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"Would you like some cotton candy, little girl?"

For some reason, I keep finding stories that not only make me relieved that I don't have kids, but profoundly sympathetic for those who do. And here's another one.

Carnivals are supposed to be good family fun events. Yeah, the contests are usually a little rigged, and the rides a little on the scuzzy side, but for the most part they're supposed to be little havens for the youngsters. Especially when they're being held on the grounds of an elementary school

You certainly don't expect to find out that one ride operator was convicted of twice raping a four-year-old girl.

Mr. Leaor is currently facing charges of failing to register as a sex offender -- a felony in Massachusetts. And I strongly suspect that if carnivals, fairs, circuses, amusement parks, and the like are not already on the list of places that are required to do background checks of employees, they will be added post-haste.

Mr. Leaor's offense was back in 1986, and he's apparently kept his nose clean in the nearly 20 years since then, so there appears to have been no imminent threat to children by his mere presence. But child molesting has one of the highest rates of recidivism of any crime, and some actions can, should, and will follow you for the rest of your life. Raping a four-year-old has to be high on that list.

So, Mr. Leaor, I'm glad you haven't re-offended in the last 19 years. Pity you couldn't accept all the consequences of your horrific act back then. Please enjoy your stay as a guest of the Commonwealth.


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Comments (33)

I believe that the punishme... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I believe that the punishment we mete should be the punishment we intend. If child rape is so heinous that we never want to risk the perp doing it again, then the proper sentence is life in prison. If the sentence we employ is something less, the sentence is the sentence, then it's done. Haunting people, however vile they may be, with subsequent requirements, especially if those can change or might not be known up front and as part of the original sentence, is exactly the kind of thing we have a Constitution to avoid.

I agree.When it co... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I agree.

When it comes to child molestation I don't want to just depend on some "hope" that the perpetrator is rehabilitated. Let's take no chances, and lock them up and throw away the key.

The cases in Florida should be more than ample reason to realize that rehabiliation is nothing more than hope in the case of many of these offenders, and I don't want to take a chance with my kids or somebody else's on which ones are which.

The logic we're hearing her... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

The logic we're hearing here is simple, and belies the complexity of these situations. For instance, in 1986, when this person was convicted, he did his time, served his parole, and complied with all the laws in effect at the time of his offense. It has long been held unconsitutional to charge, or to retrofit criminal acts via later versions of laws, or even new laws. It becomes, frankly, a case of double jepardy.

This person's offense was committed prior to the writing of laws that require registration of sex offenders, and as a prior offender, with 19 years of good behavior, he has a certain right to privacy. He is not being charged with a crime, in that he did nothing to any child, or other person in this situation. Rather he is being charged as a part of the rampant and growing hysteria related to what a very few, NOT ALL, offenders have done.

I am not defending his crime, lord knows he should have spent many years in prison, and I think, been castrated as well, however, when one views the hysteria that some recent offences have engendered, one realizes the slippery slope all of us stand upon. We can not change the rules and expect someone who has completed not only their sentence, but aslo their 10 year supervisory release, (parole), to be fully aware that if he crosses a state line, regardless of whether he has completed his state sentence in the state he was convicted in, he can be charged with a felony simply for existing in another state, even though he has not criminally done anything wrong.

That would be like firing you from your job of 20 years for something you did in third grade. It is not only unfair, it's an unreasonable solution to the ongoing problem of child molestation. If he has been clean for 19 years, the likelyhood is that he will remain so. That's not wishful thinking, it's statistical fact.

Child molestors are predators, to be sure, but what if, at least in this one case, this offender has truly been rehabilitated? What if, not only has he NOT re-offended in 19 years, but he has also lived a productive and honest existance for that time? Are we to punish him for doing exactly what we told him he had to do to be free?

It's one thing to be tough on crime, it is quite another to continue to punish because of hysterical fears the offenders who may have been rehabilitated. Tracking them is a good thing, punishing them over and over for the same offense is not only a bad thing, it is more of an encouragement to them to re-offend because they'll see it as they're going to be punished for it anyway, may as well do it.

What then? Do we mark burglers because they burglerized? How about people who've committed crimes many years ago, been released from their paroles, who've had their records clean every since; do we introduce legislation to revisit their pasts so that we can destroy their futures as well?

The point is that at some point we have to recognize that if we don't give people a chance then we may as well execute them off the top, tear down our prisons, and reformatorys, and stop spending nearly 90 billion a year to reform people if we choose to believe they can not be reformed years after the fact.

So, either we get realistic about our crime and punishment, or we simply purchase a potload of gurneys and start sticking the needle to every criminal, no matter what they've done, or did, or how long it is they've been clear or their past. As long as we're going to revisit it, as a society, we may as well just do away with all of the system and damn the consequences if we should happen to smoke an innocent or three.

Hmmm.1. I'm in fav... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. I'm in favor of the death penalty for child rapists.

2. I don't trust offenders to not do so again.

3. If I raped a child in 3rd grade and I now work where there are a lot of children running around, then perhaps I do need to lose my job.

4. The current idea of attaching gps monitors to sex offenders is an idiotic idea.

5. There is a vast difference between a burglar, who is after money, and a child rapist.

6. There is no equivalence between raping a child and many other crimes. None at all.

Steffen, even accepting all... (Below threshold)

Steffen, even accepting all that you say, Leaor has not been living on a desert island all these years. He has to have known how concern over child abuse offenses has escalated since he committed his crime.

It would have made a great deal of sense for him to avoid any line of work that would give cause for concern about his past. That includes anything even remotely connected to schools, day-care centers, arcades, or anything else that involves close contact with children.

But if the RSO laws are constitutionally problematical as you say, it's worth noting that they have been around a long time, and have not been struck down.

I did not say that RSO laws... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

I did not say that RSO laws are unconstitutional, with the exception of retroactive RSO laws, many of which have been struck down, and including the law in MA which is currently being challenged. I do not believe that we should without consideration of all the facts simply toss every person who ever was convicted of something we may consider immoral into a pot.

Here is a for instance. 19 year old, dates 16 year old, is convicted of statutory rape, does a year, gets out, waits a year for his supposed victim to turn 18, gets married, now he's a for life sex offender. Doesn't make sense to me. My wife is 9 years younger than I. We met when she was 30, does this mean I should retroactively be charged with some offense because when I was 18 she was 9?

I am not advocating doing nothing, I am advocating being realistic.

Surprised burglers who were after money kill about 1000 people every year.

Burglers tend to start with unoccupied buildings and move into occupied structures which leads to confrontations which lead to deaths. Burglers who get caught generally re-offend with a more serious crime, robbery. Robbery kills several thousand every year.

Burglers tend to come from families where there is documented molestation. Burglers tend to have tendancies which would lead one to consider them high risk persons who may hurt children.

A burgler took and killed a child in Florida recently. He burglarized the home by going into it. Do you really consider burglars to be not as much a danger?

I have never equated the rape of a child with any other crime, nor shall I. However, by ignoring my valid point, you prove the very point I was making. If we allow hysteria, instead of reality to drive our societal choices, we will never be able to develop a system of deterence and rehabilitation for any criminal offense, let alone the sexual offences.

For instance, in Ohio, if you are found guilty of abduction of a member of the opposite sex, you will be labled a sex offender, regardless of what your actual intent was. So, if you're a burglar, and you surprise a member of the opposite sex, and you restrain them from leaving by threat or implied threat, you have committed a sex offence, even though sex had nothing to do with your crime.

It's about reality, legality, and morality, and until, and unless we actually figure out the differences of the three, we will always be chasing our collective tails trying to find a way to contain, control, and rehabilitate criminals, as well as providing the deserved closure and healing to the victims of such crimes.

While I appreciate that you think the death penalty is a good thing, in a society where fully 45% of sex related accusations and charges are found to be falsely filed, I wonder how you'd feel if you were wrongfully accused, unjustly convicted, and executed for a crime you didn't commit.

Consider the facts, since 1973, 119 people convicted of capital crimes were released from death rows throughout the United States. The most recent was on February 28, 2005 in Ohio. Had we carried out their sentences, we'd have killed 119 innocent men.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=412&scid=6

Are you still sure about capital punishment for sex offenders?

If you are, then you have to be willing to bear the responsibility for the mistakes we as society will surely make in our haste to err on the side of the victims, and if that makes more victims, you had best be prepared to say who cares, even if it's you who is victimized.

And that's the bottom line.

"Consider the facts, since ... (Below threshold)
Allium:

"Consider the facts, since 1973, 119 people convicted of capital crimes were released from death rows throughout the United States. The most recent was on February 28, 2005 in Ohio. Had we carried out their sentences, we'd have killed 119 innocent men."

If it were my 4 year old raped and you told me that there were 100 suspects - and only 1 was guilty and you didnt know which one I would have no guilt on seeing 99 die to get the 1.

As a father I would rather not kill the molester just beat him to near death every day for the rest of his life bringing him back just enough to face the next beating. Isnt that what they do to thier victims, have them relive it over and over? No pity for them, our death penalty is too humane for that type of animal.

Allium,What if you g... (Below threshold)

Allium,
What if you got the wrong guy?

Allium,You would h... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Allium,

You would have no guilt at seeing the 99 innocents die to avenge your child.

How do you suppose your child may feel later in life knowing you were willing to kill 99 innocents in her name.

The murder of innocents, in any name, be it Allah, or your child, is still the murder of innocents. It is exactly this kind of hysterical, unreasonable and short sighted reasoning that is responsible for the hysteria being created in this country over these types of crimes.

It is no longer an eye for an eye, Allium, in your world it's 100 eyes for an eye, and one hundred lives for an injury.

Tis no wonder the world in general sees us as self righteous and arrogant. With your logic, not only can I see that, but you have no compunction about murdering 99 innocent people because you'd rather get the one in one hundred that was guilty, instead of investing the resources and effort to get the one.

Hitler had ideas like that, we call it the Holocast.

"If it were my 4 year old r... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

"If it were my 4 year old raped and you told me that there were 100 suspects - and only 1 was guilty and you didnt know which one I would have no guilt on seeing 99 die to get the 1."

The question isn't how you would feel, Allium, but how would your daughter feel later in life, knowing you killed the 99 innocents to insure you got the one guilty.

You want to beat him to near death daily... so, suppose you got your wish, and finally, one day after so many beatings you found out you'd been whipping the wrong horse, so to speak... then what?

Another person once had such delusions, his name was Hitler, and we called his massacare the Holocaust, and World War II. The very fact that you see nothing wrong with depriving 99 innocent people of their lives in order to insure justice for your daughter does your daughter a horrible disservice.

Do you intend to teach her that killing innocents is okay as long as in the mess you get the bad guy?

If you do, then I think you'll find that you, and people like you raising children will parent a generation with no respect for human life. The violence we so decry today will only escelate with a mindset like yours, because, after all, Allium, in your way of thinking, it's okay to condem many for the sake of one.

What if, even after that, you still got the wrong guy? Do you kill 100 more?

Your logic is not only flawed, it's pathetic. You may not like the way the world works, Allium, but it is the way it works.

If everyone thought like you, we wouldn't have to worry about crime, there wouldn't be anyone left to victimize, or commit it...

Yikes, sorry for the reword... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Yikes, sorry for the rewording of the posts, silly machine ate the first one, so I wrote the second, and then it posted them both... my bad...

Actually what I am saying i... (Below threshold)
Allium:

Actually what I am saying is that I value my childs welfare greater than the life of a stranger. And yes vengence. Lets not kid ourselves - the present prison system is not about rehabilitation or any other high moral grounds. It is based on one thing - we just dont want that "type" of person living beside us. We just want them to go away. I think we need to call it like human nature - we want vengence on those that wrong us. I do.

As for the 99 "innocent" victims. The present system makes mistakes but it has to go through a very long proccess to get to the point where a person is actually killed for thier crimes. First enough evidence needs to go before the lawyers to see if the have a case, the grand jury, then a trial of 12, then automatic appeals. Yet nothing to help the victim. We pay for the trials, the appeals, the room and board. Who pays for the nightmares?

And you speak of a crime where the vast majority will recommit the crime? I dare you to place your young child in a closed room for a week with a "reformed" molester. I wouldnt - I want that person permantly removed.

As for what my child would think? what would she think if she knew that person was free to do it again, and again, and again to her?

[email protected] Steffen<br ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Steffen

"Consider the facts, since 1973, 119 people convicted of capital crimes were released from death rows throughout the United States. The most recent was on February 28, 2005 in Ohio. Had we carried out their sentences, we'd have killed 119 innocent men."

How many are innocent vs how many were found not guilty in retrials? There is, again, a vast difference. A lot of death-row inmates get retried on a regular basis. Witnesses die, move and lose contact. Witnesses forget details and can get messed up on cross. Evidence can get lost or tainted over the course of decades.

I'll also point out that the website of an advocacy group is perhaps not the best place to get unbiased information.

Frankly your arguments simply don't work. There is enormous difference between a convicted rapist of a 4 YEAR OLD CHILD and you meeting your then 30 year old wife. Trying some ridiculous argument that somehow there is equivalency is just frankly absurd.

"For instance, in Ohio, if you are found guilty of abduction of a member of the opposite sex, you will be labled a sex offender, regardless of what your actual intent was. So, if you're a burglar, and you surprise a member of the opposite sex, and you restrain them from leaving by threat or implied threat, you have committed a sex offence, even though sex had nothing to do with your crime."

?????????

Ummmm. Kidnapping isn't exactly better than rape you know. Your argument is that a burglar, who kidnapped someone, is somehow a better person than a rapist?

I think you really need to sit down and work out the logic of your position. As it is it's nearly incoherent.

SteffenMary Kay Le... (Below threshold)

Steffen

Mary Kay Letourneau married Villi (who she raped when he was a sixth grader) last Friday. She still is, and will remain, a convicted sex offender and subject to registration for life.

Would you want her teaching your young son?

And where did you get your 45% stat?

I don't know about other states, but misdemeanor sex offenses (like illegal sexual contact between a 19 y/o and a 16 y/o) are not subject to registration in CA.

This is not about "punishing" these defendants for life, but protecting society and putting them on notice that they can function well if they stay away from temptation. You don't have heroin addicts work in hospital pharmacies and you don't have convicted child-molesters work around children.

Oh... another thing Steffen... (Below threshold)

Oh... another thing Steffen?

In CA a conviction of a first degree burglary can be designated a strike...no matter the time length between the first and second conviction. So a burglar's past does stay with him/her for life.

"Consider the facts, sin... (Below threshold)

"Consider the facts, since 1973, 119 people convicted of capital crimes were released from death rows throughout the United States. The most recent was on February 28, 2005 in Ohio. Had we carried out their sentences, we'd have killed 119 innocent men."

This is a highly dubious claim. For details, see:

http://mc4se.org/inn.htm

Okay, Darlene..Bur... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Okay, Darlene..

Burglers are not subject to registration and reporting in California or any other state.... thus a burgler is not likely to be arrested for visiting another state over a burglery he committed 19 years ago somewhere else...

Any felony conviction can be said to stay with the felon for life, however, it does not justify the behavior of other states to in essence, punish the felon for moving into that state, after the fact, and after punishment.

Ed. no my argument is not as you worded it, my argument is that if you are convicted of abduction, (a lessor offense than kidnapping), in Ohio, and the victim is a member of the opposite sex, then you have committed a sex crime no matter what. In other words, doesn't matter if you lock them in a closet and finish your burglery, you will still be labled a sex offender, which is an abuse of the statute, but one that Ohio has been able to incorporate into it's law based on the hysterical over reaction to crime.

I am not suggesting that we fail to monitor, or establish a regulatory process for sex offenders, but much like the patriot act, there is far too much room for abuse, and too little concern for the rights of persons after the fact, who may indeed be living a good life, as a good citizen, after that bad past. I'm not saying it's okay to do anything wrong, but rather, that it's not okay to continuously prosecute someone for the same crime for the rest of their life, especially if they're 19 years clear of the crime, with no record of re offending.

Regarding an advocacy website, I would point out, that in the blush of honesty, the site posts not only the reason the person was released but the method used to establish the innocence of the person released, thus, according to the law, and to the constitution the fact remains that 119 innocent men were released from death row. You can't have it both ways, and there was sufficient evidence in each case to insure the outcome of trial.

Facts are facts, regardless of what group posts them. Numbers are numbers, regardless of who counts them.

While it is obvious that the conservative bent of this blog is relevent to it's readers, the simple fact of the matter is that advocating the murder of innocents to justify the execution of a single guilty party is barbaric.

Ignoring the facts in order to mute the statement is tanatmount to practiced ignorance. Either way, we all lose because we chose to ignore the facts in favor of self indulgent hysteria.

The use of my wife, and my age difference is only an anology, it is not justification for anything. The point is valid, we should not revisit the past in order to justify the punishment of innocents in the future. Nor should we ignore the efforts made after the fact by any offender. When we do, we encourage rather than discourage their behavior.

And the marriage... she did indeed get convicted of raping her student, but it's rather obvious that in this case, it wasn't exactly a one way street.

Doesn't make it right, but does kind of show that she, whilst very wrong, was in love with the kid. As to why, I've no clue, nor do I want to know, but the fact is that she very likely does not represent a threat to any one.

Oregon Mouse,Of co... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Oregon Mouse,

Of course, the other side of the coin... perhaps you should read the factual documents now on the advocate site, including court records regarding the actual events, not the speculative legal mumbo jumbo your posters site makes.

The point is no less valid, if even one innocent person is executed for a crime he didn't commit.

Jaysus on a Pony, Steffen!<... (Below threshold)

Jaysus on a Pony, Steffen!

If we gave a break to every child molester/rapist who said they were "in love" with their victim... !!!!

Mary Kay was a married woman with four children, when she "fell in love" with Villi.

And marriage to him now protects her from targeting anymore children...how?

If abuse of a statute is your concern, fight the abuse, not the statute.

Darleen,Where am I... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Darleen,

Where am I suggesting giving any child molestor rapist a break... I am stating a pretty obvious fact, it wasn't a one way street, she did her crime, did her time, and still, they're married now, which would kind of indicate that he was just a bit more than a victim. More like an active participant.

I didn't say it made it okay, in fact, I said she was wrong, but in her specific case it's not likely that she represents a threat to others.

I did not say that no sex offender represented a threat, some of them clearly do, however, the thread is about a man charged for not registering as a sex offender in a state other than his conviction because he was in that state doing a job, not because he committed another offense, and in fact hasn't reoffended in 19 years.

There is an injustice in that, and in any other circumstances we would call it double jeapordy.

Dispute that...

Allium,Since your ... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Allium,

Since your statement that you had no issue killing 99 to get to 1 wasn't about what the state would do, my response was to you, not the issue of judicial right and wrong.

I would never advocate forcing your child or any child to deal with their attacker, and I strongly believe that penalties for sex offenders are way out of line with their crimes... there should be firm, and very very tough sentencing.

And it should be uniform in every state.

However, once we allow a breakdown and start justifying our actions as protective measures rather than good laws we create an environment where even the most minor offender of any kind, (like a burgler) becomes a parasitical monster in society.

People, and human nature tend to over excercise various ideas until they become destructive rather than constructive. That is where I see this going.

Y'all can get on my case fo... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Y'all can get on my case for being a crappy parent but I've never known a single person who was abused by a previously convicted sex offender. The only victims I've ever met were abused by people no one knew about and often enough still don't know about because the person, as a child, never ever told a soul.

I view the paranoid lynch mob BS as a poor and pathetic attempt to pretend that you're protecting your children. It does nothing to protect them but make parents feel good about their own dilligence, when if they *were* dilligent their children would be safe from the predator *anyway* as well as being safe from the unknown predator.

Someone once was gracious enough to make sure I knew that there was a registered sex offender living down my street two blocks. I happen to know that this person, a life-time ago, hadn't a clue that his own child was sexually abused, not by one person but by two. Different people in different cities. Both trusted by the parent.

And *not* my place to say after all this time, but the sex offender down the street does *not* frighten me. He did his time and completed his punishment and what makes my child safe from the predators who never got caught is what makes them safe from him.

The limit to that safety exists in any case and no matter what.

"More like an active partic... (Below threshold)
Synova:

"More like an active participant."

The BIGGEST reason that children don't report sexual abuse is that they feel as though they were active participants and because of that they feel they are guilty of the act.

The most humiliating thing, according to a woman who'd been sexually abused as a *toddler* and very small girl, is that the touching felt *good*.

Many children, because of this unhealthy introduction into sexual relationships do believe themselves to be in love with their abuser, be it Daddy or a teacher or some other person. If they are young teenager, they might think that sex with the 40 year old woman down the street was certainly *fortunate*. And aren't they studly?

That woman couldn't help herself from having sex with a boy. What has changed? Nothing at all.

And if *she* loved *him* she'd be more concerned about his well being than her own emotional and sexual gratification. Selfish bitch that she is. If she hadn't had sex with him at whatever age it was, does anyone think that he'd be attached to her today? Or would he be chasing cute young things his own age?

I doubt much of anyone is willing to give her the correct time of day anymore, so it's a good thing she created this boy to be dependantly in love with her, isn't it.

Actually, Synova, he did ha... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Actually, Synova, he did have a relationship, as you put it with a cute young thing.

He chose, while she was in prison, and couldn't touch him, to persue her.

There were over 200 guests at their wedding, time of day isn't an issue, and they get along fine according to all reports.

He claims to have pined for her for years... and maybe if she had not raped him, *in the eyes of the law* he would never have cared, but the fact is that he says he loves her, that he persued her after she was released, and that he petitioned the courts to remove the standing restraining order after her release.

He made those choices, after all of the things she's done, and after all of their seperations, which were for seven years without contact. He's had every opportunity to move on, and chose to stay.

So steffen lets take the ab... (Below threshold)
Allium:

So steffen lets take the above arguement and change genders and slip the ages younger - not the age difference. So a 20 yr old male has a "relationship" with an 8 yr girl. She doesnt see whats wrong and wants to stay with him, even after he has served a couple years in jail for his crime. Maybe its conditioning? Does that make this right also?

Problem is we dont want a black and white legal system, we want all these shades of gray to keep our hands from actually getting dirty. Morally my example is more dispicable since it involves and obvious minor. But in the Letourneau case it can be consitered worse due to she was in a position of power and responsibility and abused that power. To me thats a double violation.

The legal/Justice system I would prefer Stef is simple - each crime has 1 penalty. You do the crime you do the time, no ifs ands or buts. You repeat offend and you are removed from society - be it 2, 3 or 4 strikes. Violent offenders - ok I'll give you that it wasnt your fault, but strike two - gone. And I dont mean life without parole, 3 hots and a cot are more than alot of people that do right get. I mean call in GE or a bullet. May not deter future criminals but would damn sure reduce repeat crime. Just think if we could convert just 10% of what we spend due to repeat and/violent offenders and convert that to what ever aid or social programs peolle think will "solve" crime at the root. Would be a hell of alot. Then again if we just enforced the laws we have and quit making excuses for "human" nature people may just begin to respect the laws again.

While I appreciate that... (Below threshold)
Mark Flacy:

While I appreciate that you think the death penalty is a good thing, in a society where fully 45% of sex related accusations and charges are found to be falsely filed, I wonder how you'd feel if you were wrongfully accused, unjustly convicted, and executed for a crime you didn't commit.

Since I'd be dead, I wouldn't feel anything at all about it.

Allium,I have at n... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Allium,

I have at no time said that the Mary Kay Letourneau was right, nor have I said that what she did was "okay". In fact, I have said it was wrong.

My point, in this example is that her 'victim' has made choices, as an adult, now, that will keep him in contact with her. I am not minimizing her actions, I am stating a fact. Do you know the difference, and given the way you use this twist, (gender reversal) to support your argument, have you even considered the facts, and not your rush to judge?

I am not supporting child molesters. I am pointing out that I think it's wrong for any state to revisit a crime with a new law after the fact, and use it to isolate, and recharge previous offenders who a year ago, or two years ago, would not have been charged with any crime whatsoever. This case, (the discussion) is not about a repeat offender, it's about a law that is now being used to charge arguably reformed persons for crimes committed decades ago in other states. It is blatently double jeapordy in this case.

If you knew me, you'd know that I advocate putting these offenders on a leash so tight that they can't breathe, let alone move freely in a community. I advocate social isolation for them to an extent that they should be moved to a form of reservation for sex offenders, after they've been sterilized so that they can not make their own children to molest; and they should live out their lives and die there.

There should be no middle ground. However, under the laws existing at the time of this person's conviction, he served his time, served his parole, and by ALL accounts had not re-offended. His past offense should not be chargable under a new law. It amounts to double jeapordy, period. He didn't commit a new crime, he wasn't targeting children, and no one complained about his behavior.

After two decades, his life should not be able to be destroyed based on a whim, and hysterical legislation that fails to consider the offenders actions after his release, and ignores two decades of compliance for the sake of social hysteria in the wake of more recent, and heinous crimes.

That's my point.

Mark Flacy, it was a rhetorical question. Duh.

Of course, the other sid... (Below threshold)

Of course, the other side of the coin... perhaps you should read the factual documents now on the advocate site, including court records regarding the actual events, not the speculative legal mumbo jumbo your posters site makes.

The article I cited did, in fact, contain a number specific examples of how the Death Penalty Information Center fraudulently pumps up its own statistics. Writing it off as "speculative legal mumbo jumbo" is simply advocacy-based denial.

Mouse,I would disa... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

Mouse,

I would disagree on three points.

While there are indeed, footnotes, numbers and all, the actual foot notes, and thus substantive documentation does not exist. Because the factual documentation can not be found on your suggested site, the site lends itself to spurious credibility, and does not meet the very standards it is supposing should be imposed on the DPIC site.

Many of the documented cases he refers to as not released from death row is more the case of split hairs. Almost, and in fact no one is ever released from death row. Their sentences are either commuted, or their convictions overturned and thus vacated, and they are moved to a less specific holding venue whilst waiting for either resentencing, or release. Since the very fact is that you can not be release from death row, none of the specified cases would qualify, and in so denying the stepdown process, your writer provides the amunition for his own fodder.

Legal innocense versus actual innocense? How many hairs did he have to split to come up with that? In our adverserial system the simple fact is this, you are either innocent, or you are not. There is not such thing as legal innocense. O.J. Simpson is widely believed to be guilty of the murders of his wife, and her friend, however because he was found INNOCENT in a court of law he is allowed to walk free amongst us.

There is something nefarious about a writer who uses spurious commentary, and twisted words to prove his point, and something more disconcerting about someone who would throw that argument out and defend it as advocacy based denial.

I am in denial of nothing, I can read, I can see, and I know the difference between speculative mumbo jumbo, and court documents, (which the DPIC uses to describe and justify the inclusion of each case it defends). I'll take court documents over twisted legal dogma every time.

Perhaps you should actually read the DPIC site, before you decide that your position is the only viable one here, regarding that.

Or maybe you could just deny the existence of the 119 folks who are not in prison, or on death row as a direct result of them having been A.) Pardoned, outright because the the evidence did not support the conviction. B.) Aquitted after the fact, in a retrial, sometimes years after the original conviciton, and not because someone died, or a wittness could not be found, but because the wittnesses could not be considered reliable after the FIRST trial. C.) Aquitted by DNA evidence that clearly showed the accused person did not commit the crime.

All of the above, to me, are pretty good reasons not to continue their incarcerations, or death sentences. And what each of these men have in common is that all of them, at some point were sentenced to death. Those, Mouse, are the facts. Deal with them.

Steffan: Uninvolved in thi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Steffan: Uninvolved in this thread up until now, I read the full list of comments and from what I've concluded, you're an apologist for child sexual abuse.

For every issue, you have a counter issue and it will continue as long as your sympathies lie where they have, this thread: you perceive the perpetrator of sexual abuse against children as being "a victim" and/or possible victim.

Which is the very same retort that sexual predators apply to their own behaviors, time and time again.

IF and when "a person" fulfills the obligations of a legal sentencing, yes, it's over as to their sentencing obligations. And yet, the psychological reasons as to why they were sentenced, why they engaged in whatever they did at the outset (at least, about which they were identified, because most offenders are not caught in their first acts but in later, repeat acts -- where child sexual abuse is concerned, that's a very terrible fact), those reasons, those motivations have not changed.

Perhaps modified to a degree by counselling, jail time, whatever, but it's LIKELY that where those who abuse children, particularly sexually, it's more likely than not that they will continue their behaviors. Perhaps not everyone does, but it's very likely that most will -- perhaps "conceptually" (internet, pornography, relationships with others, etc.) and yet still an extent of their abusive and quite aberrant personalities.

So, society's right to suggest and try to extend penalties for those who engage in sexual abuse of children. You can justify all possible scenarios ad infinitum, but it still reduces to the fact that those who attempt to frame "former" sexual abusers of children do likewise.

In the case of the guy living down the street from someone else -- formerly convicted of sexual abuse of a child or children, since released from jail after serving time for that/those offenses -- that his own children were sexually abused afterward seems to confirm the point I'm making and that is that there isn't so much any expectation of 'reformation' of the personalities and related social groups that foster sexual abuse of children, but yet a proliferation of the terrible acts by way of networks, affiliations and such.

They share a sorta' group personality...find one, you'll find another, etc. and most of them still perceive themselves as victims. Who "deserve" some sort of special understanding by society, etc.

My point here is that it is their victims who do and that no one involved in sexual abuse of a child or children should ever be expected to change with any great degree that would ensure that they could ever be again safe among the greater society. It does no one any good to apologize or indulge their concept of victimization because that's the heart of their maladjustment right there.

S,???Sorr... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

S,

???

Sorry this is so long...

I am not an "apologist" for child sexual abuse. I am a three time decorated three theater combat veteran who studied and applies constitutional law to the situation, and who bled to maintain not only the constitution, but the ability of these United States to be goverened by, and led by the foresight of our founding fathers, and framers of perhaps the most sweeping, diligent, and extrordinary document ever created; the constitution of the United States.

How you could draw your conclusions is beyond me, I think I've very clearly stated my position. This whole debate is pointless in that the actions are done, regardless of the overall consequences.

History shows that as our society becomes more comfortable with a particular legislated solution to a hysterical reaction to a knee jerk producing event, (in this case, the deaths in Florida and Indiana of three young girls at the hands of sexual predators two of who were previously convicted), and the subsequent social costs.

Many of our laws were framed after deaths in California, and New Jersy, (Amber Alerts, and Megans Law, and so on...) and were originally designed to track a specific class of offender. Legislation and rewriting of the laws have allowed them to be expaned to track any type of offender the state wishes by designating certain crimes to be sexual in nature, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT, IN FACT, SEXUAL. Ohio, for example has catagoraized certain acts as sexual in the event that a member of the opposite sex is involved, even if there was no sexual assault, implication of assault, or attempt at assault in any way. The mere presence of an opposite sex victim will garantee a sexual offender designation. This is not only amoral, it is a way for the state to apply certain levels of restriction and containment upon a class of offender that previously would not have been considered a sexual offense, and in fact, is not one.

The retroactive application of new laws regarding the registration and tracking of sexual offenders would be, in any other circumstances, considered unconstitutional, and in fact these laws are still so new that the challenges to them have not yet winded their way through the system.

The retroactive application of these laws has the direct effect of double jeapordy for offenders who may have indeed refrained from activities that led to their convictions. By all accounts, the subject of this thread had NOT engaged in any act or offense that would be considered amoral, or illegal in any event. He was charged as the result of a random check, and in fact, there is no evidence that he had done anything wrong, other than operate a ride. His job.

I am not suggesting that there is not a high rate of re-offense with sexual predators, because there is. I am suggesting that our resources are better spent on proactive solutions to deal with the increasingly violent predator that seems to be emerging today.

Many new, good laws are being passed as a result of the recent spate of heinous crimes against children, and terms of incarceration are being increased to protect, and punish. We are getting there, but we are ill served by visiting our indignation on one of the few offenders who may have actually succeeded in casting off his demons.

As to internet pornography. Statistically, 8 of every 10 computers connected to the internet visits a pornographic site every month. Internet pornography is the largest web based business in existence, and it's growing. I firmly believe that we must do something to slow, and stop it's spread because it seems that with the advent of such pornography, we've seen a corresponding growth in sexual assaults on children as a result. This assumption is first of all, very base, and is not presuming that internet porn is the only reason for this growth. It is more likely that the acts were occuring but that with our improved accss to information, via the same internet, and other mediums, we are catching more of these people.

Thank God for that.

Ultimately, I think the solution lies in education and improved communications with our children. So long as they are afraid to come forward and we are rightfully astonished when a child is murdered, but unaware that sexual abuse affects nearly 1/4 of our children we are losing the battle of reality, and fighting the battle of hysteria.

We must fight the battle of reality and make a balanced and practical, and sustainable effort to drive our children to greater levels of trust when they are violated, so that they will not hide, and greater levels of initial punishment, so that offenders are not given a second chance to re-offend after they are released. We have the ability to do this, but we must get beyond our own reluctance to address the scope of the problem.

We feel justified in demonizing a person who by all accounts has reformed, (one of a very small number), and yet, we fail to see the more dangerous symptom, and that is the refusal of society to address the driving force of the problem. If 1/4 of our children are molested, then what created the molestors? Shouldn't we address the social permissiveness that allowed such activity before we lose yet another generation of our youth to the evil that the world doesn't care to contain?

steffen--you make ... (Below threshold)
thefantapanda:

steffen--

you make really good points, and i like how you argue coherently and calmly. you'd make a good lawyer. while reading this message board, i noticed that, incredibly, no one seems to fully understand or read your arguments. i find this strange. o_O i, for one, agree with you. with letourneau and her student, it was clearly mutual. etc...

i read this rape victim's xanga. she suffered multiple rapes from the time she was in elementary school, up until a few years ago, from people such as her cousin, her teacher, and a stranger. as her username states, she was "silent all these years." it's heartbreaking to read, and something definitely needs to be done. it's a pity more people don't feel as you do.

thefantapanda,Than... (Below threshold)
Steffen:

thefantapanda,

Thank you.

I think it's a matter of not reading, versus not understanding. In our get it done now world we sometimes forget to visit an entire moment in time with the importance it deserves.

I have always believed that anyone can have and voice an opinion, and that once voiced they have an obligation to entertain, and consider opposing opinions. Most of us, however, are unwilling to surrender our comfort zone and even attempt to see the other side of a coin, because, simply put, we, as a society, have become so enamored of our own voice, as it were, that we've not the time, or inclination to hear another.

To me, that's just sad.

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate them.




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