October 30, 2012

Controversial ad sparks debate over sex offender registry

Here we see two prespectives, and while I can understand a victim's perspective towards the offender that harmed them, however when that perspective seeks all offenders, we need to be very careful in accepting such a viewpoint. We can never forget, how many adults in society are there that offended in their youth and were never caught? Should they fess up and join the list? Lines of reason need to be established, everyone victim and offender minds need to recognize that, so society can move to a reasonable resolution, helping some along the way.
10-30-2012 Washington:

SEATTLE -- In some cases, it's "a list for life." The sex offender registry forces convicted criminals to stay in the spotlight.

Not everyone wants to stay there. "Those two words, 'sex offender,' they make me sick to my stomach," said one such former criminal.

We protected his identity so he could be candid about what he had done. He doesn't want you to forgive him or forget what he did. He just wants you to shift your perception of his crime.

"I did something wrong and I manned up to it. I admitted it in court. I took my punishment," he said. ..... ......

"Having to be subject to this public embarrassment and scrutiny for the rest of my life -- that seems a little harsh," he said.

Which is where a controversial ad comes in, placed on the back of alternative newspapers. It's from attorney Brad Meryhew.

"Sex offender registration got you down? Give us a call; we might be able to help,"Meryhew said.

Under Washington state law, certain lower-level offenders have the option to petition a judge for removal from the registry. The worst criminals aren't eligible. Even if a judge agrees that the offender is reformed, it doesn't expunge the conviction from the record. It just takes the offender off the list and some tracking websites.

"We are one of the toughest states in regards to registration and community notification," said Kecia Rongen with the state sentence review board.

She says the original 1990s-era sex offender laws haven't caught up to actual research.

"Treatment does work. Recidivism rates for juvenile sex offenders are fairly low," she said.

In a way, the registry could become a form of punishment. That's fine by Deborah Kaye -- especially after she saw Meryhew's ad.

"It seemed so glib. 'Sexual predator registration got you down?' I hope so," she said.

Kaye has counseled sexual abuse victims for years and says even though the law allows some offenders to leave the list, some punishments shouldn't be swept away.

"The power over another person. It's always been about power. So that wiring is often hard to unwire, if you will," she said.

While she said she was shocked and appalled, she sees the conflict so many face in the legal system.

"Can people be turned around? I'm sure there are, I'm sure there are many. I'm conflicted," she said.

Meryhew knows it's a controversial business. Some people have called and yelled at his office, but he shares his clients' stories to change minds.

"What we're speaking to are those people who can't find work, can't find housing, can't get a relationship going, have trouble with their families," he said.

Kaye isn't entirely sold. She feels some crimes don't deserve compromise.

"Sexual predators hunt. And we need to know who the hunters are," she said.

The man who admitted his crimes says he isn't that hunter. He wants his chance to prove it to everyone.

"I've had to own this, because I did it. There's no other way around it," he said. ..Source.. by Jon Humbert

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