such as Law & Order SVU); plus other magazines and stories that compounds this scary “title/label”; …. Oh yes… also the “all-important” Registry that is supposed to make the public “feel safe” ; Etc Etc Etc.
    Well…. I’ve come to the conclusion (as a similar situation when it comes to the “General” Public. I look-at-it almost like the whole “wearing a mask/face-shield” debate. You have the people who “believes” wearing a mask works …/and/… those who believe it doesn’t work, political and/or government trying to “condition” the population.
    Just like with recidivism rates for SO offenses, with all the studies and facts, science involvement; Etc. their are those who “believe” it’s ineffective, etc. Then the ones who refuse to accept all the data and facts, and continue to live in fear, etc.

    • Facts should matter

      Those “mah freedom” and “patriot” snowflakes that don’t wanna wear a mask wouldn’t last 3 days being registered. They would snap and send a message.

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