Letters

Ideas vary concerning how to keep track of sex offenders

Regarding the July 28 article, "Efforts grow to keep tabs on sex offenders": The offense category of sex offender represents an offender who is known to have a very high rate of reoffense. These people represent a class of human predator with a unique sense of entitlement; they are, as a group, among the most dangerous, especially toward children.

It behooves all individuals (approximately 10 percent of sexual assault victims are male) to stay informed as to the whereabouts of sex offenders in their area.

The idea that "it can't happen to me" is the greatest ally of this type of criminal. It can happen.

Once this criminal strikes, life is forever changed; there is no going back in time to before it happened.

The vast majority of sexual offenders are known by their victims prior to the assault. With the increasing number of paroled offenders, the risk of victimization greatly increases. Be aware!
William Ogg
Houston

Regarding the July 28 article on sex offenders: The word outcast is ringing in my head as I try to absorb the news coverage of the new sex-offender law that is ubiquitous on my TV and in the newspapers. Every day it seems that a new law is being passed in a new child's name.

What about a law that protects the children of registered sex offenders? These children are being ostracized in the name of one child. Where is the law for these children? We are guaranteeing two generations of outcasts.

How do I know what it is like to be on this registry? I am the wife of a registered sex offender. I am an outcast by proxy. Believe me, these registries constitute cruel and unusual punishment. My only crime is aggressively addressing the molestation of my child and working through it as a family. How dare society tell me I cannot help my child confront her offender and let us move on with our lives in private.

There has to be a more humane way to assimilate these data banks than to humiliate people and their families.

This is by far the most inhumane way to deal with people who have already paid their debt to society. Not every sex offender is the same. This cookie-cutter approach is not the answer. Is the offender a true predator who is high-risk and needs to be monitored very closely, or just someone who made a mistake, received intense counseling, and has not reoffended? As it stands now it does not matter.

There needs to be a panel of experts that evaluates the risk to the community before an offender is placed on the public registry. I believe that the police need to keep a separate registry of all offenders that is not made public on the Internet.

What does work to keep our children safe? Education. We need to empower our children. Demand programs in our schools that deal with child-assault prevention. Talk to your children on this subject. Shining a spotlight on the "bad people" is going to give a false sense of security to the parents of this country.

The real crime is not dealing with your issues, or worse yet, making it impossible for either victim or offender to get help without tearing the family apart at the seams. Will a mother be willing to get help for her children if she knows it is a virtual death sentence for her spouse or child?

I am so scared for my child. Not because of people like my husband, who has grown so much as a person, but because we are creating a whole new class of outcasts.
Linda Pehrson
Rustburg, Va.

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